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School board districts might shift

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:31am
Reapportioning plan moves forwardBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]

Shawano School Board membership would be reapportioned under a plan designed to improve representation in the school district’s far western region.

An ad hoc group has recommended a strategy to account for an inability to attract any candidate to serve on the school board from the town of Herman.

Under the reapportionment plan, Herman would be combined with the towns of Richmond and Pella, with one board member representing all three communities.

Members of the ad hoc group examined population statistics throughout the school district and said they wanted to achieve a more balanced alignment among the nine school board seats.

“What we’re trying to do here is have fair representation for everybody,” said board member Derek Johnson, a member of the ad hoc group.

Although there had been some discussion about downsizing the school board to seven members or perhaps five, members of the ad hoc group agreed to maintain the current nine-member structure because it allows for robust involvement by many board committees.

“It’s made things run more efficiently,” board member Beth McFarlane said.

The ad hoc group met Monday to formulate a reapportionment plan that now will be considered by the full school board. If the board agrees, the plan would be submitted to the general public at a special district-wide annual meeting, possibly in October.

To implement changes before the 2017 school board elections, state law requires that an updated district apportionment be established by November.

The current school board includes four representatives from the city of Shawano, two from the combined towns of Wescott and Washington, one from the combined towns of Waukechon, Navarino, Belle Plaine and Pella, one from the town of Richmond, and one from the town of Herman.

The seat in Herman — where three school districts represent different sections of town — is vacant and has failed to attract any candidates at election time in recent years. By combining that area with Richmond and Pella, officials theorize that more candidates will come forward.

Population statistics show that only 776 Herman residents live in the Shawano School District, while the combined population of the three towns together would be 3,505.

The school district overall has a population of about 42,000 people.

The reapportionment plan also calls for creating one at-large school board representative who could be elected from anywhere in the district, and for staggering election cycles to promote higher voter turnout.

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Stellato reflects on serving farm families

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:30am
Retiring after 24 years with UW-ExtensionBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Contributed Photo Joe Stellato, right, assists 4-H club member Jacob Strassburg with a project during the UW-Extension’s special winter 4-H event known as Super Saturday.

Joe Stellato’s impact on Shawano County agriculture over the past two decades can be measured one family at a time.

From his post at the University of Wisconsin-Extension office, Stellato has helped farmers and farm children alike to engage in the agriculture experience and to make the most of it.

After 24 years of service in Shawano County, Stellato, 60, has retired as leader of the UW-Extension office — a tough decision for a dedicated public servant.

“You think about it and think about it and think about it,” he said. “I just felt it was time. I was ready to move on to some other things.”

As Stellato hands the reins to other staff members at UW-Extension, families and others throughout the county are applauding the progress he made in improving services for the agricultural community.

Kathy Conto, leader of the County Line 4-H Club, recalled when she was struggling to complete a required financial report for her club. Stellato not only took time to show her how to prepare the report, but he also gave her other tips on managing the club.

“Joe was just an easy guy to work with,” she said. “He is down-to-earth.”

A native of Kenosha, Stellato began his career in the UW-Extension in Sawyer County and later moved to Iowa County and Waukesha County before settling in Shawano County in 1992.

Initially hired here as crops and soils agent, he spearheaded a revival of the Shawano County Forage Council, a coalition of crop producers that now meets regularly to keep area farmers on the cutting edge of best practices in the production of corn, alfalfa and other crops.

Stellato also worked closely with many dairy farmers and helped them to modernize their operations, in some cases expanding into much larger businesses.

Shawano County Supervisor Robert Krause, himself a farmer, remembers interacting with Stellato years before getting involved in county government and becoming chairman of the County Board agriculture committee. Stellato was always a strong and positive advocate for those working to make a living in agriculture, Krause said.

“He kept things moving forward,” Krause said.

Stellato also served as head of the local UW-Extension office — a role that the entire staff fills each year by electing a colleague they entrust to administer things. It was a position that Stellato accepted and won every year starting in 1996.

His full-time role at UW-Extension changed somewhat in 2002 when he became the agent overseeing 4-H youth development, giving him responsibilities for promoting and assisting 4-H clubs countywide.

Although the number of clubs declined in the years that followed, overall membership in 4-H remained strong, currently at about 600 kids.

Under Stellato’s leadership, an annual summer camp for 4-H members blossomed into a major event after he rescheduled it for a time when more families could take advantage. And when some families struggled to pay the $90 cost of the camp, he helped create a scholarship fund to make sure disadvantaged kids were not left out.

“That was real satisfying,” he said.

Demonstrating a commitment to youth off the farm, Stellato promoted the 2008 establishment of a skateboarding park in Shawano where young skaters could enjoy themselves without getting in the way of pedestrians or others. More recently, Stellato has joined an ongoing drive to create a new Boys & Girls Club in the Shawano area.

