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Strokes and diet drinks — are they linked?

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 8:21pm
ThedaCare provider explains recent study

Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and beverages have long been known to contribute to weight gain and related health problems. If you often turn to your favorite diet drink instead, you may want to know more about recent news suggesting a link between artificially sweetened drinks and stroke.

A study published in the medical journal “Stroke” in February was picked up by mainstream media and widely reported, and the results aren’t as clear as some reports might have implied.

“We know that sugary drinks are empty calories and can contribute to excess weight, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health conditions,” said Dr. Simone Fearon, medical director and physician leader with ThedaCare Cardiovascular Care.

“This isn’t the first time that a study has suggested a possible increased health risk with diet drinks. The recent study stopped short of showing that diet drinks cause stroke. The link isn’t clear without further research — and you shouldn’t use it as an excuse to go back to sugar-sweetened beverages,” Fearon said.

The study followed more than 80,000 postmenopausal women for around 12 years. The women were asked how often they drank one, 12-ounce serving of diet beverage over the previous three months.

After controlling for various lifestyle factors, the research team found that women who said that they had two or more artificially sweetened beverages each day were 31% more likely to have a clot-based stroke, 29% more likely to have heart disease and 16% more likely to die from any cause than women who reported drinking diet beverages less than once a week or not at all.

The increased risk was highest for women who were African American, obese and who did not already have diabetes or heart disease at the start of the study.

“The risk seemed to be particularly increased for a certain subtype of ischemic stroke caused by blockage of the smallest arteries inside the brain — regardless of weight or race,” explained Fearon.

While these results are concerning, even the research team acknowledged that the results show only an association and not necessarily causation. Also, data on types of sweeteners was not included, so there’s no way to determine whether the risk increased with a particular sweetener. More research is needed to determine whether artificial sweeteners are really to blame and what we should do about it.

If you’d rather play it safe, Fearon has a common-sense solution — learn to love water.

“Plain old water is probably the healthiest answer for hydration,” she said. “If you keep a glass of water nearby, you’re less likely to reach for sweetened drinks — and that’s a good habit to break.”

This information was provided by ThedaCare.

Wisconsin dropped from air pollutant case

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 8:21pm

The State of Wisconsin has been dismissed from a litigation concerning an EPA rule about regulating hazardous air pollutants, the U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled.

In the case, Murray Energy v. EPA, Wisconsin and other parties challenged an EPA cost-benefit analysis that found regulating certain hazardous air pollutants would be reasonable because the costs of implementing required new technology would not raise the costs of retail electricity prices beyond the range of historical variability.

Recently, the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the State of Wisconsin from the action. On April 11, the federal court dismissed the state; therefore Wisconsin is no longer involved in this litigation.

“Our Department of Justice should be working to protect our environment and our health, not challenging a rule that protects our clean air from hazardous pollutants,” said state Attorney General Josh Kaul.

School board debates rec center agreement with city

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:31pm
Teacher pay, perception issues complicate discussionBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Shawano school officials held a lengthy and sometimes emotional debate Monday on a tentative agreement with the city for a proposed joint-recreation and aquatic center.

The draft agreement lays out the responsibilities for each entity if the facility goes forward, but does not commit either party to going through with the project at this point.

The proposed facility, which would replace the city’s existing recreation center and expand facilities at Shawano Community High School, will be the subject of a district-wide survey this fall.

If the survey shows sufficient interest, it will go to a school district referendum in April of next year.

The proposed facility would be located adjacent to SCHS, on the north side of the building, and would include the school’s existing competition pool.

It would add a separate community pool area; a fitness area, including weights and cardiovascular equipment; a multi-purpose space; gymnasium; racquetball court; and indoor multi-purpose facility and walking track; as well as offices, bathrooms, lockers, storage and other amenities.

The estimated cost has been placed at anywhere from $24 million to $28 million, though school district officials are hopeful that number could come down as the design concept is refined over the next few months.

The Shawano Common Council will take up the agreement Wednesday.

The Shawano School Board won’t vote on it until May 20, but there was vigorous discussion on it Monday, with the debate complicated by a separate budgetary issue.

The district has determined that its current teacher pay plan is not sustainable, and a survey was recently sent out to teachers asking for their input on what elements they value within the pay plan.

“It’s such a mixed message,” board member Chuck Dallas said. “We’re in declining enrollment, we’re having budget issues right now and we’re talking about a $28 million facility? We started out talking about expanding the weight room. Now we’re at this level. It’s the wrong message to send to the people that are working with the students on a regular basis.”

Some board members sought to keep the issues separate, explaining the district can borrow for a building project but not for operations.

“The debt fund is funded separately than our revenue limit, which is how our teacher salaries are funded,” Diane Hoffman said. “We’re not able to go out and get $28 million to pay our teachers.”

