News

Wed
25
Dec

Attorney retained as corporation counsel


Cheryl Mick

An Oconto attorney hired for a part-time position in July has accepted a full-time position as the Oconto County corporation counsel.

The County Board on Thursday approved the employment of Cheryl Mick. Her employment begins Jan. 1, and she will earn an annual salary of $89,523.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing in the position going into the future,” Mick said.

Mick was initially hired on a contractual basis in July for an average of 20 hours a week, at $125 per hour. She replaced Robert Mraz, who left the half-time position when the county was awarded state funding for a full-time assistant district attorney. Mraz worked both half-time positions for 32 years.

The corporation counsel represents the county in all civil matters, including those dealing with contract, deeds and property sales, and represents the Health and Human Services Department in proceedings involving vulnerable adults and children in need of protection.

Wed
25
Dec

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Dec. 19

Julie A. Kratz, 46, Seymour, entered a no contest plea to being party to delivering a controlled substance during the summer of 2012 in Oconto Falls. Her sentencing was withheld, and she was placed on probation 15 months, ordered to pay $243 court costs, maintain absolute sobriety and attend alcohol and other drug abuse assessment.

A preliminary hearing will be held Jan. 7 for Ashly J. Toth, 31, Oconto Falls. She is charged with physical harm to a child intentionally causing bodily harm, physical abuse to a child, both which allegedly took place Dec. 16, 2012, in Oconto Falls, and with disorderly conduct and felony bail jumping both on Dec. 13, 2012, also in Oconto Falls. Her $1,000 signature bond continues.

Wed
25
Dec

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Dec. 12

An arraignment is Jan. 9 for Dennis P. Arendt, 18, Oconto. He faces a charge of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, which allegedly occurred between Oct. 5 and Nov. 20 in Oconto. His $20,000 cash bond continues.

Proceedings from Dec. 9

Randall J. Gazella, 53, Sobieski, entered not guilty pleas to battery, disorderly conduct and strangulation and suffocation, which allegedly took place Aug. 20 in the town of Little Suamico. His pretrial conference is Jan. 13, and his $500 cash bond continues.

A pretrial conference will take place Jan. 9 for Christopher L. Harris, 22, Oconto Falls. He is charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, which allegedly took place June 1 and Aug. 1 in Oconto Falls. His $2,500 cash bond continues.

Wed
25
Dec

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 2:04 p.m. Dec. 18, cars driven by two men from Little Suamico collided at the intersection of County Road and Sundale Court, town of Little Suamico, after one driver failed to yield the right of way. No injuries resulted.

At 2:50 a.m. Dec. 19, a man from Plover was driving his auto north on state Highway 32 south of Maiden Lake Road in the town of Riverview when he struck an ice-covered shoulder of the roadway. His vehicle entered a ditch on the east side of the road, struck the snowmobile trail, then continued north striking several trees. No injuries resulted. His car sustained severe damage.

At 11:30 p.m Dec. 19, a woman from Crivitz was traveling north on U.S. 141 in the town of Lena, lost control of her vehicle, entered a ditch and traveled through a highway barrier fence. There was minor damage reported to her vehicle.

Wed
18
Dec

District court finds Dobrys are ineligible for insurance award


Times Herald File Photo

Jordan Walker talks with his attorney, Bradley Schraven, in Oconto County Circuit Court in 2011. Walker was found guilty of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon for the 2010 death of Shawn Dobry. A court of appeals ruled Dobry’s shooting was not accidental but was criminal and therefore excluded from coverage under the homeowners policy of the Walker family.

The parents of an Oconto Falls youth who fatally shot his friend at an underage drinking party can’t be held civilly liable for the death, a state appeals court ruled Nov. 10.

The District III Court of Appeals opinion upholds Circuit Judge James Morrison’s dismissal of the suit Shawn Dobry’s estate brought against Robert and Sande Walker.

The Dobry estate sued after the Walkers’ son, Jordan, now 22, was convicted of reckless homicide in connection with Dobry’s death in June 2010.

The appeals court agreed with Morrison, who found that the shooting was criminal, not accidental, and therefore excluded from coverage under the homeowners policy Wilson Mutual Insurance Co. issued Robert and Sande Walker.

Wed
18
Dec

Hanson found guilty of McLean’s homicide


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Special prosecutor Vincent Biskupic speaks with the family of Chad McLean after the jury found Peter Hanson guilty of McLean’s murder Dec. 10 in Oconto County Circuit Court.

