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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - US Senator Ron Johnson addressed some big issues for Republicans that are being talked about days before election Tuesday while in studio Thursday on WTAQ's John Muir Show.

    The Senator said voters are getting mislead if they think that Republican candidates are looking to make a certain big change in healthcare.

    "Republicans will guarantee that your pre-existing conditions will be covered."  

    He said any claims that the efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare includes eliminating that coverage is a lie.  

    "My daughter has a congenital heart defect, do you think I want to take away the protection for insurance coverage for a pre-existing condition? Governor Walker's mother has breast cancer and his wife is a diabetic, do you think he is going to take away that protection?"  

    He says the goal is to protect that without causing premiums to double or triple and said even though Republican's voted to repeal and replace Obamacare, that is not part of the plan.  

    As Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, the Senator also addressed immigration saying he backs the president's stance on securing the borders, making sure people do not come into the United States illegally.  

    "It's overwhelming our system. The reason it is overwhelming our system is because we incentivize them coming into this country."  

    Senator Johnson said illegal immigrants get to stay because of bad law, loopholes and endless appeals.  

    "He is trying to deter it. He is trying to deter it by saying we are going to put these troops on the border, don't even try."  

    He says people trying to come into the country illegally happens every couple of days.    


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  • 11/01/18--15:00: Don't Blame The Police
  • MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - Manitowoc Police are trying to distance themselves from the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office following the release of part 2 of Making a Murderer, which focuses on the Steven Avery/Brendan Dassey murder case.

    Manitowoc Police say they have received an influx of calls, emails, and messages after the Netflix release.

    In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Police Department reiterated that the incidents occurred outside the city of Manitowoc, meaning they have no jurisdiction. 

    The post reads

    Since the release of the Netflix Series regarding the Steven Avery cases, the City of Manitowoc is receiving phone calls, emails, Facebook posts/messages, texts, etc. mistakenly naming the City of Manitowoc (and it's police department) as handling the Avery Cases. These cases involved the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office and occurred in their jurisdiction. They did not happen in the City of Manitowoc. However, people from around the nation and world, are likely searching the internet and lumping the city in with the county.

    Anyone commenting about these cases involving Steven Avery may be directing their opinion to the wrong law enforcement agency. All of the cases referenced in the Netflix series were the jurisdiction of the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office. The incidents occurred outside of the City of Manitowoc. The Manitowoc Police Department does not have any jurisdiction outside of the City of Manitowoc. Steven Avery did not live in the City of Manitowoc.

    The Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office and the Manitowoc Police Department are two separate law enforcement agencies. Also, the City of Manitowoc does not oversee the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office. Therefore, any positive or negative comments about the Netflix series directed to the City of Manitowoc concerning the Avery cases may be directed at the incorrect agency.

    While the "documentary" has been produced to create an emotional response, it has not provided a balanced portrayal of Mr. Avery's life prior to him entering prison nor the evidence from the Halbach assault and murder. I hope you will continue to review more information concerning these crimes and resist the temptation of having tunnel vision by believing the marketing of one film maker’s opinion as gospel. (See link below)

    Our local City of Manitowoc Police Department strives to adapt and evolve as a professional organization while reducing crime and providing critical and protective services for everyone. We accomplish this through optimizing strong community partnerships, strategic planning, continuous training, and the most effective use of our available resources. The mission of the City of Manitowoc Police Department is: We are committed to providing excellent police service and an unrelenting pursuit of justice, while maintaining order and securing a safe environment for everyone.

    Thank you for voicing your concern and for taking the time to contact us.

    Sincerely,

    Chief Nick Reimer

     

     


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay Packers are looking for their next Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame Honoree.

    Fans can nominate themselves or someone else anytime between now and November 30.

    The winner will be introduced as the 21st member of the Hall of Fame in February and will receive four club seats to a 2019 Packers home game; a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate; a road trip for two to a 2019 Packers away game.

    Last year's winner was Titletown resident, Marguerite 'Mugs' Bachhuber.

    A nomination form can be found here.


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  • 11/01/18--19:24: Water Boil Still In Effect
  • GRESHAM, WI (WTAQ) - A cautionary boil advisory in the village of Gresham will be extended one more day through Friday.

    All schools in the Gresham district had to cancel classes on Wednesday following a water main break that happened on Tuesday night.

    Throughout the boil advisory, all drinking water should be boiled prior to consuming. 


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  • 11/01/18--21:32: A Welcome Home They Deserve
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - It was an emotional return home for 70 area veterans following a whirlwind trip to the nation's capital on Thursday.

