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Public Record

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 8:11am

Shawano Police Department

May 18

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — A young girl reported missing in the 600 block of South Union Street was found by her mother before police arrived.

Disturbance — A 23-year-old man was arrested for domestic violence-related disorderly conduct after police responded to a report of a fight in progress at Lincoln Street and County Road B.

May 17

Police logged 19 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — A male subject was taken into custody for a probation violation after a suspicious incident in the 400 block of South Union Street.

Vandalism — Tires were reported slashed on a vehicle at Main Street and Zingler Avenue.

Suspicious — Police investigated a suspicious person complaint in the 200 block of South Union Street involving a male subject who got into a van and frightened a 9-year-old child. The man was described as a white male in his late 40s to early 50s wearing a camouflage jacket and baseball cap.

May 16

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious circumstances complaint in the 1300 block of East Green Bay Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Hardee’s, 1120 E. Green Bay St.

Burglary — Police investigated a burglary in the 800 block of East Richmond Street.

Theft — A bike was reported stolen in the 100 block of Acorn Street.

Warrant — A 25-year-old man was arrested on a warrant on Aspen Court.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 18

Deputies logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Main Street in Gresham.

Fire — Authorities responded to a vehicle fire on state Highway 22 in Belle Plaine.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Oak Drive in Wescott.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Rew Lane in Aniwa.

May 17

Deputies logged 40 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Lake Drive in Wescott.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint on Hilgenberg Court in Pella.

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary on Range Line Road in the town of Herman.

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary on Spruce Road in Belle Plaine

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the North Star Casino, W12222 County Road A, in Gresham.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on state Highway 29 in the town of Morris.

May 16

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Fire — A wood shed was reported burning on River Road in Hartland.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint on state Highway 29 in Hartland.

Warrant — A 32-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant on South Street in Bonduel.

Accidents — Authorities logged five accidents, including three deer-related crashes.

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Casino expansion

Mon, 05/19/2014 - 10:55pm

Leader Photo by Greg Mellis
Leader Photo by Greg Mellis The Smokeytown Singers were among the participants in a groundbreaking ceremony Monday celebrating the $8 million expansion project at Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena. Speakers at the program included Jim Reiter, MCR general manager; Laurie Boivin, tribal chairwoman; Crystal Chapman-Chevalier, chairwoman of the Menominee Indian Gaming Authority; Craig Aderhold, Wisconsin Bank & Trust; Dave Voss, president, Miron Construction; and Mohammed Lawal, LSE Architects Inc.

CASINO EXPANSION: Veterans of Menominee Nation post the colors Monday at a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the $8 million expansion project at Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena. The expansion will connect the casino with the convention center. The 25,000-square-foot addition will feature a gaming floor and retail center. The project should be completed by late fall.

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Menominee code talkers honored at pow-wow

Sun, 05/18/2014 - 9:11pm
By: 

Jason Arndt, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Jason Arndt Dancers perform during the Gathering of Warriors grand entry Sunday at the Woodland Bowl in Keshena.

Five Menominee Nation code talkers were honored Sunday during the 25th annual Gathering of Warriors pow-wow presented by the Veterans of the Menominee Nation at the Woodland Bowl in Keshena.

In November, the Menominee and 24 other tribes received congressional gold medals to honor the code talkers, who used their native language to transmit secret messages in World War II, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Along with blankets, silver duplicates of the gold medal given to the tribe were presented Sunday to families of the five deceased code talkers: Dan Waupoose, John C. O’Katchekum, Mose Wausakokamick, Dave Mathapotow and William Matchapatow.

“These code talkers are truly heroes in our nation,” Warren Wilbur, commander of the Veterans of the Menominee Nation, told the crowd of hundreds.

One side of the medal depicts a code talker using communication equipment while three P-51 Mustangs fly overhead. Inscriptions are Menominee code talkers and Omaeqnomenew kemoc keketotatowak, which translates to “Menominee secretly talk to each other.”

The other side features the thunderbird, which is the center element of the Menominee Nation seal; the five clans (bear, eagle, wolf, moose and crane), a sturgeon and wild rice. The Menominee Nation is known for its reliance on wild rice and its reverence for sturgeon. Inscriptions are World War II and Act of Congress 2008.

Laurie Boivin, Menominee tribal chairperson, explained the importance of the code talkers honored at the ceremony.

Because of the secret and important nature of their work, the code talkers were assigned special bodyguards in order to protect them and military secrets, Boivin said.

“The security detail ordered the bodyguards to kill (the code talkers) in event they believed they would be captured,” she said. “So today we are honoring their families.”

