No freedom yet for Randy Poff...
A La Crosse judge says there is probable cause to commit Poff to a hospital as a 'sexually violent' person. Poff was supposed to be released from prison this month, after serving time for sex offenses, but the state Justice Department says he would be likely to commit more sex crimes if released into the community. Judge Todd Bjerke agreed, after hearing a report from a forensic psychologist who studied Poff. A jury trial will be scheduled, to decide whether the 39-year-old La Crosse County man should be committed.
It will cause budget problems for the state, but doctors are certainly pleased by a state supreme court ruling this week in Wisconsin. The court has called the state's raid on an injured patient compensation fund in 2007 illegal and ordered $200 million and change returned to the fund. Erik Gundersen , family practioner at Gundersen Lutheran, says a healthy compensation fund is one of the ways the state maintains low medical malpractice insurance, thereby lowering health costs for everyone. He says there would have been dire consequences for future of health costs in the state had the court not ruled the way it did.
It's getting to be a trend. A La Crosse DARE student has again finished in the top three in the state's DARE essay contest. Second consecutive year. Piper Hatlestadt, a fifth grader at Southern Bluffs Elementary this past school year, is this year's winner. Her essay was selected by DARE officer Jon Wenger to be entered in the state competion. Last year's state winner was also a fifth grader at Southern Bluffs.
Some real careful demolition appears to be the best choice for the old Masonic temple on La Crosse's northside. The city has agreed to pay for tear down and partial renovation of the dilapidated building that wraps around the north and east sides of Buzz's bikes on Rose street. City council member Chris Olson says that was a better option than tearing the whole thing down because, at least this way, Buzz's can still stay in business. Olson's convinced that the city will be able to recover some costs for the project from the temple's current owners.
Suddenly, La Crosse's little brewery doesn't seem so small. Joe Katchever's Pearl Street Brewery has entered the Fox Valley market. His beers in seven stores from Green Bay to Fond Du Lac. Big growth from small vats of kegged brew in the basement of a bar downtown 12 years ago. Katchever says his brewery can expand more, but ramping up production takes time. Also, distribution's a key, says Katchever; he wants to continue to be his own distributor. That way he knows his beer is being handled correctly when it hits store shelves.