News

Thu
18
May

‘Blue jeans’ candidate visits Shawano


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Mike McCabe, who is considering running for governor, addresses a crowd Wednesday at the Shawano Civic Center at an event organized by the local Democratic Party.

In an unusual kind of political climate, Mike McCabe is an unusual kind of political figure.

He has been associated at times with both major political parties, but he now spends most of his time distancing himself from both.

He has never held elected office, and yet supporters are urging him to seek the highest office in Wisconsin.

He wears blue jeans — all the time — for a specific reason. More about that in a moment.

The 56-year-old former farm boy from Clark County visited Shawano County on Wednesday and introduced an enthusiastic crowd to what he calls his “new politics.”

Acknowledging several times that he might enter the 2018 race for governor, McCabe said he is driven both by memories of Wisconsin’s past achievements and by hopes for what he says could be its glorious future.

As for the present, he told the audience: “I see a state that is a shadow of its former self, and that rips at my gut.”

Thu
18
May

Shawano native helping launch new brewery

The newest brewery on the Green Bay area craft beer scene, Zambaldi Beer, has connections to Shawano.

Co-owners David and Abigail (Zander) Malcolm plan to open a brewery and tap room at 1649 S. Webster Ave. in Allouez early next year.

Abigail is a native of Shawano who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2007 and has spent the past 10 years in hospitality management.

David, who is the head brewer, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2007. He has been in the beer industry for the past 10 years, as a professional brewer in Wisconsin and Montana and as a brand manager for beer distributor.

The Malcolms have launched Beer for Life and Beer for a Year campaigns to raise a portion of the money needed to get up and running.

“We want the community to be as excited about our beer and brewery as we are, and think that is a great way to get them involved,” Abigail said.

Thu
18
May

New furniture store opens in Bonduel


Leader Photo by Scott Williams Hometown Furniture Sales owner Kerry Walters, third from left, holds a plant that he received as welcoming gift from Bonduel Area Chamber of Commerce representatives, Roxanne Tilleson, from left, Bill Kolaske and Joan Kamps, right.

A storefront that has been vacant in downtown Bonduel for more than a year is back in business with the arrival of a new furniture store.

Hometown Furniture Sales is celebrating its grand opening at 129 N. Cecil St. in a large storefront space previously occupied by other furniture retailers.

Business owner Kerry Walters already has filled the 8,000-square-foot showroom with inventory that is enticing shoppers with deep discounts on products for virtually every room in the house.

“We specialize in not specializing,” Walters said. “We have it all.”

The store opened in late April in a location previously occupied by Badger’s Best Furniture and before that The Wood Shed. The large storefront had been vacant since Badger’s Best moved to Shawano in late 2015 after five years in business in Bonduel.

Wed
17
May

Drug court moving forward


Leader File Photo Shawano County Public Defender Steven Weerts, left, shown making a remote-video court appearance with a client, has been part of the ad hoc group studying the county’s proposed drug court program.

Defendants in criminal drug cases in Shawano County could soon receive treatment rather than face incarceration, under a plan to introduce “drug court” into the local judicial system.

An ad hoc group of law enforcement and public health officials is recommending that the county try a criminal justice alternative approach that has proven successful elsewhere.

By requiring defendants to get substance-abuse treatment rather than locking them up, proponents say, the drug court concept helps defendants get away from illicit drugs and clean themselves up before becoming repeat offenders.

“This is a great model. This works,” said Jennifer Frost, behavioral health manager in the Shawano County Department of Human Services.

Wed
17
May

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

May 15

Police logged 19 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A 47-year-old woman was arrested on a warrant in the 900 block of East Green Bay Street.

Vandalism — A garage was reported spray-painted in the 400 block of Humphrey Circle.

Vandalism — A vehicle was reported vandalized in the 600 block of East Elizabeth Street.

Fraud — Police investigated a fraud complaint in the 100 block of East Randall Street.

Accident — A motorcycle struck a stroller at Fifth Street and Fairview Road. According to police, a woman was pushing her infant in a stroller on the sidewalk when a woman on a motorcycle started to make a left turn from the stop sign. Her clutch slipped and she drove onto the sidewalk grazing the stroller. The infant sustained a scratch. No citations were issued.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported two shoplifting incidents.

