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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - As if the cooler temperatures and nine days into fall weren't proof summer is officially over, Bay Beach Amusement Park closed for the regular season Sunday.

    The manager of Bay Beach, Jason Arnoldi, says he's already preparing for next year.

    "You're sad that the year is ending, you put so much into every year and you enjoy seeing the people out here having a good time and that's obviously what makes working here worth it...but it's also exciting that you get to plan for the future. Right away, get going on the following year, so there's really no letdown."

    Bay Beach will debut a brand new Ferris wheel, that's twice as high as the current one next season.

    The park will open again for Boo Beach Fall Family Fun Weekend Friday, October 12-14.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Last week local elected officials asked Kimberly-Clark to extend its deadline on a $100 million tax incentives bill.

    They're wanting Kimberly-Clark to postpone the vote until after the November election.

    The company gave the State Senate until Sunday, Sept. 30 to vote on the bill which would save Kimberly-Clark's Cold Spring Facility in Fox Crossing.

    Gov. Scott Walker was in Green Bay Sunday for the Packers-Bills game.

    He gives Fox 11 asked an update on the Kimberly-Clark deal.

    "We've been having a lot of talks this last week. We're still cautiously optimistic we can work something out. Our hopes will be that early on Monday, we'll be able to get to a point where we can figure out what the next step is. But for all the people working there, for all the families affected, it's really critically important we find a way to keep this open. The next step for us is to see where we... how we can push this going forward."

    About 500 people work at the Cold Spring facility.

    The incentive bill already cleared the Assembly.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ0 - Four people displaced after a house fire in Green Bay. 

    It broke out around 10:30 last night at the residence on Velp Avenue.

    Also, one firefighter had to be taken to the hospital for evaluation but has been released.   

    No one else was injured.   There's no word yet on how the fire started.  


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    BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach has introduced his 2019 budget proposal, which his office says provides the largest property tax cut in a decade.

    “This budget is the first to reap the rewards of our decision to enact a comprehensive plan to eliminate debt, invest in crucial infrastructure and lower property taxes,” says Streckenbach.

    “Thanks to that plan, this budget provides the largest property tax cut in a decade, while at the same time paying off our debt burden to the lowest level it has been in over 10 years and we are investing in needed infrastructure without having to borrow to do it.”

    The 2019 mill rate will be lowered by 10 cents, from $4.56 to $4.46, as proposed by the County Executive in the 2019 Brown County Annual Budget.

    This year alone, Brown County will reduce debt by over $12.9 million, bringing our total outstanding debt under $100 million for the first time in over 10 years.

    In addition, the 2020 budget will likely result in the largest tax cut in the County’s history when $2 million in debt levy service payments is eliminated.

    Throughout the month of October, County Executive Streckenbach will be holding media events highlighting various initiatives as part of his 2019 budget proposal.

    The entire Brown County Board of Supervisors will be holding its annual budget hearing on October 31st at 9:00 a.m.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A man charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of a 15-month old child pleaded not guilty on Monday.

    31-year-old Juan Maravilla is also being charged with repeated physical abuse of a child causing death in relation to his girlfriend's child's death.

    Court records indicate that he will be back in court on December 10 for a status conference and no trial date has been set. 

    The mother of the deceased child. Sarah Kairys, will return to court on Friday to face charges of being party to the crime of child neglect causing death and failing to prevent child abuse.

    The criminal complaint shows that police responded to St. Mary's Hospital on May 25, 2017, following reports of a deceased child that had been brought in by her parents.

    Kairys original told police her child was covered in bruises because she fell down the stairs.

    Amidst questioning, Maravilla revealed to police that physical abuse had taken place, which included Kairys hitting the child.

    Maravilla was questioned again days after the death and this time revealed his role in the child's death.

    “'I smacked her up because I got mad, I just got mad and I accidentally hit her,” the complaint quotes him as saying. “I didn't mean for this (expletive), I didn't want her to go (die)…she died man, she's dead, I didn't want that.”

    An autopsy revealed that the child had suffered multiple fractures, which includes two ribs, and sustained injuries that resulted in a perforated bowel and lead to death. 


