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SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, & CHALLENGED BOOKS HIT THE LIBRARY BOARD


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-22-2022, 04:35 AM

   

Most of us assume a library board meeting is going to be rather bland, but that has not been the case over the past few months at Phillips Public Library board meetings as books have been challenged and a budget has been approved.

At the last regular library board meeting, a budget was passed, which faced some support and some scrutiny in the public eye.  Even though a subcommittee was formed and the board approved the budget, Becky Steinbach, the vice president of the library board, felt Becky Puhl, the library director, has gotten the brunt of the scrutiny.  Some members of the public were stating that Director Puhl had a hand in passing the budget, which included a raise for her and her staff.  The library director does prepare various budgets and present them to the library board.  The library board votes to approve a budget.

Becky Steinbach called the special meeting for two main reasons.  First, she wanted the board to consider making a statement that the budget was voted on and approved by the board to remove the target off Director Puhl.  She stated there was a social media post that she felt needed to be addressed, as well.

Bruce Marshall, a long-standing library board member, asked if he could see the post, and Becky Steinbach passed out a social media post which was made by Scott Hueckman on both his personal and business Facebook pages.  Scott is the husband of a board member, Meredith Hueckman.

The post made by Scott Hueckman on October 27, 2022 is as follows:

"Tonight, Becky Puhl, the Phillips Library director was awarded a 9% raise to $63,384 per annum.  It was a raise of $5,232.24 (per annum, not including the addition variable costs that are incurred with a higher salary---paid by YOUR local tax dollars).

Meanwhile, the board cut the book budget from $32,000 (per annum) to $23,000--Becky Puhl creates and maintains the library budgets, which are then approved or disapproved by the board.  To connect the dots, Becky Puhl suggested that SHE receive a substantial raise by cutting the book budget, which she received.  There were other cuts to material, supplies, and media, while other raises were given.

Imagine a library that has $330,000 yearly budget and only $23,000 of it is spent on books!  You can stop imagining---it exists in your town.

Furthermore, in 53 libraries in the IFLS More Library systems, during 2020 and 2021, our library was shut down more than any other library in the system.  The MORE Library systems are in west central Wisconsin and includes Eau Claire (3), Chippewa Falls, and Hudson.  It also includes Ogema and Ladysmith and other local libraries, primarily to the west. Of the towns and cities, Phillips has one of the smallest populations and is in the lower 1/3 of the circulation of all of the 53 libraries.  Yet, with this raise, Becky Puhl is the 11th highest paid library director in the system.

Becky Puhl received a large raise, while being quoted as saying (during a public meeting) she was "afraid" to go to work during the pandemic (while many other libraries were open).

Becky Pohl compared her salary to the city clerk Shelby Kosmer (desiring a similar amount).  Shelby performed her duties as city clerk during the pandemic.  Becky did not have the library fully open for 20 months during 2020 and 2021.  All the while, her brethren from the city, the police, and other city services were fully open.  Yet, she and others received full pay during all of those months, all while the circulation of the library plummeted.

But wait, there is more!!!

Becky Puhl gave herself the largest dollar raise out of any other employee on the staff (she drafts the budgets herself).  She suggested cuts of $9,000 in the book budget  (and other places in the budget) and presented in the library budget a large raise for herself and received a $5,304 raise.  So, 59% of the book cuts, went to Becky Puhl's salary increase.

Voting YES for this were Rebecca Steinbach, Brittany Weisrock, Galen Azbell, Laura Tomaszewski, and Mark Peterson.

I ask the citizens of Phillips and Price County to call for her resignation.  Also, I ask for the county board to investigate the current board to see if there is any collusion of board member appointments (AKA Becky Puhl hand selecting her own board)."

People commented on his social media posts, both in support of and against the content of the original post.

Becky Steinbach added that further comments were made to Director Puhl at a city meeting.  Becky Steinbach felt Becky Puhl was getting threats, though she clarified they were not physical threats.  Becky stated, "They are attacks on her integrity, on her position, on her standing within the library, and within our community."  In reviewing the audio of the Common Council meeting from November 8, 2022, My Price County did not hear any threats being made or names being called during the meeting.  There was, however, a discussion by city department heads about why the library staff members were getting pay increases and keeping the excess money from their budget every year when other city workers and departments were not keeping their excess funds or getting such pay increases.  It was mentioned that property taxes may need to be increased to cover city costs.  Scott Hueckman's Facebook post was not mentioned at the meeting.  My Price County reached out to Director Puhl, inquiring about any threats she may have received; she stated she appreciated the concern but was advised not to make a comment.

"I don't see its fair for her to continually take the heat, and I would like for the board to clarify that," Becky Steinbach said at the special meeting, regarding the scrutiny she says Becky Puhl has faced in the community.

Bruce Marshall said, "I don't think it's our duty to absolutely defend our director.  I think it is appropriate to point out it's not the director's budget; it's our budget."

Further discussion went on regarding the social media post in question.  Meredith clarified that she did not write the post; her husband did.

