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Search for interim MAPS superintendent continues
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EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The search for an interim superintendent for Menominee Area Public Schools continues. At Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the current interim superintendent, Steve Martin, said he was able to contact four candidates interested in the position.

Martin, who is also superintendent of the Menominee Intermediate School District, stepped into the role after MAPS’ regular superintendent, John Mans, went on leave with plans to return in April. Martin said his time in the position would need to be temporary, so a different interim superintendent would need to be found.

The process is still in its early stages, and no official discussions have been had with the candidates to whom Martin reached out. “Some candidates got a little bit more specific, you know, ‘I could be down there three days a week but I’d like to work remote for two,’ but these were just informal conversations,” he said.

Martin was not able to discuss the names of the four candidates, but said all four were retired school superintendents. “Not only are they interested in the position because it’s what they’ve done their entire careers, but they have a legitimate desire to help the district out. None of them need to do it, but there’s a desire to help out,” he said.

Martin said some interest was expressed in the idea of having two of the candidates tag-team the responsibilities of the job, however Board Member Hunter Mans had some concerns with this idea. “My biggest concern with those candidates is their ability to commit time; they’re retired, so to speak, but they’re contracted to work other jobs right now. And I’m not personally a fan of a time-share between the two; I think continuity in having one person take the helm of the ship is important,” he said.

Board vice-President Dawn Wesolowski said having a tag team of interim superintendents could work quite well. “You could have ideas bouncing off of each other, and that could turn out to be a fabulous idea. It could turn out just like you say, or it could be the exact opposite,” she said.

Board President Derek Butler said one candidate that had shown interest has experience with construction, which he said would be very helpful going forward with the district’s recently passed referendum. Mans said he also appreciated the distance this same candidate has from relationships with those in the district, saying this would allow that candidate to come into the position without any preconceived notions and could offer a fresh look at the district during the interim period.

“If the board can agree on who the top two candidates are,” Martin said, “then we could move on to some of the terms, such as the time spent in the district, which I think we’ve all kind of agreed on; maybe only in district for three or four days a week, but available for five, or even more. So if a principal needs to call this person for support, they know they can do that,” he said.

Martin said it’s not uncommon right now for school districts to be looking for interim superintendents, but he said the nice thing about the four he’s contacted so far is that if things change and they’re only in the position for a couple of months, they are alright with that. “With the timeline, with John hopefully coming back in April, it’s difficult for someone to leave a current job to come here and it’s only two months. Maybe that changes, but that’s the beauty of all these candidates. If they needed to be here for only two months, they’re OK with that. They’re here to help,” he said.

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Marinette armory to shut door on dog classes

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MARINETTE—Tri-County Dog Training Academy would like to sit and stay at the Wisconsin National Guard armory building in Marinette, but after 20 years of teaching dogs and their masters there, it’s been told to find another home for next year.

A new statewide Wisconsin National Guard rental policy excludes animals, said Major Joe Trovato at the Wisconsin National Guard in Madison, which oversees armory rentals in the state. The Guard also is being more selective about the groups it allows to use its armories, favoring veterans groups, scouts and other groups “that directly support the military or National Guard mission,” Trovato said.

For Tri-County Dog Training, it’s sad news. “We’ve always had a good relationship with the armory. It was a very nice, comfortable, accommodating place. We are very sad we’re not going to be able to rent it again,” said dog trainer Viette Hornick (See related story).

The new policy took into account security, COVID-19, and “an intent not to compete with local businesses. And in this case, no animals in the rental facility,” Trovato said. The policy changes aren’t specific to the Marinette armory. “That’s statewide. That’s part of a larger overhaul of the rental policy at the state level,” he said.

As the Wisconsin National Guard increased its regulations and stipulations, most groups that rented the armory—from baseball registration to 4-H and the 20-Year Club—have moved to other facilities.

Finding a new home isn’t so easy when you’re asking the landlord to allow 15 to 20 dogs per class, said Sue Cota, a Tri-County past president who owns two Cocker Spaniels and is an original member of the nonprofit formed in 1998.

“It’s hard to find a spot for one night a week,” she said. ”If it’s a new building, they don’t want to rent it. If it’s an old building, they don’t want to get it up to use again (for just one night a week), turning on the heat and making sure the parking lot is plowed.”

Tri-County Dog Training is an asset to the Marinette-Menominee community, Cota said. “Our classes are filled every session,” she said. “We have to turn people away.” Many people return for another session when they get a new dog. At $65 for a 10-week session, the courses are priced “so people can afford to come,” Cota said.

The price hasn’t changed much in 20 years. “We started out 20 years ago charging $50,” Hornick said. “As long as it covers our expenses, we figure, well, more people will be able to take our classes.”

A commitment to affordability also is making it more difficult to find a rental space. “What we have to do is find someone who is a good citizen and likes dogs and want to help us out,” she said.

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US 41/Country Meadows Road construction to begin Monday

EagleHerald editor

MARINETTE—A dangerous intersection just outside of Marinette will be under construction next week.

