A controversial plan to open a sand mine in the town of Union, a lake district in the town of Dayton and a traffic fatality involving an Iola teen were among the lead stories for the second half of 2012. Below is part 2 of a series.
• The Sunset Amoco gas station on U.S. Highway 10 near Weyauwega reported an armed robbery on July 1.
The suspect threatened to kill the clerk with a crowbar if she did not open the cash register and the safe.
He stole hundreds of dollars and left in a gray Ford Focus.
After viewing a surveillance video, Detective John Gorman, with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department, thought he recognized the suspect as Justin M. Baumgardt, 27, formerly of Waupaca, due to numerous contacts related to ongoing criminal activity.
Since 2001, Baumgardt has been convicted of battery, burglary, theft, auto theft, check fraud, delivery of cocaine and failure to report to jail.
Gorman contacted the Appleton police and gave them Baumgardt’s last known address in Appleton and a description of the suspect’s car.
On July 3, Appleton police arrested Baumgardt, after finding him asleep in a gray Ford Focus.
Charged with armed robbery, Baumgardt has remained in Waupaca County jail on a $50,000 cash bond.
• Waupaca County was among 42 counties where Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency due to drought conditions affecting agriculture.
Farmers own and manage nearly half of all acres in Waupaca County. .
• Iola area residents mourned the death of 18-year-old Dylan Thorne, who was killed in a crash on July 19 in the town of Iola.
According to the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department, Heather Schmidt, 37, Marion, was northbound on County Road E when her Chevy Suburban crossed the centerline and hit the Iola teen’s southbound Mercury Grand Marquis.
• Nurses at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King complained of forced overtime due to staff shortages.
The Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, reported that some nurses were working 64 hours per week.
In December 2012, Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to include funding for 25 additional nurses at the vets home, as part of his 2013-14 state budget.
• Waupaca and Mitoyo, Japan, celebrated 15 years as sister cities. Students and adults from the two communities have been visiting each other since 1994.
• A life-size , bronze statue of Gerald Mork, the Iola police officer killed in the line of duty in July 1985, was dedicated in front of the Waupaca County Law Enforcement Center on Aug. 17.
• Duane Braun became the interim district administrator for the Iola-Scandinavia School District after working 11 years for the Manawa School District, including two years as the district administrator there.
• The city of Weyauwega voted in favor of a $3.17 million expansion of its sewage treatment plant. Work is scheduled to begin this spring.
• The Farmington Town Board voted to purchase 10.5 acres at $5,000 per acre.
Located kitty-cornered across State Highway 54 and County Road Q from the current town hall, the land will be the site of a new town hall.
• Lynda Luce, who taught English and coached forensics at Waupaca High School for more than three decades, died on Aug. 31. She was 59 and had been diagnosed with cancer shortly after retiring last year.
• Gusmer Enterprises Inc. began construction of a 7,000-square-foot building in Waupaca as part of an expansion project.
The building will be a manufacturing lab for the filter products Gusmer makes for the pharmaceutical industry.
• Waupaca County District Attorney John Snider filed reckless homicide and felony strangulation charges against Kevin J. Lombard, 24, Winnebago.
Lombard is accused of choking 18-year-old Amelia Anne Schmitz to death while the two of them were staying in a room at America’s Best Value Inn, in New London, on Aug. 12, 2011.
Lombard had been sentenced to two years in prison in March 2009 after Washington County Circuit Court revoked his probation on a battery to an officer conviction.
Lombard has been returned to prison and awaits a trial scheduled to begin on April 9, 2013.
• Bobby Christenson, the Iola-Scandinavia T-Birds’ No. 1 fan, passed away on Sept. 24.
He was remembered by the community for his efforts to encourage student athletes.
• After inspecting the Little Hope dam in the town of Dayton on Aug. 28, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ordered a drawdown of the millpond to be completed by early October.
Located on the Crystal River near the Red Mill, the dam is owned by Waupaca County, which has until Dec. 1 2013 to decide whether to replace or remove it.
A September 2011 engineering study estimated it would cost the county about $210,000 to remove the dam and up to $425,000 to replace it.
Dayton Town Chairman Chris Klein recommended that a lake district be formed to preserve the millpond. A lake district has the authority to levy taxes on property owners within its boundaries.
• A large crowd filled the Dayton Town Hall Saturday, Oct. 13, to voice their concerns at a public hearing about a proposed Little Hope lake district plan.
