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Congress hopeful shakes hands in Shawano

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:51pm
Democrat Nelson visits downtown businessesBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Congressional candidate Tom Nelson, center, stops on Main Street in downtown Shawano to talk with Debbie Cotter, right, and her granddaughter, Emma Sorenson.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Congressional candidate Tom Nelson, standing, talks with Angie’s Main Cafe customers, from left, Nancy Hundt, Karen Grady and Jan Doerr.

Declaring himself an independent-minded leader ready to tackle Washington, congressional hopeful Tom Nelson brought his campaign to downtown Shawano this week.

The Democrat from Appleton visited downtown businesses and greeted shoppers Tuesday in his bid to represent Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District.

Nelson, who serves as Outagamie County executive, is running against Mike Gallagher, the nominee in a Republican primary held last week.

The winner in the Nov. 8 election will succeed U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Sherwood, who is stepping down in a district that covers Shawano County, as well as Menominee County, Oconto County and other areas of Northeastern Wisconsin.

Gallagher has visited the Shawano area, too, and both candidates are planning to campaign at the Shawano County Fair, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5.

During his visit Tuesday, Nelson said he has a track record of working with both political parties, and he noted that the 8th Congressional District has demonstrated an independent streak over the years. Before the current Republican incumbent, the district was represented by Democrat Steve Kagen.

“The people in this district take their politics very, very seriously,” he said. “They don’t look at the party — they look at the candidates.”

On issues, Nelson said he wants to go to Washington to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which he sees as a threat to job creation and economic growth in Wisconsin. The trade agreement proposed by the Obama administration requires congressional ratification.

“History has shown us that these deals are bad news for Wisconsin workers,” he said.

Gallagher’s campaign issued a statement indicating that the Republican candidate also opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal as anti-business.

“This is the same snake oil career politicians have been selling us for decades,” Gallagher said, “and the results are always the same: Our businesses become uncompetitive and hard-working Wisconsin families fall farther behind.”

Nelson said his background as a county executive and former state lawmaker give him the skills to effect change in the federal government on behalf of Shawano and the rest of the district.

“I’m committed to this community,” he said.

Jeff Gillis, a resident of the town of Richmond, accompanied Nelson as a campaign volunteer during his visit to downtown businesses.

Gillis said he has known Nelson since 2008 and is backing him to become the area’s next congressman.

“I still believe that hard work matters,” Gillis said. “Anybody who’s worked as hard as Tom deserves an opportunity to represent the people he’s worked so hard to represent.”

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Public Record

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:42pm

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 16

Police logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Arrest — A male subject was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Fire — A kitchen grease fire was reported in the 300 block of South Hamlin Street.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 16

Deputies logged 29 incidents, including the following:

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

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Park Street in the town of Angelica.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Hemlock Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — Items were reported stolen from a vehicle on Maple Road in the town of Herman.

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

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 16

Police logged four incidents, including the following:

Theft — A theft was reported on Anne Street.

Disturbance — Warnings were issued after a family disturbance on East Second Street.

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Ho-Chunk plan expansion in Wittenberg

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:31am
New hotel, restaurant part of 3-casino project
Contributed Illustration This rendering provided by Ho-Chunk Gaming shows the new hotel and renovations planned for the Wittenberg property.

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

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

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

Project Forward includes gaming floor expansions with additional slots, new hotels, new restaurants and bars, smoke-free gaming areas along with major cosmetic enhancements. As a result of the expansions, 100 new jobs will be created that will add to the existing 3,400-employee Ho-Chunk Nation workforce.

“We are extremely excited to grow and offer new amenities that will only enhance one of the best entertainment experiences in the region,” said Wilfrid Cleveland, Ho-Chunk Nation president. “It’s a win-win for everyone when we can create more jobs throughout Wisconsin and add more value to our guest’s experience.”

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

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

Work is slated to begin in September. Groundbreaking ceremonies will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Middle school project almost done

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:29am
Work will continue after classes startBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Miron Construction project manager Jared Olk, center, shows Shawano School Board members and administrators a floor plan illustrating the progress of work on Shawano Community Middle School.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Enjoying the remodeled courtyard at Shawano Community Middle School are, from left, Miron Construction project manager Jared Olk, School Board member Marcia Yeager, Superintendent Gary Cumberland and Principal Mary Kramer.

The renovated Shawano Community Middle School will welcome students back Sept. 1, although the $10 million project will not be quite ready for prime time.

After four months on the job, construction manager Miron Construction Co. will meet its goal of having the renovation substantially complete by mid-August — that is, the building will be open and functional.

Members of the Shawano School Board toured the property Monday and marveled at the updated cafeteria, band and orchestra rooms, courtyard, heating system and main entrance to the 62-year-old school.

Officials, however, dropped plans for an Aug. 31 public open house after learning that work might not be completed in the gymnasium, kitchen or other areas until after the school year has started.

