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Birnamwood man charged in alleged marijuana operation

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 7:25am

Leader Staff

A Birnamwood man is facing felony drug charges after authorities allegedly found a marijuana growing operation in his home Friday.

Curtis J. Jensen, 29, was charged Monday with manufacture and delivery of marijuana, maintaining a drug trafficking place and second or subsequent possession of marijuana.

Each of the charges carries a maximum possible penalty of 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department received a tip about the operation on Thursday and executed a search warrant the next day, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states authorities discovered a room that has been constructed beneath the stairs leading to the basement and hidden by a piece of drywall.

Authorities seized 37 marijuana plants, according to the criminal complaint, along with grow lights, potting soil, fertilizer, a vent and tubing used for an exhaust, and various drug paraphernalia.

Jensen posted a $500 cash bond and is due back in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

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1-to-1 learning coming to Gresham

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 7:24am
School planning computers for every studentBy: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]

Erika Jonsson is used to working on a computer. When she isn’t in school, she utilizes technological devices throughout her daily life.

“With the school laptop, I connect with my teachers (outside of class) with notes. I can write papers and turn them in online,” Jonsson said. “That way, I can use my computer at home for myself to talk to friends and post things.”

The Google Chromebook the Gresham Community School sophomore uses also allows her to share papers with teachers while she is still writing them, allowing teachers to add comments and suggestions. Jonsson also finds it more convenient to tote one computer rather than different textbooks and notebooks for each class.

“It’s not like forgetting your pencil or your notebook; it’s all here,” Jonsson said.

Gresham is the latest school in the area to embrace a one-to-one technology initiative that provides computers to every student. A test run with the school’s 15 sophomores is under way this semester, and school officials hope to have every student equipped with a technological device for learning within three years.

The original initiative was to put a Windows-compatible laptop in every student’s hands, according to Troy Kuhn, science teacher and one of the committee members working on the project. However, research done by the teachers over the past two years has shown it would be better to utilize tablets for the elementary students and Chromebook laptops for grades 6-12.

“What we’ve found is that a Windows device can do a lot of other things — download songs and all that. There are times when it is not used as an educational device,” Kuhn said. “We’re now looking at the Chromebooks as something that can be managed and controlled by the district.”

Chromebooks can be programmed with software that prevents students from accessing inappropriate content, Kuhn said, but it will be a constant effort to plug any gaps.

When the school converts completely to individual laptops and tablets, students and teachers alike will need to adjust, Kuhn said. A training session is planned this summer for staff so they can better assist students once school resumes in September. School officials are still deciding how many computers they will add next year.

“Curriculum changes are going to have to be made because we’re going to try to save on paper,” Kuhn said. “How you’re getting information to and from the students is going to change. That has been the biggest learning curve.”

Kuhn has already made the shift from textbooks to online learning in his biology class. He said most of his lesson plans have been derived from websites and YouTube, which has been more visual and exciting for students.

“The kids are more engaged. They ask more real-life questions,” Kuhn said. “Overall, the class is more active than what I call ‘sit-and-get teaching.’”

Sophomore Tatelyn Ferguson finds she works more efficiently with the Chromebook, which enables her to do classwork in class instead of having to go to the library or computer lab to use a computer.

“I use it a lot to do notes, write papers, look at PDF files of packets that teachers have shared. I even have my geometry textbook on here so I can review stuff,” Ferguson said. “We downloaded some biology books, too.”

Ferguson finds it is easier to have one device for everything, as opposed to five or six notebooks and textbooks filling her locker.

Newell Haffner, math and physics teacher, said the desire to integrate technology in the classroom started several years ago when the school first started getting Smartboards, interactive digital whiteboards, in the classroom. After testing those in a couple of classrooms, it “infected” the rest of the staff, he said.

“About two or three years ago, we started building the infrastructure to handle it,” Haffner said.

District staff worked out most of the bugs related to the technological transition by visiting other schools that have similar initiatives and learning how to make it work for Gresham, Haffner said.

“It’s been neat to travel to the other schools and see how they’ve done, so we don’t make the same mistakes they told us not to make,” Haffner said.

The computers also eliminate students’ excuses for not turning in homework due to illness or other absences, and even when teachers have to miss class, they can still work with students. Haffner was out of town for a conference, but he was able to answer student questions via instant messaging.

“I’d get my notice on my iPad, would quickly look at it and type really quick to send it off so they could finish their homework,” he said.

The project’s total cost, which includes equipment and infrastructure, is expected to be about $135,000 over the next three years — $120,000 for tablets and laptops with all the programs and applications, and the remaining $15,000 to increase the school’s Wi-Fi capacity to allow more devices to access the Internet, according to Holly Burr, business manager.

Burr said the school spends $30,000 to $35,000 annually for maintenance and other costs related to its computer labs. With an anticipated marked decrease in the amount of paper used, the school is expecting to break even on the transition, she said.

“The lion’s share of this was already in the budget,” Burr said. “We can make the rest of this up through efficiencies like less copy paper and using ebooks instead of hardcover textbooks.”


• The Bonduel School District started its one-to-one technology initiative in 2007 in response to the state cutting its aid for technology by $150,000. The district went to the voters and asked for an override of its budget to keep the money in, with the promise of eventually having laptops for every student. The override was renewed by voters in 2013.

