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October 25, 2020

Supervisors crush bid to consider a new highway department
Oneida County supervisors overwhelming defeated Tuesday an attempt by supervisor Jack Sorensen to put the possibility of a new highway department back on the table, rejecting by a resounding 16-4 vote a resolution to hire an outside consultant to study the costs of building a new facility versus remodeling the current one. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 23, 2020

Controversy erupts over snowmobile trail signs
The president of the Northwoods Passage Snowmobile Club, which maintains snowmobile trails in southern Oneida County and Lincoln County, has an issue with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding trail signage.

Tim Calhoun said he recently received a phone call from the DNR about signs on what's known as the Bearskin Connector Trail. (subscriber access)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Oneida County receives over $300,000 in TRAVEL grants from Dept. of Tourism
Oneida County recently received a total of $301,599.74 in Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift (TRAVEL) Stimulus Grants from the Department of Tourism, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Oneida County Tourism Council.
Friday, October 23, 2020

Facebook, Twitter at the center of election, even in Wisconsin
Charges of censorship by giant tech companies against conservatives have thrust social media giants Facebook and Twitter into the center of the 2020 election, but those associated with the two media companies are making their presence felt in other ways around the country, too, including in Wisconsin, and for some it's not a welcome visit.
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pelican to shift to virtual instruction for two weeks
The following notice from district superintendent Eric Burke regarding the status of instruction at Pelican Elementary was posted on the School District of Rhinelander website Thursday afternoon:

After much thought and discussion with our district leadership team and Martha Knudtson today, we have made the decision to have Pelican Elementary School go remote temporarily for two weeks. The reason for this decision is the impact of COVID 19 on students and staff with both positive cases and in quarantine for close contacts.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lake Tomahawk board approves ATV/UTV ordinance
Nearly a year after the Lake Tomahawk ATV Club first approached the town board with a request for a stretch of town road to be opened to all-terrain vehicle and utility vehicle traffic, an ATV/UTV ordinance authorizing the use of the machines on town roads has been approved. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Northwoods National Cemetery open for burials
On Oct. 26, Northwoods National Cemetery in Harshaw will begin providing burials for veterans and eligible family members.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Court denies injunction to halt Evers's state of emergency
A St. Croix County judge last week blocked an effort to end a public health state of emergency declared by Gov. Tony Evers related to the coronavirus pandemic, a state of emergency he has used to implement a statewide face mask mandate and to limit the size of public gatherings. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Movement to state prisons resumes for inmates at Oneida County jail
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of obstacles for county jails and state prisons to navigate, officials at the Oneida County jail report that headway is gradually being made. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 16, 2020

Despite COVID, Oneida County sales tax collections up
When Gov. Tony Evers instituted his Safer at Home order March 25, shuttering many businesses in Oneida County, some elected officials and economic leaders predicted sales tax collections would plummet. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 16, 2020

Oneida County, state COVID-19 picture 'looking more critical'
As of Friday, Oct. 9, the Oneida County Health Department (OCHD) reported a total of 254 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, with 11 of those patients hospitalized. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Officials issue warning about contract tracer scam calls
Oneida County officials are warning local residents to beware of "certain bad actors" who are making fraudulent phone calls pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers from the county health department. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

County zoning administrator orders Minocqua political sign removed
A political sign on the side of the Minocqua Brewing Company (MBC) has become a bone of contention between the brewery's owner, Kirk Bangstad, and Oneida County. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Audit: More than 90% of unemployment calls unanswered
Just one-half of 1% of all calls to Wisconsin's unemployment centers at the height of the pandemic this past spring were answered, according to an audit released last week by the state's nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Rioters attack private homes in Wauwatosa after charging decision
There was violence in southern Wisconsin again this past week, as rioters took to residential streets in Wauwatosa, throwing rocks into private homes and prompting law enforcement and the National Guard to set up a perimeter around Wauwatosa City Hall. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Oneida County budget in better shape than feared with pandemic
Oneida County kicked off its budget hearings this week, and the good news is the county budget entered the fray not quite in tatters, as many feared it would be because of the pandemic, and far from it, actually, with multiple revenue line items now set to exceed last year's budgeted targets. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 9, 2020

