The Taylor County Board of Supervisors met Wednesday morning (Oct 29). They presented a plaque to retiree Jean Nuernberger for her 33 years of service with human services and the circuit court.
Recently, Bobbi Damrau of N.T.C. asked the county board members of the education committee if they had specific goals. Roger Ewan indicated the committee supported NTC’s efforts with the Literacy Council and a program for people over age 18 becoming eligible to receive a diploma. Sue Breneman indicated she resides in the Chippewa Valley Tech district but was a member of the NTC education committee. Rollie Thums proposed trimming membership from 3 to 1 county board member. He felt there was a disconnect between the county board and NTC. Sheriff Bruce Daniels expressed his support for NTC programs indicating that he recently received a grant for his leadership staff to attend employee development classes with college credits at no cost to the county. The county’s conservation department utilizes NTC’s nutrient management programs. Mr Thums indicated that none of the county board committee members were aware of the programs and questioned the need for paying 3 committee members to attend bi-monthly NTC meetings. Sue Breneman called it a waste of taxpayer money. The board voted to refer the county’s membership on the NTC education committee to the committee on rules for their recommendation.
Should the county board meet at designated times, or when there is a need to meet? Supervisor Sue Breneman told the board that many people in her district are surprised there aren’t set meetings. She requested that the board meet on designated dates either monthly or bi-monthly. She indicated the county board is the only government body in the county which doesn’t meet on designated dates. Lester Lewis responded that Taylor County has transitioned to a committee run system. He felt it is a more efficient way to get things done on a county level to meet on an “as needed” basis. Chuck Zenner agreed that the committees run the county. But, he said, if you’re not on a “major” committee, you’re out of the loop. Sue Breneman felt that more county board meetings would provide transparency for the taxpayers. Dennis Fuchs indicated the county would have to change their whole structure of how they do business to make the meetings meaningful. Supervisor Bizer questioned whether it was in the best interest of taxpayers to pay $50 to 17 members for every meeting. Diane Albrecht indicated she stays informed by reading the minutes of other committee meetings on her computer. The issue of how often the county board should meet was referred to the committee on committee on rules.
Representative Mary Williams presented the county with a flag that was flown over the state capital on the date of the courthouse rededication. Mrs. Williams reminded those present that she started on the county board and she urged them to consider making a run for the state senate or assembly.
The board agreed with Highway commissioner Jess Sackmann to not spend nearly $220,000 for a 3 mile bikeway. The blacktop pavement on County E between County O and A is scheduled to be replaced. Wisconsin Code trans 75 requires the construction of bikeways on certain roads unless there is excessive cost, and the board could not justify an additional 25% cost to add a bikeway on the rural highway.
There was considerable discussion regarding spending powerline impact money for the purchase of an $18,000 Honda UTV with tracks and heated cab for grooming trails and tubing hill at the Perkinstown Winter Sports area. Lester Lewis felt a machine for half that price could to the job. Mckovskey felt they could use the airports machine. Chuck Zenner indicated it would cost $8,000 to make the airport’s machine compatible for the task. Jim Metz felt the powerline fees were intended for this purpose and supported the purchase. The board voted 15 to 2 in favor of purchasing the UTV with powerline impact money.
The board acted on the 2015 budget and approved 2 amendments to the proposed budget. The first addition was $110,000 to add a financial supervisor position and remodeling at human services. The county’s auditors strongly recommended the change indicating that the expertise in obtaining grant funds could pay for the position. Supervisor Scott Mildebrand felt it was irresponsible to spend money the county doesn’t have. He asked the board to wait until they identify the areas to be affected by proposed cuts in January. Human Services director Amber Fallos said the county was losing out by not having a financial supervisor. The amendment to create the new position using money from the fund balance passed on an 11 yes and 5 no vote with Hanson, Lee, Mildebrand, Thums and Soper voting no.
The next change to the budget came with Tim Hanson speaking on behalf of the county libraries which had $25,887 trimmed from their combined budgets. Hanson indicated that the cuts amounted to 15% of the Rib Lake library budget. The money would be transferred from the savings of a proposed note refinance measure. Rollie Thums warned the board to not turn their backs on education. The board was unanimous in restoring $25,887 to the county library budget.
Ultimately the board approved the revised county budget of just under $11 million. The budget will result in a mill rate of $8.27, compared with $8.17 last year which will result in an additional $10.00 tax on a $100,000 property.
