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News Briefs

3:18 PM, Dec. 19, 2012  |  Comments
Tim Sinkler, left, of De Pere Fire Rescue gives students from Syble Hopp School fireman hats during their annual holiday visit to De Pere City Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 5. City staff helped the children decorate the two trees in the lobby of City Hall, and they sang holiday carols.
Tim Sinkler, left, of De Pere Fire Rescue gives students from Syble Hopp School fireman hats during their annual holiday visit to De Pere City Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 5. City staff helped the children decorate the two trees in the lobby of City Hall, and they sang holiday carols.
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De Pere woman spared prison for burglaries

Although she had been forthcoming about her role in several convenience store burglaries in Oconto County this year, a De Pere woman is avoiding prison because of a letter written by her daughter.

Judge Michael T. Judge cited the "heartfelt" letter in his decision to stay his six-year sentence of Sarah Farnsworth, 32.

After Farnsworth made a tearful statement apologizing to her family and the affected businesses for participating in the burglaries - which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars of damage to the buildings and thousands of dollars of cash taken - Judge told her he had not yet decided whether she should go to prison.

"There's no question the court has to think (this case) has a prison component because of the severity of the crimes," Judge said.

But, he noted Farnsworth's cooperation with authorities and her promise to testify if needed against her three co-defendants, as well as the pre-sentence investigation rating Farnsworth as a low risk to re-offend.

Judge also mentioned her good educational background, including a technical degree in a medical field.

In an interview with an investigator, Farnsworth admitted her involvement in eight burglaries, including five in Oconto County. She said she served as the getaway driver and lookout.

"For what? A few scraps, a few hundred dollars," Judge said. "No matter (for) how little it was, (your actions) wreaked havoc on businesses and caused all this damage."

But, the letter from Farnsworth's 12-year-old daughter, which Judge said he only received that morning, apparently tipped the scale.

"I really hope to see my mom soon," Judge read from the letter.

Clearly moved, Judge looked at Farnsworth, and gently asked: "Do you see what you've done here?"

Farnsworth, who also has two other young children that have been cared for by friends and relatives since her arrest, began to cry again.

"Because of this letter, your daughter is keeping you from going to prison," Judge told her.

Judge sentenced her to three years confinement and three years extended supervision on each of the three burglary counts, to be served concurrently. After staying the prison time, he granted her five years probation, on the condition of six months jail.

Farnsworth was among four people arrested after authorities were alerted to a burglary four months ago in Suring. The arrests are believed to have ended a series of approximately 20 burglaries in Oconto, Marinette and Brown counties. In most of the Oconto County cases, ATMs were pried or cut open after entry was gained by cutting a hole in the roof of the business.

John C. Birk, 47, of Green Bay, Richard T. Michiels, 21, of De Pere and Cynthia M. Cook, 32, of Green Bay also were charged in the burglary spree.

Three file papers for District 3 post

De Pere Clerk-Treasurer Shana Defnet said earlier this week that incumbent Kathy Van Vonderen, Jason Peebles and Dean Raasch had filed nomination papers for the city aldermanic seat in District 3.

Interested individuals who meet eligibility requirements have until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, to file candidacy papers for city offices that will be up for election April 2. A primary election, if necessary, would be Feb. 19.

For information, go to www.de-pere.org/egov/docs/1254948707608.htm.

Portion of Grant Street closed this week

Wisconsin Department of Transportation scheduled a full overnight closure of Grant Street near U.S. 41 on De Pere's far west side this week.

The closure of the street in both directions between Mid Valley and Lawrence drives was to occur daily from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. through today to set girders.

The lane restrictions are weather dependent and subject to change.

De Pere companies up for state awards

Two De Pere companies are among 58 manufacturers in the state that have been nominated for the 2012 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year awards.

Gemini Plastics Inc. and The C.A. Lawton Co. are in the running for recognition from the MOTY program, which acknowledges a diverse assortment of manufacturers of all sizes and industries for their significant economic improvements to Wisconsin.

A total of five Grand Award winners will be chosen: four in categories based on company size and one for being an exemplary role model to all in highlighting innovative workforce development best practices.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony Feb. 28 at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

Delo re-elected water authority board president

The Central Brown County Water Authority elected its board officers for 2013.

De Pere City Administrator Larry Delo will continue as board president.

Sarah Burdette, clerk/administrator for the town of Ledgeview, was elected as the new vice president.

Randy Treml, a supervisor in the town of Lawrence, will continue as board secretary/treasurer.

Bill Balke, public works director for the village of Bellevue, is joining the authority board. He is replacing former Bellevue representative Aaron Oppenheimer.

"We have an excellent board," Delo said in a statement. "I'm honored to lead the organization as we continue to provide a quality water supply for the authority's member communities. In the coming years we will continue to look at ways to manage costs and maintain and add additional facilities to meet the anticipated growth in demand for water."

The Central Brown County Water Authority is comprised of the communities of Allouez, Bellevue, De Pere, Howard, Lawrence and Ledgeview for providing a quality water supply to their residents.

The authority elects a president for a two-year term and the remaining officers for one-year terms. Board members are appointed by the authority's communities with one board member for each member community.

JaJora relocates from De Pere to Bellevue

JaJora Olive Oil Company recently opened at its new location at 2069 Central Court in Bellevue.

The store was founded in 2011 by Michelle Kulesa. It had been located in The Lee Building in downtown De Pere.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Alice in Dairyland applications due Jan. 11

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is accepting applications until Friday, Jan. 11, for the state's 66th Alice in Dairyland.

Alice in Dairyland spends one year serving as Wisconsin's agricultural ambassador traveling across the state to educate students, media and communities about Wisconsin's diverse $59 billion agriculture industry.

Applicants must be female Wisconsin residents, at least 21 years of age and have at least three years of education, training or experience in communications, marketing and public relations to fulfill the professional demands of the position.

Qualified applicants will be brought in for a preliminary interview in February, and finalists will be announced in March. The 66th Alice in Dairyland Finals will be hosted in Calumet County from May 8 to 10.

Alice in Dairyland receives a $40,000 annual salary; holiday, vacation and sick leave; compensation for a health insurance premium up to $450 a month; and reimbursement for professional travel expenses. The selected individual will be headquartered in Madison and begin her full-time, one-year contract June 3.

Application materials are available at http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Alice_in_Dairyland/Recruitment.

For more information, contact Alice in Dairyland program manager Becky Paris at (608) 224-5115 or rebecca.paris@wisconsin.gov.

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