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home : news : county/state news March 23, 2017

Schiek: Next time he'll designate trainer
The district attorney of Oneida County says he hopes he won't have to order open-government training again for the county board, but, if he does, his office will decide who leads it, not the county. (subscriber access)
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Snowmobile fatalities tally 16 throughout state
The Vilas County Recreational Trails Safety Committee received the state's snowmobile fatality report last week and found the county at the bottom of the list for number of fatalities. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Let the sun shine in the Northwoods
In honor of Sunshine Week - a celebration and advocacy of open government - The Northwoods River News and The Lakeland Times present the newspapers' 2017 awards and grades for openness in conducting public business.

The following grades are calculated using several measures, including how responsive officials have been this past year to open records' requests, how diligently they have strived to keep the workings of government open, how willing they were to communicate with the media and with the public, as well as their past track record.

The rating scale...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Oneida County to hold public hearing for Marshfield Clinic April 6
The Oneida County Planning and Development committee reconvened on Wednesday for the first time since its public hearings for the new proposed shoreland protection ordinance. (subscriber access)
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Officials play small ball to kill transparency
No one thing in 2016 quite matched the spectacle of 2015, when Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP legislative majority tried to effectively repeal the state's open-records law. The public blowback was so strong and immediate that lawmakers ran for cover. (subscriber access)
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chimney fire damages cabin
Crews from the Three Lakes and Sugar Camp fire departments, with an assist from a tanker from the Eagle River Area Fire Department, fought a chimney fire at a cabin on Rustic Lane outside of Sugar Camp midday Tuesday. According to a Three Lakes fireman at the scene, the fire started in the chimney, and possibly had spread into the surrounding walls by the time fire crews arrived. The firemen used a thermal camera to make sure any fire in the walls was out before they left the scene. In addition to the fire departments, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office and an Oneida County ambulance also responded to the fire.
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Oneida County talks meeting procedures at admin meeting
The Oneida County Board of Supervisors received mandatory training in regards to open-meetings laws in February.

Some of the training information by Lori Lubinsky of Axley Brynelson was found to be inaccurate, particularly in relation to quorums. (subscriber access)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lakeland area housing sales update: February
When looking over the Lakeland area's housing sales figures for the month of February, three data points stand out the most. Lots and land in Oneida, Vilas and Iron County saw a tick in activity, particularly in price. (subscriber access)
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Political Digest
Walker touts tourism success

Gov. Scott Walker spoke to around 900 tourism industry representatives this week in Milwaukee, lauding the success of the state's tourism initiatives.

"Wisconsin's tourism industry plays an important role in moving Wisconsin forward, ultimately impacting job creation, workforce development, and economic growth," Walker said. "Tourism has a more than $19 billion impact on the economy in Wisconsin - that's up 30 percent over five years. More than 190,000 jobs depend on tourism. It's a really big deal."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Heavy hitters speak against public notice bill
A hearing was held last week on a controversial bill to eliminate required newspaper publication of local government meeting minutes, and a pair of heavy-hitting groups came out swinging against the legislation, including the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and AARP. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Luce opens door for new OCEDC, leadership
Roger Luce, the executive director of the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) and the Northeast Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (NEWEDC) will step aside next year and enjoy the retired life. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

County finalizes solid waste supervisor job description
The Oneida County Public Works/Solid Waste Committee finally nailed down a job description for the solid waste supervisor position at its meeting on Thursday morning. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Newbold approves budget for Outdoor Recreation Area
The budget for the recently opened Newbold Outdoor Recreation Area was approved March 9 at the Newbold Town Board meeting, and $45,400 will set aside for the construction and maintenance costs in the coming year. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pelican gets state loan for new shop
The town of Pelican was recently announced as the recipient of a $200,000 State Trust Fund loan from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) to construct a new town shop. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

State school superintendent makes Rhinelander stop
The race for state superintendent of public instruction is likely to be the on national implications, according to the man running for reelection for the office.

Tony Evers, who has been state superintendent since 2009, made a campaign stop Friday at the Rhinelander Cafe & Pub. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Officers' affair highlights out-of-town training woes
This past December, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office disciplined two sergeants for failing to report "matters of major importance" to the sheriff in a timely fashion, in this case incidents related to an affair the two married officers were having.

