Peshtigo Times Wisconsin Community Newspaper
space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From My Window
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Area Gridders Eager For Action
* WIAA Task Force Meets on Realignment Process
* WIAA Board Elects Officers; Votes on Action Items
* Bonus Turkey Harvest Authorizations On-Sale
* Championship Men's League at LRCC Set for Aug. 20th

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

MCABI Lays Out Plan For Larger Role, More Funding

Issue Date: May 31, 2018

The board of directors for Marinette County Association for Business and Industry (MCABI) dealt with several changes at its meeting on Thursday, May 24, and continued laying groundwork for some even bigger changes to come.

There was detailed discussion on the preliminary proposal for expanded services that was presented to Marinette County Board at its meeting on Tuesday, May 29. County Board may vote on that plan at its meeting in June, which fits in with time for developing the county budget for 2019. The expanded services will also mean expanded funds for MCABI, at least for the short term.

Development and economic growth were identified as major goals of Marinette County Board in planning sessions held last year. If the right agreements can be reached, MCABI's work toward those goals will be greatly expanded in the next few months, and the money it gets from the county to do that work will increase considerably, from $83,000 a year to possibly contributing the major portion of a $500,000 to $700,000 annual budget. However, according to MCABI Board President John Deschane, that support would be needed only at the beginning. Ultimate goal of the group is to become self supporting and financially independent from the county.

Part of that goal also would be to change their governing structure so they would no longer need to comply with requirements of the Wisconsin Open meetings and Open Records laws, which Deschane said would give them more flexibility and greater ability to act quickly when necessary.

MCABi is a private non-profit 501(C)(6) corporation that contracts with the county to serve as its economic development arm.

Short term changes dealt with at Thursday's meeting included welcoming of Marinette County Supervisor Ted Sauve as the newest member of the MCABI board. Sauve was recently elected chair of the county's new Development Committee, which includes automatic membership on the MCABI board.

Sauve replaces Supervisor Shirley Kaufman as the County Board representative with MCABI, but Kaufman will remain on the MCABI Board. MCABI President John Deschane appointed her to fill a vacant citizen at large position. Deschane declared Kaufman's contributions as a board member had been of great value in the past and he did not want to lose her input.

"It's a pleasure and an honor to be involved because you do such good and important work, " Kaufman responded.

Kaufman had served on the MCABI board for many recent years by virtue of her position as chair of the county's Economic Development and Tourism Committee, which no longer exists because of a recent reorganization of county committees. In a major reorganization that took effect in April the county's Economic Development and Tourism, Land Information, and Ag and Extension committees were combined into one group, the Development Committee, which Sauve now chairs.

Also at the last Executive committee meeting Robert Pontius had been authorized to terminate the contract with NWTC for a 20-hour per week employee to manage the the Maritime Center of Excellence (MCOE) Building constructed by MCABI with the help of a $5 million state grant.

Management of the facility included working with potential tenants. Pontius said Mary Paitrick, the person employed by NWTC for the half time manager job had been doing a fantastic job, and "the decision to end the agreement was not a personnel issue, it was a business decision." MCABI had been paying $45,000 a year to NWTC for a 20 hour per week staff member who was not an MCABI employee, while he and assistant Theresa O'Brien are there most of the time anyway.

Also, Pontius said, "NWTC made it very clear we were to use only them for training." He said that was not in the contract, and there was never any intent to do that, since MCABI also planned to have training programs sponsored by groups like SCORE, the Small Business Development Corporation and others.

However, since the contract was signed there has been only one training program. The original idea was that the building would be aggressively marketed, "which has not been happening," and that NWTC would use the building for training programs of various sorts for prospective entrepreneurs.

"I still intend to send people to NWTC for training, it's a valuable resource," Pontius said, "but we must be free to refer people to other services as well."

Pontius said he and the current NWTC dean had several cordial conversations on the decision, and there is no controversy over the contract termination.

Board Member Tim Phillips, who represents the Niagara area, said he had no problem with ending the NWTC contract but did have a problem with the way it was done, specifically that it had gone through the Executive Committee without coming to the full board. "You circumvented the whole process," he said.

Deschane said he would take full responsibility for that, and explained they had felt it was important to move quickly. Marketing and training are both large issues.

