News

Wed
18
Oct

Senator meets with students, business leaders


U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson listens to a question during a visit with business leaders in Oconto on Oct. 10. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson made a swing through Oconto County on Oct. 10, talking health care, tax “rationalization” and immigration reform with business leaders and giving life lessons to Pulaski High School freshmen.

Meeting with business leaders at the Oconto Legion Golf Club, Johnson said he’s serious about possibly issuing subpoenas to officials of the Office of Personnel Management to find out how Congress and their staffs were allowed to buy “Obamacare” health insurance through Washington, D.C.’s Small Business Health Options Plan, even though Congress with 12,000 employees hardly qualifies as a small business.

The classification enabled lawmakers and their staffs to get federally subsidized health insurance. Johnson said OPM has resisted his efforts to get an explanation about how that happened.

Wed
18
Oct

County Board to review plan to sue drug manufacturers

The Oconto County Health and Human Services Board has forwarded a resolution to the county board to consider joining a pending lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers to cover the law enforcement, medical bills and other costs incurred because of opioid abuse.

The law firms of von Briesen & Roper, s.c., Crueger Dickinson LLC and Simmons Hanly Conroy LLL have distributed information to area counties outlining the potential for counties to pursue legal claims against several pharmaceutical companies that the law firms say have played a key role in creating what many are calling an opioid epidemic.

The resolution, which was scheduled to be presented to the Kewaunee County Board on Tuesday night as well, cites the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as saying the societal costs of opioid abuse amount to more than $75 billion annually.

Wed
18
Oct

Nygren daughter arrested in homicide

The daughter of state Rep. John Nygren and her fiance have been jailed on charges of reckless homicide by delivering drugs, manufacturing and delivering heroin, and child neglect, after the death of a friend and her unborn child.

Cassandra Nygren, 28, and Shawn Gray, 33, are accused in the fentanyl overdose death of Jennifer Skeen, 31, who was pregnant when she died in June. Bond was set at $50,000 each in Brown County Circuit Court, and Nygren is due back in court Thursday.

Nygren has been in and out of rehabilitation for heroin addiction for years, and her father has championed a series of bills in the state Legislature aimed at battling the startling growth in heroin and other opioid abuse.

For a time Cassandra served as an advocate against the deadly drug.

Her father issued a statement that first of all he offers “sincere and heartfelt condolences for the loss of life.

Wed
18
Oct

Governor, lawmakers disagree on rural school aid

Gov. Scott Walker vetoed a 2017-19 budget measure that would have given additional state aid to school districts that were considered more frugal with tax dollars than other school districts.

The governor last week announced his support for a bill to increase state sparsity aid, a program already in place that provides additional state aid for districts with 745 or fewer students and a population density of fewer than 10 students per square mile.

Walker had introduced a sparsity aid measure into his budget proposal, arguing that when school district revenue limits were introduced in the 1990s, it locked in the disparity between low-spending and high-spending districts. The measure would have allowed the historically low-spending schools a greater increase in state aid this biennium.

Wed
18
Oct

Oconto Falls woman shares doll collection with overseas poor


Audrey Piper, of Oconto Falls, with some of the 350 dolls she donated to the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay for underprivileged children. (Contributed photo)

Audrey Piper, of Oconto Falls, has collected dolls and toys for 50 years. She recently decided to share some of her collection with underprivileged children in other countries.

Having grown up poor as the youngest of 14 kids, Piper said she wanted the children to have something of their own to cherish.

Last month Piper’s nephew, Kyle Piper, of Spruce, helped her deliver 350 dolls to the Diocese of Green Bay for distribution to children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Some of the dolls are new, but most are “like new” rescued from garage sales.

Piper washed and ironed their clothes, restyled their hair, accessorized and placed each into a bag— some with additional outfits.

She also included clothing for young boys, school supplies and personal hygiene items.

To help defray costs of shipping dolls to the new owners, Piper and her sister, Manny Kobes, of Green Bay, donated funds.

