News

Wed
02
Apr

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from March 26

A preliminary hearing was held for Michael R. Knight, 32, Oconto Falls, on a charge of strangulation and suffocation, domestic abuse, which allegedly occurred Feb. 28 in Oconto Falls. A cash bond of $500 continues. An arraignment is April 10.

Proceedings from March 25

Ryan L. Lunzmann, 31, Oconto, pleaded no contest to forgery, which occurred Sept. 19 in Oconto. He was sentenced to nine months jail, imposed and stayed, and two years in the Volunteers in Probation program. He must pay restitution of $497.24 and serve five days in jail.

Matthias C. Andrews, 25, Abrams, pleaded not guilty to strangulation and suffocation, which allegedly occurred Jan. 20 in Oconto. A cash bond of $1,000 is continued. A pretrial conference is May 8.

Wed
02
Apr

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

At 1 a.m. March 23 in Little River, an unknown person operating a vehicle stolen from a residence in Oconto was northbound on Superior Street at a high rate of speed and failed to negotiate a curve near County Road S. The vehicle left the road and hit a brick culvert. The vehicle sustained severe damage, and the driver left the scene.

At 5:50 a.m. March 23 in Little Suamico, a female from Little Suamico was driving northbound on East Frontage Road at Brown Road, went off the road to the right and rolled over. She received incapacitating injuries and required medical transport. The vehicle sustained severe damage and was towed. The woman was able to crawl from the car and told rescue personnel she fell asleep.

Wed
02
Apr

New welcome signs erected at city entries


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Chris Siolka, left, and Tim Otis, of Jones Sign Company, prepare to install a welcome sign Friday at the state Highway 22 entry to Oconto Falls. A second sign was installed Friday on County Road CC.

New welcome signs will greet motorists entering Oconto Falls from two directions.

On Friday, signs were installed at the state Highway 22 and County Road CC entries to the city. The Highway 22 sign includes an electronic, full-color message center that will be activated once warmer weather allows the city to hook up the electrical service.

The Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce purchased the signs for $37,000 from Jones Sign of Green Bay with the aid of a $24,000 donation from ST Paper. A plaque on the CC sign recognizes the paper mill’s contribution.

Gail Yatso, president of the chamber, watched the installation Friday, photographing the progress made by Chris Siolka and Tim Otis.

Wed
26
Mar

Law enforcement center project advances

Plans for a proposed law enforcement center are moving ahead on several fronts.

The law enforcement center is scheduled to be built on a 4.7-acre block adjacent to the courthouse in Oconto. It would replace an outdated facility in the courthouse complex that needs major repairs and has limited capacity. Construction of the $25 million center is scheduled to begin in 2015.

The County Board on Thursday passed a resolution that allows for the acquisition and relocation of the buildings located one block north of the courthouse. Supervisor Rose Stellmacher voted nay; she has opposed all resolutions regarding the courthouse location for the center.

Despite her objections, the project is moving forward.

Wed
26
Mar

Lemke finds success by ‘giving it my all’


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Carly Lemke, a three-sport athlete involved in student council and choir at Oconto Falls High School, is the recipient of an Excellence Scholarship from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

Carly Lemke achieved a rare trifecta this month. By earning a berth to the WIAA state basketball tournament, Lemke added another chapter to her successful high school sports career, with her last three seasons finishing at the state meet.

Lemke, of Oconto Falls, competed in the state basketball tournament Friday, the state volleyball tournament in 2011 and 2013, and the state track meet in 2013.

Although each sports season is special, Lemke admitted she has a favorite.

“I definitely love volleyball, but right now, basketball is pretty exciting, too,” she said, acknowledging the euphoria of a state-tournament run.

The multi-sport standout earned another honor this month, winning the prestigious Excellence Scholarship from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

Wed
26
Mar

Appeals granted for 21 county workers

Twenty-one Oconto County employees won their appeals for better compensation, successfully challenging a pay plan adopted by the County Board in November.

The plan, which took effect Dec. 29, was recommended by Madison-based Carlson-Dettmann Consulting following an employee classification/compensation study. The adjustment took effect March 23.

Of the 21, 19 were granted in the first round of appeals coordinated by Carlson-Dettmann, and two were approved in the second round by the Personnel and Wages Committee. Seventy-three county employees — triple the number anticipated — appealed their compensation. As a result of the successful appeals, the county will spend an additional $9,700 in 2014.

County officials set aside $250,000 in the 2014 budget to cover the compensation increases resulting from the study. With Thursday’s appeals, the total impact for 2014 was calculated at $249,730.

Wed
26
Mar

Director proposes plan to aid business start-ups

Paul Ehrfurth didn’t need to look far to find a way to help small business start-ups succeed; he just looked up.

Ehrfurth, director of Oconto County Economic Development Corporation, has obtained bids to renovate the second floor of the OCEDC building, 1113 Main St., Oconto. OCEDC owns the historic building in Oconto’s downtown, and Ehrfurth said the unused space would be a prime site for a small business incubator.

“The challenge is going to be to come up with a half million dollars to develop it,” he said.

It’s a goal he’ll work toward in 2014 and 2015, seeking funding from state and federal economic development agencies, along with other sources.

Ehrfurth said 30 to 50 percent of all new businesses fail within the first year, but by extending resources to these start-ups through a business incubator, 80 percent survive their first year.

Wed
26
Mar

Gillett moves closer to 1-to-1 technology

Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Gillett Elementary will soon have school-provided laptop computers, as the district moves closer to providing individual technology devices for its students.

The School Board on March 17 unanimously approved the purchase of 75 Chromebooks, which are Internet-dependent laptops powered by Google’s Chrome operating system. The district will spend up to $350 per unit, for a total cost of not more than $26,250.

According to Tammy Lipsey, elementary school principal, the district will also purchase applications for the Chromebooks, although much of what students will use, including word processing and spreadsheet programs, will be part of the operating system through Google Docs.

This purchase and the use of CrE8 charter school devices for students in the traditional school brings the elementary closer to one device per student. Students in third through fifth grade will have their own laptops.

Wed
26
Mar

County approves $50K in crisis funds

Oconto County residents have burned through nearly $144,000 in government assistance to heat their homes this winter, and more crisis money is at the ready. The Oconto County Board on Thursday transferred $50,000 from its contingency fund to an energy assistance fund administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Penny Helmle, economic support division manager for Oconto County, said the county has nearly exhausted the state crisis funds it received in four allocations. About $5,000 remains, and state officials have informed her no additional funds are available.

Prolonged cold weather and a propane shortage that spiked prices to $7 a gallon prompted residents to apply for assistance. The first requests came on Jan. 15, and by Feb. 11, the department received 840 calls requesting crisis funding, prepared 336 applications and paid out $91,000.

“The crisis situation has slowed down the last two weeks,” Helmle said.

Wed
26
Mar

4 to compete in race for Suring trustee

Three village trustees and one challenger are candidates for the Suring Village Board in the April 1 election. Angela Whiting is competing against incumbents Randy Schuettpelz, Cindy Zahn and Rachel Otradovec.

Here are the candidates’ profiles.

RANDY SCHUETTPELZ

Age: 61, Suring resident for 54 years

Education: Graduate of Suring High School, associate’s degree in materials management degree from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay

Employment: Purchasing manager at Unlimited Services in Oconto

Experience: Secretary of Suring Fire Department, 30-plus years, local church board member/treasurer

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