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Updated: 22 min 59 sec ago

Sturgeon run will heat up along with temperatures

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:14pm
Spawning seems likely over next several daysBy: 

Leader Staff


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski A sturgeon peeks its head out of the water at Sturgeon Park during spawning last year in the Wolf River. Sturgeon are currently spawning in the river around New London and could reach Shawano later this weekend or early next week if water temperatures rise.

Sturgeon could be spawning by the Shawano dam on the Wolf River by the end of the weekend — if water temperatures continue to rise.

The annual visit by the sturgeon is later than usual this year, but lovers of the large prehistoric fish might want to clear some time from their schedules next week.

Sturgeon began spawning Friday along the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail west of New London, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sturgeon hotline, and at Bamboo Bend, west of Shiocton.

DNR biologists say water temperatures between 53 and 60 degrees are needed to draw the prehistoric fish up the Wolf River system from their home in lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan.

According to the United States Geological Survey, temperatures are rising above 50 degrees in the New London area, and with warmer temperatures expected in Shawano through the weekend, there could spawning activity along the banks of the Wolf in the next few days.

“It’s a sign spring is coming near and warmer temperatures,” Ryan Koenigs, of the Department of Natural Resources, said earlier this week.

Peak spawning usually takes place between April 15 and May 1, and it is usually a seven- to 10-day window.

Once the weather warms up, the DNR expects the fish will move in rapidly — and thousands of people will gather along the Wolf River to watch.

“It is so difficult to plan … because it is nature. There is no way of knowing when they will arrive,” said Nancy Smith, executive director of Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce.

The fish are easily visible from the river banks, drawing spectators to public areas along the Wolf, Fox and Embarrass rivers to watch not only the fish but also the DNR crews tagging them.

In Shawano, visitors descend each year on Sturgeon Park, next to the Mountain Bay Trail off River Street, to see the huge fish.

“This is really the only place in North America that you can see this number of sturgeon spawning in one location. It’s quite impressive,” Koenigs told the Leader last year.

Sturgeon will spawn in slightly cooler water if it takes too long to warm up, according to the DNR.

The later than usual start and cooler temperatures should not affect the survival rate of the sturgeon eggs taken by DNR crews, but the fish might be a little smaller going into the winter.

DNR crews collect eggs and sperm from the fish for restoration programs in Wisconsin — on the Menominee Indian Reservation, the upper Fox River and the Milwaukee and Kewaunee Rivers — and the Tennessee River System in Georgia and Tennessee.

The sturgeon is revered by the Menominee Nation. For generations, the fish used to travel to Keshena Falls for spawning. Once the Shawano dam was built in 1892, the sturgeon could no longer return to the reservation each spring.

ONLINE

You can see the sturgeon near the Shawano dam when they arrive via webcam at www.wolfrivercam.com/Shawano%20Dam.html.

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Missing elderly man found deceased

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:11pm
By: 

Leader Staff

A 90-year-old Antigo man reported missing Thursday night was found deceased on a wooded trail Friday morning after an extensive search, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities have not yet released the man’s name.

The Sheriff’s Department was notified about 10 p.m. Thursday that the man had failed to show up for his appointments that day.

Sheriff’s deputies, assisted by area fire departments and numerous volunteers, as well as the Shawano Police Department K-9 Unit, searched the area of the man’s cabin and property in the town of Hutchins.

The man was found in a wooded, cedar swamp area of his property about 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Sheriff’s Capt. Tom Tuma said the man’s truck had apparently gotten stuck on a trail and he was trying to make it on foot back to the road or his cabin.

Tuma said family members reported it was not unusual for the man to drive around his property and look it over.

The Sheriff’s Department said the man died of natural causes. No foul play was suspected.

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Shawano Auto Sales among Chrysler dealer elite

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:10pm
By: 

Leader Staff

Longtime family-owned business Shawano Auto Sales recently was named one of 56 winners nationwide of the Chrysler Elite Dealer Award for outstanding customer service for 2013.

The late Earl Roloff, who opened the business in 1957 and handed over the operations to his children in 2008, received multiple awards during his tenure as owner. The company has maintained that tradition.

“My father won many customer service awards over the years,” said Jeff Roloff, Earl’s son and now-president of the company. “However, this was a new title given this year.”