Board member Mart Grams said, however, talking about borrowing for the recreation center when teacher pay is an issue for the district creates a bad perception.

“I don’t know if philosophically we should even be building a rec center,” Grams said. “That’s not our business. We’re here to educate children.”

Board member Alysia Pillsbury said it would ultimately be the voters’ choice, not the school board’s.

“We’re giving the community the option to vote,” she said. “That’s all we’re looking to do. We’re saying, ‘here, you decide, it’s your community.’”

Dallas said he was concerned about the estimated price tag.

“I’ll be honest with you, $28 million is way out of line,” he said.

Dallas said he would like to see a business plan that would also show what kind of revenue the facility could bring in to offset some of the cost.

“This is a revenue-generating building,” he said. “A business plan will tell us how much we can afford.”

Board member Michael Sleeper responded that those things would be addressed at a later date.

“This next step is simply do we feel there is enough opportunity to work with the city to move forward to make the studies you’re talking about,” Sleeper said.


Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:27pm
Menominee learn about missing, murdered indigenous peopleBy: 

Lee Pulaski [email protected]

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Rachel Fernandez reads off the names of some of the missing and murdered indigenous women in northeast Wisconsin during an awareness event Sunday at the College of Menominee Nation. Fernandez has a red hand print on her face symbolizing the silence these cases and others around the country have received.

Dozens of residents filled the College of Menominee Nation Cultural Learning Center on Sunday to commemorate the missing and the murdered in their tribe and other indigenous tribes around the world.

There are more than 5,000 cases nationwide about indigenous people going missing or being found dead that have been reported and then just left open, according to Marisa Bigjohn, program manager for Oskeh-Waepetah, the reservation’s domestic violence shelter. She noted that four in 10 domestic violence situations end in murder. Most of the victims are female, but there are some men in the mix, too.

“It’s a scary reality, and it could be our reality,” Bigjohn said. “We need to spread awareness.”

Bigjohn learned about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement when she was over in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

“We have problems here, but things are way worse over there — crime and drugs and sex trafficking,” Bigjohn said. “Everything just being so close to there, and with them being a hub, everybody knows they’re there and target that area. Every day, there are alerts about this person missing and this one didn’t come home. That really opened my eyes to what’s going on.”

Rachel Fernandez, one of the coordinators for the awareness event, said she was pleased to see in the crowd plenty of young people, because she feels it will take the next generation to bring about change.

“When we pass this torch on to them to carry on the work, I pray that we don’t need to go so far for the work to continue,” Fernandez said.

Reading off some names of local women who are missing or were murdered, Fernandez had a red hand print painted on her face to symbolize the silence many of those cases are faced with by law enforcement. She noted that she is a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence and attempted suicide.

“It’s emotional for me, because I’ve been doing the work as an advocate, an activist, for a long time,” Fernandez said. “We see the whole dynamics of (human) trafficking, domestic violence, sexual violence, the foster care system — which no one talks about and how we lose our children there — and substance abuse.”

Besides guest speakers and videos, vendors brought some of their artwork, including pieces depicting a red dress among various cloth backgrounds. The dress is reminiscent of the Red Dress Project, a Canadian counterpart to MMIW that highlights more than 1,000 open cases in that country where indigenous people have been murdered without justice being satisfied.

The event also featured the documentary “Silent No More,” filmed and edited by a 19-year-old from Duke University that featured the family members of three missing indigenous women. Prior to the CMN event, participants walked from Keshena Falls to the college in commemoration of the open cases in the United States.

Fernandez said the tribe did the walk last year, but low turnout prompted her to come up with a more extensive program to bring the issue home to the Menominee people.

“Not a lot of people realized how big this epidemic is,” she said. “I’m really pleased with how things turned out today.”

Fernandez said she does not know how many of the 5,000 open cases are Menominee, noting that there’s not a database that provides such specific details.

“We are always left out of everything, it seems like, and when it comes to missing and murdered, we don’t get the media. We don’t get the television reports,” Fernandez said. “What’s really going for us now is social media. It’s all over, and indigenous communities around the country are picking this up and finding their voices to do something about it.”

Fernandez wore a red T-shirt bearing the image of Rae Tourtillott, a young Menominee woman who went to a party in 1987 and never returned home. The case is still open, with a $15,000 reward offered by the FBI and a $5,000 reward offered by the Menominee Tribe.

In addition to awareness, Fernandez is working with the state and tribal legislatures to get resolutions passed to strengthen efforts to find justice for the missing and murdered.

Fernandez noted that, while she brought the awareness event to education others, she is also learning through the stories of others.

“I’m a work in progress,” Fernandez said. “I’ll always be learning.”

Children’s deaths ruled homicides

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:24pm
Adult male died of self-inflicted wound, DOJ saysBy: 

Leader Staff

Authorities have determined that the two children found deceased in a Seymour home last month were the victims of homicide, while an adult male found deceased in the residence died of a self-inflicted wound.

