City’s tax rate increase causes confusion

Shawano School District officials were apparently blindsided by the assessed tax rate increase for school purposes that taxpayers will see in the city of Shawano.

The city’s finance committee Thursday took one last look at its proposed 2019 budget ahead of the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday and shared numbers showing an increase of 89 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in the total tax rate when all taxing entities are included, or an additional $89 on a $100,000 home.

According to the city, the biggest increase is going to the school district, with a 4.5 percent hike in the tax rate, rising from $9.65 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $10.08 per $1,000.

That will mean a tax bill of $1,008 for school purposes, an increase of about 42 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

School district business manager Louise Fischer said she only learned of the city’s assessed tax rate when she was called for a comment on Friday.


City officials defend tax rate hike

City officials meeting Thursday for a final review of the 2019 budget ahead of a public hearing Wednesday said the bulk of the tax increase that property owners will be hit with as a result is beyond the city’s control.

Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said the city is increasing its levy for city operations by $24,000.

“The only thing we can do is adjust that number,” he said.

The remaining $125,000 increase in the levy is the city’s share of what has to go to paying back the city’s Tax Incremental Finance districts; a problem that the school district and county are also faced with.

Alderman Seth Mailahn said the committee has already cut the budget as deeply as it can.

“We’ve already looked at everything 50 times,” he said.

“Staff put in a lot of time and effort and there have been a lot of projects cut,” Alderwoman Rhonda Strebel added.


Man sentenced for Legend Lake bridge death

A Keshena man who caused a passenger’s death when he tried to drive under a bridge on frozen Legend Lake while intoxicated was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Green Bay to three years in prison and three years of supervised release.

Saswaen Waukechon, 38, previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 13 death of the female passenger whose name has been withheld from court documents.

According to the plea agreement:

Waukechon, a woman and a man had been drinking at the War Bonnet Bar and Grill in Keshena before Waukechon drove his Dodge pickup on the road and eventually onto the frozen surface of Legend Lake.

The female passenger was in the front seat and the male was inside the rear area of the cab.

Waukechon was driving about 45 mph on the ice toward Brave Island, then steered toward a bridge that connected the island to the shore.


Escalante gets three years in prison for sex offense

A Keshena man was sentenced recently in federal court in Green Bay to three years in prison and five years’ supervised release for attempted abusive sexual contact with a minor female.

Mario Escalante, 42, pleaded guilty in April to the incidents that occurred between July 2015 and June 2016 with a girl who was less than 16 years old.

In sentencing Escalante on Nov. 3, District Judge William Griesbach called Escalante’s offense, a series of “reprehensible acts.” He noted the impact of the crime on the victim and the victim’s family, and that Escalante betrayed the victim’s trust, and the victim’s family who trusted him with supervising the girl, according to a statement issued Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

According to the plea agreement filed in court:

The girl told Menominee Tribal police that Escalante began engaging what he called “snuggling” with her when she was approximately 12 years old and continued past her 17th birthday.


Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Nov. 8

Police logged 20 incidents, including the following:

OAS — A 30-year-old Shawano woman was cited for her 15th-offense operating after suspension of license.

Theft — A wheelbarrow was reported stolen in the 800 block of East Randall Street.

Fraud — A library card fraud complaint was reported at the Shawano County Library, 128 S. Sawyer St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Nov. 8

Deputies logged 43 incidents, including the following:

Warrant — A female subject was taken into custody on a warrant on Hummingbird Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem on Ah Toh Wuk Road in Bowler.

Hit and Run — Authorities investigated a property damage hit-and-run on state Highway 29 in the town of Herman.

Disorderly — Authorities responded to an intoxicated person complaint on state Highway 156 in the town of Navarino.


Love-Lights now on sale

Leader photo by Carol Ryczek ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano Auxiliary Member Bea Moede registers a Love-Light sale at a table at Charlie’s Country Market, 521 S. Main St. Shawano. Love-Light donations support scholarships for students entering medical professions.

