News

Wed
01
Jan

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 4:44 p.m. Dec. 20, an Oconto Falls man was traveling north on a John Deere skid steer on County Road C in the town of Morgan. At the same time he observed an Oconto County Highway Department truck plowing snow approaching from behind, also driven by an Oconto Falls man. The driver of the farm equipment turned left into a driveway, and the truck driver was unable to avoid a collision. There were no injuries.

At 2:08 p.m. Dec. 20, an Oconto man was driving his car south on U.S. 41 at Galuska Road, town of Abrams. His vehicle skidded on the snow-covered roadway and struck a road sign, then came to rest on Galuska Road. There was moderate damage reported to his automobile.

At 4:04 a.m. Dec. 22, a man from Lena was driving his pickup truck south on Tower Dam Road in the town of Stiles, lost control and entered a ditch, striking a tree. The pickup truck sustained severe damage, but the driver was not injured.

Wed
25
Dec

Falls city employees receive 2% pay raises

City employees were granted 2 percent pay raises for 2014 by the Oconto Falls City Council on Dec. 10.

The group includes eight full-time workers: Vicki Roberts, city administrator; Nancy Brye, deputy clerk; Eve Wallace, deputy treasurer; Kathy Sutrick, receptionist; Terry Magnin, street superintendent; Gerry Lemirande, street mechanic/foreman; Dave VanArk, street laborer; and Brad Magnin, street laborer.

Seven part-time employees also received 2 percent raises: Bobbie Krozell, building inspector; Larry Jeske, city attorney; Jim Patenaude, municipal judge; Annette Hoefferle, court clerk; Kay Oninski, park and recreation supervisor; Roy Kooren, recycling center attendant; and Mark Krumrei, recycling center attendant.

All union contracts expire in 2013, so all employees are exempt from bargaining contracts, with the exception of the Police Department employees.

Wed
25
Dec

Death of inmate raises questions

The death of a rural Lena man is raising questions as to whether Oconto County Jail inmates are receiving adequate medical care.

Jeffrey “Jeff” Furst, 44, died Dec. 14 at a Green Bay hospital.

According to Jail Administrator Carol Kopp, an ambulance was called at approximately 7 p.m. Dec. 13 for Furst, who was transferred to Bellin Health Oconto Hospital, then placed on a medical flight to Bellin Hospital in Green Bay. He was pronounced dead at 4:06 a.m. Dec. 14.

Medical Examiner Al Klimek said he could not release the cause of death due to privacy regulations. However, he said, the death was the result of a medical condition.

“It was a result of a natural disease process,” he said.

Furst’s wife, Lena, told the Times Herald the family is considering legal action.

Wed
25
Dec

Gillett school tax hike catches resident by surprise

When Morgan resident Nichole Holzem opened her property tax bill earlier this month, the result was shocking. She remembers “practically choking” when she saw the school tax for the Gillett School District.

“Our taxes have gone down year after year,” she said. But not this time.

Her overall tax bill increased 33 percent from 2013, “which was just insane to us,” she said. The school tax was up a whopping 29 percent.

“This isn’t something we could have budgeted for,” she said.

Holzem and her husband own a home and 20 acres of farmland that they lease to neighbors. They’ve lived at the residence for seven years and have one school-aged child. Because of their work responsibilities, they applied for open enrollment for their child, who attends a school district other than Gillett.

According to Holzem, the jump in taxes made the family consider selling their home.

Wed
25
Dec

Attorney retained as corporation counsel


Cheryl Mick

An Oconto attorney hired for a part-time position in July has accepted a full-time position as the Oconto County corporation counsel.

The County Board on Thursday approved the employment of Cheryl Mick. Her employment begins Jan. 1, and she will earn an annual salary of $89,523.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing in the position going into the future,” Mick said.

Mick was initially hired on a contractual basis in July for an average of 20 hours a week, at $125 per hour. She replaced Robert Mraz, who left the half-time position when the county was awarded state funding for a full-time assistant district attorney. Mraz worked both half-time positions for 32 years.

The corporation counsel represents the county in all civil matters, including those dealing with contract, deeds and property sales, and represents the Health and Human Services Department in proceedings involving vulnerable adults and children in need of protection.

