News

Fri
30
Sep

17 sentenced out of 43 computer sex crime arrests

Shawano County authorities have arrested 43 men in online sex sting operations over the last three years; most recently a 36-year-old Abrams man taken into custody Thursday night.

Wesley A. Gauthier was charged Friday with using a computer to facilitate a sex crime and was ordered held on a $5,000 cash bond. He is scheduled for an adjourned initial court appearance Monday.

Only 17 cases of the 43 charged out have been fully prosecuted so far, with court cases for the others still in various stages.

A review of Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court records shows that in 10 of those 17 cases, the defendants were sentenced to probation, usually with a year in jail as a condition of probation, after pleading no contest to a lesser charge of child enticement.

Fri
30
Sep

Clintonville hit with bond downgrade

A missed bond payment by the city of Clintonville has resulted in the city’s bond rating falling from A-plus to A, officials said.

Although such downgrades can require cities to pay higher interest rates when borrowing money, City Administrator Chuck Kell said he did not think the change would harm the city much, if at all. Any rate increase probably would be no more than one-tenth of a percentage point, he said.

The downgrade was announced by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, as the city prepared to issue $2.75 million in general obligation promissory notes approved by the Clintonville City Council.

Kell said he has taken steps to ensure that the problem does not happen again.

The city missed a bond payment because Depository Trust Company is supposed to notify the city when bond payments are due, but did not do so, he said.

“What we did receive was a notice six days later that the payment was late,” he said.

Fri
30
Sep

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Sept. 29

Police logged 24 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Police responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 1100 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported two female juvenile shoplifters in custody.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile problem in the 600 block of South Main Street.

Welfare Check — A 42-year-old Shawano man and a 34-year-old Suring woman were found to be under the influence of an unknown drug and causing a commotion in the 900 block of South Evergreen Street. No drugs were found. The two were sent on their way and no further police action was taken.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Sept. 29

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

Assault — Authorities investigated an assault complaint at the Shawano County Jail, 405 N. Main St., Shawano.

Thu
29
Sep

Shawano County joins call for highway funds

Crumbling infrastructure and insufficient maintenance brought Shawano County leaders together Thursday as part of a statewide push for improved state funding for roads and bridges.

Representatives of cities, towns and villages countywide called for state lawmakers to break a deadlock over the correct manner of increasing highway funding in the state budget.

The gathering at the Shawano County Courthouse was part of a statewide effort, dubbed “Turnout For Transportation,” to apply pressure on Gov. Scott Walker and legislative leaders in Madison.

In one of several such meetings that were planned throughout the state Thursday, participants took turns highlighting the infrastructure needs in their hometowns and expressing dissatisfaction with the state’s inability to agree on sources of adequate funding.

Thu
29
Sep

Fair attendance best in 15 years

A stretch of near-perfect weather during the 2016 Shawano County Fair helped the fair achieve its best attendance level in recent memory.

Fair President Dale Hodkiewicz said attendance during the six-day event totaled 65,996 — about 3,000 more than the previous year.

Hodkiewicz said that while the county fair always enjoys strong support in the community, this year’s attendance is the best he can recall in 15 years or more.

“It just shows that the people in Shawano County support the fair,” he said. “It’s just wonderful.”

The event from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5 benefited from six consecutive days of mild temperatures and no rain, which was credited with boosting attendance, keeping livestock comfortable and creating a more relaxed atmosphere on the Shawano fairgrounds.

Thu
29
Sep

3 arrested in latest sex sting operation

Three men, including one who allegedly backed his truck into a squad car trying to get away, were arrested in the latest computer sex sting operation conducted this past week by the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

Richard L. Vaughn, 58, of Griffith, Indiana, was arrested Saturday.

Steven A. Mathews, 32, of Centuria, was taken into custody Tuesday.

A third suspect — a 36-year-old Abrams man — was arrested Thursday night. Charges were expected to be filed Friday.

In all cases, the men responded to online ads placed by sheriff’s detectives posing as a 15-year-old girl.

Texts and emails were exchanged that became sexually graphic in nature and the men arranged to meet with the supposed 15-year-old for sex, according to the criminal complaints. They were arrested when they showed up at the rendezvous.

Thu
29
Sep

Latest sex sting brings arrest tally to 43

The arrests this past week of three men in a computer sex sting operation brings to 43 the number of suspected child predators nabbed in Shawano County since March of 2013.

The operation originated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force and involved undercover investigators working with local law enforcement to make online contact with suspected offenders.

The first operations, in March and September of 2013, were conducted regionally and involved law enforcement agencies in six counties, including Shawano.

Known as Operation Black Veil, those efforts netted 33 arrests, including two in Shawano County.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department subsequently began conducting its own local operations, which involved a sheriff’s detective posing as a 15-year-old child on the internet, placing ads on Craigslist and other online forums.

Thu
29
Sep

Workshop helps businesses with online visibility

Two area chambers of commerce will present a free hourlong workshop designed to help businesses grow their online presence at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13.

“Let’s Put Your Business on the Map” will feature a lesson about getting found on Google Search and Maps.

The workshop is sponsored by the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce and the Wittenberg Area Chamber of Commerce. It will be held in Wittenberg at the Best Western Wittenberg Inn, W17267 Red Oak Lane.

“We want to make sure that every business located in Shawano Country can be easily found by potential customers searching online,” said Nancy Smith, executive director of the Shawano chamber. “That’s why we are making a concerted effort to assist businesses to claim their free business listing on Google.”

Thu
29
Sep

CMN to install energy upgrades

Biomass, the oldest source of renewable energy, will soon be used to heat the Sustainable Development Institute facility at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena.

A furnace fired by wood pellets will replace the current heating unit fueled by propane, a nonrenewable fossil fuel that takes millions of years to form.

Composed of organic matter, biomass is a renewable energy source that can be re-grown in a relatively short period of time compared to fossil fuels.

The biomass furnace and pellet feed source bin will be enclosed inside a building where SDI plans to provide tours throughout the year. People will be able to see the unit and learn more about the benefits of using biomass.

The Sustainable Development Institute will use the new installation to teach individuals and groups about biomass as an alternative energy source, the cost savings generated, amount of pellets used, and other related information.

Thu
29
Sep

Library consolidation moves forward

The Shawano County Board gave tentative approval Wednesday to countywide library consolidation, although many details of such an overhaul remain to be ironed out.

The board action on a 26-1 vote means that staff now will develop a blueprint for the county to assume responsibility of all libraries throughout the county, including branches in Bonduel, Birnamwood, Mattoon, Tigerton and Wittenberg.

Such a reorganization is intended to safeguard the county from bills exceeding $100,000 a year from neighboring library systems, stemming from Shawano County’s current library structure and from residents crossing borders to use library facilities elsewhere.

It could take several months before a consolidation plan is ready, and officials said Wednesday that implementing a new county-run system likely would not occur before 2018.

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