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Updated: 24 min 36 sec ago

Neenah man charged with death of friend

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 7:47pm
Bonduel teen dies in crashBy: 

Joan Koehne, [email protected]

A Neenah man faces homicide charges after his friend was killed Saturday when the pickup truck they were in crashed into a tree.

Zachary J.E. Romnek, 19, was charged on Tuesday in Oconto County Circuit Court with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle for the death of Thorton Lee Gressler, 19, of Bonduel, a back-seat passenger. Gressler was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tests showed Romnek’s blood alcohol level to be 0.11 percent. Wisconsin’s legal limit is 0.08.

According to a criminal complaint, Romnek was standing on top of his Dodge Ram pickup when an Oconto County sheriff’s deputy arrived at 2:45 a.m. at County Road W in Riverview, south of Martha Lane. The vehicle was approximately 15 feet off the road, resting on its driver’s side in the south ditch against a large tree.

Romnek told deputies he had been drinking with friends at Diamond Dave’s in Crooked Lake and decided to travel to Pipeline, an area north of Crooked Lake where trucks drive off road. He said he was driving about 35 mph when he lost control on icy roads.

According to the criminal complaint, two passengers in the truck left the scene before authorities arrived. A mother of a female passenger said her daughter had been injured and went for treatment at a hospital. A male passenger contacted by the Sheriff’s Department told deputies he was sore but uninjured. He said they left the scene because they were “scared of getting in trouble for drinking,” according to the complaint.

Romnek was released from the Oconto County Jail on Tuesday after a $5,000 cash bond was met. He is scheduled for a continued initial appearance on April 10.

If convicted of the homicide charge, Romnek could be sentenced to 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. He was also charged with operating a motor vehicle while suspended-cause death, which carries a maximum sentence of six years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

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City officials elected without opposition

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 7:45pm

Uncontested races in the city of Shawano had a couple of amusing write-ins Tuesday, but no other surprises.

Fred Flintstone garnered a vote for circuit court judge and Barney Fife had one for mayor, along with a scattering of write-in votes for actual people.

None of the incumbent city officials had opposition this year.

Vote tallies, which still need to be verified by the Board of Canvass, were as follows:

Mayor, Lorna Marquardt 514

City Attorney, Tim Schmid 534

District 2, Rhonda Strebel 73

District 4, Fred Ponschok 74

District 6, John Hoeffs 127

All are two-year terms.

Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court Judge James Habeck had 539 votes in the city. Countywide, he had 3,001 votes.

Habeck was unopposed for another six-year term.

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Public Record

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 7:44pm

Shawano Police Department

April 1

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 32-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated at Washington and Prairie streets.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 700 block of South Lincoln Street.

Warrant — An 18-year-old male was taken into custody on a warrant after a traffic stop at Fifth and Main streets.

Vandalism — A truck was reported vandalized in the 1300 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Warrant — A 19-year-old female was taken into custody on a warrant in the 200 block of North Washington Street.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 200 block of Alpine Drive.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at KFC, 102 N. Airport Drive.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 400 block of North Main Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 1

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Church Road in the town of Morris.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an identity theft complaint on Cardinal Lane in Aniwa.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on state Highway 29 in Richmond.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Tower Road in the town of Grant.

OAR — A 22-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 22 in Belle Plaine.

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

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

Clintonville Police Department

April 1

Police logged 16 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a damage to property incident at the high school and a disorderly conduct complaint at the middle school.

Disturbance — Officers responded to a family disturbance on Eighth Street, and warnings were issued.

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Clintonville mayor earns third term

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 12:01am
By: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

Mayor Judith Magee withstood a write-in challenge in Tuesday’s election, but Clintonville voters ousted at least two of the aldermen on the ballot.

Magee defeated Tricia Rose 584-302 to earn a third term.

“Having served four years, there is nothing more satisfying to watch democracy in

action in its truest form,” Magee said. “Getting out to mark a ballot is a freedom

that not all enjoy and a right for which we should be thankful. As we move forward I

will follow the city motto, work together to provide service for individuals,

families and businesses of today and tomorrow.”

