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Mau poised to help seniors with services, questions

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 7:58pm
Elder benefits specialist brings personal experience to postBy: 

David M. Wilhelms Leader Correspondent

Photo by David M. Wilhelms Tricia Mau, Elder Benefit Specialist in the Shawano County Aging Unit, applies personal experience in aiding Shawano County residents 60 years or older with questions on services and benefits. She’s been in her position for six weeks, and “I definitely see myself as an advocate for the older people in the community in navigating all of those services. I really like being the point person for answering questions.”

Shawano County’s new advocate for the aging is no stranger to helping people. Tricia Mau worked in the county’s public assistance office before becoming the Elder Benefits Specialist about six weeks ago.

When talking about the path that led her to her new job, “the turning point for me was losing my grandmother last year,” Mau said. She added that it was hard watching her mother and her aunts struggle to understand all the Medicare requirements and all the benefits.

In her job in the county aging unit, Mau is available to answer questions and meet with Shawano County residents age 60 or older, regardless of income. While walk-ins are welcome, Mau said she prefers appointments so that she is able to set aside time for each client. She has already accumulated a client list of more than 100 people.

Mau said her background in retail customer service and working with public assistance programs “definitely prepared me for this position.” She has also received specific training on aging programs. “I definitely see myself as an advocate for the older people in the community in navigating all of those services,” she said. “I really like being the point person for answering questions.” She likes to conduct what she calls a benefit checkup to assess what they have and what they might need.

One obstacle older people face is the Social Security Administration’s recent push for recipients to do more online, instead of by mail or in person. Mau pointed out that filing an application online takes about 15 to 20 minutes, while the nearest Social Security office is all the way over in Green Bay and would likely include a long wait to speak with someone in person.

She said she has found that people in their 60s are fairly tech-savvy, but computer skills are scarce among her clients in their 70s and 80s. “It’s quite a barrier” for people in those age groups, she said, especially for those without computers at home. The solution for many seniors is to use public computers at the library or to come to her. She said she even helps people set up email accounts so that they can communicate with Social Security.

Although prepared to help with the alphabet soup of government programs and agencies, Mau said her “three big hitters” are Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security retirement benefits. “I handle a lot of questions like, ‘Do I take Part D or look for a supplement?’” she said.

Despite all of the controversy over the future of Medicare, Mau said that political turmoil is not top of mind for most people. They’re focused more on the immediate issues of getting benefits or enrolling in programs, she added.

The Shawano native (and great-granddaughter of former Leader owner Jean Donald) returned to Shawano in 2013 after getting a degree from Carroll College in Waukesha, where she met her husband.

She first applied her degree in business and marketing in the retail sector in the Milwaukee area, working at Target and eventually the corporate headquarters of Kohl’s as an analyst in the buying office. “There was such a different feeling to Shawano moving back, ” she said, adding that they don’t miss the traffic, commuting time or other headaches involved in living in an urban area.

Although there is an Elder Benefits Specialist in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Mau said she felt the position and its services aren’t well known. She plans to change that through outreach, including monthly visits to meal sites starting in July. She’ll present a discussion topic at each visit.


Tricia Mau, Shawano County Elder Benefit Specialist, is available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Shawano County Aging Unit office in the Fellman Center at 607 E. Elizabeth St., Shawano. For an appointment, call 715-526-4688.

She can help elders with:

• Health insurance and access

• Medical assistance

• Medicare Parts A, B, C and D

• SeniorCare

• BadgerCare+

• Medical debt remediation

• Long-term care insurance coverage issues

• Income support

• Food Share

• Social Security

• Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and state supplement

• Social Security disability

• Railroad Retirement benefits

• Lifeline / Link Up

• Community-based services

• Community Options Program

• Home and community-based Medicaid waiver programs

• Housing and utilities

OVERSET FOLLOWS:• Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program

• Wisconsin Weatherization Assistance

• Subsidized housing access / tenant rights

• Utility shutoffs

• Housing repair loans and grants

• Homestead Tax Credit appeals (not applications)

• Property Tax Deferral Program

Public Record

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 7:54pm

Shawano Police Department

June 10

Police logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A building was reported spray-painted in the 300 block of West Picnic Street.

Theft — A wheelchair was reported stolen from ThedaCare Medical Center, 100 County Road B.

Hit and Run — A vehicle left the scene after striking a bicycle at Main and Division streets. No injuries were reported.

Shoplifting — The Pawn Shop, 141 River Heights, reported a shoplifting incident.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident at Smalley and Division streets.

OAR — A 26-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation at Green Bay and Lafayette streets.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

June 10

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on Sunset Circle in the town of Wescott. Lighters were reported stolen at Dollar General, 380 Main St. in Gresham.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Clark Road in the town of Morris.

Trespass — Trespassing was reported on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Birnamwood.

Fire — Authorities responded to a residential fire on Shady Road in the town of Maple Grove.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury ATV accident on Sunset Lane in the town of Lessor.

Clintonville Police Department

June 10

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Accident — A two-vehicle accident was reported on Main Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on Auto Street.

Assault — Battery was reported at Olen Park and on East 14th Street.

Former public officials remember Carl Carmichael

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:48am
Former Shawano schools administrator passesBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]


Two public figures, both now retired from public service, shared their thoughts and memories Monday about a man they said was not only vital to their success but instrumental to progress in the Shawano area community and the state.

The man they were remembering, Michael Carmichael, recently passed away and will be further remembered during funeral services this week for the roles he played in everything from education to the environment.

“People will never really understand all the good he did,” said former U.S. Congressman Dr. Steve Kagen.

