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March 6, 2021

Hintz gives emergency approval for health department staffing increases
Even with deaths, hospitalizations, and new cases due to Covid-19 broadly declining, government officials around Wisconsin are continuing to assert emergency powers that bypass procedures of normal governance, and Oneida County is no exception. (subscriber access)
Friday, March 5, 2021


Oneida zoning panel asks lawmakers to clarify shoreland zoning statutes
After wrangling with charges that Oneida County's shoreland zoning ordinance is noncompliant with state standards, and being rebuffed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources when it sought clarification, the Oneida County planning and development committee is asking state lawmakers to intervene. (subscriber access)
Friday, March 5, 2021

GOP calls for Evers to prioritize in-person learning
Assembly Republicans penned a letter to Gov. Tony Evers this week urging the governor to allocate more funding to schools that are holding classes in-person.

In the March 1 letter, Assembly speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Northwoods state Reps. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) and Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk) and other Republicans called on Evers to direct $20.8 million in new federal funding to districts that have been providing full-time, in-person instruction since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. (subscriber access)

Friday, March 5, 2021

Biden, Democrats begin major push for stricter gun laws
President Joe Biden used the recent three-year anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting to unleash a call for stricter gun laws, as Democratic senators and aligned interest groups also began a major effort to overhaul firearms legislation.

On Feb. 15 - the three year anniversary of the Parkland shooting - Biden said his administration was poised to act. (subscriber access)

Friday, March 5, 2021

Hazelhurst group loses rezone case in court of appeals
A state court of appeals has affirmed the judgment of a lower court that upheld Oneida County's rezoning of 10 acres of land in Hazelhurst to make way for a gravel pit. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bilogan legal team disputes 'excessive delay' argument in civil case, stresses absence of an 'up-or-down' decision on criminal charges
The uncertainty surrounding whether former Oneida County forester John Bilogan will face criminal charges related to the alleged use of county resources to build a road to a property in the Town of Enterprise has compromised his ability to continue his related civil lawsuit against several Oneida County officials and a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forester, his attorney has argued in response to a defense request for the civil case to be dismissed with prejudice. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Oneida Vilas Transit Commission considers lease options
The Oneida Vilas Transit Commission (OVTC) approved a motion Thursdat for the commission to research prospective new locations following an announcement from Northwoods Transit Connections transit manager Roger Youngren that the NTC's current location, 3611 U.S. Highway 47 in Rhinelander, was going to be sold. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Wisconsin, the nation, the world: Covid-19 cases plunge
The experts are holding their breath, hoping it will last - many mainstream media outlets aren't even reporting it - but the number of new cases of Covid-19 are plummeting around the world, around the United States, and in Wisconsin, prompting one Johns Hopkins scientist to predict an end to the pandemic by as early as April. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 26, 2021

DNR refuses to meet with Oneida zoning panel on shoreland revisions
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has turned down a request by the Oneida County Zoning Committee to meet and discuss a proposed shoreland ordinance rewrite it helped craft with various county staff, lake association members, and one county supervisor who was not a zoning committee member. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

County wants Bilogan lawsuit dismissed with prejudice
Attorneys representing a group of Oneida County officials have filed a brief in opposition to a motion filed last month by former Oneida County forester John Bilogan seeking dismissal of his civil lawsuit against the county "without prejudice and without costs to any party." (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Oneida County corporation counsel resigns
Brian Desmond, the department head for the office of Oneida County corporation counsel, has submitted his resignation. Desmond has worked for Oneida County since Aug. 9, 2004. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

In one scenario, Thome shoreland team likely violated open meetings law
If what one member of a team organized to rewrite a portion of the county's zoning ordinance is saying is correct - and that's a big if - the group could well have violated the open meetings law each time they met without giving public notice.

That's because committees sanctioned to do official work by a government entity that is itself subject to the open meetings law - as the county zoning committee is - are also subject to the open meetings law, even if they possess no ability to actually decide the final outcome of their work. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Evers budget would increase state spending by $3.2 billion
One of Harper Simon's songs laments that there are more wishes than stars in the universe, and that's probably the case in Wisconsin's political universe - there are likely many more Democratic wishes in Gov. Tony Evers's new budget proposal than there are stars to wish upon, if by stars we mean enough Democratic votes in the Legislature to make Evers's dreams come true. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tiffany denounces QAnon and U.S. capitol riots
Northwoods residents gathered Wednesday, Feb. 18 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Eagle River for a listening session conducted by 7th District U.S. Representative Tom Tiffany (R-Wisconsin). (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Oneida County public works OKs loader purchase
The Oneida County Public Works Committee, meeting in open session for just nearly 20 minutes on Feb. 11, purchased a new front end loader for the county's landfill operation and reviewed information to be mailed to voters in an upcoming spring referendum. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Lake Tomahawk board, ATV club work toward compromise
Lake Tomahawk town chairman George DeMet spent the better part of an hour discussing the town's all-terrain vehicle and utility vehicle (ATV/UTV) issue with members of the Lake Tomahawk ATV Club at a town meeting Feb. 10. By the time the discussion was over, it appeared that he and the club's new president, Tom Kettler, had reached a compromise of sorts to work together to establish some ATV/UTV trails around the town. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 19, 2021

