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Updated: 26 min ago

Chloride in soil blamed for water main breaks

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 7:50pm
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

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.

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.

This week, the city learned the results of tests done by TPS Consulting Engineers, of Green Bay, on the metal used in the saddles.

“The metal meets all metallurgical expectations,” City Administrator Brian Knapp said.

The analysis also determined the saddles had been properly welded in place.

Meanwhile, soil tests at the locations of the three water main breaks showed “huge” levels of chloride, according to Knapp.

“The numbers are much higher than you’d expect to find,” he said.

The most likely cause of that, he said, is road salt leaking down through cracks in the pavement over the years.

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

The test results were potentially good news for the city. Had the saddles been found defective, the city could have faced the expensive task of tearing up Main Street again and replacing all of them.

City officials aren’t completely breathing easy just yet.

While the three water main breaks were apparently isolated incidents, there’s no guarantee there won’t be more coming in other random places where there are high chloride levels.

“It could be so random as to be pervasive,” Knapp said. “And if that’s random, how do you prevent it?”

The city will begin doing soil boring tests along the path of the reconstruction in the spring to identify other places where high levels of chloride could be corroding the saddles. The city’s Field Committee will look at some cost estimates for the work at its meeting next month.

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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Daytime snowstorm challenges plow drivers

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 7:48pm
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Greg Mellis Snow drifts blow across a desolate County Road BE near Shawano as snow begins to fall Thursday morning. The storm was expected to drop about 3 inches of snow on the area.

Mother Nature temporarily traded in bitter cold for heavy snow Thursday, with a storm that seemed to clock in and out in sync with daytime office hours.

The snow put in a roughly eight-hour day, arriving in time for the morning commute and knocking off shortly before late afternoon rush hour, without any breaks in between. The storm dropped more than three inches as it moved through the area, according to some estimates.

The timing of the storm provided an extra challenge for city and county plow drivers.

“Operators have their hands full with the amount of traffic,” Shawano County Highway Commissioner Grant Bystol said.

“They just have to stay on their toes,” he said. “They’re doing a fine job.”

Bystol said visibility was poor for a while late Thursday morning, but improved as the day went on.

He said crews hope to get as much of the snow cleaned up as possible Thursday night before temperatures drop again.

City plow drivers, meanwhile, had not only routine traffic to contend with, but also parked cars that prevented plow drivers from clearing snow in some places.

“Daytime plowing is probably the worst for the city,” said Jim Schoenhofen, Department of Public Works operations director. “We’ve got to go back into certain areas where cars are parked.”

Despite the added daytime obstacles, plowing went well Thursday, according to Schoenhofen.

“The equipment is holding up and the crews are doing a great job,” he said.

Schoenhofen said crews would be out until about 7 p.m. and would start up again at 2 a.m. Friday.

The snow also caused the usual hazards for area motorists.

The Sheriff’s Department had logged 13 weather-related accidents by 3 p.m.

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Clintonville buys land for road expansion

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 7:37pm
By: 

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

The city of Clintonville has purchased approximately 19 acres for the expansion of Commercial Avenue in the city industrial park north of state Highway 156.

The city purchased the land from Dennis Fredrick for $285,425, or about $15,000 per acre. The money will come from Tax Incremental Financing District 3.

The city is working with the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation to develop a road that would go around rather than through wetlands for the expansion of Commercial Avenue. The purchased land is north of the industrial park, south of Lunz Road and east of state Highway 22.

“With the purchase of the land we think the proposed road would be approved, as we are trying to avoid as much wetlands as possible and we think this is the best possible way,” City Administrator Lisa Kuss said.

If the expansion proposal is approved, construction will begin in spring.

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Public Record

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 7:31pm

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 29

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in the 1200 block of South Lincoln Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance at Shawano County Social Services, 607 E. Elizabeth St.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint at Division and Franklin streets.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 29

Deputies logged 41 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary complaint on Plum Lane in Richmond.

Fraud — Authorities investigated an identity theft complaint on Chic-A-Watha Circle in Wescott.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on County Road Q in the town of Morris.

OAR — A 34-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation on County Road A in Red Springs.

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

Accidents — Authorities logged nine minor accidents and one property damage accident.

Clintonville Police Department

Jan. 29

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

Accident — A property damage accident report was completed after a two-vehicle accident in a parking lot on South Main Street.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint on East 12th Street.

