Shawano Leader News

Subscribe to Shawano Leader News feed
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium
Updated: 1 hour 3 min ago

Staffing and salaries hit in Shawano school study

Sat, 09/17/2016 - 7:13am
Consultant urges changes in district administrationBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Shawano School District administrators and board members prepare to meet Aug. 29 with consultants who have studied the district’s administrative organization.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams The consulting firm Springsted Inc. compiled this 76-page report after examining ways to improve administration of the Shawano School District.

Administrative oversight in the Shawano School District would be reduced at the high school and boosted at the elementary school level under a consultant’s recommendations for organizational changes in the district.

The consulting firm found that inadequate staffing at Hillcrest Primary School and Olga Brener Intermediate School was forcing administrators to spend most of their time dealing with student behavior and disciplinary issues rather than providing leadership and guidance.

Hiring an assistant principal at each elementary school is among the options presented by the consulting firm Springsted Inc., which was paid more than $20,000 for its analysis.

Shawano School Board members, who are scheduled to consider the findings Monday, were complimentary of the consultant’s work following an Aug. 29 closed-door briefing on the study.

“It’s a good study and a good starting point,” board member Diane Hoffman said.

Board member Derek Johnson agreed that the study provided a thoughtful analysis, saying: “They were very thorough. It was definitely good information.”

Among other findings and recommendations in the consultant’s 76-page report:

- Most administrators in the district feel underpaid and receive salaries below what their counterparts get in comparable school districts.

- Many administrators and support staff are confused about their job duties, in some cases citing an uncertainty about “who does what.”

- The district’s administrative staff is too spread out and should be centralized, along with certain functions that include student registration.

-Bills within the school district are not paid in a timely manner, making it difficult for administrators to monitor their budgets.

School Superintendent Gary Cumberland declined to comment on the study.

The school board voted April 4 to hire Springsted Inc. to conduct a comprehensive examination of the district’s administrative structure, with an eye on assessing the effectiveness of the district’s management as a follow-up to previous organizational changes.

The consulting firm was not asked to evaluate teachers or any classroom issues — only administrative oversight and support.

The Minnesota-based firm surveyed school district administrators and support staff, conducted interviews with some staff, and compared Shawano with 15 comparable school districts that included Pulaski, New London, Hortonville, Bonduel, Clintonville and Ashwaubenon.

The report found that Shawano Community High School has higher-than-average administrative staffing, while Hillcrest Primary and Olga Brener both are understaffed when it comes to administration. The consultants recommend looking at trimming high school staff while bolstering the other two schools so that their principals can focus on more than behavior and discipline problems.

Referring to the two elementary schools, the consultant reported: “We heard from administrative support staff that the building managers are often not available to provide direction and respond to questions when needed during the school day because they have to spend so much time on student discipline.”

If the district does not want to hire an assistant principal at each elementary school, the report suggests hiring one assistant principal to share between the two schools, or hiring other staff to handle behavior and disciplinary issues for the principals.

On the issue of administrative salaries, the report found that while the superintendent and a few others are paid above average, most are underpaid compared with their counterparts elsewhere — some as much as 20 percent below average. A survey of Shawano school administrative staff found than 70 percent characterized their salary and benefits as the least satisfying part of their jobs.

Some staffers told the consulting firm they fear the district will lose administrators because of low salaries. The report quoted one staffer as saying, “We are very much needed, but evidently not worth much in return.”

The report recommends conducting a review of administrative salaries in the district.

The consulting firm also suggests hiring a full-time human resources coordinator, increasing employee job training and working to improve a sense of teamwork among administrators and support staff.

On the issue of late bill payments, the report recounts a previous decision to eliminate an accounts payable staff position, and recommends increasing staffing to correct the problem. The district has been slowed in meeting its obligations, including paying other school districts for fees associated with athletic competitions.

“A lack of timeliness in accounts payable and accounting services, is creating administrative inefficiencies across the district,” the report states.

Acknowledging that some proposed changes could cost money, the consulting firm points to opportunities to reduce costs elsewhere, such as eliminating a communications/public relations position in the district office.

The consultants also cautioned officials against making organizational decisions based solely on cost considerations.

“Cost savings are often a desired outcome,” the report said, “but experience has shown that this should not be the sole determinant or consideration.”

FYI

Shawano school administrators, shown with current annual salaries:

• Gary Cumberland, superintendent: $136,000

• Louise Fischer, business manager: $108,696

• Scott Zwirschitz, high school principal: $103,489

• Karen Smith, pupil services director: $95,000

• Troy Edwards, primary school principal: $94,387

• Kelley Swartz, curriculum director: $92,310

• Mary Kramer, middle school principal: $89,760

• Terri Schultz, intermediate school principal: $80,000

• Charmaine Schreiber, activities director: $78,066

• Stuart Russ, associate high school principal: $71,400

• Rod Watson, associate middle school principal: $71,400

• Jessie Hanssen, at-risk coordinator/charter school director: $70,000

Source: Shawano School District

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

St. James principal wins national award

Sat, 09/17/2016 - 7:08am
Longmire has led school since 2006By: 

Leader Staff

Susan Longmire, principal of St. James Lutheran School in Shawano, will be going to Washington, D.C., next month to receive an honor she says might better be reserved for the people who work with her.

“It’s always your staff,” she said.

That includes not only the teachers, she said, but everyone else who “works to make this an excellent school.”

Longmire was recently selected as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s 2016 National Distinguished Principal.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent other principals,” she said. “I’m just one of many who deserved this honor.”

The National Association of Elementary School Principals established the program in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for the students, families, and staffs in their learning communities.