Both sergeant Anton Keelin and sergeant Sara Wolosek received seven-day suspensions. (subscriber access)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Oneida County loses another corrections officer
An Oneida County sergeant in the corrections department has left to take a job in the private sector, sheriff Grady Hartman said Thursday at the county's Public Safety Committee meeting. (subscriber access)
Saturday, March 11, 2017

City looks to partner with surrounding towns on North Faust Lake Road project
The City of Rhinelander public works committee gave tentative approval to a plan to partner with the towns of Pine Lake and Pelican to mill, face, shoulder and repave North Faust Lake Road, with the city's share running about 15 percent of the total cost of the project.
Saturday, March 11, 2017

WNA testifies against public records bill
MADISON - Representatives from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association on Wednesday testified before the state Assembly Committee on Local Government to oppose a bill that would do-away with the newspaper publication of local government meeting minutes.
Saturday, March 11, 2017

High winds whip through Northwoods
The recent warm weather in the area proved too good to be true as high winds wreaked havoc throughout Oneida and Vilas counties this week.

Large portions of the state experienced high winds, with Wisconsin Public Service reporting 20,300 customers without power, while having restored power to 48,000 more as of Tuesday night. (subscriber access)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Oneida County close to finalizing solid waste supervisor job description
The Oneida County Public Works/Solid Waste Committee held a special meeting last Thursday in an effort to nail down a job description for the county's solid waste supervisor, a position that will soon be posted for a third time since November.

The committee reviewed a list of all of the duties and responsibilities of a director, supervisor and technician, broken down into various categories. (subscriber access}

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Records again show widespread misconduct by Oneida County officers
In what continues to be a long-standing pattern of misconduct inside the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, the department doled out disciplinary action against its officers and staff at least 17 times between the middle of 2012 and the end of 2016 - a period of just over four-and-a-half years - an analysis of departmental records obtained in an open-records request by The Times shows. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rhinelander's shoreland zoning public hearing draws largest crowd
The Oneida County Planning and Development Committee held its third and final public hearing on the new proposed shoreland protection ordinance Thursday evening at the Oneida County Courthouse.

The final public hearing saw the largest turnout, with 29 citizens attending and 12 stepping to the podium to speak. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Several speak in Three Lakes on shoreland zoning changes
Oneida County's Planning and Development Committee, joined by Karl Jennrich, planning and zoning director, and Peter Wegner, assistant planning and zoning director, traveled to Three Lakes Wednesday for an informational public hearing on changes to chapter 9 of the shoreland zoning ordinances. The changes come after state legislation, notably Act 55, changed the amount of local control a county can have over zoning regulations. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Oneida County Social Services looks to fill vacancies
The Oneida County Social Services department received permission from its committee of jurisdiction Tuesday to fill two vacancies.

Both vacancies, one for a social worker job in the long- term care and delinquency unit, and the other as an aide, are the result of transfers. (subscriber access)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vilas County Public Health board continues drug epidemic conversation; workshop proposed to bring stakeholders together
One of the main items of discussion at the Vilas County Public Health Board's Feb. 22 meeting was the growing drug problem in Vilas County and what the board can do to combat it. (subscriber access)
Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vilas County deputies provided mutual aid at Standing Rock
As the Dakota Access pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation picked up momentum last year, North Dakota authorities sent out requests for mutual aid to law enforcement agencies in several states, including Wisconsin.

The Vilas County sheriff's office was among the Wisconsin law enforcement agencies to receive a call. (subscriber access)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Caged Crow Fabrications finds niche in food cart production
On any given day, visitors to the Madison area will find a variety of food carts along the streets surrounding the capital building. Branded on the back panel of roughy 10 carts is the name Caged Crow Fabrications. (Subscriber access)
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport receives FAA grant for over $500,000
Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday announced the distribution of $572,621 in funding to renovate the snow removal equipment building at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport.
Thursday, March 2, 2017

County holds first shoreland zoning public hearing in Woodruff
After 77 meetings since 2010, the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee held the first of three public hearings on the new proposed shoreland zoning ordinance Monday at the Woodruff Town Hall.
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Minocqua plan commission gives unanimous nod to Marshfield Clinic
The Minocqua plan commission approved a conditional use permit application from Marshfield Clinic Tuesday to build a 72,000-square foot, 12- bed hospital just blocks from Howard Young Medical Center, which is in the town of Woodruff. (subscriber access)
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Three Lakes town board will adhere to state law on private piers on public land
The controversy surrounding a strip of land located on Maple Lake in the town of Three Lakes seems to have come to an end after the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) denied a request by the Three Lakes town board to discontinue the land as a public way. Greg Harrold, the town's attorney, was present at the Feb. 21 town board meeting, to explain the decision and offer advice.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Traffic safety panel gathers info on allowing ATV traffic on highways
ATV traffic on county highways is not an issue unique to Oneida County and the state Bureau of Traffic Safety (BOTS) has taken notice.

