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Ready for showtime

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 7:40am
Crews transform 40-acre fairgroundsBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Bear Erdmann washes the outside of the tent Tuesday for his Nickel Pitch game, as final preparations wind down for the Shawano County Fair.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Jennifer Bunner arranges the stuffed-animal prizes Tuesday at the Duck Pond game at the Shawano County Fair, which opens Wednesday.

Let the fun begin.

Crew members completed the final preparations Tuesday for the end-of-summer blowout of entertainment and friendly competition that is the Shawano County Fair.

The gates open at 5 p.m. Wednesday to signal the start of the county fair’s six-day exposition on the fairgrounds in Shawano.

“I love the fair,” said Bear Erdmann as he was setting up the colorful tent for his Nickel Pitch game on the midway.

Erdmann’s family has been offering fun games for Shawano County Fair crowds since he was a kid. Sweat dripped from his forehead Tuesday as he talked about how he looks forward each summer to seeing old friends and familiar faces.

“It comes once a year,” he said. “It’s like a big family reunion.”

With just hours until the first spectators arrive on the fairgrounds, vendors and volunteers were busy putting the finishing touches on carnival rides, food stands and other attractions covering the estimated 40-acre fairgrounds.

The Shawano Area Agricultural Society leases the county-owned property and organizes the county fair.

Pat Brusky, a member of the fair board, said getting the fairgrounds ready is a labor of love, from the livestock barns and performance stages to the picnic tables and even the trash barrels.

Brusky, who was using a front-end loader Tuesday to fill a sandbox for kids, said the fairgrounds is transformed in just a few days leading up to the opening ceremonies.

“The pre-fair is always fun,” he said. “It’s a little hectic, and it’s a lot of work, but it’s always fun.”

Final preparations took place Tuesday under sunny hot weather, and fair organizers were excited to hear forecasts for mild temperatures and clear skies in the days ahead.

Joe Kedrowicz, owner of Rainbow Valley Rides Inc., was supervising his crews as they assembled the Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and about 20 others rides on the midway. Everything was going smoothly, Kedrowicz said, and he was looking forward to seeing the crowds.

Shawano County Fair organizers are helpful and cooperative people who share Rainbow Valley’s simple philosophy of working hard and doing a good job, he said.

“You can’t ask for better people,” he said. “You get that down-home sort of feeling here.”

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RDA fields questions on blight plan

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 7:37am
Public hearing still to be scheduledBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Tim Ryan RDA Vice Chairman Dave Kerber, right, answers a resident’s questions during an open house on the RDA’s plan for a recently established blight elimination district Tuesday at City Hall.

Nearly three dozen people turned out Tuesday for an open house on the Shawano Redevelopment Authority’s project plan for addressing blighted properties in a recently established blight elimination district.

The RDA had expected to have a public hearing and approval of its project plan last month before questions and concerns raised by property owners sent the authority back to square one in terms of public outreach.

Tuesday’s open house was aimed at giving residents an opportunity to get their questions answered in one-on-one conversations with RDA officials.

“I hope that’s what’s happening here tonight. That was the goal,” RDA Chair Amanda Sheppard said.

Visitor reviews were mixed, however.

“I was a little disappointed in it,” Mary Bohm said. “I thought it would be a back-and-forth, give-and-take kind of meeting.”

Jim Oberstein said the open house was a good start, but “I wish we could follow up with the opportunity to ask questions back and forth. That’s what I thought tonight was going to be about.”

Judy Oberstein said she had hoped for a roundtable discussion.

“This doesn’t quite make it comfortable enough to sit and really engage in a good conversation when you’re standing like this,” she said.

Sheppard said people would get the opportunity for back-and-forth dialogue at the public hearing.

Other residents said they were pleased with the information they got Tuesday.

“We did get our questions answered and we’re very positive and we’re hoping the city can keep moving forward even though it may be a slow process,” Cindy Van Belkom said.

Sandra King came to the open house with concerns about being in the blight district even though her property is not deemed blighted.

“They assured me now that they’re just going to leave me alone,” she said.

John Baird came to learn whether there were grants or other financial assistance for improvements to his property.

“They’re more for commercial properties, but I’m in a commercial area, so they’re going to let me know if something’s available,” he said. “I would love to do a concrete driveway rather than my bricks, because every 10 or 15 years those bricks break down and they’re blighted, so it’s a never ending battle.”

Baird said she was resigned to being in the district and was taking a wait-and-see approach to how well the district is supervised.

He said property owners should be given plenty of time to make improvements.

“Don’t push. I think that’s a great strategy,” he said.

Mayor Jeanne Cronce said the questions she was hearing Tuesday were similar to those asked at recent Common Council meetings, but with an opportunity for people to get a further explanation and understanding of the RDA’s priorities and objectives.

RDA Vice Chair Dave Kerber said the public hearing would go into more detailed nuts and bolts of the project plan and identify the properties the RDA considers priorities.

“The public hearing is where we will lay out our plan of action,” he said.

The plan will then have to go to the Common Council for approval.

The public hearing date was not been set.

