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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREENVILLE, WI (WTAQ) - Outagamie County Sheriff Officials responded to a domestic disturbance Sunday.

    Sheriff Officials say the incident began Sunday afternoon at a home on Highway 96 in Greenville.

    Brown-Outagamie County Bomb Squad were called to the scene.

    The Outagamie County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a domestic disturbance Sunday.

    Officials say a woman and her daughter were in the home but left. 

    The scene was cleared just before 10:00 p.m.

     


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  • 12/17/18--00:00: Green Bay 2018 Crime Picture
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay's Police Chief says 2018 crime numbers shows hard work is paying off.

    Chief Andrew Smith year after year, the numbers in Green Bay tell a positive story.  

    "When I moved to Green Bay, to be honest with you, looking at the crime numbers, I felt like I died and went to heaven."  

    In 2018, Smith says that has not changed. Crime is down 12 percent from last year.  

    "We did see an uptick in a couple of different types of violent crime. One would be sexual assault and one would be aggravated assault," Smith said.  

    Police responded to 18 shootings in the city so far in 2018, but Chief Smith says in most of those, the target was not a person.    

    "They would go to each other's houses and shoot at the front door or shoot at the windows. They would not shoot at anyone specifically, but those are how we racked up about half of our shootings this summer."  

    In 2018, Green Bay Police had just one homicide which is up from zero in 2017.   

    Despite many recent cases of armed robberies, Green Bay showed fewer robberies and burglaries from last year.  

    "We will take the Pepsi challenge as they say with other cities across the country our size, but when you get a city that is a decent size like Green Bay, I think our numbers would compare favorably with just about anyone."    


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  • 12/17/18--00:00: Historic Holiday Travel
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - People from all over the country will be hitting the rails, roadways, and runways in historic numbers this week for holiday travel.

    Nick Jarmusz with AAA Wisconsin gives some insight.

    "AAA is projecting that this is going to be our busiest year-end holiday travel season on record," he says.

    The organization is expecting 112.5 million travelers nationwide, which would be the highest number they've encountered since they began keeping track of holiday figures.

    Jarmusz says the upward travel trend is taking place in-state as well.

    "Here in Wisconsin we're expecting a little over 2 million folks that are going to be traveling, at some point during that period, and that's up almost five percent from last year," he explains.

    There's a couple of factors that can be attributed to this trend.

    "Strong economic growth fueled by robust consumer spending continues to drive strong demand for season travel," says Bryan Shilling, managing director, AAA Travel products and services. "With a record-breaking one-third of the country choosing to travel this holiday, roadways and airports are sure to be busy."

    Jarmusz says the roads will be especially congested on Thursday and Friday.

    "You have folks who are starting to head out to visit family or to take their winter vacation mixing in with those still doing their daily commutes on Thursday and Friday," he explains.

    While the roads will be congested, so will the airways.

    6.7 million people are expected to travel by air this year, which would be the highest level in 15 years. That impact will be felt locally as lines will be longer at Austin Straubel International Airport and Appleton International Airport.

    "A lot of those people are also going to be infrequent travelers who may not know what the current rules or procedures are," explains Jarmusz.

    Lastly, he reminds motorists to never get behind the wheel if they've been drinking.

    And in addition to having a sober ride, he lists some other important factors for those that will be driving during the holidays.

    "Being well-rested and alert while you're driving," he explains. "Avoiding any distracting behaviors and planning your route out ahead."


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Better Business Bureau says shoppers need to be aware of holiday hams and shipping scams

    Fake shipping emails are not just something that rears its ugly head during the holiday season, but Susan Bach, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Wisconsin says they are once again in full force.

    The scam includes email messages that seem enticing to people, especially if they are waiting for a package to ship.

    "What they are really trying to get you to do is click on one of those email confirmations."

    Bach says historically, the Christmas season is a target time for scams like this.

    "They are very common this time of year because the scammers know that a lot of people are doing online shopping."  

    The email messages seem enticing to people, especially if they are waiting for a package to ship.  

    "That includes things like purchase confirmation, shipping updates. promotional offers and things like that."  

    Bach says they tend to have poor grammar, lacks specifics about package contents and contains threats.  

    She says they should not be open as clicking could add malware onto your device or may try to get you to provide personal information that could be used to complete identity theft.  