Following discharge from World War II, code talkers were sworn to secrecy by the federal government. The order was not lifted until the 1980s.

Boivin credited Wilbur for his efforts in getting members of Menominee code talkers honored for the first time.

“It was quite challenging research and he did not stop working,” said Boivin, who indicated personnel information of the five honorees is not precise due to secrecy and incomplete records.

The code talkers originated in World War I with the Apache tribe. In addition to the tribes honored in November, eight other tribes will receive their medals at a later date. Navajo code talkers were honored nearly a decade ago.

Legislation authorizing creation of the medals passed in 2008. The bill credited code talkers with saving countless lives by their ability to transmit secret battlefield messages in seconds, compared to a coding machine, which would have taken at least 30 minutes to send the same messages.

Enemy forces never broke the code.

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Shawano man charged in gun incident

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 11:40pm
Shot fired, no one injuredBy: 

Leader Staff

A Shawano man is facing a felony charge of reckless endangerment for firing a gun in his apartment Thursday night.

Ryan J. McGeshick, 28, could face a maximum 12 1/2 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if found guilty. He is also charged with a felony count of second-offense possession of marijuana, which carries a possible maximum sentence of 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Police responded just before 11 p.m. to reports of shots fired at an apartment complex in the 800 block of South Kadletz Street. It was later determined only one shot was fired. No one was injured in the incident.

McGeshick was spotted coming out of the apartment building when police arrived and was taken into custody without incident.

Police seized a .40 caliber handgun from McGeshick that had been tucked into the back of his waist band, according to the criminal complaint.

During a search of his apartment, police also found a burnt marijuana joint on the kitchen counter, according to the complaint.

A neighbor who reported the incident told police he had heard McGeshick having an argument with someone, presumably on the phone, when the shot was fired.

McGeshick was also charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and carrying a concealed weapon.

He was ordered held on a $3,500 cash bond after an initial appearance Friday before Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court Judge William Kussel Jr.

McGeshick is due back in court for an adjourned initial appearance Monday.

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Keshena man who touched girl sentenced

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 11:38pm
By: 

Kevin Murphy, Leader Correspondent

A Keshena man who had sexual contact with a minor while in bed with his sleeping wife was recently sentenced in federal court in Green Bay to 3 1/2 years in prison to be followed by 10 years supervised release.

Leslie A. Miller, 50, had previously pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact with a person under 12 years. The incident occurred between Nov. 1, 2012, and Feb. 20, 2013.

According to court documents, Miller and his wife frequently babysat a 10-year-old girl. Miller was watching a movie in bed with the girl while his wife slept.

Miller admitted he touched the girl’s genitals but on top of her clothing. The girl maintained Miller touched her underneath her underwear.

Miller was indicted in June while he was in tribal custody for violation probation on an unrelated offense, Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Whittemore said.

Whittemore and Miller’s attorney, Krista Halla-Valdes, initially recommended a four-year sentence, but Halla-Valdes then requested a year’s reduction, which was equal to the time Miller had been in tribal custody.

Whittemore objected to the request because Miller spent that time in custody on a tribal offense.

District Judge William Griesbach split the difference, Whittemore said.

In Miller’s defense, Halla-Valdes wrote the court that this was Miller’s first serious conviction. Also, there was no force or violence involved in the one-time occurrence, and although he did not immediately stop when the girl told him to, Miller quit touching quickly after it began, Halla-Valdes wrote.

Drug and alcohol abuse has been a “common theme” to all Miller’s criminal behavior, Halla-Valdes wrote. Miller drank and at certain points used cocaine daily, spending up to $1,000 per week, while married to his first wife.

Married to Annette Miller since 2010, Miller has had “a much better, more mature relationship,” Halla-Valdes wrote.

Miller has always been employed as a heavy equipment operator and has begun to focus on some mental health issues that underlie his excessive drinking, she wrote.

“With the support of his family and (an Alcoholics Anonymous) sponsor with whom he has already established regular contact, Mr. Miller is ready to become a productive and positive sober member of society again,” Halla-Valdes wrote in a pre-sentence memo to the court.

Miller has been in federal custody since Feb. 7. He began serving his sentence after it was imposed on April 15.

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Appleton man died in motorcycle accident

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 11:37pm

Menominee County authorities released information Friday about a motorcycle accident May 10 that claimed the life of an Appleton man.

The Menominee County Sheriff’s Department said Dale R. Weber, 66, was traveling north on State Highway 55 when he lost control of his motorcycle and left the road.

The Sheriff’s Department, Menominee Tribal Police, Menominee EMS, Keshena, Middle Village, Neopit and South Branch Fire Departments all responded to the call.

