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home : news : news May 24, 2016

1/5/2010 8:32:00 AM
2009: A look back at the year in news

Raymond T. Rivard
Features Editor

This past year was an eventful one, not only nationally and at the state level, but also right here at home in the Lakeland area.

The following is the first in a series that recaps stories as spelled out in The Lakeland Times. Some of the month's top stories are included below:


Oldenburg trades with Vilas, donates $325,000 for sports complex: It was a noteworthy day for Vilas County as officicals announced the county's finalization of its land trade agreement with Milwaukee-based industrialist-philanthropist Wayne C. Oldenburg, as well as Oldenburg's $325,000 donation to the county for the purchase and recreational development of a 54-acre Hwy. G tract in the town of Cloverland.

Doud is first baby of the year: Jaden Joseph Doud was born Jan. 1 at 12:19 p.m. at Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff to April Doud of Lac du Flambeau.

Town board tables Ritchie CUP over illegal meeting concern: In one of the more unusual turn of events during the consideration of a somewhat routine issue, the town of Minocqua planning commission unanimously approved a CUP application for Ritchie Oil - with stringent conditions - but not before conducting, as The Lakeland Times reported, an "impromptu" on-site visit at Ritchie's property, which included not only planning commission members but members of the public. In other words, it was an illegal meeting.

Mandatory publishing: The Oneida County Zoning Committee voted to retain a county ordinance requiring all legal notices to be published in The Rhinelander Daily News, even if those notices do not pertain to the Rhinelander area.

Supervisor Larry Greschner provided the only opposition in the 4-1 vote to kill a previous committee directive for staff to proceed with elimination of the code requirement. Greschner said the obligation represented a misuse of public funds.

Gas prices continue to highlight community discussion: It was in with the new and, well, in with the old during the first week of January, with the new year shepherding in an all-too-familiar pattern in the Lakeland area - gas prices went soaring as crude oil and wholesale gas costs spiked beginning Christmas Eve, then held steady as crude and wholesale prices fell back throughout last week.

Gas in the Lakeland area rose during the holiday period from $1.69 a gallon to $1.99 a gallon.

But, while local retail prices shadowed the price hikes, the subsequent slide did not result in a mirror image on local price boards, where charges did not change even by a penny. As of Sunday night, Jan. 11, Lakeland retailers were stilling selling gas at $1.99 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline.

'Open-carry' becoming central gun-rights issue: In Richard Moore's new analysis of the issue, his take on the issue began like this - For most of this decade, the most contentious gun issue in Wisconsin has been that of concealed carry, or the legal sanction to carry a firearm in public in a hidden manner, either on the body or in close proximity.

But this year that affair may take a backseat to a rapidly intensifying debate about the legality of open carry, or the act of publicly carrying a firearm in plain view.

Gray wolf delisted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife: Like a pendulum, the status of the wolf in the state has gone from listed, to delisted, to listed. This story outlined the delisting of the animal last January.

After the ink dries on the Federal Register in a little more than one month, the gray wolf will again be off the endangered species list and back to being managed by the state.

That's because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week delisted the gray wolf in Wisconsin, the rest of the Western Great Lakes region, as well as protions of the Northern Rocky Mountain region.

Temperatures fall way below zero:

With traffic moving up and down Hwy. 51 Thursday morning, the sign at River Valley Bank in Minocqua pretty much said it all - it was 21 degrees below zero. Subzero temperatures and wind chills caused the closing of all area schools and many other events scheduled during the third week of January. The chilliest temperatures of the new year were supposed to warm through the weekend and move back toward "normal."

LUHS website - just one of the ways to help move to the 21st century: In the never-ending shift to transform schools to a more technology-based focus, Lakeland Union High School is using its newly updated website as a tool of communication for parents, students and teachers.

County board rejects mandatory freeze on filling vacancies: Charges of power grabbing and appeals for fiscal responsibility bounced back and forth Tuesday in the Oneida County courthouse as supervisors volleyed, debated and finally rejected a move to mandate a six-month waiting period before filling job vacancies.

On a 12-7 vote, supervisors voted to send a proposed ordinance amendment back to the county's labor relations committee (LRES) for further work. This was not to be the end of this issue as funding issues continued to affect all areas of the economy as the year progressed.

President's action shelves wolf delisting for now: The pendulum surrounding the status of the wolf continues its swing.

Cross sentenced to 12 years in system for role in killing: Brian Cross, Jr., one of the two men charged with the killing of another man in Lac du Flambeau last year, found guilty last week in Vilas County Circuit Court after his no contest plea and sentenced to 12 years in the Wisconsin state prison system.

Kollers honored: Longtime Manitowish Waters residents Frank R. and Betty J. Koller were feted for their philanthropic generosity during a ceremony at Marshfield Clinic's Minocqua Center, as clinic officials unveiled donor plaques in their honor. Last October, the Kollers made a $5 million gift to Marshfield Clinic in support of medical research.

AV-W's Zhang wins second regional spelling title, advances to state bee: As a supportive, well-wishing crowd of teachers and parents looked on, 21 area elementary and middle school students gathered at North Lakeland School Tuesday, for the first of four regional spelling bee competitions. By competition's end, it was AV-W's Steven Zhang who won the bee.


NLS committee makes case for proposed new levy referendum: With North Lakeland School's four-year, $428,000 non-recurring referendum tax levy expiring in November, superintendent Richard Vought and referendum committee members made their case for a proposed $943,000, referendum property tax levy.

LUHS wrestler in ICU at Marshfield Hospital after suffering stroke: The Lakeland Union High School student body and staff members' thoughts and prayers are with senior Ben Jirikowic who Thursday was listed in fair condition at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. Doctors are hoping he stabilizes after suffering a stroke Tuesday night at Rhinelander High School during a wrestling match.

Judge says search of St. Germain home not necessarily proper: A federal district judge dismissed two civil rights claims but refused to set aside another brought by a St. Germain couple against a Vilas County detective whom they contended deliberately omitted critical information and made false statements to obtain a search warrant of their home.

Economic downturn drives staffing, program cutbacks at Conserve School: The sagging global and national economy is taking its toll on the Northwoods, with Land O' Lakes-based Conserve School recently announcing planned major cutbacks in programs and staff for the 2009-10 school year.

Officials at the private college-preparatory boarding high school notified Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development officials of their plans for a mass layoff of 32 Conserve employees, starting March 31.

