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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A decision has been delayed in the George Burch restitution hearing.

    Burch, who was convicted of killing Nicole VanderHeyden in 2016, is being asked by her boyfriend, Douglass Detrie, to pay more than $254,820 in restitution.

    Detrie claims the amount he's asking for would help cover the cost of his therapy, lost wages, and other miscellaneous expenses.

    Court Commissioner Paul Burke said Monday that a decision will be made in the next 30 days.

    Burch has already been ordered to pay just over $14,000 in restitution. That money is being directed to VanderHeyden's family and the states crime victim compensation fund.

    Burch is currently serving a life sentence.


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    DE PERE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - De Pere hosted a public forum giving residents a chance to share their thoughts on updates to the city's two pools.

    In November, voters decided they wanted to keep two swimming pools in the city.

    City leaders are looking for the public's input on what they should look like.

    Those who couldn't make it last night can also take an online survey by following this link.

    It will be open until next week Tuesday.

    No date on when a final decision is expected.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - If you're looking for a way to get rid of your Christmas tree, look no further than the Fox Valley.

    An Oshkosh club is collecting old trees to make ice fishing a bit easier, and safer.

    It’s been referred to as an old-fashioned GPS system of sorts.

    “Every eighth of a mile we put a tree out,” Otter Street Fishing Club chairman Don Herman explained.

    “We put a big tree out for mile number one and, at two miles, we put two trees, and three trees for three miles, and so on.”

    The Oshkosh club has been using the method out on Lake Winnebago for decades.

    Herman tells FOX 11 it takes about a hundred trees to create this tree line, which serves as a guide for vehicles crossing the lake.

    “We lean them toward shore - we drill a hole, actually on an angle, and we lean them toward shore so, if you do come across a tree in fog or anything like that, if you see a tree, you know exactly which way shore is.”

    You'd normally already be able to see the Christmas trees and bridges on Lake Winnebago.

    But with recent warm weather, Herman says this may be one of just a handful of times in over 40 years where the trees and bridges may not go up.

    “It’s not looking good this year because, last year at this time, we had our bridges out for a week already, and I don’t see a lot of cold weather coming.”

    He said there should be about 12 to 16 inches of ice on Lake Winnebago. But right now, Herman would be surprised if it’s even up to seven or eight inches yet.

    While the club continues collecting the Christmas trees, Herman cautions people to stay off the lake.

    “The lake is never 100 percent safe; the ice is never 100 percent safe, so you just have to use caution. This year, you have to use extreme caution going out there.”

    The trees are also used for mulch after the season is over, so fishing clubs will actually get about two or three uses out of one Christmas tree.

    Christmas trees can be dropped off at the end of Merritt Avenue, near the landing in Oshkosh.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - As a partial government shutdown continues into its third week a local law enforcement official is saying it has effects that reach beyond just Washington.

    Residents in Northeast Wisconsin won't see any noticeable changes when they call 9-1-1 or require law enforcement services, but rather the shutdown presents challenges for departments internally, according to Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas.

    "Local law enforcement, we rely a lot on federal partners and on federal funding for both programs and for equipment that we need," explains Chief Thomas. "Now I've been notified that that is on hold."

    Speaking on a National Immigration Forum on Tuesday, Chief Thomas says a hold in federal funding can set them back not just months, but years.

    "It's going to be more the long-term impact and the recovery from the shutdown," he explains. "The longer the shutdown goes, the longer it's going to take us to recover from it."

    For some insight into what those long-term challenges might look like, he went back and drew from last January's government shutdown.

    "That was a year where we didn't have money to fund heroin and methamphetamine investigations," he says. "Also, a year we didn't have money to provide some equipment for our officers."

    So while the typical citizen won't notice any interruption with law enforcement services throughout the government shutdown, there are concerns that important long-term investigative and preventative services will be negatively impacted by a lack of funding.  

    "The impact won't be an immediate impact that will be noticed by someone that needs the police," says Chief Thomas. "It's going to be more of the long-term impact and the recovery from the shutdown."