Roloff said the business competed with 2,423 authorized Chrysler dealerships in the United States.

“We are a franchise dealer so we are automatically entered,” Roloff said.

The dealership celebrated its 50th anniversary of selling Chrysler vehicles in 2013.

Jeff’s brother, Rick, serves as the company’s vice president, and sisters Pamela Schmidt and Paula Lackner are treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Shawano Auto Sales, 939 E. Green Bay St., sells and services Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles.

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Public Record

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:09pm

Shawano Police Department

April 24

Police logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Assault — A 22-year-old Bonduel man was transported to the Shawano Medical Center emergency room after an assault in the 100 block of South Washington Street. The incident was under investigation.

Drug Offense — While investigating an assault in the 100 block of South Washington Street, police arrested a 38-year-old Shawano man for possession with intent to deliver cocaine. The incidents were not related, police said.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Warrant — A male subject was taken into custody on a probation and parole warrant in the 100 block of East Richmond Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 24

Deputies logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St.

OWI — A 54-year-old Keshena woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Broadway Road in Richmond.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Seneca Town Line Road in the town of Morris.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Schabow Street in Gresham.

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

Clintonville Police Department

April 24

Police logged four incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Warnings were issued for disorderly conduct on West Morning Glory Drive.

Disturbance — Police responded to a family disturbance on East 16th Street.

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Political rancor follows search warrant incident

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:53pm
Sheriff considering investigation of supervisor's commentsBy: 

[email protected]

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said Thursday there might be an investigation into statements allegedly made by a county supervisor during the execution of a search warrant at another supervisor’s home last week.

A search warrant executed April 15 at District 1 Supervisor Deb Noffke’s home in Shawano turned up no evidence of the drug activity detectives were apparently expecting to find.

Wright called the case closed Wednesday, but said a new investigation might focus on a cell phone conversation Noffke had with her father, District 14 Supervisor Marlin Noffke, while authorities were searching her house.

The search started two hours before Deb Noffke was due for a reorganizational meeting of the County Board and election of board chairman.

Noffke was allowed to use her cell phone during the search provided the phone’s speaker was on, according to reports by a Shawano County detective and a Stockbridge-Munsee police officer who participated in the search.

She first called her father to inform him her house was being searched.

According to the reports, Marlin Noffke said Wright had more to worry about, “like me shooting him with my shotgun.”

Marlin Noffke did not confirm or deny the statement during an interview Wednesday.

“I’d like to have a copy of the sheriff’s tape,” he said. “I’m going to ask for the tape.”

Wright said there was no video or audio recording made while the search warrant was being executed.

As the search went on, Deb Noffke next called County Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann, according to the report.

After being told about the search, Erdmann allegedly called it “convenient for the sheriff to do that,” the report states.

The report also states Erdmann went on to say, “The sheriff is only doing this to keep you from the vote today,” and, “I’ll take care of this.”

As it turned out, Noffke did make it to the board meeting in time.

Erdmann won re-election as County Board chairman 15-12 over District 6 Supervisor Randy Young.

Marlin Noffke said he believed the timing of the search warrant was calculated to take both Noffkes away from the meeting. He claimed Wright would have expected him to go to his daughter’s house after hearing about the search warrant.

“He wanted me to show up at the house,” he said. “That would have been two votes. It’s that simple.”

Wright said the timing was based on when the warrant was issued and what manpower was available.

The warrant shows that it was received by sheriff’s detectives at 10:37 a.m. April 14, the day before it was executed.

Wright said the execution of the warrant was arranged with assisting Langlade County deputies and Stockbridge-Munsee police by a Shawano County detective who was unaware the County Board meeting was also scheduled for that day.

County Board meetings usually take place on the fourth Wednesday of the month. But because April’s meeting was re-organizational, statutes dictate it be held on the Tuesday two weeks after the spring election.

“When it was set up, the County Board wasn’t even given a thought when the meeting was going to be because they’re usually at the end of the month,” Wright said.

He said after the search operation was set up, he mentioned to the detective that it was also the day of the board meeting.

“This surprised the detective that was working on it,” Wright said.

Wright said he was concerned about Marlin Noffke’s alleged threat and Erdmann’s statement that he would “take care of this.” He said he would not rule out a link between that comment and a subsequent change in the make-up of the Public Safety Committee, which oversees the Sheriff’s Department.

