Facing a charge of attempted 1st degree Intentional Homicide for the shooting of the deputy, Schneider was represented by attorney John Vurkees. Deputy Cory Dassow testified that he responded to assist Deputy Kowalczyk on a case involving Schneider's ex-girlfriend who told officers she was assulted in Rib Lake and Westboro. She told officers that Schneider "head butted" her and also bit her nose Schneider said if she tried to contact the cops, he would kill her.
Nest to testify was WI D.O.J. Special Agent David Forsythe. Following the shooting, Agent Forsythe talked with Kowalczyk at the hospital. He recovered two bullets, one which was removed from Kowalczyk's abdomen and a second bullet on the bed which had been lodged in the deputy's uniform.
Following his arrest, Schneider told Agent Forsythe that he saw the deputy arrive at his Westboro home. He didn't open the door as the deputy requested becasue he feared he would be arrested for the incident with his ex-girlfriend. After a brief conversation with the deputy, Schneider went to the bedroom, retrieved a :22 caliber rifle and shot down the hall at the deputy's head. When he saw the deputy jump off the deck he ran back to the bedroom, opened the window and waited for the deputy to arrive at his car. He shot three more times as the deputy attempted to get into his squad car.
As the injured Deputy Kowalczyk drove away, Schneider ran to an abandoned house next door and kicked a hole in the wall where he retrieved a sawed off shotgun which he had hid there years before.
Schneider left a message on his ex-girlfriend's phone saying "I shot a cop".
Surgeon Dr. Sweet told Agent Forsythe that Kowalczyk's injuries included a bullet wound to his abdomen and colon. The bullet missed an artery by one centimeter. The surgeon indicated that had the artery been severed, the deputy would have bled out in less than three minutes. The doctor said "he's lucky to be alive".
Kowalczyk also had facial injuries from the shattering door glass, and where the initial bullet grazed his face.
Judge Knox-Bauer ruled she found probable cause and set arraignment for December 20th.
Schneider is being held facing a total of 7 charges in the Lincoln County Jail on a one million dollar cash bond.
Lights, Camera, Action, a class now offered at the Medford Area Senior High School, is providing a novel way for students to get out the message to their peers on making good life choices. The class instructor and advisor is Jill Fortin. Recently, Lights, Camera. Action students Alex Griesbach and Faith Doughty discussed some of their recent projects and explained the goals of the class with K99's Russ Gowey...
The Sheldon man whose vehicle struck and killed a hunter Friday night reportedly told Taylor County officers that he had “enough” to drink. The Taylor County crash report indicates that James Winchel was driving a Buick LeSabre at a high speed as it approached a group of hunters that were by a vehicle at the side of the roadway. After his vehicle struck Fernando Salinas Jr. and Juan Salinas, a rifle carried by Juan went through the windshield striking Winchel in the face. Prior to Friday’s crash, Winchel had been convicted of O.W.I. 4 times.
A criminal complaint was filed Monday in Taylor County Court against James L. Winchel of Sheldon. Taylor County District Attorney Kristi Tlusty charged Winchel with Homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and Operating while intoxicated causing injury-5th offense.
In the first count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, James L Winchel is charged with cause of death of Juan A Salinas by the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, a class D Felony, and upon conviction he may be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than twenty-five years, or both.
In the second count, operating while intoxicated causing injury-5th offense, James L Winchel did cause injury to Fernando Salinas Jr. by the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, a class H felony, and upon conviction may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six years or both. Also upon conviction the department shall revoke the defendant’s operating privilege for not less than one year not more than two years. In addition, the defendant will be required to undertake an alcohol and drug abuse assessment, and follow through the treatment recommendations as a condition of reinstatement.
In a statement to officers, Winchel stated that he “was intoxicated” when the crash occurred, and feels so “bad” for what he did.
A deer hunter was injured in Taylor County on Monday, due to treacherous icy conditions in the woods. Just before 11 A.M. the Taylor County dispatch was called indicating that a hunter had fallen and was unable to get up. The Medford Ambulance, Medevac, Taylor County Sheriff’s officers and Medford Area Fire Department responded to the scene on Martin Drive, ½ mile south of Highway 64 in the town of Goodrich. The male hunter indicated he had slipped on a large patch of ice and the fall resulted in injuries which prevented him from being able to get up. After a period of time another hunter found him and called 911. The Medford Area Fire department’s off-road rescue vehicle retrieved the hunter who was about ½ mile back in the woods.
Judge Anne Knox Bauer’s slate of court cases Thursday included the question of constitutionality regarding admission of evidence.
