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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo School Superintendent Seeks To Partner More With City

Issue Date: March 3, 2021

At the Peshtigo City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 2, Peshtigo School Superintendent Patrick Rau thanked the Council and its committees for supporting the kayak launch and other joint efforts, and offered to help with other projects in future, including possible nature trails using the green area adjacent to the Elementary Learning Center property and Badger Park and Campgrounds.

He explained the school district's quest for voter approval of the April referendum for money to finance school improvement projects, including expanded space for hands-on trades-type classes.

He said the kayak launch, being built on school property at the mouth of Trout Creek as a Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce project, will help greatly with the school's classes on kayaking, and will almost certainly prevent students from taking unwelcome dips in the river.

Rau said his two and a half years as the Peshtigo School superintendent have made him realize how huge manufacturing is in Peshtigo, and how huge manufacturing and construction trades are in Marinette County, which points up the need for approval of the referendum projects to expand Peshtigo High School's trade training capabilities by expanding the technical education department.

He spoke of partnerships with local businesses and industries that include on the job training for students, and declared, "It really touches my heart when a student says, "I was going to drop out..." and then goes on to say they stayed in school after getting involved in trades training. He said one of those students has graduated and is now attending NWTC training on a scholarship from the manufacturer that he worked with while in high school.

Rau said the school district also wants to partner with the city on projects using the green space at the elementary school. They plan to create 30 new parking spots and develop two additional athletic fields. He said currently the school's Soccer teams play on the football fields, but they cannot host playoff games because football fields are too small.

The school district would like to partner with the city to maximize use of the rest of that property for outdoor recreational and educational opportunities.

Rau noted that many families from outside the Peshtigo School District send their children to them through open enrollment, and many of these people have told him they would love to move to Peshtigo but cannot find places to live. "Let's work together and see what the opportunities and road bumps are for solving this problem," he suggested. "I would love to see these families move into our school district." He said having additional residents and additional housing would add to the tax base and benefit everyone.

In other business, Mayor Cathi Malke noted the City had received a thank you letter from Emergency Rescue Squad, Inc. for its $5,000 donation. She added, "Instead of them thanking us, we should be thanking them. They're all volunteers and they give us 24-hour coverage for emergencies in the city, so we thank them for everything they do."

Council accepted the resignation of Kathy Marquardt from the Peshtigo Housing Authority and approved appointment of Nancy Bucholtz to fill the remainder of the 5-year Commissioner term that ends in 2023.

Without discussion, Council unanimously approved a Finance Committee recommendation to take out a six-month loan for $117,500 at 2 percent interest for the 2021 debt levy.

By unanimous vote, Council authorized Peshtigo Lions Club to hold a small concession stand by the lower boat launch area on the Peshtigo River during the spring walleye run. The Lions Club letter, from club president Jim Tress, said they would like to sell hot chocolate, coffee, soda, water, burgers and brats to raise funds that could then be given back to the community. Tress predicted this year the Fish Viewing Walkway would be an additional attraction. There is no fishing allowed from the Fish Viewing platform, but people can use it to watch the walleye as they come up the river to spawn.

Before the vote Alderman Archer Leupp asked if other interested groups would also be allowed to have similar stands. Malke said they might, but none had applied. She added that the Lions Club does a lot for the entire community.

Alderman Rick Berth asked if the Lions Club would need any other permits or licenses, and was told Council approval was all they needed.

Also unanimously approved was a Fire, Lighting and Building Committee recommendation to increase the maximum living distance for Fire Department personnel from the current five miles to 10 miles. The change was approved by Fire Chief Chuck Gardon. Berth, who chairs the committee, said the state mandated maximum is 20 miles outside the city limits.

Council accepted donation of a bronze reading bench statue from Peshtigo Woman's Club. The statue is to be located at the front corner of Municipal Building, which also houses the city library. Public Works Director George Cowell has been working with the Woman's Club on the project, and was given discretion as to exact location. "I think this will be a nice addition to our building," commented Alderman Mike Behnke.

Alderman Debbie Sievert, who chairs the Finance Committee, said the city auditors had praised Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Kasal and her staff for how good their record keeping was, and on how helpful they had been with the audit. On behalf of herself and the Finance Committee, Sievert extended thanks to Kasal and her staff for the quality of their work.

On recommendation of the Parks and Recreation committee, Council agreed to offer camping on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights of Historical Day weekend, with no charge for Thursday night, Sept. 23. Intent is to have more campers arrive on Thursday and eliminate congestion on Friday. Also approved was application for a special event license to allow adding to the number of campsites for that weekend.

Council approved use of Badger Park Campground at no charge for front line workers if a pandemic again requires it, and approved the mission statement written by Parks and Recreation Department Director Lori Tonn.

Alderman Brigitte Schmidt, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee, thanked Tonn for al the work she has been doing and for writing the mission statement.

Malke reminded everyone of the election coming up on Tuesday, April 6, and the annual reorganization meeting on Tuesday, April 20.


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