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  • 10/01/18--10:06: Schmitt Will Not Run Again
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt announced at a press conference on Monday that his fourth term as mayor would be his last and that he will not be running again in 2019.

    Last year, Schmitt declared that he would not run again, but did add the caveat that it was subject to change if he didn't like the field of candidates to replace him.

    Schmitt, who has been in office since 2003, invited the public to a celebration party in March of 2019.

    During his 15-year career, Green Bay's downtown has undergone a major revitalization, as well as significant improvements to Bay Beach and the number of neighborhood associations.

    Schmitt came within one city council vote from losing his position in 2016, when he was convicted of three misdemeanor campaign finance violations. 

    The mayoral primary is in February of 2019 and presently six candidates have announced their intention to run for the post.

    Those candidates include President of On Broadway, Inc. Peter Nugent, Brown County supervisors Patrick Buckley and Patrick Evans, Green Bay city council president Mark Steuer, Democratic state representative Eric Genrich and political newcomer Nick Mortensen.


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    BRILLION, WI (WTAQ) - The discussion surrounding a tax incentive bill to keep the Kimberly-Clark Cold Spring facility open isn't going away and Governor Walker weighed in on Monday while visiting Brillion.

    Local officials asked last week for an extension for the vote on the $100 million proposed bill until after the November elections. The company originally gave the Senate until Sunday, September 30th to vote on the bill.

    Governor Walker says it's encouraging the conversation has extended into October.

    "The good news and why I'm cautiously optimistic is nobody said hey the timeline passed we're done," explains Walker.

    About 500 jobs are on the line at the Cold Spring facility, but this situation runs a little deeper.

    "There's a lot of suppliers, there are almost 200 suppliers that are tied into this plant with Kimberly-Clark," says Walker. "This is important not just for the jobs at Kimberly-Clark, but for all over the state."

    For those reasons, Walker believes the tax incentive bill is vital for the state's future.

    "This is about looking forward, it's not about looking backward," he explains. "Rather to look forward and to say, how do we keep the Kimberly-Clark workforce that's really well trained?"

    The bill has already passed the Assembly and awaits a vote from the State Senate.

    Governor Walker remains confident in the bill's path to being passed.

    "We put an offer on the table that's really hard to refuse," says Walker. "We were going to do whatever it took, within reason, to keep those jobs."


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    BRILLION, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker was in Brillion on Monday to celebrate the production of the fourth millionth Sno-Thro machine by the Ariens Company.

    And now Brillion residents and Ariens employees will be able to mark their calendars for a yearly celebration in their honor.

    "I want to declare this Ariens Sno-Thro Machine Day all across the state of Wisconsin," says Walker.

    The special fourth millionth machine was revealed, which is a specially-designed matte black and grey color highlighted by a topographical map of Brillion. 

    The company also announced that they are donating four machines to local non-profit organizations.

    It only took Ariens Company 6 years to move from 3 million produced Sno-Thro machines to 4 million.

    Chairman and CEO Dan Ariens did some calculating to put their continued growth into perspective.

    "We've used nearly 2,740 tons of orange paint to put the finishing touch on these machines," says Ariens.

    Dan Ariens great-grandfather, Henry Ariens, founded the company in 1933. Since then, neither the companies location nor the last name of their president has changed.

    Governor Walker credited the company for being a beacon in the state's healthy manufacturing workforce.

    "We now have in 2018 more people working than ever before in the history of this state," explains Walker. "We've had seven consecutive months of unemployment at, or below, three percent."

    Dan Ariens gave the Governor an opportunity to lend a hand on the assembly line as they kick-start their next goal of producing a fifth millionth machine.

    The Ariens Company believes with continued growth they can expect to produce their fifth millionth machine in about five years.  


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - As the calendar flips into October that means the start of new Fall-activities for the next couple of months at the Titletown District.

    The new programming will feature some Wisconsin traditions and fun opportunities all week-long.

    "For me, I want to be wearing my flannel, sitting around the fire, and maybe be playing a game of cribbage or challenging family or friends to some cornhole," says Titletown District Program Marketing Coordinator Mallory Steinberg. "So we thought, let's bring it all together. 

