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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Wednesday Night Farmer's Market on Broadway featured a first-of-its-kind event last night that allowed young entrepreneurs to showcase their unique creations.

    If you ventured away from the standard hustle and bustle that Broadway St. features you might have found yourself inside Gather at Broadway where the first annual Children's Business Fair was being held.

    18 kids who have been working all summer long on crafting their products and developing their marketing plan were finally able to sell their creations to a packed audience. 

    Organizer Denise McFarlin explains why the kids are so passionate.

    "What we have here really is businesses that are a personal interest to kids," says McFarlin.

    A majority of kids involved were from nearby, but a few even traveled from a serious distance to attend the event. 

    Soon to be 8th grader Maddie Martin came from Marathon City and she had high praise for the event.

    "Better than any craft fair I've ever been too," claims Martin.

    She was there to sell two of her more unique items.

    "Slime and charms," explains Martin.

    Denise McFarlin stated that she's glad the event gave kids a reason to stay active and motivated throughout the summer.

    "What I see here are kids who instead of sitting in front of the TV or playing a video game, have put some time and effort into a business idea that's paying off tonight," says McFarlin.

    Kids are able to keep any profits they earned from the event, but are strongly encouraged to pay back any "loans" that they might have taken. 

    Other products that were featured last night range from dog treats to personal art to a prank-your-sister-kit.


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  • 08/23/18--01:56: Snake In A Car
  • OMRO, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - What do you do when there's a snake stuck in your engine?

    Omro Police Department says that's what a woman found when she lifted the hood of her SUV.

    Just before 7 last night, the woman called Omro police because her SUV was "running strangely."

    Officers struggled to get the snake out after it slithered its way between the engine compartment and skid plate.

    The snake was identified as a Ball Python.

    On their Facebook page, police thanked Steve Keller for driving from Menasha to get the snake out.

    Keller knows snakes.

    He does educational programs and also provides rescue and adoption services for snakes.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A 30-foot sign was put up this week to remind drivers on Lombardi Avenue that the Military Avenue Business District is right around the corner.

    Competing with nearby Ashwaubenon, and the Packers' new Titletown District, Military Avenue businesses admit they can sometimes be the forgotten neighbor.

    “Keeping up with the times sometimes can be hard, especially with the newer establishments that are being grown around us,” said Linnea Berg, the manager of the Bay Motel.

    The Bay Motel and Family Restaurant just celebrated 60 years on Military Avenue.

    Berg tells FOX 11 she's happy to see a new sign welcoming people to their area.

    “Love the new sign. We've been looking forward to it. It's really going to bring some attention to the Military Avenue area and for people coming off the highway, they're going to be able to see how to get to our area.”

    $50,000 of the $75,000 sign came from Green Bay's portion of excess Lambeau Field stadium tax money. The rest came from the Military Avenue Business Association.

    Quick Signs, a Military Avenue business, designed the sign.

    Electrical work still needs to be done before the lights and digital message-board can be used.

    “That look will be repeated throughout the district,” said Leah Weycker, the business association’s executive director.

    “It's slightly retro, slightly industrial. That was intentional. This is a 1960s, 70s, strip mall area and that's not going to change. It is what it is.”

    A more uniform look isn't the only thing the district is doing to attract new interest. Pop up storefronts are also being worked on for businesses interested in short-term leases.

    “It’s fairly trendy in other cities,” said Weycker. “I think it would work really well because we have so many entrepreneurs here.”

    A new opportunity has also presented itself on one of the corners of the city’s busiest intersection, at Military Avenue and Mason Street.

    One owner now controls the future of Green Bay Plaza and the former Sears building.

    Weycker tells FOX 11 the owner is weighing options for the site.

    “So we’re working with him on doing some green space in that parking lot and it would be great to have a better facility even for our farmer’s market.”

    Weycker says Sears has a lease on its former building until November. She says the building will likely be split into multiple businesses.

    Weycker says estimates are also being gathered to renovate the kitchen in the former Country Kitchen, in Green Bay Plaza.

    She says a year-round farmer’s market with a restaurant and bar has been discussed.


