News

Wed
22
Feb

Not guilty plea in voter fraud case

An Oconto Falls man pleaded not guilty Feb. 16 to election fraud charges that could land him in prison.

Michael Noffke, 24, who was convicted of felony theft last year, is accused of voting in the Nov. 8 presidential election in violation of a state law that prohibits voting by felons on probation.

Prosecutors say it is only the second such case locally in recent memory, following a similar incident that fell through previously because of a lack of evidence.

Noffke, who says he was unaware of the law when he voted for Republican Donald Trump, could face a prison sentence of 3 1/2 years and a fine of $10,000 if found guilty. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for March 9.

Wed
22
Feb

County jail inmate death investigated

Oconto County officials are investigating the death of a county jail inmate who was found unconscious in his cell the same day he was scheduled to be released.

Robert J. Dyer, 60, of Suring, was pronounced dead Feb. 10 after workers at the Oconto County Jail found him unresponsive alone in his cell about 11 a.m.

Jail Administrator Carol Kopp said Dyer was due to be released from custody later that day. Court records show Dyer was convicted in March 2015 for driving under the influence, and he remained on probation when a judge Dec. 21 ordered him back behind bars for another 60 days.

Kopp said an investigation is continuing into Dyer’s death. The county medical examiner would not discuss the results of an autopsy.

Wed
22
Feb

Metalworks firm settles in Gillett


Contributed Photo

Representatives of the Gillett Business Association join L&N Metalworks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the company’s new location in the Gillett Industrial Park.

The Gillett Business Association welcomed the new L&N Metalworks facility Feb. 8 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

L&N Metalworks moved into its new facility in the Gillett Industrial Park in September to accommodate the company’s growth. The company performs custom commercial, industrial and residential metal fabrication.

Owners Neal and Tracy Van Donsel are proud to be a new addition to the community.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to grow our business in the city of Gillett,” Tracy Van Donsel said. “We are excited to work with employees, customers and businesses here and the surrounding areas.”

Although the company is new to the Gillett area, it was started seven years ago in Pulaski when Neal wanted to get back into metal fabrication. He had pursued a career in carpentry and worked as a site foreman traveling for a nationwide company, but he wanted to travel less and to build things that involved more creativity.

Wed
15
Feb

Crowds thrill at river snowmobile event


Times Herald Photo by Scott Williams

A racer prepares to take off from the starting gate Saturday during the World Series of Ice Drags snowmobile races on the Oconto River.

The thunder on ice was booming once again last weekend on the Oconto River.

Competitors and fans gathered Friday and Saturday on the frozen river in Oconto Falls for the spectacle of the World Series of Ice Drags snowmobile races.

Poor weather conditions canceled the event last year, but seasonally cold temperatures this winter created a perfect sheet of ice for snowmobiles drag racing side by side at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

“This is just unreal,” said spectator Annette Sainsbury, of Green Bay, who came with family and friends to attend her first ice drags event.

Sainsbury said she was impressed not only with the blazing-fast snowmobiles, but also with the musical entertainment, food concessions and other amenities at the outdoor event. There also was a fireworks display and “Thunder on Ice” gifts for sale.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” she said. “More people should be here.”

Wed
15
Feb

City sues to demolish cat house


Times Herald Photo by Scott Williams

Neighbors say the house at 306 Jackson St. looks nice from the outside, but city officials have condemned it as a health hazard where 30 cats once lived.

The battle over an Oconto Falls house where an elderly woman once kept 30 cats is headed back to court.

The city of Oconto Falls has filed a civil lawsuit seeking a judge’s order to demolish the house at 306 Jackson St., owned by 83-year-old Roberta Olshesky.

The house was condemned in 2015 after authorities found 30 cats on the property living there in unsanitary conditions.

According to the lawsuit filed Feb. 2 in Oconto County Circuit Court, Olshesky has “failed to clean, restore and remediate” the house as required under a city order.

No hearing has yet been scheduled in the court case.

Contacted by telephone, Olshesky said although she was aware of the city’s new legal action, she did not want to discuss it. Asked if she intends to fight the suit, she said: “I have to decide.”

It is not the first time the situation on Jackson Street has landed in court.

Wed
15
Feb

Oconto working on hot development prospect

Oconto city leaders are keeping a tight lid on an economic development prospect that some officials say would make a significant impact on the community.

”It would be sizable,” Alderman Bob Le Breck said.

Nobody at City Hall will say much more than that about what type of business is involved, where it would be located or how many jobs it would create.

A real estate broker last month presented a development offer at a meeting of the city’s Industrial Development Commission, an advisory group that makes recommendations to the Oconto City Council.

Mayor Lloyd Heier and other top officials attended the meeting. The discussion with broker Gary Laeyendecker took place behind closed doors, and Heier later could not be reached for comment.

Wed
15
Feb

Kuehl Funeral Home branches out, changes name

Kuehl Funeral Home in Gillett has changed its name to Legacy Funeral Chapel after purchasing another operation in Green Bay.

Kuehl owner James Beaton completed the acquisition of the former Schauer and Schumacher Funeral Home in Green Bay in October and rolled out his company’s new name effective Feb. 1.

Although the name has changed, the commitment to families who are grieving remains the same, he said.

“Everybody’s life is unique, and we want everybody to have the same opportunity to have a really unique and meaningful funeral service,” he said.

The former Schauer and Schumacher home at 838 S. Fisk St. in Green Bay features a kitchen and 100-seat dining hall.

Kuehl Funeral Home, at 108 E. Main St. in Gillett, has been serving families in the area since 1907.

Wed
15
Feb

Woman charged in crash that killed husband

An Oconto County woman has been charged with three counts of homicide by negligent driving in connection with a traffic crash that killed her husband and two friends.

Thelma “Dolly” Yashinsky, 84, of Lena, could face a prison sentence of more than 30 years if convicted of all charges stemming from an October 2015 crash just east of Oconto Falls.

Killed in the crash were Edward Yashinsky, 91, the defendant’s husband, and two friends, Grace Hyland, 89, and Leora Raisler, 96, both of Oconto Falls.

According to a criminal complaint, Thelma Yashinsky was driving the car when she failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with another vehicle at the intersection of state Highway 22 and County Road I in the town of Oconto Falls. The incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24, 2015.

Thelma Yashinsky and two people in the other vehicle were injured in the incident.

Wed
15
Feb

Suring man faces federal sex charges

A Suring man is facing felony charges in federal court for allegedly sexually assaulting two teenage girls at a lake property in Menominee County.

According to an indictment announced by federal prosecutors, William Wilber IV, 37, sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl near a family property on Legend Lake on the Menominee Indian Reservation. The attacks allegedly occurred in 2015 and 2016.

According to a criminal complaint, Wilber assaulted the 14-year-old girl in the back seat of a car, and assaulted the 15-year-old on a picnic table and on the trunk of a car.

If convicted in U.S. District Court in Green Bay, Wilber could face 15 years in prison on each of three counts outlined in the indictment.

Wed
15
Feb

Maple Valley house damaged in fire

A family was displaced from their home near Suring last week by a fire that broke out in the living room and caused heavy damage.

No injuries were reported, but fire officials said the living room was gutted and smoke damage was extensive throughout the two-story house at 10744 County Road M in the town of Maple Valley.

Les Steffeck, deputy chief of the Suring Fire Department, said the residents were not home when fire broke out shortly after 11 a.m. Feb. 6. Firefighters were on the scene until nearly 3 p.m. and were able to save most of the structure.

Steffeck said residents of the house reported that they had fire insurance, and that they would be staying in a hotel or with family.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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