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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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  • 08/06/18--00:00: Businesses Go The Extra Mile
  • The Mile of Music wrapped up in Appleton, and the weekend event was a win for many.  

    Bringing in thousands of people to downtown Appleton kept businesses busy, and was an economic driver.   

    "It is so wonderful for all the local businesses."  

    Mary Rhodes, marketing manager for Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Center, says they expect over 75,000 people each year, and this year did not disappoint.  

    "It is just a huge boost and impact for the entire economic area."

    Several shops, bars, and restaurants are situated along a one-mile stretch of College Avenue, making it an economic driver.  

    "All these people are eating at our great local restaurants and shopping at our local shops."  

    Stores took advantage of the foot traffic by offering a bunch of sales over the weekend.

    Kara Manuel, Owner of Lillians of Appleton said she took advantage of all the foot traffic.

      "Anytime you can throw something out there to get people to say, gosh I need to get down and get to Lillians, that is a good thing."    

    The music festival alone brought in more than $3 million last year.

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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - Almost one month later, questions remain about the details that led to a fatal motorcycle crash in Shawano last month.

    Shawano Police are waiting for the State Patrol's reconstruction.   "That is a really detailed report."    

    Police Chief Dan Mauel says 31-year-old Justin Kleczka attempted to pass a truck, but made contact with the truck and lost control.   

    "We know what the vehicles did, but we need to know the cause of it."  

    Mauel says that report will explain the circumstances of the crash and will help bring closure to the family.  

    "Was there any alcohol involved? Was there any excessive speed involved or maybe equipment factors? "  

    The Shawano Community has been helping Klecka's wife and their five children. Over 15,000 dollars was raised to help the family.  

    "We know that this community is like that. Shawano is a great community."  

    Mauel added that the kind of response that the community gave does not come as a surprise.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A Wisconsin man woke with the symptoms of a fever last week, but it quickly morphed into a situation that forced him to have his hands and legs amputated.

    The culprit? Saliva from his own dog.

    Medical experts, such as Infection Prevention Team Leader Carol Bess from Bellin Health, are still trying to process this "crazy fluke."

    "I've never seen this," says Bess. "I've seen this type of reaction to other types of infections, but from this organism and from being licked from a dog, I've never seen that."

    The Wisconsin man had harmful bacteria from his dog's saliva get into his bloodstream, which then caused sepsis. "Sepsis" is any sort of blood poisoning that occurs from bacteria. 

    Bess says this occurrence isn't a reason for panic, but rather for an increase in caution and recognition is necessary.

    "It's just being aware of it," says Bess. "When you have signs that you are extremely ill, don't wait to have it treated." 

    Bacterial infections of any kind can be fatal and it's strongly advised to seek treatment if there are any concerns about a possible infection. 

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has announced the Donald Tilleman Bridge will be closed starting today and continuing through Friday.

    The bridge is closing in order for maintenance crews to replace one center lock and rehab the five remaining center locks on the bridge.

    The center lock system is in place to ensure the bridge stays in the down position when closed. 

    Motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to use Walnut Street or Main Street to cross the Fox River. 


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  • 08/06/18--07:43: The Fleet Is In
  • STURGEON BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Two U.S. Coast Guard boats will welcome guests on deck for tours in Door County throughout the week.

    The U.S. Coast Guard cutters Escanaba and Neah Bay will be in Sturgeon Bay for the city's annual Maritime Week.

    It's a chance to tour some boats not normally found in the area.

    Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrew Michaels says they already welcomed in the cutter Escanaba which is bigger than most ships they see.

    "She has the ability to house aircraft on her decks and she can also have them inside a hanger."

    Later in the week, tours will be available for the Neah Bay, a large ice-breaking tugboat from Cleveland, Ohio.

    Michaels says one thing that stands out is the state of the art technology that these older boats have.

    "It is a 35-year-old cutter, so people think that they still have old technology, but a lot of time they go through a technology upgrade as technology changes."

    The Neah Bay tours will be throughout the day on Wednesday and Friday

    The 270-foot Escanaba is based in Boston.

    The cutter is named after its predecessor.

    The original USCGC Escanaba was stationed in Grand Haven, Michigan until the start of WWII.

    It was sunk by either a mine or enemy torpedo on June 13, 1943 while escorting a convoy between Greenland and Newfoundland.

