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Updated: 41 min 34 sec ago

Don’t ‘myth out’ on tax refund

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:28pm

Now that the April tax-filing deadline has come and gone, many taxpayers are eager to get details about their tax refunds. When it comes to refunds, there are several common myths going around social media, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which provided this information on tax refunds.

Here are five common myths:

Myth 1: Getting a refund this year means there’s no need to adjust withholding for 2019

To help avoid an unexpected tax outcome next year, taxpayers should make changes now to prepare for next year. One way for a taxpayer to do this is to adjust their tax withholding with their employer. The IRS encourages people to do a paycheck checkup using the IRS withholding calculator to determine whether their employer is withholding the right amount.

This is especially important for anyone who got an unexpected result from filing their tax return this year. This could have happened because the taxpayer’s employer withheld too much or too little tax from the employee’s paycheck in 2018.

Myth 2: Calling the IRS or a tax professional will provide a better refund date

Many people mistakenly think that talking to the IRS or calling their tax professional is the best way to find out when they will get their refund. In reality, the best way to check the status of a refund is online through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at or with the IRS2Go mobile app.

Taxpayers without internet access can call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954. “Where’s My Refund?” has the same information available to IRS telephone assistors, so there is no need to call unless “Where’s My Refund?” says to do so.

Myth 3: Ordering a tax transcript is a ‘secret way’ to get a refund date

Doing so will not help taxpayers find out when they will get their refund. “Where’s My Refund?” tells the taxpayer their tax return has been received and if the IRS has approved or sent the refund.

Myth 4: ‘Where’s My Refund?’ must be wrong because there’s no deposit date yet

Updates to “Where’s My Refund?” ‎on both and the IRS2Go mobile app are made once each day. These updates are usually made overnight.

Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible a refund may take longer. This means that in some cases, a taxpayer who filed later may receive their refund sooner than someone who filed earlier in the season. The IRS contacts a taxpayer by mail when it needs more information to process his or her tax return.

Taxpayers should also remember to consider the time it takes for the banks to post the refund to the taxpayer’s account. Taxpayers waiting for a refund in the mail should plan for the time it takes a check to arrive.

Myth 5: ‘Where’s My Refund?’ must be wrong because a refund amount is less than expected

There are several factors that could cause a tax refund to be larger or smaller than expected. Situations that could decrease a refund include:

• The taxpayer made math errors or mistakes

• The taxpayer owes federal taxes for a prior year

• The taxpayer owes state taxes, child support, student loans or other delinquent federal nontax obligations

• The IRS holds a portion of the refund while it reviews an item claimed on the return

The IRS will mail the taxpayer a letter of explanation if these adjustments are made. Some taxpayers may also receive a letter from the Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service if their refund was reduced to offset certain financial obligations.

DNR fears poisoning of pets and wildlife in northern Wisconsin

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:27pm

The Wis. Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking the public’s help in solving several cases involving the poisoning deaths of domestic dogs and wildlife since December.

Dog deaths have occurred in Bayfield, Marinette and Florence County; however, it is unknown if other counties could be involved. In addition to the unfortunate poisoning of these family pets, investigators also found dead coyotes, weasels, raccoons and one wolf that they suspect also were poisoned. Lab tests are underway to confirm the cause of death in these wildlife cases.

The deaths occurred on public properties in these counties managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Goodman Timber Company.

Investigators say the poison was found on the ground in rural areas and subsequently was ingested by the dogs. Each dog died in less than 30 minutes after ingestion. People walking their pets are recommended to keep them on leashes to restrict their movements off roadways and into possible contact with any possible poison.

Anyone with information or a tip, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should contact the WDNR Violation Hotline. Confidentially report by calling or texting: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847- 9367. Report online:

The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

Public Record

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 7:26pm

Shawano Police Department

April 29

Police logged 21 incidents, including the following:

Disturbances — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 800 block of South Prospect Street, a disturbance in the 300 block of East Maurer Street and a disorderly person at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Memorial Park, 901 S. Lincoln St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 29

Deputies logged 31 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A disturbance was reported in the 300 block of North Main Street in Shawano.

Theft — Ho-Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45 in the town of Wittenberg, reported an attempted theft after discovering a dollar bill taped to a fishing line.

Not guilty plea entered in reckless homicide case

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:19pm
Fatal crash took life of Appleton woman 2 years agoBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

A Shawano man charged with reckless homicide in the death of a 41-year-old Appleton woman in a crash two years ago entered a plea of not guilty to reckless homicide and two counts of reckless injury.

Brian J. Krueger, 33, is accused of recklessly causing the death of Naomi Gregurich in a two-vehicle crash on state Highway 29 near the intersection of Rangeline Road in the town of Herman on June 29, 2017.

He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference July 17.

Krueger was the driver of a 2013 Ford Focus that was traveling east on Highway 29, when he lost control of the vehicle, crossed the median, and struck a westbound 2008 Saturn being driven by Gregurich.

Krueger’s vehicle was a delivery vehicle for the Bumper to Bumper auto parts store in Shawano, according to the sheriff’s report.

Krueger and two juveniles that had been traveling with Gregurich were treated for non-life threatening injuries. However, according to the criminal complaint, the juveniles still require treatment for those injuries.

According to the complaint, Krueger had epilepsy and suffered a seizure while driving.