Miron project executive Randy Boden encouraged school board members to wait and hold a significant public celebration when the project is finished.

“Make it big. Make it grand,” Boden said. “Let’s do it up.”

The open house event has been rescheduled for Sept. 17, with the public invited to tour the renovated school between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Voters last November approved a referendum to borrow $9.25 million — and combine that with $700,000 in other funds — to complete a long list of improvements at the middle school, 1050 S. Union St. School district administrators have said the face-lift would extend the building’s life by 25 years or more.

Miron Construction began work in April and agreed to have the project substantially complete by Aug. 19.

The board’s buildings and grounds committee toured the property Monday and got an update from Miron officials on the building’s back-to-school readiness. Teachers will have access to their classrooms starting Aug. 22 and the traditional “Back to School Night” event will take place Aug. 23. Classes begin Sept. 1.

Although board members discussed going ahead with the Aug. 31 open house and simply cordoning off unfinished areas, they agreed to postpone the event so that participants can tour the entire school after work is completed.

“It would be nice, I would guess, if they can see more,” board member Marcia Yeager said.

After classes have started, Miron officials said work is scheduled to continue on gymnasium improvements, installing a new elevator, new kitchen equipment, and finishing a few other components of the job. The contractor has indicated that all such work should be done in the first week of September.

Superintendent Gary Cumberland and SCMS Principal Mary Kramer also joined Monday’s tour of the construction site.

Much work remains in progress, and Miron officials said they currently have more than 100 workers on-site getting the building ready for teachers and students.

“A lot of people are asking me, ‘Are you really going to get done?’” Boden said. “Yes, we’ll get done.”

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Gresham tenant finds deactivated grenade

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:26am
Police waiting for word on other devices foundBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Police on Tuesday were still waiting to hear from Brown County authorities on the status of possible explosive devices, including a deactivated hand grenade, found in a village of Gresham apartment over the weekend.

A man flagged down Stockbridge-Munsee police around 4:20 p.m. Saturday to report he had found a potential grenade in the apartment complex in the 1100 block of Main Street.

The man, who had just moved into the apartment, said he found a box on a closet shelf that contained the grenade and two canisters with markings, according to Stockbridge-Munsee Police Chief Jim Hoffman.

The immediate area was evacuated and the Brown-Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called in, and its team took possession of the device.

Hoffman said the grenade was an actual military device but had been deactivated.

He said it was not clear whether the other two items were explosive devices or whether they were functional.

He said he was waiting for a report from the bomb squad.

Meanwhile, police have been talking with the landlord and neighbors to determine who had left the items.

Hoffman said the apartment had been vacant for a while.

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Public Record

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 7:25am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 15

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Police responded to a property theft complaint in the 100 block of River Heights.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint in the 200 block of Mountain Bay Trail Drive.

Shoplifting — Auto Prep, 220 N. Main St., reported a shoplifting incident.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported an adult female shoplifter in custody.

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Aug. 14

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 23-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated in the 1000 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the 100 block of South Main Street.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident at Waukechon Street and McDonald Road.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 900 block of Olson Street.

Aug. 13

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

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

Disturbance — A male subject was arrested for domestic violence-related disorderly conduct after police responded to a disturbance in the 200 block of East Division Street.

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

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 1300 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Aug. 12

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 100 block of South Sawyer Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 200 block of West Wescott Avenue.

Vandalism — A house was reported egged in the 500 block of South Franklin Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 15

Deputies logged 45 incidents, including the following:

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Beech Road in the town of Richmond.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Daffodil Lane in Tigerton.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Resort Road in the town of Washington.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Nichols Road in the town of Lessor.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Primrose Lane in Tigerton.

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

Aug. 14

Deputies logged 54 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly —Authorities responded to an intoxicated person complaint on Willow Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Willow Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Disorderly —Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Main Street in Gresham.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Genesee Street in Wittenberg.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Lawn Road in the town of Lessor.

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

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on Old Shawano Road in the town of Pella.

Aug. 13

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — A burglary was reported on Maple Road in the town of Herman.

Fraud — Identity theft was reported on Lily Road in the town of Birnamwood.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on County Road Z in the town of Herman.

Disorderly —Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Hemlock Road in the town of Wittenberg.

OWI — A 35-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Airport Drive in the town of Wescott.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on North Avenue in Mattoon.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on County Road G in the town of Red Springs.

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

Aug. 12

Deputies logged 57 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A mailbox was reported vandalized on Elm Street in Tigerton.

Warrant — A 26-year-old Neopit woman was taken into custody on a warrant on state Highway 47 in the town of Lessor.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 15

Police logged 16 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on South Main Street.

Robbery — A robbery reported near Morning Glory Drive was under investigation.

Aug. 14

Police logged 14 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on South Main Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on Coleus Court.