Longmire will have an opportunity during her Washington visit to meet with other top principals from around the country to discuss best practices, and she will have a chance to share with them the efforts undertaken at St. James.

“It’s a great way to collaborate,” she said.

Longmire will travel to Washington for two days of activities planned to honor and bring well-deserved recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the states, the District of Columbia and private and overseas schools.

Criteria for selection of the principals require that the honorees are active principals of schools where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.

With an emphasis on integrated technology, Longmire has collaborated on a parochial partnership with Sacred Heart Catholic School for a grant resulting in $150,000 to improve technology and fund professional development.

Longmire said that collaborative effort was probably one of the reasons she was nominated for the honor.

“It’s something you don’t see very often,” she said.

As a result of that collaboration, St. James classrooms are now equipped with smart boards, document cameras, projectors, Chromebooks and Nexus tablets, all maximized by a more robust wireless network.

Longmire teaches a section of eighth-grade math utilizing this technology to model 21st century teaching and learning.

Longmire was nominated for the award by the North Wisconsin District of the Missouri Synod and selected by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod through a national search process conducted by Terry Schmidt, director of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod School Ministry.

A graduate of Concordia University Chicago, Longmire previously taught at St. John’s Lutheran School in Ellisville, Missouri, and St. James. She has served as principal of St. James since 2006.

“At the helm of every successful school is a successful principal,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP’s executive director. “Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and their commitment to creating successful learning communities. Because of them, students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and communities are strengthened.”

After three years of Longmire’s dedicated efforts, St. James was selected to participate in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.

The program provides funds to help the school become increasingly self-sufficient, allowing for the establishment of the St. James Endowment Fund, Adopt-a-Student Program and Education Fund to support families in need of financial assistance.

Longmire was named a Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools Principal of Distinction in 2007 and received the Herb Kohl Excellence in Leadership Award and a nomination to serve on the LCMS board of directors in 2016. She holds an associate degree from St. Paul’s College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University, Chicago, and a Master in Education degree from Concordia University, Nebraska.

Longmire and her husband, Ken, live in Shawano, and have five children: Erin Longmire, 36, Ben Vogel, 35, Drew Longmire, 34, Elizabeth Forney, 29, and Katherine Vogel, 25.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Public skips rate sewer case hearing

Sat, 09/17/2016 - 7:06am
Rates expected to rise at end of the monthBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

New rates for city of Shawano sewer service will likely go into effect as of Sept. 30, after a public hearing on the matter Friday failed to turn up any opposition.

No one from the public turned up for a telephonic hearing with officials from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, which is evaluating the Shawano Sewer and Water Utility’s request for an increase in sewer rates.

The brief hearing consisted mostly of city utility officials making their case.

According to city officials, the increase is necessary due to a 54 percent increase in utility infrastructure expenses and a 20 percent increase in operating expenses since the last full sewer rate case was completed in 2008.

The city has requested an overall increase in annual revenue of $219,140, or an increase of 12 percent over present revenue, though that percentage will vary depending on the type of customer.

According to City Administrator Brian Knapp, the current average sewer charge, based on the city average of 500 cubic feet of water used per month, is $30.37.

A 12 percent increase, if approved by the PSC, will raise the monthly sewer charge by $3.64 to $34.01.

However, Knapp noted, that will vary depending on classes of customers, which are broken into residential, commercial and industrial.

The PSC will determine the ultimate rates individual classes of customers pay.

The rates will go up at the end of the month, pending final approval from the PSC.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Public Record

Sat, 09/17/2016 - 7:04am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 15

Police logged 32 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint at CoVantage Credit Union, 911 E. Green Bay St.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported two shoplifting incidents.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 1000 block of South Union Street.

Hit-and-Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the 600 block of South Union Street.

Accidents — Police responded to minor two-vehicle accidents at County Road B and Evergreen Street, and at Green Bay and Andrews streets.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 15

Deputies logged 36 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Woodland Road in the town of Washington.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Grand Avenue in Wittenberg.

Warrant — A 36-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant on state Highway 29 in the town of Waukechon.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Spruce Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Warrant — A 22-year-old woman was arrested on a warrant and a charge of obstructing an officer on Big Lake Road in the town of Red Springs.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Robin Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on Birch Street in Bowler.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 15

Police logged six incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported at Clintonville Middle School, 255 N. Main St.

Warrant — A 25-year-old Clintonville man was taken into custody on a Marathon County warrant in Pickerel Point.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on West Green Tree Road.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Richmond residents seek internet service upgrade

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:44am
Town hall meeting scheduled in OctoberBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Richmond town resident Angie Schultz prepares signs to promote an upcoming public meeting with a Frontier Communications representative to discuss improving local internet service.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Working at a computer in her home, Angie Schultz, who moved to the town of Richmond eight years ago, says internet service in the rural community has gotten worse in recent years.

If the internet is an information superhighway, as it was once known, Angie Schultz and her neighbors want to know why their computers move like jalopies rather than race cars.

Schultz and other residents in the rural Shawano County town of Richmond say their internet service is so sluggish that their home computers often are barely functional.

But rather than just shout at their electronic devices in frustration, Richmond residents are organizing and joining together to fight for better service.

A town hall meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 12 to deliver a message to Frontier Communications that folks in this rural community are tired of watching the Information Age pass them by.

“You just don’t have a decent connection,” said Schultz, who is organizing and promoting the town hall meeting.

Another resident, Donna Thomas, said she frequently must drive into the city of Shawano with her computer, because the internet service at her home is so limited and unreliable.

“It’s just maddening,” Thomas said. “There’s so much that we can’t do.”

Poor internet service in rural areas is hardly unique to Shawano County.

