St. Clare hosts annual auction and luncheon

The colleagues and Partners of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital will host an annual salad luncheon and love basket silent auction on Tuesday at the hospital, 855 S. Main St., Oconto Falls.

The luncheon is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital’s dining room and will feature 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 salads, dinner rolls, coffee, milk and desserts. For information or to make reservations, contact Sue Allshouse at 920-373-7685.

In support of the luncheon, colleagues of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital will host the love basket silent auction in the HSHS St. Clare Assisi Room from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the same day.


Vision for the future

Dale Mohr of the University of Wisconsin-Extension talks to the Oconto County Board on Thursday about the process of developing a vision statement for the county. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Members of the Oconto County Board were given a homework assignment this week.

The board has been going through a goals and objectives exercise facilitated by Dale Mohr, the natural resources and economic development agent in Oconto County’s University of Wisconsin-Extension office, to help guide the county’s long-term planning process.

The effort included whittling down supervisors’ core values last summer; the five attributes the board considered most important were accountability, honesty, respectfulness, trustworthiness and dedication.

The next step is to develop a vision statement, described as a “positive, inspirational description of what an organization would like to become or to achieve.”

It takes time to achieve, so plan for 5-10 years out, Mohr said Thursday.


Charges filed in crash that killed 14-year-old girl

Cade Wied (Courtesy Oconto County Sheriff's Department)

The young driver of a car that crashed in the town of Abrams on Dec. 14, killing one teenager and seriously injuring two others, made his first appearance in Oconto County Circuit Court on Monday.

Cade Justin Wied, 18, Sobieski, is charged with second-degree reckless homicide, second-degree reckless injury, two counts of knowingly operating a motor vehicle while his driver’s license was suspended, and misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer.

According to the criminal complaint, data recovered from the car indicated Wied was driving down Sampson Road at 88 mph when it went out of control and crashed into two trees around 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

September Deneys, 14, Abrams, was killed in the crash. The driver and another passenger, a 17-year-old boy, were treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals.


Trial ordered after high-speed chase, theft

Keith A. Smet (Courtesy Oconto County Sheriff's Department)

A Lena man was bound over for trial in Oconto County Circuit Court on Jan. 24 in connection with a 19-mile high-speed chase in the early morning hours of Dec. 26.

Keith A. Smet, 31, faces a felony charge of fleeing an officer, along with six misdemeanor counts of theft and a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer.

He also received tickets for unreasonable and imprudent speed, reckless driving endangering safety, speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, and failure to pull over for a traffic officer.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident began when a resident of Grosse Court in the town of Stiles noticed a sport utility vehicle with a loud exhaust driving around the neighborhood and stopping in the driveways of each house along the road.


Charges filed in home invasion, robbery

Wyatt Frehse (Courtesy Oconto County Sheriff's Department)

An Oconto Falls man is being held on charges he entered a woman’s rural home and robbed her of prescription drugs at gunpoint.

Wyatt W. Frehse, 18, faces felony charges of armed robbery, burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, and second-degree recklessly endangering safety, along with a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Oconto County Judge Jay N. Conley set bail at $25,000 cash during a court appearance Jan. 22. The balance of Frehse’s initial appearance is scheduled for Feb. 14.

According to the criminal complaint, a man burst into the woman’s home along County Road B in the town of Oconto Falls just before 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20. He was wearing a bandanna over the bottom of his face and brandishing a long gun with a thin barrel.

He demanded her prescription medication, walking her at gunpoint to her bedroom where she got a recently-filled prescription containing more than 100 pills and gave it to him, the complaint said.


Oconto County Youth Fair gets another $10K for this year

The Oconto County Board is doubling its commitment to the Oconto County Youth Fair, at least for one year.

Supervisors Thursday unanimously approved an additional $10,000 to cover additional expenses for the fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 15-18 in Gillett.

Administrative Coordinator Kevin Hamann said the expenses came up during the fair board’s annual report to the Extension Education Committee earlier this month.

“During that discussion it was talked about some additional costs that are going to be incurred, such as a new scale, some other costs,” Hamann said. “This would just be for ’19, any increase for ’20 would have to go through the budget process.”

Supervisor Richard Nelson said the Fair Board needs to rewire the barns to take care of all the fans that are being installed to keep the cattle cool.


Oconto, Marinette counties plan Clean Sweep

Marinette and Oconto counties will be teaming up for an agricultural and household Clean Sweep program to help farmers and homeowners dispose of hazardous wastes.

The Oconto County Board on Thursday approved a resolution approving the program, which will be subsidized in part by $27,200 in state grants.

The two counties will each contribute $15,000 toward the Clean Sweep, which hasn’t been staged locally since 2011.

“Some counties do it annually,” said Pat Virtues, Oconto County planning and solid waste administrator. “We try to do it about every five years; we’re a little bit off that path.”

Virtues said the counties will offer three collection sites each over a two-day period.


New court commissioner will be full time

The new Oconto County court commissioner will work full time, and the County Board took steps Thursday to ensure she is paid a full-time salary with benefits.

The Law Enforcement & Judiciary Committee this month hired Peggy Miller, an Appleton attorney, to succeed Frank Calvert, who resigned Dec. 20.

The committee also recommended she be full time, as opposed to Calvert who worked a 33-hour schedule and also served as Oconto city attorney. The Personnel and Wages committee also recommended the upgrade.

“Back in April 2014 the County Board did make this a full-time position,” Administrative Coordinator Kevin Hamann reminded supervisors. “However, the court commissioner at that time also wanted to be the city attorney here in Oconto, and under court rules he could not serve full time here and also as a city attorney, so it was reduced to part time to allow him to do that.”


Bitter cold closes school Wednesday

A forecast of extreme cold temperatures led schools in Oconto County to cancel classes for Wednesday, with local post-secondary schools deciding to stay closed through Thursday.

The National Weather Service declared a wind chill warning in effect from 5 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 29) through noon Thursday (Jan. 31) as a fresh surge of bitterly cold air began to push into the area. Gusty west winds accompanying the arctic air was expected to produce blowing and drifting snow, especially on north-south oriented roads in rural areas.

Dangerously cold weather was expected to continue through mid-day Thursday, with wind chills in the 35 to 55 below zero range.

As a result Oconto Falls, Gillett, Lena, Suring, Oconto, Pulaski and Coleman school officials all announced they would close Wednesday.


Aerial Display: John Larson photos donated

Many of John Larson’s photos are aerial shots of Oconto County landmarks. (Photo by John Larson, print courtesy of Oconto Falls Community Library)

Joan Denis, head librarian at the Oconto Falls Community Library, pulls a box of John Larson’s negatives from storage. (Photo by Shannon Morrell)

An old adage says, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” If this is true, it would appear to apply to Oconto Falls High School’s Class of ’46 graduate John Larson, who parlayed his passion for flying and photography into a business and became one of the state’s most renowned photographers.

A collection of Larson’s negatives was recently donated to the Oconto Falls Public Library. Head librarian Joan Denis is undertaking the daunting task of organizing, digitizing and posting them online.

“It’s going to be a lengthy project,” said Denis, who is sorting the photos into chronological order. “We would like to see John Larson’s legacy continue. Fortunately, he was kind enough to give us written permission to use all of his negatives for educational or research purposes.”


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