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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette Council Hears Drug Abuse Up In City

Issue Date: June 9, 2022

Prior to the City of Marinette Common Council meeting on Tuesday, June 7, a special Finance and Insurance committee meeting was held for recommendation to Council to transfer budget and money from a contingency account to the road construction account for a portion of Oak View Road and also a budget amendment for $65,000 to be transferred from the fund balance for Graef Professional Services .

City Engineer Brian Miller requested approval of a budget transfer in the amount of $26,217.50 to allow paving on the East Lane of Oakview Road. Tyco will be restoring the West side lane of Oakview due to damage incurred to the road from work related to the GETS system installation. The East side was not damaged by Tyco so they are not responsible for repairing that side of the road. With the east side showing signs of aging and developing some cracks, Barley Trucking offered to pave the east lane concurrent with the west lane paving they are doing for Tyco. The request was approved at the committee level and later approved in the Council meeting that followed.

The amendment was for Graef Professional Services for projects on University Avenue and Prairie and Sixth Street, which was approved by Council on May 25 and was a request from Miller for the $65,000 to be transferred from the fund balance. The Finance Committee approved the request which also was later approved by Council.

The Common Council meeting then followed. After approval of standing committee minutes, Mayor Steve Genisot announced "The Town of Peshtigo has started placing signs on road right of ways out for PFAS and I mention to Council, if you want to look at those signs and if you have any comments, provide the feedback to my office. Also we had a Masters Walleye fishing tournament this past weekend and it was very successful. There was a slight decrease in participation due to fuel costs and added travel, but we had 52 boats. There will be an AIM weekend that will be July 10 and then a Cabelas National Tournament on July 14 and 15 which will be about double the boats of the Masters Tournament. It was a good presentation for the city. There was 50 pounds of fish caught as a catch and release.

One of the City of Marinette Detectives gave statistics of the drug issue in the area and trends they are seeing. They have seen a huge spike in drug arrests, drug investigations, and all things leading to drugs. This year in narcotics there has been 60 controlled buys, assisted on 27 controlled buys, 13 search warrants, 10 GPS installations, five security cameras installed, 37 open drug investigations currently, 16 of which have been referred to the DA's office, so they are quite high right now.

In the DAs office, in 2018 there were 184 criminal referrals to their office and that doesn't take into consideration any municipal charges at the sheriffs or what the Police Department may have issued. From 184 in 2018 it went up to 310 in 2021, which is quite a significant increase and we figure this year to be fairly similar.

Their cases are being built by using confidential informants, doing under cover buys, and these investigations can get pretty in depth and with the limited resources we have we can only scratch the surface with what we can learn and do. In the past there have been a lot of issues with substance abuse and things of that nature, but what is becoming more concerning areas now, are that they have seen a spike in larger drug trafficking cases. On April 9 we had an arrest with Fetinal, Cocaine, Marijiuana and Steroids and we seized $53,000 of drug proceeds. That is a significant amount of money to be making selling drugs in the City of Marinette and is well beyond the level of a user. April 20 we arrested a male with possession with intent of cocaine and he had two pounds of cocaine. To put that into perspective, that is a street value of roughly $100,000 in drugs and that is very significant and is high level trafficking. In what we are seeing Marinette is becoming a sub city and a hub city for drugs. Methenfenodine is the number one drug right now in Marinette. From Jan. 20 to today we have 50 reported overdoses and that is only the ones that are reported and we just had a fatal overdose about a week ago.

Marinette Rec Center Marketing and Tourism Director, Shawn Katzbeck provided a presentation and information on Ice of America, ice carving artists that take ice carving to an astronomical level. The ice artists are nationally and internationally recognized and provide events for cities and towns throughout the nation.

Katzbeck submitted and received a Gem Grant marketing grant of which the grant would cover 80% of the marketing portion of $14,250, leaving only $4,750 to be picked up by the City.

Katzbeck said, "It is a unique opportunity. They come in and spend three days carving ice sculptures and provide lighting, DJ, the noise factor and it is highly interactive. This will drive tourism to the City and we could couple it with the Christmas in Marinette catapulting the one day event into a three day event".

"There will be 25 smaller ice sculptures and three larger sculptures of which all 28 can be sponsored to help fund the event. They will sculpt anything we want them to do. We would also get one large welcome structure, one large one for the city and two or three carvings from the competition, so approximately 30 to 35 carvings will be included. This will be a four day enterprise. It would be nice to have it at Higley Field to showcase our ice rink, the paths and playscape but it can be put wherever we decide on", Katzbeck added.

Katzbeck stated that he spoke with Steve Woods of War In The Woods and he would pay $8,250 or up to one quarter of the amount as a sponsor. War In The Woods is a non profit organization that is in the city and they brought the two boxing MMA fights here. Their mission is to do unique events in the city, its just their infinity is to do boxing and MMA and this is an event they would definitely want to support.

Alderperson Rick Polzin said, "I like the idea. There is alway a risk of doing something new, but I think we should try it". Alderperson Doug Oitzinger stated, "I don't want any tax payer dollars coming out of this". Katzbeck replied, we are only responsible for $4,750 which would come out of my marketing budget".


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