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Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

Shawano park and rec director to retire

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 7:32am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Shawano Park and Recreation Director Judy Judd said Tuesday she plans to retire within the next couple of months.

Judd said the date has not been determined, but would be in February or March.

Judd said that after 31 years on the job, it was time to retire.

“On Sunday, I’ll start a new decade and I’ll be eligible to swim with the Senior Swimmers,” she said, adding the group will be one of the things she will miss most after she leaves.

“I admire their sense of community and family,” she said.

“It was a tough decision,” Judd said. “I care deeply about the city and my co-workers.”

Judd said she will do what she can to assist the Park and Recreation Commission and the city with the transition to a new director.

Judd is part of a group of city employees who have spent all or most of their careers in Shawano, including Police Chief Ed Whealon, who announced last week he will retire in April, and former Public Works director Rick Stautz, who retired in April 2013.

“We all came in around the same time,” Judd said.

Mayor Lorna Marquardt said it has been a tough couple of days for the city, learning of Judd’s retirement on the heels of Whealon’s announcement.

“It is difficult losing such experience and commitment,” Marquardt said. “When you work here, the staff is like family.”

Marquardt said working with Judd has been a pleasure.

“She will be deeply missed by her staff and the community she serves,” Marquardt said. “During her tenure, Judy saw a great deal of change. As the city grew, so did her responsibilities.”

There are 26 parks in the city overseen by the department, which is also responsible for Woodlawn Cemetery.

“Judy never lost sight of costs to the taxpayers.” Marquardt said. “She kept staff at a minimum. She was a great manager, maybe partly because she cared so much. I wish her a great retirement.”

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Keshena man involved in stabbing avoids more jail time

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 7:31am
By: 

Leader Staff

A Keshena man initially charged with attempted homicide after a stabbing incident last year pleaded no contest Friday to a misdemeanor charge of battery.

Justin T. Okimosh, 21, was accused of stabbing his cousin in the neck at a New Year’s Day gathering in Birnamwood.

Okimosh was sentenced after the plea hearing to time already served. He had been in Shawano County Jail for about nine months before posting a $25,000 bond late in September.

According to the criminal complaint, Justin and Brett L. Okimosh, 35, traveled by taxi from Shawano to the Birnamwood residence where they were celebrating with three other people.

At some point there was a fight involving the cousins and another man at the party, during which Justin Okimosh sustained a bloody nose and left, the complaint states.

A short time later there was a knock at the door and Brett Okimosh went to answer it. After opening the door, he backed away from it quickly holding his neck and saying he had just gotten knifed, witnesses later told Shawano County Sheriff’s Department deputies.

Authorities responding to a 9-1-1 call shortly before 6 a.m. found Brett Okimosh on a couch in the living room, his front covered with blood, and a woman who was at the party holding a towel to his neck. He was taken to Wausau Hospital and underwent surgery.

The knife allegedly used in the incident was never recovered.

Brett Okimosh was initially reluctant to tell authorities who had stabbed him, according to the complaint, saying the man was family and he did not want to get him in trouble. He also failed to appear as a witness for the state at Justin Okimosh’s preliminary hearing in January 2013.

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Public Record

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 7:28am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 6

Police logged 14 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 500 block of South Sawyer Street.

Theft — A report of money being stolen at Manorcare, 1436 S. Lincoln St., was determined to be unfounded.

Theft — Police investigated a property theft complaint at Sterling Plaza, 1415 E. Green Bay St.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 600 block of South Main Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 6

Deputies logged 52 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Authorities logged two truancy complaints from Bonduel Middle/High School.

Theft — Medicine was reported stolen on Maple Street in Birnamwood.

Fire — Authorities responded to a chimney fire on U.S. Highway 45 in Tigerton.

Theft — A donation can was reported stolen on First Street in Bonduel.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint on Castle Road in Waukechon.

Fire — Authorities responded to a chimney fire on Flambeau Road in Hartland.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Accidents — Authorities logged six accidents, including an injury accident on U.S. Highway 45 in Tigerton and two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

Jan. 5

Police logged six incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a report of a fight in progress on West Madison Street.

Warrant — A 48-year-old male was taken into custody on North 12th Street on an Appleton Police Department warrant after an ambulance call.

