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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Storms, Murders, Heroism, Fires Make 2019 Headlines

Issue Date: January 2, 2020

The year 2019 was one of extremes in Marinette County. Storms accounted for many of the headlines, with snow, wind and rain snarling traffic, uprooting trees, downing power lines and destroying roofs.

Throughout the year, the pages of The Peshtigo Times carried stories of murders committed and and murders solved, like the decades-old McClintock Park murders for which the culprit was arrested in 2019 for homicides committed in 1976. That case is still pending. A status conference is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 at 1 p.m., and a motion hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.

There were stories of heroism far beyond the call of duty, for example Peshtigo Crossing Guard Gail Bantes, who was hospitalized after being struck by a vehicle while pushing two children to safety. She has been nominated for National Crossing Guard of the Year honors, and results are pending.

There were stories of vehicle accidents, drug deals that ended in death, robberies thwarted, and disastrous fires, among them the one that burned Crivitz Lumber on Jan. 29.

It was a year of turnovers in local and state government offices, of retirements and resignations and new appointees to fill the vacancies.

PFAS contamination in ground and surface waters and wastewater treatment plant sludge in the Peshtigo/Marinette area made headlines nearly every week.

Stories appeared regularly on the on-going battle many local citizens have been waging against permits that would allow opening of the controversial Back Forty Mine near the Menominee River in Lake Township, Michigan.

A proposed "sand fracking" operation near County W in the Town of Stephenson also raised a public outcry that was voiced at Crivitz/Town of Stephenson Extraterritorial Zoning Committee meetings.

Coleman School remodeling began in earnest in 2019 and will continue into 2020, as will revamping of the old Marinette County Jail that is now known as the Ella Court Building into additional offices for county government. The Ella Court Building, adjacent to the original courthouse and annex in downtown Marinette may become the first government building in Marinette to feature a green roof, complete with lawn, trees, and outdoor relaxation areas overlooking the city from atop the building.

There were happy stories of anniversaries, community events, business openings and expansions, generous responses to fund raising efforts, and honors paid to outstanding residents from all corners of the county.

In 2020, we can expect these stories to continue, and new ones to develop. In April voters will elect a new judge to fill the vacancy that will be left when Marinette County Circuit Court Branch I Judge David Miron retires when his current term ends. Terms of all 30 Marinette County Board Supervisors end in April and will be filled in voting on Tuesday, April 7, as will many town, village, city and school board positions.

Follow these continuing stories in the Peshtigo Times in 2020 and read about other news as it develops, and read more about 2019 news highlights in the week by week summaries that follow.

Jan. 2 Reject Pay Raises

By a narrow 3-vote margin, the 39 persons who attended a Town of Peshtigo special town meeting on Dec. 27 narrowly defeated a motion that would have raised salaries for town officials elected in April. Town Chair Denise Wiedemeier said she called the meeting because Town of Peshtigo elected officials have not had a raise in 14 years and she felt perhaps increasing the pay would attract additional candidates.

Active Shooter Advice

Nine town officials attended the quarterly meeting of Marinette County Unit of Wisconsin Towns Association in Wausaukee on Dec. 27. Marinette County Sheriff's Lt. Jason Ducaine gave an in depth presentation on Marinette County Plans for handling and avoiding active shooter situations. His main advice was that anyone in an active shooter situation should "run, hide, or fight" in that order. "If you can get out, do," he said.

Celebrates 90 Years

A 90th birthday party in honor of Elaine Olive of Marinette was held Dec. 2 at the Woods Country Club in Green Bay. Attending were 63 of her family who traveled from Boston, Milwaukee, Marinette, Green Bay, Porterfield, Two Rivers and Washington Island.

Close Wausaukee Clinic

In an effort to keep the community informed of the positive changes being made within the organization, Dickinson County Healthcare System announces restructuring. As a result of rising costs and unsustainable volumes, DCHS is regrettably ceasing operations at the Wausaukee Clinic effective no later than Jan. 31, 2019. Patients will receive a formal letter outlining the decision and communicating other health care options.

Jan. 9 Alguire Honored

The Peshtigo City Council honored longtime crossing guard Lana Alguire at the City Council meeting on Jan. 2. She received a certificate for her many years of service to the city.