CORRECTION
A story about tourist rooming houses published in our Feb. 16 edition included a poorly-worded headline. Both the Rhinelander Tourism and Marketing Committee and Oneida County Tourism Council recently received briefings on steps the county is taking in terms of the regulation of short-term rental properties, but neither organization has taken a stand on the issue of tourist rooming houses.
Friday, February 19, 2021

Fried bid to pull referenda questions fails
Oneida County supervisor Billy Fried made a last-minute effort this week to derail two county referenda questions slated to head to voters in the spring, but failed to get a proposed tax hike and an advisory question about county spending booted from the ballot. (subscriber access)
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Timmons, Holewinski blister zoning staff after secret shoreland rewrite unveiled
Oneida County supervisor and zoning committee member Mike Timmons unloaded on county zoning staff at a committee meeting last week, as did committee chairman Scott Holewinski, in the aftermath of the release of a proposed and more restrictive shoreland zoning ordinance that involved significant and undisclosed consultation between zoning staff, a non-zoning committee supervisor, the DNR, and members of a lake association. (subscriber access)
(3 comments)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Jefferson County circuit court rules against DNR in wolf hunt suit
A Jefferson County circuit court judge has ruled against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in a wolf hunt lawsuit brought against the agency. The lawsuit, brought in Jefferson County circuit court, essentially stated the DNR was in violation of state statute when the determination was made a wolf hunt couldn't take place earlier than November of this year. The ruling was made by circuit court judge Bennett J. Brantmeier on Thursday, Feb. 11. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Chambers, county take aim at tourist rooming houses
The question of exactly how many tourist rooming houses (TRH) there are in Oneida County was an agenda topic this month for both the Rhinelander Tourist Marketing Committee (RTMC) and the Oneida County Tourism Council (OCTC).

The OCTC met on Feb. 1 and briefly discussed the matter, including how to find out who is running the short-term rentals and where. The RTMC got the answer to that question at its Feb. 9 meeting. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Three Lakes man arrested after backing over father who was helping to pull vehicle from ditch
A 59-year-old Three Lakes man was killed Friday evening while helping his 29-year-old son whose vehicle was stuck in the ditch on County Highway X.

According to a Three Lakes Police Department press release, the Oneida County sheriff's office received a 9-1-1 call at approximately 9:27 p.m. Friday reporting that a man had been backed over by a truck on Highway X near the intersection with Medicine Lake Lodge Road in the Town of Three Lakes.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

New public records ordinance heads to the county board
The Oneida County Administration Committee has approved and sent to the full county board an ordinance amendment that would effectively repeal most of the county's current public records provisions. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 12, 2021

Sugar Camp Crash
Members of the Sugar Camp Fire Department use a sling to carry the driver involved in a one-vehicle crash at the intersection of County A and Highway 17 to a waiting ambulance Wednesday morning, Feb. 10, 2021.
Friday, February 12, 2021

DPA calls for remaining charge in Guild case to be dismissed in May
The misconduct in public office case against former Rhinelander city administrator Daniel Guild will be dismissed in May, provided the defendant commits no crimes between now and May 6, according to a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) filed by the Oneida County district attorney's office. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 12, 2021

Wolf incidents reported in Oneida, Lincoln counties
In the last few weeks, two separate wolf incidents have been reported in the Northwoods. One took place at approximately 8 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2021 in the township of King, near Tomahawk. The incident occurred on a property adjacent to the Wisconsin River. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 12, 2021

OVTC discusses county repayment plan
At its most recent meeting in late January, the Oneida Vilas Transit Commission discussed the commission's options regarding its plan to repay Oneida and Vilas County loans in the amount of $50,000 each. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 12, 2021

Two Vilas Co. sheriff's deputies recognized for their life saving efforts
Two Vilas County deputies have been named heroes by the community after attending to an unresponsive male Thursday, Feb. 4 on State Highway 70.

