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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Howe Elementary held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday to unveil their newly renovated library media center, which was made possible through grant money received from the Packers Give Back Impact Grant.

    The new media center features modern technology and workspace, which is being implemented to promote group collaboration.

    Lori Blakeslee, Director of Communications for the Green Bay Area Public School District, believes this creates a more dynamic area. 

    "This brings in technology for collaboration and provides flexible seating," says Blakeslee. "They could create small group environments, large group environments, or individual space for students to work."

    The grant money is also funding the implementation of more modern elements in the media center.

    "Smartboards, a really neat Lego wall, and more upgraded technology," said Blakeslee.

     

    Thirteen other school library media centers are scheduled to undergo renovation through grants from the Green Bay Packers during the 2018-2019 school year.

    "Several of them are underway already, as far as purchases being made for furniture and things like that," said Blakeslee.  

     


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    FOND DU LAC COUNTY (WTAQ) - Four counts of sexual assault of children were sentenced to a 36-year-old man from Fond du Lac on Tuesday.

    Thomas Stuewer will serve 25 years in prison.

    The children were all under the age of 13.

    The incidents occurred between 2010 and 2012 according to a criminal complaint. 


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    ASHWAUBENON (WTAQ) - A series of live music performances were announced on Tuesday for every Packers home game this season.

    The entertainment series is called "Titletown Game Day Live" and will feature free activities and concerts in the Titletown District.

    The activities, entertainment, and live music will be split between the plaza and park inside Titletown District prior to every Packer game.

    Jackie Krutz, Titletown Residential and Programs Manager, believes they'll have something for Packer fans young and old alike.

    "We're kind of a one-stop-shop for game day," said Krutz. "We have live music and lots of food and beverages."

    The first concert will be this Thursday before the Packers first preseason game and all performances will start four hours prior to kickoff. 

    The free concert series stands out as a new tradition prior to football at Lambeau Field, but Krutz wants everyone to remember the other fun features Titletown offers.

    "We have shuffleboard, ping-pong, bocci ball, foosball, horseshoes," said Krutz. "All the way to a huge playground and football field." 

    Visitors are encouraged to bring their own sports ball to throw and/or kick around the park but are discouraged from bringing a handful of common tailgating items that are not allowed in the park.

    "Carry-in coolers, glass bottles, lawn chairs, any of those things you can't bring," said Krutz.

    Tables and chairs are available throughout Titletown, as well as plenty of food and beverage options for purchase. 


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - Road construction across Green Bay could make for heavy traffic on Thursday for the Packers first preseason game.

    The Mason Street Bridge is closed all week, which forces motorists to take either the Walnut Street or Main Street Bridge.

    Captain Kevin Warych tells Fox 11 News that even without the construction there would be traffic on Thursday.

    "We know that with the Packers game on Thursday there's going to be a lot of cars," says Warych. "A lot of people here in the city of Green Bay that normally isn't in the city of Green Bay."

    While construction is near Lambeau Field all along Mike McCarthy Way. Captain Jody Crocker from Ashwaubenon Public Safety told Fox 11 News he has a loose idea of when it will be finished.

    "Hoping to have it done by the next preseason game, which is Pittsburgh," said Crocker. "But for sure it will be over by the first regular season game."

    Motorists are advised to follow detour and alternate route signs to reach their destination.


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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ) - A newly expanded interchange in the Fox Valley could be named after the former state senator who was instrumental in getting the project to happen.

     At a celebration of former State Senator Mike Ellis's life Tuesday, Governor Scott Walker announced his hope of naming the US441/US10 interchange after the late senator.  "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.”  Ellis died last month at his home in Neenah, shortly after the ribbon was cut for the project that he worked hard on.  State Senator Roger Roth says the fact that Ellis was key in making the project happen,  and given how he performed his duties as a Senator, has led him to decide to author the bill during the next session.  "There are certain elected officials who transcend politics and transcend political parties, and Mike Ellis was one of those. I look forward to making it the first bill that I introduce."  Roth said before he decided to move forward with the idea, he wanted to hear from the family.   "His wife was supportive and that was what I needed to hear first."  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.  Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson came up with the idea for the naming rights last month after Ellis passed away. He offered it as a suggestion to Governor Walker, saying something like this is overdue, and officially wrote a letter to the Governor this month.  Nelson says it is not too often that someone can get both parties to work together, but with this project, Senator Ellis did.  "This, in so many ways speaks to Senator Ellis's service," Nelson said. "Yes, he was Republican, but he worked really hard working across the aisle on meaningful constructive legislation."  Nelson says the idea should not end up as another political battle.  "We are at a time in politics in this state in this county where we need an excuse for everyone to come together, and I think this is great testimony, and a great memorial in his name."  Both Roth and Nelson feel there is no reason why this just not be supported by both parties.  "If we can't come together for something like this, then what can we?", said Nelson.  Senator Roth, who now has the seat that Ellis held, says the idea is fitting and the timing is right.  "He had been fighting this for well over two decades, and to have this project now finishing this year. because of his efforts, it will be done under time and under budget."  "I think it is absolutely appropriate that we take the interchange and name it in his honor."  Walker ordered the flags to fly at half-staff in his honor Tuesday.

