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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    Green Bay, WI (WTAQ) - Sunday's Cellcom Green Bay Marathon has Wisconsinites winning in the male and female divisions.

    On the men's side, Wauwatosa resident, Martin Hinze, finished with the fastest time of 2:28:56.

    Sun Prarie resident Michele Lee won for the women racers with a time of 2:41:22.

    Both received $2,500 for their winning efforts.

    For Hinze, he had the slowest winning time for a male runner in race history.

    Lee, competed and won her first marathon and had the best finishing time by a female racer since 2014.

    A list of all marathon and half marathon finishers can be found by clicking here.


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  • 05/21/18--03:44: Water Rescue Save Boaters
  • NEENAH, WI (WTAQ) - Three people were rescued after a boat took on water in the Fox River.

    It happened Sunday night just before 8:30, at the mouth of the Fox River in Neenah, off Kimberly Point.

    The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department reports a small fishing boat took on water, but it never capsized.

    A passing boat picked up the trio and towed the boat back to shore.

    No one was injured.


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  • 05/21/18--09:15: No Wake Order Lifted
  • WAUPACA COUNTY, WI (WTAQ)- The slow-no-wake order for the Wolf River in Waupaca County has been lifted.

    The order has been in effect since snow from April's blizzard started melting, causing the river to rise.

    The lifting of the order comes just ahead of one of the biggest weekends on the water. 


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ)- Fond Du Lac police were called to investigate a suspicious package that was found on the steps of Bread of Life Churches but determined the contents to be a book and papers, and not a threat to the public. 

    The Brown/ Outagamie Bomb Squad was called to investigate the contents of the box. 

    Church personnel indicated that the package did not have any postal markings and that they were not expecting any package. 

    South Military Road was closed as a precaution and was open again just before 7:00 p.m. 

    The roads near the church were blocked Monday evening.

    The area will remain clear until the police feel it is safe.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) -  A Green Bay resident was fined more than $1,600 after police say his wolf hybrid bit a child.

    Police say they were called to a residence on the west side of the city, just after 11:00 a.m. Thursday for a report of a dog bite.   The animal, a cross between a domesticated dog and wolf, weighed 107.5 pounds and stood 37 inches tall.

    The owner of the dog, Brian Schoen, was issued multiple citations, including animal bite and keeping an exotic animal.

    The child's injuries are non-life threatening and police say the dog was unprovoked. 

    Police say this incident serves as a reminder to residents that it is illegal to possess a wolf hybrid within the Green Bay city limits and without proper permitting through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

    Police were unable to say if the dog was euthanized.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK)- The Green Bay Police Department added five new faces to their staff.

    Chief Andrew Smith swore in five new officers during a ceremony Monday.

    The new officers came from all over the U.S., and one has ties to the area.

    "It means a lot to be part of a community which I grew up with," said officer Scott Delsart. "Being able to do it for the city that I'm from, coming out of the military, being able to continue to serve others, is a privilege."

    The Green Bay Police Department is still understaffed by eight officers. Chief Smith says they will wait until they find the right officers as they have high standards, and will not hire just to fill a position.


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    BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ)- Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach will be in Washington D.C this week, to advocate on behalf of Brown County.

    Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt says Streckenbach was invited to discuss issues facing the state and county.

    "The County Executive will be meeting with different members of the Administration."

    Other executives from Wisconsin counties were also invited, as the day focuses on Wisconsin.

    Streckenbach also scheduled a time to sit down with Congressman Mike Gallagher and Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson.

    The purpose of that meeting is to discuss federal funding for infrastructure in Brown County.

    "They will have an opportunity to discuss issues on a State level and issues on a county level because Wisconsin is so diverse."

    Issues that Streckenbach plans to address are regional infrastructure like the Southern Bypass, Port of Green Bay, and Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport, along with Mental Health services like trauma-informed care and community treatment options for dealing with the scourge impacting the local communities like the opioid crisis.

    "It's a lot that is at stake here, and certainly those are important areas that the County Executive will be advocating for."

    Streckenbach will also get to tour the White House.


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  • 05/21/18--20:11: A New Way To Alert Residents
  • OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK)- Outagamie County officials are encouraging residents to rely on something other than a tornado siren, during an emergency.

    It's part of a new system, but the cost of maintaining those sirens would be left up to the cities, villages, and towns.   "When those sirens sound, that's not the time to act, you waited too long," said Outagamie Emergency Management director, Lisa Van Schyndel.

