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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The Capitol Civic Centre in Manitowoc has embarked on a campaign to raise $2.5 million.

    The project is called "Act Two: A Vision for the Capitol's Second Century."

    The project will allow for new house seating, additional restrooms, and an expanded lobby.

    While similar in style and decor, the new main floor lobby bar design will be revised to accommodate multiple serving station opportunities to better serve patrons pre-show, during intermission, and for special receptions and events held in the Mertens Family Lobby/Kadow Movie Museum and Salutz Family Lobby.

    Capitol Centre executive director, Matthew Schliesman, give FOX 11 a timeline.

    "We're looking at having the work start late this summer. It'll be in different phases but we'll do a lot of the construction this fall. A lot of it will happen behind existing walls or above us."

    The theater, which will celebrate its 97th birthday on June 16, was opened as Ascher Brothers' Capitol Theatre.

    The theater underwent a major renovation in 1987 and reopened as the Capitol Civic Centre.

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  • 06/07/18--02:46: Back In The Saddle Again
  • NEENAH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - An equine therapy center in Neenah is back in business after Blizzard Evelyn caused some damage.

    Beaming Inc. provides horse therapy for people with special needs, as well as veterans.

    It was less than 2 months ago when a spring blizzard caused the rooftop at Beaming Inc. to collapse.

    “It was, thankfully, not an instructional day because it was 30 feet inside our arena where the collapse occurred," explained center director, Katie Samuelson.

    Samuelson tells FOX 11 none of the therapy horses were injured, but she feared what would happen to the center, which they rent.

    “I felt that we were gonna be out of business for months."

    Because of the roof collapse, Samuelson says there was a lack of programming but donor dollars filled that gap.

    “The donations came in to take and fill the void to our lack of programming when we were not programming for our school systems."

    She said for the roof, it was the responsibility of the owner to fix. However, community businesses helped speed up the process.

    "Keller Construction and Trust Systems, out of Little Chute, came up and patched us up in 16 days, so we're proud to be back in business."

    Beaming will host the Blue Jean Ball event on August 11th. The free event will have raffles, music, and food.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Recently, a painted rock was found with a razor blade rubber-banded to it.

    There is a popular children's activity, where you look for, and try to find painted rocks.

    The national movement is called the 'Kindness Rocks Project'.

    "By painting rocks and placing and hiding them in different places," said Gina Anderson.

    "People can find them and hopefully bring a little bit of happiness to their day."

    Anderson is the Program Manager at the Children's Museum in Green Bay.

    The activity has become popular with local youth groups and kid-play places. Including the Children's Museum.

    Anderson tells FOX 11....

    "It's supposed to bring kindness and spread joy to people," continued Anderson.

    Police are trying to figure out why someone would want to taint the game, with something dangerous, like a razor blade.

    A painted rock was discovered in the 200 block of N. Adams St. in Green Bay on June 5, 2018. Police say the rock had a razor blade attached to it.

    Capt. Kevin Warych says that suspicious item was the painted rock, with a razor blade attached to it.

    It was located in the bushes near the 200 block of S. Adams Street, on Tuesday.

    Authorities say a city employee who happened to be walking by found the rock.

    "Was very alerted by the rock because there was a rubber band around it," said Warych.

    "Then quickly realized someone had put a razor underneath the rubber band."

    No one was hurt by the razor blade.

    Wayrch tells FOX 11 the situation is a safety reminder for parents.

    "We want to inform, but we do not want to cause fear. We just want to make sure that people take a few extra seconds, and pause before they pick up something."

    "Always safety first. But we hope that this doesn't deter people from still wanting to spread kindness and joy," said Anderson.

    If you find any rocks similar to this one or have any information on the rock police found, you should call the Green Bay Police Department at (920) 448-3208.

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    BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Brown County leaders want to start gathering construction proposals next month for the county's possible multi-million-dollar jail expansion.