    Wisco Weekends, which will be Saturdays from 1 PM to 8 PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 4 PM, will feature games like cribbage and corn hole and will take place around their fire pit. The cherry on top will be an opportunity to grab Wisconsin's favorite drink, the Old Fashioned.

    If you don't know how to play cribbage or maybe need a refresher on some other games then their new "Learn To" program on Wednesdays from 5:30 PM to 7 PM is perfect.

    "We're going to have experts from the area that are going to teach chess and next week is cribbage," says Steinberg. "We've got some folks from the U.S. National Kubb Team that are going to teach Kubb."

    Fear not, some existing programs like the Packers gameday concert series will continue as the leaves begin to change.

    "The last two actual concerts are for Monday Night Football on the 15th of October and the November game on the 11th," explains Steinberg. 

    Once in December, the concert series will move indoors.

    For those looking to try their hand at creating something while indulging in some liquid inspiration, the "Crafts and Cocktails" program will provide that opportunity. Mallory Steinberg lists some of the crafting opportunities that will be available. 

    "We've got wood burning this week, then we've got stenciled signs next week," she says. "The week of the 18th it'll be succulent arrangements and pumpkins."

    A full program schedule can be found here.


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  • 10/01/18--16:46: Brewer Fever In Titletown
  • ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The Brewer's success means there is a new buzz in Titletown.

    At Stadium View in Ashwaubenon, it sounds like a Packer game, but it's the Brewers turning up the heat and bringing in the fans.  

    General Manager Amanda Watson says the fans are going all in and have been enjoying the ride in a way similar to Packer excitement.  

    "It is nice to have something other than the Packers to look forward to."    

    She says usually there are just requests to have the game on TV, but September has led to Brewer games becoming events.  

    "We have had to have the sound on for every game, which previously they would rather listen to music."

     She says that was especially true on Sunday when the Brewers and Packers were playing at the same time, sharing the spotlight.  

    "But in this case, they were like can we make sure the Brewer sound is on, which never happens."  

    Now with a Division Championship under their belts, the Brewers are guaranteed more games, which means people still have Brewer fever and will have more days to celebrate.  

    "We are expecting an influx. We will be doing double-bubble every Brewer game this entire run."  

    Brewer fans are loving every minute of having a successful team.  

    Mike Pitt is a Brewer fan from Green Bay and says this success caught him by pleasant surprise.  

    "I couldn't look back on opening day and think that we would be playing an extra game, I could not believe it."  

    Cubs fan Susie from Chicago was the only fan Monday wearing Cubs colors, but she says standing out in a crowd is not something new for her.  

    "When I go to bars in Chicago, I am the only Packer's fan, so I am used to being the only one."  

    Even though the Cubs lost, a win Tuesday night means they are playing the Brewers in the Divisional Round, and for Susie, it is chance to continue cheering on the Cubs among Brewer fans.

    "It is very interesting that they were so even, of course, I am rooting for the Cubs."  

    As far as how fans think the Brewers will do, according to Pitt, they have as good of a chance as ever.  

    "They are never out of any game at all."  

    Watson says she expects the Brewer fan atmosphere to be similar to the Packers, but says time will tell just how big Brewer Fever gets.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Bellin Health announced new leadership on Monday.

    The Northeast Wisconsin health system introduced Chris Woleske as president and CEO of Bellin Health after being with the company for 20 years.

    Her last position was as vice president and Chief Operating Officer.

    She replaces George Kerwin as president after he retired following 47 years with Bellin. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A new building on the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay was ceremonially opened with a metal ribbon cutting on Monday.

    The new Trades and Engineering Technologies building has had 125,000 square feet renovated and another 10,000 square feet added.

    Some of the new additions that will help the school serve more students include labs, classrooms, and various open spaces.

    Planning and construction of this project began in 2015.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Local area nursing students are helping children in the hospital with the Books and Blanket campaign.

    It was the 4th annual project for the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Student Nursing Association.

    Each year they collect books and fleece fabric, which is used to make blankets.

    "I really enjoy helping out because it really helps out our community, helps these kids to have some comfort at this time when they are in the hospital which can be a scary time for kids," event organizer, Amanda Czarnecki, told Fox 11 News.

