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What’s Shawano like? A Concerned Shawano Citizen’s Perspective

by: A concerned citizen (name withheld for safety reasons)


The city of Shawano, Wisconsin is a typical rural community with a sewer filled lake called Shawano Lake, a supposed tourist attraction according to the locals. Never mind that you break out in a rash whenever you go swimming in it. Shawano is also the county seat for Shawano County, and as you drive through the community it is like many others in these hard economic times. Law enforcement, both city and county, prey on the outsiders, especially out of state visitors. A saying often repeated by visitors as they leave the courthouse while on or after vacation in this county is “come on vacation and go home on probation.”

The recent election in April of the mayor and half of the city council shows how this community typically works. The Lutheran extremist Mayor, Lorna Marquardt, won her 6th two year term. Interestingly, not a campaign poster, sign, or newspaper ad noted that she was running for reelection. In fact, in the last two elections no mayoral ads have appeared. There were no ads or campaign signs out for the city council alderpersons who were also up for reelection. That is just the opposite of the election of the judge for the circuit court, where a race was on between the new governor appointed judge and a local attorney. Campaign signs and newspaper ads dominated the scene. The state law requires notification in the paper of any election, otherwise the local serfs wouldn’t know to vote. Perhaps the votes really aren’t necessary, but in keeping with the supposed democratic process the people can now think that they have voted.

A lot of politics are handled at the local diners that cater to the retired citizens here. In fact, in a community with 9305 people, or so the sign at the city limits states, one would expect to see some manufacturing plants. But this is a tourist community. A community that wants the money but not the people. Any observant visitor will notice that racial and religious discrimination is very prevalent. Ask the Menominee Indians that live on the Menominee Reservation 7 miles north of Shawano. A car with out of state plates or Native American plates will be pulled over, and 2 or more squads will be there to make sure that some charges can be filed. If you are one of the good old boys you can do no wrong. On the other hand, if you are Native American, Black, Asian, or any other non-white ethnicity, you can do no right. Pay attention, these are facts are repeated time and time again.

Example: At the Peoples Express gas station at 1206 E Green Bay St. An older man in his seventies stopped and filled up his black SUV. Most people pay attention when filling their gas tanks, but, about 2 gallons of gas supposedly spilled out of his vehicle’s gas tank. He said he should not have to pay for it, and that it was not his fault. He claimed something was wrong with the pump. The man was very insistent, so in keeping with the good customer service that Peoples Express emulates, the manager of the station gave the man partial credit for his spill and he left. The pump was tested after the man left and has been carefully watched since then, and no one else has had a problem with it. But this was not just some man, this happened to be one of the members of the Shawano County Board, Marlin Noeffke. It is hard to believe this was accidental, it is more likely a new tactic. That says a lot about our county government and the good old boys.

On Wednesday, May 9,2012 at 8 PM the Shawano City Council held its monthly meeting. The local paper (Neo-Nazi) Shawano Leader stated that revoking of alcohol licenses would dominate the meeting, and People’s Express licenses were supposedly up for revocation. In this country one presumes that the involved parties would be aware of any problems or issues, but SIST was never informed of any problems so the revocation notice in the paper came as a surprise. The paper did not give any details what the offense were. We, as representatives of Peoples Express attended the meeting, only aware of the what had been printed in the paper. When that item came up on the agenda at the meeting, City Attorney Tim Schmid advised the mayor and council members that they could not act on the item for the Peoples Express because notice had not been given to Peoples Express. Another item on the agenda was the approval of the liquor licenses for the year. As the council was ready to proceed with this item it was very apparent in the carefully worded questions that the council members had already determined that they had no desire to reissue People’s Express’ licenses. The council members and the attorney made no mention of SIST’s so called crime. No information was given. But that is how this city works.

A few years ago The Gathering, a local banquet hall, changed ownership. A wedding was scheduled to be held and the new owner did not have the necessary liquor license. That was no problem for Terry Hilgenberg, a prominent Realtor in the town. He quickly took the license from one of his establishments on South Main Street and transferred it to The Gathering. Illegal? Absolutely! But nothing was done about it. Just another example of how the city is run by the good old boys.

The three Peoples Express stations have endured many drive offs; all people sent by the mayor and police chief, and of course the perpetrators were never found. To add to their vicious tactics, the local police make sure to do their traffic stops right in front of the stations, having the cars pull into the stations where the gas pumps are. Of course another one or two squads are needed while they diligently search the vehicle. An hour later they still are blocking the pumps in an effort to intimidate SIST customers and send a silent message to the community. Don’t do business there. In fact, one professional person in Shawano said that St. James Church in Shawano told its members not to do business with SIST. Separation of church and state? That is a joke.

Report problems to the police you say? They do, and after waiting a long time for the officers to arrive, nothing is ever done. After a reported vandalism on South Main Street SIST requested the file number so they could obtain a copy. The police claimed no complaint was filed. One was generated later only because SIST had pictures of the incident, but according to the local officers nothing had happened. Vandalism of SIST buildings is a common occurrence, bullets have even been shot through windows, not once, but multiple times. Now this is not Milwaukee or Chicago, it’s a small town of 9300, and windows are being shot out. What is going on? Anyone with any common sense would start looking as to who would be carrying a gun around and shooting in the city. No one has ever been found. Someone wearing a hooded sweatshirt was seen running from the scene of one of the properties, but no one was caught or charged. Undoubtedly, the donut shops in town have lots of protection, though.

And as for trespassing on SIST property, Lt. Dan Maul of the city police told SIST personnel that for the first offense he would only warn trespassers. No charges would be filed. SIST has been told that they should install cameras at all their properties; of course their response is “that would save the local citizens lots of money because a city police force would no longer be needed.” He also said they should post “no trespassing” signs on the properties. Wisconsin state law states that is not necessary. Property does not need to be posted. It is obvious that the law only applies to whomever the local officials want it too. For SIST it is used to persecute them, but when other people break the law to harm or harass SIST, the criminals are exempt.



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