The four fire departments set up and secured the landing zone for ThedaStar, which also responded.

“Sheriff Robert Summers would like to express his sympathy to the family and extend his appreciation to all departments that responded with this incident,” Menominee County Public Information Officer Lisa Wilson said in a news release.

No other information was available.

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Public Record

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 11:36pm

Shawano Police Department

May 15

Police logged 20 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A portable toilet was reported tipped over by the track at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Assault — A sexual assault complaint was under investigation.

Harassment — Police investigated a harassment complaint in the 100 block of South Main Street.

Theft — A bike was reported stolen in the 900 block of South Sawyer Street.

Weapon Offense — A man was taken into custody after firing a gun inside an apartment in the 800 block of South Kadletz Street. He was arrested on weapons and drug charges. No one was injured in the incident, according to police.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 15

Deputies logged 51 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Chainsaws were reported stolen from a pickup truck on North Branch Road in Seneca.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at Bonduel Middle/High School, 400 W. Green Bay St., in Bonduel.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an Internet scam complaint on Huntington Road in Gresham.

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

Assault — Authorities investigated a battery complaint on Hemlock Road in Wittenberg.

OAR — A 36-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 47-55 in Wescott.

OAR — A 33-year-old woman was cited for operating after revocation on state Highway 47-55 in Wescott.

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary on North Branch Road in Seneca.

Vandalism — A garage door was reported vandalized on Redwood Court in Bonduel.

Clintonville Police Department

May 15

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

Assist — Officer assisted Human Services with an investigation on South Clinton Avenue.

Theft — A retail theft was reported on West Madison Street.

Theft — A theft was reported on South Main Street.

Trespass — A damage to property and trespassing issue was reported on South Clinton Avenue.

Disturbance — Officers responded to Eighth Street for a reported domestic disturbance.

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Mayor settles suit with SIST

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 7:13am
Marquardts consider settlement a victoryBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

A libel and defamation suit filed by Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt and her husband against the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology (SIST) and its former chief financial officer was settled out of court after a mediation hearing this week.

Marquardt and her husband, Donald, filed the suit against Kalmar Gronvall, SIST and two of its subsidiaries in 2007. The suit centered on pamphlets and a website allegedly put together by Gronvall that referred to Marquardt as a racist and included derogatory, doctored photos.

The pamphlets were distributed on the street — in some cases by Gronvall himself — and at businesses owned by SIST subsidiaries Midwest Properties of Shawano, LLC, and Midwest Oil of Wisconsin, LLC, according to the lawsuit.

A mediation ordered by Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Grau was held Tuesday with attorney Mark Wendorff serving as mediator, after which the settlement was reached.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed. The original court filing sought $100,000 in monetary damages, punitive costs of $500,000 and legal fees.

Marquardt said, however, the financial settlement arrived at on Tuesday was minimal.

“Although cases are always filed with monetary figures attached, we did not file it for the purpose of a monetary gain,” Marquardt said.

“It was about principles,” she said. “It was about standing up and saying that writing and circulating defamatory materials depicting someone as an orangutan, a murderer, a Nazi, a descendant of Hitler and all the other outrageous accusations was unacceptable.

“Although we believe in free speech, we don’t believe this type of slander, lies, distortions and mean-spirited propaganda is what our forefathers fought to preserve.”

Marquardt said she and her husband had mixed feelings about settling out of court.

“But we considered the additional media attention a jury trial would bring to our beautiful community, and that played a big role in our decision to settle,” she said.

“We feel the fact that a settlement was awarded was a victory and an admission that we were wronged,” Marquardt said. “The settlement of this case does not prohibit us from further filings of this type of defamation occurs in the future.”

Representatives of SIST could not be reached for comment, but in the past they have sought to distance SIST and its subsidiaries from Gronvall and the pamphlets.

Several SIST board members filed court affidavits stating Gronvall was no longer on SIST’s board of directors when the pamphlets were handed out.

Gronvall was sentenced in May 2013 to four years in prison on federal charges of tax evasion.

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Teamwork focus of SCEPI summit

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 7:12am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Tim Ryan SCEPI Chief Economic Development Officer Dennis Heling introduces a slideshow promoting destinations for tourism around the county at the SCEPI Economic Summit at The Gathering in Shawano on Thursday.
Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Shawano Medical Center CEO Dorothy Erdmann takes attendees through a tour of plans for the hospital’s new facility at the SCEPI Economic Summit at The Gathering in Shawano on Thursday.