Incumbents Al Miller and Steven Kettenhoven lost to former aldermen in District 1 and 3, respectively.

Jim Krause defeated Miller 133-62. John Wilson defeated Kettenhoven 79-62.

The third alderman on the ballot, Mike Hankins, tied with challenger Mary Beth Kuester 100-100 in District 4. It was not clear late Tuesday how the winner would be decided.

Gloria Dunlavy in District 2 and Jeannie Schley in District 5 were re-elected without opposition.

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Van Dyck loses School Board seat

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:22pm
McFarlane says voters looking for changeBy: 

[email protected]

Incumbent Shawano School Board member Julie Van Dyck was ousted from the board in Tuesday’s election, ending a 15-year career on the board.

Incumbent Marcia Yeager, also a 15-year veteran, won another three-year term and will be joined on the board by challenger Beth McFarlane.

The three were competing for two seats in Area 4, with the two top vote-getters elected.

Results reported by the school district were as follows:

Marcia Yeager 925 (i)

Beth McFarlane 761

Julie Van Dyck (i) 681

“I’m pleased and excited to get to work,” McFarlane said.

McFarlane said voters apparently wanted to continue the turnover on the board that’s been taking place over the last couple of years.

“The board is changing, and the community is saying they’re looking for that change to continue,” she said.

Tyler Schmidt edged out veteran John Granchay two years ago. Derek Johnson and Bruce Milavitz joined the board last year.

The most recent addition, Michael Sleeper, was appointed to the board in October to replace Jim Heinz, who resigned in September amid concerns about the direction the district was headed.

Sleeper was also on Tuesday’s ballot, but had no challenger.

“I’m certainly sad and disappointed,” Van Dyck said. “I’ve enjoyed being on the board, and I love the school district. I appreciate the support I’ve had over the years, and I’m grateful to have served.”

She said low voter turnout may have contributed to the results.

Van Dyck said she was pleased Yeager was returned to the board and said she thought McFarlane would do a good job.

Van Dyck said she still plans to attend national education conventions, at her own cost, and bring ideas back to the board.

She said she isn’t sure whether she’ll make another run for the board.

“That’s three years from now,” she said.

Yeager couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

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Only 1 County Board incumbent falls

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:21pm
Zwirschitz unseats Wnek in Dist. 27By: 

[email protected]

All but one of the 27 Shawano County Board incumbents held onto their seats in Tuesday’s election. Most faced no opposition, but nearly all of those who did easily defeated their challengers to secure another two-year term.

In District 27, however, incumbent Marion Wnek was ousted by former Supervisor Jon Zwirschitz.

Zwirschitz and Wnek both held seats on the board until their districts merged in the 2010 redistricting. They ran against one another, with Wnek winning that year.

On Tuesday, Zwirschitz defeated Wnek, 140-125. The district includes the towns of Hutchins and Almon and the village of Mattoon.

“I’m going to work to save the taxpayers money,” Zwirschitz said. “They’re wasting too much money. People are ready for a change.”

Wnek said he had no reaction to the loss.

“The voters spoke and that’s it,” he said.

Wnek said he has no plans to run again.

Elsewhere, District 5 incumbent Sandy Steinke defeated John Granchay, 82-42. The district includes Wards 9 and 10 in the city of Shawano.

“I want to say thank you to the voters and thanks for their support,” Steinke said.

Steinke chalked up the win to voters’ familiarity with her and her record.

“People know I’m a conservative and that I have their best interests in mind,” she said. “I represent the people, and I’ll never forget that.”

Granchay said beating an incumbent is always difficult, especially when the incumbent holds two positions. Steinke is also a Shawano alderperson.

“I just hope they (county supervisors) solve the issues,” Granchay said. “They’re spending a lot of money and spinning their wheels.”

In District 6, incumbent Randy Young faced an official write-in candidate in William Ecke, but rolled past him 122-20. The district includes Wards 11 and 12 in the city of Shawano.

In other contested County Board races:

• District 10 incumbent Robert Krause defeated challenger David Korth, 68-48. The district includes Ward 3 of the town of Washington and Wards 1 and 2 of Green Valley.

