A 20 year old Medford man identified by police as the shooter in an incident that prompted a lockdown at Medford High School stalling a high school football game on August 30, 2014 will be serving more jail time. Harrison Davis pleaded guilty to a felony charge of first degree recklessly endangering safety. Judge Ann Knox-Bauer sentenced Davis to 2 years and 6 months in a state prison, along with 2 years and 6 months extended supervision. He was also found guilty of bail jumping and sentenced to 9 months of jail time with the defendant to pay all sheriff and jail fees. Jail time to be concurrent with prison time. Three other charges were dismissed but read into the record. The court also ordered Davis to pay $1,963.
The incident began around 3 PM August 30, 2014 when a man called 911 to report that shots had been fired through his front door of a home near Holy Rosary School. The bullet reportedly traveled through the living room and into the kitchen but did not injure anyone. During the ensuing search for the suspect the football game at the high school was postponed for several hours with the field evacuated. Harrison Davis was arrested three hours later near the Chippewa and Taylor County line. Jail time for Davis can be served in any county of the state with no additional cost to Taylor County.
For twenty five years...or more...DNR Conservation Warden Nick Nice has been a featured guest on K99's Deer Hunters Report with host K99's Russ Gowey. Nick has also been a familiar and, mostly, friendly face in the woods, on the water and anywhere else people are enjoying Wisconsin's Great Outdoors. Nick is retiring after many years of outstanding service to our area. Thanks Nick and best of luck in retirement! Recently, Nick Nice stopped by our K99 Radio Studios in Medford and shared his experiences, swapped stories and reminisced with K99's Russ Gowey....
9/6/16 Farm Implement Crash lnjures Several People
A Saturday night, September 5th, crash involving a farm implement and a pickup sent several people to the hospital. Taylor County officers responded to a 911 call which reported that a pickup struck a trailer which was stopped in the roadway on County O, just west of County C. Also responding to the scene were the Medford Ambulance, Medevac, and Medford Area Fire Department. Preliminary reports indicate that a pickup truck which was pulling a gravity box was attempting to back the gravity box trailer into a farm driveway when a second pickup struck the farm pickup. Several people were taken from the scene by ambulances.
While officials were at the crash scene the Medford fire department was called to a fire alarm at Phillips Medisize Plastics. The Stetsonville Fire Department was called for backup. It turned out to be a false alarm.
Early Wednesday morning, September 3rd, as Medford school officials arrived for work they discovered that the high school had been vandalized. Reports indicate that many doors and windows at the high school had been spray painted sometime Tuesday night. School officials began the task of cleaning up the mess before students arrived. According to district administrator Pat Sullivan, a number of Medford students have been identified as being involved. While most of the damage was cleaned up, on a number of doors the paint peeled off from the pressure of the power washers. So they will require additional attention. Some of the graffiti read: “Class of 2016”. District officials have indicated that the disciplinary process for the students involved has begun.
A utility worker was injured in a work-related accident Tuesday August 18th in the town of Greenwood. Reports indicate that a 911 call to the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office reported that a vehicle had struck a rope which was being guided across the roadway by a construction worker, causing the worker to be entangled in the rope and injuring him. When a Taylor County officer arrived on the scene, an injured semi-conscious person was lying in the roadway on Lemke Creek Road, just north of County M. Other workers on the scene indicated that they had been guiding a piece of fiber optic cable underground in the ditch area of Lemke Creek Road about 500 feet north of M. A backhoe was pulling a high tensile rope which was attached to the fiber optic across County M. An eastbound vehicle struck the rope causing it to strike the victim’s legs, flipping him onto the pavement. The vehicle did not stop. One of the workers indicated he saw the victim get flipped into the air just after being struck by the rope. The Medford ambulance transported the victim to Aspirus Hospital in Medford. There were no construction signs or barriers posted on County M. It was possible that the vehicle’s driver who ran over the rope had no knowledge of what actually happened.
The case involving the disciplining of Medford Police Officer Rob Stieber continued Thursday, August 20th. Stieber is charged by Medford Police Chief Ken Coyer with conduct issues related to personal cell phone and computer usage while on duty.