The federal government has announced plans to invest $10 billion nationally over the next few years to help telecommunications companies upgrade their services by wiring rural communities with the same sort of high-speed capability already enjoyed by residents in urbanized settings.

For its part, the state of Wisconsin is contributing $1.5 million annually under a similar program that started in 2013.

Frontier Communications, which expects to receive $186 million in the federal funds, is a provider of internet service throughout Shawano County and many other areas statewide.

Regional manager John Van Ooyen said the company has made many improvements in rural communities, and is working hard to reach other areas. He cautioned, however, that the federal government’s $10 billion comes with specific spending guidelines that might make some sections of Richmond ineligible for upgrades.

Van Ooyen, who plans to attend the Oct. 12 town hall meeting, said he frequently meets rural customers in similar settings. Not every such meeting has a happy ending for customers.

“Sometimes the answers they get are not to their best liking,” he said. “But they’re honest answers.”

For residents and others in the town of Richmond, the inferior quality of their internet service is an issue that goes far deeper than just convenience.

Town Clerk Rick Stadelman said he fears that a sluggish connection to websites and other online resources is slowing down local businesses — including farmers — and also making it difficult for school children to complete online homework assignments.

Stadelman said the problem seems to have grown worse in recent years, as the town’s population has increased to nearly 1,900 people. Not only that, but more residents have invested in computers in the hope of taking advantage of email, social media and other popular services.

As a result, the infrastructure that Frontier Communications has in place locally has grown overloaded to the point where customers faced frequent disruptions and agonizing delays. Residents who previously thought either their computers were substandard or that they lacked internet skills, Stadelman said, have come to realize that their service provider is the one responsible for leaving them isolated from a virtual world of online capabilities.

“They thought it was their technology,” he added. “Now they’re finding out that it’s everybody’s.”

At the town hall meeting next month, organizers are hoping for a strong showing among local residents and business owners to show Frontier Communications that the town of Richmond is badly in need of an upgrade.

Schultz, who moved here from Green Bay eight years ago, said she noticed the poor internet service right away — and has watched it grow worse over time. She tried investing in a better computer and software upgrades, but nothing seemed to improve her internet access.

When she began asking neighbors and others in the community just west of Shawano, Schultz realized that the problem was widespread.

“I heard the same story over and over and over,” she said.

Stadelman said only a small section of town situated close to the city of Shawano gets high-speed internet. That includes the town hall, where Stadelman works.

But when he goes home, the town clerk struggles just like everyone else, including when he tries to communicate online with a daughter currently working in Africa. The daughter’s internet connection seems fine; his fails repeatedly.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “It’s a quality-of-life thing.”

Thomas, who has lived in the town for 16 years, said she uses her internet service for online shopping, email and social media. When it comes time to download photos or something more intensive, she usually ends up driving to Shawano to find a coffee shop or someplace else with better service.

Expressing frustration, Thomas said she does not even try to go online at home at certain times. When school kids get home from school or when they wake up Saturday morning, she knows they will be jumping on their computers in great numbers — slowing down the service even more for everyone.

“It’s bad all the time,” she said. “But at times, it’s very, very bad.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Richmond town residents are invited to discuss internet service with a Frontier Communications representative.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 12

WHERE: Richmond Town Hall, N5170 County Road MM

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Seat belt use high here, but there’s room for improvement

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:41am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

A report released this week by the state Department of Transportation puts Shawano County in the top tier of the number of motorists in the state who buckle up before driving, but local authorities feel there’s still some ways to go before seat belt use is where it should be.

According to the DOT, seat belt use in Wisconsin reached an all-time high of more than 88 percent this year, compared to 85.8 percent last year.

Wisconsin’s safety belt use rate still lags behind neighboring states, whose rates exceed 90 percent, the DOT said.

The national average for safety belt use is approximately 89 percent, according to the DOT.

Although safety belt use in Wisconsin has increased, approximately half of the drivers and passengers killed in state traffic crashes last year were not wearing a safety belt, the DOT said.

In 2015, there were nearly 55,000 convictions in Wisconsin for failure to fasten a safety belt.

The DOT survey included Shawano County among 20 counties in the state in the highest stratum of seat belt use, at 88.9 percent.

Shawano Country Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy George Lenzner said those results were probably the result of the department’s active enforcement of seat belt laws.

Even so, the high numbers surprised him.

“It’s amazing we came out that high,” he said.

Lenzner said seat belt use is generally good on major highways in the county, including state highways 29, 47 and 22.

But on local roads, say in the areas of the villages of Wittenberg and Cecil, Lenzner said, “it’s not as good.”

Lenzner said there’s still a feeling among some motorists that they don’t need to buckle up if they’re not traveling on a major highway.

“People have a misconception that they don’t need to use a seat belt if they’re not driving at highway speeds,” Lenzner said.

But even at speeds of 25 mph, serious injuries can occur, he said.

“We still see a lot of people losing their lives,” Lenzner said.

The sheriff’s department has also issued a number of citations for operating a vehicle without a seat belt that would seem to conflict with the state’s statistics.

Lenzner said the department issued 739 citations for failure to use seat belts through July, a significant increase over the 470 citations issued during the same period last year.

“With that many, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Lenzner said. “I’d like to see those numbers go down.”

Lenzner said the county has secured a state grant that will help funds efforts next summer to work with Shawano police on stepped-up seat belt enforcement.

Some of the other findings of the DOT study included the following results:

— Occupants of sports utility vehicles were the most likely to buckle-up. Their safety belt use rate was 93.7 percent.

— Occupants of pickup and commercial trucks were the least likely to buckle up. The pickup occupants’ use rate was 81.5 percent, and commercial truck occupants’ use rate was slightly less than 80 percent.