    Van Schyndel tells Fox 11, the new message system will ensure residents are alerted, even when they don't find themselves near a siren.

    It's called the AtHoc emergency notification system.

    "So, the AtHoc notification system can notify you by cell, email, landline or text message," explained Van Schyndel.

    The system is free and residents can register online.

    It's a part of the county's transition away from tornado siren maintenance.

    Tom Nelson, Outagamie County executive says it has some benefits. 

    "Keep in mind that, about 70 percent of the county's land mass doesn't have a siren."

    County officials say cost is a big reason for the change.

    "What Outagamie County is doing is looking at the cost," said Van Schyndel. "What we spend on sirens, we're transitioning that to new technology."

    Replacing a siren, Van Schyndel says can cost up to $25,000. That doesn't include maintenance.

    While she says the cost of the new message system will be roughly $27,000 a year.

    Kaukauna Mayor Tony Penterman is one that is concerned about how the system will be paid for.

     "Yes, that's a major concern. Because with a tight budget already, where is that money going to come from?"

    He says the measure might also under serve those who rely on the sirens.

    "The elderly who don't have phones, the kids that may be playing in the park," Penterman explained.

    County officials say the transition is meant to give residents additional resources during an emergency.

    "Our pitch is to have redundancy. We are offering more tools for people to use," Van Schyndel said.

    Outagamie County owns and operates 43 tornado sirens.

     


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ)- Gas prices are expected to be the highest they have been in recent years to kick off the summer.

    Those who plan to travel for Memorial Day Weekend should expect to pay more at the pump then they are used to.

    Prices in Green Bay and Appleton are already over $2.75 a gallon, and Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says that could stick around throughout the summer.

    "The highest summer gas prices since 2014 is very likely."

    Despite what AAA is projecting, DeHaan says a recent survey that they conducted showed a significant increase in the number of people who said gas prices will impact their travel plans and that includes the distance that they are willing to travel.

    "It's a pretty hefty decline of people who are willing to travel longer distances, so Staycation may be a word you come across a lot this summer."

    The survey found at 58 percent of respondents said they would take a road trip this summer, which is a 24 percent drop from last year. Along with that, 39 percent said high gas prices would impact their summer travel decisions.

    "That's up 20 percent from last year."

    The summer demand is one of the contributing factors to higher gas prices.

    Prices in Green Bay and Appleton are already over $2.75 a gallon, and DeHaan says that could stick around throughout the summer.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Brown County's Neville Public Museum is celebrating the county's 200th anniversary with an exhibit of history from every decade.

    It will include an artifact which has not been displayed publicly in many years.

    They’ve decided to bring out a piece of history that's been tucked away in their storage for 84 years. It’s a 157-year-old flag.

    “After Abraham Lincoln made his big speech, basically calling for people to join the Union army, the people of Green Bay got together at Fort Howard and had a little celebration,” said Lisa Kain the Museum’s curator.

    “This flag was made especially for that celebration.”

    Stories, paintings, and photos of Fort Howard have been shared for more than a century.

    Left behind is this 157-year-old artifact.

    Kain tells FOX 11 the flag has a rare star pattern found during the civil war era.

    “It has 34 stars for each of the states at the time.”

    The flagpole where it hung was once a prominent part of Fort Howard's landscape -- located right across from where the Neville Museum now stands.

    “Part of its history is what happened to it after it came down and how we stored it,” said Kain.

    Many pieces of the fabric are shredding from natural wear.

    Kain says they chose to conserve the flag and keep all of the imperfections.

    “We wanted to tell the story of the flag without altering it.”

    Tulle was applied to both sides of the flag by textile restoration business in Chicago. It is intended to keep it from any more wear.

    An original case -- as big as a room in the museum -- is being made to display the flag.

    Kain says history will speak for itself.

    “You’ll see areas of loss in the red and that’s because of the dyes. Certain dyes fade faster.”

    The goal is to keep the flag in the same condition for future generations.

    Starting May 29 it the Brown County 200 anniversary exhibit will be on display.


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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) -- Just like Lambeau Field, the Weidner Center, and the Meyer Theater help make Brown County the area's number one tourism county, De Pere believes it could have something to add to the numbers.

    The proposed Mulva Cultural Center is being used as the centerpiece in the city’s efforts to come up with a master plan for its downtown cultural district.

    The center would be a $7 million gift from Jim and Miriam Mulva, who live part-time in De Pere.

