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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    MANITOWOC COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - The Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office is offering a reward for information that could assist investigators as they continue to look into a string of thefts from vehicles.

    The $500 reward is being offered through Crime Stoppers and it comes after valuables have been nabbed from unlocked vehicles and garages dating back to last month.

    The incidents have been reported in Cleveland, Mishicot, Francis Creek, Rockwood, Shoto, and Whitelaw.

    Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (920) 683-4466.

    Officials remind people to lock their doors and remove valuables from their vehicles.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - An Appleton man that was posing as a doctor was ordered to stand trial on Wednesday.

    Kyle Larsen, a licensed practical nurse, waived a preliminary hearing on 18 charges, including four of practicing medicine without a license.

    Court records show that an arraignment has been scheduled for December 17.

    The complaint against Larsen includes interactions with four patients and the prescribing of drugs.

    Larsen is said to have operated a business called Medical Psychology of Wisconsin.

    Separate from the criminal case, the state Department of Safety and Professional Standards is investigating two complaints against Larsen/Ellis by customers, as well as reviewing his LPN status.

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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Five single-mothers from Appleton were celebrated on Wednesday after graduating from Appleton Housing Authority's Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

    Families are able to reach financial independence through the program while remaining free of government assistance.

    Each participating family receives an escrow account that monthly deposits are made to and upon graduating they get that money tax free. 

    Each of the single mothers was presented a plaque and a check for the amount they earned while participating in the program, during the graduation ceremony today.

    A total of $71,000 was earned between all five individuals.

    The Appleton Housing Authority serves close to 1,000 families per month, making it the largest provider of affordable housing options in the Appleton area.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - The death of a 10-month-old child is being investigated by Oshkosh Police.

    Authorities say they responded to a medical call this past Sunday at a home in the 800 block of Grove St. around 8:30 p.m.

    A baby boy was flown to the Milwaukee Children's Hospital after initially being taken to a local hospital.

    The baby was pronounced dead on Wednesday around 9:30 a.m.

    An autopsy has been scheduled.

    The death is being considered suspicious by investigators and no arrests have been made.

    The recent deaths of children in Oshkosh are not being considered to have any connection to this incident, according to police.


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    WRIGHTSTOWN, WI (WTAQ) - Tweet/Garot, a mechanical contracting business which originally had four facilities in Green Bay, is now showcasing the importance of quality over quantity.

    The company has consolidated into one state-of-the-art facility in the village of Wrightstown.

    Officials say the 108,000 sq. foot building will help increase efficiency and provide a flexible working environment

    "We looked all over the country, at construction companies and saw no one was trying to do the things we wanted to do," says Chris Howald, company CEO. 

    Officials are hoping for increased efficiency and a more flexible working environment in the new facility.

    "This manufacturing facility has been designed with a streamlined production flow where all the material enters from one end, moves through fabrication and assembly and exits the other end without backtracking," explains Leah Cohen, director of manufacturing.

    Other features are directed at improving the worker experience, such as a ventilation system, which will deliver the highest air quality.

    "We have hydration stations strategically placed throughout the whole plant," says Cohen.

    Another example of workspace flexibility is the 35,000 square feet of open work bays, which are reserved for construction production needs.

    The volume of production can be increased as the company expanded door widths and crane heights.

    The company currently has about 60 people that are currently on staff, but they're looking to grow that number.

    The location of the building, just off the highway, was partially chosen to provide better access to workers living in both Green Bay and the Fox Cities.

    Local officials are pleased the company chose Wrightstown as their new location.

    "They're really innovators in our market and to have them as our cornerstone and catalyst for our industrial growth is just amazing," says Travis Coenen, village of Wrightstown administrator. 

    For him and other local leaders, the companies equity is an important addition to the village workforce.

    "The team here and footprint they have and reputation this company has is just outstanding," says Coenen.

    Tweet/Garot has another manufacturing facility in Wisconsin Rapids and the Green Bay facilities will be sold or leased. 


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    A Manitowoc woman pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in connection to a child's death.

    38-year-old Jamie Schrank faces a count of physical abuse of a child-repeated acts causing death and no trial date has been set.

    Court records show that a settlement conference is scheduled for December 20.

    Schrank and co-defendant Eduardo Gamez are charged for the death of a child they were caring for in July.

    The two smoked meth while the toddler and their 5-year-old son were at home on July 28, according to the criminal complaint. 