• Wolf River Lutheran High School also started its technology initiative in 2007, providing laptop computers for students through congregational funds. The parochial school in Cecil currently has an enrollment of 18 students.

• The Shawano School Board recently approved a three-year technology plan, and a one-to-one initiative is part of the plan, although the effort is still in the exploratory stage. Shawano School District has allowed middle school and high school students to use their own personal devices in school since 2011.

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Public Record

Wed, 05/07/2014 - 7:22am

Shawano Police Department

May 5

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 27-year-old man was taken into custody at the Probation and Parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 300 block of East Maurer Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 1100 block of South Lafayette Street.

Warrant — A 32-year-old woman was taken into custody on a warrant in the 300 block of Lakeland Road.

Theft — A cell phone was reported stolen on Humphrey Circle.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 5

Deputies logged 58 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Beech Road in Richmond.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Lake Drive in Wescott.

Theft — A chainsaw was reported stolen on State Road in Birnamwood.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint at the Coachlight, W5814 Lake Drive, in Wescott.

Juvenile — Authorities logged three truancy complaints from the Bonduel School District and one from the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District.

Theft — Car keys were reported stolen on Webb Street in Wittenberg.

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on Birch Street in Tigerton.

OWI — A 26-year-old Mattoon man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after an injury accident on Maple Road in the town of Herman.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a telephone scam complaint on Harrison Street in Wittenberg after a woman sent $150 to a supposed representative from the Nevada gaming commission to claim a $2.5 million prize.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on Slab City Road in Hartland.

Accidents — Authorities logged five accidents, including one deer-related crash.

Clintonville Police Department

May 4

Police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A battery and disorderly conduct complaint was under investigation on North Clinton Avenue.

Disturbance — A disturbance as reported on East 12th Street.

Auto Theft — A vehicle was reported stolen on North Clinton Avenue.

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Public Record

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 11:03pm

Shawano Police Department

May 4

Police logged 17 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Four Seasons Resort, 201 N. Airport Drive.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 100 block of East Division Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a fight in progress in the 300 block of South Main Street.

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

Fire — An outdoor grill was reported burning on Kleeman Court.

May 3

Police logged 17 incidents, including the following:

OWI — Police responded to an operating while intoxicated complaint at Pine and Weed streets.

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

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 100 block of South Union Street.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Eberlein Park Drive.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint on Kleeman Court.

Prowler — Police investigated a report of a prowler in the 100 block of South Andrews Street.

May 2

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

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

Fraud — Police investigated a forgery complaint in the 600 block of South Main Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance involving a juvenile in the 400 block of Fairview Way.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 300 block of East Maurer Street.

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint at Kuckuck Park, 500 Oak Drive.

Shoplifting — Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St., reported a female shoplifter in custody.

Drug Offense — Police investigated a drug complaint at The Shawano Leader, 1464 E. Green Bay St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 4

Deputies logged 39 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — A 48-year-old Pound man was cited for possession of marijuana on state Highway 117 in the town of Washington.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Laatsch Road in the town of Grant.

Disturbance — Charges of disorderly conduct and battery were referred against a 45-year-old Eland man after a domestic disturbance on Elm Road in Wittenberg.

Accident — A 25-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after an injury accident on County Road A in the town of Herman.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Butternut Road in Richmond.

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

May 3

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 45-year-old Shawano man was arrested for operating while intoxicated and bail jumping after an injury accident on Elliot Street in Wittenberg.

Warrant — A 39-year-old Shawano man was taken into custody on a warrant on Little Road in the town of Red Springs.

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

Warrant — A 31-year-old Gresham man who reported a theft of a cell phone was taken into custody on a warrant on Little Road in Gresham.

Accidents — Authorities logged four accidents, including an injury ATV accident in Navarino and two deer-related crashes.

May 2

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized at the ATV Park on Quad Park Lane in Tigerton.

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized on Old D Road in Aniwa.

Fire — Sparks and a small fire were reported in an electrical box on a roof of a residence at Beech and Cedar streets in Tigerton.

Theft — Gas was reported siphoned from a backhoe on Taconic Drive in Bowler.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on County Road T in Waukechon.

Accidents — Authorities logged four accidents, including two deer-related crashes and a vehicle versus owl.

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Sturgeon spawning expected tomorrow

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 5:13pm

Leader Staff

Ryan Koenigs, of the Department of Natural Resources, expects sturgeon will be spawning Tuesday at the Shawano dam.

“The fish are already there; it is just a matter of them getting active,” said Koenigs, who also indicated the water temperature was reported at 51 degrees Sunday at the dam. “It is just matter of time.”

Ideal water temperatures for spawning occur between 48 degrees and 53 degrees, and the temperature was reported as 49 degrees Monday afternoon.

Koenigs said DNR conservation wardens should have a “heavy presence at the Shawano dam” Tuesday.

Spawning season generally occurs between April 15 through early May 2. Unusually cold weather delayed the annual run both last year and this year.

There were reports of spawning activity 40 miles south of the Shawano dam in the Shiocton and New London area Monday.

Fish movement was visible on the webcam along the Shawano dam by Monday afternoon.

The prehistoric fish spawn on rock outcroppings on the outside of river bends or the upwelling of a current.