    The location being proposed is at the corner of South Broadway and Lewis Street.

    De Pere residents first heard of the plan two and a half years ago, but not much since.

    That’s the reason many residents showed up to the Broadway Theatre Monday evening for an open house on the master plan.

    “I'm really keen on the history of this city and how we can play upon that to get more people to come here,” said Fred Wessel of De Pere.

    The open house was one event in a three-day period dedicated to developing the cultural district master plan.

    Kim Flom, De Pere's Economic Development Director, tells FOX 11 the city is using the cultural center as its anchor.

    “You go to Lambeau Field, you might go to the Shrine, and you might come to De Pere to see the Mulva Cultural Center. I think a lot of that has to do with the caliber of exhibits that are being planned. These are national-level exhibits that you normally would only see in Minneapolis, Chicago, or Milwaukee.”

    The Mulvas plan to set up an endowment to pay for the center's first 10 years of operation, according to Julie Van Straten, one of the cultural center's board members.

    She says the bottom level will have an auditorium with performing space. The second floor will be for the traveling museum exhibits. The third floor will include gathering space, as will the building's roof.

    “In the cultural realm of things, something like this is a once in a generation opportunity,” said Tom Rogers, a landscape architect for SmithGroupJJR, a consultant for De Pere’s cultural district master plan.

    Flom says the city is using the opportunity to find out what else residents would like to see in the area.

    “They're interested in growing downtown De Pere, as long as that growth preserves the character of downtown De Pere, that is the nut we have to crack with this plan.”

    The city hopes to have an official master plan document to its city council in the next month. They hope the cultural center plans will be presented soon after that.

    The Mulvas, both De Pere natives. have already left their mark across the Fox River, all over the St Norbert College campus.

    Their name is on the school's library, fitness center, and science building.

    Miriam Mulva is a St. Norbert graduate, class of '69.

    James Mulva is retired as president and CEO of the oil company ConocoPhillips.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A grand opening was held in downtown Green Bay Monday for a job center's new location.

    Last month, the Brown County Job Center moved from its previous location on Cherry Street to the Baylake City Center at 301 N. Adams Street.

    The new center provides updated facilities with ground-floor access to a new Resource Room and more space for employer recruitment events and re-employment service courses.

    Bay Area Job Service director Brian Pelon tells FOX 11 those improvements will help people looking for work.

    "They're going to notice a state-of-the-art resource room with direct staff and assistance to many computers, many training services and many opportunities to get back in the workforce."

    Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped last month to 2.8 percent.

    That ties a record low set in 1999.


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    BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A growing non-denominational church wants the brakes to be put on a plan to tear down and replace the Brown County Arena.

    Life Church not only wants to move into the Arena, Sonny Hennessey, one of the church’s lead pastors, tells FOX 11 the church would pay property taxes on it as well.

    The current plan calls for the 60-year-old facility to be torn down, and replaced with a $93 million expo hall.

    It would be more than 100,000 square feet.

    Two years after repurposing De Pere's vacant Sportsman's Warehouse store, Hennessey says Life Church has already outgrown its current home.

    “There were people outside of even our church who said, 'man next thing you're going to need the Brown County Arena' or 'have you ever thought about the Arena?'”

    Hennessey says the church has been researching the Arena for the last year or so.

    “We've looked at it a couple times, but we've put millions of dollars into buildings before and every building we've gotten, we've gotten bigger and put more money into it. It doesn't scare us anymore.”

    Standing in the church's way is the plan formulated last year to tear down and replace the Arena.

    Seven municipalities and the county all agreed to use a tax on hotel rooms to pay for most of the new expo hall.

    The plan also received support from the Greater Green Bay Area Lodging Association, the Green Bay chapter of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, and Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy.

    Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach....

    “So from that standpoint, the county is going to continue to move forward with the project at hand and that's been discussed.”

    Life Church isn't the only group that has recently approached the county about an alternate plan for the Arena site.

    Others believe parking or private development would be better suited here and suggest putting the new expo hall at the Brown County Fairgrounds.

    “There was an opportunity for businesses and interested parties to bring forward their ideas for that site,” said Streckenbach.

    “At the time, we only received two responses and so the county moved forward.”

    Streckenbach says the expo hall doesn't make sense elsewhere and the county has been missing out on opportunities without it.

    Life Church says as long as it could use the Arena on non-Packer home game Sundays, current Arena bookings could continue to be held there as well.