Members of the Committee on Committees, who are chosen by Erdmann, met with him Monday to make new committee assignments for county supervisors.

District 9 Supervisor Ken Capelle and District 15 Supervisor Marvin Klosterman, whom Wright said were more sympathetic to the Sheriff’s Department, were replaced on the Public Safety Committee by District 11 Supervisor Richard Ferfecki and District 27 Supervisor Jon Zwirschitz.

“Two people who have been very fair and impartial have been taken off,” Wright said.

In an interview Thursday, Erdmann stood by his contention that the timing of the warrant was “rather convenient.”

He also said his comment about “taking care of this” was in reference to the board meeting that was due to start shortly.

As for the committee replacements, Erdmann said Capelle and Klosterman had been too sympathetic to Wright and willing to vote for anything Wright favored and against anything he opposed.

“It was time for a change,” Erdmann said. “There was a need on that committee for board members willing to hold the sheriff accountable for actions he’s done over the past year.”

He said those actions included threats to sue the county, bail money that went missing from the jail, threats against the administrative coordinator and an incident last week involving an off-duty deputy who had a confrontation with another motorist.

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Charges filed in Wittenberg standoff

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:49pm
By: 

[email protected]


Travis W. Keiler

A Gillett man arrested Tuesday after a two-hour standoff with sheriff’s deputies in Wittenberg was charged Thursday with a felony count of taking hostages while using a dangerous weapon.

Travis W. Keiler, 28, could face a maximum 40 years in prison and $100,000 fine if found guilty.

He also faces a felony count of failing to comply with an officer’s attempt to take him into custody, which carries a maximum 3 1/2 year sentence and $10,000 fine, as well as misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

Shawano County sheriff’s deputies responded to a hold-up alarm at the Wittenberg Shell station and McDonald’s, 413 N. Genesee St., just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Dispatchers also received a call that there was a man with a gun inside the store who “wanted to shoot it out with the police,” according to the criminal complaint.

Shawano County officials, with the assistance of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, secured the area and closed U.S. Highway 45 for the duration of the incident. An armored vehicle and a Marathon County sniper were among the resources brought in during the incident.

Nearby Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District elementary and high schools went into lockdown for about 45 minutes as a precaution, according to school officials.

Keiler let everyone out of the building except for a lone McDonald’s employee, whom he kept as a hostage for about an hour.

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said the employee — Jacob Kujawa, 26, of Wittenberg — handled the situation amazingly well.

“He was calm and cool,” Wright said, adding that Kujawa’s composure probably played a big part in bringing a peaceful end to the incident.

Kujawa spoke at one point with a Shawano County hostage negotiator and told him he was unharmed but that Keiler was holding a gun on him, according to the criminal complaint.

Keiler told the negotiator he had quit his job in De Pere and had been driving around before ending up at the Wittenberg Shell station.

The negotiator convinced Keiler to release Kujawa as a sign of good faith just after 3 p.m.

Keiler surrendered peacefully about 4 p.m. He was transferred Wednesday afternoon from the county jail to a mental health facility for an evaluation.

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday along with the criminal complaint.

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Plea deal reached in sex sting case

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:48pm
By: 

[email protected]

A Shawano man arrested as part of an Internet sex sting operation pleaded no contest to a felony charge of child enticement Thursday, on the day he was scheduled to go to trial.

Jeffery D. Vadnais-Speck, 28, was initially charged with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. The charge was amended to child enticement under the plea agreement.

The agreement also calls for the state to cap its recommended sentence at five years in prison before Vadnais-Speck would be released on parole. He could have faced a maximum 40 years in prison and $100,000 fine if found guilty of the original charge.

Vadnais-Speck is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 5 following a pre-sentence investigation.

According to the criminal complaint, Vadnais-Speck sent sexually explicit text messages to what he thought was a 15-year-old boy, but was actually an undercover officer who had responded to a Craigslist ad placed by Vadnais-Speck.

The complaint alleged Vadnais-Speck arranged to meet with the supposed 15-year-old and asked him to bring along an older friend. The officer responded he would bring along a 16-year-old male friend.

The information was passed along to Shawano police, who posed as the teens and arrested Vadnais-Speck at the rendezvous spot.

