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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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DNR E-Cycle, Recycle Demands Cause Big Headache For Town

Rezoning of a parcel from W1494 to W1498 on Hwy. 64 to permit Calvary Temple Church to construct a church, parsonage and accessory building was approved by Peshtigo Town Board on Tuesday, March 18, as recommended by the Town’s Plan Commission on Thursday, March 6.

The rezoning request was presented at a public hearing at 6:45 p.m., Tuesday, just prior to the regular monthly town board meeting, and no one spoke against the request. At the board meeting that followed Supervisors Denise Wiedemeier, Mark Monnette and Dan Staudenmaier all voted in favor along with Town Chair Herman Pottratz. The fourth supervisor seat will not be filled until after the April 1 elections.

Later in the meeting Wiedemeier issued a scathing criticism of the DNR, and particularly her treatment at the hands of Casey Lamensky, Waste Management Specialist in the DNR’s Green Bay office.

“The more I do, the more they want,” Wiedemeier said of the DNR. “It’s getting to be almost impossible to satisfy them!”

As a result of her comments, the board agreed without dissent to write a letter detailing the problems with the DNR demands and send copies to Senator Dave Hansen, Representatives John Nygren and Jeff Mursau and Gov. Scott Walker.

As one of her duties as a town supervisor, Wiedemeier has taken on responsibility for the town’s recycling program, which in 2010 was expanded to include the DNR’s new e-cycle regulations. The town gets an $8,000 a year grant from the DNR to operate the recycling program, and all expenses in excess of that come from either sale of marketable recyclables, town property taxes, or contracts with other entities.

Wiedemeier said that Peshtigo is the only town in Marinette County that complies with the e-cycle program and she gets at least three or four calls a week from residents of other towns that don’t know where to take their electronics.

She said she is finding it almost impossible to satisfy the DNR’s demands. “I think they’re trying to make it impossible for us to get that $8,000 grant,” she said, “I think they want to keep the money that would be going to towns that comply so they can use it internally!”

“In one year I did 14 programs and evaluations and that was not enough!” Wiedemeier declared. “It requires an amazing amount of time.”

She had a prepared list showing that in 2012 she worked on 13 or more surveys, grants, workshops, applications and guidance documents and submitted them to the state as required. “I have concerns about the entire program and time that is needed for the that comply to the requirements. I could no longer keep up with the demand,” she declared.

Frustrated with Lamensky’s demands, Wiedemeier had taken her concerns to the DNR’s Recycling Coordinator, Cynthia Moore. She attached the list of documents she compiled in 2012, and shared other information on the town’s recycling program and their efforts at encouraging residents to recycle, and informed her that the information is all available on the town’s website. copies of the town’s ordinances related to recycling are also available there.

“I did at one time enjoy helping make a difference, but it just got to be too much,” Wiedemeier wrote to Moore. “It seemed the more I complied, the more was asked. I feel you would get more towns to join but they do not want the burden of all the paperwork.”

She advised Moore the town holds a spring cleanup day once a year free of charge for all town residents, there is a large table at the town hall full of educational information on recycling and other topics such as fire prevention, once a month at town meetings she covers recycling updates, and once a month pallets are brought to the recycling center where electronics are sorted, labeled and packed as required for pickup.

“We recently added more dumpsters and another employee to work at the recycling center due to more and more use,” Wiedemeier wrote. “I would say that our efforts are paying off.”

She added all this was in addition to all the paper work that the DNR asked for. “I do not work at the recycling, I work full time at my school,” Wiedemeier wrote, adding that as a town supervisor she does the paperwork for recycling and goes out to the recycling center at least once a week to be sure employees have everything they need.

Wiedemeier informed Moore she would be meeting again with Lamensky again on Monday, March 10. Lamensky did come to Peshtigo for that meeting, but it was obvious Wiedemeier was not pleased with the results. She said she told Lamensky the town e-mails recycling information directly to every resident in town, and was asked what is being done to educate residents. At the meeting she displayed a packet about two inches thick and said it contained single copies of all the brochures, posters, informational publications put out to promote and report on the town’s recycling operations.

So she met with Lamensky. “Now she wants me to go to schools, small businesses, industries, residents to teach them about recycling,” Wiedemeier declared. “It’s to the point where this is absolutely ridiculous! ...I had to take pictures of our recycling center... Is it worth the $8,000 we get? Absolutely not!”