Bruce added, "I don't care if this was Meredith's post.  We didn't take an oath of fidelity or loyalty to the library or to the city or to the Wisconsin Library Association or the American Library Association, or anyone else.  We are here as members of the public."

The second reason Becky Steinbach called the special meeting was to propose an ethics policy for removal of a board member if a board member chose to speak out against the library board.  Bruce responded, "I think it's a terrible, terrible precedent to be going after or even thinking of going after any board member....If this had been Meredith's or my post, or Galen's, or yours.  Becky, you posted some stuff awhile go that I didn't agree with."  Bruce was referring to a social media post of Becky Steinbach where members of the public, including board members, expressed their opinions about library matters, such as challenged books and the views of library board members.  On other social media posts and at library board meetings, some members of the community called those who challenged the books "bigots" and suggested the removal of board members.  Strong opinions have been shown by all viewpoints of the topic; those opinions may not have always been expressed in a positive manner.

Talking about social media posts in general, and not any one specific post, Bruce explained that when a person writes down their thoughts, they should take a day to be calmer and cooler in thought so they can revise their message to be more appropriate.  "Don't exercise your right to be an idiot, whoever you are," Bruce gave as sage advice.  He advised a level of civility, which he believes the library board has been doing a good job of and followed during these times of differing opinions on the challenged books.  "If we can attempt not to exercise our rights to the exact extreme and be constructive and civil....We can't deal with anybody sitting out here or anybody in the public or anybody commenting on social media.  We can't control what they have to say.  I would strongly urge all of us to attempt not to unnecessarily create problems."

Brittany Weisrock, a library board member, said Scott Hueckman's post was brought to her attention by someone else and they were just a little surprised because, "I just saw her.  I thought we were mostly okay."  She added that she agrees that anyone can post what they want as it is their right to do so.

Meredith added, "One clarification.  Not to be picky, but it wasn't my post."  A couple board members discussed if they should tell their spouses not to post such things on Facebook.  Meredith stated she did not feel it was appropriate to tell her husband what to post as he is his own person.  "Like Bruce said, it is our Freedom of Speech, the First Amendment.  And I'm not going to tell him [what to do], good or bad, no judgement...."  To add some humor, Bruce joked, "Please don't blame my wife for me!"

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Jenny Markle, a library board member, stated, "My personal response to social media is that I ignore it.  It goes away.  It's emotional. It's transient.  And it goes away.  And the more we give credibility to it by reacting to it, the longer it lingers."

Jenny then made a motion to not make an official response to the social media post but that when the official version of the budget gets passed, as there were some budgeting errors that need to be corrected on the one they last approved, that a statement can be made on the library's website stating the board is the one who approved the budget.  Her motion passed.

The second item on the agenda, conduct, responsibilities, and removal of a board member, was then discussed more fully.  Becky Steinbach passed out a two-page document entitled, "Special Meeting of the Library Board 11/10/2022 - Statement prepared by Becky Steinbach, Board Vice President" to board members regarding her thoughts on if Meredith Hueckman should be removed from the board given her husband's social media post.  Becky's document stated the post was "beyond the scope of what is appropriate and ethical behavior, spurred on and potentially committed by a board member.  The board member spoke directly against the board's majority vote decisions and spread half-truths and un-truths entirely about the Director and Board.  In doing so, this put the library employees and Director in direct line of anger, vitriol, demands of resignation, and threats.  The Director has faced criticism and hatred regarding matters that are of and for the Board, including being targeted at a City Council meeting regarding the board-passed budget, as well as being questioned by a County Board member regarding this and board policies and bylaws.  The board member, in spreading this misinformation, has directly harmed and acted against the board and the library itself."  She further goes on to say, "If we choose as a board, we could ask for her resignation based on behavior not befitting a board member."  She stated, "Meredith spoke against the board's decision during COVID as well and any board member who attempts to undermine the vote of the board after the fact is only hurting the library.  Being one of the driving forces behind challenging books (and asking for their total removal in challenge forms) is also counter to board member expectations for public libraries.  The board's options in this situation:  -Request Meredith recuse herself from the Board  -If Meredith refuses, vote to send a request to the mayor to remove her from the board  -Formally remind Meredith of the expectations and ethical considerations of being a board member  - Nothing; continue as is."

There was no time given to discuss Scott Hueckman's post in-depth to determine if any of the content was "misinformation."  There also was no time given to read Becky's document at the meeting, but to further explain the reasoning for her document, Becky Steinbach stated, "It would be a disservice to our board, to the library, and to the library director and staff to not adopt, at the very least, an ethics policy for our board members."  She felt it was inappropriate and unethical to call for the resignation of a staff member, which had occurred in Scott's social media post.  Because of it, Becky was giving the resignation or removal of a board member as an option.

Bruce disagreed about forming an ethics policy.  He said anyone on the board can trash another board member if they want to given Freedom of Speech.  He added that he feels it is a terrible idea to exercise that right, but everyone has that right.  He added there is no legal authority to do anything to a board member.

