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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.
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    BROWN COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - It was announced on Tuesday that Brown County will continue to fund a conservation project aimed at reducing erosion and sedimentation on local farms in their 2019 proposed budget.

    Local officials gathered at Dairyland Farms in New Franken, which is part of the Fox Demo Farm project and the first farm to receive full funding from the county to control pollution issues.

    A major effort needed to contain pollution issues is to reduce erosion and sedimentation and control phosphorus runoff, which can be achieved through planting cover crops.

    In their first year as a Fox Demo Farm, Dairyland Farms successfully planted 1,000 acres of cover crops.

    "If you buy a new vehicle and want to keep that vehicle nice you put a coat of wax on it... this cover crop is our coat of wax," explains Brown County farmer Mike Pribyl. 

    The Demo Farm project is a collaboration between Brown County, the Natural Resources Conservation Services, and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

    Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach says it's not the governments or any other agencies role to tell farmers how to do their job.

    "In the end, it's not going to be the government that ultimately convince the farmers to change their land management practices, it's going to be the farmers," says Streckenbach.

    The good news for Brown County residents is that this effort should have long-term benefits for the community.

    "They're creating the organics and their turning it back into fertile soils for future generations," explains Streckenbach.

    And the hope is that future generations of farmers will be practicing methods that demonstrate effectiveness in their usage of conservation systems. 

    "If we can get the next generation farmer, who is going to take over the family business, interested in implementing these practices then I think we will come out with a win-win solution," says Streckenbach.

    He reiterated that local government is in place to assist farmers with the resources they require, but ultimately their practices will evolve only as much as they wish. 

    "We're here just to be a supplement and a complement to help them learn how to best manage their soil," says Streckenbach.

    The continued funding for Fox River Demo Farms is part of Streckenbachs proposed 2019 Brown County budget, which will be discussed with the entire Brown County Board of Supervisors at their annual budget hearing on October 31.


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    BRILLION, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - After being shut down for nearly two years there are plans underway to redevelop the former Brillion Iron Works property.

    The facility closed in 2016, which left more than 300 people without a job.

    Earlier this month the Ariens Company bought the property.

    The company said in a press release that some of their initial plans include light manufacturing, commercial, and residential areas.

    Residents have felt the looming effect of the vacant building.

    “Once it shut down it became kind of a ghost town here," Keith Flanders told FOX 11 News. “Living in a small town like this, you know a lot of people."

    “Some people kind of tighten their belt, they didn’t do the flowers quite as much as they previously have done only because they weren’t quite sure exactly what was going to happen to them," said Colette Schroth-Thurwachter, the owner of Schroth Brillion Floral and Gifts, which is two blocks away from the facility. 

    The company has a five-year redevelopment plan, according to Brillion Mayor Gary Deiter.

    “Iron works closing affected us a lot, as far as our revenue comes in and tax base comes in. With the help of Ariens Company, we'll keep that tax base up," Deiter told Fox 11 News.

    Ariens Company is hoping to establish a third manufacturing facility in the city as it currently is renovating one of the buildings on site. 


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  • 10/16/18--16:21: Fatal Motorcycle Crash
  • APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Appleton Police report they found a 35-year-old man laying in the roadway following a call for a motorcycle crash on Tuesday afternoon.

    The incident happened around 3:50 PM on the 900 block of East Randall Avenue in Appleton.

    The man appeared to have been thrown from his motorcycle and later died at the hospital, according to officials.

    The investigation temporarily closed traffic on East Wisconsin Avenue as photos were taken and evidence was gathered. 

    If an individual has information related to the crash they are strongly encouraged to contact the Appleton Police Department at (920) 832-5500. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The ribbon was cut on a $169 million Resource Recovery and Electrical Energy project in Green Bay on Tuesday.

    The project, which is being led by the Green Bay Metro Sewerage District, has been ten years in the making.

    "NEW WATER" reads across the two towers that make up the plant, which utilizes a technical process called anaerobic digestion.

    The end goal of the activity is to turn waste into fertilizer and electricity. 

    Previously, solids from waste were simply turned to ash and then taken to a landfill. This new process will extract some of the nutrients to use and then reuse.

