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Northeast Wisconsin's local news coverage.
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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The paper industry has seen its share of challenges in recent years, but officials at a panel about how the paper industry is surviving the new economy say they’re optimistic about the future.

    Wisconsin has excelled and thrived in this century-old industry, even today.

    “Papermaking is strong, and this is an industry that is here to stay!” president of the Wisconsin Paper Council Scott Suder said.

    “It’s got a legacy that is strong, and it has a legacy that is going to continue far into the future.”

    Wisconsin Paper Council members said Midwest Paper is doing well in its revitalization efforts, and Green Bay Packaging just broke ground on a new, $500 million mill last month.

    Green Bay Packaging VP of containerboard sales Jeff Walch tells FOX 11...

    “A lot of this industry was started out by families, and they’ve all sold out, at this point in time. We’re extremely fortunate that the Kress family has stayed active – has stayed very actively involved, and they’re still interested in growing the business.”

    The job opportunities are vast, panelists said, but Suder tells FOX 11 it’s the skillset that’s lacking.

    “We need to find the best and brightest, and we need to work together with technical schools and colleges to make sure that we have that workforce that’s prepared for those new innovations and new opportunities that are occurring in the industry.”

    The Paper Science and Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point could potentially help with that.

    “It’s really up to us to make sure that there are enough students to backfill that technical need in the industry, and keep the Wisconsin papermaking industry growing strong,” professor at UW-Stevens Point Karyn Biasca said.

    “There’s a false perception that paper is not doing as well, but that is just absolutely false!” Suder said.

    Other challenges brought up at Thursday’s discussion included issues of transporting materials, and the need to fill those jobs.


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    MANITOWOC, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - According to the state Department of Justice, a response to a fire alarm ended in the death of a 25-year-old Manitowoc man Sunday.

    It happened around 4:45 that morning when an officer and the Manitowoc Fire Department were responding to a fire alarm at the 1500 block of South 35th Street.

    Officials say the officer "became involved in a confrontation with the man" after the man, armed with a blunt instrument, walked up and confronted the officer.

    As a result, the officer shot and killed 25-year-old Bruce Smith.

    Neighbors say they heard about five gunshots followed by sirens.

    The officer involved has been identified as Officer Fielder Clark of the Manitowoc Police Department.

    The investigation into this incident is continuing.


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    MARINETTE, WI (WTAQ) - A Little Chute teacher pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges of third-degree sexual assault.

    The charges stem from an alleged incident in which 46-year-old Jason LaVigne sexual assaulted his daughter's friend while at a cabin.

    Court records show that LaVigne is scheduled to stand trial on February 6.

    He has currently been placed on leave by the school district.

    The alleged incident took place in June and involves LaVigne giving a 16-year-old girl alcohol and then sexually assaulting her at a cottage in the Crivitz area.


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    ALLOUEZ (WTAQ) - The Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay has laid out plans to address clergy abuse allegations.

    That plan includes seven "Action steps" that the diocese is taking towards accountability.

     

    Those steps include:

    1. Increasing and improving pastoral care.

    2. Providing ways for people who are victims of abuse to share their story. "Provide as many ways as possible to provide victims the opportunity to come forward without fear," Ricken said.

    3. Listening to concerns through listening sessions throughout the diocese.

    4. Making priests files available for review by the Independent Review Board

    5. Expressing support to the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops

    6. Turning over all and any allegations of sexual abuse of minors

    7. Suspending the current diocesan campaign to focus on the current issues.

    "I believe that this is a much broader problem than just the Catholic Church, that it is more a human problem, but I am not taking anything away from us. We are expected to be above this and people hold us to high expectation."

    Bishop Ricken says those who know something need to say something.

    "If we get an allegation of sexual abuse against a priest, we have to turn that in."

    The Bishops comments come just a day after Auxillary Bishop Robert Morneau withdrew himself from public ministry because of guilt on how he handled a case of a priest abusing a child in 1979.

    "He mishandled the allegation of abuse. Bishop Morneau felt at the time that he was doing what was asked of him by helping the parties to reconcile."Morneau will not celebrate mass or sacraments, but will instead spend time to corporal acts of mercy including feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. 

    Bishop Ricken has recently hosted listening sessions throughout the diocese and said he is noticing frustration and confusion.

    "They are furious. They are made at the whole situation, I guess they are mad at me, but they were able to express themselves."

    Along with that, Bishop Ricken says priests have made some changes to protect themselves.

    "Most priests have changed the way they are with children, so there is another adult present when they are with children."