    He went on to add that government workers are the individuals receiving the short-end-of-the-stick throughout this entire process.

    "It's disheartening to think about those families, those employees who are serving and protecting going out to work every day, still putting their lives on the line every day and not getting paid for it," explains Chief Thomas. "While Congress is sitting back and truly not doing their job and getting paid."

    And those individuals often time aren't in a position to go weeks without pay.

    "Most of the people in law enforcement that I know live paycheck to paycheck and most of them have families," he says. 

    As the partial shutdown continues and lawmakers remain seemingly distant from a bi-partisan agreement, Chief Thomas and law enforcement officials are growing increasingly concerned as the days pass.

    "I think there are areas where compromises can be made that can strengthen our border and points of entry and there's common ground that we can find," he explains. "But it's not going to happen as long as each side refuses to compromise." 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay Police have one man in custody and continue to investigate an overnight string of armed robberies. 

    The robberies occurred at the following locations.  

    130 S Military Ave Superior Discount Liquor

    1828 S Ashland Ave Dino Stop Shell

    2590 University Ave Pit Row Shell

    Public Safety Night shift patrol officers developed information that led them to an address in Village of Ashwaubenon where, with the assistance of Ashwaubenon Public Safety, officers took a 25-year-old male into custody.

    The male is currently at the Brown County jail. The Green Bay Police Department will be recommending charges of armed robbery to the Brown County District Attorney’s Office.

    The Green Bay Police Department is also working with the Village of Luxemburg Police Department on their armed robbery overnight to determine if they are related.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Details have been released regarding an overnight shooting on Monday in the area of Mason and Military Avenue.

    Green Bay Police say a 38-year-old male was injured by gunfire and requested the police after walking to a gas station around midnight. 

    Green Bay Police and Green Bay Fire/Rescue responded to the scene and the male was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injury and was later released.

    The shooting suspect has been identified as Joshua M Thomas, a 29-year-old Green Bay resident, who is considered armed and dangerous.

    Thomas has a warrant through the WI Department of Corrections and is wanted by the Green Bay Police Department for First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety and Battery.

    Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact the Green Bay Police Department (920) 448-3208 and reference case number #2019-201120.

    You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward by contacting Green Bay Area Crime Stoppers by phone (920) 432-7867, through their website at www.432stop.com, or by downloading the P3 app through Google Play or App store


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The NFL Network is reporting the beginning details of the contract between the Green Bay Packers and assumed to be next Head Coach Matt LaFleur.

    The Packers and LaFleur have reportedly agreed to a four year deal with a fifth year option.

    This will be LaFleur's first head-coaching job in the NFL or college. 

    The Packers have not confirmed when LaFleur would be arriving in Green Bay or when he would be introduced as the next Head Coach.


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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - An Amber Alert has been issued for a missing 15-year-old Shawano teen. 

    Angel Rose (Madosh) Tomow was last seen New Year's Eve morning at her residence in Shawano. 

    She has not been in direct contact with family since that date.

    Law enforcement has reason to believe she is now in extreme danger. She may be in the Milwaukee or Chicago areas. 

    Tomow was last seen wearing light colored blue jeans, jean jacket, and black shirt.

    She is described as 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. 

    Tomow has long black hair, brown eyes and is Native American.

    The identity of a suspect is not known at this time.


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  • 01/08/19--14:15: Business as Usual
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - An ongoing partial government shutdown, now in its third week, has impacted air travel across the nation, while local officials are saying their daily operations remain unchanged.

    Business, as usual, is the message coming from Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay.

    The shutdown has created staffing issues and longer checkpoints at some major air travel hubs, such as Dallas-Fort Worth and New York City, but it doesn't seem to be an issue locally.

    "The essential employees are still on the job, which for us, fortunately, hasn't created any operational impact," says Airport Director Marty Piette. "All flights continue."

    Piette explains who those essential employees are.