Crews in Area

A 20-member team of evaluators from Deluxe Corp. will be in the Marinette, Menominee and Peshtigo area from Jan. 9 to Jan. 11 to view the community and visit a few businesses to help them further narrow their search for the lucky winner of this year's $500,000 "Small Business Revolution" prize. The team is expected to include film crews and members of the Deluxe Corp. management and public relations divisions.

Mansfield Retires

When the Town of Lake Fire Department was started in 1991, Firefighter Donald Mansfield was there. Jeff Olive was chief, and Mansfield was one of the founding members. Mansfield officially retired at the end of November after serving the department for 27 years.

New Year's Baby

The first baby born in 2019 at Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette was Anthony Robert Allen Sovey, son of Addie Beck and Aaron Sovey. The infant was born on Jan. 2 at 2:39 p.m. and weighed8 pounds, 7 ounces. Dr. Alexander Mamonov delivered the baby.

Jan. 16 Faces Charges

Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve reported shortly before 11 p.m. on Jan. 13, Marinette County Dispatch Center received a call from a man in Pembine saying he had shot his wife earlier in the evening and she was dead. Deputies responded and discovered a 63-year old woman deceased from an apparent gunshot wound. She was identified as Shelley M. Erickson-Rogge of Pembine. Her husband, Gary Rogge, 55, was placed in custody and is awaiting charges.

Metras No Longer Superintendent

In a letter read on Jan. 9 at the Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine School Board meeting, they announced Chris Metras was no longer School Superintendent of the district. The Board was not able to provide much information, however with the permission of Metras, he has a planned surgery for some health-related issues. The letter went on to express thanks to Metras for his service to the school district. Julie Rittenhouse will serve as acting superintendent. She is principal at the elementary, middle school and high school.

Swiatnicki is Cemetery President

At a meeting of the Riverside Cemetery Association on Jan. 14, Mike Swiatnicki was named president. Running against him was incumbent Kathy Crabtree. Voting was done by secret paper ballot.

No Contests at Wagner

There will be no contests on the ballot for Town of Wagner offices in the April 2 election. Clerk Linda Wilke said declarations of candidacy filed by Toni Goldschmidt and Bruce Meyhoff has been rejected because paperwork was not filled out property. Sole candidate for Town Chair is Lynn Hickey, running unopposed for Clerk is Linda M. Wilke, Treasurer Linda F. LaRochelle, and Supervisors Mollie Arthur and Ed Delfosse.

Celebrate 50 Years

Frederick and Shirley Kinziger on Dec. 19 celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary dinner party at their home in the Town of Grover. The former Shirley Risner and Mr. Kinziger were married on Jan. 11, 1969 at St. Leo Catholic Church in Pound. They have a daughter Laura (Joel) Rohde and a son, Jared (Gloria Kainz) Kinziger, three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Jan. 23 New Owner of BAMC

Advocate Aurora Health announced Jan. 23 that the health system has signed an agreement to assume full ownership of Bay Area Medical Center. The hospital, to be renamed Aurora Medical Center-Bay Area, has operated since 2014 as a joint venture of Bay Area Medical Center and Aurora Health Care, which merged with Illinois-based Advocate Health Care last year. The deal is expected to close in mid-year 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.

Charged with 1st Degree Murder

Gary R. Rogge, 55, has been charged with first degree intentional homicide in connection with the shooting death of his wife, Shell M. Erickson-Rogge, 63, in their home at N18344 Petite Lane, Pembine on Jan. 13. He is being held in Marinette County Jail in lieu of $1 million cash bond

Salvage Business to Pound

At the Village of Pound Board meeting on Jan. 7, Sheldon Svenson of DNS Salvage & Recycling told the board he is interested in buying a property in the Village as a site for a recycling and salvage business, but wanted to approach the board first to learn about the zoning laws and be sure his business would be welcome. He works with a business partner, and they are closely affiliated with Sadoff Iron and Metal of Green Bay.

Shallow Retires

Keith Shallow of the Peshtigo National Bank retired effective Jan. 11. He joined the bank in 2004 and has played an integral role in the success of the Bank today. Under his leadership, three new branch offices were opened and grew to nearly $200 million in assets. He will remain on the Board of Directors.

