News

Wed
23
Oct

Oconto Falls food prices up this year

Oconto Falls consumers are spending just a little more at the grocery store than other state residents.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Marketbasket Survey showed that customers locally are spending $50.59 on 16 basic food items. The state average is $50.18, up from $49.60 a year ago.

Customers nationwide, on average, pay $51.54 for the same items.

In Oconto Falls, customers have seen prices go up on six items in the last 12 months, down on six items and stay even on three. Changes for the 16th item, Cheerios, are unknown due to the price being unavailable on WFB’s third quarter results in 2012.

Of the six items seeing an increase, three were meats. Ground chuck and chicken breasts each jumped up $1.31 per pound to $3.99 and $2.99, respectively, while sirloin tip roast jumped up 81 cents per pound to $4.59.

Wed
23
Oct

Gillett seeks 16% school-levy hike

Residents in the Gillett School District will be asked to dig a little deeper to support their schools, to compensate for waning state assistance.

Individuals at Thursday’s annual meeting will be asked to support a 16 percent jump in taxes — a proposed levy of $3.039 million, up from $2.610 million last year.

The tax rate is calculated at $11 per $1,000 of equalized value, meaning residents with $100,000 of property will pay $1,100 for the school portion of their property tax bill, according to school district projections. A year ago, taxes were $953.

“As your state aid goes down, your local support and mill rate are going to go up. It’s just the balance that happens,” School Superintendent Todd Carlson said.

Wed
23
Oct

Little Suamico loses two to retirement


Times Herald photo by Joan Koehne
Sandy Pagel, left, and Eileen Bardouche will retire from their positions of clerk and treasurer for the town of Little Suamico after more than 30 years of service.

The town of Little Suamico, in its search for a new clerk/treasurer, looks to replace more than 70 years of experience. Eileen Bardouche, treasurer for 33 years, and Sandy Pagel, clerk for 39 years, will retire at the end of 2013.

The Town Board voted to combine the positions and plans to hire one individual to do both jobs.

“It’s lots easier for one person to take care of it all,” Town Chairman Elmer Ragen said. He said Bardouche and Pagel have done an excellent job for the town and will help the new employee transition into the combined position.

Bardouche expects the transition to be a challenge, and she predicted a woman will be hired.

“It will be a little hard for her when she starts because she has to learn two jobs, and it will be the middle of tax season,” Bardouche said.

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

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