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    KAUKAUNA, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Although the size of the new Kaukauna city hall is nearly double the former building, Mayor Tony Penterman tells FOX 11 it uses less energy.

    "I think it's very important that we build an energy efficient building like this. I believe it's the only municipal building in the state of Wisconsin that has geothermal heating and cooling."

    Geothermal is a process of installing pumps into the ground, in which it uses the Earths energy for cooling and heating.

    "There are a series of heat pumps throughout the building and it will either take energy from that fluid or give energy back to dissipate into the Earth," explained John Sundelius, Kaukauna public works director.

    The building also uses sensors near windows, this means if there's more sunlight in the room, the lights become dimmer. LED lights are also installed in the rooms.

    But to keep those lights on and the geothermal pumps running, the city uses solar panels for electricity.

    "If it's a sunny day like today, the solar panel will produce more than the building uses and then basically they'll get credited on their account," said Kaukauna utility systems engineer, David Pahl.

    Pahl says the building produces 100,000 kWh of electricity every year, but it only uses about a third of that.

    Sundelius told FOX 11, the extra energy generated will offset the nearly half million dollars used to install the renewable energy systems.

    "The systems that we did put in, the estimated payback is that it's going to be 12 years."

    Paul says it's important to keep green, not only for the cost but also to sustain the Earth.

    "Our reliance on coal and nuclear is diminishing, basically every year a little bit, so utilizing renewable energy is very important to us."

    Kaukauna Utilities and WPPI Energy also provided a grant of $100,000 through the Renewable Energy for Non-Profits program to help with the costs.


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  • 08/08/18--02:05: Death Investigation Complete
  • TOWN OF CLAYTON, WI (WTAQ) - After two bodies were found in the rubble of a fire in May, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office has ruled the case a murder-suicide.

    Deputies say the investigation found that 38-year-old Jeremy Wallenfang shot and killed 27-year-old Ashley Mielke at a home on Breezewood Lane.

    He started a fire at the home just before 7 a.m. Tuesday, May 1st. Then Wallenfang shot himself.

    Winnebago County officials say Wallenfang and Mielke were in a relationship that was 'contentious' at times.

    A witness says Wallenfang had threatened to kill Mielke and burn the house to the ground in the months leading up to murder-suicide.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Lots of damage two children left behind when police say they broke into a Green Bay elementary school this summer.

    District administrators notified Martin Elementary School parents and staff shortly after the mess was created in the east side school over two days in early July.

    Captain Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department tells FOX 11.

    “In the investigation, we were able to look at the video surveillance of the school and realized it was young kids breaking into the school and causing damage inside the school.”

    Police say the mess was the creation of a 10 and 11-year-old, who busted glass windows at one of the school's rear entrances to get inside.

    “These kids were later identified and confessed to doing the damage and entering the school without permission,” said Warych.

    Because of their ages, the children weren't cited and were turned over to their parents.

    The costliest damage was to carpet in the library, which was already set to be replaced as part of a school referendum project.

    Mike Stangel, the district’s Executive Director of Facilities, tells FOX 11 the costliest damage was to carpet in the library, which was already set to be replaced as part of a school referendum project.

    “We're just going to patch it in for this coming school year and then replace it next summer.”

    This is the second summer in a row that kids have broken into Martin.

    Police say last June a 7 and 9-year-old broke windows to get in. They say they caused between $3,000 and $4,000 worth of damage.

    “Why Martin Elementary seems to be the target during the summer? I think that's the million dollar question,” said Warych.

    The school district isn't sure either.

    The district was recently awarded $835,000 to address school security.

    “The security grant we received now was putting a film on the glass to prevent it from being broken easily,” said Stangel.

    The district is working on applying for another grant that would do the same thing for secondary entrances, which is the type of entry police say the children broke into at Martin.


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - Fond Du Lac Police say a man was injured in a shooting this morning.

