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home : news May 29, 2016

Sen. Ron Johnson hears concerns about wolves in the North
Daleth Mountjoy/River News

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, talks with Eric Koens from the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association about the problems caused by wolves in northern Wisconsin.
Daleth Mountjoy/River News

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, talks with Eric Koens from the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association about the problems caused by wolves in northern Wisconsin.
Wolves have been a frequent topic of conversation in the Northwoods since a judge reinstated federal protection for the animals under the Endangered Species Act.

The debate over the status of wolves in the Great Lakes region continued Monday during a rural small business roundtable event hosted by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) in Rhinelander. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A new home: T-Bird bridge heads to LUHS
It appears a beloved Northwoods landmark will be staying within the confines of "T-Bird Country," as the Lakeland Union High School Board of Education voted Monday night to accept the donation of the iconic T-Bird bridge that crosses the Bearskin Trail over Highway 51 in Hazelhurst.

The old railroad bridge, standing since 1938, will be replaced with a new structure in August that meets current safety, height and width standards. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fire District Committee discusses Eagle River
After the Woodruff Town Board's motion to create a committee comprising of resident Ed Bruner, town board supervisor Ed Richardson and fireman Victor Gee, the committee held its first meeting on May 20 to share information and plan the next step in contacting town boards to discuss creating a fire district. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 27, 2016

Woodruff: Town Board formally approves ATV route
During discussion at the May 18 meeting of the Arbor Vitae Town Board where an all terrain vehicle route and draft ordinance was approved, town chairman Frank Bauers, as part of his introduction to the subject at hand, made an observation.

"Woodruff has its routes picked out and an ordinance in hand and they're ready to go," he said. "The reason they haven't passed anything is because they can't get out of town right now." (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Records rebut sheriff's department's legal claim on rape allegations
News analysis

Records released by the Oneida County sheriff's department containing rape allegations against former deputy Lee Lech have roiled the Clark County sheriff's department, where Lech has been employed most recently, and controvert the Oneida County's sheriff's department's legal claim that the charges were unfounded. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Coming together, coming apart
At Tuesday's town board meeting in Boulder Junction, actions were set in motion that led to the resignation of deputy town clerk Barbara Boston, after clerk Kendra Moraczewski asked the board for permission to hire another part time deputy clerk/treasurer. The board also discussed economic development and the proposed plan for a plaza downtown. The board also heard comments from a concerned citizen, Colleen Swanson, regarding the town plaza project and the way the board has run meetings in the past. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 27, 2016

Vilas County Board approves bond sale for courthouse project
As the plans for the multi-million dollar renovation and expansion of the Vilas County courthouse continue, the financing terms for the project have been locked in.

Tuesday, the Vilas County Board unanimously approved the sale of $10 million in general obligation promissory notes to the financial firm Robert W. Baird and Company. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Nicolet College hosts active shooter training
Nicolet Area Technical College hosted law enforcement training sessions Tuesday and Wednesday in cooperation with the Oneida County sheriff's office.

Officers from the sheriff's office, Rhinelander, Minocqua, Woodruff and Three Lakes Police Departments, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission and the Department of Natural Resources practiced what they would do in the event of an active shooter situation in their jurisdiction. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Minocqua police chief to look at recruiting efforts
Minocqua might have a slight issue in coming up with qualified applicants for its police department.

As part of his monthly report to the town board at its May 17 meeting, Minocqua Police chief Dave Jaeger said the department's boat patrol officer might be leaving to become a deputy with the Vilas County Sheriff's Department. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Devil's Elbow 5K/10K unites Arbor Vitae community
For many communities around Minocqua, the ability to compete with the larger town's events can be difficult.

In 2011, a group of Arbor Vitae residents came together to create an event that would put the town on local events calendars.

"The town wanted to have more events in Arbor Vitae," Red Crown Lodge resident manager Sheryl Tharman said. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

JEMS galore: Three JEM grants handed out in Vilas and Oneida Counties
Wisconsin secretary of tourism Stephanie Klett handed out three Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grants in Vilas and Oneida Counties Tuesday.

JEM grants are given by the state of Wisconsin to help new events with marketing and promotional costs and ultimately aim to increase tourism throughout the state. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Swearingen announces bid for re-election
Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) will seek another term in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

The Rhinelander supper club owner announced his re-election bid in a press release Wednesday morning.

"I am humbled with the outpouring of support and encouragement to run for a third term in the Assembly," Swearingen said.

Friday, May 27, 2016

DA's office gets new part-time assistant DA
With the recent departure of two of his assistants, Oneida County district attorney Michael Schiek has put in a lot of long hours over the last eight weeks. But that changed April 18 when Mary M. Sowinski started as the new part-time assistant district attorney.

Sowinski, who was born and raised in Sugar Camp and graduated from Three Lakes High School, brings a wealth of experience to the position. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Arbor Vitae: Town board approves ATV route and ordinance
In April, the town of Arbor Vitae had a referendum question on the ballot during the spring election.

"Should ATVs be allowed with limited use on Arbor Vitae town roads?"