Carmichael was campaign director for Kagen in two successful bids for the 8th Congressional District in 2006 and 2008.

“He was instrumental in my congressional campaigns, in educating me and guiding me as a government servant,” Kagen said.

Kagen chose Carmichael because of Carmichael’s experience working as executive assistant to Herbert Grover, state superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction.

“I thought he must know something,” Kagen said.

“Basically, Carl designed my winning campaigns and helped to get me in contact with people so I could understand the district a heck of a lot better,” he said.

“He knew Wisconsin like the back of his hand and we’re all better off because of it,” Kagen said. “He will always be remembered as someone who cared about the community. He had an uncompromising concern about the community and Shawano county and the state.”

Kagen said Carmichael had a hand in many things the public might not be aware of, including helping to make Highway 41 an interstate and federal support he won for the dairy industry when there was no market.

“Carl has had a hand in everything that we’ve done for people in northeast Wisconsin and in the whole state,” Kagen said. “He understood people and he understood how good government should work for everybody and we’ll miss him.”

Grover tapped Carmichael as his executive assistant in 1981.

“I brought him to Madison with me because, if I had a tough problem and I needed someone to handle a difficult situation, I gave it to Carl,” Grover said. “And Carl always got the job done.”

Carmichael had, at that point, been with the Shawano School District for 23 years.

In 1968, he implemented the first modular scheduling program in Wisconsin to deal with overcrowding at the high school.

“Carl was on the cutting edge,” Grover said. “It was an absolutely different approach to how you scheduled and serviced the students. Some people liked it, some didn’t, but Carl was innovative and made a significant difference in how the school could function and operate around the educational needs of children.”

Carmichael’s contributions went beyond education, Grover said.

“I think Carl, of all the people I know in Shawano, did the most significant public service heading up the Shawano Lake Sanitary District,” Grover said. “He got $4 million in grants and loans from state and federal agencies. You think the lake has problems now, with water levels and weeds? It was in danger of having septic systems just drain into the lake and absolutely destroy it. He he got the job done.”

Grover said Carmichael always put the public interest over his own.

“He was strong and he was tough and he had the broader public purpose as part of his activity,” Grover said. “There isn’t much of that anymore.”

Grover said the community benefited from Carmichael and his wife, Janelle.

“They were one heck of a team,” he said. “They were strong and they were good and they blessed our community. I’m indebted to them and the community is indebted.”

Kagen recalled returning to his home district for the first time after setting up his office in Washington.

Carmichael picked him up at the airport and told him he was going to address a gathering at the Wisconsin Towns Association.

Kagen began to address the crowd by saying Carmichael had written a few words for him to say.

“Before I could say ‘he prepared a few remarks,’ they all applauded,” Kagen said.

He then read what Carmichael wrote.

“My name is Congressman Dr. Steve Kagen and I’m in charge of absolutely nothing.”

After the laughter subsided, Kagen told the crowd they had just heard their shortest political speech.

“If you have a problem in this district, call Carl Carmichael,” he told them.

“He really knew how to care for people and how good government could work to help solve people’s problems,” Kagen said. “He really was a state treasure. We’re very fortunate to have had him in our lives.”

Miller crowned Ms. Senior Homemaker

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:46am
Bowler resident the queen of multitaskingBy: 

Carol Ryczek [email protected]

Leader photo by Carol Ryczek Molly Miller, right, who ultimately won the crown of Ms. Senior Homemaker 2019, balances the needs of an infant, laundry and dishes while handling the demands of a telemarketer, played Kevin Petersen. The scene was staged under the direction of Chris Enslin. Meeting multitasking demands is one of the steps needed to earn the title of Ms. Senior Homemaker, and contestants chose a variety of approaches to handling the stress without throwing the baby out with the dishwater.

“We are all multitaskers,” Chris Enslin, of University of Phoenix, told the crowd at the 2019 Ms. Senior Homemaker pageant.

As the contestants balanced dishes, a baby, laundry and a pesky telemarketer in front of an appreciative audience, Enslin had to acknowledge that some are better at multitasking than others.

One woman, Moliche “Molly” Miller, had the chance to prove just that, and that was one of the reasons she was recently crowned the 2019 Ms. Senior Homemaker.

The competition was held June 6 at the Shawano Lake County Park pavilion.

A Bowler area resident, Miller proved to be “distinctly” a winner, using a lot of humor in her presentations, according to Amy Thusius. Her outfit of choice, which reflected her Stockbridge-Munsee heritage, resonated with the judges, Thusius added.

Ms. Senior Homemaker is Thusius’ brainchild. She wanted to find a way to acknowledge the work that senior women had done in their lives, build their self-esteem and create a “heartwarming” experience for them.

The pageant concept, now in its eighth year, came to her in a dream, she said. It involves a baked item that contestants prepare, an outfit or accessory that describes something about their life, a talent presentation, a multi-tasking exercise and a simple question.

Contestants are relieved to hear that there is no bathing suit competition, Thusius said.

The talent portion of the event centered more on visual than performing arts this year, she said.

Other contestants were Ruth Eggert, Dorothy Link, Emily Parsons, Joyce Philipp and Marita Vrba.

To enter, contestants must be age 55 or older. They can be from any county. Thusius likes to limit the pool of candidates to six or seven, and said if more apply they will go on a waiting list. She does not want to screen candidates ahead of time.

“I don’t want to exclude someone because they don’t play the violin,” she said.

Prizes for both all contestants and winners are donated by community individuals and businesses, Thusius said.

