Wisconsin elk hunter who won tag raffle faces charges

The winner of a raffle to award one of just 11 coveted elk hunting tags in Wisconsin’s first controlled elk hunt in modern history now faces charges that he shot across a road to kill his bull.

Joe Wiltzius, 73, won the tag in a raffle sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He was charged last month with discharging a firearm from across a roadway in Sawyer County court, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said he shot the 5-by-5 bull elk Oct. 15 as it stood on Forest Road 174 — a 25-foot-wide gravel road — in Round Lake Township.

He also was charged with shooting within 50 feet of the center line of a roadway. He also could face a civil penalty of $2,000, the value placed on the elk. The DNR has confiscated the antlers and hide, and likely will donate the meat, now at a processor, if Wiltzius is convicted.


Minniecheske named CWC-North player of year

Leader file photo Tigerton senior Monika Minniecheske goes up for a kill against Wisconsin Valley Lutheran in late September. Minniecheske was named the Central Wisconsin Conference-North Division player of the year this fall.

It was no surprise to opponents that senior Monika Minniecheske was going to be the focal point of the Tigerton High School volleyball team’s attack game this past season.

That didn’t stop Minniecheske from having a monster season on the court and leading her team to a top seed in the postseason and to a sectional semifinal.

For her play, Minniecheske was tabbed the player of the year in the Central Wisconsin Conference-North Division.

“To be named player of the year is such a great honor,” Minniecheske said. “I have worked very hard to get to where I am today and I thank my coaches and most definitely thank my team for making me the best that I can be. Without their help I couldn’t have done it.”

The senior helped the Tigers to a 4-2 record in CWC-North play, tying the team atop the conference standings with Gresham, Manawa and Wisconsin Valley Lutheran. Tigerton finished third at the conference tournament.


Shawano fishing duo wins open

Contributed photo Shawano Community High School duo Jacob Bigelow, left, and Harmon Marien won the 2018 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Mosquito Lake Open on Saturday.

The Shawano Community High School duo of Harmon Marien and Jacob Bigelow brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces to win the 2018 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Mosquito Lake Open in Cortland, Ohio.

According to post-tournament reports, the duo battled through rainy and cold conditions and caught their fish targeting weed lines in bays with jigs.

A field of 28 teams competed in the no-entry fee tournament, which launched from Mosquito Lake State Park. In FLW/TBF High School Fishing competition, the top 10 percent of teams competing advance to the High School Fishing National Championship. The body of water for the 2019 championship has yet to be revealed.

Marien, of Eagle River, and Bigelow, of Cecil, earned a spot in the 2019 national championship along with the Camp Hill High School (Pennsylvania) duo of Andrew and Casey Zulli, who caught five bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces.


Concealed carry class set for Saturday

Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC will hold a Wisconsin concealed carry class from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Bean City Ballroom, N2505 Bean City Road, New London.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice curriculum includes the laws regarding the use of lethal force, concealment methods, holster selection, handgun and caliber selection, where you can and can’t carry, liability issues with “no guns” signs and more.

Optional shooting instruction will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. at a New London shooting range. You do not need any shooting experience, and a variety of small handguns are furnished.

Cost of the class is $80. Shooting instruction is $30, and ammunition is $20. You may bring your own handgun and ammunition to avoid the $20 fee.

For information or registration, call 920-982-1719 or visit


Nine Bonduel players land on all-conference teams

Leader file photo Wittenberg-Birnamwood senior Jack Stewart runs with the football against Bonduel in early October. Stewart was the lone Charger to make an all-conference team.

Despite entering the season with questions on both sides of the ball and then dealing with a flurry of injuries early on, the Bonduel football team still turned in a successful season that ended with a playoff berth.

The Bears opened the year with a win before dropping a nonconference clash. From week three until the postseason, Bonduel played against Central Wisconsin Conference-Large Division foes.

Bonduel used a two-game winning streak to open conference play and a three-game winning streak to end the regular season to overcome back-to-back losses to eventual conference champion Iola-Scandinavia and second-place finisher Amherst.

The Bears had several players play significant roles during the year and many of them were recognized for their efforts by being selected to an all-conference team. Bonduel had nine players scattered amongst the teams, with seniors Parker Bohm, Isaac Garside and Jacob Giese receiving recognition on both sides of the ball.