Love-Lights, an annual fundraiser of the ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano Auxiliary, are on sale.

Love-Lights are $3 donations that symbolically light one of three trees outside the main entrance of ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano. Proceeds fund the auxiliary’s scholarship program.

Love-Lights will be available in Shawano at Charlie’s County Market, 521 S. Main St., and ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano, 100 County Road B, through Thursday. They will be available at the ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano gift shop, 100 County Road B, through Nov. 30.

Love-Light trees will be lit on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the medical center lobby.

A tree with red, white and blue light honors active military and living/deceased veterans. White lights honor a loved one’s memory. Multi-colored lights honors family or friends.


War stories: Author details his Vietnam experience

Leader Photo by Carol Ryczek Ronald Hoffman discusses the role of Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 13th Marines, in Vietnam at a presentation at the Shawano County Library.

When Ronald Hoffman first applied to join the U.S. Marine Corps, he was told his eyesight was not good enough.

“Then there was the Gulf of Tonkin resolution,” Hoffman said, “and anybody with a pulse was in.”

That’s how Hoffman described both his entry into the Marines and the Vietnam war in a presentation at the Shawano County Library on Thursday. He served in Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 13th Marines.

Hoffman’s presentation, sponsored by the Friends of Shawano County Libraries, Inc., focused on his book, “To Hear Silence, A True Vietnam Experience.” Hoffman, a Green Bay resident, self-published “To Hear Silence” and is also the author of “Truth in Lies” and “After United States.”

The Gulf of Tonkin resolution is a response to a confrontation between the U.S. and North Vietnam, and is often cited as the incident that brought the U.S. into the Vietnam War.


Flowers N Things is now Holland Tulip

Photo by Grace Kirchner Emily Grosskreutz had her dream come true when she purchased the former Flowers and Things.

Emily Grosskreutz, a certified florist, has purchased the former Flowers and Things at 29 S. Main St. in Clintonville and renamed the business “Holland Tulip.”

Named after Grosskreutz’s favorite flower, Holland Tulip opened in September.

Grosskreutz plans to have tulips on hand at all times. For now, she can get them from California, but March through May, the tulips will come directly from Holland.

Opening her own retail floral business has been a lifelong dream for Grosskreutz, who worked as a manager for 12 years at Creative Converting.

Grosskreutz plans to bring her own touch to the store. There will always be Christmas items and holiday decorations. She plans to expand the selection of jewelry to include work from local artists. She stocks Old Glory candies from Shawano.


Shawano property tax rates to increase

Shawano taxpayers will see a higher tax rate in 2019 than previously projected, due in part to weaker than expected manufacturing assessments and increases in the school district’s and county’s budgets, according to city officials.

The total tax rate, when all taxing entities — school district, county, state and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College — are included is now projected to be $24.57 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $2,457 for a $100,000 home.

That’s an increase of about 89 cents per $1,000 over this year’s total tax rate, or an additional $89 on a $100,000 home.

A few weeks ago, the city was projecting a total tax rate increase of 58 cents per $1,000, or $58 on a $100,000 home.

The city’s share of the tax bill will increase by about 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, from $9.89 per $1,000 to $10.17 per $1,000.

That means a roughly $28 increase on a $100,000 home.


Menominee Transit to be new operator of City Cab

Menominee Transit will run Shawano’s City Cab service starting in January under a five-year agreement approved Thursday by the Shawano Common Council.

The city is required to request proposals to provide shared-ride taxi services every five years and awarded the contract this time around to the Menominee Department of Transit Services of Keshena.

Tim Reed, director of the Menominee Department of Transit Services, said operations will be run out of the Keshena office, which will handle dispatching and vehicle maintenance, but there will be a staging area set up in Shawano so vehicles won’t have to come from Keshena to pick up riders.

Reed said the location for the staging area hasn’t been determined yet.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity,” Reed said. “It’s going to be neat to be able to work with the city and their residents and coordinate the ridership we have with Keshena as well and connect all of our services.”


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