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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Council Okays Naming Right Documents

It’s now official. Naming rights for the four Peshtigo ball fields are being offered for sale at $5,000 a year in 5-year increments. City Council approved the enabling documents at its meeting on Tuesday, July 1. Payment options are negotiable at the time of signing. Money raised by selling the naming rights is to be used for some much needed improvements on the fields.

On recommendation of Fire Chief Steve Anderson, Council approved some position changes in the city fire department. Anderson noted there had been some changes following the retirement of Assistant Chief Mike Madden, when Chuck Gardon was moved to that position. He said Captain James Pariso has stepped down from a position of Captain to return to regular firefighter status because of a change in his job duties. Second Assistant Chief, Gardon’s former position, is now filled by Christopher Erickson. Christopher Rohde was named Captain, filling the spot vacated by Pariso, and Lieutenant Joel Ahrens was named to fill the position Rohde formerly held.

Anderson also reported Robert Van Sleet resigned effective Sunday, June 29, due to future employment plans that may take him out of the area for long periods of time.

The Council approved a request from Sharon Schounard, president of the Peshtigo Public Library Foundation, to waive the fees for using a room at the Henry Drees Community Center on Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 3 to 7 p.m. for an antique appraisal event featuring antique expert Mark Moran. Schounard said there will be no admission charge for the event, “We just want to publicize the library foundation and the Peshtigo Public Library,” she said. She said Moran puts on a very professional program, and has been filling up wherever he goes.

Before the unanimous vote in favor of approving the request, Alderman Tom Gryzwa said the Fire, Lighting and Building Committee has been looking at charging some fee to community organizations that use the Community Center, just enough to cover utilities, perhaps, and far less than is charged for regular rentals. However, whatever fee they settle on will not take place until next year’s budget. He added that meanwhile, if an organization does have an event at no charge, “even a minimal donation would be appreciated.” Schounard agreed that was a reasonable request.

Next on the agenda was a request from Eva Kiefer, president of Peshtigo Woman’s Club, for their organization that the fee be waived for use of both rooms A and B plus the kitchen for an event on Sept. 16. Alderman Mary Lock was absent, but Schounard apparently is also a member. When Alderman Mike Behnke asked about the purpose of the event she explained every fall they attempt to recruit new members. They sponsor a dinner to which every member is invited to bring a guest. Motion to approve the request was made by Behnke and seconded by Gryzwa, but again there was a request from Gryzwa, “If there’s an opportunity for them to donate something, we certainly would appreciate it!”

Two properties on which the city holds mortgages through its UDAG or Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) economic development programs are on the list of properties Marinette County will acquire on tax deed if at least one year of past due taxes aren’t paid by the end of August. There are $3,504 of past due taxes on the Oestreich property and over $15,000 on the Dumke property for all three years, but only the 2010 taxes must be paid by the end of August.

“We may need to have a special Council meeting to discuss our options,” declared Mayor Cathi Malke.

Gryzwa, who chairs the UDAG Committee, said at their meeting next week they will discuss what actions they could take to protect the city’s interests. One of the properties in questions, owned by Richard and Krisy Oestreich, is located next door to City Hall. The other is the Dumke Sawmill. Both owners are in arrears on their payments to the city, as well as their property taxes. Gryzwa thought the city is in first position on both mortgages, but Malke said they are in second on one, first on the other. “No matter which position we hold, we’re going to be looking at those loans very closely,” Gryzwa declared.

After discussing the matter at some length, the board agreed that the two young juveniles who seriously vandalized park property on Sunday, Dec. 22 can use the Badger Park Beach, but only when in the company of their parents. They had been banned from city property because of their actions. Alderman Brigitte Schmidt, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee, said there had been a request from the parents that they be allowed to use the beach for family outings. “Because we banned them from city property, it’s our decision,” Schmidt said. The letter requesting city permission had come from Social Worker Diane J. Reis.

The boys had smashed the garage door handle, broke a ceiling outlet, damaged the Jacobsen mower, kicked in a garage door, and pretty much trashed two of the Parks Department trucks. They also damaged electrical outlets in the large pavilion. Damage exceeded $5,300. After deductibles and the insurance settlement, the city was left to cover $2,600 of the damages.

During Parks Committee discussions at the time of the incident, Malke had said the same two caused multiple problems at the baseball fields last year, and recommended asking the court to ban them from being on city property in the future. She said the insurance representative told her this was the worst damage he has seen done by juveniles in years.” The boys were charged with three counts of burglary, two counts of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, five counts of criminal damage to property, and disorderly conduct as a result of the Dec. 22 vandalism. They are now ordered to do work restitution under the supervision of the Health and Human Services Department.

The court order did not require the ban, but the Health and Human Services (HHS) people working with the boys are honoring the city’s decision, Schmidt said.

Alderman Dave Marquardt, who formerly was Parks and Recreation Director for the city, said Chris Tebo, one of the HHS people working with the boys as job coach, told him the boys are making good progress, and he is impressed with their dad. He said Tebo told him he would come and talk to the committee.