They had waited a long time for this day.

The family of Chad McLean finally had the answer they sought for almost 16 years.

An Oconto County jury on Dec. 10 found Peter Hanson guilty of the murder of McLean, a Green Bay teen who visited Oconto County with a friend on Feb. 22, 1998, and was never seen alive again.

McLean’s family pumped their fists into the air in celebration and wiped away tears after the verdict was read.

For nine years after McLean went missing, the family put up posters, handed out fliers and even purchased a billboard in the pursuit of finding the killer.

“We’re happy with the verdict,” one family member said when approached by the Times Herald.

Hanson, 53, covered his face with his hands as Judge Michael Judge read the verdict.

A jury of 10 women and two men, after deliberating for almost five hours, found Hanson guilty of the intentional homicide of McLean.

Wed
18
Dec

Jail planning moves ahead, despite critics

Oconto County officials hope to smooth over the concerns of a citizen’s group in Oconto that objects to the construction of a law enforcement center in the heart of the city.

The Oconto County Board of Supervisors voted in September to build the center in a downtown residential area north of the courthouse and reaffirmed the vote in October, despite objections from Oconto Mayer Victoria Bostedt and former Mayor Don Nerenhausen.

Members of a citizen’s group, which included Nerenhausen, met Dec. 2 with Oconto’s Planning Commission, which is chaired by Bostedt, to discuss their opposition to the law enforcement center’s city-center location, saying other sites are better suited than the residential area the county has chosen.

Wed
18
Dec

Sale of Pioneer Villa put on hold

The future of a low-income housing unit in the village of Suring remains uncertain, even after months of efforts to find a remedy to substandard living arrangements.

The Suring Non-Profit Housing Corporation owns Pioneer Villa Apartments at 415 N. Mill St., Suring, where residents have endured a leaky roof, cockroach infestation and overall building deterioration in recent years.

Speaking at the Suring Village Board meeting Dec. 10, Gerald Gehling, president of the housing board, said Astar Capital Management Inc. of Madison is interested in purchasing Pioneer Villa and Manor Drive Apartments, another low income housing unit in Suring.

The properties operate under two different government programs, which is causing difficulties, Gehling said. He won’t know more about the potential sale until after the first of the year, he added.

Emotions ran high after Gehling’s report.

Wed
18
Dec

Ceremony marks end of energy-saving projects


Contributed Photo

School officials hold a ribbon cutting ceremony in the boiler room of Oconto Falls Elementary School on Dec. 9 to recognize the energy savings projects completed in partnership with Ameresco. From left are Ken Harter, School Board member; Kent Wolf, Ameresco business development manager; James Spang, board member; Ron Leja, board president; Candie Lehto, director of instruction; Bec Kurzynske, board member; Jan Stranz, board member; and Superintendent Dave Polashek.

The boiler room of Oconto Falls Elementary School may seem like an unusual place for a ribbon cutting, but the symbolism was perfect because the upgraded heating system was getting a good workout on Dec. 9, due to the frosty temperatures outdoors.

The heating system at that building, along with the heating systems in several other district buildings, received major upgrades as part of an energy-savings project coordinated by Ameresco. The firm has been working with the Oconto Falls School District for two years to implement energy efficiency projects. Ameresco guaranteed that the $2.7 million capital outlay would be offset by energy savings over the next two decades.

In exchange for its service, Ameresco received a 7 percent management fee, or $189,000.

Wed
18
Dec

Revised conference schedule adopted for Falls schools

The school calendar approved by the Oconto Falls School Board for 2014-15 includes a revised schedule for parent-teacher conferences and one less day for face-to-face instruction.

The board on Dec. 9 looked at two proposals for the school calendar and chose a fall schedule that expands parent-teacher conferences to allow for additional parent access. Fall parent-teacher conferences are scheduled after school on Oct. 27 and 28 and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Oct. 30. A vacation day is scheduled Oct. 31.

For the 2013-14 school year, students were released early on Oct. 17, and parent-teacher conferences were held in the afternoon and evening. Oct. 25 was a vacation day.

The 2014-15 calendar includes 179 face-to-face days between teachers and students and one day for parent-teacher conferences. The district has 180 face-to-face days scheduled for the current school year, but state regulations allow for 179 for the upcoming school year.

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