With state tax limits the board is facing a 2016 deficit forecast to be about $500,000. Lester Lewis proposed a referendum which would ask county residents to allow the county to exceed the levy limit by $1 million per year for 5 years. Lewis proposed taking $500,000 for funding possible programs which otherwise would be cut, $100,000 for highways, and $400,000 to boost the county’s dwindling reserves. By a 15 to 1 vote with Soper voting no, the board approved a referendum on the spring ballot which will seek approval to not exceed $1 million over the state levy limit each of the next 5 years.
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer addressed the board and supported a resolution which would object to a proposed lapse in state funding to the Wisconsin circuit court system. The cuts which are included in the pending 2015-17 state budget would eliminate $66,000 which taylor county would need to add into future budgets. The board was unanimous is their opposition to the proposed cuts.
The county board was unanimous in supporting resolutions for the county bridge aid, and the 2015 Highway Department equipment schedule with expenditures of $450,000. They approved appointing Scott Perrin as medical examiner and Schmiege and Graff as Corporation Counsel. The board supported authorizing a general obligation note in an amount not to exceed $4,385,000 with $1 million additional funding for maintaining the taylor county highway system. That was some of the business which was conducted at the Taylor County Board meeting on Wednesday.
On Sunday, November 2nd, 2014, Gertrude Vetter of Medford will celebrate her 100th birthday. On Sunday, October 26th, Gertie was honored as the Grand Marshall of the Harvest Days Parade in Medford. Gertie was kind enough to stop by the WKEB Radio Studios in Medford and share some stories and reminiscences from her century of good living. Gertie also has a little advice to pass on to the younger generation. You'll find that advice in section 4...
Every year, millions of children in the United States catch enteroviruses that can cause coughing, sneezing and fever. This year, the enterovirus that is most commonly causing respiratory illness in children across the country is enterovirus D68. Patty Krug of the Taylor County Health Department recently stopped by the K99 Radio Studios in Medford and shared with K99's Russ Gowey what every parent needs to know about enterovirus D68 and how to take basic steps to help keep your child from getting and spreading EV-D68......
On Friday, October 3rd, 2014, staff at the Medford Area Senior High School were made aware of a second bomb threat this week. Earlier this week, students and staff were evacuated and the school building was searched after staff at Medford Area Senior High School were made aware a bomb threat. The bomb threat on Friday, October 3rd did not require an evacuation of the building, however, making bomb threats is a serious matter. Medford Area School District Superintendent Pat Sullivan gives K99 Radio details of this current bomb threat and possible further actions by the Medford School Board......
Medford School District Superintendent Pat Sullivan w/K99's Patrick Porten
October 2, 2014 at about 12:45pm The Medford School District alerted the Medford Police Department of a bomb threat. In messages that originated from a site known as "Yik Yak" the suspect made two different threats referring to bombs in his locker. After law enforcement and school officials reviewed the material and determined the threat came from inside the Medford Senior High Campus, the school was evacuated and searched.
During the investigation Officers were able to determine the threat was sent from inside the high school and further identified a suspect by use of geo-tracking. Additionally, through interviews and assistance from "Yik Yak" Officers made contact with a 17 year old suspect and questioned him about the bomb threats. The suspect when confronted admitted to the threats that he posted online.
Prior to locating the suspect, the Taylor County Sheriff's Department, Medford Fire Department and Medford School District Employees assisted the Medford Police Department with the search and evacuation of the Medford Senior High School.
The incident is being referred to the Taylor County District Attorney's Office for charges under Wisconsin Statute 947.015 Bomb Scare.
On Wednesday afternoon, October 1st, 2014, the staff at the Medford Area Senior High School became aware of a bomb threat directed toward the Medford Area Senior High School. Students and staff were evacuated and local law enforcement began a search of the Medford Area Senior High School. No bomb was found. All after school activities on Wednesday, October 1st at the Medford Area Senior High School are canceled. Students may pick up their vehicles in the Medford Area Senior School parking lot, however, the Medford Area Senior High School building remains under lock down Wednesday night, October 1st. All classes will resume as per usual on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014...for more details...check out our audio report....