The state Department of Justice, which is leading the investigation, said in a news release Friday that the probe is continuing.

Seymour police were dispatched to a residence in the 600 block of North Main Street on April 18 for a report of a domestic disturbance. The initial responding officers were unable to make contact with anyone inside.

After repeated attempts to make contact, assistance was requested from the Outagamie County Emergency Response Team.

The Emergency Response Team took over operations and entered the home, where they found a man and two children dead.

They have been identified as Andrew R. Poppe, 35, Matteline A. Samson, 4, and Hailey K. Poppe, 3 months.

“While the investigation is still ongoing, currently the investigation has found that the two children died by homicide, and the deceased adult male died of a self-inflicted wound,” the DOJ stated in the new release. “Law enforcement also currently believes the mother of the children is not a suspect in this investigation.

Per the request of the Seymour Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information was available.

“Law enforcement recognizes that this event was a truly awful tragedy. Our sympathies go out to the mother of the children, the family, and the community,” the DOJ added.

Woman charged in fatal crash on Menominee reservation

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:23pm

Leader Staff

Federal authorities have charged a Menominee tribal member in a fatal crash that occurred on the reservation last month.

According to authorities, Erin D. Schweitzer, 39, was driving her SUV on County Road VV near Keshena April 18 when she crossed the center line and hit an oncoming SUV.

A passenger in the SUV was killed, while the driver suffered broken arms and another passenger suffered a broken leg.

A blood test revealed Schweitzer’s blood alcohol content was 0.29 percent, more than three and a half times the legal limit for driving.

She admitted drinking throughout the day and buying malt liquor and beer at a convenience store before the crash, according to authorities.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Monday in Eastern District Court in Green Bay.

Schweitzer could face a maximum eight years in prison if convicted.

Public Record

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:22pm

Shawano Police Department

May 5

Police logged 17 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 22-year-old Shawano woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated and cited for possession of marijuana at Sawyer and Randall streets.

Theft — Medication was reported stolen in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported in the 400 block of North Main Street.

Disturbances — A disturbance was reported at Main and Mills streets and a fight in progress was reported at Main Street and Wescott Avenue.

May 4

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 100 block of Acorn Street.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported a shoplifting incident.

Drug Offenses — A 17-year-old Shawano female was cited for possession of marijuana in the 400 block of East Green Bay Street. Police also investigated a drug complaint in the 100 block of River Heights.

May 3

Police logged 32 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 400 block of East Center Street.

Drug Offenses — A 21-year-old Shawano man was cited for possession of marijuana at Richmond Street and Lakeland Road. Police also investigated a drug complaint in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Intoxicated Person — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint at Green Bay and Lafayette streets.

Harassment — Harassment was reported in the 200 block of North Airport Drive.

May 2

Police logged 34 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 48-year-old Neopit woman was arrested for an outstanding warrant in the 100 block of South Washington Street.

Truancy — Police logged four truancy complaints from the Shawano School District.

Disturbances — Police responded to disturbances at ThedaCare Medical Center, 100 County Road B, and in the 600 block of South Hamlin Street.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident in the 700 block of South Lincoln Street.

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 400 block of South Andrews Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 5

Deputies logged 31 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 31-year-old Shawano man was taken into custody on a probation and parole warrant on Stony Hill Road in the town of Pella.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported in the 400 block of North Main Street in Shawano.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Postl Court in the town of Wescott.

May 4

Deputies logged 33 incidents, including the following:

OWL — A 42-year-old Gillett man was cited for operating without a license on Cecil Street in Bonduel.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg.

May 3

Deputies logged 49 incidents, including the following:

Disturbances — A 36-year-old Bowler man was arrested for bail jumping after a disturbance on Lake Drive in the town of Herman. Charges of domestic violence-related battery and disorderly conduct were referred against a 54-year-old Cecil man after a domestic disturbance on Golden Sands Avenue in Cecil.

OWI — A 57-year-old Green Bay man was arrested for third-offense operating while intoxicated on Warrington Avenue in Cecil and a 26-year-old man was arrested for OWI after an injury accident on County Road C in the town of Green Valley.

OAR — A 22-year-old Leopolis man was cited for operating after Revocation on state Highway 22 in the town of Wescott.

Warrant — A 33-year-old Shawano man was arrested of a warrant on County Road A in the town of Herman.

May 2

Deputies logged 37 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on County Road CC in the town of Waukechon.

Disturbances — Authorities responded to disturbances on Pearl Street in Birnamwood and Stony Hill Road in the town of Pella.

OAR — A 32-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on Mosling Road in the town of Green Valley and a 70-year-old man was cited for OAR on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Grant.

Clintonville Police Department

May 2

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Officers responded to a disturbance on Brent Street and a female was taken into custody on a probation hold.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on South Clinton Avenue.

