News

Fri
18
Oct

Schmidt guilty in double homicide

Although physical evidence was scarce, an Oconto County jury Thursday found a rural Shawano man guilty of two counts of homicide.

The jury deliberated almost five hours before announcing Daniel Schmidt, 30, was guilty of murdering his ex-mistress, Kimberly Rose, and her brother, Leonard Marsh, in 2009.

Family and friends hugged one another, wiping away tears after hearing the jury’s decision.

“I think the victims were pleased with the verdict,” said Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour, who prosecuted the case. “It’s hard to have a lot of jubilation. There are two people that are dead and there’s another person whose life is probably going to be spent in prison, so I don’t know if there’s jubilation, but there’s relief justice has been done.”

Schmidt showed little emotion on hearing the verdict, but his wife, Stephanie, a key witness in the trial, put her face in her hands and cried.

Thu
17
Oct

Suring group strives to save historic home


Contributed Photo

The Suring Area Historical Society seeks donations to preserve this log home, located on the corner of state Highway 32 and Willow Road, north of the village. Society members plan to restore the home and put it on display in the village of Suring.

A significant piece of rural history is in jeopardy, as volunteers struggle to raise funds to preserve a 125-year-old log home in the Suring area.

The log home, located in the town of How at the corner of state Highway 32 and Willow Road, is about two miles north of Suring.

The plan to restore the home began about five years ago when Linda Miller Gerndt, a descendant of the original owner, and a friend, Melody Wardecke, were chatting one day on a street in Suring. To begin to achieve their dream, they formed the Suring Area Historical Society in 2007.

The home was gifted to the SAHS for a three-year period, ending in January 2015.

To complicate matters, the farm on which the home is located is for sale, with interested parties considering a purchase. If the farm sells, the fate of the log house is unknown.

“The job is not quite as easy as we thought it would be,” Wardecke said.

Thu
17
Oct

New future envisioned for Spruce School

A fledgling historical society has visions of developing a Heritage Hill-style park in Oconto Falls, with Spruce School as its centerpiece. Dale Seeling shared this vision Monday with the Oconto Falls School Board, asking the board to hold off selling the vacant school building and instead consider it as a historical attraction.

In September, the School Board lowered the asking price of the two-room schoolhouse to $70,000. It was the second time the price was reduced by $10,000 since October 2012, when the property was put on the market.

The former Spruce School, 7904 County Road A, Lena, educated generations of Spruce-area students before closing in June 2012. In recent years, the schoolhouse was operated as a charter school with an environmental emphasis for students in grades one through five. Low enrollment and fiscal issues led to the closure.

Thu
17
Oct

Double homicide trial under way


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Daniel Schmidt, right, is seated with his counsel at the start of his trial on two first-degree intentional homicide charges for the death of siblings Kimberly Rose and Leonard Marsh. The two were found dead from shotgun wounds in the Gillett-area home they shared.

An Oconto County jury will decide if a rural Shawano man, desperate to save his marriage and anxious over repaying a loan with marijuana he grew illegally, murdered his ex-mistress and her brother.

Daniel Schmidt, 30, is accused of the shotgun slayings of Kimberly Rose, with whom he had a six-month affair, and her brother, Leonard Marsh, on May 19, 2009, in their town of Gillett home.

In opening arguments Monday in Oconto County Circuit Court, Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour told the jury Schmidt had two motives for the murder. He wanted to keep Rose from telling the police about the marijuana he grew in a shed at his home, Dufour said, and stop her from disrupting his marriage to his wife, Stephanie.

Dufour said Schmidt also had a murder weapon, a .20-gauge shotgun.

Schmidt, arrested in September 2012, faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Thu
17
Oct

State aid projected to increase for Falls schools

Student enrollment has changed this year in the Oconto Falls School District, but whether it’s up or down depends on how you crunch the numbers.

The school district grew by 11 students, according to one of several summaries presented at the School Board meeting Monday. Enrollment increased from 1,813 students in September 2012 to 1,824 in September 2013.

The official count for the Department of Public Instruction is made on the third Friday of September and determines the state aid provided to school districts. With a slight enrollment increase, the district will receive a bit more aid than expected, which in turn will reduce the tax levy.