Half the MCOE building is dedicated as office for Navy personnel working with Marinette Marine on its ship building contracts. The other half will be used as a business incubator, with equipment, space and other assistance for businesses trying to get a start in the area, or for people who do much of their work at home but need a professional office address as well. Office equipment is also available for use on site, and wheels are in motion to get a 3-D printer installed and functioning in a portion of the incubator's "maker space."

A portion of the space in the incubator half of the building is being leased by Bellin Health as a wellness clinic for Marinette Marine employees. The "buildout" for the clinic has just been completed and the lease payments will begin June 1. Bellin staff members, O'Brien said, are very pleased with the new facilities. "They're like little kids with their first toy. They're just giddy!" The clinic had been operating out of trailers.

Ann Hartnell, who retired as MCABI Executive Director in January but stayed on a part time basis to to see the MCOE project brought to completion, said the overall building program, the Brownfields contaminated site cleanup and the buildouts included, are ending within budget. The Brownfields cleanup has been satisfactorily completed and is being closed out with some final payments to the DNR and Stantec, the environmental firm that handled the cleanup.

Asked if the clinic can function with just Marinette Marine personnel, Hartnell said they have 1,400 to 1,500 employees, and the clinic handles the mandatory drug tests, which are ordered frequently because of the nature of the work on military vessels.

"It's incredible!" Pontius declared. "Very much due to Ann, we're going to come out substantially under budget, and we got several extra things done too.

With MCOE construction project now almost complete. Hartnell told the board Thursday that she is looking forward to being able to fully retire soon.

Pontius said with increased use of the MCOE building by the clientele it was built for, space for MCABI offices there will be limited. He is looking at having at office hours at a more central location in the county, partly for public relations, since it serves the entire county, not just the City of Marinette. Another benefit would be saving in travel time as he visits business prospects and promotes business sites all over the county from Coleman and Pound to Goodman and Niagara and all points in between as well as in the Peshtigo and Marinette area.

He has been told by Dan Peterson that Stephenson National Bank has office space available in Crivitz and Wausaukee. He hopes to have something to present at the next board meeting.

O'Brien presented current bills and preliminary financial reports. The finalized financial reports will be presented at the annual meeting, which is to be held on Thursday, June 28, probably in Marinette.

For the past year, even before the county requested expanded services, MCABI has been doing some long-range comprehensive planning and looking at by-laws revisions.

Late last year Marinette County Administrator John LeFebvre and County Board Chair Mark Anderson asked the group to expand its services to the county, and to devise a plan showing what they felt they could do, how they would propose doing it, and what it would cost.

Since March a By-Laws Committee consisting of Pontius, MCABI board members Mike Kunesh, Nick Ghere, and Mike Meade as chair has been working on a new oversight structure and new set of bylaws. If Marinette County Board agrees to increase their funding as proposed MCABI plans to add several fulltime staff positions.

Discussions with the county had included putting tourist promotion activities back under the umbrella of MCABI, and both the Tourism Alliance and MCABI board had expressed support for that plan, but that portion of the expansion idea was later put on hold at LeFebvre's request. Since the county was without a tourism director he was negotiating an agreement to contract with the City of Marinette for half time services from the tourism director the city intended to hire.

The city has now hired Melissa Ebsch, and she was introduced to County Board on Tuesday. Deschane expected MCABI will look again at tourism duties in the future, "but for now our role is business retention and expansion."

Pontius stressed, "It is good to understand that the county came to us and asked us to expand our services."

He said he and the new MCABI staff members will meet with business people, give them information on available buildings and building sites, offer start up assistance, training programs, etc. They will work with existing businesses, and hope to attract new ones. One of the new fulltime staff positions would be a community development director, who would work on ways to make the county more attractive as a place to live, work and do business.

Sauve offered a brief history of MCABI, starting back then he was Board Chair and then-Supervisor Walter Stepniak worked very hard to get it off the ground.

"We mean to keep good communications between your group and ours," Deschane assured Sauve, "but eventually we want to become financially independent, both to take the financial burden off the county, and to get ourselves out from under the Open Meetings Law requirements." He said that had been suggested by LeFebvre.

Among issues considered in the by-law revisions are board membership, general membership, dues, and dissolution. Pontius said the Open Meetings Law exemptions seem to hinge greatly on provisions of the dissolution clause - what happens to assets if and when the group ceases to exist.

