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Town Asks County To Allow ATV Trail on Bit of County X

At a fast paced series of meetings Wednesday evening, Aug. 6, Town of Stephenson Committees gave tentative blessings plans for a Military Memorial at Boat Landing Three Town Park, okayed a Certified Survey Map for division of a property south of County A at Orlando Road, agreed the entire board should consider approving a call-in virtual time clock system for town employees, and reinforced their request that Marinette County cooperate with efforts of Iron Snow Shoe by allowing a section of ATV trail along County X from Parkway Road to Wildwood Lane.

Several of the items are expected to come up at the monthly meeting of the full board at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13. Another item that may come up for action is accepting state and federal aviation (FAA) grant money to finance some improvements and maintenance work at the airport. The Plan Commission has been studying this issue in depth, and on Tuesday, Aug. 5, agreed to recommend to the full board that they accept the funding. They had learned that some of the projects may be required in any case, and if the grants are accepted town taxpayers will foot only five percent of the bill, compared with 100 percent if the town does not take the grants. Money for the airport grants comes from taxes on aviation fuel, plane tickets, etc.

One issue that will not be on the Aug. 13 agenda is a 25 mile per hour speed limit on Senator Lake Lane. That had been requested by a resident, but Mike Kudick, Rick Kikulski and Kevin Solway had checked it out and felt there was no need for a speed limit lower than the current 35 miles per hour.

Kikulski said he had spoken with four of the neighbors and found that none of them want it. Kudick said he found only two who did.

“This is a dispute between neighbors. I would not support lowering that speed limit down to 25,” Solway declared.

Kudick said someone had stolen the 35 mph speed limit sign. Town Crew Foreman Don Weinhart suggested putting back a “Pedestrian Crossing” sign that also had been taken down, and everyone felt that too would be a good idea.

Leon Popp, on behalf of Iron Snowshoe, brought the good news to the committees on Aug. 6 that the DNR is now cooperating with efforts to get as many miles of recreational trails off-road as possible, and to make the long-awaited “Peshtigo River Connection” a reality.

Popp explained once completed as planned recreational vehicles in the Twin Bridge area will be able to ride trails that reach into other trail systems that serve northern and southern parts of Marinette County, and connect with trails into Oconto, Florence and Forest Counties in Wisconsin and Michigan’s UP.

Right now, the only barricade to achieving these connections are the lowlands at the bridge on County X just before it gets to Parkway Road. Popp said the bridge itself includes a lane for recreational vehicles, but the connection stops on the east end of the bridge.

Popp said the DNR will not allow putting fill along the County X right of way to add a recreational lane because they consider it “lake bottom,” on which they impose more stringent rules than the rules that govern wetlands. The DNR would allow a suspended plank bridge across the lowland area but at 400 feet long, that would be cost prohibitive and hard to maintain, Popp said.

He reminded the board a year ago they had supported the partial use of County X for the trail. Everyone remembered doing that, but were not sure a letter had finally been sent to the county.

Popp said the County Highway Committee refused the request last year, but asked them to check out several other possibilities. Popp said they have done that, and it remains a fact that use of the one small portion of County X is needed to connect hundreds of miles of trails.

Popp reported that Marinette County is working with Iron Snowshoe to develop some other off-road trails through the County Forest, and he was to meet with Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Dave Marquardt on Monday, Aug. 11, to discuss locations.

The committee agreed Popp and the club have done all they were asked to do. They mentioned several other ideas, but none of them appeared to be feasible due to the DNR’s determination that the shoulders of X in that area are “lakebed”. Finally Supervisor Solway moved to reaffirm the town’s support of Iron Snow Shoe’s proposed recreational trail, and “again request that they be allowed to utilize as much of County X as needed to complete the route, specifically from Parkway Road to Wildwood Lane.” All voted in favor.

After a description by Barb Kikulski (wife of Supervisor Rick Kikulski), the Building and Grounds Committee gave a tentative nod to plans for a Military Memorial at Boat Landing Three Park, which the town leases from the DNR.

Kikulski said design architect Rick Fischer of Fischer & Associates, Green Bay, is waiting for topographic maps, which are being prepared by Supervisor Jeff Lieuwen. The DNR likes their proposed plan so far, she said. They are happy with the idea of concrete, stone monuments, flagpoles, walkways, fencing, etc., “they just don’t want anything that looks too unnatural...no tanks, airplanes, etc.”

After the meeting, Barb Kikulski said the Military Memorial Committee includes Scott Schumell, Air Force; Tom Wissing, Navy Reserve; George Rouse, Air Force; David Vantall, Marines; Rick Kikulski, Army; Barb, a member of VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and Rick Fischer. Barb Kikulski said they are looking for volunteers who may want to get involved, and will meet next at the town hall at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4.

She said plans for the memorial are being designed to fit in nicely with the overall park improvements. That plan includes a pavilion, bleachers for viewing water ski shows, restrooms and paths along the water. The Military Memorial is to be in an area near the ski beach that has already been clear cut. It will have benches in a semicircle arrangement, flagpoles in a circle, and overlook the water, possibly as a meditation pool.

She said the DNR has already approved the town’s portion of the overall park plan, and the Military Memorial would be an addition to it. They are hoping to obtain grants and raise funds from donations to finance the Military Memorial, Kikulski said.

First item on the Personnel Committee agenda was “discussion with employee concerning release of duties.”

Town Chair Kudick explained the town “had some issues” with an employee and she had to be let go. He said she wanted an opportunity to talk to the board, so she had been put on the agenda, but she was not at the meeting.

Tiffany Upson, coordinator for the Crivitz and Twin Bridge recycling facilities of the Northwoods Coalition, asked from the audience if the former employee would be heard if she comes to the full board meeting, and Kudick said the board can listen, but they cannot talk back and forth unless she gets on the agenda.

Next for the Personnel Committee was a suggestion from Upson that they consider a “call in time clock” system, at least for recycling employees. She said some of the sites do not have electricity, and employees often work one site one day, another site the next. People at the Twin Bridge site have been unplugging their clock so the times are not accurate.. “You just can’t trust anybody!” she declared.

Cost would be $10 per month for 10 or fewer employees, $20 monthly for 10 to 20 employees. She explained that system was used at her former job and it worked well. She has been working with Town Clerk Elaine Olson on the idea. Location of the employee when they call in can be verified by GPS if they’re using a cell phone and by caller ID if they’re on the landline at their work site. Records are maintained “in the cloud”, so there is always backup. She or Elaine would be able to make corrections if an employee forgot to punch in or out. The call in system would prevent anyone from having to punch in where there is a clock and then drive, on company time, to the site where they would actually work. Doing that also puts the town at risk on vehicle liability issues.

Computers are Solway’s field of expertise, and he was recently was named Information Services Administrator for Marinette County. He agreed to check out the suggestion and report to the full board for possible action at the Aug. 13 meeting.


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