News

Wed
26
Feb

Gillett gears up for educator evaluations

The Gillett School District is on the brink of implementing the training process needed to promote improvements in educator practices. The goal is to improve student learning in the classroom.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has released the training module for the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System to school districts for use in evaluating the effectiveness of educating methods used by teachers and principals, based on student outcomes.

Superintendent Todd Carlson gave a presentation about the system to the Gillett School Board on Thursday, emphasizing the importance of having the system in place for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Educators will be evaluated on six performance standards, including professional knowledge and instructional delivery. Evaluators will gather data related to the standards by using observation, teacher self-assessments and student surveys to make determinations about the educator’s level of performance.

Wed
26
Feb

County selects acquisition firm


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Oconto County officials have asked the city of Oconto to vacate this alley between Adams and Jefferson streets in Oconto to make room for a proposed law enforcement center to be built north of the courthouse.

A Madison company has been selected to oversee the acquisition of 14 properties in the neighborhood of a proposed law enforcement center.

The Oconto County Board on Thursday approved a contract with SRF Consulting Group for not more than $170,065. The company will oversee the acquisition, relocation and razing of the buildings located one block north of the courthouse.

Rose Stellmacher cast the only no vote, saying the vote should be delayed until the city of Oconto agrees to vacate an alley and a road at the proposed site. The county has asked the city to vacate Adams Street and two alleys between Adams and Jefferson streets.

Oconto County Administrative Coordinator Kevin Hamann said he was confident an agreement could be made.

“I fully expect we’ll be able to work it out with the city,” he said.

Wed
26
Feb

County distributes crisis aid

Oconto County has issued almost $100,000 in emergency aid this winter to residents struggling to heat their homes, and according to one county official, another crisis is looming.

The first requests for crisis assistance came on Jan. 15, and in less than a month, the Health and Human Services Department received 840 calls requesting crisis funding, according to Penny Helmle, economic support division manager for Oconto County.

Between Jan. 15 and Feb. 11, the department prepared 336 applications and paid out $91,000.

Prolonged cold weather and a propane shortage that spiked prices up to $7 a gallon prompted residents to apply for assistance. According to Helmle, propane prices have moderated to about $3.79 a gallon, although prices vary day to day and vendor to vendor.

“The calls are still coming in strong. The requests for money are still coming in strong,” she told the County Board on Thursday.

Wed
26
Feb

Upgrades planned at Chute Pond Park

A Hobart engineering firm will design and oversee construction of two restroom facilities at Chute Pond County Park and Campground.

A proposal from Robert E. Lee & Associates was approved Thursday by the Oconto County Board. For a fee of $16,000, the company will perform a site survey, develop construction plans, bid out the project, obtain permits and oversee construction.

The 750-square-foot buildings will have a men’s restroom, a women’s restroom and four separate shower rooms.

The buildings are expected to cost $30-$50 per square foot to construct. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring and be completed during the camping season. The county budgeted $125,000 for a new building that will replace the existing one.

Supervisors Guy Gooding and Jim Lacourciere voted against the project. Gooding recommended delaying approval so the county could solicit other engineering bids. Only one bid was obtained.

Wed
26
Feb

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 6:57 p.m. Feb. 11 on Watercress Road in the town of Stiles, a woman from Lena backed from a parking space in a parking lot into another parked vehicle. Moderate damage was done to the parked vehicle, with minimal damage to the driver’s car.

At 5 p.m. Feb. 14 in the village of Suring, a man from Gillett traveling west on Main Street slowed to make a left turn onto Mill Street. A second vehicle driven by a man from De Pere following him thought the first vehicle was turning right and moved to pass on the left. The first vehicle turned into the passing vehicle, causing moderate damage to both vehicles.

At 2:38 p.m. on Feb. 14 in the town of Little Suamico, a man from Little Suamico driving a pickup truck was northbound on U.S. 41 in the passing lane, following a flatbed semi tractor-trailer unit when debris flew off the semi trailer and struck the front of his truck, causing minor damage.

