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Updated: 1 hour 13 min ago

County looks to charge city for municipal jail inmates

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 8:24pm
Proposed fees end agreement with city over gun range useBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Shawano County is proposing billing the city for housing municipal court inmates at the jail, ending an agreement that allowed the sheriff’s department to use the city’s gun range in lieu of payment.

“This has been a bad deal for the county for quite some time and it needed to be changed,” Sheriff Adam Bieber said.

The agreement had been forged between former Sheriff Randy Wright and then-police chief Ed Whealon and was adopted through a resolution by the County Board.

Bieber said Wright didn’t realize what it would cost to house those inmates.

According to jail records, it cost the county $28,200 to house those inmates during the first full year of the agreement in 2013, and hit a high of $48,250 in 2016.

The amount for 2018 was $28,700.

The agreement was terminated after the county informed the city earlier this year that it wanted to charge for housing municipal inmates.

“The city banned us from using (the gun range) when we notified them we had to start charging,” Bieber said. “The city was notified early this year that we were planning on ending that agreement and that’s when we were notified that we were then kicked out of the city gun range.”

Bieber said there had been talk about ending the agreement for some time.

“The jail is not fully funded by the County Board,” he said. “We have to rent out beds to make budget. We were having issues renting out bed space because our jail was very full.”

Bieber said he wanted to make sure the county was being treated fairly and that the agreement struck by Wright and Whealon wasn’t a fair trade-off.

“When I made that decision it, the city said, ‘Well, you can no longer use our city firearm range.’”

Even though the fees have not yet been implemented, the sheriff’s department will begin using a private shooting range, the Shawano Gun Club in Wescott, for its training starting in June at a cost of $1,000 a year.

City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said the agreement covering housing municipal inmates and the gun range had gone out of date with the decision to charge the city for housing the inmates.

“When we were informed that we were now going to be charged for the overnight stays, our position was that that agreement is no longer active and then we were informed they were already looking for another place, anyway.” Sheppard said.

The fees were originally expected to go into effect last month, but, according to Bieber, the city expressed concerns about the impact on its 2019 budget, which did not account for those fees, and the implementation date was pushed back to Jan. 1 of next year.

Sheppard said the city was willing to reciprocate by extending use of the gun range until the start of next year.

“They had pushed this until the first of the year and our response was we would do the same with the range and if there’s anything to be worked out later potentially we could go back to using the range as a shared facility,” he said.

Sheppard said the decision regarding the gun range was not “reactionary” and he disagreed with Bieber’s description of the county being “banned” from its use.

“That’s how the arrangement was set up,” he said. “I would say it was just part of the arrangement. Our hope on our end was that ultimately there could be a new agreement that could satisfy both parties’ needs.”

Sheppard said the city was approached several months ago about the proposed new fee.

The city appeared at the public safety meeting last month to request a delay.

“Obviously we didn’t anticipate that for this year,” Sheppard said. “We have to get on a future agenda to discuss the overall impact of that to the city and the merits of it in general.”

Minutes from last month’s public safety meeting show that the committee determined a closed session discussion should be held before any further meetings with the city.

That discussion was held Wednesday, after which Bieber was given authority to continue negotiating with the city.

Sheppard said the Common Council hasn’t addressed the jail fees issue and couldn’t speak to what the city’s position is on the jail fees.

However, he said, in addition to the impact on the budget, “there’s some concern about how that’s going to impact how we do our municipal court. We certainly have concerns about it.”

Sheppard said the city and the county share a lot of services.

“We would think that there could be a way to come up with some arrangement, some agreement that would help both of us in this instance without having to necessarily pay additional fees to continue doing it the way we’re doing it,” Sheppard said. “But we don’t know that. We’re in the process of negotiating.”

Sheppard said the city has had some good dialogue with the public safety committee and the sheriff’s office on the issue.

“We’re thankful that they’ve delayed the implementation for some time so we can continue to discuss it now and through budget season so we can see how that’s going to impact the city,” he said.

Sheppard said these kinds of fees are something other counties have implemented as a means of increasing revenue and funding services.

“It’s something that a lot of counties are starting to look at,” he said.

State statutes allow for counties to charge other entities, including tribes and municipalities, for use of the county jail to incarcerate their prisoners, as well as for their medical costs.

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

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

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

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

Bieber said it is costing taxpayers money to house those inmates and the city still isn’t getting its municipal fines paid.

“The city has other options than locking them up,” he said. “If they want to continue to give their judge the option of locking people up, we want them to take on the responsibility and actually pay for those beds.”

Bieber says the city has other options for collecting unpaid fines, including using tax collection procedures.

“What’s happening is, if somebody doesn’t pay a speeding fine or a seatbelt fine, the judge will sentence them to jail for three, four, five days and it’s costing the costing the county $50 a day to house that person, plus medical costs,” Bieber said. “So now the city’s out their money and they’re not getting paid their fine, and then the taxpayers are paying for that person to sit in jail for a non-criminal offense.”