The annual event also included a luncheon and a performance by Elvis John.

Leader carrier retires after 34 years

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:41am
Yellow bike a familiar site on Shawano streets since 2014By: 

Carol Ryczek [email protected]

Leader photo by Carol Ryczek Erv Steinke delivers a Shawano Leader to the Shawano County Courthouse for the last time. Steinke retired last week after 34 years on the job as a newspaper carrier.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor even polar vortex could keep Erv Steinke from his appointed route.

Steinke ran into a few problems since beginning his Shawano Leader paper route 34 years ago, and even he had to admit that the brutal cold of this winter took its toll, but nothing stood between Steinke and his commitment to bringing his customers the news.

However, time can do what even freezing weather cannot. On Friday, Steinke retired.

Erv started delivering what was then the Shawano Evening Leader in 1985. That year, among other noteworthy happenings, there was a raid on the Posse Comitatus Life Science Church in Tigerton. Kelly Lecker of Cecil won the state spelling bee. Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for his second term as president.

Also in that year, a former carrier fell and broke her leg, opening a route for Steinke to take. Steinke was working as a dishwasher at the time and was persuaded to take the route by a Leader employee.

Since then, he was taken his bike up and down the streets of his Shawano newspaper routes with ferocious regularity. It took the polar vortex to slow him down, and even then, he would have rather delivered the papers than see his customers go without.

He endured two dog bites through the years, and in 2014, his primary mode of transportation, his bicycle, needed costly repairs.

At that time, Tim Conradt, owner of Mountain Bay Outfitters, presented him with a new bicycle. Steinke also received a fluorescent rain jacket, a personalized license plate and a special helmet light. More than $900, including $320 from Quality Auto Body and $280 from the Shawano Woman’s Club, was raised to get the new bike, accessories and parts, and repairs for Steinke’s old bicycle.

What kept Steinke on his bike, delivering the news for so many years?

He enjoyed the ride, he enjoyed the work. Most of all, he enjoyed taking care of his customers. Now, he said, he has reached a point where he doesn’t want to risk taking a spill and he knows it is time to retire.

Perhaps fittingly, though Friday was Steinke’s official retirement day, he also could be found on his route on Saturday. His replacement wasn’t ready to start yet, and his customers needed to get the news.

Public Record

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:39am

Shawano Police Department

June 9

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

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

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 800 block of South Park Street.

Harassment — Harassment was reported in the 500 block of Prospect Circle.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 200 block of South Union Street.

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized in the 1000 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported in the 100 block of South Union Street.

June 8

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A boat was reported stolen in the 900 block of South Bartlett Street.

Intoxicated Person — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint at Green Bay and Sawyer streets.

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

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported in the 500 block of East Green Bay Street and the 100 block of East Maurer Street.

Harassment — Harassment was reported in the 100 block of South Lafayette Street.

Disturbances — Police responded to domestic disturbances in the parking lot of Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St., and in the 300 block of Madison Way.

June 7

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Police investigated a property theft complaint at Quality Inn and Suites, 104 N. Airport Drive., and a wallet was reported stolen from a cart at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on Mountain Bay Trail Drive.

Vandalism —Toilets were reported vandalized at Heritage Park Museum, 524 N. Franklin St. A window was reported vandalized in the 300 block of East Maurer Street.

Accident — Police responded to an injury accident in the 500 block of South Main Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem involving bullying at the Memorial Park splash pad, 901 S. Lincoln St.

June 6

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to disturbances in the 900 block of South Smalley Street and 500 block of North Lafayette Street.

Vandalism — Trees were reported vandalized at Franklin Park, 235 S. Washington St.

Theft — A cell phone was reported stolen in the 400 block of South Andrews Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported in the 200 block of West Wescott Avenue.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

June 9

Deputies logged 35 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 36-year-old Green Bay man was cited for operating after revocation and arrested for bail jumping on Airport Drive in Shawano. A 34-year-old Shawano woman was also arrested for bail jumping.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott and on North Street in Bonduel.

OWI — A 21-year-old Menasha woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated on state Highway 22 in the town of Belle Plaine.

Theft — A wallet was reported stolen on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance at the Ho-Chunk Casino, N7214 U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg.

June 8

Deputies logged 69 incidents, including the following:

Disturbances —A 57-year-old Birnamwood man was arrested for strangulation, battery, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and bail jumping after a domestic disturbance on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Birnamwood. Authorities also responded to disturbances on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott and Herman Street in the town of Herman.

Fraud — Harvest Restaurant, W17256 Red Oak Lane in the town of Wittenberg, reported a counterfeit $20 bill.

Warrant — A 52-year-old Racine man was arrested on a warrant after authorities responded to a report of a gas drive-off theft complaint at John’s One-Stop, N5847 State Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized on Church Street in Tigerton.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated drug complaints on Roosevelt Road in the town of Seneca and Depot Street in Bonduel.

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

Assault — Authorities investigated an assault complaint on Butternut Road in the town of Herman.

June 7

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 31-year-old Tigerton man was cited for operating after revocation on Lawn Road in the town of Lessor.

Theft — Authorities responded to property theft complaints on Old Shawano Road in the town of Pella and Norway Lane in the town of Belle Plaine.

Accidents — Authorities responded to an injury accident on U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Aniwa and logged nine deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

June 9

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

Disturbances — Police responded to a disturbance on Garfield Avenue and a family dispute on Modoc Street.

Assault — Battery was reported on Lincoln Avenue.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on North 12th Street.

June 8

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

Burglary — A burglary was reported on Seventh Street.

