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January 20, 2021

Lawsuit filed in federal court looks to overturn wolf delisting
Wolves have bounced on and off the Endangered Species List (ESL) in the last few years. Last November the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delisting of the gray wolf once again. Sixty days after the delisting was published, it went into affect, meaning wolves were delisted on Jan. 4, 2021. This meant the management of the gray wolf would fall upon the states, rather than being managed at the federal level. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Corrections officer resigns following felony arrest
Former Oneida County corrections officer Jacob Dean Petitt is facing up to 9 1/2 years in prison following his arrest last week on allegations he provided information on the area drug enforcement group in exchange for sexual favors. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Evers returns to familiar themes for 2021
Gov. Tony Evers rang in the political new year with his annual State of the State address this past week, but it could have been any old year, as the governor returned to familiar themes for his 2021 priorities. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Highway committee finalizes referendum resolutions
The Oneida County Highway Committee last week approved three resolutions and forwarded them to the Oneida County board for debate and a final vote.

In November, the county board approved a resolution in support of a spring referendum question that would ask Oneida County voters if the county could increase the property tax levy by $1 million a year for 10 years for the purpose of funding highway construction and repair. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Lake Tomahawk board shuts down ATV club request
Following a split vote Jan. 13, the Lake Tomahawk Town Board will not recommend opening County Highway D to ATV/UTV traffic. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

St. Germain moves forward with broadband plans
The St. Germain Town Board explained more to the public about its plans to bring fiber-optic broadband service to the town during its regular meeting Jan. 11. Supervisors and members of the audience were also introduced to two candidates running for the office of town treasurer. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hartman: County open records provision not legal
Based on open records complaints received from The Lakeland Times, Oneida County sheriff Grady Hartman said this week he agrees with the newspaper that a provision of the county code requiring records custodians to seek corporation counsel review of records requests is illegal.
Friday, January 15, 2021

OC corrections officer resigns in wake of arrest
According to a press release issued by sheriff's captain Terri Hook Thursday evening, Jacob Petitt has resigned his position as a corrections officer with the Oneida County sheriff's office.
Friday, January 15, 2021

Aspirus, Ascension health systems ink deal
Aspirus Health and the Ascension Medical Group announced in a press release Tuesday an agreement has been signed to transfer from Ascension to Aspirus ownership of seven hospitals, 21 physician clinics and air and ground medical transport services in north and central Wisconsin.
Friday, January 15, 2021

Acting on its own, forestry department banned contractor for life
When the Oneida County forestry committee took action in December 2020 to ban contractor Bob Rynders from doing any work on county forest property, the action was not only extraordinary but taken without giving Rynders any notice the committee would be discussing such a ban. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 15, 2021

Brookings: U.S. population growth in the doldrums
U.S. population growth was almost nonexistent over the past decade, new Census Bureau statistics show. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 15, 2021

In first year, Hagedorn voted with liberals more than with Rebecca Bradley
Conservatives seem astonished state Supreme Court justice Brian Hagedorn has bailed on them in a string of high-profile high court decisions, the latest being his dismissal of President Donald Trump's challenge to Wisconsin's election results without even hearing the case, but what is most surprising is his votes shouldn't be all that surprising. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 15, 2021

Lake Tomahawk has a new fire chief
The town of Lake Tomahawk has a new fire chief.

Mike Carlin, a 7-year veteran of the department, took over as chief on Jan. 1.

He succeeds Doug Rehm, the town's fire chief for the past 17 years, who will continue with the department in a different capacity. (subscriber access)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Oneida County to boost nurses' pay by about $6,000
Facing a competitive disadvantage and with positions going unfilled, the Oneida County Labor Relations Committee last week approved a pay raise of about $6,000 a year for its existing nurses in the public health department, effective with the next payroll. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Oneida County snowmobile trails stay closed
The Oneida County snowmobile trail system, which was to open for the 2021 season on Saturday, Jan. 9, will remain closed. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Wolf delisting to create larger 'toolbox' for state, landowners
In November, the United States Fish and Wildlife Services announced the delisting of the gray wolf, a species that has yo-yo'd on and off the list in the past few years. The move came as no surprise to most, and was expected in March of this year. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Democrats take Georgia, secure effective majority
Democrats secured an effective majority in the U.S. Senate Jan. 5, giving the party complete control of Congress and the White House for the first time since Barack Obama's first two years in office.

Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler while challenger Jon Ossof defeated Republican David Perdue.