Jirikowic begins steady recovery: Doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield upgraded Lakeland senior Ben Jirikowic's condition from fair to stable Wednesday as signs began pointing in a positive direction, allowing the 17-year-old to make the transition out of pediatric intensive care into the general hospital.

Proposals compete as autism diagnoses grow: The number of young people diagnosed with autistic disorders is continuing to grow at a rapid pace in Wisconsin, and, as might be expected, so has the political debate over how to fund treatment programs.

Pricey storage shed sparks new county facilities discussion: The prospect of building a storage shed that some have estimated will cost about $2 million has ignited a new debate about Oneida County's need for facilities - and how the county should plan for those needs. The county's law enforcement and emergency management departments have been pushing for a new storage structure.

Federal judge rules minimum markup law unconstitutional: A federal district judge found Wisconsin's minimum markup law for gasoline to be unconstitutional Wednesday, saying it violated federal anti-trust prohibitions on the restraint of trade between states.

As long as the ruling by chief federal district judge Rudolph T. Randa of the Eastern District of Wisconsin stands, the state cannot enforce the law, formally known as the Unfair Sales Act, which requires retailers to sell gas at a price at least 6 percent higher than what they paid for it, or 9.18 percent higher than the average terminal wholesale price posted closest to them.

Doyle to raise business taxes, warns of drastic budget cuts: Amid pleas for bipartisanship and warnings of an austere state budget, Gov. James Doyle unveiled a stimulus package and budget repair bill of his own Wednesday, calling for an increase in the corporate income tax of more than $215 million through 2011 and authorizing $300 million in new federally funded road projects.

Nielsen headed back to state swim meet: Lakeland sophomore Andrew Nielsen is headed back to the WIAA Divison 2 State swim meet at the UW-Natatorium in Madison this weekend after earning a spot in the state finals of both the 200 yard freestyle and 100 yard backstroke events.

Eales edges out incumbents in Manitowish Waters: The Spring Primary Election for various area town seats was held Tuesday Feb. 17. All area incumbents on Tuesday's ballot advanced to the general election, but in Manitowish Waters both incumbents, Michael Bartling and Henry Bauers, were outvoted by challenger Jean Eales who received the most votes with 137. Bartling, Bauers, Eales and Vincent Hoehn will run for the two open supervisor seats in the general election.

Conserve parents file lawsuit against school, trust: Representatives of Conserve Community L.L.C. announced they had filed a lawsuit in Vilas County Circuit Court against Land O' Lakes-based Conserve School Corp. and the Chicago-based Conserve School Trust. The group of more than 230 students, parents and community members, was formed in the wake of the Jan. 30 announcement that the private, environmentally-focused high school would switch from its founding four-year college preparatory boarding school model to a semester program for high school juniors.

Howard Young second-out ambulance failed to respond 41 times in 2008: A Howard Young ambulance unit failed to respond to at least 25 percent of the requests made for its services in 2008, prompting county emergency management officials to take decisive action to establish a new paid, full-time ambulance unit in the western half of Oneida County.

The new ambulance would be called Medic 4 and be stationed in Nokomis as a roaming unit.


State investment pool loses risk insurance: A state-run investment pool brimming with millions of dollars of public money invested by more than 1,300 local units of government, including Oneida County, has lost its risk insurance, finance director Margie Sorenson told the county finance committee.

Town chairman accuses supervisor of ethics violations: In an unexpected development that left many town board meeting attendees slack-jawed, outgoing six-year Winchester town chairman Robert "Rob" Schmidt, Jr. accused town supervisor Phil Williams of using town-owned lake access land that splits his property for "personal gain," saying he would be filing an ethics violation complaint.

Oneida, Vilas unemployment sails past 10 percent: America's and Wisconsin's prosperity is vanishing at a breathtaking rate - the stock market surrendered half its value this past year - and the news these days out of northern Wisconsin is no better, with unemployment rates in Oneida and Vilas counties zooming in January to more than 10 percent.

WIAA flexes muscles against Wisconsin newspapers: The Wisconsin Newspaper Association and one of its most powerful members, Gannett Co. Inc., are being sued by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association for making available what they say was an illegal webcast of a WIAA playoff football game in Stevens Point last fall. The WIAA is asking a Portage County judge to rule that the organization has the right to "control the transmission, Internet stream, photo, image, film, videotape, audiotape, writing, drawing or other depiction or description" of high school games.

MHLT board debates need for funding curriculum representative: In anticipation of the following school year being tough financially, Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School has decided to discontinue funding for a curriculum representative and to give full-time lay off notices to two teachers.

Low voter turnout helps keep LdF's agreement with state: By just three votes, 95-92, Lac du Flambeau tribal members upheld the long-standing agreement the tribe has had with the state that in effect helps set the number of fish speared from area lakes and thus the bag limits for hook-and-line anglers.

Lawmakers pick up DNR's push for warrantless searches: Last year the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began promulgating a rule that would allow the agency's wardens to enter private homes and properties to conduct searches for invasive species, and now two lawmakers are touting a bill that would give the agency even more power to enter private property, according to an analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Supreme Court to hear Times' open records case in April: The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments April 15 in an open records case brought by The Lakeland Times and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The two newspapers are seeking the names of certain state employees. The Times has asked for the names and salaries of those holding DNR positions in northern Wisconsin's Woodruff and Rhinelander offices.

Rynders offers town land, construction deal for sports-festival complex: Developer Robert Rynders, the owner of the former Circle M property on Hwy. 70 W., has offered to sell the parcel for below value to the town of Minocqua and then to construct a proposed sports-festival complex on it at no additional charge.

Rynders would sell the approximately 28-acre grounds to the town for $600,000 plus appropriate closing costs; the property is appraised at $1.6 million.

Oneida cuts number of county board meetings: In a time of economic distress, maybe less government is best.

That was the thinking of the Oneida County Board of Supervisors as the body pared its number of regular monthly meetings from 12 to 10.

The board will no longer meet in July or December. The total savings to the county will be slightly more than $4,000 per year.

First shots fired over handgun microstamping in Wisconsin: Two Wisconsin lawmakers and the National Rifle Association hoisted red flags over what they say is a coming legislative proposal to mandate so-called handgun microstamping in Wisconsin.

The goal of microstamping is to track a firearm from spent bullets by etching the gun's make, model, and serial number on the weapon's firing pin, which would copy that information to the cartridge when the gun was fired.