June 7

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

Accident — A two-vehicle property damage accident was reported on South Clinton Avenue.

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

June 6

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported at Clintonville High School, 64 W. Green Tree Road.

Juvenile — A juvenile runaway was reported on Franklin Street. The juvenile was later located and turned over to a parent.

Harassment — Harassment was reported in Olen Park.

Wittenberg farmer elected to state dairy board

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:38am

Jeff Strassburg, a Wittenberg farmer, was recently elected to the board of directors for the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Strassburg will start his three-year term in July representing District 9, which includes Shawano, Menominee and Waupaca counties, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced.

The board of directors guide the organization’s finances, formulate and set its policies and long-range business plan and maintain its mission of growing demand for Wisconsin milk and enhancing the competitiveness of the Wisconsin dairy industry.

Strassburg, a fifth-generation farmer, has been farming since 1990. He and his family milk more than 900 Holsteins; they also own beef cattle. Strassburg is the current chair of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin board, and he also serves on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

For information on Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and the 2019 election, visit

Switalla burglary trial delayed as negotiations continue

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:30pm
Special prosecutor appointed due to potential conflict of interestBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

A jury trial in the felony burglary case against Wittenberg Village President and Shawano County Supervisor William J. Switalla has been delayed while negotiations continue on some alternative that could settle the case without a trial.

Michael Balskus, from the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office, who was recently appointed special prosecutor in the case, told the court Thursday there have been discussions with Switalla’s defense counsel.

“I think we’re very close to a resolution in this matter,” Balskus said.

Balskus was appointed after the Shawano County District Attorney’s Office, which charged the case in September, determined that continuing to prosecute the case was considered to be a conflict of interest.

Thursday’s hearing had been expected to be a final pre-trial conference before the case went before a jury on Wednesday.

That trial, if it takes place, is now scheduled for Aug. 8, following another final pre-trial conference on July 26.

Switalla’s attorney, Paul Payant, told the court a resolution could be arrived at prior to that but setting the new trial date was a good idea “just in case.”

Judge William Kussel Jr., noting that Switalla is a county supervisor and at least one other county supervisor was included in the defense’s witness list for the trial, said he researched statutes to determine if he should recuse himself from the case.

He said he saw nothing that required him to recuse, but asked the attorneys whether they had any problem with him overseeing the case.

Both attorneys said they had no problem with Kussel continuing to hear the case.

Switalla is accused of breaking into a garage and taking a grill from a property the county had acquired in foreclosure.

Payant has previously argued that there had been no felony committed; that Switalla removed the grill from the property along with garbage he offered to clean up for the county at the property the county had acquired.

Payant also questioned whether County Treasurer Deb Wallace, who signed the non-consent form stating Switalla had no authority to take the grill, was in a position to claim ownership of the property.

It was Wallace who referred the matter to the county’s corporation counsel, who referred it to the sheriff’s department for investigation.

According to the criminal complaint, Switalla was among several county officials who went out to view the property at 715 Webb St. in Wittenberg on April 24 of last year to establish a sale price.

When the county treasurer’s office held an open house at the property for interested buyers on May 23, the staff noticed that the house and garage door were unlocked and items appeared to be missing from the garage.

Neighbors informed them that they had seen Switalla loading a grill from the garage into his van, according to the complaint.

Switalla later returned the grill to the property.

Neighbors also told authorities that numerous other people had been at the house since the previous owner had left.

The criminal complaint charges Switalla with one felony count of burglary, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 12½ years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine if found guilty.

He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of theft.

Switalla is free on a $2,000 signature bond.

County supervisor gets fine, revocation for 1st offense OWI

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:29pm
Capelle pulled over in November after running a stop signBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

A Shawano County supervisor arrested for drunken driving in November pleaded no contest Thursday to two of the four citations issued against him.

Kenneth E. Capelle, 78, was ordered to pay a $924.50 fine and had his driver’s license revoked for 12 months after being found guilty of first-offense operating while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a blood draw.

He will also have to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle he owns or is registered to him for 12 months and participate in an AODA assessment before his license is reinstated. He was also charged $42.50 for the blood drawn that was eventually taken after authorities obtained a warrant.

Citations for operating with a prohibited blood/alcohol count and running a stop sign were dismissed as part of the agreement.

Shawano County Assistant District Attorney Alec Ballo said the penalties were standard and consistent with state guidelines.

“The county doesn’t believe that its terribly aggravated,” Ballo said. “Law enforcement stopped the defendant when he blew through a stop sign. That is dangerous behavior, but there was nobody in the area, so we’re treating it like a non-aggravated circumstance. We’re just asking that the defendant be treated consistent with the guidelines and be treated like everybody else under similar circumstances.”

Capelle’s attorney, Jack Bartholomew, disagreed with the state’s characterization of blowing through a stop sign.

“We don’t think it was a dangerous situation,” he said.

“However,” Bartholomew said, “we agree sufficient grounds were there for a stop and that’s all it takes. So we agree the guidelines should apply. It’s not an aggravated situation. My client gets treated just like every other one of these cases and that’s what’s being recommended. So it’s acceptable to us.”

Asked if he wanted to make a statement to the court, Capelle took the apparent instruction of his attorney, who shook his head at Capelle and said, “no.”

Capelle said he had no statement after the hearing.

Judge William Kussel Jr. noted that first-offense OWI was a non-criminal matter but said he felt compelled to comment on drunken driving cases.

“When you operate a motor vehicle, when you’re under the influence of intoxicants, it’s a very dangerous situation,” Kussel said. “Dangerous to the person who operates that motor vehicle and also all the innocent people on the road.”

