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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.

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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The holiday travel season is coming soon, but before your stay, the Better Business Bureau says scammers may get to you first.

    Timeshares and vacation rentals are a great way to travel and have the comforts of home, however, scammers love to take advantage of vacationers by making false promises.  Susan Bach, with the Better Business Bureau, says they also use keywords that should scream scam.  "They are using terms like cheap airline tickets, or cheap hotels or budget hotels or something."  She adds quick payment requests should be a concern to watch out for.  "Let's say they want a prepaid debit card or cash, that is probably a red-flag."  Research on the lodging location is the best way to stay scam free, but doing all your work online can make you a target.  Bach says you can better your chances of staying safe by picking up the phone.  "If all of your communications is through email, you just don't know if you are dealing with a legitimate person."  And if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is looking for nominations from the public to highlight individuals and organizations that go above and beyond every day.

    The Celebrating Volunteers event, now in its 22nd year, looks to put the spotlight on the people and businesses that often times don't seek it.

    The event, also sponsored by The Post-Crescent, is held May 1, 2019, at the Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley in downtown Appleton.

    The goal is to celebrate individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca and Northern Winnebago counties that take part in selfless volunteer work.

    Often times, these individuals and entities do their service work for only the satisfaction of doing good in the community.

    "They're very humble," says Tammy Geenen, Vice President of Community Engagement with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. "[They] certainly never expect any kind of public recognition in this way."

    The event has seven different award categories:

    • Business Partnership Award sponsored by SECURA Insurance
    • Youth Scholarship Award sponsored by Community First Credit Union
    • Janet Berry Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by The Post-Crescent
    • Health Care Award sponsored by Ascension and ThedaCare
    • Walter L. Rugland Community Service Award sponsored by Thrivent Financial
    • Hanns Kretzschmar Award for Excellence in the Arts sponsored by Thrivent Financial
    • Paul & Elaine Groth Mentoring Award Sponsored by the Mielke Family Foundation

    Nominations from the public are being accepted through February 5.

    "It's a great way for the community to thank them for the time that they've given to help make the community a better place," says Geenen.

    Often times unrecognized, these agents of service work to make the community a better place.

    "This event brings together several hundred people who volunteer their time to ensure the Fox Valley continues to be a thriving community and great place to live," says Curt Detjen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. "We are lucky so many feel that volunteering is a valuable part of their lives, and we honor that community spirit of service with these special awards."

    Awards include $5,000 for charity, while the recipient of the youth award receives $1,000 for charity, in addition to a $1,500 scholarship.

    Award sponsors have given out $691,000 to local charities selected by award recipients, since the event started in 1998.

    For those involved, it never gets old.

    "Every year we and the award sponsors always say, 'We can't wait to see what kind of nominations we're going to receive this year,'" says Geenen. "We always say, 'Last year there was such a great group of award recipients, how can this year be topped by last years award recipients?'"

    For more information and to fill out a nomination form, visit celebratevolunteers.org.


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    TOWN of CALUMET, WI (WTAQ) - A 36-year-old Kaukauna woman is dead after being hit by a truck in the town of Calumet in Fond du Lac County.

    Sheriff deputies report the woman was leaving a restaurant Sunday evening just after 5:30 when she was hit by a pick-up truck on Highway 151 and County Highway W.

    Investigators say she was walking across the highway when the truck hit her. No one in the truck was hurt.

    The name of the victim has not been released.

    The highway was closed for several hours. The incident is still under investigation.


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    PEMBINE, WI (WTAQ) - A man has been arrested in Marinette County after deputies say he fatally shot his wife.

    The Sheriff's Office says the 55-year-old man called 911 around 11 p.m. last night (Sunday) to say he shot his wife earlier that evening.

    When deputies arrived at the home on Petite Lane in Pembine, they found a deceased 63-year-old woman from an apparent gunshot wound.

    They say the incident appears to be an isolated incident between a husband and wife and the public is not in danger.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay Police are hoping the possibility of facing a big fine will help put an end to a problem they see, especially during winter months.

    Stolen car reports are on the rise in the city of Green Bay.

    "last year at the end of the year we ended up with, and this 2017, we had 97. In 2018 we had 108 stolen vehicles."

