News

Sat
20
Oct

PSC tells Gresham utility to raise rates

The Public Service Commission this week strongly recommended that the Gresham Municipal Water and Sewer Utility seek higher rates in order to stem two years of negative operating income.

The PSC annually reviews municipal-owned water utilities’ finances to ensure customers are receiving high quality utility service. Gresham’s $43,377 income deficit the past two years and operating with “zero days of cash available,” made the state agency concerned that the “ongoing financial integrity of … the utility may be in jeopardy,” according to an Oct. 18 letter to Village President Lyle Grosskopf.

The PSC wants municipal water utilities to have cash on hand for 90 days of expenses and operate with a positive net income.

In stressing that immediate action should take place, the PSC said the utility may lack funds for routine maintenance, have difficulty making loan payments and may have few options for dealing with an emergency.

Sat
20
Oct

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Oct. 18

Police logged 28 incidents, including the following:

Vandalism — A garage light was reported vandalized in the 700 block of South Washington Street.

Burglary — Krueger and Lueck Furniture, 701 S. Main St., reported a break-in and theft of beds.

Theft — The Department of Public Works reported that someone dumped garbage at the landfill, 1099 Rusch Road, and left without paying.

Burglary — An attempted burglary was reported in the 100 block of River Heights.

OAR — A 45-year-old man was cited for operating after revocation at Fifth and Lincoln streets.

Hit and Run — Police investigated a property damage hit-and-run in the 600 block of South Lincoln Street.

Disturbance — A disturbance was reported in the parking lot at Walmart, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Oct. 18

Deputies logged 41 incidents, including the following:

Fri
19
Oct

City considering another property tax increase for 2019

Shawano property owners would see their taxes rise for a second year in a row if the city’s proposed 2019 budget doesn’t change before it’s sent to the Common Council next month.

As it stands the city’s tax rate would go up by about 45 cents from $9.89 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $10.34 per $1,000.

That would be an increase of $45 on a $100,000 home.

Alderman Bob Kurkiewicz called it “the second largest tax increase” in the city’s history.

That largest on record for the city was last year, when the tax rate jumped by about 60 cents per $1,000.

The city’s total tax levy would rise by 6.24 percent, or $315,469, from $5 million this year to $5.3 million in 2019.

Proposed shifts in personnel and some new positions would add to the city’s operating budget.

Brian Knapp, who currently splits his time between being city administrator and general manager for Shawano Municipal Utilities, would move full-time into the SMU job.

Fri
19
Oct

SIST claims city trying to drive it out of business


Leader Photo by Tim Ryan Darlene Sense, right, a representative of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology, reads a statement at the Shawano Redevelopment Authority meeting Thursday accusing the city of trying to put SIST out of business. The RDA says SIST has not responded to requests for rehabilitation plans for their properties.

New guidelines set down for public comments prohibiting personal attacks at Shawano Redevelopment Authority meetings didn’t stop representatives of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology from invoking a former mayor’s name while claiming the city is waging a harassment campaign to close them down.

The RDA, a semi-independent panel tasked with addressing vacant and blighted buildings in the city, reviewed seven blighted or long-vacant properties for possible condemnation proceedings Thursday, five of which are owned by SIST or its subsidiaries.

SIST representative Darlene Sense read a brief statement referencing the “stolen” property at 153 S. Main St. and the former Midwest Amusement Park in the town of Wescott, both lost to foreclosures.

Sense said SIST would have brought in “numerous architects to design all of our buildings” had the city not interfered with their plans.

“Instead, you went to war with us,” she said.

Fri
19
Oct

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Oct. 17

Police logged 23 incidents, including the following:

Disorderly — Police responded to a disorderly conduct complaint in the 500 block of South Smalley Street.

Bail Jumping — Police responded to a bail jumping complaint in the 100 block of South Lafayette Street.