Monday, January 11, 2021

'CPR saved my life': Local RASTA members shed light on CPR awareness
"The first thing I heard waking up in the ICU was the nurse telling me 'you had a heart attack riding your mountain bike. Your friend gave you CPR and saved your life. You are very lucky,'" recalled Scott Watson, local mountain biker and member of the Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association (RASTA), following his recent heart attack at the Washburn Silent Sports Trail complex. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 8, 2021

Conservatives divide over efforts to deny electors certification
Republicans were mounting a stronger-then-expected challenge to the certification of electoral vote slates this week, with about a dozen senators and 140 Republican representatives expected to join the protest quest. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 8, 2021

Highway committee sends road funding resolutions to county board
The Oneida County Highway Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 30 approved a recommendation to the full county board to rescind a resolution passed at the Nov. 10, 2020 county board meeting regarding funding for county road projects. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Trump asks U.S. Supreme Court to take up Wisconsin election challenge
The campaign of President Donald Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its challenges to Wisconsin's presidential election results, charging the state Supreme Court's dismissal of those challenges allowed more than 50,000 illegal absentee ballots to be counted in violation of both Wisconsin state law and the Wisconsin constitution. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Trump rally planned for Minocqua January 6
President Donald Trump is planning a big and wild rally in Washington, D.C., for January 6, when Congress will be voting whether to certify the electoral college vote, but, for those who can't make it, Trump supporters are planning a local rally in Minocqua. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Yes, Hagedorn is (was) a conservative, after all, maybe
In the latest brouhaha involving state Supreme Court justice Brian Hagedorn, the one-time former legal counsel for former Gov. Scott Walker has received increased police protection after siding with liberals to dismiss four challenges by the Trump campaign to Wisconsin's presidential election. (subscriber access)
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Times files open records complaint against county public health director
The Lakeland Times filed an open records complaint last week against Oneida County public health director Linda Conlon for failing to fulfill a request for records for more than seven months, and the newspaper has further requested a law enforcement investigation into whether certain county officials are deliberately violating state law and the county code to conceal those and other records from the public. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Oneida County highway brine storage project expected to continue after Jan. 1
Demolition work to clear debris left after high winds caused the collapse of initial trusswork for the new brine building on the grounds of the Oneida County Highway department complex in Rhinelander will start after Jan. 1. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Transit panel approves equipment and vehicle policies
The Oneida Vilas Transit Commission (OVTC) approved two policies regarding use of company vehicles and equipment at its Dec. 21 meeting.

The first policy discussed was concerning the use of company equipment and was meant to resolve the question of whether Northwoods Transit Connections (NTC) employees should be allowed to use NTC equipment for personal use. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

New air medical base coming to Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport
Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport officials learned Monday that Life Link III is planning to open a new air medical base that will be home to a medically-configured helicopter the company calls "flying intensive care units (ICUs)." According to a Life Link III press release, the Rhinelander base will be the 10th the company operates in Minnesota and Wisconsin. (subscriber access)
Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ascension Wisconsin launches COVID-19 vaccination of frontline caregivers
Ascension Wisconsin completed the first COVID-19 vaccinations of frontline caregivers on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Thursday, December 24, 2020

In Trump challenge, justices condemn majority's lack of ruling on merit
The state Supreme Court may have tossed President Donald Trump's challenge to Wisconsin's election results, but beyond the ballyhoo of the headline was the news of just how narrow the court's decision was, and buried deeper in the stories were three compelling dissents that took the narrowly prevailing argument to task. (subscriber access)
Thursday, December 24, 2020

OC highway committee tweaks referendum plan
On Nov. 10 the Oneida County Board of Supervisors agreed to include a referendum question on the April 2021 ballot regarding funding for road maintenance and construction. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Report: 'Indefinitely confined' lawmakers were out and about campaigning
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declared that pretty much anybody who wants to can declare themselves indefinitely confined for voting purposes - or at least can get away with it, and are thus exempt from the state's voter ID law - and two Democratic state lawmakers apparently took advantage, going to Madison as Biden electors and campaigning around their districts, among other things. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Delta signs new 3-year contract for flights to Twin Cities
The Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport received some good news last week from the United States Department of Transportation involving Delta Airlines in the form of a new three-year contract for the carrier to continue to provide at least twice-daily, round-trip service between Rhinelander and Minneapolis-St. Paul. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

State audit: Foxconn could still get tax credits for work done out of state
A new state legislative audit says that, under procedures set by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Foxconn could still receive state tax credits for work performed out of state, despite an earlier audit recommendation that the WEDC change the procedure. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Texas challenge to four states' presidential electors
Some historians are arguing that the United States is more divided politically that at any time since the Civil War, and two straight razor-close presidential elections have seemed to lend credence to the view, but even that evidence pales in comparison to the state-versus-state legal standoff this past week over the November 3 election results.
Friday, December 18, 2020

Oneida personnel committee votes not to open up facilities job to public
Under a proposed reorganization of Oneida County's building and grounds department following the retirement of facilities director Lu Ann Brunette, the Oneida County facilities committee is planning to promote the agency's assistant director to director, but the plan has opened up long-standing debates about the county's hiring process and its "good-old-boy" patronage practices. (subscriber access)
Friday, December 18, 2020

OC forestry panel addresses concerns regarding trail work
The Oneida County Forestry, Land and Recreation Committee took action Dec. 4 to keep Minocqua businessman Bob Rynders from doing any work on county land.