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Sheriff’s deputies now have body cameras

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 7:28am
Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe donated $20KBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Contributed Photo Lt. Kurt Kitzman is fitted for his new body camera by a Vievu representative Tuesday at the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

Shawano County sheriff’s deputies Tuesday were issued body cameras for the first time, something Sheriff Adam Bieber had pushed for since taking over the department in January 2015.

“This is an important tool for our deputies as it acts as an independent witness,” Bieber said.

He said the cameras would reduce incidents of citizen complaints and complaints of alleged officer “use of force.”

Body camera video can be used in court and used to interview witnesses, suspects, and complainants, which will help officers get a more complete report, Bieber said.

Bieber said the body cams will not change the way deputies do their jobs, but it does add to the equipment they will carry.

“Deputies will need to familiarize themselves with the camera and get into a habit of turning the camera on per policy,” he said.

Deputies were trained in use of the body cams Tuesday.

“Our goal when we started this process was to have the camera’s issued for the Shawano County Fair. We have met our deadline and we are excited to use the cameras,” he said.

Not all deputies are comfortable using the cameras, but, Bieber said, he believes they will get accustomed to them.

“Some feel body cameras are unnecessary. Some may be concerned that administration may use the video to ‘armchair quarterback’ deputies, which is not the case,” he said. “I know that as the deputies get familiar with the cameras they will grow to appreciate them.”

The Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe donated $20,000 to the county to pay the cost of acquiring the body cameras, which will be affixed to deputy uniforms and videotape their movements.

“I want to thank everyone involved in the process of selecting and purchasing the body cameras,” Bieber said.

The department looked at six vendors before choosing the Vievu body cameras.

“They’ve been in the business for quite some time now,” Bieber said.

“Stockbridge-Munsee Nation really moved our plans forward with their monetary grant of $20,000,” Bieber said. “We worked with the County Board to provide video storage, and Matt Heitpas from the county’s technical support really made this idea a reality. It was a team effort.”

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Public Record

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 7:25am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 29

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 300 block of West Swan Street.

Arrest — A 55-year-old man was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Theft — A backpack was reported stolen from an unlocked vehicle at Kuckuk Park, 500 Oak Drive.

Arrest — A 54-year-old man was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Theft — A firearm was reported stolen from a residence in the 700 block of South Union Street.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 29

Deputies logged 33 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A wallet reported stolen on Cattau Beach Drive was later located.

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

Theft — A campaign sign was reported stolen on Lake Drive in the town of Washington.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Pine Drive in the town of Red Springs.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 29

Police logged 14 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on Stewart Street.

Theft — A retail theft was reported on North Main Street.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run on North Main Street.

Warrant — A 34-year-old Clintonville man was arrested on a warrant on Stewart Street.

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Patient care areas at ThedaCare reopened

Wed, 08/31/2016 - 7:24am
Some areas still need repairBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Most of the patient care areas affected by a flooding issue at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano have reopened, hospital officials said Tuesday, but there are some problem areas that will need extensive work.

The stress lab, nuclear medicine, sleep study and one general radiology room will need demolition, requiring up to eight weeks for repair, the hospital said.

An old and abandoned water main feeding a fire hydrant allowed water to enter the building, causing flooding and water damage on Aug. 9.

Areas fully reopened since then include X-ray, CT, ultrasound, mammography and MRI. Surgery and outpatient treatment have also resumed.

Also, the validation process for the lab has been completed and on-site testing will resume, hospital officials said.

“As when we moved less than a year ago, everyone pulled together as one team with one purpose. From the moment the flooding began, everyone pitched in to help,” said Dorothy Erdmann, CEO of the hospital.

“The support and response both locally and from system resources is what families do for each other, including work families. We are there to help each other,” she said. “No patients were harmed, no employees were injured. Because of our staff’s hard work and long hours, we stayed open and continued to care for patients.”

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Public Record

Tue, 08/30/2016 - 11:28am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 28

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

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

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

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 1100 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Aug. 27

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Green Bay Street and Fairview Avenue.

Theft — An attempted theft from a vehicle was reported in the 400 block of East Division Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 400 block of Humphrey Circle.

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

Theft — Keys were reported stolen from a car in the 600 block of East Schurz Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 1100 block of South Cleveland Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 1400 block of Waukechon Road.

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

Aug. 26

Police logged 38 incidents, including the following:

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

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 1300 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Fraud — Police investigated a credit card fraud complaint in the 900 block of South Maiden Lane.

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

Theft — A wallet was reported stolen in the 500 block of Fairview Way.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident at Lieg Avenue and Lafayette Street.

Hit and Run — Police responded to a property damage hit-and-run in the 800 block of Prospect Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 28

Deputies logged 40 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a report of a fight in progress on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Theft — An inflatable kayak was reported stolen on Lake Crest Drive in the town of Wescott.

OAR — A 26-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 47 in the town of Hartland.

Accidents — Authorities logged two deer-related crashes and a vehicle versus eagle.

Aug. 27

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Accident/OWI — A 35-year-old Antigo man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after an injury accident on state Highway 29 in the town of Wittenberg.

Vandalism — Authorities responded to a vandalism complaint on Main Street in Birnamwood.

