News

Thu
07
Jun

Prison term ordered in theft ring case

An Oconto County judge rejected a probation recommendation and sentenced a member of an alleged theft ring to prison last month, and another defendant pleaded no contest last week.

Mark A. Gerow, 55, Mountain, was sentenced to 2½ years in prison, followed by three years of extended supervision, for altering or removing a vehicle ID number and two misdemeanor charges of theft of movable property valued at less than $2,500.

Charges of maintaining a drug trafficking place, possession of narcotic drugs and three counts of theft were dismissed but read into the record at sentencing. Judge Jay N. Conley did give Gerow credit for 209 days already served in the county jail.

Gerow was one of four people charged in October after an investigation into a rash of thefts, burglaries and drug trafficking in northern Oconto County last spring and summer.

Wed
30
May

All gave some, some gave all


The rifle squad salute from American Legion Post 302 was followed by the playing of taps during the Memorial Day ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery in Oconto Falls on Monday. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Distant thunder accompanied the Memorial Day speaker at Woodlawn Cemetery in Oconto Falls on Monday, but the weather held off until a gentle rain began to fall as the crowd dispersed.

Nearly 300 people attended the annual service, conducted by American Legion Eick-Sankey Post 302 and its auxiliary. It included a roll call of local veterans who have passed away since last Memorial Day and the placing of wreaths in remembrance of each of America’s wars since the U.S. Civil War.

Speaker Robert Maloney, a U.S. Navy veteran, told the assembly that veterans and their families placed flags at all veterans’ gravesites as a reminder that many paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

“These flags are the show of respect we carry for these men and women, placed in the cemeteries around the country, who cared enough to serve in our military,” Maloney said. “Every veteran has a unique story.”

Wed
30
May

Area schools hold graduation ceremonies


Gillett High School Class of 2018 President Daniel Myrick addresses his classmates. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Everything is changing this week for the area’s high school seniors, as the rest of their lives commences.

Graduation ceremonies are being held across Oconto County, beginning with Suring on Saturday, and Gillett and Oconto Falls on Sunday. Lena and Pulaski high schools will have their graduation exercises Wednesday night, and Oconto High School graduation is Sunday.

Gillett Superintendent Todd Carlson, himself a member of the school’s Class of 1977, told the Class of 2018 that it’s the end of a 13-year journey.

“For most of you, it’s been pretty much the same classmates for that entire 13 years — kindergarten through 12th grade. That’s all about to change today,” Carlson said. “I don’t know if you realize this or not, but today will probably be the last day you see all of your classmates.”

Wed
30
May

Grants enable districts to improve broadband infrastructure

Four Oconto County school districts are among 252 Wisconsin awarded $7.8 million in Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Information Technology Infrastructure grants. Since the program was created in 2016, the program has awarded more than $13 million in grants.

The Oconto Falls School District has been allocated $60,000, Suring $23,549, Lena $21,866 and Oconto $6,608.

“We are pleased to announce 252 school districts across the state will receive grants to increase and improve technology in their classrooms,” Gov. Scott Walker said in making the announcement in Mosinee last week. “We are investing more actual dollars into public classrooms than ever before, increased technology in the classroom will help our students excel and further position Wisconsin to win the 21st century.”

Wed
30
May

Chris Augustine resigns from Oconto County Board

An Oconto County Board supervisor from Little Suamico has resigned after his work duties increased at his regular job.

Chris Augustine recently was re-elected to represent District 4, the northwest area of the town of Little Suamico, until the April 2020 election.

“It has been a great honor to serve the Oconto County Board and with the members of the board. Last July, I accepted a job that was supposed to be part-time,” Augustine wrote in a letter read to the board at its May 22 meeting. “I thought I would be able to balance my responsibilities as a supervisor with the job obligations, but I found that I am unable to serve two masters, and now my employers have asked me to take a more active role in the oversight of their seven dealerships, which will further obligate my time.”

As a result, Augustine said, he can no longer fulfill his obligations as a county supervisor.