At the Oneida County Traffic Safety Committee's quarterly meeting Feb. 21, the panel discussed a request for information from a BOTS consultant.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Garbage pickup, weight limits dominate Newbold meeting
Garbage pickup and weight limits were on the docket Thursday when the town of Newbold held its regular monthly meeting. According to several board members who had discussions with Advanced Disposal, it was understood that garbage pickup would be handled the same way as last year for Advanced customers.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kenosha man killed in snowmobile crash in Saint Germain
A 62-year-old Kenosha man was killed Saturday evening in a snowmobile crash in Saint Germain.

According to an Oneida County sheriff's office press release, a call came in at approximately 10:52 p.m. reporting a snowmobile crash on the snowmobile trail near the Rustic Manor in Saint Germain with two subjects injured.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Political Digest
Lawmaker: Walker's failed leadership undermining prosperity

A Wisconsin lawmaker said this week that Gov. Scott Walker's inability to effectively govern on transportation infrastructure funding is now causing problems for the state's crumbling building infrastructure. (subscriber access)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oneida County highway department gets feedback from exit interview
The Oneida County Public Works/Solid Waste Committee took a break from its ongoing review of the job description for the solid waste supervisor position Thursday to discuss some other items. (subscriber access)
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oneida board participates in mandatory training on open meetings law
Issues related to Oneida County's lack of compliance with Wisconsin's open meetings law have been well documented in recent months.

Most recently, the county's Labor Relations and Employee Services Committee failed to disclose the name of an employee who was suspended without pay. After filing an open records request, The Lakeland Times learned the employee was Paul Jensen. (subscriber access)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

City of Rhinelander hits snag in purchase of land from Oneida County
The city of Rhinelander hit a snag Feb. 14 in its effort to purchase a 30-foot parcel of land on Forrest Street. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

LRES approves reclassification of county clerk positions and forestry director
The Oneida County Labor Relations and Employee Services Committee signed off Feb. 15 on the reclassification of the chief deputy and deputy clerk positions.

With the reclassification of the positions, both positions are set to receive a raise in pay because of the change in qualifications for the job. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Oneida County opts for the status quo with unzoned towns
At the Jan. 25 Oneida County Planning and Development Committee meeting, it was announced that three towns within the county were determined to be unzoned.

Committee chairman Scott Holewinski - also the town chairman of Sugar Camp - asked that the discussion be tabled until the next meeting. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Animal rescue center founder arrested
The owner and co-founder of It Matters to One animal rescue in Sugar Camp was arrested Thursday morning by the Oneida County Sheriff's Department in connection with the seizure earlier this month of 39 dogs in the group's care.
Friday, February 17, 2017

County signs up attorney who fought Times on records
The Oneida County district attorney ordered open government training for all Oneida County supervisors after finding that a county committee violated the open-meetings law, but the county has selected an attorney to draft the training document and give the presentation who has routinely fought cases against records requesters, and was one of the lead attorneys in The Lakeland Times' records case against the county's sheriff's department, a case the county lost in 2016. (subscriber access)
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Work planned to resolve air quality issue at Rhinelander airport
Oneida County is going to take another shot at trying to improve the air quality in the lower level of the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport, longtime home of the county's UW-Extension office. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oneida County holds interviews for potential promotions in sheriff's department
The civil service commission held interviews Feb. 7 and 8 for possible promotions within the Oneida County Sheriff's Department. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dysfunction surrounds OC solid waste supervisor opening
Dysfunction and discombobulation emerged when the Oneida County Public Works/Solid Waste Committee met Thursday morning. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Group interested in additional bike routes in Newbold
The Newbold Town Board is considering adding bike routes adjacent to the Newbold Outdoor Recreation Area (NORA). (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Governor takes aim at public notices
The administration of Gov. Scott Walker has been relentless in its attempt to weaken the state's public records and open meetings laws, and in his new budget Walker unleashed yet another assault on transparency, proposing to abandon requirements that governmental bodies publish certain public notices in newspapers. (subscriber access)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tomahawk police thank good samaritan who saved puppy
Thanks to the quick action of a good samaritan a family pet was saved from the icy waters of the Jersey Flowage Wednesday.
Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sheriff's office removes 39 dogs from Sugar Camp animal rescue
Numerous dogs have been removed from a local animal rescue following an investigation by the Oneida County sheriff's office and other agencies.

According to the sheriff's office, 39 dogs were removed Monday from the It Matters to One Animal Rescue in Sugar Camp. (subscriber access)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Three cars burn at salvage yard
A member of the Pine Lake Fire Department puts out a fire that broke out at Oak Leaf Auto Salvage Tuesday. According to a worker, he was using an acetylene torch to cut the engines out of three cars in the facility when he stopped to give a co-worker a break. Although he thought the work area had cooled off, another co-worker came in a few minutes later to report that three vehicles were on fire. It took the PLFD about an hour to fully extinguish the blaze. Oneida County deputies also responded to the scene.
Thursday, February 9, 2017

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