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Fallen officers honored at county program

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 7:33am

Leader Staff

Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Kathy Stoltenow recalls her late husband, Deputy James Stoltenow, Friday during the second annual Law Enforcement Observance at the Shawano County Courthouse.
Leader Photo by Tim Ryan The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department color guard carries in the colors Friday during the second annual Law Enforcement Observance in the Board Room of the Shawano County Courthouse.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department on Friday hosted its second annual Law Enforcement Observance at the Shawano County Courthouse, paying tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty.

“They have served and given their all to keep us safe and secure,” Sheriff Randy Wright said.

In 2013, 105 deaths of law enforcement officers in the line of duty were recorded nationally.

The focus of Friday’s ceremony was a Shawano County deputy, James Stoltenow, who was in a car accident involving a high-speed pursuit in January 1987.

On Jan. 27, 1987, one week after the crash, Stoltenow succumbed to his injuries.

Mike Erickson, a retired member of the Green Bay Police Department who started as a deputy in Shawano County in 1975, recalled paying tribute to Stoltenow while he was in the hospital.

“Two by two, we walked up to Jim’s hospital bed and saluted,” he said. “In the end, Jim did what he did best — helping others.”

Stoltenow was honored in Washington, D.C., the following year during National Police Week.

In 1991, his was one of more than 12,000 names etched into the new National Law Memorial Wall. The wall now has some 20,000 names on it.

“It’s not how these officers died that made them heroes, it’s how they lived their lives,” Erickson said.

Kathy Stoltenow, who was given a standing ovation by attendees, recounted the day of her husband’s death; hearing the news there had been an accident involving a police officer and then learning it had been James.

“I lost my husband and best friend. We were supposed to grow old together,” she said.

Stoltenow left behind two sons, one of whom was born after he died.

Kathy Stoltenow said she would always be grateful to the Sheriff’s Department and city officers for their support.

“You are family and Jim’s dear friends,” she said.

“Today is the day to remember the fallen officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to keep their community protected, but we need to also recognize and honor the officers who put their lives on the line daily to keep our city and community a safe place,” Stoltenow said.

Wright recognized other law enforcement agencies the department works with, many of which had representatives in the audience, including the Shawano, Bonduel, Stockbridge-Munsee, Marion and Pulaski police departments.

“Without each and every one of us working together, the mission of keeping not only our county but our country safe and secure would be impossible,” he said.

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Visitor spending up nearly 4 percent in county

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 7:08am

Tourism directors from across the state celebrated a state-funded report released Friday that showed steady spending growth last year in all but six of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

Travelers pumped about $17.5 billion into the state economy, an increase of about 4 percent from the year before, according to the report funded by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

The agency said tourists — including Wisconsin residents on vacation — directly put about $10.8 billion into the economy, up from about $10.3 billion in 2012. The state’s 100 million visitors accounted for about $2.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes and directly supported more than 131,000 jobs.

Travelers to Shawano County spent $56.8 million in 2013, an increase of 3.84 percent over the previous year. Among the contributing factors for local tourism growth was the marketing campaign that focused on Shawano Country Miles of Art and the strong interest in the Barn Quilt Program, according to Patti Peterson, Shawano Country tourism manager.

“The Shawano Country Miles of Art weekend event created an economic impact of $160,000 for our area,” Peterson said.

According to state figures, traveler spending in Shawano County supports 860 jobs with total personal income of $16.59 million.

“Tourism plays a critical role in our community and continues to grow, and from an economic standpoint, the numbers reflect that,” Peterson said. “Last year’s numbers are very encouraging and we hope to capitalize on this momentum in the coming summer season.”

Direct visitor spending was up 4 percent in Menominee County, from $2.18 million in 2012 to $2.27 million in 2013. The overall economic impact of tourism increased 3 percent, from $4.16 million in 2012 to $4.28 million in 2013.

Gov. Scott Walker applauded the latest numbers and said the state should continue investing in marketing to bring visitors to the state.

“The travel and hospitality industry continues to be an important and strong performing sector for Wisconsin’s economy,” Walker said in a written statement.

The state has seen the industry’s growth taper off since 2010, which tourism department communications director Lisa Marshall said reflects a national trend since the recession.

Counties with the biggest tourism spending were Milwaukee, Dane, Sauk, Waukesha, Brown and Walworth.

Counties that saw tourism spending decline were Pierce, Price, Iron, Grant, Lafayette and Trempealeau. Pierce County in western Wisconsin had the largest percentage drop at 6.7 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.Rate this article:  Select ratingGive it 1/5Give it 2/5Give it 3/5Give it 4/5Give it 5/5 No votes yet

High corn prices help grain farmers

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 7:07am
More cows but fewer dairy farmsBy: 

The Associated Press

Wisconsin farmers saw the value of their grain double with high corn prices during the ethanol boom, and new data show the number of grain farms in America’s Dairyland rose sharply during that time.

The growth in grain farms came even as Wisconsin lost dairy and other types of farms.

The changes were detailed Friday in information from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts the count every five years to gather information on the nation’s farms and the people who run them.

The latest census found fewer, larger farms in Wisconsin than five years earlier, a trend seen nationwide. Milk remained the state’s most valuable product, accounting for nearly $5 billion of the state’s $11.7 billion in agricultural sales in 2012. Grain sales doubled from $1.6 billion 2007 to nearly $3.4 billion in 2012, with much of the gain coming from the increased value of corn.

