Sheriff’s Department to Purchase Bearcat

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01/17/2020- Seven years after the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office first made the request, the County has finally approved the purchase of an armored rescue vehicle. Tuesday the County Board signed off on the acquisition of a refurbished 2004 Lenco ARV. That vehicle can be deployed for any number of potentially dangerous situations including those involving armed suspects, hostages, or for evacuation or prisoner transport. The Department has previously called on Brown County’s Bearcat in these types of events, but Sheriff Jerry Sauve says that reliance is a gamble that puts his officers and citizens at risk.
The price of a refurbished model is around $180000, while the cost of a new one is closer to $300000. Marinette County Patrol Lieutenant Jason Ducane says although the ARV they’re purchasing is already 16 years old, a complete refurbishment means it will likely remain operational for another twenty years or longer.
In addition to the purchase, the County Board also approved an MOU with the City of Marinette Police Department for joint operation of the Bearcat. The City is the only other law enforcement agency in the County with a Special Response Team trained to operate an ARV. That agreement will remain in effect for the life of the vehicle.

Check Voter Registration, Ballot for Wisconsin’s Primary Online Before Heading to the Polls

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01/17/2020- Wisconsin’s Spring Primary is just over a month away and there are a few things local voters will need to keep in mind when they head to the polls. The Marinette City Clerk’s Office is reminding City residents that the February 18th primary and all further 2020 elections will have one citywide voting location at the Community REC Center. Voters can check whether they are currently registered to vote online by visiting myvotewi.gov and those who wish to register on election day will need to provide a proof of residence document and photo ID. Absentee ballot requests for the Spring Primary can also be downloaded from the myvotewi.gov website or residents can vote absentee at the City Clerk’s Office February 3rd through the 14th.

Marinette County ADRC Stresses Scam Safety

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01/17/2020- They contact you by phone, email, and can even go so far as stopping by your home- scammers looking to take advantage of your personal information and finances are becoming more common and more persistent. Nicole Albrecht works with Marinette County’s Adult Protective Services and says the elderly population are most at-risk of falling victim to these scam attempts, and oftentimes, once these people get ahold of your money, there’s no getting it back.
Albrecht says, when it comes to protecting yourself from these scams, the best defense is a good offense.
It’s estimated only about one in every four scam victims report what’s happened to them. For more information about scams or if you feel you may have fallen victim to one, call Marinette County Aging and Disability Resource Center at 715-732-3850.

Couple Charged in February 2019 Overdose Death in Marinette County

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01/15/2020- A pair from Oconto are facing homicide charges in the 2019 overdose death of a Marinette County man. 29-year-old Brian Blasing and 30-year-old Chasity Denny have each been charged with 1st degree reckless homicide/ deliver drugs and manufacture/ deliver heroin for supplying the drugs that killed Terry Westphal of Coleman. Last February, police were dispatched to a residence in the Town of Pound where they discovered Westphal unresponsive. He was pronounced dead en-route to the hospital, and it was later determined his death was caused by an overdose of fentanyl-laced heroin. Denny and Blasing were also charged in the overdose death of an Oconto man, though Denny was recently acquitted of that homicide charge. The two are set to make their initial appearance in Marinette County Court January 27th.

Senator Hansen Asking DHS to Provide Free Blood Test for Residents in PFAS Contamination Zones

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01/15/2020- Calls for an epidemiological study on how PFAS exposure may have affected Marinette County residents are being heard by a local lawmaker. State Senator Dave Hansen is asking the state Department of Health Services to provide free blood tests for those people who live in or near the contaminated areas; and to conduct a cancer cluster assessment of residents and their children, who may have been exposed to PFAS living in the Marinette and Peshtigo areas. Hansen says the need for large-scale funding of such tests was made apparent after hearing the stories residents shared at a listening session last month of how they believe PFAs exposure may have negatively impacted their health and that of their loved ones.

“People are frightened. They want to know if they’ve been exposed and if so, to what level. These compounds have been linked to very serious health issues, so I think people have the right to know and what we’re asking for is for DHS to come up with a plan to allow people in the containment area or right around it, or in Porterfield where the sludge has been deposited, to see what kind of health issues they might have as a result of this PFAS condition.”
Hansen says similar testing is already being done in known PFAS-contamination zones in states like Michigan and Minnesota and it’s time for the Badger State to step up and do the same for its residents.