Original estimates projected a state aid reduction of $328,000, or 3 percent, for the 2013-14 school year. To offset the loss, the district budget included an additional $289,000, a 5 percent levy increase, in the general fund.

Thu
17
Oct

Oconto County Sheriff's Department

At 3:57 a.m. Sept. 22, a car driven by a Wabeno woman was traveling south on North Road in the town of Lakewood. The vehicle failed to negotiate a curve, entered a ditch and rolled onto its roof, striking several trees. The driver was injured and transported to a medical facility. Three female passengers in the vehicle were not injured.

At 2:15 a.m. Oct. 1, a vehicle driven by an unidentified driver from Peshtigo was traveling east on state Highway 22 in the town of Oconto, crossed the center line, entered a ditch, struck an embankment and overturned in a ditch. Severe damage was reported to the vehicle.

Thu
17
Oct

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Oct. 10

A preliminary hearing will be held Nov. 1 for Thomas J. LaViolette, 42, Oconto. He

is charged with strangulation and suffocation, battery and disorderly conduct and

was arrested Aug. 10 in Oconto. A $500 cash bond continues.

An arraignment will take place Nov. 13 for Dylan J. Wittock, 19, Lena. He is charged

with being party to burglary, party to causing criminal damage to property, and two

counts of theft. He was arrested May 9 in the town of Stiles. His $5,000 signature

bond continues.

A preliminary hearing is Oct. 21 for Jeffrey J. Smet, 46, Oconto. He

faces charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance,

possession of narcotic drugs and theft of movable property. He was arrested Sept. 20

in Gillett. His $5,000 cash bond continues.

An arraignment is Nov. 4 for Christian L. Matelski, 26, Suring, who is

Thu
17
Oct

Hospital to participate in national pilot program

Starting this fall, Community Memorial Hospital will be part of a national pilot project for small, rural hospitals focusing on transfers from the emergency department.

The project is supported by MetaStar and funded through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Office of Rural Health is also working in partnership on this effort. Wisconsin is one of eight states participating in the pilot project.

While emergency care is important in all hospitals, it is particularly critical in rural hospitals where the distance from urban medical centers makes the effective triage, stabilization and transfer of patients essential. For example, when a patient arrives at Community Memorial Hospital’s emergency department needing time-sensitive care that requires transfer to a tertiary care center, Community Memorial Hospital’s ability to quickly assess, arrange and transfer the patient with the necessary and appropriate information can be of life or death importance.

Fri
11
Oct

Gillett council OKs $100 garbage fees

Gillett residents will pay $100 for garbage collection in 2014, as the city transitions from city-provided pickup to a private contractor.

The $100 fee is scheduled to be included on the property tax bill.

The City Council on Thursday adopted the fee with a 5-1 vote. Alderperson Debbie Erickson cast the only dissenting vote, saying she would like to review the city’s department budgets for 2014 before assessing taxpayers for the service.

The council also finalized its agreement with Harter’s Fox Valley Disposal, of Wittenberg, as its trash collector beginning in January. The five-year contract will cost about $50,000 annually, which equates to $8.35 per month per resident.

City officials have discussed garbage collection alternatives since late 2012. Garbage pickup is budgeted to cost the city $56,000 in 2013, but is anticipated to break even for 2014 with the new fee and private contractor taking over.

Fri
11
Oct

Veterinarian named county ag agent


Contributed Photo

Sarah Mills-Lloyd, of Pulaski, is the new ag agent for Oconto County, specializing in dairy and livestock. She enjoys trail and pleasure riding with her quarter horse, Ginger.

A Seymour-based veterinarian and former science teacher will begin work next week as the University of Wisconsin-Extension agriculture agent for Oconto County. Sarah Mills-Lloyd, a practicing veterinarian for the past eight years, starts Oct. 15; her specialty will be dairy and livestock.

Her experience in large-animal medicine and teaching will be helpful in her new role, she said.

“I love to get to know people, and I think it all works together for what I’ll be doing,” she said.

An agriculture agent provides programming and resources for ag producers and the community at large. The position is financially supported by a partnership between the county and the state.

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