A letter outlining the forestry committee's reasoning was to be drafted and sent to Rynders following the group's Dec. 4 meeting. (subscriber access)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Small businesses across American are struggling but optimism remains
Many small businesses across the nation and in Wisconsin are teetering on the edge of survival because of pandemic lockdowns and slower retail traffic overall, but many who do have good business also find themselves in a squeeze, namely, it has become much harder to find and retain qualified employees. (subscriber access)
Friday, December 18, 2020

Bilogan lawsuit set for trial in 2022
A federal judge has denied former Oneida County forester John Bilogan's request to pause his civil lawsuit against Oneida County for a period of approximately three months to allow for a related investigation to conclude. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Lake Tomahawk board approves resolution opposing sulfide mining
As part of a light agenda, which resulted in a meeting lasting about 15 minutes, the Lake Tomahawk Town Board last week approved a resolution opposing sulfide mining. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

County highway committee approves fuel system bid
Less than two months after the Oneida County board voted down a resolution authorizing a fiscal impact study of the county highway shop complex on Kemp Street in Rhinelander, the county's highway committee last week approved a bid of nearly $278,000 from Wausau-based Northwest Petroleum for installation of a new fuel system. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Oneida County Tourism Council sets 2021 budget
The Oneida County Tourism Council (OCTC) met Dec. 7 to set its 2021 budget and discuss the Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) stimulus grant it recently received from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Transparency group sues State Department over virus origin documents
U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative public health group, has sued the U.S. Department of State for allegedly violating provisions of the Freedom of Information Act after the agency failed to produce documents related to the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

OC panel discusses plan to move fair headquarters to Curran Building
The Oneida County fair is set to make a move from the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport to a much better location near the courthouse, after the county's administration committee approved this week a line-item transfer for a new lease. (subscriber access)
Friday, December 11, 2020

Small business COVID-19 loans could lead to big tax bills
Small businesses that took loans under the coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) earlier this year could be facing some serious sticker shock when they get their tax bills, due to a recent ruling by the IRS on the tax treatment of loan forgiveness under the program. (subscriber access)
Friday, December 11, 2020

Evers administration expects modest increase in revenues in next 3 years
The Wisconsin Department of Administration expects state revenues to modestly increase over the next three fiscal years, the agency reported this past week, while an all-time high in the state's budget stabilization, or rainy day, fund is also anticipated at the end of the current fiscal year. (subscriber access)
Friday, December 11, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court knocks down New York's religious restrictions
In a late November decision that served up a warning to governors across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's limitations on attendance at church services in communities where coronavirus infections are high.

The vote was a narrow 5-4 margin, with chief justice John Roberts joining the court's three liberals in the minority and newly empaneled justice Amy Coney Barrett, in her first major decision, joining the court's conservatives as a decisive vote for the majority.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

COVID vaccine reality check: Don't pack away those masks just yet
It seems like every few days lately a new COVID-19 vaccine is unveiled with success rates of 90% or higher, and even Dr. Anthony Fauci is excited, calling the results "extraordinary."
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Guild defense continues to allege 'appearance of impropriety' in quest to disqualify DA
Attorneys for former Rhinelander city administrator Daniel Guild are continuing to press their argument that Oneida County district attorney Mike Schiek should be disqualified from prosecuting the misconduct in public office case filed against Guild last March. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Oneida labor relations committee looking at health insurance incentive for older employees
Oneida County human resources director Lisa Charbarneau should continue to research whether the county can offer older employees a cash payment to opt out of the county's health insurance program and enroll in Medicare. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

OC highway commissioner to retire in 2021
Oneida County is searching for a new highway commissioner following Bruce Stefonek's announcement that he intends to retire from the position effective April 23, 2021. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

On 4-3 vote, state Supreme Court declines to hear Trump election challenge
On a narrow 4-3 vote, the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied a petition by the campaign of President Donald Trump to hear the president's challenge to the state's certified election results. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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