The municipal court is a joint effort between Shawano and Bonduel. However. Bieber said, the impact on Bonduel is minimal.

“Bonduel doesn’t really house many inmates,” he said. “I think they’ve had like one bed here.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Cost of housing municipal prisoners, according to Shawano County Jail records:

• 2012 – 59 beds = $2,950 (Partial year, October 2012 to December 2012)

• 2013 – 564 beds = $28,200

• 2014 – 366 beds = $18,300

• 2015 — 500 beds = $25,000

• 2016 — 965 beds = $48,250

• 2017 — 835 beds = $41,750

• 2018 — 574 beds = $28,700

U.S. appeals court upholds ruling against Stockbridge-Munsee

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 8:22pm
Court says tribe waited too long to sue over Ho Chunk gaming expansionBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld a lower court’s ruling dismissing the Stockbridge-Munsee Community’s suit against the Ho-Chunk Nation’s gaming expansion in Wittenberg.

The Stockbridge-Munsee sued the Ho-Chunk and the state in April 2017 over the expansion of the Ho-Chunk’s ancillary gaming facility into a full-fledged casino.

The Ho-Chunk facility is about 20 miles away from the North Star Casino Resort, operated in Bowler by the Stockbridge-Munsee.

The suit alleged the expansion could cost the Stockbridge-Munsee $22 million per year.

A federal court ruling in October 2017 found that the Stockbridge-Munsee waited too long to file suit and should have sued in 2008 when the Ho-Chunk casino first opened.

The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld that ruling.

The tribe argued in its appeal that, as a sovereign federally recognized Indian tribe, the Stockbridge-Munsee’s claims against the Ho-Chunk and the state are not subject to Wisconsin statutes of limitations.

According to the tribe, the court’s ruling applied a Wisconsin contracts law six-year statute of limitations to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which contains no statute of limitations for such enforcement action by a state or a tribe.

In its ruling, the appeals court also noted that none of the rules in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act protects one tribe from competition by another.

“The Act does not say, for example, that a state must not allow more than one casino in a rural area such as Shawano County,” the court said in its ruling.

“If the (Ho-Chunk) Nation’s land was properly in trust before October 1988, and the State of Wisconsin authorized gaming there, then the (Stockbridge-Munsee) Community would just have to grin and bear it,” the court said.

The Stockbridge-Munsee’s Mohican North Star Casino Resort opened in 1992.

In 2003, the state amended a compact with the Ho-Chunk to allow it to open a casino in Shawano County as an ancillary facility. Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg opened in 2008.

in 2016, the Ho-Chunk announced a $150 million expansion of the Wittenberg casino, including a hotel, 200 more slot machines, 10 gaming tables, a restaurant and bar.

The Stockbridge-Munsee subsequently filed the lawsuit, arguing the Ho-Chunk’s compact allowed only an ancillary facility in Wittenberg — one where less than half the revenue comes from gambling — and the expansion would violate that agreement.

The Ho-Chunk gaming expansion opened in October 2017.

A message left with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community’s president’s office seeking comment was not returned by press time.

Eighth-graders spend an afternoon giving back

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 8:13pm
160+ kids give back to 10 locationsBy: 

Carol Ryczek [email protected]


Leader photo by Carol Ryczek Shawano Community Middle School eighth-graders Tucker Mils, left, and Will Bieber haul a bag of wet leaves up and out of a window well at Zion Lutheran Church in Shawano during Give Back to the Community Day. The students were part of a group that helped with annual landscaping at the church Friday. Zion coordinates a program that provides weekend meals for students.

Eighth-graders from Shawano Community Middle School swept, raked, even pulled down cobwebs in an afternoon of service last week.

Give Back to the Community Day saw well over 90 percent of the eighth-grade class — more than 160 students — helping out Friday at 10 locations throughout Shawano, SCMS Principal Stuart Russ said.

Students worked at the middle school, two elementary schools, Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center, Shawano Area Matthew 25 homeless shelter, two nursing homes, Safe Haven Domestic Abuse Shelter, the Shawano County Humane Society and Zion Lutheran Church.

The work supports part of the school’s mission of “having kids actively engaged citizens who make a contribution to society,” Russ said. Working as a volunteer helps develop empathy and a sense of community, he added.

Some students had questions about the value of volunteering, he said.

“It was important for them to see that going out and providing a service is part of the engagement factor,” he said.

At the elementary schools, he said, seeing eighth-graders in the building “was a pretty big deal” to the younger kids, which helped the volunteers feel appreciated.

Russ said the feedback from the students and community organizations has been positive.

Russ Wise, a member of the Zion building and grounds committee, said the students made a considerable impact on the church’s landscaping project. They hauled 2 tons of mulch, raked leaves and cleaned the sidewalks during their 2½-hour shift.