Former Taylor County Officer Haydon Estano testified by phone from Brown County. Estano testified that he had observed other Medford police officers using their in-squad computers for viewing You-Tube, Sportscenter and watching movies while on duty. He called Stieber a “caring guy” while expressing fear that Stieber’s ex-girlfriend would follow through on her threats of violence toward Stieber.
Next Rob Stieber took the stand on his own behalf. His attorney Shawn Paul asked him why his ex-girlfriend left the series of threatening voice mails telling him to stay away. He replied that her best friend was trying to set her up with a trucker from Canada. When he was asked why he didn’t report her threatening voice mails he responded that he loved her and didn’t want anything to happen to her. Stieber testified that one time his ex-girlfriend took a kitchen knife and pointed it at him. He said that on March 6th his father helped him move most of his things out of his ex-girlfriend’s house. But they had agreed to meet later that night after work outside of Hemer’s. During their relationship, they would meet outside a number of Medford area businesses where he parked his patrol car after she was done working at the Medford hospital E.R. Chief Coyer called Stieber’s presence at Hemers a form of stalking while Stieber’s girlfriend worked at the hospital. Stieber said she actually wanted to go to the movies that next night. He said his one mistake was calling the trucker from Canada and telling him that he was still in a relationship.
Stieber expressed his surprise that 2 letters of reprimand which were to be removed from his personnel file were used in the charges against him. One instance of calling dispatch from his cell phone in 2011 was supposed to be removed 1 year later. A second infraction of failure to report a change of address was to be removed one month later. Stieber testified that during his 7 ½ years as a Medford Police officer he had received numerous “atta-boys” letters of commendations from superior officers. They included a life-saving certificate. He had the department’s most extra patrols and half of all traffic stops in 2014. Stieber said he thought those documents would be in his personnel file but they weren’t.
City Attorney Wilson cross examined Stieber. He asked if Stieber recalled phoning dispatch in 2011 to ask if he needed to respond to a report of an unruly inmate at the Jail. Stieber said he couldn’t recall. Wilson asked Stieber about adhering to an 8 point improvement plan. Stieber said that was three years ago and that the chief said he would remove it from the file after 1 year. Regarding Stieber calling his girlfriend during a breakup, Stieber said it was a one time thing on a relationship that went sour. Stieber said his only bad decision was calling Ned the trucker after he was off duty. He said while he was parked outside Hemers, he was waiting for her, she was coming to him.
Commissioner Brian Hedlund asked Stieber about a recorded interview with the Chief and Stieber regarding his alleged misconduct. Hedlund asked Stieber why he showed remorse? Stieber responded he was scared. He said it was like a bombshell. He said I never should have called Ned. “I was sorry and wanted to get back to work”.
Commissioner Jim Elliot asked if Stieber had any prior knowledge about the topic of the meeting. Stieber said, no, I thought it was about cell phone use.
Stieber testified that his ex-girlfriend had brought home various patient records from the hospital. When he was asked why he didn’t report her violent threats or alleged violations of HIPPA laws he said he was “blinded by love”. He said on the day before he moved out she had given him her work schedule so they could coordinate time off together.
Thursday afternoon Sargent Craig Amundson of the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department took the stand. Amundson said he is Stieber’s brother-in-law. Amundson said he calculated 65 days of computer usage by the Medford Police Department. His report showed the top 10 web sites visited by most of the employees. He refuted the chiefs assumption of stalking by Stieber, indicating you couldn’t see the hospital’s ER from Hemer’s. He said that the chief alleged Stieber used the computer for 144 minutes searching for the Canadian trucker when in fact it was closer to 44 minutes.
The last witness to take the stand was Chief Coyer. Attorney Shawn Paul questioned why Stieber wasn’t provided a written notice of charges prior to his administrative meeting. She grilled Coyer for changing his timelines as the case progressed.
Commissioner Russ Jablonsky asked Coyer if the Police & Fire Commission had met on March 5th, the day before Stieber moved out & called the trucker, what would you say to Stieber?
Coyer responded that in February he, Officer Carey and assistant Sara Serano had detected a decline in Stieber’s performance. He said Stieber missed an unlocked jewelry store door and finding a reported stolen car.
Commissioner Jim Metz asked about Stieber’s girlfriend's threats toward Stieber. Was any action taken toward her? Coyer said she denied those.