    “For our purpose, we would keep the Arena like it is, just make it beautiful like it once was,” said Hennessey.

    “It needs paint, it needs a new roof, it needs some structural repair.”

    There is still no set date for the Arena's demolition, but county leaders hope it happens sometime next year.

    Hennessey says the Life Church is not interested in building a new building.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A police dog is credited with helping discover a backpack with cash and marijuana in a home on Green Bay's west side.

    Green Bay Police were called to a domestic dispute in the 700 block of Northern Avenue Monday morning.

    While inside, officers saw and smelled small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    Police Captain Kevin Warych says as officers were finishing up with the couple, their suspicions were confirmed.

    "Before the parties were able to seperate, the female party brought marijuana to the officers claiming it belonged to the male."

     As the man was getting ready to leave, officers stopped him while they searched the house.

    Police dog Pyro found a backpack, which contained small bags totaling a half-pound of marijuana, a digital scale and $13,000 in cash.

    "K-9's can do things officers can't, Warych said. An officer would not have been able to smell or detect that if it wasn't for K-9 Pyro."

    Police are recommending several charges against 25-year-old Seth VanDenHoven, including possession with the intent to deliver THC, and keeping a drug house.


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  • 05/22/18--17:00: Moving Students In Manitowoc
  • MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ-WLUK)- The Manitowoc school board unanimously voted to restructure the district schools Tuesday night.

    The vote approves moving sixth graders to the existing junior high schools, which will now be considered Middle Schools.

    Ninth graders would go to Lincoln High School and Elementary school would be Kindergarten through 5th grade.

    District Superintendent Mark Holzman says the reason for the change comes down to enrollment.

    "We thought our enrollment trend would stabilize a bit, but continued to lose kids, he told Fox 11. Maybe 20 a-year which isn't huge for a 5,000 student population."

    He says however, ten years at that rate equals 200 students, so it was something that had to look at.

    Holman said they needed to look at the issue internally to be most effective.

     

    The changes will go into effect next school year.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK)- Many questions still remain unanswered as Green Bay Police are trying to determine what kind of dog bit a five-year-old child on the west side of Green Bay last week.

    Humane Officer Mallory Meves says, they believe the dog is an exotic wolf hybrid.

    Meves came across the dog last Thursday while responded to reports of a dog bite at a residence in Green Bay. 

    "(On) May 16 a 5-year-old child in the city limits at a west side address. I then went out the next day and discovered that the child was bit by a wolf hybrid," said Meves.

    The owner of the dog, Brian Schoen, was issued multiple citations.

    "By state law any animal that has bitten someone must be reported. The gentleman fled town with one of three dogs that were likely wolf hybrids to another location so he was cited for keeping more than two dogs and then also for keeping an exotic animal," Meves said. 

    If blood tests determine the dog to be a wolf hybrid, it is likely it will be euthanized.

    "Now if it's a wild animal, most veterinarians will require the euthanasia of the animal, and that is done by decapitation of the animal and having its brain material sent in for testing of the brain tissue," Meves said. 

    If test show that the animal is only a dog, Meves said it can be returned to its owner. 


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  • 05/23/18--00:00: Boaters Be Aware Of Dredging
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ)- With the start of summer boating season, comes reminders about boating safety.

    As boaters hit the water this weekend, spokesperson of the Fox River Clean Up Project Scott Stein says dredging operations are back underway, and that means boaters need to be aware of their surroundings.  "This is the tenth year for the dredging and capping operation, but the equipment moves around."  Stein says even though the operation moves, the only way to be safe is to look out for areas that are well marked.  "We have markers and buoys out there to make sure people are aware of their location."  Barges are in the process of dredging PCB's from the river, and boaters should pay attention to what is around them.   Danger Pipeline signs mark the areas where the pipeline work is being done.  Along with watching for markers, Stein says boaters should stay within the reds and greens buoys, wear life vests and travel at safe speeds.  

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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Unemployment in Wisconsin is as low as its ever been with a rate of 2.8 percent in April.

    But there's a downside to it that many don’t think about as some businesses are having trouble finding employees.

    The general manager of Cinders in Appleton tells FOX 11 they made a decision that wasn’t easy.

    “We decided to close on Sundays. We've been actually thinking about it for a long time.”

    Even with a large sign outside, Lynda Vandenboogart says the restaurant is still having trouble finding workers.

    “There’s not a lot of people that are applying.”

    Vandenboogart has been with the company since it opened 12 years ago.