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Lots of people dread wrapping up holiday gifts but that wasn't the case in Appleton Sunday.

    Hundreds volunteered to wrap Christmas presents for military and veteran families.

    The sound of scissors cutting and paper ripping filled the inside of Appleton’s Darboy Club as it transformed into Santa’s workshop Sunday.

    “We’ve got over 3000 gifts to wrap,” said Mark Goebel.

    It’s part of the 2018 Operation Christmas Angel. The event is organized by the local Patriot Guard Riders, a group that honors former and active military.

    Goebel is the Wisconsin Patriot Guard Riders assistant captain.

    “This is just one small way that we can say thank you and let them know that they’re not forgotten.”

    While hundreds of people showed up to wrap presents for military and veterans families others adopted families too.

    “We adopted two families,” said Scott Lund.

    “There were three kids in one family and two children in another family. And a lot of times the parents don’t ask for anything for themselves, so you want to try and get something for them too. Whether it’s a gift. or a gas card.”

    Lund tells FOX 11 this year gifts will be sent to 550 families around the state.

    “You get to wrap presents what’s not fun about that? You can remember when you were a kid and got to open Christmas presents.”

    It's nostalgic for some and personal for others.

    “I got involved with them because I was searching for help for my brother who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being involved in desert storm,” said Brenda Kuhl, another volunteer.

    “The spirit of Christmas is to help others” said Lund.

    Lund wants to pass that spirit on to his children.

    “Hopefully inspiring them to keep doing it as they get older. And if they choose to have kids letting them do that, and so just keep it going forward.”

    His son, Charles Lund, tells FOX 11 it's a humbling experience.

    “You’re doing something bigger than yourself.”

    “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our soldiers,” said Goebel.

    At this time of year, that gratitude is wrapped in festive paper.


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    GRAND CHUTE, WI (WTAQ) - Police in Grand Chute are looking for a robbery suspect.

    The robbery happened after 8 p.m. Sunday at the Shell Gas Station on West Wisconsin Avenue.

    Cops say the male suspect had a mask pulled over his face.

    He didn't show or threaten a weapon during the robbery, but he was able to get away with cash.

    The suspect is described as a white male, about 6 feet tall with a skinnier build.

    He was wearing dark pants and a green flannel coat, black gloves, sunglasses, and black shoes.

    No one was hurt.

    Anyone with information can call (920) 832-1575.


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    BRILLION, WI (WTAQ) - A big economic development announcement will be made in Brillion this afternoon.

    The Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC) is giving the city a grant to re-develop the former Brillion Iron Works site.

    When Brillion Iron Works closed in 2016, more than 300 people lost their jobs.

    In October of this year, Ariens Company bought the 140-acre property.

    The company said initial plans for the property include light manufacturing, commercial and residential areas.

    The city also received a WEDC grant in March of this year to raze a vacant grocery store on Main Street and replace it with a 40-unit apartment building.


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    GREENVILLE, WI (WTAQ) - Sunday afternoon, officers were called to W8147 Wisconsin Avenue (Hy 96) in the Town of Greenville for a domestic disturbance.

    A 40-year-old female victim was able to escape the residence. The 48-year-old male suspect remained in the home.

    It was found he had fired a weapon several times during the disturbance but did not strike anyone.

    The Outagamie County Emergency Response Team responded to the home.

    They were further aided by the Appleton Police Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department, Brown - Outagamie Bomb Squad, Weyauwega Police Department and Gold Cross Ambulance.

    Officers attempted to reach the male party by phone and other means for several hours with noresponse.

    Around 9:15 PM officers located the suspect in the home, deceased, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

    The investigation into this incident is ongoing.


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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) – A judge has ruled in favor of a group of De Pere churches which challenged the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

    De Pere passed an ordinance one year ago and it went into effect March 1st. The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

    However, the five churches -- Hope Lutheran, Crosspoint, Destiny, St. Mark Lutheran, and Christ the Rock -- along with Lakeshore Communications (which operates Q90FM), sued, seeking a declaration the ordinance does not apply to them, or that it be ruled unconstitutional.

    They maintained the ordinance is so broad it undermines their Constitutionally-protected rights to conduct their affairs in a manner consistent with religious mandates and principles.

    The city argued the churches failed to follow the proper procedure in filing the suit. It also argued the churches couldn’t show any specific example of damage being done.

