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Where was Eric Koula at the time his parents were shot to death last May?
Investigators are testifying in court today about what Koula was doing in the days before and after his mother and father died at their Barre Mills home. He's accused of shooting both Dennis and Merna Koula on the afternoon of May 21st, with his father's 22-caliber rifle. Police say Koula told them he was helping a friend do some tile work and then went shopping for flowers during the time when it's believed that the murders occurred. The coroner who performed the autopsies on the Koula's says she can't establish a specific time for when they died. But a La Crosse policeman says Merna Koula was shot while working on a computer...at about 5:41 p-m that Friday afternoon. Eric Koula could enter a 'not guilty' plea this afternoon.
The prevailing theory for growth in downtown La Crosse goes something like: Bring the people first, business will follow. La Crosse Downtown Mainstreet director, Tim Kabat says, that has been a part of plans and visions that city and business leaders have had for downtown for some time. To that end, the new Grand River Station transit center and its 90-plus apartments should do wonders to attract new business downtown, Kabat says.
Dan Kapanke may feel the pinch of this one. La Crosse political analyst Joe Heim says the latest ethics complaint from the state democratic party about Kapanke's business dealings may stick in the craw of some voters. He says when the headlines scream about ethics and money laundering, those allegations tend to have an impact on the perceptions of voters and are likely to have an effect on the efficacy of a candidate running for office.
Heim feels the democratic party's complaint is based on something relatively minor. Kapanke has said he erred by paying a team debt to the city out of a charitable foundation but has since paid the foundation back out of team coffers.
The city of La Crosse may be looking to get paid by WTC. But the city may have to just go on looking. TC president Lee Rasch says he has no intention of making to the city what are known as Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOTs. Rasch says, although he doesn't mind paying for some things collaboratively, like streetscaping on 7th street downtown, he also doesn't believe it's appropriate to "shift" tax dollars from one taxing entity to another. Rasch also tells us he can't conceive of a time in the future when he might change his mind on the issue.
This thing might come to a head. The city is currently setting up a system that would require tax exempt organizations sign agreements to make payments for services before development deals could be inked.
Invest money now, save more money later. That's the thinking behind big fed grants getting announced today for a baker's dozen states. It's Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund Money going to states for investments into projects that prevent large scale disasters in future flooding. Wisconsin is one of the big winners, collecting $15 million from the feds. But Iowa makes the big haul. Iowa has landed grants totalling $84 million for disaster preparedness and prevention.