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Court News

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 8:07am

Sexual assault of a child

A Cecil man is facing a felony charge of second-degree sexual assault of a child that allegedly occurred in the town of Green Valley.

Ricky C. Anderson, 33, could face a maximum possible penalty of 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted. He is accused sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male on Jan. 14.

Anderson was being held on a $10,000 cash bond and is due back in court for an adjourned initial appearance Monday.

Possession, intent to deliver of marijuana

An Oneida man arrested by Shawano police last week is facing a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver marijuana.

Ramon J. Cartagena, 20, was taken into custody on Jan. 22 after police responded to a complaint of a drinking party and possible drug use. Police found 33.7 grams of marijuana at the party allegedly belonging to Cartagena, according to the criminal complaint.

Police also cited a 53-year-old man for possession if marijuana and drug paraphernalia and took three other subjects into custody on warrant and Probation and Parole holds, according to the complaint.

Cartagena could face a maximum 3½ years in prison and $10,000 fine if found guilty. He was being held on a $10,000 cash bond and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 1.

Felony OWI

A 78-year-old De Pere man has been charged in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court with his alleged fifth drunken driving offense.

Richard R. Skenandore was hospitalized after sustaining injuries in a two-vehicle crash in the town of Washington on Dec. 8, according to the criminal complaint. No one in the other vehicle was injured.

A blood test was taken that night and sent to the State Crime Lab for analysis. The results showed Skenandore had a blood-alcohol count of 0.18 percent, according to the complaint.

Skenandore could face a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine on a felony count of fifth-offense operating while intoxicated if found guilty, and the same possible penalty for fifth-offense operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration.

The complaint states Skenandore had two previous convictions for OWI in Milwaukee County and one each in Shawano and Brown counties. No court date has been set in the case.

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Public Record

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 8:05am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 28

Police logged 12 incidents, including the following:

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

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported a female subject in custody for shoplifting.

Theft — A wallet was reported stolen at Emperor’s Buffet, 714 E. Green Bay St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 28

Deputies logged 40 incidents, including the following:

Fire — A fire in a backhoe was reported on Leopolis Road in Seneca.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Express Way in Bonduel.

Fraud — Authorities investigated a fraud complaint at the Gresham Town Mart on Main Street in Gresham.

Fire — Authorities responded to a garage fire on Poplar Road in Richmond.

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

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Man allegedly stole scrap metal from barn

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 8:03am
By: 

Leader Staff

A Deerbrook man who served a five-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit homicide, according to court records, was charged with burglary in Shawano County for allegedly stealing scrap metal from a barn in Birnamwood last week.

Jeffrey D. Kitsemble, 42, was arrested Jan. 23 after the property owners discovered a suspicious vehicle outside the barn and contacted the Sheriff’s Department, according the the criminal complaint.

Kitsemble fled the scene and was later arrested in Langlade County. He could face a maximum possible penalty of 12½ years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted of burglary. He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of theft.

Kitsemble was being held on a $5,000 cash bond and is scheduled for an adjourned initial court appearance on Monday.

Online court records show Kitsemble was sentenced in 2006 to five years in prison and four years extended supervision after pleading no contest to a charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

According to a 2006 story in the Baraboo News Republic, Kitsemble tried to hire a Sauk County jail inmate to kill his estranged wife’s boyfriend.

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Plea deal expected in child enticement case

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 8:02am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

A possible plea deal has apparently been reached in the case of a Mattoon man accused of trying to abduct a girl in Wittenberg in 2011.

David W. Andersen, 51, was expected to stand trial next week on a felony count of child enticement for allegedly trying to force a 15-year-old girl into a pickup for the purpose of sexual intercourse.

As a result of a status conference Wednesday, however, Andersen is now scheduled for a plea and sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

The state’s offer under the plea agreement was not disclosed, but the charge levied against Andersen carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and $100,000 fine.

The incident happened in the area of Genesee Street and Grand Avenue on March 21, 2011, while the girl was on her way to Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School.

According to the criminal complaint, a man in a truck later identified as Andersen stopped next to her and offered her a ride, which the girl declined. She then saw the truck drive ahead and park along a side street.

The girl became frightened and jumped over the guardrail, fleeing down the embankment and behind an antique store as Andersen pursued her on foot, according to the complaint. She made it to Wittenberg Middle School, where she reported the incident.

