News

Wed
29
Mar

Hunt raises funds for new K-9 officers


Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm

Marinette Police Officer Matt Borths and his partner, Riggs, bring a “perpetrator” into custody during a demonstration Saturday at the Karl Zeitler Memorial Hunt.

The Oconto County Sheriff’s Department will be able to hire a new K-9 officer this year with help from a family that is keeping the memory of their dog-loving husband and father very much alive.

For the fourth year, proceeds from the Karl Zeitler Memorial Hunt – held Saturday at Little Creek Lodge in Pensaukee – were used to fund a $13,500 donation to a local law enforcement agency for the purchase of a search and rescue dog.

“Karl was an avid dog lover,” Julie Zeitler said of her husband, who died suddenly in 2010. “The boys said we should do something to keep his memory alive.”

Karl Zeitler’s hunting dog CJ is still alive and was working with teams that did not bring their own dogs on Saturday, she said.

This is the fifth year of the hunt. The first event provided funds for the Pound Fire Department to purchase a utility vehicle, but then the family became aware that K-9 officers generally are not funded with public funds.

Wed
29
Mar

Kwik Trip cuts ribbon, gives to community


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Bob Patterson of Kingdom Come Food Pantry, left, thanks Kwik Trip for a $1,000 donation at the new Stiles store’s grand opening. Look on are Bob Haines, district leader; Brad Brennenstahl, store leader; and Greg DeGroot, assistant district leader.

Corporate, regional and local leaders – and some of the staff – all introduced themselves to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 22 for Kwik Trip, the former Stiles Junction Food & Fuel store at 5908 Duame Road, Stiles Junction.

“I want to thank you for all the work you’ve done, and I want to thank you for all the work you’re going to do,” President and CEO Don Zietlow told the dozen or so team members who participated in the ceremony. “The only place you’re going to find my name in this store, or any store, is in the bathroom. If it’s not clean, my name’s there, my number’s there, you can call me. But you won’t have to worry about this crew.”

Zietlow talked about the unique features of Kwik Trip, like the huge banana-ripening facility in La Crosse – they sell about a million pounds of bananas a week at more than 500 stores – and the dairy where the company processes its own milk and makes its own ice cream.

Wed
22
Mar

Store’s name is its mission

New Beginnings Work and Training Center, a retail store located in Oconto Falls, does much more than sell merchandise.

The store is part of a Oconto County Health and Services program that also offers a training center for at-risk youth who are in the juvenile justice system, aging out of foster care or in special education programs. The employment and training skills program helps train them for the workforce.

“We provide training and employment to people that there isn’t employment for,” said Penny Helmle, one of two directors at New Beginnings with Mike Reimer.

Every year the program has an average of 15 to 20 participants, Reimer said. Once the program participants complete the training program, they are offered a paid job at the retail store.

“We tailor the job to their abilities,” Reimer said.

Wed
22
Mar

Referendum aims to support funding in four key areas

Editor’s note: Oconto Falls School District Superintendent Dean Hess has released the following statement to the community regarding the school district’s $11.5 million referendum on the ballot April 4.

As I have noted previously, on April 4,voters in the Oconto Falls School District will see a referendum question on the ballot concerning the school district. The referendum, if it is passed by voters, will provide a total of $11.5 million over five years in additional revenue for the district. This money will be used to protect the school district and local taxpayers by providing funding in four key areas: transportation, technology, curriculum, and maintaining facilities and operations.

Over the last several weeks, as board members and I have presented information to various groups in our community, I have received many great questions, and perhaps the most frequent one was: Why is this necessary?

Wed
22
Mar

Suring village president candidates talk issues

The Oconto County Times Herald asked the candidates for Suring village president, Dan Newell and incumbent Jay Tousey, to fill out a questionnaire and biographical information to help voters make their decision.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 4. Early voting is also in progress through March 31 at the village clerk’s office.

Here are the candidates’ responses.

Dan Newell

Age: 55; I have lived in Suring for over six years.

Education: De Pere High School graduate; additional drafting, engineering and mechanical education.

Employment: Self-employed as supervisor/project manager for construction of industrial paint line equipment.

Experience in government: None.

Community involvement: Local ATV/UTV and snowmobile club memberships. I’m looking forward to becoming more involved with the community.

What major issues are facing the village of Suring and how will you work to resolve them?