About 30 homes that had once overlooked the millpond now had a mucky backyard between them and the Crystal River.
Several dozen other families, who lived as far away as Parfreyvile and Lake Solitude, disputed the boundaries and asked why they would be taxed to protect other residents’ property values.
Approximately 180 parcels were to be included in the proposed district. At the meeting, 19 people spoke in favor of the lake district and 18 opposed it.
When the town board met the following week, it amended the boundaries and removed about 40 parcels from the lake district.
• School districts throughout Waupaca County saw their state aid cut significantly as they prepared their budgets for the 2012-13 academic year.
Waupaca’s state aid was cut by $749,000, Weyauwega-Fremont’s cut by $610,000 and Iola-Scandiavia’s by $160,000.
• Iola native Austen Lane made an appearance at Lambeau Field for the first time in his professional career on Oct. 28 as a starting defensive end for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Green Bay Packers handed the Jaguars a 24-15 defeat in front of several of Lane’s family members and friends.
• More than 200 people attended a public hearing about a proposed 160-acre sand mine in the town of Union on Nov. 1.
Held before the Waupaca County Zoning Committee, the hearing lasted from 6 p.m. until after 1 a.m. the following day.
Opponents of the sand mine say it will have detrimental effects on the local aquifer and nearby streams, harm the health and quality of life of families living near the site and damage one of the county’s most bucolic areas.
They also argue that approval of the sand mine would violate the town’s comprehensive plan, which was the result of years of local citizen participation in a democratic process.
Those in favor of the sand mine point to its economic benefits.
AF Gelhar, the company that would operate the sand mine, plans to hire 34 people with a total payroll of $2 million.
Most of the sand would be used by Waupaca Foundry, which directly employs 1,410 county residents and pays $82.5 in total wages.
The foundry, either directly or indirectly, accounts for 10 percent of the county’s total economy.
When the five-member county Zoning Committee met on Nov. 29, only one of the committee members clearly spoke in favor of granting a land use permit for the mine, while two spoke against granting a permit and two wanted clarification about the Union Town Board’s decision to recommend against granting a permit.
The committee delayed making a decision until after hearing from the town board again.
• Waupaca Common Council voted to upgrade Waupaca Online, providing more bandwidth and faster wireless Internet services for its customers.
• Sgt. Jerry Poltrock was promoted to serve as the new police chief in the city of Weyauwega. Poltrock joined the force in 1995 as the school liaison officer.
• The Waupaca High School football team fell to Catholic Memorial 42-7 Nov. 16 in the Division 3 state championship game in Madison.
The Comets’ touchdown came on Sam Menzies’ 4-yard pass to Nate Nelson in the third quarter.
The trip to state was Waupaca’s fifth overall and fourth in a decade. The Comets came up short in 1994 and 2002 and won Division 3 titles in 2006 and 2008.
Although the Comets did not win in Madison, Amherst, coached by former Waupaca assistant Mark Lusic, won the school’s first Division 5 state title with a 19-7 win over Lancaster.
• A monument commemorating 62 state recipients of the Medal of Honor was dedicated at a Nov. 16 ceremony at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King.
• Brown County Publishing, headquartered in Green Bay, acquired the northern Wisconsin publications and websites of Journal Community Publications Group.
Included in the sale were the “County Post West” in Waupaca, the “County Post East” in New London, the “North Star Journal” in Rhinelander, the “Merrill Foto News” and “Silent Sports.”
• Jim Boyer, a former mayor of Waupaca, longtime member of Waupaca Common Council and a three-term county supervisor, died on Dec. 5.
• The Weyauwega-Fremont Booster Club began fundraising efforts to build a fitness center addition at the high school.
In November, the W-F school board committed $400,000 to the project if the booster club raises $400,000 by June 1.
• The Dayton Town Board tabled two resolutions regarding boat landings and no parking zones after hearing from irate Chain O’ Lakes residents.
At the board’s meeting Tuesday, Dec. 18, Dayton residents asked Town Chairman Chris Klein to delay any decisions regarding future boat landing improvements and no parking zones.
Many of them came to the meeting as a result of the removal of nearly 30 trees from along West Spencer Lake Road. The trees were removed in order to provide parking for visitors, who use the boat landing there.
At the same meeting, the town board approved a resolution to allow people with state-issued concealed carry permits to enter the town hall with a firearm.