    It happened around 4 a.m. in the 100 block of Western Avenue.

    Police say a 41-year-old man was shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

    A 56-year-old woman was arrested.

    Police say the two knew each other.

    No other information is being released at this time.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A Green Bay man has been sentenced for distributing heroin and sex trafficking.

    37-year-old Damien D. Gambrell was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for the crimes.

    Gambrell also entered a guilty plea to a drug conspiracy charge that includes distributing 100 grams of heroin leading to an overdose death.

    Prosecutors say while investigating a heroin overdose, Green Bay Police recovered text messages and telephone calls consistent with Gambrell enticing and soliciting adult women to engage in sex acts in the city as well as in Chicago.

    Police interviewed some of the women who confirmed Gambrell had persuaded them to engage in sexual acts for money.

    They also say Gambrell had them help him sell heroin.

    Gambrell is also required to register as a sex offender.


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    HOBART, WI (WTAQ) - A fire broke out at a barn in the southern part of Hobart late on Tuesday night. 

    The barn was in the area of Overland Road and County EE and started around 10:30 pm.

    The cause of the fire is still unknown.

    It's also not known yet if anyone was injured, the extent of the damage, or what was in the barn at the time. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Neville Museum will be opening a new exhibit on Saturday that's focused on the accomplishments and challenges black players experienced in Green Bay.

    The exhibit is titled 'Delay of Game' the Untold experiences of African American football players in Titletown.

    The first African American player for both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, Bob Mann, is one of the players featured in the exhibit. 

    Mann originally came to Green Bay in the 1950's and his accomplishments will be honored along with other black players in team history.

    The VIP opening was on Tuesday for the exhibit, which took months to put together with the process of gathering artifacts and researching information. 

    The exhibit will be available until March and officially opens to the public on August 11th. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A lawsuit regarding the legality of Brown County's half-cent sales tax has been scheduled for a September 20th hearing.

    The suit was filed by Brown County against the Brown County Taxpayers Association.

    The sales tax, which went into effect on January 1st, has been challenged by the Brown County Taxpayers Association, saying it doesn’t meet the state’s requirements.

    No trial date has been set. 

     


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    DOOR COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - The State Building Commission announced on Wednesday it has approved a $2.07 million project that will take place at Peninsula State Park.

    The project will focus on rebuilding the iconic Eagle Tower, which was built in the 1930's, but was deconstructed in 2016 because of deterioration and general safety concerns.

    Construction could begin in December if the state natural resources board approves a $750,000 donation by The Friends of Peninsula State Park in September. 

    The new structure consists of a 60-foot observation tower with a 1,000 square-foot observation deck at the top and an 850-foot long ramp with an additional observation deck off the ramp.

    The project also includes a new accessible trail from the base of the ramp to the picnic and parking area.


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The armed robbery of an Ashwaubenon business on July 21st has resulted in a nationwide arrest warrant being issued for one of the suspects.

    39-year-old Carl Franklin Self is being identified as the armed robbery suspect from the incident at the Cash Store on Oneida Street.

    Self, who is considered armed and dangerous, has a long criminal history with gang ties according to authorities.


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    VILLAGE OF ALLOUEZ (WTAQ) - It's the first look at what the future could hold for the site of the Green Bay prison.

    Residents of Allouez are showing their support to remove the prison and use the property in a more practical way.

     

    Brown County and Village of Allouez officials say they are moving forward with putting together a proposal to remove the state prison for more profitable development. 

    "Green Bay Correctional Institution is a money pit. We are losing close to million dollars a month with that option," says State Representative David Steffen.

    He says closing the prison and using the land for something else would save taxpayers money and building a new prison on a different site would provide a safer environment for inmates and workers.

    "Decommission the GBCI, provide a new modern safer facility in Brown County or a surrounding community and also unlock $60, $70, $80 million dollars of economic opportunity for the Brown County and Allouez community."

    Allouez Village President Jim Rafter says they are now getting help to see how the plan would benefit the Village financially. 

    "We brought it over to St. Norbert and they are currently conducting an economic impact study."

    Rafter says no matter what is built at the prison site, the historic features of the prison would be preserved.

    He says this idea is not new.

    "Ten years ago we asked for the prison to be closed and nothing happened."

    The Village of Allouez collected more than 1000 signed petitions from Brown County residents to move forward with the plan. 

    The Green Bay Correctional Institution needs $200 million in repairs if it stays in Allouez.

    "We have some of the most valuable land in Northeast Wisconsin that is being occupied by a dilapidated, crumbling 120-year-old state facility," Steffen said. 

