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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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  • 10/11/18--14:22: Arrest Made In 1975 Murder
  • STURGEON BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A big development has taken place in a long-standing Sturgeon Bay murder investigation with an arrest in the 1975 murder of Carol Jean Pierce.

    Police Captain Dan Brinkman says her husband Richard Gale Pierce was arrested at his residence in Cheboygan, Michigan and said since the murder, the investigation has gotten some new life.

    "We have a different District Attorney's office and different faces in the Attorney General's office who have agreed to look into this with us."

    The criminal complaint alleges Richard was the last person to see Carol Jean Pierce alive, had motive and opportunity to end her life, and Brinkman says he was a suspect all along, but technology advancements helped in the investigation.

    "We are seeing the culmination of 43 years of investigation."

    Investigations are continuing on Pierce's property in Michigan and he is being charged with first-degree murder and disinterment of the dead, which will result in a sentence of life in prison if convicted.

    "43 years later we are looking for the same thing that we were looking for 10 years ago."

    Brinkman said since the murder investigation started, the Police Department has undergone quite a bit of change.

    "Several officers have since retired."

    Captain Brinkman mentioned it was former Sturgeon Bay police chief Michael Nordin that originally re-opened this case, and now his daughter is directly involved in bringing the family justice.

    Prosecutors say Richard Pierce benefited from Carol Jean Pierce's death with "a pension unencumbered by a wife.

    "To see his daughter prosecute the man who he always believed and we always believed killed Carol Jean Pierce is pretty remarkable."

    Colleen Nordin is the Door County District Attorney and Brinkman confirmed that the case will be tried in Door County.

    Mike Nordin passed away in 1999 but before that, he re-opened the case in the early 80's before it went cold soon after.

    Captain Brinkman said one investigator was recently brought back onto payroll to continue the investigation.

    Investigations are continuing on Pierce's property in Michigan.

    Pierce is being charged with first-degree murder and Disinterment of Dead, which will result in a sentence of life in prison if convicted.

    Captain Brinkman also passed along a reminder for those thinking about committing a criminal act. 

    "It may take a while, but you can see that many cases have been solved years later due to technology and DNA."

    According to the criminal complaint, the two married in 1966. Those who knew the couple said they fought quite a bit and the relationship had a history of abuse.

    According to the report, police were told that Carol told people she knew that she felt Richard was going to kill her.

    Evidence also shows Pierce took out a loan to buy a trencher-bulldozer and trailer in December 1975. A search of Pierce's property in 2008 turned up no evidence of the missing woman, however. A new search of the property was begun on Thursday after Pierce was arrested.


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    HARRISON, WI (WTAQ) - The aftermath of a home explosion in Calumet County on Wednesday has officials still searching for more answers.

    The explosion happened at around 8 AM near Harrison. Fortunately, no one was inside, but two people in a nearby home suffered injuries.

    Lieutenant Mark Wiegert with the Calumet County Sheriff's Department says they've determined there was a gas leak, but remain unsure on other details.

    "We don't know if the explosion was caused by the gas or the gas leak was caused by the explosion," says Lt. Wiegert. "We don't know that yet and that's part of the investigation."

    One of the top priorities for officials on Wednesday was quickly determining if the nearby residents were safe in their homes moving forward.

    "After about five hours between the sheriff's department, the fire department, and We Energies it was determined that it was safe for the residents to return home," he explains.

    He says their ongoing investigation isn't unlike the process they typically undertake to find answers.

    "This is no different than any other investigation," he says. "It's looking for cause and origin of what happened there."

    Lieutenant Wiegert says the investigation into the cause of the gas leak will continue.


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    BELLEVUE, WI (WTAQ) - Brown County deputies have arrested a man connected to a string of burglaries in industrial locations around the Bellevue area.

    Jeremy Noid confessed to pulling a stolen trailer on August 1 but claims he wasn't involved in a different theft on July 21.

    The stolen trailer from the July 21 incident still hasn't been found and deputies are describing it as a 2016 Cronkhite dual axle 20-foot trailer with a wooden deck, a two-foot dovetail, and five-foot metal ramps with "Weidner" in white lettering on the side. 

