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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board Bids Farewell To Supervisors Sauve, Behnke, Grebin and Chaikowski

Issue Date: April 3, 2022

Marinette County Board took time out from its regular duties on Tuesday, March 29 to honor the four supervisors whose terms will end in April, particularly Ted Sauve, who has served as a Marinette County Supervisor representing his City of Marinette ward for 50 years, several of them as Board Chair.

Also retiring from the board are Peshtigo's Mike Behnke, Tricia Grebin of Dunbar, Athelstane and Goodman, and Penny Chaikowski, towns of Porterfield, Wagner and Middle Inlet.

Near the start of the meeting Board Chair John Guarisco announced that during a scheduled break in proceedings everyone was invited to enjoy cake, coffee and cookies in their honor.

Guarisco said these four supervisors had chosen not to run again, and all had been very active board members, who attended almost every meeting and made many contributions to county government, "and we're here to thank them for their service." He added that other supervisors who have competition may or may not be returning to the board after the April 5 elections, and they will be recognized later, when the results are known.

He said Sauve had set something of a record for length of service in Wisconsin, and this had not gone unrecognized in Madison.

He presented Sauve with a Certificate of Commendation from Gov. Tony Evers which read:

"Whereas after more than 50 years of service to his district and to all residents of Marinette County, Ted Sauve has announced his retirement, and

"Whereas he was elected to the Marinette County Board in 1966, Ted originally served until 1992, and after being appointed to fill a position on the board in 1996, he has represented District 27 ever since, and

"Whereas throughout his multiple terms as county board chairperson, Ted has been a tireless advocate for initiatives and policies that have improved and strengthened the services provided by Marinette County, to its residents and neighboring communities, and

"Whereas through his passion for bettering his community and dedication to public service, Ted has set an example and a high standard for all public servants in Marinette County and beyond, and

"Whereas over the past half century, Ted has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to effective and responsible county government, and his impact on Marinette County will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come"" The certificate concluded with commendations to Sauve for decades of dedicated service to Marinette County and to the state, and wishing him the best for an enjoyable and rewarding retirement.

Guarisco also read salutations from former Governor Tommy Thompson, who now is President of the UW System. During his time as county board Chair Sauve had worked with Thompson on several projects.

Thompson congratulated Sauve ""for your decades of distinguished service to the Marinette County Board of Supervisors as you step away from elected office," and continued "It's a tremendous accomplishment to serve in any capacity for 50 years, but it's especially remarkable to do so in an elected position. It demonstrates that you earned and continually maintained the trust of those you have faithfully represented which can only be achieved by listening well, working tirelessly, and always prioritizing the interests of the community. You furthermore earned the respect of your peers as evidenced by your selection as Board Chair for multiple terms. Those are the marks of a great leader and a true public servant," Thompson wrote.

"Thank you for your dedication and commitment to the residents of Marinette County, and indeed the entire State of Wisconsin. I wish you all the best in your future pursuits, and have no doubt you will continue to seek opportunities to serve the hometown that you love so dearly."

Guarisco said Sauve was first elected to County Board in 1966, and after a brief hiatus in 1992 was returned to office in 1996 and has been on the board ever since, including multiple terms as board chair. The declarations from Evers and Thompson, particularly comments that Sauve had set an example of high standards for public service for over half a century, drew a standing ovation from the board.

Guarisco said when he told Thompson that Sauve was retiring, Thompson had recalled that Sauve had been thrilled when he brought state government to Marinette, and praised Sauve to him as having the marks of "a great leader and a true public servant."

Sauve was allowed time to respond, and began by stating he was "very humbled to have been able to help make Marinette County the greatest county in Wisconsin."

He said he had been County Board Chair for eight years, at a time when there was no County Administrator and the board chair had many more hands on responsibilities.

He had a radio program, "County News and Views," which was intended to let people know what was being considered by county committees, and give them a better picture of what was going on in Marinette County.

He was proud to have helped establish the county-wide 911 Emergency Dispatch service back when Jimmy Carter was president. He said Carter had set a goal for counties to get 911 within 18 months, and Marinette County had accomplished it in 15 months. He noted that John Holley, father of Supervisor Robert Holley, had been town chair at that time and was one of those who worked with him on that project, which the county found the money to finance.

Another achievement was the MarOco Landfill, a joint project with Oconto County, which brought Wisconsin Counties Association recognition as one of the best success stories in the state of a cooperative venture between two counties.

Sauve said during his time on the Twin County Airport Commission he had gone to Washington DC twice, at his own expense, to enlist the aid of Rep. Toby Roth in a successful quest to get federal funding for an instrument landing system at Twin County Airport in Menominee, which was needed because one of the major airlines could not land there without it. Their efforts had brought $600,000 for the ILS system, and was one of only two similar grants that year. The other went to an airport in Texas.

Sauve had also worked with the Marinette County Hospital board on the agreement through which the City of Peshtigo purchased part of the county hospital property for what became its Pine View Industrial Park, a development that brought great industrial development to the city.

He later mentioned that Marinette County and he, as an individual, were selected as an honored member of "Who's Who In Government Services" in the year 1990, which he said was a very prestigious award for governmental services.

"I'm going to miss county government, but it's time to move on," Sauve said of his decision to retire from the board. "I'm leaving the county in the good hands of the two Johns - John Guarisco and John LeFebvre," he concluded, referring to the County Board Chair and the County Administrator.

Speaking during time for public comment at the start of Tuesday's meeting, Town of Wausaukee resident Jim Brien noted he had addressed the board several times over the years for various reasons. The one face that has always been there was that of Sauve, Brien said, adding that Sauve always listened, whether or not he agreed with what was being said.

Brien said he and Sauve served together for some years on the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and occasionally traveled across the state together to attend conferences, and added due to spending that much time in a car with Sauve he had become very knowledgeable about Marinette County history. He ended by thanking Sauve for the many years of work he had put in for the people of Marinette County.

Before the meeting adjourned, Supervisor Robert Holley, who is also County Board Vice-Chair, said he had traveled across the state with Sauve for conferences a few times a year for three or four years, and he too offered, "If anyone wants to know the history of Marinette County".just ask me!"


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