News

Wed
24
Jan

Menominee file federal suit over Back Forty Mine

The Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The tribe asserts that the agencies have failed to take primary responsibility for a wetland permit that is key to the future of the controversial Back Forty Mine proposal.

An approved permit would allow mine developer Aquila Resources Inc., to fill and excavate Menominee River wetlands, as part of its plans to construct a large, open-pit mine and industrial minerals-processing facility on a site that borders the Menominee River.

The site includes tribal burial grounds, ancient agricultural sites and ceremonial sites of significance to the Menominee Tribe, some of which have already been deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wed
24
Jan

Deputy county treasurer gets raise, withdraws resignation

The Oconto County treasurer and register of deeds will share an employee, and the county will hang onto its deputy treasurer in an agreement approved Thursday by the Oconto County Board.

Treasurer Tanya Peterson went to bat for her deputy treasurer, Mandy Leonard, who submitted her resignation last month because the two-person department is woefully understaffed.

“That reason is not acceptable to me,” said Peterson, who petitioned Kevin Hamann, administrative coordinator, and Corporation Counsel Cheryl Mick for help. “I’m trying to fight to keep her,” Peterson continued. “She is an asset to this county. She’s a team player. She has saved this county a lot of money working with me in my office to keep it running.”

Wed
24
Jan

Farnsworth Public Library added to national register


Oconto lumberman and businessman George W. Farnsworth was the main speaker in June 1903 when the library bearing his name was formally dedicated. The building has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Farnsworth Public Library in Oconto is now officially a national treasure.

The Wisconsin Historical Society sent word to Oconto County that the 115-year-old building at 715 Main St. has been entered into the National Register of Historic Places by the Secretary of the Interior. It was listed in the state Register of Historic Places last August.

The listing means the library building is entitled to benefits and protection under federal law, including limited protection from encroachment by federal- or state-assisted or licensed projects, according to the letter read to the Oconto County Board on Thursday.

The structure may also be eligible to apply for matching grants for research, restoration, acquisition or stabilization.

“We’re thrilled at the recognition,” said library director Kristin Laufenberg. “This is a great old building.”

The Oconto County Historical Society worked to obtain the state and federal designations, she said.

Wed
24
Jan

Law Enforcement Center completed safe and sound


Visitors tour the newly completed jail inside the Oconto County Law Enforcement Center last June. Construction of the LEC was completed Dec. 29 with no lost-time injuries. (Times Herald file photo)

The new Oconto County Law Enforcement Center has been declared finished — and with a remarkable safety record.

Joe Moreth, director of the state Bureau of Insurance Programs, informed the county that the work was completed with no lost-time injuries reported in two years of construction.

“There are families today that are planning happy holiday gatherings that otherwise would have been dealing with pain and suffering from work-related injuries,” Moreth said in a letter to county officials. “We will never know the names of those people whose unavoidable injuries were, in fact, avoided. You should be gratified and proud to be part of this process.”

Only three other “wrap-up” projects in the history of the bureau’s Owner-Director Insurance Program have been finished with no lost-time injuries, Moreth said.

Wed
24
Jan

Oconto County UW-Extension contract approved

Oconto County has entered into a one-year contract with the University of Wisconsin-Extension for services.

The contract is something new under the recent reorganization of UW-Extension, which puts Oconto County into a region that also includes Marinette, Shawano, and Menominee counties, Administrative Coordinator Kevin Hamann told the county board Thursday.

“We are not hiring specific people. We are buying services,” Hamann said. “This is a one-year contract because this is the first year we’re doing this, to see how things work. There’ll probably be changes made.”

The county agrees to pay the salaries of essentially the same Extension agent positions as before: an agriculture educator; 4-H program coordinator; a health and well-being educator, formerly known as the family living coordinator; and a communities educator.

