News

Wed
05
Jul

Energy efficiency projects penciled in

By passing a spending resolution on June 29, the Gillett School Board hopes it preserved its right to spend a little more than $3 million on energy-saving projects in coming years.

The school district contracted with Honeywell Energy Services Group last year for Phase 1 of a proposed three-phase project to replace aging, non-efficient equipment in its schools. Under a provision known as Act 32, districts have been able to obtain an exemption to state-imposed levy limits under the Focus on Energy program.

Peter Barr, a Honeywell sales representative, noted that Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2017-19 budget includes eliminating the revenue limit adjustment for projects authorized after the bill’s effective date.

Barr appeared before the school board June 29 with a preliminary list of projects for phases 2 and 3, and a resolution he said would protect the district’s rights under Act 32.

Wed
05
Jul

Deteriorating sewer main leads to street closure


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Oconto Falls officials closed off a portion of Adams Street starting June 28 after an estimated 50 yards of sand under the street fell into a sanitary sewer line.

The Oconto Falls City Council declared a state of emergency June 28 along a block of Adams Street where a deteriorating sanitary sewer main appeared to be eating away at the soil underneath the street.

Meeting in a rare emergency session, the council approved replacing approximately 900 feet of aging clay-tile sewer pipe with PVC.

DeGroot Inc. of Green Bay provided an estimate of $81,596.50 to replace the sewer main and related work. Another $11,352 to replace laterals to 13 properties will be billed back to the property owners.

The problem was discovered when the sewer line was televised, a process using a robotic camera attached to a cable to inspect the underground system. Utilities manager Greg Kuhn showed aldermen a video of an area where a portion of pipe had cracked, tree roots had grown in the joints between the pipes, and a section of pipe had given way altogether.

Wed
28
Jun

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

June 22

Deputies logged 29 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities investigated a report that a boy, who was mowing a lawn on County Road Z in Pound, was approached by two men in a silver four-door car who tried to get him to get into their vehicle June 21.

Theft — Two chainsaws were reported stolen from a garage along County Road G, Suring.

June 21

Deputies logged 39 incidents, including the following:

Suspicious — Authorities responded to a report that people were digging through the rubble at the Legends Bar & Grill fire site.

June 20

Deputies logged 38 incidents, including the following:

Theft — Authorities investigated the theft of mail from a mailbox on Bullfrog Bend, Townsend, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 19. The caller’s bank let her know that someone tried to cash a check that had been in the mailbox.

Wed
28
Jun

Oconto County Circuit Court

June 19

Jennifer M. Ott, 39, Oconto Falls, waived her right to a preliminary hearing and was bound over for trial on two felony counts of identity theft and two counts of misdemeanor theft, in connection with four incidents that allegedly took place in September and October 2016. Arraignment was scheduled for July 13.

June 14

Wed
28
Jun

New Law Enforcement Center is dedicated


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Dispatcher Malorie Schmidt helps a caller to the Oconto County 911 Dispatch Center, which moved into its new home at the Law Enforcement Center at the beginning of June.

An intermittent rain drove all of the festivities indoors, except the flag-raising, but a spirit of celebration was in the air anyway during the dedication of the new Oconto County Law Enforcement Center.

The center at 220 Arbutus Ave., behind the county courthouse, is the new home to the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department, dispatch center and county jail.

Sheriff Mike Jansen called it one of the best days in his 39 years with the department, the last 15 as sheriff.

“This took a lot of talking, a lot of planning, a lot of meetings, and some more meetings, a few headaches, and a number of sleepless nights,” Jansen told about 200 people gathered in the sally port of the new jail. “But as you can see, it has all come together to what you have behind me, a project we all can – and I hope all citizens of Oconto County can – be proud of for a long time, a whole long time. This is a very good day.”

Wed
28
Jun

Cliff and Mary Gerbers are marshals of Gillett parade


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Mary and Cliff Gerbers like the atmosphere and camaraderie of small-town life. They’ve been selected as grand marshals of the Gillett Fourth of July parade.

People know each other and watch out for each other in a small town, because that’s what neighbors do, Cliff and Mary Gerbers said last week in a conversation at their kitchen table.