    The first-ever Old Glory Honor Flight in Green Bay drew upwards of 2,000 well-wishers to Austin Straubel Airport wanting to thank the men and women of service.

    One special tandem on board was the father-son duo of Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber and his father Dennis.

    "It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling," says Dennis, a Sergeant in the 5th Special Forces with the Green Baret during the Vietnam War. "I've been so blessed."

    For this father and son team it's not their first trip together to the nation's capital, but probably the first one that Adam can remember well.

    "I went out there thirty years ago with my Dad, I was probably ten-years-old," says Adam. "He was there for a special forces reunion."

    And it was time for a trip back, at the very least to see some new features that weren't around thirty years ago.

    "Obviously the World War II Monument wasn't there thirty-years-ago," explains Adam. "It was amazing."

    It was a long day for those participating as they arrived at the airport around 5:30 AM and boarded their charter flight set for Washington D.C. at 6:30 AM. Once they arrived in the nation's capital a surprise was awaiting the group.

    "When we got to Washington I didn't expect to see anyone, I mean who do I know in Washington?" explains Dennis. "And here's all these little kids waving flags, it actually broke me right down."

    Some of the sights seen in Washington included the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and the Marine Corps War Memorial. 

    Tagging along with the group of 70 veterans and their guardians were five former Packer players, which included Mark Tauscher, Paul Coffman, Lynn Dickey, Earl Dotson, and Marco Rivera.

    Waiting back in Green Bay were droves of family, friends, and members of the community that wanted to show their gratitude.

    American flags were handed out to everyone in attendance and live music was performed by an area high school band.

    The veterans received a raucous welcome home from well-wishers lining all sides of the airport. The scene was so moving that it provided Dennis Bieber with a change of heart.

    "I was feeling kind of down, I thought not too many people liked America anymore," Dennis says was his mindset prior to the event. "But, I was really uplifted to see how many patriotic people there are out here."

    It was a special event that proved to be a fitting end to Brown Counties 200th Anniversary Celebration and had many reflecting on their blessings.

    "I just thank the good Lord that we live in the country that we live in," says Dennis. "And that I can be a part of it."


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    SHIOCTON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Decades in the making, Shiocton Schools has a new multi-purpose fitness facility.

    On Thursday, there was a ribbon-cutting for the long-awaited opening in Outagamie County, where a former student's idea finally became reality.

    Dave Gomm held back tears as he looked at the facility he calls a dream come true.

    “I graduated some 30 odd years ago, I was a wrestler, always wanted some place for wrestlers to go." Gomm told FOX 11.

    For the past 20 years, Gomm worked on Shiocton's school board. One of his goals? A new home for the wrestling club.

    “We kind of got pushed to here, pushed to there, we always said we'd get a room someday, we'll get our own."

    Earlier this year, the community helped fulfill that dream, approving a $2 million referendum.

    “We don't have to wrestle in the cafeteria anymore, so we don't have to spend a half hour or 45 minutes rolling up mats and moving tables and everything else," said Gomm.

    But with the facilities shiny hard floor, untouched basketball rims, and heavy weights, it's clear the building goes well beyond wrestling.

    Nichole Schweitzer, the school district administrator, tells FOX 11 the building is a multi-purpose gym in one half and an all-inclusive workout room in the other.

    “In fact, we have one piece of equipment that you can remove the seat completely and a wheelchair can then be connected."

    Community members are also invited to use the equipment. Sharon Allen said she plans to teach her exercise class at the new facility.

    “Isn't it wonderful? We need those joints to last forever."

    And whether it's working on your joints or wrestling skills, Gomm said it's a place everyone can call home.

    Fitness center hours:

    Monday - Friday: 

    5-10 AM

    12-1 PM

    5-9 PM

    Membership Fees:

    Individual adult $100/annual

    Individual adult $12/month

    College student $40/annual

    Adult daily rate $2/day


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Northeast Wisconsin drivers will get their first chance to navigate a diverging diamond interchange this weekend.

    The state Department of Transportation says the newly reconfigured interchange between Oneida Street and Hwy. 10/441 in Appleton will open Saturday morning.

    It had been closed since August.

    The new interchange features a diverging diamond on Oneida Street. In the diverging diamond, drivers cross over to the left-hand side of the road while passing under Hwy. 10/441.

    The DOT says the new interchange design will help drivers move more efficiently onto Hwy. 10/441, as they will no longer have to wait to turn left onto the highway.

