News

Wed
28
Aug

Nicolet Trail Campground opens in Gillett


Photo by RJ Reinhold

Members of the Community Development Authority on Aug. 19 unveil the sign in front of the new Nicolet Trail Campground in the city of Gillett: from left, Mayor Irene Drake and members of the CDA board, Marilyn Mueller, Nanette Mohr, Kerri Hicks, Tim Christensen, Tracy Ondik and Jess Keplinger. Rick Raatz is also on the CDA board.

Gillett’s new campground is officially open for guests. Nicolet Trail Campground hosted its first visitors during the week of the Oconto County Fair, Aug. 22-25.

The 20-site campground is located on Washington Street, across the street from the cattle barns of the Oconto County Fairgrounds at Zippel Park.

Gillett’s Community Development Authority developed the campground to cater to ATV enthusiasts and others who use the Nicolet State Trail.

Access to the trail is located nearby.

Mayor Irene Drake said the campground will be an asset to the city, bringing in visitors who will contribute to the local economy.

“We’re hoping it takes off,” she said. “People have expressed a need for someplace because of the ATV trail that goes up north.”

The campground is built for self-contained campers, not tents, and sites are designed to accommodate ATV trailers. Bathrooms are limited to portable units.

Wed
28
Aug

County records first report of West Nile virus

The Oconto County Health Department reports a dead blue jay found in Oconto County on July 31 tested positive for West Nile virus.

This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Oconto County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

“The positive bird means that residents of Oconto County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” said Deb Konitzer, Oconto County Health Officer.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds.

“Oconto County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Konitzer said. “The West Nile virus seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.”

Wed
28
Aug

Suring school taxes up 2%

School taxes are projected to rise 2 percent for residents in the Suring School District, based on the tax levy approved Aug. 19 at the district’s annual meeting.

The estimated tax rate of $7.31 per $1,000 of assessed value is up from the 2012-13 rate of $7.17, meaning those with properties valued at $100,000 will pay $731 in school taxes, an increase of $14 over last year.

In October, the state Department of Revenue will certify the 2013 School District equalized valuation, and the final rate will be determined. School administrators proposed a tax rate based on equalized value remaining steady; any changes in the equalized value will affect taxes.

About a dozen residents at the annual meeting approved a tax levy of $4,161,479 for operation and maintenance and $304,400 for debt service.

Wed
28
Aug

Oconto Falls Police Department

A 30-year-old Oconto Falls man was arrested for battery following a domestic disturbance Aug. 18 on South Maple Avenue.

An Aug. 18 report of a 2-year-old being touched inappropriately is under investigation on South Maple Avenue.

The bathrooms at West Side Beach, 400 Flatley Ave., were vandalized Aug. 19 and 21.

Happy Jacks, 203 Green Bay Ave., reported a burglary Aug. 20. An undisclosed amount of cash was missing. The back door showed signs of forced entry.

The Oconto County Commission on Aging bus struck a parked car Aug. 21 at 521 Caldwell Ave. The bus was reported shifted into park, but it rolled across the street and struck the car. Minor damage was reported to both vehicles.

Wed
28
Aug

Oconto County Sheriff's Department

At 4:47 p.m. Aug. 14, a car driven by man from Glendale left County Road W east of Sheep Ranch Road, town of Doty, and entered a ditch.

At 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18, a car driven by an Oconto man was westbound on County Road A at Little River Road in the town of Little River. He waved at a person at the Little River park and turned too soon to make a turn. His vehicle entered a ditch and struck a road sign. No injuries were reported to the driver or three passengers.

At 6:16 p.m. Aug. 21, an Oconto Falls woman was driving west on County Road CC in the town of Oconto Falls. Her vehicle hit gravel on the shoulder, causing it to enter a ditch and cornfield. The woman and her male passenger from Oconto Falls were not injured.

Wed
28
Aug

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Aug. 23

An arraignment was scheduled Sept. 12 for Adam J. Charles, 43, Gillett. He was arrested Aug. 4 in the town of Spruce for driving while intoxicated and with blood alcohol content greater than the legal limit, each seventh, eighth or ninth offense, for obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct. His $7,500 cash bond continues.

Jimmy Alvis Loven, 53, Batesville, Ark., pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated, 10th offense, driving with blood alcohol content greater than the legal limit, 10th offense, and disorderly conduct. He was arrested July 14 in the town of Oconto Falls. His pretrial conference is Sept. 27, and a $7,500 cash bond continues.

Proceedings from Aug. 21

Tue
20
Aug

OF school tax rate climbs 3.77 percent

Taxpayers in the Oconto Falls School District will pay more to support education this year, and school officials say state lawmakers are to blame.

State aid to the school district was reduced by $328,000, or 3 percent, for the 2013-14 school year. To offset the loss, the budget presented at Monday’s annual meeting included an additional $289,000, a 5 percent levy increase, in the general fund.

“Essentially … we’ve got less support from the state. We’re making that up by going back to the property taxpayers,” School Superintendent Dave Polashek said.

School Board member Ken Harter said funding is not the only challenge facing the schools.

“Some of the policy decisions the state government has taken in recent years are also an issue,” he said. He encouraged parents to contact their state officials to share their concerns about education.

“We need to have more parents involved,” he said.

Tue
20
Aug

Hanson receives 6 years for child porn

An Oconto Falls man who goes to trial in December for allegedly killing a teenager 15 years ago was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for child pornography.

Peter J. Hanson, 52, will also spend 12 years on probation and pay a $26,000 surcharge, Oconto County Circuit Court Judge Michael Judge ruled Friday.

Hanson entered no contest pleas to 52 counts of possession of child pornography for images found on his computer Nov. 1, 2012. He faced repeater charges on each count, but those charges were dropped in a plea agreement.

In July, Hanson was sentenced to 19 months imprisonment for drug charges.

He also is charged with one count of intentional homicide — party to the crime in the shooting death of Chad J. McLean, a 19-year-old Green man who went missing Feb. 22, 1998. His body was found March 22, 1998, in Abrams.

Hanson pleaded not guilty to the charge in April; his jury trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 3.

Tue
20
Aug

Library parking lot to be renovated

The parking lot at the Oconto Falls Library will be reconstructed this fall, adding eight to 10 additional parking spaces and providing better access for handicapped patrons.

The $10,000 project will be funded by a donation from ST Paper, which contributed $20,000 to the library. The remainder of the donation will be set aside for a new roof for the library, 251 N. Main St., Oconto Falls.

“These are both expenses that the library board and the city knew would be coming but had no idea on how to pay for them,” library director Joan Denis said.

The Oconto Falls Street Department will prep the area for the project, and the Oconto County Highway Department will pave the lot. The City Council on Aug. 13 unanimously approved the county’s bid of $10,873. The work is scheduled to be completed in September and will force the library to close temporarily.

Tue
20
Aug

Gillett Secondary School principal resigns

Gillett School Board members on Thursday expressed surprise over the resignation of Jeremy Pach, principal at the middle and high school for the past two years.

School Board member Cliff Gerbers said the resignation was completely unexpected.

“He is an individual that has the respect of the community,” Gerbers said. “At the meeting I voted to accept his resignation with regret, and I do feel that.”

The board voted 6-1 to approve the resignation, effective Aug. 20, with Miles Winkler, board president, dissenting.

Pach is pursuing employment in the Pulaski School District, where he lives with his wife, son and newborn daughter.

He has been employed by the Gillett School District for 10 years.

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