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Thursday, July 19, 2012 - Page 1

Ripon Commonwealth Press

20 Wisc 11 on Week sin News ly Single copy — $1 pa Thursday, July 19, 2012 of th per e Year

Issue No. 28 Serving the Ripon community since 1864

Ripon, WI 54971


Fish tale Northern haven? Looking for a cool way to beat the heat? Anglers have been hitting the Mill Pond, which seems to be well stocked with northern pike this summer. See page 3

Our Views

The day Ripon Y R O T IS H e d a m —— That was 20 years ago! ——

by Ian Stepleton

Dead wrong That’s what this weather is — simply wrong. So, how do we make it right? Maybe with a little help from our sister city in England, which has a different problem. See page 4

Peter Kasuboski felt sick to his stomach. “I was going to go out back and puke,” he recalls. “It was going to be a disaster.” It wouldn’t have been a total surprise, either. None of the three test bakes in the preceding weeks had been a success. But now it was the big day, and no one had anticipated this. Ripon was gunning for the “Guinness Book of World Records,” and the frame of the oven holding the dough for the giant cookie was breaking apart. And, frankly, it kind of was Guinness’ fault. “The oven was designed to only hold [enough dough for a] three-quarter inch [cookie], and we had to go for 1 inch,” said Kasuboski, seen in the photo below right, sitting up after putting dough onto the oven frame. Guinness had told the organizers of Riponfest 1992 that it would not add a new

category for “giant cookie” to its book. But then, at the last moment, it relented after identifying a town in England that once had baked a big “biscuit.” The only caveat? That cookie was an inch thick, so therefor Ripon’s had to be, too. “All of our weight calculations no longer applied,” said Lee Prellwitz, then the director of manufacturing at Ripon Foods, which helped in the effort. “The oven was only designed for so many pounds,” Kasuboski said. “This increased the weight quite a bit. “The welds started popping, and I started to get sick to my stomach. I thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t good.’” Panic set in. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do if it fails?’” Kasuboski said. “If everything goes bad, I was going to push it into the middle and have a big cookie-dough wrestling. “It was scary for a while.”

See HISTORY/ page 15


okie o c e h t g n i t Cut

Placing the dough

The World’s l argest cookie !

Could we make history a ga in someday? by Ian Stepleton

When the world-record cookie was created 20 years ago, it baked with more than just a mix of chocolate chips and cook ie dough. Ingredients even more key in its creation may have been ones the thousands of visitors to Riponfest that year never tasted . “You have to come up with creative ideas, and you have to have people that are willing to work to get them done,” said Lee Prellwitz, who helped make the cookie a reality back in 1992, addin g dollars must be available as well. And, 20 years ago, Ripon experienced that “perfect storm ,” as he puts it, that enabled the cookie to be baked. Could it happen again? Could Ripon accomplish some spectacular that the whole world stops to pay attention? thing so “Maybe” seems to be the consensus. The people factor is one hurdle, organizers of the big cookie bake suggest.

Prellwitz admits he worries a nationwide malaise towa rd joining groups could be a problem. “There was a book written several years ago. The name of the book was ‘Bowling Alone,’” Prellwitz said. “Reason for the title is, the number of games bowled [nationally] goes up every year, but leagues goes down. People don’t want that commitmen the number of t.” He fears this trend is reflected locally as well. “I can see what a struggle it is to get members [for servi ce clubs]

See AGAIN/ page 15

Clean sweep Wish you had someone to step in and take care of unwanted errands and chores? This business will do exactly that for you. See page 12

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there ...