Jenny reiterated, "She [Meredith] told us herself that she did not write that post, and her husband has taken full responsibility for that post."

Meredith said, "And I did not comment when other board members or their family members did....I stayed out of it."

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Bruce shared more of his thoughts.  "Just reading this post, if this post is the sort of thing you are talking about, Becky, there are mistakes in there based on what we just got done talking about with the budget and all that."  He went on to say that people in the public eye do face this type of scrutiny just like when people say road workers just stand around with a shovel and don't work, but people in the public eye need to expect both praise and criticism.

Bruce suggested that if board members wanted to make their own personal statements in support of Director Puhl, they could exercise that right, but Becky Steinbach countered that her voice doesn't matter to that group of people.  Bruce replied, "Then it doesn't matter to that group."

Becky said, "What about being called a 'pedophile' and a 'groomer?'  Because that stuff is happening to her constantly.  How can we sit by as a board and let this happen to her?"

Bruce replied, "We can have discussions as a board if we want to put something out that says we absolutely believe there are mistakes being made or evil-intended statements by members of the public and that our library director is neither a pedophile nor a groomer...I think that's probably as effective as most lawsuits over libel and slander.  They cause more harm by the repetition of what's going on than by what was initially passed along.  You call me a name once; if I sue you and tell you I'm suing you because you called me a name, and now we are going to put the paperwork in the courthouse and now we're going to have a trial about it, now we're going to repeat it, and it becomes more dangerous and damaging than the initial remark had I just ignored it.....What the public says, we can't control that."

Bruce continued, "I wouldn't want us to be evaluating what every board member says.  It would put us into really dangerous territory....As a member of the government, First Amendment rights tie in."

The board did not find grounds for removal or make a motion for removal, and Meredith Hueckman has retained her library board position.

After the meeting, My Price County asked Director Becky Puhl, Vice President Becky Steinbach, Scott Hueckman, and Board Member Meredith Hueckman for their comments.  Becky Puhl and Becky Steinbach chose not to comment.  Scott Hueckman stated he maintains that the board could not refute any facts in his post.  Meredith Hueckman stated, "During this review process [of challenged books], the library board has reviewed over 30 children's books that have been challenged by parents and community members for age-inappropriate material.  I have not voted to ban any of them, but I believe many should be moved to a more appropriate section in the library.  Many have age-inappropriate material, including graphic sexual illustrations and content, anti-white racism, and anti-police propaganda.  All of our challenged books had been shelved in the children's section of our library, making them accessible to elementary-aged children 0-12.  A 7-year old can visit the library alone and check out any and all of these challenged books without a parent or adult present.  I will continue in my efforts to protect the children of our community from inadvertent exposure to age-inappropriate and/or obscene material."

The meeting also brought about discussion of the existence of bylaws and a new Public Comment Policy.  As of right now, no one is aware of any bylaws, and the board is considering adopting some in the future.  As for public comments, they will now have a 30-minute window and a 3-minute time limit per speaker.  There will be a sign-up sheet before the meeting, and the public will speak in the order in which they sign up.  The board expressed that written comments are also welcome one week in advance of the scheduled meeting.

The next board meeting is Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 5 p.m. in the City Council Room at the Municipal Center.  While the agenda has not yet been posted, the last challenged book will be discussed with action taken.  This book is entitled, "It's Perfectly Normal."  The book was purchased by the library in Summer 2022, but it was first published in 1994, though it has been updated since then with new information.  It has won many awards but has also faced much criticism.  According to the American Library Association, this book has been one of the most frequently challenged books for the last two decades.  These book challenges are not unique to Phillips and have been seen across the country.  "It's Perfectly Normal" contains images that some find to be sexually-graphic and others feel are educationally-appropriate.  The book is listed for ages 10 and up.

My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin could not find one good, unbiased source for our readers to review this book.  It is available at the Phillips Public Library for review.  We also randomly found some images and text from the book on the Internet.  Some are partially blurred or blacked out, though they are not blurred or blacked out in the book.  Some readers may find the following links and their images offensive.  Click the links at your own discretion.

Link 1 

Link 2 

Link 3 

Link 4 

Link 5 

Link 6

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LINCOLN COUNTY: MOST EXTENSION PROGRAMS DISCONTINUED


News: Lincoln County    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-22-2022, 03:41 AM

   

At a meeting in November, the Lincoln County Board voted to discontinue funding for most Lincoln County Extension Programs.  The funding cut will happen starting in 2023. 

Two programs will continue to receive funding.  The 4-H educator position and 4-H program will still be financially supported.  The FoodWIse Nutrition Education Program, which uses SNAP ED federal grant funding, will also still be supported by the county for low-income families.

"It is disheartening and unfortunate that the Board has chosen to eliminate most of its investment in Lincoln County Extension education.  We recognize that the board has many difficult budget choices to make on an ongoing basis but the reduction in funding for Extension services will have ripple effects throughout Lincoln County communities," stated Art Lersch, Area Extension Director.