The church was selected because they contribute “We Care” backpacks filled with ready-to-eat food for students to take home for the weekend. The program supports students at SCMS, Hillcrest Primary School and Sacred Heart Catholic School, he said.

The project was the first of its kind, and one that Russ hopes will be repeated next year. School social worker Jodi Guenther and social work interns Cora Woldt and Summer Frosland were responsible for coordinating the project, Russ said. He added that the school staff supported the project by accompanying students to their volunteer locations.

If anything, one of the takeaways from the planning process was that the students worked faster than anticipated, he said. They didn’t necessarily need all the time that was allocated.

“Kids were really productive when they were out there,” Russ said. “They just went to work.”

Bubba’s takes its BBQ on the road

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 8:11pm
Restaurant closes in downtown ShawanoBy: 

Leader Staff

Bubba’s Barbecue will still be available, but it will take a little searching to find.

Bubba’s closed its location on Main Street in Shawano but will continue to operate a food truck and provide catering services for large events.

“It’s partial retirement,” owner Brian Johnson said. “The majority of our business is catering, and we’ll continue in fairs, catering. That’s where the best part of our business is.”

Plans are already underway for the Shawano County Fair, plus five other fairs and concerts, he said. He said they will cater large events, for groups of 200-300 and a minimum of 75.

The decision to close the business is the result of a five-year plan, he said.

“We decided if we thought it was viable, we would expand,” Johnson said. Instead, walk-in business on Main Street didn’t take off the way the food truck and catering end of the business did.

Bubba’s will continue to sell smoked barbecue meals, including pulled pork, brisket, ribs, chicken and sausage with homemade side dishes.

“It’s been fun. We appreciate the customers we’ve had over the years. We’re opening a new chapter,” Johnson said.

Bubba’s can be found at Bubba’s Barbecue Co. Catering Services, 715-526-9099.

Public Record

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 8:09pm

Shawano Police Department

April 30

Police logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Truancy — Police logged two truancy complaints from Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident in the 1200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Suspicious — A suspicious person was reported in the parking lot of Quality Inn and Suites, 104 N. Airport Drive.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 30

Deputies logged 39 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Wood Avenue in Wittenberg.

Warrant — A 24-year-old woman was taken into custody on a warrant on state Highway 22 in the town of Green Valley.

Vandalism — A vandalism complaint was reported on Swamp Lane in the town of Seneca.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an internet scam complaint on Opperman Way in the town of Richmond.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Clintonville Police Department

April 30

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Harassment — Harassment was reported on North 12th Street.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Motor Street.

Fire destroys barn in town of Underhill

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 6:05pm

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski A lone calf is in a pen at the Kuhn Farm, W13605 Deering Road, in the town of Underhill as fire ravages the barn behind it. Fire departments from Bonduel, Cecil, Green Valley-Morgan, Gillett and Suring were called to the scene to battle the blaze. Further details were unavailable but will be added as the Leader learns more.

Anatomy of a drug investigation

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:34pm
How a confidential tip led to busting multi-drug conspiracy ringBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

In November 2017, authorities received a tip that a male subject living on Andrews Street in Shawano was involved in drug dealing.

What followed was a nearly year-and-a-half investigation by three law enforcement agencies that recently led to arrests and charges against eight people allegedly involved in a multi-drug dealing conspiracy that could net each of them a maximum 40 years in prison and $100,000 fine.

The source told authorities that the subject’s nickname was “Sport” and that he had been selling heroin in Shawano and Forest counties.

According to the source, “Sport” was also staying at “Mama’s” house on Center Street in the city with a girlfriend whose last name was Webster.

The source had purchased heroin from “Sport” for $40 per point, or 1/10th of a gram.

Shortly thereafter, an investigation was launched into Jaral R. McCollum, 39, also known as “Sport,” by Shawano police, the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department and the state Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation.

Ongoing surveillance on McCollum revealed he was using two different vehicles for his drug activity, both registered to a Shawano woman who has not been charged in the case.

The woman had actually been the motivation for another tip authorities received in April 2018 by a witness wishing to remain anonymous who said the woman was addicted to drugs and getting drugs from “Sport.” The witness was trying to keep the woman off drugs and wanted to eliminate her source of supply.

The witness also identified several other people involved in the drug activity who have since been charged, including Andrea Hokenstad, 41, Craig A. Johnston, 43, and Georgia Johnson, 56, also known as “Mama G.”

In April 2018, authorities developed a confidential informant who knew McCollum and had previous drug dealings with him.

The informant conducted three controlled buys from McCollum in May and June, purchasing drugs that totaled just over 1.5 grams of crack cocaine and nearly five grams of methamphetamine.

In May 2018, authorities were granted a court order to for covert Global Positioning System (GPS) on the vehicles used by McCollum.

GPS tracking showed four trips to Milwaukee and back to Shawano in June.

On the fourth return trip, the vehicle was pulled over by authorities.