Krause said Stellato embraced his role at UW-Extension and dedicated himself to serving young people by asserting himself in the community.

“He lived for his job,” Krause said. “There were a lot of late nights and a lot of meetings, and Joe was always there.”

Since Stellato retired, effective Aug. 3, the UW-Extension has not hired a new 4-H coordinator, although the role of office leader has been split between co-leaders Jamie Patton and Jay Moynihan. State budget cuts looming within the UW system could force changes later in the overall operation — a circumstance that Stellato says factored into his retirement decision almost not at all.

Stellato said he looks forward to tackling some overdue home-improvement projects and then possibly looking for ways to volunteer in the community. He and his wife, Sue Stellato, plan to remain in Shawano County and spend their retirement years among the farm families and others they admire here.

“We really, really have a lot of great people in the ag community,” he said. “It’s just been a pleasure to work with everybody.”

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Nueske’s debuts new brat

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:27am

Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats has a new specialty sausage product available for purchase.

The newest item offered by the Nueske smokehouse is an applewood smoked natural casing jalapeño bacon cheddar bratwurst. This pure pork bratwurst is smoked over sweet applewood and blended with chunks of real Wisconsin cheddar cheese, pieces of Nueske’s own highly acclaimed applewood smoked bacon and flecks of jalapeño peppers.

The brats are available in two package sizes: a retail package size of 1 pound and a foodservice package size of 5 1/2 pounds. Each pound contains approximately five bratwurst links.

Nueske’s smoked brats are precooked and ready to warm and serve.

“We’ve been working diligently to get this recipe exactly where we want it, and we’re really pleased with the end result,” said Tanya Nueske, CEO of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats. “These brats are a perfectly rich balance of cheese, bacon, smoke and heat, and we know our customers will enjoy them as much as we do.”

Nueske’s jalapeño bacon cheddar bratwurst is available to chefs, retailers and home cooks.

The latest addition to Nueske’s specialty bratwurst line-up is also available for home delivery from Nueske’s ecommerce site, www.nueskes.com.

Nueske’s, a third-generation family owned and operated smokehouse located in Wittenberg, is best known for its rich, flavorful applewood smoked bacon and also creates a variety of smoked hams, poultry, sausages and other smoked meats.

The company has been in business since 1933 and remains family owned and operated.

For information, contact Megan Dorsch, marketing manager, at Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats, 715-253-4006 or [email protected]

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Groundbreaking set for Ho-Chunk expansion

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:26am

Ho-Chunk Gaming in Wittenberg will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 21 for a major expansion project.

The ceremony will start at 1 p.m. under a tent outside of the casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45.

The Wittenberg site is one of three Ho-Chunk Nation casinos slated for major renovations and expansion as part of a $153 million project dubbed “Project Forward.”

The Wittenberg project includes a a new 86-room hotel, 84-seat restaurant and bar, expanded gaming floor, nonsmoking casino area and high-limit area. The plans include an additional 272 slot machines and 10 new table games.

The ceremony will include Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg Executive Manager Fletcher Collins, the Lake Delton singers and a few other speakers.

The other casinos scheduled for improvements are in Wisconsin Dells and Black River Falls.

The Wisconsin Dells project includes a new hotel main entrance and lobby, hotel bar, poker room and off-track betting area. The casino floor layout will be redesigned and the nonsmoking casino area expanded. The bingo area will be renovated, and the buffet space will be renovated and expanded.

Work in Black River Falls includes a new 120-room hotel with new entry, expanded and redesigned casino floor with an additional 200 slots, high-limit gaming, remodeled buffet with an additional 36 seats and a new parking lot.

As a result of the expansions, 100 new jobs will be added to the existing 3,400-employee Ho-Chunk Nation workforce.

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Public Record

Wed, 09/14/2016 - 7:24am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 12

Police logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Shoplifting — Pick ‘n Save, 190 Woodlawn Drive, reported a shoplifting incident.

Theft — Building supplies were reported stolen in the 100 block of North Andrews Street.

Arrest — A 32-year-old woman was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported a female shoplifter had left the store.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint on Jesse Court.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 100 block of Prairie Street.

Sept. 11

Police logged 19 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 100 block of South Smalley Street.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen in the 800 block of West Picnic Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Disturbance — Police investigated a report of a domestic disturbance in the 600 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a report of a fight in progress in the 1400 block of East Green Bay Street.

Sept. 10

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Cleveland and Elizabeth streets.

Assault — Police investigated a reported assault in the 200 block of East Center Street.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of South River Street.

Sept. 9

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 200 block of East Maurer Street.

Theft — Medication was reported stolen in the 500 block of Prospect Circle.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 400 block of South Main Street.

Disorderly — A disorderly conduct complaint was reported at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Arrest — A 26-year-old woman was taken into custody on a probation hold at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 600 block of West Fifth Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 11

Deputies logged 34 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at the Ho Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45.

