News

Wed
28
May

Lena looks to Saputo for water project support

The Lena Village Board awarded contracts last week to construct a $3.4 million plant to reduce radium in the water supply and now hopes to get its largest customer, Saputo Cheese, to help pay for it.

The village is under an order from the Department of Natural Resource to complete the radium treatment plant by July 2015. However, the village and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission want Saputo to contribute money upfront toward construction costs or agree to continue to pay for its current water usage for the 20-year life of the treatment plant loan.

The construction contracts call for the plant to be built by the end of this year, but the contractors cannot incur any costs until authorized by the village.

“These contracts hold the price for 45 days … which gives us time to try and reach an agreement with Saputo,” Village President Steve Marquardt said.

Wed
28
May

Suring sewer rates to jump 20 percent

The Suring Village Board on May 13 unanimously approved a 20 percent sewer rate hike to pay for the purchase of a $53,000 control system and rising operational costs for the Sewer Department.

Village President Jay Tousey said the rate increase is due primarily to more mandates issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Natural Resources. The village receives no funding to compensate for the mandates, he said.

“We have no choice but to raise the rates,” Tousey said.

Village Clerk Carol Heise noted that Suring’s proposed rates are not out of line with other communities. The new rates take effect July 1.

With the increase, the village estimates it will collect an additional $23,251 in revenue for the sewer department.

Wed
28
May

Roof work approved for Gillett Elementary

Roof repairs at Gillett Elementary will be completed as one project this summer, instead of the two-step process originally proposed.

The Gillett School Board on May 15 approved funding for the second roofing project at the elementary school, allowing for the two projects to be combined, resulting in savings for the district.

The board originally separated the project into two parts, approving funding of $155,130 for the first phase in April. The entire project was estimated at $246,770. Customform Corporation, of Mauston, was selected to perform the work.

District Superintendent Todd Carlson strongly encouraged the board to approve funds for the second project, stating concerns about materials costs increasing. He said doing the entire project at once would eliminate the need for a seam to be constructed between the repaired and damaged portions of the roof. The $3,500 cost for project management of a second project would also be eliminated, he added.

Wed
28
May

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from May 21

An initial appearance was held for Justin A. Grzybowski, 21, Lena, on charges of second degree sexual assault of a child under 16 May 17 in the town of Oconto. The court set a $15,000 cash bond. A continued initial appearance is June 5.

The court found a deferred prosecution agreement was violated by Dustin M. Vandenzen, 21, Kaukauna, on two misdemeanor charges of theft and damage to property and a felony charge of burglary of a building. Sentencing is July 14.

Joshua M. Fouts, 25, Green Bay, was sentenced to nine years incarceration and five years extended supervision for three counts of burglary of a building, party to a crime, on Oct. 22, 2008, in the towns of Oconto Falls and Pensaukee. Restitution is $11,187.44. He is to have no contact with the victims except to write an apology letter to each.

Wed
28
May

Koehne to celebrate grand reopening

Koehne Chevrolet, Buick, GMC announces the completion of its newly renovated dealership on Business 41, Oconto. The renovation included a total makeover of both its exterior and interior facilities.

Koehne’s new vehicle showroom has been redesigned to improve customer ease and comfort. The expanded new service area will provide all-weather drive-in attention to customer needs.

Koehne’s new exterior reflects the contemporary new General Motors look of its nationwide dealer network.

Owners Todd and Chad Koehne opened the doors at their Oconto location, the former Augustine Motors, in June 2007 and added a second location in Marinette in August 2009 .

On Saturday, May 31, Koehne will hold its grand reopening at 5659 U.S. Highway 41, inviting the community to a daylong celebration from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies with Oconto Mayor Victoria Bostedt will be at 1 p.m. Diamond & Steel will perform from 2-5 p.m.

Wed
28
May

Alfalfa forage quality monitoring project begins

The annual Marinette and Oconto County University of Wisconsin-Extension first-cut alfalfa quality monitoring project has begun for 2014. This project monitors alfalfa forage quality changes, allowing farms to make informed decisions about harvest timing.

First crop is usually the most important harvest of the year, and farms use quality data to make sure that they harvest at the appropriate forage quality for their operation. The only way to be sure about harvest timing is to monitor quality in fields by using the Predictive Estimated Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) system or by following the results of the areawide monitoring project.

Scott Reuss, UW-Extension crops/soils agent, will gather data from numerous fields across the two-county area on Mondays and Thursdays. The first set of data was collected May 22 and indicated that most fields are seven to 14 days away from harvesting to achieve dairy-quality forage.

Wed
28
May

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

May 20

Deputies logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious Person - Authorities investigated a report from a person on McDonald Street, Oconto, who reported signs that someone tried to pick the lock on his vehicle’s gas cap.

Suspicious - Authorities visited a home in Pound where windows and doors were open at a seasonal property, and the owners were not there.

Missing person - An 87-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s was reported missing from her home on Airport Road in Pound. She was later involved in a one-vehicle accident in Suring.

Threatening - Authorities investigated a male in Lena who was threatening to kill someone with a gun and then kill himself.

May 19

Deputies logged 26 incidents, including the following:

Theft - Authorities investigated the theft of a checkbook from a vehicle on Cream City Road, Oconto.

Wed
21
May

Yearlong review begins for power lines

American Transmission Co. wants the state to approve construction of two high-voltage power lines through Shawano and Oconto counties, between substations near Appleton and Morgan. The project is estimated to cost $307 million.

Filing the construction application May 1 with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission began the state’s yearlong review process to determine if there is a public need for the power lines and, if so, where they would be routed.

When originally announced in 2012, the Bay Lake Project included a $427 million, 345-kilovolt line between Appleton and Ishpeming, Mich., in two components: Appleton to Oconto County and Oconto County to the Upper Peninsula.

However, the line to the Upper Peninsula was shelved so the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator, a regional planning authority, could review long-term transmission line needs for changing conditions in the Upper Midwest and Manitoba, ATC spokesperson Jackie Olson said.

Wed
21
May

Police chief announces retirement


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Oconto Falls Police Chief Mike Roberts will retire June 3 after 35 years with the department, 12 of them as chief.

Saying it’s time for young faces and young ideas, Oconto Falls Police Chief Mike Roberts will retire June 3 after a 35-year career with the city.

Roberts, 59, was hired by the Police Department in February 1979 to his first full-time law enforcement position and was promoted to chief on June 1, 2002.

Roberts said he approached his role with fairness and honesty, knowing there are three sides to every story—theirs, theirs and the truth somewhere in between. He said it’s the role of a police officer to find that truth in the middle.

Roberts said he enjoyed the camaraderie of working in the department and serving the community over the years. Retirement will allow him time to catch up on projects and spend time traveling and riding motorcycle.

“Mike has done an excellent job as chief the last 12 years and the previous 23 years as an officer of the city police department,” Mayor Brad Rice said.

Wed
21
May

Jump start to summer

A four-day Memorial Day celebration in Oconto Falls will feature the customary favorites, such as carnival rides, fireworks, a softball tournament and parade, but behind the scenes, change is brewing.

The Oconto Falls Booster Club, longtime sponsors of the holiday tradition, will coordinate the celebration for the last time.

According to booster club member Chad Trudell, the organization will transition into Panther Pride over the next year. He said both organizations work to improve outdoor facilities for athletes in the Oconto Falls School District and share many of the same members.

Funds earned at this year’s event at Memorial Field will be used to build a $1.1 million football stadium and nine-lane track, proposed to the east of the district office. Panther Pride representatives designed the complex and asked the Oconto Falls School Board to place the project on a proposed August referendum.

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