    “We have a very similar end product in the form of ash that goes to a landfill but during the course of treatment now we’re recovering energy, generating electricity and recovering nutrients,” director of technical services Nathan Qualls, told Fox 11 News.

    The process is also a more eco-friendly decision. 

    “The phosphorus recovery won’t be going out into the bay,” Thomas Sigmund, NEW Water executive director, told Fox 11 News.

    NEW Water officials state the new process is expected to reduce 22,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, which equates to nearly 15,000 less vehicles on the road.

    The combination of energy cost savings and the profit of selling fertilizer will ultimately reduce rates for customers. 


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  • 10/16/18--16:21: World Food Day Recognized
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Tuesday was World Food Day and a strong focus was made in Northeast Wisconsin

    Paul's Pantry in Green Bay brought awareness of hunger across the world, by explaining the need for feeding the hungry to area students.  

    "We rededicate ourselves to what we do, to our mission, to make sure that nobody in Green Bay goes hungry."  

    Craig Robbins, Executive Director of Paul's Pantry says even though Tuesday was a special day, their work is every day.  

    "Over 4,000 households that we are feeding right now which in those households is over 13,000 people. Each day we are able to distribute about 9 tons of food to help people save their grocery bill and maybe put that money towards rent or utilities."

    Father Benny Jacob of Our Lady of Lourdes talked about how kids can make a difference by volunteering and not wasting food.  

    Mayor Jim Schmitt read a proclamation declaring the day as World Food Day.  


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    SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - Shawano School District continues to investigate a small fire that started in a boys bathroom at Hillcrest Primary School, Tuesday morning.

    District Administration is also addressing a misstep in communication about that incident.

    According to Superintendent Gary Cumberland, a piece of toilet paper was started on fire in the boy's bathroom and quickly filled the room with smoke. The school was evacuated right away and students were kept outside until they got too cold and were moved to a nearby business.

    The District made a post about smoke and the evacuation on the District's Facebook page, but parents were not directly notified by email, text or phone until almost an hour after the incident took place.

    Cumberland says that was in an error in communication between himself and Hillcrest Principal Troy Edwards.

    "I thought one was doing it, he thought I was doing it. In the heat of the moment, I just thought it was done. The thought process was well Troy is taking care of that and I will take care of the District communication."

    He says all parents in the District get notified by phone and email but he wanted to make sure he had all the facts before the district, and those not directly involved with Hillcrest School were notified.

    Cumberland says he later learned that Edwards was actually involved in evacuating the building and putting out the fire after it started. 

    "Troy Edwards actually helped extinguish the fire," Cumberland said. "He came out of that bathroom full of soot and his white shirt was gray."

    It was learned that two of the toilet paper dispensers caught on fire and one melted off the wall and was just a glob of plastic when it was discovered. He said that is how the smoke got to be so much of a factor.

    Cumberland added that there was nothing wrong with how Edwards prioritized his actions because the safety of students and staff is the top priority. He said normally, it is his responsibility to send out district-wide notifications and school principals would send out notifications regarding incidents at their schools along with any updates.

    He says they are looking into clearing up that procedure for future events, but says looking back, he would have done things differently himself.

    "In retrospect, I should have focused in on what was happening there, get that message out to those parents right away and then deal with everyone else. "

    The district decided to cancel classes for the rest of the day and invited parents to pick the students up in the early afternoon. Cumberland said they were worried about sending the morning students home early because parents may not have childcare arrangements worked out at a moments notice.

    The administration decided to move the students to the other Elementary school nearby and allow for parents to pick kids up there. Cumberland said most of the parents picked up kids at Hillcrest before that, and only 40 kids were bussed to the other school.

    Along with communication, District Administration also found an issue with security equipment.

    Cumberland said they are also looking into possibly adjusting their surveillance camera placements because currently, they are mostly focused on entrances of the building.

    "The way we have cameras set up, we don't have a very good look at who is coming in and out of that bathroom."

    He says that would have been helpful in this case, but they are learning all they can from students and staff to see if they can find who started the fire.

    "We want to make sure that we find who this person is because we can't have things like this happen."

    Cumberland said somethings did go as planned. The school just had a fire drill the day before so students and staff knew exactly what to do and the fact that everyone ended up safe is a win for the District.

     


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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ) - The conviction in a Neenah OWI case was upheld on Wednesday.