In a case involving Michelle Thompson, detective Aemus Balsis testified that he made a traffic stop in Medford when he observed a driver operating without a valid license. Thompson was a passenger in the vehicle which was being driven by a known drug abuser. When Thompson became squirmish in the front seat she was removed from the vehicle, handcuffed and in her purse methamphetamine was found. District attorney Kristi Tlusty said the state was relying on the automobile exception law to allow an officer to check the defendant’s purse without a warrant. Judge Knox Bauer told the court she would make a determination as to whether the Automobile Exception law does apply and allow the evidence to be allowed.
Next, a motion to suppress evidence was introduced by Karl Kelz, attorney for Heidi Mann of Rib Lake. Kelz felt that a recorded interview with Heidi Mann, Human Services Child Protective Counselor Julie Clarkson and Detective Aemus Balsis should not be allowed as evidence in Mann’s Case. Heidi Mann had requested that sheriff’s officers not come to her home and subsequently agreed to detective Balsis being present for the interview which took place at human services. Kelz argued that a lack of Miranda should render the hour and twenty minute interview inadmissible. Judge Knox Bauer ruled that Mann’s dialogue was of her own free will. The judge said that Mann’s dialogue told what happened, how she felt and why she did what she did. The interview was accepted for evidence. A status conference was set for December 16th at 10 A.M.
The construction and operation of the North Breeze Dairy in the township of Little Black has raised concerns among it's citizens. Recently a letter went out to many residents of Little Black from the Taylor County Conservation Department. K99's Russ Gowey was joined by Taylor County Conservationist Ashley Steinke with an update and recommendations for private well owners within a two mile radius of the proposed North Breeze Dairy. You'll find that interview below.......
K99 Radio once again this year hosted "Let's Talk Hunting" on Monday, November 11th and Monday, November 18th. Hosted by K99's Russ Gowey, "Let's Talk Hunting" featured Wisconsin DNR Warden Nick Nice and Wisconsin DNR Biologist Mark Schmidt. Listeners were encouraged to call in during the Monday, November 18th program with their deer hunting questions. Here's hoping all hunters have a successful, memorable...and SAFE...deer hunt! Below are excerpts from both "Let's Talk Hunting" programs...
Expansion, improvements, remodeling, additional services and new faces highlight changes being made at Time Federal Savings Bank. President and CEO of Time Federal Savings Bank, Tom Lindow, recently sat down with K99's Russ Gowey and shared the many changes on going and introduced us to the new personnel at Time Federal Savings Bank............................................................................
Price County Sheriff Brian S. Schmidt reports his department is investigating a report of a missing boater.
On Saturday, November 9th at 2:48 p.m., the Price County Sheriff's Department received a call of a missing boater who was duck hunting on Cranberry Lake in the Township of Hackett. A search for the missing man was immediately begun.
The body of the missing man, identified as 28 year old Nick A. Stuttgen of Colby, was recovered from Cranberry Lake on Sunday, November 10th at 7:38 a.m.
Responding agencies included the Price County Sheriff's Department, Pike Lake Fire Departments, the Central Price County Ambulance Service, the Tri-County Dive Team, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Price County Coroner and the Salvation Army.
Sheriff Schmidt would also like to thank the local residents that provided lifesaving assistance to the other hunters involved in this incident.
A mobile home being used as a hunting cabin was totally destroyed by fire Thursday morning. The Medford Area Fire Department was called to the scene after members of the Taylor County Highway Department discovered the burning building mid-morning. The fire was at N5436 County Highway E, just north of Highway M in the town of Molitor. When firefighters arrived the 14 by 70 foot structure was totally engulfed in flames. No one was in the building at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department.
Taylor County Board Has Full Agenda
The Taylor County board room included at least 2 dozen spectators for an emotional start to the board meeting. The board voted unanimously to approve a resolution commending officer Chad Kowalczyk for his bravery and professional response. Sheriff Bruce Daniels became emotional when he read from the resolution that officer Kowalczyk was shot twice while in the line of duty on September 8th. Daniels said the officers are in fact his “second family” and they believe in what they do. Kowalczyk was awarded a medal which enrolled him in the “Police Legion Of The Purple Heart”. Following a standing ovation, Officer Kowalczyk told the group he was strengthened by the prayers and support which he received from people he didn’t know. Next the board approved a resolution commending Detective Steven Bowers for his actions at the incident. Bowers negotiated with the defendant resulting in an arrest and no further injuries. Accepting his “Outstanding Commendation Award” Detective Bowers indicated he felt it was a group effort. Families and friends of the officers shared their appreciation in the courthouse hallway following the presentation.