The complaint states Krueger had had several recent seizures — including one just the night before — and alleges he was aware that he was required to stop driving.

Krueger also had methadone in his bloodstream at the time of the crash.

“It is not clear if the loss of control of the vehicle Brian Krueger was driving was due to a seizure, the concentration of methadone in his system, or a combination of both,” the complaint states. “What is clear is that Brian Krueger ingested a narcotic drug, and knew that operating a vehicle after having recent seizures was wrong and that his reckless behavior caused a crash that took the life of Naomi Gregurich, and injured her two sons.”

The complaint also states Krueger’s license had been cancelled in November 2016.

Krueger could face a maximum 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of second-degree reckless homicide.

He is also charged with two counts of second-degree reckless injury, each of which carries a maximum 12½ years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Shawano Pathways holds listening sessions

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:18pm
Bicycling concerns include lighting, sidewalksBy: 

Leader Staff

Shawano Pathways held the first of three listening sessions aimed at seeking ways to make the Shawano area better for bikers and walkers.

Shawano is among 10 communities across the country to receive assistance from the Safe Routes National Partnership to develop an action plan for improving biking and walking to local parks, green spaces and on trails.

Friday’s session focused on three areas of concern, including areas along the bike routes where there are no sidewalks or insufficient lighting, but primarily the difficulty of crossing East Green Bay Street on the Mountain Bay Trail.

“That’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Pathways President Nancy Brown-Koeller.

“There’s been three grants written requesting improvements on that crossing and they’ve always been denied because we haven’t had a fatality there,” Matty Mathison said.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks said there also have not been any accidents at that crossing, according to police department records.

“There hasn’t been a single incident at that location,” he said.

Mathison said that could be because many people are afraid to use the crossing.

“It would be interesting to see how many people choose not to bike or go across that because it’s so dangerous,” she said.

Shawano Pathways was selected by the Safe Routes to School National Partners to join Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities, which includes a $12,000 grant and technical assistance focused on improving safe and equitable local park access.

“It gives us a little bit of money to do a small project, but their push is to take the money and get community input and build forward to do something big, but we don’t know what that is yet,” Brown-Koeller said.

The data will also be used for Shawano Pathways’ strategic planning, and be shared with the city’s parks and recreation department and police department, the Shawano Common Council and Shawano County Board for their planning efforts.

With funding from The JPB Foundation, Safe Routes to Parks supports collaboration among community partners to ensure that children and adults can easily and safely walk, bike or roll to local parks and green spaces.

The JPB Foundation is a private foundation which directs its giving promoting opportunities for people in poverty, advancing medical research, and enabling a healthy environment.

Shawano will be among 10 communities across the country to receive training and coaching from the safe routes partnership to develop an action plan for improving active travel to local parks and green spaces and implement early actions from the plan.

Brush fire quickly contained but burns 4.65 acres

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:15pm
Fire’s cause still under investigationBy: 

Miriam Nelson [email protected]

Multiple agencies were called out last week to deal with a brush fire that burned almost five acres in the town of Birnamwood.

A call from a passer-by regarding a column of smoke came in to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department at 10:50 a.m. April 24.

Nick Hovda, a Department of Natural Resources forester from Bowler, was one of the first to arrive on the scene of a brush fire at N8211 Maplewood Road, Birnamwood.

“We had an active flame heading from the forested area to Birnamwood Road,” Hovda said. “We made the decision to unload the bulldozer to make a trench to stop the fire from spreading.”

Birnamwood Fire Department was on another call and looked to the Wittenberg Fire Department for backup. They arrived shortly after Birnamwood got there.

According to Wittenberg Fire Chief Brian Hamm, “the fire was ripping pretty good when we got here.”

Conservation Warden Jacob Cross was just down the road when the call came in about the small brush fire that got out of control. He was there to provide public safety if needed. No structures were burned, just wildland, according to Cross.

Deputy Nathan Thornborrow said, “Their (multiple agencies’) response was extremely quick and efficient.”

According to Hovda, 4.65 acres burned. He said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Public Record

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:11pm

Shawano Police Department

April 28

Police logged 28 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 28-year-old Keshena man was arrested for an outstanding warrant at Lakeland Road and Richmond Street.

Disturbance — A 44-year-old Gillett woman was arrested for battery/domestic violence and disorderly conduct/domestic violence after a domestic disturbance in the 500 block of River Heights.

Drug Offense — A 37-year-old Shawano man was arrested for bail jumping and an 18-year-old Shawano man was arrested for possession of marijuana and an outstanding warrant.

April 27

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Curfew — Police responded to a curfew violation at Prospect and Richmond streets.

Trespass — Police responded to trespassing complaints in the 200 block of East Center Street and 1500 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the Shawano County Jail, 405 N. Main St.

April 26

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 46-year-old Greenville man was arrested for an outstanding warrant at County Road B and Union Street.

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

Fraud — Police investigated a telephone scam complaint in the 500 block of West Third Street.

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

April 25

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

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

Assault — Police investigated an assault complaint reported at ThedaCare Medical Center, 100 County Road B.

Elder Abuse — An elder abuse complaint was under investigation.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 800 block of West Picnic Street.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint at Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Quality Inn and Suites, 104 N. Airport Drive.