    The trailer would have had the license plate number "DR66778' at the time.

    Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Brown County Sheriffs Office at 920-448-6178.

     

     


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  • 10/11/18--18:12: Brewers Helping Packer Fans
  • ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The Brewers success is playing a role in Packer ticket prices.

    For fans looking for an affordable game at Lambeau Field, Monday night may be the game, and they have the Brewers to thank for that.

    Ashwaubenon's Ticket King Manager Travis Loftus says many tickets are available for the Packers game Monday night and not just because the Brewers play at the same time.

    "Packers just lost so that is recently on the mind of all Wisconsin fans," Loftus said, comparing Brewer and Packer success. "The Brewers don't get there that often so when it happens people get excited and they want to be a part of it."

    He went on to say that Monday night games are usually a little down in sales and the fact that the 49ers lost their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season does not help.

    He says the fact that the 49ers are struggling is also a factor, so if you want them, good seats are available for the game.

    "It is the most affordable game on the schedule. We basically have tickets below face value from $90 dollars to $200 dollars a ticket."

    For Brewer tickets, Loftus says Games 1 and 2 are selling fast, but there are options for Games 6 and 7 if they are played.

     


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - One of the last surviving servicemen from the Attack on Pearl Harbor has passed away Wednesday at the age of 95.

    Firman Balza of Green Bay started speaking about Pearl Harbor in 2003, and as he reminded WTAQ on this last Pearl Harbor day, he always had one wish for America.

    "Find some way in the world where we can get rid of our weapons and shake hands."

    Over the past decade and a half, Balza shared his message remembering those who paid the ultimate price and reminded students and adults of the need for peace until the day he passed away.

    "We haven't cultivated the fact that we have to learn to get along and live together in a world of peace."

    According to his obituary, Firman was the youngest of 11 boys.

    He enlisted in the U.S Navy and served during World War II. 

    Balza loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing. He became a licensed pilot at the age of 63.

    A memorial gathering is scheduled for Saturday at St. Bernard Catholic Church. The gathering will be from 9:00 to 10:50 a.m. A Memorial Mass will begin at 11:00 a.m.

     


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - As the Packers celebrate 100 years, their team historian says decision making led to the demise of legendary Curly Lambeau.

    Cliff Christl says Curly Lambeau made his mark in Packer history, but in the 1930's, Lambeau made a decision that caused him to spend more time in California, and it was said that Curly went to Hollywood.

    "He wanted a divorce and he ended up marrying a Miss California. After they got divorced, he ended up marrying the ex-wife of a Hollywood film producer."

    In 1947 Christl says Lambeau also made some personnel decisions one of which was replacing co-founder George Whitney Calhoun who held some vengeance towards Lambeau.

    "Calhoun until the day he died in 1963, told people he wanted to outlive Lambeau so he could pee on his grave."

    Before the 1945 season, he replaced Dr. W.W. Kelly, who was one of the former presidents of the Packers, and before the 1947 season, he replaced Calhoun the co-founder."

    Christl said things also turned sour the field, and Lambeau resigned after efforts were made to oust him in 1949.

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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Concerns among UW-Oshkosh faculty are rising as the school plans to reduce positions.

    "The impact is going to be on the students, and that's unfortunate," said political science professor, David Siemers.

    Siemers tells FOX 11 faculty workload would go up; he blames the significant reduction in state support.

    "This is an intentional financial crisis of the states choosing, we didn't create that problem."

    Siemers said more classes for each faculty member means less attention for each student, and a less quality education.

    Chancellor Andrew Leavitt tells FOX 11 the move is needed for the school's expenses to be in line with revenue.

    "We’re not looking to cut anyone, per say, it's more the case of, as positions become available we simply don’t refill them."

    Leavitt said the school has already reduced more than 100 positions in the last four years.

    "We’re down about 1,800 students undergraduate students in the last five years. So, as a result, we simply cannot support the same size faculty and staff."

