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CoVantage earns key accreditation

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:35am

CoVantage Credit Union has been certified by the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.

There are 831 certified CDFIs in the U.S., including loan funds, credit unions and community banks. CoVantage is one of three credit unions in Wisconsin to receive this designation, and the only institution in Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee to be designated.

To receive this certification, financing organizations must have a primary mission of promoting community development and provide development services in conjunction with its financing activities. CDFI certification allows CoVantage Credit Union to better serve low- and moderate-income consumers and promote financial inclusion in the communities it serves.

The benefits of certification include access to financial grants from the CDFI Fund, partnership opportunities with banks that are seeking Bank Enterprise Awards, access to New Market Tax Credits and enhanced ability to raise funds from foundations, corporations and state and local governments.

According to Brian Prunty, CEO of CoVantage Credit Union, the CDFI certification helps validate that the credit union is meeting its mission “to welcome all regardless of wealth, provide outstanding value and exceptional service, work with members experiencing financial challenge, and remain financially strong.”

In July 2011, CoVantage received a $1.5 million grant to support its rescue refinance program to aid families in danger of losing their home to foreclosure. Designed for borrowers who would not have been eligible for a traditional mortgage refinance, CoVantage leveraged the $1.5 million grant with $10.5 million of its own funds to provide affordable loan terms for individuals struggling with mortgage debt. More than 100 families were able to lower their monthly mortgage payment and keep their home, instead of losing it to foreclosure. As of April 1, all grant funds awarded will have been utilized for that program.

CoVantage Credit Union worked with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ consulting group, CU Breakthrough, on CDFI certification.

“CDFI certification is a valuable credential that helps credit unions increase their capacity to meet the needs of low-income consumers and to develop strategic partnerships to better connect with the community,” said Pablo DeFilippi, vice president of membership and business development at the federation.

CoVantage Credit Union is a community chartered credit union that serves members throughout Brown, Clark, Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Price, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, Waupaca and Wood counties in Wisconsin, as well as in Iron and Dickinson counties in Michigan.

The financial cooperative is headquartered in Antigo and has branch offices in Shawano, Wausau, Weston, Rib Mountain, Rothschild, Rhinelander and Crandon, as well as Iron River and Crystal Falls, Mich.

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Public Record

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:29am

Shawano Police Department

April 29

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a fight between two men in the 600 block of Eagle Street.

Theft — Police responded to a theft of a bicycle in the 200 block of East Center Street.

Vandalism — Police responded to a defaced vehicle at the Shawano Medical Center, 309 N. Bartlett St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a fight between two juveniles at the Shawano Park and Recreation Center, 220 E. Division St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 700 block of Union Street.

Burglary - Police responded to a burglary complaint in the 500 block of Washington Street. The complaint was unfounded and involved a homeowner who locked himself out and had to crawl in through a window.

Burglary — Police investigated an apparent burglary attempt in the 300 block of East Center Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 29

Deputies logged 24 incidents, including the following:

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

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary at Buzz & Mac’s tavern, W8489 Cloverleaf Lake Road, in Belle Plaine.

Threat - Authorities responded to a threatening complaint at Bonduel High School, 400 W. Green Bay St., Bonduel.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on state Highway 47 in the town of Lessor.

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

Clintonville Police Department

April 29

Clintonville police logged 13 incidents, including the following:

Accident - Police investigated a hit-and-run accident on Green Tree Road.

Disorderly - Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on South Clinton Avenue.

Harassment - Police responded to a harassment complaint at Clintonville Middle School, 255 N. Main St.

Disorderly - Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on North Main Street.

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Kressin to oversee integration of clinic, medical center

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 7:28am

Julie Kressin has accepted the role of director of business integration for ThedaCare in Shawano.

She will be responsible for integrating the separate ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano clinic with that of the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, slated for completion in early 2015.

Until this time, the clinic and medical center have operated separately. Kressin will streamline the two operations into a single campus, set of common business practices, and work flow.