Medford Fire Depatrment Member Brad Dahlvig & Medford School Superintendent Pat Sullivan
Conditional Release Denied For Heidi Mann
Heidi Mann, the Rib Lake woman who is serving time in the Winnebago Mental Health Institute for attempting to take her own life and the lives of 4 of her children was in Taylor County Court requesting a conditional release. The first person to testify on the second day of testimony was Kylie Fitzgerald of Taylor County Human Services. Ms. Fitzgerald testified in closed session for nearly an hour. When open court convened, Heidi Mann took the witness stand. She expressed her frustration with human services for allowing her husband to supervise the visits at Winnebago with her 3 youngest children. She told the court that the kids want more ‘mommy’ time. She expressed her frustration that she needed her husband’s permission to speak with the kids on the phone. D.A. Kristi Tlusty told Mann that this was a high profile case and that everyone in their small town knew what she tried to do to her children. If she was to be released, would she be able to handle the everyday stressors? The D.A. told Mann that in Winnebago there are specialists who help you handle the day to day stress. Fighting back tears, Heidi Mann told the court “I love my kids, I tried to get help, I want my kids to heal”.
Mark Mann was called to the stand. He told the court he has taken their 3 youngest children to Winnebago for visits with their mom every-other weekend. He indicated the 3 older children don’t want to see her. Mr. Mann was asked about the couple’s impending divorce. He testified that he believed in working through problems. But when he discovered that his wife was in an intimate relationship with another man, he didn’t think that was in the best interest of the children.
In closing D.A. Tlusty told the court that Heidi Mann’s present mental status is “stable”. But she said it should be as she is on medications and under structured programs in an institution. D.A. Tlusty told the court the nature and circumstances of the crime was the most important factor. She said: “It’s not often that a parent attempts to kill their children”. She scolded Mann and said it was difficult to understand how she was able to have religious beliefs that if she killed her kids, she would go to heaven. Ms. Tlusty finished by asking the court to deny the release because she wasn’t willing to gamble on the lives of innocent children.
Heidi Mann’s attorney Karl Kelz talked about the conflicting opinions of the 3 specialists. He said, this is not an exact science but one of the psychiatrists issued a glowing report. He cited one doctor’s opinion that Mann could suffer a relapse in 6 to 10 years as “Pretty Speculative”. Kelz told the court that while it’s a hot button issue, he was requesting a conditional release with supervision.
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer indicated that Heidi Mann had the right to request the conditional release, which she did in July. The judge indicated her decision was guided by the doctor’s reports and other issues including: the nature of the crime and where would she live? The doctor’s testimony made mention of psychotic features, the idea that the kids would be better off dead than going through divorce. The judge continued saying that Heidi Mann thought for days what to do with her children, concluding that heaven was better than Mark and his family. The judge stated that past behavior is a fair predictor of future behavior and that Winnebago is a more controlled setting to address Ms. Mann’s health needs. The judge concluded by saying: “Release at this time would be a recipe for disaster for the community, family, friends and most importantly, Ms. Mann.” Heidi Mann can apply to the court for conditional release again in six months.
An evening of “Child’s Play” turned deadly Tuesday night (Sept 9). According to Sheriff Bruce Daniels, at 5:50 PM Tuesday the Taylor County Dispatch Center received a 9-1-1 call requesting an ambulance at N2778 Highway 97 in the Town of Goodrich. The caller indicated that a 9 year old boy had apparently fallen while playing in the hay mow of the family barn and was in distress. Emergency responders from the Taylor County Sheriff’s office, Medford Ambulance and Medford Area Fire Department along with Medivac Air responded to the location. Highway 97 was closed to traffic to allow the Medivac helicopter to land on the roadway. Sadly, despite aggressive lifesaving efforts on the part of family and emergency responders, the 9 year old boy succumbed to injuries which he suffered while playing and ultimately falling from a rope swing located in his family’s hay mow. No foul play is suspected in this tragic incident.
The 19 year old Medford man, who is the alleged gunman in Saturday's Medford city shooting, was in Taylor County Court Tuesday morning, September 2nd. Taylor County District Attorney Kristi Tlusty indicated that Harrison Davis is facing serious felony charges and felt that a significant bail was justified. She requested bond to be set at $50,000 cash. Further, she requested that Davis have no contact with Jason Crabb or Michelle Dyer.
Judge Anne Knox-Bauer agreed with the D.A. and ordered Davis be held in the Taylor County Jail with bond set at $50,000 cash. Davis is to have no contact with either Jason Crabb or Michelle Dyer. He is prohibited from posessing firearms.
Harrison Davis' initial court appearance is set for Tuesday, September 23rd at 1:00 P.M.
Davis is accused of shooting into a Park Avenue home in the city of Medford on Saturday afternoon, then fleeing the scene, eventually crashing his car near the Chippewa and Taylor County line. Reports indicated that three sheriff's dogs tracked down Davis, who was apprehended in a swamp without further incident.
