Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Live from the 45th parallel

Well almost live... the Internet is a little spotty up here.

CADOTT, Wis. – Heading north into the Northwoods, I have found that there's some novelty to being exactly smack-dab-in-the-middle of two geographically notable places. I think it probably takes a special type of person to appreciate it...

When you live in Wisconsin it's terribly easy in the winter months to fall into the false belief that you're a heck of a lot closer to the North Pole. Truth be told: In Appleton, we're closer to the equator.

This sign in the small rural town of Cadott – oh who am I kidding, anything north of Eau Claire is a small rural town – signifies its claim to fame... being very, very near the 45th parallel. The sign, which is located in the town's Lions Park is actually 3 miles south of the actual 45ºN latitude line.

As I proceeded north from the sign, I switched my car's GPS to display the actual latitude and longitude readout – it's accurate to about 6 feet.

Maybe I'm a complete dork, but approaching the 45th Parallel was like approaching 100,000 miles in a car. As the display changed to read 45º00'000", I looked at the nearest street sign...

Sure enough: 45th Parallel Road.

Live from the Leinie Lodge

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. – Of all the beers out on the market these days, I've taken a liking to the Leinenkugel brand made right here in Wisconsin.

On my way up to Clam Lake, Wis., I saw a sign which reminded me that the company's brewery is near Eau Claire – on the way. It's my "day off" today, so I decided to do something fun. I took a brewery tour.

Leinie's brewery is northeast of Eau Claire. It produces roughly 1500 barrels of beer every day. A barrel holds roughly 31 gallons, which is roughly 331 servings. That's a lot of hangovers! (I'm kidding, mom...)

It was a really fun experience and even got to sample a few varieties I hadn't felt comfortable spending money on.

Trivia... the first person to answer the question fully and correctlyy wins... well you don't win anything but you win the honor of being the winner:

Question: What is the origin of the Native American head on the Leinenkugel's logo on its current beer line-up?

And did you know?

-The brewery adds only a 5 gallon bucket of honey to it's batches of weiss beers? That amounts to a whole 1-2 drops of honey in every bottle. But hey, it's local honey at least!

-The brewery produced a handful of varieties of soda as well as a "non-intoxicating" brew during prohibition.

-Draft beer has more flavor than bottled beer because kegs are not sterilized with hot water.

-Farms in Chilton, Wis., southeast of Appleton, is one of two suppliers of barley for Leinenkugel's dark beers.

-Leinenkugel used to grow its own hops until a fungus outbreak in the soil made the region incapable of growing hops. They are now grown in the Yakima Valley region of Washington state.

-The batches of brewers' yeast can be reused up to 12 times.

-After being used for the brewing process, the grain particles are picked up by local farmers for use as feed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

A color guard from the American Legion Post 38 walks east on College Avenue in downtown Appleton during the annual Memorial Day Parade, Monday, May 26, 2008.

A tattered American flag flies behind the Spirit of the American Doughboy statue on S. Memorial Drive in Appleton, Wis. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2008.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NCAA Division III Baseball Championships

Covered a couple games of the opening day of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship out in Grand Chute...

It's really a pleasure covering these guys who play it out, sometimes 14 innings or more, purely for the love of the game. In D3, it's surely not about fame!

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Jordan Stine (15) connects with a solo home run in the second inning against Linfield in a first round game of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, Wis., Friday May 23, 2008.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Mike Kenseth (3) gets caught in a run down, chased by Linfield's Shannon Chung (1) after Kenseth attempted to steal second – but turned back at the last minute – in the sixth inning.

Johns Hopkins outfielder Dan Merzel (6) barely hangs on to short fly ball in left field in the 14th inning of a game against Adrian.

Johns Hopkins' Matt Benchener (31), center, and teammate Isaac Katz (9) embrace after Benchener hit the winning RBI in the bottom of the 14th inning.

Linfield's Gunnar Cederberg (26) and David Bachofner (15) celebrate what were eventually the winning runs scored in bottom of the eighth inning.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Brownie remembered

Of the 5,500 graves at the Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery at King, there is one that does not hold human remains. His name is Brownie, a German shepherd who served as a scout dog during World War II in Europe. After the war, he was a daily companion to many service veterans and staff members at the Grand Army Home for Veterans.

Click here to watch the video

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Less travel this summer...

It was recently determined by – I believe – the AAA, that for the first time ever there will be fewer motorists traveling on highways this summer for vacation season.

Had to illustrate the story... gotta love the rare overpass without a chain-link fence...

Monday, May 19, 2008

America's Game

Assigned to cover an art exhibition last week called "Art of the Diamond." They had a really nice exhibit of George Brace photographs, including the opening day at Wrigley Field and the planting of the famous ivy which now covers the outfield walls.

Dallas Anderson's 1990 clay sculpture titled "Phil to Bat" is displayed on the first floor at the Appleton Art Center's Art of the Diamond exhibit in Appleton, Wis., Thursday evening, May 15, 2008.