• District 12 incumbent Kathy Luebke defeated challenger Ken Bierhals, 55-19. The district includes the town of Maple Grove, Ward 2 of the town of Lessor and the part of Pulaski in Shawano County.

• District 18 incumbent Steven Gueths beat challenger Cheryl Klapste, 123-77. The district includes Wards 2 and 3 of the town of Richmond.

• District 19 incumbent and County Board Vice Chairman Arlyn Tober easily turned back a challenge from Leone Schneidewend, 104-31. The district includes the town of Pella, Ward 2 of the town of Herman, Ward 1 of the town of Grant, and Wards 4, 5 and 6 in the city of Marion.

• District 23 incumbent Ray Faehling narrowly defeated challenger Annette Rockey, 78-70. The district includes Fairbanks and Tigerton.

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Election Results

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:20pm

Gresham School Board

Incumbents Holly Schmidt and Marge Eberhard held onto their two at-large seats on the Gresham School Board on Tuesday.

Former board member Gary Olsen ran third.

The two top vote-getters were elected. The unofficial results are as follows:

Holly Schmidt (i) 167

Marge Eberhard (i) 136

Gary Olsen 94

Wittenberg-Birnamwood School Board

Results of a contested race for the Area 5 seat on the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School Board were not available Tuesday night.

Rose Tryba (i)

Cindy Matteson

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Public Record

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 8:35pm

Shawano Police Department

March 31

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

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

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 100 block of Sunset Avenue.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 800 block of East Richmond.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 1000 block of South Lutz Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

March 31

Deputies logged 28 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Main Street in Angelica.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Honeysuckle Lane in Tigerton.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Main Street in Birnamwood.

Warrant — A 46-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant on Pioneer Avenue in Wittenberg.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on County Road G in the town of Grant.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

March 31

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

Child Abuse — A child abuse incident was reported on Auto Street.

Harassment — Warning was issued for harassment in W.A. Olen Park.

Accident — Officers provided traffic control and a wrecker was contacted for a semi that ran in the ditch on Industrial Avenue.

Accident — A two-vehicle property damage accident was reported on Memorial Circle.

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Public Record

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 7:06am

Shawano Police Department

March 30

Police logged 14 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A wallet was reported stolen at The Shelter, 142 S. Main St.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint in the 100 block of South Washington Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a report of a fight in progress in the 1100 block of South Main Street.

March 29

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on Aspen Court.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint in the 100 block of South Main Street after a man was reported urinating on the sidewalk.

Accident — A 14-year-old girl on a bicycle sustained minor injuries after being struck by a vehicle at Lieg Avenue and Main Street.

March 28

Police did not provide an incident list.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

March 30

Deputies logged 20 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Cherry Street in Bowler.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Country Lane in the town of Washington.

OWI — A 27-year-old Weston man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Highway 29 in Wittenberg.

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

March 29

Deputies logged 45 incidents, including the following:

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on Main Street in Gresham.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Railroad Street in Bowler.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Highway 29 in the town of Herman.

OAR — A 27-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on County Road G in Red Springs.

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

March 28

Deputies logged 46 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Elm Street in Bowler.

Drug Offense — A 19-year-old Lac de Flambeau male was arrested for possession of marijuana on Highway 29 in Seneca.

Warrant — A 27-year-old Eland woman was arrested on a warrant on County Road A in Red Springs.

Accidents — Authorities logged 14 accidents, including injury accidents in Maple Grove and Red Springs and two deer-related crashes.

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Bus lost in transit station fire

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 11:46am
By: 

Leader Staff

Keshena firefighters battled a bus fire Saturday evening at the Menominee Public Transit Building.

Crews were called to the scene around 5:30 p.m., according to fire officials. A transit bus inside the storage building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Crews got the blaze under control within an hour, avoiding it from spreading to other buses inside the building. The bus sustained heavy damage and was a total loss. The building’s interior had minor smoke and flame damage.

The cause of the fire was not available Monday.

