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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    MADISON, WI (WRN) - The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Senate says they're not close to passing a tax incentive bill needed to save a Kimberly-Clark mill in Fox Crossing.

    Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says they still need six or seven more votes to approve the $100 million package.

    Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday "the votes are not there as of today."

    He says there aren't enough Republicans in support of the bill to pass it on its own.

    "In my caucus, there's maybe 10 or 11 for this. So it's going to take a significant amount of Democrat votes to get this through."

    It takes 17 votes to pass the bill, meaning Democrats would be needed to join Republicans in supporting it.

    "If the votes are there you take to the floor and you take the vote. If it's not, don't expect a lot of drama or anything it's just not going to appear on the floor of the Senate."

    Democrats have said they prefer a different approach to help the paper industry in Wisconsin, rather than the measure that would direct tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money exclusively to Kimberly-Clark.

    Kimberly-Clark has threatened to close the plant, which employs about 390 people.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Cold temperatures have many anxious to get out on their local lake, but make sure the ice is safe before you do so.

    Freezing temperatures don't always equate to safe ice according to Don Herman of Sunk? Dive and Ice Service of Oshkosh.

    Nonetheless, he says people are already heading out.

    "There's actually quite a few people already out because everybody puts their guns away after deer hunting and all the ice fishing equipment starts to come out," he says. "And some are pretty antsy to get out."

    In some locations that might be perfectly safe, because according to Herman you only need at least two inches of ice to walk on, but a thicker surface would be preferable. 

    "If you're walking out you'd like to have at least four inches," he explains. "I mean you only need two inches to hold someone and I've been on two inches many times, but if you want to be a little extra safe you want four inches of ice."

    While it may be safe to walk on your local lake already, it most likely is best to keep your vehicle parked in the garage for the time being.

    "It's four to eight to ten [inches] for a four-wheeler or side-by-side," says Herman. "Once you get over ten inches you can have a small vehicle."

    And any heavy duty vehicles require even more ice.

    "You need about twelve inches to take out a four-wheel drive with a diesel in it," he says.

    And according to Herman the "buddy system" wasn't just a good idea in grade school, because it can save lives while on the ice.

    "Always go out with someone when you're going out on early ice," he explains. "It's just a safety deal and if something does happen you have someone there to help you."

    And there's some basic safety equipment to have on-hand when venturing out onto the lake as well.

    "I tell everybody if you're going out early and going out on the ice to have one of those nice, new life vests," he says. "Make sure you have an ice pick and a whistle."

    He says a whistle might be someones last chance to be discovered because you can't count on your voice being heard.

    "When you fall in you can't even really yell because of the shock from the cold water," says Herman. "But you can always blow a whistle and you can hear that."

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  • 11/28/18--11:25: K-9 Cop Helps Drug Bust
  • MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - A drug bust by Manitowoc Police resulted in more than 10 grams of heroin laced with fentanyl being seized.

    Officers say the overnight traffic stop on Wednesday wouldn't have been possible without K9 officer Major, who was called to the scene and detected drugs.

    The suspect was captured and taken into custody after attempting to run away from police.

    Officers say they found 10.2 grams of heroin laced with fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana inside the vehicle, as well as a digital scale and packaging materials.


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The theft of two vehicles from a car dealership is being investigated by Ashwaubenon Public Safety.

    A black 2018 Chevrolet Camaro and a black 2019 Chevrolet 3500 High Country Dually pickup have been reported missing from Broadway Chevrolet on S Ashland Ave.

    Police say the theft happened sometime over the weekend of Nov. 24.

    Please contact Investigator Robert Messer at (920) 593-4474 if you have any information on the incident or you can report via CrimeStoppers at (920) 432-STOP.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Another week has been given to Brown County prosecutors to file charges against a Green Bay man that was living at a residence where police found a large number of dangerous chemicals.

    38-year-old Michael Anderson is being held on probable cause and prosecutors have been given until December 5 by a court commissioner to file charges.

    Brown County Assistant District Attorney Wendy Lemkuil said in court on Wednesday that more time was needed due to the complexity and number of agencies working on the case.

    The investigation has led authorities to believe Anderson wasn't attempting to make explosives, but rather was using the chemicals to make methamphetamine, according to Lemkuil.

    The chemicals were found earlier this month in the 1200 block of Redwood Drive at a home that belongs to Anderson's mother when police were called to the residence. Jennifer Gross, Anderson's girlfriend, also lives in the home’s basement where the chemicals were discovered, according to police.