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Closings continue for 2nd day

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 8:31am

Many area schools that cancelled classes Monday due to cold weather remained closed Tuesday.

They include Bonduel public/private, Bowler, Clintonville public/private, College of Menominee Nation, Gillett, Gresham, Marion, Menominee Indian, Menominee Tribal School, Pulaski public/private, Sacred Heart Catholic, Shawano, Tigerton and Wittenberg-Birnamwood.

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Public Record

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 8:23am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 5

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 900 block of East Fifth Street.

Assist — Police assisted Shawano County sheriff’s deputies with attempting to locate a suspect involved in a disturbance in the county on Acorn Street.

Jan. 4

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 800 block of South Park Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to a complaint of an intoxicated person at Smalley and Swan streets.

Bail Jumping — A 22-year-old male subject was taken into custody for bail jumping at Richmond and Hamlin streets.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 600 block of East Green Bay Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 600 block of East Schurz Street.

Jan. 3

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Animal — Police responded to a stray animal complaint on Kleeman Court.

Animal — Police responded to an animal neglect complaint in the 600 block of West Richmond Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 5

Deputies logged 32 incidents, including the following:

Assault — Authorities investigated an assault complaint on Hemlock Road in Wittenberg.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Hemlock Road in Wittenberg.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Lafayette Street in Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on North Avenue in Mattoon.

Accidents — Authorities logged two accidents, including a deer-related crash.

Jan. 4

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Broadway Road in Richmond.

Theft — Vehicle break-ins were reported on College Avenue and Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Warrant — A female subject was taken into custody on a warrant on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

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

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

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on County Road M in Belle Plaine.

Accidents — Authorities logged four accidents, including an injury accident on Kolpack Road in Almon and two deer-related crashes.

Jan. 3

Deputies logged 37 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Authorities logged a truancy complaint from Tigerton Middle/High School.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Hemlock Road in Wittenberg.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Jefferson Street in Bonduel.

Accidents — Authorities logged seven accidents including an injury accident on state Highway 29 in Morris and three deer-related crashes.

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Cold closes area schools

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 11:02am
By: 

Leader Staff

The following area schools have cancelled classes on Monday due to the extremely cold weather:

Clintonville public/private, Marion School District, Menominee Tribal School, Sacred Heart, Shawano School District, Tigerton School District and Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District.

UW-Head Start in Shawano, Menominee Indian Head Start and Menominee Tribal Day Care also will be closed Monday.

Below-zero temperatures are predicted, and wind chills are predicted to drop down to as much as 55 below zero Sunday night through Tuesday morning.

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Shawano police chief plans to retire

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 8:05am
Whealon ending 34 years with departmentBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Shawano Police Chief Ed Whealon on Friday announced he will retire in April.

Whealon has been with the Shawano Police Department for more than 34 years — out of a 37-year career in law enforcement — and will have been Shawano’s chief for 12 years when he relinquishes his badge and gun on April 4.

“Over half of my life has been devoted to the Shawano Police Department and the city of Shawano. I have enjoyed every moment, and I would do it all again in a minute,” Whealon said.”It has been a great ride. An absolute pleasure.”

Not that there haven’t been parts of the ride Whealon wouldn’t mind forgetting.

“As anyone knows, this job has its highs and lows. I think I have experienced most of them,” he said. “I won’t miss the low stuff.”

Whealon, 58, said he has seen a number of tragic events, including suicides, over the years, some of which took place over Christmas during the days he was still out on patrol.

The highs, he said, include working with a department that he has come to regard as family.

“I have had the privilege to work with a many great officers and being a part of many things through my career with the Shawano P.D.; for that I will be eternally grateful,” he said.

Whealon said he has seen a lot of change in the community over the years and is pleased with the way city officials have adapted.

“I think the city is going in the right direction,” he said.

One last thing Whealon hopes will be wrapped up before he goes is the department’s transition to electronic transfer of files to the Shawano County district attorney’s office.

“We’re close to starting that up,” he said.

Whealon has also served as president of the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association, where he is also on the Legislative Committee, and the North Central Chiefs of Police Association.

Whealon said his retirement plans aren’t too specific.

“I’m going to do what I want to do,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy life with my wife.”

