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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - This Independence Day Heritage Hill in Allouez celebrated the way it knows best.

    "America's Picnic" ran through the day.

    The event celebrates the Fourth of July as well as the dedication of the park 40 years ago, in 1977.

    A ribbon-cutting was held at Heritage Hill, to welcome the new Children's Interactive Learning Center, fitting the park's theme "Come to play, stay to learn."

    Director Erin Conner says integrating education in the playground has an everlasting effect.

    "As an educator here at the park you know you worry about, how does it balance with the education component but because we put those education parts into the playground I think it's really adding a special part to the park that, like I said visitors and teachers can use as much as they want."

    Of course 'America's Picnic' also celebrated the nation's 242nd Birthday.


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    MENASHA, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - With thousands of boaters hitting waterways in Northeast Wisconsin, experts have a warning about aquatic health and the spread of invasive species.

    Some of those aquatic invaders may be caught in some uncommon places.

    At Jefferson Park in Menasha, people were busy launching and removing their boats.

    The Lake Winnebago landing is a busy place and volunteers with Clean Boats, Clean Waters are watching closely for invasive species.

    Cheryl Watson, Clean Boats Clean Waters Volunteer, tells FOX 11 she's on a mission.

    "We ask people to remove all vegetation from their boats and from their trailers. Make certain there's nothing attached at all."

    Bill Turriff used a reaching tool to pluck the plants off his boat and trailer Wednesday morning.

    "The Weeds. You have to pick the weeds off, which can be kind of grueling sometimes on blacktop crawling under your boat, picking the weeds off."

    "A little weed can do a lot of damage if it's not cleaned off and it's taken into another lake or brought into a lake," said Watson.

    And it's more than just the weeds.

    Chris Acy, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, tells FOX 11 in some areas of Lake Winnebago, blue-green algae are starting to bloom.

    "This is unusual that we're getting it this early."

    Acy says a warm sunny summer pushed the bloom ahead about a month.

    "We had a big rain event about a week ago, and that washed a lot of nutrients off farm fields, off parking lots everywhere, the runoff is going right into the lake. So all those nutrients are then fueling the system."

    Ingesting the bacteria can cause health problems in humans, and is toxic to pets.

    And Acy says aquatic invaders can hitchhike on places other than big boats.

    "They can get caught on lifejackets, they can get on kayakers' paddles, or maybe caught in some nook on your boat. Or even in the tracks of your shoes."

    This is the 10th Clean Boats, Clean Water Landing Blitz.

    Statewide, volunteers typically meet about 32,000 boaters a year.

    On the Lake Winnebago System, that number is about 1,200.


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  • 07/05/18--05:52: Search For Missing Boater
  • KEWAUNEE CO, WI (WTAQ) - Search crews in Kewaunee County are looking for a boater missing in Lake Michigan today.   

    Kewaunee County sheriff's deputies were called just before 11:00 last night and were told a boater, identified by the Coast Guard as Mark Wautelet, left to go fishing from Kewaunee Harbor Wednesday afternoon. 

    A Coast Guard helicopter crew later spotted the boat on the shoreline, but no one was on board.

    The search at this time is centered between Kewaunee and Algoma.

    Wautelet is described as being in his 30's, is approximately 6-feet tall, weighs 270 pounds and has brownish hair.


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    TOWN OF PITTSFIELD, WI (WTAQ) - Several animals were rescued from a home near Pulaski Thursday.

    Authorities were removing dogs, cats, snakes, and lizards from the home on Highway Y.

    Many of the animals were taken in by the Wisconsin Humane Society's Green Bay campus.


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    MARINETTE, WI (WTAQ) - Additional steps are being taken to solve a 42-year-old double murder in Marinette County.

    The Sheriff's Department says recent technology allowed them to develop a new composite photo of the suspect.

    The office will announce the developments on Monday, which is the 42nd anniversary of the murders.

    25-year-old David Schuldes and 24-year-old Ellen Matheys were killed while camping at McClintock Park on July 9, 1976. Matheys was sexually assaulted before she was murdered.

     

     


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  • 07/05/18--16:23: Sculptures For Churches
  • EGG HARBOR, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A chisel here, a cut there, head north on Highway 42 and maybe Jeff Olson, chipping away at a piece of Door County Limestone, will catch your eye.