Celebrating this year’s theme of “Connection and Direction,” area business and community leaders gathered Thursday for the ninth annual Economic Summit hosted by Shawano County Economic Progress Inc.

About 50 people turned out at The Gathering to hear from a range of speakers who stressed the importance of working together to promote the economic health of Shawano and Menominee counties.

Shawano City Administrator Brian Knapp said economic development was about more than just attracting new business to the community; it was about making the community attractive.

“Economic development is really community development,” he said.

Knapp said a subcommittee of the city’s Industrial and Economic Development Commission has been focusing on seven areas to feed economic growth, including education, income opportunities, health, safety, housing, lifestyle opportunities and making the community look attractive.

“Above all, we need the community leadership necessary to bring us all together to work toward developing those resources,” he said.

Rick Kane, SCEPI board president, said he sees the effects of unemployment and underemployment every day in his role as director of Shawano County Social Services.

“If we bring all the players together, I think we can make a difference and hopefully impact some positive change in Shawano and Menominee counties,” he said.

County Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann also emphasized teamwork between government and community leaders.

“We’re a team. A team that pulls each other up when they get down,” he said. “Team players encourage one another.”

Erdmann said communication, collaboration and cooperation were the keys to overcoming economic and other hurdles in the community.

Attendees also heard from Courtney Gauthier, casino shift manager for Ho-Chunk Gaming, who detailed the tribe’s plans for expansion at the gaming facility in Wittenberg; Greg Miller, vice-president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe; and Dennis Heling, SCEPI chief economic development officer.

The keynote speaker was Dorothy Erdmann, chief executive officer of Shawano Medical Center, who detailed the hospital’s history and its coming move to a new facility adjacent to ThedaCare.

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Fourth potential candidate in sheriff's race

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 7:00am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

A fourth potential candidate for Shawano County sheriff took out nomination papers Thursday, according to the county clerk’s office.

Lucas Christenson, of Shawano, has filed to run as an Independent in the November election. He will have until 5 p.m. June 2 to return 200 signatures.

Sheriff Randy Wright, who has been sheriff since 2007, is seeking another four-year term.

He and Shawano Police Officer Adam Bieber have already returned the signatures needed for spots on the Aug. 12 Republican primary ballot.

Sheriff’s Capt. Tom Tuma has also taken out papers, but had not yet returned them as of Thursday.

The winner will face Christenson in the Nov. 4 general election, provided Christenson returns the necessary signatures.

Christenson, who works in the parts department at American Marine & Motorsports in Shawano, said he is running to offer more options for voters.

“I feel there shouldn’t be just Republicans and Democrats,” he said.

Christenson said he feels the Sheriff’s Department needs new administration at the top “to shine a new light on things.”

Prior to being sheriff, Wright was a police officer with the Shawano Police Department.

Bieber has worked in law enforcement for 14 years and has been with the Shawano Police Department since 2003.

Tuma will have been with the department for 25 years in August.

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Public Record

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 6:50am

Shawano Police Department

May 14

Deputies logged 28 incidents, including the following:

Animal - Police responded to incident regarding a cat in a resident’s yard in the 1000 block of South Sawyer Street.

Juvenile - Police responded to a child wandering the 600 block of Center Street.

Accident - Police responded to a two-vehicle accident in the 300 block of South Main Street.

Theft - Police responded to four incidents of theft of library materials at the Shawano City-County Library, 128 S. Sawyer St.

Found - Police responded to a residence on the 1000 block of Smalley Street regarding discovery of a glass pipe. Police stored item in evidence.

Harassment - Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 100 block of Acorn Street.

Suspicious person - Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 400 block of Smalley Street.

Disturbance - Police responded to a domestic complaint in the 800 block of Richmond Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Office

May 14

Deputies logged 46 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance - Authorities responded to a disturbance involving a juvenile in the 800 block of Richards Street in Gresham.

Suspicious person - Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle on the 300 block of South Ellms Street in the town of Wittenberg.

Warrant - Authorities took a 40-year-old man into custody on a Jefferson County child-support warrant.

Harassment - Authorities responded to an incident involving solicitation of religious materials in Bonduel.

OAR - Authorities took a 40-year-old man into custody on an operating after revocation offense in the town of Wescott.

Accident - Authorities responded to a two-vehicle accident on Michael Circle in Gillett.

Fraud - Authorities responded to complaint of a collection agency calling for an unwarranted bill in Bowler.

Reckless driving - Authorities responded to a reckless driver in the 200 block of West Green Bay Street in Bonduel.

Accidents - Authorities responded to seven traffic accidents, including six accidents related to deer.

Clintonville Police Department

May 14

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

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

Property damage - Police responded to a report of damaged property on Brix Street.