    She says her employees are adjusted to working short-staffed but everyone needs a day off.

    “All of the businesses are hiring, all fighting for the same employees basically.”

    Another longtime Appleton business, Mary's Family Restaurant, says it's closing one of its two locations because it can't find enough employees.

    "The strain now is showing on the other end,” said James Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board.

    “And when businesses can’t find the people that they need, then they go away."

    Golembeski checked the agency's website on Tuesday. It showed listings for 1,011 food prep and service jobs in Northeast Wisconsin and it's not just restaurants looking for workers.

    “Jobs are not filled are up and down the spectrum,” said Golembeski. “From high paid engineering, to high paid IT people, down to that basic level in the grocery store, in the food and beverage industry."

    He says the best and quickest solution: attract people to the area.

    But every business must decide what to do when faced with the shortage.

    “It's a pretty common thing right now for restaurants to be able to keep up. Changing their hours or closing for a day,” said Golembeski.

    A side dish of challenge to go along with the main course of low unemployment rates.

    Vandenboogart believes customers have been understanding about being closed on Sundays.


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    NEENAH (WTAQ-WLUK) - The last of the buoys are out just in time for Memorial Day weekend in Winnebago County.

    High waters delayed setting out some of those safety markers.

    As Christopher Krohn prepares to take his boat out, he tells FOX 11 it's good to see buoys are finally in the Neenah and Menasha channel after nearly a month delay.

    "I just want to make sure I'm safe and the people I take are safe. Really, we see other boaters get stuck here all the time when the buoys weren't out and I don't want to be that guy getting rescued by the sheriff's department."

    Buoys show which side of a channel is safest to travel. Generally, green buoys must be passed on the left side and reds on the right side.

    Winnebago County Parks Director, Robert Way said the delay comes after heavy rainfall and fast currents.

    "The lake system filled up and the Army Corp needs to leave that off up in the Menasha channel, in particular. So that raises the water and the current in that system in that channel, which makes it unsafe for the buoys to go in that channel."

    Way told FOX 11 when the current is running as hard as it has through the channel, installation of the buoys off a fixed barge is next to impossible.

    He said for safety's sake, on a year-in-year-out basis, both the county and the contractor agree that buoys are not to be stationed in the Menasha channel until several of the gates are shut and the current drops to a safe level.

    Although the markers are finally out, Captain Amos Mikkelson with the Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue urge boaters to take precautions.

    "Don't celebrate too much on the water. Make sure you have all your life safety gear and all those things with you. It's important that you know your boat well and your waterways."

    Winnebago County expects both the cone-shaped and cylindrical shaped buoys will be replaced in about five years.


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The Ashwaubenon Village Board passed the new ordinance Tuesday night, which will fine people for causing problems after they've had too much to drink.

    Chief Eric Dunning of the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department tells FOX 11 it's a way to punish drunks that are causing enough issue to warrant an officer's response, but not at a level where they should be taken to jail.

    “It’s kind of a consequence of maybe having a good time that night and maybe on Monday morning you wake up going ‘boy there is that citation’ and ‘I’m not going to do that one again."

    Some examples of behavior that would warrant the new citation are someone trying to re-enter a bar after being kicked out, calling 911 for a ride because they’re too drunk to walk, falling down and needing help walking, being passed out in public, fighting, and public urination.

    It is all behavior Dunning says does not rise to the level of disorderly conduct.

    “To book someone in jail, it’s a higher threshold to get them in, where this we come across the individual, or we get called to the business, and we handle the situation, try to resolve the situation and the ordinance violation would be issued at that time.”

    Dunning says the new rule isn’t just about Packers games, special events or any building in the area.

    Citations will start being issued in the next few weeks.

    A fine of $200 will be issued to first time offenders, with a $400 fine issued for any additional run-ins within the same year.

    When it comes to drinking, Stadium View Manager Amanda Watson tells FOX 11 most people know how to handle themselves.

    “99 percent of our customers aren’t the type that are going to go rolling out of here screaming and yelling and causing fight or doing anything like that.”

    Watson says Stadium View rarely sees the type of behavior that would warrant the new citation, partly because effort is made to not allow it inside.

    “They're seen at the door and let out very quickly.”

    Lambeau Field is Green Bay's jurisdiction.

    And while Green Bay doesn’t have a blanket ordinance like Ashwaubenon's, they do have one for public events.

    Problem drinkers during games could still face a fine of $880 for unlawful conduct.


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