This past year was an eventful one, not only nationally and at the state level, but also right here at home in the Lakeland area.

The following is the second in a series that recaps stories as reported this past year in The Lakeland Times. Some of the second quarter's top stories are included.


Work group recommends staying in tri-county Human Service Center: The Oneida County chairman sent the county board a recommendation that the county remain in the tri-county Human Service Center, provided the HSC board agrees to a host of prerequisites, or reforms, including the installation of a new management team, the development of new HSC board leadership and the replacement of executive director Ann Cleereman.

Voters approve North Lakeland School referendum on 839-732 vote: Voters in the North Lakeland School District in northwestern Vilas County gave their approval to the district's plans for implementing a recurring $943,000 tax levy in excess of state-imposed district revenue caps.

The vote was 839-732 in favor of passing the referendum levy, a 53.4 to 46.6 percent margin.

Lac du Flambeau signs gaming compact with state: Gov. Jim Doyle and Carl Edwards, president of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, announced the signing of a new gaming compact agreement.  

Under the agreement, the tribe will pay the state nearly $3.7 million to cover payments for the last five years, a supplemental payment of $500,000 and continuing annual payments over the next 25 years.

Few surprises, one tie highlight Spring General Election: One tie, an approved school referendum and two new area town chairmen highlighted Tuesday's Spring General Election - one that saw a small percentage of eligible voters head to the polls.

The tie between incumbent Woodruff town treasurer Jessica Gee and challenger Lynn Giebel was decided when Giebel's name was pulled from a hat.

Both candidates received 194 votes.

State champion Jain puts himself, MHLT on the map: Vansh Jain won the state geography bee and was set to head to the national competition. Jain finished first out of 100 students participating in the state bee, earning him the right to be the Wisconsin representative at nationals in May.

Electors approve Circle M purchase for sports/festival complex: By an 88-25 vote, town of Minocqua electors authorized the town board to purchase the former Circle M property on Hwy. 70 West for a sports and festival complex, at a price not to exceed $600,000, after much discussion during an annual meeting that lasted more than three hours.

Voters also gave the town permission, on a voice vote, to construct a concession stand, rest rooms and pavilion on the sports/festival grounds.

AV board announces terms of library agreement: The handful of residents who attended the town of Arbor Vitae annual meeting heard what most of them considered good news: That the town board intended to sign a six-year contract with the town of Minocqua to allow residents unencumbered usage of Minocqua's library. The approved contract was scheduled to be formalized after final language was OK'd. The town agreed to pay Minocqua a total of $210,000 over the next six years to allow usage of the library by all AV residents.

More than 'average' number attend, vote at VC spring hearing: Two controversial questions regarding a later muzzleloader deer season was on the ballot at the annual spring fish and wildlife rule hearings and motivated nearly 350 people to attend the Vilas County meeting held at the community center in Sayner.

Questions 60 and 61 regarded not only extending the 10-day muzzleloader deer season, but also proposed changing it over the winter holidays in December and January. They were advisory items posed by the Conservation Congress. Based on voting results and the work of committees after the vote, it was reported at the time that it could potentially become a DNR issue next year.

Attorney general Van Hollen says open carry is legal: Attorney general J.B. Van Hollen surprisingly reversed course on the issue of openly carrying firearms in the state of Wisconsin, issuing a memorandum that the practice is legal and should not be automatically construed by police as disorderly conduct.

DA to charge Heil with open meetings violation: Oneida County district attorney Michael Bloom said he would file a formal complaint against Minocqua supervisor and planning commission chairwoman Sue Heil for allegedly violating the state's open meetings law. During the last week of December 2008, the planning commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit application for Ritchie Oil. However, the site visit - a spontaneous decision at the planning commission's regular meeting to take a tour - did not appear on the planning commission's meeting agenda, thus giving no advance notice to the public at large, to the news media, or, as it turned out, to property owner Joe Ritchie.

Harley "Putter" Petersen - 1925-2009: Forty-seven-year Minocqua resident Harley C. "Putter" Petersen, 84, passed away at his home Monday, April 20, 2009.

Putter and his wife, Donna, lived on Lake Minocqua. He was one of the first "flying game wardens" in the area working for the Wisconsin Conservation Department. He retired in 1982 as chief pilot for the Department of Natural Resources.

Wisconsin AG, foundation intervene in Conserve case: Conserve Community L.L.C. hoped that intervention by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen would preserve the seven-year-old Conserve School as a four-year boarding high school.

That's because the group felt "sidelined" by Vilas County Circuit Court judge Neal A. "Chip" Nielsen's April 22 ruling that it lacked legal standing to challenge the January move to transition the environmentally-focused institution to a semester program for high school juniors.


Risperdal, Janssen Pharmaceutica under fire - but not in Wisconsin: This Lakeland Times investigative series produced by Richard Moore kicked off with a report that focused on Risperdal, a highly controversial antipsychotic drug approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability associated with autism in children.

This first story told how Janssen Pharmaceutica, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that manufactures the drug, was facing a spate of lawsuits from states who claimed the pharmaceutical giant fraudulently marketed what they claimed is an inherently dangerous drug.

However, Wisconsin was not among the protesting states.

Sagging economy, 7.6 percent fall in tax collections = need for hearing: The Oneida County Finance Committee scheduled program reduction and revenue generating hearings to address current departmental revenues and possible program cuts in the wake of a sagging economy and slumping tax collections.

The economic downturn had resulted in a 7.6 percent slump in county sales tax revenues. If the pattern continued, sales tax collections could be as much as $290,000 short of the $3.85 million the county budgeted for the year.

Swine flu - don't panic: As of the first part of May, there had been 226 confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States, with three confirmed cases in Wisconsin.

However, area physicians were saying at the time not to panic and to continue day-to-day activities - taking the necessary precautions one would take during any regular flu season.

Northwoods woman says risperidone killed her father: Risperdal kills. That's the very simple, straightforward message one Northwoods woman wanted to spread to the world, and especially to Wisconsin residents: Risperdal kills, and Rhinelander resident Lisa MaKarrall said she knows because it killed her father. That was the focus of the ongoing investigative series written by Richard Moore.

H1N1 flu scare prompts two-day closure of LdF Public School: After a suspected student case of H1N1 "swine flu" spurred the Vilas County Public Health Department's proactive two-day closure of Lac du Flambeau Public School, the school was rescheduled to open.