    Neah Bay will arrive Wednesday and have tours from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday and Friday.

    The ship can continuously cut through 20 inches thick and break ice up to three feet thick.

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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Fox Crossing Municipal Judge Leonard Kachinsky made an initial court appearance today on a felony count of stalking his clerk.

    Terms of his signature bond include no contact with the town officers, except to pay bills or for absentee voting.

    He also must submit a DNA sample.

    Kachinsky’s clerk alleges he harassed her and retaliated against her.

    Police and village staff reviewed emails, a voicemail, meeting notes and other records, according to the criminal complaint, documenting the interactions.

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suspended him as well.

    Kachinsky returns to court September 27th for a preliminary hearing.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay Packers hosted their annual Bike Rodeo with Bellin Health and local law enforcement on Monday at Lambeau Field.

    The event promotes bike safety with local officers conducting a safety obstacle course and 800 free bike helmets were distributed by Bellin Health.

    Bellin Health Community Outreach Specialist Megan Lehmann says one of their biggest goals is to not just give every kid a helmet but to ensure that it also fits correctly.

    "We had a family that was here and their son's helmet wasn't fitting him properly, so we got him a brand new one and they're on their way," said Lehmann.

    It might seem tricky to tell whether your child's helmet is fitting properly, but Lehmann claims there are a couple easy things to focus on.

    "When your helmet is fitting properly it'll be about two inches above your eyebrows and the straps that go along your ears should be a perfect V," explains Lehmann

    Kids also had an opportunity to take a turn navigating the redesigned obstacle course, which was staffed by the De Pere Police Department.

    Office Dennis Gladwell says he's been encouraged with the bike helmet trend recently.

    "We've seen a lot more of them [helmets]," said Gladwell. "Bellin is doing a great job communicating with the schools and getting them involved in bike safety as well."


    There were stations for kids to throw a football at targets, have their face painted green and gold, and attempt to have a Packer player ride their bike to practice. 

    Tony Curtis, from Menominee Falls, traveled with his son Nathan and daughter Delaine. They were hoping that a Packer player would pick their bike to ride to practice and they weren't being too picky.

    "Anybody wearing a Packer uniform will give them a thrill," said Curtis.

    Hopefully, both kids and Packers players alike will stay safe on their bikes this summer and remember to always look both ways. 

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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ) - Over 500 people in Neenah were told their employer had been sold on Monday, which now leaves them in a period of uncertainty.

    Bemis, a global manufacturer of packaging products, which is headquartered in Neenah and employs 515 people locally, was sold to Australian packaging company Amcor on Monday.

    The move may leave local employees feeling uncertain about their future, but Elizabeth Pritzl of Fox Cities Regional Partnership see's reason for optimism.

    "It appears that things should continue to grow here," said Pritzl. "When I did look at some of there past acquisitions that's how things went and there wasn't a lot of downsizing."

    The deal to purchase Bemis was $6.8 billion all-stock transaction.

    The two companies combining will create a global leader in consumer packaging. 

    Even with the change, Pritzl remains hopeful that the company will remain active in the town's culture.

    "They've been a big staple in seeing the community do well," said Pritzl. "For as long as I can remember, they've been a major part of the community."

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    OUTAGAMIE COUNTY (WTAQ) - Horse owners in and near Outagamie County are being asked to be on the lookout after a report of a suspicious individual last week.

    Deputies say a witness saw a person driving past her farm, looking at horses on Friday.

    She told deputies that she believed it to be Sterling Rachwal, a man who has been accused of having inappropriate contact with horses on multiple occasions.

    Officials confirmed that it was not Rachwal since he has a GPS bracelet that is being monitored. 

    Authorities are encouraging individuals to contact them if they witness any activity they deem to be suspicious. 

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    The meth battle in Wisconsin continues as Wisconsin Attorney General announced a cost effective and time effective way to clean up the waste.

    Brad Schimel was in Brown County Monday announcing the county as one of six sites for a new meth chemical storage container.

    He says the sites are necessary as law enforcement runs into unsafe hazardous waste when locating and shutting down meth labs.

    "Each pound of methamphetamine creates 5 to 6 pounds of hazardous waste. Five to six times the amount of meth is hazardous waste."

