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County OKs 4-H building deal

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

Scott Williams, [email protected]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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School janitor among sex sting suspects

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:27pm
6 charged in county operationBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

A janitor working in the Howard-Suamico School District was among six men arrested last week in an internet sex sting operation conducted by the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

James M. Gosse, 34, of Green Bay, said at the time of his arrest that he works for a janitorial company at Suamico Elementary School and Bayport schools, according to the criminal complaint.

He has been charged with using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

He is free on a $5,000 signature bond and is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 12.

The weeklong sex sting operation wrapped up Friday with the arrest of Michael L. Skinkis, 55, of Greenleaf, who is also charged with a felony count of child enticement for sexual contact.

He was also freed on a $5,000 signature bond after an initial appearance Monday and is due back in court for an adjourned initial appearance Sept. 26.

Four others were charged last week with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime: Christopher L. Shelton, 32, of Suamico; Antonio Berton, 22, of Ripon; Juan P. Flores Rodriguez, 35, of Green Bay; and Adam J. Geurts, 35, of Suring.

Shelton, Berton and Flores Rodriguez, were all released on $5,000 signature bonds.

Shelton is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Oct. 18.

Berton is scheduled for an adjourned initial court appearance Sept. 12, and Flores Rodriguez is slated for an adjourned initial appearance Sept. 19.

Geurts was ordered held on a $5,000 cash bond. He waived his preliminary hearing Monday and was scheduled for a pre-trial conference Sept. 23.

Each could face a maximum 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if found guilty.

The operation involved detectives from the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department posing as 15-year-old girls on the internet and either posting or responding to ads on websites such as Craigslist.

Once contact was made, text messages and emails were exchanged between the suspect and the supposed juvenile.

Communications eventually turned sexually graphic in nature and the suspects arranged to meet for a sexual rendezvous, even though the detectives made clear they were underage.

The men were taken into custody when they arrived.

The operation is part of the national Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which has resulted in dozens of arrests in Shawano County over the last three years.

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Public Record

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:24pm

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 23

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — Police investigated a reported burglary in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 1000 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Theft — A license plate was reported stolen in the 1400 block of East Green Bay Street.

Theft — A speaker was reported stolen in the 300 block of South Sawyer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 23

Deputies logged 41 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A man was taken into custody on a warrant on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Vandalism — Authorities responded to a vandalism complaint on Broadway Road in the town of Hartland.

OWI — A 49-year-old woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Accident — Authorities responded to an injury accident on state Highway 47 in the town of Hartland.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 23

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Two thefts from vehicles were reported on Dodge Street.

Theft — A theft was reported on 13th Street.

Accident — Police responded to an injury accident at Madison and West streets.

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Grants available for Shawano area charitable organizations

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:23pm

The Shawano Area Community Foundation is accepting grant applications until Oct. 1 from eligible Shawano area charitable organizations.

Organizations interested in applying for grants up to $5,000 from the SACF’s Shawano Area Fund must be designated by the Internal Revenue Service to be public charities. This encompasses most charitable, scientific, social service, educational and religious organizations described in 501(c)3 of the tax code, as well as government agencies. Organizations that are not public charities may apply through a fiscal sponsor.

Grants support projects or programs in the areas of arts and culture, health, human services, community development, education and the environment. Priority will be given to proposals with clear goals and financial accountability, and for which a moderate amount of grant money can make a significant impact on an area of need.

Grant guidelines and an application form can be found online at www.ShawanoFoundation.org. For information or assistance, call Gail Bartz, board member with the Shawano Area Community Foundation, at 715-853-1428.

In 2015, grants totaling $29,840 were awarded to eight organizations:

• Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin, to provide program support for Shawano Area Memory Cafés to reduce isolation for individuals who suffer from dementia and for their caregivers. Amount awarded: $3,000.

• Belle Plaine EMS, to purchase AED machines to provide faster cardiac care to Belle Plaine patients until advanced care arrives. Amount awarded: $2,500.

• Boys & Girls Club of Shawano, to support the printing and advertising costs associated with creating awareness of the newly formed Boys & Girls Club charter in Shawano, which is working to address a void in community youth programming. Amount awarded: $1,940.