“We have fixed financial and operational goals, but I see my job as creating a new environment for providers and staff that re-energizes their clinical passion,” Kressin said.

Kressin has been with ThedaCare for 20 years. She first helped implement a single platform electronic medical record across the health care network. Since that time, she held positions in process improvement, practice administration, and as director of Encircle Health, a multi-specialty outpatient facility in Appleton that houses both employed and nonemployed providers who utilize centralized services.

“Integration has always been my passion and what I love,” Kressin said. “It’s people coming together and working effectively and efficiently toward a shared goal of excellent patient care. Shawano area community involvement is an important aspect of this project. We prioritize community involvement and open communication as we plan and implement these changes.”

Kressin has degrees in both accounting and business and a master’s degree in organizational behavior and leadership. She began her new responsibilities on March 17 and will fill the role for two years.

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SMU remaining with BMO Harris

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 7:33am
By: 

Leader Staff

The Shawano Municipal Utilities Commission on Monday voted to stick with BMO Harris, formerly M&I Bank, in Shawano for another five years.

The commission is required to request proposals for its banking services every five years.

The commission heard presentations from BMO and Premiere Community Bank.

Brian Knapp, SMU general manager and city administrator, said the two banks were very close in terms of scoring on all of the criteria, but BMO’s size and the utility’s experience dealing with that bank tipped the scale in BMO’s favor.

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Soil borings on Main Street to start soon

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 7:31am
By: 

[email protected]

The city of Shawano is hoping to start boring into the soil on Main Street within the next few weeks to determine just how serious the problem is that led to several water main breaks over the last four years.

High levels of chloride in the soil were responsible for three water main breaks along Main Street since December 2010, according to an engineering study that ruled out any problem with the materials used in Shawano’s downtown reconstruction project.

Eddie Sheppard, assistant city administrator and public works coordinator, said the Department of Public Works sought quotes from two companies on the cost of doing soil borings at 20 locations up and down Main Street.

Sheppard said the DPW sought quotes rather than put the project out for bid given the specialized nature of the work.

One of the companies has given a price of $4,600, Sheppard said, and he is waiting to hear from the other one.

The company would bore about 6 to 8 feet into the soil to gather samples from around the water main.

Sheppard said the work should not cause any traffic disruption and would involve a 1- to 2-inch bore located off the side of the road.

Corrosion of stainless steel saddles that hold in place the service connection to the water main were the common denominator in the three breaks, and it was uncertain for a while whether there was a soil problem or the saddles were defective.

But tests done by TPS Consulting Engineers, of Green Bay, found the saddles met metallurgical standards and had been properly welded in place.

Meanwhile, soil tests at the locations of the three water main breaks showed high levels of chloride, mostly likely caused by road salt leaking down through cracks in the pavement over the years.

City officials said there are no health concerns because there is no contact between the chloride and the city’s water.

The Main Street reconstruction project in 2002 and 2003 stretched from the channel to the Mountain Bay Trail at Oshkosh Street.

The contractor on the project was Degroot Construction of Green Bay, which purchased the saddles from Davies Water Equipment of Appleton. The saddles were manufactured by Smith Blair Inc. of Texarkana, Texas.

The first two water main breaks occurred in the 100 block of North Main Street in February 2009 and December 2010, only about 50 to 75 feet away from one another. The most recent was in the 200 block of South Main Street on Sept. 25.

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City, DOT to meet over Airport Drive proposal

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 7:29am
By: 

Leader Staff

City of Shawano officials will sit down with representatives of the Department of Transportation next month in hopes of talking the agency out of a proposal to reduce Airport Drive to one lane.

Airport Drive also serves as state Highway 47-55, and the DOT has plans to resurface it next year between County Road BE and Green Bay Street.

As part of that resurfacing, the DOT is also considering cutting the road to one lane from its current two, said Eddie Sheppard, assistant city administrator and public works coordinator.

Sheppard said the DOT used traffic counts on Airport Drive to come to that recommendation.