OAR — A 35-year-old woman was cited for operating after revocation on Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

OAR — A 40-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on River Heights in Shawano.

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

OWI — A 35-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Big Lake Road in the town of Red Springs.

Aug. 26

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — A 20-year-old man was arrested for possession of narcotics and a probation and parole violation on Freeborn Street in Cecil.

Theft — Authorities investigated a theft complaint on Airport Road in the town of Seneca.

OWI — A 54-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Genesee Street in Wittenberg.

Drug Offense — A 42-year-old Keshena man was arrested for possession of cocaine, and a 41-year-old Keshena woman was taken into custody on a warrant on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Pioneer Court in the town of Wescott.

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Animal shelter outbreak passes

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:16am
Dogs recover at humane societyBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams A dog available for adoption greets visitors Friday inside the Shawano County Humane Society, which reopened after an illness outbreak prompted the facility’s closure.

The Shawano County Humane Society is returning to normal after an illness outbreak affected many dogs and forced the facility to close its doors temporarily.

Officials said the humane society’s animal shelter suffered an outbreak of “kennel cough,” a contagious respiratory illness that spread among the facility’s canine population.

No animals were euthanized, officials said, and the shelter reopened to the public Friday after getting the kennel cough under control.

“We wanted to be on the safe side,” said Phil Zuhse, a member of the humane society’s board of directors.

The humane society, 1290 Jaycee Court, is a nonprofit organizations that maintains indoor and outdoor facilities to accommodate more than 100 cats and about 45 dogs.

Shelter Director Robin Hogan said Friday that operations were back to normal, but she referred other questions to the organization’s board of directors.

According to the humane society’s Facebook postings, the shelter announced Aug. 15 that it was “closed until further notice” because of a kennel cough outbreak. The facility stopped accepting new animals and prohibited the public from visiting the shelter.

That was later relaxed to allow public viewing of cats available for adoption. Kennel cough is contagious among dogs, but it does not affect cats.

Marvin Popp, president of the group’s board of directors, said the shelter was closed temporarily to control the illness from spreading to other dogs through visitors or otherwise.

Popp said he has seen similar illness outbreaks disrupt the facility over the years.

Staff members treated the infected dogs, cleared up the outbreak and gave the shelter an extra-thorough cleaning, Popp said.

“It’s quite a lot more work,” he said. “I’m sure they did a good job.”

HOW TO HELP

For information about adopting a dog or cat, call 715-526-2606 or email [email protected] or go to shawanocountyhumanesociety.com.

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RDA outlines strategy for public workshop

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:14am
Tuesday session designed to correct misinformationBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The Shawano Redevelopment Authority met Friday to discuss its plans for a public workshop Tuesday at City Hall, where officials are hoping to assuage concerns and address what they fear is misinformation about the RDA’s blight redevelopment district.

Some property owners have already expressed their views during the public comment portions of recent city meetings, but without the give-and-take necessary to address all of the individual questions.

“This will be a non-controversial way of having those discussions with the public,” Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said.

Sheppard said there are still “hurt feelings” about why some properties are considered blighted, what the blight designation means and the statutory requirements that went into the creation of the district.

“There are a lot of the comments we’ve heard, we’d love to just stand up and explain, but we didn’t have that format,” Sheppard said.

Tuesday’s workshop, scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St., is designed give property owners and others an opportunity to get specific questions answered directly from RDA and city staff.

The workshop will feature maps, visual displays and an outline of the RDA action plan.

Four tables will be set up where RDA members will field questions about the blight definition and statutory requirements of the district, the goals and objectives of the RDA action plan, RDA redevelopment priorities within the district and future goals of the district.

“Hopefully we’ll gather a lot of good information and help people understand the plan,” Sheppard said.

Ultimately, Sheppard said, the goal of the district is “to assist in encouraging redevelopment.”

RDA Chair Amanda Sheppard said she was looking forward to clarifying any misunderstandings.

“I would just like the opportunity to correct any misinformation that arises,” she said. “I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone.”

One nagging issue the RDA will have to address is the idea that property owners within the district will have their properties included on a so-called list of blighted properties.

“There seems to be an overriding concern about being put on the list,” said RDA member Dave Kerber, even though, he said, most of the properties were already in a blight elimination district.

The RDA district roughly follows the contours of Tax Incremental Finance districts already designated for blight elimination along Main Street from the Wolf River bridge on the north to Wescott Avenue on the south, and along Green Bay Street from Main Street on the west to Rusch Road on the east.

“First of all, they have to realize they were already in a blighted district,” Kerber said, “but they want to know how they get off the list.”

Technically, however, there is no list to get off of, Eddie Sheppard said.

“The list doesn’t exist as something we maintain,” he said. “The district is the list.”

The RDA is hoping to ease that confusion by eliminating specific blight designations in its project plan, which would focus instead on redevelopment priorities within the district.

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Developer sees potential on east side

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:13am
Appleton firm buys Highway 22 frontageBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]

New business development could be coming soon to a high-profile location across from the drive-in movie theater on Shawano’s east side.