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Child sex sting nets 19 suspects

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 11:45am
By: 

Leader Staff

Shawano County authorities working with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies arrested 19 people, including what investigators said was a man training to be a bus driver in Shawano, in a three-day sting operation aimed at getting potential child predators off the streets.

Detectives posing as juveniles on the Internet were contacted by the suspects who arranged to meet them for a sexual rendezvous. When the suspects showed up, they were arrested on a charge of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime.

Three of the suspects were arrested in Shawano County. One of those arrested in Brown County was from Shawano County, according to authorities.

The trainee bus driver had never driven a route alone, authorities said.

Operation Vanguard, as it was dubbed, wrapped up Saturday night with the arrest of a 50-year-old Menasha man who believed he was meeting a 15-year-old girl in the town of Wescott.

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Public Record

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 3:55am

Shawano Police Department

March 27

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident on North Bartlett Street.

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint at Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Juvenile — Police logged three truancy complaints from the Shawano School District.

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

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

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident on Madison Way.

Assault — Police investigated a reported assault in the 100 block of South Washington Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

March 27

Deputies logged 52 incidents, including the following:

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Putnam Lane in Bowler.

Fire — Authorities responded to a fire on Town Line Road in the town of Washington.

Accidents — Authorities logged 24 accidents, including two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

March 27

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Hit and Run — A hit-and-run accident report was completed.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the middle school.

Assault — A sexual assault complaint was under investigation.

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Election could continue board overhaul

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 3:47am
By: 

[email protected]

Two veteran members are hoping to hold onto their seats on the Shawano School Board in Tuesday’s election, while a challenger is hoping to join the ranks of the board’s recent newcomers.

Incumbents Julie Van Dyck and Marcia Yeager, both of them with 15 years on the board, are seeking re-election in Area 4 and are being challenged by Beth McFarlane. The two top vote-getters will be elected to three-year terms.

If one of the incumbents is ousted, it would add to what’s become a slow overhaul of the board over the last couple of years.

Tyler Schmidt edged out veteran John Granchay two years ago. Derek Johnson and Bruce Milavitz joined the board last year.

The most recent addition, Michael Sleeper, was appointed to the board in October to replace Jim Heinz, who resigned in September amid concerns about the direction the district was headed.

Sleeper is also on Tuesday’s ballot, but has no challenger.

At present, only four members of the nine-member board have served for more than two consecutive terms.

Here are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire provided by the Leader:

Name: Beth McFarlane

Age: 46

Family: Husband, Jeff; three daughters

Education: BA, University of Northern Iowa 1989

Employment: Social Studies teacher, Shawano Community High School, 1992‐98; business manager, Advanced Veterinary Services, 2006‐present

Experience: Six-year member of Sacred Heart Board of Total Catholic Education (president for two years). I have been involved in Junior Achievement, athletic booster and parent-­teacher organizations.

Statement: “I am an experienced teacher who understands the need for communication between parent, teacher, administration and the school board — the entities responsible for making sure our students succeed. Being a taxpayer and small business owner, I understand the need to budget and prioritize in order to have a balance between needs and wants. While I will be a new face to the School Board, I am not new to how a school board functions. I bring to the board different perspectives and life experiences. I believe in and am passionate about education. I want to see our school district not only provide quality programs, but define quality programs that other districts want to copy. I will strive toward this goal while keeping in mind that the money entrusted to us by the hard-working people of this community is to be used wisely and with gratitude.”

Name: Julie Van Dyck

Age: 53

Family: Four children

Education: Master’s degree from Marquette University

Employment: Speech and language pathologist at Menominee Tribal School

Experience: Shawano School Board, 15 years; one of the founders of the Shawano Area Youth Football League; Junior Achievement teacher for middle school students; Rotary member

Statement: “I really do take pride in being a member of the Shawano School Board. It is a good school district, but I think there is always room for improvement. I’ve invested my time into educating myself through seminars offered by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and National School Boards Association because I think it’s important to keep up knowledge of current trends in education. The budget is always a concern. With our new business manager, there will be increased involvement of the board. We want to have a team approach to formulating the budget. We try to deliver the best education possible at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer. I want to look into untapped resources for funding.”