Sheppard said the city wants to keep it a two-lane street because of the heavy industrial usage it gets.

The DOT will visit with city officials on May 9.

“They’re coming down to hear us out,” Sheppard said.

After that, the DOT will return for a public hearing later in May, he said.

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Public Record

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 7:28am

Shawano Police Department

April 28

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 700 block of South Union Street.

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

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 28

Deputies logged 33 incidents, including the following:

Fire — Authorities responded to a vehicle fire on Maple Road in Maple Grove.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraudulent check complaint on Bartelt Boulevard in Wescott.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Green Bay Street in Bonduel.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint on Second Drive in the town of Washington.

Assault — Authorities investigated an assault on Adams Street in Bonduel.

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary on County Road M in Wittenberg.

Theft — Tools were reported stolen on County Road A in Bowler.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on River Road in Almon.

Accidents — Authorities logged two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

April 27

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 30-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for operating while intoxicated and without a valid driver’s license after a traffic stop at Main and Seventh streets.

Warrant — A 34-year-old Clintonville man was taken into custody on Flora Way on multiple warrants through Outagamie and Waupaca counties.

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Sturgeon watch still on hold here

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 9:11am
By: 

Leader Staff

Shawano residents will likely need to wait at least another three to five days before they will be able to view sturgeon spawning along the Wolf River at the Shawano dam.

Ryan Koenigs, of the Department of Natural Resources, reports there is little activity in the Shawano area due to the cold weather. “It will be at least a few more days from spawning at the Shawano dam,” Koenigs said Monday.

The DNR reported on its website the sturgeon guard tagged 91 fish in the New London area Sunday, including a 68.5 inch female.

In addition, Koenigs reported preliminary spawning activity along the Wolf River in Shiocton on Monday, about 40 miles away. Sturgeon typically begin spawning between April 15 and May 1.

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Public Record

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 9:07am

Shawano Police Department

April 27

Police logged 11 incidents, including the following:

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

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 400 block of West Picnic Street.

OWI — A 21-year-old woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated at Main and Prairie street.

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

April 26

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 23-year-old man was arrested for operating while intoxicated at Green Bay and Bartlett streets.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint in the 100 block of Woodlawn Drive.

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

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Lakeshore Lanes, 210 N. Airport Drive.

April 25

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 900 block of East Randall Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Shawano County Courthouse, 311 N. Main St.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at Green Bay Street and Airport Drive.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Third and Lafayette streets.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 27

Deputies logged 33 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on state Highway 47-55 in Wescott.

Theft — Three chainsaws and a can of gas were reported stolen on Robin Road in Wittenberg.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

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

April 26

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized on state Highway 47-55 in Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on Maple Street in Birnamwood.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint at the North Star Casino, W12180 County Road A, in Gresham.

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

Vandalism — Windows were reported broken on a building on Warrington Avenue in Cecil.

Disturbance — A charge of bail jumping was referred against a 53-year-old Birnamwood woman on Forest Street in Birnamwood.

Accidents — Authorities logged two accidents, including an injury accident on River Road in Bowler.

April 25

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Two trailers were reported stolen on Green Valley Road in Green Valley.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance at the Shawano County Courthouse, 311 N. Main St.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on Marsh Road in Aniwa.

Vandalism — A mailbox was reported vandalized on Birch Road in Birnamwood.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an identity theft complaint on Green Bay Street in Bonduel.

Accidents — Authorities logged four accidents, including two deer-related crashes.

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Noffke warrant might have violated policy

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:22pm
Searches usually based on 3 garbage picksBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

The investigation that led to a search warrant executed at a county supervisor’s home last week apparently did not follow a longstanding policy of the Shawano-Menominee County district attorney’s office.

The search also seems to have disregarded a protocol of informing other law enforcement jurisdictions about the action beforehand.

Shawano County sheriff’s detectives executed a search warrant at the home of District 1 Supervisor Deb Noffke in Shawano on April 15. The search for any controlled substances or drug-related activity turned up nothing.