According to the complaint, Andersen admitted to investigators that he was the man involved in the incident.

He said he found the girl very attractive and looked like the type of girl he would like to meet and buy things for, the complaint states. He also said he wanted her to go on a date with him and that he needed younger women to have babies with.

In December 2011, Andersen was ordered held at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. After nine months of evaluation, he was determined competent and was bound over for trial after a preliminary hearing in October 2012.

Andersen entered a plea of insanity in March of last year.

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Frigid cold increases calls for assistance

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 7:45am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Extreme cold coupled with a propane shortage spurred a flood of calls for assistance this week in Shawano County.

Calls for help normally increase with the cold weather, but the numbers are higher than usual, said Sarah Bartz, economic support supervisor for Shawano County’s Department of Social Services.

“We’re seeing an increase in the increase,” she said.

The department has been working with area propane vendors, many of which, Bartz said, have a minimum delivery of 100 gallons and a maximum of 200.

Given the persistent cold weather, “that may not last very long,” she added.

Gov. Scott Walker on Saturday declared a state of emergency due to the propane shortage throughout the Midwest. On Monday, he announced the state will help propane dealers secure loans to purchase gas and will release more money to help low-income propane users.

Bartz said those in need of assistance should apply as soon as it looks like they’ll be in need.

“We need to know they’re low on fuel,” Bartz said.

Bartz also asked for people to be patient.

“We’re trying to deal with crises first,” she said. “We want to ensure they’re safe.”

The Mohican LP Gas Co. in Bowler reports 10 to 15 emergency calls a day have been coming in; situations where customer propane tanks have dropped below 10 percent of capacity.

In some cases, matters were even worse than that.

“Throughout the area we’ve had people who have run out,” Office Specialist Candy Miller said. “We’ve been able to get fuel to them quickly enough.”

The company’s supply of propane is in good shape, Miller said.

“We were able to pre-buy a lot of our propane,” she said. “We’ve never run out, but it was slow in coming for a while. We’re back on track now.”

Wolf River Propane of New London reports its supplies are a little more tenuous.

“It’s kind of up in the air,” owner Jeff Duch said. “We have days when we can get what we’re supposed to and other days when the terminal runs out.”

That has forced the company to calculate on a daily basis what it can provide to its customers.

The company has 3,000 residential and business customers, about 30 percent of which are in the Shawano County area.

Wolf River Propane has been making deliveries of 250 gallons for a 500-gallon tank, and 500 gallons for larger tanks with a 1,000-gallon or more capacity.

The price has been fluctuating with the market and was at $4.88 per gallon on Tuesday. Three weeks ago it was in the $1.79 per gallon range, Duch said, adding that the price includes a fixed margin for the company’s cost of doing business.

The price has apparently led some customers to re-think their needs and either conserve more or order less, according to Duch.

“People are more conscious of their pocketbooks,” he said.

Duch said February will be a pivotal month.

“A lot of (propane) storage is starting to run dry,” he said. “Then we’ll be relying on the refineries.”

In the meantime, Duch said he appreciates his customers’ patience.

“There’s nothing else we can do but try to help everybody else through this,” he said.

Walker said the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority would set aside $8 million to guarantee loans that propane dealers take out to purchase gas. Walker also announced the state would release another $8.5 million to help low-income consumers pay for propane.

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Assistance available to help cope with weather

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 7:43am
By: 

Leader Staff

Area officials are emphasizing a three-pronged approach for residents battling the dangerously cold temperatures that have so far marked this winter season.

“The message we’re pushing is to check on your neighbors, conserve propane and have a backup plan — someplace to go if you run out,” Shawano County Emergency Management Director Natalie Easterday said.

Temperatures were expected to rise Wednesday, loosening the grip of recent subzero wind chills, but there are no predictions of getting anywhere above freezing in the near-term forecast.

The cold forced area school districts to cancel classes Tuesday, while the Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department announced warming shelters would be available through Wednesday.

The centers and their hours for Wednesday are Shawano County Courthouse, 311 N. Main St., Shawano, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Village of Wittenberg Community Center, 208 W. Vinal St., Wittenberg, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Any public government places will be open,” said Jaime Bodden, Shawano County public health director.