Kussel said the penalties in this case would not only be punishment for the offense but should be a deterrent to others.

Capelle, who represents County Board District 9, which is comprised of Cecil and Ward 1 of the town of Washington, was pulled over shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 after a sheriff’s deputy spotted his vehicle going through a stop sign at Freeborn Street and Warrington Avenue in the village of Cecil, according to the deputy’s report.

Capelle refused to submit to a blood draw to determine his blood/alcohol count. A warrant was obtained to get a blood sample.

According to the state crime lab, Capelle had a blood alcohol level of 0.168, more than twice the legal limit.

Capelle had initially asked for a jury trial before accepting the plea agreement.

Shawano Lake, Washington Lake survey shows healthy numbers

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:27pm
Area lakes show diversity, abundance in fish speciesBy: 

David M. Wilhelms Leader Correspondent

Photo by David M. Wilhelms Mike Heller, Cecil, displays one of the smaller fish he caught from shore in Cecil Bay Thursday morning. The Pumpkinseed was pretty typical of what he’d brought in but he said he had enough panfish to make a meal. He planned to put his boat on the lake in the afternoon in search of bigger fish.

Fishing on Shawano Lake isn’t as good as it was in the 1990s and early 2000s, but it’s better than it’s been although “that really depends on the species,” Jason Breeggemann observed.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries biologist recently discussed the findings of the 2018 spring netting and electrofishing survey on Shawano and Washington lakes.

The two lakes are administered together, and surveys are done on a four-year interval, he said.

For example, “We do know stocking (by the DNR and Walleyes for Tomorrow) has contributed to the turn-around” in walleyes as well as survival of the planted fish and reef restoration “but it’s not one definite thing that’s bringing them back” in “re-creating a self-sustaining fishery,” Breeggemann said.

This year’s survey included a lot of fish in the 16-18 inches range in the 572 surveyed. Growth rates for the popular gamefish are listed as “moderate to fast” and are considered to be consistent with other state lakes.

He previously shared the findings at the June 1 meeting of the Shawano Area Waterways Management (SAWM), where much of the discussion was on water levels and ability to get around as well as the annual weed control effort.

Breeggemann said he appreciated the need to find a balance.

“We try to educate the public on the importance of vegetation for the fisheries (such as cattails and bulrushes). We want to promote a mix of submergent, emergent and floating vegetation,” but “we understand that other boaters want to get around,” Breeggemann said.

He noted there is a permit program available for property owners to cut lanes in vegetation.

Although people are catching more walleyes in the past two years, black crappies are the story this spring and early summer, Breeggemann said.

“We’re seeing pretty high catch rates,” he noted, but it’s not uncommon to have extreme population fluctuations. The species is known to be “very unpredictable” on its “recruitment rate” or adding fish spawned in a given year into the population, he explained.

The fish have an abundance rating (population size) of moderate to high according to this year’s DNR survey, ranking it in the 84th percentile of state lakes.

Also ranking moderate to high in the survey are bluegills, largemouth bass, pumpkinseeds, and walleyes. Bass numbers have been stable over the last three survey, Breeggemann noted, with a “good number of catchable size.”

The DNR would like to see more in the trophy 18-20 inches class. Northern Pike are ranked as “moderate” and the fish biologist noted the catch rates are also rebounding and “we’re seeing more large pike.” The pike are growing at a rate consistent with other state lakes.

Bluegills, the favorite of grandparents and grandchildren everywhere, have been very consistent in numbers over time, according to Breeggemann. There is some concern for growth rates as it is slightly lower than state average. The cause is the over-harvest of large bluegills and Eurasian water-milfoil, an invasive plant.

This leaves the remaining bluegills to adopt the strategy of growing “large enough” to reproduce but not grow beyond that, Breeggemann said.

Although Yellow Perch were ranked low (18th percentile among state lakes), Breeggemann predicted a good fishery for the species in the next few years. He noted the survey found a large number of 5-7 inches perch. They will need two to three years to get into the 9-10 inches size where they become much more attractive to anglers. He cautioned perch were difficult to survey with the usual methods and he has to rely on anglers’ reports.

Rock bass have good numbers in the lake but he rarely gets a question on the fish and they are not a focus for many anglers, Breeggemann said. They are not technically bass but are in the same family as bluegills and crappies.

Another goal of the survey is to “monitor abnormalities. We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary this year in terms of disease or other concerns,” he said.

“It’s not often you see all of the popular gamefish in one lake. Get out and enjoy the diversity of the populations on Shawano Lake,” Breeggemann said to area anglers. They won’t be disappointed, he said.

The biologist added Cloverleaf Lake is the only other body of water in his district with the same level of diversity.

“There are a lot of ways to be entertained,” Breeggemann said. He noted recent successful bluegill fishing in Cecil Bay, the fishing in the deeper waters off Schumacher’s Island and the bluegills and bass spawning in shallower water around the lake. He advised fishing for pike and musky in the “weedlines” including the northwest area of the lake.

Public Record

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:22pm

Shawano Police Department

June 5

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident at County Road BE and Ash Lane.

Pedestrian Accident — A man was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St. No injuries were reported.

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

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

June 5

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on County Road Y in the town of Belle Plaine.

OAR — Citations for operating after revocation were issued to a 30-year-old Keshena man on Oak Drive in the town of Wescott and a 31-year-old Shawano woman on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Drug Offense — A 22-year-old Green Bay woman and a 38-year-old Green Bay man were arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at North Star Casino, W12180 County Road A in the town of Bartelme.

