‘He’s gone because of me’

Oconto County Assistant District Attorney Robert Mraz wishes Guy Maras, right, well after the Illinois man was sentenced to 15 years of probation in the drunken driving death of his friend in July. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

An Illinois attorney convicted of homicide by drunken driving was spared a prison term Friday (April 12), thanks to the widow of the college classmate he killed.

Guy A. Maras, 55, of Naperville was sentenced to 15 years of probation in the July 29 crash near the Oconto-Shawano county line that killed his friend Joseph Gallagher, 54, of Fair Haven, New Jersey. He had pleaded guilty Feb. 5.

Patty Gallagher, the victim’s widow, asked for leniency in a letter she wrote to Oneida County Judge Patrick O’Melia, who heard the case in Oconto County Circuit Court.

“My family has been irrevocably broken,” she wrote. “I do not want to see the same thing happen to Guy’s family – and I know my husband Joe would not want that, either.”


Gillett grapples with Main Street growing pains

Vehicles line the 100 block of Main Street in Gillett on Saturday morning, April 6. A recent decision to start enforcing the long-standing two-hour parking limit raised a public outcry. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

UPDATE: At the Monday meeting referenced in this story, the Gillett Health, Protection and Licensing Committee voted to approve parking passes that Main Street businesses may issue to clients and customers who likely will park for more than two hours. Also, a letter will be sent to landlords whose tenants habitually park on the street.

CORRECTION: Rennae Ryan works for Dr. Steven Drake, O.D., at Family Vision Care, which is located next to OJ's Midtown Restaurant. The name and location of the clinic were incorrect in the original version of this article. We apologize for the errors.
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Gillett city officials got a big surprise when they started to more stringently enforce the two-hour parking limit on Main Street.


Learning that pours

Cole Gorecki, a seventh-grade student at Pulaski Community Middle School, stirs a pan full of xylem sap as it’s being cooked down to pure maple syrup Friday outside the school. Gorecki learned about the process last year and is one of the students helping with the process this year. (Times Herald photo by Lee Pulaski)

Pulaski Community Middle School sixth-grade teacher Jon Wood shows students what a hydrometer is during an outdoor learning day at the school Friday. Wood started teaching about the process of making maple syrup first at Fairview Elementary School, but he brought his curriculum with him four years ago when he transferred to PCMS. (Times Herald photo by Lee Pulaski)

The steam enveloped a group of students Friday morning at Pulaski Community Middle School as they observed a batch of sap from a maple tree boiling on top of a wood-fired cook stove.

Group by group poured out of the school to observe in person how maple syrup makers get what they need from the trees to create the topping for countless pancakes, waffles and slices of French toast.

The outside class was the culmination of several weeks of work that started with students and staff tapping trees outside the school and within the nearby school forest. It is a project that PCMS teachers Jon Wood and Dave Landers have spearheaded for four years. Before that, Wood conducted the education for a decade at Fairview Elementary School, the Pulaski Community School District’s northernmost school.


Local farmers eligible for winter-damage loans

Wisconsin agricultural producers who lost property due to recent natural disasters may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) physical loss loans.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers these low-interest loans to agricultural producers in Oconto, Marinette and 22 other counties who incurred losses caused by multiple winter storms with blizzard conditions, excessive snow, high winds, and extreme cold that occurred between Jan. 27 through March 2. Approval is limited to applicants who suffered severe physical losses only, including the loss of buildings and livestock. Applications are due Nov. 25.

“Wisconsin’s hardworking ag producers feed our neighbors, the nation and the world,” said state executive director Sandy Chalmers. “When they suffer losses because of extreme weather, helping them get back on their feet is important. We encourage those affected to reach out to their local USDA Service Center to apply for these emergency loans.”


Prison ordered for former Suring teacher

Former Suring teacher Timothy David Grimes is escorted into Oconto County Judge Michael T. Judge’s courtroom, where he was sentenced to prison April 2 for sexual assault of a student by school staff. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

A former Suring High School teacher has been sentenced to spend up to four years in prison, followed by six years of extended supervision, for having a sexual relationship with a female student.

Oconto County Judge Michael T. Judge handed down a stricter sentence than either the prosecution or defense recommended for Timothy David Grimes, 24, who pleaded no contest in February to two counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff.