Barlow Park School moves to trimesters by Aaron Becker

Back on top This Riponite stepped away from martial arts for years — but you wouldn’t know it. He’s shaken off the rust and headed back to a national tournament. See page 19

RUN, FIDO, RUN! While some cloud formations really live in the eye of the beholder, it seems pretty clear what these cumulus clouds are forming: a pooch trying to escape another animal, possibly another dog, as it charges over the skies of Ripon. Michele Pease Deblock shared this photo with the Commonwealth on its Facebook page last week. Deblock, a Scotts Valley, Calif. resident whose family long has owned a vacation home in Green

Lake, snapped this photo after a recent dinner at Roadhouse. “We were hoping for rain since even in June, it was dry and we were watching the sky, hoping it would hit us, but most of the storm skirted north,” Deblock said. “We saw these clouds as were leaving Roadhouse where the two roads converge. The image was gone after a minute but my husband said ‘What do you see?’ We both agreed it was a dog chasing a dog.”

Fewer report cards, but more individual conferences between teachers and parents. That’s the new strategy being implemented at Barlow Park Elementary School when children return in September. The Ripon Area School Board approved switching to trimester report cards for grades K-2 at Barlow Park at the regular board meeting Monday. That means three report cards will be sent annually rather than four. At the same time, Barlow Park classroom teachers will be stepping up the time for parent-teacher conferences, with at least two per school year. School Board members made this change 9-0. Principal Myra Misles-Krhin told the board this new change could be “a pilot [program], if nothing else.” Some teachers likely will be

See BARLOW/ page 18

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - Page 1

Ripon Commonwealth Press


On TV Two on ‘Today’ A pair of Ripon High School graduates who cheer for the Packers (and St. Norbert too, of course) can be seen tomorrow on the ‘Today’ show. See page 3

Our Views

All aboard ... The Ripon Railroad Club would like to leave its current station — one it hasn’t been able to use for a year — and ride the rails to a new home, somewhere else in Ripon. See page 4


Issue No. 36 Serving the Ripon community since 1864

Single copy — $1 Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011

Ripon, WI 54971

Area man charged in murder plot by Aaron Becker

New information is being released in an alleged murder plot that involves a man from rural Green Lake County. Ripon police accuse Lee H. Stellmacher, 60, N6860 Forest Ridge Road, of attempting to hire a hit man to kill a nemesis who lives in Indiana. The alleged target’s name is Rick Parks. In addition, Stellmacher also stands accused of trying to pay “biker guys” to beat up Jason Garrett, who runs a Ripon auto body shop. Stellmacher has been involved in lawsuits with both men, court records indicate. The allegations to harm the men are detailed in a three-page criminal complaint. Stellmacher now faces two felonies: conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide and conspiracy to commit battery or threat to a witness. Online court records show Stellmacher is in custody, held without bail. He was formally charged last week Thursday in Fond du Lac County Court. The charges were filed in Fond du Lac County be-

KYLE AND CASEY Zabel, siblings of Alyse, sing “Amazing Grace” while trying not to choke up during Tuesday’s Celebration of Life for Alyse Zabel, seen in the inset photo. Ian Stepleton photo Lee Stellmacher cause the alleged dealings took place in the city of Ripon. The complaint states Stellmacher offered to pay $2,500 to have Garrett beaten and $10,000 to have Parks killed. An Aug. 23 conversation between Stellmacher and an undercover agent posing as a hit man is described in the criminal complaint. This discussion is alleged to have occurred in Ripon at a business along West Fond du Lac Street: “[The undercover agent]

See MURDER/ page 12

Alyse ‘finally cancer-free’

Teen inspired ‘this side of heaven’

by Ian Stepleton

How would one measure the number of lives a young girl, barely 15, might touch in her short lifetime? If that girl was Alyse Zabel, maybe by the streams of cars that poured into the Green Lake Conference Center Tuesday afternoon. Or, maybe by the number of people clad in pink — Alyse’s favorite color — sporting smiles

See ALYSE/ page 13

For almost the last two years of Alyse Zabel’s life, her mother Beth chronicled the teen’s joys, struggles and indomitable spirit that so inspired family, friends and people who’d never met her. Beginning in late 2009, Beth began journaling on the Caring Bridge website, with friend Shannon Rogers faithfully emailing those journal entries to Zabel-family friends. What follows are excerpts of Alyse’s journey — most of them

written by Beth but a couple by Alyse — that display how one can, in the face of incredible suffering, heartache and despair, remain steadfast and secure in the notion that, as Beth so often wrote, “God is good.” As if to follow the statement with an exclamation point, Rogers told how, when Alyse lay dying last week Wednesday, the Rev. Mike Holba from Ripon

See INSPIRED/ page 14

Ripon remembers 9-11 Ten years ago this month, terrorists tore down more than just the World Trade Center: they shook the very way Americans — Riponites included — view their world and their safety. This is their story. This is how Ripon reacted.