• CHAPS Academy, to provide psychiatric support for children from Shawano County who are suffering from mental illness and take part in the Hope Lives suicide prevention and intervention program. Amount awarded: $2,500.

• Junior Achievement of Wisconsin in Wolf River District, to support expenses for Shawano County youth interested in attending a summer camp focused on building entrepreneurial skills. Amount awarded: $2,500.

• Lutheran Counseling & Family Services of Wisconsin, to support mental health counseling sessions for Shawano County clients who are unable to pay the full cost of their services. Amount awarded: $2,000.

• Navarino Nature Center, to support the production of trail maps and replace outdated trail signage. Amount awarded: $2,500.

• Navarino-Lessor EMS First Responders, to purchase two portable radios that will replace outdated equipment. Amount awarded: $5,000.

• nIc Foundation, to support the purchase of supplies and marketing expenses associated with Character Camp, a summer camp experience for children in grades 4K-5 in Shawano County. Amount awarded: $1,200.

• Safe Haven Domestic Abuse Support Center, to provide clients with computer and Internet access to assist with their job searches and other activities required for becoming self-sufficient. Will also provide keyless entry to client rooms, which will offer more privacy. Amount awarded: $1,700.

• Shawano County, to support training instructors and purchasing equipment to expand the Strong Women, Strong Bones program that takes place in rural areas of Shawano County. Amount awarded: $5,000.

The SACF was established in 1990 by community volunteers to preserve and improve the quality of life in Shawano and the surrounding area. It is an affiliate of the Appleton-based Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the second-largest community foundation in Wisconsin (www.cffoxvalley.org).

More information about the SACF is available online at www.ShawanoFoundation.org, by calling 920-830-1290, or by emailing [email protected].

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Twig’s new flavor truly memorable

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 7:41am
Forget Me Not Grape will help fund Alzheimer’s education, researchBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Greg Mellis Representatives of The Cottages, from left, Heather Effenberger, Alexandra Peterson, Cara Peterson and Danielle Daebler celebrate the collaboration on Forget Me Not Grape with Twig’s Beverage staff Monday.
Leader Photo by Greg Mellis The first bottles of “Forget Me Not Grape” soda come off the bottling line at Twig’s Beverage on Monday morning in Shawano. Part of the proceeds from the new flavor will go into a fund for dementia education and research.

Twig’s Beverage began bottling a memorable new flavor Monday.

Forget Me Not Grape adds not only to the line of locally produced Twig’s favors, but will also add to the coffers available to fund education, awareness and research for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

Part of the proceeds from the new drink will go into the Forget Me Not Fund established by The Cottages Memory Care, with facilities in Shawano and Oconto Falls.

“We’ll use that money to provide education to professional caregivers and awareness to families that are taking care of their loved ones at home, and also for research for the disease,” said Cara Peterson, general manager of The Cottages.

“It will cover the Wolf River valley,” she said.

The Cottages represent the Wolf River Dementia Network, which includes Shawano, Oconto and Menominee counties and the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation.

“Twig’s was wonderful in donating a portion of the proceeds of this soda,” Peterson said. “It’s very exciting for us and for The Cottages to be part of that whole development. We’re very excited to do this.”

Twig’s bottled the first 100 cases of the new soda Monday morning, and will soon be working with distributors to sell Forget Me Not Grape throughout northeast Wisconsin and upper Michigan.

The bottles are all adorned with purple labels calling attention to Alzheimer’s.

“We’ll always have the label and we’ll always donate,” said Dan Hartwig, owner of Twig’s Beverage.

Forget Me Not Grape is the 16th locally produced flavor Twig’s offers, though the company bottles many others for producers across the country.

“We’re getting more and more of that,” Hartwig said.

As far as locally produced beverages, Hartwig said, Twig’s is working on a ginger beer that could be out by the end of the year and some diet sodas.

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Mock shooting drill taking place today

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 7:37am
About 350 people involved in drillBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Law enforcement and emergency responders will be out in force Wednesday, in numbers that could be unnerving for Shawano residents unaware of what’s going on, but there’s no reason to be alarmed.

