News

Tue
16
Jul

Memorial Field baseball improvements considered

The Oconto Falls School Board on Monday (July 15) agreed to provide up to $20,000 from its community service fund to help fund improvements to the baseball field at Memorial Field.

As he had at the July 9 City Council meeting, Superintendent Dean Hess noted that the multi-year agreement between the city and school district will expire at the end of the year, a relationship he said has worked well for both sides. The school district has allowed the city to use its softball fields, and the school’s baseball teams have used the diamond at Memorial Park.

As they look to renewing that agreement, Hess said, the field needs some maintenance, including the outfield fence, the outfield and infield themselves, the scoreboard and dugout area.

He suggested using money from the district’s Fund 80, which is used for designated community projects.

Tue
16
Jul

Veterans monument taking shape


A crew from Randy St. Louis Construction of Lena prepares to pour the walls for the Oconto Falls Veterans Monument on July 9. (Contributed photo)

The walls were poured last week for the Oconto Falls Veterans Monument.

Local veterans groups raised money for several years and, on May 13, got Oconto Falls School Board approval to construct the monument on school district property just south of the district office at 200 N. Farm Road.

The final design includes a wall on both sides of the monument, which is expected to be about 70 feet wide and 70 feet deep, with a 5-foot-high wall emblazoned with the symbols of the five military branches, tapering down to 3 feet on either side.

To the left of the monument will be a community sponsor wall recognizing large monetary and in-kind donations.

To the right will be a wall honoring veterans who were prisoners of war, missing in action or killed in action.

Tue
16
Jul

Tourism grant aids inaugural Dirt City Duel


Wisconsin Department of Tourism presents a $27,000 JEM Grant check to Oconto County Economic Development Corp. From left, Ashley Bahrke, OCEDC staff; state Rep. Jeff Mursau; Don Demeny, Dirt City Motorplex; Jeff Anderson, Wisconsin Department of Tourism; Samantha Boucher, OCEDC; Stephanie Paitl, Dirt City; and Paul Ehrfurth, OCEDC executive director. (Contributed photo)

Lena Motorsports Club is revving up fun with a weekend of off-road racing, thanks to help from a $27,000 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

The inaugural Dirt City Duel, which aims to showcase the best in short-course off-road racing, is set to take place July 26-28 at Dirt City Motorplex, U.S. Highway 141 and County Road A north of Lena.

“Recreation is a big travel motivator for those visiting our state. We’re excited to support the Oconto County Economic Development Corp. in their efforts to attract recreation and motorsport enthusiasts to Northern Wisconsin,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney. “Dirt City Duel lets fans meet some of the country’s best drivers and see all the race vehicles, from UTVs to stock trucks, before they go head-to-head at the Midwest’s newest off-road track.”

Tue
16
Jul

100th anniversary coins due to roll in

A commemorative coin marking Oconto Falls’ 100th anniversary was due to arrive soon, City Council President Devin Wirtz said last week.

Wirtz updated the council on plans to mint the coin and use the proceeds toward the proposed redevelopment of Memorial Park.

The coins will be available at City Hall, 500 N. Chestnut Ave., and sell for $20, he said.

Wirtz has been working with Doug Laviolette of Green Bay, who also helped the city of Peshtigo with its 150th anniversary coin. Oconto Falls’ initial order was for 200 coins and more can be ordered, depending on the demand.

The village of Oconto Falls was chartered as a city in the spring of 1919. The commemorative coin and a special sign have been commissioned; city officials and the Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce have been talking about other ways to celebrate the milestone.

The mobile 100th anniversary sign is becoming a familiar site around town, Wirtz said.

Tue
16
Jul

Cat adoption fees waived for July

For the fourth year in a row, Oconto Area Humane Society is among a group of animal shelters in Wisconsin entirely waiving adoption fees for all adult cats in July.

In 2018, the combined organizations performed 1,555 cat adoptions in July, compared to 1,301 the prior year. It’s been such a success that they are doing it again, and with a record number of Wisconsin shelters participating.

The fourth annual “I Cat Believe It!” joint cat adoption promotion aims to save the lives of more than 1,500 homeless cats in July. Fifteen shelters in Wisconsin are all waiving adoption fees for adult cats (1 year or older) in July.

The initiative is in response to the dramatic peak of cat intake in the summer months. The Oconto shelter, 150 Klatch St., is open 1-5 p.m. Monday and Friday, 1-6 p.m. Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (closed Tuesday and Thursday).

Tue
16
Jul

Gillett Fire able to purchase pickup truck

The Gillett Fire Department received approval Thursday (July 11) to buy a new/used utility truck to replace a 28-year-old Chevy Suburban that has been used as an incident command vehicle for decades.

