Local News Briefs Monday 2/15/16

Opposition To Mining Operation In Town Of Ashford

A group of residents in the Town of Ashford have filed suit in Fond du Lac County Court to stop a sand mining operation. Stop The Ongoing Mine Permit or STOMP in particular filed the lawsuit against the Town’s Board of Appeals and Batzler Trucking. The Board of Appeals granted a special exception permit that allows Batzler to do non-metallic mining on about 60 acres of property on Ashford-Auburn Drive. The lawsuit alleges that the mining request didn’t meet the criteria of a Town ordinance that allows special exception permits, which is the same as a conditional use permit. The area surrounding and adjacent to the mine is primarily residential subdivision developments. The lawsuit also alleges that one of the members of the Board of Appeals in fact lives in Lomira and that a board member previously worked for Batzler. Another allegation has to do with the improper posting of meeting agendas. The Board of Appeals approved the special exception permit at a meeting last August 4th. More than 80 people attended that meeting most in opposition to the permit. A scheduling conference for the court case is set for February 26th.

Mercury Gets Help Filling Jobs

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen recently commended their Fond du Lac Area Job and Career Center for helping Mercury Marine fill 100 positions. He says the jobs were for an expansion Mercury has been going through. He says the office pre-screened 124 people over 5 days and did an extraordinary job of getting the screenings done and referring the people over to Mercury for further interviews and some hire. Allen says connecting people to employment is what they do, but what they did for Mercury Marine was exceptional. Kurt Langel, Mercury Marine Senior Human Resources. “As our product line grows and demand for our product increases globally, we find ourselves with the good fortune of being able to hire more skilled workers to keep up with demand. We will continue to grow here in Fond du Lac and look forward to a bright future ahead at Mercury Marine.”

Use Of Narcan By FDL Fire And Rescue Down A Little

Narcan is saving lives in Fond du Lac, but Fire and Rescue officials aren’t talking as much about that success as they have in the past. Assistant Chief Todd Janquart says they haven’t been using it as much and drug deaths are up. He says the administration of Narcan is down a little bit but drug deaths in general, not just those attributable to opiods, are up. He says they also want to accumulate more data about the success of using Narcan before they talk about its success. Janquart says there were three drug deaths in the City in 2014 and seven last year, but they are careful to wait until a medical examiner’s report comes out before they attribute a death to a drug overdose.

NFDL Village Board Meeting

The North Fond du Lac Village Board tonight will discuss the creation of a Village residency ordinance for sex offenders. The ordinance would similar to ordinances created by the Towns of Eldorado and Friendship that put restrictions on the placement of sex offenders. A bill going through the state legislature would place tighter restrictions on where violent sex offenders can be placed. Also during the Village Board meeting the board will discuss the possibility of setting a date for a discussion and workshop about the purchase of a new ladder truck for the fire department. The board meets at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building in North Fond du Lac.

FDL City Council Approves Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Fond du Lac City Council recently approved updating a hazard mitigation plan. City Manager Joe Moore explained to the Council that it’s something required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA and is required if the City or County asked for help following a disaster. He says the City and County should have a plan for responding to all hazards. Moore says the County’s Communications and Emergency Management Department coordinates responses to emergencies and will be sending a copy of the plan to FEMA. The City worked with the County’s Emergency Management office to update the plan that was first adopted in 2004. The plan approved by the Council is good through 2020.

Student Loan Relief

The State Senate Minority Leader says they would like to see a bolder plan for student loan relief. Jennifer Shilling says for the nearly 1 million people in Wisconsin who took out student loans it’s a real crisis. She says Democrats would like to see students have the ability to refinance their loans the way people can do with their car and home loans. She says Governor Walker’s College Affordability Package doesn’t accomplish enough for those who have student loans. She says it nibbles around the edges and impacts a very small percentage of students.

Many Responsible For Sturgeon Conservation

The DNR Sturgeon Biologist for the Winnebago System says the rebounding of the sturgeon population over the years is due to a group conservation effort. Ryan Koenigs says there used to be a lot of poaching during the spawning season. But there’s been a steady conservation effort since the 1970s. He says Sturgeon for Tomorrow has had a big role in that conservation effort. He says they are the largest sturgeon advocate in the area and maybe North America. He says they have raised close to $1 million for sturgeon restoration, management, and research efforts. Koenigs says the majority of conservation groups and fishing clubs in the area has an interest in sturgeon and are willing to provide support as needed. He says the sturgeon guard program during the spawning season has also been instrumental.