Wednesday, January 30, 2013


     The Shawano area got hit with a pretty good snow storm on Wednesday, dropping about seven inches of snow throughout the day.
     Of course when there is a snowstorm, newspaper photographers are some those insane drivers still roaming the streets looking for images for the paper. It can be fun driving around looking for photos during a snowstorm.
    1) You get to test your winter driving habits, stopping fast when you see something to photograph.
    2) You get to laugh at everyone shoveling and snowblowing ... until you realize you get to do it after work.
    3) You get to see the excitement on the kids faces when they slide down the sledding hills as you're snapping away photos
    4) You get to see just really how different everything looks with a coating of snow on it.
    5) When you get back to the office you get to see the great photography by other photojournalists from around the state by checking out their twitter feeds or newspaper websites.
     For the last couple snowstorms I've been trying to find that perfect red barn to get a photo of with snow falling around it. Today, I found that barn and it turns out it was just outside of Shawano. Next, I knew I needed to get some photos of people snowblowing or shoveling. More were snowblowing so that was an easy shot.
    Then I knew that travel was a nightmare during this storm, so I went to a high vantage point and got a few photos of vehicles driving Highway 29 slowly.
    Overall, it was fun day to be out and snapping away photos. I'm sure I'll get doing some more tomorrow, maybe a visit to the sledding hill is in order.
   Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


     Racing is a popular sport around this year with the Shawano Speedway and USA International Raceway, so folks get their fill of racing during every season of the year except winter, right?
     You see, they even get racing in the winter months around here. On Sunday, the Fire on Ice Auto Racing Club kicked off the 2013 season with its first race of the year on Shawano Lake in Cecil. There is a track set up on the ice about 100 yards from shore and cars, ATVs, motorcycles all take to the icy oval for a few laps.
     Fire on Ice isn't the only ice racing auto club in the area. There's a club located in Tilleda, Marion and Caroline as well.
     These racers are serious about the sport too. Some of have been doing it for over 10 years and work on their cars during the summer and fall months in between their summer racing opportunities.
     Spectators can easily watch the sport in the warmth of their own vehicles while listening to the announcer on a local radio station channel live.
     Here are my favorite photos from Sunday's race.


     These last few weeks have been strange. I have been at The Shawano Leader for close to 12 years now -- started in March 2001 as a sports reporter. Just last week I submitted my two-week notice after finding a new opportunity in northern Wisconsin.
     I've had folks contacting me that I have spoken to in a while to say best wishes. I know I'll miss some of what I do, like covering the breaking news. The thing that has has made covering news easy to cover for me has been the relationship I've built with many of our first responders in our area -- from police officers, sheriff's deputies, firefighters, ambulance crews to DNR officials.
     This week reminded me of that. On Friday morning the Bonduel Area Fire Department received a call of a large shed fully engulfed. Thankfully there was no one in the shed, but I knew we needed a daily photo for the paper, so I took a swing out there. I was able to get up to the scene, get some great photos and talk with the fire chief immediately.
     I've known the Bonduel fire chief, Robbie Woldt, my entire 12 years here in Shawano. He was probably the first fire chief I met. Throughout my time here I've learned that you have to respect the emergency responders and they'll let you do your job the way you need to and sometimes they'll even help you out. They want to keep you out of danger and they can't be focused on you when they are trying to put out a fire, free someone from a car or anything of that nature.
    A lot of that stuff I learned from talking to Woldt and our other area first responders. In return, if they ever needed anything, they knew they could come to me, whether it be photos for training for for a photo album, photos for evidence. Sometimes I even just dropped off photos of the firefighters off at the fire houses for no reason at all as a way to say thank you.
    Please respect our first responders and don't forget to say "Thank you" to them every once in a while, they'll appreciate it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


     Back in July I rode along with two of the area's K9 units, the Shawano Police Department K9 unit Scott Ruen and Aldo and also the Shawano County Sheriff's Department K9 unit Craig Rekoske and Getty.
      It was an eye-opening experience seeing how the dogs and officers work together and how much they depend on each other.
     On Saturday, I got to spend some time visiting with the K9 units again as they said farewell to one of their own. Deano — a Shawano County Sheriff's Department K9 since 2007 — was retiring from active duty. Deano, a German Shepherd, has helped the sheriff's department in numerous big drug cases throughout the area.
     Deano and his handler, Deputy Nick Prey, have found over 84 pounds of drugs through searches, have over 120 narcotic-related arrests.
     It was my first retirement ceremony for a K9 that I've covered and it was interesting. Deano received a certificate and his badge from Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright.
     With the retirement of Deano, the sheriff's department received a new dog, Cody who was paired with Deputy Ben Klenke.
     Good luck to Deano in his retirement!

Shawano County K9 Deano relaxes on the floor of the Shawano County Park after receiving his badge during a retirement ceremony on Saturday.

Shawano County Sheriff's Deputy Nick Prey pets K9 Deano during Deano's retirement party on Saturday at the Shawano County Park.

Shawano County Sheriff Randy Wright pets K9 Deano as he presents a certificate to Deano's handler Nick Prey during Deano's retirement party on Saturday at Shawano County Park.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


     As many of you already know, it is definitely winter in Wisconsin and with that comes a few more fires due to wood stoves and other heating units on full force.
     Barn fires seem to be more common in the winter-time and can be a pain in the butt for the firefighters fighting them.
     On Wednesday morning, I covered Shawano County's first barn fire of 2013, near the small village of Gresham. It's still unknown how the fire start, but it was a big one. When the first fire department arrived on scene, the barn was already engulfed in flames. In total, there were five area fire departments on the scene. Just watching all the fire crews working together is amazing, it has to be tough to coordinate all that communication and help, but they seem to do it flawlessly.
     The owner of the barn was able to save about 70 cattle, but lost about three young heifers in the blaze.
     Covering a fire can be a tough assignment, whether you are a rookie photojournalist or someone with years and years of experience. Some tips are to listen to the firefighters, they know what is going on there, stay out of their way, use a big lens so you can stay out of their way, park a ways away so you don't block their fire trucks from getting in and out of the area and don't bother then while they are working the fire to get quotes for the paper/television. You can always talk to a nearby deputy/police officer or wait until things have calmed down or just call the chief when you get back to your desk. Let them do their job.
     Enjoy the rest of the week!