OWI — A 31-year-old Shawano woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated and cited for operating after suspension in the 100 block of South Washington Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 28

Deputies logged 40 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 41-year-old Coleman man was arrested for second-office operating while intoxicated and cited for possession of marijuana on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

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

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Swan Acre Drive in the town of Washington.

April 27

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 23-year-old Suring woman was arrested on a warrant and cited for possession of paraphernalia on state Highway 22 in the town of Washington.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint at the Novitiate, W9711 Butternut Road in the town of Herman.

Disturbance — A 49-year-old Shawano man was arrested for disorderly conduct after a domestic disturbance on Lake Drive in the town of Wescott.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

April 26

Deputies logged 45 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Authorities investigated a telephone scam complaint on state Highway 156 in the town of Navarino.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on Schabel Street in Gresham.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at Wittenberg Elementary/Middle School, 300 S. Prouty St. in Wittenberg.

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized on Navarino Road in the town of Navarino.

Warrant — A 43-year-old Shawano woman was arrested on a probation and parole warrant on state Highway 47-55 in the town of Wescott.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on County Road MMM in the town of Richmond.

Accidents — Authorities responded to an injury accident on state Highway 22 in the town of Belle Plaine and logged three deer-related crashes.

April 25

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on Rollman Street in Bowler and on Mill Street in Wittenberg.

Drug Offense — A 20-year-old Clintonville woman was arrested for possession of meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, as well as bail jumping, inappropriate identification and multiple warrants.

OWI — A 37-year-old Shawano man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after a minor accident on County Road MMM in the town of Richmond.

Clintonville Police Department

April 28

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — A 20-year-old Shawano woman was cited for operating after revocation, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop at Main and 15th streets. She was also taken into custody on a warrant through Shawano County. A passenger, an 18-year-old Shawano man, was cited for possession of paraphernalia.

April 27

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on West Green Tree Road.

April 26

Police logged eight incidents, including the following:

Child Abuse — Physical abuse of a child was under investigation.

Warrant — A 30-year-old Bonduel man was arrested on a probation and parole warrant.

April 25

Police logged six incidents, including the following:

Fraud — A worthless check was reported on South Main Street.

Theft — A theft was reported on McKinley Avenue.

Last of drug ring suspects arrested

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 4:52pm

Authorities Thursday arrested the last of eight suspects wanted in connection with an alleged drug ring being operated out of Shawano.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department reported it received a tip that Kyle A. Collins, 30, of Shawano, was at a residence in Pulcifer.

Collins has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to deliver or distribute meth and cocaine, and one count of maintaining a drug trafficking place for his role in an alleged drug conspiracy. A warrant for his arrest was issued last week.

Seven other defendants in the case are already in custody.

When authorities arrived at the Pulcifer residence, they were greeted by a 29-year-old Suring woman who was taken into custody for an outstanding felony probation and parole warrant.

The woman advised deputies that Collins was inside the residence but hiding.

The Shawano County Special Response Team was called in to assist with the search of the residence.

Collins was located and taken into custody.

City, district ready informational blitz

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 3:00am
Survey, referendum will determine if rec center goes forwardBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

It will be a year before the public has a chance to vote on whether the Shawano School District and the city of Shawano should partner on a new joint recreational facility, provided the districtwide survey set for this fall shows enough interest to go to a referendum.

It will be a busy year for city and school district officials of getting the facts out about the project, how it came about, what’s being proposed and what it is projected to cost.

Among the biggest misconceptions, according to Parks and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks, is that city rec center staff will become school district employees.

“That’s not true,” he said. “The easiest way to think of it is, it’s the school district’s building and the city is moving in as the tenants to operate it. The staff will still get a city of Shawano paycheck.”

The estimated cost of a proposed joint city and school district recreation center was placed at anywhere from $24 million to $28 million at an informational meeting Wednesday.

The proposed facility would be located next to Shawano Community High School, on the north side of the building, and would include the school’s existing competition pool.

It would add a separate community pool area; a fitness area, including weights and cardiovascular equipment; a multi-purpose space; gymnasium; racquetball court; and indoor multi-purpose facility and walking track; as well as offices, bathrooms, lockers, storage and other amenities.

The community area would include family changing rooms.

The building is also designed to ensure the public can’t enter the high school for security reasons.

Hendricks said the new facility would open up the possibility of new programs the existing rec center can’t offer.

“We’re going to have access to facilities we don’t have now,” he said. “New programs will come forward that don’t exist right now because we don’t have the facilities for them.”

The project originated with the school district looking at options for addressing the high school’s weight room and wrestling area, which has limited space and has seen an increase in usage.

School officials also said corners cut when the high school was built some 20 years ago also prevented it from being the community space that was envisioned.

School Board President Michael Sleeper said at Wednesday’s informational meeting that some people ended up feeling they had been “sold a bill of goods” when they voted to approve the project.

The district reached out to the city officials to see what needs they might have, and whether there was interest in some sort of partnership.

As it happens, the city had been grappling with the limitations of its existing recreational center and had even purchased land behind the center for possible future expansion.

“It was getting to the point that the city was going to have to start taking a look at what happens to that building in the future,” Mayor Ed Whealon said. “Can we afford to build a brand new rec center to meet the needs people are looking for in this community?”

Eventually a steering committee was formed that included 26 members who researched and visited other recreational facilities.

The conceptual design for the new center is the result of that work.