    But on WTAQ's Morning News with Matt & Earl, Police Chief Andrew Smith says we often make it easy for the thieves by leaving keys in the ignition, or even leaving a vehicle running.

    "Of the 108 cars that were stolen 50 of them had the keys in the ignition. Either the engine was running or the keys were left inside the car."

    And Smith says officers spend a lot of time tracking down the stolen vehicle that could have been spent on investigations for more important crimes.

    "I'm guessing it costs taxpayers about 500 bucks everytime somebody reports their car was stolen."

    Smith says the possibility of a financial penalty to the vehicle owner could get people's attention.

    "What a bad idea it is to leave your keys in the car, whether the car is running or not, here in Green Bay."

    The city council is set to vote tomorrow (TUESDAY) on a $500 fine for a vehicle left running in a public parking lot.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Appleton Police are investigating an armed robbery that took place Monday morning.

    Officials say they're looking for one suspect after a man was physically assaulted and robbed at a home on the 500 block of Outagamie Court around 10:30 a.m.

    The suspect told officers that he was alone at the home when a man dressed in dark clothing assaulted and robbed him. The suspect ran away after robbing the victim.

    The suspect is described as a black male between 15 and 25 years old and around six feet tall.

    The man was also wearing dark clothes, gloves, a ski mask, and a camo-patterned coat, according to the victim.

    Area schools were put under a brief lockdown following the incident.

    Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call Sgt. John Schira at (920) 832-5000.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - One state representative is saying he's encouraged about potential change coming to an aging facility.

    Representative David Steffen, R-Howard, isn't mincing words when speaking about the 121-year-old Green Bay Correctional Institution.

    "Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) is the most dangerous place in Wisconsin," says Steffen.

    He highlighted a couple of different statistics to showcase the facilities apparent danger, for both inmates and staff.

    First, out of thirty-six Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities, GBCI has the second highest structure age.

    Secondly, GBCI ranks first in the number of most frequent inmate-on-staff assaults. The number of those incidents equates to around twenty-percent of all DOC assaults.

    Steffen has stated that these statistics represent a very real physical danger, while other components present a danger to the budget.

    "GBCI continues to cost the state of Wisconsin a million dollars a month more than a new facility," he explains.

    He adds that around fifty-percent of the DOC's budget is currently going to repairs at GBCI.

    Perhaps most frustrating for Steffen, is the potential economic value of the property that the facility sits on.

    "That acreage, which exists right along the Fox River, has an opportunity to provide over $100 million to the Village of Allouez,"  explains Steffen.

    That figure comes from a St. Norbert College study, which was tasked with measuring the economic impact that moving the prison and re-developing the current site would have.

    With dollar figures that high floating around, Steffen believes this is a no-brainer decision.

    "This could be one of the more transformative pieces of public policy that could occur here in Brown County," he says.

    And Governor Tony Evers apparently agrees with this viewpoint.

    Evers was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel saying it "seemingly needs to be replaced."

    Comments like this coming from Madison give Steffen a sense of optimism moving forward.

    "The election in November had probably the greatest consequence for any community in the Village of Allouez," he says.

    Steffen adds he believes Governor Scott Walker would have included plans to replace the facility and redevelop the site had he won the November election. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The suspect in a Green Bay shooting on December 10 pleaded not guilty on Monday.

    Police say Ricardo Torres allegedly shot a man six times at a Western Avenue residence following an argument about money.

    No trial date was set and Torres will return to court on February 11 for a pre-trial conference. 

    Three other men face charges stemming from the incident.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A man was convicted on Monday of armed robbery following a July incident at a convenience store on Green Bay's east side.

    Robert Herrington pleaded no contest to armed robbery and a count of operating a vehicle without owner’s consent was dropped.

    Court records show that he will be sentenced on February 26.

    Herrington showed a gun, threatened to shoot the clerk, and stole cash from the register at the Shell station on 1593 East Mason Street on July 9.

    Police say that he left the gas station in a truck that he took from a friend without consent and crashed it into a home on Elm Street and ran.

    Police tracked Herrington down the next day and arrested him as he emerged from the woods behind a west-side dance studio.


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  • 01/14/19--16:16: A Special Gift
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A group of local high school students has been using their talents this semester to create an unforgettable gift for some less fortunate children.