    The toddler died after being taken to the hospital for extreme internal and external injuries. 

    The couples son also had bruises that indicate neglect and abuse, according to the complaint.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A number of restaurant robberies and numerous shootings in Green Bay may seem like the city is high in crime and unsafe, but Green Bay's Police Chief says the numbers tell a positive story.

    Chief Andrew Smith says crime in Green Bay is down 12 percent from last year and violent crimes show a significant decrease.  

    "For a city the size of Green Bay, I would say we could take our numbers against just about anyone. We are really proud here in Green Bay."  

    The Chief says the department prides themselves on being known for catching criminals.

     "We want to make sure that crooks know that this is not the place to commit a crime and if you do it in Green Bay, you are going to get caught. Come here on vacation, leave on probation.  

    He says he feels that message is being heard as crime numbers overall are dropping. 

      2018 has a been a busy year for Green Bay Police responses to criminal activity, but Smith says there is no way to stop every criminal from doing bad things.  

    He says catching criminals after they commit a crime is important police work. but it is also important to prevent crime from happening.   One way that is done is getting the right messages sent to kids in the community.  

    "We are doing a lot with a school resource officers in our school to help educate the kids."

    Smith says teaching kids of the dangers of drugs is a common part of that. He says numbers show that many crimes that are committed, stem from drug activity.  

    "A drug addict with a bad drug habit is just a criminal waiting to go out and try to do something to fuel that drug habit."  

    Police officers also develop good relationships with kids in the community. One example is officers will sometimes eat lunch with students at school. The Police Department also has a program that allows kids, mostly at-risk kids, a chance to spend some time at the Police Department with officers to learn about positive behavior.  

    Coming from the experience of working in Los Angeles, Smith says for a city the size of Green Bay, he would take their crime numbers against similar cities.  

    "When I came to Green Bay, I feel like I died and went to heaven," Smith said. "Green Bay is a safe community and a great place to live and raise a family."    


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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A 7-year-old girl is planning to help sick kids get better rest in the near future.

    Jada Kuehl is collecting special pillowcases to hand out to youngsters at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin- Fox Valley in Neenah.

    Jada may be little, but her heart is huge. Her mother, Michelle Denter, tells FOX 11 Jada had an idea of how she wanted to give back this holiday season and started the “Cases for Kids” pillowcase drive.

    "She wanted to help children. She wasn’t old enough to volunteer, and we came up with the idea to do a pillowcase drive, and so that’s where ‘Cases for Kids’ originated from.”

    Jada set out to collect 100 of these kid-friendly cases to make a not-so-fun stay at the hospital more enjoyable.

    "Having the new pillowcases makes the children feel more at home when they’re there, and so we wanted to give back,” Denter said.

    In just under a month, and now with six drop-off locations, she’s already almost halfway to her goal.

    Denter said they have the community and a very generous anonymous donation to thank for that.

    “Tis’ the season for giving back, and so we were hoping that you know, with it being around the holidays that people would open up their hearts more, and so far, they have, and it's been amazing!”

    Jada’s mom said she made sure the whole family got in on this holiday project.

    From decorating the flyers and boxes to keeping track of all the donations coming in, Jada and her sisters were involved.

    The 7-year-old even came up with her own holiday-themed system to see the progress they’ve made.

    "For every five pillowcases we get, we put an ornament on the tree, and I just did it and explained how it worked.”

    Cases for Kids kicked off Nov. 12, and it will go through Jan. 11.

    After that, the pillowcases will make their way to the children’s hospital to hopefully help make the night of at least a hundred kids just a little cozier.

    Cases for Kids hopes to add more drop-off sites for people to leave donations.


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    BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - It's been more than five years since a Pittsfield woman disappeared, and her family is still searching for answers.

    Victoria Prokopovitz was last seen April 25, 2013, at her home on Kunesh Road and was reported missing about six hours later.

    Prokopovitz left her purse behind, and nothing was missing from it, including her ID, money, and cellphone.

    Her family has extended a $17,000 reward for information leading to her location.

    Family members say the reward will expire on March 12, 2019, although the reward has been extended several times in the past.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Brown County Sheriff's Office at (920) 448-4230.

    Anonymous tips may be reported to Crime Stoppers at (920) 432-7867, online or through the P3 smartphone app.


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    FOX CROSSING, WI (WTAQ) - After a trying year, a Kimberly Clark facility will be staying open after all.