Aug. 13

Police logged 16 incidents, including the following:

Assault — Battery was reported on South Main Street.

Drug Offense — A subject was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on South Main Street.

Aug. 12

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem on Rohrer Street.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in Pickerel Point.

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Bomb squad handles grenade in Gresham

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:43am
By: 

Leader Staff

Shawano County authorities responding to a suspicious incident complaint Sunday located an explosive device on Main Street in Gresham.

A man flagged down Stockbridge-Munsee police around 4:20 p.m. to report he had found a potential grenade in the apartment complex where he had just moved in, according to the sheriff’s report.

The immediate area was evacuated and the Brown-Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad was called in, and their team took possession of the device.

The investigation is ongoing.

The incident was one of 102 deputies logged over the weekend, including an arrest for operating while intoxicated in the town of Wescott; a domestic disturbance in the town of Lessor; drug complaints in Wittenberg and the town of Red Springs; a burglary in the town of Herman; identity theft in the town of Birnamwood; property theft complaints in the town of Wittenberg and the village of Bowler; and disorderly conduct complaints in the town of Wittenberg, town of Seneca and village of Gresham.

Shawano police logged 38 incidents over the weekend, including disturbances in the 400 block of South Hamlin Street, 200 block of East Division Street, 800 block of East Richmond Street and 900 block of Olson Street; an arrest for operating while intoxicated in the 1000 block of East Lieg Avenue; a property damage hit-and-run in the 100 block of South Main Street; and a property damage accident at Waukechon Street and McDonald Road.

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Public Record

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 1:48am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 11

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint in the 400 block of Mountain Bay Trail Drive.

Theft — Mail was reported stolen in the 400 block of West Third Street.

Arrest — A male subject was taken into custody at the Probation and Parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 400 block of South Weed Street.

Warrant — A 23-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant in the 1200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 11

Deputies logged 31 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — A 46-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested for possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia and a 42-year-old Shawano man was taken into custody on two outstanding warrants on Highway 29 in the town of Maple Grove.

Drug Offense — A 35-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and a 20-year-old Clintonville woman was arrested for felony bail jumping and possession of a controlled substance at the Ho-Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg.

Vandalism — A mailbox was reported vandalized on state Highway 32 in the town of Angelica.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an identity theft complaint on Cherry Street in the village of Bowler.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on County Road MM in the town of Richmond.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 11

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

OAR — Citation issued for operating after revocation after a traffic stop on Anne Street.

Suspicious — A suspicious incident was reported on South Main Street.

Juvenile — A juvenile was cited for underage possession of tobacco products on Anne Street.

Harassment — A warning was issued for harassment on West Morning Glory Drive.

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Suit against Antigo schools dismissed

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 1:47am
Mattoon pushing to become its own school districtBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

A civil suit seeking a court injunction against the Antigo school district to keep it from closing Mattoon Elementary School was dismissed last week, but court records offer no explanation as to why.

A court order issuing a settlement and stipulation to dismiss was issued on Aug. 4.

The village of Mattoon and two parents of Mattoon Elementary students filed for a court injunction in May to stop the Unified School District of Antigo from closing the school.

They asked the court to order that Mattoon Elementary be kept open until at least the end of the 2016-2017 school year to give parents adequate time to find other educational options for their children.

Mattoon Village President Brian Owen said Friday he wasn’t aware the case had been dismissed, but he said he wasn’t surprised.

“They closed (the school) already,” he said.

Owen said many parents have open-enrolled their students into the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District.

Owen said the nearest alternative in the Antigo district is Crestwood Elementary, about six miles away. He said the nearest schools in the Wittenberg-Birnamwood district “are about the same difference.”

Meanwhile, efforts are underway for the village to break away from the Antigo district and become a school district of its own, much like the village of Gresham did some years ago.

However, Owen said, it would be a long process.

“It’s going to take a couple of years,” he said.

Some 1,900 signatures have been collected on a petition to break away from Antigo, according to Owen.

At some point a public hearing would have to be held and the idea would have to get the blessing of the state Department of Public Instruction.

Owen said the school district has been “bucking to get a new school” for about 10 years, but the effort has continually failed in referendums.

He said the district has been forcing the issue by closing schools until there is no choice but to build a new one.

A message left for Antigo school officials for comment was not returned Friday.

The civil complaint maintained that the school’s closure will make the village of Mattoon a less attractive place to live, leading to a decline in population, business presence and economic vitality.

Antigo school officials voted twice to close the elementary school. Some parents say the School Board’s first vote in April was taken without any public notice. The board held a special meeting in June to vote again and came down to the same 5-4 decision.

In a response to the civil complaint, the school district and board maintained the vote was a valid exercise of school officials’ power and that the court lacks jurisdiction over school district actions.

