News

Wed
12
Apr

Highway construction in full swing


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Access to businesses and homes remains along state Highway 22 between Oconto Falls and Stiles Junction.

A chunk of asphalt pavement on state Highway 22 west of Duame Road in Stiles Junction has been removed in the early stages of the four-month reconditioning project that is expected to detour traffic east of Oconto Falls through mid-August.

Drivers are making their way from U.S. 141 along (officially) County Road A through Lena and (unofficially) County Road I through Stiles while the work progresses on the $3.4 million, 4.22-mile project.

The reconditioning consists of milling the existing asphalt pavement and placing a new driving surface. Other work includes adding right-turn lanes at County Road I, Larson Road and Younger Road; removing and replacing two concrete box culverts; replacing existing culvert pipes at various locations; and installing new pavement marking and permanent signs.

Wed
12
Apr

St. John’s presents Easter cantata

An ecumenical community choir is rehearsing its presentation of “The Day He Wore My Crown,” the ninth annual Easter cantata at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Gillett.

In 1981, creator and arranger David T. Clydesdale wanted to write a musical from the top 12 songs concerning the Passion story. The list included “Cornerstone,” “Behold the Lamb” and “There’s Something Different About Him.”

When Clydesdale presented his idea to the president of the Benson Co., he was shocked by his response: “Absolutely not! Musicals are created by one writer, not 12 writers. It just won’t hold together. Bad idea. Sorry!”

Thu
06
Apr

Spring election results

+ Bagley Town Board (2): Herb Fischer 45, Darryl Houska 42, Tom Bauer 34.

+ Breed town chairman: Brian M. Moran, Richard VandeWettering 52.

+ Doty Town Board (2): Andrew Dryja 49, Bob Gale 37, Andrew Stemp 35.

+ Lakewood treasurer: Virginia Nelson 158, Nancy Gardebrecht 106.

+ Oconto Falls town clerk: Heather Fifield 200, Jan Betts 95.

+ Riverview Town Board (2): Jim Zittlow 169, Dick Booth 110, Harlan Trosch 58, Geri Hammer 53.

+ Spruce town chair: Terry L. Brazeau 148, Mary Marks 67.

+ Spruce Town Board (2): Fred Witt 166, Brian Rieth 127, James W. Kuckenbecker Jr. 71.

+ Stiles Supervisor 1 - Blaine Konitzer 165, Allen Kopczynski 90.

+ Stiles treasurer - Laurie Parisey 160, Jo Ann Usiak 106.

+ Townsend town chair: Carla Van Camp 255, Michael Vande Walle 182.

+ Townsend Town Board (2): Linda Adamczyk 321, Daniel Martin 232, Joanne Jones 153, Michael Lavin 73.

Wed
05
Apr

Speaker, simulator drive home a message


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Gillett High School students listen Monday as C.J. Rich of the Save a Life Tour talks about the hazards of drunken and distracted driving.

The Gillett High School student body fell silent Monday morning listening to a man cry on a video screen.

Reggis Shaw was 20 years old when — as he was texting back and forth with a friend while driving state Highway 30 near his hometown of Logan, Utah — he crossed the center line and sideswiped an oncoming car, which spun out of control and was T-boned by a pickup truck behind him.

Two men in the car were killed, and the driver of the pickup truck sustained career-ending injuries.

“All I could think about is the families of those two men,” Shaw said as he sobbed in the video, almost a decade later. “Knowing, every day, that you killed two people is one of the worst things you can live with.”

Wed
05
Apr

Suring grad named Fairest of the Fair


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Lining up for photographer Karen Riegert-Blaser are, from left, Oconto County Fairest of the Fair 2016 Mikaela Reed, 2017 runner-up Kaitlyn Kramarczyk, Fairest of the Fair 2017 Victoria Hull, Junior Fairest 2017 Grace Seefeldt and Junior Fairest 2016 Kate Pytleski.

Victoria Hull, of Mountain, was named Oconto County Fairest of the Fair on Sunday during the annual competition at Gillett High School. Grace Seefeldt, of Lena, was chosen Junior Fairest of the Fair.

A Suring High School graduate, Hull is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in international business and teaching English as a second language. She is the daughter of Mike and Kathryn Hull.

Grace, a sixth-grader at Lena Middle School, is the daughter of Dale and Becky Seefeldt.