Suspicious person - Police responded to a suspicious person complaint on Industrial Avenue.

Fraud - Police responded to a report of fraud on Sixth Street.

Warrants - Police served three warrants, two from Waupaca County and another from Marathon County.

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Sheriff's Dept. defends handling of jail money

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 7:12am
No explanation given for missing fundsBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday responded to reports of nearly $600 in missing jail money recently brought to light at a county committee meeting.

Supervisor Deb Noffke raised the issue at a May 5 meeting of the Administrative Committee, citing two incidents in which money put into safe-keeping after inmates were booked disappeared from the county jail.

Both incidents took place in 2012 and had not previously been publicly disclosed.

Last year, a separate incident involving $1,000 in missing bond money was also investigated. That incident was publicly discussed at several committee meetings and in closed session by the County Board.

Noffke, at the May 5 Administrative Committee meeting, questioned why supervisors were “under a gag order” when it came to the other two incidents.

“Everybody knows about the missing $1,000, but we’re under a gag order on the rest of it,” she said. “I’m thinking the public’s right to know trumps any little closed session.”

The committee brought in Corporation Counsel Tony Kordus to address the question.

Kordus told the committee that supervisors were free to publicly discuss the fact that jail money went missing, but not details of the investigation that were discussed in closed session.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the county’s Finance Committee was made aware of the missing money shortly after each of the two incidents.

The first occurred on Jan. 7, 2012, when $244.56 that an inmate turned over to jail staff went missing. The Finance Committee was informed on Jan. 16, 2012, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The second incident took place on Aug. 11, 2012, and involved $351.74 belonging to an inmate. According to the Sheriff’s Department, the Finance Committee was told about the incident a few days later, on Aug. 16.

The Administration Department was also notified about both incidents shortly after they occurred, according to the Sheriff’s Department, but no specific date was available.

The Sheriff’s Department responded to questions from The Shawano Leader about the incidents via an email that was drafted after meetings involving Sheriff Randy Wright, Jail Administrator Steve Borroughs and Kordus.

According to the email, an internal investigation of the two incidents “did not reveal the cause of the loss, or the person(s) responsible for the loss, if any.”

The email went on to state that “various members of the (County) Board” were aware of the results of the investigation.

The inmates in both cases were reimbursed for the loss, according to the Sheriff’s Department. No explanation for the missing money was offered.

“It would be irresponsible for this office to engage in speculation at this point, without any evidence to support the theory,” the email stated.

According to the email, the jail has handled nearly $1 million in inmate money since January 2009 and processed more than $1.7 million in bond money.

“While the jail is not happy with the loss of even one penny and pursues perfection on a daily basis, the jail’s record is overall undeniably quite impressive,” the email stated.

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Evidence storage search turns to warehouse

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 7:11am
Committees turn to Fellman Center facilityBy: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski The Shawano County Public Property and Public Safety committees toured this warehouse Wednesday to see if it would be a suitable facility for evidence storage, as well as storing other items. The warehouse is at the Fellman Center on Elizabeth Street in Shawano.

Shawano County might be changing course yet again on how to address its issues with evidence storage and processing.

The Public Property and Public Safety committees on Wednesday toured a warehouse at the Fellman Center, which is owned by Shawano County Job Center Inc., in Shawano to see if it would suit the county’s needs for evidence storage.

No decision was made, but several committee members indicated the space would be adequate.

Spokesman Mike Schuler said SCJC would be willing to rent half of the 30,000-square-foot warehouse to the county. Another renter is interested the remaining 15,000 feet, he said.

The Sheriff’s Department has said it needs about 7,200 square feet for evidence storage.

The County Board approved plans in 2013 to build a facility at the Huber Work Release Center in Shawano, but has not been able to decide where the estimated $715,000 would come from.

Recent efforts by Green Light Grants to find grant funding for the county project bore no fruit, according to Administrative Coordinator Tom Madsen.

“There wasn’t much out there, and I told them to slow up,” Madsen said.

Schuler said the space could be divided between evidence storage for the Sheriff’s Department and other items currently stored in the basement and attic of the Shawano County Courthouse.

“It’s an open building that we’re looking to rent out,” Schuler said. “We have the building; you guys have a plan. If you rent the building, you do whatever you want to do.”

The warehouse already has restroom facilities and an office, which would likely need to be renovated to suit the county’s needs, according to Schuler.

County officials in 2012 looked at space on the east side of the Fellman Center, 607 E. Elizabeth St., Shawano, as a possible evidence storage site, but it was rejected due to some structural issues, including a bad floor.