Warrant — Officers assisted the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department on North Clinton Avenue where a 22-year-old Clintonville man was taken into custody for a warrant. In a separate incident, a 29-year-old female was also taken into custody for a warrant through the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department.

Public television auction online only

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:21pm

This year’s annual Wisconsin Public Television fundraising auction will be held exclusively online, with no televised broadcast component.

Bidders and fans of public television are invited to visit for an opportunity to win a variety of items and services from Wisconsin businesses and individuals. Proceeds from the auction, which runs through May 14, will support WPT programs, outreach and community engagement initiatives.

“For the first time, auction will be an online-exclusive event,” said Jon Miskowski, WPT director of television. “We are excited about the new online-exclusive format. It provides a streamlined focus, affording a more responsive auction experience for our bidders and supporters.”

Donated auction items range from dining experiences and food, travel packages, sports tickets, lodging, entertainment and home decor items.

To place a bid, participants will need to create an online account, if they have not already done so. To register or learn more about the auction, visit

Lions to host annual carnival in Clintonville

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:20pm

The Lions Carnival, a long-standing May tradition sponsored by the Clintonville Lions, is returning to Clintonville May 16-18.

Rides will open May 16 at 4 p.m. Hours will be 4-9 p.m. May 17 and 1-9 p.m. May 18.

Ticket prices are $2, with one ticket required per ride. A bracelet can be purchased for $25 on May 17 and 18 that will entitle the wearer to unlimited access to all rides for the day of purchase. Tickets and bracelets will be purchased at the ticket booth near the entrance to the carnival.

The carnival will be held in the parking lot of W.A. Olen Park, across from the baseball field near downtown Clintonville.

The Clintonville Lions have been hosting the carnival in Clintonville since the spring of 1960. This year’s carnival will mark 59 consecutive years the club has sponsored the event as one of its major fundraisers.

Ryon Kautz, chairperson of the Lions Carnival Committee, explained that the carnival serves as one of four major fundraisers the club holds each year.

“The club gets a share of the profits from the carnival and, as with all the club’s fundraisers, the profits are all returned to the community through the club’s various service projects,” he said.

Among the Clintonville Lions service projects are wheelchair ramps, vision screening, eye exams and glasses for needy youth, annual sponsorship of Badger Boys State and Badger Girls State participants, annual senior banquet, upkeep and improvements to the Gordy Noren Memorial Skate Park, annual Educator-of-the-Year recognition, annual recognition of a non-Lion outstanding community volunteer, financial support of the Wisconsin Lions Camp in Rosholt that provides summer camp experiences for the blind and visually impaired and financial support to Lions Clubs International Foundation for national and international relief.

Kautz stated another reason the club has sponsored the carnival all these years is to provide a wholesome, family-friendly entertainment experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

“Why not plan to spend some nostalgic time on the carnival grounds, ride some of the rides, play some games, eat or take in the smell of fun foods, all while knowing that you are also supporting the good works of the Clintonville Lions,” Kautz said.

Earl Rides, Inc., a third- and fourth-generation family-operated carnival based in Northeast Wisconsin, is the event provider.

Shawano post office asks community to stamp out hunger

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:18pm
Asks support for the nation’s largest single-day food drive

With the help of sponsors, volunteer organizations and U.S. Postal Service employees in 10,000 communities nationwide, including Shawano, the National Association of Letter Carriers will conduct its 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on May 11.

“We’re proud to continue this community tradition as we prepare for the 27th annual food drive,” said Shawano Postmaster Pam Donner. “We’re asking residents for their support to help make this another successful year. It’s easy to make a donation: simply leave a bag of nonperishable food items by the mailbox to help your neighbors in need.”

Last year’s drive resulted in carriers collecting 71.6 million pounds of food from local communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since the drive began in 1993, total donations have surpassed 1.6 billion pounds of food. The food drive has become the nation’s largest one-day campaign to collect food for distribution to needy families.

Customers should leave their nonperishable food donations in a bag near their mailbox on May 11 before their letter carrier arrives. In the days leading up to the food drive, letter carriers will be delivering special bags along with the mail that may be used to make donations. Food collected during the May 11 drive will be delivered to local community churches, food banks and food pantries for distribution.

While all non-perishable donations are welcome, foods that are high in protein such as canned tuna, salmon, beans and peanut butter are most needed. Canned fruits and vegetables, whole grain, low-sugar cereals, macaroni and cheese dinners and 100% fruit juice also top the list of most needed items.

For information about the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, visit

City defends municipal court incarceration at county jail

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 1:00am
Mayor says fees added to municipal citations help pay cost of housing inmatesBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Shawano County’s plan to charge the city for housing municipal inmates at the jail for the first time since the municipal court was established in 2002 seems to be on track for implementation starting the first of next year, even though negotiations are said to be ongoing.