The Parks and Recreation Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, June 24, had discussed still another break-in at Badger Park which does not appear to be related. Because there was no Social Worker present, they postponed a meeting at which the County Social Workers were to explain a request that the two boys be allowed to do work in the park as part of their restitution. The committee had not taken kindly to that request in the past, and felt that Parks and Rec Director Dave Zahn should not need to spend his time supervising the two. They have had county jail inmates do work at the park at no cost to the city through a county work release program.

Schmidt moved to allow the boys to use the Badger Park Beach, but only when accompanied by their parents, and that motion was unanimously approved.

As to the HHS request that they be allowed to fill part of their work restitution requirements by working in city parks, Malke said the city will not pay Zahn to supervise them, and they are still not allowed on city property without supervision. Schmidt said Ries and Tebo will talk to the Parks and Rec Committee at its next meeting and explain what they want them to do.

Public Works Director George Cowell reported flushing of city water mains is progressing on schedule and will be done in time to meet the DNR deadlines. The areas south of French Street and the entire east side of the city have been done. City crews will continue working on Thursday nights in the area north of French Street, except for this week, he said. He explained they do the work at night to minimize impact on activities of households in the area being flushed. They have encountered some heavy manganese deposits and it has been taking about two and a half hours for the water to run clear, he said.

Cowell reported one hydrant was hit and is being replaced. Emery Ave. has been resurfaced, but line painting and some other finishing work needs to be done.

Property owners who own private wells are reminded that their well inspection reports are due.

Cross connection inspections are coming along nicely. The initial residential have been done by Hydro Design, and city personnel are half finished with their industrial inspections.

The new safety equipment has arrived and is in use. This includes a dome to put over manholes so tools do not get dropped in when someone is working down there.

Numerous “long grass” notices were sent out, Cowell reported. He said most of the owners complied with the notice to mow, but five or six were cut by contractors.

He has been talking with a representative of the Experience Works program about interest the city may have in continuing as a training site for workers in their program. He hopes to have a five or six page list soon of potential trainees.

Gryzwa noted several trees had been taken down in front of the city garage, and pointed out that was done as a safety measure, since they were mature popples that tend to get blown easily and often put out power lines. Cowell said Wisconsin Public Service hires Asplundh to take out the trees that are threatening power lines and the city cleans up after them on city property.

Zahn reported the Bike Rodeo on Sunday, June 22 went well, and thanked Officer Kessler of the Peshtigo Police Department and all the volunteers who came to help.

Zahn asked the Council to approve parts for the weed harvester so they can get the repairs done and get to cutting. He said the weeds are very thick, and joked that on the bright side, he has seen geese nesting on some of them, so that might help keep them off the beach. Later in the meeting the Council voted unanimously to pay for the $5,149 repairs by taking $3,149 from money the General Fund received from Boat Launch fees and $2,000 from the picnic table budget allocation.

Despite some misgivings from Malke, they approved spending $21,907 for a Ford F150 pickup truck with four wheel drive and an additional trailer tow package as recommended by the Streets and Drainage Committee. Discussion of that purchase included the news that earlier in the day one of the city’s two automobiles had “died” with transmission failure and other problems that led Cowell to believe it will not be worth fixing.

“We need to be careful how much we spend on a vehicle,” Malke cautioned. “We need a sweeper nd we may need another garbage truck in the future.”

Schmidt said Cowell had explained the pickup truck right now is more important, and the sweeper could wait another year if necessary. Cowell said the budget allowed for purchase of both the truck and the sweeper. The truck being replaced is a 1999 Dodge, which will go to the wastewater treatment plant. Cowell said people there need a vehicle, since it is a big facility and sometimes samples need to be taken from one area and arrive at the lab within 10 minutes for testing. The WWTP employees also work on the lift stations, and need a vehicle to get there when necessary. The new truck will go to the Public Works Department.

The garbage trucks are 2000 and 1998 models and age and use have taken their toll but they still work, Cowell said. “I’m not asking for anything that wasn’t in our budget,” Cowell added. He pointed out the truck being purchased will serve for the next 12 to 15 years. Approval of the purchase was unanimous. Behnke commended city personnel for keeping the vehicles looking good and working well as long as they do.

Schmidt reported briefly that “a very enthusiastic man” had offered to help the city raise funds for a dog park, and said they will probably hear more about this in the future.

Schounard advised the Council that several trees in the Fire Cemetery are bad, and the city might want to get them cut, since they own the cemetery.

Malke thanked the Woman’s Club for all they flowers they planted to beautify the city.

After learning that all requirements have been met, Council approved a Class B beer and liquor license for Jerry Koronkiewicz to operate a bar to be known as “The Office,” at 735 French Street.

Bartender licenses were approved for Shelley Jay Austin, Peshtigo; Stephanie Ann Rodgers, Peshtigo; Shelby Lynne Harmes, Oconto; Tammie M. Wood, Peshtigo; Kathryn Ann Boulanger, Marinette; Amy Louise Heinze, Peshtigo; Callie Ann Bertrand, Marinette, Daren S. Hunter, Marinette; Brian James Behnke, Marinette; Rory Casper Uecke, Menominee, and Larry L. Polzin, Coleman.


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