News

Wed
17
May

NWTC board OKs 2017-18 budget


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

The Northwest Regional Learning Center in Oconto Falls is one of six such centers in the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College system.

The Board of Trustees of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College approved a $117.3 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year May 10 after a public hearing at the Green Bay campus.

The operating budget is up from $109.3 million in the current year, a 7.3 percent increase over 2016-17.

According to a news release from NWTC:

• The total levy will be $32.4 million, an increase from the current year of 1.85 percent, which includes the referendum approved by voters in April 2015. The levy is significantly below the $59.3 million levy in 2013-2014.

• Construction approved in an April 2015 referendum is underway and on schedule to be completed in 2018. New customers are already being served in new facilities in business technologies and public safety and parts of NWTC-Marinette.

• Property owners will pay about $85 on a $100,000 home compared to about $166 four years ago. The difference will be paid through state property tax relief.

Wed
10
May

Lost towns of Oconto County

A retired history teacher, Rhonda Fochs is the author of five books featuring “lost towns” in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Her most recent release, “Wisconsin’s Lost Towns,” includes the Oconto County towns of Klondike, Pensaukee and Stiles.

Fochs was born in Ironwood, Michigan, and her younger years were spent in Iron County, Wisconsin. Her father’s family is from the Wausau and Mosinee area, and her aunt owned property in the logging town of Emerson.

“It always fascinated me how this wooded area, this place where there was nothing, was once a busy little town,” Fochs said.

When researching for her books, Fochs first checks a database listing the country’s post offices.

“I checked there for if and when a community had a post office,” she said. “If it still had a post office, I didn’t include it because I figured if I could mail them a letter, they weren’t really lost.”

Wed
10
May

“Angel in disguise’


Photo by Stephanie Ortiz

The Rev. ​Joel Sember ​​speaks at Mass on Sunday about the joys of serving the community at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Oconto. Sember was honored with a celebration commemorating his first 10 years of priesthood.

Members of three parishes joined at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Oconto on Sunday to honor and celebrate the Rev. Joel Sember’s 10 years of priesthood. The afternoon included a special Mass, luncheon, “roast and toast” and several guest speakers.

After finishing nine years of seminary straight out of high school, Sember learned he was assigned to three parishes in Oconto County: St. Patrick in Stiles, Holy Trinity in Oconto and St. Anthony in Oconto Falls, which includes an elementary school.

“I remember thinking you’ve got to be joking, but it has turned out to be a tremendous blessing. I love serving you,” Sember told the packed church Sunday. “This is who I am. This is where I am supposed to be.”

The Mass included 12 servers — four from each parish, a Knights of Columbus honor guard in full regalia, choir and a couple who renewed their wedding vows after 50 years of marriage.

Wed
10
May

St. Anthony teachers get a treat


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Pam Beschta hugs students after the St. Anthony School teacher was surprised with a limousine ride and lunch for Teacher Appreciation Week.

St. Anthony School’s friends and parents pulled out the stops this year for Teacher Appreciation Week with a surprise limousine ride and lunch in Green Bay on Friday.

Principal Alex Wolf and a small group of people “in the know” were able to keep the secret until just before the teachers were escorted, blindfolded, to the stretch limo donated for the trip by Heritage Limousines.

When the time came, Wolf recruited a handful of students from the classroom of Sue Beschta, who was unable to attend Friday because of a family matter. The delighted students embraced the task with relish.

“We have a very special surprise for our teachers, but first we have to blindfold her,” the principal explained as he went from classroom to classroom gathering up the other teachers — Pam Beschta, Renee Lemke, Julie Rost, Kathy Nall and Rosie Marifke.

“How many fingers am I holding up?” one of the students asked each teacher to test the effectiveness of the blindfold.

Wed
10
May

Woman dies after early-morning rollover

An Oconto woman died Sunday of injuries sustained in a rollover crash on U.S. 41 early in the morning of April 28.

According to the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department report, Kimberly Trepanier, 29, was southbound on U.S. 41 near Brookside Road at 2:17 a.m. when she entered the median shoulder, overcorrected and skidded across both lanes and into the ditch, then overturned several times. Trepanier was ejected from the vehicle, which was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived about 10 minutes later.

She was hospitalized with what were described as life-threatening injuries, and the department announced Monday that she had died from those injuries.