    "From a TSA standpoint the security personnel are essential employees to national security," he says. "The air traffic controllers are considered essential employees from an air traffic control standpoint." 

    And a full staff means lines are moving at their typical pace.

    "We've always told people to arrive about an hour and fifteen minutes before your flight and that still stays the same," explains Piette.

    One concern was that flight delays may take place as planes come and go from various larger airports that have been more affected by the shutdown.

    So far, that's not an issue.

    "Flights are still operating on time, so I'm not seeing that impact here in Green Bay," he explains.

    And travelers won't run into shockingly long lines at screening, which has been the case at some larger airports across the country.

    "The essential employees are here and performing their jobs from an air traffic control and from a screening standpoint," says Piette. "So the traveling public isn't seeing any change here."


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  • 01/08/19--15:14: Phony Water Utility Employee
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Someone is posing as a Green Bay Water Utility employee in order to enter homes, according to the company.

    They say a woman reported letting a man claiming to be water utility employee into her basement and that individual was later confirmed to not be an employee of the company.

    They say about an hour later the same man tried to enter a home on Deckner Avenue.

    Legitimate employees wear uniforms and have credentials with company vehicles, according to Green Bay Water Utility.

    Do not let an individual in your home and call the company if a person claiming to be from Green Bay Water Utility comes to your door without a uniform or proper credentials.


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  • 01/08/19--16:55: Traffic Deaths Trending Down
  • CALUMET COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - A report from the State Department of Transportation shows that Wisconsin roads are becoming increasingly safer.

    Data from the preliminary report showed a total of 565 deadly crashes that took place between January 1st and December 30th of 2018.

    That number represents a trend in the right direction.

    "We did better this year than last, our overall fatalities are down about 4 percent, " says David Pabst, the Director of Transportation Safety.

    He says they've taken steps to make roads safer.

    "We're doing road treatments where you have rumble strips on the center line and the shoulder," says Pabst. "Roundabouts are another one that has created a safer environment, so fatalities are down in those areas."

    The number of crash-related deaths in Northeast Wisconsin was 121 and more than half of the total traffic deaths in the state took place in rural areas.

    Officials say there are a few attributes that might lead to that distinction.

    "You're going to have narrower roads, high speeds, smaller shoulders, incidents with wildlife, distracted driving," says Ryan Mcclintock, the Service Director for Great Lakes EMS.

    Luckily, some of the road treatments being rolled out in rural areas are keeping the numbers from being even higher.

    "We were thrilled to have a couple of roundabouts out here in Calumet County and Highway 10," says McClintock. "Those things have been lifesavers, those were fatal intersections."

    And even with road treatments being implemented to improve safety, it still comes down to the motorist choosing whether or not to practice safe driving habits.

    "You need to be a defensive driver, especially on the rural roads," says McClintock. "These aren't fenced roads and have break down lanes, also don't be distracted."

    There already have been three fatal crashes in Wisconsin reported in 2019, according to the weekly fatality report from the DOT.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Sources say they believe that a man shot by a Green Bay Police Officer was handcuffed and unarmed when shot at the Brown County Jail last year. 

    According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, sources familiar with the incident say Jonathan Tubby was shot five times after moving in the direction of officer Erik O'Brien. 

    Those sources say Tubby refused to corporate with the officers that drove him to the sally port of the Brown County Jail back on October 19. 

    The sources were interviewed separately, but all provided similar information.

    DCI has yet to complete their investigation.

    According to sources in the criminal justice system, Tubby and a woman failed to stop for a red light and Tubby was taken into custody on an arrest warrant. 

    The question of was lethal force needed in the situation after Tubby allegedly moved towards the officer has yet to be determined.

     


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  • 01/09/19--02:00: Blanket Drive Underway
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The eighth annual Brown County blanket drive hopes to collect more bedding items than last year.

    The drive kicked off Tuesday with a goal to collect 2,500 blankets this year.

