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City Dump Rate Hikes Proposed

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10/17/2019- An official proposal to raise the rates at Marinette’s City Dump has been brought forth and it would have you paying twice as much to get rid of a carload of junk. Public Works Superintendent Pat Carlson recommended the new fee structure to the Board of Public Works this week. It increases the cost of bringing a vehicle load of material to the dump from $5 to$10, a single axle trailer load from $5 to $25, and a double-axle trailer load from $10 to $40. Board member Ken Keller suggested the fees should not always be based on vehicle or trailer size, but rather, load size, at the discretion of the dump site attendant. However, City Engineer Brian Miller says that could cause more trouble than it’s worth.
“I think it’s really going to be difficult for the person working the gate to start making those judgement calls. I think we stick with the way the fees are structured and if the circumstances come up where a lot of people are using dual-axle trailers for single-axle loads, we’ll deal with it in the future.”
Board member Jeff Skorik also raised concerns that raising the rates could lead to residents seeking alternative methods to get rid of their junk, especially with a scaled-back junk pickup schedule already in effect by the City.
“I want to make sure that we’re not creating the problem where people are saying ‘You’re going to raise the rates for me to bring the junk out there, I’m going to leave it sit in the alley, the snow can fall on it, sometime next spring the City will come around and they’ll be responsible for hauling it and it won’t cost me anything.'”
The last rate adjustment for the City Dump was performed in 2012. Carlson was asked to bring a report detailing the history of the facility’s revenue versus its costs to the Board in November.

What’s Next for #myMarinetteMenominee? Community Branding Meeting Investigates That

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10/17/2019- You see it just about everywhere these days: “#myMarinetteMenominee” popping up across town on tee shirts, banners and decals. It’s been a buzz phrase in our area for about a year, but now organizers of the movement are looking to put a little more meaning behind the hashtag. A community meeting next Tuesday will take a closer look at how residents and business owners alike can identify and amplify our unique community image. Kim Brooks is one of the founding members of the myMarinetteMenominee organization and says community branding creates a focused approach toward positively impacting the economic vitality of the region.
“What we’re hoping to do is change the conversation. We want to talk about what we could do if we all focused on one effort. Community branding would be options and directions that we can move forward together, potentially solutions that we haven’t already thought of. We have our eyes focused on quality of life issues in our community and see this as the next best tool to solve those problems.”
While the myMarinetteMenominee movement started as a bid to win a spot on a reality tv series, that spirit has held on since. However, Brooks says there’s a critical gap between talking about who we are as a community and intentionally leveraging those assets for growth.
“It’s a four-season paradise. It is natural assets that anyone anywhere would be grateful to have. We have so many things going for us, but we do need to learn to use those better… I’d like people to start thinking about, when they hear “myMarinetteMenominee,” that meaning Marinette County and Menominee County because we need each other. We need all of the region to really take steps forward and that’s where our strengths will lie.”
The community meeting on October 22nd features presenters from North Star- a national organization well-versed in branding and marketing for the purpose of economic development. It takes place in the auditorium of New Life Church in Peshtigo. Doors open at 5:00 and there’s no pre-registration required to attend.

Marinette County Retired K-9 Nina Passes Away

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10/17/2019- The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office has laid to rest of one of its K-9 deputies. Retired K-9 Nina passed away last week. She began with the Sheriff’s Department in 2007 and worked for more than 10 years as a dual-purpose dog who assisted in narcotics detection and finding lost citizens and apprehending suspects. She was retired in 2018 and lived with her former handler Deputy Brett West. K-9 Nina was 14 years old.

White House Officials Stop in Marinette to Discuss Opportunity Zones

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10/16/2019- Local officials and industry representatives met yesterday with those from the federal level spearheading new efforts to bring additional dollars and development to distressed communities across the country. White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Executive Director Scott Turner was in town to tour the Marinette/Menominee area and learn more about the types of challenges facing our region. Director Turner has been tasked with coordinating Federal agency efforts to magnify the impact of investments in Opportunity Zones- described as “economically distressed communities where certain new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Marinette and Menominee have several Opportunity Zones identified and were chosen to represent the rural area in Wisconsin and Michigan for Director Turner’s Opportunity Zone visit.

More Snowmobile Route Talks in Marinette

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10/16/2019- Plans are progressing to bring snowmobile access into the City of Marinette. The City’s Board of Public Works took up the topic Tuesday following similar discussion by other governing committees last month. As it stands now, county trails bring riders as far as the edge of the City, but Mayor Steve Genisot says he’d like see at least one or two routes travel into Marinette to allow for access to local hotels, restaurants, and retailers.
“Right now we’re one of the few communities in the county that do not have any access to anywhere in the city through a snowmobile corridor. I think it probably is something we should consider. We could try something on a trial basis.”
Genisot’s informal proposal had the snowmobile routes running down Mary Street and Cleveland Avenue, though he notes this is subject to change dependent upon further analysis and talks with surrounding property owners. City Engineer Brian Miller adds there are other agencies that will need to be brought to the table on this, as well.
“My suggestion would be to have a discussion with law enforcement, DNR, and I’d have to reach out to the DOT regarding crossing US Highway 41/ Marinette Avenue. There are a few details that need to be fleshed out to consider which are the best entry points into the city and, once you are in the city, if there are corridors that could be used by the snowmobiles.”
Marinette is one of the only communities in the county that doesn’t allow any snowmobile access during the winter. The topic is expected to come back to the Board of Public Works in the next couple of months.

Forest Home Mausoleum, Ella Court Closed in Marinette

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10/16/2019- There’s a closure at a Marinette municipal facility to be aware of today The Forest Home Mausoleum will not be allowing public visitation while crews work on cleaning and light maintenance projects. Normal visitation hours will resume tomorrow.
There’s also a road closure in Marinette beginning today. Ella Court, between Court Street and Stephenson Street will be closed to all traffic due to overhead crane and roofing work on the former Marinette County Law Enforcement Center. The closure is expected to last about two weeks and a detour route will be posted guiding motorists around the area.