As the board was expressing thanks to the Westboro and Rib Lake fire departments for their assistance with traffic control following the September 8th shooting incident, supervisor Rollie Thums took the floor. Mr. Thums expressed his frustration with the county’s new digital radio communication system. He indicated that as assistant chief of the Rib Lake fire department, the new system isn’t working and is possibly putting emergency responders in harm’s way.
Sheriff Daniels spoke up indicating that a consultant had been hired to deal with the shortfalls of the system. Supervisor Bob Lee asked, didn’t we spend $1.3 million to upgrade from analog to digital?
Currently, due to certain frequencies not functioning properly, the sheriff’s department is simulcasting on the fire frequency. Daniels told the board that some issues are related to the weather sirens. Daniels concluded saying that the radio system today on the fire frequency is better than several years ago.
The county board expressed appreciation to Steven Oberle for his years of service as County Conservationist.
They approved the 2014 Highway Department Equipment Schedule, the 2013 Bridge aid expenses, and appointed Jess Sakmann as highway commissioner.
Medical examiner Scott Perrin and Corporate Counsel Ken Schmiege were reappointed.
The board approved a resolution requesting powerline impact fees of up to $20,000 for half of the expenses to renovate the Westboro Area Senior Citizens Center over the next 2 years.
The bulk of time was spent on implementation of a new job classification and compensation plan for Taylor County positions. Carlson Dettman Consulting prepared a new job classification system for county employees. The county currently has 73 pay grades. Under the new system that will drop to 18. Anybody under the new plan would to the step which provides a pay raise. Future pay raises would increase by a 2.5% step. For employees who feel they were not classified fairly they must approach their supervisor who in turn would contact H.R. supervisor Marie Koerner. Appeals would then be handled by the Carlson Dettman firm beginning next week.
One big change in the county compensation plan is the health insurance. The county hired a consultant who put the plan out on bids. The result was a $260,000 savings with premiums reduced by 10%. However, the out of pocket expense for family plans for health insurance will increase from $4,600 to $7,500 per year. Prior to employees receiving pay raises they will need to have a satisfactory job performance review. The new job classification procedure will cost just over $100,000 to implement. Pay back for the county will be realized by lower pay raise steps and lower minimum wage for future new hires.
The 2014 budget which calls for just over $25 million in expenditures, saw considerable discussion on a request to quadruple wages for county fair officials. The original budget called for $2500. Fair committee member Chuck Zenner requested doubling the wage for the fair secretary and establishing a per diem for board members. Zenner indicated he didn’t think it was right that board members were paying some expenses out of their pocket.
Supervisor Lewis indicated all surrounding counties pay in excess of $10,000 to support their fairs. Supervisor Mildebrand said he could support increasing the amount to $5,000 but not quadrupling it to $10,000. Supervisor Krug echoed those sentiments saying that doubling the secretary’s wage and adding per diem wouldn’t solve any problems.
Supervisor Bizer said he took the capitalist approach. If the fair makes a profit, perhaps the fair board could keep a portion of the profits. Rollie Thums asked if they really needed to pay volunteers. Zenner responded they were having a hard time finding volunteers.
The vote to increase funding to the fair to $10,000 failed on a 5 yes and 11 no vote.
The amended vote to increase spending to $5,000 passed on a 15 yes and 1 no vote.
The board gave a unanimous approval to the amended 2014 budget. The tax rate will be $8.17, compared to $8.11 in 2012. This will result in a 6 cent increase per $1,000 of full equalized value of property. The budget levy of $10,281,679 is an increase of $270,170 or 2.6%.
Taylor County property owners will see a slight increase in their property taxes. The Taylor County portion of property taxes will increase about 9 cents per $1,000 of equalized value as a result of the 2014 proposed budget which was passed by the county’s budget committee on Monday.
County Clerk Bruce Strama indicated that a significant savings in health insurance had an impact. Because of changes in the health insurance program the county is saving over $240,000.
In an effort to boost the amount of roadway improvements, the highway department budget included funds for additional road paving and maintenance.
Total budget expenditures are increased by approximately 3%.
The Medford Planning Commission met Monday night. They considered a request from Kylene Abbiehl for a conditional use permit to allow an in home day care for 8 or fewer children in the home located at 710 N Second Street. The request prompted discussion regarding Medford’s current code which allows an in home business office to occupy up to 25% of one floor of the structure. According to Bob Christensen, the code may be too restrictive for a day care operation. Mr. Christensen noted that daycares are a vital component to a city. Kylene Abbiehl’s request for an in home daycare was granted, but the planning commission is expected to meet again in November to address the language of the in home business code. Changes to the code would need to be approved and recommended by the Planning Commission, for approval by the city council.