“A lot of the things you see in there are things that the community is looking for,” Whealon said.

District Superintendent Gary Cumberland said the district and the community are losing residents because of the limitations of the existing facilities.

“Residents are leaving here and going other places because we don’t have things for them,” he said.

Whealon said the idea of partnering with the school district is not new, as there is already collaboration going on with ball diamonds and other resources.

“This is a rare opportunities for the city and school district to combine for a greater partnership that benefits everybody,” he said.

One unresolved question is what the city will do with its existing recreational center.

City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said that if the project goes forward the city will have to see whether there is interest in the existing building or the land.

“We have a year and a half to go out and seek opportunities for the best use of the facility,” he said.

A draft agreement between the city and school district laying out each entity’s responsibilities if the project moves forward will be on the Common Council’s May 8 agenda.

“At this point we need to commit to each other that if this goes, we’re in it together,” Sheppard said. “We need to solidify the partnership.”

The district will put out a survey this fall to gauge community response.

That survey will determine whether the project goes to a referendum in April 2020.

School district would borrow money for rec center

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:59am

Tim Ryan [email protected]

The Shawano School District would borrow the money needed to construct a proposed jont recreation center between it and the city of Shawano, and that debt would be solely be on the school district’s tax levy, not the city’s, though city residents are of course part of the district.

According to district business manager Louise Fischer, the tax impact of taking on debt for the project would be 90 cents per $1,000 of equalized valuation at the high end, depending on which scenario the district goes with in terms of borrowing.

The 90 cents per $1,000, or $90 on a $100,000 home, assumes borrowing of $30 million at a 5 percent interest rate and repayment of the debt over 20 years.

Officials are hoping the cost comes in less than that after the conceptual design is fine-tuned and bids are put out.

Fischer said some of the district’s existing debt will be retired or refinanced in coming years to soften the burden of the new borrowing. Existing debt should be cut by two-thirds by 2026 and eliminated entirely 2032, according to the district’s figures.

City residents would actually see a decrease in the city’s portion of the tax bill if the project goes forward.

However, the increase in the school district’s levy due to debt and a portion of the operational costs will increase the total tax bill for city residents by about 59 cents per $1,000, or about $59 on a $100,000 home.

The calculations outline a number of trade-offs between the city’s and school district’s budgets.

The city currently spends $350,000 a year operating its existing recreational facility.

That amount would go up, given that the city would be operating a larger facility catering to the entire school district, to about $450,000 a year.

City Park and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks said the larger facility will mean more janitorial expenses, along with higher utility costs, more lifeguards and a possible increase in the hours worked by part-time staff.

However, because the new facility would be a community center and would encompass the district’s community education programs, some of those costs will be paid for through the district’s Fund 80, or that portion of the tax levy set aside for community education.

The district currently levies $185,000 for Fund 80, of which $35,000 goes to district pool classes and $150,000 for community education.

Public Record

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:58am

Shawano Police Department

April 24

Police logged 20 incidents, including the following:

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 900 block of East Elizabeth Street.

Pornography — Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St., reported that a pornographic video was being shared among some of the students.

OAR — A 29-year-old woman was cited for operating after revocation at Green Bay and Sawyer streets.

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

Theft — An employee theft was reported at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 24

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A 39-year-old Gresham man was arrested on a warrant after authorities responded to a disturbance on Herman Street in the town of Herman.

Warrant — A 55-year-old Bonduel woman was arrested on a warrant on Mills Street in Bonduel.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on River Bank Road in the town of Pella.

Clintonville Police Department

April 24

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Domestic Abuse — Domestic abuse was reported on North Main Street.

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on North Main Street and at Olen Park.

Theft — A theft was reported on West Green Tree Road.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance on North 12th Street.

Revenue secretary wants more transparency

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 2:57am
Barca visits Shawano as part of northern tourBy: 

David Wilhelms Leader Correspondent

“We want the regulatory climate to be one that helps businesses to comply with regulations, helping businesses and entrepreneurs to understand what’s on the books,” but also to make sure the state doesn’t over-enforce its regulations, Peter Barca, Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary, said on Monday in Shawano.

Barca explained he made the trip to Shawano because, “The governor has really encouraged us (Cabinet secretaries) to get out around the state … finding out what needs are and that our initiatives do meet the needs of all of the parts of the state.”

“When I talk to Governor (Tony) Evers, he’s very supportive of balancing needs for regulations” against the costs to businesses, the secretary added.

Barca has stops planned for Green Bay, Appleton, and other northern Wisconsin cities.

He pointed out that while most people associate the DOR with taxes, the department also calculates the financial costs attached to legislation. More important to the rest of the state, however, he said DOR has a staff of economists charged with forecasting the state’s economic direction.

Barca added the Evers administration is “not just focused on large corporations in southeastern Wisconsin but everywhere in the state. Where there are stronger partnerships between state agencies like the WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) and local organizations such as chambers of commerce, it helps to build jobs.”

Barca noted, “Foxconn (the large development in southeastern Wisconsin for a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer) is not the issue per se. More important is what’s done to bolster business development in all of rural Wisconsin — being mindful of entrepreneurism and other opportunities.”

He also met with Menominee Tribal Enterprises representatives in Keshena.

Barca said one of his missions was to share more of the DOR’s expertise and resources across the state beyond the offices in Green Bay and Appleton for “regular” department business.