The response also denied the complaint’s allegation that board members “conspired to surprise the public with the action to close Mattoon Elementary School without proper notice and out of spite and retaliation against the residents of Mattoon for the board members’ perception that residents of Mattoon did not show sufficient support for the board’s proposed referendum.”

The $25.9 million referendum plan would have closed five of the district’s seven elementary schools, renovated the remaining two, and built a brand-new, centralized school in Antigo.

Mattoon and Crestwood schools would have stayed open under that plan.

The referendum failed by a vote of 3,787-2,615.

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Congestion eases along detour route

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 1:39am
Local drivers finding alternate routesBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

Traffic congestion on Green Bay and Main streets as a result of the Airport Drive reconstruction detour has eased over the past week, according to Shawano Public Works Coordinator Eddie Sheppard.

Last week, the city was considering altering the timing of traffic lights along the detour route, particularly at the intersection of Green Bay and Main, where congestion was the most intense.

In the days immediately following the Aug. 1 closure of Airport Drive, traffic on Main Street was often backed up a block down to the south at Division Street.

The official state detour during the project is Highway 29 to Highway 22 (Main and Green Bay streets), which is also the route truck traffic is expected to take.

However, local drivers have apparently been opting for other routes within the city to avoid the traffic along the state’s official detour.

“The locals have been finding alternate routes,” Sheppard said.

That was also the expectation of the Department of Transportation at a recent public hearing.

“I’m sure people will take the roads they know to get around inside the city limits,” said Jim Volkmann, DOT project manager.

The work on Airport Drive includes reconstructing the existing four-lane road to a two-lane road between Green Bay Street and County Road B; repairing curb and gutter and storm sewer; improving intersections; and reconstructing the railroad crossing.

Work is expected to be wrapped up by late October.

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Shawano hit by power outage

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 1:37am
East side loses power for over 2 hoursBy: 

Scott Williams [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Shawano Municipal Utilities crews work on restoring power Friday during an outage along Green Bay Street on the city’s east side.

Several businesses and some residences on Shawano’s east side lost electrical power for about two hours Friday.

Shawano Municipal Utilities reported the outage began about 5 p.m. and created traffic congestion along Green Bay Street when stoplights went dark during the evening rush hour.

Power was restored by 7:30 p.m. in most areas.

Brian Knapp, city administrator and utility manager, said crews identified an underground equipment failure and were working to pinpoint what caused the failure.

Although skies were cloudy and temperatures were high, there was no severe weather apparent at the time of the outage.

“It has to be something fairly significant,” Knapp said of the cause.

Officials said the outage covered an area that stretched from around Waukechon Street east to the city limits at County Road BE. The outage was concentrated along Green Bay Street and did not extend far into surrounding residential areas, Knapp said.

Affected businesses included Qualheim’s, Anello’s Torch Lite restaurant, El Tequila Mexican Restaurant and Wolf River Media, which publishes The Shawano Leader.

Shawano police worked to direct traffic after stoplights went dark at major intersections along Green Bay Street.

Lt. Mike Musolff of the Shawano Police Department said the power outage struck during heavy traffic at the end of a Friday workday. Musolff reported that there were no major incidents.

“We were able to keep it under control,” he said. “People were keeping their cool pretty good.”

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Bonduel ‘eyesore’ gets another chance

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 1:34am
Cleanup starts at vacant motel propertyBy: 

Scott Williams [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Bonduel Inn manager Emilia Nunez, right, takes a break from cleanup work Friday with, from left, son Carlos Flores, son Harjot Nunez and sister Yolanda Gonzalez.

The Bonduel Inn is making a comeback.

Condemned by health inspectors earlier this year, the property at 505 W. Green Bay St. in Bonduel is under new management with plans to revive the once-popular motel, restaurant and tavern.

Manager Emilia Nunez has arrived with family members to begin an arduous cleanup effort aimed at resurrecting the business, possibly by next summer.

“This is a challenge,” Nunez said. “It’s not impossible.”

The Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department condemned the vacant property in May, declaring it uninhabitable because of mold, standing water, mounds of trash and other signs of neglect. Health officials set a Dec. 31 deadline for the property owner to correct the problems.

Bonduel Police Chief Todd Chaney called it encouraging to see cleanup efforts under way, starting earlier this week.

“It’s a good sign,” Chaney said.

Originally known as Trader Charlie’s and later as The Viking, the business thrived during the 1960s and 1970s as a popular spot for dinner, drinks and nightlife. The high-profile property along County Road BE includes one building with eight motel rooms, another building with a restaurant and tavern and a private residence for an owner or manager.

Owner Linda Krezinski acquired the property in 2008, but neighbors report that the condition deteriorated noticeably in recent years.

Family and friends have indicated that Krezinski developed health problems that made it physically difficult for her to operate the business. It appeared that the compound was vacated before county health inspectors issued their condemnation order on May 6.