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  • 08/23/18--02:01: No Kidding: Goat Yoga A Hit
  • ALLOUEZ, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - An Allouez yoga session had a different twist on it Wednesday night.

    The Children's Museum of Green Bay held a sold-out goat yoga session at Heritage Hill.

    The baby goats came from La Clare Family Farm.

    Heather Heil, event specialist for the Children's Museum, tells FOX 11 guests were warned: goat yoga can get a bit messy.

    "You will be interacting more than you probably want to be interacting. We shared with our guests before they came today that they are not potty trained, so you are doing this at your own risk. And just really having a good time with your family and creating those memories."

    The museum says the goat yoga session was so popular, they hope to put on another one sometime soon.


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    DOOR COUNTY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A shortage of qualified child care workers in Wisconsin has left many families with limited places to send their kids.

    As a new school year approaches parents like Katie Smullen, a working mother of two tells FOX 11 she's worried the problem will get worse.

    Smullen lives in Door County with her family, where there are only 13 licensed or certified child care facilities spread throughout the entire peninsula.

    “I do worry about some families and if it's a single family, what do you do. I worry that there are some people having to choose between working and putting their child with a neighbor and It’s not a good fit. I worry about that.”

    To help families find childcare, Jamie Tramte Brassfield with the Family and Childcare Resource Center of Northeast Wisconsin, tells FOX 11 she's constantly looking for facilities, especially ones willing to take in children under the age of three.

    “So parents who are looking for infant care, they are having a very difficult time. There are just not enough spots in regulated care.”

    Brassfield said one of the biggest issues faced by those working in the childcare industry are the strict requirements they must follow.

    “Things that regulated programs need to do is background checks for their employees and administrators. They need basic safety measures in place and we want facilities to provide experiences for children that are play-based.”

    The requirements are why some facilities like the Barker Child Development Center through the YMCA have a hard time hiring more staff.

    “It's really, really tough. The staff is the ones that work every day with these kids so we need to make sure we are giving them what they need to meet the standards and regulations,” said Joanna Severinsen, who is the administrator for the center.

    Severinsen said the Barker Center is the only licensed group in Sturgeon Bay and has also had a waiting list of more than 200 children for the last two years.

    “A lot of them on our waitlist are not born or have just been born and won't need care for a couple of months.”

    For the families fortunate enough to find childcare, the rising cost continues to pose a problem. In Door County, the average cost of childcare is $194.00 a week per child.

    “Paying for daycare it's like paying a second mortgage. For my two girls in daycare full time, it’s $1340 per month.”

    To bring more affordable childcare to the area, a new not-for-profit organization called Door County Children of Hope is looking to open a new facility.

    Ryan Zahler, a board member for the organization, said they’d already been looking at buildings and recruiting staff.

    “We went the non-for profit route because it's not just the lack of childcare in the area, it’s the high cost. Here in Wisconsin, we have a lot of low to middle income families and fall in the top 15 for cthe ost of child care. We like to have 70 to 80 children and our target age will be from birth to four years old, Monday through Friday, and possibly 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. to extend the hours a little bit for parents that work earlier and get off later.”

    The goal is to open the facility by late September 2018, so families have a place to send their kids for the upcoming school year.


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    MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Alternative traffic routes have been established in Madison due to water on some main streets.

    The city of Madison announced that starting today (THURSDAY) and thru August 31 there will be no parking on Williamson Street.

    Rising water levels on the Yahara Lakes are being monitored by Madison city officials with help from Dane County and the state Department of Natural Resources. 

    Massive flooding in western Dane County earlier this week is creating the rising lake levels in the eastern part of the county.

    Highway 14 from Middleton to Black Earth remains closed due to unpassable conditions. 

    Updated road closings and alternative routes can be found here.


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    GREENVILLE, WI (WTAQ) - $10.4 million of federal funding that will go towards building a new firefighting training center at Appleton International Airport was announced on Thursday by Senator Tammy Baldwin.

    The center is in conjunction with Fox Valley Technical College and will assist firefighting students in completing their FAA-required training.

