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UWGB Chancellor Accepts New Position

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After five years at the helm, UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller announced that he is leaving his current position at the end of September to assume the role of president at the University of Akron. Miller was named the sixth chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2014 and played an instrumental role in elevating the University in the state’s third largest economy. During Miller’s tenure, the University addressed structural deficits in the midst of state budget reductions and expanded their footprint to include campuses in Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Miller is also credited with assisting the school in reversing declining enrollment trends, as the school is on track to see its fourth straight year of increased enrollment with a more diversified body of both students and faculty.

Admin Committee Reviews Proposed Budget Figures

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08/16/2019- Budget discussions are well underway in Marinette County and this week the county’s Administrative Committee got the chance to review some of the proposed 2020 figures. One area that’s repeatedly been identified as needing attention is economic development and committee member Don Pazynski believes some of that can be accomplished by directing more funding and effort toward improving tourism and promoting Marinette County as a place to work and play.
When asked about his overall outlook on the 2020 budget, County Administrator John Lefebvre says there are a lot of outstanding projects that still need to be completed, and he’s hoping to check as many of those off the list as possible while also addressing wage increases and a 30-percent hike in the price of high-cost placements in the Health and Human Services department.
The Administrative Committee will get their first look at the complete 2020 budget proposal next month. A final version of the document is expected to be adopted by the full county board October 29th.

Pipe Replacement Scheduled on State Highway 64

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08/16/2019- A portion of State Highway 64 in Marinette County will be closed to motorists next week. According to the county’s Highway Department, 64 will be closed near Townline Road from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Wednesday for a pipe replacement. Drivers should utilize the signed detour using County Highways P and W.

Back to School Bus Safety

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08/16/2019- Another school year is about to begin and that means the daily commute may get a little more crowded. It’s the time of year when officials are reminding drivers about the rules and regulations of sharing the road with school buses. Tom Westlund, President of Westlund Bus Lines, says while the majority of the issues tend to occur at the start of the school year, it’s something his bus drivers unfortunately have to deal with all year long.
“You need to be watching out for the youngsters getting on or off the bus. And another thing is that there’s more kids that are walking to school, too, and the school zones are generally 15 miles an hour. As the bus is picking up kids- when the bus is stopped and the bus has its red lights on- traffic has to be stopped 20 feet away from the bus.”
If a bus driver sees a vehicle failing to stop for a bus or passing inappropriately, that motorist can be subject to some pretty hefty fines. Westlund says they work closely with local law enforcement to make sure kids can get to and from school safely.
“We are very, very fortunate that in Marinette and Marinette County they take and jump on this right away. The tickets start out at $287…and, of course, it’s 3 or 4 points off of the license, too.”
According to the American School Bus Council, more than 10-million drivers illegally pass school buses every year and as many as two-thirds of school bus loading and unloading fatalities are caused by passing vehicles.

Parks and Rec Considers Ice Diffusion Project

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08/15/2019- The ice is gone, but the damage it caused this past winter along the shoreline of the bay is still fresh in the minds of many and Menominee is looking for a way to keep it from happening again. The City’s Parks and Recreation/ Buildings and Grounds Committee heard a proposal from Jim Kudlicki of the Marina Management Group for the purchase of ice prevention equipment to protect the fixed docks within the marina. Kudlicki says while last winter was unusually severe, the high water levels and the troubles that come with them are likely to stick around for a while.
“They’re not showing it right off to make us feel comfortable…The problem we have is that when the steel is in the water, the ice can grab all that steel and push and twist and turn- along with the utilities, which is the water and electric lines that are all hooked to these docks.”
The system consists of tubing laid underwater along the docks pumping out air and creating water movement to weaken or prevent ice formations. Installation can be an involved process and Kudlicki says it’s not a guaranteed solution, but they’ve exhausted all their other options.
The cost for the system alone is close to $70000 and the proposal didn’t include figures for labor and equipment. The Parks and Rec Committee ultimately passed a recommendation along to the full City Council for the approval of the ice prevention system purchase.