Romenesko Developments Inc., based in Appleton, has purchased the former North Country Homes headquarters property with hopes of drawing new commercial activity there.

“We see the potential,” company president Carl Romenesko said.

The developer paid $325,000 to purchase 8 acres of largely vacant real estate at 1501 E. Green Bay St., directly across the road from the Shawano Cinema indoor and outdoor movie theater.

For about 30 years, starting in the early 1970s, the site was headquarters for North Country Homes, a manufactured home dealership that operated offices and displayed model homes there.

North Country Homes relocated to Bonduel in 2002 and then listed the Shawano property for sale.

Bart Huntington, president of North Country Homes, said he is pleased to have the real estate sold and to see the possibility of new development at the site.

“The property is a nice piece of property,” he said. “It just didn’t suit our needs any more.”

The former corporate office is leased to a tree-service contractor, while other scattered facilities are used for storage, surrounded by vacant land. Situated along state Highway 22, it is among the first places that visitors see arriving in Shawano from the east.

Neighbors expressed excitement that a new owner is planning to redevelop the property and bring new business growth to the city’s east side.

Todd Senzig of nearby Senzig’s Fine Home Furnishings said he would hope for a Kohl’s Department Store or something similar. Senzig said he would not even mind seeing a competing furniture outlet rather than the site’s current vacancy and inactivity.

“This town needs reasons to come to it,” he said. “I think it would be fantastic to bring someone in.”

Ben Symes, a real estate broker marketing a vacant commercial site not far away, agreed that redevelopment of the North Country Homes property would be encouraging for the surrounding area.

“Any development and growth is good — that’s for sure,” Symes said.

Real estate records at the Shawano County Courthouse indicate that Romenesko Developments completed its purchase of the property in July through an Appleton firm called CDR 1 LLC.

Founded in 1970, Romenesko Developments has completed many residential and commercial building projects throughout Northeastern Wisconsin. The company has more than 400,000 combined square feet of offices, warehouses and other commercial space under lease to tenants throughout the region.

Romenesko said he envisions several possibilities for the Shawano site, including automobile sales, camper sales or perhaps a “business center” with multiple buildings and tenants. Referring to the nearby Tractor Supply Co. retail store, he said other national chains could be persuaded to locate in the area.

“There must be others,” he said.

Romenesko, who already has begun grooming the site, said he has talked with city leaders about development assistance. He hopes to make progress landing tenants and getting the project going within four to six months.

Referring to site’s far-reaching potential, he said: “We have the knowledge and the resources and the ability to do pretty much whatever we want.”

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Stockbridge-Munsee plan retail center in Belle Plaine

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:11am
Groundbreaking ceremony is FridayBy: 

Leader Staff


Contributed Illustration This rendering shows a retail center being developed by the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe on state Highway 22 in Belle Plaine. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Friday.

The Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe will break ground Friday for a 12,000-square-foot retail center on state Highway 22 in the town of Belle Plaine.

The tribe said the $1.3 million project is aimed at spurring growth throughout the area.

“As the largest employer in Shawano County, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe is committed to being good stewards of our resources and good neighbors to our surrounding communities,” said Shannon Holsey, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council.

The retail center will be located near U.S. Highway 29, on the corner of Highway 22 and County Road CC, a highly trafficked area that sees about 5,000 passenger cars per day.

“We’re thrilled to develop our first off-reservation retail property near Highway 29, which is a critical economic artery for our North Star Mohican Casino Resort and countless other local businesses,” Holsey said. “Thanks to the continued success of the North Star Casino – our tribe’s primary source of revenue – we’re able to make these sorts of investments, which support the long-term prosperity of the entire North Central Wisconsin region.”

Preparation work is being done at the site now and the foundation is expected to be poured soon, with exterior construction completed by the end of 2016.

Leasing efforts are underway for retail and quick-service restaurant brands, and tenants will have input into the interior design of their respective spaces.

The retail center can house up to five tenants, which are expected to bring a number of permanent new jobs to the area, according to the tribe.

Bayland Buildings, based in Green Bay, will serve as the general contractor and estimates 15 to 20 construction jobs from the project, the tribe said. The majority of subcontractors and vendors for the project are based in the Northeast and North Central Wisconsin areas.

“This retail center will bring new jobs and increased shopping activity to the Belle Plaine and Shawano areas,” Belle Plaine Town Chairman Alvin Bartz said. “We expect this will spur other developments in the area and we applaud the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Tribe for their continued investment in the local communities surrounding their tribal lands.”

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Crescent Theater to become craft brewery

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:10am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The former Crescent Pitcher Show at 220 S. Main St. will become a microbrewery under a plan that will go before the Shawano Plan Commission on Wednesday.

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

The 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 $600,000 in remodeling costs into the project.

It’s expected the building will have an assessed valuation of $500,000 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.

It’s anticipated the remodeling and renovation will be completed by June.

According to the agreement, the remodeling “will result in a Craft Brewery, Entertainment and Event Venue,” but no specifics were offered about the entertainment or events.

“We are still finalizing all agreements with the city, so we are not going to make any official comments at this time,” Stubborn Brothers said in an email statement. “We are looking forward to doing interviews and providing more information as soon as we are able with 100 percent certainty.”