Wed
22
Mar

Highway 22 detour starts Monday

Work on reconditioning of state Highway 22 east of Oconto Falls is scheduled to begin in earnest on Monday, when the highway is closed between County Road I and Duame Road, just east of the railroad tracks in Stiles Junction.

State Department of Transportation contractors were expected to spend this week clearing trees in advance of grading work and marking the detour route, which follows County Road I north to County Road A, east to U.S. 141 and south back to state Highway 22.

The DOT says access will be maintained for property owners and businesses along 22.

The railroad crossing itself will be closed for about two weeks in June, Oconto Falls Chamber of Commerce President Gail Yatso said.

The chamber is also working to get the word out that drivers can get to Oconto Falls from the south by taking County Road I from U.S. 141 in Stiles, she said.

“It’s important to tell people about I,” Yatso said when the chamber membership met on March 15.

Wed
22
Mar

17 displaced in Oconto apartment fire


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

This wood-frame residence at 231 Pecor St. in Oconto was badly damaged in the March 14 fire.

Seventeen people were displaced when fire extensively damaged a multi-family home in Oconto on March 14.

The Oconto Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched to 231 Pecor St. about 3:40 p.m. for a report of a fire on the outside of the two-story, wood-frame residence with three apartments.

Smoke was coming from the attic vents and flames could be seen in the rear of the structure when firefighters arrived, said Capt. Craig Henry of Oconto Fire and Rescue.

Occupants of one apartment had to be notified of the fire, and the occupants of the other two apartments had already evacuated before the department arrived.

There were no reported injuries.

The Red Cross was assisting the residents, and the fire was still under investigation, Henry said.

Fire Chief John Reed said Friday that investigators still needed to make a final determination as to the origin and cause of the fire.

Wed
22
Mar

School effort heads to the voters soon


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Oconto Falls School District Superintendent Dean Hess, right, meets with the Oconto Falls Chamber of Commerce to discuss the upcoming referendum during the chamber’s March 15 membership meeting. Looking on are Gail Yatso, chamber president, and Deb Arndt, treasurer.

The Oconto Falls School District superintendent was recently told he was burying the headline with regard to the upcoming five-year, $11.5 million referendum.

Dean Hess told the Oconto Falls Chamber of Commerce on March 15 that the comment came during another community presentation after he mentioned that the impact on the property taxpayer would be about $23 for every $100,000 of property valuation if the April 4 referendum passes.

“A guy raises his hand and says, ‘You know, I’ve been listening to you now for about 15 or 18 minutes and you’re telling me 23 bucks,’ and I said, ‘yeah,’” Hess said. “’He said, 23 bucks? Why don’t you just put that right there in the front? Let’s get this straight: I can’t take my wife out for fish fry and a couple of drinks for 23 bucks, so if I don’t do that, you’re good. … Why didn’t you just tell me that?’ he said.”

Wed
22
Mar

Oconto Falls School Board

Employees of the Oconto Falls School District are the ultimate beneficiaries of a $10,000 wellness grant from WCA Group Health Trust.

Oconto County Board Chairman Leland Rymer, who also serves on the Group Health Trust board, presented the check to board President Ron Leja during the Oconto Falls School Board’s regular monthly meeting March 14.

According to its website, the WCA Group Health Trust was established in 1991 to create an employee benefit program that would meet the unique needs of local governments. Among its services are securing grants for funding healthy activities.

“Wellness is really getting a jump all over the state and in the schools, I can tell you that,” Rymer said.

Oconto County government has seen a reduction in claims since it began encouraging its employees to engage in preventive wellness activities, he said.

Among other activities:

Wed
22
Mar

Agreement reached in homicide charges from 2015 crash

Prosecution of an 84-year-old Lena woman for three felony counts of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle has been deferred, and charges will be dismissed in three years if she fulfills conditions set down by an Oconto County Circuit Judge on March 10.

The deferred prosecution agreement canceled Thelma “Dolly” Yashinsky’s status hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday before Judge Michael T. Judge.

Yashinsky was behind the wheel of a car that went through a stop sign Oct. 24, 2015, at the intersection of County Road I and state Highway 22 in the town of Oconto Falls and was broadsided by a sport utility vehicle driven by Michael R. Gorman, of Oconto Falls.

The crash killed Yashinsky’s husband, Edward, 91, as well as two family friends, Grace Hyland, 89, and Leora Raisler, 96.

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