OAR — A 33-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on Alpine Drive in Shawano.

OAR — A 36-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant and cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Burglary — An attempted burglary was reported on Fourth Street in Mattoon.

Theft — A theft from a vehicle was reported on Grand Street in Tigerton.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Now Road in the town of Aniwa.

Sept. 11

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — Authorities responded to a reported burglary on Maders Circle in the town of Wescott.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Hummingbird Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Hit and Run — Authorities responded to a property damage hit-and-run on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Fire — Authorities responded to an attic fire at a residence on County Road M in the town of Belle Plaine.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on River Heights in Shawano.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on First Street in Aniwa.

Fire — Authorities responded to a residential fire on Weasel Dam Road in the town of Seneca.

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

Sept. 10

Deputies logged 36 incidents, including the following:

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

Theft — A theft from a vehicle was reported on Spruce Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — A campaign sign was reported stolen on Main Street in Gresham.

OWI — A 22-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Cherry Street in Wittenberg.

OWI — A 20-year-old Shawano woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated after an accident on County Road CC in the town of Waukechon.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on state Highway 29 in the town of Maple Grove.

Sept. 9

Deputies logged 44 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 23-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant on U.S. Highway 45 in Wittenberg.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Highway 153 in the town of Wittenberg.

Disorderly Conduct — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Spaulding Street in Tigerton.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Park Street in the town of Angelica.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 12

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A theft from a vehicle was reported on Paulina Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on South Main Street.

Burglary — Police investigated a reported burglary on North 12th Street.

Sept. 11

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — A suspicious incident was checked on Flora Way.

Assault — Two sexual assault of a child complaints were under investigation.

Sept. 10

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile runaway complaint on Harriet Street.

Burglary — A reported burglary on Felshow Street was under investigation.

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City, police union ratify new contract

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:30am
Officers to work 12-hour shiftsBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Shawano police officers have a new contract, nine months after the last one expired, after differences were resolved over plans for 12-hour work shifts.

Patrol officers will go to 12-hour shifts under the new contract, something the city thought had been agreed to back in January, according to City Administrator Brian Knapp.

Concerns arose about how those shifts would be scheduled, and whether the contract was specifying officer hours or they would be left to the discretion of the police chief.

“There was some language that became unacceptable,” Knapp said, ”so we revisited the letter of agreement.”

Knapp said subsequent negotiations produced a “fair exchange,” in which both the city and the Shawano Professional Police Association moved on some of their demands.

“They have a few more protections than were in our original language and we have a little more flexibility,” Knapp said.

Union officers have been working under the terms of the expired contract since the beginning of the year.

Under the existing schedule, officers work 7 1/2-hour shifts for six days in a row before getting three days off. As a result, they end up getting a weekend off only once every five or six weeks.

Under the 12-hour shifts, officers would work two days in a row, followed by two days off, then three days on and two days off, followed by two days on and three days off.

The department’s three police lieutenants went to that schedule in May in spite of the uncertainty over the union schedule.

At a January meeting, when the original agreement with the police union was proposed, Knapp told the Common Council that the current work schedule was a problem for many of the officers.

“It has been a source of frustration and concern by many of the department staff,” he said. “For many of our younger and newer employees, the current schedule interferes with family life considerably.”

Under the 12-hour schedule, “they’ll never work more than three days in a row and have every other weekend off,” Knapp said.

Officers will get a 2 percent pay increase retroactive to the start of the year under the new contract, which expires in January 2018.

The Common Council approved the new contract Wednesday.

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Momentum builds to slow Hwy. 22 traffic

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:28am
Towns back new speed restrictionsBy: 

Scott Williams [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams A traffic-control device measures passing vehicle speeds Friday for motorists heading east on state Highway 22 east of Shawano in the town of Wescott.

Traffic along the southern shore of Shawano Lake would be slowed considerably under a proposal endorsed by local officials to improve safety on state Highway 22 between Shawano and Cecil.

Officials in the towns of Washington and Wescott are supporting a push by residents to reduce the speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 45 mph, and perhaps down to 35 mph in some areas.

The plan also calls for establishing no-passing zones to eliminate safety hazards that have made some residents fearful of pulling out of their own driveways.

“It’s a nightmare,” resident Carol Pampel said. “The traffic is getting worse all the time. It’s just insane.”

With a petition signed this summer by about 100 property owners along Highway 22, supporters of the traffic crackdown have taken their plea to both the Washington and Wescott town boards.

In both cases, town board members voted to support seeking improved safety measures from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over state highways.

Tony Kemnitz, traffic safety engineer for the state, said he encouraged concerned residents to seek backing from their local elected leaders. If the town governments want the state to take action, Kemnitz said, the state will conduct a study of the situation.

“We’ll move forward,” he said.