While the city is not disputing the costs the jail says it has incurred housing those inmates, Mayor Ed Whealon in an interview Thursday said there are already fees the city is paying to the county for those municipal citations that the county is not taking into account.

“For every municipal court ticket that police officers write or we issue, there is a jail assessment fee that is tacked on to every one of them, along with driver improvement charges, that go directly to the county,” Whealon said.

Last year, those additional assessments, as well an ignition interlock device surcharges in drunken driving cases, totaled $16,382 that was sent to the county, according to figures provided by the city.

County jail records show there were 574 overnight stays by municipal court inmates last year, costing the county $28,700 at $50 per inmate per night.

The county provided full-year records going back to 2013 for what it has cost the county to house municipal inmates. The total for those six years comes to $190,200.

City records show that jail assessment and other municipal citation charges paid to the county during those same six years totaled $82,906.

“They’ve never given us any credit for any of the fees we do turn over to them,” Whealon said.

Whealon also said the county is not considering the kind of expenses that would be incurred if municipal court did not exist.

“We’d flood Shawano County and the jail with prisoners that they would ultimately be responsible for,” he said. “Having a municipal court takes a huge workload and issues off of their plate that are taken care of at municipal court level.”

Those cases would otherwise have to be dealt with in circuit court at the county’s expense, Whealon said.

The fees being proposed by the county would apply only to inmates incarcerated for municipal violations, not anyone arrested in the city for state or federal crimes.

According to Police Chief Dan Mauel, people are not sent to jail for a municipal citation by itself.

However, if the person does not pay the fine imposed by the municipal court, the judge can sign a warrant, or an arrest and commitment order, after which the person then can be arrested and lodged in county jail.

The time spent in jail would depend on the amount owed.

Not all unpaid municipal fines are subject to possible jail time.

Municipal Court Clerk Tomina Marquardt said traffic offenses like speeding and seatbelt violations can lead to a driver’s license being revoked, but not jail time.

Regarding the county’s plan to also charge for medical costs, Marquardt said the court has a policy in place prohibiting people with medical needs from being incarcerated.

“If there’s a medical problem, they’re not held,” she said. “They get out and back on a payment plan.”

Whealon said the municipal court makes every effort to collect on fines before jail is imposed, including offering payment plans.

“We do tax intercepts. We do private collection agencies. We use the state tax collection service. We take all those measures before we ever get to the point where somebody is incarcerated,” he said. “Jail has always been the last resort, the very last resort.”

The municipal court was established in 2002.

In 2007, former sheriff Randy Wright and Whealon, who was police chief at the time, came to an agreement that the sheriff’s department would use the municipal gun range at no cost in exchange for housing municipal court prisoners.

The agreement was ratified by the County Board that same year.

Previous to that, the county had never charged the city for housing those inmates.

Whealon said there was no indication given that the county wanted to change that agreement until the city received a letter from County Corporation Counsel Tony Kordus on Feb. 14 informing the city that the county planned to start charging those fees on April 1.

In the letter, provided to the Leader by the city, Kordus cites state statutes allowing counties to assess such fees and notes the previous agreement regarding use of the gun range in lieu of payment.

Kordus wrote that the agreement has “long since expired,” while the city’s use of the jail for municipal offenders has increased dramatically.

“Therefore, it is time to reach a new understanding for compensating Shawano County for this service,” Kordus wrote.

The letter goes on to outline the $50 per night fee per inmate the county intended to begin assessing, as well as charging for any medical costs.

City Administrator Eddie Sheppard responded with a letter on March 4, and also referenced a phone conversation that had occurred in the interim, in which the city acknowledged that the county wanted to “move on” from the previous agreement and was moving forward with the understanding that the new fees would be initiated on April 1.

“It is further understood that effective April 1, 2019, Shawano County will no longer be authorized to use the city’s shooting range and will make arrangements to utilize other facilities for firearms training moving forward,” Sheppard wrote.

“While we find the news of your request to move forward in this direction disappointing, you have made your request clear and we will honor the terms as requested,” Sheppard added.

The April 1 implementation date for the fees was pushed off by the county to Jan. 1 of next year after the city expressed concerns that such fees were not included in the city’s 2019 budget.

The city also offered to allow continued use of the gun range by the sheriff”s department for the same time period, according to Whealon.

Whealon disputed comments made by Sheriff Adam Bieber in an interview Wednesday that the sheriff’s department had been banned from use of the gun range.

“We didn’t kick them out of the range. That was in the letter saying this agreement is going to be null and void April 1. So we said, OK, here’s part of the agreement, your use of the range,’” Whealon said. “They made a decision to go out and pay $1,000 a year to the Shawano Gun Club. We didn’t kick them out. They left on their own.”

Proposed rec center on council agenda Wednesday

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:56am
Agreement lays out responsibilities for city, districtBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

City officials Wednesday will consider an agreement between the city and the Shawano School District that lays out the responsibilities of each entity should a proposed joint recreational center go forward.

