News

Wed
19
Feb

Gillett, Suring closer to spring sports co-op

The Suring School Board is set to approve a sports co-op agreement with the Gillett School District that would allow Suring students to play high school baseball and softball for the first time. Where the games will be played is still under consideration, according to Suring Superintendent Robert Ray.

The Suring School District has no softball or baseball facilities, so Suring officials propose the use of nearby parks in the town of How or Breed or the village of Suring, in order to play games in the Suring area. The fields are being measured and evaluated to assure they comply with Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association regulations, and discussions have begun with town and village officials.

Gillett athletes compete at the Orby Jones Family Sports Complex, which has baseball and softball fields. Gillett Superintendent Todd Carlson said the School Board is aware of the request to host games in the Suring area and is open to discuss site options.

Wed
19
Feb

Revised comp time plan adopted

The Oconto Falls City Council on Feb. 11 voted to increase the number of compensatory hours available to city employees. With a unanimous vote, the council increased the limit from 40 to 80.

City Administrator Vicki Roberts requested the change, citing the extra hours employees are dedicating to snow removal and frozen water lines this winter.

Roberts could not provide an estimate of the number of extra hours needed for winter work this year, saying only, “It’s been a lot.”

According to federal statute, the city may give employees one and one-half hours of time off for every hour of overtime rather than pay the overtime rate. Roberts said the city would benefit financially by using compensatory time, and employees would have more vacation time.

Employees can choose which option they prefer and have no time limit in which to use the hours. The amount of time an employee can accrue cannot exceed 80 hours.

Wed
19
Feb

Outdated fire gear to be donated

The Oconto Falls City Council recently voted unanimously to allow the Oconto Falls Fire Department to dispose of old and outdated fire gear.

City Administrator Vicki Roberts said the city is not allowed to sell the equipment but may donate the items. The equipment that can’t be used for fire fighting might be usable by ambulance services or other agencies for traffic control.

Fire Chief Tim Magnin was concerned that residents might think throwing away the equipment was wasteful, but he said the gear has expiration dates for recommended length of use, and some items, such as firefighters’ jackets and pants, are outdated and damaged.

The Oconto Falls Fire Department will keep some gear on hand for use by recruits interested in joining the department. Once a recruit has made a commitment to the force, the department will purchase new gear, Magnin said.

For the remainder, Magnin will seek out interested parties before disposing of it.

Wed
19
Feb

School Board studies technology expansion

The Oconto Falls School Board is poised to triple the number of students who will have daily use of a school-provided laptop computer.

Board members spoke Feb. 10 in favor of expanding the program after Washington Middle School teachers told of the successful roll-out of one-to-one technology for the seventh-grade class this school year.

“I love what’s happening already, and this is the first year,” School Board member Jan Stranz said. She recommended the district be aggressive in its approach to the program, arguing that students have become accustomed to using technology as a learning tool.

“There’s no turning back, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. Printed textbooks are too static, she added.

Director of Instruction Candie Lehto said textbooks now have an online component, featuring video clips, online worksheets and the most recent information available in the field.

Wed
19
Feb

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Feb. 13

Samantha L. Smith, 18, Oconto, entered not guilty pleas to three charges of felony bail jumping and to disorderly conduct, which allegedly occurred Sept. 3, Oct. 12, and Dec. 6. Her pretrial conference is April 10, and a $10,000 cash bond continues.

A preliminary hearing is March 14 for Johnny Reed, 33, Oconto. He is accused of being party to a robbery Nov. 30 in Oconto. His $10,000 cash bond continues.

Keith A. Manecke, 51, Gillett, pleaded not guilty to strangulation and suffocation and disorderly conduct, which allegedly took place Dec. 30 in the town of Underhill. His pretrial conference is March 13, and his $500 cash bond continues.

A preliminary hearing is March 19 for Kandice M. King, 30, Suring. She is accused of possession of narcotic drugs and possessing an illegally obtained prescription on Dec. 13 in Gillett. Her $2,000 signature bond continues.

Wed
19
Feb

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 6:45 p.m. Feb. 8, a car driven by a man from Little Suamico was eastbound on Konitzer Road, town of Oconto Falls. His vehicle was meeting a westbound auto, and he moved too far to the right. His vehicle entered a ditch and overturned. He was not injured, and no contact was made with the unidentified vehicle.

Wed
19
Feb

Run-water order issued in the Falls

Due to the deep frost in the ground, Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities issued a run-water order on Feb. 12.

Residents and businesses are required to leave one faucet running at all times. The cold water should be running in a trickle or a stream less than the size of a pencil.

Gillett and Lena issued a similar notice. The city of Oconto sent letters to about 200 residents requesting they keep a faucet running. Suring reported no significant problems with freeze-ups.

According to municipal leaders, utility bills will be adjusted accordingly.

Oconto Falls Utility Supervisor Chuck Grady said extended days of cold temperatures have caused water pipes to freeze in about a dozen homes in various locations in the city. The notice was issued to avoid additional freeze-ups.

“Be sure to keep your water running. That’s the main thing. You’ve got to keep the water running 24/7,” he said.

Tue
18
Feb

Gillett School Board candidates share views

Editor’s Note: In Tuesday’s primary election, district residents voted for two of the five candidates running for office. Results of the election were unavailable before the Times Herald deadline but are scheduled to be posted early Wednesday on this website.

Addressing issues such as high taxes, curriculum changes and school safety, five School Board candidates on Feb. 12 presented their reasons for wanting to serve the Gillett community.

School pride was evident at the voter forum sponsored by the Gillett Education Association and Gillett Parent Teacher Organization. Candidates had an easy time describing three reasons to be proud of the Gillett School District, identifying the staff and students, extra curricular offerings and a friendly community, along with other positives.

Challenges facing the district were also easy to identify, with school finances topping the list for most candidates.

Wed
12
Feb

Widespread freeze-up reported in Gillett


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Darlene Olson pours a glass of water Friday at her home in Gillett. Frozen water mains left Darlene and her husband, John, without a reliable source of water for three days. Gillett Utilities used an insulated hose linked to a neighbor’s home to supply the Olsons with water.

Neighbor-to-neighbor connections are keeping the water flowing for several Gillett residents. When water mains buried under city streets began to freeze due to an extended cold snap, Gillett Utility began linking homes with insulated hoses, burying the hoses under the snow and feeding water from one home to another.

The first residents without water were John and Darlene Olson on Ridgewood Drive, who returned from church Jan. 26 to find the faucets dry. By the end of the day, Utility Supervisor Ron Anderson had the water running again, only to return each of the next two days before finding a lasting solution.

In the meantime, Anderson brought the couple 20 gallons of water, and Darlene melted snow in order to flush the toilets.

“We were ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ ” she joked.

Wed
12
Feb

Rudie returns as Gillett fire chief


Greg Rudie

A firefighter with nearly 20 years of experience has been elected as fire chief for the city of Gillett. Greg Rudie was elected in January by members of the Gillett Fire Department.

“I’m looking forward to serving the city in that capacity,” he said.

“He’s been fire chief before, and I think he’ll do a good job,” Mayor Irene Drake said.

Rudie replaces Tom Wolfgram, who expressed interest in retiring as chief. Wolfgram has been a member of the department for 38 years.

Rudie had been fire chief previously in Gillett, but schedule conflicts forced him to step down about five years ago, and Wolfgram took his place.

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