    Anderson made comments that “he was going to throw acid on police and would go down fighting to death because he’s dead anyway,” according to prosecutors. They also stated that Nazi and Aryan race paraphernalia was also found in Anderson's basement. Anderson is shown with Nazi tattoos in a 2012 arrest photo.

    Gross was charged Monday with disorderly conduct and resisting or obstructing an officer in relation to the case.

    Gross told police she was going to blow up the courthouse and that it had always been a dream of hers, according to the complaint.

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  • 11/28/18--15:42: Pass the Salt
  • APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - The start of winter weather means that salt is typically dumped on roads to combat the effects of snow and ice, but one northeast Wisconsin county is experimenting with an alternative they claim will save money.

    Who knew salt could be so controversial? It turns out the conversation surrounding the best way to de-ice roads is a complicated one and Outagamie County believes they've found the answer... brine. And lots of it.

    "We're using more brine, but we're using a lot less salt," says Randy Roloff, Outagamie Highway Superintendent. "It's 2.29 pounds of salt to make a gallon of brine."

    And using less salt could mean more money. Roloff thinks the move could save the county upwards of $300,000 a year.

    And the intended benefits for the switch aren't purely financial.

    Officials claim brine, which is essentially salt with water and a few chemicals, simply sticks to the roads better as well.

    "So the salt brine, the liquid, we can put right on the pavement and it starts working immediately," explains Dean Steingraber, Outagamie County Highway Commissioner. "It doesn't get kicked out, it stays there."

    Not everyone is so quick to pass the salt, though.

    Dave Zentner, the owner of Zentner Auto Service, thinks the transition to brine has made cars begin to rust more quickly.

    "From what I'm seeing, I have to believe the brine that they've been using the last few years is really killing these cars to rust," he says.

    For Zentner, he just has to look back a short time ago to see the difference.

    "It seems to be a lot worse in the last five years than it has been over the years," he explains.

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  • 11/28/18--17:07: A Room To Calm Anger
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Students at Washington Middle School now have a special room that helps them refocus to get through the day.

    The mindfulness room is part of the school plan to help prevent the school from becoming what was described last year a toxic environment due to behavior of students.

    Bean bags, swivel chairs, and even a couch are just a few things inside what students know as the Mindfulness Room.

    "This space really provides a resource for students so that they can get themselves recentered," Cindy Olson, Washington Middle School principal.

    Student Rileigh Opshal says she uses the room to calm down and get back to class.

    "It is an important space to me. I come here when I feel angry or stressed. My favorite thing to do is sit on the spinning chairs and draw on the whiteboards. Having access to this room helps me cool down and get back to class."

    Trevonte Hood says one aspect helps him.

    "I use the mindfulness space to calm down and take breaks. My favorite thing to do is to sit in the bean bag chair with the weighted blanket."

    Olson says last month 136 of the 766 students used the room to eliminate stress or to calm down after situations arise.

    "One of the things that's changed is our constant message to students about expectations in the hallway, in the classroom, how they treat each other, how they treat adults. The other thing that's changed is us communicating out the importance of that with each other and together as a school to make sure that students needs are met."

    Olson says students can access the room if they feel it is necessary and the room is always supervised.

    The room's made possible by $30,000-worth of donations. 

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Smoking rates among adults in Wisconsin have fallen to a record low, but that isn't the case when it comes to the use other tobacco products, especially among teens.

    For years there have been efforts to educate the public on the harmful long-term effects of tobacco and smoking.

    Dr. Manar Alshahrouri, a Pulmonologist at Prevea Health, tells FOX 11 it's finally paying off.

    "We are down to 16% which is the recent data and it's nice to see things moving in a better direction."

    Recently the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a study that suggested smoking rates in adults dropped by 5% in 2017.

    "We clearly have a long ways to go, but that was a part of a campaign with healthcare providers, and schools to help denormalize smoking," said Dr. Alshahrouri.

    But when it comes to using other products like e-cigarettes and vapes, officials say the problem is getting worse and especially among teens.

    In fact, the Center for Disease Control says vaping by high schoolers has increased by nearly 90% and 50% in middle schoolers.

    "It is probable that the e-cigarette is safer than your typical cigarette, but they do have other substances depending on the make of the device, the make of the device, the battery, and how much heat it generates," he explained.

    Since the long-term effects of using these products are still unknown, health care providers and organizations like the American Lung Association are working to educate students and their parents on the potential dangers.