    The Memory Project is a non-profit organization based in Middleton that connects art teachers and their students with children around the world facing major challenges.

    In this case, the Southwest High School Art Club was paired with orphans from the Philippines. Their goal was to give them a smile and a personal treasure.

    "These kids were really invested and worked really hard on these," says art instructor Jon Taft.

    He's referencing the personal portraits that a group of fifteen students has been working on throughout the semester.

    "The kids have been working on them for once a week for about two months and at this point, they are completed," he says.

    Taft first was introduced to The Memory Project and hatched the idea of bringing it to Southwest High School when he was flipping through a University of Wisconsin - Madison alumni magazine a few years ago.

    Ben Schumaker founded the organization in 2004 while he was studying psychology and social work at the University of Wisconsin.

    The organization works with art teachers and their students to provide them with photographs of children from around the world that are facing extreme challenges.

    After receiving the photos, the young artists get to work with creating a personal portrait of the child, based off the photo that they've received.

    Upon completion, the portraits are sent back to The Memory Project and they handle getting the special gifts in the hands of the less-fortunate children.

    Southwest High School 12th-grader Mariaya Jackson was all-in on the idea when Taft first brought it up to the club in September.

    "Since this is our senior year, I thought that it would be a good way to go all out," she explains.

    And in an effort to personalize their gifts, the students have attached something of their own.

    "My Southwest students included a photo of themselves and put it on the back of the portrait that they made for the students, and they are all ready to ship," he says.

    Jackson admits she's not the best at drawing another persons face, but realizes that it's truly the thought that counts.

    "All of us tried our best and the children will be happy to see all of our efforts," she says.


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    WAUPUN, WI (WTAQ) - A missing Waupun girl was quickly reunited with her mother Monday morning with the help of social media.

    The 2-year-old girl was found by officers alone on the front steps of a home that wasn't hers in the 200 block of N. Madison St. around 7 a.m. Monday morning.

    She was taken to the hospital to be checked out and wasn't hurt.

    The Waupun Police Department says the floodgates opened once they posted a picture of the girl on their Facebook page, asking the online communities help in finding her guardian.

    The toddler's mother was located in less than 40-minutes with the help of already thousands of post shares.

    “We did post on social media, and within 37 minutes, we were able to get the mother,” says Waupun Police Department Chief of Police, Scott Louden.

    Police don't believe the girl was missing very long, because she was still warm to the touch once they first spotted her.

    At that point, they initially tried to find answers the old-fashioned way.

    “We did a canvass of the neighborhood to see in anybody could identify her or knew who her legal guardian was, and we didn’t get any luck doing that,” says Louden.

    The girl's mother was at work at the time when she got wind of the post from the police department.

    Officials say using social media in cases like this is becoming increasingly more successful.

    “Social media we use quite often at our police department for missing persons or to find out any evidence on any type of crime, and we actually get a good response in doing that, like with this incident, it really helped out,” explains Louden.

    A male was watching the girl, according to police, and he was questioned after the girl was reunited with her mother.

    "Basically, a babysitter was watching the child, and there was miscommunication, and we’re still investigating that, at this point,” says Louden. “We gotta see if there was any neglect.”

     


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Multiple reports are indicating that the Packers have made a hire to fill their vacant offensive coordinator position.

    Matt LaFleur is nabbing former-Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to the same position in Green Bay.

    Hacket was fired by the Jaguars back on November 26. 

    Last season, Jacksonville ranked 31st overall in the NFL averaging 15.3 points per game.


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    HOBART, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Firefighters battle a house fire in Hobart Monday night.

    It happened at a home on W. Mason St. near County Highway GE around 9:30 p.m.

    Hobart Fire Chief Jerry Lancelle tells FOX 11 the home was fully involved when crews arrived. No one was inside at the time.

    "The house was unoccupied at the time. It's being renovated, so the homeowners were living in another home at the time."

    Firefighters had the fire under control in about an hour.

    There is no estimate on damage to the home, but Lancelle says the house is considered a total loss.

    No firefighters were hurt.


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    STURGEON BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - One of the biggest ships on the Great Lakes is getting some seasonal maintenance.