Wisconsin had about 69,800 farms in 2012. That’s about 8,700 less than in 2007, when the previous census was done. Data released earlier this year showed the state also lost about 620,000 acres of farmland.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Friday that much of the loss could be explained by sales of woodland that farmers weren’t tilling and decided to no longer keep. Florence and Vilas counties, on the border with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, saw the largest decreases in farm acreage.

“While no one likes to see the decrease in the number of farms and land in farms, it represents the evolving agricultural industry,” DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel said in a statement. “There are several trends we’ll look for as we analyze these numbers such as neighbors and multiple families combining farms to develop efficiencies or acreage in production through a rental or lease agreement rather than sole ownership. Land may have been repurposed from agricultural production to recreational use.”

The number of dairy farms shrank by 20 percent from about 13,000 in 2007 to roughly 10,400 in 2012, reflecting continued consolidation in the industry. The census considers a farm a dairy farm if its main business is producing milk. About 1,500 other Wisconsin farms also had at least one dairy cow in 2012.

The state added about 20,000 dairy cows even as the number of farms shrank, bringing the population to nearly 1.3 million animals. About 30 percent of the herd is kept on nearly 400 farms with 500 or more cows each.

Yet at the same time, most of the state’s dairy farms remained small, with less than 100 cows.

The number of farms that earned most of their income from grain increased 46 percent from 13,500 in 2007 to 19,700 in 2012. DATCP spokesman Jim Dick said the reason for the increase wasn’t immediately clear, but one explanation might simply be that farms that once made more money from beef or milk saw the value of their grain soar when corn and soybean prices jumped around the time of the census.

The USDA categorizes farms by their most valuable product.

Wisconsin saw a 4 percent increase in sheep and goat farms amid growing demand for goat cheese. Nationwide, the number of dairy goat farms increased from nearly 27,500 in 2007 to more than 29,500 in 2012. Wisconsin had 994 farms with 44,500 dairy goats, the largest herd in the nation in 2012. The USDA did not provide a state-by-state breakdown in 2007.

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Public Record

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 7:06am

Shawano Police Department

May 1

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — A 27-year-old Shawano man was arrested for disorderly conduct after a domestic disturbance in the 1100 block of Waukechon Street.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 300 block of Mountain Bay Trail Drive.

Juvenile — Police logged three truancy complaints from Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Juvenile — The school liaison officer handled a tobacco complaint at Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint in the 300 block of South Washington Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 1

Deputies logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on state Highway 22 in Green Valley.

Disturbance — An 18-year-old male was arrested for disorderly conduct after a disturbance on Lake Drive in Wescott.

Warrant — An 18-year-old female was taken into custody on a probation and parole warrant on Dent Creek Road in the town of Morris.

Theft — A vehicle was reported broken into on Cherry Street in Wittenberg.

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on Hickory Street in Red Springs.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Lake View Drive in Aniwa.

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ALICE can save lives

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:54pm
School staff trained for response to active shooterBy: 

[email protected]

Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Participants throw rubber balls at a gunman and prepare to swarm him during a training exercise Thursday in the Board Room at Shawano Community High School.
Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Ed Dorff, professional consultant and certified ALICE trainer, left, briefs participants wearing protective gear for an active shooter drill Thursday at Shawano Community High School.

Several unthinkable, but very possible scenarios were played out Thursday at Shawano Community High School, as staff and visitors were suddenly faced with a gun-wielding intruder launching into a killing spree.

The drills were part of a training exercise intended to provide options for responding to a situation that has become all too familiar across the country in recent years.

The traditional response for schools faced with an active shooter entering the building has been to go into lockdown. A more aggressive approach called ALICE provides an “options-based strategy” that espouses key components of Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

Lockdown is still an option, but with the added initiative of barricading the door if there’s no way out.

In cases where evacuation isn’t possible, the ALICE model promotes the “counter” option, which could include anything from distracting the shooter by throwing things at him to swarming over him and taking him down.

“The key thing here is survival,” said Ed Dorff, a professional consultant and certified ALICE trainer with E&B School Security, who led the training sessions at SCHS.

Participants went through classroom sessions Wednesday, learning about ALICE, and put what they learned into practice Thursday with four drills.

The first was a traditional lockdown “to show what happens if you don’t do anything,” Shawano Community High School Principal Scott Zwirschitz said.

In that first drill, the shooter was able to hit 26 of the 36 participants.

The second drill gave participants a chance to flee, and the number hit dropped to about seven or eight, Zwirschitz said.

Participants were then put through two scenarios that also gave them the option to swarm the shooter and take him down.

Both scenarios were played out in the school district Board Room, where a disgruntled member of the public suddenly produces a gun and starts firing. Some participants fled and others threw rubber balls they had been provided with at the shooter.

In the first of those exercises, seven people swarmed the shooter and managed to grab his gun. Five people were hit and two of those shots would have been fatal had they been real.

Ten people swarmed the shooter during the second run-through and only two were hit this time, including what would have been a fatal shot to the shooter’s intended target — a superintendent making a presentation.

Dorff said it should be clear the difference the ALICE options and training can make.