Nunez, a Milwaukee resident relocating to Bonduel, said she and Krezinski are friends and that they have agreed that Nunez will take over management of the property with an eye on purchasing it through a land-contract deal.

Nunez said she previously operated a child-care business, while family members have experience with restaurants and taverns. Many family members have joined the Bonduel cleanup effort to help Nunez revive the business.

“My mom has done a lot,” said her son, Harjot Nunez. “If anyone can do it, it’s definitely her.”

After spending days clearing out all the motel rooms and other facilities, the cleanup crew is having a rummage sale this weekend featuring a variety of furniture, tools, TV sets, fixtures, pots and pans, and other merchandise.

That will be followed by several months of repairs, cleanup and renovation to bring the property back to life. Nunez said she might ask the county health department for an extension of the Dec. 31 deadline, with the hope of restarting the motel and tavern first, followed by the restaurant later.

“I’m trying to get the full potential,” she said.

Jon Gardebrecht, a Shawano resident who stopped at the rummage sale Friday, said he remembers seeing the motel, restaurant and tavern in full operation during the property’s heyday. Gardebrecht said he is happy to see Nunez and her family working to restore the place.

Gardebrecht and his fiancee might even become customers later once the restaurant reopens.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s better than it just sitting here being an eyesore.”

Nunez said she and her family do not have a lot of money to spend fixing up the place. But they are encouraged by the progress they have made so far.

Nunez said she is confident the business will become successful again.

“My goal is to get it up and running,” she said. “I think it has a lot of potential. It just needs a very nice face-lift.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Rummage sale

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE: Bonduel Inn property, 505 W. Green Bay St., Bonduel.

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School district surplus stirs debate

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:20pm
Spend it or lower taxes, some questionBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]

The Shawano School District is enjoying budget surpluses worth more than $1 million, but the money might not go back into taxpayers’ pockets.

School Board members are wrestling with whether to reduce property taxes next year or use surplus funds for facility improvements such as new football stadium bleachers.

The debate has started as administrators close the books on the 2015-16 school year and prepare to unveil a new spending plan for 2016-17. The school district’s most recent budget was $26.7 million, including property tax collections of $13.1 million.

Officials say the district finished the 2015-16 school year with a surplus of about $500,000 and that another surplus of nearly $600,000 is forecast for next year.

Members of the district’s Finance Committee went back and forth earlier this week on different options for using the uncommitted funds.

Board member Derek Johnson argued for fiscal restraint and questioned whether the district could hold down property taxes. Johnson repeatedly asked administrators to identify the minimum amount needed to operate the school system for the coming year.

The school district should not collect $15 million in taxes if it only needs $10 million to function, Johnson said.

“I think it’s an honest question,” he said. “If we can have an honest discussion about it, I’d like to know how much we need to bring in.”

Administrators reported that past budget surpluses have generally been used to pay for building upkeep and other capital improvements.

They presented a list of potential expenditures at the high school that include $325,000 for football stadium bleachers, $300,000 for lighting system upgrades, $200,000 for heating improvements, $100,000 for expanded restrooms, $75,000 for concession stand renovations and $35,000 for new gymnasium curtains. Other possible expenditures were identified at the middle school, including $300,000 for new bleachers in the gym.

Louise Fischer, the district’s business manager, said the surpluses have resulted from lower-than-expected employee health insurance costs and other savings achieved elsewhere.

Having a surplus is better than facing a deficit, Fischer said, adding, “There’s a lot of school districts that are very envious.”

Looking ahead to the 2016-17 budget to be presented Aug. 22, administrators told the finance committee that the budget also will be affected by projected increases in student enrollment, more faculty members, rising utility costs and uncertainty about state funding.

Despite the current and projected budget surpluses, officials urged caution about reducing property taxes, saying that such a move could mean the district would get less state aid under the state’s current formula for public education funding.

Board member Beth McFarlane voiced frustration that the state’s formula seems to punish districts by cutting state aid to those giving local taxpayers a break.

“We’re in a difficult spot,” McFarlane said. “We’re trying to be frugal, and if we’re frugal, we get punished.”

Johnson and others, however, argued against spending surpluses on unplanned capital projects. Instead, they said, the district should have long-range capital plans and should create a separate fund where surpluses could be maintained and spent in an orderly manner.

Administrators expressed enthusiasm for creating such a fund, possibly starting with some of the current surplus funds.

The district plans community meetings on the 2016-17 budget for Aug. 31 and Sept. 6, followed by the districtwide annual meeting Sept. 19.

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Hospital passes water tests after flood

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:19pm
By: 

Leader Staff

ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano has been cleared to return to normal water usage following a flood inside the building earlier this week, officials said.

ThedaCare issued a statement Thursday that state and local regulators have declared water quality safe inside the hospital, 100 County Road B.

