Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Today, I unveil what I believe was the #1 story in our city in 2007 because it affected our most prized commodity: our children. In fact, this story has an impact for every child in the state of Wisconsin. Yes, it’s that important.
The story: Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge John Franke ruled against the city of Franklin's lawsuit against sex offender Steve Hanke who, for now, will be allowed to live in his Franklin home 600 feet from a middle school. Franke ruled against current law, innocent families and children, and sided with a convicted sex offender.
Here’s the background. Hanke, now 54 years old, bought a Franklin home in the 8200 block of S. 77th Street five months after Franklin adopted a milestone ordinance restricting certain sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, day-care centers and other places where children might congregate. Hanke bought a residence in June in the 8200 block of South 77th Street that is just a few hundred feet from Forest Park Middle School, a clear violation of Franklin’s ordinance. Hanke refused to leave and Franklin took the necessary legal action to force him out. The city of Franklin filed a lawsuit to evict Hanke, a registered sex offender. Hanke was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1996 for second-degree sexual assault.
Hanke's attorney, Andrew Arena, made the incredibly insulting comment that Franklin residents were overreacting. "The sky is falling in Franklin," he said. "It's just ridiculous."
At an informational meeting, concerned residents were told that if the city lost its lawsuit against Hanke, that would practically nullify the city’s tough restrictive ordinance that communities all across the state are using as a model to pass their own similar laws. Should Franklin lose this lawsuit, the teeth would be taken right out of its ordinance and the fear that a facility to house numerous sexually violent persons could be built in Franklin would start all over again. The city of Franklin is to be credited with aggressively going after Steven Hanke in court. Last fall, a court hearing on the matter was held before Judge Franke. Franke is a very liberal judge with a history.
In June of 2003, Franke released one of Wisconsin’s most notorious predators, four-time-convicted child molester Billy Lee Morford, to a home reportedly less than a mile from two schools and a park. Morford was the first sexual predator given supervised release in the city of Milwaukee.
In 1997, Franke granted predator Shawn Schulpius supervised release, contingent on the creation of a plan for housing and monitoring him in Milwaukee. But for more than two years, officials could not find supervised housing for Schulpius in the city. In 2000, Franke reversed himself, saying Schulpius didn't deserve release after all.
As I mentioned on WISN filling in for Mark Belling, according to an article in the Green Bay Press Gazette, “At least 11 Wisconsin municipalities have passed some restrictions on sex offenders, whether residency limitations or restrictive zones where certain types of offenders are not allowed. Twenty-five more are considering similar restrictions, said Tom Smith, a registration specialist with the Department of Corrections.”
A caller to my show on WISN said the decision could always be reversed on appeal. Appeals take time, are not guaranteed, and in the meantime, sex offenders could ignore ordinances and move into areas around schools, day care centers, etc.
Despite a strong showing of support by Franklin residents at the hearing, Judge Franke ruled in favor of Hanke.
THROUGHOUT TODAY, A LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE HEROES OF 2007
The Tauers are from Hurley, Wisconsin.
THROUGHOUT TODAY, A LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE HEROES OF 2007
THROUGHOUT THE DAY, A LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE HEROES OF 2007
Too young and too talented.
With 2007 coming to a close, this is a special Year-end edition of Week-ends.
HEROES OF THE YEAR
The brave men and women in uniform defending our great country all around the world.
Oliver North puts it well in a recent column:
North calls them, “Men and women who voluntarily took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies. Though fewer than 3 percent of their countrymen know a single one of their names, they continue to make extraordinary sacrifices while wittingly and willingly going into harm's way on our behalf. They are, on average, just 20 years old, yet they are brighter and better educated than their peers in the same age bracket. All of them have been entrusted with the awesome responsibility for the lives and safety of others, and all of them are held accountable for what they do or fail to do in carrying out that responsibility. During the past six years, (they) have spent an average of 31 months far from friends and family and the comforts of home. Tens of thousands of them have been wounded, and more than 4,000 have been killed defending our nation from radical Islamic terror. Many celebrated Christmas this year on lonely patrol bases where even the most basic amenities -- showers, sanitation facilities, drinkable water and hot food -- are considered luxuries. (They) ride around in armored caravans because evildoers want to kill them (and) wear heavy protective vests and helmets and frequently have to use the weapons they carry. During 2007, (they) built more than 575 schools in two countries, opened nearly 500 public health clinics and hospitals, provided clean drinkable water for more than 6 million people and electricity to about the same number. While most Americans prepared for Christmas by hunting for gifts imported from China, (they) were hunting for deadly improvised explosive devices imported from Iran. (They) are the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the so-called mainstream media has a long history of ignoring the good being done by young Americans in uniform.”
If I had to single out one individual for the hero of the year, it would be Liviu Librescu.
From the Bible: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR
QUOTE OF THE YEAR
Miss South Carolina Teen USA, Lauren Caitlin Upton