Gov. Tony Evers signed a $166,000 contract to improve safety at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Country Meadows Road near the Taco Bell/Shell Station. Construction is expected to begin Monday and the intersection will be restricted to right-in/right-out turning movements following construction.

This intersection has been the location of several accidents through the years, with some of them deadly. In 2010, a 40-year-old intoxicated Marinette man raced his pickup at the intersection and struck a Kia driven by a Green Bay man. The driver of the car and four of his daughters, two of whom were pregnant, all died in the crash. The driver of the truck was not injured and is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

Peters Concrete Company of Green Bay is the prime contractor, according the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT).

The construction includes removing the median pavement crossing and left-turn lanes, installing storm sewer drains and concrete curb and gutter and a raised median, WDOT states. Pavement marking and permanent signing along U.S. 41 and Country Meadows will be updated.

Upgrades to the railroad crossing on Country Meadows Road will be completed by the railroad owner. The railroad project is scheduled to be completed during the state intersection improvement project, but may shift pending the railroad contractor’s schedule.

During construction, U.S. 41 will be reduced to one lane in each direction and the median closed, WDOT stated. Access to Country Meadows Road from U.S. 41 will be limited to right turns from U.S. 41. Access from Country Meadows Road to U.S. 41 will also be limited to right turns from Country Meadow Road.

The project will provide a safer intersection for the traveling public along U.S. 41 and those that use the Country Meadows intersection by eliminating the possibility of left-turn crashes, according to WDOT.

Each year in Wisconsin, both highway workers and motorists are killed and injured in crashes that happen in highway construction zones. Motorists should slow down, be patient and pay attention to their surroundings in this and all work zones.

For more information regarding work zone rules for motorists, the law restricting hand-held devices, and general work zone safety information, people may visit the work zone safety website at https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/workzone/.

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Tri-County academy puts dogs at head of class

EagleHerald Staff Writer

MARINETTE—Tri-County Dog Training Academy aims to teach new dogs old lessons—like how to behave.

Owners are training themselves and their dogs when they participate in a 10-week session for $65. “After you’ve trained a dog or two, it’s easier because you know how to do it and the dog is going to catch on quicker,” said trainer Viette Hornick of Marinette, who helped to start the club over 20 years ago. The nonprofit offers three levels of classes in Marinette: puppy, beginners and advanced. “Our motto is making good dogs better,” she said.

For dog owners who want well-behaved dogs, start early, she said. “We start at 8 weeks old,” Hornick said, for dogs that have had their shots. “The sooner you start, the easier you can mold them into what you want them to do.”

The club is “staffed” by volunteers, including trainers like Hornick, who has owned German Shepherds for 60 years and has a collection of American Kennel Club dog-show titles to attest to her success as a trainer. “We do it because we like to do it. Our group is very dedicated to the club.”

Tri-County Dog Training got started in 1998 by Marinette-area women who competed in Green Bay dog shows. Instead of driving to Green Bay, Hornick recalled, “We said maybe it’s time we started something up here.”

Besides bonding with their pets, the women have had fun getting to know people through Tri-County. “I found throughout the years, I made a lot of friends. A lot of people are very devoted to their dogs and to wanting to train their dogs to be well behaved,” said Hornick, who paused during the interview to pat her dog Ellie.

While many dog owners previously sought to progress from obedience courses to Canine Good Citizenship and three levels of trick dog classes, most people today are satisfied with basic obedience training, Hornick said. “We find now that it’s more people who are interested in doing the pet thing and having a good family pet,” who join Tri-County. Members can take the dog training classes, participate in club activities and receive a newsletter, she said.

By taking one class a week and working with the dog a few minutes a day on simple commands like “sit, stay, heel,” owners will see improvement, she said.

“If you have a good bond with your dog, your dog is going to learn,” she said. “Once the dog has faith and trust in you, he’s going to learn a lot quicker.”

Hornick, who previously was a teacher and a teacher’s trainer, said she enjoys working with dogs and their owners. “I get great satisfaction seeing ... at the end of 10 weeks how much better the dog has become.”

The club emphasizes positive methods of training, and helps owners avoid common mistakes like these:

Being inconsistent. Dogs learn from repetition, Hornick said. When dogs are learning, it’s best to designate one family member to be the trainer “because each person is going to say things a little differently or do things a little differently,” she said. After the dog catches on, other family members can use the same commands.

Repeating a command too quickly and too often. Instead, say the command, such as “sit,” and then wait for the dog to respond.

Giving a treat at the wrong time. “It has to be done at the exact time the dog performs the command so that he can connect his action with the treat,” she said. “If you wait too long, he’s on another page.”

Comparing your dog’s progress with another’s. “In our club, everyone works at their own pace. We tell them, don’t look at the other person and see how they’re doing. Just work with your own dog.”

Most dogs enjoy the classes. “The dogs are happy to come,” Hornick said. “People say, ‘When my dog gets in the car and we get close to the armory, they’re all happy.’ Of course they’re like that because they get your undivided attention. It’s like it’s your time,” she said.