Kuenish said it is his understanding that with the state grant rules, for at least 20 years they cannot do anything with the MCOE building except manage it.

Coleman Village President Glenn Woulf questioned asking the county to raise its support from $83,000 a year to maybe $500,000 a year, and then not allow them representation on the Board of Directors.

Pontius said there would be oversight boards, but they would be more advisory, more lightweight, with no committees and less frequent meetings, more like the board of directors of a private corporation.

Questioned about reasons for wanting to avoid Open Meeting rules, Deschane repeated, "We need to flexibility, to be able to operate and to jump if we need to jump."

They had looked at the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation, and like some things about their structure, but not everything.

Due to some problems with filling the executive director post, Hartnell had remained in that job full time until Robert Pontius was hired in February as "interim executive director." At Thursday's meeting Deschane said he would like Pontius' job to become a full time, permanent position rather than "interim." That discussion, probably with action, will be included in a future agenda, possibly at the June board meeting. Reaction of other board members indicated that will not be a problem.

The full board also expressed support for an Executive committee decision to provide health insurance for O'Brien, on a 30/70 percent cost sharing basis. According to Pontius, she has been dong a fantastic job, has the new accounting system set up, and has put extra effort into promoting use of the MCOE building. She will be filling one of the slots on the new MCABI flow chart. He said because it is a group insurance policy the insurance had to be offered to him also, but he would decline.

Pontius had received a rough draft of a study of Marinette County housing needs, but a few revisions were needed before it can be released. O'Brien said for example the study found average rent in the City of Peshtigo was $1,500 a month, but closer look showed they had included assisted living apartments in that total.

Deschane questioned the 1,200 housing units show for Wausaukee. He said there are not that many residents in the whole village. He also wondered why Wausaukee and Crivitz are identified in the study as "secondary markets."

The 55-page report cost $12,000, but much of the cost is being paid by the four banks and other groups that helped sponsor it.

Deschane commented the housing study documents will give them something to show developers, "This is why we need multi-family housing in Marinette."

The study was commissioned as part of the long term plan for developing Marinette County. Employers have said they have a problem getting workers, partly because potential employees have a hard time finding suitable places to live.

Pontius reported he and O'Brien have done a lot of marketing of the MCOE building, and escorted a lot of tours. They are encouraging non-profit groups to use space there to get more public exposure.

CTD, the MCOE's first industrial client, has moved in and is making a specialized part for a military vehicle. They also have a "virtual client," who works as a computer programmer. This is a trade-off, Pontius said. "He has IT skills and maker space skills, and in lieu of part of his rent he will be our on-site IT guy. This is going to be an exceptionally good arrangement!"

Pontius reported he is continuing to work on the potential cheese factory in Coleman. He had visited a dairy in Pound, and was surprised by the number of migrant workers. He had met with Hartnell and Congressman Mike Gallagher, and he and Gallagher will be visiting Niagara and the Northland College campus in Pembine.

The Coleman cheese factory would add perhaps 65 jobs, a proposed new call center would bring in 100 to 125 jobs, and another business from an adjacent county is looking at expanding to the central part of Marinette County.

This led to discussion on need for more workers. Phillips said there are 500 unfilled jobs in the Niagara/Iron Mountain area, "and there's no way in sight to get people to fill them. We have to get involved in some programs to get skilled people to come to this county!" He said the shortage of workers is in fact a nationwide problem.

Deschane agreed community development is needed, but said there are a significant number of unemployed people in Marinette county, "We need to get them trained and working!"

"Home grown talent is part of the solution," Pontius agreed. He said it is good for kids to visit industries and hopes they will come to the MCOE to see its Maker Space area, ""which is something dear to my heart."

"There's a great deal of what you're talking about going on right now in our schools," Supervisor Al Mans said. As least 20 years ago MCABI had started urging schools to offer more hands-on training to produce skilled workers.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
08-16-2018Front Page
Sauve, Dudka Win Marinette Co. Races

08-16-2018Front Page
Winsert Breaks Ground For Another Major Expansion

08-16-2018Front Page
BPM, Inc. Is Considering Wastewater Plant Options

08-16-2018Front Page
Plan Honor Caravan To Escort Wall That Heals

08-16-2018Front Page
New Floor In Peshtigo School May Be Aacer Training Project

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
Hundreds at Silver Cliff Fire and Rescue Auxiliary Parade and Picnic

