Fire consumes hay barn at Matsche Farms

Contributed Photo Fire destroyed a hay barn at Matsche Farms Inc. in the town of Almon early Sunday morning. Damages were estimated at $600,000.

A hay barn in the town of Almon was destroyed by fire Sunday morning.

The Shawano County Sheriff’s Department said a call came in at 4:13 a.m. reporting a fire at Matsche Farms Inc. at N9035 River Road, about 5 miles from Birnamwood.

The barn was full of high quality hay purchased from Canada, western states and nearby farms, according to Heather Matsche, a spokesperson for the family.

Matsche estimated the barn and hay were worth about $600,000.

Matsche posted the following comment on Facebook on Monday: “We have a great community that we live in. With all of the chaos, no one was hurt, and we thank God for that.”

Overheated hay might have caused the fire, but officials are still investigating.

Bowler Fire Department led the response, which eventually included mutual aid from Birnamwood, Gresham, Stockbridge-Munsee, Mattoon, Tigerton, Norwood, Hatley, Langlade and Wittenberg.


Shawano schools seek to exceed expectations

Shawano School District has set a goal of significantly increasing its scores on the annual state school report card.

The district wants to have a score of 73 on the report card by 2021, which would mean the district is “exceeding expectations.” Currently, the district has a score of 64.8, and all of its schools are in the “meets expectations” category.

Administrators laid out some of the steps needed to improve the district’s score to the Shawano School Board on Monday.

“We added some more rigor to our goals, and there are some things we’re doing differently,” Superintendent Gary Cumberland said. “You can’t keep doing it the same way and expect different results.”

The first step, administrators said, is to increase the level of improvement in students throughout the school year.

Hillcrest Primary School is changing the tests it uses in reading and math.


Police Department brings back captain’s post

Nearly three years after eliminating the position, the Shawano Police Department is bringing back the post of police captain in the first significant command structure change under new Police Chief Dan Mauel.

Mauel said the position, which serves as second in command at the department, is being restored in the interest of efficiency and accountability.

Duties will include all of the responsibilities that currently fall to the administrative lieutenant, Mauel said, but will also include supervising the lieutenants.

“We are not adding a new position, just a new classification,” Mauel said.

The new command structure will include the chief, captain and two lieutenants instead of three, though one of those positions is currently vacant.

“We are planning to promote another lieutenant from our patrol staff by the end of October,” Mauel said. “We are presently at full staff with 20 sworn positions.”


Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Oct. 16

Police logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Theft — A vehicle was reported broken into in the 500 block of East Fifth Street.

Theft — Police responded to a property theft complaint in the 600 block of Wolf River Avenue.

Accident — Police responded to a two-vehicle property damage accident at Washington Street and Wescott Avenue.

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 800 block of South Park Street.

Shoplifting — Tumbleweed, 203 S. Main St., reported a shoplifting incident.

Shoplifting — Old Glory Candy, 108 E. Division St., reported a shoplifting incident.

Vandalism — Shots were reported fired into a condo and through a window in the 100 block of North Hamlin Street.

Accident — Police responded to a property damage accident at Richmond and Smalley streets.


Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Oct. 15

Police logged 22 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 400 block of East Fifth Street.

Disorderly — Police responded to an intoxicated person complaint in the 700 block of South Main Street.

Burglary — An attempted burglary to a vehicle was reported in the 200 block of Pearl Avenue.

Theft — Police responded to a property theft complaint in the 200 block of South Main Street.

Oct. 14

Police logged 18 incidents, including the following:

Shoplifting — Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St., reported a female shoplifter in custody.

Theft — A bike was reported stolen at the Shawano Recreation Center, 220 E. Division St.

Disturbance — Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 600 block of West Picnic Street.

Oct. 13

Police logged 26 incidents, including the following:


Safe Haven raising money for expansion

Safe Haven has been providing shelter to domestic violence victims for 15 years, but the space available is no longer enough to help those in need.

To that end, Safe Haven is hoping to break ground on an expansion next spring, if it can raise the $425,000 needed to finance the addition.

There are five bedrooms in the existing shelter on Lakeland Road, along with office space for the staff. The expansion plans include three more bedrooms and additional office space, Safe Haven Executive Director Stacey Cicero said, along with updated technology and security systems and a new roof.

Safe Haven opened the shelter’s doors on Feb. 11, 2002. The first family arrived by 9 a.m. Since then, the shelter has rarely been empty, as there has been at least one family in need at any given time, Cicero said.

“Last year, 99 percent of the time there were at least two families in the shelter,” she said. “The expansion is really needed to give people their own space.”


Sex offender to be placed in Birnamwood

Shawano County authorities say they had no choice but to accept the placement of a convicted sex offender after no location could be found for him in Dodge County.

Jonathan Miller, 31, will reside at N8995 Bluebird Road in Birnamwood after he is released on Nov. 6, according to the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department.

“We don’t have a choice,” Detective Troy Ugoretz said. “We can only educate the public.”

The location was chosen by the state Department of Human Services and approved by Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Brian Pfitzinger, who also approved a supervised release plan for Miller.

The two-bedroom facility on Bluebird Road is already home to another convicted sex offender, according to the sheriff’s department.

Miller, who was a juvenile at the time, lured two girls into a park bathroom where he sexually assaulted one of them. He was convicted in 2005 of first-degree sexual assault of a child.


Clintonville enrollment drops 51

Enrollment in the Clintonville Public School District dropped more than expected this year.

Business manager Lynette Edwards told the school board Monday that the official count taken Sept. 15 was 1,303 students, compared with 1,354 last year.

“Although I had projected a decline, it wasn’t quite by that much,” said Edwards, who had projected 1,329.

Interim Superintendent David Dyb said the 5-K numbers were down by 27 students from last year. He didn’t know why.

Edwards said open enrollments were “kind of a wash” compared to last year.

“Open enrollments in were down this year. Open enrollments out were down this year,” she said. “So those didn’t really affect the full-time equivalent like the head count would.”


Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Oct. 12

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Trespass — Police responded to a trespassing complaint in the 900 block of East Green Bay Street.

Warrant — A 25-year-old man was taken into custody on a warrant in the 100 block of South Main Street.

Juvenile — Police responded to a juvenile in the 600 block of East Center Street.

Harassment — Police responded to a harassment complaint in the 100 block of Airport Drive.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Oct. 12

Deputies logged 34 incidents, including the following:

Drug Offense — Authorities investigated a drug complaint on Mielke Road in the town of Grant.

Fraud — Authorities responded to a telephone scam complaint on Green Bay Street in Bonduel.

Theft — Authorities responded to a property theft complaint on U.S. Highway 45 in Tigerton.


City will pay food center’s utility bills

Shawano officials on Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding with Shawano County that will allow the county to continue paying the utility bills for the Shawano Area Food Center.

Under the agreement, the city will pay the bill but with money provided to the city from the county.

“We’re just agreeing to be a conduit for that transaction,” City Administrator Brian Knapp said. “We don’t have any financial liability for it if the county decides not to support them. We wouldn’t be on the hook for continuing to provide support.”

Utility bills have been the food center’s biggest expense and have usually ranged from $9,500 to $12,000 a year, according to the county.

The agreement calls on the county to provide the city with up to $12,000 to pay the bills.

An opinion by the state Attorney General last month raised questions about the county’s annual contribution to the food distribution center.


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