News

Wed
17
Jul

Rates increase for city-provided electricity

Typical residential electrical customers of Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities will pay $2.42 more on their monthly electrical bills under a rate order issued July 10 by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

Residential customers currently paying $75.86 monthly for 604 kilowatt hours of power will pay $78.28 for the same amount of power, said Lisa Christensen, the utilities’ executive administrative assistant. The new rates took effect Saturday.

The current $7 monthly meter charge remains unchanged.

Rates for the utility’s general service, small power and large power customer classes will increase by 3.1, 1.7 and 1 percent, respectively, according to the rate order.

Bills reflecting the new rates will be mailed in September, Christensen said.

The utility can pass any increases in the cost of power it buys, called the power cost adjustment clause (PCAC), to its customers.

Thu
11
Jul

Spruce owes Chicago attorney for records expenses

The town of Spruce will have to pay legal costs to a Chicago attorney looking into the operation of the Holt Park campground, located on Kelly Lake’s west shore.

The District III Court of Appeals last week overturned a ruling by Oconto County Circuit Judge Jay Conley that the town had provided enough of the town records requested by attorney James Webster, who has a summer residence on Kelly Lake, and that he was not entitled to reimbursement for legal fees incurred in a court filing.

The appeals court ordered Conley to grant Webster access to the town’s financial ledger and to determine how much he should be reimbursed for filing a write of mandamus. Attorneys for Webster and the town will submit recommendations regarding how much to reimburse Webster to Conley before he makes his ruling.

Webster has expressed concerns about the town operating a 48-trailer campground on land the Holt Lumber Company had deeded to town residents in 1923 for use as a park.

Thu
11
Jul

Panel proposes dropping referendum requirement

Although some community leaders want a referendum on a proposed new Oconto County law enforcement center, the city of Oconto and town of Little River are fine-tuning an annexation deal for the site that may eliminate the referendum requirement.

Under the agreement reached between the town and city, Little River will grant Oconto right-of-way on a section of Superior Road to the proposed site and provide emergency services and utilities for the facility. In return, Oconto will pay the town $8,000 to offset state transportation aid the town would lose.

According to Town Chairman Tom Des Jarlais, Little River receives approximately $2,200 in state aid per mile for that section of Superior Road annually. According to the agreement, the $8,000 payment is contingent upon the passage of a referendum for the law enforcement center to be built.

Thu
11
Jul

Rebirth proposed at ex-Oconto hospital

A proposal to develop an apartment or office complex at the boarded-up hospital building in Oconto was greeted with enthusiasm last week by city leaders.

Representatives of Smet Construction Services, of Green Bay, met with the city’s Industrial Development Commission on Thursday to unveil their plans for the facility, which closed about 10 years ago.

According to a proposal submitted by Smet’s Memorial Gardens Redevelopment of Wisconsin, the original hospital building will be renovated into offices or apartments. The building additions would be demolished and the land incorporated into the project. Located at the corner of First Street and Collins Avenue, the two-story building is approximately 12,000 square feet.

“I love that building and it needs to be utilized,” Mayor Victoria Bostedt said.

“We are supportive of that as well,” said Kevin Hamann, administrative coordinator for Oconto County.

Thu
11
Jul

Gillett campground slow to develop

“Slow” is the word to describe the development of Gillett’s new campground.

“It’s going slower than I wanted it to,” said Rick Raatz, chairman of the Community Development Authority subcommittee in charge of the project.

Hopes were scuttled that Nicolet Trail Campground would open before the prime camping week of the Fourth of July, but Raatz remained optimistic the 20-site campground will be ready in a few weeks.

Gillett’s Community Development Authority is developing the campground on Washington Street to cater to ATV enthusiasts and others who use the Nicolet State Trail.

A few stakes, scattered mounds of dirt and a pile of shiny culverts at the property fail to resemble a campground, but not all preparations for the campground are visible from the street.

Raatz said fire pits are on order and picnic tables are under construction by a local craftsman.

Thu
11
Jul

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from June 26

A plea and sentencing hearing is set for July 19 for Levi J. Liebergen, 19, Oconto. He is charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested April 14 in Oconto. His $1,500 cash bond continues.

Lauren S. Ireland, 33, Green Bay, made an initial appearance on being party to burglary and theft, which allegedly took place May 10 in the town of Chase. Her appearance is continued to July 11, and a $10,000 signature bond was set.

Paul L. Linde, 65, Green Bay, was sentenced after revocation to spend a year in jail. He violated his probation by possessing drug paraphernalia. He owes court costs and fines of $722.

Thu
11
Jul

Oconto County Sheriff’s Department

An Appleton resident reported June 22 a six-gallon gasoline tank was removed from his pontoon, while it was docked at a lagoon in the town of Brazeau. Replacement value of the tank and its contents was listed at $105.

On June 20, a Suring man reported the theft of a rod and reel combo taken from a dock where his boat was parked. The location was not disclosed.

A five-gallon gasoline tank was reported stolen from a boat on a lake in the town of Riverview. The report was made June 20. Total valued of the tank, gasoline and a tank strap was listed at $160.

Thu
11
Jul

Pest alert: Time to walk the fields

This is one of those years where disparity and differences abound. Some fields haven’t been planted yet; others appear normal. Some areas are rather wet; others could use rain. And so it goes.

The one aspect of managing crops that doesn’t change too much from year to year is the need to manage pests. The trick is that the pests can differ significantly from year to year. Thus, now is the time for farmers to get out into the fields and start their pest scouting regimens, or make sure their crop consultants are doing so.

Proper scouting can prevent a pest problem from becoming a devastating loss in a field or crop, or can prevent a problem from even occurring. Farms always have to be on the lookout for new weed species, so they can change their weed management programs to properly account for what is present. Finding a small patch of a new weed and eradicating is much cheaper and simpler than changing your entire system.

Thu
11
Jul

Gillett hires clerk/treasurer

A rural Gillett woman with seven years of accounting experience is the new clerk/treasurer for the city of Gillett.

Beth Rank has been hired to fill a vacancy following the resignation of deputy clerk/treasurer Stephanie Schmutzer, who handled the city’s bookkeeping since November 2010.

Seventeen candidates applied for the position, and Rank was among three final ists. Her employment was confirmed June 17 at a special meeting of the Gillett City Council.

“I am hoping to work with the citizens of Gillett and the City Council to bring the best possible service to Gillett,” she said.

Since 2006, Rank, 31, has been employed at All-Ways Accounting of Clintonville. In 2010, she earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Phoenix online program.

A native of Clintonville, Rank moved to Gillett three years ago. She is married to Jordan Rank, a former Gillett alderperson, and her father was a town board chairman in Marathon County.

Thu
11
Jul

Trial delayed in 2009 double homicide

The trial of a rural Shawano man accused of killing his former mistress and her brother has been postponed. The trial of Daniel Lee Schmidt, 30, scheduled to start on Monday will be delayed until Oct. 14, due to a change in prosecutors.

Schmidt is accused of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the shotgun slayings of Kimberly Rose, 32, and Leonard Marsh, 22.

Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour has been assigned to the case as a special prosecutor, replacing Assistant Attorney General David Wambach, who was appointed judge for the Jefferson County Branch III Circuit Court. The schedule change was arranged at a status conference Monday with Judge Michael Judge in Oconto County Court.

Jury selection is scheduled Friday, Oct. 11, with the trial to take place the following week.

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