The warehouse viewed Wednesday is on the west side of the center, next to the job center and the Social Services Department.

Social Services has enjoyed a positive relationship with SCJC as its landlord, department director Rick Kane said.

The department moved into the building 12 years ago, and the rent has stayed the same despite an option in the contract that allows SCJC to raise the rent 2 percent annually.

“It’s been a great fit for us. We couldn’t find a better building,” Kane said. “We haven’t had any problems. If something is wrong, they come and fix it.”

Sheriff Randy Wright, who has been pushing for years for a evidence storage facility, did not say much during the meeting and offered little comment on whether it would suit his department’s needs.

“There’s nothing much to say,” Wright said. “If this is what the committees thinks is right, that’s their decision.”

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Council suspends Clintonville administrator

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 7:01am
By: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

The Clintonville Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend City Administrator Lisa Kotter for five days without pay pending an investigation into alleged misconduct.

Kotter also was ordered to surrender her city cell phone, computers, keys, credit card and any city property in her possession to Police Chief Terry Lorge.

The council also voted unanimously to spend up to $10,000 on outside counsel to handle the investigation, which is expected to be completed within 10 days.

For several months, some council members have questioned Kotter’ use of the city credit card.

Kotter issued the following statement to FOX 11: “I have always conducted myself ethically and will continue to work for the betterment of Clintonville when I return to work. I will cooperate fully with any investigators.”

The council’s decision Tuesday came after almost 3 1/2 hours in closed session.

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Clintonville hires new city attorney

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 7:00am
By: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

The Clintonville Common Council appointed a new city attorney Tuesday, but only after Mayor Judith Magee said she had received a threat about the appointment “from a person sitting within this complex.”

In April, the council failed to confirm Magee’s reappointment of Tim Schmid to the attorney position. The council then voted last week to spend up to $1,000 to review its options in selecting an attorney, and hired Madison attorney Warren Kraft to meet with a special committee about the issue.

Kraft told council Tuesday it could appoint someone else to serve the balance of Schmid’s appointment.

Alderperson Mary Beth Kuester, chairperson of the special committee, said the committee recommended hiring April Dunlavy for $28,000 per year. Schmid was paid $38,000 per year.

When Alderman Bill Zeinert asked Kuester if the committee had considered anyone else for the position, she said no. “We wanted someone local,” she replied.

Schmid also serves as city attorney for the city of Shawano, which is a two-year elected position. He has a law practice in Shawano.

In a statement made before appointing Dunlavy, Magee said three attorneys provided differing interpretations of the statute addressing city attorney appointments.

“I want everyone to know that this is a very difficult position that I am in right now,” she said. “I have been the recipient of a threat from a person sitting within this complex.”

She did not elaborate, however.

The appointment passed 6-3, with Jeanne Schley, John Wilson, Jerry Jorgenson, Greg Rose, Mary Beth Kuester and James Krause in favor, and Bill Zeinert, Phil Rath and Mark Doornink against. Alderperson Gloria Dunlavy abstained. She is April Dunlavy’s mother.

Dunlavy was immediately sworn into office.

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Public Record

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 6:59am

Shawano Police Department

May 13

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police investigated a suspicious person complaint in the 400 block of South Smalley Street.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run at Green Bay and Main streets.

Animal — Police transported a box of kittens left at the landfill to the Shawano Humane Society.

Harassment — Police investigated a harassment complaint in the 1300 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Suspicious — Police investigated a suspicious person complaint in the 600 block of South Lafayette Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 13

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A semi-trailer was reported stolen on U.S. Highway 45 in Tigerton.

Harassment — Authorities investigated a harassment complaint on Cedar Street in Bonduel.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint at the ballpark on County Road D in Seneca.

Vandalism — A mailbox was reported vandalized on Blueberry Road in Gresham.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on County Road MMM in Richmond.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Prouty Street in Wittenberg.

Accidents — Authorities logged three accidents, including one deer-related crash and a vehicle versus turkey.

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Still no ID of human remains

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 7:08am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Investigators were contacting family members in area missing persons cases this week, gathering information they hope could help identify human remains discovered in the town of Richmond over the weekend.

The State Crime Lab in Madison conducted a forensic examination and autopsy Monday, but, as of late Tuesday afternoon, authorities had not identified the remains.

Four unsolved missing persons cases in the region going back to 2009 could be in play in this case, and another two dating back to 1998. There is no official indication, however, that the person was even from this area.

The remains were discovered about 5:30 p.m. Saturday by a group of young adults along the south side of Peach Road near County Road MMM.

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said the remains were not buried or covered in any way. They were more or less “out in the open,” he said, but not visible from the road.