    Brown County Sheriff Chief Deputy Todd Delain says they already seized more meth this year than all of last year and they are taking a proactive approach to getting it off the streets.

    "Nearly every law enforcement officer in the state of Wisconsin is going to be trained to recognize what the waste material might be in a meth lab."

    He says trained officers will remove the waste properly rather than waiting for a company to do it, saving time and money.

    Currently, once a meth lab is discovered, the law enforcement agency has to call in a company to dispose of the waste and stay on scene until they arrive. Schimel says that costs money in the form of overtime pay as well as contracting for the job. 

    With the new system, officers nearby will be able to dispose of the waste and make the area more safe quicker than before.

    "The average meth lab cleanup costs about $3,000 dollars each, but with this system, the average cleanup costs drop to $300 dollars," Schimel says.

    In the last seven years, Wisconsin has seen a nearly 500 percent increase in people using meth.

    Delain says with the new system comes the reminder for community members to report what is suspicious and to not touch items that they find that may be related to meth use. 

    "We are asking people to report what appears to be meth production or meth lab waste," Delain said.

    Some common signs are cold medicine packages, 2-liter bottles or bottles with white powder or a red colored residue inside.

    He says if picked up, those can be agitated and explosive.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay Fire Department wants to make sure people still remember "Where there is smoke, there is fire."

    The U.S Cellular billboard on East Mason Street will be emitting fog as a way to attract attention to their message.  The billboard company has sent out a notice telling people that there is no emergency, but Shauna Wachholz of the Green Bay Metro Fire Department wants to make sure that people don't get used to that way of thinking, saying a real emergency is not out of the question.  "How old the billboard is and what electrical is up there, that could all possible start a fire."  Wachholz says even though the idea is for people to know about the fog and to ignore it, people still call in.  "I think every billboard in the area that uses this feature has been called in at least once.   Wachholz says while the idea is to understand that it is fog and there is no need to call, people should not feel wrong about doing what is right.  "If you think that it is on fire please call, it can happen."  The fire marshall has to sign off on each of the proposals for a fogging billboard, so the fire department knows where they are located.  The billboard is scheduled to be emitting smoke between 7:30 and 10:30 am and 4:00 to 7:00 pm each day.  Wachholz emphasized an emergency can still happen and if you feel it is worth the call, make it.


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  • 08/07/18--01:59: Fatal Crash Investigation
  • HOBART, WI (WTAQ) - A woman died in a two-vehicle crash in Brown County.

    It happened just before 1:30 Monday afternoon on Highway 29 at County Highway U in Hobart.

    Investigators report a car, driven by a 20-year-old Shawano man, was traveling east on Highway 29 when it struck another car traveling north on County Highway U, driven by a 77-year-old Minnesota woman.

    The passenger in the northbound car, a 72-year-old Milwaukee County woman, died at the scene.

    Authorities say speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Dozens of people showed up to the Executive Committee Meeting in Brown County last night, to continue discussions about marijuana.

    The committee did not take further action on the issue, but they did allow time for public comments.

    In July the board made a decision not to ask voters about legalizing recreational marijuana on the November ballot.

    That decision made some residents, like Laura Kiefert, upset.

    "I'm disgusted that they didn't ask the voters to weigh in on it, that was their job. Not to interject their own personal opinions of whether or not the board will support it."

    County Board supervisor Bernie Erickson was one of the members that voted no and tells FOX 11 he would never support the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana.

    "That's completely out for me! I've done a lot of study on it and once again I talked to the medical community and they say absolutely not."

    Erickson says he has been working on a resolution in support of the state regulating the drug for medical purposes in Wisconsin.

    "I had a resolution and it was not written properly so I pulled it. I will hold it for a couple of months until I get the proper wording and then I will bring it forward again."

    In November Brown County voters will be asked about the legalization of medical marijuana, however, the outcome of those results will have no effect on state law.

    Brown County will be among five counties that will ask some sort of marijuana referendum question in November.

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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - An Oshkosh-based company now owns the country's primary paper-straw manufacturer.

    Hoffmaster Group, makers of disposable tableware, closed a deal Monday to acquire Aardvark Straws in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    Within the last year, several cities have banned plastic straws. The move is designed to reduce pollution.

    For nearly 6 months, Becket's Restaurant, in Oshkosh has been trying to use fewer straws and more sticks.