Barca said he wants his department to be “transparent as possible” and share its expertise. One example of that effort is the resumption of the quarterly Wisconsin Economic Outlook report.

Suspended by then-Governor Scott Walker in 2015 after more than 40 years of publication, he said the report will again provide an overview of the state’s current economic conditions and a forecast for a variety of economic metrics, including employment, housing and personal income.

The secretary said there will also be weekly reports on new home construction and other economic data.

He said the DOR has extensively revised its website to offer more information and “be as interactive as we can … to help businesses make better decisions.”

He highlighted the re-design of the site for local officials where they can find information on all required DOR reports and their due dates. The site also offers copies of the forms and video tutorials.

The secretary, a lifelong Kenosha-area citizen, said he is leveraging his over 30 years of public service in his current position.

Barca served as 64th Assembly District representative from the from 1985 until 1993, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He returned to the Assembly in 2009 and served seven years as the Assembly Minority Leader. He resigned when Evers selected him for the cabinet post in January 2019.

Barca also spent nearly five years as the Midwest Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Clinton Administration. During that time, he led the National Regulatory Fairness Program, an initiative aimed at making regulatory enforcement more small business friendly.

It is this experience, especially working with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, that shaped his approach to regulations as an administrator and legislator, he said.

Public Record

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 4:05am

Shawano Police Department

April 23

Police logged 33 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the Super 8 Motel, 211 Waukechon St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 200 block of East Richmond Street.

Theft — A phone was reported stolen at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Fraud — Police investigated a scam complaint in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Shoplifting — Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St., reported a shoplifting incident.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 23

Deputies logged 35 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — A 38-year-old Bonduel man was arrested for possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia and an outstanding warrant on Cecil Street in Bonduel. A 28-year-old Bonduel woman was also taken into custody for a probation violation.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, 400 W. Grand Ave. in Wittenberg.

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

Burglary — An attempted burglary was reported on Short Lane in the town of Birnamwood.

Warrant — A 77-year-old Keshena man was arrested on a warrant on Raguse Road in the town of Wescott.

Accidents — Authorities logged three deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

April 23

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Disorderly conduct was reported on Ninth Street.

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

City, school officials review proposed joint rec center plan

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 3:52am
Project could go to school district referendum in April 2020By: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

The estimated cost of a proposed joint city and school district recreation center was placed at anywhere from $24 million to $28 million, as currently envisioned, according to a consultant contracted by the Shawano School District.

An early draft of the design layout and projected costs were presented Wednesday to the Shawano School Board, Shawano Common Council and the city’s park and recreation commission.

“These are not final plans,” said Park and Recreation Director Matt Hendricks. “But we do feel that at this point in time that it’s a tangible plan that we can get feedback from the community and then drive from there.”

One of the questions the city will be asking before it commits to the project, Hendricks said, is whether the new facility would continue everything the city recreation center is already doing and everything the community wants.

The proposed facility would be located adjacent to Shawano Community High School, on the north side of the building, and would include the school’s existing competition pool.

It would add a separate community pool area; a fitness area, including weights and cardiovascular equipment; a multi-purpose space; gymnasium; racquetball court; and indoor multi-purpose facility and walking track; as well as offices, bathrooms, lockers, storage and other amenities.

“When we started looking at it, we wanted to make sure certainly that we’re including all of the necessary components for all the various stakeholders,” said Melanie Parma, senior project manager for Somerville, the architectural firm hired by the school district.

Craig Uhlenbrauck, vice president of education for Miron Construction, said the range of $24 million to $28 million was still preliminary at this point.

“At this point right now, we haven’t defined exactly how it’s going to be constructed, what types of materials are going to be used, what types of systems are going to be put in place mechanically and electrically and that type of stuff,” he said.

According to school district Business Manager Louise Fischer, the tax impact of taking on debt for the project would be 90 cents per $1,000 of equalized valuation at the high end, depending on which scenario the district went with in terms of borrowing.

The 90 cents per $1,000, or $90 on a $100,000 home, assumes borrowing of $30 million at a 5 percent interest rate and repayment of the debt over 20 years.

Fischer called that a worst-case scenario.

“We don’t believe it’s going to go anywhere near $30 million,” she said. “But if we’re going to do this, we want to do it right. We don’t want to cut corners.”

School Board President Michael Sleeper said the reason the district is in this situation is because corners were cut when Shawano Community High School was designed and built in the late 1990s. He said the weight room and wrestling practice area were particularly impacted.

“It was pretty clear it was insufficient for the needs at that time, and that became more apparent as time went on,” he said.

The proposed project will have to go a district referendum, probably in April 2020, before it could move forward.

Uhlenbrauck laid out a timeline of what would happen between now and then.

Approval would be needed in the next month or two from the council and school board to enter into an agreement and move forward.

“Once we get that approval we want to continue to get feedback from the community and businesses as well,” Uhlenbrauck said.

From July through September, work would continue to refine the core concept and finalize the scope of the project, he said.

As the new school year starts this fall, a communitywide survey would be put together to gauge interest and support for the project. The survey would probably go out to the public in October, Uhlenbrauck said.

Results would be presented to the school board, council and park and recreation commission late this year.