Clintonville Police Department

June 5

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Harassment — Harassment was reported at Clintonville Middle School, 255 N. Main St.

Disturbance — Police responded to an unwanted subject on West Madison Street.

Beans & Books doubles in size

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:18pm
Business including many more booksBy: 

Carol Ryczek [email protected]

Leader photo by Carol Ryczek Kasmira Duchesne, left, and her stepmother, Laura Duchesne, found some book bargains and were rewarded with a gift at the Beans & Books Coffeehouse open house on June 1. Kasmira was happy to have found the last installment of a series of books she is reading.

Beans and Books Coffeehouse in Shawano has gone from “medium” to “grande.”

The bookstore and coffee shop, 1235 E. Green Bay St., Shawano, expanded and celebrated with an open house last week. The expansion was made possible when the business next door, Game Stop, closed, allowing Beans & Books to move into the empty space.

“We’ve doubled in size,” owner Karen Benishek said, waving at display racks of new and used books, “and this side is books.”

Beans and Books had specialized in used books in the past, but Benishek said the closing of Book World downtown and continuing interest in books that aren’t housed on an electronic pad or phone, helped make the decision to expand the “real” book options.

“Statistically, books are doing better than they were; we’ve seen an increase in sales,” she said.

The book store offers a selection of new titles and an expanded selection of used books. “We used to take only books less than 10 years old,” she said. “Now we can take classics and series books that are popular.”

The store gives a credit for used books, which can be used in the store. Although they will say “no” to some types of books, such as romance novels or old texts, true crime stories are currently very much in demand, she said. Details on the book credit program are available at the stop, she said.

In addition to book sales, a meeting room is available to the public. Benishek hopes start a book club at the shop and has a summer reading program for children ready to launch.

The shop continues to provide coffee and sandwiches in the original side of the building. A drive-thru continues to be available. That’s been here since the shop opened 15 years ago, Benishek said. She and her husband, Jim, bought the business three years ago.

The “beans” in Beans & Books is Steep N Brew coffee. Benishek said she plans to hold “coffee cuppings,” which is something like a wine tasting, but with coffee instead of wine in the cup.

Book signings and other special events will continue to be held, and dates can be found on the shop’s Facebook page, she said.

Village of Wittenberg passes refinancing program

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:15pm
Potential savings on interest is $10K to $15K per yearBy: 

Miriam Nelson [email protected]

The Wittenberg Village Baord voted May 21 to issue bonds not to exceed $3.48 million in an effort to save thousands of dollars each year in interest.

Maureen Holsen, an employee of Ehlers Inc. wo serves as the municipal adviser for the village, explained the process to board members.

The resolution authorizes Ehlers to move forward with a sale of sewer revenue bonds that would refund the village’s 2006 Rural Development loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of the $4.08 million original loan amount, $3.48 million remains to be paid back. The village commits to bonds that will be paid over the next 26 years by the sewer and water utility, which is the same time period as the Rural Development loan.

Holsen noted that banks generally do not extend loans of this type for 26 years.

Baird, a wealth management firm in Milwaukee, will handle the sale of the bonds June 26 using the parameters recommended by Ehlers and approved by the village board. Two of those parameters include meeting a minimum of $10,000 savings per year and maintaining certain interest rates.

According to Holsen, Baird was chosen for its strong reputation for handling this type of sale.

Trustee Sharon Beversdorf asked about the degree of risk for the board.

Holsen explained that this is the time of year when these kinds of sales take place, and “Baird has chosen the June 26 date when fewer meetings take place and there’s a better ability for the sale to be finalized.”

Into the plan is built a one-year cushion of principal and interest set aside for the village, should the water and sewer utility miss a payment. The village is not obligated to make that payment for the utility, but if it chooses not to pay that missed payment, it will affect the village board’s ability to lock into other programs.

All costs associated with the sale and refunding of the Rural Development loan are included.

Providing the sale goes through, the village will receive the proceeds of the sale by the end of July, and the loan to the Rural Development Corporation will be paid off in the beginning of August.

Masons give heart-shocking gift to school

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:13pm
Gresham receives 4 AEDs for lifesaving measuresBy: 

Lee Pulaski [email protected]

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Members of the Shawano Masonic Lodge and staff members of Gresham Community School pose with the four new automated external defibrillators and a practice unit Monday in the school’s gymnasium. From left, front row, Kyla Heiman, Jeff Zobeck, Heidi Cerveny, Michelle Hoffman and Taylor Welcing; back row, Nick Curran, Karl Simonson, Ben Heninger, Tim Wild, Cheryl Boettcher, Ben Smith, Ben Dieck, Jim Herman and Newell Haffner.

The staff of Gresham Community School will be better prepared to enact lifesaving measures, if necessary, courtesy of four automated external defibrillators donated by the Shawano Masonic Lodge.

Staff members spent some of the day Monday learning about how to use the AEDs should the need for them arise. The AEDs will be placed at several points in the school so that a staff member can access it within two minutes of an emergency.

Jim Herman, a past Mason master representing the lodge, said that the idea came from one of its members, Gary Beier. The school had one AED in its possession, but it was more than a decade old, so the need was there.

“Shawano Lodge has seen firsthand the benefit of an AED unit when a Shawano high school student collapsed following a track practice and would have died had it not been for an AED we donated to the school,” Herman said during a brief ceremony Monday afternoon at the school.

The lodge gave the school a check for $3,778 from local Masons and the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation to reimburse the school for the recent purchase.