Vadnais-Speck was one of 17 people arrested around the state in March 2013 as part of Operation Black Veil. The operation originated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and involved undercover investigators making online contact with suspected offenders.

Several other defendants from that and subsequent operations still have cases pending in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court.

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Black Creek man charged in bar assault

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:47pm
By: 

Leader Staff

A Black Creek man was charged Thursday in connection with the assault of a Gillett man outside of a Cecil bar over the weekend.

Cody R. Chapin, 22, could face a maximum 12 1/2 years in prison and $25,000 fine if found guilty of second-degree reckless injury.

Chapin is accused of throwing or shoving Kyle J. Patzer, 27, to the ground early Saturday, causing skull fractures and a blood clot.

The incident happened outside the Castaways Bar, 100 N. Warrington Ave., about 1 a.m.

Shawano County sheriff’s deputies investigating the incident initially found parties at the scene uncooperative, but news reports about the assault began making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states an anonymous tip on Twitter named Chapin as a suspect.

Chapin contacted the Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday and said he wanted to turn himself in for assaulting Patzer, according to the complaint. He was taken into custody the next day.

According to the complaint, Chapin told authorities he had had too much to drink and believed that Patzer had hit on his girlfriend. He later said he had no idea what, if anything, Patzer might have said to her.

The complaint states Chapin told authorities he went outside where Patzer was smoking a cigarette, grabbed him by the chest and shoved him backwards. He said he saw Patzer land on his back and go unconscious.

Chapin was released on a $15,000 signature bond after an initial appearance before Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court Judge James Habeck on Thursday.

He is due back in court for an adjourned initial appearance May 5.

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Sturgeon spawning season appears near

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 6:45pm
Wolf River still too cold in Shawano areaBy: 

Leader Staff

Department of Natural Resources biologist Ryan Koenigs reports spawning could begin Friday in the New London region of the Wolf River as water temperatures continue to rise.

“We are anticipating spawning to begin at the Shiocton/New London area of the Wolf River in the next couple of days,” Koenigs said Thursday.

However, Koenigs said it is too soon to tell whether there will be spawning in the Shawano area by the weekend. The water temperature needs to be in the 50s.

“The water is a bit cooler up in the Shawano area, and realistically the fish hold the cards and Mother Nature plays a role in it,” Koenigs said.

Female sturgeon are more prepared for spawning in the southern portions due to the warmer temperatures, according to Koenigs, who reported male sturgeon have been “cruising” the Wolf.

The Associated Press reported sturgeon guards are expected to start work Thursday. The volunteers make sure the sturgeon aren’t poached.

The large, ancient fish spawn in the shallow, rocky areas of the rivers, so it’s easy to get a look at a unique fish that spends most of its life in deeper water.

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Public Record

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 6:44pm

Shawano Police Department

April 23

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 1300 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the parking lot at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Theft — Police investigated a reported theft attempt in the 1200 block of South Smalley Street.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint at the Super 8 Motel, 211 Waukechon St.

Theft — Police investigated a reported theft attempt at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run at Center and Main streets.

Theft — Prescription medication was reported stolen on Prospect Circle.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 23

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance at the Ho-Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45, in Wittenberg.

Juvenile — Authorities logged two truancy complaints from the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on Cecil Street in Bonduel.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Hiawatha Court in Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Lake View Drive in Aniwa.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Oak Drive in Wescott.

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

Clintonville Police Department

April 23

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — A juvenile was cited for curfew and tobacco violation on Eighth Street at Hemlock Street.

Disturbance — A domestic abuse complaint on North 12th Street was under investigation.

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Tornado drills scheduled today

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 10:25am

With no severe weather expected today in Wisconsin, the scheduled statewide tornado drill is a "go."

At 1 p.m., the National Weather Service will issue a mock "tornado watch" for all of
Wisconsin. A watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for
approaching storms.

At 1:45 p.m., the National Weather Service will issue a mock "tornado warning" for all of
Wisconsin. A warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on weather radar.
Move to a safe place immediately.

The mock drills will end at 2 p.m.

Most local and state radio, TV and cable stations will be participating in the
drill. Television viewers and radio station listeners will hear a message at 1:45
p.m. indicating that “This is a test.” The mock tornado warning will last about
one minute on radio and TV stations across Wisconsin and when the test is finished,
stations will return to normal programming.