On Saturday, August 30th at 2:56 P.M., the Taylor County Dispatch Center received a 911 call of shots being fired into a house in the 500 block of South Park Avenue in the City of Medford. Officers responded to the scene and during their investigation they received information regarding a suspect and vehicle information. From witness statements and electronic tracking, law enforcement officers were able to determine the direction of travel of the suspect and eventually located the suspect's vehicle in the ditch of the 35000 block of County Highway M in Chippewa County.
Saturday night at approximately 6:15 P.M., law enforcement officers from the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department, Taylor County Sheriff's Department, Medford Police Department and the Department of Natural Resources arrested 19 year old, Harrison C. Davis of 767 Gibson Street, Medford.
Harrison Davis is being referred to the Taylor County District Attorney for 1st degree reckless endangering safety, discharging a firearm in a school zone and discharge of a firearm into a building.
The shooting incident, which occured in the 500 block of South Park Avenue in the City of Medford, was within 1000 feet of Holy Rosary Catholic School which is a violation of discharging a firearm in a school zone. During the shooting students were not in the school but it was later reported there were people setting up for mass within Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
A Medford High School varsity football game was in progress at the time of the shooting. As a precaution, the game was suspended, tied 14-14, in the first overtime period and the players, coaching staffs and fans were taking into the Medford Area Senior High School and put on lockdown. Support staff and the radio announcers were put under lock down in the press box. The lockdown lasted about two hours. When the all clear signal was given, the game was allowed to resume with Chippewa Falls defeating Medford 22-14 in overtime.
Harrison Davis remains in custody at the Taylor County Sheriff's Department Jail.
The 87th Republican Assembly vote recount is finally over. The recount vote process concluded on Monday, August 25th with James Edming adding one vote to his total.
While four counties completed their recount on Friday, August 22nd, Sawyer County called a recess and their recount was completed at 3 o'clock on Monday, August 25th.
After the official recount, here are the 87th Assembly District county results:
In Clark County, there was no change from the 20 total votes cast .
In Marathon County, Scott Noble gained one vote.
In Rusk County, James Edming lost one vote.
In Taylor County, James Edming gained one vote.
And in Sawyer County, James Edming gained one vote.
The net results of the recount shows that James Edming gained one more vote to build his lead to 18 votes over Michael Bub. The state Government Accountability Board will now verify the results to make the primary election official.
Did you know that Taylor County has been called "the Garden Spot of Northern Wisconsin"? Do you know when Taylor County was founded? Do you know who Taylor County was named for? Author Robert P. Rusch has complied a book featuring photographs, maps and more from Taylor County's past in his new book, "Images of America...Taylor County". This fascinating book is available for sale at the Taylor County Historical Society in the Taylor County Fairgrounds in Medford and in the Taylor County Court House in Medford. Recently Robert Rusch and K99's Russ Gowey took a trip through Taylor County History. Oh, the answers to our Taylor County trivia questions? Taylor County was founded on March 4, 1875 and was named for then governor William R. Taylor. If you got those answers right...nice job! You'll find more such fun facts within the pages of Robert's book!
The Wisconsn Primary Election on Tuesday, August 12th, shows that your vote DOES count. In the 87th Assembly District Republican Primary, that race is not yet complete because it is so close on the vote count. On Tuesday night, it appeared as though Michael Bub would win the election by 3 votes. However, first thing Wednesday morning, August 13th, it was learned that was not the case as 20 votes from Rusk County were switched to the James Edming side due to a preliminary clerical error. This gave Edming a 17 vote advantage. K99's Brad Dahlvig reviews the election results and K99's Russ Gowey talks with Rusk County Clerk, Denise Wetzel, to learn what happened in the Rusk County vote count.....
K99's Brad Dahlvig w/the election review
K99's Russ Gowey w/Rusk County Clerk Denise Wetzel
Sierra Pacific Industries, a family owned and managed wood products firm headquartered in Anderson, California, announced it has enter into an agreement to purchase Hurd and Superseal Windows and Doors from Longroad Asset Management, LLC. With the acquisition of these leading national brands, this purchase will add manufacturing capacity, a skilled work force, additional product lines and immediate exposure to Central and Eastern U.S. and international markets. K99's Russ Gowey contacted Sierra Pacific Industries spokesman Mark Pawlicki to learn more about this acquisition.....
