News

Wed
15
Aug

Todd Skarban elected Oconto County sheriff

Deputy Todd Skarban has been elected sheriff of Oconto County.

Skarban has spent 20 years in law enforcement, most of it with the Oconto County Sheriff's Department. He has been a visible public presence for the department as a K-9 officer handler and president of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Canine Handlers Association. With all municipalities reporting except the village of Pulaski, Skarban led Ed Janke 4,504 to 2,144, or about 2-1.

He thanked his wife, Heather, in a brief speech to his supporters at the Steel Moose Bar & Grill that was streamed on Facebook Live.

Wed
15
Aug

Donors help protect law officers


Oconto Falls Police Chief Brad Olsen displays one of the rifle-rated vests and helmets that were purchased for Oconto County officers with private donations during a news conference Thursday. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Even in a small, rural community, when law officers leave home in the morning, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be back.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Oconto Falls Police Chief Brad Olsen said Thursday. “Officer-involved shootings have happened all the way around us, every county adjoining us. We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had any … now we’re prepared for it.”

Thanks to the generosity of 10 local individuals, businesses and nonprofit foundations, the Oconto County Law Enforcement Executive Group recently purchased 50 bullet-resistant vests and helmets to protect officers in the event they have to confront a suspect who is holding a rifle, an investment of about $50,000.

“It took us a while to get to this point, but we are very grateful to the community that helped us out,” said Phil Christenson, Suring police chief. “This initiative here is really going to protect the officers in this county.”

Wed
15
Aug

Legend and message of peace inspire UWGB student artist


University of Wisconsin-Green Bay junior Sunshine Tourtillott was inspired by the story of a young Hiroshima survivor who resolved to make 1,000 origami cranes after she developed leukemia. Tourtillott’s art installation is on display at the UW-Green Bay library through Sept. 5. (Photo by Dan Moore, UW-Green Bay)

Inspired by a Japanese legend, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay junior Sunshine Tourtillott of Oconto Falls produced a 1,000-piece origami crane installation that is on display this month in the school’s Cofrin Library.

The legend became known worldwide because of a girl named Sadako Sasaki, who was only 2 years old when the atomic bombing in Hiroshima during World War II exposed her to radiation. She was hospitalized at age 12 after she developed leukemia and began folding origami cranes while hospitalized, in hopes of making 1,000.

According to the legend, anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes gets their wish granted by the gods. Sasaki was hoping for recovery.

Wed
08
Aug

Flight of a lifetime


Visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on July 27 are reflected on the surface of the black marble, which is etched with the names of the more than 58,000 service members who died during the long conflict. (Photo by Rodney Goodell)

Editor’s note: Rodney Goodell of Oconto Falls was one of 130 Vietnam-era veterans who were on the Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh to Washington, D.C., on July 27. He shares his thoughts and feelings about that day.
Today I am in our nation’s capital at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, “The Wall” as it is often called, looking for two names on The Wall. I am having trouble locating the names, but a friendly park attendant is nearby.
She references the names and location on The Wall and leads me to the right panel. A steady stream of visitors moves along the memorial, and everyone displays respect. Many bring flowers and reverently place them at the base.

Wed
08
Aug

Gillett mayor, council work on differences

It took more than an hour of sometimes passionate discussion behind closed doors, but Gillett Mayor James Beaton has been granted a key to the front door at City Hall.

Tensions that apparently had been bubbling under the surface since Beaton’s write-in election in April spilled over Thursday during a hastily called meeting of the City Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee before the council’s regular August meeting.

The agenda, posted at City Hall 25 hours before it began but not shared with local media, called for discussion and possible action of a formal complaint against a city employee, the keys to the clerk-treasurer and deputy clerk-treasurer offices and posting for a new city attorney.

It also called for a closed session under the open meetings law exemption that allows public bodies to close the doors to discuss “matters of employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data of public employees.”

Wed
08
Aug

CDBG funds $500K for Suring water system

The village of Suring has been awarded $500,000 for water system improvements through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Public Facility and Planning Funds.

Gov. Scott Walker’s office announced the grant among almost $15 million to 33 Wisconsin municipalities for local infrastructure and community projects that improve streets and water systems, as well as construct new community buildings.

The state Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources awards these funds to local governments annually through a competitive process. The funding itself comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Wed
08
Aug

Little Hearts for Life event saves lives

The eighth annual Little Hearts for Life corn roast fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the home of Joel and Ginny O’Harrow, 8187 Gray Lake Road, Oconto Falls.

There are activities for the kids, a huge bake sale, tons of bucket raffles and an interactive paddle wheel raffle throughout the day. The event is held under tents, and the cost of admission includes all-you-can-eat corn, hot dogs, sloppy joes, baked beans and a drinks. Tickets are $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 4-12 and free for 3 and under.

Little Hearts for Life is a local nonprofit working toward raising awareness, funding research and ultimately changing lives of those who are living with congenital heart defects or disease.

Wed
08
Aug

Driver in fatal crash was under the influence

The accident report from a fatal Oconto County accident indicates the driver was driving under the influence when his vehicle crashed in the town of Underhill in the early morning of July 29.

Joseph G. Gallagher, 54, of Fair Haven, New Jersey, was killed in the crash. Funeral services were held Saturday in Fair Haven; Gallagher left a wife and three children.

He was a passenger in a 2015 Mercedes Benz Model S driven by Guy N. Maras, 54, of Naperville, Illinois. According to the accident report, Maras was driving north at a high rate of speed on Shawano County Road V at 1:34 a.m.

At the Shawano-Oconto County line, the county road makes a righthand turn, and going straight takes the driver onto Klatt Road. Just after the vehicle sped through the intersection, it crossed the center line and went into the opposite ditch, which has a steep embankment.

Wed
08
Aug

Oconto County Circuit Court proceedings

Proceedings of July 31

Rick L. Wappler, 37, Cascade, pleaded no contest to possession of THC (second or subsequent offense) in connection with an incident that occurred Oct. 6. Judge Michael T. Judge ordered a presentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for Sept. 17.

Richard R. Volm, 58, Pound, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance in connection with an incident that occurred Oct. 6. The charge was reduced from a felony in a plea agreement. He also pleaded no contest to possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor case stemming from a Nov. 20 incident. He was sentenced to 60 days in the county jail.

Proceedings of July 30

Wed
01
Aug

Teacher charged with sexual assault of student


Timothy D. Grimes (courtesy Oconto County Sheriff's Office)

The Suring School Board is planning a special meeting Thursday night to discuss "the procedural status of an investigation into alleged employee misconduct."

The meeting was posted Tuesday, the day a Suring teacher was arrested and charged with six counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff.

Timothy D. Grimes, 24, allegedly climbed into the bed of a 17-year-old girl while staying with the girl's family overnight between 10 and 20 times during April and May, performing sexual acts, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.

The girl did not welcome the advances but didn't tell anyone for fear of causing problems and "she felt like no one would believe her because Tim is a school teacher and a coach," the complaint said.

The girl eventually confided in her parents and gave a statement to authorities on July 26, according to the complaint.

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