News

Thu
17
Oct

Double homicide trial under way


Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Daniel Schmidt, right, is seated with his counsel at the start of his trial on two first-degree intentional homicide charges for the death of siblings Kimberly Rose and Leonard Marsh. The two were found dead from shotgun wounds in the Gillett-area home they shared.

An Oconto County jury will decide if a rural Shawano man, desperate to save his marriage and anxious over repaying a loan with marijuana he grew illegally, murdered his ex-mistress and her brother.

Daniel Schmidt, 30, is accused of the shotgun slayings of Kimberly Rose, with whom he had a six-month affair, and her brother, Leonard Marsh, on May 19, 2009, in their town of Gillett home.

In opening arguments Monday in Oconto County Circuit Court, Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour told the jury Schmidt had two motives for the murder. He wanted to keep Rose from telling the police about the marijuana he grew in a shed at his home, Dufour said, and stop her from disrupting his marriage to his wife, Stephanie.

Dufour said Schmidt also had a murder weapon, a .20-gauge shotgun.

Schmidt, arrested in September 2012, faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Thu
17
Oct

State aid projected to increase for Falls schools

Student enrollment has changed this year in the Oconto Falls School District, but whether it’s up or down depends on how you crunch the numbers.

The school district grew by 11 students, according to one of several summaries presented at the School Board meeting Monday. Enrollment increased from 1,813 students in September 2012 to 1,824 in September 2013.

The official count for the Department of Public Instruction is made on the third Friday of September and determines the state aid provided to school districts. With a slight enrollment increase, the district will receive a bit more aid than expected, which in turn will reduce the tax levy.

Original estimates projected a state aid reduction of $328,000, or 3 percent, for the 2013-14 school year. To offset the loss, the district budget included an additional $289,000, a 5 percent levy increase, in the general fund.

Thu
17
Oct

Oconto County Sheriff's Department

At 3:57 a.m. Sept. 22, a car driven by a Wabeno woman was traveling south on North Road in the town of Lakewood. The vehicle failed to negotiate a curve, entered a ditch and rolled onto its roof, striking several trees. The driver was injured and transported to a medical facility. Three female passengers in the vehicle were not injured.

At 2:15 a.m. Oct. 1, a vehicle driven by an unidentified driver from Peshtigo was traveling east on state Highway 22 in the town of Oconto, crossed the center line, entered a ditch, struck an embankment and overturned in a ditch. Severe damage was reported to the vehicle.

Thu
17
Oct

Oconto County Circuit Court

Proceedings from Oct. 10

A preliminary hearing will be held Nov. 1 for Thomas J. LaViolette, 42, Oconto. He

is charged with strangulation and suffocation, battery and disorderly conduct and

was arrested Aug. 10 in Oconto. A $500 cash bond continues.

An arraignment will take place Nov. 13 for Dylan J. Wittock, 19, Lena. He is charged

with being party to burglary, party to causing criminal damage to property, and two

counts of theft. He was arrested May 9 in the town of Stiles. His $5,000 signature

bond continues.

A preliminary hearing is Oct. 21 for Jeffrey J. Smet, 46, Oconto. He

faces charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance,

possession of narcotic drugs and theft of movable property. He was arrested Sept. 20

in Gillett. His $5,000 cash bond continues.

An arraignment is Nov. 4 for Christian L. Matelski, 26, Suring, who is

Thu
17
Oct

Hospital to participate in national pilot program

Starting this fall, Community Memorial Hospital will be part of a national pilot project for small, rural hospitals focusing on transfers from the emergency department.

The project is supported by MetaStar and funded through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Office of Rural Health is also working in partnership on this effort. Wisconsin is one of eight states participating in the pilot project.

While emergency care is important in all hospitals, it is particularly critical in rural hospitals where the distance from urban medical centers makes the effective triage, stabilization and transfer of patients essential. For example, when a patient arrives at Community Memorial Hospital’s emergency department needing time-sensitive care that requires transfer to a tertiary care center, Community Memorial Hospital’s ability to quickly assess, arrange and transfer the patient with the necessary and appropriate information can be of life or death importance.