The vehicle was being driven by Desiree Webster, 21, of Suring, who has since been charged with conspiracy in the drug ring.

McCollum, who was in the passenger seat, was arrested for a probation violation.

Webster, who was suspected of hiding drugs on her person, was detained and strip-searched at Shawano County Jail where she was found to be concealing a package that contained 1.26 grams of marijuana, 36.67 grams of crack cocaine, 27.8 grams of synthetic marijuana, 14.72 grams of methamphetamine, 1.52 grams of Fentanyl and six Ecstasy pills.

Despite the arrests, the drug conspiracy investigation continued for months, including interviews with witnesses and those implicated in the drug ring that continued through December.

Through those interviews, investigators pieced together the scope of the drug ring that McCollum allegedly oversaw and the parts others are accused of playing in the conspiracy.

Authorities also analyzed communications found on a cellphone, iPhone and flip phone seized from McCollum during the June 2018 traffic stop.

According to the criminal complaint, those communications between McCollum and other parties accused in the conspiracy detail conversations about drug purchases, how those purchases would be facilitated, prices, the source of supply in Milwaukee and, in one case, new customers being brought in from Crandon.

Eight people have been charged in the conspiracy.

With the arrest last week of fugitive Kyle Collins, 30, of Shawano, allegedly a regular customer of McCollum’s who worked in cooperation with him to bring in new customers, all the defendants are in custody as their individual cases play out in court.

All are charged with multiple drug counts, including one or more counts of conspiracy to deliver drugs, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 40 years in prison if convicted, and a $100,000 fine.

Kakwitch appeal denied

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:32pm
Court upholds Gillett man’s OWI convictionBy: 

Kevin Murphy Leader Correspondent

A state appeals court Tuesday refused to overturn a Gillett man’s fourth OWI conviction because he couldn’t test wet spots on the pants he wore and the seat in the truck he drove prior to his arrest.

Elmer Kakwitch, 63, was convicted by a jury of OWI and resisting an officer. Shawano County Circuit Court Judge James Habeck sentenced Kakwitch in August 2017 to two years and eight months in prison.

On appeal, Kakwitch’s attorney contended that his client’s due process rights were violated because Shawano County Deputy Sheriff Eric Strike didn’t keep the alleged wet spot evidence of his offense. Since Kakwitch couldn’t independently test it, Habeck should not have allowed it as evidence at trial.

A defendant’s right to confront the prosecution’s witnesses and the evidence is protected by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the District III Court of Appeals opinion noted.

The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that in order to comply with the 14th Amendment, police need to preserve and turn over to defendants evidence that could assist in their defense. The nation’s high court also determined that it is a violation of the 14th Amendment if police act in bad faith in failing to preserve evidence helpful to defendants.

Neither occurred in Kakwitch’s case, the District III Court concluded.

According to the opinion, Strike had testified that he didn’t feel the need to take Kakwitch’s pants into evidence for a non-injury OWI. Also, he believed the wet spot would evaporate and it was not standard procedure for the sheriff’s department to impound a vehicle under the circumstances of the case.

The truck belonged to Kakwitch’s employer and Kakwitch was free to have the seat bottom tested.

Kakwitch’s attorney, Susan Hagopian, contended that Strike and Deputy William Uelmen, who also responded to the OWI arrest, were negligent for not taking photos of her client’s pants or the driver’s seat.

However, Strike and Kakwitch can be heard on Uelman’s body camera discussing the wet spots.

Kakwitch denied being the driver of the truck but Strike concluded he could be due to the location of the wet spot on the truck seat and the seat of Kakwitch’s pants. Regardless, Strike had more indications that Kakwitch drove the truck other than the wet spots.

“Kakwitch also had the keys to the truck in his pocket; the truck belonged to his employer; and he had permission to drive the truck. Even without the wet spots, it is likely Kakwitch would have been charged as the driver of the vehicle based on the other evidence,” according to the 11-page unsigned opinion.

While Strike talked to Kakwitch, he noticed that Kakwitch’s speech was slurred, his eyes were glassy and there was an odor of alcohol about him.

During the early hours of April 6, 2017, Strike was on patrol but topped while northbound on state Highway 29 when he saw two people standing next to a truck in the roadway.

When Strike pulled up behind the truck, the individuals walked away. Strike yelled, “Police, stop!” but the pair continued walking. The woman, later identified as Frances Sanapaw, separated from the man and turned east. The man finally stopped walking when Strike got in front of him.

Kakwitch didn’t show his driver’s license to Strike and refused to take the field sobriety tests.

Strike noticed the wet spots on Kakwitch and the driver’s seat. He couldn’t determine if it was urine or alcohol but he didn’t find any open alcohol containers in the truck. The truck’s passenger seat was dry.

2 people confess to cemetery vandalism

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:31pm

Two people have confessed to vandalizing grave sites at a cemetery in Bonduel earlier this month, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Sheriff Adam Bieber said that two suspects have provided the department with written confessions regarding the case.