The plan commission meets at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St.

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Public Record

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:10am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 25

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Washington and Division streets.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint at Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle accident at Green Bay and Main streets.

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

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 300 block of South Washington Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 25

Deputies logged 40 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 28-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 117 in the town of Washington.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Bartelt Street in Gresham.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on North Shore Lane in the town of Wescott.

OAR — A 24-year-old woman was cited for operating after revocation on Herman Creek Road in the town of Lessor.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on state Highway 22 in the town of Belle Plaine.

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

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Stanley the Sturgeon coming to Shawano and beyond

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:09am
By: 

Lorna Marquardt, Leader Columnist

Mountain Bay Outfitters (Lazy Wolf Adventures) has made the Judd Park/Lieg Avenue Boat Landing a busy place! It makes me smile watching them unload the colorful kayaks, tubes and canoes for their excited customers.

Owner Tim Conradt commented: “It’s been a good summer, and business has been steady. We will continue to be open seven days a week through Labor Day. We will adjust our hours after Labor Day and continue to stay open as long as the weather cooperates, probably until the first part of November.”

Tim continued: “Fall is such a beautiful time of the year. A paddle down the Wolf River when the leaves are colorful is a sight worth seeing. Some people think kayaking and rafting is just a summertime recreation, but autumn is actually a great time to be out on the river.

“Shawano Lake is popular and a busy spot for both locals and visitors. But it is nice that the Wolf River is becoming busier; it is such an asset for the area.”

Tim added: “I will always be grateful to Curt and Peggy Houk who were instrumental in me starting the river tour business here.”

Tim’s family roots are in Shiocton, where he lives with his wife, Lynn. Their three daughters and families (five grandchildren) live there too. Tim’s five siblings also live within a 5-mile radius. Their close-knit family gets together every Sunday for dinner.

Tim is well respected in Shiocton, where he was selected Citizen of the Year a few years ago. Tim continues to promote tourism in Shiocton and he does a good job of promoting tourism here in Shawano too. Tim refers to Shawano as “his second home” and his wife often joins him here at the shop on the weekends.

“The people in the Shawano area are really special,” Tim commented. “They have a loyalty to their local businesses and we really appreciate that. I sell a lot of bikes to local residents. Repairing bikes is a big part of our business too.”

He added: “Being located along the Mountain Bay Trail is an ideal location. We have made a lot of friends here; Shawano is a great place to have a small business.”

Soon Stanley, a beautiful 15-foot fiberglass sturgeon, will be mounted on South Main Street near the Mountain Bay Outfitters. He will point the way to Sturgeon Park. Tim originally carved the sturgeon out of Styrofoam. It was fragile and difficult to handle. He took it to a fiberglass shop where they made a mold.

He said: “There are actually two identical sturgeon; the other one is located on Bamboo Bend in Shiocton. My 3-year-old grandson gets excited when he sees it and calls it grandpa’s fish.”

Tim shared some exciting news with me!

He said: “I am currently in the process of featuring Stanley the Sturgeon in what I hope will become a series of children’s books. I have been working with an illustrator in Minneapolis. The adventures of Stanley the Sturgeon are in the works, and I am pretty excited.”

Tim said it is important to him to leave behind a legacy; something that will help his grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember their family ancestry. He allowed me to take a peek at the draft of Stanley’s first adventure. It is delightful. He just might have found that legacy!

He plans to change the name of his tours next year to “Stanley the Sturgeon River Tours.” Some new tour options are in the planning stages.

While visiting with him at his shop, Tim showed me a few of his wood carvings. I had no idea he is such a talented carver. His work is detailed and beautiful. I learned he has won first place numerous times at the World Fish Carving Championships and Mid Wisconsin Woodchippers.

Tim’s brother is the president of Shadows on the Wolf. Tim’s father, Dennis, who passed away last year, was one of the founders of the club. He served as president of the club for 22 years.

Tim’s passion for helping others and donating of his time mirrors his father’s. Tim donates a carving to the club every year in an effort to help the club and the community. He is also donating one of his carvings, a perch, to the Navarino Nature Center for their annual fundraiser banquet. His carvings bring in some nice bids.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting local businessman Tim Conradt, take the time to stop in his shop, Wolf River Outfitters, on South Main. In addition to being a hardworking businessman, he is a great conversationalist who would welcome your visit.

There’s a fair in the air! Enjoy.

Here’s the answer to last week’s question: Jan Lewellyn was the Shawano County director of nursing in 2009.

This week’s question is: In 1981, there were three health food stores located in Shawano. Can you name them?

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

New neighborhood watch group draws big turnout

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 7:34am
2 dozen residents talk about way to keep area safeBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Shawano Police Lt. Dan Mauel takes questions from residents during the inaugural meeting of a new neighborhood watch group at a home in the 200 block of South Franklin Street on Thursday.
Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Sue Scheinert, one of the organizers of a new neighborhood watch group, talks with fellow residents of the area during the group’s inaugural meeting Thursday at a home in the 200 block of South Franklin Street.