The request for a warrant was reviewed by an assistant district attorney in the Langlade County District Attorney’s Office, who gave it a “verbal OK,” according to Sheriff Randy Wright.

The warrant was signed by Langlade County Judge Fred Kawalski.

The request was not brought to the district attorney’s office here, and no one from the Shawano-Menominee office reviewed the document.

“We went to Langlade because we knew we were dealing with a County Board member and we wanted to have it to be as impartial as can be, so we didn’t involve our D.A. here in Shawano County and we also didn’t involve the city Police Department,” Wright said.

A woman who answered the phone at the Langlade County district attorney’s office on Friday afternoon said there was no one available to take questions on the matter and she had been “instructed not to discuss it.”

The warrant request shows that sheriff’s detectives acted on anonymous information they received in February claiming that Noffke and her daughter were growing and smoking marijuana at the Shawano residence and at Noffke’s business, Radio Shack, at 221 E. Green Bay St. in Shawano.

Detectives collected garbage from the Noffke residence April 9 and performed a field test that allegedly turned up marijuana residue.

The detective’s report states the garbage pick was done on April 4, but that would appear to be in error. The field test results state April 9, which would have been a garbage collection day.

Also, the complaint number for the report would have had to have been generated on April 9, based on a review of other complaint numbers from that date.

The results of the field test were used as probable cause for a search in the warrant request.

However, the Shawano-Menominee County district attorney’s office has a policy requiring at least three garbage picks and three positive test results for controlled substances before moving ahead with a search warrant.

The district attorney’s office would not comment on the Noffke search warrant or the investigation, but sources there did confirm that the policy has been in place for many years and was in place when former District Attorney Gary Bruno was in office. Bruno left in 2007.

Shawano Police Capt. Jeff Heffernon also confirmed that three garbage picks and positive results were also required by the district attorney’s office for Shawano police.

Wright, however, said that was “not necessarily” the policy.

“It depends on the circumstances,” he said. “I think it’s just something that would be an additional verifier.”

The circumstances in this case, he said, included garbage not being put curbside on a regular basis and the approaching growing season when it was likely that marijuana plants were being transplanted and moved elsewhere.

Wright said the decision to seek a search warrant after only one garbage pick was a joint decision made in discussions with the detective on the case.

Not notifying Shawano police would seem to violate a jurisdictional protocol.

Heffernon, without commenting on the Noffke incident, said local law enforcement is supposed to be notified.

“They inform us. That’s the protocol,” he said.

Wright said any calls to local police would have gone through dispatch, which was aware of the search warrant being executed.

Wright said the main consideration was keeping the operation impartial, which was why, he said, Shawano County authorities were assisted by Stockbridge-Munsee police and Langlade County deputies.

“We wanted an impartial agency to help us out,” he said.

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County official's trash searched for drug evidence

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:21pm
Investigation focuses on Madsen family membersBy: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

An investigation is under way into alleged drug paraphernalia found at the home of Shawano County Administrative Coordinator Tom Madsen during the execution of a search warrant March 31.

The search warrant indicates two family members, not Madsen, were the target of the search.

According to information in the search warrant, Stockbridge-Munsee police received information from a confidential informant that two members of Madsen’s family had visited a house where officers recently seized marijuana. However, the warrant states it was not certain that the two had purchased any marijuana.

Police collected garbage from the Madsen residence in Gresham on five occasions from January to March. Out of the five garbage picks, at least three included items that tested positive for marijuana or marijuana residue, according to the search warrant.

The warrant was returned with seized items that included three pipes with residue, green plant material inside a wooden container, incense and several cut straws, according to the statement of a Stockbridge-Munsee detective.

No charges have been filed.

Madsen said he could not comment on the matter because it was under investigation.

County Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann said at this point there are no repercussions for Madsen, given that the probe is focusing on other family members.