     

     

     


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - To help Green Bay residents impacted by flooding earlier this week, a resource event was held on Friday.

    A number of local organizations were at the event to guide and offer services to residents as they go through the disaster recovery process.

    Residents started filed into the American Red Cross at 2 this afternoon.

    American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Nick Cluppert says the severe weather that hit the area earlier this week is beyond anything they've had to address locally.

    "This is the first time we've had to do this in northeast Wisconsin related to a flood or a severe weather event," he says.

    The following organizations were in attendance:

    American Red Cross of Wisconsin

    Aging and Disability

    Brown County Health and Human Services

    Brown County Emergency Management

    Salvation Army

    United Way 2-1-1

    Wisconsin Humane Society

    Nick Cluppert gives an example of a resource that was available at the event.

    "Health and Human Services department can help with proper disposal of food if their power has been out for a while and the food in their refrigerator and freezer might need to be disposed of," he explains.

    Monday night's heavy rains caused flash flooding on the east side of the city, leading to power outages, flooded basements and homes, stranded vehicles and property damage.

    One of the individuals hit hardest was David Stacey, a resident on Green Bay's east side.

    His home is believed to be a total loss and his family is searching for any help they can get. Stacey describes his current situation following the flooding.

    "We're staying at my in-law's because we have nowhere to go, otherwise we'd be out on the streets," he says. "We didn't have any flood insurance and our landlord didn't either."

    Stacey claims the flooding he witnessed earlier this week was unlike anything he's ever seen in the area. 

    "It was almost up to my waist out on our front lawn," he explains. "The entire east side looked like a pond, it was nuts." 

    The Red Cross will be offering additional resources beyond Friday's event.

    "We do have clean-up kits also available at our Green Bay offices," says Nick Cluppert.


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    SCANDINAVIA, WI (WTAQ) - An old weathered barn in Scandinavia at the Jorgens Park Preserve is nearing a completed renovation.

    A group called "The Friends of Jorgens Park Preserve" have worked to restore the barn, including a silo that no longer stands after it was torn apart in a windstorm.

    "The wind storm came up and blew the silo in. It's a wood stave silo," said Dana Rima with the Friends of Jorgens Park Preserve.

    Not all hope is lost though for the tall wooden tower.

    "The roof of the silo, possibly we can fix it, or we'll replace it with another one that's quite similar," says Rima.

    The group collected and stored planks of the silo in the loft of the barn, which is making an original restoration possible.

     

    He says the group has salvaged parts of the original silo and will either restore the original structure or construct a new one that looks similar.

    The group will be raising money for the project at a Run for the Silo event on Saturday, which begins at 9. 

    There will be a 2-mile run and a 0.5K, which 1640 feet or one trip around the hay field.

    Reconstruction of the silo is scheduled to take place in the spring.


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    LITTLE CHUTE, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Students in Little Chute gathered together on Friday to promote mental health wellness and suicide prevention.

    The event featured 30 community organizations and a live band, but unbelievably this started as just a simple school project about mental wellness.

    "We had to read a book and then make a presentation about a mental health wellness issue, my group chose suicide," said sophomore Keaton Duffeck.

     

    Things took off after a group, "Prevent Suicide Fox Cities," gave an in-class presentation that inspired students to do more.

    "It was impactful so we wanted to do something more for the school," said Duffeck.

    The students constructed a Wall of Wellness that honors individuals in their lives that provide sources of strength. 

    "We're going to talk about sources of strength, we're going to talk about who are the trusted adults in their world and so instead of them shouldering responsibility when they worry about a friend who's in trouble, okay how do they pass that off to a responsible adult," Kevin Pratt, the school counselor, explained to Fox 11 News.

    Experts say suicide rates among youth is higher in the Fox Cities than the national rate.

    "We’re seeing more students attempt suicide so, we really need to wrap our arms around the student and hear their voices," said Cindy Reffke, Prevent Suicide Fox Cities chairwoman, to Fox 11 News.

    Reffke said some signs of suicide include isolation and giving away prized possessions.

    "There is hope, there is resiliency," Reffke told Fox 11 News. "Obstacles happen in life, but we have adults that love them and care for them and want them to succeed."

    Duffeck added that it's important for peers to look out for one another as well.

    "Suicide is preventable and that’s the message we want to spread to everyone," said Duffeck to Fox 11 News.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A March 2020 trial date has been set in a student’s lawsuit against Lawrence University, claiming the school was deliberately indifferent in regards to a male student who sexually assaulted her.