Wright would not rule out a connection to any of the missing persons cases.

“Everything is in play,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Department has not confirmed the remains were of a female, but Wright cited a number of open missing persons cases involving women.

They include Heather Szekeres, 32, of Shawano, who went missing in June. That case was being investigated by the Shawano Police Department.

Police Capt. Jeff Heffernon said the case remains “ongoing and active.”

Police provided assistance at the recovery of the remains Saturday night and into Sunday morning, but Heffernon said he could not answer whether there was any connection to the Szekeres case.

Other missing persons cases in the region include Victoria Prokopovitz, 60, of Pittsfield, missing since April 2013; Stephanie Low, 25, of Wausau, missing since October 2010; Kayla Berg, 20, of Antigo, missing since August 2009; Amber Wilde, 34, of Green Bay, missing since September 1998; and Carmen Owens, 56, of Shawano, missing since 1998.

The ages listed are the ages those persons would be today, according to the Department of Justice, which publishes a list of missing persons in the state.

Wright said he did not want to speculate on how long the remains had been there.

Wright also said Tuesday afternoon he was not ready to rule out a connection to any of the missing persons cases.

“I’m not closing out anything,” he said.

Information being gathered by investigators from family members included things such as descriptions of clothes and jewelry the missing person might have owned or been wearing.

Authorities were also seeking dental records in the missing person cases.

“We’re looking at whatever we can find,” Wright said.

The case is being handled as a homicide investigation, which, Wright said, was normal procedure under the circumstances, at least until a cause of death is determined.

“You handle it as a possible homicide and you go from there,” Wright said.

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Continuing along the milky way

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 7:06am
Area dairy farm receives state grantBy: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]


Leader Photos by Lee Pulaski Rolling Meadows Dairy Farm has 220 Jersey cows that contributed 2.2 million pounds of milk in 2013. The farm recently received a Grow Dairy Wisconsin grant from the governor’s office in an effort to increase milk production throughout the state.
Tim Bowers holds a Jersey heifer calf while his wife, Meredith, feeds her Thursday at the farm. The calf will become part of the milking herd within two years.

Wisconsin dairy cows produced a record 27.6 billion pounds of milk in 2013.

The Rolling Meadows Farm, in rural Marion, contributed 2.2 million pounds to that total—and plans to contribute more for years to come.

A grant program implemented by Gov. Scott Walker will help them do that.

The Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30 X 20 Initiative seeks to increase the state’s milk output to 30 billion pounds by 2020. Rolling Meadows was one of the program’s 43 grant recipients this year.

The $5,000 grant, the maximum amount a farm can receive, will help Tim Bowers buy out his father Dave’s interest in Rolling Meadows. Currently, Dave owns the farm’s 440 acres, Tim owns the 220 Jersey cows that produce the milk, and the two share ownership of the equipment.

Tim and his wife, Meredith, hope to have full ownership of Rolling Meadows within the next five years and plan to continue a proud family tradition. Tim is the fifth generation to work the farm, which started in 1912.

Meredith discovered information about the 30 X 20 Initiative online and felt it would be a good fit for the farm, as her husband was in the process of purchasing the farm’s assets.

“It’s going to be an impending task for us,” she said. “One of the goals is to help the next generation of farmers stay active and viable and profitable. That was our reason for applying.”

The Bowers will use the money to hire professional services, including a tax accountant, to iron out the wrinkles of the transition.

“It’s going to be a task,” Tim said. “It’s a lot to bite off in one chunk.”

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Wisconsin had 76,800 farms in 2012, the latest year data was available.

While many young people are opting not to continue in the family farming business, Tim, 35, hopes to keep Rolling Meadows going for many generations to come.

“It’s something that, as a child, I wanted to do,” he said. “Even after going to college, I still wanted to because so many farm kids go to college and decide (farming) isn’t for them anymore. That made me think even more that this is what I wanted to do.”

Already, more calves are being raised and prepared for milking.

“We raise all of our replacements — heifers, young stock,” Tim said.

So far, 22 calves have been born this spring, and they should be ready to join the milking herd within two years, according to Meredith.

“With the right management and the right genetics in breeding, you get better moms, and then you get better babies,” she said. “In two years, when she comes in as a new cow, she’s going to make more milk for you, a higher component milk.”

The milk produced is higher in protein and fat, which helps in making cheese and butter.

Besides Tim and Dave Bowers, there are four full-time employees and one part-time employee working the farm.

Walker announced the 30 X 20 Initiative in 2012 to offer farmers options to increase profitability and make sure the state’s milk production can meet the growing demand for dairy products in the marketplace, according to a press release announcing this year’s grant recipients.

