News

Wed
12
Feb

Oconto Falls Police Department

An Oconto Falls man, 24, was arrested for battery and a probation violation Jan. 27 after a domestic disturbance at an apartment on North Main Street.

Two Oconto Falls women, ages 25 and 27, were cited for shoplifting $35 worth of clothing from New Beginnings Store/Work and Training Center, 230 Van Buren St., on Jan. 24.

An Oconto Falls woman, 21, was referred to the district attorney’s office Jan. 30 for fraud after allegedly writing worthless checks at Mobile 22, 710 County Road B.

A laptop was reported stolen Feb. 3 from a home on Green Bay Avenue.

A legally parked vehicle sustained minor damage after a hit-and-run accident Jan. 31 at 811 S. Main St.

Wed
12
Feb

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 11:41 a.m. Feb. 5, a woman from Oconto Falls was delivering mail on County Road K, 50 feet north of state Highway 22 in the town of Oconto Falls. She was stopped at a mailbox and had an amber light operating on top of her vehicle. An Oconto Falls man driving a northbound vehicle stated he was distracted by another vehicle at the intersection and struck the rear of the woman’s car. Minor damage was reported to both vehicles.

At 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7, a man from Peshtigo was driving his vehicle west on County Road A in the village of Lena when it crossed the center line and entered a ditch. Severe front-end damage was reported to his vehicle. No injuries resulted to the driver or four passengers.

Wed
05
Feb

Local propane supplies limited


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

The six propane tanks at Countrystyle Propane in Oconto Falls are about 18 percent full, according to owner Joe Bukowski, instead of the normal 85 percent. Three of the four trucks are out on routes, while the fourth sits idle, due to short supply of propane in the Midwest.

As if local residents needed another reason to hunger for spring.

According to local propane vendors, warm weather is the only way to reverse skyrocketing propane costs and allow reserves to build again.

“We’re just basically trying to hang on until the weather warms up,” said Joe Bukowski, owner of Countrystyle Propane of Oconto Falls.

Chad Hodgins, of Stiles, paid less than $2 a gallon in 2013 to fill his tank. Last week, it cost $6.50 a gallon, and he was limited to 100 gallons for the 330-gallon tank that heats his mobile home.

“The price is the killer,” he said. “If I need more fuel in the next month or two, I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t come up with that kind of money.”

He’s not alone. The Oconto County Health and Human Services Department is receiving 70 to 80 calls a day requesting energy assistance, according to a department receptionist.

Hodgins said he will try to conserve energy wherever he can.

Wed
05
Feb

Falls Fire Department upgrades moving slowly

One year after learning 46 ways to improve the city’s Fire Department, Oconto Falls officials are slowly addressing issues that may lead to lower insurance rates for residents.

While the Fire Department regularly undergoes procedural inspection by the state, this was the first time the department was evaluated by a third party.

A 200-page analysis of the department included 46 recommendations the consultant said could improve the department’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. To determine a rating, the ISO takes stock of a community’s fire protection and assigns a classification from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best.

With simple changes, the department could improve its rating from a 4 to a 3 within a couple years, according to the consultant.

In reality, it hasn’t been that simple, Fire Chief Tim Magnin said. The goal of an improved rating is still more than a year away, because of the painstaking process required to make changes, he said.

Wed
05
Feb

Couple sentenced 5 years for fraud

A couple who unlawfully claimed an insured loss when a town of Bagley bar burned each were sentenced Thursday in federal court to five years in prison and ordered to repay the insurer $93,127.

Jessica A. Miller, 38, and Donald Halbur Jr., 33, both of Crivitz, had pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with a July 2010 fire that burned Miller’s The Jaded Bar near Suring.

Miller and Halbur falsely informed Badger Mutual Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance that the cause of the fire was accidental, despite knowing Drew Christensen, 29, of Suring, previously told them he set the fire, according to the plea agreements filed in court.

Christensen had set a number of fires in the area dating to 2009, including Miller’s house in Marinette County in June 2011.

Wed
05
Feb

Chamber accepting Business Expo registrations

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its seventh annual Business Expo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the Bond Community Center.

Space will be available in the gym and in a hallway. The cost for a 10- by 10-foot booth is $25 for 2014 Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce members, $50 for members of other chambers and $100 for nonmembers. Electricity is an additional $10 fee. One table with skirting will be provided. This early bird special expires on March 8. After that, rates increase by $25. No refunds will be given after March 8.

Admission for the public is $1, with proceeds going to the Oconto Hospital Foundation. Lunch will be available at food vendor booths.

A networking hour for vendors will take place from 10-11 a.m.

Individuals will have a chance to win door prizes by purchasing plastic ducks at $1 each or $5 for six. Attendees may choose a duck from a pool near the chamber booth to see if it is a winner.

Wed
05
Feb

Chain of Hearts campaign begins

N.E.W. Credit Union has joined a campaign to assist sick or injured children.

The Chain of Hearts campaign is a statewide effort by Wisconsin’s credit unions to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This fundraiser is for the local, nonprofit hospitals of Wisconsin. Credit union staff and members, community residents and area business owners are invited to remember the special people in their lives during the Valentine season by purchasing a link or heart.

Those who donate will have their names or the names of their loved ones displayed as part of the credit union’s lobby decorations. Paper “links” bearing these names will sell for $1 each, with hearts for $5, $25 or $50.

Hospital stays can be devastating to a family’s budget; 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to fund charity care, research and equipment. The money goes to the Children’s Hospital that serves the children in this area.

Wed
05
Feb

Motel’s solar panels will reduce utility costs

For an 18-unit motel in Suring, paying $2,700 per month in utility costs was too much of a burden to bear. But with energy improvements and upgrades, utility savings should be close to $2,000 per month come summertime.

USDA Rural Development provided a $20,000 grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to Mountain Springs Motel toward the installation of 160 roof-mounted solar panels that are projected to produce approximately 72,000 kW per year.

“Renewable projects like these are great examples of how small businesses like Mountain Springs can cut energy costs and subsequently increase their bottom line,” said Kristin Peterson, USDA rural development business & cooperative programs specialist who worked on the motel’s funding approval.

Although the photovoltaic (PV) system is covered with snow and not producing energy, owner Carol Lepkowski said she can’t wait to see her bill reduced even further from its once-crippling total.

Wed
05
Feb

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Jan. 31

Robert J. Gartzke, 62, Lakewood, entered no contest pleas to five counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested July 14 in the town of Lakewood. A six-month jail sentence was imposed on each count, then stayed. He was placed on probation six months on each count, to run concurrent. He must spend 14 days in jail with work release privileges and pay fines and court costs totaling $4,906, maintain absolute sobriety and receive any counseling or treatment recommended.

Proceedings from Jan. 28

Wed
05
Feb

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 7:15 p.m. Feb. 1, a pickup truck driven by a man from Suring was northbound on state Highway 32 at Valley Line Road in the town of Gillett. As he was rounding a curve, his truck began to slide sideways and struck a westbound truck driven by a man from Antioch, Ill. Both trucks sustained moderate damage. No injuries were reported.

At 4:10 p.m. Jan. 26, a man from Seymour was driving westbound on South Chase Road at County Road C in the town of Chase. His vehicle slid through the intersection as he attempted to stop at the stop sign. His vehicle struck a southbound car driven by a man from Pulaski, who was injured and transported to a medical facility. Minor damage was reported to the Seymour man’s car, but there was extensive damage to the vehicle driven by the Pulaski man.

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