Wed
26
Feb

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Feb. 20

Eric A. Bayer, 35, Suring, pleaded no contest to possession of THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) – second and subsequent offense. He was fined $750, must pay DNA surcharge of $250 and court costs of $2081.75 and have all drugs confiscated. He received credit for one day in jail.

A preliminary hearing was held for Howard Lucas, 39, Green Bay. He faces a charge of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent as party to a crime. A $1,500 cash bond continues. His arraignment is March 10.

Proceedings from Feb. 18

Christopher R. Nelson, 28, Coleman, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on a felony charge of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent as party to a crime, which allegedly occurred Jan. 11 to Jan. 13 in Oconto County. Bond was modified from $1,500 to $500, and a pretrial conference is March 13.

Wed
19
Feb

Herzog loses bid for Gillett School Board

Paul Herzog was eliminated from the field of candidates competing for a position on the Gillett School Board. According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary, Herzog received 66 votes, the lowest among the five candidates.

Four others will advance to the April 1 election.

Jamie Heroux, with 96 votes, led all candidates. Incumbents Nanette Mohr and John Timm followed, with 88 and 85 votes respectively. Brandon Nygaard earned 82 votes.

On April 1, two candidates will be elected for three-year terms on the School Board.

Wed
19
Feb

Bostedt, Hayes advance in mayoral election

First-term incumbent Victoria Bostedt and Ron Hayes, Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce president, will face off for mayor of Oconto in the April 1 election. Bostedt received 400 votes, while Hayes tallied 362, according to unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary election. Alderman Ron Daul was eliminated from the race, earning only 72 votes.

In the nine-person race for alderman, Tony Daul was eliminated and eight others advanced. Daul received 200 votes.

Incumbents were the favorites; Lauren Resch earned 552 votes, Roger Reed, 446, and Al Schreiber, 417.

Next in line were John Wittkopf, 314 votes, Jodette Bostedt, 292, OraLee Martin, 263, Darrell Anderson, 258, and Shelley Rosenfeldt, 247.

Four positions are open on the Oconto City Council.

Wed
19
Feb

Count uncovers 1 unsheltered person

One person was found homeless in Oconto County on Jan. 29, the only person in a five-county area living outside a shelter, according to the results of a biannual homelessness count.

Forty-five others were residing in domestic violence shelters or homeless shelters, according to Amanda Anderson, community access director for NEWCAP, which coordinated the count for Oconto, Marinette, Menominee, Shawano and Florence counties.

The highest homelessness numbers were reported in Menominee County, with 27 individuals in shelters, followed by Shawano County with 12 and Marinette County with six. No individuals were found to be homeless in Florence County.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires counts be conducted on the last Wednesday in January and July, and the results are used to evaluate the scope of local homelessness, engage in program development and assist in determining future funding for the community.

Wed
19
Feb

An explosion of speed and sound


Photo by Mark Mortell

Josh Simpson, of Otisville, Mich., makes a fast start Friday at the World Series of Ice Drags. For a third year in a row, the Oconto Falls Sno-Jokers club hosted the races at the West Side Beach in Oconto Falls.

The scream of the engines could be heard across town, but you had to get up close to truly appreciate the speed of the sleds as they whizzed past in a blur of color and sound.

“They’re a little crazy out there,” said Christina Bekkela, of Stiles, who spent her Valentine’s Day watching the races with her fiance, Neal Rebman. The couple rode their snowmobiles to the World Series of Ice Drags and watched the races from the bleacher area Friday and Saturday at the West Side Beach in Oconto Falls.

“We’re winter sports enthusiasts,” Rebman said. “We love snowmobiling, and we love going fast.”

“That might be a little fast for us,” Bekkela said, watching the action. “We’ll have a little competition between us and friends, but never something like this.”

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