Local Antigo Headlines

Antigo man sentenced on child porn charges

An Antigo man will likely spend the rest of his life in federal custody after he was sentenced to 45 years in prison on charges linked to child sex crimes.

U.S. Attorney James L. Santelle announced Tuesday that Thomas A. Gervais, 45, of Antigo, was sentenced to 45 years in prison by District Judge William C. Griesbach in Green Bay.

Judge Griesbach also ordered a lifetime term of supervised release.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

String of Car Burglaries Reported Tuesday Morning

Thieves were busy Monday night and early Tuesday morning, as 17 different cases of cars being broken into were reported to the Antigo Police Department. Reports were made on 2nd Ave, 5th Ave, 7th Ave, 10th Ave, and Deliglise Street in Antigo.

Most cars were stolen only of small amounts of change or had their center consoles and glove boxes tampered with. One woman complained of having her car ransacked and her seats slashed. A man stated the culprits attempted to pull his satellite radio out of his car, but in the end, ran off with 6 CD's instead.

Read more: WACD

Fine For Failure To Wear Seat-belt Could Increase

Wisconsin motorists could finally start feeling a tug in their wallets if they don't buckle up. The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote today on Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal to increase the fine for not wearing seat-belts. It's among the first of many votes to be taken over the next two months on the Republican Walker's massive two-year budget package. The seat belt fine has been a flat 10-dollars ever since Wisconsin started requiring seat-belt usage in the late 1980's. Walker wants to raise that to 56-dollars and 50-cents, which includes the normal surcharges for traffic fines that have not applied to seat-belt tickets. Three years ago, Gannett Wisconsin Media found that other states had raised their seat-belt fines to well above 100-dollars in some cases. A federal study from a few years ago showed that raising the seat-belt fine to 100-dollars increases the numbers of motorists buckling up by about seven-percent. Also today, lawmakers on the finance panel will vote on Walker's budget proposals to eliminate the independence of the State Judicial Commission, which investigates ethics violations by judges.

Read more: WACD

Speakers At School Board Meeting Don't Like Idea Of Virtual Learning

Four teachers and a business owner in Antigo spoke up at last night's Antigo School Board Committee of the Whole meeting, regarding the school's proposal to contract business education classes to North Central Technical College. The discussion came up following the announcement of the retirement of a business ed teacher at the end of the year.

The teachers pointed out that the students would struggle with staying on task in an online class, and that being taught through a computer screen is not the same as having a real life teacher in the room, willing to help the student with problems he may have. They also read letters from students, saying that if the class was online, they likely wouldn't enroll in them.

Antigo High School Principal Tom Zamzow said other schools including Medford and Merrill are planning on using these types of services as well, and partnering with them to make a consortium would reduce costs. It is estimated that it would cost 40-60K to enter into an agreement with NTC, and 50-60K to hire a new teacher with benefits.

Read more: WACD

Shoplifters steal carts full of goods at Walmart

A brazen act of theft attracted attention to Antigo’s northside retail district Monday afternoon when individuals pushing two carts full of unpaid merchandise raced out the doors at the local Walmart store.

Witnesses said the group, believed to have consisted of at least two males and two females of Caucasian and Native American race, ran to the parking lot, tossed the goods inside a vehicle and sped away. The store’s security alarm sounded but the thieves were too quick.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

FFA holds annual celebration

Mike Olson was honored as Honorary Chapter Farmer by the Antigo High School FFA Chapter Monday.

The award was presented at the chapter’s annual awards banquet, held at a new location, the high school commons. It went to the man who guided the chapter as advisor and agriculture teacher for 33 years prior to his retirement in 2013.

Olson, who remains active in the FFA Alumni as a substitute teacher, was stunned by the award.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Curtain goes up Thursday on play

The curtain will rise on Antigo Community Theatre’s spring play, “Ten Feet From the Source of the Heat,” Thursday.

The lighthearted murder mystery written by local author Bridget Strasser and under the direction of veteran ACT member Darlaen Jansen debuts at 7:30 p.m. at Antigo High School’s Volm Theater It will repeat Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and close Sunday with a 2 p.m. matinee performance.

The play takes place in the upper Midwest during the notorious 1930s. Tissue paper heiress Ann Lane is determined, in spite of her family’s wealth, to venture out on her own. When Ann rents a home from a friendly widow, Estelle Dooley, she meets a variety of neighbors, including Onri Devilani, an opportunist and person of questionable ethics; and newly-immigrated Swedes Lars and Sven Olson, a dutiful father and bashful son.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

School Board To Hear Facilities Proposal From Board Member At Meeting

It will be a busy meeting for the Antigo School Board Tuesday evening, as they will have their monthly Committee of the Whole meeting.

The board will first take another look at the 2015-16 budget, with updates on actions taken by the district this month which help save more money. They include eliminating a a health insurance increase saving $100,000. Dropping the salary increase from 2% to 1.62%, saving $60,000 and also Refined Salary and Benefit Calculation with all retirements and resignations.