“Pending those survey results, then we would take December through January to start to refine the concept based on that feedback, continue to engage the community, and then ultimately the board of education would have to adopt a resolution to go to referendum,” Uhlenbrauck said.

Officials got a smattering of community feedback at Wednesday’s meeting, with about half of the two dozen audience members who attended sharing their thoughts and questions.

Most were in favor of the project, but some had mixed feelings, including the employee of a local fitness center who said such a facility could put private fitness centers in the community out of business.

Another speaker said she felt it was the wrong time for the school district to be making this a priority.

The park and recreation commission voted to recommend to the council that the city enter into an agreement with the school district for the proposed facility.

City picks up Tree City, other awards at Arbor Day ceremony

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 3:43am
Maple tree planted at Kuckuk ParkBy: 

Leader Staff

Leader photo by Tim Ryan Shawano City Forester Mike Kroenke preps students for their help in planting a maple tree at Kuckuk Park during the annual Arbor Day ceremony Wednesday. Fourth graders from Olga Brener Intermediate School, St. James Lutheran School and Sacred Heart Catholic School assisted with the planting of the tree.

City officials Wednesday held their annual Arbor Day observance at Shawano’s Kuckuk Park, getting a jump on the actual Arbor Day, which is Sunday.

The city’s commitment to the environment helped net three more awards this year from the Department of Natural Resources, presented to Mayor Ed Whealon by DNR Regional Forester Coordinator Tracy Salisbury.

Shawano was named a Tree City USA recipient for the 25th year, which came with a Tree City flag and plaque. The city also won the DNR’s Growth Award for the ninth time.

“That shows a commitment to the community trees that are located within the city,” Salisbury said. “The trees are what makes Shawano such a beautiful community.”

Shawano Municipal Utilities picked up its 16th Tree Line USA award, which was presented to SMU Electric Supervisor Rob Koepp.

Koepp presented a $2,000 check from SMU that will go to tree planting and replacement.

Several others also picked up honors Wednesday.

Wayne Habeck, who is retiring this year from the city’s tree advisory committee, was recognized for his 12 years on the board.

William and Kathryn Grahl were honored with the residential Nature’s Friend Award for cultivating the shrubs and trees that grace the home they purchased in Shawano 44 years ago.

Divine Savior Lutheran Church was honored with the commercial Nature’s Friend Award for maintaining a number of pine trees along state Highway 47.

The ceremony was attended by fourth graders from Olga Brener Intermediate School, St. James Lutheran School and Sacred Heart Catholic School, all of whom were given young saplings to take home and plant in their yards.

The students also helped plant a maple tree at Kuckuk with the guidance of City Forester Mike Kroenke.

Master of ceremonies for the event was tree advisory board chairman William Erdmann.

Tavern Front turns 1 year old

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 3:41am
Customer appreciation party planned SaturdayBy: 

Miriam Nelson [email protected]

Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Owners Hugh and Denell McAloon will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Tavern Front with a customer appreciation party Saturday.

Hugh and Denell McAloon are celebrating their first anniversary as owners of Tavern Front in downtown Wittenberg with a customer appreciation party from 11 a.m. Saturday to closing time.

The event includes food and drink specials, games, prizes, a disc jockey and footlong Big Willie Brats specially made for the bar.

“We have a great customer base and staff,” Hugh McAloon said. “I’m thankful for all the support we have received and really look forward to a fun party.”

McAloon said he had an opportunity to take over his brother’s bar in the Oshkosh area last year but decided to settle in Wittenberg, Denell’s hometown, and opened Tavern Front at 207 W. Vinal St.

“We feel so blessed and fortunate. The entire community has welcomed and supported us,” Denell McAloon said. “We could never have expected to have such a great first year.”

Hugh McAloon has tapped into his degree in advertising, promotions and public relations plus his experience in the bar business to make Tavern Front unique. Oversized barware features the Tavern Front logo. The bar’s chicken wings are the largest available, and the Friday fish fry features perch, haddock and poor man’s lobster (boiled cod served with melted butter) rather than the more traditional beer-batter cod. Tavern Front’s menu also includes broasted pork chops in addition to the usual broasted chicken popular in this area.

Hugh McAloon said people especially like the food prepared on the char grill.

“We’re fortunate to have Hanke’s Sentry in town,” he said. “Jim Borchardt is the retired butcher but still goes in two mornings a week to cut all our steaks and pork chops for us – nice to have that special treatment.”

The owners said the one thing that surprised them in their first year was the complexity of the business.

“It’s not just serving beers and flipping burgers,” Denell McAloon said. “It’s the kind of business where you really need to keep an eye on things. Family and friends help us.”

The McAloons recently developed a new line of merchandise and this summer plan to do some renovations, which will include a new tile floor and an outdoor beer garden.

New, expanding businesses highlight economic summit

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 3:39am
City officials see Shawano making progressBy: 

Lee Pulaski [email protected]

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Bob Stratton talks about the process of building his new business, Big City Gyros, with wife Heather during the Shawano County Economic Progress Inc. Economic Summit on Tuesday night. Stratton’s shop, located in the old Domino’s building, will open July 1.

Progress is being made in Shawano and Shawano County, according to the lengthy list of speakers who spoke at the 21st annual Shawano County Economic Progress Inc. Economic Summit on Tuesday at The Gathering.