Commissioner Jim Elliot asked Coyer if he had changed his attitude toward Stieber’s girlfriend. Coyer responded that they were like nitroglycerin on a bumpy road.
The 4 commissioners concluded Thursday by deciding in closed session how they will accept the closing summaries by both sides. Currently Chief Coyer has placed Officer Stieber on paid administrative leave. The commission must decide whether to do nothing, to discipline Stieber possibly with non-paid time off and then reinstate his position, or to terminate his employment. If the 4 commissioners should end up in a 2 to 2 tie vote, Stieber would assume his employment immediately.
The Medford Police and Fire Commission is scheduled to meet again on September 2nd at Medford City Hall.
A Monday night fire caused damaged to a Medford area business. At 9:40 Monday night a 911 call reported that a logging truck was on fire in the work shop at Krug’s Towing & Repair located northwest of Medford at N3470 CTH Q. The business is owned by Brian and Jeanne Krug of Medford. Two employees of the business discovered the burning semi-tractor as they drove up to the building. No one was working in the building at the time. Medford firefighters were able to extinguish the burning truck which is reported to be owned by a logger from Arkansas, WI. Due to an extension of the fire, firefighters had to peel away a portion of the steel ceiling in the work shop to extinguish some burning rafters. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Preliminary damage estimates are $300,000. Brian Krug told K99 that the towing and repair businesses are continuing to operate. The phone numbers will not change. Until the building can be repaired, the businesses will operate out of the Krug Bus Garage on Medford’s West Side.
The Chequamegon Flowage Miller Dam will be receiving some required repairs before winter. The Taylor County Forestry and Recreation Committee discussed the repairs which had been documented by the D.N.R. Jack Schmieser talked to the committee about the extent of repairs and how he would approach the project. He indicated much of the procedure would be the same process as is used at Hoover Dam. The repairs upstream would be done from a boat. The repairs which have been identified by the D.N.R. include the dam gate and abutment walls. To repair cracks in the dam, which were not identified by the DNR, would drive the estimated cost over $30,000. The committee voted to proceed with the required repairs to Miller Dam which Jack Schmeiser estimated would not exceed $10,000.
In other business the committee was told that logging in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest may be on the rise with the initiation of the Good Neighbor proposal. Currently the U.S. Forest Service is cutting about 60% of the timber which they are authorized to harvest. The federal agency justifies this inactivity due to budget cuts. The Good Neighbor Initiative would divert some of the timber management to the state and county levels with expenses reimbursed by the logging proceeds. The committee expressed guarded optimism that the program may increase the volume of timber harvest in the federal forest.
The four person City of Medford Police and Fire Commission is normally a low-key position. Now they are faced with the decision of whether to allow a Medford Police officer to lose his job. Commission members in attendance included Jim Elliott, Russ Jablonsky, Brian Hedlund and chairman Jim Metz.
Officer Rob Stieber has been charged by Medford Police Chief Ken Coyer with violating I.T. rules, personal cell phone standards and personal conduct including failure to report his change of residence address.
Testimony on Thursday, August 6th by Chief Coyer gave details of Officer Stieber's alleged used of his personal cell phone while on duty and incidents of inappropriate record keeping. Coyer said a resident was concerned about a 2 year old child who was in a meth house. Coyer said Stieber didn't report the child's situation to human services, which put the child in peril.
The city's attorney alleged that Stieber patrolled outside the hospital where his girlfriend worked to monitor her as they were in the process of breaking up. Attorney Wilson charged that Stieber spent about an hour while he was on duty googling another man whom the attorney said Stieber's girlfriend had met online. Attorney Paul pointed out that the Marathon County Sheriff's Department found no evidence of stalking. In regard to using a computer for personal use, attorney Paul said every officer except for officer Schroeder had used a computer for personal use while on duty.
Primary testimony on Friday, August 7th, centered on Rob Stieber's ex-girlfriend Lori Thomson. She testified that they never had a normal relationship and estimated that they broke up and made up 4 or 5 times over 4 years. She said one day she came home from work and all of his things were in her home. He had been living with his grandparents. Thomson complained that Stieber would rip up her lawn with his vehicle during disagreements. She called his dad to move his things out of her home. While Thomson was at work, Stieber and his father moved his items out of the house. Thomson said that Stieber took several items which he had given her including a lamp, a bike wheel, waffle iron and, when she looked outside, there was a pile of sunflowers because he took the bird feeder.