    The case stems from an August 2017 incident when 40-year-old Jesse Kain was pulled over for having an obstructed license plate.

    After the officer smelled alcohol on Kain a blood test revealed his BAC was higher than the .02 limit due to prior convictions.

    He was sentenced to 45 days in jail after a jury convicted him of driving with a prohibited alcohol level.

    Kain argued since he had an ignition interlock his car wouldn't have started if he was drinking, so the officer didn't have probable cause to arrest him.

    The appeals court rejected this argument. 

    “Kain is asking us to create a bright-line rule that when an ignition interlock device is in a suspect’s vehicle, it negates a finding of probable cause when an officer detects an odor of alcohol and has knowledge of a .02 BAC restriction. We will not do so. The obvious purpose of the ignition interlock device is to make vehicles inaccessible to drunk drivers. The ignition interlock device is a factor to consider in determining probable cause—it is not a negating factor. In this case, the knowledge of Kain’s prior OWI convictions, coupled with the odor of alcohol, Kain’s admission to drinking, and the officer’s knowledge that Kain “could drink only a very small amount before exceeding the legal limit that applied to him,” led to the officer’s reasonable conclusion that a statutory violation was probable. Further, Kain was not originally arrested for the PAC violation; he was arrested for the active warrant. Mulroy obtained the search warrant for Kain’s blood after he had been taken into custody, meaning he received a judicial seal of approval based on the search warrant approved by the on-duty judge. The circuit court properly denied Kain’s motion to suppress,” the ruling states.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The resurrection of a historic hotel in downtown Green Bay means plenty of positions need to be filed.

    Hotel Northland is looking for housekeepers, and cooks, and a security supervisor, and well, a lot of things.

    "We're looking for a total of about 135 people," says Hotel Northland General Manager John Williams. "That's what it's going to take to staff this hotel to properly and adequately serve guests in a luxury boutique environment."

    The hotel hosted their second job hiring event on Tuesday in hopes of filling some of those vacant positions.

    Williams described his attitude when it comes to bringing in employees.

    "Hire for attitude, train for skill," he says.

    Williams also noted that there's even opportunity to move around within the hotel.

    "They can come in and start in one position and maybe in six or eight months later another position is available," he says.

    Individuals interested in applying that missed out on the first two events can still do so online here.

    One question remains, though. When will the hotel open its doors? 

    Some of the areas, such as the hotel bar, are nearly complete.

    "It needs some tables, it needs some bar stools, and it needs some bottles of alcohol and it'll be ready to go," explains Williams.

    He wishes he had more definite answers about the hotels overall readiness to be opened, though. 

    Williams did say he's hoping it won't take a Christmas miracle for the hotel to be ready for the holiday season.

    "I would love to see a tree in that lobby," he says.


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    CHILTON, WI (WTAQ) - A man was sentenced on Wednesday for his role in an armed robbery of an Appleton credit union.

    Kenny Furdge will spend 20 years in prison and will be placed on extended supervision for 15 years after his release.

    He is currently serving a sentence in federal prison, meaning this sentence will be consecutive. Furdge was charged with two other individuals in connection to a September 13, 2017, armed robbery at a Capital Credit Union on East Calumet Street. 

    Appleton Police says witnesses saw two masked men rob the bank while wielding handguns and leave the scene in a nearby vehicle.

    The two other charged individuals, Patrick Jefferson and Jayvon Flemming, are scheduled to stand trial on December 4. 


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Two Oshkosh men were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the theft of firearms.

    Both the 28-year-old men were taken into custody following a search warrant in the 500 block of Grand Street.

    The Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh went on a brief thirty-minute lockdown while the search warrant was served by officers, due to the buildings close proximity.

    Multiple charges are being recommended by authorities for the men in connection to the September 4 burglary, including burglary and unauthorized use of an individual's personal identifying information or document.


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    KEWAUNEE COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Kewaunee County Emergency Management will be simulating an industrial type incident during an exercise on Saturday.

    The simulation will take place in the Village of Luxemburg around the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds.

    It's been twenty years since an exercise has taken place in that area, and Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg says the area has changed in that time, so it is time to practice.

    "To make sure that they have their procedures in place and a plan in place for what they are going to do if an emergency does happen in that area."

    During that time the area will look like an actual emergency and some roads will have partial closures for much of the day.