Pitch Competition Offers Cash Prizes to Local Start-Ups

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10/16/2019- Small business and start-up owners, warm up that elevator speech: it could earn you some extra cash for your venture. inVenture North is partnering with New North, Incorporated and the BrightStar Foundation to bring the Invent Your North Pitch Competition to entrepreneurs in Marinette, Oconto, and Florence Counties November 14th. It’s described as the popular television show Shark Tank on a slightly smaller scale, with the first-place presenter winning $2000 for their business and $1000 going to second place. Roberta Davis with inVenture North says the competition is aimed at helping these businesses overcome some of the major hurdles standing between them and growth.
“Finances is number one: how do I get financed? How do I build my business? How do I get exposure? And this satisfies all of those things. You get exposure. You get a prize if you win and that’s your marketing to start up. And, so, if you have a great idea, if you have an invention that you just haven’t brought to the table yet, get it out there. This is your opportunity to do it.”
And while it may be called “small business,” there are some big things happening in our region. Robert Pontius with inVenture says this competition shines a light on the diversity of these start-ups and the regional, even global impact, they have.
“There’s a diversity of small business, things you wouldn’t think about. We had a tenant, for example, involved in block-chain technology, cryptocurrency, and the programming necessary to transact those currencies in the market. And there’s also a company doing 3-D printing in the area, a graduate of NWTC’s prototyping program.”
The local Pitch Competition will be held at the Maritime Center of Excellence in Marinette from 6 until 8 p.m. The top two winners will then advance to the regional contest where they’ll compete for additional funding for their business ideas. Those interested in making their pitch can apply through November 1st by visiting thestartuphub.org/pitch.

Rogge to Serve 40 Years in Prison for Wife’s Murder

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10/15/2019- The maximum sentence allowable is handed down to the Pembine man convicted of shooting his wife in January. 56-year-old Gary Rogge pleaded no contest to an amended charge of 1st degree reckless homicide earlier this year after prosecutors say he shot his wife, Shelley Erickson Rogge, in the chest following a disagreement between the two at a bar. Six of Shelley Rogge’s family members spoke at Monday’s sentencing hearing where Judge Jim Morrison ordered Rogge to serve 40 years initial confinement followed by 20 years of extended supervision. Before handing down the sentence, Judge Morrison called Rogge a bully with a history of violence towards women and says his actions had a ripple effect across all those who knew and loved Shelley Rogge.
“Punishment fully supports the need that you serve every possible minute available in the prison system. You will probably die in prison and that would be totally justified because you stopped her life and the consequence of that should be, at least, that your freedom, at a minimum, is stopped.”
Rogge himself also took the opportunity to address the court and Shelley Rogge’s family Monday. He says while he doesn’t remember all the events of that night due to the amount he’d been drinking, he takes responsibility for his actions and called Shelley Rogge the love of his life.
“I want to apologize to my wife-Shelley’s- family. I understand how badly they are suffering. And the grandchildren missing out on having a wonderful, loving grandmother to grow up with- I understand this very well. I can’t get over the fact that she’s gone. It eats at my soul every waking second. I was with Shelley for just short of 14 years. I love her with all my heart and she knew that and felt that.”
Rogge has also been ordered to pay more than $15000 in restitution and will receive 274 days’ credit for time already served.

Heating Costs Expected to Drop this Season

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10/15/2019- If the thought of your home heating bill leaves you shivering, you can expect a little relief this winter. Wisconsin Public Service has announced their winter heating forecast shows the average customer will pay about 4% less to heat their home this season. Matt Cullen with WPS says that forecast is based on the 20-year average of winter weather and sustained lower natural gas prices. He also adds that employing a few efficiency tips could lead to an even bigger break on your energy bill.
“Low-cost or no-cost tips include using ceiling fans to be able to heat your rooms in your home. There’s actually a little switch on the top of a ceiling fan that can push warm air from the ceiling down to the floor level. When you’re asleep or you’re away from home, you should take that thermostat and set it back 7 to 10 degrees. Some other tips include sealing gaps around your doors and windows and siding- that allows warm air to stay inside your home and not leak to the outside.”
Even with these savings, thousands of Wisconsin families struggle with their home heating bills each year. Cullen says there is assistance available for these residents, but the first step is to contact WPS.
“Our employees can work with them, maybe offer them a minimum payment option or payment arrangement. However, there are options and resources available for customers and one thing we remind customers to do is to check their eligibility for energy assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program and they can provide them the necessary information, help them apply for that energy assistance which can help them as we get into the winter heating season.”
Temperatures are cooling off quickly and Cullen says it’s a good time to change your furnace filter and schedule an annual inspection and tune-up for your heating unit before the really cold air sets in. If the WPS heating forecast holds true, customers will pay an average of $23 less in heating costs this winter compared to last.

Alcohol Compliance Checks Offer Reassuring Results

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10/15/2019- Local businesses selling alcohol performed fairly week last week during underage alcohol compliance checks conducted by the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office and Marinette County Health Department. The program uses youth volunteer “decoys” who, under the direction of a County Deputy, enter a store and attempt to purchase alcohol. Afterward, the deputy makes contact with the clerk and if the purchase was denied, thanks them for performing their job correctly. However, if an alcohol sale was completed, the clerk is cited and the business owner is notified. Just 5 of the 44 businesses, or about 11%, checked last Friday permitted the sale of alcohol to a minor. That’s the lowest percentage recorded in four years and a stark contrast to the 46% violation rate in Marinette County in 2016.

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