Sunday, January 6, 2013


     The Green Bay Packers rolled over rival Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night in a NFC wild card playoff game at Lambeau Field and the action was great!
     Saturday night it was Packers fullback John Kuhn that provided the best action during the game, emotional celebrations, getting knocked into the air while scoring and running hard through tackle attempts. On the defensive side of the ball, Clay Matthews had a decent night, sacking Vikings quarterback Joe Webb several times.
     Up next for the Packers is a road trip to San Francisco next weekend for Divisional playoffs.
     Here are some of my favorite images from Saturday night's game.

The Vikings fumbled this punt return in the fourth quarter and Green Bay Packers special teams players picked up the loose football.

Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings is upended after making a catch.

Green Bay Packers lineman Josh Sitton throws a block while running back DuJuan Harris runs for more yards against the Vikings.

Lambeau Field in the winter. Nothing better than that and the players were having fun with the cold air like Packers linebacker Clay Matthews does here.

Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn goes airborne in the third quarter as he scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


     I know this is a few days late, but I was finally able to flip through my work from 2012 and decided to put together a few of my best images from this past year. 
     It's a wide-range of topics from car accidents to fires to sports and even some portraits. Some of the events I covered were new experiences for me and some of them also gave me the chance to work on some soundslide videos, which are always fun to put together. I'll be doing a few more of those in 2013.
     With no particular order, here are my favorite images from 2012.

Shawano police officer Scott Ruen plays tug-of-war with his K-9 partner Aldo just after starting duty recently. Aldo is the city's only K-9 and has been with Ruen in 2010.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted a planned burn on several fields around the Navarino Nature Center on Tuesday afternoon. Over 10 acres were burned in 3 hours, 45 minutes. The burns are conducted every three years to destroy invasive species and to destroy dead vegetation.

Aerialists hang from the ceiling of the Crawford Center during the first performance of the Beja Shrine Circus in Shawano on Monday. The circus shows including elephant, tigers and dog acts as well as aerialists, clowns and motorcycles.

Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) intercepts a pass intended for Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings in the third quarter of a game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won the game 23-14.

Ethan Giamelle, of Rainbow Valley Rides, works on putting together the Lolliswings ride in the kiddie park area of the midway on Tuesday afternoon. Giamelle said it takes about an hour
for each ride to be put together.

Firefighters from the Shawano Area Fire Department battle a fire at 337 S. Andrews St. in Shawano on Saturday. Firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at 10 a.m. No one was home at the time of the fire and no one was injured. No cause has been determined.

Greg Rusch, of Shawano, Wis., paints a portion of the blue line on the ice at the Crawford Center in Shawano on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 in preparation of the upcoming hockey season. Behind Rusch is Mike Johnson, also of Shawano. Following painting an inch of ice will be put down to finish the rink. The Green Bay Junior Gamblers will be using the ice center on Saturday

Green Bay Packers punt returner Randall Cobb escapes a tackle attempt by San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee in the fourth quarter on his way to a touchdown.

Dean Werth, of Clintonville, holds his daughter, Willow, while attempting to get a photo of sturgeon as they swim past in the Wolf River on Wednesday afternoon. The sturgeon began spawning in Shawano on Monday and were beginning to wrap up Wednesday.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacks New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in the third quarter of their game on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Walleyes for Tomorrow chairman Mike Arrowood measures walleye eggs to put the correct amount into the hatchery jars at the group's portable fish hatchery in Cecil. The hatchery can hold between three to four million walleye eggs.

Natalie Colon, right, dumps a bottle of cold water over her sister, Isabel, as the two begin the running portion of the triathlon on Wednesday in Leopolis.

Shawano Area Firefighters look over the scene of a semi-truck rollover on Highway 29 just west of the Highway 22 exit just outside of Shawano on Thursday afternoon. The truck lost its load of grain and blocked both east bound lanes, forcing traffic around via the on and off ramps of Highway 22. The semi-truck driver sustained minor injuries.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


     How many of you have ever jumped into a lake or river in the winter-time for fun? How many have ever thought about doing that?
     I can tell you for a fact that I have never done either. It just doesn't sound fun to me, but it was sure fun capturing images of a polar bear plunge on New Years Day on Tuesday as The Lighthouse bar in Shawano held its 14th annual Polar Bear Plunge.
     About 20 people took part in the event, which was held on the coldest day of winter thus far. Many of those jumping wore their swimsuits and braved the windy, cold weather before jumping into the channel behind the bar.
    My teeth were chattering just watching them, one by one, as they leaped into the water and jumping out screaming from shock. Many of them were already reacting even before hitting the water, as you'll see from some of my images.
     What's the thrill in doing something like this? Well, many of those jumping in said it's a rush and do it as a way to kick off the new year. Others were doing it to help raise money for the local Humane Society and some were just doing it because they were dared by a friend or family member to do it.
     It's a great way to kick off the new year for me, being able to cover this event. This weekend it's another big event as the Green Bay Packers host the Minnesota Vikings for a Wild Card Playoff game. There won't be anyone jumping into frigid water, but there may be some athletes jumping into the arms of waiting fans in the end zones.
    Have a great 2013!