Hospital officials said they were flushing and clearing pipes in preparation for a lifting of all water restrictions, which was expected later Thursday.

Crews have been cleaning up and assessing damage since the building’s first floor was flooded Tuesday in an incident that officials have attributed to a malfunctioned fire hydrant on the hospital grounds. More details on the cause of the flooding are expected to be released later.

Although some patient services have been postponed or relocated, officials said surgeries have been rescheduled starting Friday.

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Court News

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:15pm

Strangulation

A Shawano man is accused of choking a woman during a domestic disturbance on July 12 in the town of Washington last month.

Steven D. Pleshek, 26, faces a felony charge of strangulation and suffocation.

He could face a maximum prison sentence of six years and a $10,000 fine if convicted. He is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse-related battery.

He is due in court for an initial appearance on Aug. 29.

Threat to law enforcement officer

A Shawano man has been charged with a felony count of making a threat to law enforcement officers that allegedly occurred while he was being arrested for bail jumping in the town of Wescott earlier this month.

Derek J. Wilke, 29, could face a maximum six years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

He was arrested after passing out outside the Blind Squirrel bar on Aug. 4, according to the criminal complaint.

According to court records, Wilke was out on bond on a pending misdemeanor disorderly conduct case and was prohibited from having alcohol as one of his bond conditions.

During his arrest, he allegedly threatened two deputies with bodily harm when he saw them out of uniform.

Wilke is also charged with misdemeanor counts of bail jumping, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and contempt of court.

He is being held on a $2,500 cash bond and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday.

Substantial battery

A Shawano man is facing a felony charge of substantial battery after a domestic incident in the city last month.

Paul A. Pamanet, 36, is accused of causing substantial bodily harm to a woman during a domestic disturbance on July 31.

Police responding to the scene found the woman lying on the kitchen floor with facial bruises and her eyes swollen shut, according to the complaint, which states she was also kicked and beaten with a frying pan and sustained rib injuries.

Pamanet could face a maximum 3 1/2 years in prison and $10,000 fine if convicted.

He is being held on a $2,500 cash bond and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday.

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Public Record

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:14pm

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 10

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Assist — Police assisted probation and parole agents with taking a 20-year-old man and a 19-year-old man into custody for rules violations at the Department of Corrections housing facility at 118 S. Union St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 100 block of Military Road.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 1100 block of Birch Hill Lane.

Warrant — A 27-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant at Richmond and Kadletz streets.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 10

Deputies logged 55 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Red River Road in the town of Herman.

Theft — Money was reported stolen on Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Theft — A drill hammer, chainsaw and security camera were reported stolen from a machine shed on Railroad Avenue in Mattoon.

Vandalism — Graffiti was reported on Main Street in Bowler.

OAR — A 31-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 29 in the town of Waukechon.

Theft — A road sign was reported stolen on County Road BE in the town of Hartland.

Theft — Medication was reported stolen on Knoke Street in Gresham.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on County Road A in the town of Wescott.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 10

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Accident — A one-vehicle accident was reported on North Main Street and ambulance was dispatched to evaluate the driver.

OAR — Citation was issued for operating after revocation after a traffic stop on Anne Street.

Disturbance — Officers assisted Marion Police Department with a domestic situation in Marion.

Disturbance — A disturbance was reported on S. Main Street and upon arrival all parties involved had left the area.

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Council OKs blight district on 2nd try

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 10:24pm
RDA will create plan to address issuesBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Despite continued resistance from some property owners, the Shawano Common Council on Wednesday decided that any lingering questions about a proposed blight elimination district had been addressed sufficiently enough to approve a boundary map for the district.

The unanimous vote came a month after the council rejected the map and voted 5-1 to send it back to the Redevelopment Authority for reconsideration.

City officials, however, never provided the RDA with any guidance on what the new boundaries should look like, so it came back to the council Wednesday unchanged.

In a separate resolution, the council unanimously approved designating the RDA district a blighted area and empowering the RDA to create a plan for addressing blighted properties in the district.

The plan will go through a public workshop session and public hearing before it goes to the council for approval.

Wednesday’s meeting included a presentation from RDA consultant Vierbicher, seeking to address some of the questions residents and council members had at last month’s meeting.

One of those concerns was whether the city was ceding any powers to the RDA; any RDA actions would have to be approved by the Common Council.

There was extended discussion of what it meant to be on the so-called list of blighted properties and how a property gets off it once the property is improved.

“There’s really no getting in or out or off the list,” RDA Chair Amanda Sheppard said, explaining that the boundary only designates an area where some of the properties are blighted and need to be addressed.

She said the only list the RDA has is a list of priorities within the district in need of the most attention.

“I think that’s where this list has come from that has come into people’s minds,” she said.