It was word of a convicted sex offender wanting to move into the South Franklin Street neighborhood that spurred Sue Scheinert and Joyce Kotschi into action.

They rallied about a dozen neighbors to attend a meeting of the Sexual Offenders Appeal Board at City Hall to protest.

“I did not want a damn pervert in my neighborhood,” Scheinert said.

As it turned out the offender wouldn’t have been allowed to move into the neighborhood, anyway, and his request was denied. Their success at enlisting neighborhood involvement, however, started Scheinert and Kotschi thinking there was even more they could do.

On Thursday, they hosted the inaugural meeting a new neighborhood watch group. More than two dozen people showed up.

“Turnout was absolutely fabulous,” Scheinert said. “I was not expecting that many people.”

Several of them had experiences to share about break-ins, vandalism and other problems they have witnessed.

Scheinert said neighbors need to watch out for one another in the face of changes that have taken place in the area over the years.

“There are beautiful homes that have been sold and turned into apartments and they’re crumbling and they’re crappy and we’re sick of it,” she said.

Scheinert said the neighborhood should also monitor what goes on in Franklin Park once it’s developed and begins attracting more children to congregate there.

“It’s up to us to monitor their safety,” she said.

This new neighborhood watch, which covers an area from West Green Bay Street down to Eagle Street and from Washington Street to the river, is one of several already established in the city.

Shawano police, who spoke to the newly formed group Thursday, have been encouraging more neighborhoods to also form watch groups.

Neighbors knowing one another and keeping in contact with one another and with the police was the dominant theme of discussion.

Scheinert said the first step would be to create an email list of those wishing to participate so the lines of communication will be kept open.

At least one attendee, however, was initially apprehensive about the group’s focus after a few jokes made by some about the use of guns.

“I don’t want to be part of any like vigilante group or anything,” Starlyn Tourtillott said. “I’m really interested in a positive gathering of people, getting to know our neighbors.

“I think we need to do more of that in our community. If we know each other and establish relationships it would be better for everybody.”

Tourtillott said she worried that a reliance on guns could lead to a tragic accident.

“My biggest fear would be, everybody having their heart in the right place, they shoot an innocent kid or something who’s coming in drunk by accident. We don’t want that to happen,” she said. “I advocate calling law enforcement and supporting them. They know what they’re doing in our community and we need to establish a relationship with them. I would challenge you to think outside the box and not just run to the holster and the gun.”

Scheinert said she assumed all gun owners would be cautious.

“This is basically about looking out for each other and the hope is a positive outcome that we keep each other safe,” she said.

Tourtillott said after the meeting that she felt reassured about the group’s intentions.

Scheinert said afterward she was happy with the discussion and the suggestions that came out of the meeting.

“There’s a lot of people here with very good ideas,” she said. “Our chief of police did a beautiful job for us, it was very informative. I think we’re going to have a good group going here.”

Other attendees said they were looking forward to being able to take steps to improve safety in the area.

“We have to work with the community regarding out kids,” Karen DeKelver said. “We’re all concerned and we’re all going to try and make this happen now, make it safe for everybody. If we communicate with law enforcement we’ll do better and I think that’s what we need to do.”

Jan Lewellen, who was involved in an old neighborhood watch group that eventually faded, said she was encouraged by the turnout for this one.

“It never had a beginning like this,” she said.

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County finance staff losing one

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 7:22am
Deputy director stepping downBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]

Shawano County is losing a key member of the finance staff that prepares and manages the county’s $51 million annual budget.

Darcy Smith, the county’s deputy finance director, is stepping aside to become finance director for Oneida County.

Smith, who has been with Shawano County for five years, works with Administrative Coordinator Brent Miller in a restructured finance department that was created last year.

Her departure, effective Sept. 16, comes as preparations are drawing to a close on the county’s 2017 budget, which will be presented to the County Board in October.

County officials are expressing confidence that the turnover will not disrupt county budget planning.

County Supervisor Deb Noffke, a member of the county finance committee, said staff work on the 2017 budget is far enough along that she expects no serious problems.

“Everybody gets to step up,” Noffke said. “We’ve got a pretty decent staff — they can handle it.”

The County Board last year eliminated the previous finance director position and combined the finance department with administration, turning over budget management to Miller and Smith.

Smith, previously the county’s accounting supervisor, was promoted to deputy finance director, and her salary was increased from about $57,000 a year to $70,928.

As Oneida County’s finance director, her new salary will be $84,794 a year.

Lisa Charbarneau, human resources director for Oneida County, said Smith was chosen from among 17 applicants to replace the current finance director, who is retiring. Charbarneau said Smith is familiar with Oneida County’s budgeting software and has experience with issues on the horizon for Oneida County.

Compared with other applicants, Charbarneau said: “She’s got a lot of experience. Her learning curve would be much lower.”

Smith is scheduled to start work in Oneida County on Oct. 3.

Shawano County officials have agreed to conduct a search for a new deputy finance director.

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Clintonville voters OK lower school levy

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 7:21am
Board president favors new elementary schoolBy: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

Taxpayers in the Clintonville School District will pay slightly less in school taxes this year.

