News

Wed
12
Feb

World Series of Icedrags rev up for a return visit


Photo by Mark Mortell David Drews, from left, Cole Magnin and Tim Magnin check out the parts for a snowmobile engine. After making repairs, they put the engine back together.

The fastest snowmobiles in the U.S. will reach record speeds in Oconto Falls this week, as the World Series of Ice Drags returns for a third year in a row.

This time, the sleds will look even faster, according to local racer Tim Magnin, because they’ll be screaming past at over 100 mph in the dark.

For the first time in Oconto Falls, the International Snowmobile Racing’s event will include races under the lights. Magnin said the snowmobile seems to run faster in the dark, for both the driver and the spectators.

“It’s totally different at night,” he said.

“When you go down the track, the ice looks different,” Magnin said. “Everything looks a little different at night. Your path of vision narrows because it’s darker, and you don’t see things around you.”

Spectators may even see flames coming out of the pipes, he said.

Wed
12
Feb

2 Gillett residents file for City Council

Two Gillett residents have filed as write-in candidates for two uncontested seats on the City Council. Marie Blaser, Ward 1, and Terry Nelson, Ward 2, filed papers as official write-in candidates for the April 1 spring election.

They are the sole candidates for positions held by Rick Raatz, Ward 1, and Tod Anderson, Ward 2, who submitted noncandidacy forms in December citing their dissatisfaction with the council.

Blaser, 59, will retire at the end of February from the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department after 27 years as a correctional officer. She said running for City Council looked like an interesting way to spend her time during her retirement.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’d be a good part-time job.’ I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said.

Raised in Suring, Blaser is a lifelong resident of Oconto County and a Gillett resident since 2000.

Wed
12
Feb

Gillett School Board

Five individuals have filed as candidates for two open positions on the Gillett School Board. The primary election on Tuesday will reduce the field to four candidates for the April 1 election.

Candidates submitted the following information about themselves.

Nanette Mohr

Age: 67

Years in Gillett School District: 48

Education: Gillett High School graduate, 1964

Employment: Landlady for Nanette Mohr Rentals

Experience in School Board or related leadership: In April 2014, I will complete my 18th year on the Gillett School Board. Currently, I am School Board clerk.

Wed
12
Feb

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Feb. 8

Amy M. Nieto, 27, Suring, pleaded no contest to five counts of theft from the Oconto County Department of Human Services, which took place from June 2011 to May 2012. She was ordered to spend nine months in jail on each count, which was imposed and stayed. She was placed on probation three years with the conditions she pay $253 court costs and the remaining charges of $8,016.17 from a food stamp fraud case, which occurred between May 2010 and November 2012.

After plea negotiations, Ronda P. Pawelczyk, 36, Oconto Falls, was placed two years in the Oconto County Volunteers In Probation program on each of five counts of attempted theft from the Department of Human Services of Oconto County, which occurred Dec. 28, 2011, to run concurrent. She was ordered to spend 60 days in jail with work release privileges and pay $253 court costs.

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.

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