That issue passed, 785 yes votes to 705 no votes. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Supreme Court: Moustakis can't sue to stop disclosure
Elected officials in Wisconsin don't have so-called Woznicki rights, or the right to sue to stop the release of public records about them, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The Woznicki notice requires a custodian to notify certain record subjects that it intends to release certain records - among them the results of disciplinary investigations and records obtained by search warrant or subpoena - and that that person has the right to sue to halt their release and to have the release decision reviewed by a court. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DOT sets date and time for first Hwy. 51 closure in bridge project
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has scheduled the first overnight closure of U.S. Highway 51 at the site of the old railroad bridge in Hazelhurst, known as the Bearskin Trail Bridge.

The closure is at least two weeks ahead of original estimates.

A press release from the DOT issued Thursday said crews will close Hwy. 51 at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

State inmates coming back to county jail
Come next month, state inmates - and state money - will be headed back to Oneida County, sheriff Grady Hartman said Thursday.

Hartman told the county's Public Safety committee the sheriff's department has signed a contract with the state of Wisconsin to house prisoners in the county jail for a fee of $51.46 per inmate. The county can expect up to 100 inmates at a given time, but Hartman said in the past the number was closer to 60 inmates. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Overtime rule sparks intense political fight
The Obama administration's fast-tracking of a new overtime rule has set off a raging political fight both in Washington and in the states, with a group of U.S. senators introducing a bill to nullify it and business and liberal groups in Wisconsin staking out fierce positions.

The proposed rule was thrust into the political fray as well. Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson joined the nullification effort on the federal level, while his November challenger, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, called the rule "overdue." (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Winter Park Foundation board members see building plans
Members of the Winter Park Foundation met Wednesday afternoon with Minocqua Public Works director Mark Pertile and Melody Hamlin, a project manager with Wausau based Becher Hoppe.

In opening remarks, Pertile said last year, the facilities at Winter Park were assessed. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Vilas County's highway commissioner improves bridge aid
Vilas County highway commissioner Nick Scholtes, in his third month on the job, is working to stay ahead of the game.

One thing he's looked at in order to do that is making changes in the county's bridge aid program.

"With the bridge aid program right now, the towns come to the committee to let you know they have a culvert that fails," he said. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Minocqua wants to be a state forestry division headquarters
Minocqua officially has its "hat in the ring" as a consideration by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a new location for its forestry division headquarters.

It was recently announced the Wisconsin legislature ordered the DNR to investigate a new location for its forestry division headquarters.

With that announcement, counties and municipalities in the northern part of the state are starting the process to make the case as to why they should be that location. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

AV-W visits the Times, cranberry bogs, Lake Minocqua
Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School's sixth grade class had a full day of activities last Wednesday. The class spent the whole day in the field, visiting Bartlings' Manitowish Cranberry Company, Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty, The Lakeland Times and Lake Minocqua near Torpy Park.

AV-W sixth grade teacher Tracey Scharbarth said the trip was a precursor to a future project. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

LUHS National Honor Society students help a veterans memorial effort
National Honor Society students from Lakeland Union High School stuffed envelopes on Tuesday, May 10 as part of their service projects program.

The envelope-stuffing project helped the Wilderness Veterans Memorial Flame Foundation (WVMFF) with a mailing to Presque Isle homeowners.

The letters will be sent at the end of this month.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

MACC acquires JEM grant for No Frills Marathon
The Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce has acquired a Joint Effort Marketing grant for the 2016 No Frills Marathon held on the Bearskin Trail. The grant comes from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (WDT) and has been approved for up to $8,000. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Three injured in two-vehicle accident in Eagle River
Three people were injured Thursday evening in a two-vehicle crash in Eagle River.

According to a press release issued by Vilas County chief deputy Patrick Schmidt, a call came at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday reporting a two-vehicle accident with multiple injuries. The location of the traffic crash was State Highway 70, directly in front of Parson's Chevrolet of Eagle River.

It was determined that a 2007 Chevrolet pickup operated by 52-year-old Jay Duening of Sugar Camp had collided head-on with a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta operated by Jeralyn Lorenz, 48, of Eagle River, the release said. Duening and a male passenger in the Jetta, Scott Steffens, were flown to Ministry Saint Joseph Hospital in Marshfield for treatment of injuries. Lorenz was treated at Eagle River Memorial Hospital in Eagle River.

Highway 70 was temporarily shut down so the scene could be reconstructed.

Eagle River Fire Department, Eagle River Ambulance, Medevac Air from Ministry Saint Joseph Hospital in Marshfield, Eagle River Police Department, and the Wisconsin State Patrol assisted at the scene.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Woodruff plans annual parade to honor fallen heroes
Woodruff is hosting their 5th annual American Heroes Parade on Saturday, May 28. The Dr. Kate Memorial Craft Fair and 5th annual Woodruff Memorial Car Show will begin in the morning of the same day.