A proposed joint-recreational and aquatic center that would replace the city’s existing recreation center and expand facilities at Shawano Community High School will be the subject of a district-wide survey this fall.

If the survey shows sufficient interest, it will go to a school district referendum in April of next year.

The proposed facility would be located adjacent to SCHS, on the north side of the building, and would include the school’s existing competition pool.

It would add a separate community pool area; a fitness area, including weights and cardiovascular equipment; a multi-purpose space; gymnasium; racquetball court; and indoor multi-purpose facility and walking track; as well as offices, bathrooms, lockers, storage and other amenities.

The estimated cost has been placed at anywhere from $24 million to $28 million, though school district officials are hopeful that number could come down as the design concept is refined over the next few months.

The council vote Wednesday does not commit the city to the project.

“That’s just agreeing that the document for how the relationship would work is far for both sides,” City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said. “It’s not finalizing any kind of agreement. It just means we’ll move forward in seeing if the community’s interested.”

The next few months are expected to see an informational blitz to the community about the project, including meetings and presentations before various community groups in all the areas of the school district.

Sheppard said it would be a “full-on” informational effort.

“You’d almost have to be trying not to be informed about it,” he said, to avoid hearing details about the project.

“We want people to be able to evaluate the project on facts and how they actually feel about it,” Sheppard said. “That’s all we can hope for, that people will ultimately be able to make an informed decision based on real facts and then we’ll know if that’s something the community is interested in or not.”

Youth advisory board, disabilities committee to be revisited

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:54am

Tim Ryan [email protected]

There will be discussion Wednesday by the Shawano Common Council about a new incarnation of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and a proposed expansion of the Senior Citizens Commission that would incorporate the city’s People with a Disability Committee.

The council put off a decision last month on a proposal to disband both the youth advisory board and disabilities committee.

Mayor Ed Whealon said there was lack of community interest in both boards, and he was having a hard time finding prospective members for those committees.

However, newly elected Alderman Jeff Easter, who is also buildings and grounds director for the Shawano School District, has taken charge of forming a group of students that would meet at the school to comprise the youth advisory board, according to Whealon.

In the past, the board used to meet at City Hall.

Whealon said the Senior Citizens Commission would be expanded to include some members of the existing disabilities committee so the concerns of that committee could still be addressed.

In both cases, any concerns or other issues brought up by those entities would be referred to other city committees, such as parks and recreation or public safety, to be addressed.

The council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St.

State seeks comments on use of electric vehicles

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:53am

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is seeking input as it continues to investigate the use of electric vehicles. All interested parties, including Wisconsin municipal and investor-owned utilities and members of the public, are invited to submit comments.

“The state of Wisconsin needs to be ready to meet consumer and industry demands as it relates to the increased use of electric vehicles and related infrastructure needs,” said Rebecca Cameron Valcq, commission chair. “It is critical that the PSC hears from a broad range of stakeholders surrounding electric vehicle use and its growth in the marketplace.”

Comments can be sent via email to [email protected]. The comment period deadline is May 20.

In addition to seeking feedback on the matter, the PSC is considering in-person workshops and subsequent requests for comment to further facilitate discussions of electric vehicle policy and regulation in Wisconsin.

Barn leveled at Shawano-Oconto county line by fire

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:52am
Breaker box believed to be the causeBy: 

Leader Staff

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski A lone calf is in a pen at Kuhn Farms, W13605 Deering Road, in the town of Underhill as fire ravages the barn behind it. The cause of the fire is believed to be from issues with a breaker box.

Nine rural fire departments battled a blaze that leveled a barn on the Oconto-Shawano county line Wednesday afternoon.

No one was injured in the barn fire at Kuhn Farms, W13605 Deering Road in the town of Underhill, although about three head of cattle, a sow and piglets perished in the fire, Underhill Fire Chief Mark Winkler said Thursday.

Heavy smoke from hay and straw stored in the barn hampered the effort, Winkler said.

“Anyone who’s familiar with hay knows how much smoke it gives out,” he said. “It really hampered our ability to get at the fire. There was just so much smoke.”

The call came in at 4:51 p.m., and crews stayed at the scene until about 10:15 p.m.

The farm had previous issues with a breaker box, and there was evidence the fire started there, Winkler said.

“The places where the building is most gone is where the power enters – that seems to be the most complete burn,” he said.

The effort included 14 trucks from nine departments, with 55 firefighters on the scene. In addition to Underhill, personnel responded from the town and city of Gillett, Oconto Falls, Cecil-Washington, Bonduel, Keshena, Green Valley-Morgan, and Lena. Gillett Area Ambulance also assisted, and Jenda Trucking came out with an excavator to help take down the building and move the smoldering hay.