It’s a way of life that drew the couple to settle in Gillett 40 years ago, and a philosophy they’ve practiced so well that they were selected as grand marshals of the Gillett Fourth of July parade through downtown.

“Cliff has been a staple in the city of Gillett and the school board for decades,” said Noel Nienstedt, chairman of the Gillett Civic Club’s Fourth of July Committee, “and Mary has been a big part of the community, too.”

The couple were charter members of the Gillett Jaycees Club, moving over to the Civic Club when they turned 35. They’ve both been active members of St. John’s Catholic Church, where Cliff still teaches catechism.

Wed
28
Jun

Linssen accepts position with Pulaski schools

Steve Linssen, current Gillett Secondary School principal, is a new associate principal at Pulaski High School. He replaces Nicole Borley, who has assumed the Pulaski Community School District’s director of student services position.

Linssen, an Oconto Falls native and seven-year Pulaski resident, has served as middle and high school principal at Gillett since 2013. He was a social studies teacher from 2002 to 2011 and associate principal from 2011 to 2013 in the Shawano School District. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2002 and his master’s degree from Marian University in 2008.

“I am very excited to become a greater part of the Pulaski community,” Linssen said.

When he and his wife, Gina, to whom he has been married for 13 years, bought a home in Pulaski they did so because of the school district, Linssen said. Now, he’s happy to work for the same district that his 4-year-old foster son will attend.

Wed
28
Jun

NEWCAP eyes former hospital property


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

The long-empty Oconto Memorial Hospital building at 405 First Ave. might soon have a new life as NEWCAP headquarters.

NEWCAP is in the process of acquiring the former Oconto Memorial Hospital property, which has been vacant for more than a decade.

The social service agency is interested in developing the old building to replace its current corporate headquarters at 1201 Main St., Oconto.

The building at 405 First Ave. has been on Oconto County’s tax delinquency list since 2008, when the developer stopped paying property taxes. The county has had the power to take a tax deed against the property since about 2012, but has refrained from doing so because the parcel is contaminated by a hazardous substance, Corporation Counsel Cheryl Mick told the Oconto County Board on Thursday.

Whoever owns the property at 405 First Ave. is liable for the environmental cleanup, Mick said.

Tue
20
Jun

Open house Saturday at new Law Enforcement Center


Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Saturday will be the general public’s only chance to see the inside of the new Oconto County Jail without getting arrested. The new Law Enforcement Center is behind the courthouse facing Arbutus Avenue in Oconto. The open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Oconto County Board of Supervisors plans to dedicate the new $31.8 million Law Enforcement Center after its regular June meeting Thursday, and the public is invited to tour the jail and sheriff’s department facilities in Oconto on Saturday.

A report to the board from County Administrator Kevin Hamann indicates the facility is on track to begin accepting inmates in mid-July. Sheriff’s deputies and the 911 dispatch center moved in June 1, and with a few odds and ends left to be finished, Hamann estimated “complete” project completion should occur around Nov. 10.

A state Department of Corrections inspection is scheduled for July 10, and jail staff and equipment will begin moving in later that week. Inmates from the old jail should be in their new quarters by July 18, and county inmates currently being housed in other facilities will be transferred in August.

Tue
20
Jun

Run for the Trails turns 3


Photo by Eden Witt

Participants take off in last year’s Run for the Trails. The event will again start and finish at ST Paper Stadium in Oconto Falls.

The third annual Run for the Trails is scheduled Saturday, with a quarter-mile kids fun run as well as 5K, 10K and — new this year — half-marathon courses.

The proceeds benefit trails systems in the Oconto Falls area.

“We hope to raise funds to maintain trail systems and recreational trails in the area for people to enjoy,” race director Ann Senn said.

Senn has been a race director since 2013. She said she enjoys being active and getting other people involved in exercise.

Last year the event drew about 80 participants, including Jeri Howey, of Oconto Falls.

“I think it’s a good way to support our community, and it’s going toward a good cause,” Howey said. “It’s nice to have trails in the area for safety for avid runners and for high school and middle school students to practice on in cross-country and track.”

Paula Meyer, of Appleton, also enjoys the event, though she might not compete this year because of an injury.

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