City officials lauded the long-awaited arrival of Culver’s, which opened last summer, while noting there are new projects like Big City Gyros and the Stubborn Brothers Brewery that are close to opening their doors. There are also business expansions like Reinhart’s Food Service, which is building a larger facility on Waukechon Street between County Road B and state Highway 29.

“Things are going on to set the city up for the future, not just two or three years down the road. I’m talking five, 10, 15, 20 years down the road,” said Mayor Ed Whealon.

Brian Lovelien, owner for the Shawano Culver’s said he is looking forward to having a big tourism market to serve this summer. He noted that his opening in July 2018 yielded the biggest opening week for a Wisconsin Culver’s and the second busiest week in history.

Lovelien plans to keep doing more to attract visitors and said he is working with the FFA to possibly have a petting zoo outside the restaurant during the summer.

“We looked at how many communities didn’t have Culver’s, and this, by far, was the biggest one,” Lovelien said. “We didn’t have any issues with the permitting process. It was a great experience from the conceptual experience to the opening nine months ago.”

Big City Gyros is a story of a local couple wanting to start a business. Bob Stratton said he and his wife, Heather, wanted to start a gyro shop to have something different in the community, but it was mostly so Heather, who loves gyros, didn’t have to travel to Green Bay to get her fix.

“We wanted to do a new fast, casual restaurant in Shawano, and we wanted something that was a bit of a different option for the city, different than what anybody else was doing, so we decided on gyros and cheesesteaks,” said Stratton, who’d previously worked for Genex for 20 years before pursuing his food dreams. “Shawano is home, and we wanted to do something for the city and something that’s fun.”

Big City Gyros is remodeling the old Domino’s on East Green Bay Street. Stratton is anticipating opening July 1.

The Stubborn Brothers Brewery has been in the works for more than two years, but owner Aaron Gilling is seeing light at the end of the tunnel, as he estimates the brewery will be open in August. Gilling said he’d been looking at starting his brewery in Milwaukee and Oshkosh before deciding on Shawano.

The craft brewery and entertainment venue project started out as a renovation of the old Crescent Theater, but has since included the expansion of that building and turning the building next to it into the kitchen, according to Gilling.

“When we acquired (the building), we were going to do a three-barrel system with no food. We were just going to have beer and maybe some light appetizers,” he said. “Then we realized, maybe we can do a little more.”

Doing more is what Reinhart’s is hoping to do. After 38 years of constant increasing sales, the food processing company found itself out of space in its landlocked location on East Richmond Street, according to Pehr Peterson with Reyes Holdings, Reinhart’s parent company.

“The bet that Reyes Holdings is making is that Reinhart’s is going to continue to grow in the next 20 years in Shawano,” Peterson said. “We’re willing to make this investment to the community.”

The new Reinhart’s is expected to be completed in February 2020, with everything moved over by April 2020.

Besides the new and expanding businesses in Shawano, there are other signs of progress, Whealon said. Partnering with Menominee Transit has produced a new and improved taxi system for the city, and there is the possibility that bus routes could be established in the future, a feat he says is unusual for a community of Shawano’s size.

Despite the growth that the area is experiencing, there’s room for more, Whealon said. He wants Shawano to continue developing partnerships with surrounding townships and other entities.

“This blue-collar town, I think, is on the cusp of taking off and doing some great things,” Whealon said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Options presented for fixes to Highway 29/County U intersection

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 8:35pm
Interchange not financially practical, state saysBy: 

Tim Ryan [email protected]

It will be at least two years before the state Department of Transportation can address safety concerns at Shawano County’s most dangerous intersection along state Highway 29 and the solution is not likely to be an interchange.

DOT representatives met Tuesday with the county’s highway safety commission, highway and parks committee and public safety committee to outline possible options and a timetable for when those proposed fixes could be implemented.

Five intersections along state Highway 29 in Shawano County have been identified as the county’s most dangerous, with a total of 467 crashes over the last five years and eight fatalities.

Of highest concern to state and county authorities, however, is the intersection of Highway 29 and County Road U, where there have been five fatal crashes since January 2013, according to sheriff’s department records, with the most recent occurring just three weeks ago.

That intersection was the subject of Tuesday’s meeting.

Some steps have already been taken to address that particular intersection, including rumble pads, stop signs with metal orange flags, LED flashing stop signs on County Road U, and double-marked intersection warning signs with 55 mph advisory speeds on the westbound highway approach to the intersection.

DOT Traffic Safety Engineer Tony Kemnitz outlined four possible additional steps that could be taken and what those alternatives would cost.

They include a J-turn, at a cost of about $2.4 million, which will require motorists crossing Highway 29 to have to cross only two lanes before entering a median pocket lane that will take them to a turnaround.

After that, drivers will have the next two lanes of traffic to contend with.

Kemnitz said having to cross only two lanes at a time rather than all four would significantly reduce crashes.

“Typically what we see in these (type of) intersections is they get hit in that second set of lanes,” he said. “This reduces the opportunity for a vehicle to cross paths with another.”

Another alternative, a median U-turn, would be similar to the J-turn but with a shorter pocket lane and a turnaround closer to the intersection.

That is estimated to cost $1.9 million.

Another alternative, lowering the hill to the east of the intersection to increase sight distance, did not have a cost estimate.

The option of a diamond interchange was also evaluated, Kemnitz said, which would necessitate relocated County Road U to the east to avoid impacting the cemetery, as well as acquiring property for frontage roads.

