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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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072722trygverhudefront.jpg

Trygve Rhude Sworn In As Marinette County Supervisor

Issue Date: July 28, 2022

At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 26, Marinette County Board approved Trygve Rhude as the Supervisor from District 22 in the Town of Peshtigo to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supervisor Don Pazynski last month. A celebration of life for Pazynski will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Menominee.

Plans for renovating the Theatre on the Bay on the Marinette campus of UW-Green Bay continue to move forward, but inflation is making the improvements more expensive than expected. After some intense discussion the board approved a $329,300 contract with Howard Immel, Inc. (also known as Immel Construction) to renovate the interior of the theater and approved the use of up to an additional $290,000 of ARPA Funding for the Theater Renovation project. Both actions had been recommended by the board's Infrastructure Committee at an 8:30 a.m. session that preceded the 9 a.m. meeting of the full board. Supervisor Ken Hanson, who represents the Beecher/Pembine area, voted against funding the UW Theater contracts at this time, and Tim Pelzek, Marinette Ward 1, abstained. Wanek and Gustafson were absent, and the other 25 supervisors were in favor.

The Infrastructure Committee, and then the full County Board, also approved a two-phase land trade with Specialty Granules, LLC involving County Forest lands near the Kremlin Mine in the Town of Pembine after some long discussion. The DNR will be asked to approve withdrawing some County Forest lands in connection with this trade, but the county will gain ownership of additional frontage on the Pemme Bon Won River adjacent to existing forest lands, and that acreage of wooded land will be added to the County Forest.

Some heated discussion preceded a split vote to approve the user fee schedule that will go into effect to help support the 2023 county budget. Main item of contention was adding a half percent penalty to the charge for late payment of property taxes in addition to the 8 percent interest that is already charged. This will require an ordinance change, so it must pass the Administrative Committee and then the full County Board again before it can be put into effect, if it does.

Discussion of the half percent penalty had included questions on the possibility of help for property owners who are already finding it impossible to pay their property taxes, but apparently there are no specific programs for this. A motion to remove the half percent penalty from the fee list failed, with 11 votes in favor, 15 opposed and two abstaining. Voting to eliminate the half percent from the fee schedule, at least for now, were supervisors Ginger Deschane, Hanson, Wally Hitt, Tom Buelteman, Tom Mailand, Chris Norton, Hank Novak, Tim Pelzek, Bonnie Popp, Connie Seefeldt and Bill Stankevich. supervisors Robert Hoyer and Shirley Kaufman abstained, and supervisors Wanek and Gustafson were absent. Seefeldt cast the sole vote opposed to adopting the entire fee schedule as proposed at this time.

A $25 per vehicle "wheel tax" that LeFebvre said would add about $1 million for the county budget is being considered, as are increases in annual fees for septic tanks and other private wastewater treatment systems.

In other business at Tuesday's meeting the board approved appointment of Wausaukee School District Administrator Jared Deschane to the County Consolidated Library Board, approved a utility easement for WPS on a one rod wide parcel of land in the Town of Stephenson for a total of $121.60 at the rate of 10 cents per foot; supported Public Safety Answering Point Grant funding for the county; adopted the 2021-2035 Marinette County Forest Comprehensive Land Use Plan; formally approved the contract with Rawhide, Inc. to operate the 8-bed juvenile group home on Schacht Road in the Town of Peshtigo for the remainder of 2022, and approved up to $20,000 to create a limited term Adult Protective Services Worker position in the Health and Human Services Department.

The County Board meeting began with approval of Board Chair John Guarisco's appointment of Rhude to fill the District 22 supervisor position, which was readily approved. Guarisco said there had been one other applicant for the Supervisor post, but he felt Rhude was the best choice.

Guarisco's decision to assign Rhude to the Administrative Committee and Chapter Five Grievance Committee led to some spirited discussion on procedure, led by Board Vice chair Robert Holley. Holley argued that they should follow a recently enacted policy that says other supervisors should get a chance to change committee assignments before they are given to a newly appointed supervisor, but ultimately was approved on a 22 to 5 vote, after which Judge James Morrison administered the Oath of Office to Rhude, who then took his seat on the board.

During the discussion on committee assignments Guarisco said they had recently been obliged to postpone an Administrative Committee meeting for lack of a quorum. He wanted the membership filled as quickly as possible and he felt Rhude was a good fit in any case. He said all supervisors had gotten their first choice committee assignments at the April re-organization. Before calling for a vote Guarisco asked if any of the supervisors present wanted to move to the Administrative Committee, but none did. Supervisors Gail Wanek and Paul Gustafson were absent. After a suggestion from Supervisor Mark Anderson that the policy should be codified as an ordinance, Guarisco agreed to have a discussion on that at the next Executive Committee meeting.

Before he left the Board Room after administering Rhude's oath of office for the supervisor post, Judge Morrison told the board that Guarisco had spent the previous day in a courtroom "ride along" with him that included Drug Court. "You're all invited, please come," Judge Morrison said, as he urged other supervisors to get their own first-hand view of court proceedings, particularly those of Drug Court.

In his report later in the meeting, Guarisco said his day in court was impressive, and commented, "It's a bit sobering to actually see somebody come in to be sent to jail," but added that Drug Court had been the highlight of his day there., "It is absolutely fantastic," he declared. "You can see the effort that all these people put in...it's a tough love situation...It's something that will make your heart warm up...every county that doesn't have a Drug Court should get one!" Guarisco concluded by stating that Drug Court has the right staff and Judge Morrison is the right person to be at the head of it.

Allen Laux, president and CEO of Rawhide, introduced four of the staff members who were with him, and said they have 170 staff members in the state, and no matter where you go in Wisconsin, people have heard about us. He said Cherry Starr, widow of Green Bay Packer great Bart Starr, is still heavily involved with Rawhide, which they helped start in 1965.

Rawhide also offers community counseling and job training for at-risk youths, Laux said those services are also offered in Marinette County. He said they are not always successful with the youths they help, and added"...we have a pretty strong success record...If there is a problem, please bear with us."

Highway Commissioner Eric Burmeister, in his dual role as Emergency Management Director, reported that four Marinette County towns - Silver cliff, Middle Inlet, Niagara and Pembine - had suffered significant damage and cleanup costs from the June 15 tornadoes.

Silver Cliff and Middle Inlet applied for FEMA funding and he is helping them get the money. Silver Cliff had extremely high losses, as buildings destroyed were not insured for replacement value. He said he had contacted officials in Pembine and Niagara, and was told the paperwork is too difficult and they did not apply.


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