    The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, filed the suit in federal court, alleging her Title IX rights were violated. The university has denied any wrongdoing.

    The student’s attorney told the court Friday that the damages portion of a trial would focus on “emotional distress,” court records show. The parties were also ordered to go to mediation in an effort to resolve the suit before trial.

    Doe says after an Oct. 28, 2017, party she returned to the dorm room of a male student. She was “intoxicated to the point where she was barely conscious,” and then the male sexually assaulted her, according to the 11-page complaint.

    Several months later, the suit claims Lawrence University officials met with the girl and her parents and told them the school was aware of at least three prior reports “from women who had been harassed or assaulted” by the male – but that no formal complaints had made by the other victims.

    In April, Lawrence expelled the man “because he had engaged in a pattern of predatory sexual assaults in violation of Lawrence’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Title IX,” the lawsuit asserts.

    The suit, filed in July, claims the school took no action before Doe was assaulted, despite the prior complaints, violating her rights under Title IX.

    In its 20-page response, Lawrence denies it had any complaints against the male student before Oct. 28. The school also denies an official told the parents there were previous complaints against the male student.

    “Defendant cannot be found to have violated Title IX because at all times relevant to the Complaint it had policies designed to prevent and correct sex-based harassment and assault. Upon notice of the assaults alleged in the Complaint, Defendant took prompt and effective action to respond to Plaintiff’s report,” Lawrence’s response states.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Brown County officials are making a difference in the lives of families with babies.

    Sept. 23 - Sept. 29 has been declared Diaper Need Awareness Week in Brown County.

    County executive, Troy Streckenbach, along with The Brown County United Way, talked about the need to help families that cannot provide diapers for their children.

    They also talked about why the issue is important for families in need and how the public can help.

    "There's a huge need, I mean if you look at our homeless population, we have over 36,000 children in Brown County," said Nicole Virant of Family and Childcare Resources of N.E.W. "We see a lot of families who have working parents and they're working at fast food or other places and they can't afford to make ends meet and kids are going with dirty diapers."

    You can help by donating diapers at the following drop-off locations.

    On average, a baby requires 12 diaper changes per day.


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    MENASHA, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Something stinks on Lake Winnebago.

    “Stunk…. Like high heaven,” said Chris Vandersteen, a Menasha resident.

    Concerns from those who live in the area poured into the fire and health department all week.

    “It was just putrid. Worse than a manure pit,” Garth Wagner described the smell.

    Todd Drew is the sanitarian for the Menasha Health Department.

    “The complaints came in under the assumption that it is a sewage issue or some sort of sewer gas,” he said. “It does smell similar to that, but it's definitely the lake.”

    The smell is a consequence of the blue-green algae blooms on Lake Winnebago.

    “We didn’t even go outside at all for the last week,” Wagner said.

    Residents said the smell was so bad they couldn’t even stand to be by the water.

    “You wouldn’t have been able to take it,” said Wagner. “You’d get sick.”

    For those who live on the water, staying inside wasn't a fix.

    “It was hard to keep out of your house as well. You had to run air conditioning or something like it to filter it out or it would get bad inside too,” said Vandersteen.

    Wagner has lived on the lake for 40 years, and he’s never experienced such a widespread number of blue-green algae and overwhelming smell.

    “This was just unbearable,” he described it.

    He said he had to reassure his new neighbors that this is not a common thing.

    Drew said if the weather continues to cool off and the wind stays, the algae will continue to move out quickly.

    Friday's weather already helped some, and the smell was once again bearable.

    Drew said the says the smell alone is not harmful, but people and their pets shouldn't touch or stir it up.


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    APPLETON, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - The Fox Cities Marathon weekend kicked-off Friday for the 28th time.

    Before runners hit the pavement Saturday, it was left up to the little ones to cross the finish line first.

    Toddlers could be seen trotting around and kids were racing for their medals. Babies went head-to-head in the Diaper Dash, some not taking their loss so well.

    "It's just about teaching them that being active is a great way…it's a great lifestyle trait to build in their young years, and so seeing them taking pride in themselves is just super cool!" a spokesperson for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon, Tara Perre said.

    “It’s a nice way to get some energy out, and we do try to do as many family, you know, healthy things together, and then they'll sleep better tonight!" said first-time participant Sarah Mall Pavich.

    The Fox Cities Marathon includes a 5K run/walk, leading up to the half and full marathons.

    The annual event is in its 28th year, with the kids component added in its 19th year to be able to include the whole community.

    "We know that from getting kids involved in programs early on that it’s really a good development component,” said Terence Zastrow 2nd VP for Guidance Life Insurance, a company sponsor of the marathon. “It gets them more active and involved in the community."