Mining panel hands off Tamerlane proposal to forestry: The Oneida County Mining Impact Committee sent a proposal to open county forestlands to mineral exploration and potential mining to the forestry committee, which holds jurisdiction over them.

Tamerlane Ventures of Blaine, Wash., a publicly traded international mining company, delivered the petition to the county in what would be the first step toward mining a massive sulfide deposit in the town of Lynne.

Baer's cranberry marsh plans get the OK from committee: Commercial cranberry marsh development plans being laid by Manitowish Waters resident Thomas R. Baer took another step forward as members of the Vilas County Zoning and Planning Committee gave their unanimous approval to Baer's rezoning request, following a sparsely-attended public hearing.

Skating away: Borden says it's the right time: The year 1989 seemed so far in the past, but for Tony Borden, it seemed as if the last 20 years had flown. Borden announced that he was stepping down after 20 years as the head boy's hockey coach at Lakeland Union High School.

Lac du Flambeau reaches out to community with new clinic: Those involved with the new Peter Christiansen Clinic in Lac du Flambeau had high hopes that it would have a successful impact on the surrounding community.

The ground breaking took place in June 2008 and the grand opening was slated for August 2009.

Life vest is police chief's life saver: Life jackets save lives - just ask town of Minocqua police chief Andy Gee.

Gee was recovering at Howard Young Medical Center from chest and arm injuries he suffered in a boating accident on Lake Minocqua.

Gee credited his life jacket for preventing him from suffering more severe injuries in the incident which included his being thrown from his boat about 5 p.m. in the area of Stack's Bay.

Mercer School board fires grade school teacher: Mercer third and fourth grade teacher Robyn Schoeneman was fired Monday by the Mercer School Board of Education.

The board's vote, 3-1, followed the recommendation of district administrator Jeff Ehrhardt to issue a preliminary notice to the teacher. The board's decision came after allegations of inappropriate use of alcohol by two chaperones on the March 28-April 3 senior class trip to Florida.

Parents charged in connection with infant's death: The parents of a 10-month-old infant who died May 4 under suspicious circumstances at a town of Pelican home have been charged in connection with the girl's death.

The infant's 21-year-old mother, Amanda R. Bodoh, and the infant's 22-year-old father, Matthew A. Lonkoski, were arrested in connection with the death of the baby.


Plea deals reached for those involved in tribal center takeover: Was it a simple act of peaceful civil disobedience or did it rise to the level of criminal conduct?

Before a jury could answer that question, a plea deal was reached in the case against 10 people accused of the March 26, 2008, takeover of the William Wildcat Tribal Center in Lac du Flambeau.

Jain earns fourth place at National Geography Bee: Vansh Jain, a fifth-grader at MHLT Elementary School, recently earned fourth place at the National Geography Bee. After taking first place in the state of Wisconsin, he went on to compete against 55 other fourth to eighth grade students from across the country.

Shoreland zoning rule would expand DNR regulations: After sitting quietly for more than a year on its revision of NR 115, the state's shoreland zoning administrative rule, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources unwrapped the long-awaited proposal, and, as expected, it included a vast expansion of the agency's regulatory authority within the state's shoreland zones.

Those zones stretch to 300 feet from the ordinary high water mark of rivers and streams and to 1,000 feet from the OHWM of lakes, ponds and flowages. Among the elements added are requirements for mitigation and limitations on the amount of impervious surfaces on a shoreland lot or parcel.

On the mend - Obama brings health care plan to Green Bay: It's not often a sitting president pays a visit to Wisconsin - let alone one that brings the leader of the free world north of the Milwaukee-Madison line of demarcation.

But that's what President Barack Obama did when he flew into Green Bay June 11 to hold a town meeting and to promote his proposal to revamp the nation's health care system.

It was the unveiling of a plan that continues to be debated throughout the country to this very day - and it all got started right here in Wisconsin.

Cleereman out as HSC executive director - buyout reached: Big changes were underway at the Tri-County Human Services Center when it was announced that Ann Cleereman was no longer the center's executive director.

Cleereman's departure came just about six weeks after an Oneida County committee announced the results of an in-depth study of the operation of the center. The study heaped heavy criticism on Cleereman.

Deal reached, Mercer teacher to keep job: "It's over." Those are the words of Mercer K-12 school teacher Robyn Schoeneman. She was given permission to resume teaching in the Mercer School District this fall after all.

In May, the school board voted 3-1 to send Schoeneman a preliminary discharge notice, but the school board voted 3-2 to offer "non-negotiable disciplinary actions" instead of termination and allow her to remain teaching in the district.

Oneida County panel continues search for expense cuts: Oneida County's Finance and Insurance Committee continued its effort to try to find more ways to trim expenses from the current county operating budget.

The committee heard reports from several departments, including the Highway Department and Branch II Circuit Court, about possible expense cuts or additional sources of revenue.

NRB approves far-reaching new shoreland regulations: The state's Natural Resources Board approved sweeping new shoreland zoning regulations for the state's unincorporated areas, including tough standards for mitigation and impervious surface limits for all lots within 1,000 feet of a lake's ordinary high water mark.

The proposed rewrite of NR115 was set to advance to the Legislature. If that body neither objects nor recommends revisions within 30 days, the rule would take effect.

Oneida County committee agrees on furlough plan: During the remainder of 2009, Oneida County full-time employees will be asked to choose three days to take unpaid furloughs. County officials had been searching for ways to cut expenses for the remainder of 2009 due to a downturn in revenues and the national recession.

First H1N1 flu cases confirmed in Oneida County: The Oneida County Health Department announced that two cases of the H1N1 flu have been confirmed in the county.

This past year was an eventful one, not only nationally and at the state level, but also right here at home in the Lakeland area.

The following is the third in a series that recaps stories as spelled out in The Lakeland Times. Some of the third quarter's top stories are included below:


Jennrich: 75 percent of Island won't meet new NR115 limits: Oneida County zoning director Karl Jennrich said he believes proposed new shoreland regulations would render 75 percent of all Island properties nonconforming and unable to meet new standards capping the impervious surface coverage of a lot.

'Shocking' outbreak - EWM strikes Kawaguesaga Lake: An aggressive outbreak of Eurasian watermilfoil in Kawaguesaga Lake has the Minocqua-Kawaguesaga Lakes Protection Association considering mid-summer treatment of the aquatic invasive species.