It’s only a drill to prepare for something that police, emergency personnel and health professionals hope they will never have to deal with for real.

The training exercise being coordinated by Shawano County Emergency Management imagines the possibility of an active shooter at a local school.

The exercise will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include the closing down and barricading of some streets in the area of Olga Brener Intermediate School.

Special response teams in full tactical gear, but not carrying real weapons, will be deployed, and emergency triage will be conducted on “victims” covered in fake blood.

“This full-scale exercise provides a training opportunity for local emergency response agencies to practice their skills in a non-life-threatening environment,” said Natalie Easterday, director of the Shawano County Emergency Management Department.

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

Some 350 people will be involved in the exercise in one form or another, including the school district’s entire professional staff, Easterday said.

Shawano Police Lt. Dan Mauel said the drill will give law enforcement an opportunity to exercise the policies and procedures in place for responding to an active shooter situation “so we’re able to handle it in an efficient manner.”

The same holds true for school personnel, who will need to react to the initial alert of a shooter in the building.

Much of the drill’s focus will be on the aftermath of the tragedy, Easterday said, including the evacuation of the building, reuniting students with family members and conducting triage on the victims.

“We’ll be testing a lot of elements,” she said.

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

All participants will receive an evaluation following the exercise. The evaluations will be collected and a report created and sent to all agencies on their performance.

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Spending down $1M in budget plan

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 7:36am
Shawano School District plans public hearing Aug. 31By: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]

The Shawano School District might be tightening its belt during the new school year and offering taxpayers a little relief in the process.

Administrators have presented a spending plan for the 2016-17 school year that trims spending by $1 million and lowers property tax collections by $225,000.

Under the plan, the owners of a typical $100,000 home would see their property tax bill for schools decrease by $18, from $1,031 to $1,013, in approximate terms.

Spending would total $37.6 million, down from $38.6 million the previous year.

The decrease in spending is a function largely of reduced capital expenditures now that the district has completed its $10 million renovation of Shawano Community Middle School — a project that involved a combination of borrowing and operating funds.

Officials plan an Aug. 31 public hearing on the 2016-17 budget, followed by an annual meeting Sept. 19 for a public vote by school district residents.

School Board member Rich Belongia said the spending plan seems to meet the school system’s needs while allowing for lower property taxes based on projected growth within the district.

“I think the people will be happy,” Belongia said. “Some years, you get lucky.”

Property tax collections last year increased $140,000, but they are projected to go down next year from $13.1 million to less than $12.9 million, assuming property values in the school district hold steady. It would be the first decrease in school property taxes in five years.

The tax rate for property owners would decline from $10.31 to $10.13 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The budget also is based on projections of enrollment growth in the district, from 2,393 students to 2,425.

Louise Fischer, the district’s business manager, said the budget could require adjustments later if enrollment is different than expected, if property values go up or down, or if the district’s state aid changes.

Given the complexity of the formula for school funding in Wisconsin, Fischer said, “It’s hard to predict anything.”

Administrators presented the School Board with a preliminary budget forecast on Monday, and the board voted 6-0 to advance the plan to the public hearing.

Under the plan, the district’s general fund would increase from $26.5 million to $27.5 million, while the capital fund would drop from $2.3 million to zero, the food service fund would decrease from $1.8 million to $1.6 million, and the district would create a new long-range capital spending plan with an initial allocation of $100,000.

The food service fund decreases, Fischer said, because $200,000 was allocated there last year to help pay for the middle school renovations.

AT A GLANCE

Shawano School District property tax collections

2011-12 — $11,916,369

2012-13 — $12,737,023

2013-14 — $12,928,232

2014-15 — $12,980,551

2015-16 — $13,120,065

2016-17 (proposed) — $12,894,429

Source: Shawano School District

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Public Record

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 7:35am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 22

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint in the 100 block of Prairie Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, 100 County Road B.

Theft — A purse and diary were reported stolen in the 700 block of South Main Street.

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

Aug. 21

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 1000 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 1000 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint in the 100 block of Sunset Avenue.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident at Lakeland Road and Raasch Street.

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 300 block of South Sawyer Street.

Aug. 20

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Smalley and Richmond streets.