    While a three-day trial was scheduled to start February 19th, Brown County Judge William Atkinson ruled in the churches favor Friday, ending the lawsuit.

    “Court finds that churches and their campuses are not public accommodations and the City of De Pere's ordinance infringes on the freedom of religion. Court grants plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denies the defendant's motion to dismiss,” court records say.

    De Pere City Attorney Judy Schmidt-Lehman said the city would not comment until the City Council reviews the decision.


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  • 12/17/18--12:08: Former Teacher Sentenced
  • WAUPACA, WI (WTAQ) - A former Marion music teacher has been sentenced for child enticement. 

    45-year-old Timothy Gast of Shawano was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and 2.5 years of extended supervision.

    Gast plead no contest to the charge while other charges were dismissed but read in.

    Court records indicate that Gast was accused of engaging in inappropriate text messages with a student.

    The then 18-year-old student told police that the text messaging and alleged sexual contact occurred four years earlier. 

    She told police she decided to report the incidents after watching a presentation on internet safety.

     


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  • 12/17/18--13:08: No Smoking
  • DE PERE, WI (WTAQ) - A new strategy implemented next year at St. Norbert College will provide students and staff with clean air.

    The university will be joining 26 other colleges in Wisconsin on Jan. 2, 2019 when it becomes 100 percent tobacco-free.

    The university says it wanted to make sure they had student support before ushering in any changes.

    "We talked with several student groups, as well as student government, and got their support in proposing a tobacco-free campus," says Tom Doughman, assistant director of counseling services at St. Norbert College.

    Leaders within the university first eyed this change around 18 months ago.

    "The first step that we took was to reach out to the students and to ask them what it was that they thought would be appropriate," he explains.

    The student body supported the movement, which might not be surprising considering recent data collected by the American Health Association.

    A recent survey found that less than 7-percent of St. Norbert College students had used tobacco products in the past 30 days.

    "For the most part it's [smoking] not that big of an issue for them [students], in terms of current usage," he says.

    The usage of tobacco products among the student body is minimal, which mirrors the steady decline in cigarette smoking nationwide, especially amongst young adults.

    While cigarette smoking is in full decline, other forms of tobacco smoking are gaining in popularity.

    "The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems, or what we would call a vape (or an electronic cigarette), those are increasing," says Doughman.

    E-cigarettes, along with traditional cigarettes, both fall under the colleges new entirely tobacco-free policy.

    The new policy will continue "old" practices, such as restrictions of smoking inside campus buildings or classrooms, while also eliminating the previously designated outdoor areas for smoking.

    Also being added into the fold, are two grants from the American Lung Association in Wisconsin, which have been received by the college.

    Those grants, which total $3,000, will work to educate students and promote a tobacco-free campus.

    University officials believe that the entirely tobacco-free environment will address dimensions of overall environmental, physical, social, and emotional wellness.


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    MANITOWOC COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - The attorney for Steven Avery said in a series of tweets on Monday that she's seeking new testing of bones in an effort to exonerate Avery in the Teresa Halbach murder case.

    Avery, along with his nephew Brendan Dassey, are serving life prison terms for the 2005 murder of Halbach.

    Testing with a new form of DNA analysis is being sought by attorney Kathleen Zellner in regards to bones found in a Manitowoc County gravel pit.

    “This will prove the murder and mutilation occurred in the Manitowoc County Gravel Pit and the bones were planted in Mr. Avery's burn pit to frame him,” she tweeted. “It would refute the State's entire theory that she was killed on the Avery property in Avery's garage and burned in his burn pit. That type of evidence reverses convictions This would be such a huge development that we would expect that a new trial could be granted outright.”

    Online court records do not show a motion was filed as of Monday afternoon and it wouldn't be due until Thursday. 

    All of Avery's appeals have been denied to this point and Dassey's most recent appeal to the United States Supreme Court was also denied. 


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    TOWN OF ABRAMS, WI (WTAQ) - More information has been released about a fatal crash involving two teens and an 18-year-old male Friday in Oconto County.

    Sheriff Officials say 14-year-old September Deneys was found pinned in the back seat of the vehicle.

    Deneys died from injuries sustained after the vehicle crashed on Sampson Road, and ended up in the ditch striking two trees.

    Officials say an 18-year-old male driver from Sobieski was found ejected from the vehicle and a 17-year-old male was found in the backseat.