Quasan Shaw of Vierbicher said the blight label would not affect the value of a property, which prompted a round of guffaws from some audience members.

“The physical condition of your property will affect the value and that will affect your tax value,” he said, “but being labeled blighted in terms of this plan, it will not affect the valuation of so much property.”

City Administrator Brian Knapp said a property within the district boundary would still be on the list of properties in the district but would no longer have the blight designation.
RDA member Dave Kerber said property values in the district are already falling because of blight.

“Just because we’re creating this RDA (district) does not decrease the value of anyone’s property. They’re already down,” he said. “In some cases, when a property owner doesn’t take care of their property, the property values (in that area) already drop.”

Kerber said he saw the RDA as a proactive measure for business and property owners.

“I think everything we’re trying to do here as an RDA will raise values,” he said.

The council heard from about half a dozen property owners who remained unconvinced, however. Most of them raised the same objections at last month’s council meeting.

“I think you need to think hard and long about what you’re doing to this city,” Bart Huntington said.

Jim Oberstein encouraged the council not to approve the boundary map and to send it back to the RDA for changes.

“There are major issues with these resolutions that have not been resolved. Take the time to do it right the first time,” he said.

Deb Noffke said city officials haven’t listened to property owners’ concerns, saying it wasn’t the creation of a district that was the problem.

“It’s the declaration of blight,” she said.

Noffke also maintained the city could not certify the extent of blight in the district because of improvements made to some properties since the survey of the area was taken.

She also said local businesses were being over-regulated.

“It would be nice if we could be a little more business-friendly town,” she said.

There were also concerns raised about the possibility of condemnation proceedings and the use eminent domain, but city officials said they wanted to work with property owners to improve their properties, not acquire them.

“It does no advantage to the city to own property and take it off the tax rolls,” Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said.

Alderwoman Lisa Hoffman, who voted against the boundary map last month, said questions raised by the public were answered Wednesday, even if some property owners were not willing to accept the answers.

“I hope this doesn’t sound harsh in saying this but if you choose not to listen to the answer that was given, then there’s not anything this council is going to say over and over again that’s going to change opinion on that,” she said.

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.

There are 391 properties within the boundaries of the RDA district. Just over half of them are considered blighted or in need of redevelopment.

Under state law, a municipality can designate a blight redevelopment district if at least 50 percent of the property within the proposed district is blighted, which means “a predominance of structures, buildings, or improvements that are dilapidated, deteriorated, obsolete, or conditions that are detrimental to public health and safety.”

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Flood continues to affect hospital services

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 8:53pm
Cleanup to continue ThursdayBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Contributed Photo Employees inside ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano are shown cleaning up from flood damage that has displaced patients and postponed services.
Contributed Photo A corridor inside ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano shows small areas of standing water after Tuesday’s flood inside the hospital.

Surgeries and other patient services were being postponed Wednesday at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano as crews spent a second day cleaning up from a flood.

Officials said patients had been transferred to other hospitals from the emergency room, while the flood also prompted postponement of non-emergency surgeries, tests and treatments.

A monthly blood drive also was canceled Wednesday because of the flooding.

Although the hospital and adjoining clinic remain open, officials said they expect disruptions to continue Thursday while crews assess the damage caused by a fire hydrant that malfunctioned.

ThedaCare spokeswoman Megan Mulholland said the flooding hit the hospital laboratory and imaging center, both on the first floor of the medical center at 100 County Road B. The damage involved about one-third of the hospital’s first floor, with no damage reported in the clinic.

“It’s not a huge section of the hospital,” Mulholland said, “but it’s a vital section.”

Operations also cannot return to normal until testing is complete on water supplies in the building to ensure no contamination has affected water used to sterilize medical instruments, Mulholland said.

“We want to make sure everything is up to par,” she said.

Shawano city officials said tests have indicated that the incident caused no loss of water pressure to the hospital, making it unlikely that any contamination occurred.

The fire hydrant malfunctioned about 10 a.m. Tuesday near the hospital’s main entrance, causing water to flood into the building.

Hospital spokeswoman Carol Ryczek said contractors have removed all the standing water and were working Wednesday to gauge the extent of damage to walls, floors and elsewhere. Crews and employees also were working to clean hospital equipment from the flooded areas.

“They’ve made good progress,” Ryczek said.

Officials could not estimate how many patients were displaced, but they said the hospital had rescheduled or relocated appointments Wednesday and Thursday for elective surgeries, MRIs, chemotherapy treatments, cardiac stress tests and other services. Sixteen patients were transferred to other hospitals from the emergency room, either because of the flooding or because of their medical conditions.

ThedaCare, based in Appleton, opened the 128,000-square-foot hospital in September after investing about $50 million to bring updated and expanded services to the Shawano area.

In a prepared statement issued Wednesday, the hospital said that while the facility remains open “there are limitations on the services provided.”