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A press release stated Lincoln County will no longer offer the following services:

"Health & Well – Being/Positive Youth Development Programs – Debbie Moellendorf (e.g. Strong Bodies; mental health related education to adults and youth; Social Norms project; Healthy Minds preventative and other education in conjunction with the Lincoln County Health Department; and AODA education; etc.).

Community Development Programs – Elizabeth McCrank (e.g. organizational assistance for nonprofits and businesses; organizational assistance for local governments; strategic planning for nonprofits; rural broadband expansion planning; housing expansion planning; community health assessment planning; etc.).

Agriculture Programs – Scott Reuss (e.g. Youth Tractor & Machinery Certification Course; Nitrogen enhancement product research plots/nutrient management education for farms to increase crop yields and protect the environment; Nitrogen and sulfur rate effects on winter wheat yield research plots; one on one and group farm consultations; etc.).

Office Support – Becky Kludy (e.g. ability to answer customer questions; ability to sell plat books, ability to assist with food preservation questions and pressure canner testing; soil sample kits, water sample kits; ability to provide in office, email, and phone customer service related to a wide variety of topics; etc.)"

Furthermore, beginning December 12, 2022, the Extension office will not be open to walk-in traffic.  Participants in 4-H and FoodWIse will need to make an appointment.  For 4-H, questions can be directed to Melissa Yates at melissa.yates@wisc.edu or Art Lersch at art.lersch@wisc.edu or 715-218-5360.  FoodWIse inquiries should be directed to Art Lersch at art.lersch@wisc.edu or 715-218-5360.

Lincoln County will no longer be able to access regional and state specialists within the Division of Extension - UW=Madison.  Specialist and other educator advice and efforts are only offered to counties that continue to invest in the extension programs.

Deborah Moellendorf, Elizabeth McCrank, Scott Reuss, Melissa Yates, Becky Kludy, Jeni Burton, and Art Lersch, staff members of Lincoln County Extension, express their gratitude to the public "for the tremendous outpouring of community support that has been exhibited for Extension education in recent months, over the past few years, and for at least a century in Lincoln County.  It has been our pleasure to serve you and to help create positive community change in local communities."


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MAJOR GARBAGE PICK-UP CHANGES COMING TO PHILLIPS


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    4 Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-16-2022, 04:40 PM

   

At the November 8, 2022 Common Council meeting, a motion was passed that will affect all City of Phillips residents.

In the past, city residents would buy a sticker and put the sticker on their garbage bag.  Even though garbage pick-up was facilitated by the city, the cost of the sticker covered the cost of the garbage pick-up, and there was no garbage cost to the city.  Once a sticker was on the bag and the recycle bin was set out on the curb, the garbage service would then pick up their garbage and recyclables one day per week.

Starting sometime possibly in December or January, (as the city doesn't have a set date yet), things will change.  The city will still contract with the garbage service to pick up recyclables placed in bins as the city has a grant for this service.  These pick-ups may be weekly or every other week; the schedule has yet to be determined.

However, garbage bags will no longer be picked up at the curb with a sticker.  Instead, residents will need to contract with a garbage service to get their garbage collected on a regular basis.  The city will no longer facilitate this.  Mostly likely, yard carts or dumpsters will have to be put out by each resident.

The City of Phillips made this motion at the Common Council meeting on November 8, 2022.  It was passed unanimously.  Mayor Charles Peterson said some residents would prefer to have the charge placed on their water bill, for example.  However, the garbage pick-up service did not like this option because if a city resident did not pay their water bill, they would have been picking up garbage for free for three months and never get paid, according to the deputy clerk-treasurer, Autumn Gedde, who was asked about this days after the meeting.  Therefore, putting the garbage bill on the water bill was not an option.

The city plans to give more information to residents in the near future once the contract details get straightened out.

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DONATIONS NEEDED FOR SHERIFF'S OFFICE GIVING TREE


Price County Cares - Donations Needed    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-15-2022, 03:27 PM

The Price County Sheriff’s Office is now accepting donations for the 2022 Giving Tree.

Donations of new mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves are being accepted in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office.  Both adult and children’s sizes are being accepted.  These items are available to anyone in need in the Sheriff’s Office lobby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Monetary donations are also being accepted for the 2022 Giving Tree.  Last year, local law enforcement agencies were able to help four families from the Park Falls, Phillips, and Prentice School Districts have a merry Christmas.  This year, the Sheriff's Office is hoping to help even more families with the help of your generous donations.  Please make checks payable to the Price County Sheriff’s Office (and put "Giving Tree" in the memo line), and send to P.O. Box B, Phillips WI, 54555.  Donations can also be dropped off at the Sheriff’s Office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Donations are being accepted through December 2, 2022.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Alex Prill at 715-339-3011 #4.

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ONEIDA COUNTY: FOUR ARRESTED IN METHAMPHETAMINE DELIVERY IN NORTHWOODS


News: Oneida County    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-11-2022, 03:34 AM

After a six-month investigation, members of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, the Northcentral Drug Enforcement Group (NORDEG), the Rhinelander Police Department, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigations arrested David Lassiter, 39; Kimberly Baenen, 36; Ryan Culver, 37; and Jacob Simon, 41, all from Rhinelander, for Conspiracy to Commit Manufacture/Deliver more than 50 Grams of Methamphetamine, and they appeared in court on November 10, 2022. 

