Oct

28

NEENAH — The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking out owner of a small boat, described as a 15-foot dinghy, last seen adrift on Lake Winnebago a mile south of the city off Rickers Bay Road on Tuesday.

Petty Officer Nathaniel Parks, of the U.S. Coast Guard station in Milwaukee, said the boat probably would reach the eastern shore of the lake by this morning. A Winnebago County sheriff‘s deputy observed the boat offshore with no one aboard, Parks said.

Parks said the Coast Guard responds to reports of stray boats found adrift after virtually every storm featuring heavy winds. When boat owners fail to secure the vessels, heavy winds tend to set them free.

“This is just the beginning,” Parks said Tuesday night.

via Wind sets boat adrift near Neenah | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Oct

25

NEENAH — A 17-year-old boy from Winneconne was taken into custody for medical observation after driving his car into Lake Winnebago late Monday afternoon.

The driver, who was not immediately identified, drove his older-model Ford Mustang into the water at the eastern limit of Wisconsin Avenue, near Lakeshore Avenue, about 5:15 p.m.

The incident marked the fourth time a vehicle was driven into Neenah waters in the past three weeks. All four incidents were unrelated.

Sgt. Jeff Gruss, of the Neenah Police Department, said the driver in the latest event was not injured when the car he was driving rolled slowly into the lake, ending up about 10 feet off shore in water less than two feet deep.

Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and Neenah Police Department officers pulled the driver from the car minutes after it entered the water. The car did not appear to be damaged, Gruss said.

Police had been looking for the driver, whom they described as “distraught,” after a reported domestic conflict.

He had stopped his car at the end of Wisconsin Avenue, facing Lake Winnebago, when a police officer pulled up behind and ordered the driver out of the car. Instead, the driver either drove the car or allowed it to roll into the shallow lake water, Gruss said.

Two people were killed in separate incidents when vehicles were submerged in Neenah waters Oct. 6 and Oct. 12. A car ended up in Lake Winnebago after a high-speed chase Oct. 4.

Police can’t explain why the three earlier water crashes, each unusual enough on its own, occurred in such quick succession in the same community.

via Winneconne teen drives car into Lake Winnebago in Neenah | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Oct

12

NEENAH – One person has been pulled from the Fox River in Neenah after a car plunged in the river early Tuesday morning.

A call came in shortly after 4 Tuesday morning for a car in the water at Riverside Park.

The person pulled from the water wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse, they have been taken to a hospital.

Neenah Police don’t believe there are any other victims.  They do plan to be on the scene for much of the morning.

Just last week, Neenah police responded to two similar accidents on two different days.

Both vehicles went in the water in the Doty Island area, on Lake Winnebago.  That’s not far from Riverside Park.

The first accident was a police chase, where a 19 year old man escaped his car.  He is facing some charges.

The second accident involved a man who recently moved to Neenah, he was found dead inside the car in the lake.

Police haven’t said what caused that crash.

via Another car plunges into Lake Winnebago.

Oct

12

White pelicans perch on rocks below the Fox River dam in De Pere. Once believed to be plentiful in the region, the birds reappeared in the mid-1990s and now migrate north into Wisconsin every spring. H. Marc Larson/Press-GazetteDespite a slight drop in their numbers this year, Green Bay’s resurgent pelican population is expected to remain a summertime fixture here for years to come.

“It’s a bird that was here, it’s returned, and it’s doing well,” said Tom Erdman, natural history museum curator at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The white pelicans are believed to have been part of the Green Bay landscape in the 1700s and 1800s. Evidence is inconclusive about precisely when they disappeared, or why.

But they returned in the mid-1990s and have been growing in numbers ever since.

Initially numbering just a half-dozen pairs, they have increased steadily to nearly 800 pairs last year. Erdman said the population dipped to 650 or 700 pairs this year, although he said the colony probably is just spreading out geographically.

“We certainly have enough room,” he said.

The pelicans, which are different from brown pelicans known to inhabit oceanfront sites on the U.S. coasts, migrate north into Wisconsin every spring.

They prefer Cat Island, situated about a mile out into the bay, primarily because the island makes them feel safe. Unlike many other birds, the pelicans build their nests on the ground, making their young vulnerable to coyotes and other predators.

The colony also frequents the De Pere dam on the Fox River because of the abundant fish available there for feeding.

Joel Trick, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the pelicans are drawn to Green Bay by the secure nesting site and generous food supply.

The fact that they keep returning every year, Trick said, is an encouraging indication that the ecology in Northeastern Wisconsin remains vibrant and healthy.

“It’s indicative of the productivity of our ecosystem,” he said. “They wouldn’t be here if there weren’t a lot of fish.”

The pelicans leave Wisconsin and fly south during September and October each year.

Ty Baumann, director of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, said some people still are surprised to learn that pelicans can be found in Green Bay several months out of the year.

Public awareness of the species, Baumann said, is the first step toward conservation, especially with an animal as endearing to most people as a pelican.

“More people are seeing them than ever before,” he added. “They’re big, they’re impressive. People are really enamored with them.”

Their wingspan sometimes reaches 8 or 9 feet.

The same colony previously spent summers in North Dakota and other areas of the Great Plains. Erdman said he suspects that drought conditions and other natural changes in that part of the country prompted the flock to relocate to Wisconsin.

Industrial pollution in the Green Bay area was blamed for the 2005 discovery of a deformed white pelican here, Erdman said. He also voiced concern about the possible disruptive effects of ongoing pollution dredging in the Fox River.

But he said the pelicans probably will continue returning to Green Bay for the foreseeable future.

“The bay is very dynamic,” he said. “I suspect they’ll stay where they are.”

via White pelicans settle back in Green Bay area | greenbaypressgazette.com | Green Bay Press Gazette.

Oct

8

NEENAH — A man is dead after being pulled from a car found submerged in Lake Winnebago this morning.

Divers scan the area of a single vehicle crash that ended in a fatality in Lake Winnebago on Friday in Neenah.Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson said a passerby who saw the roof of a car sticking out of the lake called police to the end of Nicolet Boulevard about 7:45 a.m. Wilkinson said the vehicle landed in about 4 feet of water 75 feet out into the lake.

Police were working to identify the man, who was found in the car. He is believed to be in his 30s and from the Marinette area, Wilkinson said. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department dive team is looking for any others who might have been in the car with the victim. A child’s seat in the car prompted the dive team search.

Police could not determine when the crash occurred, but believe it was sometime overnight.

The car’s resting place is roughly 25 feet east of where a car being pursued by police went into the lake Monday night.

via One dead after car crashes into Lake Winnebago in Neenah | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.