    The James R. Barker is part of the Winter Fleet gathering in Sturgeon Bay, and the arrival brought out the 'boat nerds' as well.

    With an escort from the 100-foot long tug William C. Gaynor, the 1000-foot long James R. Barker is hard to miss.

    A small crowd gathered Monday morning in Sturgeon Bay at a place called bullhead point to take it all in.

    "It's quite awesome. Earlier, we could hear the ice cracking when it went through, which was very overwhelming," said Jan Zettel.

    "I've never seen this happen, so we're watching a 1,000-footer back into the channel. It's awesome," said Joe Zettel.

    "Oh, it's interesting to see something that big, coming through the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Channel. It's hard to believe they get these big boats in here, but they do," said Keith Merkatoris, Sand Bay.

    There are about 14 vessels in this year's Winter Fleet at Fincanteiri Bay Shipbuilding.

    Rich Teddy, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Project Manager, tells FOX 11 the James R. Barker is getting some scheduled maintenance and more.

    "We'll be installing plastic in the cargo holds, and that will help preserve the steel, give the rigors of the loading and unloading process of iron ore."

    The big ships may impact those heading out on the frozen surface nearby. Experts say there are about four to eight inches of ice on parts of the Bay of Green Bay.

    "It can kind of expand, and contract. and cracks do form. And there's already some cracks out there that have formed since those boats have gone through, just since Sunday," said JJ Malvitz, JJ's Guide Service.

    Malvitz tells FOX 11 it will take days of below zero temperatures before area ice conditions improve. Until then, more ships are scheduled to arrive for their winter lay-up.

    The James R. Barker is among the fleet of ships for the Interlake Steamship Company.

    For more than 100 years, the company has worked to transport cargo throughout the Great Lakes region.

    The Barker was built in 1976 and is the first 1,000-foot vessel constructed entirely on the Great Lakes.

    It's also one of the first thousand-footers to have all crew accommodations in a five-story superstructure located at the stern.

    The Barker has a carrying capacity of more than 63,000 tons.

    If you want to see the Winter Fleet, some more ships are scheduled to arrive:

    Cason J Calloway, 767-feet long, scheduled to arrive January 16th

    Paul R. Tregurtha, 1013-feet long, scheduled to arrive January 17th

    Burns Harbor, 1000-feet long, scheduled to arrive January 18th


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Emergency responders turn out Monday night to honor a Green Bay tow truck driver killed on the highway.

    Jesse Hettman was helping remove a vehicle from I-41 near Oneida Street Friday when he was hit.

    Last night flashing lights from hundreds of trucks lit up the site where Hettmann was hit.

    "We realize he was a very helpful person but didn’t realize his magnitude," said Hettmann's brother, Matt.

    Matt tells FOX 11 the family is overwhelmed by the community support.

    "Jesse was the guy who absolutely loved his job he loved helping people he was just always helping."

    Friends like Michael Caulfield say Hettmann set the example for what it means to be a kind person.

    "He did so many things and touched so many lives, if others can do the same, this place would be amazing."

    Becki Skulan organized the honor run, she hopes drivers can learn from the tragedy.

    "We’ve been having a lot of issues out on the road with people moving over to service vehicles, broke down trucks and broke down cars and nobody’s moving over for them and because of it a lot of accidents are happening."

    Skulan tells FOX 11 although some trucking companies may be competitors, in the end, they're also family.

    "Truck driving is a brotherhood and it takes a lot of courage to get behind the wheel and it takes just as much courage to get out from behind the wheel."

    And because Hettmann did both, friends and family say he made his life count.

    "They called him a superhero and he was," said Caulfield.

    Hettman is survived by a wife and two daughters.

    A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Hettmann's family.


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    HOBART, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Several departments were called out this morning to an apartment fire in Hobart.

    The fire broke out on Centennial Centre Boulevard. The first call came in around 6 A.M.

    Fire crews cut out sections of the roof so smoke could ventilate out of the 18 unit building. There's no word on what caused the fire.

    The American Red Cross is helping at least 20 people who were displaced. No one was injured.


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    TOWN OF BOVINA, WI (WTAQ) - The Outagamie County Sheriff's Department is investigating a fatal crash Tuesday morning.

    A little after 8 a.m. deputies responded to Thede Road south of Newland Road in the Town of Bovina for a report of a vehicle that struck a tree. 