No names were released.

The vandalism at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Bonduel was first reported April 16 and included multiple items that were damaged or destroyed.

Headstones were not damaged were reported but items placed around them were reported smashed and broken.

A shed and another building were also reported damaged.

The sheriff’s department said that any victims who have not yet reported vandalism can contact Deputy Chris Madle at [email protected] or go to the church office and fill out the necessary reports.

Don’t ‘myth out’ on tax refund

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:28pm

Now that the April tax-filing deadline has come and gone, many taxpayers are eager to get details about their tax refunds. When it comes to refunds, there are several common myths going around social media, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which provided this information on tax refunds.

Here are five common myths:

Myth 1: Getting a refund this year means there’s no need to adjust withholding for 2019

To help avoid an unexpected tax outcome next year, taxpayers should make changes now to prepare for next year. One way for a taxpayer to do this is to adjust their tax withholding with their employer. The IRS encourages people to do a paycheck checkup using the IRS withholding calculator to determine whether their employer is withholding the right amount.

This is especially important for anyone who got an unexpected result from filing their tax return this year. This could have happened because the taxpayer’s employer withheld too much or too little tax from the employee’s paycheck in 2018.

Myth 2: Calling the IRS or a tax professional will provide a better refund date

Many people mistakenly think that talking to the IRS or calling their tax professional is the best way to find out when they will get their refund. In reality, the best way to check the status of a refund is online through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or with the IRS2Go mobile app.

Taxpayers without internet access can call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954. “Where’s My Refund?” has the same information available to IRS telephone assistors, so there is no need to call unless “Where’s My Refund?” says to do so.

Myth 3: Ordering a tax transcript is a ‘secret way’ to get a refund date

Doing so will not help taxpayers find out when they will get their refund. “Where’s My Refund?” tells the taxpayer their tax return has been received and if the IRS has approved or sent the refund.

Myth 4: ‘Where’s My Refund?’ must be wrong because there’s no deposit date yet

Updates to “Where’s My Refund?” ‎on both IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app are made once each day. These updates are usually made overnight.

Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible a refund may take longer. This means that in some cases, a taxpayer who filed later may receive their refund sooner than someone who filed earlier in the season. The IRS contacts a taxpayer by mail when it needs more information to process his or her tax return.

Taxpayers should also remember to consider the time it takes for the banks to post the refund to the taxpayer’s account. Taxpayers waiting for a refund in the mail should plan for the time it takes a check to arrive.

Myth 5: ‘Where’s My Refund?’ must be wrong because a refund amount is less than expected

There are several factors that could cause a tax refund to be larger or smaller than expected. Situations that could decrease a refund include:

• The taxpayer made math errors or mistakes

• The taxpayer owes federal taxes for a prior year

• The taxpayer owes state taxes, child support, student loans or other delinquent federal nontax obligations

• The IRS holds a portion of the refund while it reviews an item claimed on the return

The IRS will mail the taxpayer a letter of explanation if these adjustments are made. Some taxpayers may also receive a letter from the Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service if their refund was reduced to offset certain financial obligations.

DNR fears poisoning of pets and wildlife in northern Wisconsin

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:27pm

The Wis. Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking the public’s help in solving several cases involving the poisoning deaths of domestic dogs and wildlife since December.

Dog deaths have occurred in Bayfield, Marinette and Florence County; however, it is unknown if other counties could be involved. In addition to the unfortunate poisoning of these family pets, investigators also found dead coyotes, weasels, raccoons and one wolf that they suspect also were poisoned. Lab tests are underway to confirm the cause of death in these wildlife cases.

The deaths occurred on public properties in these counties managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Goodman Timber Company.

Investigators say the poison was found on the ground in rural areas and subsequently was ingested by the dogs. Each dog died in less than 30 minutes after ingestion. People walking their pets are recommended to keep them on leashes to restrict their movements off roadways and into possible contact with any possible poison.

Anyone with information or a tip, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should contact the WDNR Violation Hotline. Confidentially report by calling or texting: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847- 9367. Report online: https://dnrx.wisconsin.gov/rav/.

The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

Public Record

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:26pm

Shawano Police Department

April 29

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

Disturbances — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 800 block of South Prospect Street, a disturbance in the 300 block of East Maurer Street and a disorderly person at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Memorial Park, 901 S. Lincoln St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 29

Deputies logged 31 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A disturbance was reported in the 300 block of North Main Street in Shawano.

Theft — Ho-Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg, reported an attempted theft after discovering a dollar bill taped to a fishing line.

Not guilty plea entered in reckless homicide case

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:19pm
Fatal crash took life of Appleton woman 2 years agoBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

A Shawano man charged with reckless homicide in the death of a 41-year-old Appleton woman in a crash two years ago entered a plea of not guilty to reckless homicide and two counts of reckless injury.