His wife, Diana, operates the Complete Canine Care Center in Shawano.

Whealon said he won’t be spending his time in a rocking chair on the front porch, and he and Diana might do some traveling.

“I won’t be bored,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy myself.”

Mayor Lorna Marquardt said Whealon’s letter of resignation was not a total surprise.

“We had conversations during 2013 that led me to believe he was planning to retire,” she said.

“Whealon served the citizens and the city well,” Marquardt said. “He is highly respected throughout the state by other law enforcement agencies. He led the department through a difficult time when several long-term officers retired and had to be replaced.”

Marquardt said she always appreciated Whealon’s “tell it like it is” style.

“He never sugar-coated things; he said what was on his mind. I respected him for that,” she said. “Although he could come across as firm and assertive when he needed to be, he also has a very compassionate caring side. He was a good leader and role model. I will miss him.”

It will be up to the city’s Police and Fire Commission to hire a new chief, though the Common Council will set the salary and benefits.

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SACF announces nearly $35,000 in grants

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 8:04am
By: 

Leader Staff

The Shawano Area Community Foundation on Friday announced $34,877 in grants from its Shawano Area Fund to 12 charitable organizations serving people in Shawano County.

Todd Raether, chairman of the foundation board, said the grants, awarded in November, are intended to further the foundation’s mission of improving the quality of life for Shawano area residents.

“Our focus is on helping people give back to the community,” said Raether, who has been involved with the program for the past six years.

“I grew up in the Shawano area, and this area has always done well for me,” he said.

Raether said he is proud of the work done by the foundation over the years, particularly the assistance to area food pantries.

The Shawano Area Fund is an endowment that accepts donations of any amount to be used to provide annual unrestricted grants.

The grant recipients are selected by the foundation’s volunteer grants committee through a competitive application process each fall. The grant dollars come from the endowment fund and proceeds from the foundation’s annual August golf outing.

The Shawano Area Community Foundation was established in 1990 by community volunteers to preserve and improve the quality of life in Shawano and the surrounding area. It is an affiliate of the Appleton-based Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the second-largest community foundation in Wisconsin.

2013 Shawano Area Fund Grant Recipients:

• Bonduel School District, T-shirts for schoolwide Community Service Day, $1,500.

• Bonduel Bat and Ball Club, equipment and improvements to baseball fields at Cedar Park, $2,050.

• Bonduel Emergency Medical Services Inc., cardiac monitors for first responders, $5,000.

• Navarino-Lessor Fire Department, portable radios, $4,760

• Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, childcare assistance to single parent Shawano students, $5,000.

• Safe Haven Domestic Abuse Support Center, client services, $1,000.

• Shawano Community Middle School, online reading program, $2,000.

• Shawano Pathways, park to park loop signage, $5,000.

• St. Paul Lutheran Church Food Pantry, purchase freezer and shelving, $2,317.

• Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District, hunger awareness event, $500.

• Wolf River Habitat for Humanity, store weatherization, $4,500.

• Wolf River School to Work Foundation, eighth-grade career fair, $1,250.

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Public Record

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 8:02am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 2

Police logged 17 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A security camera was reported damaged at All Floors & More, 805 E. Green Bay St.

Shoplifting — Goodwill Industries, 300 Lakeland Road, reported a shoplifting incident.

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

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the parking lot at ThedaCare Clinic, 100 County Road B.

Shawano County Sheriff”s Department

Jan. 2

Deputies logged 31 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at Birnamwood Elementary/Middle School.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint at the Stockbridge Health Care Center on County Road A in Bowler.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint on County Road C in Green Valley.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a complaint of an intoxicated person at North Star Casino and Bingo on County Road A in Gresham.

Accidents — Authorities logged four accidents, including one deer-related crash.

Clintonville Police Department

Jan. 2

Police logged four incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police logged one truancy complaint at the high school and two at the middle school.

Theft — A theft was reported on South Clinton Avenue.

Fraud — An identity theft was reported on Anne Street.

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Public Record

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 8:06am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 1

Police logged 17 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Police investigated a property theft complaint at All Floors & More, 805 E. Green Bay St.

OWI — A 46-year-old woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated at Lutz Street and Lieg Avenue.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 600 block of West Pine Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 600 block of South Union Street.

