Contamination of Fire Debris Unlikely

While last week’s Marinette Knitting Mills fire spared neighboring properties, some residents have expressed concerns about the potentially hazardous material the flames left behind. Monday, Marinette Fire Chief Jay Heckel, Marinette County Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister, and Wisconsin DNR Air Management Specialist Mark Chamberlain visited the site on Pierce Avenue to assess the potential that debris from the fire could contain toxins like asbestos. Asbestos was found in the boiler room and in a pipe protruding from the room’s wall, however, the material is in pipe wrap and the walls and roof of the room remain intact, minimizing the risk of public exposure. The mill is located on private property and authorities have taped off the site and posted against trespassing. Residents in the area that do find debris from the blaze on their property may safely pick it up wearing disposable gloves and dispose of it.

County Committee Restructuring

Marinette County’s committee structure will undergo a dramatic change. The Board of Supervisors heard a proposal Tuesday to consolidate the county’s eleven current committees to five. Six supervisors would sit on each committee and supervisors would serve on only one committee. The remodeling would not result in any staff or service reduction, but would save the county at least $22000 each year. However, Supervisor Don Pazynski says the change is unnecessary and the overall cost savings will have little impact.
Marinette County Administrator Kathy Brandt says the current system is cumbersome and not an efficient use of time or resources.
Ultimately, the board passed the measure on a 16-to-9 vote. Under this new structure, the county board chair will continue to be responsible for appointing individual supervisors to each committee.

Menominee County December Unemployment Estimates

Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget releases updated local unemployment rates for December. Last month, Menominee County saw a 5.1%  jobless rate. That’s up from the 4.3% recorded in November and 4.6% one year ago. Statewide unemployment dropped from 5.1% in November to 4.5% in December. Michigan unemployment in December of 2016 stood at 4.9%.

Florence Woman to Compete in Olympics

These snowy Wisconsin winters have helped prepare one Florence County woman to make her Olympic debut. 25-year-old Nita Englund of Florence has been selected for the U-S Olympic Ski Jumping Team for the 2018 Winter Games to be held in South Korea. She’s competed three times with the junior world championship team. A 2012 injury kept her out of the sport for a year, but she moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado soon after to advance her training. Englund has been ski jumping for more than fifteen years.

Kiwanis Club Holds Wine Raffle

A major fundraiser for local community service organization is back for its second year. The Menominee Kiwanis Club is currently selling tickets for their Valentine’s Day Wine Raffle.
Tickets for the raffle are available at Rerun Furniture, Cycle Path, Jack’s Fresh Market in Menominee, and from any local Kiwanis member. Club member, Bill St. Martin says proceeds from the event go right back into the community.
Winners of the Valentine’s Day Wine Raffle will be drawn on February 14th by Menominee Mayor Jean Stegeman at Cycle Path in Menominee. That event will be broadcast on Classic Hits 103.7 and 1340 WAGN.

Johnson Sentenced for Drug Dealing Conviction

A Menominee woman may avoid prison time for a 2017 drug dealing charge. Last week, Marinette County Judge David Miron imposed a stayed sentence of 5 years’ initial confinement and 5 years’ extended supervision for 22-year-old Katelynn T Johnson. Johnson was convicted of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine and has been entered into the county’s drug treatment program. After being detained for suspected shoplifting in Marinette in September of 2017, authorities allegedly found methamphetamine on Johnson. She later admitted in an interview with police that she intended to sell the drug.

Marinette Knitting Mills Building Destroyed

A century-old Marinette landmark goes up in smoke. Firefighters battled a blaze that began Thursday morning at the former Marinette Knitting Mills building on Pierce Avenue. The structure was fully engulfed in flames, but crews were able to keep the fire contained. With temperatures in the low twenties, fire trucks and equipment quickly became covered in ice. The sixteen-hundred block of Parnell Street was evacuated for a period of time due to the dense smoke from the fire. There is no word yet on what may have caused the fire and Marinette Fire Department officials say no injuries have been reported.
A fiber optic cable was burned in the fire and as a result, internet service was knocked out for many users in the area, including the Marinette County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Jerry Sauve says while some administrative functions have been disrupted, all phone lines are still up and the outage will not affect their ability to provide emergency services.

Henes Park Master Plan Presented

The public gets its first look on what the future of Menominee’s Henes Park could have in store. An open house was held at the Spies Public Library Thursday to offer residents the chance to review an updated master plan for the John Henes Park and provide their feedback on the proposals. Trista Hobbs with UP Engineers and Architects says many of the issues addressed in the plan update were ones that park users had identified as their top concerns.
The open house featured visioning maps for several areas in the park and allowed guests to provide feedback on potential options for things like trail development, park sustainability, and recreational opportunities. One major proposal in the master plan is the construction of the 4000-square-foot Henes Great Lakes Environmental, Arts, and Gathering Center. The facility would be available for year-round use for environmental stewardship education, concerts, recitals, and art exhibits, and private events such as weddings and reunions.

Local Drug Court a Success

“Five babies have been born to drug court participants free of drugs.”
That’s what Marinette County Judge Jim Morrison had to say about the program’s continued success last week. Two participants graduated from Drug Court in December and two more recently filed paperwork to begin the exit phase.
Robin Elsner, Director of the Marinette County’s Health and Human Services, says a key component of the drug court’s success is ensuring participants are doing something meaningful with their time.
There are currently 19 participants in the Marinette County Drug Court. 11 people have graduated since the program’s inception in 2014.

Temporary Closure of Boulder Lake Campground

A national forest campground in Oconto County is closed until further notice. The Oconto County Sheriff’s Office says the decision to close the Boulder Lake Campground in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest for the 2018 season comes after they received numerous reports about a resident near the area that may have been armed was and firing weapons on his property in a way that could suggest a threat. Authorities have worked to stabilize the situation and they will re-evaluate the closure in the coming days. Currently, the Boulder Lake recreation area currently remains open.

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