News

Tue
12
Feb

Snow makeup days to extend school year


Oconto Falls Superintendent Dean Hess, right, explains the administration’s recommendation for snow makeup days while school board vice president Jan Stranz and president Ron Leja look on. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

As much as students may enjoy having an unexpected winter break, snow days at some point will start to infringe on summer.

Tuesday was the eighth day this season that classes were canceled in the Oconto Falls School District, and the school board took action Monday night to extend the school year further into June.

The 2018-19 academic year was originally scheduled to end with an early-release day Friday, June 7, but the board added a net total of three days to the calendar.

June 7 was expanded to a full day of classes, and the board added a full day on Monday, June 10, with that last, early-release day of school moved to Tuesday, June 11.

In addition, a professional development day — where teachers report for training and other activities without the students present — was moved from Tuesday, May 28, to June 12, with the day after Memorial Day turning into a class day.

Tue
12
Feb

Guilty plea entered in fatal crash


Defense attorney Michael F. Hart, left, listens to the prosecutor’s argument after his client Guy N. Maras pleaded guilty to homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

The driver of the car in a horrific crash that claimed his friend’s life last summer has pleaded guilty in Oconto County Circuit Court.

Guy Maras, 54, of Naperville, Illinois, entered a guilty plea Feb. 5 to a charge of homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. In a plea agreement, two other felony charges were dismissed but will be read into the record at sentencing, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 12.

“My understanding is that in exchange for Mr. Maras’ plea of guilty on count 1, now that counts 2 and 3 have been dismissed, the state will be recommending, at the time of sentencing, a sentence not to exceed that recommended by the PSI (presentence investigation) writer,” defense attorney Michael F. Hart told Oneida County Judge Patrick O’Melia, who was hearing the case.

Tue
12
Feb

Former teacher convicted of sexual assault of student

A former Suring High School teacher and coach pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to the sexual assault of a student by school staff and was immediately taken into custody pending sentencing.

Timothy D. Grimes, 24, climbed into the bed of a 17-year-old girl while staying with the girl’s family overnight between 10 and 20 times last April and May, performing sexual acts, according to the criminal complaint filed last summer in Oconto County Circuit Court.

Grimes was a history teacher and coach at Suring and was suspended after the charges emerged; the school board formally accepted his resignation last month.

He faced six felony charges and pleaded guilty to two of them. In a plea agreement, the other four counts were dismissed but will be read into the record during the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. March 22.

Wed
06
Feb

Skilled workers invited to job fair at OFHS


About 350 students from 15 school districts and 100 members of the public attended the inaugural SkillsUSA Future Fair at Oconto Falls High School last year. (Times Herald file photo)

Oconto Falls High School officials are organizing their second annual SkillsUSA Future Fair, with more than 50 companies in attendance to introduce students and the public to trade and vocational employment opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin.

The school’s Technology Education Department has invited students from 15 school districts to attend the job fair Tuesday, which aims to tackle the widening skills gap that trade and manufacturing companies are facing with the retirement of many skilled workers.

“Our goal is to connect students and community members with manufacturing, construction, engineering, transportation and health service companies,” said John Bursa, tech ed teacher.

Some companies invited to the event plan to bring in equipment for demonstrations. Others will have samples of their products and representatives ready to talk to the students and parents — some even providing interviews on the spot, Bursa said.

Wed
06
Feb

Winter attacks with a vengeance


Afternoon temperatures registered by the Peshtigo National Bank sign in Oconto Falls barely topped minus-8 on Jan. 30, falling into the minus-20s on Thursday before a dramatic climb into the upper 30s Sunday. (Times Herald photos by Warren Bluhm)

Mother Nature made up for a relatively mild December and most of January by socking the area with a solid dose of winter over the last 10 days.

The barrage started with about 10 inches or more of snow that closed schools and caused numerous traffic accidents Jan. 28. One of the more serious crashes involved five vehicles along U.S. Highway 41-141 near the Oconto-Brown County line at 10 a.m. that Monday morning.

A southbound pickup truck that Oconto County sheriff’s deputies say was going too fast for conditions struck the back of a slow-moving semitrailer truck, starting a chain reaction that also damaged two sport utility vehicles and a car. None of the seven people inside the vehicles was injured, but the southbound lanes were closed for an hour and 40 minutes while officials worked to clear the scene.

In the aftermath of the storm, a record-breaking polar vortex swept in.

Wed
06
Feb

Private school voucher program opens

St. Anthony School in Oconto Falls is among 262 private nonsectarian and religious schools and school systems registered with the Department of Public Instruction to accept students for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program for the 2019-20 school year.

The open enrollment period for the program began Friday and continues through April 20.

St. Anthony School serves about 90 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Affiliated with St. Anthony & St. Patrick Catholic Parish, the school is open to students from all denominations.

Wed
06
Feb

St. Clare hosts annual auction and luncheon

The colleagues and Partners of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital will host an annual salad luncheon and love basket silent auction on Tuesday at the hospital, 855 S. Main St., Oconto Falls.

The luncheon is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital’s dining room and will feature an all-you-care-to-eat buffet for $9. The buffet will include the hospital’s signature hot chicken salad, ham and cheese sandwiches, a variety of salads, dinner rolls, coffee, milk and desserts. For information or to make reservations, contact Sue Allshouse at 920-373-7685.

In support of the luncheon, colleagues of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital will host the love basket silent auction in the HSHS St. Clare Assisi Room from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the same day.

Wed
30
Jan

Vision for the future


Dale Mohr of the University of Wisconsin-Extension talks to the Oconto County Board on Thursday about the process of developing a vision statement for the county. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Members of the Oconto County Board were given a homework assignment this week.

The board has been going through a goals and objectives exercise facilitated by Dale Mohr, the natural resources and economic development agent in Oconto County’s University of Wisconsin-Extension office, to help guide the county’s long-term planning process.

The effort included whittling down supervisors’ core values last summer; the five attributes the board considered most important were accountability, honesty, respectfulness, trustworthiness and dedication.

The next step is to develop a vision statement, described as a “positive, inspirational description of what an organization would like to become or to achieve.”

It takes time to achieve, so plan for 5-10 years out, Mohr said Thursday.

Wed
30
Jan

Charges filed in crash that killed 14-year-old girl


Cade Wied (Courtesy Oconto County Sheriff's Department)

The young driver of a car that crashed in the town of Abrams on Dec. 14, killing one teenager and seriously injuring two others, made his first appearance in Oconto County Circuit Court on Monday.

Cade Justin Wied, 18, Sobieski, is charged with second-degree reckless homicide, second-degree reckless injury, two counts of knowingly operating a motor vehicle while his driver’s license was suspended, and misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer.

According to the criminal complaint, data recovered from the car indicated Wied was driving down Sampson Road at 88 mph when it went out of control and crashed into two trees around 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

September Deneys, 14, Abrams, was killed in the crash. The driver and another passenger, a 17-year-old boy, were treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals.

Wed
30
Jan

Trial ordered after high-speed chase, theft


Keith A. Smet (Courtesy Oconto County Sheriff's Department)

A Lena man was bound over for trial in Oconto County Circuit Court on Jan. 24 in connection with a 19-mile high-speed chase in the early morning hours of Dec. 26.

Keith A. Smet, 31, faces a felony charge of fleeing an officer, along with six misdemeanor counts of theft and a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing an officer.

He also received tickets for unreasonable and imprudent speed, reckless driving endangering safety, speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, and failure to pull over for a traffic officer.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident began when a resident of Grosse Court in the town of Stiles noticed a sport utility vehicle with a loud exhaust driving around the neighborhood and stopping in the driveways of each house along the road.

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