Theft — A GPS unit was reported stolen from a vehicle at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 300 block of East Maurer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 1

Deputies logged 35 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on County Road MM in Richmond.

Reckless Driving — Authorities responded to a reckless driving complaint on state Highway 29 in Angelica.

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

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Broadway Road in Richmond.

Accidents — Authorities logged nine accidents.

Clintonville Police Department

Jan. 1

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Officers assisted Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department with a family disturbance on Meadow Lane.

Fraud — Police investigated two worthless check complaints.

Assault — A battery complaint was reported on Sixth Street.

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Plunge attracts dozens of divers

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 8:00am
By: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Brooke Warren swims to shore after taking the first of three dives Wednesday. Warren usually participates with her brother, who is in the U.S. Coast Guard, but had to dive solo this year.
Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Warren Thunder takes his dive into the icy water Wednesday for the 14th annual Polar Bear Plunge. Thunder took the plunge for his ninth time this year.

It was frigid. According to daring divers, it was also fun.

Dozens of local residents braved the single-digit temperatures to participate in the 14th annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day at the Lighthouse Pub and Restaurant.

An aerator helped to de-ice some of the water, but the bitter cold was still there as the brave plungers one by one — or sometimes several at a time — jumped off the boat dock and into the water.

For some, the plunge has become an annual tradition. Shawano resident Jesse Miller, though, participated for the first time in a winter feat celebrated in many communities across the United States.

“I wanted to have some good times, some fun and start the year fresh,” Miller said. “I’m a lot colder, but it was worth it.”

Warren Thunder, of Shawano, is a veteran of the plunge, with Wednesday’s jump being his ninth. It’s a family affair for Thunder, with his 11-year-old son being a six-year participant and other relatives also taking part Wednesday.

“It’s just something crazy to do at the beginning of the year,” Thunder said.

Nine-year-old Aiden Thunder, 9, Warren’s nephew, was initiated into the tradition this year.

“I just really wanted to jump,” Aiden Thunder said. “It was very cold.”

While most jumped in wearing bathing suits, Lucas Hacker, of Shawano, decided to wear a Santa suit as he took his first dive. Later, wearing just his shorts, he went back to jump with a couple of friends.

“We had an ugly sweater party, and I was Santa for that, so Santa wanted to jump in the water, as well,” Hacker said.

It was Hacker fifth time, though not consecutively, participating in the plunge. He said he missed a year, but he enjoys getting together with a bunch of people to do it.

Also, the money goes toward the Shawano County Humane Society, which Hacker has a connection with, having adopted a dog named Kevin.

Brooke Warren, of Shawano, has done the plunge for the last seven years. It has become a competition of sorts for Warren and her brother to see how many dives each sibling makes, but Warren’s brother had to miss this year’s plunge because he is in the U.S. Coast Guard and was unable to get the time off.

All things considered, this wasn’t Warren’s coldest plunge. She noted that one year she got frostbite on her feet that lasted for a couple of weeks.

“One year, we got to walk across the channel. It was completely frozen over,” Warren said. “There were people standing out on the channel watching.”

Jeff Stachowiak, owner of the Lighthouse, said $800 was raised Wednesday to benefit the Humane Society. He said this year was one of the coldest for the plunge since he started it in 2000.

“It was colder with the wind chill,” Stachowiak said.

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Public Record

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 7:53am

Shawano Police Department

Dec. 31

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Assist — Police did a standby at a property inspection in the 100 block of South Lafayette Street.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint at the Shawano City-County Library, 128 S. Sawyer St.

Welfare Check — Police conducted a welfare check on Humphrey Circle.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Dec. 31

Deputies logged 41 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities investigated a disturbance at the Shawano County Jail, 405 N. Main St.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on Curt Black Road in Wescott.

Reckless Driving — Authorities responded to a reckless driving complaint on state Highway 29 in Hartland.

Warrant — A male subject was taken into custody on a warrant on Country Lane in the town of Washington.

Accidents — Authorities logged eight accidents, including an injury accident on Steinke Road in Tigerton and two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

Dec. 31

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 26-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle behind a closed business on Industrial Avenue.