Kemnitz said the study would take into account traffic speeds, crash history, land uses and other factors on the two-lane highway between Shawano and Cecil. Reducing a speed limit as much as 20 mph — from 55 mph to 35 mph — is atypical, but possibly not unprecedented, he said.

“It’s fairly uncommon,” he said. “Not to say that it hasn’t happened.”

Residents leading the push for traffic safety improvements also hope for support from Shawano County officials.

Among the problems they cite because of traffic moving 55 mph along Highway 22 are difficulty for motorists to turn safely onto the highway or off the highway, as well as hazards for pedestrians crossing the road to reach mailboxes, and gravel and other debris flying up from the road.

With vehicles allowed to pass on several portions of the two-lane road, some residents also have experienced near collisions as they have tried to pull into traffic, not knowing there was no safe lane to enter.

“I think it’s quite dangerous,” said Kris Moderson, another resident active in the petition drive.

The Washington Town Board endorsed the group’s proposal last month, and the Wescott Town Board added its support earlier this week.

Residents say they have been concerned about Highway 22 traffic for years, but the problem has gotten worse lately. What was once a quiet country road, they say, has become a busy thoroughfare where accidents have occurred already — and more could follow.

“It’s only a matter of time,” resident Jill Cone said. “And I hope it’s not me or someone I know.”

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City eyes buying R&R Recycling property

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:25am
Owner expected to respond next weekBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

The city is looking to purchase a recycling property near downtown Shawano in an exchange that would allow the business to move into the industrial park, but the business owner said Friday he hasn’t yet made up his mind on the offer.

Rich Belongia, owner of R&R Recycling, 123 E. Elizabeth St., said he was still considering the offer and would be discussing it with an attorney. He said he expected to have an answer by the middle of next week.

Belongia, who unsuccessfully ran for Shawano mayor during the primary race earlier this year, has been at odds with the city for several years over fencing issues at the property.

City codes require recyclable materials to be kept out of sight, either stored in a building or fenced off from public view.

City officials say that was one of the conditions imposed when Belongia was granted a conditional use permit.

Belongia said he was given contradictory information regarding fencing requirements that changed after Building Inspector Brian Bunke took over the job from former inspector Mike Miller.

City Administrator Brian Knapp said nothing changed between the two administrations. He said the rule was always that recyclables needed to be kept out of sight, and if they couldn’t be stored in the building, a fence was required.

Knapp said Belongia’s conditional use permit was granted two or three years ago when the property was in a general industrial zoning district.

The city has since updated its zoning code and the property is now in what is intended to be a “redevelopment district,” Knapp said.

He said a use for the property could be found that is “more appropriate for the downtown area.”

Knapp said the city’s Industrial and Commercial Development Committee felt that it would be “good to remove that activity from that area.”

One possibility being considered is additional parking for Memorial Park.

The city is offering to purchase the property for $40,000 — a “relocation incentive” that would be funded through the city’s Tax Incremental Finance district, Knapp said.

In exchange, R&R Recycling would be given a parcel of up to three acres in the industrial park at no cost, and would put up a facility that would constitute roughly $500,000 in improvements to the site.

Belongia said that one of the issues to be considered is that the recycling operation would be out of business for at least six months while the new facility was being built.

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Public Record

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:22am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 8

Police logged 40 incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident in the 100 block of South Main Street.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in the 100 block of North Lafayette Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 900 block of South Lincoln Street.

OWI — A 31-year-old Shawano woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated and possession of paraphernalia after a traffic stop at Lincoln and Schurz streets.

Disturbance — Police responded to a verbal dispute in the 400 block of South Weed Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 8

Deputies logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on County Road Q in the town of Wittenberg.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at the Ho-Chunk Casino, N7198 Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on state Highway 160 in the town of Angelica.

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

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Vinal Street in Wittenberg.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 8

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A theft was reported in W.A. Olen Park.

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

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported at 12th and Anne streets.

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Shawano wants to work with townships on development plan

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:16am
Focus is on County B, Hwy. 29 corridorBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The city of Shawano plans to work with surrounding townships on a border plan that could influence what kind of future development takes place around the city’s edges.

The Shawano Common Council on Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing city staff and the mayor to begin negotiations on a cooperative plan aimed at “guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of the territory covered by the plan.”

The plan is also intended to follow the future development goals already established in each municipality’s comprehensive plan.

Townships involved are Wescott, Waukechon, Belle Plaine and Richmond.

City Administrator Brian Knapp said discussions arose among city officials, particularly on the industrial and commercial development committee, about future growth in the corridor between County Road B and state Highway 29.

“It seemed that was the area most likely to fire off in terms of development in the future,” he said. “How do we control that?”

Officials were concerned about the impacts of that area becoming home to big box and large retail stores, Knapp said.

“How would the impacts of that type of development in that area affect our downtown and East Green Bay Street businesses?” he said.

“We realize we don’t have any authority or any control over that area,” Knapp said, “so we felt it was necessary to start discussions with our neighbors to talk about how to control what we believe will be the eventual development of that area.”