    Looking at the 6 fall semesters prior to the current one, there was a 15% decline in enrollment. The university said that's essentially a loss of nearly $10 million.

    However, Leavitt said there has been an uptick of first-year students this year.

    For Siemers....that brings up more questions.

    "We're in fact up in enrollment in the last year, we've been able to operate at this level of staffing for the last 5 years, so why all of a sudden do we need to let people go right?"

    As for students, freshman Harrison Morphey tells FOX 11 they just hope they're in good hands.

    "As a student for myself, I hope that's not going to affect what I have to take in the future."

    The Chancellor said the school has a shortfall of $7 million and its central reserves and fund balances can't regenerate fast enough to offset the cost.


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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Students, faculty, and staff at St. Norbert College gathered Thursday evening to request continued improvement in helping sexual assault victims.

    Students and staff recently wrote letters to St. Norbert College President Brian Bruess stating more needs to be done.

    In front of about 50 of her peers and professors, St. Norbert College senior Paige Bonner shared that she was raped in her dorm room last spring.

    “When in such a vulnerable state, I needed my college to be there for me to listen to me and to support me,” said Bonner. “Instead, I was misinformed and laughed at.”

    Bonner tells FOX 11 a call to the health and wellness center led to a 20-minute session with a campus counselor. She says the counselor questioned her truthfulness and laughed at her inability to recall details of what happened.

    “While my assault disgusts me to my very core, I want to emphasize how the response from the college hurt me more than my assault itself.”

    Other stories, similar to Bonner's, and recent national news, including the #MeToo movement, brought students together for the rally.

    “We're not out to protest or work against the administration, we just want to make sure the people in power at St. Norbert are continued to be held accountable to keep making changes,” said Anna Huck, a senior at St. Norbert.

    More than a dozen staff members joined the students.

    Anna Herrman, an associate professor of communication, was among them.

    “I think they see us here as supportive individuals and they feel a sense of solidarity and protection.”

    Bruess also made an appearance, listening to Bonner share her story. He tells FOX 11 he also met with her last week.

    “I was really impressed with her not only sharing her story but the remarkable number of ideas she has, ways we can refine what we're doing.”.

    “There have been steps taken and no student here can deny that,” said Huck. “We just want to continue to make sure that steps are taken.”

    Students say they'd still like to see improved transparency in the reporting process and increased support for assault survivors.

    As for Bonner, she says she never went to the police about her assault.

    She says she believes the person who assaulted her made a bad decision, and she feared to report the incident would ruin his life.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Appleton Police have made an arrest in a car versus pedestrian hit and run last Friday that put a 21-year-old Lawrence University student in the hospital.

    The woman was hit while walking through the intersection at College Avenue & Lawe Street.

    Police received tips after posting the video of the crash and photos of the vehicle. The video clearly showed the woman being hit, the vehicle pulling over for a moment and then speeding off.

    The information that came in led to the arrest of 43 year James Hutcherson. Investigators are requesting a charge of Hit and Run-Causing Great Bodily Harm against the Appleton man.

    Hutcherson is expected to make an initial court appearance today.

    The woman who was hit suffered a serious head injury and was in the hospital for several days. She was released from the hospital earlier this week.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Bay Beach Amusement Park will be featuring throwback prices during their "Boo Beach Weekend" event, which kicks off Friday.

    Ride tickets will cost only 10 cents from 5 to 8 PM on Friday night.

    Saturday there is a "trick or treat" at every ride from 2 to 4 PM and there will be a free showing of "The Incredibles" inside the Main Pavilion.

    The park will be open on Sunday from 2 to 8 PM, featuring 2008 pricing on all items in the park.

    This is the first time that Bay Beach has been open in October. 

    Kids dressed up in costume throughout the weekend will receive a free treat.

     


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  • 10/12/18--10:22: Missing Man Might be Nearby
  • ROTHSCHILD, WI (WTAQ) - A silver alert is being issued for a man that may be in northeast Wisconsin.

    84-year-old Richard J. Czarnecki was last seen in his vehicle in Wausau around 7:30 PM on Saturday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

    He reportedly asked for directions to Rothschild but wanted to go to Crivitz.