Hit and Run — A hit-and-run property damage accident was reported on South Main Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on South Main Street.

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County Board races shaping up

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 7:51am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Another possible race for the Shawano County Board has emerged with a new challenger filing for candidacy in the spring election.

Lauralee Roe has turned in her papers and the required signatures for a spot on the April 1 ballot as a candidate for the District 20 seat held by Richard Giese. The district includes Ward 1 of the town of Herman, Ward 2 of Red Springs and all of the village of Gresham.

Giese has taken out papers for another run, but had not returned them as of Tuesday.

Two other races for the County Board appear to be set so far, with both challengers and incumbents having filed their papers, but several others were also looking likely as of Tuesday.

All 27 county supervisors will be up for re-election April 1. Potential candidates have until Jan. 7 to get their nomination papers and 20 signatures returned to the county clerk’s office.

All of the incumbents have taken papers out for another run, including District 5 Supervisor Sandy Steinke.

Steinke has previously said she is not seeking re-election due to time conflicts with her job. However, she took papers out earlier this week, according to the county clerk’s office.

John Granchay has returned his papers for a spot on the ballot in District 5, which includes Wards 9 and 10 in the city of Shawano.

Another possible candidate — Billy Suprise — has taken out papers but not returned them.

A number of potential challengers for other seats have also taken out nomination papers, but as of Tuesday there were only two seats where both the incumbents and their opponents have returned their papers.

District 22 Supervisor Jerry Erdmann, who is also County Board chairman, will face a challenge from Ronald Grunewald. District 22 covers the towns of Seneca and Morris and Ward 2 of the town of Grant.

In District 23, which includes Fairbanks and Tigerton, incumbent Ray Faehling will go up against challenger Annette Rockey.

In District 19 — which includes the town of Pella, Ward 2 of the town of Herman and Ward 1 of the town of Grant — board vice chairman Arlyn Tober could face a challenge from Leone Schneidewend. Tober has returned his papers, but as of Tuesday Schneidewend had not.

In two districts, challengers have already guaranteed a spot on the ballot by returning their papers.

David Korth, of Cecil, will be a candidate for the District 10 seat held by Robert Krause, of Krakow. Krause has not yet returned his papers. The district includes Ward 3 of the town of Washington and Wards 1 and 2 of Green Valley.

Former county supervisor Jon Zwirschitz, of Birnamwood, will be a candidate for the District 27 seat held by Marion Wnek, of Wittenberg. Wnek has not yet returned his nomination papers. The district includes the towns of Hutchins and Almon and the village of Mattoon.

Two other possible races are on tap where incumbents and challengers have taken out papers but not yet returned them.

District 12 Supervisor Kathy Luebke could face competition from Ken Bierhals. The district includes the town of Maple Grove, Ward 2 of the town of Lessor and the part of Pulaski in Shawano County.

In District 18, incumbent Steven Gueths could be challenged by Cheryl Klapste. The district is comprised of Wards 2 and 3 of the town of Richmond.

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Top stories of 2013

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 7:51am
By: 

Leader Staff

The final chapter in a long-running court fight that rallied a community behind a Wescott business tops the list of local stories for 2013, a year that also featured high-profile criminal cases and some significant changes in the community. Here is a list of this year’s Top 10 stories chosen by the Leader staff, and a few honorable mentions.

1. Lighthouse patio prevails

The Shawano County Board of Adjustment in November ended a four-year legal battle with the owners of the Lighthouse Pub in the town of Wescott, voting 4-0, with one abstention, not to contest a circuit court ruling that overturned the board’s decision to deny an after-the-fact variance for a concrete, waterfront patio at the restaurant. Lighthouse owners Jeff and Tammy Stachowiak had been fighting an order to remove the patio since 2009, with some Board of Adjustment hearings drawing around 100 supporters.

2. Shawano’s first bank robbery

A Shawano man was arrested in April after the first bank robbery in the city’s history. Darrin H. Church is accused of robbing the CoVantage Credit Union at 911 E. Green Bay St. and attempting to rob Cash Tyme at 705 E. Green Bay St. His case is pending. Church was initially found not competent to stand trial, but was ruled competent in November after receiving treatment at the Mendota Mental Health Institute. His case is scheduled for a status conference in February. He could face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty.

