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Protestors gathered Saturday in front of the Marinette County Courthouse to protest mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. The deadline for Advocate Aurora Health employees to get vaccinated or receive an exemption is coming up on Oct. 15. Federal employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 22, and the federal administration is currently drafting rules regarding vaccine requirements for large employers.

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City to consider ward boundaries next month

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MARINETTE—New ward boundaries in the City of Marinette will be finalized in a little over a month.

The Sept. 14 draft of the City of Marinette redistricting plan indicates potential changes to ward configurations to accommodate changes in population density across the municipality, which increased by a little over 1% from 10,961 residents in 2010 to 11,119 residents in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, local redistricting in the state is a three-step process that starts with the county, moves to municipalities and concludes with adoption of county supervisory districts and municipal aldermanic districts. Ward configuration is conducted in the second step of this process.

All municipalities with a population over 1,000 must establish wards. Unlike supervisory districts, wards do not have to be equal in population size but are subject to population limits corresponding to the size of the municipality. Wards in the City of Marinette, with its population of over 10,000 residents, must contain between 600 and 2,100 inhabitants.

The county, however, prioritized creating wards with relatively equal numbers of residents, shooting for a target of 1,396 individuals per ward-equaling the county population divided by 30 total supervisory districts with a 5% leeway.

All of the proposed wards fulfill this goal, deviating by a maximum of 4.37% below the target number in Alderperson Jeffrey Skorik’s Ward 2. This ward would have a decrease in population from 1,348 residents in 2011 to 1,335 residents, according to the proposed boundaries.

Alderperson Ken Keller’s Ward 1, Alderperson Doug Oitzinger’s Ward 3, Alderperson Debbie Klegin’s Ward 6 and Alderperson Rick Polizin’s Ward 7 would all increase in population if the Marinette City Council approves the proposed boundaries. Keller’s ward would have the greatest increase, growing by about 6.6% from 1,341 to 1,429 residents and significantly expanding into the area that is currently Ward 4 and 5, according to the boundary draft. The territory and population of Oitzinger’s ward would also notably expand.

Ward 4, which does not currently have a representative, and Alderperson Jason Flatt’s Ward 8 would decrease in population. The population of Alderperson Liz Mikutowski’s Ward 5 would remain the same.

City of Marinette City Clerk Lana Bero said the ward configuration proposal will be considered at the Nov. 2 Common Council meeting. If the council approves the boundaries, the process will move back to the county, which will finalize the boundaries by Nov. 9 in time for the circulation of nomination papers that will begin Dec. 1.

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Gillett man charged with homicide in Sunday accident

TOWNSHIP OF UNDERHILL—At approximately 11:11 p.m. Sunday, the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Dispatch Center was notified of a single-vehicle accident at the intersection of County Road V and County Road U in the Township of Underhill.

A pickup truck was traveling westbound on County Road U when the pickup truck failed to stop at the intersection and then entered the west ditch, striking several trees. Upon arrival, law enforcement located a 54-year-old man from Gillett standing outside of the vehicle. The passenger of the vehicle, a 54-year-old man from Keshena, Wisconsin, was trapped inside the vehicle and died at the scene. The Gillett man sustained minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital. Alcohol and speed are believed to be factors of the crash.

The 54-year-old man from Gillett was transported to the Oconto County Jail and charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and operating after revocation.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they deal with the loss of a loved one,” said Oconto County Sheriff Todd Skarban.

An ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Oconto County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Underhill Fire Department, Gillett Area Ambulance, City of Gillett Fire Department and the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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Menominee County to stick with 9 districts, but boundaries to change
  • Updated

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The Menominee County apportionment committee last week approved a nine-member county board for the next decade but changed the boundaries of some districts, County Clerk Marc Kleiman said Tuesday.

The committee voted 4-1 to stay with nine commissioners, with Republican Party Representative Leon Felch voting against the motion. Felch had advocated for a five-member board at a previous meeting.

The apportionment committee meeting originally scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday has been canceled. Besides Kleiman and Felch, committee members include Democratic Party Representative Mari Negro, Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Rogg and County Treasurer Barbara Parrett.

Negro said she supported staying with a nine-member board to keep “better representation throughout the entire county, especially because the northern end is so sparsely populated.”

“More districts are going to mean more representation for everyone. The more ideas you have, the better off you are,” she said.

Details about new district boundaries was not available at press time.

Negro said she spoke with five or six current commissioners to seek their input on how well the current size of nine districts was working. “I wanted to see how they felt about it,” she said.

She said the commissioners told her the current size was working and was good representation for the county. “They got along well and it was a good fit,” she said Monday in a phone interview. They valued a larger board for discussions and liked dividing up the responsibility. “When you divide up the county, it makes it a little easier for everyone.”

Negro said the Democratic Party also favors more representation. Felch was not available for comment at press time.

“My personal reason for wanting to stay with nine,” Negro said is, “a five-person board to me is essentially nothing more than a glorified three-person board.” A board smaller than seven commissioners would give too much control to the five or three people making decisions.

“Anything less (than seven) would be stacked and manipulated. I like to keep that fairness, too.”