Council Approves Art Installation, Bulkhead Line Changes

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08/15/2019- The Marinette City Council approved quotes from MJB Industries to form a concrete base and install a 36-foot sculpture at the corner of Ely and Main Streets in Marinette. The total of the two quotes is just under $11,000. The sculpture is a collaboration between the City of Marinette and local artist Jim LaMalfa. It will be the tallest piece of public art in the Twin Cities.
The council also approved a change to the city’s Bulkhead line ordinance which will allow Marinette Marine to change the shape of its bulkhead on the river to gain a triangular shaped area 345 feet long by 80 feet wide which will aide in the planned expansions at the shipyard.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign Kicks Off Nationwide

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08/15/2019- For the next couple of weeks, you can expect increased police presence on Marinette County roadways and across the country as law enforcement looks to crack down on drunk driving. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled over campaign begins Friday and Mike Panosh with the Wisconsin State Patrol’s Bureau of Transportation Safety says thousands of agencies are taking part in this national mobilization with the goal of emphasizing the dangers of driving under the influence and keeping impaired drivers off the road. In addition to increasing highway safety, Panosh says participating departments will also have the opportunity to receive funding for new equipment purchases.
As part of the campaign, officials are also promoting the free Drive Sober mobile app, which offers users a ride-finding service should they need one. You can download the app by searching “Zero in Wisconsin” in the app store on your device. The Drive Sober initiative runs through September 2nd.

Pledges for Upgraded Walking Track are Rolling In

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08/15/2019- Organizers of a fundraiser to upgrade the walking track at Marinette’s Community REC Center are already making significant headway. Executive Director of Recreation and Events Gavin Scray reports the effort has netted around $50000 in pledges from community members who want to see the surface of the walking track at the new facility rubberized. Scray says the City Engineer is currently working on developing bid specifications for the project, but it’s estimated it could cost around $135000 total. While most of the money is expected to come from the public fundraiser, the remaining balance for the project will likely be covered by a Focus on Energy rebate check Marinette received earlier this year for the REC Center.

Cops on Top of Dunkin’ Tomorrow

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08/15/2019- Some Menominee police officers will be watching over the city quite literally this Friday. Personnel from the City’s Police Department are set to take to the rooftop of Dunkin’ Donuts in Menominee for the annual “Cop on a Rooftop” event benefiting the Special Olympics of Michigan. Local law enforcement will be volunteering their time to raise awareness and donations for the organization. Last year, the local effort netted more than $700 in community contributions. The cops will on the Dunkin’ roof from 6 until 11 a.m.

Menominee County Budget Presented

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08/14/2019- Menominee County Commissioners got their first look at the 2019-2020 budget as proposed by County Administrator Jason Carviou Tuesday night. The $8.9 million dollar budget represents a 4 percent increase over this year’s budget. Revenue from property taxes will rise by 2.5 percent from the increase in taxable values in the county. Among Carviou’s recommendations are eliminating the Three-Way Road Program, saving $67,000 dollars and reducing the MSU Extension Contract to its base assessment, which could result in the 4-H director position being reduced to part-time. Both proposals were questioned by audience members at the committee of the whole meeting. Carviou is also proposing the County create a Technology services department and create a new IT position that may be shared with the City of Menominee. The County currently contracts with UES of Marinette for IT services. Carviou warned the Commissioners of the structural deficit that remains in the budget.
As stands, $143,000 would be needed out of the General Fund Balance to balance the budget. That figure is significantly less than the $900,000 taken from the fund balance in this year’s budget, and the general fund balance is a healthy $3.2 million dollars. However, Carviou says the county will need to address the problem of expenses exceeding revenues.
Next Tuesday the Finance Committee will take a look at the budget before it comes back to the full county board for further discussion, a public hearing, and final approval. The new budget takes effect October 1st.

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