That alternative was estimated to cost nearly $17 million.

Kemnitz said the state would probably not be able to justify the cost of an interchange versus the safety benefits when applying for federal assistance.

Kemnitz said there would be another local meeting after the design process on the alternatives moves forward, probably in late summer or early fall.

There would then be a public information meeting to look at design alternatives in November or December.

Kemnitz said the goal would be to have a final design selected by February of 2020 so a final plan can be put together by the end of year.

Construction bids would go out in March 2021 with intersection improvements constructed later that year.

Supervisor Tom Kautza, who chairs the highway committee, said he was not interested in a J turn.

“I can’t see how that’s going to fix or resolve any of the problems,” he said.

Supervisor Rick Giese said the intersection has multiple problems, including blind spots, and that a solution was needed that help prevent people from making poor decisions when crossing the highway.

Gresham Village President Lyle Grosskopf said whatever option is chosen has to allow for fire trucks to cross the highway.

“I agree the J-turn will probably have less fatalities, but you’ll still have a lot of accidents,” Grosskopf said. “People on a Friday are headed up north and they’re going 80 mph, and you can’t stop it. Everyone does it. It’s very important make sure we get the safety equipment across the highway.”

DOT Planning and Program Manager Mike Wendt said J-turns have worked elsewhere.

“I understand that’s something different than what we’re used to and there may or may not be an appetite for something we’re not used to, but it has been a proven alternative to reduce fatalities and severe injury crashes,” he said.

“We’re looking at a very accelerated schedule to deliver a product in 2021,” Wendt said.

He said there is federal funding assistance available for the three options other than the interchange.

Wendt said finding additional money for the interchange would be difficult and likely push the project several more years into the future.

“If we can fix a big part of the problem at a lower cost as stewards of the taxpayer dollar, I think we’re expected to do that,” he said. “We should be doing what has proven to be safe in other locations.”

Though the county will have input, it will ultimately be up to the DOT to make the final decision on the alternative chosen.

Names released in Seymour deaths

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 8:28pm
Services set for two children found in homeBy: 

By Leader Staff

Contributed Photo Matteline A. Samson, left, and Hailey K. Poppe died in Seymour and were discovered by Seymour police on last week. The case is still under investigation.

Authorities Tuesday released the names of three people found deceased in a Seymour home last week in a case that continues to be under investigation.

Seymour police were dispatched to a residence in the 600 block of North Main Street on April 18 for a report of a domestic disturbance. The initial responding officers were unable to make contact with anyone inside.

After repeated attempts to make contact, assistance was requested from the Outagamie County Emergency Response Team.

The Emergency Response Team took over operations and entered the home, where they found a man and two children dead.

They were identified Tuesday as Andrew R. Poppe, 35, Matteline A. Samson, 4, and Hailey K. Poppe, 3 months.

No information was released as to the cause of death.

Services have been set for the two girls.

Visitation will take place on Thursday at St. John Catholic Church, Seymour, from 3 p.m. until the funeral Mass at 6 p.m. with the Rev. Bob Kabat and Deacon Rich Matuszak officiating.

Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home, Seymour, is assisting the family with arrangements. A full obituary can be found on Page A3.

Police said in a news release Sunday that a memorial fund would be established through the funeral home.

Police also said they were aware of other fundraisers, such as Go Fund Me, circulating on social media and that a family member could not verify their autheniticity.

Police said they contacted the creator of one of the frundraising efforts, whom they described as well-intentioned but who had mounted the effort without any coordination with the family.

“The safest way to donate is to do so through Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home,” police said.

Per the request of the Seymour Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is leading the investigation.

No further information was available.

The DOJ said the incident was isolated and the public is in no danger.


Donations will be accepted at Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home, c/o Mattelin and Hailey, 358 S. Main St., Seymour, WI 54165.

Cecil man pleads guilty to embezzlement

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 8:26pm
Reyment owes over $350K to victimsBy: 

By Leader Staff


A Cecil man pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of embezzlement for false representations made to investors in a fishing lure company.

Andrew J. Reyment, 38, is scheduled for sentencing June 21 at the Brown County Courthouse.

Reyment was charged with embezzlement and is accused of a theft scheme in which he made false representations to investors about his fishing lure company and then illegally converted the investor funds for his personal use.

Reyment posted on multiple social media sites that he was seeking investors for his corporation, Screamline Lures, according to the state Department of Justice.

As a result of the posts, several individuals responded to Reyment, and based upon false representations, they ultimately invested in Screamline Lures.

The victim investors, located in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Italy, were interviewed by the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation.

During the investigation, special agents found that Reyment had made several false representations to investors and then embezzled their money.

“One of the many ways that the Wisconsin Department of Justice works to make our communities safer is by investigating and prosecuting financial crimes,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Embezzlement is a serious crime, and I’m glad that DOJ’s work on this case has resulted in a conviction.”

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Office assisted DCI agents with the arrest of Reyment in Shawano on May 23, 2018, and he was transferred to Brown County Jail on May 24, 2018.

Reyment’s crimes hold a penalty up to $75,000 in fines and up to 30 years in prison. Request for restitution to victims totals $350,518.40.

The case is being handled by DOJ Criminal Litigation Unit Assistant Attorney General Rich Chiapete.