The investigation involves a drug conspiracy that has occurred over this time period involving methamphetamine delivery in the Northwoods area.  These subjects are believed to have distributed approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine.  Records indicate that approximately $25,000 was sent to Mexico to the Mexican cartel for the purchase of methamphetamine.  A stolen firearm was also recovered during this investigation.  Quantities of methamphetamine seized during the course of this investigation have also tested positive for fentanyl. 

The NORDEG is currently looking for Benjamin Somers, 35, in connection with this case.  Anyone with information about Somers' location should contact the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office at 715-361-5100.


   

Source:  Oneida County Sheriff's Office


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SOCIAL MEDIA POST AND CONDUCT & REMOVAL OF MEMBERS ON SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-09-2022, 08:24 PM

   

On Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 5:05 p.m. in the Community Room of the Phillips Public Library, a special board meeting will be held.  This board meeting was called by Becky Steinbach, library board vice-president, on October 28th, the day after the last board meeting, which covered challenged books and staff pay increases.

The agenda is as follows:

1. Call to order
2. Establish a quorum
3. Certification of compliance with Open Meeting Law
4.  Discussion/Action on Public Comment Policy and Procedure
5. Discussion/action on a statement from the Board in response to social media post regarding the Library Director
6. Discussion/action on Board Member conduct, responsibilities, and removal

Members of the community reached out to My Price County regarding Items 4 through 6.  To get answers from the person who called the meeting, we sent Becky Steinbach the follow questions.

1.  What social media post is the agenda referring to?
2.  Why are conduct, responsibilities, and removal of board members on the agenda?
3.  Aside from the fact that it is not required by law, why is public comment not being allowed?

Becky responded with, "Individual board members do not act alone to make decisions on library matters.  This meeting will allow us to discuss recent reactions to library board decisions in an open and unbiased forum."

My Price County asked if she could specifically reply to the questions, but Becky stated this was the only response she wanted to provide before the meeting, stating, "I firmly believe these matters need to be discussed with the full board in a public meeting setting."

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Some members of the community are speculating on which social media post is on the agenda given one post from a community member got a lot of attention the day after the last regular board meeting.  The post primarily addressed the pay increase of the library director and the cut in the budget to the books.  We will update this story after the meeting once the social media post is confirmed.

Since members of the public also had questions about the bylaws and how people are hired or removed from the board, we asked Becky Steinbach and Becky Puhl, the library director, along with all other board members, if they could provide us with a copy of the bylaws.  Becky Steinbach replied that the bylaws are in a paper copy housed at the library and Becky Puhl is in the process of getting them together and scanning them in.  Jenny Markle, another board member, stated the library director said she is in the process of looking for the records in her office.

The public can attend this meeting in person or via Zoom.  However, public comment will not be allowed.  The Zoom meeting link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84734249750?pw...V2bXA5UT09  Meeting ID: 847 3424 9750  Passcode: 299759

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NOVEMBER 2022 UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS


News: Countywide    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-09-2022, 05:51 AM

   

The following are the unofficial results for the November 8, 2022 election.  Not all votes have been counted in the races.  Where possible, we included the percentage reporting when giving the number of votes for each candidate.

61% of the 11,598 eligible voters voted in Price County.  9,061 of those are registered to vote.  7,131 people actually voted in Price County.

The City of Phillips had the lowest voter turn-out at 44%.  The Town of Spirit had the highest voter turn-out at 74%.  Percentages were as follows, in no particular order:  Park Falls 48%, Phillips, 44%, Village of Catawba 55%, Village of Kennan 64%, Village of Prentice 62%, Town of Catawba 70%, Town of Eisenstein 66%, Town of Elk 68%, Town of Emery 68%, Town of Fifield 71%, Town of Flambeau 72%, Town of Georgetown 57%, Town of Hackett 61%, Town of Harmony 69%, Town of Hill 73%, Town of Kennan 56%, Town of Knox 71%, Town of Lake 66%, Ogema 60%, Town of Prentice 62%, Town of Spirt 74%, and Town of Worcester 70%.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

Governor, 99% reporting

Tony Evers / Sara Rodriguez 1,355,409 votes
Tim Michels / Roger Roth 1,266,128 votes

Tony Evers won re-election as Wisconsin's governor and Sara Rodriguez is the lieutenant governor.


Attorney General

Josh Kaul won.


Secretary of State

Doug La Follette won.


State Treasurer

John Leiber won.


United States Senator, 99% reporting

Mandela Barnes 1,307,283 votes
Ron Johnson 1,334,680 votes

Ron Johnson won re-election for United States Senator.


Representative in Congress, District 7

Tom Tiffany won re-election as District 7's representative in Congress.