    The DOT says during morning rush hour, more than 825 vehicles per hour turn left from northbound Oneida Street to westbound 10/441.

    The opening of the interchange means the entire stretch of Oneida Street from downtown Appleton to Lake Winnebago will be fully open after two years of construction.

    Oneida Street north of the interchange opened on Wednesday.

    For WisDot information click here.


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  • 11/02/18--10:21: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Putting pen to paper made the Brown County 2019 budget official on Friday.

    The Brown County budget for 2019 was signed by County Executive Troy Streckenbach in the presence of various department heads at the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Brown County. 

    Highlighted in the plan is a comprehensive plan to slash debt, continued investments in infrastructure, and lower property taxes. 

    But this didn't all come together overnight. Friday's signing was rather the culmination of a long-term plan aimed at addressing a series of targets within the county.

    "Today we've decided to sign this budget to represent the overall plan that we introduced back two years ago," says Streckenbach.

    This budget is significant in the sense that some components related to overall debt and taxes are being changed to numbers that haven't been achieved in quite some time.

    "Our debt is going to be lower for the first time in over a decade," explains Streckenbach. "We have the largest tax break cut that Brown County has seen in over a decade."

    The 2019 mill rate is going to be lowered by10 cents, from $4.56 to $4.46, and the counties debt will be reduced by over $12.9 million.

    That reduction will drop the total outstanding debt of the county to under $100 million for the first time in over 10 years.

    "As municipal governments struggle to balance their budgets, Brown County is slashing taxes, paying off our debt burden to the lowest level it has been in over 10 years and investing in needed infrastructure without having to borrow or perform accounting gimmicks to do it," he says.

    Other local officials on-hand agreed that the newly signed budget will give the county momentum heading into the new year.

    "You look at this budget, it's a solid budget, and it's good for the people of Brown County," says County Supervisor Pat Evans.

    Along with lowering property taxes and reducing debt, the new budget has included a series of initiatives that have addressed improving road safety, utilizing research for cover crop production, fighting ageism, and expanding technology-based programming within public schools.

    "It's positive to show that a local government can reduce taxes for the property owner, while still continuing with all their services and fixing our infrastructure," says Evans.

    The proposed budget was approved by the county board with a vote of 24-2 on October 31.


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - As you're changing your clocks this weekend for daylight savings time, take an extra few seconds to make sure some potentially life-saving equipment is working properly.

    Change your clock, change your batteries is the message being stressed this weekend.

    Officials are urging everyone to change their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide batteries as they go around the house and change the clocks.

    "We always think the best time to do that is when you're changing your clock," says Captain Jody Crocker with Ashwaubenon Public Safety. "It's an easy reminder to change those batteries twice a year, both in the spring and in the fall, when there's daylight savings time."

    And right now is a perfect time to do it, with the increased amount of fire hazards around the house during winter.

    "We especially recommend it at this time of the year when we're rolling into the winter heating season," says Captain Crocker. "Furnaces are running and people are burning those types of fuel and it may cause a problem within your household."

    It's important to change the batteries, but also make sure they are properly installed and most of all, existent. Captain Crocker says it's all too often for people to forget that they took the batteries out of their alarm.

    "If they have smoke in their kitchen from cooking they will pull their batteries and maybe forget that they pulled the batteries out," he says.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71% of smoke alarms which malfunctioned were either due to missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

    Officials remind everyone that the carbon monoxide detector is just as important to check over, though.

    "Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, you don't know that it's there," explains Captain Crocker. "So it's even more important to make sure that the carbon monoxide detector is working."

    We turn the clock back an hour at 2 AM on Sunday, November 4 for daylight savings time.


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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A school in Neenah is looking to boost student engagement by having class outside.

    "Sometimes our class is just cooped up inside and you just got to feel fresh air because you only got 30 minutes outside, so why not come out here more," fifth-grader Zander Schmeichel told Fox 11 News.

     

    Wilson Elementary School has teachers using an outdoor classroom whenever they want, only requiring them to sign up on a schedule.

    "We struggled in the past years with indoor classroom space, so what better way to learn than come outside," school principal, Ryan Hammerschmidt, told Fox 11 News.

    The outdoor classroom project started 4 years ago and was completed this August.

    "Staff themselves and parent volunteer did work out here; the local boy scouts put the sign up for us," Hammerschmidt told Fox 11 News.

    According to school officials, much of the $4,000 project was paid for with donations. 

    The outdoor classroom is located in front of the school and is also available to the public.