Name: Marcia Yeager

Age: 61

Family: Married, with three grown children

Education: Shawano High School, River Falls University, NWTC

Employment: I have worked for the Wisconsin Towns Association as a bookkeeper for 12 years and also am the bookkeeper for our family owned business, Yeager’s Sugar Shack.

Experience: Shawano Board of Education for 15 years, holding vice president and treasurer positions; member and president of the Wescott Cemetery Association for 26 years; coached volleyball at Shawano High School for seven years, and officiated high school volleyball for 10 years. I was a member and president of the Sacred Heart Booster Club for eight years.

Statement: “I have been very involved in the community throughout my life. I started the Partners In Education Program at Shawano School District, with the help of Cheryl Koening, and remained on board for nine years. I implemented the “Don’t Laugh at me Program” for the Shawano School District, which I think is so important, because it addresses bullying. I am seeking re-election because I truly believe in the value of education. I believe I have the experience necessary to meet some of the challenges that are facing the education system. This past year we have experienced a lot of positives for our district, and I am proud of some of the accomplishments we have made. The building of the Tech Ed Department has not only advanced the learning for our students, but is also building a partnership with businesses in the industrial park with the hopes of bringing revenue into our school. We need to continue to work together as a community and school district, so we can provide the best education for our students. I will continue to work hard and be a voice of the taxpayer.”

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Election Previews

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 3:45am
By: 

Leader Staff

County Board, District 5

District 5 incumbent Shawano County Supervisor Sandy Steinke will face a challenge from John Granchay in Tuesday’s election. The district includes Wards 9 and 10 in the city of Shawano.

Supervisors serve two-year terms.

Here are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire provided by the Leader:

Name: John Granchay

Age: 59

Family: Single, no children

Education: BA degree, Marquette University, 1980

Employment: Retired social worker, Shawano County

Experience: Shawano School Board 12 years, Shawano County Commission on Aging six years, past president Wisconsin Social Service Association

Statement: “I am running because decisions are not being made by the board. They are wasting money by continually having committee meetings and not doing anything on problems that are facing the community. Eventually something will have to be done, and it will cost more money down the road. The board had studies done and they do not follow through on what is recommended. In addition, they do not follow plans that they have agreed to in the past. I hope to present some forward and out-of-the-box thinking.”

Name: Sandy Steinke

Age: 54

Family: Married, one daughter, two grandchildren

Education: Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, NWTC

Employment: Eye and Vision Clinic in De Pere

Experience: Shawano Common Council for 11 years; Shawano County Board since 2006

Statement: “Serving the city works well with cooperating with the county. We have cooperated on a number of joint ventures. I enjoy serving the people of Shawano County. There are many projects I’d like to see through, that we have been busy with for a while. One of them is evidence storage. I think there’s a common solution for that.”

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County Board, school board seats up for election Tuesday

Sat, 03/29/2014 - 3:44am
By: 

Leader Staff

Following is a list of contested Shawano County and area school board races that will be decided in Tuesday’s election. Races where candidates are not opposed are not listed.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Shawano County Board

• District 5 incumbent Sandy Steinke will face a challenge from John Granchay. The district includes Wards 9 and 10 in the city of Shawano.

• District 10 incumbent Robert Krause will be up against challenger David Korth. The district includes Ward 3 of the town of Washington and Wards 1 and 2 of Green Valley.

• District 12 incumbent Kathy Luebke will face a challenge 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.

• District 18 incumbent Steven Gueths will be up against challenger Cheryl Klapste. The district includes Wards 2 and 3 of the town of Richmond.

• District 19 incumbent and County Board Vice Chairman Arlyn Tober will face a challenge from Leone Schneidewend. The district includes the town of Pella, Ward 2 of the town of Herman, Ward 1 of the town of Grant and Wards 4, 5 and 6 in the city of Marion.

• District 23 incumbent Ray Faehling will go up against challenger Annette Rockey. The district includes Fairbanks and Tigerton.

• District 27 incumbent Marion Wnek will face a challenge from former county supervisor Jon Zwirschitz. The district includes the towns of Hutchins and Almon and the village of Mattoon.