    Blankets collected will be distributed to low-income families through various Brown County programs, such as the N.E.W. Community shelter and Green Bay Area Public Schools.

    Amanda Johnson, executive director of the Howe Resource Center, tells FOX 11 the drive is important.

    "We have a family that came in about a couple months ago looking for blankets. They were experiencing homelessness and the shelters were full so they were forced to sleep in their car and so we were able to pull blankets from last year’s drive to make sure that they could be warm for a couple nights until they could get into a shelter so it’s pretty impactful. We get to see it on a daily basis here."

    You can drop off blankets at various locations throughout Brown County now through Jan. 31.

    Click here for a list of locations

    Last year, more than 2,400 blankets and bedding items were distributed to more than 40 Brown County organizations.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A Brown County non-profit says 6,000 high schoolers are at risk of not graduating, and now they want to make sure every student gets a diploma.

    "It’s our community's responsibility to support these kids. It takes a village, and so, we’re asking you, within this community, to step up and help," said Adam Hardy the executive director of Achieve Brown County.

    Achieve Brown County is working with various other organizations in the community, including Big Brother Big Sister, to connect students--from 3 high schools and one middle school--with mentors.

    "Our counselors and our social workers are working in partnership to identify students who would significantly benefit from a unique mentor experience," said Michelle Langenfeld, Superintendent of Green Bay Area Public Schools.

    Hardy tells FOX 11 the goal with the new mentor-ship program is that every student has the chance to walk across the stage.

    "Every year we have more than 300 kids that don’t graduate, have limited next steps, and that keeps piling up year and year after year, so it really is a problem that we need to work on."

    High school graduation rates fell to 89.3% in 2017, nearly one whole percentage point lower than 90.2% in 2016, according to Achieve Brown County.

    A system called (DEWS) Dropout early warning system collects data on students that might be at risk.

    "Based on their grades, their attendance and their instances of in-school, out of school suspensions," said Spencer Bonnie the director of community impact for Achieve Brown County.

    She tells FOX 11 they use the same information to track the progress of students during the mentorship program.

    "We'll come back and assess whether there was an increase in grades and attendance and a decrease in behavior. Our belief is that there absolutely will be."

    If you are interested in volunteering, they are looking for 100 mentors by March 1st.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - There are signs of progress for Green Bay's redevelopment of the struggling East Town Mall, but the city might look at other options if more isn't done soon.

    The property still sits mostly vacant, with a traditional mall setup.

    Realizing the lack of action, city officials told the mall's owner it needed to secure a lease with a national tenant by the end of 2018.

    The city threatened to cancel its development agreement, which calls for at least $1.5 million from taxpayers to help with construction costs.

    “They were able to show evidence of that,” said Kevin Vonck, Green Bay’s Economic Development Director. “They do have some tenants in the queue. With that, those agreements, those tenants would like to have those remain confidential.”

    Vonck says the tenant deals aren't enough. The developer must provide building plans by the end of the month. Then, construction must start this spring.

    He tells FOX 11 if those deadlines aren't met, the city has another developer waiting in the wings with a similar plan to transform the property.

    “I think we're very close to the finish line, but things can happen and things can change, so it's always important for us if something doesn't work out, that we have another alternative ready.”

    Even if the plan doesn't work out with the current developer, and the city tries to move onto plan B, Vonck says he is confident some sort of redevelopment work will begin this year.

    “There are tenants who want to be in this market,” said Vonck.

    “You look at the demographics of the neighborhoods surrounding it, they're great in terms of retail. There is also a market gap for some particular types of uses out in that area.”

    If the city moves its support to another developer, the current owner still must first agree to sell the property.

    Under the current plan, Hobby Lobby, Petco, and Kohl's would remain open.

    The development agreement calls for the property value to be $18 million upon the project’s completion.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - An alleged drugged driver was arrested after crashing into a Manitowoc home Tuesday night.

    Police say it happened in the 900 block of Lawton Terrace around 6 p.m.