The Westboro man accused of shooting Taylor county deputy Chad Kowalczyk was in Taylor County court Tuesday. Alexandar Schneider, who observed his 28th birthday in the Lincoln County jail recently appeared for his initial appearance with attorney John Voorhees.
Vorhees was appointed as Schneider’s attorney on October 4th.
Court records indicate that Schneider waived the reading of the complaint and time limit for the preliminary hearing scheduling.
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer scheduled the preliminary hearing for December 5th at 3 PM. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for December 12th at 11 AM.
Schneider is being held facing 7 charges including Attempted 1st degree intentional homicide in the Lincoln County Jail on a one million dollar cash bond.
Deputy Kowalczyk continues his recovery from the gunshot would.
The Taylor County Building, Grounds & Parks committee met Tuesday. The courthouse will be 100 years old in 2014. The treasurer’s office and the 3rd floor former Circuit Court rooms are relatively unchanged from their original appearance. The committee approved the planning process for a rededication on the Saturday after Labor Day.
Looking ahead to winter snow plowing, 2 bids were received for snow plowing county-owned parking lots. JR’s Snowplowing gave a bid of $6,975 and Dave Hartl & Sons bid $8,000. The JR quote indicated they would remove any snowfall over 1 inch, while the Dave Hartl quote indicated they would remove snowfall in any amount. Committee members awarded the job to Dave Hartl & Sons for the higher bid amount to try and eliminate potential complaints.
The cell tower which is located at the NTC campus building was recently purchased by the county for $25,000. Cell service providers including AT&T, Verizon and Sprint want to upgrade their hardware to 4G. To achieve this a heavier tower is needed. The committee approved the construction of a 265 foot free-standing tower and dismantling of the current tower. AT&T would apply for all permits and build the structure, ultimately selling it back to the county. County Clerk Bruce Strama estimated that the county gets about $6,000 per month for rent of the tower. The committee approved the erection of a temporary tower to be utilized during construction of the new tower near the campus.
The group discussed the future tenancy of the campus building after NTC moves to their new building which is scheduled for early 2014. Lester Lewis indicated he’s heard several ideas regarding moving departments, and not everyone would be happy with a move. Jeff Ludwig felt it would be a mistake to occupy space “just because we have it”. Ultimately Mr. Ludwig felt it would be best to reduce the amount of space the county occupies, possibly by vacating the Ag. building. Mr Lewis indicated he was aware of several non-profits who were interested in the Ag building, but not willing to pay any rent. Mr. Ludwig was directed to bring back a set of current and proposed floor plans. In the interest of security it was hoped that all departments housed in the courthouse would have the same operating hours.
To notify the sheriff’s dispatch of trouble in courthouse offices, an updated Duress system network would add 12 areas of the building which are currently unprotected. Jeff Ludwig indicated total cost of the system is $5,102. The issue will be taken up by the finance committee.
The county’s maintenance crew is continuing work on the remodeled Winter Sports chalet. Ludwig told the committee the project should be completed for the $100,000 budgeted amount.
Fire season in the western part of the United States can be a very dangerous time of year for fire fighters. It takes a special breed to venture into harm's way and confront one of nature's most destructive forces. Two local fire fighters have joined their fellow fire fighters in battling western wild fires. Fire fighters Mike Knipfel and Mickey Christianson recently shared their amazing stories with K99's Russ Gowey....
Can Ten Seconds change a life? Or even end it? Ted Goodrich was a star baseball player. Was doing very well in his chosen profession. It took only Ten Seconds to completely take away life as Ted knew it! It took over ten years to get only part of it back! Based on a true story and actual events. Ten Seconds is a test of true family love...courage...trust...and faith! Author Ted Goodrich shares his incredible, inspirational, true story with K99's Russ Gowey....
The Taylor County Board met Tuesday (Sept. 17). They adopted a resolution of appreciation to Brad Ruesch for his years of service. In addition to his involvement on about 300 timber sales, his contribution to the creation of the county snowmobile trail system, and acquisition of the Pine Line Trail system, the group chuckled when the resolution thanked Mr. Ruesch for supplying chocolate to associates.
The board unanimously approved purchasing the 70 by 70 foot airport hangar from Hurd for $75,000. It was estimated the hangar was constructed for $300,000 in 1998.
The board passed an amended resolution requesting that the money returned from the Bureau of Aeronautics be deposited in the airport improvement fund. Supervisor Zenner amended the resolution to funnel $200,000 to the highway department for paving projects instead of going to the general fund. Lester Lewis indicated the funds originally were intended to be returned to the general fund. Larry Brandl indicated that the county spent between $900,000 and 1 million dollars on land acquisition for the runway expansion project. The amended motion to transfer $200,000 of the returned funds to the highway department passed with 4 no votes.