Jan. 30 Fire at Crivitz Lumber

A major fire in downtown Crivitz destroyed a landmark family business Jan. 29. The main building and lumberyard area at Crivitz Lumber and Rental Center were completely destroyed in the blaze which was called in a 7 p.m. Firefighters kept the flames from spreading to the two main warehouses and neighboring structures. Over 50 firefighters from 11 area departments responded. Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills hampered firefighters all night long. Temperatures recorded at 20 degrees below zero were aggravated by strong winds that made the chill fell like more than 40 degrees below zero. Hoses and apparatus froze.

New Finance Director

By unanimous vote at the Jan. 29 Marinette County Board meeting, Laura Mans was approved as Finance Director. She has been serving as interim finance director since the retirement of Pat Kass on Sept. 16, 2018. At the start of the meeting Board Chair Mark Anderson asked for a moment of silence to recognize the passing of former supervisors Joe Banaszak of Crivitz and Jerry Martens of Beaver.

Rec Center Now Open

A formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the Rec Center in Marinette was held Jan. 24. The Rec Center has over 113,000 square feet of space, which makes it the largest in the northern Wisconsin area and they are ready to accommodate conferences, corporate meetings, trade shows and more. The first hockey game was played on Jan. 25 with the M&M Thunder defeating Middleton-Waunakee 6-1.

Feb. 6 200th GED Earned

A celebration of the 200th GED earned by Marinette County Jail inmates since the partnership between Marinette County and NWTC began in 2005 was the highlight of the County Public Services Committee meeting on Feb. 5. Twelve inmates have received their GEDs already this year, and two more had achieved that goal just this week.

Purchase Bundy Park

For 15 to 20 years the City of Peshtigo had leased the Bundy Park property, located at the corner of Oconto Ave. and N. Wood Ave. for $1 per year from owner Kay Mercier. Now Mercier has offered to sell the site to the city for $2,600. At a meeting Feb. 5, City Council voted unanimously to accept that offer as recommended by both the Parks and Recreation and Finance committees.

Coleman School Reno

Plans for remodeling and renovation of the Coleman School facilities are proceeding, with April 1 set as the scheduled date for actual construction to start, District Administrator Doug Polomis informed the school board at a meeting Jan. 21. The renovation work is to begin in the elementary school portion of the building in April and be completed before classes resume in fall of 2020. Work on the high school/middle school areas is to start in April of 2020, and hopefully be completed before classes resume that fall. Voters in the April 2, 2018 referendum authorized the district to borrow up to $10,850 for remodeling.

Feb. 13 Republican Officers

At the annual caucus of the Marinette County Republican Party on Feb. 2, officers were elected. They includeChair Betty Hensel, 1st Vice Chair Carrie Brazeau, 2nd Vice Chair Stephen Henseler, Secretary Jim Hensel, and Treasurer Donna Cramer. Betty Hensel of Pembine will replace Shirley Kaufman as chair who announced over a year ago this would be her last term at the helm.

Snow, Snow & More Snow

People all over TIMESland were busy Feb. 12 and 13 digging out after the latest snowstorm to hit the area. On Tuesday over 10 inches of snow was reported, along with blowing and drifting snow which made driving hazardous.

Revamp Economic Development

Marinette County continues its moves toward a revamp of tourism and economic development at meetings of the Development Committee on Feb. 5 and Administrative Committee on Feb. 7. Their recommendations will come to the full County Board for approved on Feb. 26. The County last month severed ties with Marinette County Association for Business and Industry.

New Chamber President

The Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors on Feb. 11 chose Jenny Short as their new president. She is the Community Relations Leader of Wisconsin Public Service. Other Chamber Board members include Terry O'Neil-vice president, Kirstin Peters-secretary/treasurer, Cheryl Fugere, Marquita Limberg, Maddie Bohaczyk-Stibbe, Sara VanEss, Abby Helnore all Directors, Mayor Cathi Malke-City Liason City of Peshtigo, Ann Kresl-PAEDC Liason, Lindsay Callow, Forgotten Fire Winery Liason and Marinette County Tourism and Patrick Rau-Peshtigo School District.

Feb. 20 Renovations to Begin

Renovation work on Coleman School buildings approved by voters in a referendum last April will begin April 1, with more major work to start June 6. Voters approved a total of $13,830,000 in two separate referendum questions.

Crivitz Lumber to Rebuild

Workers were busy Feb. 19 at the site of the Crivitz Lumber building in downtown Crivitz that was destroyed by fire Jan. 29. Heavy machinery was brought to cleanup debris and get the lot ready for building. George and Kathy Gocht who own the business plan to rebuild the store as soon as plans get finalized.

Save 3 Snowmobilers

A man who crashed his snowmobile on a trail near Boat Landing 14 off Parkway Road west of Crivitz is alive, thanks to DNR wardens Tim Werner and Dale Romback. The wardens noticed a faint light that seemed to be pointed toward the sky while on a routine weekend night patrol in the woods near Johnson Falls Flowage on Feb. 2. They found that a snowmobile had struck a post and crashed. The operator was unconscious with severe head wounds. The man is expected to make a full recovery.

Pleads Not Guilty

Gary R. Rogge, 55, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of first degree intentional homicide in connection with the shooting death of his wife, Shelley M. Erickson-Rogge, 63, in their home on Petite Lane, Pembine on Jan. 13. If convicted he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. He remains in Marinette County Jail in lieu of $1 million cash bond that was set by Judge James Morrison.

Crossing Guard is Hero

Peshtigo crossing guard, Gail Bantes, remained hospitalized on Feb. 19 after being struck by an SUV Feb. 15 while helping kids cross at the busy intersection at the stop lights in downtown Peshtigo while on their way to school. Bantes, 82, was wearing the proper safety gear, and the crossing light was white and showed the sign to walk. Meanwhile a vehicle driven by Barbara J. Price, 64, was approaching on Emery Ave. coming from the school and preparing to make a left turn to go east on French St. When the light turned green Price proceeded to make her turn and struck Bantes. Bantes pushed the kids out of the way and took the hit herself.

Feb. 27 New Owner of Rouse

Mike and Kam Dama, owners of Dama's Heating and Plumbing in Crivitz, have purchased Rouse Heating and Cooling in Coleman from Doug and Nancy Schuett. The sale becomes effective on Feb. 28. Damas will serve the public from both locations and well as from their heating and plumbing facility in Lakewood.

To Sentence Teacher

Former Suring High School teacher Timothy Grimes, 24, is being held in Oconto County Jail while awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty on Feb. 5 to two felony counts of sexual assault of a student by a school staff member. He will be sentenced March 22 by Judge Michael T. Judge. Each count carries a maximum of up to six years in prison followed by six years of extended supervision.

Pedestrian Dies

A City of Oconto employee had finished his day's work of removing snow on Feb. 26 and was driving his front end loader back to the Street Department at 2:40 p.m. when the vehicle, wide snow removal head attached, struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking on Pecor Street near the Oconto City Hall. The victim has been identified as Ernest Boucher, 71, of Oconto.

BDP Approves Interim Administrator

The Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine School Board members approved Andy Space as Interim Administrator on Feb. 13. Space has actually been serving as interim administrator since Jan. 21 following the sudden departure of former Administrator Chris Metras on Jan. 1. Space comes from Crandon where he had been an employee of the school district for 25 years and was high school principal until February of last year.

Charged in Homicide

One young life was snuffed out and four others were very likely ruined on Feb. 22 in what authorities have described as a foolish attempt to steal a relatively small amount of the drug THC. Federico A. Abarca, 18, a student at Preble High School was found shot in a parking lot on Green's Bay's east side about 11 p.m. Before Feb. 23 was over, Colton Kehoe, 18, Marinette, Gavin Rock, 17, DePere, Jarid Stevens, 20, Oconto, and Jared Williquette, 21, of Pound were under arrest on possible charges of intentional and reckless homicide in connection with the shooting.

March 6 Fish Platform on Track

For more than five years, plans have been in the making to build a Fish Viewing Platform over the Peshtigo River below the WPS dam at BPM, Inc. on pillars that once supported a "pipe tunnel" causeway for Badger Paper Mills. Grants and donations sufficient to almost entirely pay for the $499,000 structure have been obtained. The platform is intended to be an educational feature and tourist attraction over a portion of the river where fish, mainly walleye, come upstream from the water of Green Bay to spawn.

Hickey Again Chair

The Wagner Town Board will hold its regular monthly meeting on March 12 with former Chair Lynn Hickey again at the helm. Hickey had been town chair until she resigned in April of 2018. However, she filed for return to office as a candidate for Town Chair in the spring elections on April 2 and has no opposition.

Flower Shop Open

French Street Floral and Gifts in downtown Peshtigo, owned by Kirsten and Karl Peeters, is now open. Located at 211 French Street, it features fresh cut flowers and plants as well as unique gifts. French Street Floral is a member of the Flower Shop Network and delivery is available.

March 13, 2 Write-In Candidates

At the regular monthly meeting of Wagner Town Board on March 12, Steve Renikow announced he is running as a write-in candidate against current Town Chair Lynn Hickey in the elections on April 2. Recently appointed Town Clerk Cassie Brown announced she will be a write-in candidate for the clerk's position.

Fire Destroys Home

Forty-six firefighters from six departments battled a house fire on Cedar Lane in the Town of Porterfield on March 7. The Grover-Porterfield Fire Department received the call at 4:10 p.m. The home owned by Bill Roman, was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and is considered a total loss. No one was home at the time of the fire.

Herb Kohl Recipient

The selection committee for the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Student Scholarship, Teacher Fellowship, and Principal Leadership program announced recipients. Kailey Klimek of Coleman High School was named a Kohl Student Excellence Scholar. Recipients are those who have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.

Wingender Honored

The Marinette Lions Club presented the Melvin Jones Fellowship to member Kenneth Wingender. The fellowship is the highest recognition of Lions Club International Foundation given to a member who has rendered outstanding community service. He has been a member of the Marinette Lions since 1979, served as president, vice president, tail twister, director, Membership Chair and Mint Sales chair.

March 20 Murder Suspect Jailed

Because of good investigative work and careful preservation of evidence in 1976 combined with good use of the latest in DNA analysis techniques, Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Suave was able to announce at a press conference on March 15 that a 42-year old cold case double homicide in 1976 has been solved. The suspect, Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven, now 82, was taken into custody by Oconto County officers on March 14, at his home in the Town of Lakewood. He was turned over to Marinette County and is now being held in the County Jail. Victims in the homicide were David Schuldes, 25, and his fiancé, Ellen Matheys, 24, both of Green Bay.

Body Found in River

On March 16 the remains of an unidentified woman were found in the Little River tributary to the Menominee River in Menominee County. The head and hands were severed and have not yet been located. By March 18 the body had been identified as 46-year old Tamara LaFramboise of Yankton, SD, and the persons suspected of killing her and disposing of her body, Stephen R. Falkenberg, 45, also of Yankton, had been arrested and lodged in Yankton County Jail on a charge of second degree murder.

Raises Over $19,000

The 8th annual Guns N' Hoses basketball game between area law enforcement personnel and area firefighters was held March 16 at Marinette High School. Over $19,764.50 was raised to benefit Marinette County Special Olympics. All funds raised stay in Marinette County to help Special Olympics, according to Marinette County Sheriff Deputy, Brad Wyss, one of the organizers. The firefighters won the game 61-57.

March 27 Boyle to Retire

At the Marinette County Board meeting on March 26, it was announced that Family Court Commissioner Francis Boyle will retire April 2. He was appointed to the job on April 2, 1999 and will retire on his 20th year anniversary date. During his tenure he was also named Register in Probate for the county.

April 2 Election

In the April 2 election on the ballot for Wisconsin Supreme Court filling the position being vacated by Justice Shirley Abrahamson, candidates are Judge Brian Hagedorn and Judge Lisa Neubauer, both of whom currently serve as Wisconsin State Appeals Court Judges on the Waukesha-based District II Court of Appeals. Only a few local municipalities have competition.

Bail Set at $1 Million

On March 21, formal charges of first degree murder and first degree sexual assault were filed against Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven, who is suspected of being the person responsible for a crime that happened at McClintock Park in the Town of Silver Cliff on July 9, 1976. Now 82, he was arrested March 14 after new DNA technology led investigators to his home in the Town of Lakewood in Oconto County. His bail has been set at $1 million.

Fill City Positions

On March 25, Tracy Jandt began her duties as full-time Deputy Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Peshtigo. She has been a part-time assistant in the City office and was named to the full time post at a meeting March 21. At the same meeting, voted without dissent to create a part-time deputy clerk/treasurer position and hired Rebecca Barrett of Oconto Falls.

April 3 Election Upsets

Despite a lack of contests for most of the municipal and school board positions to be filled, 8,268 voters went to the polls in Marinette County on April 2. Long-time Crivitz Village President John Deschane was defeated by Trustee Kurt Kostuch. In the Town of Peshtigo, veteran Town Chair Herman Pottratz beat out former Supervisor Denise Wiedemeier, and Supervisor Mark Monnette lost to challenger Jon P. Drees. Write-in candidate Steve Renikow won the Wagner Town Chair position over incumbent Lynn Hickey. In the Town of Athelstane incumbent Town Board Supervisor Harold M. Tesch, Jr. was defeated by challenger Denis DeJardin.

Great Lakes is 40

Great Lakes Custom Tool marked their 40th anniversary on April 9. The manufacturing company evolved from Peshtigo Saw Service, a small saw sharpening business purchased in 1973 from Hart Lumber. Current owner Russ Martin had a full time job at Badger Paper and sharpened saws in the side. In 1979 the business was incorporated and named Great Lakes Carbine Tool Mfg.

Takes Over Ownership

Advocate Aurora Health announced April 2 the health system has assumed full ownership of Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette and renamed it Aurora Medical Center-Bay Area. Aurora Medical Center-Bay Area will utilize the scale and expertise of Advocate Aurora Health to enhance care locally, furthering the hospital's commitment to providing robust community health services and effectively responding to local health care needs.

April 10 Consider Marijuana Referendum

Marinette County voters may be offered a chance to have their say in a referendum vote on whether use of recreational marijuana should or should not be legalized in Wisconsin. The issue was discussed at length at the County Board Public Services Committee on April 9 and will be on the agenda again on May 7.

Drug Court Graduates

Marinette County Treatment Drug Court graduation ceremony was held April 1 for two new graduates, Cassie Alloy and Taylor Pier. The Treatment Drug Court helps substance dependent offenders. It is intensive, judicially monitored, treatment with frequent compliance testing, treatment tailored to the individual to ensure treatment compliance. There is community supervision, frequent home and office visits with their case manager and probation agent.

Dr. Orear Retires

After over 36 years of dental practice in Peshtigo, Jeffrey W. Orear DDS announced his retirement and sale of his dental office to Dr. Brian Thielen, a Marinette native. Orear said he thoroughly enjoyed practicing in Peshtigo over the years and being a part of the community. He and his wife, Barb, hope to spend more time with their four children and four grandsons.

Increase Elderly Meals

Marinette County Elderly Services agreed without dissent to raise the suggested meal donation from $4 to $4.50 and to increase the rural transportation price by 50 cents per ride. Costs have gone up regularly but the suggested donation for meals had not been raised in seven years.

April 17 Deny BPM Rate Reduction

At the Peshtigo City Council meeting April 16, the major action item was a decision on a split four to two vote made after long discussions to deny the BPM Inc. request for a reduction in rates they are charged for wastewater treatment. Jim Koronkiewicz, general manager of BPM, stated he would contact owner Jim Azzar who would make the final decision on what way the company will go. When contacted Koronkiewicz acknowledged that BPM will contact their consultant and the DNR to begin the notification process for getting permits to construct their own water treatment facility.

Named Honorary Bulldog

At the Peshtigo School Board meeting on April 10, recognized was Crossing Guard Gail Bantes, 82, who became a heroine on the morning of Feb. 15 by putting her own life in danger to push two children out of the path of an oncoming car. She was struck by the vehicle and spent several days in the hospital. District Administrator Patrick Rau presented Bantes with a special certificate designating her as an Honorary Bulldog.

Supports Anti-Marijuana

After nearly a hour of intense discussion on April 16, Marinette County Board by a 20 to 7 vote margin supported the idea of a resolution that will oppose legalization of recreational marijuana in Wisconsin. Sheriff Jerry Sauve requested the resolution because he is concerned "about the direction Madison appears to be heading," and he sees recreational marijuana as a gateway drug that will by itself increase traffic and other problems.

April 24 Inmate Numbers Down

Thanks to a good economy and the success of programs like Drug court, Mental Health Court, inmate education programs and monitored release, the population at Marinette County Jail has been kept to a manageable level, with 103 inmates reported on the latest official count. However, that has created a new problem. There are not enough eligible inmates to fill the requests for community service workers and spring roadside cleanup work. Inmates through the community service program were scheduled to start April 23 with the City of Peshtigo Parks Department, weather permitting.

New Daycare

The City of Peshtigo Plan Commission met on April 18 for the sole purpose of discussion and consideration of postponing a request of a conditional use permit to Michelle Peters of Kids R Us University for a daycare at 120 Ogden Rd. pending review of permitted and conditional uses for daycare facilities in all zoning districts of the city. The building currently houses Peshtigo Fitness. A conditional use permit was granted.

Hofer Scholarship

Former Menominee High school student athletes have established the Ken Hofer Maroon Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund in honor of long-time Menominee football coach and mentor, Ken Hofer. Inspired by the lasting impact Coach Hofer has made on their lives, the group wants to honor and exemplify Coach Hofer by supporting and guiding the youth of the community. The fund will be managed by the M&M Area Community Foundation.

May 1 Sexting Complaint

Peshtigo Police, Marinette County Sheriff's Department and the Marinette County District Attorney's Office are investigating "sexting" explicit material among students in the Peshtigo School District. Peshtigo Police Chief Richard Badgley stated on April 25 his department received complaints about students "sexting" on cell phones and other technical devices that includes exchanges of photos. Badgley urged parents to be diligent and check their kids phones to see what they have on them. The investigation continues.

One Believed Dead

Emergency rescue personnel from the cities of Marinette and Menominee were busy April 22 trying to locate a missing fisherman who fell into the Menominee River from his capsized boat. Benjamin J. Tart, age 58, of Iron River, is believed to be the missing fisherman. Tart along with his 21 year old nephew were fishing on the Menominee River when their boat capsized. The nephew was rescued. Tart is believed dead.

1st Traffic Fatality

Brent Allen Recla, 38, of Vulcan, Mich. died April 26 at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, as a result of injuries sustained in a single-car crash on Hwy. 141 in the Town of Niagara shortly after midnight. Recla was alone in his pickup truck westbound on Hwy. 8 in the Town of Niagara when he failed to stop for a stop sign at US 141 and crashed through the highway signs and into the embankment in the west ditch.

Fire at Lange Farm

A total of 37 firefighters battled a fire on the Kevyn Lange farm, W5572 County B, Peshtigo, on April 27 .The Grover-Porterfield Fire Department was paged out at 1:35 a.m. and upon arrival found the building fully engulfed in flames. Damage estimates were not available and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Grover-Porterfield Fire Department.

May 8 Judge Miron to Retire

Marinette Circuit Court Judge David G. Miron announces he will not run for re-election in 2020. He has served as Judge since Jan. 5, 2001 and prior to that he was the Marinette County District Attorney for over 10 years and worked in private practice for more than 7 years. His last day of work will be July 31, 2020. He is a graduate of Peshtigo High School and Marquette University.

Arrest 2 in Oconto Death

Suspected drug dealers Brian A. Blasing, 29, and Chastity M. Denny, 29, both of Oconto, are being held in Oconto County Jail on charges connected with the death of Jeffery D. Pecha, also of Oconto, on Sept. 12, 2018. They may also have been involved in a drug death in Marinette County earlier this year. That investigation is continuing.

Battle Fire in Marinette

Five area fire departments were kept busy battling a stubborn house fire at 329 Terrace Ave. in the City of Marinette on Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning, May 7 and 8. The resident of the home, Keith Rose, was out walking a dog when the fire crews arrived. Marinette Fire chief Jay Heckel said damage was extensive to the home and no injuries reported. The home is owned by Barbara Lenovo.

May 15 Persons of Year

Four individuals were honored during the 44th annual Richard and Pat Roland Persons of the Year Awards Banquet sponsored by the Peshtigo Chamber of commerce on May 14 at Embers 1871. The individuals honored were Ruth Johnson-Business, Kathy Crabtree-Adult, Meiah Beck-Youth, and Max Shuffield-Teacher.

Perry Judge Candidate

Attorney Mike Perry will seek the judicial position being vacated by Judge David Miron. Perry is a Marinette County native and Vietnam vet, and worked as a Marinette County Deputy Sheriff until 1985. He is a graduate of Niagara High School, St. Norbert College and Marquette Law School. He has owned and operated a general law practice in Marinette County for the past 31 years.

Sporie Gets Touhey Award

Cheryl Sporie is the recipient of the 2019 prestigious Marinette Central Foundation Touhey Award. She was honored at Little River Country Club in Marinette on May 3. The award was named after Margaret Touhey, one of the five original graduates of the school first known at St. Mary's Institute. Sporie began her volunteer work at the now St. Thomas Aquinas Academy when her children were in school. This became her way of "Paying it Forward". She has been an active volunteer for over 25 years.

May 22 Stumbris Named Trustee

At a meeting May 20, Wausaukee Village Board unanimously approved appointment of Steve "Jet" Stumbris as a village trustee to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Trustee Randy Schmidt recently. Schmidt had just been returned to the office in the April 2 election. He gave no reason for his resignation.

Dies in Accident

A 25-year old Athelstane man lost his life in a three vehicle crash on May 17 in the Town of Beaver. The Marinette County Dispatch received a call of a three vehicle crash on Hwy. 141 near 26th Rd. A vehicle driven by Ryker J. Plosczynski of Athelstane was traveling north on Hwy. 141 when he crossed the centerline and struck two southbound vehicles. Plosczynski was trapped in the vehicle and died as a result of his injuries.

Wheelchair Swing

A wheelchair swing donated by Peshtigo Woman's Club will be installed shortly at Badger Park. The Park and Rec Committee gave its final blessing to the location of the swing. The site will be accessible to both children in wheelchairs from within the Badger Boardwalk play area and adults in wheelchairs from the other side.

May 29 Oppose Legal Marijuana

At its meeting on May 28, Marinette County Board by a vote of 20 in favor and eight opposed, approved a resolution asking the State of Wisconsin to not legalize recreational use of marijuana. Opposing votes were cast by supervisors Mark Anderson (board chair), Mike Behnke, Glenn Broderick, Gilbert Engel, Tom Mandli, Al Sauld, Jillian Schutte and Bill Stankevich. Also by a narrow 13-15 vote defeated change that would have restored provision for "a moment of silent prayer" at the start of each board meeting.

Legionnaire of Year

Elmer Mullard, an active and involved member of Loomis American Legion Post 476 for more than half a century, has been chosen as 2019 Legionnaire of the Year by Marinette County Council of the American Legion. He will be honored at the annual Commander's Dinner at Newingham's Supper Club in Wausaukee on June 15.

Kainz Village Trustee

At a special meeting on May 21, Crivitz Village Board approved Gloria Kainz as the new trustee to fill the vacancy created when former Trustee Kurt Kostuch resigned to accept the Village President position in which he was elected on Aug. 2.

June 5 Schutte Resigns

Long-time Pound Village Clerk/Treasurer Patricia Schutte resigned at the monthly meeting June 3. In a letter dated June 3, Schutte wrote: To the Village of Pound Taxpayers: It has been my pleasure and an honor to have served as your Village Clerk-Treasurer for the past 19.5 years. To the Village Board: I can no longer work for people that do not trust me, do not communicate with me and spread false accusations about me. Therefore effective immediately, I resign my position as Village Clerk-Treasurer and terminate my employment with the Village of Pound."

Betty Stodola Retires

A 30-year employee of McDonalds in Marinette hung up her apron for the last time on May 30 and at age 90, the ever young Betty Stodola of Marinette figures it was time to retire. For most of her 30 years at McDonalds her shift started at 4:30 a.m. each morning and rarely missed a day of entering orders and working the cash register. "Betty always has a smile or good word to each and every patron," stated a regular customer. She would also call Bingo every Thursday

Book Signing

Gloria Persinger and Luanne Gabriel will both hold book signings ar the Wausaukee Library on June 21. Persinger's book is titled "Jessica's Travels" and Gabriel's is "Sally's Bad Dream." Both women are members of the Billie Williams Writers Group.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
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Gillett Runners Sweep Goodman-Pembine Invite

09-02-2020Front Page


09-02-2020Front Page
Expect Peshtigo Council To Finalize ATV/UTV Signage

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Brick Tiles Still Available For Fish Viewing Platform

09-02-2020Front Page
Niagara Church Associate Pastor Gets 20-Year Prison Sentence

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