She said Lamensky was surprised to learn that even the DNR contract with the town’s e-cycle program to dispose of electronics they pick up when cleaning DNR properties in the Peshtigo Harbor area.

Thanks to a suggestion from Pottratz, anyone not from the town who calls Wiedemeier from now on with questions about where to take their e-cycling will get Lamensky’s phone number.

Wiedemeier suggested if the DNR demands continue the town should forget the $8,000 and drop the e-cycling program. Goodwill Industries now accepts old TVs at no charge. Pottratz agreed it

She said there is a meeting on recycling issues May 7 in Madison, and suggested perhaps someone from Peshtigo should attend.

She said it was the DNR that created the e-cycling program and they, and not local officials, should be the ones educating people to use it. “Our job is to give our residents a place to bring their e-cyclables,” she declared. “I’ve tried and I’ve been working hard on this for the last four years and I’ve about had it!” The letter will be sent.

In other business, the board approved Pottratz’ reappointment of Joyce Buchman, Tom Russell and Jim Devcich to the Plan Commission for new three year terms, and appointment of Tim Oestreich to chair that group.

The board, in accord with a previous decision, agreed to again table discussion on the issue of hiring a professional town audit until after the new supervisor is seated on Tuesday, April 15. The board has been operating with four members since the death of Supervisor Pat Ravet nearly a year ago.

The annual meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on April 15, and will be immediately followed by the regular monthly town board meeting.

Pottratz announced that a resident had asked him to get the speed limit on Roosevelt road between Rader Road and County T reduced to 35 miles per hour. He said it is a busy stretch of road, averaging about 1,900 cars a day, but wanted to get the word out about the request and get input from other town residents before bringing it ot the board for consideration. Monnette commented it is a busy stretch of road, but there are few residents on that portion and therefor few driveways. Wiedemeier added it is a straight stretch with no curves and is not a dangerous area. Neither one seemed to think the current speed limit is too high. Pottratz said by next month residents and drivers who use the road will know what’s going on and make comments if they want to. He will put it on the agenda for action one way or the other next month.

Pottratz noted with death of Supervisor Mel Sharpe, who had served on the Highway Committee, there has been no further action on County BB. He expects there will be none until after the April County Board reorganization.

Monnette said as soon as the frost is out he will check town roads to see what they look like after winter, and which need work the most. As soon as he is confident there will be no more ice and snow he will have accumulated sand and gravel swept from the roads. he said he was a bit nervous when he saw a motorcycle out recently, as sand and gravel on pavement can cause them to skid.

Pottratz noted the town can get all the asphalt it needs for patching from Oconto County.

The Fire Department received four calls in the past month, one to a chimney fire, one to a vehicle crash on Hwy. 41, one to a controlled burn and one for a CO alarm.

The department has started making plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer.

One of the department’s 20-year-old trucks is being overhauled by Red Power Diesel, at an anticipated total cost in the neighborhood of $20,000. However, after the repairs are complete the vehicle is expected to serve the department for another 20 years.

A comment from one of the eight members of the public present was that it is not bad to spend the $20,000 to fix the old truck when the option is spending another $350,000 for a brand new one.

In his treasurer’s report Vilas Schroeder said two CDs have been reinvested at .5 percent interest, but for others the best he could do was .3 percent. The$4,950 from sale of the old fire truck was added to the public Safety Equipment fund.

Vouchers totaling $237,940 were approved for payment.

Pottratz urged everyone to get out and vote on Tuesday, April 1.

Monnette displayed a license plate renewal notice that said the vehicle is housed in the City of Marinette rather than the Town of Peshtigo. He found the DOT also had his camper registered in the city, not the town, although he had been careful to check “Town of Peshtigo” on the registration card.

Clerk Clarence Coble said the number of vehicles registered is a component in state aid formulas, so the town is probably losing money because of the errors in the registrations. Monnette said he called a number on the back of his card to get the location corrected, and urged all town residents to check the notices when they arrive and correct the location of the vehicle, which is not the same as the mailing address.

Someone from the audience asked what they need to do to get 45 mph speed limit signs posted on Little River Road between Krause and Keller Roads. “You just did it,” Monnette said, and promised the signs will be put up as soon as the ground thaws enough.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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