Unfortunately, Bodden said, the county has no resources for assisting residents when those public places are closed.

“We have no capacity or capabilities for overnight stays,” she said.

Bodden said the county can refer people in need to facilities in Outagamie, Marathon and Portage counties.

Sarah Bartz, economic support supervisor for Shawano County Social Services, said there are energy assistance and weatherization programs available to area residents.

Households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the state median income ($47,485 annually for a family of four) may qualify for assistance under the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program to pay for home heating and electric costs.

WHEAP services are provided locally through Shawano County Social Services, Menominee County Health and Human Services, tribal governments and other agencies.

NEWCAP Inc. offers weatherization programs in seven counties, including Shawano and Menominee. The program is funded through the state of Wisconsin with funds from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program.

To qualify, residents must have an annual income at or below 60 percent of the state median income guidelines and have applied for WHEAP assistance.

“They’ll go in and determine any need for an upgrade,” Bartz said.

In the event homeowners have to leave their homes because they’ve run out of propane or are unable to afford to keep it heated, help is also available in how to fortify the residence against the cold, so homeowners don’t return to problems like broken or frozen pipes.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program to pay for home heating and electric costs.

WHOM TO CALL: Shawano County Social Services, 715-526-4700; Menominee County Health and Human Services, 715-799-3861; WHEAP, 866-432-8947 or www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov.

WHERE: In Shawano, applications for energy assistance can be picked up at the Shawano County Job Center, 707 E. Elizabeth St.; Shawano Municipal Utilities, 122 N. Sawyer St.; and Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St.

WHAT: Applications for weatherization assistance.

WHERE: NEWCAP, 1201 Main St., Oconto.

WHEN: Office hours are 7 a.m. to noon and 12:30- 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

FYI: Applications also are available online at www.newcap.org.

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Public Record

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 7:28am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 27

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 1300 block of East Lieg Avenue.

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint on Mountain Bay Trail.

Assist — Police assisted Menominee County sheriff’s deputies with a combative juvenile prisoner at Shawano Medical Center, 100 County Road B.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of East Maurer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 27

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

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

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Grand Avenue in Wittenberg.

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a disturbance on state Highway 22 in Belle Plaine.

Assault — Authorities responded to an assault complaint at the Shawano County Jail, 405 N. Main St.

Accidents — Authorities logged three minor accidents.

Clintonville Police Department

Jan. 27

Police logged nine incidents, including the following:

Accident — An officer responded to a property damage accident in a parking lot on South Main Street.

Disturbance — An officer was requested for an uncontrollable juvenile on West Morning Glory Drive.

Disturbance — An officer was requested for an uncontrollable juvenile on Motor Street.

Jan. 26

Police logged seven incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 36-year-old Clintonville man was arrested for operating while intoxicated on a snowmobile at Eighth and Hemlock streets.

OAR — A 19-year-old Clintonville male was cited for operating after revocation after a traffic stop on West Madison Street.

Jan. 25

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police, fire and ambulance responded to a two-vehicle accident on South Main Street.

Disturbance — Unwanted subjects were reported on North Main Street.

Theft — Police investigated a larceny complaint on West Madison Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to an unwanted subject on Memorial Circle.

Jan. 24

Police logged five incidents, including the following:

Accident — Police responded to a three-vehicle accident at Ninth Street and Lens Court.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint on Bennett Street.

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Public Record

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 8:18pm

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 26

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

Shoplifting — Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St., reported a juvenile in custody for stealing alcohol.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint at Elizabeth and Waukechon streets.

Accidents — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident at Second and Lafayette streets.

Jan. 25

Police logged 10 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Police investigated a property theft complaint in the 100 block of Presbyterian Street.

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 400 block of Lakeland Road.

Jan. 24

Police logged 25 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Police logged a property theft complaint on state Highway 29.

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at Main and Elizabeth streets.

Assault — Police investigated an assault complaint in the 600 block of East Green Bay Street.

Fire — Authorities responded to a chimney fire on Gannon Court.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 26

Deputies logged 30 incidents, including the following:

OWI — A 30-year-old Freedom man was arrested for operating while intoxicated after putting his vehicle into a ditch on state Highway 117 in Waukechon.

OWI — A 29-year-old Shawano man fleeing from Menominee County was arrested on state Highway 47-55 in Shawano County for operating while intoxicated and operating after revocation.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on Old Lake Road in Wescott.