The Underhill Fire Department was called back to the farm Thursday when a bale of hay rekindled and spread to the wall of a feed shed.

Public Record

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:50am

Shawano Police Department

May 1

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the 300 block of South Andrews Street.

Fraud — Police responded to a scam complaint in the 100 block of East Division Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Schurz and Hamlin streets.

Theft — Medication was reported stolen in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 400 block of East Division Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 1

Deputies logged 34 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Airport Drive in the town of Wescott.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Holy Hill Road in the town of Green Valley.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Harassment — Harassment was reported on Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Lemke Street in Cecil.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on Spaulding Street in Tigerton.

Clintonville Police Department

May 1

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Accident — A two-vehicle property damage accident was reported on North Clinton Avenue.

Harassment — A harassment issue was reported at the high school.

Disturbance — Officers responded to a disturbance on West Street.

Theft — Theft of license plates was reported on South Main Street.

State discontinues Revolving Loan program

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:43am
Village of Wittenberg votes to buy their shareBy: 

Miriam Nelson [email protected]

The Wisconsin Department of Administration’s revolving loan fund program, which provided low-interest loans for business development, has ended, and Village of Wittenberg officials were forced to decide how to move forward.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Dick Beversdorf, longtime member of the Wittenberg Area Development Corporation, of a state-offered buyout option. The group met March 11 with Sharon Beversdorf, village trustee, to review which option would best serve the village and its businesses, ultimately deciding to endorse the buyout.

Under the buyout, the village will return the $76,000 it has on hand for the fund program, according to Traci Matsche, Wittenberg treasurer/clerk. An additional $180,000 in business loans will also need to be repaid — money that is currently in the streets, sidewalks and public property account. Once this $256,000 is given back to the state, Wittenberg would be eligible to reclaim those funds for an approved municipal project, such as the road improvements needed on Webb Street. The funds would need to be allocated within two years.

Village officials agreed with the development corporation, and the village board voted March 19 to move forward with the buyout and aim to recoup some of those funds for the Webb Street project.

At a village board meeting April 16, project engineers from Martenson and Eisele Inc., of Menasha, said they have been working closely with the state and fully expect approval to use the reclaimed revolving loan fund for the Webb Street project. In the event the state denies the application, the village would have about six months to find a qualified project or forfeit the money.

Matsche said the state should make its determination by July.

A grant application for $491,000 to fix Webb Street was denied last year, Matsche said, partly because required surveys about income levels did not get into the hands of all the affected residents. This year, Martenson and Eisele worked with village officials on the grant to complete the survey process and make sure all information was entered correctly on the application.

Matsche said she feels confident this year’s grant will be approved for $328,000, or two-thirds of the project cost.

Of the $491,000 needed for the Webb Street project, Wittenberg’s contribution is one-third, or $163,000. This is the amount the village is seeking to recoup from the revolving loan program closeout. If the project is approved but goes over budget, the village would still have access to the full amount of $256,000 being returned to the state.

The revolving loan fund program, in which Wittenberg has been participating since 1997, was a way for Wisconsin to support expansion of local businesses by granting federal funds. Those funds were repaid as low-interest loans to local municipalities, which were then able to re-loan or “revolve” the funds to spur even more economic growth.

Several Wittenberg businesses – including True Value Hardware, Hanke’s Sentry, Nueske’s, ICM, and Top Brass – have participated in the program.

Also during the April 16 meeting, representatives from Martenson and Eisele answered questions about the Webb Street project during a public hearing. They said that no residents will be displaced during the project, and that the cost of removing existing trees along the street is factored in to the budget. These will be replaced by smaller trees that will not grow tall enough to interfere with the telephone and electrical lines.

Additionally, residents who live in the construction zone will be supplied with estimated costs if they wish to update their sewer lines during the project.

Local writers take the stage at UntitledTown

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:42am

Carol Ryczek [email protected]

Shawano’s history, personal reflections and an uncertain, fictional future were shared last week when members of the Shawano Area Writers were featured as a panel at UntitledTown, a writers’ convention in Green Bay on April 27.

UntitledTown, now in its third year, brings authors and hopeful writers together to celebrate writing and publishing.

SAW President Terry Misfeldt said SAW presented a proposal to the event organizers and were selected to give a 90 minute sampling of written pieces from the group’s 40-, 45- and 50-year anniversary publications.

A panel of five SAW member read essays, memoirs, poetry and fiction, selected by, but not necessarily written by, the presenter.

“The volunteers read what they wanted to read. I picked something a little lighthearted. It might have been something we had written or just something we knew people would enjoy hearing,” Misfeldt said.

Others selected items written by longtime SAW members or others they wanted to honor.

Lee Pulaski read a piece by oldest founding SAW member, Marcie Lietzke. Pulaski also participated on a panel exploring the need for diversity in publishing earlier in the day. He is the treasurer of SAW.