Districts 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were won by Republicans.  Districts 2 (Madison area) and 4 (Milwaukee area) were won by Democrats.


State Senate, District 25

Romaine Quinn won.


Representative to the Assembly, District 74

Chanz Green won.


Price County Sheriff, 100% reporting

Brian Schmidt 5,723 votes
John Brylski (Registered write-in) 360 votes

Brian Schmidt won re-election as Price County Sheriff.


Price County Coroner[b], 100% reporting[/b]

James D. Dalbesio, III 5,243 votes


Clerk of Circuit Court[b], 100% reporting[/b]

Lisa Zimmermann-Walcisak 5,731 votes


Referendums

Price County residents voted "yes" to the county's advisory referendum by a vote of 5,224 to 1,310.

The Town of Kennan voted "yes" on the municipal referendum, a vote of 70 to 61.  The Town of Lake voted "no" on the municipal referendum, a vote of 330 to 243.


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SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH RESULTS IN FATALITY OF OGEMA MAN


News: Taylor County    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-08-2022, 03:44 AM

On November 6, 2022 at 8:49 p.m., the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a vehicle had struck a utility pole, and the driver appeared to be deceased. The location was reported to be on County Road-C, just north of Bonde Avenue in the Town of Rib Lake in Taylor County.  Taylor County Sheriff’s deputies, along with Rib Lake Fire, Ambulance and MedVac, were dispatched.

Upon arrival on scene, deputies determined that the driver of the vehicle, 32-year old Daniel R. Resch of Ogema Wisconsin, was deceased.

The investigation into the cause of the vehicle crash indicated that Resch was traveling northbound on CTH-C at a high rate of speed.  Resch lost control of the vehicle causing it to overturn several times where it eventually came to rest after striking the utility pole.

Alcohol and speed were both contributing factors in the crash.

Source:  Taylor County Sheriff's Department


   


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POLICE REPORTS: OCTOBER 2022


News: Countywide    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-08-2022, 02:05 AM

Reports received by the police departments in Price County for the month have been condensed and summarized.

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PRICE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

10/1/22 - A woman reported her dog was stolen by a friend of hers after they had a verbal argument.  The friend, who lives in Illinois, felt he was owed money and was going to keep her dog until she paid him.

10/2/22 - A man in the Town of Worcester heard gun shots in the morning and discovered damage to his screen door and porch area.

10/4/22 - A Phillips man reported his mailbox was stolen and a pension check may have been inside the mailbox.

10/4/22 - An Ogema man stated his pop-up camper was missing but called back later to state it was found half a mile away.

10/4/22 - A theft occurred at a Prentice grocery store with photographs of the suspect and suspect's vehicle.

10/5/22 - A two-vehicle accident was reported in Ogema with no injuries.

10/6/22 - A Park Falls woman called for assistance with her brother who was intoxicated and hit her on the head.

10/7/22 - A search warrant was conducted in the Township of Ogema.  Chief Deputy Brian Roush, Lt. Joseph Lillie, Lt. Danielle Peterson, Investigator Krissy Trimble, Investigator Robert Hawn, Chief Jerry Ernst, Sergeant Marvin Nevelier, Corrections Officer Mark Hill, and Deputies Dean Merlak, Taylor Drake, Joel Eder, Bryan Vergin, Breydon Johnson, and Chris Jarosinski responded.

10/8/22 - A Park Falls woman reported three scam calls with the caller stating they were from the Price County Jail.  The caller stated they were an inmate, but the woman said she did not know any jail inmates.

10/9/22 - An Ogema woman stated another woman was harassing her by hacking into Facebook and sending her voice messages.

10/11/22 - A woman reported a man on the ground in a parking lot possibly having a seizure.  It was found the man had multiple warrants, including one in Jefferson County, and he was requested he be held.

10/11/22 - A worker at a gas station in Fifield reported a man was obnoxious and disorderly, upset there was not any windshield solution at the pumps.  The man yelled and swore at the worker.  The man went outside and brought his windshield wiper in and threw it on the counter.  The man yelled and swore at patrons.  He was driving a red truck.

10/12/22 - A vehicle slowed but would not stop for a traffic stop.  The vehicle pulled into an ice cream shop and the driver fled on foot.  The subject was taken into custody.

10/15/22 - A woman called reporting someone drove into her vehicle in the City of Phillips, and she believed the man may be injured.

10/15/22 - A traffic stop resulted in a vehicle being searched and one man being taken into custody.

10/16/22 - A woman reported another woman was outside her home trying to gain entry, and the woman trying to enter had threatened to kill her and her children earlier in the day.

10/17/22 - Two people reported an accident south of Phillips on Highway 13.  The man stated one vehicle was up against trees and there were likely injuries.  There was entrapment and a medical helicopter was requested but unavailable due to weather.  The person had facial, chest, and leg injuries.  The person could feel their legs, but they could not move.  A plane could be available at the airport in Phillips in an hour, but Emergency Medical Services declined as they wanted to get the patient to the hospital quicker for medical care.  When clearing from the area, a deputy received a report of a rear-end collision in the area.