3. Alleged fox bite causes problems for local petting zoo

A claim by a Milwaukee teen in July that she was bitten by a fox at Anello’s Torch Lite leads to an inventory of its petting zoo, after which it was determined the number of animals exceeds the limit set by the Shawano Plan Commission when it approved a special exception to the zoning code in 2003. Anello’s applied for a new special exception, which is delayed pending the granting of a USDA license. The zoo is being allowed to operate as it has been in the meantime.

4. Authorities discover “animal house” on Maurer Street

Authorities in August cleared out a foreclosed house at 817 E. Maurer St., where more than 50 dead and abandoned animals were found. Animals found included dogs, rabbits, chinchillas, mice and snakes — including a 15-foot python living in a basement enclosure. The Shawano County Humane Society assisted with the temporary placement of the animals still alive. No charges have been filed in the case. Police say they are still waiting for a veterinarian’s report.

5. Former SIST CFO sentenced

The former chief financial officer for the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology Inc. (SIST) was sentenced in May to four years in prison on federal charges of tax evasion. Kalmar G. Gronvall had been found guilty after a jury trial in February of attempting to evade income and self-employment taxes in 2006, 2007 and 2008, while he was the owner and operator of The Gold and Silver Exchange. According to the indictment, Gronvall had more than $1.23 million in income during the three years in question and owed $433,763 in taxes.

6. Turnover at the Shawano School District

Shawano School District Superintendent Todd Carlson resigned in September, leaving the district’s top spot vacant days before the start of the new school year. He was followed by Steve Linssen, associate principal with the high school, and Tim Mayer, high school associate principal and athletic director. School Board member Jim Heinz also stepped down in September. Business manager Gail Moesch later announced she will retire in February.

7. End of an era as the Crescent goes dark

After a 17-year run as a staple of downtown Shawano, the Crescent Pitcher Show at 220 S. Main St. closed on Dec. 1. Owner Paul Routhieaux said 35 mm prints were getting harder to come by, and he was unable to secure financing to convert to digital projection. The original Crescent Theater closed down in the mid-1980s. Since 1996, the renovated theater showcased Hollywood movies after they left first-run theaters, with the added twist of pizza, sandwiches and other menu items, lounge-style seating with tables and a wait-staff.

8. City gets out of the telecom business

City officials in October sealed the deal for the sale of Shawano Municipal Utilities’ cable TV and high-speed Internet services to local wireless service provider Cellcom for $1.25 million. The sale closed Dec. 2. Shawano residents approved borrowing $4 million for the infrastructure needed to create a telecommunication utility in a 2006 referendum. The utility’s intention was to have customer revenue pay for the network and the service, including the repayment of the $4 million in borrowing. Instead it produced nothing but deficits. The sale will cover a line of credit taken out by SMU, but the original $4 million debt remains on the city’s book.

9. Sidewalk war

A proposed sidewalk between Fairview Way and Humphrey Court drew the ire of Fifth Street residents in May. The sidewalk was originally intended for the south side of the street until it met opposition in March from businesses that would have been impacted. The Shawano Field Committee voted to move the sidewalk to the north side, but the reconstruction shifted the street seven feet to the south.

10. Tribal recall and ouster

Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal President Robert Chicks became the target of a recall in April over theft and obstruction charges in Langlade County. The recall was later overturned in court, but in August Chicks was removed from his position by unanimous vote of the Tribal Council. Chicks pleaded no contest to the obstruction charge. He was fined $100 for obstruction and $200.50 for operating without a valid driver’s license. The other counts were dismissed.

Honorable mentions

• The Shawano School Board approved up to $900,000 for an addition that would provide more space for the school’s agriculture and technical education programs. The project was completed in October.

• The Menominee Indian Tribe scored a significant victory toward its longtime goal of opening a casino in Kenosha, after the Bureau of Indian Management approved the tribe’s application to build an entertainment center and casino at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park. The project must still be approved by Gov. Scott Walker.

• Shawano Housing Authority coordinator Charlene Helms was fired after the Department of Housing and Urban Development refused to grant a waiver allowing Helms, a former board member, to work for the authority. The shakeup followed the sudden resignation of board member Glenn Wille amid allegations Wille and Helms improperly paid themselves while on the board. An investigation concluded there were no grounds for criminal charges.