“Law enforcement would have to act first,” he said. “Then the Administrative Committee would have to discuss it.”

The case is not being handled by the Shawano County District Attorney’s Office and is expected to be transferred to an independent agency. It could not be confirmed Friday whether that has been done yet or which agency would handle the matter.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department was also not involved in the investigation, partly because Stockbridge-Munsee police contract with the village of Gresham for law enforcement, but also because of the possible appearance of a conflict of interest because of Madsen’s position with the county.

“That was one of the reasons,” Sheriff Randy Wright said. “We tried to keep it as impartial as could be.”

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Sturgeon run will heat up along with temperatures

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:14pm
Spawning seems likely over next several daysBy: 

Leader Staff


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski A sturgeon peeks its head out of the water at Sturgeon Park during spawning last year in the Wolf River. Sturgeon are currently spawning in the river around New London and could reach Shawano later this weekend or early next week if water temperatures rise.

Sturgeon could be spawning by the Shawano dam on the Wolf River by the end of the weekend — if water temperatures continue to rise.

The annual visit by the sturgeon is later than usual this year, but lovers of the large prehistoric fish might want to clear some time from their schedules next week.

Sturgeon began spawning Friday along the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail west of New London, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources sturgeon hotline, and at Bamboo Bend, west of Shiocton.

DNR biologists say water temperatures between 53 and 60 degrees are needed to draw the prehistoric fish up the Wolf River system from their home in lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan.

According to the United States Geological Survey, temperatures are rising above 50 degrees in the New London area, and with warmer temperatures expected in Shawano through the weekend, there could spawning activity along the banks of the Wolf in the next few days.

“It’s a sign spring is coming near and warmer temperatures,” Ryan Koenigs, of the Department of Natural Resources, said earlier this week.

Peak spawning usually takes place between April 15 and May 1, and it is usually a seven- to 10-day window.

Once the weather warms up, the DNR expects the fish will move in rapidly — and thousands of people will gather along the Wolf River to watch.

“It is so difficult to plan … because it is nature. There is no way of knowing when they will arrive,” said Nancy Smith, executive director of Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce.

The fish are easily visible from the river banks, drawing spectators to public areas along the Wolf, Fox and Embarrass rivers to watch not only the fish but also the DNR crews tagging them.

In Shawano, visitors descend each year on Sturgeon Park, next to the Mountain Bay Trail off River Street, to see the huge fish.

“This is really the only place in North America that you can see this number of sturgeon spawning in one location. It’s quite impressive,” Koenigs told the Leader last year.

Sturgeon will spawn in slightly cooler water if it takes too long to warm up, according to the DNR.

The later than usual start and cooler temperatures should not affect the survival rate of the sturgeon eggs taken by DNR crews, but the fish might be a little smaller going into the winter.

DNR crews collect eggs and sperm from the fish for restoration programs in Wisconsin — on the Menominee Indian Reservation, the upper Fox River and the Milwaukee and Kewaunee Rivers — and the Tennessee River System in Georgia and Tennessee.

The sturgeon is revered by the Menominee Nation. For generations, the fish used to travel to Keshena Falls for spawning. Once the Shawano dam was built in 1892, the sturgeon could no longer return to the reservation each spring.

ONLINE

You can see the sturgeon near the Shawano dam when they arrive via webcam at www.wolfrivercam.com/Shawano%20Dam.html.

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Missing elderly man found deceased

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:11pm
By: 

Leader Staff

A 90-year-old Antigo man reported missing Thursday night was found deceased on a wooded trail Friday morning after an extensive search, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities have not yet released the man’s name.

The Sheriff’s Department was notified about 10 p.m. Thursday that the man had failed to show up for his appointments that day.

Sheriff’s deputies, assisted by area fire departments and numerous volunteers, as well as the Shawano Police Department K-9 Unit, searched the area of the man’s cabin and property in the town of Hutchins.