    In the meantime, taxpayers continue to pay more and more for inmates, who are being shipped to neighboring communities.

    Right now, Sheriff John Gossage tells FOX 11, 41 inmates that should be in Brown County's jail are sitting in jails in Oconto and Outagamie Counties.

    “As the summer months progress, it seems like those numbers get higher and higher and we get more congested.”

    For each shipped out inmate, it costs the county $45 per day. $700,000 is budgeted this year to house inmates in other counties.

    Sheriff John Gossage says the figures speak for themselves, and a jail expansion is needed.

    County supervisors were able to tour the jail Wednesday evening, to see for themselves.

    “It's a good educational experience for them,” said Gossage.

    It was an eye-opener for Brown County Supervisor Staush Gruszynski.

    “When we came in there we definitely saw a lot of folks that were sitting in kind of the temporary holding, especially when we were going through.”

    The jail expansion was projected to cost $20 million when the county board agreed last year to restart the half-percent sales tax.

    It is one of several projects the money collected is supposed to pay for.

    However, additional votes are needed to keep the expansion moving forward, and some supervisors are hesitant to dish out money for more jail space.

    “I can now understand going through the tour where our correction officers and our sheriff are coming from with the capacity issues,” said Gruszynski.

    “To me, it really highlights what we need to do on the front end, especially before pretrial to try to alleviate the situation.”

    Pat Buckley, a Brown County Supervisor, also appreciated the up-close look.

    “Do we want to see less people going to the jail? That would be great for the community. However, we do have a population issue in our jail.”

    If a request for proposals is sent out next month, county workers say the board should be able to vote on a construction proposal by early September.

    The expansion would add about 120 beds to the jail.

    The jail is currently at 93 percent capacity.

    However, some inmate groups are above capacity, and cannot mix with other groups that might have open beds, for example, high-risk inmates cannot be housed with inmates awaiting an initial court appearance.

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  • 06/07/18--02:59: Car VS Utility Police
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - An intersection on Green Bay's east side will be closed until mid-morning.

    Wisconsin Public Service is making repairs to a utility pole at the corner of Nicolet Drive and East Shore Drive after it was hit by a car Wednesday night.

    This is near the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

    The crash happened just before 10 p.m.

    The car then started on fire.

    Witnesses saw the car traveling at a high rate of speed on Nicolet Drive before the crash.

    Police say a 62-year-old Florida man admitted to drinking. He faces an operated while intoxicated charge.

    Two Green Bay residents helped pull the man from the burning vehicle.

    The driver suffered a serious arm injury.

    The area does have electricity, however, some cable and internet lines were damaged.

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  • 06/07/18--07:37: Train-Pedestrian Fatality
  • DALE, WI (WTAQ) - A man was killed after he was hit by a train this morning.

    The Outagamie County Sheriff's Department says the call came in just before 5:30, near the intersection of School and Shakey Lake roads in the town of Dale.

    The 24-year-old Hortonville man was flown to the hospital where he later died.

    Investigators say the man intentionally laid down on the tracks.

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  • 06/07/18--07:39: Cop Quest For Pop Tabs
  • APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Appleton Police Department is collecting pop tabs.

    It's all part of an effort to make a difference in the lives of families with sick children.

    The money from the pop tabs will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Milwaukee.

    And, the campaign was inspired by the department's own.

    In 2017, an Appleton police officer and his family lost a child to a rare medical condition.

    The officer and his family spent many nights at the Ronald McDonald House in Milwaukee and were grateful for the organization providing a place for them to stay during that time.

    A container will be set in the lobby of the police station at 222 S. Walnut Street. People can drop off pop tabs throughout the year.

    Police say they hope to fill the container annually.

    Since 2000, the Ronald McDonald House has raised more than $360,000 from the collection and recycling of pop tabs.

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  • 06/07/18--16:00: Next Step In Water Woes
  • SHAWANO (WTAQ-WLUK) --Local leaders are getting behind an effort to raise water levels on Shawano Lake.