Deputies Ben Gauger and Zach Kozisek responded to a 911 call of a medical emergency involving a male in the passenger seat of a car heading to the hospital. (subscriber access)

Friday, February 12, 2021

Guild case to be resolved with DPA
The misconduct in public office case against former Rhinelander city administrator Daniel Guild will be resolved with a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) following action Friday morning in Oneida County Circuit Court. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

State Supreme Court decision will allow larger minimum lot sizes around lakes
In a widely watched case in which a Newbold property owner challenged the town's ability to set minimum lot sizes that conflict with state shoreland zoning standards, the state Supreme Court last week upheld the town's more restrictive requirements. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Oneida County forestry committee reinstates Rynders
Sometimes a couple of months can seem like a lifetime, and that's just what it was for Robert Rynders, as the Oneida County Forestry Committee voted 5-0 to reinstate Rynders as an acceptable subcontractor for work on county forestland, two months after banning him forever. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

DNR sued for not scheduling wolf hunt
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty has filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County circuit court against Wisconsin DNR secretary Preston Cole, the Wisconsin DNR, and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for ignoring a state law requirement to schedule a wolf hunt season this winter.(subscriber access)
Friday, February 5, 2021

Evers' top cabinet officials making legal limit
Gov. Tony Evers has four cabinet members making the statutory legal limit, which totals more than $150,000 a year, according to a new analysis released this week by Empower Wisconsin. (subscriber access)
Friday, February 5, 2021

Political Digest
Wisconsin lawyers offer free legal advice to small businesses

Small businesses in Wisconsin now have a place to go for free legal advice on issues they face due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a tough economy, according to the State Bar Association.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Small businesses could face steep taxes on PPP loans
Unless the state Legislature acts and the governor concurs, and some business and political groups are pressing them to do just that, tens of thousands of Wisconsin small businesses will have to pay state taxes on loans taken out last spring under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Bilogan moves to dismiss civil lawsuit 'without prejudice'
Former Oneida County forester John Bilogan has filed a motion seeking dismissal of his civil lawsuit against Oneida County "without prejudice and without costs to any party." (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Eagle Waste sells to Republic Services
The recent sale of Eagle Waste & Recycling was a topic of discussion at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Oneida County Public Works Committee.

The sale of Eagle Waste to Arizona-based Republic Services took effect Jan. 1, 2021. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

St. Germain considers raises for elected officials
The St. Germain Town Board discussed pay raises for elected officials at a special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 27, but ultimately decided to delay action until voters consider whether or not they are willing to pay more in taxes to allow for the salary bumps. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Oneida County panel to propose ditching public records ordinance
After a torrent of criticism and controversy over its open records practices, and a call for reform by the county board chairman, the Oneida County Administration Committee will propose to the county board in February that most of the county's public records provisions be scuttled and the county simply follow state statutes. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 29, 2021

OC sheriff's office honored for efforts to protect children
For all of the conveniences the personal computer and the internet have brought to society, such modern technology has also made it much easier for adults to prey on children. Detectives with the Oneida County sheriff's office have become adept at getting between children and such criminals, resulting in numerous arrests and convictions. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 29, 2021

Senate votes to end Evers' mask mandate
State Senate Republicans followed through on their word and voted 18-13 this week to end Gov. Tony Evers' latest public health emergency declaration, as well as the state's mask mandate issued under the emergency declaration. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 29, 2021

NRB decision means no wolf hunt until November 2021
There will be no wolf hunt in Wisconsin earlier than November of this year.

That was the determination reached by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) at the end of a six hour hearing Friday, Jan. 22. (subscriber access)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Evers declares fifth public health emergency
Gov. Tony Evers last week proclaimed a new public health emergency related to COVID-19 - the fifth time he has done so - and has also extended the statewide mask mandate for citizens. (subscriber access)
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tax hike referendum heads to Oneida County voters
On a 12-7 vote, Oneida County supervisors Tuesday sent to voters a referendum question asking them to raise property taxes by a half-million dollars a year for road and bridge construction. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 22, 2021

Walker: Letter shows corporation counsel controlling records requests
A response to an open records request by The Lakeland Times from the Oneida County public health director has unmasked the county's almost automatic routing of records requests to its corporation counsel for review - and its almost automatic objections to records requests in its responses - exposing a policy many think is illegal and is obstructing the timely release of records. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 22, 2021

Tomahawk man killed in Vilas snowmobile accident
A 40-year-old Tomahawk man was killed Tuesday evening after the snowmobile he was operating broke through the ice on Catfish Lake in Vilas County.
Friday, January 22, 2021

Oneida County to look at revising public records ordinance, policies
The Oneida County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to have the county's administration committee review the county's public records ordinance and policies and to make recommendations for revisions at the next board meeting, but whether those changes will be cosmetic or substantive remain in doubt after the county brought in an outside attorney to vigorously defend the most controversial section of the ordinance. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 22, 2021

Three dogs poisoned near Lake Tomahawk
There was a report last weekend that three dogs had been poisoned near Gypsy Lake Road in Lake Tomahawk after eating what looked like a moldy loaf of bread. Within 10 minutes, it was clear the dogs were in failing health. One of the dogs died and the other two were in critical condition upon arrival at the veterinary office. (subscriber access)
Friday, January 22, 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


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