The board approved a resolution regarding the management of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The resolution expresses concerns about the diminished amount of timber harvests. It indicated that last year, less than ½ of the timber required to maintain forest health was harvested. The resolution requests the U.S. Forest Service change their policy to maximize the health of the forest and to harvest at least 80% of the annual allowable timber.
The board unanimously approved a revised shoreland zoning ordinance to be in compliance with state regulations.
There was considerable discussion regarding a request from the Village of Rib Lake to utilize powerline impact fees to pay repair costs of $38,525.00 for improvements needed at the Rib Lake Senior Citizen center. Lester Lewis expressed his opposition indicating the impact fees were intended for recreation and environmental projects. Supervisor Fuchs indicated he felt that the center provided recreation for senior citizens so he was in favor of the request. Dave Krug indicated that if the county provides funding, the amount should be matched by the requesting entity. Supervisor Bizer amended the request to provide matching funds of up to $20,000. The amended resolution passed on a 13 to 4 vote.
The Taylor County forest annual work plan passed unanimously. The plan is expected to offer timber sales on 450 to 500 acres of forest land.
Lastly, the county board heard an update on the remodeling of the Perkinstown Winter Sports chalet. Mr. Ludwig indicated the project should come in under the $100,000 budget. The project entails an enlarged chalet, improved parking, and maintenance to the existing structure. Work should be completed on time for the upcoming winter opening date.
Governor Walker Approves More Than $198,000 for Project at Taylor County Airport
Governor Scott Walker today (September 12) announced a $198,334 project to purchase snow removal equipment and attachments for the Taylor County Aiport in Medford.
Eric Johnson, airport development engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said the equipment includes a tractor with blade, blower, broom and loader attachments to keep the aiport pavement clear of ice and snow.
Taylor County -$9,917
Federal Aviation Administration-$178,500
The equipment will be delivered by November, just in time for Wisconsin's winter season.
Taylor County Airport is one of 98 facilities in the Wisconsin State Airport System Plan (SASP). The airport is classified as a medium general aviation airport. It supports most single and multi-engine general aviation aircraft including aircraft commonly used by businesses.
One Million Dollars Cash Bond Set for Westboro Shooter
On Sunday, September 8th at approximately 9:05 P.M., a 27 year old male Taylor County resident was taken into custody as the result of his involvement in a shooting incident that caused injury to a Taylor County Deputy Sheriff.
The officer, 5 year Taylor County Sheriff's veteran, Chad R. Kowalczyk, had made contact with the individual, 27 year old Alexander Joseph Schneider, as the result of a reported violation of a court ordered injunction. During that contact, officer Kowalczyk came under fire and ultimately reported to the Dispatch Center that he was injured.
Emergency medical personnel were dispatched along with additional law enforcement officers. Officer Kowalczyk also received assistance from concerned citizens in the area.
The suspect, Alexander Joseph Schneider, was apprehended, transported to and booked into the Lincoln County Jail.
Taylor County received law enforcement assistance from the Medford Police Department, Clark, Marathon, Eau Claire, Lincoln, Chippewa and Price County Sheriff's Departments.
The Westboro and Rib Lake Fire Departments provided assistance by conducting traffic control. Rib Lake Ambulance and First Responders along with Medevac and an area Flight For Life Service provided medical treatment and assistance to the injured officer.
Following his arrest Sunday night, Alexander Schneider was interviewed by WI DOJ DCI special agent David Forsythe. Schneider admitted to pointing a .22 caliber rifle at the deputy's head and shot at the deputy as the deputy ran around the house to the squad car.
Schneider admitted to shooting through his bedroom window at the deputy as he was trying to get into his squad car. Schneider said he was trying to shoot at the officer's center mass at that time.
Following the shooting, the officer radioed dispatch indicating he was wounded. As support officers moved to the scene of the shooting at W4945 CTH D, Westboro, the alleged shooter was apparently communicating via Facebook about his cowardly act. Schneider's Facebook page said that he had shot at law enforcement officers and was preparing to die.
Schneider was arrested about three hours after he shot the deputy and was taken to the Lincoln County Jail.
At a bond hearing in Tyalor County Court on Monday, September 9th, Judge Knox-Bauer set bond at one million dollars cash. Schneider's next court appearance is set for September 24th at 2:30.
Reports indicate that Deputy Chad Kowalczyk had a bullet removed from his stomach in surgery Sunday night. He reported to be recovering from his wounds at an area hospital.