Brian J. Krueger, 33, is accused of recklessly causing the death of Naomi Gregurich in a two-vehicle crash on state Highway 29 near the intersection of Rangeline Road in the town of Herman on June 29, 2017.

He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference July 17.

Krueger was the driver of a 2013 Ford Focus that was traveling east on Highway 29, when he lost control of the vehicle, crossed the median, and struck a westbound 2008 Saturn being driven by Gregurich.

Krueger’s vehicle was a delivery vehicle for the Bumper to Bumper auto parts store in Shawano, according to the sheriff’s report.

Krueger and two juveniles that had been traveling with Gregurich were treated for non-life threatening injuries. However, according to the criminal complaint, the juveniles still require treatment for those injuries.

According to the complaint, Krueger had epilepsy and suffered a seizure while driving.

The complaint states Krueger had had several recent seizures — including one just the night before — and alleges he was aware that he was required to stop driving.

Krueger also had methadone in his bloodstream at the time of the crash.

“It is not clear if the loss of control of the vehicle Brian Krueger was driving was due to a seizure, the concentration of methadone in his system, or a combination of both,” the complaint states. “What is clear is that Brian Krueger ingested a narcotic drug, and knew that operating a vehicle after having recent seizures was wrong and that his reckless behavior caused a crash that took the life of Naomi Gregurich, and injured her two sons.”

The complaint also states Krueger’s license had been cancelled in November 2016.

Krueger could face a maximum 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of second-degree reckless homicide.

He is also charged with two counts of second-degree reckless injury, each of which carries a maximum 12½ years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Shawano Pathways holds listening sessions

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:18pm
Bicycling concerns include lighting, sidewalksBy: 

Leader Staff

Shawano Pathways held the first of three listening sessions aimed at seeking ways to make the Shawano area better for bikers and walkers.

Shawano is among 10 communities across the country to receive assistance from the Safe Routes National Partnership to develop an action plan for improving biking and walking to local parks, green spaces and on trails.

Friday’s session focused on three areas of concern, including areas along the bike routes where there are no sidewalks or insufficient lighting, but primarily the difficulty of crossing East Green Bay Street on the Mountain Bay Trail.

“That’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Pathways President Nancy Brown-Koeller.

“There’s been three grants written requesting improvements on that crossing and they’ve always been denied because we haven’t had a fatality there,” Matty Mathison said.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks said there also have not been any accidents at that crossing, according to police department records.

“There hasn’t been a single incident at that location,” he said.

Mathison said that could be because many people are afraid to use the crossing.

“It would be interesting to see how many people choose not to bike or go across that because it’s so dangerous,” she said.

Shawano Pathways was selected by the Safe Routes to School National Partners to join Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities, which includes a $12,000 grant and technical assistance focused on improving safe and equitable local park access.

“It gives us a little bit of money to do a small project, but their push is to take the money and get community input and build forward to do something big, but we don’t know what that is yet,” Brown-Koeller said.

The data will also be used for Shawano Pathways’ strategic planning, and be shared with the city’s parks and recreation department and police department, the Shawano Common Council and Shawano County Board for their planning efforts.

With funding from The JPB Foundation, Safe Routes to Parks supports collaboration among community partners to ensure that children and adults can easily and safely walk, bike or roll to local parks and green spaces.

The JPB Foundation is a private foundation which directs its giving promoting opportunities for people in poverty, advancing medical research, and enabling a healthy environment.

Shawano will be among 10 communities across the country to receive training and coaching from the safe routes partnership to develop an action plan for improving active travel to local parks and green spaces and implement early actions from the plan.

Brush fire quickly contained but burns 4.65 acres

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:15pm
Fire’s cause still under investigationBy: 

Miriam Nelson [email protected]

Multiple agencies were called out last week to deal with a brush fire that burned almost five acres in the town of Birnamwood.

A call from a passer-by regarding a column of smoke came in to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department at 10:50 a.m. April 24.

Nick Hovda, a Department of Natural Resources forester from Bowler, was one of the first to arrive on the scene of a brush fire at N8211 Maplewood Road, Birnamwood.

“We had an active flame heading from the forested area to Birnamwood Road,” Hovda said. “We made the decision to unload the bulldozer to make a trench to stop the fire from spreading.”

Birnamwood Fire Department was on another call and looked to the Wittenberg Fire Department for backup. They arrived shortly after Birnamwood got there.

According to Wittenberg Fire Chief Brian Hamm, “the fire was ripping pretty good when we got here.”

Conservation Warden Jacob Cross was just down the road when the call came in about the small brush fire that got out of control. He was there to provide public safety if needed. No structures were burned, just wildland, according to Cross.

Deputy Nathan Thornborrow said, “Their (multiple agencies’) response was extremely quick and efficient.”

According to Hovda, 4.65 acres burned. He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Public Record

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:11pm

Shawano Police Department

April 28

Police logged 28 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 28-year-old Keshena man was arrested for an outstanding warrant at Lakeland Road and Richmond Street.

