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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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32013SERVICEAWARD.JPG

Service Award—Town of Peshtigo Fire Chief Mike Folgert, left, presented retiring Firefighter Bryan Peth, right, with a plaque recognizing his 41 years of service to the department at the Peshtigo Town Board meeting on Tuesday, March 19. Peth, a retired Wisconsin State Trooper, joined the Town of Peshtigo Volunteer Fire Department in 1971 and has been involved with it ever since. He comes by his interest in firefighting naturally. It’s a family affair. His father, Leonard Peth, was a member of the department for about a dozen years, and got both his sons involved. Peth’s brother, Leonard, Jr. also was a Town of Peshtigo firefighter for 15 years, and his wife, Roseann, served on the department for 20 years before she retired some 15 years ago. Peth said during his working career, in addition to more than 27 years on the State Patrol he served as town clerk, worked as a limited term employee for the DNR, was employed at Marinette Marine and Scott Paper Company, and sold and designed fire trucks, first for 3D Manufacturing and then for their successor companies, American LaFrance and DeLaet Power Products of Tillada, Wis. He currently drives bus for Peshtigo School District.

Town Stresses Important Hearings March 27, April 3

There are two extremely important public hearings coming up that town residents should attend, Peshtigo Town Chair Herman Pottratz announced at the monthly town board meeting tuesday, March 19.

The DNR is holding a hearing from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 at Oconto City Hall to begin the master planning process for the Green Bay West Shore area and other state-owned lands along the west shore of Green Bay in the counties of Marinette, Oconto and Brown. Pottratz declared this includes the entire Oxbow area near Peshtigo Harbor and everything along the shoreline around it.

“DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor John Huff and Planner Yoyi Steele will be there, and they have to listen to you whether you agree with them or not,” Pottratz said. He urged anyone with ideas on how the area should be used to show up for the hearing and have their say. The DNR owned parcels along the west shore of Green Bay cover about 10,800 acres which contain three state natural areas and include the Green Bay West Shores Wildlife Area, Charles Pond, the Peshtigo Harbor Forest Area, the Peshtigo River Delta Marshes, the Bloch Oxbow, and the 757-acres of Badger Gift Lands.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 Marinette County Highway Department is holding a public hearing at Little River Golf Course on the long-awaited improvements planned for County BB/Shore Drive. “This meeting will determine what’s needed there,” Pottratz declared. He said the job started with a cost of $1.5 million, and now the projected cost is $3.5 million. “They want to put in ditches,” he declared, adding that will take parts of yards along the right of way and add greatly to the cost. “I don’t think they’re needed, but that’s my opinion,” Pottratz said, adding the area is extremely sandy, and water drains away almost immediately in any case.

“Show up for the hearing!” Pottratz repeated. “Let’s see if we can get this job done right and save everybody some money!”

Town Clerk Clarence Coble reminded everyone to vote on Tuesday, April 2. There are choices for Circuit Court Judge, Supreme Court and State Superintendent of Schools. Pottratz noted elections cost a great deal of money, and urged everyone to get their money’s worth and vote.

Coble happily reported that if everything works out this will be the last election he has to deal with until 2014.

Fired Chief Mike Folgert presented a distinguished service plaque to Bryan Peth, who retired from the department last week after 41 years of service.

Folgert said Peth was the training officer when he joined the force. “He taught me everything I don’t know today,” Folgert commented with a chuckle.

The board agreed reconstruction of Krause Road is the major road project they plan to undertake this year, in addition to .2 miles of overlay on Oakridge Lane and on Bonnie Lane. They want to wedge and perhaps seal coat Hale Road in hopes of getting another decade out of it before major work is needed.

As to Krause Road, the most urgent portion is from BB to the curve by Schmela’s Farm. They will put out a request for bids and see how much they can do with the money available.

The board agreed without dissent to back a resolution asking the DNR to allow them to stop testing groundwater at the old dump site. Pottratz said other towns in the county are adopting the same resolution and they hope to have it approved by everyone at the next meeting of the Marinette County Unit of Wisconsin Towns Association, which will be held in Wausaukee at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18.

The closed Peshtigo Landfills are on Heath Land and Kozuzek Road, and mandatory testing has been done since they were closed in 1990. The testing was originally supposed to have been required for only five years, according to the resolution unanimously approved by the board. Testing has consistently shown over the years that there is no ground water contamination coming from the closed landfills. The resolution states halting the testing would stop unnecessary expense for town taxpayers, and if the DNR wants to continue the testing they can do so at their own expense. Pottratz said the tests cost about $3,000 a year.

Pottratz said in fact he has been told that if the town wants to, they could peel back the top cover, haul out the ashes from debris burned when the old dumps were operating, and then reclaim the properties as usable real estate.

The board agreed to again contract with Kleen Maintenance for mowing in 2013. There was brief discussion on a possible need to increase the contract to provide for mowing between the divided highway sections, and a half joking comment from Coble that “crushed stone and Roundup works really well.”

After a bit of discussion on an increase in cost because of some postal regulation changes the board approved a motion to put out the regular newsletter. Last year printing and mailing cost $200, and they expect the price to be higher this year, but are not sure how much.

Supervisor Denise Wiedemeier reported the recycling center will accept small batteries now, but not large ones. They are planning to schedule a Cleanup day or weekend in May.

Pottratz said the Plan Commission will have a couple of public hearings on some proposed changes, but do not want to hold them in winter.

At the start of the meeting Treasurer Vilas Schroeder reported the town will have $5,938 left over from last year, and asked the board where they wanted him to allocate it. Supervisor Mark Monnette first suggested roads, because that budget has been hit hard this winter.

Pottratz commented the fire department has been working hard to raise money for a new fire truck and suggested they should give them the surplus. That suggestion was approved without dissent. Pottratz and Supervisors Dan Staudenmaier, Wiedemeier and Monnette all voted in favor. Supervisor Pat Ravet was absent. Schroeder noted the firefighters have already accumulated $111,000 toward the truck.

There were 10 persons in the audience, but none of them wanted to speak during time for public comment. Coble, who drives school bus, thanked the Road King representatives for plowing several roads early that morning. Another informal comment was that it was nice to see that the roads had been winged back after people talked about it at the last meeting.

The agenda had included reference to plowing snow onto roadways and leaving large piles of snow to block visibility at driveway intersections.

“It’s been terrible this year,” Pottratz declared. “Most everybody has been trying to keep things open.

Monnette said sometimes snow banks along roads have grown to over six feet this winter. They thaw a bit and shrink down, and then it snows again. He predicted there will be many roads under water when it starts thawing in spring. That led to some comments from Staudenmaier about standing water on Old Peshtigo Road where it passes his property. He said at the time the road was rebuilt he had offered free sand from his property to raise the surface to a safe level, but at the time he was told that was not needed. They’ve been fixing the road there ever since, he commented.

Folgert reported the Fire Department held a lot of training sessions in the past month, including WPS classes dealing with electric and gas emergencies, and a session sponsored by Ford Motor Company on hybrid vehicle fires. There were five calls during the month, one to a house fire, three to vehicle crashes, and one for an accidental false alarm.

The next meeting, on Tuesday, April 16, will begin with the annual meeting at 7 p.m., followed immediately by the regular monthly meeting of the board.


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