    He was reportedly seen an hour later in Birnamwood, driving north on Highway 45.

    He was driving a gray 2008 Buick Lucerne with license plate number 794-TJE.

    Czarnecki is described as 5-foot-7, 180 pounds, with gray hair and blue eyes. He commonly wears a bolo tie and was last seen wearing black shoes, black pants, and a maroon coat with "Bucyrus Erie" printed on it.

    His cellphone sent a signal to a tower in Crandon on Sunday.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Rothschild police at (715) 849-7794.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Oshkosh Police are reporting that an armed robbery took place early Friday morning at a Motel 6.

    An African-American man entered the motel just before 5:00 am, produced a handgun, and left with money.

    Police are reporting that further details will be released later.

    Anyone with information is strongly encouraged to contact the Oshkosh Police Department at (920) 236-5700.


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  • 10/12/18--15:42: Church Needs Help after Rain
  • WAUPACA, WI (WTAQ) - A church in Waupaca that assisted South Carolina residents following the aftermath of Hurrican Florence is now in a place of need following heavy rainfall.

    Radiant Fellowship Church has some of its kids area flooded, which will force everyone upstairs for their Sunday service.

    Pastor Bob Adams admits he first learned about the damage in an unusual way.

    “A little kid in our kid's group came through from downstairs and said 'Pastor Bob I just walked through a puddle', and that’s never good," says Adams.

    The rooms that are affected are used every Wednesday and Sunday.

    For Adams, this sticks out as something he has never seen in 15 years.

    “In Waupaca, it’s very sandy so water goes down pretty quickly but, we are needing to update our gutter system and put some in," he says.

    Gutters are just the first thing in a long list of items the church could use to help combat the damage.

    If people want to donate drywall, mud or cement, whatever, we’ll use that," says Adams.

    The church wants to help respond to the disaster in Florida but admits they first need to address their own problems. 

    To donate to Radiant Fellowship Church click here.


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    MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - The Brewers not only grabbed a 1-0 series lead in the NLCS against the LA Dodgers with their 6-5 win at Miller Park last night, but they also scored free hamburgers for their fans.

    That's because Milwaukee-based diner chain George Webb Restaurants has had a decades-long running prediction that the Brewers would win 12 straight games.

    The one other time the prediction came true was in 1987 when the Brewers rattled off 13 straight wins, which then resulted in about 170,000 free hamburgers being given out.

    The only George Webb location in Northeast Wisconsin is in Peshtigo.

    The restaurant chain made this post following the Brewers win last night:

    "They did it!!! (We always knew they would!) In honor of George Webb’s famous prediction, we will be giving away FREE BURGERS* on Thursday, October 18th from 2PM to 6PM. Plus, we’ll have special pricing on other menu items including fries, soft drinks, and more. *Limit 1 per person, dine in or carry out."


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    MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - Game 1 of the National League Championship Series went the way of the Brewers 6-5 over the LA Dodgers last night at Miller Park.

    Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was chased out of the game before completing 4 innings and allowed a stunning solo home run to Milwaukee relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff.

    Milwaukee used seven pitchers in the game and got three scoreless innings from all-star Josh Hader.

    Woodruff was credited with the win after entering in the third inning and throwing two perfect innings.

    Los Angeles was led by slugger Manny Machado who homered and drove in three runs for the Dodgers.

     

    Milwaukee has won 12 straight games, which is one shy of the franchise record set in 1987.

    Game 2 is tonight at Miller Park with Wade Miley starting for Milwaukee and Hyun-Jin Ryu getting the nod for Los Angeles.

    Tune in for the 2:30 pregame and 3:09 first pitch on WTAQ. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A marijuana possession citation has been dismissed and a criminal charge will be filed against Green Bay Packers tight end Lance Kendricks.

    He was issued the citation after a September 2017 traffic stop in Outagamie County, when an officer found marijuana in the vehicles glove box after smelling the drug.

    He was not required to appear in court on Friday since it was an ordinance violation. A criminal charge will be filed according to the Outagamie County District Attorney's Office. 