Seen through large, hanging, reproduction prints of 1911 baseball cards, Lawrence University professor emeritus of classics Dan Taylor presents his talk "America's Game" to an audience at the Appleton Art Center's Art of the Diamond exhibit in Appleton, Wis., Thursday evening, May 15, 2008. The two historic T206 baseball cards, displayed themselves in a nearby glass case, picture John Evers and Frank Chance of the Chicago Cubs.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

From "fun" to fun for the kids

One year old Nevaeha Rieder (cq), center, of Menasha was quick out of the gate at the Huggies Baby Derby at the Miller Kids Expo at the former Springz building in Grand Chute, Wis., Saturday May 17, 2008. Rieder won the race decidedly. Her mother, Susan, was awarded a baby sized ball cap and a coupon for free diapers.

What started as a "Kids Expo" turned into a bonanza for kids of all ages who ever dreamed of being a firefighter and driving the big red trucks.

A few hours after the children's fair began, the fire alarms sounded, later determined to be triggered by an electrical fire in the building's mechanical room. The much of the local fire department was already there and evacuated the building.

When supporting units showed up, most kids welcomed the big trucks and loud sirens. Others were a little disappointed to leave earlier than anticipated.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cameras in the courts... but no defendants...

Lately we've been tracking a hard news story about a Neenah woman accused of suffocating her young son, apparently after hearing voices telling her to do so.

In Winnebago County, the accused often make their initial appearances before the court via CCTV. The reasoning for this is lost of me. Perhaps it's a security reason... I suppose that makes some sense.

So as a news photographer, your only real course of action to get an image for the newspaper is to literally photograph the 27" CRT television that is sitting against the wall of the courtroom. It's less than ideal, of course. You would initially think the TV photographers would be at an advantage here... they can just plug into the signal feed right? Nuh uh! CCTV doesn't stand for closed circuit television for nothing!

Below is a "great" shot of the special prosecutor exiting the courtroom only to say she has no comment regarding the case details.

Prepare for the ensuing drama that will surely take months...

Confronted by television news media, special prosecutor Patti L. Wabitsch emerges from the initial appearance of Brenda Thiel, 27, of Neenah, Wis., accused of first degree intentional homicide, in Winnebago County Court in Oshkosh, Wis., Friday afternoon, May 16, 2008. Thiel is accused of killing her 2-year-old son, Caleb, by suffocation.

Golf... yeehaw...

I generally have a difficult time getting decent action from golf tournaments. With some more experience hopefully that will change, but for now I tend to use quirky features and scenics as a crutch.

Appleton East's John Anderson makes his approach shot on the first hole at Oshkosh Country Club during an FVA golf meet in Oshkosh, Wis., Friday, May 16, 2008.

Kimberly golfer Craig Uitenbroek shows his foursome his deer-head driver cover on the 12th hole at Oshkosh Country Club during an FVA golf meet in Oshkosh, Wis., Friday, May 16, 2008.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Door County

A little bit of a family vacation last Monday...

My parents visited for the first time together and we spent the day up in Door County (the thumb peninsula of Wisconsin). It is Cape Coddish on the western side, and more rugged on the eastern side. Lots of northern European influence in these parts. We took the driving tour...

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay is known for its authentic Swedish dishes, yes; but more famous for its tribe of goats that grazes on the thatched grass roof in the summer months (they have a ramp, I'm told). The goats weren't up yet... I was disappointed.

Cave Point in Whitefish Dunes was formed by "eons" of Lake Michigan pounding ashore. Some quick snaps from there...

And when you're in Whitefish Dunes, you have to go see the actual dunes. Indeed, Wisconsin does have sandy beaches!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Sole Burner...

... it's a 5k walk/run here in town every year.

I got this frame I'm really happy with. It's not a perfect photograph, but a really cute moment that I'm happy I captured.

Dan Voetberg and son Brian, 3, of Neenah stretch together before the kids race before the 26th Annual Sole Burner Run/Walk at City Park in Appleton, Wis., Saturday morning, May 10, 2008.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Officials still worried about deadly fish virus

From our story by Ben Jones:

"One year has passed since an Ebola-like fish virus known as VHS was discovered in this watershed. Officials then called it a 'major fish health crisis.'

While the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus hasn't caused many visible changes on Lake Winnebago, officials warn the full effect on fish populations might not be known for years.

In the meantime, officials are working to get fishermen and boaters to follow new rules aimed at halting the spread of a disease they can't see."

I spent part of a day on a ride along with DNR warden Mike Rader. It was a fun time...

Conservation warden Mike Rader of Wisconsin DNR observes people fishing near the Menasha Dam in Menasha, Wis., Saturday, May 3, 2008. Rader and other wardens are on patrol educating people on new rules regarding viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), and looking for offenders.

Rader inspects the containers and catch of Bob Chin and Bill Igl, right, of Neenah, who were fishing near the Menasha Dam.

Rader talks with a boater at the boat landing at Recreation (Rec) Park in Neenah, Wis.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Baseball season... cont'd

Pretty unhappy with this first frame... that ball was way too close to the edge of the frame... no crop can correct that... sigh...