Shawano School Board

Incumbents Julie Van Dyck and Marcia Yeager are seeking re-election in Area 4, and are being challenged by Beth McFarlane. The two top vote-getters will be elected.

Gresham School Board

Incumbents Holly Schmidt and Marge Eberhard are running for two at-large seats on the board, and are being challenged by former board member Gary Olsen. The two top vote-getters will be elected.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood School Board

Incumbent Rose Tryba and Cindy Matteson are vying for the Area 5 seat.

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PSC approves Gresham water rate hike

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:03pm
By: 

Kevin Murphy, Leader Correspondent

Water rates for Gresham Municipal Utility residential customers will increase by 26 percent or, approximately $9.60 per month, under an order the Wisconsin Public Service Commission issued Tuesday.

Residential customers currently paying $36.39 monthly in volume charges for 3,000 gallons of water will pay $45.99 for the same amount when the new rates take effect April 15.

Bills reflecting the new rates will be mailed at the end of April, said Grace Schwefel, utility finance supervisor.

The order also increased the monthly meter charge for most residents by $4 to $14.30 from $10.07.

Rates for the utility’s commercial, industrial and public entity customers also will increase by 26 to 29 percent.

The first rate hike since a 40 percent jump in 2008, the increase boosts utility income by $42,393 annually to an estimated $198,447. After estimated 2014 expenses of $154,401, the utility should finish the year with a $44,046 net income and a 6.25 percent rate of return on the $707,740 net value of its infrastructure investment, according to the PSC analysis.

Without the rate increase, the PSC projected the utility finishing 2014 with a $1,653 net operating income and a .023 percent rate of return.

The utility has posted income deficits in each of the past four years. The deficit topped out at $42,526 in 2010 but has steadily decreased, reaching $12,198 last year, according to PSC analysis.

The utility has decreased its operating and maintenance expenses in each of the past four years. Those expenses totaled $152,891 in 2001 and are estimated to fall to $101,900 this year, according to the PSC.

Less spending on salaries and wages have led the decrease in expenses. Total administrative and general labor costs fell from $55,146 in 2010 to an estimated $33,500 this year.

Labor costs were reduced when two employees left the utility and were replaced by one worker, Schwefel said.

Repair expenses have also decreased in the past few years.

Spending on fuel, chemicals and outside services have increased since 2010, according to the PSC analysis.

A resident, Laura Potts, opposed the rate increase in a March 16 email to the PSC stating that her monthly electric, sewer and water bill from the village had climbed over $200 while area wages remain stagnant.

A meter reader 15 years ago, Potts wrote that she knows utility employees can be more productive.

Calls to utility administrator Art Bahr were not returned before deadline.

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Walker raises limits for casino study

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:02pm
By: 

The Associated Press

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has agreed to triple to $1.5 million the potential payment to a national law firm hired to help examine whether to allow the Menominee Tribe to open an $800 million casino in Kenosha.

The original contract signed in December capped payments to the Dykema Gossett law firm at $500,000. An amended contract released Thursday by Walker’s administration raises the cap to $1.5 million.

Walker’s Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch (HIPSH) said the increase in potential payment “reflects the complexity of both the Kenosha casino proposal and its economic impact on Wisconsin.”

Huebsch says raising the cap “ensures we will be able to provide accurate, relevant information about the viability of this project.”

Walker has not said when he will make a decision.

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Election Previews

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:00pm
By: 

Leader Staff

County Board, District 10

District 10 incumbent Robert Krause will face challenger David Korth in a Shawano County Board of Supervisors race in the spring election Tuesday.

The district includes Ward 3 of the town of Washington and Wards 1 and 2 of Green Valley.

Supervisors serve two-year terms.

Name: David Korth

Age: 57

Family: Two sons, Ben and Jacob.

Education: Not provided.

Employment: Owner of 4 Seasons Disposal Inc. and Crossroads Drivers Ed.

Experience: Past supervisor of the town of Washington; present chairman of Cecil/Washington Fire Commission; president of the Wisconsin Professional Driving School Association.