Cleereman to be paid more than $34K after resigning: Former Human Services Center executive director Ann Cleereman will receive more than $34,000 from the center as part of an agreement for her voluntary resignation.

After filing an open records request, The Lakeland Times learned that the HSC was to continue to pay Cleereman her salary until Aug. 31 at a cost of nearly $18,500. She was also to be paid more than $16,370 for her accumulated and unused sick leave and vacation time.

Oneida County Planning and Zoning revenue takes steep dive: In 2004 and 2005 new construction was booming in Oneida County, but after those two years began at first a slow, but then significant drop in the number of permits obtained through the county's Planning and Zoning Department.

After reaching a high in 2006, 2007 saw a huge drop in the department's revenues, falling to $585,133, then an even larger drop in 2008 falling to a little more than $424,400.

But in 2009 it appears there will be an even larger drop in revenue.

Fugitive murder suspect caught in BJ: Multiple law enforcement agencies came together in Boulder Junction on Wednesday, July 1 to conduct a successful manhunt for fugitive Thomas F. McFeggan of Rockford, Ill., wanted by the Rockford Police Department for first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of his wife, 62-year-old Carol P. McFeggan, who was discovered slain around 9 a.m. on Monday, June 29, in the couple's Wedel Avenue home on the city's northwest side.

Cutting along Raven Trail raises concerns of area bikers, hikers: Recent logging along the Raven Trail has raised the ire of some bikers and hikers, but hasn't stirred the emotions of forest officials - it's simply business as usual.

Brian Kief named hospital president at Saint Joseph's: Brian Kief, Ministry Health Care's Northern Region CEO, has been selected to succeed Mike Schmidt as president of Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. 

Supreme Court: State erred in not disclosing employee records: A provision in a collective bargaining agreement ratified by the state Legislature that prohibited the disclosure to the press of the names of certain state employees did not amend the state's open records law, the state Supreme Court ruled.

On a 6-1 vote, with chief justice Shirley Abrahamson dissenting, justices affirmed a circuit court decision that state agencies cannot withhold the names of union workers under the current open records law.

In the case, The Lakeland Times had asked for the names and salaries of those holding DNR positions in northern Wisconsin's Woodruff and Rhinelander offices; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel requested a list of Department of Correction employees no longer allowed to drive state vehicles.

LUHS teachers ratify two-year labor deal: Lakeland Union High School's board of education and its teachers union agreed on a tentative two-year labor contract.

Superintendent Todd Kleinhans said the two-year agreement, which covers the period from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2011, calls for teachers to receive an overall combined increase in salary and benefits in the first year of 3.8 percent.

Nearly 200 people discuss impacts of proposed shoreland rule: Nearly 200 people attended a seminar in Minocqua centered on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' proposed new shoreland zoning rule, which the featured speaker Richard Moore said would represent "an unparalleled and unprecedented expansion of the DNR's hands-on regulatory authority."

Concerned Citizens of the North sponsored the event held at the Campanile Center for the Arts. Oneida County assistant zoning director Pete Wegner joined Moore, an investigative reporter for The Lakeland Times, for a question-and-answer session after Moore's presentation.

Vilas remodeling: Up to $13K allocated: Looking to enhance employee and public safety, the Vilas County board of Supervisors unanimously passed a committee recommendation to transfer up to $13,000 in general fund dollars to cover the county's planned remodeling of the west and main entrances of the courthouse in Eagle River.

BOA denies Ernstmeyer condominium conversion for resort: The message from the Oneida County Board of Adjustment was loud and clear: If you have a legal pre-existing business - and many area resorts are - you'd better make some money or the county could shut you down.

On remand from Oneida County circuit court, the Oneida County Board of Adjustment denied an appeal by Thomas Ernstmeyer for a condominium conversion for Bear Lake Ridge Resort in Hazelhurst.

Resort owners had discontinued its use for 12 continuous months, the board concluded, and thus, by law, the business, now located in a single-family zoning district, had lost its legal nonconforming status.

Low lake levels: The cause? It depends ...: A crowd of nearly 200 attended a workshop focused on low lake levels held in Minocqua seeking answers to the question of how to deal with the low water plaguing area lakes.

The predominant response from the experts? "It depends ..."


Judge dismisses 10-year-old pier case against Baer: He thrashed them in a seawall case, he whipped them in a boathouse face off, and now, after 10 years of being pursued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over a pier, Manitowish Waters resident Tom Baer has knocked the agency to the mat again.

On July 23, Wisconsin circuit court judge Kenneth Forbeck dismissed a DNR action against Baer, which accused him of having a pier that interfered with the public's rights in the navigable waters of Vilas County's Alder Lake.

Town board approves November library referendum: Minocqua residents were given the opportunity to cast a vote either in favor or against a proposed $1.6 million expansion and renovation of the town public library.

The Minocqua town board gave the green light to placing a referendum about the project on the November ballot.

Resignations accepted from three longtime LdF teacher-coaches: On a unanimous Aug. 5 vote, members of the Lac du Flambeau Board of Education accepted the resignations of middle school science teacher Al Brokopp, physical education teacher Lori Brokopp and middle school language arts teacher Erik Torkelson, president of the Lac du Flambeau Education Association and a former district teacher of the year.

As school year nears, so do plans for mass vaccinations: The United States government has shelled out more than $1 billion to major pharmaceutical companies to fast track the mass production of swine flu vaccines for the fall flu season, targeting school children, adults with certain underlying medical problems and pregnant women as high priority populations in a sweeping vaccination program.

But some worry the vaccine could be more dangerous than the disease itself, which so far has had relatively benign outcomes compared with past flu pandemics.

Reports: Doyle won't seek re-election: Incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle was set to announce Monday, Aug. 17, that he would not seek re-election to a third term in 2010.

Lakeland Union High School pool back in service after leaks repaired: Lakeland Union High School's swimming pool went back into service Wednesday after two major water leaks were discovered and repairs were completed.

According to LUHS superintendent Todd Kleinhans, the pool had been out of service since July 1 so normal maintenance could be performed, but when they refilled the pool July 22 after the maintenance was completed, the major leaks were discovered.

Constituents voice health care concerns at Minocqua meeting: Wisconsin 8th District U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen held a town hall meeting Wednesday to hear the public's questions and concerns about proposed federal changes in national health care and health insurance.