— Females were more likely to buckle up than males. The female occupants’ use rate was 93.1 percent while the males’ use rate was 84.4 percent. However, this gender difference of 8.7 percent is lower than in past surveys, which had a difference of 10 percent or more.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Public Record

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 7:34am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 14

Police logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint at Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Harassment — Police responded to two harassment complaints at Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Disorderly — Police responded to a lewd and lascivious behavior complaint on Alpine Court.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in the 800 block of South Kadletz Street.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in the 400 block of Humphrey Circle.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 200 block of South Andrews Street.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the 700 block of East Fifth Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 14

Deputies logged 35 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — Authorities responded for a burglary alarm on First Street in Aniwa.

Disturbance — A 20-year-old Birnamwood man was arrested on four counts of disorderly conduct after a disturbance on Tamarack Road in the town of Aniwa.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Woods Road in the town of Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Northwestern Avenue in the town of Angelica.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Ho Chunk Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Hit and Run — Authorities responded to a property damage hit-and-run on Cecil Street in Bonduel.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 14

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Theft — A theft of a purse was reported.

Disorderly — A citation for disorderly conduct was issued at Ninth Street and Clinton Avenue.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Scouts honored for heroic display

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 6:59am
Bonduel boys aided in traffic wreckBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Troop 24 Scoutmaster Michelle Tubutis, left, poses for pictures alongside troop members outside the Bonduel Village Hall after a ceremony Wednesday honoring them with a special award.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Family members and others take pictures outside Bonduel Village Hall after members of Boy Scout Troop 24 were honored with a special award.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 24 in Bonduel are well known around town for performing community service projects and lending a hand at special events.

But what the Scouts did this summer when a bad traffic crash occurred in Bonduel was so extraordinary that it surprised even those who have seen the boys in action before.

On Wednesday, village leaders recognized members of Troop 24 with a public ceremony and a special citizenship award for the entire troop.

“We’re very proud of you,” Village President Sharon Wussow told the Scouts assembled inside the Village Hall.

The boys, ranging in age from 10 to 15, were honored for their assistance when a serious traffic incident involving a group of out-of-town Boy Scouts occurred shortly before 10 a.m. July 23 on the south edge of Bonduel, .

Two vehicles carrying Scouts home to the Racine area — after a camping trip up north — collided and landed in a ditch near Cecil Street and state Highway 29. Five children and three adults were hospitalized, and many other passengers were traumatized.

All of the injured parties survived the crash.

While police and paramedics cared for the wounded victims and investigated the incident, Troop 24 members showed up unannounced to offer help. They gathered scouting gear lost at the scene, and they comforted the visiting Scouts.

At the nearby Kwik Trip convenience store where crash victims had found refuge, Troop 24 members waited with the young visitors until family members arrived.

“They were comforting and compassionate,” Bonduel Police Chief Todd Chaney said during Wednesday’s ceremony. “They pitched in without question.”

Chaney read aloud the citizenship award, which was presented to Troop 24 on behalf of the Village Board and the village’s police, fire and emergency medical services.

Speaking before about 30 parents, community leaders and others, Chaney said the assistance rendered by the Scouts helped investigators to expedite their work, and also helped instill a sense of calm among the crash victims.

“They went way above,” he said of the Scouts.

Troop 24 senior patrol leader Jake Lecheler accepted the framed award certificate from Chaney, drawing a round of applause from all those in attendance.

Outside the Village Hall later, Lecheler, 14, said that although he was grateful for the recognition, he said the opportunity for he and his fellow Scouts to have been of service was its own reward.

“It’s more about what we did that truly matters,” he said. “I just feel good about what we did.”

The troop includes 14 boys in fifth grade through 10th grade.

Troop Scoutmaster Michelle Tubutis said she has grown accustomed to seeing her Scouts step forward and roll up their sleeves when it comes time to fix up a public park or prepare the village for a special event. When she heard how they responded to the traffic accident, she knew they had fully absorbed the meaning of community service.

“I am so proud of every one of them,” she said.

The group involved in the traffic incident, Troop 225 in the Racine area, has previously extended thanks back to the local Scouts and others who helped after the traffic accident.

Nobody from Troop 225 attended Wednesday’s event, although representative Katie Clark said in an interview that she was glad to hear the Bonduel boys were being honored for their assistance.

“Scouts are quite amazing people,” she said. “They go, and they pitch in, and they lend a hand.”

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

City buying signs for all uncontrolled intersections

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 6:56am
DPW will install over next 12 monthsBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

By this time next year, city officials expect they will have put an end to the safety hazard of uncontrolled intersections in Shawano.

The Department of Public Works will purchase and install 132 yield and stop signs over the course of the next 12 months at a cost of $9,240.

Public Works Coordinator Eddie Sheppard said concerns have been raised not just by residents, but also by the Police Department about the potential traffic dangers of uncontrolled intersections.

Police were unable to provide statistics for accidents that have occurred at those intersections, but Sheppard said police have told the DPW and city’s field committee that there have been “some close calls.”

Sheppard said most motorists driving through an intersection will assume that if their direction of travel isn’t controlled, cross-traffic at the intersection probably is.

“So everybody assumes they have the right-of-way,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said the DPW budgets for sign purchases each year and will start phasing in the purchases with this year’s budget and will see what’s still needed as the 2017 budget is drafted.

The plan is to begin sign installations in the northwest corner of the city and move to the south over the course of the next 12 months.

Traffic volume will determine whether stop signs or just yield signs are needed.

The plan calls for signs to be installed in at least two directions at four-way intersections, either north-south or east-west, and at least one sign at three-way uncontrolled intersections.

Sheppard said most of Shawano’s uncontrolled intersections are located in the older part of the city, north of Lieg Avenue and south of Green Bay Street, and west of Main Street to the river.