Knapp said informal discussions have been going on for nearly a year, as the city sought to overcome some initial skepticism.

“There was a concern that the city was making a land grab; that we were only interested in this as far as expanding our footprint as large as possible,” Knapp said. “But hopefully I think we’ve got a relationship now that’s fairly trusting.”

Knapp said the intent is to come up with a plan beneficial to all parties.

“It’s an attempt to look at the concerns of the city, city residents and city business interests and how we integrate our interests with those of the adjoining townships,” he said.

“Obviously, the townships want to retain as much of a footprint as they can and they want tax base growth in their communities as well,” Knapp said. “There are going to be gives-and-takes.”

The next step will be to move to formal discussions and begin “putting pen to paper” to draft a plan, which will eventually be reviewed by the Shawano Plan Commission and City Council, as well as by the townships.

The Shawano County Planning Department will facilitate those meetings, which will be noticed and open to the public.

Knapp said city staff would also be returning to the plan commission and council for guidance as those talks continue.

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Amish couples open new Bonduel store

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:15am
‘Bent-and-dent’ concept is backBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Located at W4519 Porter Road in the town of Hartland, Da Ess Sach Blatz opened Sept. 2 after more than a year of planning and construction by two Amish families.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Tim Wright, of Shawano, examines some of the bargains available on the shelves of Da Ess Sach Blatz, a new Amish discount store west of Bonduel.

Amish ingenuity and hard work have brought a new shopping experience to Shawano County for consumers who are looking for something a little different.

Da Ess Sach Blatz, which translates as “The Food Place,” offers shoppers near Bonduel deep discounts on a wide variety of merchandise that is slightly imperfect.

Known as a bent-and-dent store, the retail outlet at W4519 Porter Road features groceries and other products that have minor packaging damage or are near the end of their shelf life.

For consumers who appreciate a good bargain, Da Ess Sach Blatz is a welcome option for filling their shopping carts without emptying their wallets.

“They’ve got a lot of everything,” said Sue Wright, of Shawano, who visited the store Thursday with her husband, Tim.

The store, which opened Sept. 2, is owned and operated by two Amish couples, Eli and Martha Mullet and Floyd and Elvesta Schmucker, both of whom have farms not far away. Martha and Elvesta are sisters.

Martha Mullet said the two couples both wanted to supplement their household incomes, and both liked the idea of creating a place where their older children could work close to home. The two families work side by side to keep the store clean and organized, stock the shelves and greet customers.

The idea for Da Ess Sach Blatz hatched when a similar retail outlet operated by another local Amish family closed about two years ago.

“We had this in our minds,” Mullet said. “A lot of their customers were waiting for us to do this.”

Using a section of the Schmucker farm with frontage along Porter Road in the town of Hartland, the two families spent more than a year developing their plans and erecting the new building.

Da Ess Sach Blatz joins several other Amish businesses in the Bonduel area, which is home to more than 300 people living the traditional, religious Amish lifestyle.

Ken Natzke, who takes visitors on Amish tours in the area, said the Amish farms, shops and other businesses are popular spots because shoppers appreciate the friendly atmosphere and good customer service. Amish merchants are astute and organized, Natzke said.

“They’re very good business people,” he said.

For tips on getting started, the operators of Da Ess Sach Blatz reached out to friends who run a bent-and-dent store in Kentucky. They also connected with distributors who are able to keep the store supplied with inventories of groceries, housewares, toiletries, office supplies and more.

The store delights customers with such bargains as cat food for 25 cents a can, breakfast cereal for $1.50 a box, laundry detergent for $3.75 a bottle and disposable cameras for $4.50 each.

Carl and Phyllis Schucknecht traveled about 20 miles from Sugar Bush to check out the new place.

Carl Schucknecht said the couple appreciates Amish-owned businesses because, he said, Amish people generally seem honest and dedicated to quality service. The couple filled up their shopping cart at Da Ess Sach Blatz with groceries and then some.

“They have a great selection,” Carl said. “It’s a good buy, and it’s something you wouldn’t have thought about buying.”

Mullet said she and her partners have high hopes for establishing a place that will serve thrifty Shawano County shoppers for many years to come.

Based on the strong response so far, she said, the formula of deep discounts on quality merchandise seems to have found an enthusiastic audience.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “People are just getting a fit about our prices. So I guess it’s OK.”

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Officers honored for life-saving efforts

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:12am
Duo helped restore man’s heartbeatBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Contributed Photo Shawano police officers Brent Dilge, left, and Shane Stange were honored Wednesday at City Hall for their life-saving efforts during a medical emergency call in July.

Two Shawano police officers were honored by the city Wednesday for their life-saving efforts during an emergency rescue call in July.

Officers Shane Stange and Brent Dilge responded July 28 to a call involving a man who had stopped breathing and was having a heart attack, Police Chief Mark Kohl said.