    "When you get into it and polish it, it has a real... real nice finish to it," said Jeff Olson. 

    The unfinished piece sits outside a Catholic church in Egg Harbor.

    "The church is named St. John the Baptist so I thought it'd only be appropriate to have a statue of St. John the Baptist," said Rev. David Ruby of Stella Maris Parish.

    Ruby believes art in a church is meant to inspire and offered a brief overview of the man known as John the Baptist.

    "He didn't care about what he looked like on the outside. He was a mess most of the time, didn't have fancy clothes or fancy anything... he just simply tried to live a deeper relationship with God," Ruby said.

    As the sculpture continued to take shape, Thursday morning, Olson shared what the piece will look like once it's finished.

    "The traditional portraits of St. John the Baptist is he's in camel's hair clothing, with a leather belt and he eats honey," Olson said. 

    Now in his fourth day of carving, Olson works on the sculpture a few hours a day and early in the morning before it gets too hot.

    Ruby said the piece is more than just a statue and he hopes people understand what the saint represents.

    "He is centered in God and he feels comfortable in who he is but he's reaching out and saying I hope that you can experience this unconditional and perfect love of God," Ruby said.

    As Olson continued his work, he stopped to answer questions by occasional visitors.

    Olson also plans to carve statues at the five other churches within the parish.


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  • 07/05/18--17:02: Drowning In Florence Lake
  • FLORENCE, WI (WTAQ) - A Florence man has drowned after being pulled underwater by a cinder block.

    Deputies responded to Fisher Lake Tuesday afternoon after witnesses reported that a 39-year-old man was swimming and attempted to move a cinder block on a raft.

    They say the block was attached to a buoy and rope and the man's foot became entangled.

    Rescuers were able to pull the man to shore, but he was pronounced dead.


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    MENASHA, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A bicycle rider in Menasha has quite the story, after Wednesday’s 4th of July fireworks celebrations.

    Her ride home took a dangerous turn as she pedaled past the crossing gates of a working drawbridge on Racine Street.

    Police say the Menasha woman was riding her bike as the bridge was opening.

    Witness Ann Minton tells FOX 11 the woman was going fast and rode in between and past the crossing gates.

    “My husband had yelled out the window, 'You better slow down, the bridge is open!' and she just didn't slow down."

    The woman then fell into the gap between the bridge approach area and the bridge span.

    Bridge tenders were made aware of the incident and didn't move the span until the area was clear.

    Although they have no medical records yet to support it, police believe alcohol may have played a role in the incident, because City of Menasha Police Department community liaison specialist John Wallschlaeger tells FOX 11 the woman admitted to having been drinking.

    "She obviously saw the gates enough to navigate around them, but maybe because alcohol impairs judgment, she didn't realize the danger that was associated with it and made a poor choice.”

    Minton, a trained CPR technician, along with a few other good Samaritans came to the bicyclist's aid and helped free her and her bike. They continued care until police arrived.

    “You just do it, I mean it’s not much more than just doing what you gotta do."

    Police say while several good Samaritans came out to help the woman, only one actually jumped in to pull her out.

    "There were other people there; they didn't jump in that trench,” Wallschlaeger said.

    “And so, this person went over and above and beyond, and we're thankful for that. It speaks highly to the community, you know, the Fox Cities, and a person's willingness to put themselves in danger to render aid like that."

    According to police, the woman's bicycle kept her from falling through and into the river. They say it may have been what saved her life.

    The woman was taken to the hospital where she was treated for facial injuries.

    The incident remains under investigation.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Jesse McComb was charged Thursday for allegedly stabbing two people earlier this week.

    A $500,000 cash bond was set at an initial appearance Thursday. He returns to court July 16th for a preliminary hearing.

    According to the criminal complaint, McComb became upset with Mark Haima outside a bar after unsuccessful trying to buy a cigarette from Haima.

    McComb then allegedly stabbed Haima and Michelle Gebauer. Another bar patron then came to the victims’ aid, punching McComb and knocking him out.