The DPW had to overcome one roadblock in moving forward with its plan — a city ordinance on the books that would have required the Common Council to approve control sign changes at each and every one of the intersections.

The council resolved that issue last week, approving an ordinance change that allowed those decisions to be made at the discretion of the DPW and police chief.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Public Record

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 6:54am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 13

Police logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident in the 100 block of South Main Street.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident at Lieg Avenue and Main Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Hillcrest Primary School, 1410 Waukechon St.

Arrest — A 27-year-old woman was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the parking lot of the Department of Motor Vehicles, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported two female shoplifters in custody.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 13

Deputies logged 53 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A toolbox was reported stolen from a garage on Poplar Road in the town of Richmond.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Vinal Street in Wittenberg.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Shepley Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Cedar Lane in the town of Herman.

Disorderly — A 57-year-old Shawano man was arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and bail jumping after authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Chic-a-Watha Circle in the town of Wescott.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on Old Shawano Road in the town of Pella.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on Lake Drive in the town of Washington.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on First Street in Eland.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Willow Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on state Highway 22 in the town of Wescott.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 13

Police logged 14 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A theft was reported on Ruth Street.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident at West and Waupaca streets.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on McKinley Avenue.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Court News

Thu, 09/15/2016 - 6:49am

Sex Offender Registry violation

A former Shawano man, now listed as homeless, is facing a felony count of violating the compliance rules of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

Paul J. Waubanascum, 39, is accused of going AWOL from state monitoring in July by allegedly failing to keep his GPS unit charged and failing to report his whereabouts.

Attempts to locate Waubanascum since then have not been successful, according to the criminal complaint. He was last known to be staying with a relative in Shawano.

Waubanascum was convicted in Marathon County in 1998 of second-degree sexual assault of a child for sexual contact with a 4-year-old girl. He was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to register for life with the Sex Offender Registry.

According to the criminal complaint, Waubanascum was convicted three previous times in Shawano County for failing to comply with the Sex Offender Registry rules, most recently in 2014.

He was sentenced in 2010 to three years in prison for violating the rules, and was sentenced in 2014 to 2 1/2 years in prison and extended supervision of three years for another violation, according to court records.

Because of the previous convictions, Waubanascum could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty of the new charge. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Child abuse

A Tigerton woman has been charged with two felony counts of physical abuse of a child-intentionally causing great bodily harm.

Lori J. Lohff, 30, is accused of burning the face of a 6-year-old child and stabbing a 10-year-old child in the arm and shoulder during separate incidents in June of this year and in July of 2014.

Medical records indicated the July 2014 injuries on the older’s child’s arm were the result of falling off of a bike, which is what Lohff told medical staff had happened at the time, according to the criminal complaint.

Lohff could face a maximum 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine on each count if convicted. She is scheduled for an initial court appearance on Oct. 3.

Stalking, domestic abuse

A Green Bay man is due in Shawano County court Monday for an initial appearance on a felony charge of domestic abuse-related stalking.

Darryl J. Larock, 37, is accused of stalking a woman in the village of Pulaski between January and March of this year and, according to the complaint, engaging in conduct that caused the woman serious emotional distress and fear of bodily injury or death.

Larock could face a maximum 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted. He also faces a misdemeanor count of telephone harassment.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Rare voter fraud case being prosecuted in Shawano County

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:32am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The case of a Shawano man accused of voter fraud represents the only known instance of that alleged crime having occurred in Shawano County in at least 25 years.

John D. Jeske, 42, is accused of voting twice in the April 5 election, once in the city of Shawano and once in the town of Herman, according to a criminal complaint.

Jeske was released on a $500 signature bond after a court hearing last week and is due back in court Monday for an adjourned initial appearance.

Pam Schmidt, who has been Shawano County clerk since October and has been with the office for 25 years, said there is only one other alleged voter fraud case she can recall, though it was never prosecuted.

She said a case was referred to the district attorney’s office in 2009 involving a voter who allegedly cast a ballot in Belle Plaine and another ballot in Outagamie County.

“Nothing ever happened with it,” she said.

Wisconsin’s Voter ID law, heralded as a means of preventing fraud at the polling places, has been through numerous court challenges but was in place at the time of the April election.

It apparently did not help prevent this alleged case of voter fraud, however.

Schmidt said the alleged duplicate vote was not discovered until after election day, when the names and addresses of voters who had cast ballots were placed into a state database — something that would have been done regardless of the Voter ID law.

Though voters were required to present a photo ID in the April 5 election, the address on the ID did not have to be verified if the voter was already registered and listed with an address in the poll book.

Addresses are confirmed at the time of registration.

According to Shawano city staff, Jeske registered to vote in the city of Shawano on election day, and a Shawano address was verified.

Officials later discovered that Jeske had also signed in at a polling place in the town of Herman and was given a voting number there, according to the criminal complaint.

Jeske denied having voted in the town of Herman, according to the complaint.

Jeske could face a maximum 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 Average: 5 (2 votes)

School board districts might shift

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:31am
Reapportioning plan moves forwardBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]

Shawano School Board membership would be reapportioned under a plan designed to improve representation in the school district’s far western region.

An ad hoc group has recommended a strategy to account for an inability to attract any candidate to serve on the school board from the town of Herman.

Under the reapportionment plan, Herman would be combined with the towns of Richmond and Pella, with one board member representing all three communities.

Members of the ad hoc group examined population statistics throughout the school district and said they wanted to achieve a more balanced alignment among the nine school board seats.

“What we’re trying to do here is have fair representation for everybody,” said board member Derek Johnson, a member of the ad hoc group.