Lawsuit filed to stop Evers from naming businesses connected to COVID-19 infections
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) - the combined state chamber of commerce, state manufacturers' association and safety council - filed a lawsuit this past week, seeking an injunction that would prevent Gov. Tony Evers from releasing the names of businesses that have had employees test positive for COVID-19. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 9, 2020

Evers clamps down on indoor public gatherings
Gov. Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services (DHS) secretary-designee Andrea Palm this week to issue an emergency order limiting public gatherings to no more than 25% of a room or building's total occupancy. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 9, 2020

OCHD issues warning in wake of COVID surge
The Oneida County Health Department is urging compliance with public health measures as COVID-19 diagnoses surge in the community.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Zoning panel denies CUP for hotel project
Taking cues from the Minocqua town board, the Oneida County planning and development committee denied last week a conditional use permit (CUP) application for a hotel project on two parcels between Hwy. 51 and Lakeview Drive, one where a laundromat operated and one where the previous Bay View Inn was located. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Bringing legends to life: Lake Tomahawk unveils new Snowhawk painting
Every town has its legends, and for the Town of Lake Tomahawk its the snowhawk. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 2, 2020

Judge cites continued communication with 'girl' in Valentine sentencing decision
Sentencing hearings in cases involving defendants who communicate with undercover officers posing as teenagers are unique in that there is no actual child victim. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 2, 2020

Oneida County land and water conservation committee hears plan for a Crescent Lake district
Crescent Lake property owner Ryan Peterson, and other interested in creating a Crescent Lake District, attended the Sept. 16 meeting of the Oneida County Land and Water Conservation committee to offer a progress report on their project. (subscriber access)
Friday, October 2, 2020

Evers recall effort is showing surprising results
The Republican Party isn't keen on the idea, and the drive may well fall short, but a push to recall Gov. Tony Evers has gained unexpected traction, with its principal organizer reporting last week approximately 275,000 voters had signed petitions to oust Evers. (subscribing access)
Friday, October 2, 2020

NTSB cites pilot fatigue as probable cause of 2018 helicopter crash
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that pilot fatigue was the probable cause of the Spirit 2 helicopter's late night crash April 26, 2018 in the town of Hazelhurst, according to its final report on the crash released Sept. 22. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Former judge dies
A long-serving local judge has passed away at the age of 71. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Valentine sentenced to prison in ICAC case
A 28-year-old former School District of Crandon music reacher found guilty of two charges related to an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation will spend the next five years in prison following sentencing Friday before Judge Michael Bloom. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Pine Lake residents rail against tourist rooming houses
For the second month in a row, discussion of tourist rooming houses (TRHs) dominated a meeting of the Pine Lake Town Board. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Marquette poll: 48 percent say Supreme Court pick is very important
The death of U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has virtually guaranteed the fight over her seat - whether it should be filled and who should fill it - will dominate much of the news between now and Nov. 3, and, if the results of a new Marquette Law School poll are any indication, the battle could be decisive. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Evers declares new health emergency, extends mask mandate
Citing multiple campus outbreaks of coronavirus infection, Gov. Tony Evers this week declared his third state of emergency related to the pandemic and extended his statewide face mask mandate until Nov. 21. Republican lawmakers immediately denounced the move as an illegal act - state statutes require legislative approval for the extension of any 60-day emergency health declaration - but it was unclear whether GOP leaders would act to overturn the order, which the Legislature can do by joint resolution. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 25, 2020

Valentine jury trial first in local judicial district since March
Last Friday's one-day jury trial, which ended with Alexander L. Valentine being found guilty of attempted sexual assault of a child under 16 and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, was the first 12-person jury trial in the 9th Judicial District since the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended all jury trials on March 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 25, 2020

Four months later, Oneida County still has not released Conlon emails
As Oneida County officials continue to argue about the required scope of records requests and that all their correspondence with county attorneys is privileged, the county passed a milestone this past week, with four months passing by without any release of the county's public health officer's emails.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

NTC director reprimanded
The Oneida Vilas Transit Commission (OVTC) voted Friday to reprimand Roger Youngren, director of Northwoods Transit Connections.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

St. Germain town board considering hiring constable
At its regular meeting Sept. 14, the St. Germain Town Board heard from residents living near a short-term rental property in a single-family, low-density neighborhood. Based on that input, town supervisors are now considering hiring a constable to enforce state laws and local ordinances.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Northwoods man loses license to practice law subhead
Citing "a clear pattern of misconduct" the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week revoked the license of a Northwoods attorney. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 18, 2020