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
Michael Schroeder Benefit Set at Wausaukee Sept. 8th

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
10th Annual Village of Wausaukee Fall Festival

08-16-2018Community - Wausaukee
Work Day for Marinette Co Fair

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Continues Plans For Wall That Heals Visit

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Wolverine PTO Donates $10,000 for Playground

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz School Open House is Aug. 30

08-16-2018Community - Crivitz
Monthly CPR Class at Bellin, Crivitz

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Pickup Items at Pound Cemetery

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Fire Department Picnic Profit Was $7,563

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Dogleg Open Golf Fundraiser at Pound

08-16-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1952-58 Classes Reunion

08-16-2018Sports
Area Gridders Eager For Action

08-16-2018Sports
WIAA Task Force Meets on Realignment Process

08-16-2018Sports
WIAA Board Elects Officers; Votes on Action Items

08-16-2018Sports
Bonus Turkey Harvest Authorizations On-Sale

08-16-2018Sports
Championship Men's League at LRCC Set for Aug. 20th

08-16-2018Perspectives
From My Window

08-16-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-16-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-16-2018Obituaries
Jeffrey W. Baumler

08-16-2018Obituaries
LaVonne Brazeau

08-16-2018Obituaries
Cindy S. Cole

08-16-2018Obituaries
Brett J. Dessart

08-16-2018Obituaries
Wally Faltynski

08-16-2018Obituaries
Rodney L. Grom

08-16-2018Obituaries
Rich Hanson

08-16-2018Obituaries
Richard L. Holmes

08-16-2018Obituaries
Kristy L. Korth

08-16-2018Obituaries
Genevieve M. Kovnesky

08-16-2018Obituaries
Eleanor L. Lavalley

08-16-2018Obituaries
Arletta R. Laundre

08-16-2018Obituaries
Betty LeTendre

08-16-2018Obituaries
Leocadia M. Metzner

08-16-2018Obituaries
John E. Phillips

08-16-2018Obituaries
Sherry (Wilber) Vorpahl

08-16-2018Obituaries
Lorraine M. Washuleski

08-09-2018Front Page
Marinette National Night Out Enjoyed By Many

08-09-2018Front Page
Court Battles Continue Over Back Forty Mine

08-09-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Council Okays 3% Water Rate Increase

08-09-2018Front Page
OK Plans For Added Officer, Full Time Medical Examiner

08-09-2018Front Page
City Considers Format For Filing Complaints

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Meeting Aug. 13

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
Joint Municipal Court Lists Recent Court Activity

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
Judge Clifford Patz Attends Trial Seminar

08-09-2018Community - Coleman
James Kobus Memorial Ride Set for Sept. 29

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Seek Vietnam Veterans Names for Hall Exhibit

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Salad Luncheon

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz-Stephenson Historical Society Recipients of Grant

08-09-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Ski Cats Corn Roast Show Aug. 11

08-09-2018Community - Wausaukee
41st Annual Silver Cliff Fire Rescue Parade, Picnic Aug. 11

08-09-2018Community - Wausaukee
Concert Aug. 12 at Athelstane Church

08-09-2018Community - Wausaukee
Under the Lights Entertainment For Wausaukee Enterprises Fundraiser

08-09-2018Sports
Red Wave Battles To 2nd Place In State Tourney

08-09-2018Sports
Son Follows in Father's Footsteps, Wins DNR Trout Stamp Design Contest

08-09-2018Sports
Bonus Antlerless Deer Harvest Authorizations Available Aug 13

08-09-2018Sports
Youth Trap League Benefit Raffle Results

08-09-2018Sports
Enter Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Photo Contest

08-09-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-09-2018Perspectives
From My Window

08-09-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-09-2018Obituaries
Gloria J. Behling

08-09-2018Obituaries
William Bertrand

08-09-2018Obituaries
William L. Bristol, Jr.

