News

Sat
31
Dec

Top 10 stories of 2016

The top local stories of 2016, as chosen by the Leader editorial staff, probably say more about the year or years ahead than the year behind. There were major announcements of new growth and potential developments expected to start in 2017, along with the beginnings of efforts to finally get a handle on long-term problems such as vacant and dilapidated buildings.

Here are our top 10 stories of the year:

1. Belmark revealed as new manufacturer coming to Shawano

After months of secrecy surrounding a major mystery manufacturer coming to Shawano, it was finally revealed in June that the company in question is Belmark Inc., a maker of flexible packaging.

Belmark will occupy about 15 acres north of County Road B, east of Waukechon Street and west of Industrial Drive.

Sat
31
Dec

Packers ticket broker fires back

Shawano businessman Douglas Burris is denying that he had any friends on a jury that cleared him of civil fraud charges in connection with the sale of Green Bay Packers tickets.

Burris filed a sworn affidavit Thursday in Shawano County Circuit Court testifying that he did not have a personal relationship with any member of the jury in the fraud case filed by former Burris customers after he revoked and sold their season tickets.

“I did not recognize a single face or name,” Burris wrote in the four-page statement.

The jury of four men and eight women cleared Burris of any wrongdoing Nov. 11 following a five-day trial that pitted the businessman against nine former customers.

The affidavit from the former Packers ticket broker follows allegations raised by his opponents in the civil fraud case that one and perhaps two jurors claimed during jury deliberations to have personal relationships with Burris.

Fri
30
Dec

Keshena man gets 15 months for abusing girl

A Keshena man was sentenced to 15 months in prison Thursday for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Matthew T. White Jr., 27, will also be on supervised release for five years after he gets out of prison.

White pleaded guilty on Oct. 6 to sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 16. He faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

At White’s sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach pointed out the large age difference between White and the victim, stating that “a 13-year-old should not be treated like this” and that White’s conduct was “simply wrong.”

Griesbach said he took into consideration White’s remorse and acceptance of responsibility, as well as his prior service to the county, in determining his sentence.

According to the plea agreement:

Fri
30
Dec

Soldier from Neopit found dead while on leave

Police are investigating the death of a soldier from Wisconsin while he was on leave in Asheville, North Carolina.

Spc. Naeciwat R. Latender, 21, of Neopit, was an infantryman assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His death Dec. 23 and the circumstances around it are being investigated by the Asheville Police Department, a news release from Fort Bragg said.

No other details have been made available.

“Spc. Naeciwat Latender was a phenomenal paratrooper who had a large impact on his troop and squadron,” said Lt. Col. Scott Pence, commander of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, the Panther Recon squadron. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during what must be a tragic holiday season.

“Spc. Latender was a valued member of the team who served honorably with Panther Recon as a sniper and spotter in Iraq in 2015.”

Fri
30
Dec

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Dec. 29

Police logged 15 incidents, including the following:

Noise — Police responded to a noise complaint in the 200 block of South Union Street.

Arrest — A 28-year-old man was taken into custody at the probation and parole offices, 1340 E. Green Bay St.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1266 E. Green Bay St., reported three juveniles left the store with alcohol.

Noise — Police responded to a noise complaint in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Dec. 29

Deputies logged 42 incidents, including the following:

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Hemlock Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Truancy — Authorities logged a truancy complaint from Bonduel Middle/High School, 400 W. Green Bay St., Bonduel.

Disturbance — A disturbance was reported on Main Street in Gresham.

Fri
30
Dec

City building permits, home improvements spike in 2016

Shawano has seen a spike in building permits this year unrivaled by any previous year on record, according to building inspector Brian Bunke, with most of those going to home improvement and remodeling projects.

“As far as when records have been kept, this has been the busiest year Shawano has seen as far as permits being pulled,” Bunke said.

The previous record was 450 permits in 2007, he said.

This year, the city was at 627 permits as of late Thursday afternoon, including permits for such things as roof repairs, siding improvements and window upgrades.

Some of those improvements have been the result of a stricter enforcement of zoning codes by the city, as per the direction of the Common Council.

“It was the council wanting to make sure people are keeping up on their houses better than what they were in the past that provided for some of those permits to be pulled,” Bunke said.

That became a priority when Bunke was hired.

Fri
30
Dec

Tribe criticizes approval of Back Forty Mine permit

The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin issued a statement late Thursday saying it was “saddened and outraged” with the decision by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to approve the Aquila Resources mine permit for the Back Forty Mine Project.

Michigan officials on Thursday approved permits for Aquila to mine for gold, cooper and zinc on land that the tribe regards as historically and culturally significant near the Menominee River in Stephenson, Michigan.

State officials said two other permits still under consideration are required for development of the mine.

Menominee tribal Chairwoman Joan Delabreau issued a statement that the Back Forty mining operation would jeopardize the environment and would disturb property that includes 24 sites of historical and cultural significance to the Wisconsin tribe.

Delabreau also questioned the timing of the decision, saying people can’t respond adequately because of the holidays.

Fri
30
Dec

Clintonville buildings damaged by fire were not insured

The two buildings that were damaged by recent fires in downtown Clintonville were not insured, according to City Administrator Chuck Kell.

“The buildings are basically sitting there with nothing happening,” Kell told the Common Council earlier this month.

He said the building inspector has been unable to reach the owners of the buildings to learn of their plans.

“If the city doesn’t get involved, I’m not sure anything will happen with those buildings,” Kell said.

Kell said Zhen Weng, the owner of the building at 46 S. Main St., which housed the China King Restaurant, has indicated there is no money for repairs and has asked the city for help. The fire occurred Nov. 23.

Next door, the Bluebird Cafe has been prohibited from opening because of a wall that is leaning and appears ready to fall.

“Until somebody takes care of that situation, that restaurant can’t be reopening. It’s just too dangerous,” Kell said.

Fri
30
Dec

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Dec. 28

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Fraud — Police investigated a debit card fraud complaint in the 1200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported a shoplifting incident.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 600 block of East Center Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 200 block of East Green Bay Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Dec. 28

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Authorities responded to an intoxicated person complaint on County Road A in Bowler.

Burglary — A burglary was reported on County Road Y in the town of Belle Plaine.

Thu
29
Dec

Mattoon looking to create new school district

The village and residents of Mattoon are pushing forward with efforts to break away from Antigo and create a new school district as a result of Antigo’s decision earlier this year to close Mattoon Elementary School.

A public hearing will be held Tuesday before the Unified School District of Antigo’s Board of Education that will include a presentation by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonprofit government research organization.

The WTA is expected to present information on the challenges, logistics and feasibility of a new startup district and its tax implications.

Ultimately, the new district would have to be approved by the state Department of Public Instruction.

“We’re trying to find a way to keep our school open,” Village President Brian Owen said. “Without a school, there’s no heart left in this town.”

The village had its own school district up until the 1960s when the state began efforts at consolidation.

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