Wed
25
Dec

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Dec. 19

Julie A. Kratz, 46, Seymour, entered a no contest plea to being party to delivering a controlled substance during the summer of 2012 in Oconto Falls. Her sentencing was withheld, and she was placed on probation 15 months, ordered to pay $243 court costs, maintain absolute sobriety and attend alcohol and other drug abuse assessment.

A preliminary hearing will be held Jan. 7 for Ashly J. Toth, 31, Oconto Falls. She is charged with physical harm to a child intentionally causing bodily harm, physical abuse to a child, both which allegedly took place Dec. 16, 2012, in Oconto Falls, and with disorderly conduct and felony bail jumping both on Dec. 13, 2012, also in Oconto Falls. Her $1,000 signature bond continues.

Wed
25
Dec

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Dec. 12

An arraignment is Jan. 9 for Dennis P. Arendt, 18, Oconto. He faces a charge of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, which allegedly occurred between Oct. 5 and Nov. 20 in Oconto. His $20,000 cash bond continues.

Proceedings from Dec. 9

Randall J. Gazella, 53, Sobieski, entered not guilty pleas to battery, disorderly conduct and strangulation and suffocation, which allegedly took place Aug. 20 in the town of Little Suamico. His pretrial conference is Jan. 13, and his $500 cash bond continues.

A pretrial conference will take place Jan. 9 for Christopher L. Harris, 22, Oconto Falls. He is charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, which allegedly took place June 1 and Aug. 1 in Oconto Falls. His $2,500 cash bond continues.

Wed
25
Dec

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 2:04 p.m. Dec. 18, cars driven by two men from Little Suamico collided at the intersection of County Road and Sundale Court, town of Little Suamico, after one driver failed to yield the right of way. No injuries resulted.

At 2:50 a.m. Dec. 19, a man from Plover was driving his auto north on state Highway 32 south of Maiden Lake Road in the town of Riverview when he struck an ice-covered shoulder of the roadway. His vehicle entered a ditch on the east side of the road, struck the snowmobile trail, then continued north striking several trees. No injuries resulted. His car sustained severe damage.

At 11:30 p.m Dec. 19, a woman from Crivitz was traveling north on U.S. 141 in the town of Lena, lost control of her vehicle, entered a ditch and traveled through a highway barrier fence. There was minor damage reported to her vehicle.

Wed
18
Dec

District court finds Dobrys are ineligible for insurance award


Times Herald File Photo

Jordan Walker talks with his attorney, Bradley Schraven, in Oconto County Circuit Court in 2011. Walker was found guilty of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon for the 2010 death of Shawn Dobry. A court of appeals ruled Dobry’s shooting was not accidental but was criminal and therefore excluded from coverage under the homeowners policy of the Walker family.

The parents of an Oconto Falls youth who fatally shot his friend at an underage drinking party can’t be held civilly liable for the death, a state appeals court ruled Nov. 10.

The District III Court of Appeals opinion upholds Circuit Judge James Morrison’s dismissal of the suit Shawn Dobry’s estate brought against Robert and Sande Walker.

The Dobry estate sued after the Walkers’ son, Jordan, now 22, was convicted of reckless homicide in connection with Dobry’s death in June 2010.

The appeals court agreed with Morrison, who found that the shooting was criminal, not accidental, and therefore excluded from coverage under the homeowners policy Wilson Mutual Insurance Co. issued Robert and Sande Walker.

Wed
18
Dec

Hanson found guilty of McLean’s homicide


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Special prosecutor Vincent Biskupic speaks with the family of Chad McLean after the jury found Peter Hanson guilty of McLean’s murder Dec. 10 in Oconto County Circuit Court.

They had waited a long time for this day.

The family of Chad McLean finally had the answer they sought for almost 16 years.

An Oconto County jury on Dec. 10 found Peter Hanson guilty of the murder of McLean, a Green Bay teen who visited Oconto County with a friend on Feb. 22, 1998, and was never seen alive again.

McLean’s family pumped their fists into the air in celebration and wiped away tears after the verdict was read.

For nine years after McLean went missing, the family put up posters, handed out fliers and even purchased a billboard in the pursuit of finding the killer.

“We’re happy with the verdict,” one family member said when approached by the Times Herald.

Hanson, 53, covered his face with his hands as Judge Michael Judge read the verdict.

A jury of 10 women and two men, after deliberating for almost five hours, found Hanson guilty of the intentional homicide of McLean.

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