    Haima was stabbed three times: twice in the abdomen and once on the arm. Gebauer was stabbed twice in the abdomen, the complaint states.

    The criminal complaint suggests that McComb talked to police, however, no comments or recounting of the incident from his point of view are included in the document.

    If convicted of the two counts, McComb faces up to 120 years in prison.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - A driver, fleeing two attempted traffic stops, drove through north side yards; striking a fence and a squad car before being taken into custody.

    Appleton Police Officers were dispatched to a suspicious incident in the 300 block of W. Pershing Street on July 5, 2018, at 10:25 PM.

    The first officers on the scene saw a black vehicle traveling down the north side sidewalk of W. Pershing Street.

    The vehicle speed was estimated to be in excess of 35 miles-per-hour. The vehicle entered the roadway at N. Appleton Street, continuing northbound at a high rate of speed.

    The vehicle stopped temporarily in the 500 block of W. Wieland Avenue. As officers attempted to contact the driver, he drove over a curb and through a yard. The vehicle drove through a fence before getting on E. Northland Avenue.

    A short time later, the suspect vehicle began to tailgate an Appleton Police Department officer’s squad at N. Meade Street and E. Glendale Street.

    The officer reported the driving behavior and additional officers responded to attempt to stop the vehicle.

    When squads attempted to box in the vehicle, the driver quickly accelerated and turned into the front of one of the squads. The squad was disabled due to the crash. The officer was not injured.

    The suspect attempted to elude the officers; however, he crashed the vehicle at E. Glendale Avenue and N. Viola Street.

    The driver fled the vehicle on foot. He was apprehended by officers a short time later.

    25-year-old James R. Skogman, an Appleton resident, was confined at the Outagamie County Jail on a Probation Violation.

    Officers are continuing to investigate the incidents with additional charges to be referred upon completion of the investigation.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay police have arrested two men and two juveniles they believe are responsible for a series of tire slashing and graffiti reports.

    Police say since May, they've received 20 reports of tire slashing and nine reports of graffiti on both east and west sides of the city.

    Green Bay Police Captain Kevin Warych said an investigation into an unrelated crime led to tips on a rash of vandalism in the city. 

    "That information led investigators to develop intel, not only on the suspect that they had but three other suspects."

    Investigators learned the man, along with three others, were responsible for 12 of the tire slashing reports, twice at two residences, and eight of the graffiti reports.

    "We just knew where it was happening, but learned that the victims were not targeted and the locations were random as well."

    "He says the graffiti included inappropriate content.

    Police say they are recommending multiple criminal damages to property charges against the suspects.

    They are also working to determine whether the four are responsible for all the reported incidents.


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    PULASKI, WI (WTAQ) - Pulaski School will host members of the Wisconsin National Guard.

    Soldiers from the 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry will stay for a couple of days while they are en route to a training at Camp Greyling in Michigan.

    Residents may notice uniformed military personnel and military vehicles around the school, but school district officials say there is no need for concern.

    During the stay, the school district is providing meals and a resting place for the soldiers. 


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  • 07/06/18--13:22: New Ramps To Aid Traffic
  • FOX CROSSING, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - After four decades, a major highway interchange in the Fox Valley is closer to being finished.

    The state Department of Transportation says the ramps from northbound Interstate 41 to westbound Hwy. 10 and eastbound Hwy. 10 to northbound I-41 are set to open mid-morning on Saturday.

     The interchange connecting 41 with the Roland Kampo Memorial Bridge to Menasha opened in the 1970s without the two ramps. It's been a longtime inconvenience for drivers; for example, people going to the Fox River Mall from the Waupaca area have had to exit Hwy. 10 and go through city streets to reach their final destination.

    The new construction is part of a larger project to expand Hwy. 10/441, straighten out some curves and rebuild several interchanges.

    Drivers like Derrick Huss says it's about time the orange barrels go away. 

    "Pretty cool its opening back up, it'll save me a little time in the morning for sure," said Huss.

    "It's a huge milestone," said Mark Roesler with the Wisconsin DOT. "It's kind of exciting to be a part of, it's kind of the big opening."

    Roesler said his department didn't believe there was a need for the ramps until westbound 10 expanded about 20 years ago.