10/17/22 - A man reported his camper trailer was missing from his cabin.

10/18/22 - A woman reported an intoxicated woman on a motorcycle who came to her door swearing at her and pounding on the door.  The caller believed the woman pounding on her door was upset because her boyfriend was at her house getting something repaired.

10/21/22 - A bearded lizard was found in the City of Phillips.

10/21/22 - A woman called to report that the same cat that was taken to animal rescue one week prior was back at her house in Phillips.

10/23/22 - Multiple people reported a vehicle on fire.  No occupants were in the vehicle.

10/25/22 - The medical center called to report a sex offense that occurred in the Township of Georgetown.

10/26/22 - A man reported his brother, who may have been under the influence, tried to stab him with a knife, but the man did not have any injuries.

10/26/22 - A man and his dog became lost in the woods while bird hunting.  Police responded, and the man was located safely.

10/30/22 - A man was the victim of a scam on Facebook Marketplace.  The man paid $1,800 for the purchase and delivery of a dog he never received.

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PHILLIPS POLICE DEPARTMENT

10/1/22:  A courtesy notice was given to a residence on Argyle Avenue stating they needed to clean up their piles of junk and could not have more than three animals at their residence.

10/10/22: Responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Storms Road.  Officers responded and met with the complainant after attempting to locate the vehicle. The vehicle was not located.

10/11/22:  A concerned citizen came to the Phillips Police Department to report suspicious activity around his residence on Argyle Avenue.  Officers patrolled the area and did not locate any suspicious activity.

10/12/22: Received a complaint from the Phillips Department of Public Works Director about damage that was done inside the men's bathroom of the Elk Park Pavilion the night prior.  An officer watched video surveillance of the pavilion and was able to identify three male juveniles. Interviews were to be conducted.

10/15/22: Received a report of a vehicle striking two legally parked vehicles on South Argyle Avenue / Walnut Street.  One adult was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.  The accident is under investigation.  It is believed a medical condition caused the striking vehicles operator to lose control.

10/16/22:  An adult female reported that someone was attempting to enter her residence.  The adult female thought it could possibly be her neighbor that threatened her earlier in the day.  The officer was able to determine that the neighbor did not attempt to make entry in the residence. The officer provided extra patrol around the residence.

10/17/22: Responded to a report of a vehicle crash outside of the City of Phillips.  Officers arrived on scene and were unable to locate the vehicle.

10/17/22: Stopped a vehicle driving the wrong direction down what the officers believed was a one-way road, Turner Street.  Officers were informed that the road was now two-way traffic. Officers confirmed that it was now two-way traffic.  Officers then apologized and released the driver.

10/20/22:  Responded to a report of an adult male and female arguing.  Officers located the female and made contact with her.  The male individual was located.  Neither individual admitted to any argument taking place. During the investigation, the woman was discovered to have an active warrant. Officers arrested the female and transported her to the Price County Jail.

10/21/22:  Received a report of a two vehicle crash which occurred in a parking lot of a business in the City of Phillips.  An officer responded to the location to investigate the crash.  No injuries were reported to have occurred.

10/25/22:  Met with an individual who arrived at the Phillips Police Department to collect property and informed officers of an injunction order violation.  Officers confirmed the injunction order and arrested the respondent.

10/25/22:  Advised of a female individual in the City of Phillips with an active warrant.  Officers located the female and arrested her.  The female was transported to the Price County Jail for booking.

10/25/22:  Advised of a disorderly incident that occurred in the City of Phillips.  One female was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Misdemeanor Bail Jumping and transported to the Price County Jail for booking.

10/27/22:  Received a report of an altercation that occurred in the City of Phillips.  One female was arrested for Physical Abuse of a Child, Disorderly Conduct, and Strangulation and Suffocation.  The female was transported to the Price County Jail for booking.

10/27/22:  Received a report of damage inside the bathrooms of a pavilion at Elk Lake Park.  Officer is investigating the matter.

10/30/22:  Notified of juvenile males smashing pumpkins in the roadway.  The officer made contact with the juveniles and informed them of safety concerns,  The juveniles stated that they would not smash the pumpkins in the roadway.

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SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES - SHOP PRICE COUNTY FIRST:  Ken's Carpet & The Consignment Store sells all flooring types (carpet, vinyl, wood, & ceramic), bedding / mattresses, appliances, solar systems, and consignment sales of furniture, automobiles, farming & logging equipment, ATVs, UTVs, trailers, and campers.  Call 715-339-4838 for product inquiries, and follow Ken's Carpet & The Consignment Store's Facebook page.

PARK FALLS POLICE DEPARTMENT

10/1/22:  An officer assisted the Price County Sheriff's Office with a traffic stop where they found a loaded firearm and illegal substances in the vehicle.  A male was arrested upon charges and transported to jail.

10/6/22: Officers dispatched to a residence for the report of an active domestic abuse incident in progress where a female had been struck by an intoxicated male.  Upon investigation, one male suspect was arrested for disorderly conduct and battery.