In addition, alerts for both the mock tornado watch and warning will be issued over
NOAA weather radios. Be sure your weather radio is turned on for this test. If the
alarm on your weather radio does not go off for this test, check your weather
radio's programming and quality of reception.

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Sheriff's Department closes Noffke investigation

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 8:41pm
Anonymous tip led to unsuccessful search for drugsBy: 

[email protected]

Shawano County authorities Wednesday closed the books on an investigation that led to a futile search for drug activity at a county supervisor’s home last week.

Shawano County authorities executed a search warrant at County Supervisor Deb Noffke’s home April 15, but came away empty-handed, according to documents filed in the Clerk of Court’s office.

Detectives started an investigation after receiving “anonymous information” in February that Noffke and her daughter were growing and smoking marijuana at the Shawano residence and at Noffke’s business, Radio Shack, 221 E. Green Bay St., in Shawano, according to information in the search warrant.

Nothing was located during the execution of the search warrant at Noffke’s residence on West Division Street.

Sheriff Randy Wright said statements taken during further investigation were inconclusive.

“We’re closing it out until we receive any further information to substantiate it or start something new,” he said.

Wright said he did not feel Noffke was owed any apology.

“We followed the protocol. We followed procedures. We had probable cause,” he said.

Based on the anonymous tip, detectives started monitoring Noffke’s residence and Radio Shack in mid-February for any trash being put curbside.

Authorities collected two trash bags left outside the residence on April 4 and took them to the Sheriff’s Department to be searched.

The report alleges that brown and green plant material was found, including what appeared to be a small leaf from a marijuana plant. There was also a large amount of dirt and soil in the bag, according to the report.

The report alleges that both the plant material and soil tested positive for marijuana. Results of a field test filed with the search warrant claim marijuana residue was found.

Wright said a Langlade County assistant district attorney and Langlade County judge reviewed the results and found probable cause for a search warrant. He said the Shawano County district attorney’s office was bypassed because of concerns over the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Wright said the anonymous tip was sufficient to go ahead with the garbage collection.

“It would be a reason for going out and looking,” he said. “In this day and age we try doing aggressive work on drugs. And the anonymous information led to a positive (test for marijuana residue).”

Wright said the department has since been trying to determine who was responsible for the anonymous tip.

“We’ve been attempting to locate the person,” he said. “So far we haven’t come up with the anonymous person.”

Noffke said an anonymous tip shouldn’t be enough to warrant what happened to her and said the same thing could happen to anyone.

“Maybe (Wright) better go and read the Constitution he’s always spouting,” she said.

Noffke has previously said she has no explanation for why there would be a positive test for marijuana residue in her garbage.

Likewise, Wright said, he had no explanation for why a positive test result should end with nothing being found at the residence.

“That’s a good question. I don’t know,” he said. “That’s why we made sure the detective, the people that were working on this followed up with whoever they could to try to find out. It’s a very good question. I wish I could answer that.”

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Standoff suspect getting mental health assessment

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 8:40pm
By: 

[email protected]

A 28-year-old Gillett man arrested Tuesday after a two-hour standoff with sheriff’s deputies in Wittenberg was transferred Wednesday afternoon from the county jail to a mental health facility, according to authorities.

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said the man was undergoing a mental health assessment.

The incident initially reported as a robbery at the Wittenberg Shell station and McDonald’s, 413 N. Genesee St., began about 2 p.m. when the armed man entered the business and threatened law enforcement. He did not demand any money.

Wright said the man was apparently trying to provoke a confrontation with authorities.

“He wanted to have an incident with law enforcement,” Wright said.

The suspect permitted all individuals within the area to leave the building except a lone McDonald’s employee, whom he kept as a hostage for about an hour.

Wright said the employee — Jacob Kujawa, 26, of Wittenberg — handled the situation amazingly well.

“He was calm and cool,” Wright said, adding that Kujawa’s composure probably played a big part in bringing a peaceful end to the incident.

Kujawa was released just after 3 p.m. The suspect surrendered peacefully about 4 p.m. after talks with a Sheriff’s Department hostage negotiator.

Shawano County officials, with the assistance of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, secured the area and closed U.S. Highway 45 for the duration of the incident.

Nearby Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District elementary and high schools went into lockdown for about 45 minutes as a precaution, according to school officials.