    Drop-off boxes for donations are located on the NWTC Green Bay campus.


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  • 10/02/18--01:52: Homeless Shelters Merge
  • APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Three separate, non-profit groups in the Fox Cities have become one.

    That includes the 'Fox Valley Warming Shelter', 'Homeless Connections,' and the 'Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities'.

    The trio will now carry out their mission under one name, 'Pillars'.

    "Pillars lift up, pillars endure," explained Joe Mauthe, Pillars executive director.

    Mauthe tells FOX 11 with 3 agencies now as one, the new mission is to provide shelter, support, and solutions that address housing needs in the community.

    "Shelter is more than a place to put your head down at the end of the day, shelters are a couple of hot meals a day, shower facility, case management services."

    Mauthe said the agency provides 133 beds for adults and families experiencing homelessness each night.

    He said that means the agency provide a total of more than 45,000 nights of shelter to people experiencing homelessness in the Fox Cities.

    "Through this merger, there are no wrong doors," said Heidi Dusek, executive director of J.J. Keller Foundation.

    Dusek tells FOX 11 each agency had different resources; the collaboration will allow clients to be helped from beginning to end.

    "Where they need to go is the question they no longer have to ask."

    For example, a client may start at the adult shelter, move to the family shelter and then find housing in the housing program.

    "And they don’t have to tell their stories over and over again," Dusek said.

    Directors say no one will lose their jobs. The merger will also allow for a bigger budget and the agency will be able to provide more case management.

    Mauthe said this is about more than homelessness, he said it's about helping people get back on their feet until they get a home of their own.

    The new organization has multiple sites in the Fox Cities:

    Pillars Adult Shelter, formerly known as the Fox Valley Warming Shelter, at 1928 W. College Ave. in Appleton.

    Pillars Adult & Family Shelter, formerly known as Homeless Connections, at 400 N. Division St. in Appleton.

    Pillars, formerly known as Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, at 605 E. Hancock St. in Appleton. This will be the organization's primary mailing address.

    Ascend, at 990 Apple Blossom Drive in Neenah.


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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - Shawano Police are investigating the death of an infant.

    Officers were called out to a residence in the city Friday afternoon for a welfare check on a 2-month-old. 

    Upon arrival, it was discovered that the infant was deceased inside the residence. 

     


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    MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker says legislative leaders have called an Extraordinary Session regarding a tax incentives bill for Kimberly-Clark.

    The session set for November 12th will discuss the $100 million tax incentives bill which would save Kimberly-Clark's Cold Spring Facility in Fox Crossing.

    The company previously gave the state Senate until September 30th to vote on the bill but there weren't enough Republican votes to pass it.

    Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today regarding Kimberly-Clark:

    "Legislative leaders are calling an Extraordinary Session of the state Legislature on Monday, November 12, 2018, to allow the Senate to take up Assembly Bill 963, which was approved by members of the Assembly earlier this year. Kimberly-Clark officials, union leaders, local leaders, Senator Fitzgerald, Senator Roth, and I have been working together to keep hundreds of good paying, family supporting jobs in Wisconsin. This is a major step forward in achieving our goal.

    "My message to Kimberly-Clark employees is simple: we are fighting for you. We are working together to keep your jobs in Wisconsin."

    About 500 people work at the Cold Spring facility.

    The incentive bill was passed by the Assembly earlier this year.


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  • 10/02/18--09:47: Team USA Road Trip
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The National Wheelchair Softball Association has sent a team to Japan for a week-long tournament, and a Green Bay man is in the starting lineup.

    Jason Miller has been playing wheelchair softball for nearly 20 years and is thrilled to have made Team USA. He's excited to take the wheelchair game to another part of the world.

    "It's just a great to show people that just because you're in a wheelchair it doesn't mean anything."

    And Miller says Japan is willing to get involved. They wanted to bring an all-star team from the U-S back to their country.

    "We'll go to different schools, do demonstrations of wheelchair softball, just to show the kids and other adults."

    Latin America, Canada & Guyana are also taking part.

    American athletes are paying their own way. But Miller isn't looking at the cost. He's playing for his country

    "To put that Team USA jersey on is something I've longed for."