Four other counts were dismissed but read into the record to consider at sentencing, and Judge noted that the criminal complaint quotes Grimes as conceding he may have had as many as 10 to 20 sexual encounters with the 17-year-old girl.

“Because of the gravity of the offense, I believe that this is a minimum sentence that I should give you for what you have been charged and convicted of in this matter,” Judge said as he adjourned the April 2 sentencing hearing.


Hospital to host program on human trafficking

Local health and public safety experts this month will lead a community presentation at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital about human trafficking. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 22 in the Assisi Conference Rooms at the hospital, 855 S. Main St., Oconto Falls.

Human trafficking is a widespread and evolving crime in the United States and abroad that affects both urban and rural communities.

“It is important for rural communities to get informed because we often assume our children and families are isolated from major crimes,” said Dr. Amy Romandine Kratz, a family medicine physician at the HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital Prevea Oconto Falls Health Center. “Traffickers don’t discriminate geographically, and some specifically target rural areas because they can often go undetected.”


Gillett Eggstravaganza set for April 13

The Easter Bunny helps distribute the goodies in the Gillett Elementary School gymnasium. (Contributed photo)

The Gillett Public Library and Hillside Assembly of God church are working together again this year to bring the Easter Bunny to Gillett for the annual Eggstravaganza Easter egg hunt.

This is the third year that the organizations are coordinating the “hunt” together, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13 at the Gillett Elementary School. Kids can meet the Easter Bunny, enjoy games and activities while waiting for the hunt to begin, then turn in their eggs and travel down the Candy Lane to collect treats.

Registration will take place 10-10:45 a.m., with the games at the same time. Register online at to save time in line. Kids will win candy while playing the games, so bring a bag for each child for their candy. This event is geared for kids through fifth grade.


National Forest trails close until May

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), utility-terrain vehicle (UTV), horse and bicycle trails are closed for spring break-up.

Every spring, the use of wheeled motorized vehicles, mountain bikes, horses or other pack or saddle animals is prohibited on National Forest System trails until at least May 1.

“As the snow melts and we get spring rains the trails become very saturated,” said Tim Vetter, lands, recreation and wilderness program manager for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. “We ask that the public refrain from using off-highway vehicles, bikes and horses on the trails until the trails are dry and open for the summer season.”

This seasonal closure reduces rutting and erosion of trails which often occurs when the soil is saturated. Protecting recreation trails during this time period reduces the likelihood of trail closures during the high use season to repair damaged segments.


Spring election 2019 results

A write-in candidate defeated the Breed town chairman, a Gillett City Council member and former mayor was defeated in her re-election bid, and one of the challengers won a seat on the Oconto Falls School Board, among the highlights of Spring Election Day 2019 in Oconto County.

Judge Brian Hagedorn won Oconto County in the race for state Supreme Court justice, outpolling Lisa Neubauer 5,634 to 2,959. The statewide margin was still too close to call late Tuesday night.

+ Herbert A. Fischer (i) 69
Richard Knueppel 11
Tom Bauer 37
+ Darryl Houska (i) 45

+ Gerald Kempka (i)188
+ Jean Grosse 265
Randy Nasgovitz 167

Brian Moran (i) 119
+ Richard VandeWettering (write-in) 127

+ Deven Babicky 154
+ Timothy Mitchell (i) 196
Larry Zimmerman (i) 97


Farmers market idea gets good response

In a perfect world, the Oconto County Farmers Market will debut June 6 and operate every Thursday through Aug. 29. (Contributed image)

She has a name and a logo, a schedule and a lot of people saying it’s a great idea.

Now she could use a little help.

Sophie Ford, proprietor of Corki’s Cup of Joy coffee shop in Oconto Falls, has been pitching the idea of an Oconto County farmers market for several months, gathering information and moral support.

If everything falls into place, the market will operate 4-8 p.m. Thursdays in the parking lot of Highland Plaza, the shopping center where Corki’s is located at 323 E. Highland Drive, from June 6 through Aug. 29 — except July 4.

First, everything needs to fall into place, beginning with a cadre of volunteers to help execute the plan.

“If we do this right, it’s going to be large,” Ford said Friday. “I can’t do it all just myself.”


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