“People should not have to worry about clean water and they’ve been drinking- children and a lot of adults- probably have been drinking poison, unknown to them. So, we’ve got to find out what kind of condition they’re in and what we can do to make this work. So, they (DHS) would set up a protocol and provide them (the tests) for free and then provide them with the results and we’d compare them to the national average to see if there’s a problem and then they can decide by going to their doctor- if they have a high (exposure)  level- if there’s something they can do to improve their condition.”
Exposure to PFAS has been linked to liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. The DHS has not yet responded to Hansen’s request.

Menominee Seeking Capital Project Recommendations

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01/15/2020- Menominee is seeking input from residents on the allocation of capital funding. The City is accepting Capital Project Requests from citizens and organizations until February 1st. Anyone interested in submitting a request may receive forms from the City Manager’s Office. Examples of capital items are building improvements needed for various city facilities, street department equipment, or street construction. Capital projects will then be compiled and recommended to the City Council for potential funding.

County Board Asks Administrator to Create New Tourism, Economic Development Positions

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01/15/2020- The majority of the Marinette County Board says when it comes to the administration of economic development and tourism promotion, they want the job done in-house. The Board was first asked Tuesday to consider directing the County’s Development Committee and County Administrator to create a new community development position. For months supervisors have gone back and forth whether to establish an internal development role or contract those services out to another agency and while proponents of the in-house option feel it will provide more transparency and a better relationship, Supervisor Ginger Deschane says they’ll be starting from scratch and duplicating services that already exist locally.
Following their discussion on development, the Board turned their attention to tourism. The County has already begun an effort to create a program assistant in the Facilities and Parks Department to promote and develop county-owned assets, but some municipalities, including the City of Marinette, have come out saying that heavily favors the northern part of the County. That program assistant could work with cities and towns on specific promotion projects as requested, but Supervisor Bonnie Popp says she wants to see the County bring a Tourism Director on board who will market the county as a whole.
The Board tasked the County Administrator and the Development Committee with crafting job descriptions and identifying funding sources for both the Community Development and Tourism Director positions. Each will still require final approval from the Committee and the full County Board.

PFAS Detected in Another Private Well Near Marinette

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01/14/2020- The Wisconsin DNR is stepping in to provide emergency drinking water to a homeowner near Marinette after testing by the owner showed the presence of PFAS in their private well. This property is located near the ongoing groundwater study area for PFAS contamination caused by the manufacturing, test, and disposal of firefighting foam by Tyco. The DNR first offered Tyco the opportunity to resample the homeowner’s well and provide emergency water. After the company declined that offer, the DNR began to work with the resident to provide alternative drinking water and re-sample the well to validate the results. The DNR will now re-assess the groundwater contamination study area boundaries and Tyco’s site investigation plan based on this new information. Residents are reminded the DNR has scheduled a series of listening sessions about PFAS contamination in the Marinette-Peshtigo area. The next session is scheduled for tomorrow at noon and 6 p.m. at Marinette’s Community REC Center.

NEWCAP Housing Rehab Project Proposed to County Committee

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01/14/2020- One of the biggest challenges identified in broadening economic and community development is a lack of affordable housing in Marinette County and a new partnership between the County and NEWCAP is looking to address that. The two entities are in discussion about establishing a revolving loan fund to rehabilitate and resell properties throughout the County. County Administrator John Lefebvre says the project would initially target homes the county acquires through tax delinquency, both reducing blight and increasing the local housing stock.
NEWCAP is seeking$500000 to $1-million to start in the revolving loan fund- money which Lefebvre says could come from the county’s exiting fund balance.
The Administrative Committee authorized Lefebvre to compile the necessary documentation to formally create the housing rehab partnership between the County and NEWCAP and bring it back to them for consideration.

Snowmobile Trails Extended into City of Marinette

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01/14/2020- Snowmobilers will soon have increased access to the City of Marinette. Last week Common Council approved the extension of a pair of snowmobile trails into the city. The first trail previously ended near the city limits along Mary Street, but will now continue into the city and split off in two different directions, while the other trail, which runs behind the UW Fieldhouse will be extended all the way to the Bay. Proponents of the plan say it will draw more riders in to the city and offer them the opportunity to check out local stores, restaurants, and hotels, upping revenue in what is typically a slow time of year in terms of tourism.

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