    Organizers said at least 500 kids participate in the events, but there could be more this year.

    "There are always people that make, kind of, a gameday decision, and they'll show up, so we could see upwards of 700 kids here tonight,” Perre said.

    Runners at the Health and Wellness Expo were gearing up for the big races, as well.

    Athletes were already picking up their goody bags and race packets, looking forward to the support they get from crowds cheering them on as they make their way through the Fox Cities.

    The 5K run/walk will hit the ground running Saturday at 9 a.m. at Neenah's Riverside Park.

    Sunday’s half and full marathons start at 7 a.m.


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    OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Oshkosh police are investigating a suspicious incident that happened by the Oregon Street Bridge Sunday morning.

    At around 5:30 a.m., officers were called to the area of the Oregon Street Bridge and the Fox River after reports of someone yelling for help from the area of the river.

    No officers nor citizens saw anyone in the water. Officers searched the shoreline for several hours, but found no one. The Oshkosh Fire Department also assisted in the search with a rescue boat.

    If anyone has any information regarding this incident, they are advised to call the Oshkosh Police Department at 920-236-5700.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - The Green Bay Packers (1-1-1) weren't able to overcome two first half rushing touchdowns by Adrian Peterson, two passing touchdowns by Alex Smith, and another key roughing-the-passer penalty against Clay Matthews in a 31-17 defeat at the Washington Redskins.

    The Redskins (2-1) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and entered halftime on top 28-10. Alex Smith found receiver Paul Richardson for a 46 yard touchdown on the fourth play of the game.

    Adrian Peterson came into sole possesion of the seventh most rushing touchdowns in NFL history (102) after his two touchdown afternoon put him past Marshall Faulk and Shaun Alexander (100). 

    Aaron Rodgers finished 27 for 44 with two touchdowns, a 64 yard strike to Geronimo Allison and another 2 yard slant to Davante Adams, but was sacked four times.

    In the third quarter Clay Matthews was flagged for roughing Smith, which caused a baffled Matthews to place his hands on his helmet and an enraged Mike McCarthy to throw down his play calling sheet and chase an official down the sideline.

    Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was carted off in the second quarter with an ankle injury and offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga left the game with a back injury. 

    Next week the Packers will host the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field. 


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A new law is making it easier and cheaper to freeze your credit and mitigate the risk of identity theft.

    "There is really no excuse for any consumer not to the freeze their credit."

    Susan Bach, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Wisconsin says the process that used to cost 10 dollars is now free, and it is worth doing.  "A credit freeze will lock down that credit report, so nobody will be able to access it, not even themselves."  Bach says everyone would benefit from freezing their credit, and unlike in the past, if it needs to be opened again, it can be done quickly.   "The drawback in the past was that it was not very convenient to do and that it costs money."  Bach says it will really benefit a certain group of consumers.   "Minors are often targets of identity theft because they often have clean credit histories and it will be years before any identity theft is discovered."  Consumers who wish to freeze their credit will need to log into three different websites.   TransUnion: https://freeze.transunion.com, 888-909-8872 Equifax: www.freeze.equifax.com, 888-298-0045 Experian: www.experian.com/freeze, 888-397-3742        

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    ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - The Fall Equinox on Saturday signified the changing of the seasons, which has meteorologists reflecting on a wet summer and looking forward to a warm fall.

    If you thought this Summer season was particularly wet in the state of Wisconsin, you are correct. 

    Meteorologist Scott Berschback with the National Weather Service explains that it was fairly historic.

    "We will rank as 11th wettest for the summer and we are about 3.5 inches above where we normally are," he explains.

    Not only was the summer wet, but it was also pretty warm.

    "We ended up around 3.5 degrees above normal for the summer," he says.

    And that warm trend is expected to persist into the fall.

    "We have an El Nino that's likely to be setting up across the entire United States and there's a seventy percent chance of that happening," explains Berschback. "That usually brings above normal temperatures to Wisconsin as we head into late fall and winter."

    So while the moderate temperatures are expected to persist, fortunately, it should dip enough to mitigate one particularly annoying problem.

    "This cold air will help with the mosquito problem across the area, which I don't think anyone will complain about too much," he says.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Residents on Green Bay's east side still have a laundry list of things to do after last week's unexpected flood.

    Laundry Love is helping residents ease what can feel like a heavy load.

    "Someone actually had come in today with some precious blankets and things that were from their great-grandmother and heirlooms from the family," said Natashia Atkinson Laundry Love's lead director.