    On Thursday, officials from the Shawano County, the City of Shawano and Village of Cecil, along with the state Department of Natural Resources, sent letters asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to change the water level at the Shawano Paper Mill Dam.  At a meeting Wednesday, DNR officials said the lake has been kept about six inches lower than its historical level.  The drawdown was the result of a complaint from a nearby landowner who was concerned about flooding issues.

    However, property owners on the lake say the low water levels are causing damage to boats.

    Local officials are also concerned about the impact on tourism.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK)- Green Bay Police Department found a special way to honor one of their own.

    A patrol boat that the Police Department got with a grant from the Wisconsin DNR hit the waters of the Fox River for the first time, but not before a dedication.

    The boat bears the badge number 165 on it, in honor of former Green Bay officer, Terry Halvorson, 56, who died in April of 2018 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Halvorson worked for the department from 1989 to 2014. He served as a marine officer from 2004 to 2013.

    Halvorson's widow, Carla Halvorson, says boat patrol was natural to him, growing up on the water in upper Michigan, and he would have been happy with the dedication.

    "I'm sure he is just really proud of his friends and colleagues," Halvorson says.

    Captain Kevin Warych spoke of Halverson's time in the department, and while he wore many hats, Warych said he would often be seen on the water.


    "Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, he was out here. He took the time away from his family to keep the waterways in the Green Bay area safe."

    He says it was the least they can do to remember one of their own.

    "He did have a lasting effect. Just like every police officer who wore that uniform for the last 20 to 30 years, they each had an effect on somebody, and officer Halverson had an effect on the Marine unit."

     Halvorson's family, including his young daughter were the first to ride in the boat. 

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  • 06/07/18--17:30: Longer Wait For Colburn
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK)- Some overdue upgrades are delaying the season opening of Colburn Pool.

    While many area pools will be open this weekend, Those that want to enjoy Colburn Pool will have to wait a couple of more days.

    James Anderson of the Green Bay Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department says the delay is to allow time for upgrades to the more than 50-year-old pool.

    "You see the wisdom and character in the pool, so over the last couple years we have been really working to find out what we are going to do with that pool."

    While some have been pushing for a plan that would replace the pool altogether, Anderson says money from the city has gone into phase one projects that are needed to get the pool up and running.

    "We had to do some electrical work, replace the heaters, caulking, painting and really get it up and running for the summer. We then look to do phase two which will really give it a face lift."

    For several years, supporters of rebuilding Colburn had been pushing a multi-million dollar plan to replace the entire pool. 

    In March the city finally agreed to invest no more than $200,000 into the pool to complete "phase one" of a long term project. 

    "We've already started filling it and everything is complete. It takes about five days to fill, treat and heat the pool, and make it safe for people to come in."

    Anderson says "phase two" of the project will include renovations to the concession stand, and locker rooms but is not sure when that will be complete. 

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    MARINETTE, WI (WTAQ)- A Little Chute business education teacher has been charged with third degree sexual assault for allegedly giving alcohol to a 16-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her.

    45-year-old Jason LaVigne was in Marinette County Court Thursday, representing himself.

    According to the complaint, LaVigne went to a cabin in Stephenson with his daughter and her friend last Saturday.

    The group decided to take a pontoon ride, where he allegedly gave the two girls some drinks. 

    According to the complain, Lavigne's daughter was sleeping. He allegedly docked the pontoon and sexually assaulted the 16-year-old friend. 

    LaVigne is scheduled to be back in court June 25.

    LaVigne has been a teacher at Little Chute High School since 1997.

    He was placed on administrative leave Wednesday.

    A judge set bail at $25,000.

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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it will use aircraft and ground-based officers to enforce traffic and safety laws along WIS 23 in Fond du Lac County today.

    “We publicly announce many of these initiatives because our goal is not to simply stop and cite drivers, but to encourage motorists to voluntarily comply with traffic laws at all times,” said Captain Ryan Chaffee with the State Patrol’s Fond du Lac Post.