Wed
24
Jan

Love Baskets auction, luncheon set for Feb. 13


The Love Basket Silent Auction at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital features dozens of themed gift baskets. (Contributed photo)

The Oconto Falls-area community is invited to the annual Love Basket silent auction and salad luncheon, hosted by the colleagues and Partners of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, on Feb. 13 at the hospital, 855 S. Main St., Oconto Falls.

The salad luncheon will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital’s dining room, featuring an all-you-care-to-eat buffet for $9. The buffet will include the hospital’s signature hot chicken salad, ham and cheese sandwiches, a variety of sweet and savory salads, beverages and desserts. For information on the luncheon or to make group reservations, contact Hope Hrabik at 920-373-5774.

Additionally, hospital employees will host the Love Basket silent auction in the HSHS St. Clare Assisi Room from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Wed
24
Jan

Oconto County Circuit Court Proceedings

Proceedings of Jan. 18

Colin J. Tanner, 20, Abrams, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to charges of felony bail jumping and five related misdemeanors, including possession of a controlled substance and violation of a restraining order, in connection with an incident that allegedly took place Dec. 28. Tanner also faces a felony charge of strangulation-suffocation, as well as misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct, in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred Aug. 6. A further plea hearing was scheduled for Feb. 8.

Proceedings of Jan. 16

John Steven Stellmacher, 56, Oconto, pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, fourth offense, in connection with an incident that occurred June 13. Sentencing was scheduled for March 5.

Wed
24
Jan

Oconto County Sheriff's Department: Jan. 12-17

Jan. 17

Deputies responded to 41 incidents, including the following:

Attempted fraud — reported in the 1000 block of Krause Road, Sobieski, 10:17 a.m.

Identity theft — reported in the 7000 block of Goatsville Road, Lena, 11:06 a.m.

Suspicious — reported in the 10000 block of County Road G, Brazeau, 1:20 p.m.

Suspicious — reported in the 7000 block of Lee Lake Road, Brazeau, 1:55 p.m.

Theft — reported in the Bay of Green Bay, 2:55 p.m.

Traffic crash with injuries — U.S. 41 southbound and Froelick Road, Pensaukee, 4 p.m.

Jan. 16

Deputies responded to 39 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — reported in the 100 block of Lindsey Avenue, Oconto, 2:38 a.m.

Wed
17
Jan

Support grows for Oconto Falls fatbike trail

A fatbike trail might be in place within a few weeks utilizing the Falls Fitness Trail and the perimeter of the River Island Golf Course.

Fatbikes are bicycles with oversized tires designed to allow off-road riding on snow and other unstable terrain.

A group of fatbike enthusiasts has mapped out a 3.6-mile course that incorporates the fitness trail, designed and built by an Eagle Scout a couple of years ago, and the golf course, Alderman Devin Wirtz said during the City Council’s Jan. 9 meeting.

“This’ll just be a wintertime trail for fatbikes only,” Wirtz said, adding that like the city’s tubing hill, it will only be open to the public when the ground is covered with snow. “Once we see grass, we’ll move to reroute the track or close the trail till we get more snow.”

Fatbikes are growing in popularity as a winter sport alternative, he said.

Wed
17
Jan

Band added before Memorial Day weekend fireworks

A live band will be added before the fireworks display Saturday night as part of this year’s Memorial Day weekend festival in Oconto Falls, an organizer told the City Council last week.

Renegade is booked for Saturday night, Chad Markiewicz said, and the fireworks will be staged during a break in the music. The Panther Pride Association is working on booking bands for Sunday, as well.

The Oconto Falls Memorial Day Celebration is Oconto County’s traditional opening of the summer season. Running Friday through Monday, the event includes a carnival at Memorial Field, live music, a car show, softball tournament and the centerpiece Memorial Day parade through downtown.

New last year was a bicycle giveaway after the parade. Tim Holman, of the Oconto Falls Lions Club, said more than 700 kids signed up to wait for a chance to win one of the 106 available bikes.

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