Mistrial Declared In Rapist Commitment Case
Randy Poff will get a second chance to keep himself out of a state hospital...
Poff was on trial this week in La Crosse, with a jury being asked to decide whether he should be committed as 'sexually violent.' But today, Judge Ramona Gonzalez announced a mistrial, because a doctor scheduled to testify about Poff's condition had spoken first to another witness outside the courtroom. That violated an order that witnesses be sequestered. Poff served over 15 years in prison for raping a female jogger in La Crosse, and has been arrested for sex-related crimes since his release. The commitment trial is now planned for December.
Harter Vetoes Pot Ordinance, New Hires
Several vetoes issued this week by La Crosse mayor Matt Harter.
Nine vetoes are for positions in city hall that the city council last week voted to fill. And the other one is for an ordinance also passed last week by the city council that would have allowed La Crosse police to write tickets for marijuana possession rather than always charging possession as a crime.
Harter says there's little point in passing the ordinance that police have said they neither want nor would use. He also worries that the message that the community would get from the ordinance is that the city was tolerant of illegal drugs and substance abuse.
City Reserve Fund Will Take Hit From Storm
The city of La Crosse reserve cash fund is about to take a sizable hit. City public works director Dale Hexom says the surplus will likely get tapped to pay the estimated half million dollars in bills for response to last month's tornado. Lots of stuff to pay for like sidewalks, clean-up, repairs to the Green Island Ice Arena and overtime for police and fire.
The city currently is looking for bids on repairing 45 hundred square feet of sidewalks damaged in the storm, mostly by the couple hundred trees that ripped up chunks of concrete as they fell during the storm.
Election Deadlines Today
Today is the deadline for candidates to file nomination papers in the recall elections against six Republican state senators. Primaries are expected in all six races, and they’re set for July 12th. The general elections are scheduled for August ninth. Republicans vowed to put up fake Democrats to guarantee the primaries, for the purpose of giving their incumbent senators an extra month to campaign. But Democrats called that dishonest – and they vowed to have enough of their own candidates in the primaries. Three Democratic senators are also up for recall. But their elections won’t be held until a week after the Republicans.
Today is also the deadline for voting residency rules set by a new Wisconsin law that went into effect June 8th. Lacrosse County Clerk, Ginny Denkmeyer, says in order to eligible to vote in the July 12th recall general elections or primaries, voters must live in a voting district for 28 consecutive days. People who meet the 28-consecutive-day residency requirement may still register to vote on Election Day at the polling place.
Denkmeyer says adding the primary to the ballot will cost the county an additional $55 thousand on top of the money that will be spent on the general election.
Vets Park Ready for Changes
Now that the northside yard waste drop-off has shut down, the facelift on one of La Crosse's parks can begin in earnest. Veteran's Memorial off of Clinton is getting ready for big changes. Mostly expanding the athletic fields, says city parks boss, Steve Carlyon. He says the plan is to expand the current three soccer fields and add softball and little league baseball fields. The park will also get fishing piers and a new tree memorial to veterans. Carlyon expects the whole process to proceed over two or more years.