“Heaven forbid you ever have to use it, but you can see, lockdown alone isn’t enough. There are other options,” he said. “The more we think about it, the more we train for it, the more instinctive it will become.”

Dorff said these are life skills that can be applied in just about any situation.

“God knows active killers don’t just go into schools,” he said. “Forty percent of the time they attack schools, but they also attack churches, they attack malls, they attack places of business.”

Shawano Police Officer Kurt Kitzman said he has been teaching his 12-year-old what to do to be prepared in any public place where a shooter could show up.

“If you’re in a restaurant, if somebody comes in that door with a gun, where do you go? He’s already got a plan, and that’s literally half the mindset,” Kitzman told participants. “If you guys sit in different rooms and start thinking about that, you’re one step ahead.”

Kaitlyn Gitter, a therapist with the Department of Community Programs, said she felt the training was important.

“We need to be prepared for these sorts of things that can happen anytime,” she said.

Gitter conceded, though, that her first instinct was to flee during the exercises.

“Apparently I’m more of a runner,” she said. “I wouldn’t be one to swarm, but it’s important to have at least thought about it.”

Stephanie Landerman, dean of students at Seymour Middle School, said she felt more prepared after the training.

“I feel much more equipped to handle a situation if there was an intruder in school because rather than relying strictly on instinct, I would rely on the training that I received,” she said.

Jeannie Jafolla, regional learning manager for the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Shawano center, said it was an excellent opportunity to learn what to do in a situation like this.

“You hope it never happens, but if you’re more prepared you have a chance to survive and help others to survive,” she said.

Hillcrest Primary School Principal Troy Edwards said the Shawano School District’s Safety Committee has been talking about ALICE for a while.

He said participants from Shawano schools will be able to train other staff in each building.

Edwards said the drills showed how helpless it feels to be part of a lockdown.

“When you have options, you feel a lot more empowered and trained and equipped, that you could handle an emergency situation,” he said.

Zwirschitz said anything school staff can do to keep the kids safe needs to be on the table.

“Having those options is the right choice for the school district,” he said.

Zwirschitz also praised the cooperative efforts of school and law enforcement.

“It’s great that the schools and police are working together to keep our kids safe in the Shawano community,” he said.


• The ALICE training Wednesday and Thursday included participants from the Shawano, Antigo, Merrill, Pulaski, Seymour and Wittenberg-Birnamwood school districts, as well as Unity School District in Balsam Lake.

• Other participants included Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the Shawano County Department of Community Programs.

• Law enforcement agencies involved included the Shawano Police Department, Shawano County Sheriff’s Department and officers from Antigo, Leona, Marion, Janesville and Marinette.

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Ho-Chunk Casino in Wittenberg plans expansion

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:52pm
Hotel, conference center plannedBy: 

Leader Staff

The Ho-Chunk Casino in Wittenberg will add a new hotel and conference center as part of a multi-million dollar expansion of its gaming facilities, according to a resolution passed by the tribe.

The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature conducted a special legislative session on March 7 to discuss expansion plans for its gaming locations and approved a resolution calling for a $143 million expansion of four of the tribe’s six gaming facilities.

That includes a $27 million expansion of the Wittenberg casino, where the tribe plans to build a $14.4 million hotel and $5.8 million conference center, along with a $6.7 million casino floor expansion. Both projects include parking structures.

The tribe’s Wittenberg facility currently has 11,000 square feet of gaming and 500 slot machines.

The tribe also plans to build an $11.2 million hotel and $4.5 million events center in Nekoosa in central Wisconsin. The projects also include expansions and improvements to the tribe’s casinos in Wisconsin Dells and Black River Falls.

The tribe anticipates the project will create 317 jobs at the four locations, including 82 new jobs in Wittenberg and 75 in Nekoosa, according to its website.

Tribal officials will be sending some documentation to agencies at the state and federal level concerning the plans.

A representative from Gov. Scott Walker’s office said Thursday that because the casinos are on tribal land and the expansions appear to conform to terms of the Ho-Chunk compact with the state, the state does not have to approve the plans.

Tribe officials were unavailable for comment.

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2 local schools recognized by magazine

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:51pm
Bonduel, Gresham schools earn bronze awardsBy: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]

Two Shawano County schools have been recognized as among the top high schools in the U.S. for 2014 by the U.S. News and World Report.

Gresham Community School and Bonduel High School received bronze awards from the news magazine, which publishes its rankings annually.

Gresham has been ranked as a top school twice previously by the U.S. News and World Report, in 2009 and 2012.

“I think it’s a great honor for our school,” said Keary Mattson, school principal and district administrator. “Just to get it once is an honor, but three times in the last five years, it speaks a lot for our teachers and our school.”

The school was recognized for all students, not just those who are college bound, scoring above average on proficiency tests for reading and math. The school had 66 percent of its high school students proficient in math and 89 percent in reading.

Bonduel also had high percentages of students passing math and reading tests, with 74 percent proficient in math and 82 percent proficient in reading.

The report for Gresham also noted the school’s low student-to-teacher ratio, which was 12-1. The high school population includes 41 percent minorities, and 62 percent of students considered to be economically disadvantaged.

In Bonduel, the student-to-teacher ratio was 15-1. Forth-three percents of the high school students are economically disadvantaged; the minority population is 4 percent.