Shawano Ambulance Service was also on its way to the scene, but, Kohl said, the department has a policy of also sending officers out on all emergency calls, and especially medical calls.

“We think it’s very valuable for the victims and also the families to at least see a uniform there, to give them aid, do CPR, and give any type of care and consideration until the real professionals in the medical field — Shawano Ambulance and their EMTs and paramedics — show up to give their professional care as well,” Kohl said.

Upon arrival, Stange and Dilge started CPR and were able to restore a heartbeat and sustain it until Shawano Ambulance personnel arrived.

“Because of the collaboration of our officers and their paramedics they were able to maintain that heartbeat on that person, at least for a little while,” Kohl said. “Unfortunately, that person passed from heart complications about a week later.”

However, Kohl said, “it gave the family some time for closure and some reflection during that period.”

The officers were presented with plaques and letters of recommendation from the city, along with something new being offered by the Police Department.

“The Shawano Police Department has an award program that a lot of people don’t know we have,” Kohl said. “It’s a new policy.”

The policy awards officers who are given special recognition a commendation ribbon that can be worn on their uniforms.

“I feel it’s very important to let our officers know their hard work and dedication is recognized,” Kohl said.

The honors were handed out during Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.

Common Council President Sandy Steinke, filling in for Mayor Jeanne Cronce, presented the letters of recognition.

“I think the Police Department is doing a great job in taking care of our community and saving lives and keeping us safe,” she said.

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Public Record

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:05am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 7

Police logged 40 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A fence was reported knocked down in the 100 block of South Hamlin Street

Theft — Police responded to a theft complaint at Hardee’s, 1120 E. Green Bay St.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Fraud — Police investigated a scam complaint in the 300 block of Madison Way.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle accident with minor injuries at Green Bay Street and Eberlein Park Drive. An 18-year-old Keshena woman was cited for driving while suspended, inattentive driving and no insurance.

Theft — License plates were reported stolen. It was not clear where the theft might have taken place.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 100 block of West Lieg Avenue.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 100 block of Acorn Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 7

Deputies logged 47 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint on Meisner Road in the town of Fairbanks.

Disturbance — A 48-year-old Tigerton man was arrested on a warrant after a disturbance on Birch Street in Tigerton.

Theft — A firearm was reported stolen from a vehicle on Center Street in the town of Angelica.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Norton Road in the town of Wescott.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at the Ho-Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45, in the town of Wittenberg.

Accidents — Authorities responded to injury accidents on U.S. Highway 45 in Birnamwood and state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott. The Birnamwood accident closed traffic on Highway 45 for about an hour. Extent of the injuries was not available.

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SCHS grad launches new business

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:02am
By: 

Leader Staff

Exquisite Windows & Doors LLC is a new startup business in Shawano for residential sales and installation of windows and doors.

Justin Buntrock, 25, a 2009 graduate of Shawano Community High School, created the business earlier this year to serve homeowners throughout Northeastern Wisconsin.

Buntrock is a grandson of Dave Kroenke, founder of Dave Kroenke Family Builders in Shawano.

He has been promoting his new business at fairs, festivals and elsewhere, with a $10,000 giveaway planned in January.

Exquisite Windows & Doors also offers free estimates and financing options that include a current offer of 48 months for zero-percent interest.

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Shawano restaurant closes its doors

Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:02am
By: 

Leader Staff

Grandma Sophia’s Family Restaurant in Shawano has closed its doors and appears to be under new ownership.

Real estate records at the Shawano County Courthouse show that the property at W7389 River Bend Road was purchased for about $400,000 by Naser Shabani, of Tomahawk.

The restaurant had previously been owned by Sofie Abdiu, but records show the seller was a bank.

Shabani, who is associated with Tomahawk Family Restaurant in Tomahawk, declined to comment on the sale or any plans for the restaurant’s future.

A sign in the window indicates the business is closed temporarily.

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Council approves agreement for brewery

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 7:19am
Former Crescent theater will be renovatedBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Leader File Photo The former Crescent Pitcher Show at 220 S. Main St. in Shawano will be home to a microbrewery.

The Shawano Common Council on Wednesday approved a developer’s agreement that will turn the former Crescent Pitcher Show at 220 S. Main St. into a microbrewery, pub and entertainment venue.

The agreement with Stubborn Brothers Brewery, LLC, of Marion, provides a low-interest loan and a grant to the brewery, with the money coming from one of the city’s Tax Incremental Finance districts.

“First off, I just want to say how great Shawano is,” said Aaron Gilling, co-owner of Stubborn Brothers Brewery. “People are actually taking initiative, give grant dollars to improve their community. We don’t have enough of that.

“That’s one of the main reasons we chose to come to Shawano. You guys care. You’re trying to put effort into improving your community. It’s a huge testament to you guys.”

Gilling said the craft brewery will be a seven-barrel system, with six varieties offered.