Threatening — Police responded to a threatening complaint in the 900 block of South Evergreen Street.

Warrant — A 54-year-old man was arrested on a warrant at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, 100 County Road B.

Vandalism — A mailbox was reported vandalized in the 200 block of Teddington Lane.

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint involving juveniles in the 1200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disturbance — A 52-year-old man was arrested for domestic violence-related disorderly conduct after a domestic disturbance in the 400 block of West Third Street.

OWI — A 17-year-old Shawano boy was arrested for operating while intoxicated with underage passengers in the vehicle at Green Bay Street and Fairview Road. A 16-year-old boy was cited for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Another 16-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy were both cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Aug. 19

Police logged 16 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A 56-year-old man was warned for disorderly conduct after a disturbance at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, 100 County Road B.

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

Theft — Medication was reported stolen in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident at Green Bay Street and Eberlein Park Drive.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 22

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

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

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

Fire — Authorities responded to a vehicle fire on Lakewood Court in the town of Wescott.

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

Aug. 21

Deputies logged 41 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A 33-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott. An ambulance was also called for a female passenger possibly going into labor.

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

Theft — A wallet was reported stolen on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

Theft — Authorities investigated a theft attempt at the Little Star Convenience Store, W12140 County Road A, Gresham.

Aug. 20

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 55-year-old man was arrested on an Oconto County warrant on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Fire — Authorities responded to a vehicle fire on River Bend Road in the town of Belle Plaine.

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

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Potch Ha Chee Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Threatening — Authorities responded to a threatening complaint on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

Juvenile — Authorities investigated a juvenile alcohol complaint on Park Street in Bonduel.

Aug. 19

Deputies logged 47 incidents, including the following:

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

Vandalism — Authorities responded to a vandalism complaint on Hickory Drive in the town of Angelica.

Accidents — Authorities responded to injury accidents on County Road Q in the town of Wittenberg and County Road C in the town of Angelica.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 21

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Curfew — Four juveniles were warned for curfew violation on East Morning Glory Drive.

Disorderly — Warning issued for disorderly conduct on South Main Street.

Disorderly — Warning issued for disorderly conduct on Bucholtz Park Road.

Theft — Theft of a wallet was reported in WA Olen Park.

Aug. 20

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Officers responded to a family disturbance on West Morning Glory Drive, and the matter was resolved.

Disturbance — Warning issued for disorderly conduct after officers responded to a family disturbance on Felshow Street.

Drug Offense — A-19 year-old Clintonville woman was cited for possession of paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Memorial Circle and was transported to the Waupaca County Jail on a probation hold.

Aug. 19

Police logged 14 incidents, including the following:

OAR — A driver was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 22 at Olson Road.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on Cedar Street.

Theft — Jewelry was reported stolen on North 12th Street.

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

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Circus arrival a show in itself

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:53pm
Crowd enjoys seeing big top raisedBy: 

Scott Williams, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Crew members drive 4-foot-long stakes into the ground in preparation for erecting tents and other facilities for the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus.
Leader Photo by Scott Williams Children and adults gathered around Friday to learn about the big cats and other performances in the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus.

Youngsters and the young-at-heart Friday welcomed a traveling circus to Shawano for performances in the classic style under a big-top tent.

Culpepper & Merriweather Circus thrilled spectators with a tent-raising ceremony Friday morning that transformed a vacant lot into a performance venue for circus lions, clowns and other entertainment.

Children and adults watched the circus grounds come to life, cheering and applauding as crews raised the 30-foot-tall tent for the weekend’s shows.

Culpepper & Merriweather, based in Oklahoma, prides itself on preserving tradition and recapturing the magic of old-style traveling circuses that arrive in town and seemingly pop up out of nowhere.

“It’s kind of a lost art,” said Jean Frank, who brought family members from Gillett to watch the tent-raising excitement.

Frank said she remembered seeing traveling circuses in the big-top style when she was a child, and she thought her 9- and 5-year-old nephews would enjoy getting a glimpse behind the scenes.

“I wanted them to see the process,” she said. “It’s kind of interesting that it’s still around.”