Statement: “As a County Board member, you need to make responsible decisions that will affect your district and the county. The attitude to keep spending cannot continue as it is going. You need to use the resources that you have here before outsourcing. As an example, the blacktop work done at the fairgrounds by North East Asphalt and not the county. Asking the county after the fact. You need to rely on your department heads for information but still ask questions.”

Name: Robert W. Krause

Age: Not provided.

Family: Married 34 years to Doreen; three adult children and three grandchildren.

Education: Bonduel High School and UW-Madison

Employment: Self-employed farmer

Experience: Served the public in various capacities over the last 20 years: Zion Lutheran Church, Bonduel School Board, CESA 8 Board, town of Green Valley Planning Commission, Shawano County Farm Bureau and Shawano County Board of Supervisors serving on various committees. Also serves on state boards as a representative of UW-Extension.

Statement: “I have been blessed with the opportunity to ‘give back’ to Shawano County. I was born and raised here, and growing up, I took full advantage of all Shawano County had to offer. I would like to continue to help provide opportunities and services to all residents. We are living in very challenging economic times. Now more than ever, we need to conserve and spend wisely. I believe if we work together, we can continue the heritage that has made Shawano County a great place to live and work.”

County Board, District 18

District 18 incumbent Steven Gueths will be up against challenger Cheryl Klapste in a Shawano County Board of Supervisors race in the spring election Tuesday.

The district includes Wards 2 and 3 of the town of Richmond.

Supervisors serve two-year terms.

Here are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire provided by the Leader:

Name: Steven Gueths

Age: 62

Family: Two sons

Education: Shawano High School; NWTC-Green Bay

Employment: Retired; 34 years with the Shawano County Highway Department

Experience: Richmond town chairman for 34 years; six years on the Shawano County Board; officer with the Red River Sportsman’s Club, including past president

Statement: “I enjoy being a public servant and working for the people of Shawano County. One of the issues we face is getting evidence storage taken care of. We have to rent or buy or build a new storage facility. We have to get this done. We just have to come up with a way of funding it. We also have to get the wage study done and get our employees situated properly. We also have to keep taxpayers in mind so we don’t overtax them and stress them out.”

Name: Cheryl Klapste

Age: 65

Family: Husband and four dogs. Our children are grown

Education: Wittenberg High School

Employment: Formerly owned Sleepy Haven Motel; milk distributor; rental properties and mobile home park; formerly owned laundromat in Cecil

Experience: Was on Wittenberg Village Board for five years; involved with Meals on Wheels

Statement: “I think the County Board needs a new perspective; a new look at the way things are done. That’s true of any board. I don’t like the way our money is being spent. I would like the board to take a more careful look at things

County Board, District 19

District 19 incumbent and County Board Vice Chairman Arlyn Tober will face a challenge from Leone Schneidewend in a Shawano County Board of Supervisors race in the spring election Tuesday.

The district includes the town of Pella, Ward 2 of the town of Herman, and Ward 1 of the town of Grant.

Supervisors serve two-year terms.

Name: Leone Schneidewend

Age: 66

Education: High school and one year college.

Employment: Retired.

Experience: I was in some management positions in my travels.

Statement: “I was born and raised in Shawano, I attended school in Shawano. At the ripe old age of 18 after high school, I left the area to seek my fame and fortune (smile). What I found was my husband of 36 years. We have two adopted children. Our son lives in southern Wisconsin, and our daughter, who is disabled, lives with us on a small hobby farm east of town. I am running for County Board because I feel we need change. Some items have been waiting a decision far too long. Questions need answers, and I would like the opportunity to seek out those answers.”

Name: Arlyn Tober

Age: Not provided.

Family: Married; four children.

Education: 12 years.

Employment: Retired farmer and cheesemaker.

Experience: County Board vice chairman

Statement: “Shawano County has a very bright future. We have very good department heads and employees. The county debt is paid down and, according to our auditors, we are in excellent financial condition. We just have to watch our budgets to see that it stays that way and keep our budgets balanced. Every supervisor knows we need an evidence storage building. Maybe in 2014 a compromise can be reached and build one or remodel an existing building to meet our need and not our wants. Another major item is our highways. Each year, we blacktop less and are not keeping up with our maintenance schedule. We are only doing half of what we should. Working into the future with the knowledge of the past, I believe, are some of my best assets.”