10/12/22:  officers responded to a residence for the report of an active domestic incident in progress.  Upon investigation, the situation was deemed a verbal argument between the two intoxicated subjects involved.  Both subjects later requested law enforcement to leave the residence.

10/10/22:  An officer assisted a Price County deputy on a traffic stop.  The officer observed illegal substance packaging in the suspect's vehicle.  Upon searching the subject and the vehicle, officers located further illegal substances and drug paraphernalia.  One male suspect was arrested for drug-impaired driving.

10/11/22:  A single vehicle accident occurred on Hwy. 13.

10/15/22:  An officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with loud exhaust.  Upon investigation, officers searched the occupants and vehicle as they observed remnants of marijuana on an occupant's shirt.  As a result, one male suspect was arrested for the possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

10/13/22:  An off-duty officer reported seeing a suspect at a grocery store in Park Falls.  It was known a warrant was out for her arrest.  Contact was made and the warrant was confirmed. The suspect was arrested and transported to the Price County Jail.

10/19/22:  A Price County Human Services requested law enforcement at the Chequamegon Elementary School to assist with a photographs of an alleged maltreated child.  An officer responded, but no visible injuries were observed.

10/19/22: Members of a church spoke with an officer regarding phone messages received from a man.  Board members were given options of how they can handle the situation.  They will have a meeting with the entire board and contact the officer with their decision.

10/20/22:  A one-vehicle rollover was reported near the Ashland and Price County line.  An officer stayed with the juvenile victim and maintained scene security until an Ashland County deputy arrived on scene.

10/24/22:  Officer Dehmlow assisted Price County Deputy Drake with a traffic stop involving a female subject.  The female was searched along with the vehicle, and the female subject was arrested on seven counts of bail jumping.

10/27/22:  A welfare check was requested on a subject that may be living in a tent at Hines Park. Contact was made with the subject who stated he was fine.  It was later determined that he had not paid the appropriate camping fees.  A warning was issued to pay the required fees or a citation would be issued.

   


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THE CLOCK TOWER POCKET PARK NEARING COMPLETION


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 11-06-2022, 03:48 AM

On November 4, 2021, the clock tower went up in Phillips.  One year later, its pocket park is nearing completion.

   
   
   

Gary Gabrielsen did the prep work for the concrete on October 4, 2022, with rebar provided by Phillips Lumber & Hardware, and he poured the concrete the next day.  Gary volunteered all his time, and Northern Lakes Concrete donated the cement for the project.  Jim Heizler, from the City of Phillips Department of Public Works, assisted with the removal of the asphalt pieces, delivery of the sand, and backhoe work.

   
   

On November 3, 2022, Dennis Onchuck and Mic Peterson installed the black metal railing with assistance from Gary Hall, donating all their time.  Dennis also donated the concrete anchor bolts, and Mike Johnson donated the use of his hammer drill.  This railing serves as a visual barrier and decorative purpose to offset the pocket park from the parking lot.  The railing had to be placed in from the sidewalk a bit so that the City of Phillips will be able to get their snow removal and sweeper equipment on the sidewalks where needed.

   

Arriving on November 4, 2022 was the plaque, which was installed in the pole.  The plaque gives a history of the clock and recognizes larger contributors to the restoration project.  Brian Hopperdietzel at Marshfield Monument, located in Marshfield, Wisconsin, was hired to create this plaque.  However, he chose to donate a plaque to the project.  He also delivered and installed the plaque.  "After reading through the history of the clock and what the three ladies accomplished to bring it back to Phillips, I thought this is the least I can do for the project," Brian said.  "Far too often society finds it easier to discard pieces of history instead of restoring and keeping them alive through awareness."

The three ladies, Davette Hrabak, Judy Hayton, and Lynne Bohn, want to thank everyone who was involved in the project.  "Most people who worked on the clock felt a connection to it, and we truly appreciate everyone's donations of time, money, supplies, and any and all assistance, whether large or small.  We needed all these people to bring the clock back to life," the ladies shared.

Since it is rather late in the year, benches will be placed in the pocket park next year, sometime in mid to late Spring 2023.

   

For those who missed the clock article from one year ago, which highlights the history and restoration of the clock, it can be read at this link.

This post can be shared on Facebook at this link.

A MESSAGE FROM JOHN BRYLSKI:  "I will be a sheriff for all of Price County.  The last two months I have went door to door, whether in town or in the country, trying to meet as many people as I can.  From the north to the south and from the west to the east, I have stopped in every city, town, and village.  I have listened to the people's concerns and met many residents with interesting stories about their lives.  I want to make a difference in Price County for all residents.  I will be a sheriff who will listen to your concerns and be there to work with you.  I will bring honesty and integrity to the sheriff's office.  I respectfully ask for your WRITE-IN vote for me this coming Tuesday for Price County Sheriff.  Please tell your friends and family about me.  They can learn more about me at https://www.JohnBrylski.com.  Thank you for your support."  (Authorized and Paid for by John Brylski.)
   


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