The case was still being reviewed by the Shawano County District Attorney’s Office late Wednesday. Charges were expected to be filed Thursday.

It is The Shawano Leader’s policy not to name suspects who have not been charged.

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Public Record

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 8:32pm

Shawano Police Department

April 22

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Arrest — A 29-year-old Shawano man was taken into custody on a probation and parole violation in the 100 block of East Richmond Street.

Burglary — Police investigated a burglary to a room at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Vandalism — A bicycle was reported vandalized in the 100 block of Military Road.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 22

Deputies logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — An 18-year-old Little Chute man was taken into custody on a probation and parole warrant, possession of marijuana and possession of a switchblade after a domestic disturbance on Cecil Street in Bonduel.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Old Keshena Road in Wescott.

Theft — A feeder wagon was reported stolen on County Road BE in the town of Hartland.

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

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Washington Street in Shawano.

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

Clintonville Police Department

April 22

Police logged six incidents, including the following:

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint on North Main Street.

Harassment — A harassment complaint on East Morning Glory Drive was under investigation.

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Sturgeon awaiting warmer temperatures

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:46pm
By: 

Leader Staff

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports the Wolf River is five degrees from reaching prime temperatures for sturgeon spawning.

“Water has to be at least in the mid 50s before they start spawning and it is 45 degrees at the Wolf River,” DNR biologist Ryan Koenigs said this week.

Koenigs anticipates sturgeon could begin spawning as early as Saturday, but the annual journey up the Wolf could be delayed if river temperatures do not rise above 50 degrees. The run did not begin until April 30 last year.

The annual run draws up to $350,000 in tourism to the city of Shawano and $3.5 million in areas surrounding Lake Winnebago, according toKoenigs.

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Board OKs $185K for science labs updates

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 6:23pm
By: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Jeff Easter, Shawano School District maintenance director, talks about the issues plaguing science labs at Shawano Community Middle School while showing one of the existing labs to the School Board and visitors Monday night. The board approved spending $185,000 to update the facilities, which have largely gone unchanged since 1970.

The Shawano School Board voted unanimously Monday to fund a renovation project that will bring the science labs at Shawano Community Middle School into the 21st century.

The board approved spending $185,000 from the school district’s fund balance to remove old equipment and replace it with up-to-date equipment. After a tour of the labs, board members were horrified at what they saw.

“This is humiliating to me. I cannot believe we have had a significant number of science classes go without for so long,” outgoing board president Julie Van Dyck said. “I don’t feel this is a want. This is a need.”

Jeff Easter, who was hired as the district’s maintenance director in 2013, made it a priority to visit every room in every school to check on the district’s needs. He was surprised when he made it to the middle school and found out the science labs had not been updated since 1970, when the middle school was Shawano High School.

“I thought, ‘Oh, no, this doesn’t look good,’” Easter said.

Faucets in one lab did not work. Faucets in another lab had been removed because they no longer worked. The work stations are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and in some cases, all the stations are connected to one electrical source, which has caused some fuses to blow.

Easter has fixed the nonfunctioning faucets in the one lab, but he said it was evident that a lot more needed to be done to make the lab functional again.

“I met with all the science teachers and asked them what they needed to satisfy their current curriculum,” Easter said.

The district will pay about $175,000 to Diversified Casework, a Suring-based company that specializes in lab furniture and fixtures, to fabricate and install the equipment. The remaining money will go toward the demolition work, which will be done by Easter’s employees, and the electrical work, which will done by a company to be determined.

Easter and Superintendent Gary Cumberland said it was important to get the work done this year. When board members expressed concern that the project did not go out for bids, Cumberland noted that the price tag to do the work could be higher if the district waits a year.

Several board members agreed the renovations should take place as soon as possible.

“Walking through the school, we’ve updated the lockers and the floors and everything to make it beautiful in appearance for the community with the taxpayers’ dollars, and yet we’re not giving these teachers the facilities they need,” board member Marcia Yeager said. “I think this project should have been done 10 years ago.”

“The equipment is hopelessly outdated. It should be sold at antique shops,” board member Michael Sleeper said.

The renovation work will take place this summer so the labs can be ready for the new school year in September.