    “With another busy travel season underway, we want everyone to reach their destinations safely. This requires all motorists to watch their speed, be patient and alert every time they get behind the wheel.”

    State Patrol says its aircraft use highway markings and a timing device, known as VASCAR, to determine vehicle speeds.

    If an aerial officer notices a driver violating a speed or traffic law, it will notify a ground-based officer to initiate a traffic stop.

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    MADISON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Farmers in nearly three-quarters of Wisconsin counties -- including all of Northeast Wisconsin -- may be eligible for emergency loans to help recover from the April blizzard.

    Gov. Scott Walker's office says low-interest emergency loans are available from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

    In the wake of the April 13-15 storm, Walker toured Northeast Wisconsin farms to assess the damage.

    The blizzard dropped around two feet of snow across much of the area.

    “Wisconsin’s farmers are a key part of our state’s economy, our history, and our future,” Walker said in a news release.

    “We’re happy to announce that new resources may be available for farmers to help them overcome the damages from April’s snow storms. We are always listening to the needs of our farmers and look forward to working with them in the future to support our farming industry.”

    The disaster designation covers these primary counties: Barron, Brown, Burnett, Door, Dunn, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Marinette, Monroe, Oconto, Outagamie, Polk, Portage, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Trempealeau, Washburn, Waupaca and Wood. In addition, farmers in these neighboring counties are included: Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Dodge, Douglas, Eau Claire, Florence, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Menominee, Pepin, Pierce, Price, St. Croix, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vernon, Washington, Waushara and Winnebago.

    Farmers have eight months to apply for loans.

    For more information, farmers should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.

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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ)- A Little Chute teacher is back in jail after violating conditions of his bond, one day after he was released.

    45-year-old Jason LaVigne is charged with sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl. 

    He was released on a $25,000 dollar bond Thursday and was told he couldn't attend his son's graduation celebration since his bond conditions prohibited him from having contact with juveniles that are not his children.

    Police became informed Friday that LaVigne attended the Appleton West graduation Thursday night.

    He was arrested in his Grand Chute home Friday morning and could face bail jumping charges.

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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ)- A third-grade student at Valley View Elementary School in Ashwaubenon ended the school year in a big way.

    Evelyn Nesvacil was named a semifinalist in the National Handwriting Contest.

    The school recognized her efforts on Friday.

    She says good handwriting runs in her family as her older sister Grace won the competition in 2016.

    "My mom and big sister, they're both really good at handwriting, so I don't know, maybe I just have it in my blood or something," Nesvacil told Fox 11. "She would take a look at my handwriting and make sure it looked good and stuff."

    A total of ten students were chosen as semifinalists.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ)- The 42nd Annual Bellin Run is Saturday, and with it comes a new way to follow it.

    New technology has been added to this years run.

    Linda Maxwell, Assistant Race Director says a simple download of the RaceJoy app can help runners and spectators through the day.

    "Every mile they can get updates on their time and pace. Spectators can also track them with a GPS tracker and send cheers."

    Maxwell says those cheers can be audio clips that the runners can play while running.

    For spectators looking to catch a sight of their favorite runner, the app allows them to find them in the crowd.

    "If it is turned on, they get an alert when their runner is close to them."

    The event is truly a spectator sport. 

    Maxwell says while the start and finish line are exciting places to be, there is a benefit to positioning yourself in the middle of the course.

    "We really encourage our spectators to be out in the middle of the course, because that is where the runners really need it."

    The Bellin run is the 8th largest 10k in the county.

    About 13,000 are taking part today.

    "To be the 8th largest 10k in the country, when we have a population the size that we have is really something special," said Linda Maxwell, Bellin Run assistant race director. 

    The first Bellin 10K Run was held on June 12, 1977, when it was known as the Bellin Heartwarming Run.

    Three recent champions are returning for this year's run.