“That will be about 250 to 300 gallons of beer,” Gilling said, adding the brewery will have the ability go up to 15 barrels.

“Our emphasis is really on a great venue of entertainment,” Gilling said. “We’re doing our best to keep the stage so can have an entertainment aspect as well.”

The 100-year-old Crescent still has its original vaudeville stage in place, though it’s been hidden for years by the Pitcher Show’s movie screen.

Gilling said an upstairs banquet hall is also planned, with food catered in.

“We have a lot of great restaurants in this area who can provide food, and help create an environment that’s fun, friendly and will be really good for everyone involved,” he said.

Gilling said it could take a year to a year and a half to complete the project.

“We’re already getting anxious to get going,” he said. “We’ll be pulling permits as soon as we can to start demolition and get things moving.”

The development agreement calls for the city to provide Stubborn Brothers with a $270,000 10-year loan at a 4 percent interest rate, and a grant of $80,000.

For its part, Stubborn Brothers is expecting to put about $547,000 in remodeling costs into the project.

It’s expected the building will have an assessed valuation of $500,000, including personal property, once the remodeling and renovation is done. If it falls below that figure, Stubborn Brothers will have to make a payment to the city in lieu of taxes to make up the difference in property tax revenue.

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Public Record

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 7:13am

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 6

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the 1200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shoplifting — Pick ‘n Save, 190 Woodlawn Drive, reported a shoplifting incident.

Fraud — Capital Credit Union, 1305 E. Green Bay St., reported that someone had placed a skimming device on the ATM machine.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 500 block of South Andrews Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 500 block of Prospect Circle.

Theft — An attempted vehicle break-in was reported in the 200 block of Teddington Lane.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 6

Deputies logged 36 incidents, including the following:

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

Theft — Items were reported stolen from a garage on Lake Crest Drive in the town of Washington.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Old D Road in the town of Aniwa.

OWI — A 49-year-old man from Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and a 52-year-old Cicero woman were both arrested for operating while intoxicated after a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg. Authorities say the two switched seats and both were behind the wheel at different times during the traffic stop.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on First Street in Aniwa.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Clintonville Police Department

Sept. 6

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A bicycle was reported stolen on Robert Street.

Warrant — A 29-year-old Clintonville man was arrested on a Wisconsin Department of Corrections warrant on Sixth Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a family disturbance on Sixth Street.

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Menominee criticize approval of mining permit

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 7:12am
Michigan project threatens tribe’s place of origin

Menominee Indian Tribe representatives issued a statement last week blasting the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to grant a mining permit near the mouth of the Menominee River.

The department on Friday announced its decision to grant the permit for Aquila Resources Inc. to develop the “Back 40 Mine,” an open-pit gold, zinc and copper mine and processing facility in Lake Township, Michigan.

The Menominee and other opponents, including several environmental groups, cite the potential catastrophic impacts to the river, local community and the tribe’s place of origin.

“The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin is sickened by MDEQ’s decision to approve the application to grant Aquila Resources Inc. authorization to move forward with their Back 40 mining project,” Tribal Chairwoman Joan Delabreau said in a statement released to the media. “The tribe has and will continue to fight to protect any land within our ancestral territory that contains the remains of our ancestors and our cultural resources.

“The federal government’s failure to uphold their trust responsibility by delegating their responsibilities to the State of Michigan under the Clean Water Act is flawed. I feel that the federal government can delegate authority under the act to the state, but can never delegate their trust responsibility.”

Menominee sacred sites and other cultural resources are contained within the footprint of the mine, in an area that will be excavated if final approval is granted, according to tribal officials.

“Our place of origin at the mouth of the Menominee River may be destroyed by any adverse impacts on the land, environment and water from mining disasters,” said David “Nahwahquaw” Grignon, tribal historic preservation officer. “The federal agencies charged with upholding trust responsibility to tribes are not living up to their responsibilities through their inaction to protect our sacred and cultural resources on the Menominee River and the site of the Back 40 Mine.”

A public hearing discussing the permit and mine operation will be held from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 6 at Stephenson High School in Stephenson, Michigan. Written comments also may be sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality until Nov. 3.

The Menominee are planning a “Remembering our Ancestors” gathering Sept. 22 in Lake Township. For information, contact Guy Reiter at 715-853-2776 or [email protected].

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Court News

Thu, 09/08/2016 - 7:12am

Fleeing an officer

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for a Stevens Point man after he failed to show up in court for his initial appearance on a felony charge of fleeing an officer.

Joseph D. Steffen, 34, allegedly sped off from a traffic stop in the town of Birnamwood on June 15, leading a sheriff’s deputy on a high-speed chase.

The chase reached speeds of 90 to 95 mph, according to the complaint, before Steffen pulled over and fled on foot.