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Standoff in Wittenberg ends peacefully

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 6:20pm
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A two-hour standoff with an armed man at the Wittenberg Shell station ended peacefully Tuesday afternoon with the man’s surrender, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities received a panic/hold-up alarm, along with verbal reports, that a gunman was inside the station just before 2 p.m., the Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities said a 28-year-old Gillett man had entered the station and threatened law enforcement, but did not demand money.

The suspect permitted all individuals within the area to leave the building except a lone worker. A Sheriff’s Department hostage negotiator successfully talked the suspect into letting the employee go just after 3 p.m.

Shawano County officials, with the assistance of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, secured the area and closed U.S. Highway 45 for the duration of the incident.

Nearby Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District elementary and high schools went into lockdown for about 45 minutes as a precaution, according to school officials.

The hostage negotiator successfully encouraged the suspect to surrender about 4 p.m. It has been confirmed that the suspect was armed with a handgun, the Sheriff’s Department said.

“The suspect in the incident is in custody, and his well-being will be assessed,” Sheriff Randy Wright said.

The gas station, at 413 N. Genesee St., is in the same building as a McDonald’s.

No additional details were being released Tuesday afternoon.

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Convicted murderer faces sex assault charge

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 3:01pm
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A Shawano man previously convicted of murder in Sheboygan County is facing new charges of sexual assault and false imprisonment after an incident last month.

Randy L. Schoerner, 56, was on lifetime parole for a 1976 first-degree murder conviction when he allegedly choked and assaulted a woman and held her against her will at his residence in Shawano on March 3, according to the criminal complaint.

According to the complaint, Schoerner sought the assistance of a female acquaintance to help him pack for a return to Sheboygan, where his parole was being transferred.

The complaint states Schoerner became upset that the woman was talking with another man on her cell phone, and he began yelling at her and prevented her from leaving.

The complaint alleges Schoerner choked the woman and tried to force her pants off. The complaint also alleges Schoerner threatened her with a knife during the incident.

According to the complaint, the woman was able to escape the residence when someone came to the door.

Because of his previous conviction, Schoerner could face an enhanced maximum penalty of 26 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if found guilty of second-degree attempted sexual assault.

He could also face 14 years and a $25,000 fine as a repeat offender if found guilty of strangulation and suffocation, and 10 years and a $10,000 fine if convicted of false imprisonment.

He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of battery, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.

Schoerner, who was remanded back to prison on a parole violation, is scheduled for an adjourned initial appearance on the new charges in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court on May 5.

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Sirens to blow for tornado awareness week

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 2:58pm

Tornado sirens will sound in Shawano and Menominee counties Thursday as part of a statewide drill marking Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.

At 1 p.m., the National Weather Service will issue a statewide mock tornado watch and at 1:45 p.m. a statewide mock tornado warning. Many radio and TV stations will participate in the drill. In addition, NOAA weather radios (also known as emergency weather radios) will issue alert messaging and weather sirens will sound across both counties.

Wisconsin Emergency Management, ReadyWisconsin, the National Weather Service and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association are also teaming up for the drill.

“We all remember the severe thunderstorm last year that was so devastating to many in our community and want everyone to be prepared when severe weather strikes our area,” said Shelley Williams, Menominee County emergency management director.

Natalie Easterday, Shawano County emergency management director, said the drill provides an ideal opportunity for schools, businesses and families to practice safe procedures for severe weather.

“Taking just a little time out of the day to participate in the drill and talk about severe weather safety will go a long ways in helping everyone be more prepared,” she said.

The tornado drill will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and/or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected in the state on Thursday, the tornado drill will be postponed until Friday with the same times. If severe storms are possible Friday, the drill will be cancelled.

Residents will be notified of any changes through local media as well as the ReadyWisconsin web page, Facebook and Twitter.

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Public Record

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 2:55pm

Shawano Police Department

April 21

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A stolen dog complaint in the 200 block of East Center Street was determined to be unfounded after the dog was located.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident in the 500 block of South Union Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 21

Deputies logged 31 incidents, including the following:

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

Warrant — A 22-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant on Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Theft — Tools were reported stolen from a storage shed on Apple Road in Pella.

OAR — A 21-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation and taken into custody on a Probation and Parole hold on Genesee Street in Wittenberg.

Accidents — Authorities logged two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

April 21

Police logged nine incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint on West Madison Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a neighbor dispute on Ninth Street.

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