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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Council OKs Negotiations On Dishaw Street Issues

Peshtigo City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4 took another step toward providing an answer to the question of who owns Dishaw Street - or at least the unpaved portion where it may or may not meet the Peshtigo River. Don and Mary Lou Richter and their son own parcels on both sides of Dishaw Street and along the river front where it ends.

Following a half hour closed session at the end of the meeting, Council unanimously approved a motion authorizing Attorney Dave Spangenberg to proceed with negotiations in regard to the Richter and city properties at the end of Dishaw Street “in accord with the final draft discussed in closed session.”

Dishaw Street, with only a 30 foot right of way and 23 foot pavement, has been a source of controversy for several years. Neighbors with concerns about safety issues centered on lack of a turnaround that forces vehicles to back down the narrow street filed a petition asking the city to establish a turnaround. The main concerns expressed were about emergency vehicles, garbage and recycling trucks and snowplow trucks. At least twice, in 2011 and 2013, Richter offered to allow the vehicles to turn around in his driveway and the offer was tentatively accepted by the city, but that did not lead to formal agreement.

Richter says he never would have bought the lot at the end of Dishaw Street if he was not assured it was contiguous with the original property he bought in 1998. Spangenberg said the city has always contended that they owned the right of way all the way to the Peshtigo River.

There had been a request a few years ago for the city to establish a kayak landing spot there, but ownership came into question and that did not happen. Richter asked the city to abandon the end of Dishaw Street and establish a landing at another spot on property his son owns.

Efforts to resolve the issue led the Council in August of 2013 to unanimously approve a motion authorizing City Attorney Spangenberg to spend up to $2,500 to hire someone to do a Title Search, Certified Survey and other possible work needed to establish ownership of Dishaw Ave.

Robert E. Lee was hired to do the survey work, and the completed survey seems to show that originally the street ended where the banks of the Peshtigo River used to be. However, since then the water has receeded, leaving a stretch of dry land between the river’s meander line and the end of the developed street, and that is the property in dispute. There does not appear to be provision for a turnaround.

As Tuesday’s Council meeting came to an end, Spangenberg told Richter he will e-mail his legal representative to set up negotiations.

Mayor Al Krizenesky expressed hope they will have something for Council to act on at its March meeting.

In other action at Tuesday’s meeting:

*City Engineer George Cowell reported that as of Saturday, Feb. 1, the city took over operation of the wastewater treatment plant. Krizenesky said Cowell had told him it is going very well, but there had been no time to prepare a formal report for the Council.

*Parks and Recreation Director Dave Zahn reported progress is being made on the Dec. 22 break-in and destruction at the park. The next phase of the legal part of the case should be held at the end of the month, Zahn said, “and it appears that the court will be seeking restitution on our behalf as part of the sentence.”

The vandalism committed by two very young juveniles who were caught in the act included destruction of two park pickup trucks. Zahn said the vehicle insurance payout checks arrived and he is actively seeking a replacement vehicle for the department before spring, which is all the insurance payment will cover. He later expressed concern over how the department will function without the second vehicle.

According to the police report, the juveniles admitted to breaking into three park buildings, removing tools and candy and damaging fans, heaters, electrical outlets as well as the two city owned vehicles. Damage report submitted showed a total of $7,930, which due to deductibles is only partly covered by insurance.

The boys were placed in secure detention after the incident and have been charged with three counts of burglary, two counts of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent, disorderly conduct and five counts of criminal damage to property.

*Council readily approved a request from Chamber of Commerce President Pat Roland to host a Farm Market on Saturday, July 12, which is the second day of the annual Community Wide Rummage Sale. The market would be for local growers including hobby farm growers, Roland’s letter of request stated. She said their first choice for a location would be the triangle across the street from City Hall at the stop lights in downtown Peshtigo. Krizenesky read the letter and Alderman Cathi Malke promptly moved to approve holding the Farm Market on the triangle. She said the Chamber is an excellent organization, and the City Wide Rummage Sale event brings a lot of people into the city. She agreed with Roland’s statement that the location in the triangle will increase public awareness of downtown Peshtigo.

*Retirement of long-time Public Works Department employee Patrick M. Harper was accepted. March 28 will be his last day of employment with the city.

*Alderman Tom Gryzwa reported as Chair of the Finance Committee that after April the city’s current computer operating system, Windows XP, will no longer be serviced by Windows and a new program has been ordered.

*On recommendation of the Personnel Committee Council authorized submitting billing for Godfrey and Kahn for $357.50 and future bills referred to Attorney Spangenberg.

*On motion of Personnel Committee Chair Tim Colburn, Council authorized the committee to interview the six candidates being considered for a full time position on the city labor crew at a closed session on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and then hire one of them. The person being hired will fill a vacancy created when Rick Sparks became part of the crew operating the wastewater treatment plant. City Engineer Cowell was authorized to advertise for three summer help employees, one for 40 hours per week, one for 24 hours, and one for hours that will be determined.

*Also on recommendation of the Personnel Committee, Zahn was removed from his probationary status to permanent, and will receive a $500 salary increase effective on his six month anniversary date of Jan. 15. In accord with his hiring agreement, he will receive another $500 increase on July 15, his one year anniversary date.

*License and Police Committee Chair Mike Behnke reported operator’s licenses were approved for Jennifer Ann Meade of Menominee and Brady Duane Parrish of Peshtigo.

*Council formally approved accepting credit card payments at Badger Park Campground and for other payments in the Parks and Recreation Department. Zahn reported the equipment has arrived so his department now has the ability to accept the credit cards. He is waiting for training from First Data on procedures for use.

*On recommendation of Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Alderman Malke, Zahn was authorized to advertise for ball field naming rights in five and 10 year increments. Price for a 5-year name is $2,500 and 10 years is $4,500. Malke specified that the money raised is to be used for ballfield improvements.

*After adding sign-in and sign-out times for campsites at Badger Park on suggestion of Alderman Brigitte Schmidt, Council approved a campers reservation and cancellation policy as drafted by Zahn at the committee’s request.

*Also on recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Committee, Michael Friemund was approved as the Volunteer Campground Host for 2014. Before voting, Alderman Deb Sievert was assured a background check had been completed, and was found satisfactory.

*On motion by Gryzwa, Council approved a Water and Sewer Committee recommendation to hire David Behrens Construction of Marinette on a $3,000 contract to remove the old sludge press from the wastewater treatment plant. Behrens also gets salvage rights.

*Zahn reported winter recreation programming has been well received. There are 44 youngsters involved in the Lil’ Dribblers basketball program, men’s basketball at open gym has been averaging close to 20 per night, and open gym coed volleyball continues to grow, with 18 participants Monday night. Sunday afternoon card games have drawn just under 10 people, and Zahn said he has been playing too.

The Snowshoe hiking event through Peshtigo River Recreational Park in January attracted eight people, led by Anne Bartels of the Marinette County Land Information Department. An evening hike is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 12, starting at 6 p.m. Cross country ski trails in Badger Park, at the ballfields and in the River Recreation Park have been very well used.

*Zahn said ice skating conditions have been very good all season. He was impressed that an ice skating event hosted by Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, Jan. 25 drew nearly 100 people, despite the extreme cold. Krizenesky declared the event was “awesome,” and said the Chamber always does a wonderful job with events they host.




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