    So far, it's been a positive experience that has left students with a sense of pride for having such a unique space at their school.

    "Not a lot of school probably have an outside classroom and it's cool to have one," student Max Trzcinski told Fox 11 News.


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  • 11/02/18--16:38: Counterfeit Bills
  • Waupaca, WI (WTAQ) - There is a warning being issued for counterfeit $100 bills by Waupaca County officials.

    A person of interest has been asking businesses in the Waupaca area for change with counterfeit money, according to deputies.

    They are asking people to check bills for any Chinese or Japanese symbols if they receive a $100 bill.

    Deputies say residents and business owners should check the back of the bill prior to cashing it. 


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    MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order on Friday, which authorized the activation of Wisconsin National Guard Troops for election day.

    The order doesn't provide any specifics to the troop's mission, except "provide essential services to the Wisconsin Elections Commission."

    The National Guard's cybersecurity team will be allowed to help the commission if requested, according to a news release from Walker's office.

    Such an order coming from a Governor is something that Commission spokesman Reid Magney can't remember ever happening before. 

    Commission Executive Director Meagan Wolfe told reporters during a conference call on Friday that the troops will be ready if needed, which is the reason why they were activated.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A man has been charged for threatening to kill an officer that shot and killed Jonathan C. Tubby in an officer-involved shooting near the Brown County Jail in October.

    33-year-old Elliot Wilber posted a YouTube video threatening that officer and his family as retaliation.

    The video was since taken down, but Wilber posted another video saying he worded it wrong.

     The video is full of profanity and while he apologized for involving children, he still made violent statements towards the officer that was involved in the shooting.

    The officers that were placed on Administrative Leave during the investigation returned to work this week.

    Officials say a confrontation started in the sally port of the Brown County Jail, following Tubby's arrest on October 19.

    That confrontation ended in Tubby's death.

    In the video, Wilber says he was intoxicated at the time of the first video threatening the officer that killed Tubby.

    Wilber was taken into custody without incident.

    The criminal complaint says someone at the home told police there was a loaded AK-47 in the house.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Oshkosh police have confirmed that no threat was ever made after a student was reported possibly having a gun near Oshkosh North High School Thursday.

    The student was later found by police off school grounds, near the Oshkosh Correctional Institution.

    It was later determined all firearms at the student's home were accounted for.

    Police say they've completed their investigation into the incident.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - If you're looking for kittens around Oshkosh, there is luck before the holiday season.

    The Oshkosh Area Humane Society held the "Fall in Love with Kittens" adoption event Saturday.

    There were more than 45 kittens available for adoption.

    The event ditched the adoption fee for the felines.

    Cheryl Rosenthal, with the Oshkosh Area Humane Society, tells FOX 11 the humane society is hoping to find homes for the kittens before the snow flies.

    "It makes us feel really proud. Um, you know, it's all about finding forever homes, and, um, making sure that these cats don't languish in the shelter, and so, um, and, unfortunately, there are more kittens in our foster homes waiting, um, to be old enough to be adopted."

    The humane society is also holding an event for the next few weeks called "Lucky 21 Cat Jackpot" that will also remove adoption fees for certain cats.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - Manitowoc police found illegal drugs inside a house near Franklin Elementary School Friday, and arrested a man for numerous drug charges.

    Officers were called to 3207 Mero Street, working a state-funded Drug and Warrant Interdiction Grant, and checked out the house, looking for a wanted suspect.

    Upon arrival, officers smelled marijuana and then found the suspect in the basement.

    They then applied for and executed a search warrant, and officers found drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and high-concentrate THC, in enough amounts to distribute.

    They also found a scale, a loaded firearm, drug packaging material, and other drug paraphernalia.

    They also found two children, who were removed from the house because of exposure to the drugs.

    Officers arrested a 30-year-old Manitowoc man for drug charges including possession with intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, both within 1,000 feet of a school and while armed, and also keeping a drug house, possession of drug paraphernalia and bail jumping.

    They also referred a 29-year-old Manitowoc woman to the District Attorney's office for keeping a drug house and child neglect.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Appleton's Oneida street is once again open for traffic at Highway 441.

    Just the second in the state, the diverging diamond interchange is still unfamiliar to most.

    "It was a little weird to turn left and to stay on the left side of the road," said Alexandria Bolwerk.

    Tom Buchholz, with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, tells FOX 11...

    "The crossover road is something new or different but follow the signs it should be easy."

    Bolwerk thinks it's safer and easier.

    "There's no more 'is someone coming from the other side' worried about getting hit or t-boned... I think this is the new roundabout."