Mayor James Beaton said the city would use the proceeds from the recent sale of an old panel truck, as well as the 1991 Suburban, to purchase a 2014 Dodge Ram 2500, four-wheel-drive pickup truck.

“We’re moving up 23 model years,” Beaton said.

The council approved spending up to $14,000 on the purchase.

“The balance of the cost will come from cost savings within the Fire Department budget,” Beaton said. “No money will be borrowed, no money will be taken from the general fund, this money will all be coming from the department through the sale of assets and prudent management of their 2019 budget.”

The mayor said the vehicle seems to be a reasonable purchase for the department.

Mon
15
Jul

Posts trace outline of the dog park


The fence posts marking the boundaries of the Oconto Falls Dog Park were put in place July 8 after Emily Gonnering’s fundraising effort reached the point where construction could begin. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)


Emily Gonnering posted this photo on Facebook showing her with the “golden shovel” marking the groundbreaking of the dog park she has worked for more than a year to make a reality.

The effort to build a dog park in the city of Oconto Falls has been driven by social media, so it seemed appropriate that the groundbreaking was announced on Facebook.

Emily Gonnering, the recent Oconto Falls High School grad who has spearheaded the drive as a Girl Scout Gold Award project, posted a photo July 8 showing her with the symbolic golden shovel at the site along North Maple Avenue.

With that, a crew from Fence Link Inc. started installing the chain link fence that will enclose the area where dog lovers will soon be able to exercise their pets.

It was almost a year to the day since the Oconto Falls City Council approved the concept on July 10, 2018. With a goal of raising $25,000, Gonnering passed $10,000 in December and rocketed past $20,000 last month on the strength of a $3,000 donation from the Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and $2,500 from the Oconto Falls Lioness Club.

Tue
09
Jul

Link to the past


Larry McGray and his rescue dog Crockett stand with the finished recreation of his grandfather’s 1920 Ford Model T fish delivery truck. The finished truck is on display in the showroom of Larry McGray’s Antique Automotive, in Stiles Junction, and will be featured in the Iola Car Show this weekend. (Contributed photo)


Otto Koehn stands beside his Ford Model T delivery truck for his fish delivery business, O.F. Koehn. Koehn delivered to Sheboygan and the surrounding county, including deliveries to Elkhart Lake and Crystal Lake. This is one of two photos that Larry McGray used to recreate his grandfather’s fish delivery truck. (Contributed photo)

With over 60 years of experience in the autobody business, Larry McGray brings family history to the present with the recreation of his grandfather’s Ford Model T fish delivery truck.

In the 1800s, McGray’s grandparents, Otto and Lizzy Koehn, came to the United States from Germany and settled in Sheboygan. While in Germany, Otto worked as a commercial fisherman, a profession he continued in the United States.

During the 1920s, he bought his own Ford Model T delivery truck and began the O.F. Koehn (Otto Frederick) fish delivery business. Otto’s deliveries sent him around Sheboygan and Sheboygan County, including Elkhart Lake and Crystal Lake.

The business was truly a family affair, with Otto making the deliveries and his two daughters, Erma Koehn (McGray) and Florence Koehn (Dillman), maintaining the books.

The years leading up to World War II signaled the end of the O.F. Koehn family business.

Tue
09
Jul

Highway 32 bridge work completed

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northeast Region completed bridge construction on State Highway 32 over the north branch of the Oconto River in Oconto County last week. The structure is located just south of the Highway 32-64 intersection between the towns of Mountain and Breed.

Work on the $130,842 project began May 28 and included a bridge deck overlay and resurfacing of the approaches to the bridge. The bridge work was part of a larger resurfacing project between the towns of Mountain and Lakewood.

State Highway 32 resurfacing is expected to continue until September.

Tue
09
Jul

Couple makes down payment on restitution

A Shawano County couple has been placed on two years of probation for issuing worthless checks and theft by false representation, both misdemeanor charges, in connection with a case in which they used much of the proceeds of a 2015 farm auction for their personal and business use.

Leroy F. Beechy, 48, and Mary E. Beechy, 47, entered into a 15-year deferred judgment agreement last month in Oconto County Circuit Court after pleading no contest to felony theft in a business setting. The main condition of the agreement is that they pay $375,234 in restitution to Nerfarms and farm owner James L. Nerenhausen Jr., with a down payment of $100,000 due at the June 27 sentencing for the misdemeanor counts.

The Beechys did make a payment of $101,500 before the sentencing. Judge Jay N. Conley accepted the agreement with prosecutors, under which the couple must pay a minimum of $1,500 monthly until the full amount is paid.

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