    Officers say two people were inside the home's living room at the time. They were not hurt.

    According to police, the driver was under the influence of drugs.

    A 25-year-old Two Rivers man was arrested on charges of first offense Operating While Intoxicated. He was also cited for possession of THC and operating while suspended.

    Speed is also believed to be a factor in the crash.

    Police also report three other people inside the car ran away from the crash scene. They're still on the loose.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Manitowoc Police at (920) 686-6551.


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    FOX VALLEY, WI (WTAQ) - It is now illegal for individuals under the age of 18 to possess electronic vaping devices in Little Chute and Kimberly.

    The amendments to the existing tobacco ordinance, which went into effect January 1st, include those which do not contain nicotine.

    Prohibited devices include electronic cigarettes, electronic vaping devices, personal vaporizers, digital vapor devices, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and any similar or digital device.

    U.S. health officials say teenage use of e-cigarettes has reached "epidemic" levels.

    According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, just under 8% of Wisconsin high school students were using e-cigarettes in 2014.

    That number has skyrocketed to 20% (or one out of every five students) in 2018.


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    BELLEVUE, WI (WTAQ) - A cheese and wine store inside a Bellevue strip mall is planning to re-open today following a fire last week.

    Nala's Cheese & Wine return comes less than a week after an overnight fire broke out at Phin Sushi, located next to Nala's in the strip mall on Monroe Road.

    The fire caused smoke damage inside the wine and cheese shop, ruining some of the products.

    It is unknown when Phin Sushi will reopen.

    Mr. Brews Taphouse, which is located on the opposite side of the strip mall, reopened Saturday.

    Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, but crews on scene say it may have been burning for quite a while before it was discovered.


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  • 01/09/19--13:02: Fans React to LaFleur Hire
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - On Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers introduced Matt LaFleur as the fifteenth head coach in franchise history.

    LaFleur has spent the previous two seasons as an offensive coordinator with both the Tennessee Titans and the Los Angeles Rams.

    For many fans walking around Lambeau Field on Wednesday, they shared that LaFleur was a relatively unknown commodity that wasn't on their radar.

    "It was a new name," says Sandy Davis from Pembine. "Just a surprise."

    Davis adds that she's hopeful he'll be able to turn the team around and is optimistic going forward.

    Also generally surprised by the news, was Pete Saules of West Bloomfield, Michigan. He explains how he found out about the hire.

    "On the workout machine and I saw it pop up on T.V. this morning," he explains. "I said, 'Oh, I guess the Packers got a new one.'"

    Saules is a Lions fan and believes from an outside perspective that the Packers had given up on interim coach Joe Philbin.

    "Well it seemed like that old, replacement guy that they had sure wasn't doing too much," he says. "So maybe this will spark them."

    One of the major narratives surrounding the hire is LaFleur's age, only 39-years-old.

    Keith Morency of Northfield, Michigan supports the hire.

    "I mean, I'm 39-years-old, so anyone young like me being a coach is pretty cool," he says.

    He believes a younger voice and mindset will be a good thing for both the team and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    "I think it should help," he explains. "Most of the players are obviously in their 20's or early 30's, so having a coach that's your age is pretty cool."

    Scott Beckwith from Dallas, Texas thinks a young mind and fresh perspective could help spark an offense that seemed, at times, lackluster this past season.

    "Maybe he'll bring the spread offense to the NFL like their trying to do," he says.


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  • 01/09/19--18:07: Seymour Shopko Closing
  • SEYMOUR, WI (WTAQ) - With news of Shopko being in the process of declaring bankruptcy, the Seymour Hometown Shopko on S. Mainline Drive is scheduled to close on April 7.

    Seymour Mayor Ryan Kraft made the announcement in a Facebook post.

    He said he was told that liquidation sales are expected to start Friday. 

    McKesson Corp., a pharmaceutical drug supplier to Shopko, says the Ashwaubenon-based retail chain is expected to file for bankruptcy next week.


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