    It remains unclear when the case will be filed and specifically what charge will be filed. 


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    GRAND CHUTE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A new training center broke ground at Fox Valley Technical College Friday.

    It's where students will go for airport rescue firefighting (ARFF) training.

    The facility will be built near FVTC's Public Safety Training Center and Appleton International Airport.

    "We're excited from the perspective that this training center will bring people from across the globe into our community, they'll be staying at our hotels eating at our restaurants, they'll be spending external dollars here so very exited about the economical impact this project can make," says Abe Weber, who works with the airport, to Fox 11 News.

    Earlier this year, the school received a $10.4 million federal grant to build the new center.

    The state-of-the-art building will help firefighting students complete their FAA-required training. It will also help bridge the gap in the Midwest with recent ARFF facility closures in Minnesota and Michigan.

    Oshkosh Corporation and Pierce Manufacturing are also helping with the project.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The former director of the Manitowoc Public Library was convicted Friday of falsifying records to increase circulation figures.

    Cherilyn Stewart, 58, pleaded no contest to two counts of misappropriating identification. Two other charges were dropped.

    She's now ordered to pay over $2,000 in fines.

    Depending on how libraries are structured, libraries can charge other municipalities for their residents who use other libraries.

    According to the criminal complaint, Stewart used the information from real people and created fictitious accounts – and then processed check-outs in order to boost circulation figures, and the fees the library could recoup.

    For example, the library card belonging to a woman who moved from Manitowoc to Tennessee was changed, with a new address in the Town of Liberty.

    More than 2,600 circulations were credited on that account in less than four months.

    In another case, one card was used to check out 72 items on a day the library was closed. At least 13,000 fraudulent transactions happened, according to the complaint.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - When they were there serving.....it was all they could do to stay alive.

    But a group of 50 Vietnam veterans from NE Wisconsin met this weekend as plans are coming together to take them back to a place they couldn't wait to get away from.

    Ellsen Schudemann is an air force veteran....and served in Vietnam in 1972. And thrilled to be chosen to be part of the trip.

    "I was shaking, I was just excited. I'm still excited and I get a little emotional too."

    And Schudemann thinks he knows why...

    "I was not in any of the battles. But I had some friends who didn't come back.... so I feel like I'm doing it for them."

    The Old Glory Honor Flight typically takes veterans back to Washington DC for the day. This two-week trip is an ambitious step for them.

    Diane MacDonald says the excitement for the veterans is there.... and building.

    "They're excited, they're emotional, they're happy, they're sad. You name it I think we've seen it today including a lot of tears."

    George Dexter is an Army veteran, serving from 1970-71. He saw lots of action and says the challenge was to make it through each day.

    "The key word was survival. And that's pretty much what it was. The Bible tells us every breath is a gift and trust me....it's true."

    Another Army veteran, Jim Vandenheuvel, was there in the late 60's. Like a lot of these guys....he's not sure what to expect.

    "I believe there's a reason I'm going back....I just haven't figured out exactly what it is."

    Return To Nam....Saigon to Hanoi....is set for liftoff February 24, 2019.


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    MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) - For the second consecutive game the Los Angeles Dodgers staged a late inning rally, this time topping the Brewers 4-3 at Miller Park. 

    The win evens the series between the two at a game apiece, with the series shifting to Los Angeles with Game Three on Monday night at Dodger Stadium starting at 6:39 PM.

    Milwaukee wasted a masterful start from Wade Miley, who pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and was able to contribute two hits at the plate. 

    Veteran slugger Justin Turner hit a two-run homerun in the eighth inning off Milwaukee All-Star reliever Jeremy Jeffress that leapfrogged the Dodgers ahead and set them up for the win.

    Dodgers All-Star closing pitcher Kenley Jansen worked the ninth inning earning the save.

    Orlando Arcia opened the scoring in the game with a solo homerun in the fifth inning for the Brewers and Travis Shaw added another solo shot in the sixth inning.

    Monday night's starters will feature Walker Buehler for Los Angeles and Jhoulys Chacin gets the ball for Milwaukee.


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