Theft — A bike was reported stolen in the 200 block of South Sawyer Street.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Oct. 17

Deputies logged 30 incidents, including the following:

Assault — Assaults were reported at Bowler School, 500 S. Almon St. in Bowler, Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, 400 W. Grand Avenue in Wittenberg and on Hemlock Road in the town of Wittenberg.

Juvenile — Authorities responded to a juvenile problem at Birnamwood Elementary School, 337 Main St. in Birnamwood.

Theft — A go-cart motor was reported stolen on Moh He Con Nuck Road in Bowler.

Clintonville Police Department

Oct. 17

Fri
19
Oct

Sen. Cowles to receive parks award

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization has announced that this year’s award for legislator of the year will go to State Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay.

The annual award goes to a Wisconsin legislator who best champions the advancement of our Wisconsin state parks, said Bill Zager, president of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. “We are very excited to recognize Senator Cowles for the great work he has done for parks and natural resources.”

Cowles, who will accept the award at the group’s annual meeting in Madison in November, said he’s honored to be chosen by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks.

Thu
18
Oct

Wittenberg ordered to review water rates

Concerned about Wittenberg municipal water utility’s continued income deficits, the Public Service Commission this week ordered the utility to submit a comprehensive rate request by Feb. 20, 2019.

An Oct. 15 letter from a PSC division administrator noted that the Wittenberg Municipal Water and Sewer Utility didn’t respond last year to a request from the PSC to take immediate action to address its financial situation.

PSC spokesman Matthew Spencer said the village has indicated that they will meet the Feb. 20 deadline for filing a rate application.

“We hired a professional company to do the evaluation and recommendation to the PSC as to what our rates should be at, and the report will be completed before the 2/10/19 deadline,” said William Switalla, village board president.

Switalla said that the village has back up money to cover costs. Some years they get enough from the rates to cover the cost and some years they don’t, he said.

Thu
18
Oct

Driver shortage reduces school bus service

Last year, the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District had enough bus drivers to handle all the regular school routes and extra services such as busing younger in-town children to drop-off points or babysitters’ homes.

Due to a shortage of drivers this fall, the extra routes have been canceled.

“We’ve had to make some tough decisions about in-town drop-off points, which hasn’t been a popular decision with some of the families, but we just don’t have the staff,” Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District Superintendent Garrett Rogowski said.

Lynn Hartleben, of Wittenberg, who babysits children ages 1 to 8, said many parents have had to make other plans to get their children to her home now that the extra bus service is canceled. They include single mom Theresa Gatz, of Wittenberg, whose son, Jaxson, is in kindergarten. They live about a half-mile from school.

Thu
18
Oct

Bonduel awarded school safety grant

In a statewide effort to combat threats of violence in schools, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has announced another round of funding in its school safety grant program. This second round of funding gives nearly $12 million to Wisconsin schools and school districts to bolster student mental health, it was announced this week.

Locally, the Bonduel School District announced in a press release that it has been awarded $42,400 as of Oct. 9 in round two of grant funding — one of 549 grants awarded.

Additionally, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced plans to train more than 2,000 teachers and education professionals by the end of this year and create School Safety Intervention Teams in districts across the state. An additional 3,000 educators will be trained in adolescent mental health and threat assessment by the end of 2019, Schimel said.

Thu
18
Oct

Public Record

Shawano Police Department

Oct. 16

Police logged 27 incidents, including the following:

Disturbance — Police responded to a disturbance in the 400 block of South Smalley Street.

Fire — Police assisted at the scene of a small bathroom fire at Hillcrest Primary School, 1410 Waukechon St.

Harassment — Harassment was reported in the 500 block of South Smalley Street.

Fire — A smell of smoke was reported at Hope Community Church, 302 Tristan Drive. No smoke or fire was found.

Theft — A theft was reported at Lakeland Storage, 722 Waukechon St.

Accident — Police responded to an injury accident at Randall and Lincoln streets.

Theft — Halloween decorations were reported stolen in the 400 block of Humphrey Circle.

Shawano County Sheriff’s Department

Oct. 16

Deputies logged 39 incidents, including the following:

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