Menominee Indian players earn all-conference nods

Leader file photo Menominee Indian junior Hunter Connavichnah (77) looks to throw a block during the team’s matchup with Gillett early in the season. Connavichnah was named to the MONLPC-8 honorable mention team as an offensive lineman.

Staying healthy and having depth can be big keys to having a strong football season. But when the injury bug hits and the team has low roster numbers, a team can really struggle with consistency and wins can be tough to come by.

Staying healthy at the eight-man football level is even more crucial as roster numbers are already low to begin with.

Coming into the season, the Menominee Indian football team was hoping to improve upon a one-win 2017 season. Early injuries forced players to take on roles on offense, defense and special teams though and it took awhile for the team to piece together success.

The Eagles scored just 36 combined points across the first six weeks of play before turning things around down the stretch. Menominee Indian earned a shutout win over rival Oneida Nation and then played both Green Bay NEW Lutheran and Florence tough across the final two weeks.


NFL marquee can shine no brighter than Rodgers vs. Brady

If there was any sort of healthy takeaway from last week’s debacle at Los Angeles, it was that the game was played after the bye week and not before.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the loss to the Rams was “a hard one to swallow,” and he wasn’t kidding. An extra week simmering in this kind of bitterness would be none too kind on the stomach.

There was fortunately little time for the Packers to dwell on the biggest disappointment of the season, where they let the undefeated Rams off the hook with a late-game fumble.

This week’s showdown on the Eastern Seaboard is as timely as it is compelling.

In the lead-up to the Sunday night game at New England, the Packers traded safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington and also moved running back Ty Montgomery to Baltimore, both for late-round draft picks. Clinton-Dix, an unrestricted free agent after this season, was expendable due to the strong play of the rest of their secondary.


Bonduel fall athletes honored at banquet

After another successful fall high school sports season, Bonduel High School had the chance to honor some of the top athletes in their respective sports at a banquet on Monday.

Coaches from football, volleyball, cross-country and girls golf all spent time at the podium, discussing the success their teams had this fall as well as thanking supporters.


Despite some concerns after losing several seniors from a strong 2017 roster, the Bonduel football found its footing after battling through adversity halfway through the season and qualified for the postseason again. The Bears finished the year with a 6-3 regular season record and 5-2 mark in the Central Wisconsin Conference-Large Division.

Following back-to-back conference losses to Iola-Scandinavia and Amherst, Bonduel ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak to lock up a spot in the playoffs.


Troxel earns spot on state podium

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Kara Troxel, center, tries to keep pace with Dodgeland’s Meygan Benzing, left, and Boscobel’s Abri Brown during Saturday’s Division 3 girls race.

Reaching the podium at the WIAA State Cross-Country Championships is a goal all state-bound runners set out to achieve. Only ten runners — per division — earn the honor every fall.

Over her first two years of high school competition, Bonduel’s Kara Troxel has already accomplished the feat twice. Troxel placed ninth in the Division 3 girls race at the state meet at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, finishing the course in 19 minutes, 28.8 seconds.

“I feel pretty proud of myself,” Troxel said a few minutes after crossing the finish line. “Last year I got beat up the last hill by two girls — I could have had third last year. So I wanted to be sure that I secured my spot (on the podium) and let no one pass me. I did that and also passed a girl at the end.”

Her time was over 10 seconds better than last year when she took fifth at state as a freshman, but Saturday’s field featured a strong lead pack of runners that made things challenging.


Clintonville’s Smejkal named senior swimmer of year

The Sturgeon Bay girls swim team was the clear favorite to win the Bay Conference Championship Meet, but that didn’t intimidate swimmers from three local teams.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Clintonville and the Shawano/Bonduel co-op all had swimmers beat personal records and turn in strong finishers while competing at the conference meet in Sturgeon Bay on Thursday.

Clintonville’s Sami Smejkal had a memorable night in the pool, breaking a school record while taking first in the 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, 2.56 seconds) and finishing second in the 200 IM (2:21.48).

To cap the night, she was named the conference’s Senior Swimmer of the Year. Smejkal not only had a huge smile spread across her face but also built up plenty of confidence.

“Today, I cut time in every single thing — my 200 IM was probably the best its ever been and my 100 fly was beautiful, I broke the school record again,” Smejkal said. “The first and second place finishes made me so happy.”


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