    Regional Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Training Centers have recently closed in Minnesota and Michigan allowing this facility to bridge the gap in the Midwest. 

    The project is being assisted by both Oshkosh Corporation and Pierce Manufacturing.


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    TOWN OF HERMAN (WTAQ) - Two burglaries that occurred over the last couple weeks has investigators in Dodge County asking for the publics help.

    The burglaries happened in the Town of Herman and two men are believed to be tied to the crimes.

    The suspected vehicle involved in the burglaries is a silver 2010-2014 Mazda 3 with tinted windows.

    Please contact the Dodge County Sheriff's Office if you have any information on the suspect's identity. 

    In order to prevent theft authorities are encouraging residents to keep their vehicles and homes locked. 


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - An Appleton-based literacy program that brings parents and children together celebrated an important milestone on Thursday.

    The Appleton Even Start Family Literacy program has been helping parents and children alike for 25 years. The program teaches adults employability skills and provides classes for kids.

    The program works in collaboration with Fox Valley Technical College and the Appleton Area School District and original was started through a federal grant.

    Colette Kolb, Associate Dean of General Studies at Fox Valley Technical College and director of the program, describes how they've lasted this long.

    "Over the years that funding at the federal level has gone away," explains Kolb. "But the organizations thought this was such a critical need that we found ways to support it ourselves."

    For more than two decades the program has helped individuals of any age earn a high school diploma and has taught employability skills while providing classes for young children. 

    Kolb describes the unique dynamic.

    "We have parents and children between the ages of six weeks and five years of age who are actually coming to school at the same time," explains Kolb.

    And these two groups aren't completely separated as the education overlaps.

    "The parents and the children come together and do interactive literacy activities together," says Kolb.

    The 25-year celebration was held at the Community Early Learning Center in Appleton as both past and present participants gathered for a short program.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A warning about fraudulent phone calls was issued on Thursday by Wisconsin Public Service.

    More than 60 reports of calls attempting to obtain money from costumers have been reported to the company since Wednesday.

    The Crivitz and Wausau areas have reported receiving a majority of the calls.

    WPS reports that one customer paid hundreds of dollars after falling victim to the scam. 

    Prepaid cards will never be accepted by WPS to pay for an energy bill.

    If the customer is unable to verify the authenticity of the caller, then they should never provide banking, account, or private information over the phone.

    WPS is encouraging anyone who receives a suspicious phone call to hang up right away and report the incident to them.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The Green Bay Bullfrogs will soon go by a new name.

    It comes after the team's move to the Capital Credit Union Park for the 2019 season.

    Here are the seven finalists:

     
    1. Green Bay Booyah
    2. Green Bay Cheese Curds
    3. Green Bay Old Fashioneds
    4. Green Bay Supper Clubbers
    5. Green Bay Tailgaters
    6. Green Bay Under Dogs
    7. Green Bay Wurst

    You can head to the team's website to cast your vote.


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    HOWARD, WI (WTAQ) - A stretch of a popular Howard trail will be closed on Friday morning.

    The Mountain-Bay Trail will be closed between Spring Green Road and White Pine Drive from 8 AM until Noon according to Brown County parks officials.

    A construction project located at the trail's intersection with Glendale Avenue is the reason for the closure.

    A marked detour will not be provided. 


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    FOND DU LAC COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Waterways have become contaminated and killed fish in areas of Fond du Lac County due to a manure runoff.

    Malone and Mt. Calvary are the areas with affected creeks.

    Residents should avoid contact with the water at the canoe launch at County Road CCC and the Sheboygan River.

    Following heavy rain in the area on Monday freshly applied manure at Redtail Ridge Dairy ran off at least two fields and reached waterways. 

    A local septic pumper was contacted by the dairy farm to collect the manure-laden water. 

    The continued investigation and clean-up will be monitored by DNR staff.

    Wells will not be affected by the runoff due to deep clay soils in the area, according to officials. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The end of summer is near, which means one last "hoorah" for many local kid-friendly attractions.

    The signs of fall are fast approaching, but one wouldn't be able to tell as kids from all over the area try and make the most of their remaining summer vacation.