• The long-debated evidence storage building for the Sheriff’s Department was pulled from the county’s list of 2014 Capital Improvement Projects as the focus turned to seeing whether grant money is available for the project. Meanwhile, plans moved forward for remodeling the former Health Department offices in the courthouse basement for Sheriff’s Department detectives and the evidence technician.

• Ground was broken on the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano. The new $50 million facility will be an integrated campus that combines the existing clinic at 100 County Road B with 25 beds for the hospital portion and the rehab facility currently housed on North Main Street.

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Fire destroys barn, animals rescued

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 7:50am
By: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of a fire that destroyed a large old barn at N8959 U.S. Highway 45, about three miles south of Clintonville, on Monday afternoon.

The barn was owned by Theresa and Chris Gilling. Theresa Gilling said there was no electricity to the barn, which was being used for storage. Horse hay stored in the barn fueled the fire, she said.

Gilling said the house on the property is rented by Kelly Clark, who was able to get several horses and steers out of the barn. The animals were taken to a neighbor’s for temporary shelter.

The fire was reported just before 4 p.m. Monday. The barn was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. The Clintonville, Marion, Bear Creek, and Embarrass fire departments responded. Traffic on Highway 45 was rerouted for several hours.

No cost estimates of the barn or its contents were available.

Donations for hay are being accepted. For information, call Eileen Lamm at 715-823-4429.

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Public Record

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 7:49am

Shawano Police Department

Dec. 30

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 1200 block of South Andrews Street.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident at Richmond and Lincoln streets.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint at The Pawn Shop, 141 River Heights.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 500 block of South Smalley Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Dec. 30

Deputies logged 33 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Derby Lane in the town of Washington.

Vandalism — A hole was reported cut in a window screen at the Bowler Post Office, 111 W. Main St.

Warrant — A female subject was taken into custody on a warrant on Lake Drive in Wescott.

Assault — Authorities investigated an assault on state Highway 160 in Maple Grove.

Accidents — Authorities logged four accidents, including two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

Dec. 30

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Two worthless check complaints were under investigation.

Warrant — A 52-year-old Clintonville man was taken into custody on a Shawano County warrant.

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Public Record

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 7:41am

Shawano Police Department

Dec. 29

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the AmericInn Motel, 1330 E. Green Bay St.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 600 block of West Pine Street.

Accident — Police responded to a snowmobile accident on Mountain Bay Trail. A 32-year-old Menasha man was transported to Shawano Medical Center.

Warrant — A 35-year-old Shawano woman was taken into custody on a warrant in the 400 block of South Smalley Street.

Dec. 28

Police logged 17 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint at Green Bay and Main streets.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 200 block of River Pine Drive.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident in the 300 block of Lakeland Drive.

Shoplifting — Police investigated a shoplifting complaint at Spirit of the Northwoods, 131 S. Main St.

Disturbance — A 40-year-old Gresham man was taken into custody for resisting and obstructing in the 100 block of Military Road.

Dec. 27

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Assault — Police investigated an assault complaint in the 800 block of Olson Street.

Theft — Police investigated a theft complaint in the 700 block of South Union Street.

Arrest — A 37-year-old man was taken into custody at the Probation and Parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Dec. 29

Deputies logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Authorities investigated a juvenile alcohol complaint on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on High Street in Birnamwood.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Front Street in Wittenberg.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Green Bay Street in Bonduel.

Dec. 28

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

Assault — Authorities investigated an assault complaint at the Shawano County Jail.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Hemlock Road in Wittenberg.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on County Road D in Almon.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on County Road Y in Belle Plaine.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Bon Street in Cecil.

Accidents — Authorities logged eight accidents, including an injury accident in Maple Grove and two deer-related crashes.

Dec. 27

Deputies logged 46 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

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

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Rustic Drive in Belle Plaine.

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

Accidents — Authorities logged seven accidents, including four deer-related crashes.

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Subzero temps expected to return

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 7:39am
By: 

Leader Staff

After a brief respite this weekend from chilling temperatures that have lingered for most of the month, another dangerous cold snap is expected to settle in starting Sunday night.