U.S. 41 southbound was closed for nearly two hours while firefighters extinguished the blaze and deputies investigated the crash. It appeared that alcohol was a factor in the crash, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Wed
10
May

Suring School’s active shooter drill deemed a success

The Suring School District held something more ominous than an old-fashioned fire drill Thursday, evacuating the entire school complex to practice for the threat of an active shooter on the premises.

The exercise started at 1:30 p.m. Principal Pamela Berg said that within 4 minutes every student in the building was accounted for at the secure rally point locations, and within 7 1/2 minutes the first group of students was loading a bus, in preparation of moving students to a second secure location farther from the school.

After the exercise, a debriefing was held at the school involving students, while the exercise team leaders met to hear what controllers had observed.

Superintendent Kelly Casper said Suring was the first school in Oconto County and one of the few schools in the state to take safety measures like this.

Wed
10
May

The doctor can see you now


Contributed Photo

Dr. Jocko Zifferblatt, on screen from HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, demonstrates St. Clare Memorial Hospital’s new telemedicine device with Colleen Koski, director of patient care services at the Oconto Falls hospital. The device enables emergency physicians at the two medical centers to consult in real time with patients.

HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls has a new tool to help fulfill its role as a federally designated critical access hospital.

The hospital on May 1 formally launched its Emergency Telemedicine service, which connects doctors with emergency physicians in Green Bay via a state-of-the-art, $52,000 device that allows consultations in real time.

“So if you had chest pain and the clinician who’s taking care of you had any questions or needed assistance, you have a board-certified emergency physician right at your fingertips to listen to your heart, to prescribe medication, to take care of any critical intervention that needed to be done,” said Dr. Jocko Zifferblatt, chairman of the Emergency Medicine Department, who conducted an interview for this article from HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay.

Wed
03
May

Building the future


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

New talent development strategies can help Oconto County businesses find the workers they need to compete in today’s environment, Paul Ehrfurth, executive director of the Oconto County Economic Development Corp., said at a Monday news conference at Nercon Engineering and Manufacturing in Oconto.

Oconto County’s new strategy for attracting young people into manufacturing jobs could be as simple as introducing students to people like Drew Oswald.

A floor assembler at Nercon Engineering and Manufacturing Co. in Oconto, Oswald said before he joined Nercon he shared the common misconception that factories were grimy and dreary places.

“Manufacturing has this image as being dirty, undesirable and unappreciated,” the married father of two said Monday. “What I’ve seen in five years is that it gives you a fair wage and fair living.”

Nercon, which employs 85 workers in Oconto and another 50 in Neenah, served as the backdrop for Monday’s announcement of new efforts to attract and develop qualified employees for Oconto County manufacturers and other businesses.

The effort got a jump-start with a $5,000 contribution from Wisconsin Public Service Corp.

Wed
03
May

‘St. Patrick DePaul’ gears up for another season


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

What once was the ladies sitting room at Pat Curley’s Hall in Stiles is now packed with children’s clothing and toys for sale in St. Patrick’s Rummage Hall. Barb Roskom and her team of volunteers run the store affiliated with St. Patrick’s Catholic Church from May through September.

Barb Roskom fully expects to have a small crowd waiting outside May 10 when St. Patrick’s Rummage Hall in Stiles opens for its 51st season.

“I went to the doctor’s office last week and had people asking, ‘When is the hall opening?’” said Roskom, who leads the dozen or so volunteers who operate the store.

It’s a testimony to the popularity of the store that the group opens from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday from the second week in May through the end of September every year.

Since 1966, the former parish hall of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church — which began its long life in the community as Pat Curley’s Hall — has served as the congregation’s permanent garage sale, with racks and racks of clothes, household goods, books, arts and crafts, and all of the other items you might expect to find in a thrift store.

Wed
03
May

Practicing for Bike to School Day


Photo by Keri Hicks

Halle Fisher and Emmie Kallies use the hand signals that they learned in class while moving through the course set up in physical education classes at Gillett Elementary School. The students were preparing for the Bike to School Day on May 10.

A special course with intersections and street signs was set up last week at Gillett Elementary School, and students rolled around on four-wheel platforms to simulate Bike to School Day, a special event celebrated May 10 at schools across the country to promote healthy ways to get to school.

The course was set up in the gymnasium for students to maneuver through to demonstrate understanding of bicycle safety rules. About 94 students have indicated they plan to walk or bike to school May 10.

In physical education class, the students were taught about bike safety, parts of a bicycle, street signs, hand signals and how to travel correctly on the road.

The local Bike to School Day is sponsored by Safe Kids of Oconto County, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, Prevea Health and Gillett School District.

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