    "We're hoping it helps the traffic flow a lot better, it gives drivers more options now to go west or come from the west and go north, help alleviate some traffic on local streets by getting them up on the highways," explained Roesler.

    Not only did Roesler say the new ramps benefit drivers, it could also bring growth to the area.

    "These 2 missing movements, it really allows traffic to get west on 10 and come from westbound 10 and have the option to go anywhere in the valley, in my opinion, it allows expansion to the west and it should help the communities, that way help allow businesses to kind of grow."

    Although there's still work left to do, Roesler said it's worth celebrating.

    "Its progress and people have been waiting for the progress for a while and it's good to be a part of," said Roesler.

    The rest of the interchange will open on the 16th.

    The entire project is not expected to be complete until next year.


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  • 07/06/18--14:35: Snow Still Hanging On
  • APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Inside Appleton's Yellow Ramp a little snow remains from the winter. 

    "Happened to be up on one of the higher floors one day and happened to look down and noticed there was still snow."

    JP Heim snapped a photo and shared it with the city of Appleton.

    The cities Chad Doran says the Christmas in July image has been widespread.

    "Just knowing that, even in Wisconsin where we get a lot of snow and it can hang out, you know, a long time. I thought, man, people are going to get a kick out of this. So, I shared his tweet on our Twitter page and then I posted it on our Facebook page as well and it sort of just took off from there."

    He says it has become a tourist attraction.

    "People are coming over here to just check it out and take pictures and we get people almost on a daily basis that will tweet us a photo of this now."

    The snow is not expected to last too much longer.


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    SUAMICO, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - People heading north ran into traffic trouble in Brown County Friday afternoon.

    No one was hurt, but a tipped-over backhoe on Highway 41 caused a backup for more than three miles for about three hours. It happened near the Sunset Beach Road exit in Suamico at about 7 a.m.

    “We're lucky nobody got hurt out here,” said Matt Ternes, the DOT’s project manager.

    The backhoe is part of a highway resurfacing project happening from Lineville Road to just south of the Brown County line.

    “The incident occurred as the operator was lifting a temporary traffic barrier, and we are working to determine what led to the incident,” said Susan Strand in a statement. Strand is a spokesperson for Zenith Tech, a company working on the project.

    “The backhoe probably just reached a little bit too far and it ended up tipping over,” said Ternes.

    The DOT says traffic didn't start backing up until noon, several hours after the backhoe tipped over. Ternes believes that is because that's when traffic normally picks up on a Friday.

    “It’s not every day you see a backhoe tipped over so people tend to slow down in a work zone, to begin with so anything that is out of the norm just increases that,” said Ternes.

    Extra holiday travelers didn’t help either. Luckily for some, they just avoided any delay.

    “Sometimes timing is everything, so glad that’s cleaned up and hopefully it should be smooth sailing the rest of the way,” said Greg Mcquillan, who was traveling with his family from Wauwatosa to Marquette, Michigan.

    The incident isn't expected to delay the resurfacing work. It's expected to be complete in mid-November.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - This week, St. Willebrord Church is hosting around 30 people a night who would otherwise have nowhere else to go.

    “It just ensures that in inclement weather with thunderstorms or heavy rain or heat that people have, once again, a safe place to go at night,” said Alexia Wood, shelter director for Saint John the Evangelist.

    It’s part of the new COTS Program.

    While St. John’s shelter is not permitted to operate over the summer, local churches are rotating and giving people a place to sleep.

    Wood tells Fox 11 most of the referrals come directly from the police department.

    “They see individuals sleeping on the streets at night.”

    Green Bay Metro Fire said in a statement there are a few concerns about constantly changing shelters.

    “Housing of the homeless in churches that do not contain the proper life safety systems places the residents, volunteers, and emergency personnel at risk.”

    Wood says, in response, Saint John’s officials would like to move the COTS program to their shelter.

    “Instead of trying to get that information out to many patrol officers. Instead, it’s one location, they know where to bring people to, and the fire department would know where to respond to.”

    Fire officials are asking shelter leaders to apply for a city permit to house homeless people at Saint John's during months when the shelter is currently closed.

    Alderman Randy Scannell tells Fox 11 he hopes the shelter can come to an agreement with the city on Monday.