    Fox 11 spoke with Dona Wininsky, with the American Lung Association..

    "The biggest thing is the kids think if it comes in grape, gummy bear, chocolate, and candy flavors how can it be bad. It must be safer than smoking regular cigarettes. The purpose of the campaign is to make parents aware of the changes, what the products are, and talk to their kids about what's going on in the tobacco industry these days."

    Cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths a year.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Holidays are here and, in addition to shopping, parties and opening gifts, many of us tie on the feedback.

    It's tough to avoid packing on the pounds with all the goodies being served up. But it doesn't have to be that way.

    "Parties and holiday treats are always going to trip us up a little bit."

    Kim Elsing is a trainer at the YMCA in Howard. She says staying in shape is a challenge for many this time of year. But, never fear...

    "Lots of ways that you can plan for how to address the holidays and stay on track."

    And she says one plan is to simply look ahead.

    Check the calendar, don't deny yourself when it comes to enjoying those holiday treats. And build your workouts around the parties.

    "Let's go into it ahead of the game. So, if you're going to have the treats do the workout first."

    Elsing says getting some exercise in after you splurge is always good too. But working ahead of chowing down, instead of the next day, means you're not having to play catch up.

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  • 11/29/18--09:26: Cops Cuff Unlicensed Doctor
  • APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Appleton Police have arrested a man, accused of practicing medicine without a license.

    32-year-old Kyle G. Larsen was taken into custody Wednesday, following a search warrant of a medical building on E. Wisconsin Ave. where evidence of an illegal medical practice was found.

    Cops began looking into Larsen's practice after a report of suspicious services being offered by him, under the name "Dr. Kyle Ellis."

    While posing as a doctor, Larsen provided a variety of medical treatments and prescribed and dispensed medications to patients, investigators say.

    Police are recommending multiple charges against Larsen, including theft by fraud, possession with intent to deliver designer drugs and practice medicine/surgery without a license.

    Larsen has not yet been formally charged.

    Investigators would like to speak to anyone who had contact with "Dr. Kyle Ellis," posing as a licensed doctor or psychologist.

    Call the Appleton Police Department at (920) 832-5500. If you wish to remain anonymous, use the "REPORT" feature on the Appleton Police Department's free phone app.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Nearly 400 soldiers with the Appleton-based Second Battalion, 127th Infantry will be deployed to Afghanistan.

    A send-off ceremony was held this morning (THUR) at the Lambeau Field Atrium. 

    "They're deploying to Afghanistan as a security element where they will be providing security for coalition forces that are operating in the region," Capt. Joe Trovato told FOX 11.

    The forces working in that region have a NATO-led mission called 'Resolute Support'. They train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.

    The Wisconsin National Guard says the soldiers are from the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry. Besides its Appleton headquarters, it also has companies based in Clintonville, Green Bay, Fond du Lac, Marinette, Ripon, and Waupun.

    The National Guard says the soldiers will leave sometime in winter, but more specific details were not available. Including pre-mobilization training in the U.S., the deployment is expected to last about a year.

    "Typical deployment cycle now is about a year, but that's mission dependent and it can change, again, depending on variables hidden in theater," Travato explained.

    This will be the first deployment to Afghanistan for the 127th Infantry. Its soldiers previously served in Iraq in 2005-06 and 2009-10.

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    WINNEBAGO COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - A fatal crash in Winnebago County is being blamed on speed and slippery roads.

    Officials were called out to I-41 in the Oshkosh area for a vehicle that hit a semi after spinning out.

    Officials say a 36-year-old Omro man was killed after the vehicle hit the median barrier and crossed three lanes of traffic.

    The driver of the semi, a 48-year-old Iron Mountain Michigan man was not injured.

    Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be a factor.

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    OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Those in Outagamie County can now text 911 in case of an emergency.

    The Outagamie County Communications Center says to use this service, just open a blank text message, enter 911 in the recipient line and type your emergency message and location.

    "The county felt it was important enough that we give all cell customers an option to use."

    The dispatcher will not be able to receive the location of the text when it is sent.

     It is recommended that the message is left brief and should only be used at times when it is not possible to speak to a dispatcher on the phone.

    Sergeant Ryan Carpenter of the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department says it will come in handy when people can't get phone service or are unable to talk given a dangerous situation.

    "Possibly a domestic abuse situation where they did not want the perpetrator to know that they were getting the police in route to the situation."

