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Menominee Residents Could See Hike in Water Rates

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12/14/2018- Menominee Water and Sewer customers could be looking at a significant rate increase next year, but exactly how much is still under study.
Jeff Sjoquist of Coleman Engineering presented a draft report of a rate study update to the Water and Wastewater Utility Board Thursday. The increases are needed to fund planned capital projects over the next several years. The city is planning a number of street projects funded by the road millage. But while the millage pays for the road construction, when water and sewer lines underneath the streets are replaced that must be paid for by the Water/Wastewater Utility. The city is also looking at upgrading the filtration system in the water plant to make it more efficient. The city plans to borrow to cover the costs of those projects, but the water and sewer rates would have to be raised to pay back those loans.
In the study. the estimated borrowing for the first phase of the street projects comes to nearly $10 million. Another $1.4 million would be borrowed for the water plant upgrade. A second phase of street work to complete the road millage projects would cost the utility another $7.3 million, with that borrowing projected for 2022. To pay for that borrowing, the study says it would take an increase in the quarterly water and sewer bill for the average homeowner of $54 per quarter, a 42% increase on the water portion of the bill and 36% increase on the sewer portion. The possibility of phasing in the increase over multiple year was discussed.
Now that there are some numbers to look at, City Manager Tony Graff says the city will continue to look at the proposed projects to see how the costs and impact on rate payers can be reduced. Graff says a proposed rate increase would need to be approved by the city council in March in order to have the figures in time to be used in the loan applications. That rate increase would likely go into effect next July.

County May Eliminate HRA Payout Option for Retirees

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12/14/2018- Some Marinette County employees could see a change to their post-retirement benefits. The Administrative Committee heard a proposal from County Administrator John Lefebvre Thursday to eliminate the sick bank health reimbursement account payout to those employees that also opt for the county’s retirees’ health insurance. Since 2011, non-exempt employees have been allowed to accrue up to 800 hours of sick leave that was then paid out as an HRA upon retirement. Lefebvre says he’s concerned that arrangement could lead to the over-use of insurance and in turn, higher costs for the county.
Lefebvre says he understands the proposal might not be popular with employees, but adds under the existing agreement, the county has a financial obligation of around $737000 dollars in HRA payouts alone. If approved, the new policy wouldn’t go into effect until June 30th, giving employees close to retirement the opportunity to still take advantage of both retirees’ health insurance and their HRA payout.
The Administrative Committee recommended the policy change to the full county board for consideration at their meeting later this month.

City Considers Campground Host Position

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12/14/2018- Marinette eyes the possibility of adding a permanent host to their City Park Campground. The idea was discussed at a Parks and Recreation Committee meeting this week when City Clerk Lana Bero explained a long-term guest at the campground last summer monitored and kept the City and DPW crews up-to-date on campground activity while he was there. Bero suggested the City could look into establishing a campground host position to help keep the park secure and assist guests with basic needs and questions. Hosts would work for one month at a time, during which the fee for their campsite at City Park would be waived. Most committee members were on-board with the idea, but noted there were still several details to work out. The committee agreed to keep the item on their agenda for further discussion at future meetings.

Marinette County Crash Victims Identified

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12/13/2018- The names of the people involved in Tuesday’s fatal traffic crash in Marinette County have been released. Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve reports that 74-year-old Robert Roland of Pembine was killed when his vehicle crossed the center line on Highway 180 near Oxbow Lane in Wausaukee and struck an oncoming car. The passenger in Roland’s vehicle, 73-year-old Mary Lou Roland, and the lone occupant of the second vehicle, 43-year-old Larry Feltner of Wausaukee, were both injured and transported to the hospital. The investigation into the accident is ongoing.

Boom Landing, River Park Boat Launches Closed this Weekend

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12/13/2018- A pair of boat launches along the Menominee River will be temporarily closed this weekend for the launching of the LCS-19. The affected launches are Boom Landing in Marinette and River Park (Mystery Ship) ramp in Menominee. The launches will be closed from midnight on Friday until around 5:00 PM Saturday. Additionally, boats will be barred from the marine safety zone established by the US Coast Guard on Saturday from 10:00 AM until noon. This area is from approximately Nestegg Marine downriver to the east end of KK Integrated Logistics’ dock wall. Boaters in the area should use caution and pay attention to directions from law enforcement and Coast Guard personnel.