Although there had been some discussion about downsizing the school board to seven members or perhaps five, members of the ad hoc group agreed to maintain the current nine-member structure because it allows for robust involvement by many board committees.

“It’s made things run more efficiently,” board member Beth McFarlane said.

The ad hoc group met Monday to formulate a reapportionment plan that now will be considered by the full school board. If the board agrees, the plan would be submitted to the general public at a special district-wide annual meeting, possibly in October.

To implement changes before the 2017 school board elections, state law requires that an updated district apportionment be established by November.

The current school board includes four representatives from the city of Shawano, two from the combined towns of Wescott and Washington, one from the combined towns of Waukechon, Navarino, Belle Plaine and Pella, one from the town of Richmond, and one from the town of Herman.

The seat in Herman — where three school districts represent different sections of town — is vacant and has failed to attract any candidates at election time in recent years. By combining that area with Richmond and Pella, officials theorize that more candidates will come forward.

Population statistics show that only 776 Herman residents live in the Shawano School District, while the combined population of the three towns together would be 3,505.

The school district overall has a population of about 42,000 people.

The reapportionment plan also calls for creating one at-large school board representative who could be elected from anywhere in the district, and for staggering election cycles to promote higher voter turnout.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Stellato reflects on serving farm families

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:30am
Retiring after 24 years with UW-ExtensionBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Contributed Photo Joe Stellato, right, assists 4-H club member Jacob Strassburg with a project during the UW-Extension’s special winter 4-H event known as Super Saturday.

Joe Stellato’s impact on Shawano County agriculture over the past two decades can be measured one family at a time.

From his post at the University of Wisconsin-Extension office, Stellato has helped farmers and farm children alike to engage in the agriculture experience and to make the most of it.

After 24 years of service in Shawano County, Stellato, 60, has retired as leader of the UW-Extension office — a tough decision for a dedicated public servant.

“You think about it and think about it and think about it,” he said. “I just felt it was time. I was ready to move on to some other things.”

As Stellato hands the reins to other staff members at UW-Extension, families and others throughout the county are applauding the progress he made in improving services for the agricultural community.

Kathy Conto, leader of the County Line 4-H Club, recalled when she was struggling to complete a required financial report for her club. Stellato not only took time to show her how to prepare the report, but he also gave her other tips on managing the club.

“Joe was just an easy guy to work with,” she said. “He is down-to-earth.”

A native of Kenosha, Stellato began his career in the UW-Extension in Sawyer County and later moved to Iowa County and Waukesha County before settling in Shawano County in 1992.

Initially hired here as crops and soils agent, he spearheaded a revival of the Shawano County Forage Council, a coalition of crop producers that now meets regularly to keep area farmers on the cutting edge of best practices in the production of corn, alfalfa and other crops.

Stellato also worked closely with many dairy farmers and helped them to modernize their operations, in some cases expanding into much larger businesses.

Shawano County Supervisor Robert Krause, himself a farmer, remembers interacting with Stellato years before getting involved in county government and becoming chairman of the County Board agriculture committee. Stellato was always a strong and positive advocate for those working to make a living in agriculture, Krause said.

“He kept things moving forward,” Krause said.

Stellato also served as head of the local UW-Extension office — a role that the entire staff fills each year by electing a colleague they entrust to administer things. It was a position that Stellato accepted and won every year starting in 1996.

His full-time role at UW-Extension changed somewhat in 2002 when he became the agent overseeing 4-H youth development, giving him responsibilities for promoting and assisting 4-H clubs countywide.

Although the number of clubs declined in the years that followed, overall membership in 4-H remained strong, currently at about 600 kids.

Under Stellato’s leadership, an annual summer camp for 4-H members blossomed into a major event after he rescheduled it for a time when more families could take advantage. And when some families struggled to pay the $90 cost of the camp, he helped create a scholarship fund to make sure disadvantaged kids were not left out.

“That was real satisfying,” he said.

Demonstrating a commitment to youth off the farm, Stellato promoted the 2008 establishment of a skateboarding park in Shawano where young skaters could enjoy themselves without getting in the way of pedestrians or others. More recently, Stellato has joined an ongoing drive to create a new Boys & Girls Club in the Shawano area.

Krause said Stellato embraced his role at UW-Extension and dedicated himself to serving young people by asserting himself in the community.

“He lived for his job,” Krause said. “There were a lot of late nights and a lot of meetings, and Joe was always there.”

Since Stellato retired, effective Aug. 3, the UW-Extension has not hired a new 4-H coordinator, although the role of office leader has been split between co-leaders Jamie Patton and Jay Moynihan. State budget cuts looming within the UW system could force changes later in the overall operation — a circumstance that Stellato says factored into his retirement decision almost not at all.

Stellato said he looks forward to tackling some overdue home-improvement projects and then possibly looking for ways to volunteer in the community. He and his wife, Sue Stellato, plan to remain in Shawano County and spend their retirement years among the farm families and others they admire here.

“We really, really have a lot of great people in the ag community,” he said. “It’s just been a pleasure to work with everybody.”

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Nueske’s debuts new brat

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:27am

Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats has a new specialty sausage product available for purchase.

The newest item offered by the Nueske smokehouse is an applewood smoked natural casing jalapeño bacon cheddar bratwurst. This pure pork bratwurst is smoked over sweet applewood and blended with chunks of real Wisconsin cheddar cheese, pieces of Nueske’s own highly acclaimed applewood smoked bacon and flecks of jalapeño peppers.

The brats are available in two package sizes: a retail package size of 1 pound and a foodservice package size of 5 1/2 pounds. Each pound contains approximately five bratwurst links.

Nueske’s smoked brats are precooked and ready to warm and serve.