    "Hearing sirens and seeing emergency response vehicles going through so that they are not alarmed when they see that going on."

    A partial road closure of 4th Street will be in effect from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. 

    Emergency Management will follow the exercise by hosting a social media training on Monday.

    "We are doing a social media functional exercise just to help promote emergency response participation from the Saturday exercise.

    The public should expect an increase in the counties social media activity that day.

     


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  • 10/17/18--16:51: A Boost For The Dogs
  • OSHKOSH (WTAQ-WLUK) - A program that trains service dogs for those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) got a boost from a local police department.

    The Oshkosh Police Department presented a $3,000 check to Journey Together Service Dog program Wednesday.

    Through the program, the dogs are placed with inmates at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution.

    There, volunteer trainers help the inmates train the dogs to be able to help veterans and other people with PTSD.

    "It gives the inmates an opportunity to gain skills, it gives the inmates an opportunity to give back to the community. I think it helps them through their incarceration period as well. But then it gives back to the community," said Oshkosh police chief, Dean Smith.

    The money was raised by Oshkosh officers and staff as part of its fall fundraiser.

    Every Oshkosh Police Department employee who donates $50, can have facial hair, female officers can have their hair past the collar of their uniform shirts and staff can dress casually on Thursdays and Fridays.

    To add a little friendly competition to the fundraiser, Lt. Andrew Lecker has challenged Sawyer, the bearded collie, to see who can grow the best beard.

    The fundraising effort will continue through the end of November.


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    FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - Fond du Lac Police are investigating why a man was found unresponsive in the road earlier this month.

    32-year-old Joshua Farr was found lying in the 800 block of Grove Street on October 3 in the early morning hours.

    He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

    If you have any information regarding this incident, please call Detective Mike Mueller at (920) 322-3713 or the crime alert number (920)322-3740.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - As part of Brown Counties 200th Anniversary, a "This is Public Health" Flu shot clinic was held.

    At Heritage Hill in Green Bay Wednesday afternoon, sleeves were rolling up for the flu shot.

    Adults and children lined up and County Public Health Officer Anna Destree says the mission to help prevent the flu in Brown County got underway.

    "We know that the flu is preventable, and the single best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine."

    Destree says last year was a rough year so this year it was important to bring awareness to flu prevention and provide flu shots and little to no cost.

    "If it doesn't prevent illness, then it can at least prevent the severity of illness which means less time away from work, school, and play."

    Not everyone elects to get the flu shot and while Destree says it does come highly recommended to get one, those that choose not to should at least practice habits that would keep the flu away.

    "Avoiding sick people, not sharing utensils, eating healthy foods, getting plenty of rest and not smoking."

    The vaccination Wednesday was 20 dollars for adults, and free for children.

    The flu vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months and older. 

    Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, non-productive cough, sore throat, running nose and the feeling of being very tired.

    Those who believe that they have flu symptoms should contact a healthcare provider right away.

    Brown County residents will have multiple opportunities to get a flu shot.


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    UPDATE: Oshkosh Police reporting a 34 year old Kaukauna man has been taken into custody in connection with this case.

    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Oshkosh Police have provided more details about a man that was found dead at home last Friday.

    Police identified 47-year-old Steven Mallas as the deceased victim on Wednesday. 

    "According to Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office Steven Mallas died as a result of a complication from a battery," says Officer Kate Mann with the Oshkosh Police Department.

    The incident was reported in the 400 block of Boyd Street.

    "No weapons were reported being used during this battery," says Officer Mann

    Police are continuing their investigation and even with the violent nature of the incident, officials are assuring families in the area that they are not in extended danger.

    "We feel that this was an isolated incident and that the public is not at any risk," explains Officer Mann.

    At this point, any tips may help lead the department to an arrest.

    "Right now we're looking for any information that people would have in regards to this incident," says Officer Mann.

    The Oshkosh Police Department can be reached at 920-236-5700 and individuals can remain anonymous by contacting Winnebago County Crime Stoppers at 920-231-8477.


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  • 10/17/18--17:50: A Surplus of Job Openings
  • MENASHA, WI (WTAQ) - The unemployment rate is continuing to drop to the point where there is now more open positions than unemployed individuals.