The man was found in a wooded, cedar swamp area of his property about 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Sheriff’s Capt. Tom Tuma said the man’s truck had apparently gotten stuck on a trail and he was trying to make it on foot back to the road or his cabin.

Tuma said family members reported it was not unusual for the man to drive around his property and look it over.

The Sheriff’s Department said the man died of natural causes. No foul play was suspected.

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Shawano Auto Sales among Chrysler dealer elite

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:10pm
By: 

Leader Staff

Longtime family-owned business Shawano Auto Sales recently was named one of 56 winners nationwide of the Chrysler Elite Dealer Award for outstanding customer service for 2013.

The late Earl Roloff, who opened the business in 1957 and handed over the operations to his children in 2008, received multiple awards during his tenure as owner. The company has maintained that tradition.

“My father won many customer service awards over the years,” said Jeff Roloff, Earl’s son and now-president of the company. “However, this was a new title given this year.”

Roloff said the business competed with 2,423 authorized Chrysler dealerships in the United States.

“We are a franchise dealer so we are automatically entered,” Roloff said.

The dealership celebrated its 50th anniversary of selling Chrysler vehicles in 2013.

Jeff’s brother, Rick, serves as the company’s vice president, and sisters Pamela Schmidt and Paula Lackner are treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Shawano Auto Sales, 939 E. Green Bay St., sells and services Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles.

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Public Record

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 9:09pm

Shawano Police Department

April 24

Police logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Assault — A 22-year-old Bonduel man was transported to the Shawano Medical Center emergency room after an assault in the 100 block of South Washington Street. The incident was under investigation.

Drug Offense — While investigating an assault in the 100 block of South Washington Street, police arrested a 38-year-old Shawano man for possession with intent to deliver cocaine. The incidents were not related, police said.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem at Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B.

Warrant — A male subject was taken into custody on a probation and parole warrant in the 100 block of East Richmond Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

April 24

Deputies logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St.

OWI — A 54-year-old Keshena woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated on Broadway Road in Richmond.

Trespass — Authorities responded to a trespassing complaint on Seneca Town Line Road in the town of Morris.

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Schabow Street in Gresham.

Accidents — Authorities logged seven accidents, including two deer-related crashes.

Clintonville Police Department

April 24

Police logged four incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Warnings were issued for disorderly conduct on West Morning Glory Drive.

Disturbance — Police responded to a family disturbance on East 16th Street.

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Political rancor follows search warrant incident

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:53pm
Sheriff considering investigation of supervisor's commentsBy: 

[email protected]

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said Thursday there might be an investigation into statements allegedly made by a county supervisor during the execution of a search warrant at another supervisor’s home last week.

A search warrant executed April 15 at District 1 Supervisor Deb Noffke’s home in Shawano turned up no evidence of the drug activity detectives were apparently expecting to find.

Wright called the case closed Wednesday, but said a new investigation might focus on a cell phone conversation Noffke had with her father, District 14 Supervisor Marlin Noffke, while authorities were searching her house.

The search started two hours before Deb Noffke was due for a reorganizational meeting of the County Board and election of board chairman.

Noffke was allowed to use her cell phone during the search provided the phone’s speaker was on, according to reports by a Shawano County detective and a Stockbridge-Munsee police officer who participated in the search.

She first called her father to inform him her house was being searched.

According to the reports, Marlin Noffke said Wright had more to worry about, “like me shooting him with my shotgun.”

Marlin Noffke did not confirm or deny the statement during an interview Wednesday.

“I’d like to have a copy of the sheriff’s tape,” he said. “I’m going to ask for the tape.”

Wright said there was no video or audio recording made while the search warrant was being executed.

As the search went on, Deb Noffke next called County Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann, according to the report.

After being told about the search, Erdmann allegedly called it “convenient for the sheriff to do that,” the report states.

The report also states Erdmann went on to say, “The sheriff is only doing this to keep you from the vote today,” and, “I’ll take care of this.”

As it turned out, Noffke did make it to the board meeting in time.