Steffen could face a maximum 3 1/2 years in prison and $10,000 fine if convicted. He is also charged with two counts of felony bail jumping, which carries a maximum six years and $10,000 fine, and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer.

Strangulation

A Shawano man has been charged with a felony count of strangulation and suffocation in connection with a domestic altercation in the city last week.

Frank W. Thomas, 40, is accused of choking a woman during the Aug. 30 incident. He could face a maximum six years in prison and $10,000 fine if convicted.

He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of battery disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and criminal damage to property.

He is being held on a $500 cash bond and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 19.

Felony OWI

A Stone Lake man is facing a felony charge of operating while intoxicated for his alleged fifth drunken driving offense.

Charles J. Denk, 47, was pulled over in the town of Richmond Friday after a sheriff’s deputy spotted him driving erratically, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states Denk was on probation for a prior conviction and prohibited from drinking.

According to court records, Denk has four prior convictions in Brown County, including one that caused injury.

Denk could face a maximum six years in prison and $10,000 fine if found guilty. He is also charged with a misdemeanor operating a vehicle after revocation.

A $3,000 signature bond was set, but, according to court records, Denk refused to sign the form.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 19.

Child abuse

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for a Wittenberg man charged with a felony count of physical abuse of a child.

McKinley Matthew C. Mann is accused of causing bodily harm to a 14-year-old child by holding him down and striking him during an Aug. 20 incident in the town of Wittenberg.

He could face a maximum six years in prison and $10,000 fine if convicted.

Fleeing an officer

A Birnamwood man is facing a felony charge of attempting to flee an officer after a hit-and-run incident in the town of Birnamwood in June.

Joseph J. Hauke, 39, allegedly struck the car wash at the Remington Oil gas station in Birnamwood on June 24 and left the scene.

The criminal complaint alleges Hauke sped off at high speed when a deputy tried to pull him over. He then stopped after about a quarter mile and fled on foot, according to the complaint.

Hauke could face a maximum 3 1/2 years in prison and $10,000 fine if convicted. He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of operating after revocation and bail jumping.

He’s due in court for an initial appearance on Sept. 26.

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City responds to sex discrimination complaint

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 7:29am
Shawano calls Kohl comments ‘an attempt at humor’By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

A response filed by the city in a sex discrimination suit against Police Chief Mark Kohl suggests Kohl might not have the world’s most politically correct sense of humor, but denies there was anything illegal or discriminatory in his comments or his actions.

A Shawano Police Department employee filed a civil suit in federal court in June against the city of Shawano over alleged sexual discrimination by Kohl and the city’s alleged inaction in responding to the issue.

It was the second suit alleging sexual discrimination involving Kohl filed in as many months.

Laura Chartraw alleged Kohl began sexually discriminating against her in February 2015, and when she complained to him and to city officials, Kohl retaliated by creating a hostile work environment.

The city denies a hostile work environment was created.

Chartraw’s suit also alleges Kohl commented on Chartraw’s appearance, telling her she wore “hooker boots” and remarked about her lack of makeup and her hair style.

The city’s response admits that the chief, “in an attempt at humor,” said his family called boots like the ones Chartraw was wearing “hooker boots,” but denied that the comment was “unlawful or otherwise harassing.”

The response also admits that Kohl “commented plaintiff was not wearing make-up and her hair was undone on one occasion in which the chief was concerned the plaintiff may be ill.”

The city denied that the comment was unlawful or harassing.

According to Chartraw’s suit, when Chartraw complained to Kohl about the comments, he told her that is the way he talks to his wife and called Chartraw his “work wife.”

The city denied that the alleged comments “demonstrate unlawful or otherwise harassing conduct by Chief Kohl.”

The city also denied that “Chief Kohl continued to make rude comments to women,” saying Chartraw had not provided any proof of that.

On a number of Chartraw’s allegations, the city’s response claims only to “lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the matters.”

That includes Chartraw’s contention that she talked to then-Mayor Lorna Marquardt about Kohl’s harassment, but Marquardt took no action.

Chartraw had previously filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC issued a ruling in March, saying the commission was unable to conclude the city or Kohl violated the law, according to the city’s response.

The city also argued it launched its own investigation of the EEOC complaint in February.

“The city’s investigation, performed by objective, outside counsel, ultimately concluded there was no wrongdoing by Chief Kohl and characterized many of plaintiff’s complaints as communication issues,” the city said in its response.

Chartaw also alleged Kohl several times made comments to her about police officer NiCole Hoffmann, mentioning Hoffmann’s chest size, weight and eating habits. Chartraw told Kohl that his comments made her uncomfortable, but Kohl continued to make similar comments, she said.

Hoffmann filed suit against Kohl in May alleging sex discrimination for bypassing her and hiring a lower-ranked male applicant for a police officer vacancy in July 2014. The city is not named as a defendant in that case.

Kohl subsequently hired Hoffmann in January 2015, but her suit seeks damages for loss of past and future income.

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