    She tells Fox 11 it's all about helping each other when hard times hit.

    "So they got to take care of that and wash those today. She said they’re passing those on to their grandchildren and I’m just so happy to be able to do that for her today."

    Laundry Love is an organization that helps those in need with Laundry, but Saturday, they stepped up to help those affected by Green Bay’s flash flooding.

    "Some have mounds and mounds of wet clothes sitting waiting for laundry," said Atkinson.

    Bedding, clothing and other linens were among the washable damage for Maria Corona.

    "Some of the things we just couldn’t save, TVs, all our furniture, beds, I mean, everything downstairs was covered in water- washer, dryer, everything," said Corona.

    Corona tells FOX 11 she's grateful for Laundry Love.

    "It means a lot because, like I said, right now we don’t have a washer, dryer at home and with all the demolishing that’s going on that we can’t even really be there right now."

    It doesn’t seem like much. laundry soap, quarters and even some pizza, but it's a little help that goes a long way.

    Laundry Love was created in February, so this is the organization's first time helping with disaster relief.


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    GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - Last week, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay removed retired Bishop Robert Morneau from public ministry, at his request.

    Morneau admitted to not reporting to authorities a case of sexual abuse of a child by a priest in the diocese in 1979.

    He came forward as the church calls for more accountability on the part of bishops.

    On Sunday, priests addressed the situation in church as congregations met for the first time since Morneau’s request.

    “I'm very surprised, I’m very sad,” church-goer Joan Shefchik tells FOX 11.

    Bishop Ricken called Morneau’s failure to report the sexual-abuse allegations from 1979 a "mishandling" last week in a letter.

    “The actions of a few have made it very difficult for all of us,” said Ricken. He also granted Morneau’s request to be removed.

    “We were all asked to read the letter from Bishop Ricken,” said St Willebrord Pastor Andrew Cribben at his Sermon Sunday.

    “And I had some additional commentary on that,” he said. “You know, the Diocese of Green Bay, this is not the first wave of accusations or experience and observation of the troubles that exist in the churches.”

    Cribben tells Fox 11 Morneau is setting an example by coming forward with his mistakes

    “He could've just stayed quiet and it wouldn’t have made any difference. No one would’ve known the difference if he said nothing.”

    Father Cribben welcomes the skepticism of anyone during church.

    “To be a leader in a church as a priest and to stand before people and say please trust and they say "Why?” he acknowledged.

    “There are many different levels that we have to address it, and certainly one of them is that people feel comfortable with the leaders in their church.”

    FOX 11 spoke to people leaving church Sunday morning as well.

    "I'm happy he came forward I'm just still really surprised because he’s pretty high on my list of human beings,” said Shefchik.

    “It’s just been confusing. I'm glad he came forward, and I’m sad for everybody that’s hurt.”

    Others shared the same admiration for Morneau. They just hope this sheds light on the issue and hope parishioners come forward much sooner in the future.

    Pastor Cribben said the recent events have not hurt attendance and visitors have been supportive.


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    HOWARD, WI (WTAQ-WLUK) - A animal rescue organization is celebrating its new shelter in Howard.

    Haven Animal Rescue held an open house over the weekend. The shelter is located on Military Avenue.

    The shelter will provide housing for dogs, cats, and small animals as they search for their forever homes.

    Leigh Ann Wagner Kroening, Haven Animal Rescue founder, tells FOX 11 the shelter is volunteer based.

    "The past two years we were operating as a foster-based rescue and we knew we that in order to grow and kind of meet the goals that we have for this organization we needed a physical building."

    Right now, the shelter is at full capacity with more than 20 animals in need of a home.


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    NEENAH, WI (WTAQ) - Neenah Police are looking for an armed robbery suspect.

    Police say a man flashed a handgun at the Burger King on Green Bay Road around 10 last night.

    He got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    No one was injured.

    The suspect wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and his face was covered with a light colored bandana.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Neenah Police Department at (920) 886-6000.


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    STURGEON BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Police say a Sturgeon Bay man was arrested over the weekend after attacking officers.

    Police sent to a residence on the west side of the city Sunday night for a verbal disturbance call.

    As officers walked up to the home, police say a 34-year-old man attacked them.

    During the attack, police reporting the man kicked one of the officers in the head with a steel toe boot.

    Once the suspect was handcuffed, police say he continued the assault by headbutting the other officer in the face.

    Both officers wound up with minor injuries.

    The suspect was also taken to the hospital for treatment and once medically cleared, he was taken to jail.