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Public Record

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 10:53pm

Shawano Police Department

March 26

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen in the 300 block of North Franklin Street.

Disturbance — A 33-year-old Shawano woman was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after a domestic disturbance in the 700 block of South Union Street.

Accident — A school bus struck a Shawano Municipal Utilities bucket truck in the 300 block of South Main Street. There were no injuries reported.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Sacred Heart Catholic School, 124 E. Center St.

Disorderly — A 19-year-old Shawano male was taken into custody on a probation hold after a disorderly conduct incident in the 900 block of South Main Street.

Accident — A 2-year-old was struck by a vehicle backing into a parking space in the 800 block of East Richmond Street. Police said there was a possible injury, but no information on the extent. The child was taken to Shawano Medical Center.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

March 26

Deputies logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Authorities investigated a mail scam on Koeller Lane in Richmond. A man reported getting a letter claiming he won the London lottery.

Warrant — A 26-year-old Shawano man was taken into custody on a warrant on County Road B in Waukechon.

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

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on U.S. Highway 45 in Birnamwood.

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

Clintonville Police Department

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported at the middle school.

Theft — A theft was reported on East 12th Street.

Drug Offense — A 30-year-old Clintonville woman was referred for possession of controlled substance and bail jumping after a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 45 at Hilltop Road.

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County Board adopts parks plan

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 9:00pm
By: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Heritage Park is one of two parks in Shawano County managed by an outside organization. The county’s outdoor recreation plan proposes establishing park management agreements with the Shawano County Historical Society, which oversees Heritage Park, and Shawano County Arts Council, which manages the Mielke Arts Center.
Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski One of the high priorities in Shawano County’s recently adopted outdoor recreation plan is to replace the playground equipment at Shawano Lake County Park.

The Shawano County Board gave a unanimous endorsement Wednesday to a new five-year outdoor recreation plan.

The plan, which was developed by the East Central Regional Planning Commission through a grant, maps out multiple priorities for the county park system and suggests some options that could be implemented.

The plan’s adoption does not mean any of the projects are approved to be done, according to Parks Manager Keith Marquardt, and there are no monetary amounts attached to any of the projects.

“Anything that we do here has to go through the budgeting process and the CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) process,” Marquardt said.

One of the priorities is to create park management agreements with the Shawano County Historical Society, which operates out of Heritage County Park and the adjacent Sunset Island, and the Shawano County Arts Council, which manages the Mielke Arts Center at Mielke Park.

Also high on the priority list is improving trails in some of the parks. Waukechon Riverside Park’s trail system should be expanded, according to the plan, and upgraded for easier accessibility. At Oconto River Park, the plan calls for developing hiking trails through the wetlands.

The creation of a new dog park, a topic of considerable debate in 2012, is in the plan, although it is not scheduled for development until 2018.

The plan also recommends looking at other potential sites for recreational development. The county owns land in the towns of Almon, Bartelme and Wittenberg that could be utilized for future park use.

Under long-term projects, the plan suggests future acquisition of land for park use. The Alexian Brothers Novitiate property near Gresham is listed as a possibility, and it is recommended that the county purchase more property along Shawano Lake for another park.

The plan also recommends that the county integrate a 60-acre site on the Red River into the parks system if the town of Richmond does not have the resources to develop it.

Supervisor Gene Hoppe criticized the plan for having typographical errors, including listing one piece of land in the town of Richmond instead of the town of Wescott. He felt the plan should be postponed until the Highway and Parks Committee corrects any errors.

“Why should we vote on something that isn’t correct?” Hoppe said. “When we put our stamp on it, it needs to be correct.”

A motion to postpone failed 20-5.

Marquardt pointed out that many of the errors came from the comments provided by people who took the parks survey online. Comments were included verbatim.

“It doesn’t affect the overall plan,” Marquardt said.

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