    “I’m hoping that we've worked our way past some of the issues. “I'm hoping that we'll take positive steps going forward.”

    Wood said this is not the same as the winter program.

    “It’s simply a place to sleep. The COTS model is very different than shelter programming in the winter.”

    Scannell said this is only a temporary solution to a larger issue.

    “The big goal is to find something more permanent for everyone. If this is what it takes in the meantime, I fully support that, but the big goal is to get everyone some permanent housing.”

    Wood says it all comes down to this...

    “The reality is when the doors of St. John’s Shelter close April 30, there certainly are still individuals seeking shelter."


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Green Bay Metro Fire is investigating why a fire started in a garage on the city's east side Sunday morning.

    Firefighters get the call to 513 Goodell St just after 4, where the detached garage was engulfed in flames.

    Officials say one person inside the home got out, and three people from the neighboring house were on the first-floor porch of their house, as their front door was too close to the fire so they couldn't get out.

    They were rescued with a ladder.

    The garage and car inside were destroyed, damage estimated at $100,000.

    The neighboring home received moderate damage to its siding.


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    BELLEVUE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A 51-year-old Bellevue man died after his truck crashed into another truck in Bellevue Saturday morning.

    Just before 8, the Brown County Sheriff's Office was called to the intersection of Eaton and Grandview roads in Bellevue.

    A truck going south didn't stop at a stop sign and another truck going east hit the other truck.

    The 51-year-old driver was going east, was trapped in his truck, and needed additional help to be removed. He was not wearing his seatbelt, according to deputies.

    The other driver, a 19-year-old man from Bellevue, was taken to a Green Bay hospital with a lower back injury.

    Eaton Road was closed for hours while deputies investigated the crash.


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    PESHTIGO, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - On their way to training camp in Grayling, Michigan, the Army National Guard troops from Wisconsin are making stops along the way to refuel.

    “We got a big enough parking lot and they stopped and asked us and we said you can use what you need,” said Eugene Frank, the owner of Express Eagle and a Vietnam Veteran.

    Throughout Saturday about a hundred military vehicles pulled in to the Eagle Express Truck Stop in Peshtigo.

    Frank tells FOX 11 there's a fitting irony to this.

    "If you'll notice the name is Eagle Express and I was with the first cavalry and my best friend who got killed in Vietnam was with the First Screaming Eagles, so that's how we came up with the name,” said Frank.

    “We just expected to run into the truck stop, grab some stuff and be back on the road,” said Matt Jacobs.

    Jacobs is with the 105th Cavalry Regiment and spoke to FOX 11.

    “It’s still nice to see veterans come out and support younger veterans in the community who are still doing the work for the US and the state of Wisconsin.”

    “I had a tough time over there and I just want to give back,” said Frank.

    Fifteen hundred brats will be served to members of the Army National Guard in just 3 days

    Frank says it's what keeps him going. As he served them their meals, he made sure to thank them for their service.

    Lt. Col. Raymond Ripberger tells FOX the gesture means a great deal.

    “The troops really do appreciate it not just for the free food. Just to know that people pay attention they care and they're willing to give up a Saturday to come here and do this thing.”

    But not all were surprised. Command Sgt. John Dietzler is from the area.

    “It doesn’t surprise me. The northeast area is always big supporters of the military. Anytime we’re going anywhere be it deployment or training.”

    As troops from around Wisconsin make their way to Grayling, Frank wants them to know, from one vet to another, they’re appreciated.

    Some of the troops spent the weekend on the grounds at Pulaski High School.


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  • 07/08/18--10:48: More Cave Kids Rescued
  • CHANG RAI, THAILAND (METRO) - There are reports that eight boys have now been brought out of a flooded cave in Thailand. 

    Divers rescued four boys yesterday, more than two weeks after 12 members of a soccer team and their coach got trapped in a popular cave complex in northern Thailand. 

    Another four boys have reportedly been rescued today. 

    The rescued boys have been rushed to hospitals where they're being treated for dehydration, malnutrition, and other effects of being trapped underground for 15 days. 

    Rescue teams are continuing to work to bring the remaining boys and their 25-year-old coach.


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