Unlike circuses that rent indoor auditoriums or stadiums, Culpepper & Merriweather prefers outdoor sites to erect its blue-and-while tent, along with pony rides, food concessions and other amenities. Organizers got a city permit to use an open field across from Memorial Park, just north of Elizabeth Street.

Leo Acton, a circus performer, greeted spectators at Friday morning’s tent-raising event and told the crowd that although preparations are meticulous, crews only need about three hours to get everything ready.

“There’s a lot that happens,” Acton said, adding with a smile: “We’ve done it a few times. We’re getting pretty good at it.”

Founded in 1985, Culpepper & Merriweather visits about 200 cities a year with its lions and tigers, horses and ponies, performing dogs, acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artists and clowns. Each performance last about 90 minutes and can accommodate 750 people under the big top.

Performances continue at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets at the gate are $13 for adults and $8 for seniors or children, and free for toddlers under 2.

Rain was in the weekend forecast for Shawano, but Acton assured the crowd that the circus performances would go ahead rain or shine.

Rotary Club of Shawano is sponsoring the Culpepper & Merriweather visit.

Once the big-top tent was raised Friday, spectators were treated to a guided tour of the circus grounds and a few insights into what goes on behind the scenes.

Tom Heling, of Shawano, who rode his bicycle across town to catch the excitement, said his wife is taking their grandchildren to one of the shows. Heling remembered seeing circuses in the old-time style as a child, and he was happy to have one back in town.

“It’s something different,” he said. “It’s good that we have different stuff in town.”

The crowd responded with “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” as crews unloaded ponies and other animals on the grounds. Children grew wide-eyed when the lions and tigers began to roar from inside their cages.

Rachel Ford brought her son, Josiah, 6, and daughter, Ellie, 3, to the event. Ford was unsure if they would be back for a performance, although she said the tent-raising and guided tour alone were plenty of entertainment.

“It’s neat to see the process,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

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6 arrested in latest sex sting operation

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:43pm
Men thought they were talking to teen girlBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Shawano County authorities Friday wrapped up a weeklong internet sex sting operation that nabbed six potential child sex predators.

The operation involved detectives from the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department posing as juveniles on the internet and either posting or responding to ads on websites such as Craigslist.

In these cases, the detectives were posing as 15-year-old girls.

Once contact was made, text messages and emails were exchanged between the suspect and the supposed juvenile.

Communications eventually turned sexually graphic in nature and the suspects arranged to meet for a sexual rendezvous, even though the detectives made clear they were underage.

The men were taken into custody when they arrived.

The operation is part of the national Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which has resulted in dozens of arrests in Shawano County over the last three years.

Detective Sgt. Gordon Kowaleski said he continues to be amazed at the number of arrests made during the operations, all of which have been highly publicized after the fact.

“You would think at some point this would act as a deterrent,” he said. “But we get about the same number of arrests every time we do this. I find that very alarming.”

County authorities arrested two men on the first night of the operation on Aug. 12, two more on Tuesday night, another on Wednesday, and the sixth on Friday night.

Five of them so far have been formally charged with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime: Christopher L. Shelton, 32, of Suamico; Antonio Berton, 22, of Ripon; James M. Gosse, 34, of Green Bay; Juan P. Flores Rodriguez, 35, of Green Bay; and Adam J. Geurts, 35, of Suring.

Arrested Friday was a 55-year-old man from the Green Bay area. He was expected to be charged Monday.

Each could face a maximum 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if found guilty.

Shawano County’s operation in March also netted six suspects.

Kowaleski said the operations would continue.

“We’re going to continue to be aggressive and proactive in these kinds of cases,” he said.

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Date set for Redevelopment Authority open house

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:42pm
Residents can get answers about blight districtBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The Shawano Redevelopment Authority will host an open house on Aug. 30 to give the public an opportunity to ask questions about the impact of a blight elimination district recently approved by the Common Council.

The open house will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St.

The council unanimously approved the boundaries for the RDA district earlier this month, but some property owners continue to have questions and concerns about what being located in the district will mean for their properties.

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.

The RDA will develop a project plan for addressing blighted properties in the district.

City officials said the open house is the first step in getting public input on that plan before it goes to the Common Council for approval.