Woodruff town clerk Kim Albano has been in charge of planning the event for the past five years. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hwy 51 update
The roadwork on Highway 51 south of Hazelhurst continues, and will continue through the summer months. Marsh excavation and backfill is underway and will continue this week as well grading work from Rocky Run Road to Little Bearskin Road and from Warbonnet Lane to Clearview Court. Last week crews began placing gravel along the west side of the highway from Rocky Run Road to Jackson Heights Road. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Grass fire
A Minocqua firefighter works to put out a grass fire at 7022 Cameron Road on Wednesday. The fire initially was thought to be fast spreading and a threat to nearby structures but that threat quickly subsided as firefighters arrived. In addition to Minocqua fire personnel, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also had a brush truck with firefighters on the scene. A bulldozer from the Lake Tomahawk DNR station was also near the fire scene on a trailer and on standby if needed.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DPI: '50 Shades' incident did not meet state's definition of immoral behavior
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Mercer teacher and volleyball coach Robyn Schoeneman did not cross the state's threshold for immoral conduct when she rented the R-rated film "50 Shades of Grey" for a group of underage students on a road trip to an Oconto Falls tournament in August 2015. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 20, 2016

Minocqua Town Board OKs $180,000 engineering contract
The years-long process to get a new building for the town of Minocqua's fire department cleared another hurdle Tuesday as the contract to develop the building's plans was approved by the Minocqua Town Board.

The architectural and engineering services contract, totalling $180,000, is with MSA Professional Services. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Minocqua, Woodruff police departments receive ATVs
The Minocqua and Woodruff police departments have received, thanks to the Bombardier Recreational Program, one all-terrain vehicle each.

Minocqua police chief Dave Jaeger said his department has been using a utility vehicle, or UTV.

"We have been using those for our bigger events, like Fourth of July and Beef-A-Rama," he said. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Lee Lech accused of violent sexual assault
In records released by the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, former deputy Lee Lech was accused by a co-worker in 2014 of violent sexual assault, an allegation leading to his ban from the department and ultimate resignation.

Lech is now a deputy in Clark County. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Area providers discuss statewide broadband expansion
National and local broadband providers met May 13 in Antigo to discuss efforts to increase Internet connectivity in the Northwoods. In particular, the providers discussed the impact of the Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF2), as well as the state-provided Broadband Initiative Grants recently expanded by Gov. Scott Walker. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 20, 2016

Authorities investigating death of Phelps woman
Authorities are investigating the death of a Phelps woman who's body was found Tuesday.

According to a press release from the Vilas County Sheriff's Department, the department's dispatch center received a wireless 911 call before 1 p.m. Tuesday. The caller said she was walking on a trail behind some apartments in Phelps and found a dead body off the trail. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Eliason attorneys move to dismiss criminal charges
Attorneys for two St. Germain businessmen charged with 10 counts of securities fraud filed a joint motion in Vilas County Circuit Court Monday asking the court to dismiss all charges against their clients.

In their motion, defense attorneys Stephen Kravit and Dean Strang argue the criminal securities fraud statute is void because it is unconstitutionally vague. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Judge: Eliason legal advisor appears to be target of DFI probe
A hearing scheduled for May 13 on a motion to quash a subpoena issued to the lawyer who provided legal advice to two St. Germain businessmen accused of securities fraud was canceled when Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese recused herself from the case, according to court records. (subscriber access)
Friday, May 20, 2016

Fried, Hallstrom, Pederson, Wentland vie for vacant LUHS board seat
Four people have declared their candidacy for a seat on the Lakeland Union High School Board of Education.

Minocqua town supervisor and former Minocqua, Hazelhurst, Lake Tomahawk school board member Billy Fried, MHLT teacher Wade Wentland, Emily Hallstrom and Leonard Pederson have all applied for the seat vacated by Joe Fahrenbach last month. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

County board passes resolution for State Forestry Department relocation
The Oneida County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday joined the chorus of local officials lobbying to bring the State Division of Forestry office to Oneida County.

The Rhinelander City Council passed a resolution last week asking the state to consider Rhinelander for the soon-to-be relocated office and Tuesday the county board passed a similar resolution. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Federal regulations impact Wisconsin less
The impact of federal regulations on the Badger state is less than on most other states, a new analysis shows, but the burden of federal rules has nonetheless been growing over the years.

The study, from Patrick A. McLaughlin and Oliver Sherouse at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranks each of the states and the District of Columbia according to how federal regulations affect each state's economy. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Preliminary investigation into house explosion reveals the cause
The explosion that destroyed an unoccupied seasonal home in the early morning hours of May 13 in the town of Sugar Camp was caused, according to preliminary investigation results, by gas vapor.

That's the explanation from the Division of Criminal Investigations-Office of the State Fire Marshall through an Oneida County Sheriff's Department press release earlier this week. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Feingold visits Rhinelander as part of 72 county campaign tour
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson's opponent in the 2016 election, former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, was in Rhinelander Saturday.

He served in the senate from 1993 to 2011, when he was defeated by Johnson in a re-election bid.

In early 2015, Feingold announced he was running again for the Senate seat and will face off against Johnson this November.

While in Rhinelander, Feingold toured the downtown area, which is undergoing a massive street reconstruction project. (subscriber access)

Friday, May 20, 2016

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