Also on the panel were John Mutter Jr., Dennis Vickers and Irma Timmons

The opportunity to present at UntitledTown is important for several reasons, Misfeldt said.

“First, there is the recognition for what wh do and what we have done,” he said. “Then, it is informative. There are a lot of helpful workshops. And, it lets us hobnob with other writers. Writing can be a rather lonely occupation at times.”

He said the group hopes to participate again next year.

SAW publishes an anthology every five years, Misfeldt said, and is ready to make plans for its 55th anniversary edition in 2021. The 50th anniversary compilation is available from SAW members or on Amazon, he noted. The books contain member-written pieces and SAW members determine what is worthy of being published, he said.

Members meet monthly to share what they have written, critique each other’s work, and polish writing skills. The group also sponsors a scholarship contest for young writers.

SAW meetings are open to all writers for an annual $5 membership fee.


WHAT: The Shawano Area Writers monthly meeting

WHEN: 10 a.m. Third Thursday of each month

WHERE: Shawano County Library, 128 S. Sawyer St., Shawano

FYI: Open to all writers; $5 annual membership fee.

School district seeks public input

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:40am
Two meetings planned in ClintonvilleBy: 

Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent

The Clintonville School District will be holding another in its series of community input sessions on May 13.

Representatives from Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction will on hand to gather insight from the local taxpayers regarding the future direction of the school district.

The open house will be held from 8-10:15 a.m. in the Clintonville High School Recreation Center Community Room, 330 Harriet St., Clintonville. The public is welcome to stop in at any time between those hours. Light refreshments will be served.

Residents are also invited to a Parent Teacher Organization parent input session between 3:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on the same day in the David Dyb, it is an opportunity for parents to stop for a few minutes prior to picking up their children from the Trucker U after-school program.

Dyb has been holding public input sessions and community nights in an attempt to solicit feedback from residents.

In April 2017, voters rejected a referendum to construct a new $24.9 million elementary school. The referendum called for razing the current Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School complex that includes the 1918 high school. The school has since been listed on the state and national Register of Historic Places, and any improvements would need to be approved through legal channels.

Dyb says it is his desire to gather as much public input as possible to bring forth options to the community.

For information, contact Dyb at [email protected].

Best Western Wittenberg recognized as a Champion Green award winner

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:39am
LED lighting part of hotel’s improvementsBy: 

Miriam Nelson [email protected]

PHOTO BY MIRIAM NELSON Sally Jo Stevens, left, general manager of the Best Western Wittenberg, shares the Green Champion Award in recognition of reducing the carbon footprint at the hotel with LeNee Resch, executive housekeeper.

The Best Western Wittenberg received the Champion Green Award at Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ District III Meeting held recently in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This award was presented in front of several hundred District III Best Western hoteliers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

Sally Jo Stevens, general manager of the Wittenberg hotel for the past six years, was on hand to accept the award.

The Champion Green Award is earned by properties that demonstrate a commitment to sustaining resources and reducing their carbon footprint. Champion Green Award recipients must comply with the American Hotel and Lodging Associtation’s Green guidelines and/or the Green Key programs in Canada, and receive a bronze, silver, gold or platinum rating in the TripAdvisor Green Leaders program. The hotels must also meet quality and service standards and other membership requirements to qualify for each award.

In the past two years, the Best Western Wittenberg has made more than $300,000 in improvements. According to Stevens, replacing outdoor lighting to LED was a big part of the greening of the Best Western.

“The Best Western Wittenberg has undergone an incredible transformation in the recent years to deliver elevated products, services and experiences that today’s travelers are looking for,” said Stevens. “The fantastic team of employees that I am so proud to work along side have made these awards possible.”

The Best Western Wittenberg was one of only 56 hotels out of more than 2,100 properties in the U.S. and Canada to receive this designation this year.

“I am pleased to congratulate the Best Western Wittenberg on receiving the 2019 Champion Green Award,” said Anthony Klok, Chairman of Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ Board of Directors. “Our iconic brand has undergone an incredible transformation in recent years to deliver elevated products, services and experiences that today’s travelers are looking for.”

In addition to the Champion Green award, Stevens said they were also awarded the Chairman’s Award which is the hotel chain’s highest honor for outstanding quality standards.

“This award requires that the property maintains cleanliness and maintenance inspection scores within the top five per cent of its more than 2,100 North American properties,” Stevens said.

She also noted that they needed to meet Best Western’s requirements for design and high customer service scores to qualify for the award.

Located at W17267 Red Oak Lane, the Best Western Wittenberg features 63 rooms and other amenities include an indoor pool, whirlpool hot tub, exercise facility, guest laundry and business center. The hotel also features a 3250 square feet conference center and meeting facility can accommodate up to 300 people.

All Best Western branded hotels are independently owned and operated. Best Western Wittenberg has been owned by Mike and Maya Panchal since March 2016.