    "If a drink requires stirring, it comes with a stir, if you want a straw all you have to do is ask," said Becket's owner, Kris Larson.

    Larson tells FOX 11 it helps reduce waste and pollution.

    But with the new deal Hoffmaster signed on Monday, Larson said he's thinking about stocking up with paper straws.

    "We buy lots of things from them already. I look forward to buying from their new acquisition from them as well, that sounds perfect."

    Hoffmaster Group took possession of 'Aardvark Straws', which is the only U.S. maker of paper straws and is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    "Ultimately Aardvark felt this was the best way to grow their company," said Hoffmaster Group's president, Rory Leyden.

    "There’s no question that the paper straw industry is growing rapidly in demand."

    Leyden told FOX 11, he believes the company's resources will help Aardvark production keep up with the skyrocketing demand.

    "We think we can double the output of the facility in Fort Wayne, over the course of the next six to nine months."

    Leyden said Aardvark's paper straws don't disintegrate, or get soggy. He said it's also naturally degradable, unlike plastic straws.

    "In North America, alone, there are 500 million plastic straws that are used every day."

    Because plastic straws are lightweight, Leyden said it can easily blow into waterways.

    "While we’re not close to the ocean, we’re close to Lake Michigan, which is a fantastic resource for the state."

    And as for some local business owners, they hope to be part of the solution.

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    GREENVILLE, WI (WTAQ) - It's National Night Out....a chance for police to mingle with the public and put a face behind the badge and to encourage neighbors to look out for each other and report suspicious activity.

    One of the gatherings is in Greenville where the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department, Greenville Fire, and others will play host at the Greenville Community Park from 4:30 to 7:30.

    "We can prevent crime and we can encourage people to be comfortable to the law enforcement that serves them."

    Outagamie County Sgt Nathan Borman says with gun violence, drugs and more on the rise...National Night out is more important than ever.

    "If we stick together, if we work together, law enforcement and the community."

    This event is held in all 50 states and has millions of neighbors participating nationwide.

    Greenville Community Park is near the intersection of STH 76 and STH 15.

    Also, members of the Green Bay Police Department, Chief Andrew Smith, and Mayor Jim Schmitt will be participating in National Night Out starting at 5 pm.

    Chief Andrew Smith stated, “National Night Out is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet and interact with neighbors from our neighborhood associations around the City. Many of the associations' host events where they have neighborhood gatherings, cookouts, and a general spirit of neighborly camaraderie.”

    Community Police Officers will be participating at various neighborhood association events around the city, while the Mayor and the Chief will be touring the City stopping in at the various gatherings citywide.

    Some of the event sites in Green Bay for National Night Out are listed below.

    Mather Heights Neighborhood Association

    Colburn Park Neighborhood Association

    Navarino Park Neighborhood Association

    Three Corners Neighborhood Association

    Red Smith Neighborhood Association

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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A newly expanded interchange in the Fox Valley could be named after a former state senate president.

    Governor Scott Walker announced his plans to name the I-41/U.S. 10/WIS 441 Interchange after longtime politician Mike Ellis.

    The state legislature must approve the name.

    Ellis died last month at his home in Neenah.

    Ellis served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1971 to 1982, then the State Senate from 1983 to 2015. Ellis was also the president of the State Senate from 2011 until his retirement in 2015.

    He also worked to fund the reconstruction and expansion of the interchange.

    At a celebration of life memorial Tuesday, Walker said it would be a fitting tribute.

    "Mike Ellis was a larger-than-life personality who loved Wisconsin and passionately served the people for more than 45 years. Today, as we gather in Neenah to celebrate Mike’s life, I am announcing that I will include in our budget, or will sign a bill drafted by the Legislature, naming the brand new I-41/U.S. 10/WIS 441 Interchange in his honor—whichever comes first. It would be a fitting tribute for a man who contributed so much to his community and his state.”

    Walker ordered the flags to fly at half-staff in his honor Tuesday.

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    MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker commented in a news conference on Tuesday that he believes there's no value in him visiting a state prison if he is re-elected.

    Walker has yet to visit a Wisconsin prison but says he has spoken to offenders who have participated in employment training programs.