“Our investment in Wisconsin’s agriculture industry through these grants will enable these farmers to improve their profitability, and allow Wisconsin to thrive as a leader in the nation’s dairy industry,” Walker said in the release. “Agriculture contributes more than 350,000 jobs to the state’s economy, and I’m happy to support the farmers, their families, and their staff who do the hard work.”

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Final county wage study delayed again

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 6:58am
By: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]

It will be at least one more month before the Carlson Dettman wage study goes to the Shawano County Board of Supervisors.

Representatives from the Madison-based consulting firm presented their wage recommendations Monday to the Administrative Committee, which originally planned to present its recommendation to the County Board on May 28.

Several supervisors, however, had questions about how the consultants determined wages for certain positions, and the committee decided additional meetings were needed before they could recommend the study to the full board.

The county and consultants originally hoped to have the study finalized by March 26.

When determining wage rates, Charlie Carlson, a partner in Carlson Dettman, said the firm looked at how similar positions were paid in both the public and private sectors. Also, he and his staff reviewed the job descriptions provided by the county and established a point system based on the number and level of tasks performed.

Carlson said the firm’s methodology is a “trade secret” and he would need committee members to sign nondisclosure agreements before he could explain the details.

Shawano County’s wages are 4.3 percent below the market average, according to Carlson, when compared with almost two dozen counties in northern and eastern Wisconsin, as well as information from the Wisconsin Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“If it was 10 percent above or below (the market average), I’d be jumping up and down and saying we’ve got a problem,” Carlson said. “This is not bad.”

Carlson Dettman is recommending a plan with 19 pay grades and 11 steps per grade. New employees who perform well could expect annual raises for the first five years, followed by raises every two years for the next six years and then raises every three years after that, Carlson said. The raises would be separate from any cost-of-living increases the County Board might decide to adopt.

If the board decides to have the plan take effect in January 2015, Carlson estimates it will cost the county $240,000 to implement the pay changes for all employees.

Out of 286 employees, 50 are below the minimum salary recommended for their positions, Carlson said.

On the flip side, 22 employees are at or near the maximum recommended pay range. Carlson suggested those employees would not receive any increases beyond cost-of-living.

The study also concluded the county is paying much more than it should by covering 90 percent of the health insurance premiums.

Citing information from the Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, the consultants said Shawano County is paying $1,318 to $2,098 more in premium costs for each single employee per yearthan other government bodies and public and private sector companies with more than 200 employees.

The family insurance plans show an even larger gap, $7,310 to $8,090 per employee per year, according to Carlson Dettman.

Carlson is recommending that the county establish wellness incentives where employees who maintain a healthy lifestyle get 90 percent of the premiums paid. Employees who smoke, don’t exercise or are committed to other other unhealthy lifestyles will only have 80 percent of their premiums covered by the county.

Carlson suggested reducing benefit costs to raise wages to the recommended levels.

Other recommendations from Carlson Dettman include adopting an appeal process once the board adopts the pay plan, conducting an annual review of the pay structure, and reviewing job classifications annually.

Carlson said he was not in favor of rushing the matter to the County Board in May, but he recommended approving a plan before the county’s budget hearings start in August.

“You need a chance to think about it and decide what you want to do,” Carlson said.

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Hearing delayed for Wittenberg hostage suspect

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 6:56am
Competency being evaluatedBy: 

Leader Staff

A preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday in the case of a Gillett man charged in connection with a standoff in Wittenberg last month was delayed while he undergoes a competency evaluation.

Travis W. Keiler, 28, was arrested April 22 after a two-hour standoff with sheriff’s deputies in Wittenberg. He has been charged with a felony count of taking hostages while using a dangerous weapon.

He is now scheduled for a competency review in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court on June 2.

Keiler is accused of going armed into the Wittenberg Shell station and McDonald’s, 413 N. Genesee St., where he said he “wanted to shoot it out with the police,” according to the criminal complaint.

Keiler let everyone out of the building except for a lone McDonald’s employee, whom he kept as a hostage for about an hour.

Keiler told a hostage negotiator he had quit his job in De Pere and had been driving around before ending up at the Wittenberg Shell station.

The negotiator convinced Keiler to release his hostage as a sign of good faith after about an hour. Keiler surrendered peacefully an hour after that.

Keiler could face a maximum 40 years in prison and $100,000 fine if found guilty. He also faces a felony count of failing to comply with an officer’s attempt to take him into custody, which carries a maximum 3 1/2 year sentence and $10,000 fine, as well as misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

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