Sat
13
May

Tourism spending spikes in Shawano County

Shawano County saw an increase in tourism activity last year, even surpassing the increase statewide, according to a recent state-sponsored study.

Travelers to Shawano County spent $65 million in 2016, an increase of 5.15 percent over 2015, based on the study by Tourism Economics, the firm contracted by the state to track tourism spending.

Statewide, tourism spending reached $20 billion in 2016, an increase of about $700 million or 3.5 percent from the previous year, according to the study.

According to Shawano Country Tourism Manager Patti Peterson, contributing factors for local tourism growth were recent hotel and retail developments along with continued efforts to market key assets, such as the barn quilt tours.

“Last year, we leveraged the popularity of our barn quilts by creating spring and fall Amish and barn quilt tours,” Peterson said. “This effort alone attracted 227 visitors who booked 162 room nights with hotels in Shawano and Wittenberg.”

Sat
13
May

Blue Jean Nation founder visiting county

Mike McCabe, the founder of a nonpartisan group, Blue Jean Nation, will visit Shawano County next week.

McCabe will speak at the historic rail depot in Eland at 5:30 p.m. and at the Shawano Civic Center at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. A potluck at 5 p.m. will precede the Civic Center presentation.

McCabe is the author of “Blue Jeans in High Places: The Coming Makeover of American Politics.”

Blue Jean Nation promotes itself as “working to promote the transformation of democratic institutions that are failing America.” The organization says that political professionals from both major parties have a grip on U.S. democracy, and that party establishments need to allow ordinary people to have more power in government.

McCabe is considering running for governor in 2018 but is unsure whether he would run as a Democrat or independent.

Sat
13
May

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

May 11

Police logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Fire — Authorities responded to a fire at Aarrowcast, 2900 E. Richmond St., after a lava spill caught fire in the building. The building was evacuated and authorities were on scene for about an hour. No injuries were reported.

Burglary — A burglary was reported at the Super 8 Motel, 211 Waukechon St.

Theft — A laptop was reported stolen from a vehicle in the 1100 block of South Franklin Street.

Theft — A bike was reported stolen in the 100 block of West Lieg Avenue.

Warrant — A 53-year-old man was arrested on a warrant at Sawyer and Main streets.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

May 11

Deputies logged 45 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Authorities responded to a domestic disturbance on County Road E in the town of Washington.

Fri
12
May

3 more charged in massive burglary operation

Three teens have been charged with being party to a string of Shawano County burglaries that appear to be connected to a massive burglary operation busted in November.

Four people were arrested and charged in November in what authorities have called the largest burglary operation seen in the county. Those cases are pending.

Charges against the three new defendants were recently filed.

Dennis J. Thiex II, 17, of Wittenberg, is accused of seven burglaries, most of which allegedly took place in July and August.

Thiex is charged with seven counts of burglary, including alleged break-ins to storage sheds, garages and trailer homes in the villages of Mattoon and Bowler, and in the town of Hutchins, according to the criminal complaint. He also faces two felony counts of theft because of the value and type of items allegedly stolen, including guns, and five misdemeanor counts of theft.

Fri
12
May

Competency exam ordered for bank robbery suspect

A competency exam was ordered this week for a Shawano man whose bank robbery conviction three years ago was overturned on appeal.

Darrin H. Church, 52, was sentenced in July 2014 to five years in prison and 10 years extended supervision.

Church had pleaded no contest to charges of using the threat of force to rob the CoVantage Credit Union at 911 E. Green Bay St. and attempting to rob Cash Tyme at 705 E. Green Bay St. in April 2013.

The District IV Court of Appeals reversed Church’s convictions on those charges, as well as bail jumping and other misdemeanors.

His case was scheduled for review in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court on Wednesday, though Church was unable to appear in person because of a medical condition, according to court records. He is being held at Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun.

According to the Department of Corrections, Church’s condition is “deteriorating,” court records state.

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