Wed
18
Oct

Oconto County Circuit Court Proceedings

Proceedings of Oct. 13

Bond was set at $2,000 cash for George Donald Olsen, 65, Marinette, who is charged with a fourth offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, along with misdemeanor possession of THC and drug paraphernalia, in connection with an incident that allegedly took place Sept. 27. The balance of his initial appearance was scheduled for Nov. 9.

Deborah A. Simon 24, Oconto Falls, waived her right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to second-degree recklessly endangering safety, along with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred in her home Aug. 16. A pre-trial conference was scheduled for Nov. 9.

Proceedings of Oct. 12

Wed
18
Oct

Oconto County Sheriff's Department: Oct. 6-11

Oct. 11

Deputies responded to 35 incidents, including the following:

Unwanted party — reported in the 7000 block of Red Bank Road, Underhill, 3:43 a.m.

Traffic crash — Driver Virginia A. Johnson, 45, Crandon, and passenger Patricia J. Wilber, 53, Milwaukee, taken by ambulance with suspected minor injuries after Johnson struck a parked car in 300 block of East Main Street, Suring, 9:24 a.m.

Theft — reported in 5000 block of U.S. 141, Stiles, 3:22 p.m.

Traffic crash with injuries — Maple Grove School Road and Springbook Road, Oconto, 9:11 p.m.

Oct. 10

Deputies responded to 33 incidents, including the following:

Theft — reported in the 7000 block of Red Bank Road, Underhill, 8:56 a.m.

Disturbance — reported in the 5000 block of Montevideo Lane, Abrams, 11:06 a.m.

Oct. 9

Deputies responded to 47 incidents, including the following:

Wed
11
Oct

FFA fueled her passion


Nicole Zaidel is a lifetime member of Oconto Falls FFA Alumni who advises farmers on energy savings through the Focus on Energy program. (Contributed photo)

An Oconto County native who works with the state Focus on Energy initiative says the FFA energized her passion for working with farmers.

As an energy adviser, Nicole Zaidel works with farmers to show how energy efficiency can improve a farm’s financial bottom line

“That first compliment from a farmer had me hooked,” Nicole Zaidel said. “Farmers are personable, you can talk to them like a friend.”

Focus on Energy is a statewide program, funded by Wisconsin utilities, that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“I’m always impressed not only with the work that goes into feeding our world, but how every farm operates a little differently from others” said Zaidel, a former 4-H and FFA member. “I feel fortunate to see the variety of Wisconsin agriculture firsthand.”

Wed
11
Oct

Oconto Falls utilities service marks 85th anniversary


During the September meeting of the Oconto Falls Utilities Commission, Greg Kuhn, utility manager, left, and Jim Kardoskee, commission president, accept an award from WPPI Energy in honor of 85 years as a public power utility. (Contributed photo)

Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities, the city of Oconto Falls’ locally owned, not-for-profit electric, water and wastewater utility, is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.

The utility’s anniversary was recognized at an awards luncheon during WPPI Energy’s annual conference in September. WPPI Energy is a wholesale energy provider that counts Oconto Falls among its municipal member-owners.

“I’d like to extend my congratulations and appreciation to Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities for 85 years of service to the Oconto Falls community,” said Mike Peters, president and CEO of WPPI Energy.

The utility was founded in 1932 by the residents of Oconto Falls. Utility employees continue to be guided by the principles of local ownership and control, keeping revenue in the community, providing first-rate customer service, and making a positive impact in the community through volunteer and outreach efforts.

Wed
11
Oct

Gillett Schools tax levy reduced


Gillett Secondary School (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

The property tax levy for Gillett School District purposes will decrease by about 5.24 percent under the budget to be considered at the district’s annual meeting.

The budget summary, which can be reviewed in the legal notice published on Page A4 of this week’s Times Herald, calls for net total expenses of slightly more than $8.5 million, of which $2.234 million would come from property taxpayers.

Detailed copies of the budget are available for inspection in the district administrative ofice, 208 W. Main St., Gillett, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Pauline Borgen, the financial consultant who helped prepare the budget while the district was between finance directors, told the school board during its Sept. 21 meeting that the long wait before the Legislature passed its 2017-19 budget hampered efforts to finalize the local budget, because key items like state-imposed revenue limits were up in the air.

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