    For the Resch Aquatic Center, yesterday was their last day open for the summer.

    Recreational Supervisor Ann Moeller describes the game plan for many kids.

    "Everybody tries to get one last swim in for the summer before they start thinking about school and fall," explains Moeller.

    While for many, it was a final chance to see friends they've made in the past couple of months.

    "A lot of the kids and families who come here get to know the staff really well and they want to come and say goodbye and wish everyone a good school year," says Moeller.

    The Boy's and Girl's Club on the west end of Green Bay has been a popular hangout for kids this summer.

    Johanna Wicklund explains why this time is so popular for them.

    "One reason we see a lot of kids in the summer is to come because they can access meals and nutrition and have those enrichment opportunities to have fun and be with friends," says Wicklund.

    The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary has also seen plenty of kids this summer. Sanctuary Naturalist Jane Morse believes they might be preparing kids for a future profession.

    "As somebody put it, they've become engineers," says Morse. "This is how engineers start, just building and working together."

    The first day of school is Tuesday, September 4 for many districts in the state.


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    WEYAUWEGA, WI (WTAQ) - The sheep show at this years Waupaca County Fair features one truly inspiring competitor.

    Anessa Schimke, the 15-year-old born with no legs and half arms has worked hard to not only compete at the Waupaca County sheep show but be very good at it.

    About 30 kids were in the competition and Anessa took second place.

    Anessa's interest in sheep started when she was introduced to her babysitter's family sheep.

    "So I got to go out there one day and I just absolutely loved him, so they started letting me show at the fair," explains Schimke.

    Now a veteran of the competition, Anessa knows what judges keep an eye on.

    "They look for all the meat quality and muscle quality of the lamb," she says.

    Waupaca County Fair Superintendent Brian Loehrke says the experience is a positive one for her.

    "Anessa can't go out and run like the rest of us, but if she shows sheep and lambs and does well it builds her confidence," explains Loehrke. "Something she can do and she's good at it."

    Perhaps her biggest daily admirer is her own mother.

    "She's remarkable," says Mindy Schimke.

     

    The Waupaca County Fair ends this Sunday.


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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ) - College moving day at St. Norbert was special for one family from Menomonee Falls.   

    While most parents were helping one of their young adults move into the next phase of their lives, the Earing's were moving three of their four daughters to the same dorm.

    With smiles on their faces, the Earings triplets arrived at their dorms together as part of the largest class in school history.  

    Madison, Taylor, and Kylie have done a lot as a trio and now will go to college together.

    Kylie says things just fell into place for them to all go to the same school.  

    "I decided first and she (Madison) decided next." 

     Taylor said she was last to decide.  

    "I thought I did not want to be the one that made us all go to the same place, but we are just really clicky I guess."  

    Taylor and Madison will have a little more in common with each other. They both signed on to play softball for the Green Knights, and ended up with rooms right next to each other, while Kylie, the dancer of the group, is two floors down.  

    "I met my roommate on the facebook page so we knew each other before now."  

    St. Norbert College President Brian Bruess says it was very unique and very special to have the Earing sisters.  

    "Just think of that as a parent, to have three daughters all come to St. Norbert College at once."  

    The girls are close, but they are taking the whole experience in by living with someone else.    

    The girls father, Mike Earing had three vehicles loaded up and was preparing for a long morning of unloading. girl's pleasantly surprised to see volunteers quickly take all three girls stuff to their rooms in a matter of minutes.  

    "I have been working out for a couple of weeks to get ready for this," Earing joked. "Can you imagine having to haul stuff for three people, it was a great surprise."  

    The volunteers, the Bruess Brigade, spent all morning to the same for all the new students and their families.  

    Moving three girls on the same day will leave their home in Menomonee Falls a little more empty.  

    Now the Earings parents will have just one daughter left at home, but Taylor says the family already has a plan to fill the void.  

    "This weekend my mom and my sister are going to look at dogs. We are getting replaced with a dog."  

    Classes begin on Monday for students at St. Norbert College.                        


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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ)  - Thursday was a record-setting move-in day for first-year students at St. Norbert College in De Pere.