The crowd of about 200 people at the Campanile Center for the Arts in Minocqua was not shy in letting the congressman or others in attendance know how they stood on health care, health insurance and related issues.

Several in the audience questioned Kagen and let him know they had little, if any, confidence in the federal government being in charge of a national health care program or in designing new health insurance.

Others called current proposals "socialism" and laughed in derision when questions were raised over the federal government's competence to oversee such a nationwide program.

Feingold - No health care bill before Christmas: U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold told a large crowd gathered for a listening session in Iron County last week there would likely be no health care bill before the end of the year - and perhaps not at all.

It was an assessment Feingold said he didn't like, but the prospect of no health care legislation brought a burst of applause from a packed house of nearly 150 citizens at the Mercer Community Center.

It was an assessment by the senator that proved right on.

Restitution in tribal takeover determined: Ten Lac du Flambeau tribal members involved in the March 2008 takeover of the tribe's William Wildcat Center will pay restitution for damages to the building due to the takeover, but the amount will be far less than what tribal officials had sought.

During Tuesday's restitution hearing tribal officials provided Vilas County Circuit Court Judge Neal Nielsen with a detailed breakdown of costs they claim the tribe incurred because of the takeover totaling $38,444. At the conclusion of the hearing, Nielsen ordered the 10 to pay about half that amount to the tribe.

Mass H1N1 vaccination program could cost $18 billion: The United States government is set to undertake the most extensive vaccination program in American history this fall as it prepares to inoculate at least 160 million Americans against the swine flu, at a cost of as much as $18 billion in a worst-case scenario.

Inoculating half the population - the Obama administration's current goal - could still cost taxpayers about $9 billion.

Woodruff treasurer, supervisor resign from office: The Woodruff town board will soon be seeking applicants to fill the positions of town treasurer and town supervisor after current treasurer Lynn Giebel and her husband, Mike Giebel, who is also a town supervisor, submitted letters of resignation to the town.


DNR ignores Lakeland Times open records request: Hardly a month had lapsed since the state Supreme Court ruled against a claim of confidentiality for the names of unionized state employees, but for more than three weeks the DNR had ignored another Lakeland Times open records request asking for those records and for other information.

In the wake of the court victory, Lakeland Times publisher Gregg Walker sent the request to DNR secretary Matt Frank. The newspaper had not received any response or acknowledgment.

Echoes of 2001 - Lawmaker proposes DNR split: As an Assembly committee advanced legislation to remove the governor's power to appoint the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and return it to the Natural Resources Board, where that authority used to reside before 1995, one lawmaker said he wants to give another old idea a new try - splitting the DNR into two separate agencies.

And give it a try Rep. Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) did during a meeting of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, attaching a 236-page amendment to divide the DNR to the two-page appointment bill the committee was considering.

Northwoods Wildlife Center turns 30 - with a lot of help from its friends: Turning 30 this year just got a little easier for the Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua.

A longtime donor, who wished to remain anonymous, prepared to provide up to $25,000 in matching donations in a "matching funds drive" that started last month.

The offer came at a critical time for the center. As the economy continued to suffer, so did non-profits such as the Wildlife Center.

The Alligators: At one time a moving force in the community: They called themselves The Alligators - the coffee group that has been meeting daily for more than 40 years.

Alligator translates to all mouth and no ears - meaning they all talked and no one listened.

Many of the men who sat around that table for so many years have passed on, but many - even some from the original group - continue to meet.

Results of LdF primary thrown out, new vote Sept. 21: Members of the Lac du Flambeau tribe will be heading back to the polls Monday, Sept. 21, to cast ballots in a second primary election.

That's because the tribal election board threw out the Sept. 1 primary results after tribal council member Mike Christensen cried foul and alleged election day campaigning at the polls.

Search to begin for new OC supervisor: Oneida County District 13 supervisor Frank Greb has resigned from his county board seat effective Oct. 13.

Greb, whose district represents the town of Three Lakes, told county officials he's stepping down from the board because he will be spending part of the year in Arizona with his wife.

Lawsuit against town will be dropped, attorney says: A lawsuit challenging the town of Minocqua's denial of a preliminary survey map for a two-lot subdivision will be dropped soon, the town's attorney, Gregory Harrold, said Friday.

That's because the town never denied the subdivision survey in the first place, and couldn't have if it had wanted to.

The property is located in the subdivision of Doolittle Barden's Wah-Ca-Zi-Zi at Marguerite Court and Davies Road.

The following is the fourth and final in a series that recaps stories as spelled out in The Lakeland Times. Some of the fourth quarter's top stories are included below:


Hiller out as Mercer school board member: Voters in the Mercer School District cast their votes in a recall election for a seat on the school board.

Incumbent Shannon Hiller finished in last place in a field of three candidates.

Former Mercer school board member Karl Anderson was first with 211 votes and longtime area resident Deanna Pierpont was second with 172 votes.

Anderson and Pierpont advanced to the general recall election to be held Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Vilas Public Health Board discusses planned H1N1 immunizations: Gearing up to proactively fight an expected onslaught of H1N1 "swine flu" cases during the upcoming 2009-10 flu season, members of the Vilas County Public Health Board began laying the groundwork for the 23,044-resident county's planned slate of special H1N1 immunization clinics.

A lucky day for the Minocqua man 'saved by the yell': "When you're in trouble you can yell pretty loud."

That's according to town of Minocqua resident John Blumenschein who was rescued Sept. 24 from the waters of Lake Minocqua by three good samaritans after he had fallen in his boat house and could not get himself out of the cold water.

Blumenschein, who had broken a leg in the fall, said he yelled for help for about 45 minutes before his calls were answered by a neighbor across the lake and two muskie fisherman who were trying their luck nearby.

Proposed Minocqua town budget contains zero property tax increase: There's some good news for taxpayers in the Town of Minocqua.

The town board began work on the 2010 town budget which, according to town chairman Joe Handrick, will contain no property tax increase.

Handrick said the proposed budget includes a town property tax freeze on businesses and homeowners at 2009 levels.

Gun rights headed back to the Supreme Court: Just a little more than 15 months after the United States Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C., as unconstitutional, the issue of whether individual Americans have a Second Amendment right to own guns is headed back to the High Court.