    It's believed the driver lost control due to ice-covered road conditions. 

    The driver, a 17-year-old female from Shiocton, was alone in the vehicle and died on scene.

    As authorities continue to investigate roads remain closed.


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    PEMBINE, WI (WTAQ) - Marinette County authorities have identified the woman fatally shot by her husband.

    63-year-old Shelley Erickson-Rogge was found dead inside her Pembine home Sunday night after deputies say her husband, 55-year-old Gary Rogge, shot her.

    Rogge was arrested and remains in custody.

    He has not been formally charged in the case yet.

    The family of Erickson-Rogge has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for her memorial.

    Authorities say a man called 9-1-1 around 11:00 Sunday night and told them he shot his wife earlier in the evening.

    The woman was found dead at the home from an apparent gunshot wound.

    Authorities believe this was an isolated incident and there's no danger to the public.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Local health officials are reminding the public to stay vigilant as peak influenza season is drawing near.

    So far the bug is off to a relatively mild start with only ten individuals being hospitalized with the illness throughout Brown County.

    "Last year, at this time, we had followed up with twenty individuals that were hospitalized with influenza," says Ann Steinberger, with Brown County Health & Human Services-Public Health.

    It's certainly encouraging to see the number of hospitalizations cut in half thus far, but health officials are reminding the public that the worst is yet to come.

    "We're still very new in the flu season," says Steinberger. "It has not reached its peak yet."

    And that dreaded peak season typically comes sometime in early to mid-February, which means the public still has to remain vigilant for quite some time.

    The most effective and trusted method to combat the upcoming peak season is to receive the influenza vaccination.

    "There is still plenty of time to get that vaccine," explains Steinberger.

    And not only plenty of time to get the vaccine, but also plenty of opportunities for the public to receive it.

    "They can check with their primary care provider, pharmacies do carry the flu vaccine," she explains. "We also have vaccine available here [at Brown County Health and Human Services] for adults."

    It will typically take around ten days to two weeks for the vaccine to develop full immunity, meaning that the sooner someone receives the vaccination the better.

    And health officials are seeing a common thread between the illness and the vaccination.

    "The viruses that are circulating are very similar to the vaccine," she says.

    While the number of hospitalizations due to influenza is at this point low, that doesn't mean the illness is being contained to that small handful of individuals.

    "Influenza is circulating in the community, we know that," she says.

    That means some common sense steps are recommended to stay clear of getting sick from someone around you.

    "Cover your cough, wash your hands," says Steinberger. "If you are sick, stay at home."


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    WAUPACA COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - A man faces multiple charges after allegedly kidnapping a Shawano County teen and holding her hostage for more than a week in a hotel room.

    35-year-old Elijah Kerrigan faces eleven counts after he allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl, held her in a Clintonville hotel room, provided her with drugs and sexually assaulted her.

    Kerrigan returns to court Tuesday for a balance of initial appearance and is being held on a $50,000 cash bond.

    The teenage girl had not been seen since New Year's Eve when state and federal agents met with the Shawano Police Department on January 8 to investigate the girl’s disappearance, according to the criminal complaint.

    On the morning of January 8, the girl’s mother received a text demanding $2,500.

    The girl’s friends told police that she may be with Kerrigan and investigators learned that police had been called to the Landmark Hotel in Clintonville the day prior for the odor of marijuana coming from a room.

    The room under investigation was registered to Kerrigan.

    Police went to the hotel on January 8 and staff identified the girl as staying with Kerrigan.

    Police found the girl hiding under the bed after entering the room.

    The girl said in an interview with police that she ran away from home on December 30.

    She knew Kerrigan and also viewed him as a "father figure."

    According to the complaint, after meeting with him, he took her to the hotel.

    The girl said she did both meth and marijuana with Kerrigan, because it helped with her anxiety.

    The complaint states that the girl said Kerrigan made money selling drugs from the hotel room

    The complaint states the girl also said the two had sex and a video was discovered on his phone showing the two engaged in a sex act.

    No statements by Kerrigan are quoted in the complaint.

    Kerrigan is charged with nine felonies, including kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, child exploitation, false imprisonment, and drug distribution to a minor.

     


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