The next item deals with facilities. The board will review all studies done on the elementary schools dating back to 2002, and will hear about a proposal created by school board member Scott Jensema. In Jensema's plan, Crestwood and North Elementary would both be closed, with West Elementary housing special needs students, and the other students being transferred to Pleasant View Elementary or East Elementary following re-zoning of the boundaries. All schools would be upgraded as part of the CESA 10 and HVAC reports.

Read more: WACD

Starved for spring

Several of the exhibitors in Antigo Visual Arts new “Starved for Spring” show pose during an opening reception on Sunday afternoon. From left are Rose Bauknecht, Jim Martinsen, Sharon Dowis, Craig Pilecky, Karen Aulik-Now, and Andy Kazukewicz. The show, in the AVA gallery at the Langlade County Historical Society Museum, features the work of 13 artists and will remain on view during regular museum hours.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

With a big crowd, 80th birthday celebrated by Rev. Charles Hoffmann

There hasn’t been a birthday party quite like this in Antigo.

Rev. Charles Hoffmann celebrated his 80th Sunday officiating a service at St. John Catholic Church, where he was pastor for 34 years.

The retired clergyman, who serves the St. Joseph Holy Family Parish in Phlox, drew a big crowd for the party with a religious twist.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Kretz Lumber global supplier of wood

Kretz Lumber, which has grown from a small sawmill into a global supplier of wood products, was established in 1929 by Joseph and Myrtle Kretz. At the time of start-up the responsibilities in the company were split between Mr. and Mrs. Kretz and their three sons; Charles, Leon and Raymond.

This ownership ran the company in some form until the early 1970s when Joseph and Myrtle’s grandson, Dan Kretz, took over the business. Under Dan’s leadership the company grew from a small sawmill operating one shift into a two-shift sawmill operation with dry kilns and a dimension plant. In December, 2000, Dan Kretz sold his share of the business to the employees under a legal structure called an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

Over time, Kretz has grown from that original sawmill that sold “green” lumber to secondary manufacturers, mainly in the region of the Great Lakes, to a “Global Wood Products Company” with markets for its products in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and Mexico in addition to its loyal customer base in all regions of the United States.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Library will unveil teleconferencing equipment, available for public use

A new video system designed to connect participants from across regions for meetings and conferences, ending the need for travel time, will be unveiled at the Antigo Public Library next week.

The equipment, purchased with assistance from a grant from the Suick Foundation, will be the focus of demonstrations Tuesday at 2 p.m. and Thursday at 6 p.m.

Video conferencing enables two-way, interactive visual and audio communication with parties or groups who connect via software like GoTo Meeting.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Area Law Enforcement Activity

On Friday an Antigo woman reported to police that the woman she hired to take care of her ailing husband had been stealing her checks and cashing them. Police investigated and found several more checks were missing that have not yet been cashed. No charges have been filed as of now.

On Saturday, a Shawano County woman stated to authorities that she had a fight with her boyfriend, where he punched walls and threw a picture frame. The man left the home with a gun and threatened to kill himself. Police found the vehicle parked at an Antigo gas station. The man was taken to North Central Health Care Center for evaluation. Charges are pending.

Early Monday morning, just after 3AM, an Antigo man called police complaining that he had been awoken by his neighbor's truck around this time several days in the past week. The man said his neighbor revs his truck, and he also drove up to his property and went onto the lawn, shining his headlights into the window.

Read more: WACD

Driver Of Fatal 2014 Crash Charged

An 18-year-old Clintonville teen investigators said was behind the wheel during a traffic accident that left three passengers dead is expected to be criminally charged Monday in Shawano County Circuit Court.

Online court records show Ryan Swadner will be charged with nine counts, including three counts of second degree reckless homicide, and possession of THC.

Fifteen-year-old Paige Brunette, of Bonduel; 17-year-old Cody Borsche, of Shawano and 18-year-old Tyler Welch, of Shawano were all killed in the crash.

Read more: WACD

Spring fish, game hearings set here, across state Monday night

Questions ranging from increasing the size of panfish on eight Langlade County lakes to simplifying trout regulations will be reviewed at the 2015 spring wildlife and fisheries rules hearing.

The hearings will be held statwide beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday. The Langlade County location is the multi-purpose building at the Langlade County fairgrounds.

This year there are 112 questions that cover a broad array of statewide and local proposed rules changes for state hunting, trapping and fishing rules, as well as advisory questions from the state Natural Resources Board and Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Police, Sheriff's Deputies Handle Dog Complaints

Just after midnight on Thursday, a Langlade County man residing on county road f reported to dispatch that a dog has been barking all night, just like had happened last year. In law enforcements records were four previous complaints about the same house that was in the area. Sheriffs Deputies went to the house but no one would answer the door. There were two large dogs that were visible. The owner was warned that the next complaint will result in a citation.

Also yesterday, an Antigo man reported that his daughter was standing on the porch of another residence, when a man walked by with a german shepherd dog on a leash. He was not able to control it and it dragged him towards the porch growling and trying to bite the girl.

Read more: WACD

Ladies Night Out Event Taking Place Saturday In Antigo

The annual Ladies Night Out event will be taking place Saturday from 2-6PM at the North Star Lanes Banquet Hall. Admission is $2. This allows time to pamper yourself with an evening of chocolate, wine tasting, treats, and lots of shopping. Cornerstone Chiropractic & Wellness is the sponsor. Admission automatically enters you to win a Grand Prize worth over $300.