Fri
11
Oct

Gillett council OKs $100 garbage fees

Gillett residents will pay $100 for garbage collection in 2014, as the city transitions from city-provided pickup to a private contractor.

The $100 fee is scheduled to be included on the property tax bill.

The City Council on Thursday adopted the fee with a 5-1 vote. Alderperson Debbie Erickson cast the only dissenting vote, saying she would like to review the city’s department budgets for 2014 before assessing taxpayers for the service.

The council also finalized its agreement with Harter’s Fox Valley Disposal, of Wittenberg, as its trash collector beginning in January. The five-year contract will cost about $50,000 annually, which equates to $8.35 per month per resident.

City officials have discussed garbage collection alternatives since late 2012. Garbage pickup is budgeted to cost the city $56,000 in 2013, but is anticipated to break even for 2014 with the new fee and private contractor taking over.

Fri
11
Oct

Veterinarian named county ag agent


Contributed Photo

Sarah Mills-Lloyd, of Pulaski, is the new ag agent for Oconto County, specializing in dairy and livestock. She enjoys trail and pleasure riding with her quarter horse, Ginger.

A Seymour-based veterinarian and former science teacher will begin work next week as the University of Wisconsin-Extension agriculture agent for Oconto County. Sarah Mills-Lloyd, a practicing veterinarian for the past eight years, starts Oct. 15; her specialty will be dairy and livestock.

Her experience in large-animal medicine and teaching will be helpful in her new role, she said.

“I love to get to know people, and I think it all works together for what I’ll be doing,” she said.

An agriculture agent provides programming and resources for ag producers and the community at large. The position is financially supported by a partnership between the county and the state.

Fri
11
Oct

Child abuse charges filed against Suring couple

A Suring couple has been charged with multiple counts of child abuse for allegedly mistreating two girls, ages 5 and 7, in their care.

The criminal complaint against Shawn Paholke, 33, and Jennifer Fendryk, 31, of Suring, alleges they withheld food and locked Paholke’s 5-year-old daughter in her room, allowing her out to scrub floors and do exercises, such as jumping jacks. Paholke also threatened to cut off the girl’s hands, the complaint states.

The two girls began living with her father in 2011, when the 5-year-old was a healthy weight. She weighed 24 pounds when child protection workers took her from the home on May 23, 2013, after a physician examining her alerted the Oconto County Department of Human Services.

The doctor had advised Paholke to seek immediate treatment for the girl. A healthy weight for her age is 40 pounds.

Fri
11
Oct

Falls hires treatment plant operator

A Marinette man was hired to operate the Oconto Falls wastewater treatment plant. Ryan Walters was selected by the Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities Commission last month and will start work on Oct. 14.

Walters graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a waste management major and soils resource management minor and previously worked at a waste water treatment plant in Janesville.

“He’s got some experience, and he’s got a great education behind him,” said Chuck Grady, manager of Oconto Falls Utilities.

Walters will be working at the Oconto Falls treatment plant which underwent an $8 million renovation begun in November 2012 and concluded this summer. The renovation is projected to add at least another 20 years of life to the plant.

Grady said the timing is perfect for a new operator to start work at the upgraded facility.

“He’ll get to learn it from the ground up,” he said.

Fri
11
Oct

Motorist dies after hitting highway sign

A Wausaukee man died Saturday morning when he lost control of his car on U.S. Highway 141 and struck a highway sign, according to a statement by the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department.

The man and a female passenger from Wausaukee were traveling south on Highway 141, about 300 feet south of County Road E in the town of Abrams, when the accident occurred at about 10 a.m. The man, 34, was pronounced dead at a Green Bay hospital, and the woman was treated for nonlife-threatening injuries. Their names were not released.

It was the fourth traffic fatality of the year in the county.

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