Disturbance — A 44-year-old Gillett woman was arrested for battery/domestic violence and disorderly conduct/domestic violence after a domestic disturbance in the 500 block of River Heights.

Drug Offense — A 37-year-old Shawano man was arrested for bail jumping and an 18-year-old Shawano man was arrested for possession of marijuana and an outstanding warrant.

April 27

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Curfew — Police responded to a curfew violation at Prospect and Richmond streets.

Trespass — Police responded to trespassing complaints in the 200 block of East Center Street and 1500 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the Shawano County Jail, 405 N. Main St.

April 26

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 46-year-old Greenville man was arrested for an outstanding warrant at County Road B and Union Street.

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Fraud — Police investigated a telephone scam complaint in the 500 block of West Third Street.

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

April 25

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

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

Assault — Police investigated an assault complaint reported at ThedaCare Medical Center, 100 County Road B.

Elder Abuse — An elder abuse complaint was under investigation.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 800 block of West Picnic Street.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint at Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Quality Inn and Suites, 104 N. Airport Drive.

OWI — A 31-year-old Shawano woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated and cited for operating after suspension in the 100 block of South Washington Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 28

Deputies logged 40 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 41-year-old Coleman man was arrested for second-office operating while intoxicated and cited for possession of marijuana on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Swan Acre Drive in the town of Washington.

April 27

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 23-year-old Suring woman was arrested on a warrant and cited for possession of paraphernalia on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint at the Novitiate, W9711 Butternut Road in the town of Herman.

Disturbance — A 49-year-old Shawano man was arrested for disorderly conduct after a domestic disturbance on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

April 26

Deputies logged 45 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Authorities investigated a telephone scam complaint on state Highway 156 in the town of Navarino.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Schabel Street in Gresham.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at Wittenberg Elementary/Middle School, 300 S. Prouty St. in Wittenberg.

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized on Navarino Road in the town of Navarino.

Warrant — A 43-year-old Shawano woman was arrested on a probation and parole warrant on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on County Road MMM in the town of Richmond.

Accidents — Authorities responded to an injury accident on state Highway 22 in the town of Belle Plaine and logged three deer-related crashes.

April 25

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on Rollman Street in Bowler and on Mill Street in Wittenberg.

Drug Offense — A 20-year-old Clintonville woman was arrested for possession of meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, as well as bail jumping, inappropriate identification and multiple warrants.

OWI — A 37-year-old Shawano man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after a minor accident on County Road MMM in the town of Richmond.

Clintonville Police Department

April 28

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — A 20-year-old Shawano woman was cited for operating after revocation, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop at Main and 15th streets. She was also taken into custody on a warrant through Shawano County. A passenger, an 18-year-old Shawano man, was cited for possession of paraphernalia.

April 27

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on West Green Tree Road.

April 26

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Child Abuse — Physical abuse of a child was under investigation.

Warrant — A 30-year-old Bonduel man was arrested on a probation and parole warrant.

April 25

Police logged six incidents, including the following:

Fraud — A worthless check was reported on South Main Street.

Theft — A theft was reported on McKinley Avenue.

Last of drug ring suspects arrested

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 4:52pm

Authorities Thursday arrested the last of eight suspects wanted in connection with an alleged drug ring being operated out of Shawano.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department reported it received a tip that Kyle A. Collins, 30, of Shawano, was at a residence in Pulcifer.

Collins has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to deliver or distribute meth and cocaine, and one count of maintaining a drug trafficking place for his role in an alleged drug conspiracy. A warrant for his arrest was issued last week.

Seven other defendants in the case are already in custody.

When authorities arrived at the Pulcifer residence, they were greeted by a 29-year-old Suring woman who was taken into custody for an outstanding felony probation and parole warrant.

The woman advised deputies that Collins was inside the residence but hiding.

The Shawano County Special Response Team was called in to assist with the search of the residence.

Collins was located and taken into custody.

City, district ready informational blitz

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 3:00am
Survey, referendum will determine if rec center goes forwardBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

It will be a year before the public has a chance to vote on whether the Shawano School District and the city of Shawano should partner on a new joint recreational facility, provided the districtwide survey set for this fall shows enough interest to go to a referendum.

It will be a busy year for city and school district officials of getting the facts out about the project, how it came about, what’s being proposed and what it is projected to cost.

Among the biggest misconceptions, according to Parks and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks, is that city rec center staff will become school district employees.

“That’s not true,” he said. “The easiest way to think of it is, it’s the school district’s building and the city is moving in as the tenants to operate it. The staff will still get a city of Shawano paycheck.”

The estimated cost of a proposed joint city and school district recreation center was placed at anywhere from $24 million to $28 million at an informational meeting Wednesday.

The proposed facility would be located next to Shawano Community High School, on the north side of the building, and would include the school’s existing competition pool.