Energy from what? Soon, your body won’t be the only thing in your home powered by cattle, thanks to a new collaboration between Rosendale Dairy and UWOshkosh. See page 12


Improving The Tiger netters might not have finished the tournament with a win, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good night for Ripon. See page 19

When I first saw it happening, I couldn’t believe it was real.

— Herm Leitz, Ripon ***** I had the news on TV in the morning, just like always, and all of a sudden I heard talk of a plane (presumably a small one?) hitting the World Trade Center. Then I saw the tower with smoke coming out of it. I turned on the VCR (yes, a VCR) and hit “record” for the next hour. — Deano Pape, Ripon ***** I was a sophomore at Ripon High School that awful day that terrorists attacked our country. I was sitting in Homeroom (which now I believe is called “Tiger Times”) when the announcement came on our RHS information channel on the television screen. My classmates and I all thought it was a joke until second period. ­— Erin Maguire, former Ripon resident; San Diego, Calif. ***** I walked by the edit suite, where CNN was on the television set in the room. I had been attending Full Sail Real World Education in Winter Park, Fla., where I was earning my film degree. I then saw the second plane hit. — Matthew Storz, Ripon ***** We were walking down a narrow, quiet street in Puerto Rico. It wasn’t until we entered a local shop that the owner told us what had happened. Our search began for a phone to call our office in Ripon. — Daniel Ige, Princeton ***** I was [biking] somewhere near Neshkoro on County Road E when I took a break to eat. There was a utility worker nearby. From the radio of his truck, I heard something about a plane flying into a building. At first, I suspected it was a small private plane whose pilot had lost control, but there was mention of President Bush. I wondered why the president would be involved. — Ric Damm, Ripon

See 9-11/ page 18

Story concept & editing by Ian Stepleton

Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Page 1

Ripon Commonwealth Press

Issue No. 18 Serving the Ripon community since 1864


Queen Jessie, King Michael

Rain, rain

JESSIE SHIRODA AND Michael Birschbach were crowned Ripon High School’s 2012 Prom queen and king Saturday afternoon in the school auditorium. For more photos from the pre-prom activities, see page 10 and

Storms dump 5” A series of storms last week meant wet basements, flooded fields and a bunch of unhappy Ripon College students with waterlogged cars. See page 3

20 Wisc 11 on Week sin News ly Single copy — $1 pa Thursday, May 10, 2012 of th per e Year

Riponite charged following highspeed chase

Tim Lyke photo

by Aaron Becker

A Ripon teenager who allegedly led police on a dangerous, high-speed chase last week now faces five charges, including two felonies. Troy A. Krueger, 19, 44 Parkway Terrace, was charged last week Friday in Fond du Lac County Court with: ‰ Operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, as a repeater (felony); ‰ Attempting to flee or elude a traffic officer, as a repeater (felony);

Our Views

It’s in the mail When it comes to receiving an envelope from this Green Lake woman, that phrase is cause for celebration. See page 4


New growth You’ve seen the name around the area before: Stuart’s Landscaping. Now you can find it a lot closer to home than ever. See page 12


Thanks, Bob After more than three decades leading Ripon College sports teams, Bob Gillespie coaches his last game for the Red Hawks. See page 19