The magazine’s criteria includes college-readiness performance, as shown in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, but Gresham does not regularly use the exams, which meant the bronze award was the highest the school could get, according to Mattson.

Bonduel had a 31 percent participation rate on AP exams.

Mattson said having two small schools in the county receive recognition is proof that small schools can succeed.

“I really think it makes such a difference in a school such as ours, where we have such a high percentage of low-income students, Mattson said. “Having small class sizes makes a huge difference in dealing with all of our students.”

Bonduel High School Principal Patrick Rau did not return phone calls Thursday from the Leader seeking comment.

The U.S. News and World Report analyzed 31,242 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report recognized 114 Wisconsin schools with either gold, silver or bronze awards.

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SCMS associate principal leaving district

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:50pm
Bagstad takes principal job in ClintonvilleBy: 

Jason Arndt, [email protected]

Another administrator is leaving the Shawano School District.

Tami Bagstad, associate principal at Shawano Community Middle School, will resign, effective June 30, to become principal of Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School in Clintonville.

Shawano School District Superintendent Gary Cumberland said Bagstad would be missed, but he understood her decision.

“Being a principal is what she has wanted,” he said.

“She is very personable and relates well with the students and has a positive attitude,” Cumberland said. “She was the director of our summer school program and put it all together.”

“This is a growth opportunity for me. … I have had a wonderful experience here at Shawano,” Bagstad said. “This community is very lucky to have the caring, understanding and driven staff to do what is best for students, and I hope they realize all of the work that everyone puts into helping all of our students experience success.”

In addition to moving into the principal chair, Bagstad will also get a raise. She earned $70,000 this year in Shawano, according to the state Department of Public Instruction, and will earn $80,000 at Rexford/Longfellow.

She also won’t have to make the daily commute from Clintonville, where she lives with her husband, Lance, who is principal of Clintonville High School.

Lance Bagstad was not involved in the elementary school’s principal search, said Tom O’Toole, superintendent of the Clintonville School District.

“He could not even review the applications,” O’Toole said.

Clintonville received 25 applications to replace Kris Straumann, who will retire at the end of the school year. She has served as the principal of the kindergarten through fourth grade school for 17 years.

Tami Bagstad was one of two finalists and impressed the Clintonville administrators and School Board.

“She has the energy level and knowledge of our school district and system and has past administrative experience with (Shawano),” O’Toole said.

Bagstad said her expectations or goals as principal would be “to work with the staff and continue helping them with their professional endeavors, create positive and caring relationships with staff, students, families and community members, and find a way to communicate the importance of education and our schools in order to have a successful society.”

Bagstad earned her bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education K-12 from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1996. She earned a master’s in educational leadership from Viterbo University in La Crosse in 2012.

She previously worked as band director for nine years at Bangor Middle/High School, as ninth-grade learning disabilities teacher for one year at Clintonville High School, and as band director and coordinator of the gifted and talented program for five years at Clintonville Middle School. She also taught life skills to fifth-graders.

She joined the Shawano district two years ago as associate principal.

Bagstad is the fifth administrator to leave Shawano School District since the start of the 2013-14 school year. Superintendent Todd Carlson took a similar job with the Gillett School District just days before the school year started. Shawano Community High School Associate Principal Steve Linssen also went to Gillett to become principal.

SCHS Associate Principal and Athletic Director Tim Mayer left the district in December to pursue a position in the private sector, and district Business Manager Gail Moesch retired in February.

Bagstad said her position to leave was in no way a reflection on the direction or quality of the Shawano district.

“After being an involved member of our (Shawano) leadership team, I can tell you that the decisions we make are all based on best practice and what is best for students,” Bagstad said. “I think that we have great leaders in place who take the time, energy and reflection to keep our schools moving forward. My hope is for the community to have more of an understanding of the decisions of the leadership team, and trust that we are making the best decisions for student success.

“Education has changed greatly in the last 10 years, and is not what many people think it is. I would also hope that more parents are able to visit our schools to see all of the wonderful things that truly happen on a daily basis.”

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ThedaCare helps tribal clinic upgrade records system

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:48pm

The Menominee Tribal Clinic in Keshena recently partnered with ThedaCare to upgrade its electronic medical records system to Epic software.

The widely used electronic medical records platform effectively and efficiently connects health care facilities and providers to better provide a seamless continuum of care for patients.

According to Rod Boivin, information technology director at the Menominee Tribal Clinic and the project leader for the software change, the upgrade makes it more convenient for patients at the tribal clinic who must also travel to see specialists in Shawano, Green Bay or Appleton.

“Even though (the previous system) was electronic, it did not transfer data smoothly to other systems, so our people often relied on paper or faxed copies,” Boivin said.

All health care systems using Epic medical record systems can easily access each other’s records once patients give their approval. In addition to ThedaCare and Menominee Tribal Clinic, there are hundreds of other health care systems nationally using Epic, including Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Gundersen Health System, Aspirus System, Bellin Health, University of Wisconsin clinics and hospitals, and soon Community Health Network and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Kevin Culhane, clinical director at the Menominee Tribal Clinic, said staff members can now see a more complete picture of the care that a patient has already received, whether in the emergency room or at another provider’s office.

“Epic shows us the problems a patient has had in the past and the care he or she received,” he said. “We eliminate the need to run duplicate tests.”