Due to the Masons’ donation of AEDs across Wisconsin, 37 lives have been saved. Herman noted that he has two grandchildren that currently attend school in Gresham.

“I realize this is a lot of responsibility,” Herman said to the staff. “I hope you never have to use them.”

Kyla Heiman, the school’s nurse, hopes that the AEDs will not need to be used, as well, but feels it’s better to have the tools there than be without if an emergency occurs. She noted that the old AED was needed at least once during a sporting event.

“It was before I came here, maybe 10 years ago,” Heiman said. “They did have a student that collapsed on the gym floor, and they did need to use it. That student was saved.”

Heiman had initially hoped for one or two new AEDs, so she was pleasantly surprised when the Masons came through with four.

“It’s wonderful,” Heiman said. “It’s beyond what I thought we would have.”

Three of them will be by entrance/exit doors, according to Heiman, with one on the second floor of the original 1935 portion of the building. The fourth AED will be relocated when the school demolishes the older portion of the school in 2020, and Heiman is expecting that more AEDs will need to be purchased once the expansion is complete in order to keep with the goal of an AED being no further than two minutes away.

Free summer meals planned in Pulaski

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 9:11pm

Stressing the importance of offering nutritious meals to children during the summer months, the Pulaski Community School District announces the sponsorship of the Summer Food Service Program.

The Summer Food Service Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, provides nutritious meals to children during the summer, when free and reduced-price school meals are typically unavailable.

Free meals will be made available to children 18 years of age and under. People over 18 years of age who are determined by a state or local public educational agency to be mentally or physically disabled and who also participate in a public or private non-profit school program during the regular school year may receive free meals as well.

Breakfast will be served Monday through Friday at the Pulaski Community Middle School this summer from 7:40-8:15 a.m. Lunch will be provided from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Meals are provided to eligible children regardless of race, color, national origin, age, gender or disability and there will be no discrimination in the course of meal service.

“This program fills a void created when school lunches are not available,” said Caitlin Harrison, the district’s food services director. “Helping parents meet the nutritional needs of their children is the strength of this program.”

The World Is Changing

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 4:39pm
And we're changing with a new web site to better serve you

Watch for changes in the next month as we lay the groundwork for even better news, sports, information, and advertising when we replace with You'll get at least eight updates every 24 hours from the only source that focuses on northeastern Wisconsin including news from outlying areas including Wittenberg-Birnamwood and Oconto County in a format that's easy to navigate. Although has been available to you without charge since 1994, we can no longer provide its services for free. Access in the future will require a subscription from as little as $.99 for one day of access. Save even more when you combine a print subscription with an online subscription.

County considers sexting ordinance

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 7:52pm
Fines could be levied to juveniles sharing inappropriate materialBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Shawano County is considering an ordinance that would allow minors to be cited for exchanging inappropriate images on their cell phones or other devices, a practice known as “sexting.”

“Sexting is becoming more than common,” said Detective Sgt. Gordon Kowaleski, but the laws currently on the books don’t adequately address the practice when it occurs between minors.

“The statutes have not caught up with technology,” he said.

Kowaleski said his options are limited when it comes to penalizing youths who engage in sexting.

“If I have two 17-year-olds sending inappropriate images back and forth, I have two options,” he said. “I can refer them for possession and distribution of child pornography, which is three years mandatory in prison, or I can do nothing.”

Dealing with a 17-year-old is particularly tricky under the law, Kowaleski said.

“A 17-year-old is an adult if he commits a crime, but he’s a juvenile if something happens to him,” he said.

Kowaleski said there is currently no sufficient penalty for minors at 17 and younger for engaging in sexting.

“I can refer them to social services,” he said. “They’re yelled at, talked to, ‘don’t do this,’ and they’re right back to doing it again.”

Kowaleski said he wanted to see a financial penalty sufficient to discourage juveniles from the practice, and an alternative to what’s on the books in state statutes.

“We’re not going to put these kids in jail or prison,” he said.

Kowaleski said the ordinance would not apply to more serious examples of distributing inappropriate underage images.

“We’re not talking the child porn collectors,” he said. “The people who we truly take down. These are boyfriend-girlfriends. Somebody sent a picture out. They got caught.”

Kowaleski said the ordinance would be discretionary.

“Just because we have the ordinance, doesn’t mean we’re going to start issuing them like Chiclets to everybody,” he said. “But in the cases where they deserve a citation, they’re going to get one.”

The county’s public safety committee Wednesday unanimously recommended the proposed ordinance be sent to the County Board for approval.

The ordinance calls for a forfeiture of up to $500 plus court costs for a first offense, and up to $750 plus court costs for a second offense that occurs within 12 months of the first offense.

A third offense within 12 months of the second could bring a fine of as much as $1,000.

County, Bertram negotiate rural broadband deal

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 7:50pm
Talks center on key county towers in Gresham, LeopolisBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Getting broadband internet to underserved rural pockets of western Shawano County could hinge on getting an agreement between the county and internet service provider Bertram Communications and allowing Bertram to access two key communications towers owned by the county.

At this point, the ongoing negotiations are making progress, according to the county, but there is still no finalized deal.

“We had received an agreement that we did not feel was good for the county,” said Emergency Management Director James Davel. “We subsequently received another agreement much closer to what I feel is appropriate and safeguards the county on some things.”

Davel made his comments at a meeting Tuesday of the county’s public safety committee.

He said one of his main concerns was potential interference with the county’s 911 system, noting that the original proposal didn’t address what would happen if Bertram’s equipment caused 911 interference.

“In the new agreement, the equipment would come down,” Davel said.

