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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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National Guard To Offer Covid Testing At Peshtigo

Issue Date: October 7, 2020

Emergency Government Director/Highway Commissioner Eric Burmeister informed the Marinette County Board's Public Services Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6 that in view of the recent rise in Covid-19 cases, he and Public Health Officer Mollie Bonjean have asked Wisconsin National Guard to run several re-occurring test sites between now and the end of December.

As a result there will be drive through Covid-19 test sites at the Peshtigo Highway Shop on Friday, Oct. 16; Friday, Oct. 30 ; Friday, Nov. 6 and Friday, Nov. 20.

Supervisor Tom Buelteman asked if prior physician referral will be required to get testing at these sites. Burmeister said it will not, and promised, "No one will be turned away."

County Administrator John LeFebvre said Prevea is also doing tests, but anyone asking to be tested must have symptoms.

Burmeister said because so many local health departments are overwhelmed with contact tracing they have asked the National Guard to help with that as well. Bonjean and Emergency Management Coordinator Kathy Frank are working together on Covid responses, and Frank continues to respond to requests for personal protective equipment.

The Marinette County Emergency Management website notes that the USDA has issued a COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide which is linked to their website and lists programs that provide technical assistance, financial assistance, and other resources for individuals, businesses, schools, farms, medical care facilities, non-profit organizations, etc., as well as government entities.

Lieutenant Chris Lesperance, reporting for Marinette County Sheriff's Department in the absence of Sheriff Jerry Sauve, reported that for a time the jail was not taking new inmates, but now, "...we are holding our own, and quarantining people as they come in."

Lesperance said the jail inmate average has ranged between 110 and 115 per day, including 12 who are sentenced to state prison and waiting to get in. There were 13 prisoners out on electronic monitoring.

Supervisor Ken Keller, who chairs the committee, asked what they anticipate for November. Lesperance replied much depends on the weather, "but there's usually lots of activity."

Lesperance reported Deputy Brett West has retired after 29 years of service with the department and Heather Romback has been hired to replace him. Romback had previously worked for Marinette County as a civilian jailer and then was employed with the City of Niagara Police Department. Lesperance commented that Romback will be a good fit.

In reviewing bills paid for the month Supervisor Chris Gromala asked about a cooler purchased for $7,684 from American Monument Company for the jail.

LeFebvre explained that was for installation of cold storage for bodies waiting for cause of death to be determined. He said they used to have to send them to Green Bay and now Medical Examiner Kalynn Van Ermen can do the examinations herself here, which saves the county a great deal of money. He thanked Van Ermen for the idea.

The committee approved applying for a $53,000 grant from Coronavirus Emergency Supplement Funds, subject to approval by Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison.

Lesperance explained if the grant is approved the money will be used to purchase an ionization system to be installed at the Law Enforcement Building that will continually purify the air that flows through its ducts.

LeFebvre said a similar unit, to be paid for with Covid-19 funds, has been installed at the courthouse.

A previous grant was used to pay for a UV-Robot to clean surfaces at the jail. This unit was originally paid for with money in the Jail Assessment Fund, which has been reimbursed.

The committee approved writing off $142 in uncollectable accounts and turning over $23,734 to the County Finance Department for collections. They were informed that $3,082 had been received in the past month from accounts turned over to finance previously for collection.

After a bit of discussion the committee approved the annual Marinette County Child Support Office's contract with Wisconsin Department of Children and Families in the amount of $326,507, subject to corporation counsel approval. Child Support Director Brian Barrette was on hand to answer questions. LeFebvre explained the contract amount is not exact, as it involves revenue collected plus 66 percent reimbursement of costs. He said the contract is almost exactly the same as last year.

Before the meeting adjourned LeFebvre informed the committee that the proposed county budget for 2021 will be published in this week's edition of the Peshtigo Times, and the public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the Theatre on the Bay on the Marinette Campus of UW-Green Bay. He explained the old County Board room, which has been converted into a third courtroom for the county, is likely to be in use for court proceedings that day, since there are a number of jury trials coming up that week.

Next meeting of the Public Services Committee will be on Tuesday, Nov. 3, despite the fact that is Election Day, because LeFebvre said it must be held before the County Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10.


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