    Both had non-life threatening injuries.


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - Fond du Lac officials are saying that a mattress fire, which started early Monday morning, is a teachable moment for the public.

    The blaze began around 6 a.m. at 227 South Marr Street and crews were quickly able to extinguish the fire, despite smoke alarms inside the home failing to sound.

    Careless use of smoking materials was determined to be the cause of the fire.

    Fire officials are reminding the public of the importance of having working smoke detectors inside any residence or building. 


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - A 34-year-old Oshkosh man has been arrested for 1st Degree Reckless Homicide for the death of his 10-month-old child.

    Officers were called to a residence on the 800 block of Grove Street on December 9th for a medical call.

    The child was transported to the Milwaukee Children's Hospital and died on December 12.

    The death was investigated as suspicious. 


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    BRILLION, WI (WTAQ) - The City of Brillion has received a grant to redevelop the former Brillion Iron Works site.

    Mark Hogan, Secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation made the announcement Monday.

    "WEDC is awarding a $500,000 dollar Idle Sites Redevelopment grant to the city of Brillion to help finance demolition work on the site to make way for Ariens new Research and Development facility."

    He says the money given is always put to go use.

    "The program is a highly competitive program to provide funding for abandoned and underutilized manufacturing sites throughout the state."

    Ariens Co. purchased the140-acre property in 2016, when it was announced that Brillion Iron Works facility is closing.

    CEO Dan Ariens says the plan is also to make quite a big impact on Brillion.

    "We see a way to turn this into more of a residential area, surrounding the park with homes or multi-family apartments."

    He says there is a plan for the portion of the property near Highway 10 which could include Commercial and Retail.

    "And the heart of this property is where we see industrial use from warehousing to light manufacturing."

    He says there is even more room for Ariens Company to expand.

    The city is supporting the construction of a new roadway and bridge crossing.

    The project should be completed by 2020.


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  • 12/17/18--16:31: An Unexpected Gift
  • NEW LONDON, WI (WTAQ) - The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region was the recipient of an unexpected gift worth over $5 million dollars.

    Wohlt Creamery LLC of New London, which is worth about $5.8 million dollars, has 60 employees, and plenty of cheese, would qualify as an "unexpected gift."

    "The cheese factory donation was very unusual for us," explains Curt Detjen, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. "In fact, it's the first time the Community Foundation has ever been named to receive an operating business."

    It all started with Marilynn Taylor of New London, who had owned the business since 1999. Her parents, Edwin and Sarah Wohlt, founded the cheese company in 1941 and she took over once her father became ill.

    Taylor would run the company for 16 years until her passing on February 25, 2017 at the age of 71. 

    Upon her death, the company was given over to the Community Foundation.

    "Marilynn Taylor donated her entire estate to the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Regions to establish a charitable endowment to support her community and her charitable interests," says Detjen.

     Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery purchased the cheese factory from the foundation last year and the deal was finalized in August.

    All of the employees were retained by Ellsworth Creamery and Wohlt Cheese has been kept intact.

    The money from that sale will go into the community as Taylor had desired.

    Portions will go to scholarships for students of Lawrence University, her alma mater, while other various amounts will go to community needs in New London, Fremont and other nearby cities and towns.

    "That was pretty typical of Marilynn to have everything taken care of, she always had her bases covered, but it is quite a pleasant surprise," says New London Mayor Gary Henke.

    New London's city council will have the final say on what the money goes towards, but the mayor has some ideas himself.

    "We're looking at a new library, so it could be used for that project or expanded recreational programs," he says.

    July 2019 is when the first grants will be distributed.


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    STURGEON BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - As winter approaches, shipping on the Great Lakes is starting to wind down.

    Some freighters are already heading to port, for their seasonal lay-up.

    At 1,000-feet long, the Burns Harbor is one of the biggest ships on the Great Lakes. It arrived at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding 10 days ago for some scheduled maintenance.

    "Yeah, the first one of the year. I see they're changing its color. Used to be kind of a reddish color," said Don Gospodarek, Sturgeon Bay.

    Gospodarek tells FOX 11 he checks out the fleet a couple times a week.

    Not far from the Burns Harbor, the 636-foot long American Courage has been laid up in Sturgeon Bay for two years.

    This weekend, it is scheduled to be dry-docked where it will undergo some major steel repairs.