Voters agreed at the district’s annual meeting Monday to a tax levy of $5.99 million, compared with $6.17 million last year. The estimated tax rate will be $10.52 per $1,000 assessed valuation, compared to $10.84 last year.

Owners of a $75,000 home can expect to pay $722 school taxes this year, compared with $746 last year.

The final budget and levy won’t be determined until after the official enrollment count is taken in September and the state releases its equalized valuations in October.

The rate discussed Monday assumes no change in the district’s equalized valuation. However, district officials said the equalized values might be down again this year.

The enrollment of 1,439 students last year was up 48 over the previous year, Superintendent Tom O’Toole said. Enrollment is one of the factors in determing how much state aid the district will receive.

In comments at the meeting, board president Jim Dins said he supports a new grade school for the district.

A committee is finalizing a survey that will be mailed to district taxpayers in September asking for their opinion on what to do with Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School, whose complex includes the former high school built in 1918.

Rexford school was built in 1956. The two-story Longfellow addition was build in 1964. A cafeteria and classrooms were added in 1992, and office space was added in 1996.

In the survey, taxpayers will be asked if they want to maintain the 1918 structure, maintain and update Rexford-Longfellow, replace the complex at the existing site or do nothing.

Dins also said he would like to see the district work more with local industries and others to develop skilled labor.

“Not every kid is going to college. Maybe a two-year degree in the trades is better,” he said. “I hope we work more for the trades.”

Voters at the annual meeting also kept salaries of school board members at $90 per meeting and $50 per in-service meeting. Officers receive an additional $250 annually, and members of the negotiation committee receive $300 annually. Policy/personnel committee and finance committee members receive $20 per meeting but no more than one paid meeting per month.

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Public Record

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 7:19am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 24

Police logged 31 incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident in the 100 block of Woodlawn Drive.

Burglary — A burglary was reported in the 300 block of East Fifth Street.

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

Disturbance — A 21-year-old man was arrested for felony physical abuse of a child during a disturbance in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Fraud — Police investigated an identity theft complaint in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

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

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 24

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

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

Theft — A campaign sign was reported stolen on Balsam Row Road in the town of Wescott.

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

Theft — Mail was reported stolen on County Road MMM in the town of Richmond.

Theft — Authorities investigated a theft complaint on Roosevelt Road in the town of Seneca.

Warrant — A male subject was taken into custody on a warrant after a disorderly conduct complaint on Elm Street in Bowler.

Theft — Authorities investigated a theft complaint on Mick Road in Bowler.

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on Winkle Road in the town of Herman.

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Cult expert looking elsewhere for recovery center

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:38pm
Fundraising stagnant; residents seem opposedBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The leader of an Ohio ministry who was eyeing a Shawano property for a proposed cult recovery center now says the city is no longer an option, after running into financial hurdles and community resistance.

Jay Howard, head of the Religious Research Project, a group that focuses on cults, has been trying since last year to raise $172,000 to purchase the New Era House at 105 E. Richmond St. The property is listed for sale.

Howard said in an interview Monday he would continue looking for a location for a cult recovery center, but added, “I highly doubt it will be anywhere near Shawano.”

Howard also said fundraising efforts to purchase a facility have brought in “not a large amount of money.”

Howard indicated in ministry newsletter comments that went out via email Thursday that the New Era House was no longer an option after talking with the Realtor handling the property.

“While in Shawano, I had planned to go through the building that I had looked at last November as a possible sight (sic) for Meadow Haven Midwest recovery center,” he wrote. “I was told that the owner would not let me see the building again unless I promised to buy the property.”

Howard said in an interview in May that he was having trouble coming up with the money for the property and that fundraising efforts, including email lists and a 45-day stint on redbasket.org, had produced “virtually nothing.”

Howard also indicated in his newsletter comments that there was community resistance to having the facility in Shawano.

“(The property owner) told the Realtor that many people had called her complaining that they did not want a cult recovery center in their town,” Howard wrote. “I have since talked to another Realtor in Wisconsin who will keep looking for properties that could be used for the use the ministry intends for it.”

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Officials pleased with active shooter drill

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:37pm
Simulation capped 3-part training seriesBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Contributed Photo Participants in a mock shooting drill evacuate Olga Brener Intermediate School while carrying out the injured Wednesday.

Shortly before noon Wednesday, officials gathered for a mock news conference at Shawano City Hall to give initial and limited information on a shooting incident at a city school.

The press briefing, as was the incident, was a simulation of how authorities expected to respond in the event of an active shooter situation.

It was decided before the mock press conference that no questions would be taken or answered.

Shawano Police Chief Mark Kohl read a statement informing the public that a call was received of “shots fired” at Olga Brener Intermediate School at 8:50 a.m.

He went on to say that two people were confirmed dead, including the shooter, though he also said that police did not fire any shots during the incident. He said the public was no longer in any danger.

Shawano School District Superintendent Gary Cumberland said the school had been placed in a lockdown, which had since been lifted and that bus transportation would go on as normal at the end of the school day.

City Clerk Karla Duchac — playing the role of Mayor Jeanne Cronce — offered her condolences.

No other information was provided, though Kohl promised another news conference later in the afternoon.