    Some are still wondering why not just put in another commonly used roundabout.

    "I hate stoplights," said Jay Schmid.

    "I thought it was supposed to keep traffic moving and stop lights, of course, don’t do that," said Roxanne Volpintesta.

    "Signal timing is much faster at these, the signal time lengths.so waiting at reds will be shorter than what people may recognize 20 to 40 seconds less sitting at an intersection," Buchholz said.

    He says the interchange is meant to help high left-turn volumes

    "The congestion is going to be much better for drivers that came on Oneida street northbound and made that left to get on to 441 experienced those heavy delays."

    Both Google and iPhone map apps are not yet updated so those navigating through it should just put their phones down and follow the signs.

    "The fact that you have pedestrians involved in the mix. There are crosswalks involved with it, I know.I don't know, I'm willing to try it. Obviously, I'm going to have to get used to it because I live in the area," Schmid said.

    Steve and Marsha Brautigam were walking through the interchange.

    "I think it's not necessarily safer but it’s not any more dangerous it's just like I said you have to cross lanes of traffic twice to get where you want to go without having regular sidewalks on the side… (She adds) specifically, see older people getting confused," said Steve Brautigam.

    "I think a weekend and people will go ooh its nice," said Marsha Brautigam.

    As of late Saturday afternoon, Appleton Police indicate there were no reports of trouble with the new intersection.


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  • 11/05/18--00:00: Where To Cut?
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Some tough decisions are ahead for the Green Bay City Council.

     It's budget time and the City Council has some deficit to make up.  "We are 2.2 million dollars in the hole and we have raises and benefits that we have to pay for the employees."  Alderperson Bill Galvin says it is mostly because of decisions made with the tax levy in previous years.  "The current council pretty much realizes that we have to face reality and we have to bite the bullet this year." He says that most likely means increasing taxes and decreasing services.   "If you want to make significant cuts to the budget, you have to cut programs and cut the personnel that goes with it."  The department heads are working on making cuts that have an impact, but would not put the safety of the community in jeopardy.  The council is scheduled to meet tonight to work on the budget.  "We are asking for long-term goals and solutions that will get us out of this mess and enable us to set up a budget and spending program." 

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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The calendar just recently flipped over to November, but most stores have had their eyes set on the day-after-Thanksgiving for quite some time.

    Christmas is coming soon and most box stores in the area are doing their best to keep holiday shopping at the front of everyone's mind.

    At J.C. Penney in Ashwaubenon, they're already stocking up.

    "We've been getting shipments for the last several weeks," says Mike Grant, J.C. Penney general manager. "We get three trucks a week, two of the three trucks a week is a full semi load and that's mostly Black Friday holiday merchandise."

    All that merchandise means more people in the stores, which requires additional staff throughout the store.

    "Our plan was to hire about 45 people," explains Grant. "We've hired about 25, so about another 20 people."

    The first 25 hired employees will be permanent, while they are searching for an additional 20 seasonal workers.

    Perhaps the most obvious sign of Black Friday's arrival is online, where store ads can be seen all over.

    "There's a lot of Black Friday items we have available online only," explains Jim DePaul, Shopko chief operating officer. "Sort of a sneak-peek."

    With all this preparation, just how much money is spent over the holidays?

    According to a National Retail Federation survey, shoppers said last year that they expected to spend $967.13 during the holiday season. 

    That number might seem high, but it actually could be trending upward this year.

    "Everything in the economy points to people willing to spend a little bit more," says DePaul.

    And experts agree. They are anticipating holiday spending to increase by around 4.1 percent this year.

     DePaul says that Shopko plans to begin their in-person Black Friday sale at 2 PM.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - The Manitowoc Police Department needs help in finding a suspect that got away from a fight at the Manitowoc County Expo Grounds Saturday night.

    At about 10:35, officers were called to the Expo Grounds for a report of shots fired during a fight.

    Officers found out the fight involved several men and that at some point during the fight, shots were fired from a handgun.

    Officers found bullet casings on the scene.

    Although there were injuries from the fight, it's not believed that anyone was injured by the shots fired.

    The person with the gun was described as a man in his 20s, with long, braided hair, and was wearing a black jacket.

    Witnesses reported that he was bleeding from his face at the time.

    Witnesses also said he left the scene in either a red SUV or a black sedan.

    Police are asking for anyone with information about the incident to call either the Manitowoc Police Department at (920) 686-6551, or Crime Stoppers at (920) 683-4466.


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