Culhane sees an advantage to less paperwork, too. “Having so much high quality, up-to-date data at our fingertips means we no longer have to fill out request forms to obtain records that take days to arrive,” he said.

The Indian Health Service Facility, established in 1977 at its location at W3275 Wolf River Drive in Keshena, had 7,500 patient visits in March and 93,263 in 2013.

The six-month software upgrade project was made more complex by the multiple clinics that are housed within the singular Menominee Tribal Clinic facility, including general medicine, radiology, lab, pharmacy, emergency medicine, dental, audiology, behavioral health, community health, diabetes, WIC/nutrition and women’s health services.

Future applications for Epic at the Menominee Tribal Clinic include patient access to individual medical records via an electronic portal.

“This upgrade to Epic will pay dividends far into the future for our patients and the providers who care for them,” Culhane said.

Epic is a Verona-based company that builds electronic medical record systems. All ThedaCare facilities use Epic, and Care Everywhere connects Epic records at different locations. There are security measures built in the system, and entry is made in a patient’s record if another health system requests his or her records.

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Court News

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:47pm

Strangulation, child abuse

A Wittenberg teen pleaded not guilty Monday to felony counts of strangulation and suffocation and physical abuse of a child in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court.

Tyler J. Gray, 18, is accused of choking a 16-year-old boy and causing injury during an April 12 incident in the town of Wittenberg. The incident allegedly happened at the Homme Home Acceptance Unit, W18090 Hemlock Road, in Wittenberg.

He could face a maximum possible penalty of 12 1/2 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted of child abuse, and six years and a $10,000 fine if found guilty of strangulation and suffocation.

Gray is scheduled for a pre-trial conference May 30. He was being held on an $8,500 cash bond set by Judge William Kussel Jr.

Possession of cocaine

A Shawano man is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday on a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

Theodore J. Miller, 37, was arrested April 24 at the Headquarters bar in the city after allegedly trying to pass drugs to a bartender, who threw them into the garbage.

Shawano police were already investigating an assault case outside the bar when they were notified of the incident. Police retrieved a baggie from the garbage that contained 0.2 grams of cocaine, according to the criminal complaint.

Miller could face a maximum 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted. He was being held on a $500 cash bond set by Judge William Kussel Jr.


An Auburndale woman is facing two felony counts of forgery for allegedly passing bogus checks using someone else’s name at casinos in Wittenberg and Bowler.

Shannon S. Steuck, 37, is due in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court for an initial appearance May 19.

According to the criminal complaint, Steuck passed two checks totaling $654 at the Ho-Chunk Casino and Wittenberg and the North Star Casino in Gresham in October.

The checks were apparently stolen from Steuck’s former mother-in-law and bore her name, according to the complaint.

Steuck could face a maximum six years in prison and $10,000 fine on each count if convicted.

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Public Record

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 10:46pm

Shawano Police Department

April 30

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Sacred Heart Catholic School, 124 E. Center St.

Burglary — Police investigated a report of an attempted burglary in the 100 block of South Main Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Olga Brener Intermediate School, 1300 S. Union St.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Shawano Community Middle School, 1050 S. Union St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a fight in progress in the 400 block of South Sawyer Street.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraudulent bill complaint in the 300 block of East Fifth Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 30

Deputies logged 34 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on County Road P in Germania.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a credit card fraud complaint on Nichols Drive in Angelica.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint at the North Star Casino, W12180 County Road A, in Bowler.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance at the Ho Chunk Casino, N7198 U.S. Highway 45, in Wittenberg.

OAR — A 41-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on Lake Drive in Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on First Street in Eland.

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Sheriff may face election challenge

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:48am
SCSD captain, city officer circulating papersBy: 

[email protected]

A Shawano County sheriff’s captain and a Shawano police officer have taken out papers to run against Sheriff Randy Wright in the Republican primary this fall.

Officer Adam Bieber took nomination papers out on Tuesday and Capt. Tom Tuma on Wednesday, according to the Shawano County Clerk’s office.

They and Wright each have until 5 p.m. June 2 to return 200 signatures to get on the ballot.

The primary for the Republican nomination will be held Aug. 12.

The general election will be held Nov. 4, but barring any Democratic challenger stepping forward, the August primary could decide the race for sheriff.

“It should be a good race,” said Wright, who has been sheriff since 2007. It is a four-year term.

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

“I believe I have been doing what I promised to do: keeping the citizens of Shawano County safe and secure and maintaining the sheriff’s office,” Wright said. “I hope the citizens of Shawano County will see it that way.”

Tuma said he doesn’t see his bid for the office as necessarily a challenge to Wright.

“I’m applying for a job, not running against the sheriff,” he said. “He’s a good and decent man who has served the community for 38 years.”

Tuma said he has the utmost respect for Wright and Bieber and any law enforcement officer.

Tuma, who will have been with the department for 25 years in August, said there are challenging issues ahead.

“The current state of the economy and the issues before the sheriff’s office are extremely complex,” he said.

Tuma said he believes he has the abilities and education to address challenges that include budget cuts, inflation and uncontrollable costs that make it difficult to maintain services and be proactive.

“We need to find creative ways to work with the County Board,” he said.