    Miller and his teammates will be in the Far East until next Tuesday.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Elected officials gathered at the Brown County Democrats Office in Green Bay on Tuesday and voiced their displeasure after the vote for a tax incentive bill was pushed back until after the November mid-terms.

    The $100 million bill intended at keeping Kimberly-Clark's Cold Spring facility open had an original deadline for September 30th, but legislative leaders have now called for an extraordinary session that will take place on November 12, which is after mid-term elections on November 6.

    State Senator Dave Hansen doesn't understand why this hasn't already been addressed.

    "The truth is if they really wanted it to get done, they could do a public hearing now and have a bill," says Senator Hansen. "Bring forward the legislature to not have to wait until after November 6."

    Democratic Nominee for governor Tony Evers agrees and adds that this has been on everyone's radar for a while.

    "This could have been solved months ago," claims Evers. "Kimberly-Clark and its difficulties in surviving are not a new issue."

    Senator Hansen spoke towards what Democrats are looking for in the bill.

    "We need protection for Marinette and we also need some kind of timeline so they can't just say OK we're going to take the money and run," he says.

    While Tony Evers has remained critical in his assessment of Governor Walker's handling of the situation.

    "For the Governor to suddenly decide and the Republicans to say this is going to happen after the election, I think that's just passing the buck," says Evers.

    The bill has already been passed by the Assembly earlier this year.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - There were plenty tongue-in-cheek remarks made towards Governor Walker and his flying habits when Democratic officials gathered in Green Bay on Tuesday.

    The gathering at the Brown County Democrats Office was started once Democratic nominee for governor Tony Evers arrived from Appleton - via car - which was a shot at Governor Walker using taxpayer money to fly that same trip.

    "And understand why the Governor hasn't done anything to fix our roads for two-terms... he barely drives on them," quipped Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen.

    While Evers said they need someone overseeing transportation that has expertise in the field.

    "We're going to appoint people who actually know what they're doing," says Evers. "Somebody that's in charge of transportation that actually knows something about roads."

    Senator Hansen believes Governor Walker has irresponsibly made appointments for not only transportation but other areas of the state government as well. 

    "When we had questionable appointments at the DNR and the UW-board of regents, we suffered," he says.

    Transportation was just part of Evers larger "The Government for Us" agenda, which he claims would put the government back at work for the people. 

    Part of that plan is creating a system to hold the government responsible for their use of taxpayer money.

    "One of the things we're going to do is propose to the legislature that we establish an office of Inspector General," he says.

    Evers envisions an Inspector General acting as a nonpartisan watchdog for the state government. He says the irresponsible use of taxpayer money, like flights from Appleton to Green Bay, wouldn't happen if agencies were held accountable.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Uncle Mike's Bake Shoppe serves up a great kringle. And for those not familiar, that takes time.

    "It takes three days to make it," says Uncle Mike (Vandewalle). "We use European style butter and you put the butter and you roll it out so you end up with 36-layers of butter in the dough to make it flaky."

    The kringle has become the bakery's most popular creation and specifically, it's one flavor that has stood out. So much so, that it already has been deemed the best on the continent.

    "The Sea Salt Caramel Pecan was named the best in North America," says Mike.

    That award-winning creation now merely faces three other products in the state for the honor of being crowned the "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin."

    The three remaining finalists in the competition include C.C. Moo LLC in Stoughton – Medically Adaptive Feeding Tube Clothing, John Deere Horicon Works – Gator XUV835R and Cardiac Science Corporation in Deerfield – Powerheart G5 Automated External Defibrillator (AED) with Intelliscense CPR Feedback.

    Uncle Mike says their kringle is unique in the way it looks compared to others in the state.

    "A lot of people make them oval shaped in Wisconsin," he says. "We decided to make them how they were made back in the 1800's in Denmark, which is pretzel shaped."

    Voting for the competition began on Tuesday, October 2 and continues until Tuesday, October 9 at noon.

    Mike says they will need everyone's support if they want to win.

    "We're one of the smallest companies in it, so we sort of need the whole community behind us," he says.

    You can vote here. 

    Uncle Mike's has three locations in the Green Bay area: De Pere, East Green Bay, and Suamico.


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