    Walker has criticized the idea of reducing the state's prison population by releasing some inmates early, which has been made by some Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

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    WAUSHARA COUNTY (WTAQ) - A 19-year-old camp counselor at Camp Napowan is facing multiple charges for allegedly having sexual contact with three teens at the camp.

    Coleman Leonard, of Cary, Illinois, is currently not in custody, but a warrant has been issued for his arrest. 

    Leonard allegedly had encounters with three other staff members this summer.

    Two of the victims are 15-years-old and the other is 14-years-old. 

    Leonard has admitted to some of the incidents described by the victims while denying the validity of other encounters. 

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay Packers have Brett Hundley as Aaron Rodger's backup to start the preseason over DeShone Kizer.

    The team released their first depth chart on Tuesday, but coach Mike McCarthy says that is not the end of the story.

    "They are battling for the backup position so you will see a balance of reps between Brett and DeShone.

    Here is the depth chart:


    Aaron RodgersBrett HundleyDeShone KizerTim Boyle


    Jamaal WilliamsTy MontgomeryAaron JonesJoel BouagnonAkeem Judd


    Aaron RipkowskiJoe Kerridge


    Randall CobbTrevor DavisJ'Mon MooreDeAngelo YanceyMarquez Valdes-ScantlingAdonis Jennings

    Davante AdamsGeronimo AllisonJake KumerowEquanimeous St. BrownKyle Lewis



    David BakhtiariKyle MurphyAdam Pankey


    Lane TaylorKofi AmichiaAlex Light


    Corey LinsleyDillon DayAustin Davis


    Justin McCrayLucas Patrick


    Bryan BulagaJason SpriggsByron Bell


    Jimmy GrahamLance KendricksMarcedes LewisEmanuel ByrdRobert TonyanKevin RaderRyan Smith




    Muhammad WilkersonDean LowryConor Sheehy


    Kenny ClarkJoey MbuTyler Lancaster


    Mike DanielsMontravius AdamsJames Looney


    Clay MatthewsVince BiegelChris OdomJames Hearns

    Nick PerryKyler FackrellReggie GilbertKendall Donnerson


    Blake MartinezAhmad ThomasNaashon Hughes

    Oren BurksGreer MartiniMarcus Porter


    Tramon WilliamsJaire AlexanderQuinten RollinsJosh HawkinsDemetri GoodsonDonatello Brown

    Kevin KingDavon HouseJosh JacksonLenzy PipkinsHerb Waters


    Ha Ha Clinton-DixJermaine WhiteheadRaven Greene

    Kentrell BriceJosh JonesMarwin Evans



    Mason Crosby


    JK Scott


    JK Scott

    Randall Cobb



    Trevor DavisJaire AlexanderQuinten RollinsTramon Williams


    Trevor DavisTy MontgomeryJaire AlexanderCJ JohnsonJ'Mon MooreLong SnapperHunter BradleyZach Triner


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  • 08/07/18--13:38: A Second Chance Celebrated
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A special graduation was held in Green Bay Tuesday.

    14 drug offenders graduated from the state's DOC Opioid Addiction Program.

    The Wisconsin Department of Corrections program is making a difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction.

    The 12-month program has participants work with a parole officer and engage in supportive services such as AA programs and drug dependency programs.

    The program also administers the non-addictive and non-intoxicating drug, Vivitrol, to help curb cravings.

    The goal is to get them to continue to live drug-free.

     “There is a second chance for those struggling with addiction, and this graduation is a massive step on the continued path of recovery,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Those completing this program will be challenged by the disease of addiction, but with love and support from their family and community, a healthy and prosperous life is possible. The treatment offered through this program and drug courts across Wisconsin can transform lives and loosen the opioid epidemic’s hold on Wisconsin.”

    Recent graduate, Allie Gallenberger of Manitowoc, says she’s tried to kick her addiction alone many times but failed.

    She says Vivitrol helped her focus on her recovery, "It fills the receptors in your brain so you don’t have those cravings for opioids or alcohol also, and you can focus on the treatment that you have going on and focus on helping yourself rather than concentrating on the cravings that you’re having for drugs."

    The program was established as part of Governor Scott Walker's 2015-2017 budget and has continued in the 2017-2019 budget.

    Other states have similar programs, including Colorado, Missouri and Florida.

    In total, 58 inmates have completed the program.

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