Bieber said he had no agenda and was not suggesting there is anything wrong with the current direction of the Sheriff’s Department. He said it has always been his goal to be in a leadership position and he felt the time was right.

Bieber said communication with other agencies and elected officials is important. He also said he would bring a different point of view to the table.

“I’m a conservative and we have to be wise with taxpayer dollars,” Bieber said. “The citizens expect us to use their money wisely.”

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

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Chickens might be able to roost in Shawano

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:47am
City will review ordinance banning poultryBy: 

[email protected]

A Shawano man is hoping to get the city to pluck chickens and ducks out of its ordinance banning urban poultry.

Scott Krueger went before the Plan Commission on Wednesday with a proposed rewrite of the ordinance that would allow up to four chickens and/or ducks, as long as they are kept in a secure enclosure. The ban would still apply to roosters.

The item was not on the agenda, so no action was taken.

However, the commission was open to the idea and hopes to get some community feedback, said Mayor Lorna Marquardt, who chairs the commission.

Krueger modeled his proposed ordinance on rules covering city poultry already on the books in more than a dozen other municipalities in the state, ranging from the village of River Hills (population 1,641) to Oshkosh (population 65,000). A number of other communities, including several in Brown County, are also looking at similar ordinances.

Krueger, a dietitian who has lived in the city for 18 years, said the idea interested him as a way of promoting more sustainable food sources.

“I also have children, and I think it would be a good learning experience for kids to see where their food comes from,” he said.

Krueger said he has 20 letters of support from other Shawano residents, some of whom, he said, were surprised that keeping live poultry is banned within city limits. The ban exempts the Shawano County Fairgrounds.

“It seems a lot of people would like to see this ordinance,” he said.

The ordinance as offered by Krueger would forbid the slaughter of chickens anywhere other than a licensed facility.

It also recommends chickens be kept on single-family parcels in predator-proof chicken houses no closer than 15 feet from any residential structure.

The proposed ordinance would make it unlawful for poultry-keepers to allow the animals to be a nuisance to the neighbors, whether through noxious odors or noise.

Krueger said the limit on the number of chickens or ducks would also limit noise and odors from waste.

“We want to be good stewards for the poultry and for the neighbors,” he said.

City Attorney Tim Schmid said he would review the proposed ordinance and draft something similar to bring back to the Plan Commission at its meeting in June.

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Buss expansion just awaiting better weather

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:46am
Grand reopening being plannedBy: 

Jason Arndt, [email protected]

Leader Photo by Jason Arndt Partners and brothers Ronald, left, and Rory Buss oversaw the second expansion of Buss Motors in 14 years.

Buss Motors, a fixture of the Shawano business community since 1992, is nearing completion of its second expansion in 14 years.

Given the uncooperative weather, including the harsh winter and recent rainfall, the dealership has been unable to schedule a grand reopening celebration.

“The whole building still has to be painted. … I am going to have the whole blacktop redone, but the weather is hurting us,” said Rory Buss, who owns the company with his brother, Ronald.

The Chevrolet franchise began its expansion project in March 2013 following approval by General Motors and input from California-based architectural firm Gensler.

Rory Buss said the expansion hit some roadblocks due to the departure of the initial consultant on the project.

“When this person left, all of the information we had went with her,” Buss said. “We had to start all over.”

Construction was completed in November, but work continues on enhancements prior to the grand reopening.

The 4,000-square-foot expansion is an addition to the rear portion of the prior 7,500-square-foot building. Buss noted the change was needed in order to be more efficient.

“It was in another building and now it is all under one roof,” Buss said.

Additions to the building included more office space, service drive-ups and a four-wheel alignment area where they can also wash vehicles.

Buss credits the addition to a boost in sales and influx of new customers interested in purchasing new vehicles.

“God blesses us here,” Buss said. “I am a firm believer in that, and we have seen at least an increase of sales at about 25 percent.”

Although Buss does not have specific numbers, seeing is believing.

“Every day, we are seeing new customers,” Buss said.

The Buss brothers’ original plan was to have a grand opening in early spring, but the delays have pushed it back.

“We’re hoping to have the re-grand opening the first part of June,” Rory Buss said.

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New home planned for recently released felons

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:42am

[email protected]

A new facility will replace the New Era House for housing recently released offenders in the community.

The state Department of Corrections has contracted with ATTIC Correctional Services for an eight-bed facility at 227 E. Richmond St. in Shawano, just a block away from the New Era House at 105 E. Richmond St.

New Era’s contract expires at the end of June. The new contract goes into effect July 1.

The DOC opened the service up for bids with the pending expiration of New Era’s contract, said Joe Sumner, DOC program and policy analyst.

The two-year contract is renewable for another four to five years, up to seven years, when the DOC will have to go out for bids again.

Sumner said New Era House had the contract for the last six or seven years.

The facility will provide transitional housing services for convicted felons that are under the DOC’s supervision, including recently released sex offenders.

In December, the city revised its ordinance covering where convicted sex offenders can reside in Shawano. The change adopted by the Common Council removed the specific reference to the New Era House and the address.

Former Police Chief Ed Whealon said at the time that the New Era House contract with the DOC was set to expire soon and the city wanted the placement facility reference to be generic in the event the contract was ever terminated.

Madison-Based ATTIC Correctional Services operates 16 facilities in the state, including Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton and Green Bay.

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