    The class of 2022, the biggest class in the history of St. Norbert College moved their stuff in. 

     "623 new students are coming to the college today, so it really exciting to have the new families and new students," said Brian Bruess, St. Norbert College President.  

    Bruess says they have been working hard to share what the college has to offer, and this has paid off.  

    "We are doing a really nice job recruiting students, and I think families are making a more sophisticated choice these days in a real competitive environment, Bruess said. "We have a four-year graduation rate that tops in the state. The facilities are in great shape and overall we are just offering a fantastic educational experience and I think the families are recognizing that."

    Bruess was doing more than just welcoming students. He was part of a volunteer group of staff members that helped unload cars and carry items to the student's dorm room.

    The Bruess Brigade made the move-in process a little easier for families.

    St. Norbert College President Brian Bruess had over 300 people, dressed in yellow t-shirts, volunteer to help unload vehicles and get the items in the dorm room.

    "They just pull up, we move their stuff in and they set up the room. It is a small thing that we can do that makes a big impact on the families," Bruess said.

    The team was made up of facultiy, administration and the St. Norbert Football team.

    Parents who were expecting a long hard days work unloading were pleasantly surprised.

     One other father said the experience is unlike any other move in.   

    "This is daughter number three to move into college and this is the easiest by far," said one father. "All of the sudden these yellow shirts are on you and your stuff is all labeled, and you go park and by the time you come back, all the stuff is in your room, it's great."

    Bruess say the process has worked pretty well in the past. It helps the families move on with their day quicker and helps move cars out the loading area faster. 

    The returning students move in Friday and classes at St. Norbert College begin Monday. 


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    NEW LONDON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A homeless shelter in New London opened its doors Thursday.

    Mission of Hope House of Wisconsin held a ribbon cutting to showcase its 21-bed resource homeless shelter.

    Lori Prahl, president of Mission of Hope House of Wisconsin, tells FOX 11 community members and volunteers were able to make the shelter happen.

    "Done for the community, and by the community, we are very excited."

    The shelter is on the 500 block of North Shawano Street, where organizers say the shelter's philosophy is to provide a "hand up" not a "hand out".

    In addition to the temporary housing, the shelter will provide people with help to become self-sufficient.


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    OMRO, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A driver and her son having some car trouble pull over and pop open the hood -- to find themselves staring into a serpent's eyes.

    "I've never done anything like this before in my life! Most of my rescues are taking them out of people's houses," said Steve Keller.

    Keller is the self-proclaimed Snake Man, who pulled the serpent from the woman's SUV.

    The slithering surprise sent Omro police racing to Keller for help.

    The so-called "Snake Man" brought in for backup when the ball python wrapped itself tight around an unsuspecting driver's engine.

    "I don't know why I risked my own body for a snake, but I did, it's what I do," Keller said.

    Keller tells FOX 11 the python, native to Africa and used too much warmer temperatures, found heat under the hood and got cozy.

    "Getting one unwrapped from an engine block was not fun. I've got all kinds of cuts and bruises on my arms from trying to dig into this thing and try to get him out in one piece."

    It took hours, a tow truck, and Snake Man to get the stubborn python out.

    The SUV's engine was damaged by the snake, which is also being treated for cuts and burns.

    "We got him out in one piece, but the burns could turn into a fatality in a couple of weeks we don't know until it has some time to heal."

    The snake man has rescued over 500 of these critters in the past 12 years.

    Keller says this rescue was a first, and one of his toughest.

    Police say the snake escaped from its owner more than a month ago.

    Omro police say it's illegal to own a ball python and they've fined the snake's owner $313.


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    Brian Gutekunst made his 5th Quarter Show debut Monday at Stadium View Sports Bar in Green Bay. The conversation turned to what strikes him about a player.

    It's not always size and speed.  Gutekunst's top two indicators are instincts and toughness, both mental and physical.  "Those are the things we're looking for," He said.  "We're talking to people about how they were in college.  Talking to their coaches, talking to people they've been with for the last  4 or 5 years, and how they've overcome adversity, and how they face challenges."  Gutekunst added,  "The best way to know a player's future is to study his history."


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