Fire — Deputies assisted at the scene of a barn fire on County Road M in Wittenberg.

Accidents — Authorities logged 14 accidents.

Jan. 25

Deputies logged 76 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on State Street in Bonduel.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Hoff Street in Angelica.

Fire — Authorities responded to a vehicle fire on Cherry Road in Gresham.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Bartelt Street in Gresham.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile alcohol complaint on County Road S in Maple Grove.

Accidents — Authorities logged 52 accidents, including injury accidents in Wescott and Waukechon and two deer-related crashes.

Jan. 24

Deputies logged 48 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — Authorities investigated a burglary on Wolf Road in Navarino.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Murphys Road in Bowler.

Theft — Authorities investigated a property theft complaint on County Road A in Bowler.

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a suspicious person complaint on Rustic Drive in Belle Plaine.

Accidents — Authorities logged 10 accidents, including an injury accident in Seneca.

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Extreme cold, propane shortage task county resources

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 8:17pm
By: 

Leader Staff

Extreme cold coupled with a Midwest propane shortage spurred the opening of warming centers and a flood of calls for energy assistance Monday.

Shawano County Emergency Management Director Natalie Easterday said the county’s Department of Social Services had been “swamped” with calls seeking assistance.

A call to the department’s economic support office was not returned by deadline. A call to the department’s energy assistance number was met with a recorded message warning of processing delays due to the high volume of applications.

Easterday said the Emergency Management office was emphasizing a three-pronged approach for residents to the cold and propane shortage situations.

“The message we’re pushing is to check on your neighbors, conserve propane and have a backup plan — someplace to go if you run out,” Easterday said.

The Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department announced the county courthouse, Shawano public library and village of Wittenberg Community Center would be available during regular business hours through Wednesday as warming shelters. The courthouse closes at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, library at 6 p.m. and Wittenberg Community Center at 5 p.m.

“Any public government places will be open,” Public Health Director Jaime Bodden said.

Unfortunately, Bodden said, the county has no resources for assisting residents when those public places are closed.

“We have no capacity or capabilities for overnight stays,” she said.

Bodden said the county can refer people in need to facilities in Outagamie, Marathon and Portage counties.

Temperatures were expected to drop to 23 below zero Monday night and remain below zero Tuesday. Wind chills were expected to drop as low as 45 degrees below zero overnight.

While Shawano and some other area school districts held classes Monday, all area schools will be closed Tuesday and after-school activities canceled.

Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday the state will help propane dealers secure loans to purchase gas and release more money to help low-income propane users.

Wisconsin and other Midwestern states are grappling with a propane shortage and rising wholesale and retail prices. The governor declared a state of emergency on Saturday that clears the way for calling out the Wisconsin National Guard if needed.

On Monday, Walker announced the state Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority would set aside $8 million to guarantee loans propane dealers take out to purchase gas. Walker also announced the state would release another $8.5 million to help low-income consumers pay for propane.

He also urged people to conserve their propane and track their supply closely.

FYI

Tips and resources posted by the Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department, Department of Emergency Management and ready.wi.gov:

• Only call your propane company for delivery of fuel if your tank is 30 percent full or less. Don’t wait until you are nearly out of fuel to call. If you wait to call until after your tank is below 30 percent, you may not be able to get propane delivered before your tank runs out.

• Make reasonable adjustments on your thermostat to conserve the propane you have.

• Check on your neighbors, especially the sick, disabled or frail elderly

• Be careful with electric space heaters; heaters that tip over or are too close to combustible materials can be a serious fire hazard

• Households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the state median income ($47,485 annually for a family of four) may qualify for assistance under the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). Eligible households may receive financial grants to pay for home heating and electric costs. WHEAP services are provided locally through Shawano County Social Services (715-526-4700); Menominee County Health and Human Services (715-799-3861), tribal governments; private, nonprofit or other government agencies. You can also call toll-free (866-432-8947) or visit www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov about where to apply for heating assistance through the WHEAP program.

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Shawano schools to close on Tuesday

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 5:29pm

With high temperatures expected to drop below zero early Tuesday, and wind chills reaching -45 below zero, Shawano School District officials on Monday decided to cancel classes on Tuesday.

While several districts cancelled classes Monday, Shawano did not.