At issue this time is a handgun ban in Chicago, and a decision on its constitutionality could ultimately define not merely what gun prerogatives Americans have but what scope and authority state and local governments have to limit individual liberty on a broad range of matters, from abortion to gay marriage.

Economic woes impact local tourism: After earlier predictions of doom and gloom in the northern Wisconsin tourism industry this summer, business in Wisconsin's Northwoods was much better than expected.

Diane Hapka, executive director of the Minocqua-Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Area Chamber of Commerce, said that according to what she has heard from area businesses, the summer tourism business wasn't so bad.

Incumbents swept out of office in LdF tribal election: Opponents of the Lac du Flambeau tribal government apparently got their wish when two incumbent members of the tribal council and the incumbent treasurer and secretary were all voted out of office as the result of a controversial tribal election.

In the election for tribal secretary, challenger Betty Graveen defeated incumbent Gerry "Weeders" Brown with 544 votes to Brown's 336.

In the race for tribal treasurer, Barry LeSieur finished first with 526 votes and defeated incumbent Rose Mitchell who received 355 votes.

In the race for the four seats on the tribal council, incumbents Mike W. Christensen and Donna LeMere lost in their bids for re-election.

MHLT awarded $525k grant for new charter school: Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School has been awarded a grant of $525,000 toward the establishment of a new charter school.

With the final notification of the award, Woodland Progressive School for 21st Century Citizens is on track to open its doors for the 2010-11 school year. The charter school will be located within MHLT's current facilities and will enroll up to 50 students grades 6-8.

Area schools see rise in student absences due to flu bug: Officials from various school districts in the Lakeland area are reporting an increase in the number of students absent each day due to flu-like symptoms, but it has not yet reached the level where they say they or the public should be overly alarmed.

The Lac du Flambeau School District appears to have been hit the hardest in the area by the flu bug.

Lac du Flambeau director of pupil services, Trish Teichmiller, said there were 121 absences, or about 25 percent of the student population.

Boulder Junction residents reject expansion efforts: Boulder Junction residents voted against constructing a new community building at a special meeting of the electors Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Of the 267 people who voted by ballot, 75 were in favor of the new building, but 192 were opposed.

Move to shrink Oneida County board tabled until January: A move to reduce the Oneida County Board to 13 supervisors instead of 21, and other related moves, could save the county more than $68,000, according to one supervisor.

Supervisor John Young said the county could save $68,284 if the county board were reduced to 13 supervisors, committees were reduced in size from five to three members and the number of committees was cut.

Supervisors tabled consideration of the resolution regarding reducing the number of supervisors on the county board until the board's January 2010 meeting.

Memo: Holperin, Black propose NR115 revisions: State Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover) and state Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison) are requesting significant modifications to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' proposed revision of NR115, the state's shoreland zoning administrative rule, according to an internal memorandum of a key stakeholders' group.

The agency would roll back the regulatory boundary for impervious surface limitations, applying proposed caps to all properties within 300 feet of an ordinary high water mark rather than current language that would apply those limits to all properties within 1,000 feet of a lake's OHWM and within 300 feet of a river's OHWM or of the landward edge of a flood plain.

Suspected H1N1 outbreak prompts closure of LdF Public School: Mirroring experiences in a growing number of Wisconsin communities including Medford, Crandon and Wisconsin Dells, a suspected H1N1 "swine flu" influenza outbreak at 470-student Lac du Flambeau Public School - and throughout the 3,299-resident Lac du Flambeau community - spurred the school's temporary closure.

Residents sound off at deer season hearing: The Department of Natural Resources didn't get to hear much support for the Earn-a-Buck alternative plan proposal at last a public hearing in Rhinelander.

The new deer herd control plan includes extending the traditional gun season in 2010 and 2011 to a 16-day season from the existing nine-day hunt.

The proposal states that the traditional season would start two Saturdays before Thanksgiving, an entire week early.

The majority of the more than 200 people at the hearing held at the James Williams Middle School wanted the DNR to know they were opposed to a 16-day regular gun deer hunting season.

Illness forces closure of LdF, North Lakeland through Nov. 1: In the wake of President Barack Obama's declaration of an H1N1 swine flu national emergency, fast-rising rates of student and staff absenteeism with influenza-like illnesses, including likely pandemic levels of swine flu infection, spurred the closing of two Lakeland area schools: Lac du Flambeau Public School and Manitowish Waters-based North Lakeland School.

Purdue study: H1N1 pandemic has probably peaked: With less than 6 percent of already purchased H1N1 vaccine doses shipped as of Oct. 21, researchers at Purdue University have released a study suggesting the pandemic has peaked and could decline rapidly in the next several weeks.

If it does, that means a "significant amount" of vaccine doses, bought at a federal price tag of about $1.8 billion, might not be used and could be discarded, according to a Centers for Disease Control official.

Minocqua library expansion receives the go-ahead from electors: Minocqua voters cast their ballots Tuesday, Nov. 3, overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed expansion and renovation of the Minocqua Public Library.

Of the 670 votes, 491 were in favor of the approving the expansion, 188 voted against it.

Town chairman Joe Handrick said that in his political experience, seeing this high of a majority vote, 72 percent, is unusual.

After four years of litigation, Times finally receives DNR pay records: In the end, after tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and a battle to the state Supreme Court, it came down to protecting fewer than 100 names and less than four pages of text.

In October, following a decision in favor of The Lakeland Times by Wisconsin's High Court this summer, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources finally turned over records requested by the newspaper in 2005. Specifically, The Times had asked for the names and salaries for DNR personnel working out of the agency's Rhinelander and Woodruff offices.

LdF band allegedly loses millions after plans for casino boat sink: Grand Soleil LLC, a corporation in which the Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is part shareholder and has invested millions of dollars, has confirmed through its attorney, Kent Hudson, that the corporation has sold its river boat, Players Riverboat III, in Natchez, Miss.

According to Charles Cato, the original purchaser of Players Riverboat III, he learned of the boat's sale from Hudson and says the boat, which was purchased in August 2005 and transferred into Grand Soleil LLC just days after as equity, was sold for a mere $250,000 at best.

Crown Point Classics ordered to pay $129K: A longtime area business was recently ordered by an Oneida County judge to pay approximately $129,000 for damages and nearly $20,000 in legal fees to a Hazelhurst couple after the court ruled the company had violated the state's motor vehicle repair statutes.

