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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Council Names Debbie Klegin New Marinette Alderperson

Issue Date: June 3, 2020

Prior to the City of Marinette Common Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2, a special Board of Public Works committee meeting was held to discuss bid results for the Golden Court and City Court reconstruction project.

Three bids were received for the project: Barley Trucking and Excavating of Menominee, $189,914.42, DeGroot Inc. of Green Bay, $210,628.83 and Advance Construction of Green Bay, $229,718.00. The bid was awarded to the lowest bidder, Barley Trucking and Excavating.

After approval of May Committees, Citizen Boards, Commissions and Common Council meeting minutes, the meeting moved into candidate speeches for those seeking the position of Ward 6 Alderperson. Three candidates presented.

James Kostura was first to present. Kostura was born and raised in Cleveland, Oh. and retired from the United States Navy in 2000. After living here, he and his wife loved the area and decided to make Marinette their home. He has been working at Waupaca Foundry for 20 years and is actively involved in youth sports and is also an active member of the Moose Lodge.

Next to present was Tracy Walters. She was born and raised in Marinette and moved to lower Michigan where she lived for 27 years, but still made many trips back to Marinette to visit family and enjoy the amenities the area has to offer. She said, "Seven years ago I returned to Marinette to be near family and work for the Marinette School District. I see the positive effects that I have on the youth of Marinette and would like to expand that into the broader community. Altho, there are positive things happening in Ward 6, I feel there is still room for improvement and would be happy to share my ideas if considered as Alderperson".

Finally taking the podium was Debbie Klegin. Klegin has been a resident of Marinette her whole life, is a member of Calvary Church and the Moose Lodge. She is very active in the High School Booster club, officiates Volleyball, volunteers for the Hoops Club, basketball and baseball programs and is very involved with the youth in the community. She said, "I would like to see progress and see things go forward".

After ballots were collected, it was noted that Debbie Klegin won the seat of Alderperson Ward 6 for the term that runs through the end of April 2021. Mayor Steve Genisot commented, "It is good to see the interest in the Alderman position".

The major topic of the evening was to decide to open the Civic Center Pool or not, with the threat of COVID-19. Gavin Scray, Marinette Rec Center Executive Director of Recreation and Events recommended to open the pool on June 17 and they will be following the Consumer Protection safety guidelines. "We will be filling the pool no matter if it is open or not, we need to make a decision", Scray said.

Scray added, "We will be following the guidelines of the DATPC (Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection), including shortening the days and hours open. The pool would be open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., the baby pool along with vending machines, the vending area and locker rooms would be closed. No toys will be allowed on the pool deck or in the pool area and we will follow the guidelines of social distancing and operate at 25% capacity. In normal time there would be about 75 in the pool, so the new capacity would be approximately 20".

Many comments were shared for and against the opening of the pool. Alderman Ken Keller was against opening, stating, "Most other areas are not making a decision until July 1". Scray said, "We need to make a decision now so we can secure staffing. Students are looking for jobs now and if we wait to long we will not be able to find anyone to work".

Alderman Wally Hitt, said, "Bacteria and viruses are killed off in chlorine so pools should be safe to be in". Scray replied, "And there is no evidence the virus transfers in water". Alderman Doug Oitzinger then spoke, "With social distancing, how are you going to keep them apart and know which ones are family members and non family"? Scray responded, "It may be a challenge, but we will make a good attempt to do our due diligence to keep the distancing and keep them safe".

Alderman Rick Polzin said, "I support opening of the pool, we see Tundra Lodge and other water park areas opening. My concern is the lack of activity for the kids, it is important to look at the social well being of them as well". Alderman Jason Flatt said, "Each facility should have a safety plan for hand washing and sanitizing, I didn't hear any mention of a safety plan". Scray responded, The person that would have monitored the baby pool will be accountable to concentrate on the rest of the area for keeping it clean and sanitized. We are requiring people to cross their arms in going down the slide so they are not touching the slide itself". Alderman Jeff Skorik added, "You will need an adequate amount of lifeguards to monitor social distancing. The sole purpose is safety and also monitoring".

Alderman Dave Anderson spoke in support of the opening, "With all things being cancelled for summer, the kids need something to do. With a good policy in place and monitoring of social distancing, I would definitely be in favor of opening the pool". New alderperson, Debbie Klegin added, When in the pool there is sanitizing going on, but it is important to clean surfaces. It is difficult to try to integrate social distancing, but have to use common sense. If Gavin has a plan and it meets the guidelines, we should be able to open. If there are any complaints, we can re-address and re-assess".

Oitzinger added, "It is irrelevant if kids are in chlorine or not, kids will be coughing and spitting and can spread the germs that way. People or children may get sick or worse. All it takes is one case to be traced back to the facility and that will cause everything to shut down. I oppose this as I oppose opening of everything else, not because I dislike the opening, I just think we are not out of the woods yet with this virus. I don't see what the urgency is, we are not living in a normal time right now and we can't act like we are, I oppose this opening".

Keller also commented, "We don't know what the numbers are for Marinette County, we only have 33 so far, but that is not a true number, children can have COVID-19 without any symptoms and they are going to be spitting out water. We are playing this fast and loose with the public".

Even after all the opposition, the vote passed to go forward with opening the pool with taking all safety precautions possible.

Keller then added, "Restrooms at Red Arrow Park are not open yet. There were a lot of kids at Red Arrow beach and they couldn't use the facilities to change or use the bathrooms. If you are going to allow the pool to open, then you should allow the bathrooms to open at the beaches too". Genisot replied, "BPW (Board of Public Works) is working on a plan to open the bathrooms".

Oitzinger also added, "If the Rec Center is open, they have certain rules, there is no information posted on line and no handouts available, only verbal instructions of the new policies. If there are new safety rules, they should be made available as handouts and on the website".

In his report, Mayor Genisot announced "COVID-19 testing was done in Crivitz. Bellin will be doing community wide COVID-19 testing at the old Bellin facility located at 3200 Shore Drive in Marinette. Testing is open to anyone with our without symptoms". Genisot also noted, there will be a planned Black Lives Matter protest starting Wednesday, June 3 at noon on Stephenson Island and hopefully it will be a peaceful protest.

Several grants that were applied for were received, including a $20,500 grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management program for cold water rescue gear; a FEMA grant was received in the amount of $57,953.31 to cover costs from the significant storm in summer of 2019; a $25,000 technology grant was received; $1,000 was received from Kwik Trip for the purchase of a generator and also received was a check from Farmers and Merchants back in the amount of $5,000 as debt reduction due to the effects of COVID-19.

Long in coming was the pending repairs for the State Street railroad tracks. City Engineer Brian Miller was happy to announce that construction work started on Monday, June 1 by the Canadian National Railroad and they also have enough funds to also do construction on the Mary Street railroad crossings as well.

Per recommendation by the Personnel and License committee from their May meeting, several licenses were approved by Council, including a temporary Class B fermented malt beverage license for the Holy Family Parish Picnic for June 21 at 2715 Taylor Street. Renewals include four Class B fermented malt; 30 Class B combination; 1 Class C wine; 16 Class A fermented malt; 14 Class A intoxicating liquor; 17 Tobacco license; Also there were 18 renewals of operator license and nine new operator license.

Mayor Genisot added, "The Farmers Market will be open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m through Sept. 30 at Merchants Park in downtown Marinette and the Master Walleye Tournament was rescheduled to Friday and Saturday Aug. 7 and 8. Also that weekend, the Wisconsin High School Fishing Tournament will be held on Sunday, Aug. 9".


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