One area of contention was when Stieber searched Thomson's caller id and found the phone number of a Canadian man with whom she had conversed. Stieber called the man the following morning at 4:00, 5:00 and 7:00 A.M., telling him that he was her boyfriend.
Thomson reported that Stieber's mom had called her at 1:00 A.M., sounding intoxicated, scolding Thomson for jeopardizing her son's job.
Thomson testified that she thought Stieber would change, but now she just wants him to leave her alone. She lamented that she lost more in this relationship than she did in her divorce.
Shawn Paul cross examined Thomson, grilling her on being investigated for violating Aspirus polices by taking home written patient records.
Stieber told a Marathon County detective that Thomsom had left numerous profanity laced voice mails on his phone. The boisterous voice mails were played for the commission with Thomson shouting, "I wil ruin your job!"
The four member commission must decide whether Rob Stieber can keep his job as a Medford Police patrolman. He is on paid administrative leave facing charges of misconduct. Following two days of testimony, the Police and Fire Commission will have a time out next week with their next meeting scheduled for Monday, August 17th at Medford City Hall beginning at 9:00 A.M.
The 2015 Taylor County Fair will be held Thursday, July 23rd through Sunday, July 26th in the Taylor County Fairgrounds on the corners of Highway 13 & 64 in Medford. The K99 Dairy Dessert Contest is Friday afternoon beginning at 1:00 in the multi purpose building. Grandstand entertainment includes K99 Radio & Nicolet National Bank presents Vic Ferrari on Thursday night at 7:00, NTPA Tractor Pulls Friday night at 7:30, Central Truck Pullers Truck Pulls Saturday night at 6:00 and Mini Rod Pulls Sunday afternoon at 3:00. The Market Animal Show & Sale is Friday night at 6:00, Dairy Judging is Saturday morning beginning at 9:00 with the Over the Hill Contest to follow, the Junior Amateur Talent Competition starts Sunday at noon. For more information, visit wi tayor county fair.com…
Members of the Taylor County Finance Committee got a sneak peek at a proposed children’s museum during their meeting on Tuesday, July 14th. Alli Rannum and Lesse Lukewich detailed their plans for the proposed children’s museum. They indicated that the museum would be a place for young families to bring their children and interact with peers utilizing interactive activities including a small bank, grocery store and sensory type activity stations. Outdoor gardens would teach children to care for plants with learning workshops on the environment. Ms. Rannum told the committee that the city pool sold 189 passes last year and their initial goal would be 200 memberships. Through fundraising events they hope to raise enough money to purchase a building in downtown Medford and green space for outdoor activities. The fundraising goal is $200,000.
Rollie Thums indicated he had driven numerous busloads of Rib Lake students to similar museums in Eagle River, Madison and Eau Claire. He said the children had so much fun it was difficult to get them to leave. He commended the group for their enthusiasm and said he supported giving our children an activity where they don’t use their thumbs, but use their brains.
Dave Krug questioned if the facility would amount to a daycare. Alli Rannum replied that parents must sign a form agreeing to not leave their children unattended. Mr. Lukewich indicated that daycare providers would be welcome to bring their youngsters for productive learning activities.
The finance committee voted unanimously to pledge $10,000 to the children’s museum venture with funds coming from power line funding. The measure will now require a 2/3 approval by the Taylor County Board at their August meeting.
Medford Apartment Building Destroyed By Fire 7/4/15
The shortage of rental housing in Medford became more pronounced with a major apartment fire on the 4th of July. Just before 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon, a 911 call reported a structure fire at 810 Malibu Drive on Medford’s northeast side. The Medford police, Taylor County Deputies, and Firefighters from Medford and Stetsonville responded. Emergency personnel were able to confirm that everyone had made it out of the building and were accounted for.
The fire started on the east side of the structure near an air conditioner and quickly burned up 2 stories spreading to the rafters along the roof’s soffit. With the flames burning and contained between the shingles and the ceiling drywall, firefighters had a difficult time containing the blaze. The Medford ladder truck applied thousands of gallons of water with the majority of the roof system eventually collapsing. The nine apartment complex which is owned by Chuck Gelhaus is considered a total loss.
Many agencies responded to the scene. Displaced occupants received assistance from the Taylor County Emergency Management, Taylor County Human Services, and the Red Cross for temporary housing needs. The Taylor County Humane Society assisted families with housing for their family pets. Taylor County EMS assisted with medical issues related to the fire and heat. No major injuries were reported. Krugs’ Bus Service provided transportation for displaced citizens. Happy Joe’s Pizza and private citizens came forward with water and other items for responders.
The building’s owner Chuck Gelhaus told K99 that he was amazed at the professional response on a holiday weekend. He expressed relief that no one was hurt. And although the building’s occupants could recover some personal items on Sunday, many items were lost. Mr. Gelhaus indicated that anyone who wanted to help the fire victims could contact either the Red Cross or Human Services. Prior to construction on a replacement facility the long process of state approved plans must be completed. Mr. Gelhaus said that their goal is to have a new rental housing facility completed prior to winter.
The Medford Area Senior High School was well represented at the 2015 Badger Boys and Girls State Program. Douglas Shumacher of Stetsonville and Jacob Geiger and Ty Wrage of Medford attended Badger Boys State June 13th through the 20th at Ripon College. Esther Lusenge of Medford attended Badger Girls State June 21st through the 26th at the UW-Oshkosh. To be selected, students must rank in the upper third of the junior class and exhibit qualities of leadership, character and an interest in government and leadership. Recently, these students stopped by the K99 Radio studios in Medford and shared their Badger State experience with K99's Patrick Porten.....
Plans are being announced for the 2015 K99 Dairy Dessert Contest at the Taylor County Fair. All dairy desserts must include 2 Real Dairy products to be eligible. This year’s winner of the contest will receive a select Haier 18 cubic foot top mount refrigerator courtesy of K & B Refrigeration. The event will be held in the Taylor County Municipal Building Friday July 24th at 1 PM. This year’s dairy dessert contest is sponsored by Marathon Cheese Corporation, K & B Refrigeration, Taylor County Farm Bureau, and K99 Radio. Entry deadline is Friday July 17th. For complete rules, check our website K99WIGM.com or stop by the K99 studios on highway 13 in Medford.
The Sheldon man who is guilty of killing one man and injuring another man while driving drunk is going to prison.
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer sentenced James Winchel to 16 years of prison time for driving drunk and killing Juan Salinas and injuring his brother in 2013. Prior to his sentencing on Friday in Taylor County Court wearing handcuffs and an orange jump suit Winchel turned and winked at his family members. District Attorney Kristi Tlusty asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence which would have amounted to 30 years imprisonment and 20 years extended supervision. D.A. Tlusty indicated that Wisconsin has a poor reputation for punishing drunk driving. She said that Winchel’s crime is multiplied by his 4 prior O.W.I. convictions.
In court on Friday, Salinas family members wept as the D.A. detailed the crash which severely broke the leg of Fernando Salinas and killed his brother Juan Salinas as they stood alongside a rural roadway in western Taylor County following a day of deer hunting. Juan’s body flew 130 feet after the collision. Ferando’s leg was so badly broken that it took exceptional care by doctors in Wausau to save the leg. Prior to sentencing on Friday, Fernando limped to the witness stand to tell the court how he and his only brother came for a fun weekend and it turned into a nightmare. He told the court he had endured 3 surgeries. He suffers nightmares and wakes up crying after losing his only brother. He also asked the judge to sentence Winchel to the maximum time so he couldn’t cause this to another family.
Juan Fernando’s widow Maria took the stand next. In front of her was a picture of the couple. She began to weep telling the court she lost the love of her life. She said she didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. She continued weeping saying she had no one to cook for, no one to mow lawn, or go camping with. She felt that Winchel showed no remorse and recalled how during the trial he looked behind him to smile at his children. The widow Maria sternly said “you have no idea how that made me feel”. She concluded by thanking D.A. Tlusty, her staff and the court.
Natalie Martinez read a statement from Juan’s son Daniel who characterized his late father as dependable, caring and always ready to help. He indicated his regret of taking his father for granted, thinking he would always be there.
Winchel’s defense attorney Noco asked the court to compare to comparable cases involving repeat drunk drivers killing someone. He said that his research showed that in cases over the past 2 years, prison sentences have ranged from 4 to 14 years. He told the court that he knew what it felt like to lose a family member, but that instead of life in prison, Winchel needed rehabilitation. The attorney told the court that if Winchel messed up after an abbreviated stay in prison, then he’d go back for the rest of his life.
Judge Knox-Bauer sentenced James Winchel to a total of 16 years of prison and an additional 18 years of extended supervision. The judge expressed her concern over Winchel’s 4 prior OWI convictions. It appeared to her that the state’s efforts to rehabilitate Winchel had failed and that it was just a matter of time before he killed someone. She said it’s fair to say that it’s been a living hell for the families of the victims. After Winchel’s prison term, his 18 years of extended supervision will include a 5 year revocation of driving privileges, must submit a DNA sample, must pay restitution, write an apology to the families, and take part in an OWI impact panel. Winchel is to begin his prison term at the Dodge correctional institute. He will be just under 60 years old when he is released.
An arrest has been made in connection with the recent break-in of the Medford V.F.W. Reports indicate that one person is in custody in another jurisdiction following an apprehension at a recent unrelated break-in. While the investigation is underway in several neighboring counties, it is reported that the individual is a prime suspect in break-ins at a number of businesses. The Medford V.F.W. was reported to have been heavily damaged during the overnight break-in and burglary recently. Medford Police are working with law enforcement in neighboring counties in putting the details together. According to Medford police Chief Ken Coyer, details on the break-in are pending with district attorney Kristi Tlusty for charges in the V.F.W. break-in. Details on the suspect who is jailed at this time are forthcoming.
5/24/15 Fire Calls Paired Up
The Medford area fire department was called to a pair of fire calls Saturday, May 23. Just after 8 o’clock Saturday morning a fire alarm sounded at Maple Island at 333 South Wisconsin Avenue in Medford. It was discovered that a gas powered fogger was being used to apply pesticide. The resulting fog triggered the smoke alarm. There was no fire at Maple Island.
Saturday night at 11:35 Medford firefighters were called to a house fire at the Gerald Jani home located at N3308 Spring Drive in the town of Goodrich. Mr. Jani told firefighters that they were sitting by a campfire and noticed flames coming out of the kitchen window. When firefighters arrived the home was fully engulfed in flames. The Athens Fire Department assisted with water supply. Efforts were focused on protecting adjacent structures and cooling a fuel barrel which was near the home. No injuries were reported but the 25 by 40 foot home was a total loss. Medford firefighters were on the scene until 3:15 Sunday morning.
On Sunday, May 17th, 2015, around 7:24 A.M., a Medford Police Officer was dispatched to the report of damaged items in the Medford City Park. A light fixture was discovered broken in the small wooden covered bridge on the west side of the Riverwalk. A plastic memorial was also found broken on the west side of the Riverwalk. One of the city garbage cans was floating in the Black River. Two memorial benches and a large wooden planter were tipped over on the east side of the Riverwalk. If anyone has any information related to this vandalism incident, please call the Medford Police Department at (715) 748-1447. Citizens are also asked to call the Medford Police Department if they see anyone in the Medford City Park after 11:00 P.M. The park closes at 11:00 PM.
A "monster" has shown up on Clint Carbaugh's Facebook page. We've seen these kinds of things on You Tube, Facebook and the like before. They usually turn out to be a hoax, some kind of computer generated picture. But this "River Monster" was found by the Little Black River near Stan Carbaugh's home. Clint recently took some time to "share" his "River Monster" story with K99's Russ Gowey. We hope you "like" it. You'll also find pictures of Carbaugh's River Monster below........
Medford Police are investigating a burglary which occurred Sunday night or early Monday morning. The burglar pried open the back door to the Medford V.F.W. and took undisclosed items. Medford Police are seeking the assistance of anyone who may have seen someone in the area of the V.F.W. between the hours of 9 PM Sunday, May 3rd, and 7 AM Monday, May 4th. If you saw anyone walking or driving near the V.F.W. parking lot overnight Sunday night, please call the Medford Police Department.