“We would advise people to be careful out on the roads,” Shawano Police Capt. Jeff Heffernon said.

Subzero overnight lows are forecast to linger through New Year’s Eve, adding to the reasons drivers should be especially cautious that particular night if they plan to indulge in holiday revelry.

“We would also, of course, advise people not to drink and drive,” Heffernon said.

Police expect to have an extra patrol on the streets late Tuesday and early Wednesday to discourage drunken driving.

Temperatures are expected to drop to 10 degrees below zero overnight Sunday and 12 below zero overnight Monday. New Year’s Eve lows are forecast at 11 below zero. Those forecasts do not include the likely wind chills.

The high temperature Monday through Wednesday is expected to be only 4 degrees.

The chronic cold weather could put a strain on those who require assistance with their heating bills.

According to the Shawano County Social Services Department, 920 households applied and were processed for energy assistance as of Friday, compared to 813 by this time last year.

According to the department, 41 percent of those who received energy assistance so far this year were elderly, 35 percent were disabled and 17 percent were households with children age 5 or younger.

Funding comes from the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides assistance for heating costs, electric costs and energy crisis situations.

WHEAP assistance is a one-time payment during the heating season, running from Oct. 1 to May 15. The funding pays a portion of the heating costs, but the payment is not intended to cover the entire cost of heating a residence.

The average payment to households in the county this year was $524. If this season’s persistent cold continues, it could be difficult for some households to stretch that amount through the winter.

“That money could run out,” said Sarah Bartz, economic support supervisor in the Social Services Department.

However, if that happens, there is crisis assistance available for households that qualify.

Extreme cold has lingered on and off for most of the month, first settling in on Dec. 6 and causing the downtown Santa Parade in Shawano that day to be postponed for the first time in its 19-year history.

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Unemployment rates increase slightly

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 7:38am
By: 

Leader Staff

Unemployment in Shawano County ticked up slightly in November from the previous month, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

Shawano County’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in November compared to 6.2 percent in October. Those figures are still better than November 2012, when the unemployment rate was 6.9 percent.

Menominee County saw its unemployment rate improve from October to November, easing to 10.7 percent from 11.8 percent. Menominee County’s unemployment rate in November 2012 was 14.1 percent.

However, the county still holds the No. 2 spot in state rankings of counties with the highest unemployment, second only to Iron County, which recorded a 13.2 percent unemployment rate in November.

Most other counties in the region also saw an uptick unemployment in November, including Oconto County, where the unemployment rates in October and November mirrored Shawano County’s. Oconto County had an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent in November of last year.

Waupaca County’s unemployment rate increased from 6.0 percent in October to 6.3 percent in November. The rate in November 2012 was 6.7 percent.

Langlade County went from 7.2 percent in October to 7.6 percent in November. The rate in November 2012 was 7.9 percent.

Marathon County had the smallest increase in the region, going from 5.7 percent to 5.8 percent from October to November. The unemployment rate in November of last year was 6.4 percent.

The county with the lowest unemployment rate in the state was Pierce County at 3.4 percent in November versus 3.9 percent in October. The rate in November of last year was 4.2 percent.

Unemployment rates increased in 53 of the state’s 72 counties from October to November, according to the DWD. Unemployment also went up in 14 of the 32 largest cities.

The statewide unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in November.

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Public Record

Sat, 12/28/2013 - 7:37am

Shawano Police Department

Dec. 26

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 34-year-old Clintonville man was cited for operating after revocation in the 1100 block of East Green Bay Street.

OAR — Police responding to a report of an unconscious man in a vehicle in the parking lot at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., cited a 26-year-old Keshena man for operating after revocation and possession of synthetic marijuana.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Dec. 26

Deputies logged 36 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 58-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for operating while intoxicated-causing injury after striking a pedestrian on County Road Y in Belle Plaine. A 27-year-old Green Bay woman who was struck sustained an arm injury.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Fire — Authorities responded to a chimney fire on Oriole Road in Birnamwood.

Accidents — Authorities logged 11 accidents, including one deer-related crash.

Clintonville Police Department

Dec. 26

Police logged six incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A male subject was arrested for domestic abuse-related battery and disorderly conduct on First Street.

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