    The ships are part of 13 vessels scheduled to make up this year's winter fleet. Shipyard workers typically have 70-90 days to make repairs and get the big boats ready to sail in the spring.

    Pam Seiler, Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center Executive Director, tells FOX 11 the winter time work is an important economic engine.

    "It makes a big boon to Sturgeon Bay because there are again the workforce, and then there are the contractors that come in throughout the winter season as well. So we are happy to have them here in Sturgeon Bay."

    Seiler says there are more than just workers in town. The winter fleet becomes quite a tourist attraction as well.

    "It's one of the things that Sturgeon Bay has that isn't available anywhere else in Door County. So, it's absolutely unique. When those thousand-footers come through the canal, it's absolutely amazing."

    In January, the thousand-foot-long Stewart J. Cort made its way through two bridges downtown. The frosty conditions didn't stop the ship or people taking it all in.

    "It's a great thing to see. If you've never seen it before, we encourage people to get up here and see it first-hand, for yourself."

    The next ship is scheduled to arrive on December 31st. Here's the schedule for the rest of the ships through January:

    Winter Fleet arrival schedule for 2018-19

    Burns Harbor (1,000 feet)- Dec. 7

    American Courage (636 feet)- drydock, Dec. 22

    Joseph L. Block (728 feet)- Dec. 31

    Barge- A397 (270 feet)- Jan. 1

    Wilfred Sykes (678 feet)- Jan. 15

    Paul R. Tregurtha (1013 feet)- Jan. 20

    Barge-Huron Spirit (328 feet)- Jan. 20

    Tug-Leonard M.- Jan20

    John G. Munson (768 feet)- Jan. 25

    Cason J. Callaway (767 feet)- Jan. 25

    James R. Barker (1,000 feet)- Jan. 25


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A retired Manitowoc County Sheriff’s investigator is upset with how he is portrayed in the “Making A Murderer” series about the murder of Teresa Halbach and has filed a defamation lawsuit against the series’ creators.

    Lt. Andrew Colborn filed the 18-page lawsuit Monday against Laura Ricciardi, Moira Demos, Netflix, and others.

    According to the lawsuit:

    “Overwhelming physical and circumstantial evidence proves that Steven Avery and his sixteen-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, were the perpetrators of the crime. Neither plaintiff nor any other law enforcement officer planted evidence or in any other way attempted to frame Avery or Dassey for Halbach’s murder. Separate juries returned guilty verdicts against each of them in 2007, and their convictions remain unreversed after numerous appeals,” it states.

    “Pertinent and significant aspects of MAM are not true as represented and are, instead, false and defamatory toward plaintiff and others. Material and significant facts known to the defendants were omitted and distorted. Despite overwhelming evidence proving Avery and Dassey’s guilt and the utter absence of evidence supporting defendant’s accusations of police misconduct, defendants falsely led viewers to the inescapable conclusion that plaintiff and others planted evidence to frame Avery for Halbach’s murder. Defendants omitted, distorted, and falsified material and significant facts in an effort to portray the plaintiff as a corrupt police officer who planted evidence to frame an innocent man. Defendants did so with actual malice and in order to make the film more profitable and more successful in the eyes of their peers, sacrificing and defaming the plaintiff’s character and reputation in the process,” it adds.

    The suit claims the filmmakers acted with “actual malice” to omit facts and evidence “part of their effort to lead viewers to falsely conclude that plaintiff and others framed Avery for Halbach’s murder,” it claims.

    The suit does not request any specific monetary damages but “demands retraction and honest clarification of the erroneous and false statements and depictions described above to clear his good name and restore peace of mind; plaintiff further demands judgment against defendants, separately and severally, for their tortious acts of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence as stated above.”

    Once served, the defendants have 45 days to formally respond to the suit.

    Colborn and his attorney did not make themselves available to answer questions about the lawsuit.

    Fox 11 reached out to Netflix, who did not have a comment.

    No hearings have been scheduled.


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    CASCO, WI (WTAQ) - The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department is investigating a robbery in Casco.

    Deputies say a woman was driving on County Highway C around 8 last night when she noticed a vehicle stopped on the roadside.

    She checked to see if the person needed help.

    Deputies say that's when a man showed a knife and demanded money.

    They provided a limited description, a white man in his early 20s.

    Anyone with information is asked to the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department at (920) 388-7108.


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