A public hearing will also be held at some point.

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Public Record

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 11:37pm

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 18

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 21-year-old woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated in the 100 block of Arlington Street.

Hit and Run/OWI — A 23-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after a property damage hit-and-run at Main Street and Alpine Drive.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 800 block of Alpine Drive.

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

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

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint at Lincoln Street and Zingler Avenue.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 18

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

Hit and Run — Authorities responded to a property damage hit-and-run on state Highway 22 in Belle Plaine.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Elm Street in Tigerton.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Potch Ha Chee Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Theft — Two chainsaws were reported stolen on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

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

OWI/Drug Offense — A 24-year-old Wittenberg man was arrested for operating while intoxicated and possession of marijuana on Green Bay Street in Bonduel.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on Smalley Street in the town of Wescott.

Warrant — A 23-year-old Green Bay woman was arrested on a warrant and charged with obstructing after authorities responded to a reckless driving complaint on state Highway 29 in the town of Richmond.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 18

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A 23-year-old Clintonville man was taken into custody on a probation hold after a family disturbance on Seventh Street.

Harassment — Harassment was reported on East 14th Street.

Burglary — Police investigated a reported burglary on South Park Street.

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

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Things getting back to normal at ThedaCare

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 7:49am
Flooding recovery continuesBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Some services at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano were still being limited Thursday as a result of flooding in the hospital last week, but progress was being made at getting things back to normal, according to ThedaCare officials.

Surgeries were back on schedule Thursday and the lab has reopened, ThedaCare spokesperson Megan Mulholland said.

CT and general radiology were due to be operational on Friday, she said.

Outpatient services, which had been moved, will reopen in the usual location next week.

Still pending are MRI, ultrasound and mammography repairs, which will be announced next week, Mulholland said. Limited imaging continues.

An exterior fire hydrant malfunctioned on Aug. 9, causing flooding and water damage.

Mulholland said an old, abandoned water main feeding the fire hydrant allowed water to enter the building.

The amount of damage and further details about the cause were still under investigation.

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.

“State health leaders, who were on-site for other verification reasons, were complimentary in the efforts we have put forth to restore our beautiful facility,” hospital CEO Dorothy Erdmann said in a statement. “Everything has been done correctly, validated and documented appropriately. We appreciate the understanding of our patients and staff as we recover from this incident.”

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.

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Main Street to become more colorful with miniquilts

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 7:48am
By: 

Carol Wagner, Leader Correspondent


Photo by Carol Wagner Ali Moede, a student at Olga Brener Intermediate School, holds her miniquilt while other kids work on theirs. The miniquilts will be displayed on Main Street in Shawano and then auctioned off on Sept. 24 to benefit three nonprofit organizations.

Main Street in Shawano will be a lot more colorful in September when 60 miniquilts grace downtown light poles.

Shawano Pathways member Matty Mathison came up with the idea to benefit three nonprofit organizations: SAM25, the Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Many people used their talents to paint the 12-by-12-inch quilts that will displayed before the annual Bike the Barn Quilts event on Sept. 24.

“I am very excited about what a good job everyone did,” Mathison said. “People will see quilts they didn’t expect to see.”

Students, 4-H members, literacy council students and several adults used their creative and painting skills to make the quilts.

Ali Moede, the daughter of Kim and Dustin Moede and a student at Olga Brener Intermediate School, looked online for ideas and decided on a checkerboard pattern.

“It takes longer than you think,” she said. “I learned patience.”

The miniquilts will be placed on light poles on Main Street around Sept. 1. People who walk or run the new 5K or 10K run/walks along the park-to-park loops during Bike the Barn Quilts will get a close look at them.

The quilts can be purchased for $100 after Sept. 24. Sealed bids also will be accepted, and there will be a live auction at Memorial Park at noon Sept. 24.

“We’re just trying to find different ways to support local organizations,“ Mathison said.

For information, call Mathison at 715-304-9796 or go to shawanopathways.org.

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Court News

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 7:42am

Felony intimidation, false imprisonment

A Shawano man has been charged with felony counts of intimidating a victim and false imprisonment following an incident in the city last month.