“I love the feeling of community and family that we received as exhibitors,” Hull said in her introduction. “Whether it’s your first year showing or your last like me, it’s easy to feel the love and welcome that you receive here at the Oconto County Fair.”

The other Senior Fairest of the Fair contestants were Kaitlin Kramarczyk, who was named runner-up, and Danielle Bursa. Other Junior Fairest contestants were Holly Brock, Delaney DeBauch and Macie Reed.

Wed
05
Apr

Falls officer honored for victim advocacy


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Oconto Falls Police Department Officer Jamie Kuhn addresses the group Monday after receiving an Excellence in Advocacy Award during a ceremony at Hagemeister Park, a Green Bay restaurant.

Oconto Falls Police Officer Jamie Kuhn on Monday became the first Oconto County recipient of an Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Sexual Assault Center of Northeastern Wisconsin.

The award, given to people who go above and beyond the line of duty on behalf of victims and their families, was presented during a ceremony in Green Bay kicking off April Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a national observance.

“She is the kind of officer a victim wants to report to, because she cares so deeply and will go the extra mile to help a victim, and even extra extra miles to catch the person who hurt them,” said Susan Lockwood, director of the center and Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center, who presented the award. “Jamie has had some difficult cases but always perseveres in the interest of justice.”

Wed
29
Mar

Cat house owner seeks to avoid demolition

An Oconto Falls woman has filed a response to the city’s effort to raze her house and garage, two years after 32 cats were removed from the home and a year after legal proceedings began.

“I deny that I have failed to clean and remediate the building,” Roberta Olshesky wrote in a letter filed Friday in Oconto County Circuit Court. “I may have not hired a professional because I cannot afford to incur such a debt, but we have cleaned substantially and believe the house is not a danger to anyone.”

The 83-year-old woman said she was forced to borrow money to retain an attorney after the City Council moved to order the structures destroyed last spring, the retainer is now used up, and she can’t afford to continue with an attorney.

The response also includes a letter from a friend, Mary Jakopovich of Green Bay, who said more than 300 hours have gone into cleaning the house.

Wed
29
Mar

Light spring election turnout expected

Oconto County Clerk Kim Pytleski is preparing for about a 25 percent turnout of registered voters for the spring election Tuesday.

She bases that estimate on turnouts of 26 percent in 2015, 15 percent in 2014 and 27 percent in 2013, the last time a state superintendent of public instruction election was held. Last April was a presidential primary election, which always draws a much higher turnout than the typical spring ballot of school board, city, village, town and other nonpartisan offices.

Some municipalities in the county have contested races, and the Oconto Falls School District has a referendum question, and as a result the turnout “could scoot as high as that 30 percent mark,” Pytleski said.

All Oconto County voters will choose between State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, who is running for a third four-year term, and challenger Lowell E. Holtz.

Wed
29
Mar

A big family for a year


Photo by Eden Witt

Nan and Chris Williams with their daughters and foreign exchange guest family, from left, Gwen Williams, Anna-Maria Oliveira Assuncao, Kristina Heimonen and Grace Williams.

Chris and Nan Williams, of Abrams, and their family are hosting two foreign exchange students until the end of the school year.

The couple’s older daughter, Grace, met the two girls, Kristina Heirmonen and Anna-Maria Oliveira Assuncao, at Oconto Falls High School and convinced her parents to take over for a previous host family who took in the overseas visitors for September and October.

“I always wanted to have a big family,” Nan Williams said. “When I found out about this opportunity, I thought it would be a good experience to have a big family that is not long term.”

Hosting two foreign exchange students has brought the family together, Chris Williams said.

“It’s really nice having a different perspective, and we do more things together. It has made our family closer,” he said.

The couple’s two children also say they have benefited from hosting the two foreign exchange students.

Wed
29
Mar

County Board talks salary, rules of order

The Oconto County Board spent a lot of time discussing its rules March 23, making an adjustment to how board members are compensated but declining to change the makeup of a standing committee or pass an ordinance that would require committee chairpersons to allow non-member county supervisors to speak.

Under the existing system, board members are paid on a per-diem basis for each meeting they attend. Longtime supervisor Ronald Beekman proposed that members should get a fixed salary and a reduced per diem.

The current rule only allows per diems. The law enforcement/judiciary committee recommended changing the language so that compensation “may be defined as per diems and/or salary.”

That was approved 23-6 without much discussion, but there was a longer conversation about another request that the committee declined to recommend, regarding the makeup of the personnel and wages committee.

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