    Text-to-911 service is also available in Brown, Fond du Lac, and Sheboygan counties.

    If you are outside those areas, the texting service will not work.

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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ) - It was a short day at school for students at two schools in the West De Pere School District today due to a power outage.

    Students were released at around 1 at Westwood Elementary School, while students at West De Pere Middle School got out around 1:30.

    Power was lost after someone hit a nearby electric pole, according to the district.

    Other schools in the West De Pere District were not affected by the power outage and those students will continue the school day as normal.

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    SHEBOYGAN, WI (WTAQ) - A woman and a teen are being accused of hiding the body of a man who overdosed inside a wall.

    Police were initially called to a home in the 1300 block of Michigan Avenue following the report of an overdose on Nov. 18.

    The victim was not found when they arrived, but two days later, police received information from a citizen that the overdose victim may be concealed inside the home.

    When they returned they discovered the body of 30-year-old Matthew Mercure inside a crawlspace in the wall.

    Investigators say, based on information, that charges are being referred for a 16-year-old boy and a 29-year-old woman. It's believed by officials that the pair witnessed Mercure's overdose, panicked and then hid the body.

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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - A man charged with causing a crash that caused the death of his 10-year-old daughter entered a not guilty plea in court Thursday.

    Steven Brownell is charged with three counts, which include homicide by intoxicated use a motor vehicle.

    A 13-year-old boy was also in the vehicle and was injured.

    The criminal complaint states that Brownell's BAC was .278.

    According to the criminal complaint, Brownell's Mustang was traveling nearly 100 mph when it left the highway, went airborne, and stopped in a cornfield.

    No comments by Brownell about the incident are included in the complaint.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A Green Bay teen charged with attempted homicide following a shooting at an area park was ordered to stand trial on Thursday. 1

    17-year-old Marcus Williams waived a preliminary hearing, according to court records, and is scheduled to enter into a plea on Feb. 8.

    Williams and another man allegedly exchanged shots on June 25 near Eastman Park.

    Court records do not show any charges against the other man for this incident.

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  • 11/29/18--15:39: Man Sentenced For Standoff
  • OCONTO, WI (WTAQ) - An Oconto County man convicted of firing at multiple law enforcement officers was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison and 15 years to extended supervision.

    51-year-old Thomas Benser allegedly fired four or five shots from his Lena residence in the direction of the deputies on March 11, 2018.

    The complaint alleges that the incident stemmed from an argument that Benser got into with an ex-girlfriend on the morning of March 10. He allegedly choked her and threatened to kill her.

    After receiving a voicemail from Benser the following day, the woman contacted police. On the voicemail, Benser said he planned on killing himself and would not go back to jail.

    Police made phone contact once they arrived and Benser fired four or five shots from his residence in the direction of officers.

    No one was injured by the firing and the Brown County SWAT team was called in. Benser was eventually arrested. 

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  • 11/29/18--16:00: Ryan Says Goodbye
  • JANESVILLE, WI (Wisconsin Radio Network) - Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan is winding down his career as a congressman and House Speaker.

    He spoke on the House floor for the final time on Wednesday and said he was “immensely grateful to the people of southern Wisconsin.”

    The Janesville Republican was first elected to represent the 1st Congressional District in 1998 and was reelected until announcing earlier this year that he would not run again.

    “I’ve always had this thing about calling the people I represent my not my constituents but my employers. It’s the way I’ve always thought of this,” Ryan said. “I think it’s important that we as members understand that we work for the people and not the other way around.”

    Ryan also gave an interview to the Washington Post, in which he said his two biggest regrets as he prepares to leave office are not successfully dealing with immigration and the national debt.

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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - If you build it, they will stay. That was the message the people of Green Bay heard when there was a discussion on building a new stadium.

    When the Packers needed a new venue for survival, Christl says Curly Lambeau and George Halas hosted a rally in 1956 urging fans to pass a stadium referendum. 

    "When they held the referendum they did not designate a site because they knew that the potential was there for people to reject it based on that."

    He says they also painted a pretty harsh reality.

    "They more or less told the people of Green Bay that if you don't build it, you are going to lose your team."

    The process wasn't completely smooth as there was a debate on whether it should be built on the west side.

    "The east siders wanted to build it on the same side as City Stadium and the west siders favored Perkins Park."

    He says the city council was split.

    "That's when they hired the outside consulting firm that decided on this current site."

    That stadium is now what everyone knows as Lambeau Field.

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