Other school districts canceling classes Tuesday include Bonduel, Bowler, Clintonville, Gillett, Marion, Menominee Indian, Pulaski, Tigerton and Wittenberg-Birnamwood. Afterschool activities also were canceled for all districts, and area Head Start programs also were canceled.

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Cold closes schools again

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 7:43am

Schools in the following communities closed Monday due to cold weather:
Bowler (also closed Tuesday)
Marion
Menominee Indian
Menominee Tribal School
Tigerton
Wittenberg-Birnamwood

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Guardsman gets hero's welcome from county

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 7:22am
By: 

Lee Pulaski, [email protected]


Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Shawano County Highway Commissioner Grant Bystol presents Casey Beyersdorf with a plaque of appreciation from the county for his military service during Wednesday’s County Board meeting. Beyersdorf serves in the Wisconsin National Guard in addition to his duties as the county’s assistant highway commissioner.

The assistant highway commissioner for Shawano County got a hero’s welcome earlier this week.

The County Board unanimously approved a resolution thanking Casey Beyersdorf for his recent tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Wisconsin National Guard. Beyersdorf took a leave from his county job in August 2012 when he was called to active duty.

Beyersdorf received a plaque and a framed copy of the resolution and said after the presentation that he has been receiving nothing but praise from people since he returned to Shawano in August.

“It’s been overwhelming since I’ve returned from my most recent deployment with the amount of support and appreciation from my family and folks at the Highway Department,” Beyersdorf said.

In Afghanistan, Beyersdorf, a staff sergeant, was in charge of engineering and heavy equipment operators who built infrastructure for the military. Beyersdorf said he has at least another 3 1/2 years left with his commitment to the National Guard, so it is possible he may be called back to active duty.

Beyersdorf is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Highway Department, according to Highway Commissioner Grant Bystol.

“I would like to think his schooling and work experience benefits him in his military operations, just as his military background benefits Shawano County,” Bystol said.

The resolution was endorsed by the Highway and Parks Committee, and its chairman, Rick Giese, told the County Board that Beyersdorf jumped back into the job right away.

“When we had him back at our first meeting (since his return), he didn’t miss a beat,” Giese said. “He informed us that he would always go online and check our committee minutes. That’s the dedication he had when he left here.”

Beyersdorf also received high praise from County Board Chairman Jerry Erdmann, a Vietnam veteran who always starts County Board meetings with a request to think about the members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in the United States and in foreign countries.

“I know, as others know, what you’ve gone through over there,” Erdmann said. “You have done some fine work here and abroad.”

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Wisconsin House residents face pot charges

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 7:19am
By: 

Tim Ryan, [email protected]

Two Shawano men are facing felony drug charges in connection with an alleged marijuana operation being run out of a room at the Wisconsin House.

Michael C. Taylor, 62, was charged Thursday with one count of maintaining a drug trafficking place and 10 counts of manufacture and delivery of marijuana.

Wayne O. Bistoff, 57, was also charged Thursday charged with one count of manufacture and delivery of marijuana and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Both men are listed in the criminal complaint as tenants at the Wisconsin House, 216 E. Green Bay St., where the alleged drug dealing took place.

Shawano police and Shawano County sheriff’s deputies set up an undercover drug buy from Bistoff in his room at the Wisconsin House in June, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states an undercover officer went to Bistoff’s room and purchased 15.7 grams of marijuana from him for $150.

Authorities also set up multiple undercover drug buys during the month of July with Taylor at his room at the Wisconsin House, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint alleges authorities purchased a total of 28.8 grams of marijuana from Taylor for $600 over the course of the undercover operation.

Authorities executed a search warrant on July 31 on both Taylor’s and Bistoff’s rooms.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities found several baggies of marijuana in Taylor’s room totaling nearly 100 grams, along with pills and cocaine paraphernalia. The search of Bistoff’s room turned up several pieces of drug paraphernalia, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Bistoff admitted to authorities to being a “middle man” for Taylor and said he had gotten marijuana from him in the past.

The complaint states Taylor admitted selling marijuana to other tenants at the Wisconsin House.

Taylor could face a maximum 3 1/3 years in prison and $10,000 fine on each of the 11 felony counts against him if found guilty.

Bistoff could face the same penalty if found guilty of the felony count against him.

Both men are due in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court on March 3 for their initial appearances.