Wed
30
May

EconoLodge sustains water damage

The EconoLodge Inn and Suites Hotel in Oconto sustained water damage to half its first floor May 23 after a small fire triggered the sprinkler system.

The Oconto Fire Rescue Department was called around 1:58 p.m. to the hotel, 600 Brazeau Ave., after the commercial fire alarm that was activated.

Employees and occupants had already evacuated the building before the arrival of fire department personnel. Crews found a light fixture in the stairwell at the end of the hallway had failed, and signs of fire charring could be seen on the ceiling by this light. As more personnel arrived they performed a room-to-room search of the building and attic space to ensure there was no fire extension.

About 22 firefighters and rescue personnel responded from Oconto Fire, Oconto Falls Fire, Little River Fire, Pensaukee Fire, and Pensaukee First Responders.

Wed
23
May

Oconto County remembers its fallen veterans


The Oconto Falls High School marching band steps lively down Maple Avenue during the 2017 Memorial Day parade. (Times Herald file photo)

The owner of Peterson Ford and his wife have been selected as grand marshals of the Oconto Falls Memorial Day parade.

Donald “Toby” and Shirley Peterson will be riding in style near the head of the parade, which launches at 12:30 p.m. Monday from the staging area on Sherman Street.

Oconto Falls’ four-day Memorial Day Weekend Celebration will be the centerpiece of local observations, but communities across Oconto County are preparing to honor America’s fallen heroes in solemn ceremonies Monday morning.

Memorial Day – originally known as Decoration Day – stems from the longstanding tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers. But it gained momentum as a national holiday beginning in 1868, when Gen. John A. Logan, commander of the veterans group Grand Army of the Republic after the U.S. Civil War, issued a proclamation calling for Decoration Day to be observed every year nationwide.

Wed
23
May

Birds roost at school


Katie Needles, one of REGI’s raptor educators, holds up Fonzie, a horned owl, to show students at Gillett Elementary School on May 7. (Photo by Willow Pecha)

Children at Gillett Elementary School might have previously seen hawks and other birds of prey from afar, but they got the chance to see the birds close up May 7.

Raptor Education Group Inc. visited students in the third through sixth grades to educate them about the birds — emphasizing why it’s important to leave them alone in the wild, and why they would not make good pets. REGI’s presentation was made possible by the Mason Woods Lodge in Cecil.

“We want to teach the kids, and the best way to do that is to show them what the birds are and how they survive,” said Carl Loving, who coordinated the school visits on the lodge’s behalf. “I think the kids learned a lot. They were very attentive.”

This was the first time the Masons had invited representatives from REGI, based in Antigo, to the area schools, and Loving hopes to expand the visits in the future. Earlier in the day, REGI also presented at Bonduel Elementary School.

Wed
23
May

Gillett school officials review survey results

More than two-thirds of the taxpayers and parents who responded to a recent survey say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the Gillett School District.

Results of the survey conducted by School Perceptions, a Slinger-based research and consulting firm, were reviewed by the school board May 17.

“We asked some tough questions,” Superintendent Todd Carlson said. “The answers will drive our school district for years to come.”

The survey was sent out in April to the entire school district, and 396 people responded, or about 21 percent. Carlson said School Perceptions usually gets back about 16 percent of surveys, so the response rate is considered fairly high.

Wed
23
May

School board considers land purchase

The Oconto Falls School Board continues to explore a parcel of land that is going up for sale near the high school and elementary school as a possible site for a future middle school.

Superintendent Dean Hess told the board at its May 14 meeting that the property is across County Road I from the high school and elementary school complex.

“Recently, I was contacted by counsel for the Gauthier family to let me know that they would be working with a third-party representative and also a Realtor to offer that land, make it available, and the school district would be one of the parties that they would be contacting specifically for that potential purchase,” Hess said.

The board first learned about the property’s availability a few months ago. Although a decision is at least five years away, the aging Washington Middle School will need to be extensively renovated or replaced, and the proximity to the existing schools makes the property attractive for a new school.

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