Kimberly High School's Anthony Englebert (4) beats the throw at second to Menasha High School's Bennet Wenzel (7) in the first inning of a baseball game at Koslo Park in Menasha, Wis., Friday evening, May 9, 2008.

Sliding back to first base...

Swing dancing... at least trying to...

Highlands Elementary School fifth-graders Matt Johnson and Marissa Marx give their best effort in a swing dancing class as part of the ArtsBridge program at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., Friday afternoon, May 9, 2008.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Appleton North High School players circle around teammate Sarah Hagen (23), third left, after her 10:12 goal to make it 1-0 over Neenah High School in the first half of a soccer game in Appleton, Wis., Thursday evening, May 8, 2008.

Coincidentally, I met Hagen's grandma as she sat in the pew ahead of me at church on Sunday.


Not a moving image, really, but significant that this crash happened around 4pm, and by transmitting wirelessly from the scene we were able to have our visuals of the crash online before any of the TV networks went live at 5pm. ..

Authorities clean up a multiple vehicle crash on US-41 southbound just east of County Road J in Kaukauna, Wis., early Thursday evening, May 8, 2008.

Friday, May 09, 2008


It's been awhile since I've had a home and garden assignment.

Maybe I should go into architecture photography... I hear it's tough...

A look at the foyer from the inside at Jon Huss' home in Combined Locks, Wis., Wednesday, April 30, 2008.

Monday, May 05, 2008


I actually really enjoy softball... I'm not so great at shooting it, but I still can enjoy it right?

There's just so much more action with softball... a lot has to do with the fact that the field is so much smaller, which generally forces more plays and more runs.

This game was played in particularly hazy/foggy weather.

Kimberly High School's Amanda Pozolinski (21) reaches for a fly ball in centerfield as teammate Paeton Olejniczak (4) converges on the play in the first inning.

Kimberly High School's Maggie Wettstein (22), right, and Claudia Harke (26), left, celebrate their victory over Kaukauna.

Fox River's Flowing...

A group of geese lands in the swiftly flowing Fox River near Lutz Park in Appleton, Wis., Tuesday afternoon, April 29, 2008.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

More track...

Some more of the same, and some new looking stuff, too...

Appleton West's Jason Ulman gives a go at the high jump during a boys' track meet at Appleton East High School in Appleton, Wis., Thursday, May 1, 2008.

Appleton North's Sean Gretzinger just clears the final hurdle in the first heat of the 110 meter high hurdles.

Appleton West's Jordan Wochenske pushes ahead of Fond du Lac's Miles Groeschel in the second heat of the 100 meter dash.

I can't help but gravitate towards awesome shoes...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bitter family feud ends up in state Supreme Court

Diana Sanders looks at the part of her land along the Wolf River in Fremont, Wis., Tuesday afternoon, April 22, 2008. Sanders still lives on the family farm of her late husband, David Sanders.

From our story by Susan Squires:

"Diana Sanders' journey through hell began with a blast from a .22 caliber Ruger on June 25, 1999.

It may or may not end this spring with a state Supreme Court decision.

In the intervening nine years, there have been accusations of homicide, civil suits and a bitter battle over the will David Sanders changed shortly before his death, disinheriting his wife of 17 years."

Sanders' husband shot himself in the head that day. She found him dead in their farmhouse living room. Shortly before his suicide, he changed his will, disinheriting his wife, thinking she was planning to kill him. For many years she has been fighting a legal battle for the farmland... extremely valuable farmland... that runs along the Wolf River in Fremont.

She hates to see it go to developers, given the family history. Many artifacts from Native American populations continue to turn up in the fields.

Sanders says she wants to move on with her life and perhaps get into big-rig hauling.

Diana Sanders displays knicknacks and artifacts in her Fremont farmhouse. To her, it's what makes her land "home." Among the artifacts are arrowheads and ax heads found in the fields after years of tilling.

A decorative frame in true farmhouse fashion displays an aerial photograph of Sanders' farmhouse and surrounding land.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A new kind of hospital...

Resource specialist Randy Recker stocks specially-designed hospital room supply cabinets twice a day – at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. – at the Collaborative Care unit at Appleton Medical Center in Appleton, Wis., Wednesday afternoon, April 30, 2008. The cabinets in each room slide out into the hallway, allowing them to be stocked from outside the room, reducing intrusion or exposure to ill patients. This concept and others that are part of the Collaborative Care unit design, which is more time and space efficient, will expand into other ThedaCare locations in the coming years.

Home again...

Oh, to be a kid again...

Last weekend I got to head home for the weekend to celebrate my nephew's birthday, and spend time with my family. Always important to be a journalist of your family, too. Here's some snaps from the weekend...

My nephew was successful in blowing out all four candles on his birthday cake, however, not before sneezing on it. My sister's always one step ahead, though... she had a backup cake ready to go... many presents...

My youngest niece hams it up for the camera...