    It was a gift that arrived just in time for Christmas.

    The state is offering Kimberly-Clark up to $28 million to keep its Cold Spring Facility in Fox Crossing open.

    Governor Scott Walker; State Senator Roger Roth and Kimberly-Clark executives announced the deal Thursday at the Cold Spring Facility.

    Kimberly-Clark and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have agreed to a five-year agreement that provides Kimberly-Clark with up to $28 million dollars in tax incentives.  

    State Senator Roger Roth told the companies employees in the end, it was worth the fight.

    "You really were the inspiration, your faces, and your stories, that we took with us as we moved forward trying to make this into a reality."  

    Governor Walker also addressed the employees saying this was a perfect way to end his road as Governor of Wisconsin.  

    "We didn't just save your jobs for the short term, this is about a long-term commitment to this company, to this community and to this state, "Walker said. "I could not be more proud to be a part of it. To me, if there is any talk about a legacy, I want this to be my legacy."

    Under terms of the deal, Operations will continue at its Cold Springs Facility in Fox Crossing with 388 technical manufacturing jobs that need to be retained through 2023.

    The terms also indicate that the company needs to make at least $200 million dollars in capital investment at the Cold Spring facility over that time.

    Earlier this year, Republicans proposed a $110 million tax break but, there weren't enough supporters. The bill also failed to pass during the lame-duck session last week.

    Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen was among the lawmakers that didn't support the initial proposal. That changed after the latest deal.

    "Like I said, not a perfect deal, we're still giving away taxpayer dollars, but at a lot less money and most importantly we’re saving good union jobs at this plant in the valley," Hansen said.

    Kimberly-Clark, the maker of personal products such as Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, was founded in Neenah in the 1870s but moved its corporate headquarters to Irving, Texas in 1985. According to the Fox Cities Regional Partnership, Kimberly-Clark is the third-largest employer in the Fox Valley.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Oshkosh police are releasing more information on the arrest of a YMCA employee suspected of sexually assaulting a child.

    The 75-year-old man has been identified as B.T. Adams, who was arrested last week while working in the YMCA's drop-off daycare center.

    Adams was in Winnebago County court on Thursday, but had his initial appearance rescheduled since his attorney could not be present. He remains in custody and his bond was not set.

    Oshkosh Police Chief Dean Smith explained in a press conference on Thursday the charges facing Adams.

    "Mr. Adams was formally charged with one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault - sexual contact with a child under thirteen and two counts of first-degree sexual assault - sexual assault with a child under thirteen," he says.

    Adams was arrested last week after the November 27th incident occurred while he was working in the YMCA's drop-off daycare center.

    The YMCA child case supervisor was concerned that Adams “inappropriately kissed” a 3-year-old girl, according to the criminal complaint.

    Chief Smith mentioned during the conference that the department has received 17 reports on Adams from concerned parents, since his arrest.

    Security video footage was reviewed upon further investigation.

    "On two occasions, Mr. Adams is observed with his hand having sexual contact with the three-year-old," explains Chief Smith. 

    The video from another date showed similar actions, and he also reached under her shirt. Adams also allegedly kissed the girl on the lips on those occasions.

    He told police the girl was “coming at him" and initially denied kissing this or any child on the mouth.

    The criminal complaint states that “Detective Petit reports that she asked him if he was attracted to kids and Adams stated that it was “not an over attraction.” Adams stated that if they found something he would be totally shocked because he has been able to control it."

    Chief Smith said in the conference that nothing from Adams past would have alerted YMCA management to the possibility of a future incident.

    "There was no information in his background that was indicative of this type of behavior," he says.

    Each of the three counts carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and are in connection with the same victim.

    Adams was employed at the YMCA location, at 3303 W. 20th Ave., for several years and in various capacities.

    "Mr. Adams had previously worked in the cafeteria and in 2013 specifically requested to be transferred to the drop-in center," explains Chief Smith.

    Adams is due back in court on Friday.

    President and CEO of the Oshkosh Community YMCA, Tom Blaze, provided a statement regarding the investigation:

    The safety and well-being of children in our care always has been and always will be very important to the Oshkosh Community YMCA. For more than 60 years, the Oshkosh Community YMCA has served our community with distinction and pride as an organization focused on youth development. We have been and will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities in their investigation into the facts surrounding this situation. Those with questions regarding this situation should contact the Oshkosh Police Department directly at 920-236-5700.

    Parents are encouraged to contact the Oshkosh Police department if they believe Adams had inappropriate contact with their child.


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - Two suspects are being sought by Fond du Lac authorities in relation to the heroin overdose death of a man earlier this year.

    38-year-old Cara Zech and 46-year-old Julie Harr are both being charged with first-degree reckless homicide following the July 28 overdose death of 23-year-old Steven Compton.

    40-year-old Anthony Buechel also faces first-degree reckless homicide charges in relation to the death, but he's already in custody.

    Police were called to 532 8th street on July 28 for an overdose, according to court documents.

    Medical examiners determined that Compton died of "acute mixed drug (heroin, fentanyl) intoxication" and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Harr connected Compton with Buechel to buy heroin, according to investigators, and Harr and Buechel allegedly took Compton's money to get heroin from Zech.

    Authorities ask anyone with information about Zech or Harr's whereabouts to contact them.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - An Oshkosh father has been charged in connection to his son's death.

    Cory Lyons stood trial on Thursday after allegedly shaking his son so violently on November 29 that the seven-week-old child died.

    Lyons faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide and court records show that an arraignment is scheduled for January 7. 

    The child's mother left for work, leaving the boy with Lyons, according to the criminal complaint.

    Lyons called later saying the child wasn’t breathing properly.

    He changed his story several times to police about what happened to the baby, before later admitting to causing the injuries.

    The complaint states “The Defendant then admitted that he picked up (the baby) while frustrated and he jerked him, yelling "Stop." The defendant gave a quick jerk demonstrating how he jerked (the baby) when he told him to stop. He had explained that he was frustrated. He stated that the child's head snapped back and came forward. The defendant acknowledged that he had not been supporting the child's head in anyway at this time."

    Lyons later returned to the child.

    The complaint states “The defendant admitted that he was highly frustrated by the child's crying and discomfort and that he shook (the child) between 5 and 6 times, pulling him up, jerking his head, letting his head snap back."

    According to the autopsy, the child died from brain injuries.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Emailed bomb threats across the country have hit the city of Appleton. 

    Appleton Police are calling emailed bomb threats a scam.

    Police say on Thursday,  four Appleton businesses reported receiving bomb threats within a short time frame. 

    While police did not give the exact businesses, Captain Rudy Nyman said there was no connection to the businesses and the emails appeared to be random.

    "We have some major businesses, we have a church, so it's basically somebody grabbing email addresses and sending out a shotgun approach."

    Nyman says those businesses responded with their own company protocols.  

    "We do not dictate to the businesses on how they deal with any type of bomb threat, they have their own procedures."  

    He says because they have determined the emails to not be credible, they prefer that companies do not request the service of the bomb squad.  

    Similar emails have been reported in all 50 states.  

    "It is asking for bitcoin, so there is a ransom portion of it and that is why we are involving the word scam related to it, they are trying to get these businesses to provide them money."

    Nyman says no money should be sent, and police should be contacted if you receive any email in the manor.   

    Anyone with information should immediately contact the Appleton Police Department at 920-832-5500.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Two Green Bay schools had to be put on a precautionary lockdown Thursday morning after threats were made to a staff member. 

    Police say they investigated the situation at Lombardi Middle School on South Point Road and Red Smith Elementary School on Sussex Road more about an hour. 

    The lockdown was lifted around 10:30 a.m.

    The school district says the threat impacted both schools but could not provide further information.


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    OCONTO, WI (WTAQ) - An Oconto man plead not guilty on Thursday to actions that lead to a fatal vehicle crash.

    Eric Solomon faces six charges, including being party to homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, after he allegedly grabbed the steering wheel during an argument while his girlfriend was driving, which caused a September 11 crash in Abrams that killed Cory Folts.

    Court records show that an April 3 trial was scheduled at Thursday’s arraignment.

    The driver, Kelly Crispin, is facing charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, and second-degree reckless homicide. 

    Crispin was also in court on Thursday, but no trial has been set and a final conference is scheduled for January 17, according to court records.

    The complaint states “Crispin told police she told Solomon that she did not want to date anymore as they were in a 'toxic relationship.' Crispin stated Solomon got upset and punched her in the right temple. Solomon then grabbed the steering wheel and jerked the wheel. Crispin said the next thing she knew they were heading straight for another vehicle on the other side of the highway and then the airbag hit her in the chest. Crispin stated she believed that Solomon’s intention was to kill her and him when he grabbed the steering wheel and jerked it."

    According to the complaint, Solomon told police he did not remember striking Crispin or grabbing the wheel.

    Both had blood alcohol levels above the legal driving limit based off preliminary breath tests, which are not admissible in court.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - After recent infant and child deaths in the city of Oshkosh, Police are offering a helping hand to parents.

    Police Chief Dean Smith says boyfriends and girlfriends of parents can be good caretakers of children, but you need to take time to get to know them in that regard.  

    "Before leaving your child with your boyfriend or girlfriend, observe them with your child. How do they handle your crying child?"   

    Police are investigating some suspicious child deaths in the last month. 

    Chief Smith says sometimes parents just lose their cool and need to realize the signs of that happening.  

    "Common stress signs include rising blood pressure or spike heart rate, speaking louder or yelling, irritability, more impatience or experiencing lapses of judgment."  

    Smith says parents should have a parent buddy they can call on and should not be afraid to call police if they can't handle situations the right way.

     


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - A Fond du Lac woman was convicted on Thursday for her role in allowing cocaine and crack cocaine to be sold inside her home.

    37-year-old Lashonda Cruckson was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture/deliver cocaine in excess of 40 grams and maintaining a drug trafficking place.

    She's considered to be part of a much larger cocaine conspiracy, 127 pounds of cocaine and crack cocaine have been distributed in the Fond du Lac community.

    Cruckson's involvement began in February of 2018 when she allowed leaders, Danny Andrews and Nicole Nunez, to stay in her Boardman Street home, according to the criminal complaint.

    Cruckson told investigators that when she went to the home she started noticing large amounts of people in the basement and scattered throughout the house using narcotics, but she wouldn't stay at the home often.

    The criminal complaint reads that Cruckson told investigators she saw on occasion "large gallon size bags containing baseball-sized individually packaged crack cocaine and powder cocaine" and "large amounts of cash," inside the home.

    Cruckson said Andrews gave her a half of a gram to one gram of crack cocaine per week for allowing them to stay at her house, the criminal complaint says.

     

    Cruckson is the first person in the conspiracy to have gone to trial and is the second person convicted.

    She faces more than 25 years in prison.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Officials with the Port of Green Bay say 2018 was a good year for them.

    Port officials have recorded 1.88 million tons of goods that have moved through the port in 2018, which is almost 50,000 more than the total for all of 2017.

    “We’re on pace to reach, and most likely even exceed, our annual goal of 2 million tons,” port director Dean Haen says in a news release. “That number is an indicator of the strength of Northeast Wisconsin’s economy. We’re appreciative of the manufacturers, farmers and transportation and logistics companies of Northeast Wisconsin and their employees, who’ve worked hard this past year and as a result have increased their imports and exports, leading to this high overall tonnage.”

    Also helping shipping are high water levels on Lake Michigan.

    Foreign imports of limestone are one of the top commodities, which are seeing a 230-percent increase from this time last year. Also, domestic exports of petroleum products are up 265 percent from a year ago.

    Officials say shipping could continue into January with the possibility of ice-breaking allowing that to happen.


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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - Shawano County Jail is need of technology improvements and in need of borrowing money to make them.

    The jail was built in 1994, and since that time, technology has made so many advancements, the jail is in need of an update.  

    "The technology that went into that building doesn't exist anymore."  

    Jail Administrator Greg Trinko says the needs include security upgrades and upgrades in their camera systems.  

    "One person watching cameras can cover a lot more ground than one person can."  

    The current camera system leaves a need for quite a bit of human labor.  

    They have also had problems with their overall security malfunctioning, including the security that keeps the jail cells locked.  

    "We have not had an actual escape from the jail, but we have had inmates get out and enter some areas that they should not be in and that raises everyone's concern."  

    Trinko says the upgrades are costly, but many, including county board members, see the need, and the without a change, they are on borrowed time.  

    He says while the upgrades would cost $3.5 million dollars, the cost of not doing anything could be more.  

    "If the technology is failing, we replace that technology with people. That involves overtime pay and wages," he said. "We would continue with business as usual until we have some type of failure that would prevent us from operating our jail."  

    The request to borrow 3.5 million dollars is expected to be voted on by the county board.


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