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News 07.14.17

14 July 2017 News


A transient worker from Texas accused of attacking a Waupun woman is convicted. A Fond du Lac County jury Wednesday found 23 year old Juan Antonio Arriaga guilty of attempted kidnapping, intimidation of a victim, false imprisonment, battery and disorderly conduct. Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney says he is pleased with the verdict. Waupun police chief Scott Louden says last November 24th the officer noticed a man who appeared to be following a woman. The woman than began screaming for help. The suspect fled the scene and was apprehended a short time later. The judge revoked bail and a sentencing hearing will be scheduled.

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The superintendent of the Fond du Lac wastewater treatment plant says she hopes the DNR looks at the issue of microplastics in light of a new study. Research at UW-Superior found that small pieces of plastic have skirted the wastewater treatment process and ended up in Lake Winnebago. Fond du Lac wastewater treatment plant supervisor Autumn Fisher says some of the plastics have entered the lake through the Fond du Lac plant. Fisher says she agrees with lead researcher Lorena Rios Mendoza that more research is necessary to determine if its dangerous to eat fish from Lake Winnebago. Fisher says ultimately in order for any wastewater treatment plant to remove microplastics or microbeads it would have to involve some type of filtration process.

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A federal appeals court panel upholds Wisconsin’s right-to-work law. The law prohibits businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers to pay union dues. Unions maintain the law enables nonunion members to receive free representation. Two chapters of the International Union of Operating Engineers filed a lawsuit last year alleging that amounts to an unconstitutional taking. U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller upheld the law in September, citing a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding Indiana’s nearly identical right-to-work law. A three-judge 7th Circuit panel upheld Stadtmueller on Wednesday. The panel noted that the 7th Circuit has upheld Indiana’s law and the union didn’t show a reason to revisit that decision. Scott Kronland, one of IUOE’s attorneys, says the unions are considering their next steps.

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A group of Republican legislators is circulating a bill that would impose sweeping reforms on the state Department of Transportation. The measure would repeal prevailing wage laws; allow municipalities to impose wheel taxes only through referendums; require local government approval for roundabouts; shift money for state highway repairs to local transportation assistance programs; and create a DOT inspector general. The bill also lays out alternative methods for delivering road projects, including having a single contractor handle all phases of a project. The lawmakers who authored the bill said in a memo seeking co-sponsors Thursday that the agency needs reform after an audit earlier this year found it had been under-estimating the cost of highway projects by millions of dollars. The DOT has not yet commented.

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Historic flooding has forced businesses in Burlington to close while they wait for power to be restored but residents are upbeat as cleanup efforts begin. Bob Koldeway owns a bike shop in town and was spending the day Thursday mopping and drying the floor of his store after it flooded with more than two inches of rain Wednesday. Koldway says he was lucky none of his bikes were damaged. Outside his store water still covered a portion of the street. About 100 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers are in the city to help local officials with traffic control, welfare checks and sandbagging. Wisconsin Republican House Speaker Robin Vos, who owns a factory in town, called it a “big victory” that only property was harmed during the flooding.

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