Local Waupaca Foundry Gives Back for Christmas

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12/13/2018- Marinette’s Waupaca Foundry is providing more than just employment – they’re providing a little extra comfort to those in need this holiday season. The company is donating around 140 hams across six community agencies serving low-income, disabled, or senior residents. Plant 4 Human Resource Manager Phil Eatherton says Waupaca purchases holiday hams or turkeys for their employees each year and any extras, along with an additional 100 ordered specifically for donation, help ensure every family has a Christmas dinner to enjoy.
While this is traditionally the season of giving, Eatherton says Waupaca tries to make it a point to give back not just at Christmastime, but year-round.
The local Waupaca Foundry plant has been hosting this Christmas donation program for area food pantries since 2010.

Law Enforcement Begins Holiday Drive Sober Campaign

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12/13/2018- You can expect to see more police officers on the road in the coming weeks working to make sure everyone makes it through the holiday season safely. Law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin are stepping up their enforcement efforts during their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign that begins this Friday. The goal is to prevent accidents and injuries caused by impaired, reckless, and distracted driving. Among those taking part is the Marinette County OWI Task Force comprised of officers from both the City of Marinette Police Department and Marinette County Sheriff’s Office. During this initiative, people are reminded to always designate a sober driver if they plan on drinking during their holiday celebrations or download the “Drive Sober” mobile app from the Wisconsin DOT website to help locate transportation alternatives. The Drive Sober Campaign runs through New Year’s Day.

Marinette County Traffic Fatality

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12/12/2018- One man is dead and two more people are injured following a Marinette County traffic crash. The incident occurred yesterday in Wausaukee on Highway 180 near Oxbow Lane just before 1:00 PM. The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office says a 74-year-old driver heading west crossed the center line and struck an east-bound vehicle. The 74-year old man was killed and the driver and passenger in the other vehicle were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The names of each of the victims are being withheld at the time and the accident remains under investigation. This is Marinette County’s ninth traffic fatality for 2018.

Marinette and Menominee Make Top Ten List for Small Business Revolution

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12/12/2018- It’s down to the top ten contenders for Season 4 of Small Business Revolution and on that list are Marinette and Menominee. Show producers made the announcement Tuesday and dozens of people were anxiously awaiting the results at a watch party at Mighty Pet in Menominee. Kim Brooks is one of the organizers of the local effort and she says she’s thrilled, but not surprised, the M&M Area made the cut.
So, what’s next? In January, producers will tour each of the cities on the Top 10 list before narrowing it down to just five. Brooks says the visit will give them a much clearer idea of what Marinette and Menominee have to offer and what kind of potential for further development exists.
The city, or in this case, cities, selected for Season 4 of Small Business Revolution will receive $500000 and professional marketing and business consultation for downtown development. The winner will be announced in late February.
Now that the M&M Area is officially in the Top Ten, local businesses and organizations are encouraged to do their part to keep that momentum going. There will be a meeting tonight in the UWGB-Marinette Campus cafeteria where attendees can learn about what their role is in the effort and what to expect when Small Business Revolution producers come to town. That meeting begins at 6:00 PM.

Robold Charged with OWI 7, 8, or 9

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12/12/2018- A Krakow man is in Marinette County Court on a repeat impaired driving charge. 42-year-old Adam Robold was arrested in November following a traffic stop in the Town of Peshtigo when officers allegedly detected the strong odor of marijuana coming from Robold’s vehicle. A field sobriety test indicated Robold was likely under the influence of cannabis at the time and he also admitted to having taken pain killers and muscle relaxers earlier that same day for a shoulder injury. He’s now been charged with OWI 7th, 8th, or 9th and Possession of THC and is due back in court January 14th for an adjourned initial appearance. Robold has five previous OWI convictions and one conviction of a prohibited alcohol concentration.

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