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

The community area would include family changing rooms.

The building is also designed to ensure the public can’t enter the high school for security reasons.

Hendricks said the new facility would open up the possibility of new programs the existing rec center can’t offer.

“We’re going to have access to facilities we don’t have now,” he said. “New programs will come forward that don’t exist right now because we don’t have the facilities for them.”

The project originated with the school district looking at options for addressing the high school’s weight room and wrestling area, which has limited space and has seen an increase in usage.

School officials also said corners cut when the high school was built some 20 years ago also prevented it from being the community space that was envisioned.

School Board President Michael Sleeper said at Wednesday’s informational meeting that some people ended up feeling they had been “sold a bill of goods” when they voted to approve the project.

The district reached out to the city officials to see what needs they might have, and whether there was interest in some sort of partnership.

As it happens, the city had been grappling with the limitations of its existing recreational center and had even purchased land behind the center for possible future expansion.

“It was getting to the point that the city was going to have to start taking a look at what happens to that building in the future,” Mayor Ed Whealon said. “Can we afford to build a brand new rec center to meet the needs people are looking for in this community?”

Eventually a steering committee was formed that included 26 members who researched and visited other recreational facilities.

The conceptual design for the new center is the result of that work.

“A lot of the things you see in there are things that the community is looking for,” Whealon said.

District Superintendent Gary Cumberland said the district and the community are losing residents because of the limitations of the existing facilities.

“Residents are leaving here and going other places because we don’t have things for them,” he said.

Whealon said the idea of partnering with the school district is not new, as there is already collaboration going on with ball diamonds and other resources.

“This is a rare opportunities for the city and school district to combine for a greater partnership that benefits everybody,” he said.

One unresolved question is what the city will do with its existing recreational center.

City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said that if the project goes forward the city will have to see whether there is interest in the existing building or the land.

“We have a year and a half to go out and seek opportunities for the best use of the facility,” he said.

A draft agreement between the city and school district laying out each entity’s responsibilities if the project moves forward will be on the Common Council’s May 8 agenda.

“At this point we need to commit to each other that if this goes, we’re in it together,” Sheppard said. “We need to solidify the partnership.”

The district will put out a survey this fall to gauge community response.

That survey will determine whether the project goes to a referendum in April 2020.

School district would borrow money for rec center

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:59am
By: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

The Shawano School District would borrow the money needed to construct a proposed jont recreation center between it and the city of Shawano, and that debt would be solely be on the school district’s tax levy, not the city’s, though city residents are of course part of the district.

According to district business manager Louise Fischer, the tax impact of taking on debt for the project would be 90 cents per $1,000 of equalized valuation at the high end, depending on which scenario the district goes with in terms of borrowing.

The 90 cents per $1,000, or $90 on a $100,000 home, assumes borrowing of $30 million at a 5 percent interest rate and repayment of the debt over 20 years.

Officials are hoping the cost comes in less than that after the conceptual design is fine-tuned and bids are put out.

Fischer said some of the district’s existing debt will be retired or refinanced in coming years to soften the burden of the new borrowing. Existing debt should be cut by two-thirds by 2026 and eliminated entirely 2032, according to the district’s figures.

City residents would actually see a decrease in the city’s portion of the tax bill if the project goes forward.

However, the increase in the school district’s levy due to debt and a portion of the operational costs will increase the total tax bill for city residents by about 59 cents per $1,000, or about $59 on a $100,000 home.

The calculations outline a number of trade-offs between the city’s and school district’s budgets.

The city currently spends $350,000 a year operating its existing recreational facility.

That amount would go up, given that the city would be operating a larger facility catering to the entire school district, to about $450,000 a year.

City Park and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks said the larger facility will mean more janitorial expenses, along with higher utility costs, more lifeguards and a possible increase in the hours worked by part-time staff.

However, because the new facility would be a community center and would encompass the district’s community education programs, some of those costs will be paid for through the district’s Fund 80, or that portion of the tax levy set aside for community education.

The district currently levies $185,000 for Fund 80, of which $35,000 goes to district pool classes and $150,000 for community education.

Public Record

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:58am

Shawano Police Department

April 24

Police logged 20 incidents, including the following:

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 900 block of East Elizabeth Street.

Pornography — Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St., reported that a pornographic video was being shared among some of the students.

OAR — A 29-year-old woman was cited for operating after revocation at Green Bay and Sawyer streets.

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

Theft — An employee theft was reported at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 24

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A 39-year-old Gresham man was arrested on a warrant after authorities responded to a disturbance on Herman Street in the town of Herman.

Warrant — A 55-year-old Bonduel woman was arrested on a warrant on Mills Street in Bonduel.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on River Bank Road in the town of Pella.

Clintonville Police Department

April 24

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Domestic Abuse — Domestic abuse was reported on North Main Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on North Main Street and at Olen Park.

Theft — A theft was reported on West Green Tree Road.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on North 12th Street.

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