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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Middle Inlet Fire Department Officially Joins MABAS

Issue Date: March 7, 2019

Middle Inlet Fire Department is now formally a member of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), by which member departments have on file a card system that lets other departments know what equipment and personnel they have available to assist at fires in other jurisdictions, and by which they can easily call for aid when assistance is needed for a fire in Middle Inlet.

Fire Department officers have been talking with other departments in the county for some time, and had decided to recommend joining. At its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14, Middle Inlet Town Board approved the necessary documents, which were then submitted to the MABAS Executive Board.

Also at the meeting, Fire Chief Dave Johnston reported that the department assisted at the recent Crivitz Lumber Company fire in Crivitz, which involved participation in "MABAS". Personnel from Middle inlet were on the scene there the night of Tuesday, Jan. 29, and again on Wednesday morning, Jan. 30.

Johnston informed the board that the department recently voted to replace the old equipment van.

Town Hall Custodian Jessie Magerowski presented a request from the Middle Inlet Moonshiners 4-H Club for permission to install a mini-library and non-perishable free food stand for books and food items outside and adjacent to the Town Hall. The board unanimously approved the request and it could be located off the west end of the building.  Magerowski explained it is a little cupboard, where people are invited to take what the need, and leave a book in return if they want to.

All board members were present, including Supervisors Ron Wenzel and Don Van, Town Chair Rich Wade and Clerk/Treasurer Chuck Stanek.

The board unanimously approved financial report and vouchers as presented by Stanek. The vouchers included February tax settlement payments, and totaled $828,151.77.

Stanek reported he had received an invitation for the town to join a Town Advocacy Council, at a cost of $200 a year. No one was interested and no action was taken.

Dealing with ice and snow has ben an on-going problem this year for the town and Road King Excavating, its snow-plowing contractor.

Wade reported that another sand/salt mixture has been delivered to the containment area behind the Fire Station. Town property owners can pick up buckets of the material there to use on their home walks and driveways.

He said Road King personnel have been cutting down high snow banks at road intersections to improve visibility, and praised them for doing a good job.

His comments drew expressions of agreement from the audience.

A lady who lives off Raven Road agreed the roads have been well kept up, and said she was almost ashamed to mention it, but a plow had struck her mail box. The same thing happened last year, and he offered to replace it. The Road King representative said this time he will replace it. He also told her they had gotten too close because they try to get the snow out of the way so mail can be delivered. That led to a discussion on things residents might do to make things easier for the drivers, including an offer to either raise their mail box or move it back.

Wade noted there are four mail boxes at that location. Stanek was surprised the Post Office delivers to the cul de sac because it is a private road. "It's not the mail boxes fault, it's mine," the Road King representative told them.

Van said he had been informed by the garbage pickup contractor that if roads are not passable their trucks will not go down them to pick up garbage. Garbage pickup in winter is on the first and third Mondays of each month. Van said after the last storm they had come back the next day but the roads were still too icy. The Road King representative said one day his truck was sanding on a dead-end town road. The garbage truck was there and saw him go in, and was still there when he came out, and then the garbage truck drove away without going in to pick up garbage. The board agreed they need clarification as to just what determines if trash will be picked up or not, and just what constitutes a road that is too icy or snow covered to be served.

Van said he gets calls from people concerned that they do not know when their garbage will be picked up. Board members and Stanek commented the information has been published in the paper and is on the town's web site. They repeated that pickup is on the first and third Mondays of each month from November through April, and there was a suggestion that if snow on Monday prevents pickup, what is the policy for an alternate pickup day.

"Up until that last storm, I don't know of any roads the truck couldn't get on because of snow," Stanek commented.

Wade reported the new owners of the Ellis Lane properties that have been on the town's "problem properties" list for many months, called to tell him they will work with the town and will raze the buildings in spring. "I hope he does," Wade commented."That will save the town about $9,000."

A man in the audience, new owner of the old 80-acre Clark property, said he had talked with Stanek by phone regarding the town's tentative plans to fill pot holes and put some gravel on the ATV trail that runs along the border of his property, and is technically on his property.

That led to a long discussion. The property owner wants the ATV trail gone, and emphatically did not want it improved. He said he pays taxes on it.

That led to a long discussion. Stanek said the right of way for very few town roads in Wisconsin has ever been deeded to the town, but they are legal roads. The "road" in this case has never been fully developed, but it is an ATV trail and its identity as a town road goes back about 100 years, to when it was the main road access to the highway for all the properties that abut it.

Stanek said over the years he has done a lot of research on road right of way issues and learned that when town ownership is not documented by a deed but the road has been in general use for a certain number of years the town has 66 feet of road right of way. If the road, developed or not, borders on two properties, the abutting property owners each own to the center line, but the town has use of the full 66 feet of right of way.

Stanek repeated whether or not it is deeded to the town the right of way has been used for years and is a public thoroughfare. Snowmobiles have no problem there, but ATVs have had difficulties because of the swamp. There were remarks from Stanek and board members that the town would need permission from the DNR to put gravel there because it is a wetland.

"I own it, and if you put gravel on it, I'm not okay with that!" he told the board. He mentioned retaining legal counsel.

Stanek said Chapter 82 of Wisconsin statutes defines town roads, and repeated that in this case, the town right of way extends 33 feet into his property. Stanek suggested the owner might want to call the assessor and have him deduct the value of that 33-foot strip from his property tax assessment.

The man suggested he might put up a gate on each end, and Stanek advised him not to do that without talking to his attorney first.

"So you just take people's land and say the h" with you!" the man declared.

The owners expressed concern about people dumping deer carcasses, trash, etc., and also about liability if someone gets hurt there. Asked if the town would abandon the road if the DNR decision is that they cannot improve it, Stanek said no, people ride horses, walk, drive 4-wheelers, snowmobiles and sometimes regular trucks through there, and he repeated the public has used it as a thoroughfare for over 100 years.

Stanek recalled an owner who had blocked the town right of way with concrete and posts and refused to move it. Eventually the county took out the posts and concrete and filled it in, "and he paid, portal to portal!" The previous owner of this property had attempted to block it by digging holes, and these are what the town is seeking permission to fill in.

Another person in the audience said he owned a dairy farm in another county and had a similar situation. He "owned but did not own" the 33 feet of town right of way on one property line and 33 feet of county right of way on the other. He said it is not "an up north thing," as had been hinted in the conversation.

The meeting adjourned with no action taken on this issue,but with a comment from stanek that he will do more research in case there is legal action in the future.


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