Eric and Patricia Scott had filed the civil suit against Crown Point Classics and its owner Gene Wendt in November 2008.

Resort owner faces federal charges: The owner of the Big Bear Hideaway in Boulder Junction has been indicted by federal law enforcement officials over allegations that he was involved in a "Ponzi scheme" which was allegedly implemented to steal thousands of dollars from investors.

The federal indictment alleges that Jeffrey Stadelmann obtained $2.4 million from more than 50 investors based on false pretenses.

Mangerson upholds Board of Adjustment resort decision: Oneida County circuit judge Mark A. Mangerson denied an appeal by a Hazelhurst resort owner of a Board of Adjustment decision to deny the owner a condominium conversion.

The BOA concluded that Thomas Ernstmeyer's (Wilderness Waters & Woods Preserve) Bear Lake Ridge Resort was discontinued for 12 consecutive months in 2006, thereby losing its legal nonconforming status.

Sheriff's sale auction of Bosacki's delayed by bankruptcy filing: A surprise voluntary Nov. 17 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Minocqua restaurateur Harlan E. Bosacki scuttled Oneida County Sheriff Jeffrey J. Hoffman's planned 10 a.m. Nov. 18 Sheriff's Sale auction of Bosacki's Boat House, a popular Island dining fixture since 1917.

A crowd of nearly 30 gathered in Rhinelander in the atrium at the historic Oneida County Courthouse for a scheduled docket of Nov. 18 Sheriff's Sale auctions, which had included the Bosacki's Boat House auction.

Hoffman told the assembled crowd that the Bosacki's auction had been postponed by a Nov. 17 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Minocqua-based Bosacki's North, Inc. in the United States Bankruptcy Court's Western Wisconsin District in Eau Claire.

Supreme Court to decide status of public employees' emails: In a case that could have far-reaching consequences for the state's open records laws, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to potentially decide whether the personal emails of public employees - written on government computers - are exempt from the state's open records' laws.

The justices have heard oral arguments in the case, Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District, in which five teachers are seeking to block release of their personal emails. In April 2007, a citizen, Don Bubolz, sent the district an open records' request for all emails from the teachers' school computers for the period March 1, 2007, through April 13, 2007.

Hunters see, shoot fewer deer: During opening weekend of Wisconsin's 158th gun deer season, hunters registered a preliminary tally of 100,330 deer during the first two days.

The 2009 preliminary count is down 33,498 deer, 25 percent, from the 2008 opening weekend harvest of 133,828.

Buck harvest statewide in 2009 was 49,583 (52,477 in 2008) and antlerless harvest was 50,478 (81,351 in 2008).

Ldf tribal president steps down: As of this past Monday, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians were without a tribal president after Carl Edwards, who was elected in 2008, resigned his seat as the head of the Lake Superior band.

Edwards submitted his resignation in writing Monday which was then brought before the tribal council at its scheduled meeting Monday night.

In the letter, Edwards said it were the differences in opinion regarding matters before the board as his reason for resigning.

Burglaries at two PI taverns leave community feeling 'violated': Vilas County Sheriff's Department detectives are searching for clues as they investigate back-to-back post-closing break-ins at PI Pub & Restaurant and PI Yacht Club, both located along Hwy. B in downtown Presque Isle.

The burglaries occurred in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Boulder Junction mourns death of businessman, firefighter Dennis Maurer: Tight-knit "Musky Capital" Boulder Junction is mourning the loss of one of its most involved and widely-respected residents, longtime town businessman and volunteer firefighter Dennis Maurer, 51, who died unexpectedly of natural causes Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Minocqua police investigate major appliance store burglary: Imagine the shock of Minocqua Appliance and Electronics owner Jim Meek when he arrived at his business early Saturday, Nov. 28, to open for the day.

When Meek arrived that morning he discovered someone had broken into his store at 8621 Hwy. 51 North in Minocqua and had stolen thousands of dollars in merchandise and caused thousands of dollars in damage.

DNR pulls the plug on 16-day deer gun hunting season: After months of debate, thousands of comments from hunters and preliminary 2009 deer harvest figures that were down 29 percent statewide from last year, the Department of Natural Resources pulled the 16-day deer gun hunt recommendation from the Natural Resources Board agenda only days before the NRB was scheduled to vote on the 2010 season framework.

This means the 2010 deer gun hunt will remain nine days.

Appliance store burglary arrests made: Two suspects were arrested in connection with the Thanksgiving weekend burglary of Minocqua Appliance and Electronics where more than $15,000 in merchandise was stolen.

According to a news release issued by the Minocqua police department, tips and other information from the public aided in the arrest of two suspects who were allegedly involved in the burglary that occurred sometime during the late night hours of Friday, Nov. 27, or the early morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 28.

DNR says there is a need to apply water quality standards uniformly: A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' zoning specialist acknowledged the need for greater water quality regulation in the state's incorporated cities and villages, while the agency's northern regional director went even further, saying water quality standards should be uniform across the state.

Early season storm pummels state and the Northwoods: The Northwoods and the entire state got a rude awakening when the season's first storm struck with high snow totals and strong winds that slowed commerce, transportation, closed schools and cancelled many other social and governmental events.

But while activities slowed because of the snow, there were others who were pleased with this first "winter dumping" of the season.

From reluctant snow shovelers to ecstatic local business owners, snowmobilers, skiers and school children, the first major snowstorm indiscriminately covered all corners of the Northwoods in a cold, white blanket.

Smith, Petroskey won't run for Oneida County board in spring: There will be at least two new members of the Oneida County board and a new county board chairman following the spring local elections.

According to Oneida County clerk Bob Bruso, board chairman Andy Smith and District 2 supervisor Wilbur Petroskey have both filed papers declaring their decisions not to run for re-election in spring 2010.

Minocqua police chief reprimands multiple officers: At least four members of the Minocqua Police Department were disciplined over the past year for violations of department policy - with one, patrol officer William Trojan, being reprimanded more than once during that same period and a total of eight times since 2002.

Town closes on property as Minocqua Park nears completion: With most components of the Minocqua Park project in place, the town of Minocqua paid Robert Rynders $450,000 last week to take ownership of the former Circle M property.

The town had already paid $150,000 to Rynders, the property owner, bringing the total price to $600,000.

... And that's a wrap on what was 2009 in the Lakeland area. For the entire year in review in one spot, visit www.lakelandtimes.com.

Here's to 2010!

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