“We’ve been working diligently to get this recipe exactly where we want it, and we’re really pleased with the end result,” said Tanya Nueske, CEO of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats. “These brats are a perfectly rich balance of cheese, bacon, smoke and heat, and we know our customers will enjoy them as much as we do.”

Nueske’s jalapeño bacon cheddar bratwurst is available to chefs, retailers and home cooks.

The latest addition to Nueske’s specialty bratwurst line-up is also available for home delivery from Nueske’s ecommerce site, www.nueskes.com.

Nueske’s, a third-generation family owned and operated smokehouse located in Wittenberg, is best known for its rich, flavorful applewood smoked bacon and also creates a variety of smoked hams, poultry, sausages and other smoked meats.

The company has been in business since 1933 and remains family owned and operated.

For information, contact Megan Dorsch, marketing manager, at Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats, 715-253-4006 or [email protected]

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 Average: 5 (1 vote)

Groundbreaking set for Ho-Chunk expansion

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:26am

Ho-Chunk Gaming in Wittenberg will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 21 for a major expansion project.

The ceremony will start at 1 p.m. under a tent outside of the casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45.

The Wittenberg site is one of three Ho-Chunk Nation casinos slated for major renovations and expansion as part of a $153 million project dubbed “Project Forward.”

The Wittenberg project includes a a new 86-room hotel, 84-seat restaurant and bar, expanded gaming floor, nonsmoking casino area and high-limit area. The plans include an additional 272 slot machines and 10 new table games.

The ceremony will include Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg Executive Manager Fletcher Collins, the Lake Delton singers and a few other speakers.

The other casinos scheduled for improvements are in Wisconsin Dells and Black River Falls.

The Wisconsin Dells project includes a new hotel main entrance and lobby, hotel bar, poker room and off-track betting area. The casino floor layout will be redesigned and the nonsmoking casino area expanded. The bingo area will be renovated, and the buffet space will be renovated and expanded.

Work in Black River Falls includes a new 120-room hotel with new entry, expanded and redesigned casino floor with an additional 200 slots, high-limit gaming, remodeled buffet with an additional 36 seats and a new parking lot.

As a result of the expansions, 100 new jobs will be added to the existing 3,400-employee Ho-Chunk Nation workforce.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

Public Record

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:24am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 12

Police logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Shoplifting — Pick ‘n Save, 190 Woodlawn Drive, reported a shoplifting incident.

Theft — Building supplies were reported stolen in the 100 block of North Andrews Street.

Arrest — A 32-year-old woman was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported a female shoplifter had left the store.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint on Jesse Court.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 100 block of Prairie Street.

Sept. 11

Police logged 19 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 100 block of South Smalley Street.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen in the 800 block of West Picnic Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Disturbance — Police investigated a report of a domestic disturbance in the 600 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a report of a fight in progress in the 1400 block of East Green Bay Street.

Sept. 10

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Cleveland and Elizabeth streets.

Assault — Police investigated a reported assault in the 200 block of East Center Street.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of South River Street.

Sept. 9

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 200 block of East Maurer Street.

Theft — Medication was reported stolen in the 500 block of Prospect Circle.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 400 block of South Main Street.

Disorderly — A disorderly conduct complaint was reported at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Arrest — A 26-year-old woman was taken into custody on a probation hold at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 600 block of West Fifth Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 11

Deputies logged 34 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at the Ho Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45.

OAR — A 33-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on Alpine Drive in Shawano.

OAR — A 36-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant and cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Burglary — An attempted burglary was reported on Fourth Street in Mattoon.

Theft — A theft from a vehicle was reported on Grand Street in Tigerton.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Now Road in the town of Aniwa.

Sept. 11

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — Authorities responded to a reported burglary on Maders Circle in the town of Wescott.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Hummingbird Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Hit and Run — Authorities responded to a property damage hit-and-run on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Fire — Authorities responded to an attic fire at a residence on County Road M in the town of Belle Plaine.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on River Heights in Shawano.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on First Street in Aniwa.

Fire — Authorities responded to a residential fire on Weasel Dam Road in the town of Seneca.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Hemlock Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Sept. 10

Deputies logged 36 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Birch Street in Birnamwood.

Theft — A theft from a vehicle was reported on Spruce Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — A campaign sign was reported stolen on Main Street in Gresham.

OWI — A 22-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Cherry Street in Wittenberg.

OWI — A 20-year-old Shawano woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated after an accident on County Road CC in the town of Waukechon.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on state Highway 29 in the town of Maple Grove.

Sept. 9

Deputies logged 44 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 23-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant on U.S. Highway 45 in Wittenberg.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Highway 153 in the town of Wittenberg.

Disorderly Conduct — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Spaulding Street in Tigerton.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Park Street in the town of Angelica.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 12

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A theft from a vehicle was reported on Paulina Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on South Main Street.

Burglary — Police investigated a reported burglary on North 12th Street.

Sept. 11

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — A suspicious incident was checked on Flora Way.

Assault — Two sexual assault of a child complaints were under investigation.

Sept. 10

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile runaway complaint on Harriet Street.

Burglary — A reported burglary on Felshow Street was under investigation.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

City, police union ratify new contract

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:30am
Officers to work 12-hour shiftsBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Shawano police officers have a new contract, nine months after the last one expired, after differences were resolved over plans for 12-hour work shifts.

Patrol officers will go to 12-hour shifts under the new contract, something the city thought had been agreed to back in January, according to City Administrator Brian Knapp.

Concerns arose about how those shifts would be scheduled, and whether the contract was specifying officer hours or they would be left to the discretion of the police chief.

“There was some language that became unacceptable,” Knapp said, ”so we revisited the letter of agreement.”