Eric M. Parker, 25, is accused of repeatedly striking and injuring a woman during the July 22 incident and then keeping her from leaving or contacting police. He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and criminal damage to property.

Parker could face a maximum 10 years in prison and $25,000 fine for felony intimidation, and six years and a $10,000 fine for false imprisonment if convicted.

He is scheduled for an initial court appearance on Sept. 19.

Aggravated battery

A Shawano man is facing a felony charge of aggravated battery to an elderly person after allegedly causing bodily harm to a 62-year-old woman in the town of Wescott last week.

Eugene B. Welch, 47, is accused of throwing an elderly woman into a wall at her residence on Aug. 12.

The felony count normally carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but Welch could face an enhanced penalty because of previous convictions.

Welch is also charged with a felony count of identity theft for allegedly giving authorities a false name when questioned about the incident.

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

Felony theft

A Shawano woman has been charged with felony theft for allegedly making off with 10 smartphones while working at Cellcom in June.

Courtney Zook, 22, allegedly stole used, loaner and customer phones while employed at the store at 511 N. Main St., Shawano, according to the criminal complaint. The phones were valued at more than $6,200.

She could face a maximum six years in prison and $10,000 fine if found guilty. She is also charged with four counts of misdemeanor theft.

Zook is scheduled for an initial court appearance on Sept. 19.

Possession of narcotics

A Milwaukee woman has been charged with three felony counts of possession of narcotic drugs after being found allegedly in possession of illegally obtained prescription drugs during a traffic stop.

Shannon M. Chachere-Mindingall, 46, was pulled over for speeding in the town of Maple Grove on Aug. 11.

She was allegedly in possession of 41 Oxycodone and five Ocycontin pills, according to the criminal complaint.

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

Chachere-Mindingall is free on a $2,500 signature bond and is due in court for an adjourned initial appearance Aug. 29.

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Public Record

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 7:41am

Shawano Police Department

Aug. 17

Police logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A bicycle was reported stolen in the 700 block of South Lincoln Street.

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

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

Warrant — A male subject was taken into custody on a warrant at County Road B and Main Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 1000 block of South Weed Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Aug. 17

Authorities logged 36 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on West Line Road in the town of Aniwa.

OWI — A 45-year-old Gresham woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Threatening — Authorities responded to a threatening complaint on Spruce Road in the town of Angelica.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on U.S. Highway 45 in Tigerton.

OAR — A 32-year-old Gillett man was cited for operating after revocation after authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Lake Drive in Cecil.

Clintonville Police Department

Aug. 17

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a family disturbance, which was resolved.

Theft — Two juvenile were referred for retail theft on South Main Street.

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Clintonville finalizing school survey

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:52pm
District debating what to do with elementary school complexBy: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

The Clintonville Board of Education and elementary school task force met Thursday to review a proposed survey about the future of the Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School complex.

The district has hired School Perception LLC to prepare a survey that will be sent to school district taxpayers and will be available online. The board plans to review the results Oct. 24.

The task force includes about 30 parents, community leaders and others who have been meeting to study the district’s elementary school needs and the future of the Rexford-Longfellow complex, which is connected to the building constructed in 1918 as a high school.

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

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

They can also indicate what they would be willing to pay. The survey will include two options costing from $19 million to just under $25 million.

Bill Foster, of School Perception, said he expected that 70 percent of those taking the survey will complete it online. He speculated that only about 20 percent of the recipients will take the survey.

District officials say the 1918 section of the complex needs tuck pointing, the windows and doors need to be repaired or replaced, a portion of the roof needs to be replaced, the heating system is aging and parts of the building do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The building is structurally sound, although Steve Reinke, district buildings and grounds manager, said it is not as sound as some think.

Task force member Mary Kautz said people have told her they do not want to lose the auditorium in the old building.

Superintendent Tom O’Toole said the building also has storage space.

The task force voted to support moving the 4K program at the Dellwood Early Learning Center to Rexford-Longfellow. It would be one less building for the district to maintain and would be an easier transition to elementary school for the students, according to task force members.

The survey also will be sent to school staff, even if they do not live in the district, but their responses will not be included in the financial questions.

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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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