    Click Here to learn more about the app.

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    BROWN COUNTY (WTAQ-WLUK) - The deaths of two well-known celebrities come at a time when federal health officials say suicide rates have drastically increased.

    In a report released by the CDC it said suicides had increased by 25 percent in the last decade with nearly 45,000 people taking their own life in 2016

     Those alarming statistics are why many advocates like Barb Bigalke with the Center for Suicide Awareness have been encouraging people to seek help.

    "We still have that stigma that if we ask for help its a sign of weakness and it's not, It's a sign of strength and we all struggle," said Bigalke. "When we talked about people that have actually attempted suicide and lived they talk about that unclear thinking and they didn't see their loved ones and all of those reasons to have for living," she said.

    Dealing with the aftermath of a loved one taking their own life is something a Green Bay funeral home director said he deals with first hand.

    "Sadly enough in 2016 there were 47 suicides in the Green Bay community and sometimes families come in at a complete loss because it's something that they didn't see their loved one going through and weren't prepared to dealing with," said Sean Smith the funeral director of Newcomer Funeral Home.

    Smith said he believes providing support and resources for those families can also help others and save the life of someone else. 

    "It's also important for families to understand that it's nothing to be ashamed of and that their story can help somebody else," said Smith.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ)- A former Seymour teacher and girls basketball coach was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of attempting to meet up with a 15-year-old for sex.

    35-year-old Nicholas Darnick was placed on probation for four years.

    The judge says if he completes probation successfully, the felony count of child enticement would be dropped.

    The conditions include not taking a teaching job or renewing his teaching license or taking any coaching positions.

    Police say Darnick chatted with them online, thinking they were a teenage girl. 

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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ)- The Packers will debut their traveling exhibit at Lambeau Field Live at Summerfest in Milwaukee.

    The exhibit is part of the Packers 100th season celebration.

    It includes activities, interactive Play 60 opportunities and meet-and-greets.

    “We’re excited to be bringing the Lambeau Field experience to fans all over Wisconsin with Lambeau Field Live this summer,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “Our historic home is a special place, and we’re looking forward to sharing it, as well as the history of the Green Bay Packers, with fans throughout the state as part of our 100 Seasons celebration.”

    Lambeau Field Live will be at Summerfest in Milwaukee from June 27 through July 8.

    From June 27 through June 29 it will be featuring Andre Rison.

    June 30th through July 1st will feature LeRoy Butler. Butler will also be with the exhibit July 3 and July 4. 

    Doug Evans will be featured July 5 through July 8.

    Other places to see the exhibit this summer

    Northern Wisconsin State Fair in Chippewa Falls from July 11 to July 15; featured alumni Paul Coffman on July 11-12 and Lynn Dickey on July 13-15.

    EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh from July 23 to July 29; featured alumni Antonio Freeman on July 23-26 and Robert Brooks on July 27-29.

    Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee from Aug. 2 to Aug. 12; featured alumni William Henderson on Aug. 2-4, Gilbert Brown on Aug. 5-8 and Dorsey Levens on Aug. 9-12

    Taste of Madison in Madison on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2; featured alumni Gary Ellerson Sept. 1-2.

     A ribbon cutting will take place June 12th at Lambeau Field. Fans can stop by until 1:00 p.m.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ)- School's out for summer in Green Bay

    Students at Chappell Elementary School participated in a field day. Students spent the afternoon running off end of the year energy with friends to close down the year.

    “The end of the year is here and you can tell they're excited, they are ready to go."

    Third grade teacher Kaitlyn Hintz says the work was all taken down from the halls and the kids packing up for the year was a good feeling for them.

    "Our students worked really hard this year and our staff did as well, so it's cool to see it all come together."

    As for the students like Audra Gabrielson, she is already making plans.

    "I am excited because I have a lot of fun things going on this summer."

    The district was able to make up time lost from the April Blizzard by extending each school day by eight minutes, rather than adding another day.

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