    There were more than 7 million open positions listed in August, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

    According to the department, there were more than 6 million people were unemployed during that time.

    The unemployment currently sits at a near five-decade long low of 3.7 percent.

    This dynamic has forced employers to adjust their approach and this has affected many businesses in Northeast Wisconsin.

    The change was apparent at the Fox Valley Technical College Job Fair on Wednesday where hiring employers were promoting boosted benefits among other factors aimed at attracting young workers.

    Many of those companies looking to attract a new generation of workers have found that money isn't the only factor.

    "With the younger workforce, we found that they wanted more vacation and we're looking at our pay structure as well," says Molly Schecklman of Innovative Machine Specialist, Inc.

    Brandon Fochs, a student at FVTC, agrees that money isn't everything right now.

    "I'm not looking for a lot to start off with, just the ability to grow, the ability to make more as I stay there and show my dedication to the company," says Fochs.

    Travis Rewalt with Neenah Foundry lists the positions his company is looking to fill.

    "We're looking to fill automation technicians, looking to fill controls roles," says Rewalt.

    Many employers also noted declining enrollment at manufacturing schools is a challenge when searching for new hires.

    Shecklman describes some of the difficulties her business has faced when searching for new hires.

    "There are few people who are unemployed, and those people aren't necessarily looking at the skills and training jobs that we have," she says.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A fire left one person without a home last night.

    Green Bay Metro Fire getting the just before 5 to a residence at 836 Chestnut Avenue.

    Officials say the fire started in the kitchen after the stove was left on.

    At that point flames spread from the stove to the kitchen cabinets and walls.

    Firefighters estimate a $20,000 loss and remind people to never leave appliances on and unattended.


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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The Packers say there's already a long list of people interested in living at one of the 220 residential units coming to the Titletown District.

    On Wednesday, people that live in the neighborhood to the south of Titletown had a chance to meet with developers about the district’s next phase.

    Some of the neighbors who showed up to the informational meeting at Ashwaubenon's Performing Arts Center say it's been so far so good for the Packers' Titletown District.

    “To me, it's like a little miniature Time Square,” said Patricia Neumann.

    Don Doney tells FOX 11 he's a regular visitor.

    “In the summer, we go over there a couple times a week just to roam around and watch the people and get something to eat.”

    Coming next for the Titletown District is 220 residential units.

    Up to 150 units will be in an apartment complex. 70 to 90 units will either be in the form of townhomes or stacks, which are paired units, similar to a duplex.

    The apartment building and a four or five-story office building will sit on top of a podium. Parking will be underneath the podium.

    The Packers say more retail, restaurant, or commercial development will likely be announced in the next 60 days.

    Charlie Millerwise, the Packers Director of Development, tells FOX 11 since those plans were first publicly revealed two weeks ago, 950 people have expressed interest in moving into the new residential units.

    “If you go to Titletown.com you can put your name on an interest list and our sales group will start talking with you and provide some information about timeline and size and price and things like that as they become available.”

    “I can't imagine that many people in that small of an area,” said Neumann.

    “It's a big area, but it's not really big for that amount of people they seem to want to put in it.”

    The Packers told nearby residents the goal is to start construction next spring and have the projects complete for the summer of 2020.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ) - A man was ordered to stand trial on Thursday that's being charged in connection to a toddler's death.

    Court Records show that Eduardo Gamez of Manitowoc faces two counts of chronic child neglect.

    He waived a preliminary hearing on Thursday and is scheduled to enter a plea on October 29.

    The charges stem from an incident in July when a toddler in Gamez's and Jamie Schrank's care suffered extensive bruising and died from internal and external injuries.

    Schrank is also being charged with chronic child neglect and has pleaded not guilty, but no trial date has been set.

    Neither of the individuals has been charged specifically with the boy's death, however. 


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  • 10/18/18--13:34: Missing Boy Found Safe
  • GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - UPDATE: A Green Bay boy who was missing from his home on the city's west side has now been found safe, according to police.

    --------------------------

    The 12-year-old had been missing from his home in the 1200 block of Colonial Avenue since around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. 

    According to the boy's father, the boy has health conditions that require an adult's care.

    He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a maroon sweatshirt.

    The police were searching for the boy near Franklin Middle School and reported the boy did not have friends or family nearby that we would have gone to.