WKEB/WIGM News recently featured an in depth segment on one of the specialties at Aspirus Medford Clinic...that specialty is infertility. Dr. Suja Roberts, OB/GYN, is the infertility expert at Aspirus Medford Clinic. She recently stopped by the K99 Radio Studio in Medford and discussed with K99's Russ Gowey the evaluation process for infertile couples, the risks and benefits and the different fertility treatment options available. For more information related to a possbile fertility issue, Dr. Roberts can be contact at Aspirus Medford Clinic...........
GPS systems are handy for navigation. However, a GPS system on a $70,000 stolen skid steer led authorities to a barn on Castle Drive in Taylor County.
A construction firm in Boscobel reported that a 2014 Caterpillar skid steer had been stolen from a work site. The dealer of the skid steer was able to track the unit’s GPS and it came back to the Taylor County barn where a host of heavy equipment was located.
The owner of the barn told officers that if the equipment was stolen, it had to be taken by Christopher Steig. The barn owner indicated he thought Steig had purchased the equipment on Craigslist or got them from people he knew; the complaint said.
Equipment listed included a Case 430 skid steer, a 16 foot hydraulic dump trailer, a jack hammer, an electric generator, a 10 foot snow plow attachment, and the nearly new 2014 Caterpillar skid steer.
Various pieces of equipment were reported stolen from sites in Wisconsin over a period of time.
Authorities from Grant and Richland Counties worked with Taylor County officers in the investigation.
Steig was arrested in Richland County. Christopher Steig age 25 of Delavan, WI was charged Monday in Taylor County Court with 5 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts related to the alleged thefts. His bond was set at $5,000.
The same GPS technology which keeps us from getting lost may now reunite many owners with their stolen equipment.
28 year old Alexander Schneider pleaded no contest to 6 charges in Taylor County court on Monday. Schneider is the Westboro man who shot at Taylor County deputy Chad Kowalczyk on September 8, 2013. Alexander Schneider pleaded no contest to: 1st degree Attempted Intentional Homicide, Possession of a short-barreled shotgun/rifle, and 3 counts of bail jumping. Those 5 charges are all felonies; he also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of Battery.
Judge Ann-Knox Bauer found Schneider guilty of the 6 charges due to the no contest pleas and read-in 5 other charges which were dismissed. Schneider’s plea deal avoids his trial which had been scheduled to start July 21st.
According to the court records: the shooting occurred after Deputy Kowalczyk went to Schneider’s home to investigate a female’s complaint that Schneider had sent her at least 16 text messages that day in spite of a restraining order.
Schneider shot numerous times with a :22 caliber rifle at the deputy, striking him once in the abdomen. Kowalczyk has since returned to work.
Following the shooting Schneider told investigators he shot the deputy out of “anger”. Schneider went on to say “That guy’s just trying to do his job”.
Judge Ann Knox Bauer has set a sentencing hearing for September 15th at 1 PM in Taylor County Court. Schneider continues to be jailed on $1 million cash bond.
The Medford woman who was accused of failing to provide food for her pet has pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of failing to provide food for animal. Callie Neuman pleaded no contest in Taylor County Court on Monday to the charge. Two other charges were dismissed but read in. Judge Ann Knox Bauer found Neuman guilty and sentenced her to reimburse the Medford Police Department for veterinary services in the amount of $105.30 and pay a surrender fee of $200.00 to the Humane Society of Taylor County, along with court costs. The judge prohibited Neuman from owning any pets and may not be responsible for care of any animals.
Bryce Kelley, a local Thrivent Financial associate traveled to El Salvador in late April and early May as part of a Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity home building effort. Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity is a multi-year, multi-million dollar mission partnership between Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity International. Thrivent members involved with Thrivent Builds help provide people in need with affordable housing and greater economic independence. Bryce Kelley recently stopped by the K99 Radio Studios in Medford and shared his experience in El Salvador with K99's Russ Gowey.......
On April 24th, the Medford Area School Board held their annual organizational meeting with the 3 candidates who won in the spring election taking their oath of office. Just over a month later, at Wednesday night’s special board meeting, the board voted to approve the resignation of Brenda Sommer, who was one of the 3 candidates recently winning a seat in the spring election. Wednesday night, the board was holding a closed session meeting, and following the closed session, they convened into open session at which time they voted to accept the a letter of resignation from Brenda Sommer. The Medford School Board will now need to determine whether to fill the seat, and if so, what process to use.