Read more: WACD

First Tractor and Machinery Safety Course Session Is Saturday

UW-Extension will sponsor the Tractor& Machinery Safety Course for youth ages 12-16 at the Resource Center in Antigo in April 2015. The course includes classroom safety instruction for tractors and farm machinery operation, hazard recognition and correction, general farm safety knowledge, and how to approach farm safety with a positive attitude. In addition, the course is designed for youth ages 14-15 that need the federal certificate of training for employment on farms, youth ages 12-16 who will be operating tractors or self-propelled farm machinery on public roads for their own family, and youths interested in tractor and machinery safety. Participants must attend the full 24 hours of instruction to be certified.

The fee for this class is $50 per youth, which includes the training manual and handouts.

Read more: WACD

Local man ordered to pay child support or go to jail

An Antigo man owing over $19,000 in child support will stay out of jail so long as he continues to pay the money owed and keep current with his arrears.

Timothy J. Piper, 35, of 1224 Fifth Ave. was charged in Langlade County Circuit Court with 15 felony counts of failing to provide support for two children.

Piper pleaded guilty to eight counts, with the remainder dismissed, and was placed on probation for three years. Reserve Judge Glenn Hartley imposed but stayed one year in custody.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

AHS students hear about career options

Antigo High School students learned about everything from firefighting and law enforcement to machining and health care at the sixth annual career fair held this morning.

“This is one of the best turnouts we’ve ever had,” Josh Zalewski, coordinator of the event, said. “We’ve got over 16 businesses and career fields represented.”

Zalewski explained that the fair was designed to provide students with an opportunity to meet and identify careers in this area.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Council continues plans for city utility projects

The Antigo Common Council advanced plans for a series of summer utility projects Wednesday.

At a quiet April meeting, aldermen awarded the bid for water and sewer main construction on Willard and Badger avenues and Washington Street to Jake’s Excavating and Landscaping LLC. of Ironwood, Mich. The company will be paid $564,659.16.

The work, half of which will be funded through a Community Development Block Grant, is designed to alleviate problems with water flow through the area and to make repairs to a system battered by freeze-ups during last year’s brutal winter. It will include replacement of water main and sanitary and storm sewer pipes in the 600 and 700 block of Willard Avenue, the 600 block of Washington Street and the 500 block of Badger Avenue.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Pair charged after discovery of drugs at Lincoln Street home

Formal charges have been filed against two individuals arrested Friday during a raid of a Lincoln Street home.

Daniel E. Rank, 32, and Cassie M. Smith, 28, both appeared in Langlade County Circuit Court this week where a cash bail of $500 each was set by Reserve Judge Fred Kawalski.

The pair was arrested after Antigo police, with assistance of sheriff’s deputies, executed a warrant in search of illegal drugs. Evidence of drug use, including a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia, including a scale, were seized from the residence.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Incumbents, former member are selected for school board posts

The Antigo school board will remain filled with familiar faces following Tuesday’s spring election.

Incumbents Mike Bolding and Jeanne Long were both returned to the panel, and will be joined by Andy Merry, who served on the board of education from 2010 to 2013.

Challengers Karin Koeppel and Tom Zatloukal finished fourth and fifth.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal


A few of the winners in various spring election races posed during a victory party for John Rhode Tuesday evening at Fifth Avenue Restaurant and Lounge. In the front row are incumbents Jeanne Long and Mike Boldig, re-elected to the Antigo school board. In the back row are Rhode, elected as Langlade County Circuit Court Judge, and Bill Brandt, who won his fourth term as city of Antigo mayor. There were races across the region for various school and town referendums and local officials.

Read more: Antigo Daily Journal

Rhode takes post as circuit court judge

Attorney John Rhode drew a plurality of the votes Tuesday to become Langlade County Circuit Court Judge.

The attorney for Sommer, Olk and Payant in Antigo, followed in the steps of a previous member of the firm’s staff, James Jansen, who became one of Langlade County’s very popular jurists.

District Attorney Ralph Uttke, who has held that post for 24 years, and Rhode were in a quiet and respectful but somewhat aggressive race for the position.

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

White Lake referendum is approved

The third time was a charm for a spending referendum for the White Lake schools

Following two defeats in 2014, voters in the eastern Langlade County district approved levying $300,000 annually above state-imposed revenue limits for each of the next five years to continue existing programs.

“I’m excited about the outcome,” District Administrator Bill Fisher said. “It’s going to allow us to move forward over the next five years.”

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal

Brandt is returned as Antigo mayor Tuesday

City of Antigo Mayor Bill Brandt cruised to a fourth term as mayor Tuesday evening.

Brandt, 718 Willard Ave., outpolled challenger Roger Bricko, 1,242 to 411, receiving 75 percent of all votes cast.

“I’d like to thank the voters who went out and supported me,” the mayor said. “I will continue to do what I feel is best for the city and the community.”

Full story: Antigo Daily Journal