    He says the plan would provide so much to the area.

    "New opportunities, new spaces, new businesses, new housing including some of the best riverfront access in entire Northeast Wisconsin."

    He added that the plan respects the history of the space, including the historic wall.

    “The facility on the inside actually has some amazing architecture and much of it is actually protected by the state and national historical registry, but there are ways to enhance and provide access to that to the public.”

    Steffen says within the next year, the proposal will be incorporated in the next state budget.

    "This a win, win, win situation."


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Summer is slowly coming to an end, which means families all over the state are back-to-school shopping.

    On Wednesday, a Green Bay organization made sure kids from low-income families will have new things when school starts.

    The 26th annual "Back to School Store" was put on Wednesday by the Service League of Green Bay.

    The event provides low-income families with brand new school necessities.

     Kayla George of Brown County wasn't surprised by the long lines.

    "I expected there to be quite a bit of people because it says to bring your kids with right on the form," said George.

    More than 3,000 backpacks were handed out to kids, which came fully stocked with new supplies on the inside.

    Anna Burnette from the Service League of Green Bay explained some of the items kids could choose from.

    "They get to pick out a full new outfit; jeans, shirts, new shoes, socks, underwear," said Burnette. "They also get a backpack that they get to choose themselves."

    All of the items given away were brand new and purchased with money donated from people in the community. 


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    WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A state Army National Guardsman from Green Bay could be facing a century in prison after being accused of child sex crimes.

    A criminal complaint says 28-year-old Anthony McWhorter sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy.

    The complaint says McWhorter is facing four charges, including child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a sex crime and exposing himself.

    It happened when McWhorter invited the boy to his hotel room in Wausau on August 3rd.

    According to the complaint, the boy and his grandmother accuse McWhorter offering the boy $500 and an Xbox in exchange for sex acts.

    Court records say McWhorter told investigators he was 19.

    He confirmed his 'friendship' with the 15-year-old saying the two met through Snapchat, a social media platform.

    That's when officers asked to see the messages between McWhorter and the boy.

    When looking at the conversation, the criminal complaint says McWhorter sent the boy nude photos of women.

    McWhorter admitted to sending the nude photos but denied any sexual contact.

    If convicted, McWhorter faces more than 100 years in prison. He remains in jail on a $50,000 cash bond.


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  • 08/09/18--02:06: Cashing In On Packers Season
  • ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Step inside the Jersey Store, near Lambeau Field, and you'll find people looking for Packers gear.

    Store manager Mike Walters tells FOX 11 the business has been busy since last month's shareholders' meeting.

    "I think with how long the offseason was this year with no playoffs, there's just a lot more anticipation and excitement. If you're a fan, it's been a long time since they've been on the field, even on the practice field."

    But when it comes to business, Walters adds, it's busier during the regular season.

    "The last few years, they've given us weekday preseason games which doesn't help. You'd obviously rather have a Saturday or Sunday game than a Thursday night."

    A quick afternoon check online and the cheapest tickets for Thursday night's game on Ticketmaster is just $10 each.

    It's a slightly similar story on StubHub. A single ticket runs $6.

    "This has kind of been an anomaly. This is actually one of the first preseason games I've ever seen this cheap," Travis Loftus, Ticket King manager.

    Loftus tells FOX 11 his tickets start at $10 and go up to $80.

    "Usually a preseason game is around $25 to $100. I think it has to factor in that it's a Thursday night game and it's the first preseason game where the starters don't play a lot so that has a little bit of a factor on it."

    "Regular season games are about quadruple what a preseason game is," said Jerry Watson, Stadium View Bar, and Grille owner.

    He adds even the timing of a weekend regular season home game can make a difference.

    "I'm better off with a 3 o'clock game than I am with a noon game because at 9/9:30 in the morning, people don't really want to drink that much verses 12 o'clock they'll start drinking."

    If you're headed to the game, there will be live music in the plaza of the Titletown District starting at 3 p.m.


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  • 08/09/18--02:08: West Nile Virus On The Move
  • BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Brown County Health and Human Services is offering advice to protect yourself against mosquito bites.

    it comes after a dead bird tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

    The department says the virus is spread through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds.

    Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

     

    Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active

    Apply insect repellent to clothing as well as exposed skin since mosquitoes may bite through clothing

    Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry

    Properly dispose of items around your property that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires

    Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage

    Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use

    Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days

    Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers

    Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours

    Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas

     

    The department says 80% of people infected don't get sick, and less than 1% get seriously ill. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue.


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