No snow? That’s OK with school officials

Ripon, WI 54971

‰ Misdemeanor battery, as a repeater; ‰ Criminal damage to property, as a repeater; ‰ Disorderly conduct, as a repeater. Krueger could face a maximum penalty of $41,000 in fines and more than 10 years in prison if convicted on all charges. Court records indicate Krueger is a felon (convicted of burglary of a building in 2011) and has a criminal history in court. Last week’s incident alleg-

See CHASE/ page 18

The hole truth: Rescued fowl are lucky duckies

by Aaron Becker

No snow is good snow — at least in terms of the Ripon Area School District’s budget. The mild winter of 2011-12 brought not only cost-savings for snow removal and salting on school grounds, but also broke a trend that goes back years: Not a single snow day or delay due to weather. “First time in [at least] eight years — since I’ve been here,” Superintendent Richard Zimman explained. The district can schedule three snow days that don’t need to be made up, because e x t r a irst time in minutes [at least] are alr e a d y eight years — since a d d e d I’ve been here.” to each Richard Zimman school Superintendent day to meet the state requirement, Zimman said. But this past winter, it wasn’t even a question — with no snow days or delays. That means students will get out for the summer on time, and the district saved money through less snow and ice removal. “We used less salt; there were less staff hours that had to be put into clearing the grounds,” Zimman said. The district’s plowing and salting expenses were the lowest in at least the last four winters. An itemized breakdown went as follows: ‰ 2008-09 $21,965 ‰ 2009-10 $16,223 ‰ 2010-11 $24,011 ‰ 2011-12 $10,872 Zimman indicated it can be tricky to predict the necessary budget in this area. “We don’t budget for the worst winter in 40 years every year,” Zimman said. “Because most of the time, you would be taking in excess money and that’s not fair to taxpayers to be doing that, so we try to shoot for the average.” The school district does have one advantage over the city with regard to budgets, though: “Unlike the city — because we have a fiscal year budge from July to June — the winter falls all within one budget year,” Zimman said.


hen Ripon Police officer Mark Preissner an animal rescue call last week ThursWtook day, he could have

considered it an afternoon down the drain. But the avid hunter put aside his temptation to place a distraught Mama Duck on his plate, and instead helped pen one amazing duck tale fit for a children’s book. TEN DUCKLINGS WAIT while dangers such as broken glass surround them. Call it the softer, fluffier side of local law enforcement. sorts of dangers: broken bottles, drain lines heading to parts unknown. These babies were in trouble. Chapter 1: Mama Duck knew it. Though wary of the crowd of humans gathTrouble brews ering around the drain hole, Mama wouldn’t leave her family. t was shortly after 3 p.m. Those humans, meanwhile, had a problem: the hole was narrow, when the call came in to the drop deep. Ladders would be too big, arms too short. OFFICER MARK Preissner the Ripon Police Department: a What to do? peers into the drain, where man walking near the back side of Ripon Drug encountered a rather a group of ducklings sit Chapter 2: upset Mama Duck. stranded. Ian Stepleton photo Getting help Evidently, her little ducklings t was time — only hours after hatching in to find help. their nest outside Ripon College’s Farr Hall of Science — had fallen Biologists from Ripon through a storm sewer cover, and came to rest about 8 feet down. College were called in Mama was not happy, by a bystander, while and she was telling the Officer Preissner rang world about it. public works employIt seemed the rescue of ee Randy Cluppert. the downy ducks would be Each arrived feeling up to Officer Preissner. equally perplexed. He peered down the MAMA DUCK speaks with duckling No. That’s when Mama hole, and counted: 1, 2, 3, 11 in a second storm drain. Duck leaned over a 4, 5 ... second drain cover, Ten little ducklings this time just outside could be seen splashing Ripon Drug’s back door, and began to quack nervously. around, surrounded by all MAMA DUCK stays close by.



Story and photos by Ian Stepleton

See DUCKIES/ page 15

Page Design-Feature  

Each year, we submit entries to the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. This is our 2012 entry for "Page Design-Featur...

Page Design-Feature  

Each year, we submit entries to the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Contest. This is our 2012 entry for "Page Design-Featur...