A mock reporter shouted a question to Kohl as they left, but the question was ignored.

The news conference was just one aspect of what authorities were preparing for Wednesday, but hoping they will never have to deal with in real life.

Wednesday’s drill was the culmination of efforts that began in December with table-top exercises, then graduated in April to “functional exercises” at each of the locations involved, before becoming the full-scale episode to which authorities responded.

Cumberland said Wednesday’s exercise was “a learning experience,” which added to some things already learned during the previous limited exercises, mostly dealing with the school’s part in reuniting students with their parents once evacuation has taken place.

He said initial scenarios had students congregating at Zion Lutheran Church until it was realized the location was still too close to the perimeter of the incident. Hope Community Church was later adopted as the reunification point for students and their parents.

Also, Cumberland said, it was felt that someone not too closely involved with the students should oversee the reunification, because of the possible emotions that could come into play. The original intent was that the school principal should oversee the process.

Some 350 people were involved in Wednesday’s exercise in one form or another.

Sites used included Shawano Community High School, Olga Brener Intermediate School, City Hall, Zion Lutheran Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Hope Community Church.

Agencies involved in the response included Shawano police, Shawano County sheriff’s deputies, Stockbridge-Munsee police, Shawano County Health Department and Department of Human Services, Shawano Ambulance Service, city officials and Shawano Department of Public Works, and the Shawano School District.

“Overall, the full-scale active shooter exercise went very well,” said Natalie Easterday, Shawano County emergency management director.

“We had tremendous participation from key organizations, and every agency identified both strengths and areas of improvement that they will be working on as a follow-up to the event,” she said.

“Lastly, as the capstone to a three-part exercise series, we saw continued improvement from where we were at in December 2015 at the tabletop exercise and even changes since the April functional exercise based on lessons organizations learned,” Easterday said.

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County OKs 4-H building deal

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:36pm
Family donates $100K for naming rightsBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Contributed Photo The Huntington family includes, from left, front row, Bert Huntington and his wife, Carol Huntington, and, back row, their children, Bart Huntington, Paige Huntington and Shane Huntington.

A centerpiece of the Shawano County Fairgrounds is getting a new look — and a new name.

County officials have agreed to rename the Junior Fair Building in honor of a family that is donating $100,000 for a long-discussed renovation of the facility.

Bert and Carol Huntington, of the town of Richmond, extended the $100,000 offer after seeing that county funding for the building makeover was uncertain for the second year in a row.

With the family’s contribution, the facility sometimes known as the 4-H Building will be renovated next year and renamed the “Huntington Family 4-H Youth Building.” A sign will be erected on the exterior facade after the renovation work is completed.

Bert Huntington said his three children all were active in 4-H clubs when they were growing up, as he was, and he feels strongly that the county fair property should be upgraded for future club members. Huntington said he stepped forward to help when he saw that funding for the project was in doubt.

“I wanted to see it happen — that’s all,” he said. “This was something that I really believed in.”

Huntington is a retired business leader who served many years as president of North Country Homes of Bonduel, a manufactured home dealership that also owns three mobile home parks in the area.

Members of the County Board approved the naming-rights deal Wednesday, although not without some signs of hesitation.

Some supervisors voiced questions about details of the Junior Fair Building renovation plan, while others pointed out that United Cooperative already has its name on the building in exchange for a $2,500 annual contribution to the county fair.

“I don’t think we can just throw it away,” Supervisor John Ainsworth said of the United Cooperative sign.

Other board members, however, pointed out that the United Cooperative deal is only a yearly agreement, while the Huntington family’s donation is substantial enough that the family’s name will appear on the building for 50 years under the naming-rights deal.

Supervisor Robert Krause, chairman of the committee overseeing the county fairgrounds, said he was impressed by the Huntington family’s financial commitment.

“I think it’s very generous,” Krause said. “And I think we should accept it without question.”

Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann agreed, asking of his colleagues: “Do we want this donation or don’t we? To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
The board voted unanimously to accept the donation and approve the building’s new name.
Shawano County owns the county fairgrounds but leases the property to the Shawano Area Agricultural Society, a private group that organizes the county fair.

Leaders of the society last year presented a plan for upgrading the Junior Fair Building with a new roof, new doors, new interior lighting, insulation and other improvements, as well as a red- and green-colored exterior face-lift. The original plan called for $125,000 in county funds and $45,000 in private donations.

County officials last year allocated no funding for the project, saying that the Agricultural Society made its request too late in the county’s budgeting process. This year, county officials ranked the Junior Fair Building near the bottom of a list of capital spending priorities for 2017.

Dale Hodkiewicz, president of the Agricultural Society, said that with the Huntington family’s donation, he anticipates completing the building upgrades next year.

“It means we can get the ball rolling,” Hodkiewicz said.

The society will continue seeking county funding, and the project will be promoted at the 2016 county fair to try stirring up more private donations.

Huntington said he has enjoyed business success over the years in the Shawano area. The $100,000 donation, he said, is a way of giving back to the community.

“I just think that 4-H is such an important thing,” he said. “It’s a good thing for children.”

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