Oneida County board quashes closed session on open records
By an 11-10 vote, the Oneida County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday nixed a closed session to discuss recent records requests by The Lakeland Times, handing county board chairman Dave Hintz, who had called for the closed door conference, a significant defeat. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 18, 2020

Bond reduced for Harshaw man facing child sexual assault charges
An Oneida County judge last week modified the bond in two of the three first-degree sexual assault of a child cases filed against a 55-year-old Harshaw man to allow for a surety bond with very strict conditions. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 18, 2020

Hintz took months to release records; Vilas, Minocqua chairs took hours, days
Responding to an open records request for months of their emails, both the Vilas County board of supervisors chairman and the town chairman of Minocqua released last week thousands of unredacted emails, all within days of their being requested. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tomahawk marks 19th anniversary of 9-11
The skies over Tomahawk dawned deep blue Friday morning, reminiscent of the skies over New York City 19 years go just before two hijacked airliners slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the first of four crashes of hijacked airliners that September day. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hearing explores pros and cons of ADRC-Social Services merger
A public hearing was held last week on a proposed merger - or grand alliance, if you will - between Oneida County's social services department (DSS) and the county's Aging Disability Resource Center (ADRC), though no decision was reached and little independent public input was received. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

OC health department reports second COVID-19 death
The Oneida County Health Department on Friday confirmed the second death in Oneida County associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The individual was in their 70s and had underlying health conditions, according to a health department press release.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Minocqua man sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing child porn
A Minocqua man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 15 years extended supervision after pleading guilty to a federal child pornography charge. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tiffany introduces bill to restore gray wolf authority to states
True to his word, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisconsin), along with Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota), has introduced legislation to permanently remove the gray wolf from the list of federal endangered species and restore authority to control the gray wolf population back to state lawmakers and state wildlife officials. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Complaint: Bilogan alleges 'civil conspiracy,' requests over a million dollars in damages
Former Oneida County forester John Bilogan has filed a lawsuit in Oneida County Circuit Court alleging certain county officials "engaged in a civil conspiracy" to cause him "personal and professional harm." He is seeking over $1.1 million in damages in the case. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 11, 2020

Sorensen pushes for consultant to assess highway facility
Oneida County supervisor Jack Sorensen revved up the county's seemingly endless debate over a new highway department this past week, pushing in two separate meetings for the county to hire an outside consultant to assess the cost of upgrading the existing facility - an upgrade that has been ongoing since 2015 - versus building an entirely new complex. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 11, 2020

Wausau man sentenced to 40 years for 2017 Tomahawk slaying
A 35-year-old Wausau man who pled guilty to the 2017 shotgun slaying of a Tomahawk man will serve 40 years in the state prison system before he will be eligible for parole consideration. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 11, 2020

Arbor Vitae man reaches plea agreement in case involving assault of nursing home patients
Pursuant to a plea agreement, a 19-year-old Arbor Vitae man accused of sexually assaulting elderly persons while caring for them at a Minocqua residential facility pled guilty Tuesday to one count of second-degree sexual assault of a mentally ill person. (subscriber access)
Friday, September 11, 2020

Oneida panel sends $2.3 million in projects to administration committee
The Oneida County Capital Improvement Program subcommittee has prioritized and sent 14 proposed projects to the county's administration committee for 2021 consideration, projects ranging from video cameras for sheriff's department squad cars to computer IT hardware infrastructure upgrades to a massive new investment in county highway road reconstruction. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

County ponders single point of entry for courthouse
Oneida County is considering improvements that would both bring the main entrance to the courthouse into Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and transform the entire building into a single point-of-entry facility. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Civil case filed in connection with fatal hit-and-run
The mother of a 23-year-old St. Germain man killed in a hit-and-run accident in August 2019 will have to wait for the driver of the other vehicle and his insurance company to resolve their legal dispute over coverage before she can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. (subscriber access)
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

First COVID-19 Death in Oneida County reported
The Oneida County Health Department has confirmed the first death in Oneida County associated with COVID-19. The individual was in their 80s and had an underlying health condition, according to a health department press release.

"We are saddened by the loss of one of our community members," said Linda Conlon, Oneida County Health Department Director and Health Officer. "We extend our sympathies to their loved ones and all impacted."

Friday, September 4, 2020

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