Erdmann won re-election as County Board chairman 15-12 over District 6 Supervisor Randy Young.

Marlin Noffke said he believed the timing of the search warrant was calculated to take both Noffkes away from the meeting. He claimed Wright would have expected him to go to his daughter’s house after hearing about the search warrant.

“He wanted me to show up at the house,” he said. “That would have been two votes. It’s that simple.”

Wright said the timing was based on when the warrant was issued and what manpower was available.

The warrant shows that it was received by sheriff’s detectives at 10:37 a.m. April 14, the day before it was executed.

Wright said the execution of the warrant was arranged with assisting Langlade County deputies and Stockbridge-Munsee police by a Shawano County detective who was unaware the County Board meeting was also scheduled for that day.

County Board meetings usually take place on the fourth Wednesday of the month. But because April’s meeting was re-organizational, statutes dictate it be held on the Tuesday two weeks after the spring election.

“When it was set up, the County Board wasn’t even given a thought when the meeting was going to be because they’re usually at the end of the month,” Wright said.

He said after the search operation was set up, he mentioned to the detective that it was also the day of the board meeting.

“This surprised the detective that was working on it,” Wright said.

Wright said he was concerned about Marlin Noffke’s alleged threat and Erdmann’s statement that he would “take care of this.” He said he would not rule out a link between that comment and a subsequent change in the make-up of the Public Safety Committee, which oversees the Sheriff’s Department.

Members of the Committee on Committees, who are chosen by Erdmann, met with him Monday to make new committee assignments for county supervisors.

District 9 Supervisor Ken Capelle and District 15 Supervisor Marvin Klosterman, whom Wright said were more sympathetic to the Sheriff’s Department, were replaced on the Public Safety Committee by District 11 Supervisor Richard Ferfecki and District 27 Supervisor Jon Zwirschitz.

“Two people who have been very fair and impartial have been taken off,” Wright said.

In an interview Thursday, Erdmann stood by his contention that the timing of the warrant was “rather convenient.”

He also said his comment about “taking care of this” was in reference to the board meeting that was due to start shortly.

As for the committee replacements, Erdmann said Capelle and Klosterman had been too sympathetic to Wright and willing to vote for anything Wright favored and against anything he opposed.

“It was time for a change,” Erdmann said. “There was a need on that committee for board members willing to hold the sheriff accountable for actions he’s done over the past year.”

He said those actions included threats to sue the county, bail money that went missing from the jail, threats against the administrative coordinator and an incident last week involving an off-duty deputy who had a confrontation with another motorist.

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Charges filed in Wittenberg standoff

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:49pm
By: 

[email protected]


Travis W. Keiler

A Gillett man arrested Tuesday after a two-hour standoff with sheriff’s deputies in Wittenberg was charged Thursday with a felony count of taking hostages while using a dangerous weapon.

Travis W. Keiler, 28, 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.

Shawano County sheriff’s deputies responded to a hold-up alarm at the Wittenberg Shell station and McDonald’s, 413 N. Genesee St., just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Dispatchers also received a call that there was a man with a gun inside the store who “wanted to shoot it out with the police,” according to the criminal complaint.

Shawano County officials, with the assistance of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, secured the area and closed U.S. Highway 45 for the duration of the incident. An armored vehicle and a Marathon County sniper were among the resources brought in during the incident.

Nearby Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District elementary and high schools went into lockdown for about 45 minutes as a precaution, according to school officials.

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

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright said the employee — Jacob Kujawa, 26, of Wittenberg — handled the situation amazingly well.

“He was calm and cool,” Wright said, adding that Kujawa’s composure probably played a big part in bringing a peaceful end to the incident.

Kujawa spoke at one point with a Shawano County hostage negotiator and told him he was unharmed but that Keiler was holding a gun on him, according to the criminal complaint.

Keiler told the 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 Kujawa as a sign of good faith just after 3 p.m.

Keiler surrendered peacefully about 4 p.m. He was transferred Wednesday afternoon from the county jail to a mental health facility for an evaluation.