Davel also said an assessment would have to be done to determine whether the Gresham tower can handle what the county already has installed plus the addition of Bertram’s equipment.

“In terms of access to the tower, we don’t really have any issues with that,” he said. “We just want to make sure it’s done properly and the county is positioned well as we go through the agreement.”

Davel said the only real sticking point that remains is whether Bertram should be charged a fee for access to the Gresham and Leopolis towers.

He said the corporation counsel is reviewing whether the county can provide that access without anything in return.

Davel said a fee or some kind of bartering exchange could be worked out.

“The county does want the broadband. I don’t think that’s an issue,” he said. “I just want to make sure it’s done right.”

Mark Dodge, Bertram’s director of business development, told the committee Bertram can offer a secondary path for services in the event the county’s communications failed.

“We’re in this to do things and to help,” he said.

Dodge said Bertram now has good coverage for rural broadband stretching from County Road MMM through Cecil, but the key is getting additional “vertical assets” in place.

“We find silos or towers or radio antennas or some other structure and put additional access points on there to fill it in,” he said. “But it’s a process.”

The project includes both the use of new towers and existing ones to provide broadband internet service. Broadband is defined as at least 25 megabytes per second download speed and 5 megabytes per second upload.

The rural broadband project comes at a cost of more than $680,000, with $274,000 coming from a state grant that Shawano County Economic Progress Inc. secured. Bertram is funding $367,511 toward the project’s infrastructure and $39,000 is coming from local townships, businesses and citizens, according to the grant application.

Dodge said the grant would cover an additional 2,644 households during the first phase of the project.

“You’ll never get 100 percent,” Dodge said, noting that topography, foliage and other obstacles play a part. “It’s just challenging, and I don’t care who’s going to try to do it.”

Davel told the committee he expected to bring a new agreement forward for approval next month.

Gresham breaks ground on school expansion

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 7:49pm
CTE facility, classrooms to be ready by early next yearBy: 

Lee Pulaski [email protected]

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Gresham Community School flung the first shovels full of dirt on its new expansion May 31 with the help of, from left, Nick Curran, business manager; Ben Henninger, high school principal; Newell Haffner, superintendent; Austin Sperberg, freshman student council president; and Addison Boucher, sophomore student council president. Much of the work will take place during the summer and fall, with the classroom portion ready for occupancy in January or February.

Gresham Community School is about to get a whole lot bigger.

The school officially broke ground on the new $6.5 million expansion May 31 and is hoping to have much of it ready by January or February. New middle school and high school classrooms will be built, including a state-of-the-art career and technical education area where students will be able to utilize the tools they need early for future careers.

Most of the students gathered around a shady area near the groundbreaking site on the east site of the school, watching as school officials, students and community members joined Ayres and Associates, the architect for the expansion, and Kraus Anderson, the construction company hired to build it, to pick up some golden shovels and flip the first bits of dirt on a long anticipated project.

“It’s a great day to be a Wildcat,” said Newell Haffner, Gresham School District superintendent. “We get to start building on some new facilities. We get a new CTE space and classrooms, and it should be a great improvement to the education that we give here in Gresham.”

Once the main addition is built, the original portion of the school built in 1935 will be demolished in summer 2020, Haffner said. A newer wing will be built in its place to serve as the cafeteria and commons area, allowing the overcrowded gymnasium to just be a gym during the school day and not have to accommodate breakfast before school and lunch in the middle of the day. It would also serve as a recess area during cold weather and rainy days.

“On the original scope of the bid, that wasn’t in there, but we sent it out for bid just to see, and we’re able to fit it in,” Haffner said. “To me, that’s where we need it.”

Nick Curran, the district’s business manager, is also eager to see the expansion begin. His predecessor, Holly Burr, put in most of the work to prepare the 2018 referendum that is allowing the expansion, but he was glad to see that the work pay off when voters approved the referendum, the district’s second attempt after putting a more ambitious one to voters two years earlier that was rejected.

“There’s support in the community for what we’re about to take on,” Curran said. “This is significant for our school and, I think, significant for our community.”

Public Record

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 7:47pm

Shawano Police Department

June 4

Police logged 29 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 23-year-old Keshena man was cited for operating after revocation at state Highway 47-55 and Old Lake Road.

Disturbance — A 49-year-old Shawano man was arrested for endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct after a disturbance in the 3100 block of East Richmond Street, and a 49-year-old Keshena man was arrested for an outstanding warrant.

Theft — Plants were reported stolen outside of Ollie’s Flowers, 129 N. Main St.

Warrant — A 43-year-old Neopit woman and a 19-year-old Shawano woman were arrested for outstanding warrants in the 800 block of East Green Bay Street.

Vandalism — Vandalism was reported at Memorial Park, 901 S. Lincoln St.

Harassment — Harassment was reported in the 300 block of South Sawyer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

June 4

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 26-year-old Antigo man was cited for operating after revocation on County Road Z in the town of Aniwa.

Truancy — Authorities logged five truancy complaints from Bonduel Middle/High School, 400 W. Green Bay St.

Disturbance —A 35-year-old Wittenberg man and a 34-year-old Wittenberg woman were arrested on warrants after a disturbance on West Line Road in the town of Aniwa.

Drug Offense —A 25-year-old Gillett man and a 21-year-old Keshena woman were cited for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an identity theft complaint on Pine Road in the town of Birnamwood.

Trespass — Trespassing was reported on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Clintonville Police Department

June 4

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported at Clintonville High School, 64 W. Green Tree Road.

Hit and Run — A property damage hit-and-run was reported on South Main Street.