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Sheriff's Department warns of new scam

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 7:18am
By: 

Leader Staff

Scammers have been working the phones for years and were quick to adopt the Internet and other new technology to pull off their cons, but their latest twist uses old-fashioned “snail mail” to make their initial contacts with potential victims.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department warned this week that letters have started showing up in some people’s mailboxes inviting them to take part in a quiz with the chance to win big money.

The quiz questions are deceptively simple, Detective Troy Ugoretz said.

“Anybody over the age of 8 could answer them,” he said.

Victims are then informed they’ve won the contest and are sent a bogus check. They’re also told they are eligible for a bigger prize of $50,000, which they can claim by mailing back $3,500.

In the case of a complaint the department received this week, the $3,500 was supposed to be mailed to an address in Australia.

The con is another variation on the scams seen in recent years through email offers and Craigslist ads that require you to send money to get money, or asks that you send back a portion of money from a bogus check.

Authorities say any offer with those kinds of terms should raise a red flag.

Though this latest tactic relies on the postal service, scammers haven’t abandoned technology.

Another scam seen in recent months involves a call from someone claiming to be with Microsoft tech support, claiming there’s a problem that requires access to your computer via the Internet.

Scammers have also figured out to disguise their identity over the phone by faking the number that shows up on Caller ID, a tactic called “spoofing,” Ugoretz said.

“If you didn’t initiate the call, or if you can’t shake hands with them, don’t do business with them,” Ugoretz said.

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Public Record

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 7:16am

Shawano Police Department

Jan. 23

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A male subject was taken into custody on a warrant at Lieg Avenue and Main Street.

Theft — Shawano Pawn Shop, 141 River Heights, reported the theft of a DVD player. The report states a customer pawned DVDs and stole the DVD player while the DVDs were being rung up, then later came back to pawn the shop’s own DVD player.

Juvenile — Police logged eight truancy complaints from the Shawano School District.

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

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Jan. 23

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Authorities responded to a disorderly conduct complaint on High Street in Birnamwood.

Burglary — Authorities responded to two related burglary complaints on Western Avenue in Birnamwood. In one, a 43-year-old Deerbrook man was arrested on burglary charges.

Drug Offense — A drug complaint on Cecil Street in Bonduel was under investigation.

Accidents — Authorities logged nine accidents, including a semi rollover on state Highway 29 east of Shawano in which the driver suffered an eye laceration, and one deer-related crash.

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Chamber hands out annual awards

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 7:58am

Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Smith addresses attendees at the 87th annual awards banquet at the Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena on Thursday.
Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Mary White, new president of the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, speaks at the chamber’s annual awards banquet at the Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena on Thursday.

Local business owners and community leaders turned into secret agents Thursday for this year’s spy-themed awards banquet hosted by the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce at the Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena.

Dressed in spy-garb and many sporting fake mustaches provided at their tables, they came together to pay tribute to the elite in their ranks as honors were handed out for the 87th time in the chamber’s history.

This year’s 375 attendees constituted a chamber record, according to Executive Director Nancy Smith. The chamber has 430 member businesses.

The banquet centered its theme on the old “Mission: Impossible” TV series — complete with a video parodying the show and featuring chamber staff, but with the altered name of “Mission: Possible.”

“We readily accept our mission every day,” Smith said. “It’s a big and important undertaking and we consider successfully carrying out our mission very possible.”

The mission for members, Smith said, was to take advantage of all the chamber offers and be successful.

New Chamber President Mary White exhorted the crowd to rejuvenate their youthful enthusiasm for big ideas and said success was possible when everyone works together.

The chamber recognized multiple individuals and businesses for their contributions to Shawano and Menominee counties.

Matty Mathison was named the 2013 Distinguished Citizen of the Year for her ride range of volunteer duties, including her efforts with Shawano Pathways, and was greeted with a standing ovation.

Mathison said she felt blessed to be given the award.

“Thank you for your kind words, your support and especially your connections,” she said.

Other winners this year included Twig’s Beverage, Manufacturer of the Year; Verkuilen Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center, Small Business of the Year; Andrea Wallace, owner of Core Commitment, LLC, Entrepreneur of the Year; Dreier’s Pharmacy and Gift Shop, Retail Business of the Year; Shawano Ambulance Service, Business of the Year; and Donna Hobscheid, Ambassador of the Year.

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