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday along with the criminal complaint.

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Plea deal reached in sex sting case

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:48pm
By: 

[email protected]

A Shawano man arrested as part of an Internet sex sting operation pleaded no contest to a felony charge of child enticement Thursday, on the day he was scheduled to go to trial.

Jeffery D. Vadnais-Speck, 28, was initially charged with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. The charge was amended to child enticement under the plea agreement.

The agreement also calls for the state to cap its recommended sentence at five years in prison before Vadnais-Speck would be released on parole. He could have faced a maximum 40 years in prison and $100,000 fine if found guilty of the original charge.

Vadnais-Speck is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 5 following a pre-sentence investigation.

According to the criminal complaint, Vadnais-Speck sent sexually explicit text messages to what he thought was a 15-year-old boy, but was actually an undercover officer who had responded to a Craigslist ad placed by Vadnais-Speck.

The complaint alleged Vadnais-Speck arranged to meet with the supposed 15-year-old and asked him to bring along an older friend. The officer responded he would bring along a 16-year-old male friend.

The information was passed along to Shawano police, who posed as the teens and arrested Vadnais-Speck at the rendezvous spot.

Vadnais-Speck was one of 17 people arrested around the state in March 2013 as part of Operation Black Veil. The operation originated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and involved undercover investigators making online contact with suspected offenders.

Several other defendants from that and subsequent operations still have cases pending in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court.

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Black Creek man charged in bar assault

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 7:47pm
By: 

Leader Staff

A Black Creek man was charged Thursday in connection with the assault of a Gillett man outside of a Cecil bar over the weekend.

Cody R. Chapin, 22, could face a maximum 12 1/2 years in prison and $25,000 fine if found guilty of second-degree reckless injury.

Chapin is accused of throwing or shoving Kyle J. Patzer, 27, to the ground early Saturday, causing skull fractures and a blood clot.

The incident happened outside the Castaways Bar, 100 N. Warrington Ave., about 1 a.m.

Shawano County sheriff’s deputies investigating the incident initially found parties at the scene uncooperative, but news reports about the assault began making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states an anonymous tip on Twitter named Chapin as a suspect.

Chapin contacted the Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday and said he wanted to turn himself in for assaulting Patzer, according to the complaint. He was taken into custody the next day.

According to the complaint, Chapin told authorities he had had too much to drink and believed that Patzer had hit on his girlfriend. He later said he had no idea what, if anything, Patzer might have said to her.

The complaint states Chapin told authorities he went outside where Patzer was smoking a cigarette, grabbed him by the chest and shoved him backwards. He said he saw Patzer land on his back and go unconscious.

Chapin was released on a $15,000 signature bond after an initial appearance before Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court Judge James Habeck on Thursday.

He is due back in court for an adjourned initial appearance May 5.

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Sturgeon spawning season appears near

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 6:45pm
Wolf River still too cold in Shawano areaBy: 

Leader Staff

Department of Natural Resources biologist Ryan Koenigs reports spawning could begin Friday in the New London region of the Wolf River as water temperatures continue to rise.

“We are anticipating spawning to begin at the Shiocton/New London area of the Wolf River in the next couple of days,” Koenigs said Thursday.

However, Koenigs said it is too soon to tell whether there will be spawning in the Shawano area by the weekend. The water temperature needs to be in the 50s.

“The water is a bit cooler up in the Shawano area, and realistically the fish hold the cards and Mother Nature plays a role in it,” Koenigs said.

Female sturgeon are more prepared for spawning in the southern portions due to the warmer temperatures, according to Koenigs, who reported male sturgeon have been “cruising” the Wolf.

The Associated Press reported sturgeon guards are expected to start work Thursday. The volunteers make sure the sturgeon aren’t poached.

The large, ancient fish spawn in the shallow, rocky areas of the rivers, so it’s easy to get a look at a unique fish that spends most of its life in deeper water.

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