The Blood Center of North Central Wisconsin on Wednesday canceled a monthly blood drive at the hospital, citing the flooding problem.

Becky Bremer, spokeswoman for the blood center, said the event generally attracts between 35 and 50 blood donors. Organizers were urging donors to make their donations elsewhere or to come back to the Shawano hospital for the next drive, scheduled for Sept. 14.

“It’s unfortunate,” Bremer said of the flood. “But these situations happen.”

ThedaCare officials said bottled water was being used for all purposes throughout the hospital and clinic until public health tests show that the property’s water supply is clean and safe. Test results were expected by Thursday.

Shawano City Administrator Brian Knapp said city public works crews drew water samples at the hospital and found that there was no loss of water pressure from the incident. That makes it highly unlikely that tests will show any sign of contamination, Knapp said.

“We don’t believe there’s any reason for concern on our part,” he said.

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3 facing felony charges in year-old crash

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 8:48pm
Complaint says incident started as domestic disputeBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Both drivers and a passenger in an altercation last year that ended in a rollover crash and serious injuries are facing felony charges for their alleged roles in the incident.

Jeremy N. Young, 43, of Shawano, who was paralyzed from the waist down in the crash, is facing three counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety through the use of a dangerous weapon. Each count carries a maximum possible sentence of 12½ years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Sheri L. Young, 41, of Shawano was charged with hit and run-causing great bodily harm and hit and run-causing injury. She could face a maximum 15 years in prison and $50,000 fine if convicted of the first charge, and imprisonment of up to nine months and a $10,000 fine for the second.

Craig L. Roberts, 43, who is incarcerated at Oshkosh Correctional Institution, is charged with two counts of recklessly endangering safety and one count of reckless injury using a dangerous weapon.

That last charge normally carries a maximum possible penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, but because of previous convictions, Roberts’ sentence could be enhanced by as much as 11 years.

He could also face an enhanced penalty on the reckless endangerment counts.

The incident on July 22, 2015, began as a domestic dispute, according to the criminal complaints, involving Jeremy Young, his estranged wife and her boyfriend, Roberts.

Roberts was a passenger in Sheri Young’s vehicle. The Youngs’ daughter was a passenger in Jeremy’s vehicle.

The altercation started in the city of Shawano, with Roberts brandishing a knife at Jeremy Young as Roberts and Sheri Young drove by, according to the complaint.

Roberts told authorities he had flashed a set of keys at Jeremy Young, though a silver knife was found in the vehicle, according to the complaint.

Jeremy Young followed, catching up to the other vehicle as it stopped at Richmond Street and Airport Drive, where Jeremy allegedly got out of his vehicle and pounded on Roberts’ passenger window.

As Sheri Young’s vehicle drove off, her husband allegedly continued following it onto County Road BE.

The vehicles were going about 55 mph, according to the complaint, as Jeremy Young drove alongside his wife’s vehicle on the gravel shoulder.

Jeremy Young was holding a fillet knife in a case and was yelling at Roberts, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges Sheri Young’s vehicle then struck her husband’s vehicle, which went off the road and overturned.

Jeremy Young was ejected from the vehicle. His daughter sustained minor injuries, according to the complaint.

The parties gave conflicting reports as to whether Sheri Young turned her vehicle into her husband’s or whether the steering wheel was grabbed by Roberts.

The complaint against Roberts accuses him of pulling the steering wheel.

Sheri Young allegedly then drove off and was stopped by authorities a short time later.

Both Jeremy and Sheri Young are scheduled for initial appearances in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court on Aug. 29.

No court date is yet set for Roberts.

Roberts was on probation at the time of the incident for failing to maintain his status with the state’s Sex Offender Registry, according to court records.

His probation was revoked for rules violations, which included testing positive for THC and cocaine the day after the traffic crash, according to the criminal complaint.

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Public Record

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 8:46pm

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 9

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

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

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

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Prospect and Elizabeth streets.

OWI — A 45-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated in the 100 block of South Sawyer Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Smalley Park, 211 N. Riverside Drive.

Fire — Police and Shawano Area Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in the 200 block of South Union Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 9

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

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

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on Oak Street in Bowler.

Theft — Items were reported stolen from a shed on Maple Road in the town of Herman.

OAR — A 27-year-old Shawano woman was cited for operating after revocation on Main Street in Gresham.

OAR — A 28-year-old Shawano man was cited for operating after revocation on Main Street in Gresham.

Harassment — Authorities responded to a harassment complaint on Lake Street in Aniwa.

Juvenile — Authorities investigated a juvenile alcohol complaint on Butternut Road in the town of Richmond.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 9

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — Damage to property was reported on North Main Street.

Trespass — Trespassing was reported on East Morning Glory Drive.

Vandalism — Damage to property was reported at the Skate Park.

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