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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Robert Mraz Is Now Full Time Oconto County Assistant DA

Robert Mraz, who served as Oconto County Corporation Counsel for 32 years and had been half-time Assistant District Attorney has accepted an appointment to the new position of full time Assistant District Attorney in the office headed by elected full time District Attorney Edmund Burke.

At the County Board meeting Thursday, July 18, Board Chair Lee Rymer presented Mraz with a certificate of appreciation for his many years of service to the County Board, and introduced Attorney Cheryl Mick, who became County Corporation counsel on a contractual basis at $125 per hour, effective July 14, the effective date of Mraz’ resignation from the position. Administrative Director Kevin Hamann, in a letter to the board dated Wednesday, July 10, said under emergency county board rules, he, Rymer and Law Enforcement/Judiciary Chair Jerry Beekman had agreed to contract with Mick.

Rymer introduced Mick at the start of Thursday’s County Board meeting and she attended the annual County Board picnic at the Beyer House immediately following the meeting, which gave her a chance to meet and greet everyone.

Rymer was delighted that 20 years of trying to get a full time assistant district attorney have finally been rewarded. He and Hamann expressed thanks to State Assemblymen Jeff Mursau of Crivitz and John Nygren of Marinette for their role in getting the position approved in the new state biennium budget.

In accord with state law, District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys are state employees, and their salaries are paid by the state, while salaries of their office staff remain the responsibility of the county.

Rymer recalled that Mraz was a great football player during their high school years, and said as chairman he wanted to personally thank Mraz for all his help over the years. “You’re going to be missed,” he told Mraz, adding, “of all the great people who work for Oconto County, you’re one of the greatest!”

Also saluted at the start of the meeting was Judy Drews, who is retiring after 22 years as Public Health Technician. Rymer remembered Drews giving some assistance when they were installing a car seat for one of his grandchildren. He said Drews had been a great employee, and she said Oconto County has been a good place to work.

Communications read by County Clerk Kim Pytleski included the letter of resignation from Mraz, and letters from Rymer and Oconto County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Paul Erhfurth commending Forest Administrator Bob Skalitzky who planned it all and his staff for doing a fine job hosting the recent Wisconsin County Forest Association’s Summer tour.

“It was a great tour,” declared Rymer. He said 137 foresters and forestry committee members from around the state attended, and they enjoyed tours of the Machickanee Forest, a fish boil, tours of the deer farm, and more, and Skalitzky had planned it all along with tours of Oconto County Forest features.

Among actions unanimously approved at the meeting was a resolution urging the Federal Government to be more pro-active in selling timber from National Forest lands, in particular the Nicolet/Chequamegon National Forest which occupies thousands of acres in Oconto County, and a tour of the 222,000 Menominee Forest.

The resolution was presented to County Board for approval by both the Economic Development and Tourism Committee and the Forest, Parks and Recreation Committee.

The board was told the WCFA has created a special “Grow North” committee to address this issue, and its economic importance to northern Wisconsin may even exceed that of mining, In Oconto County alone proper harvest of the National Forest timber lands could create 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs, in addition to providing resources for more forest based industries. The resolution calls on state and federal officials from Gov. Scott Walker and President Barrack Obama on down to take steps to insure that United States Forest Service policies are changed to maximize National Forest health by switching funding to “Stewardship Contracts” and user fees based on at least 80 percent of the allowable harvest each year.

The resolution points out that National Forest Service policies have damaged the health of the forest by taking less than half of the recommended harvest each year, which has a negative long term effect on forest health and wildlife, reduced revenue to local communities, reduction in raw materials for industry, and increased fire hazards.

In other action:

*The board approved a rezoning request changing a .83 parcel off Hwy. 32 in the Town of Lakewood from General Commercial to Light Industrial to enable owner CB 2020, LLC to build a small machine shop that Zoning Administrator Pat Virtues explained will produce mostly small parts.

*A request from Pamela Vandeneng to rezone her one acre parcel in the Town of Morgan from Rural Residential to Residential Single Family was approved. This will allow her to sell the parcel to a neighbor to correct an old recording error, Virtues said.

*To correct an old zoning map error that dates back to 1985, after an explanation by Virtues, the board approved a zoning change for a 2.4 acre parcel in the Town of Stiles from Agricultural and General Commercial to Industrial at the request of owner Glen Magnin of Our Own Construction Co., who wants to sell to his son.

Also adopted were ordinances:

*Establishing a 45-mile per hour speed zone on an additional half mile of County S in the Town of Pensaukee because of considerable growth in the area. The change increases the speed zone originally established in 1965 to 1.3 miles in the vicinity of Northeast Oak Orchard Road.

*Adopting Dam Failure Analysis Profiles and Hydraulic Shadow Maps for Winslow Lake Dam, Weso Creek Dam and Pickerel Lake Dam along with the necessary text amendments to Chapter 21 of the Oconto County Floodplain Ordinance.

Other resolutions adopted authorized:

*A previously approved $100,000 loan to Technically, LLC forwarded to MPay LLC (its shadow Wisconsin based corporation) from the Oconto County Business Development Revolving Loan Fund at 2.6 percent interest for a term of five years. The loan is secured with a first lien on all equipment and furnishings and a general business security agreement on all assets financed.

*A Utility Easement for Wisconsin Public Service Corporation at Chute Pond Park, needed because a building there was torn down.

*Naming Robert Dustin to a newly created Employment and Training Specialist Position in the H&HS Department at a a wage of $17.42 per hour and two weeks paid vacation, replacing a contracted position. Dustin has a lot of experience in the post and placed 42 of the 62 people placed by the program last year. He will start working with the jail population as they prepare for release.

*A Fraud Investigator Position in the Health and Human Services Department was approved, and Robert Dustin was approved to fill it at a wage of $17.42 per hour with three weeks of paid vacation a year. This action eliminates the contracted position that Dustin had filled.

*A new Maintenance/Safety Coordinator Position in the Health & Human Services Department, for a person to work at New View Industries in Gillett at a starting wage of $18.74 per hour. This will allow elimination of an existing Production Supervisor position and result in a cost saving of $13,535 a year, according to information provided in the resolution.

*Installation of Replacement Chillers and removal of the old ones by Tweet/Garot for a cost of $30,980 as recommended by the Public Property Committee.

The board heard and approved six reports, and approved the appointment of Terry Brazeau, Spruce, to the Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association.

The board heard updates on Proposed New Law Enforcement Center and the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) and the Employee Update for June.

Happy Birthday wishes went to Chairman Rymer and supervisors Gerald Beekman, Rose Stellmacher, and Vernon Zoeller. WCA Conference reservations are finalized.

Announcements included the Lena Fireman’s picnic to be held Sunday, August 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fire station; the Morgan/Green Valley Fire Department picnic Saturday, Aug. 10 from noon to 8 p.m., and the Historical Society Antique Road Show at the Beyer Home on Saturday, July 20.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be on Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.


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