Knapp said subsequent negotiations produced a “fair exchange,” in which both the city and the Shawano Professional Police Association moved on some of their demands.

“They have a few more protections than were in our original language and we have a little more flexibility,” Knapp said.

Union officers have been working under the terms of the expired contract since the beginning of the year.

Under the existing schedule, officers work 7 1/2-hour shifts for six days in a row before getting three days off. As a result, they end up getting a weekend off only once every five or six weeks.

Under the 12-hour shifts, officers would work two days in a row, followed by two days off, then three days on and two days off, followed by two days on and three days off.

The department’s three police lieutenants went to that schedule in May in spite of the uncertainty over the union schedule.

At a January meeting, when the original agreement with the police union was proposed, Knapp told the Common Council that the current work schedule was a problem for many of the officers.

“It has been a source of frustration and concern by many of the department staff,” he said. “For many of our younger and newer employees, the current schedule interferes with family life considerably.”

Under the 12-hour schedule, “they’ll never work more than three days in a row and have every other weekend off,” Knapp said.

Officers will get a 2 percent pay increase retroactive to the start of the year under the new contract, which expires in January 2018.

The Common Council approved the new contract Wednesday.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 Average: 5 (1 vote)

Momentum builds to slow Hwy. 22 traffic

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:28am
Towns back new speed restrictionsBy: 

Scott Williams [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams A traffic-control device measures passing vehicle speeds Friday for motorists heading east on state Highway 22 east of Shawano in the town of Wescott.

Traffic along the southern shore of Shawano Lake would be slowed considerably under a proposal endorsed by local officials to improve safety on state Highway 22 between Shawano and Cecil.

Officials in the towns of Washington and Wescott are supporting a push by residents to reduce the speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 45 mph, and perhaps down to 35 mph in some areas.

The plan also calls for establishing no-passing zones to eliminate safety hazards that have made some residents fearful of pulling out of their own driveways.

“It’s a nightmare,” resident Carol Pampel said. “The traffic is getting worse all the time. It’s just insane.”

With a petition signed this summer by about 100 property owners along Highway 22, supporters of the traffic crackdown have taken their plea to both the Washington and Wescott town boards.

In both cases, town board members voted to support seeking improved safety measures from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over state highways.

Tony Kemnitz, traffic safety engineer for the state, said he encouraged concerned residents to seek backing from their local elected leaders. If the town governments want the state to take action, Kemnitz said, the state will conduct a study of the situation.

“We’ll move forward,” he said.

Kemnitz said the study would take into account traffic speeds, crash history, land uses and other factors on the two-lane highway between Shawano and Cecil. Reducing a speed limit as much as 20 mph — from 55 mph to 35 mph — is atypical, but possibly not unprecedented, he said.

“It’s fairly uncommon,” he said. “Not to say that it hasn’t happened.”

Residents leading the push for traffic safety improvements also hope for support from Shawano County officials.

Among the problems they cite because of traffic moving 55 mph along Highway 22 are difficulty for motorists to turn safely onto the highway or off the highway, as well as hazards for pedestrians crossing the road to reach mailboxes, and gravel and other debris flying up from the road.

With vehicles allowed to pass on several portions of the two-lane road, some residents also have experienced near collisions as they have tried to pull into traffic, not knowing there was no safe lane to enter.

“I think it’s quite dangerous,” said Kris Moderson, another resident active in the petition drive.

The Washington Town Board endorsed the group’s proposal last month, and the Wescott Town Board added its support earlier this week.

Residents say they have been concerned about Highway 22 traffic for years, but the problem has gotten worse lately. What was once a quiet country road, they say, has become a busy thoroughfare where accidents have occurred already — and more could follow.

“It’s only a matter of time,” resident Jill Cone said. “And I hope it’s not me or someone I know.”

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

City eyes buying R&R Recycling property

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:25am
Owner expected to respond next weekBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

The city is looking to purchase a recycling property near downtown Shawano in an exchange that would allow the business to move into the industrial park, but the business owner said Friday he hasn’t yet made up his mind on the offer.

Rich Belongia, owner of R&R Recycling, 123 E. Elizabeth St., said he was still considering the offer and would be discussing it with an attorney. He said he expected to have an answer by the middle of next week.

Belongia, who unsuccessfully ran for Shawano mayor during the primary race earlier this year, has been at odds with the city for several years over fencing issues at the property.

City codes require recyclable materials to be kept out of sight, either stored in a building or fenced off from public view.

City officials say that was one of the conditions imposed when Belongia was granted a conditional use permit.

Belongia said he was given contradictory information regarding fencing requirements that changed after Building Inspector Brian Bunke took over the job from former inspector Mike Miller.

City Administrator Brian Knapp said nothing changed between the two administrations. He said the rule was always that recyclables needed to be kept out of sight, and if they couldn’t be stored in the building, a fence was required.

Knapp said Belongia’s conditional use permit was granted two or three years ago when the property was in a general industrial zoning district.

The city has since updated its zoning code and the property is now in what is intended to be a “redevelopment district,” Knapp said.

He said a use for the property could be found that is “more appropriate for the downtown area.”

Knapp said the city’s Industrial and Commercial Development Committee felt that it would be “good to remove that activity from that area.”

One possibility being considered is additional parking for Memorial Park.

The city is offering to purchase the property for $40,000 — a “relocation incentive” that would be funded through the city’s Tax Incremental Finance district, Knapp said.

In exchange, R&R Recycling would be given a parcel of up to three acres in the industrial park at no cost, and would put up a facility that would constitute roughly $500,000 in improvements to the site.

Belongia said that one of the issues to be considered is that the recycling operation would be out of business for at least six months while the new facility was being built.

Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 Average: 1 (1 vote)

Pages