08-09-2018Obituaries
Mary J. Brown

08-09-2018Obituaries
Daniel J. Eggers

08-09-2018Obituaries
Mary E. Fritz

08-09-2018Obituaries
Wesley L. Henry  

08-09-2018Obituaries
Michael Allen Hirsch

08-09-2018Obituaries
James C. Kobus

08-09-2018Obituaries
Nathaniel LaPlant

08-09-2018Obituaries
Lois Mazur Lemerand

08-09-2018Obituaries
David Grant McDowell

08-09-2018Obituaries
Doris M. Mileski-Engel

08-09-2018Obituaries
Dolores E. Monnette

08-09-2018Obituaries
Ralph E. Peterson

08-09-2018Obituaries
Joseph P. Redmann

08-09-2018Obituaries
Marvin R. Rusch

08-09-2018Obituaries
Gary J. Semrau

08-09-2018Obituaries
Martin "Punk" Techmeier

08-09-2018Obituaries
Linda J. Tessmer

08-09-2018Obituaries
Debra Tickler

08-09-2018Obituaries
Marsha Vara

08-09-2018Obituaries
Audrey M. Yetter

08-02-2018Front Page
Gov. Scott Walker Speaks At Marinette Republican Dinner

08-02-2018Front Page
District Attorney Office Is Finally Fully Staffed

08-02-2018Front Page
Marinette Council Awards REC Center Bid of $989,950

08-02-2018Front Page
Back 40 Mine Arguments In Federal Court Aug. 1

08-02-2018Front Page
National Night Out Set for Aug. 7th

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee School District Receives Safety Grant

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Historical Lists Raffle Winners

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Legion To Hold Flag Retirement

08-02-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Back To School Program Receives $3,000

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Member on Mission Trip to Antigua

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
Names Wanted for The Wall That Heals

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
20 at Even Monday Cards

08-02-2018Community - Crivitz
Settler's Day Picnic Saturday

08-02-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Board To Meet Aug. 6

08-02-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1950 Reunion Aug. 12 at Tradewinds

08-02-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Church Plans Dedication Aug. 12

08-02-2018Sports
Plover Ends Good Marinette Post 39 Season

08-02-2018Sports
Red Wave Play in Tough UP Tourney

08-02-2018Sports
Peshtigo River Bowhunters Summer League Winners

08-02-2018Sports
Koehn Hits Ace at Little River CC

08-02-2018Sports
Little River CC Crowns Junior Club Champions

08-02-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

08-02-2018Perspectives
From My Window

08-02-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

08-02-2018Obituaries
Stella M. Alexandrowicz

08-02-2018Obituaries
Jeanette F. Baeder

08-02-2018Obituaries
Vernon T. Benning

08-02-2018Obituaries
John D. Compton

08-02-2018Obituaries
Viola E. Fedler

08-02-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth L. Roenfanz Geist

08-02-2018Obituaries
Wesley L. Henry

08-02-2018Obituaries
Claude W. Knuth

08-02-2018Obituaries
David N. Koenig

08-02-2018Obituaries
Ethel M. Larson

08-02-2018Obituaries
Peggy Madden

08-02-2018Obituaries
Neil D. McNulty

08-02-2018Obituaries
David J. McTrusty

08-02-2018Obituaries
John A. Radoll

08-02-2018Obituaries
Ardith J. Rost

08-02-2018Obituaries
Gene W. Staffeldt

08-02-2018Obituaries
William T. Scheller

08-02-2018Obituaries
Juliann M. Martin-Schroedle

08-02-2018Obituaries
Daniel J. Secor

08-02-2018Obituaries
John V. Szymanski

08-02-2018Obituaries
Martin W. Techmeier

08-02-2018Obituaries
Alice R. Warnecke

08-02-2018Obituaries
Nancy A. Welton

07-26-2018Front Page
Bay Area Medical Center Scheduled to Open Aug. 16

07-26-2018Front Page
County Board To Have Busy Session Aug. 31

07-26-2018Front Page
Alwin Resigns Job As Welcome Center Head

07-26-2018Front Page
Wagner Needs New Public Works Director

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Fire Department Lists Raffle Winners

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
R-Angels Program For School Supplies

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
Trinity Lutheran, Coleman Picnic, Service July 29

07-26-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1950 Reunion Aug. 12 at Tradewinds

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Ski Cats 5th at State

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Rescue Squad 9th Annual Ride July 28

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Salad Luncheon

07-26-2018Community - Crivitz
Loomis Historical Talk on Beekeeping

07-26-2018Community - Wausaukee
DOT Has Highway Landscapers To Replant, Mow In Wausaukee

07-26-2018Community - Wausaukee
DOT Has Highway Landscapers To Replant, Mow In Wausaukee


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites