The former site of a Rice Lake hospital could become the site of a new public library, according to Rice Lake Public Library leaders. The library announced Monday that it has accepted an offer of the intent to donate land by the Lakeview Medical Center Board of Directors. The Rice Lake Library Board recently completed an assessment of three potential sites for a new library, including the current location on Marshall Street, the former JC Penney site at Cedar Mall and the former LMC location on Lakeview Drive. The former LMC site, which closed in January 2013 and was demolished, scored far better than the other options in an evaluation based on factors like accessibility, function and value. "The former hospital site has been a top choice for Library Board members and patrons alike, due to its beautiful setting, sufficient space, and easy walking for residential users," according to a RLPL press release. The City Council still has to approve funding for a new library. Library leaders are expected to make a presentation on the project budget and concept design at a Council meeting Feb. 10.
Jason Rae, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Rice Lake, announced Thursday that he is formally entering the race for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair. "Over the last several weeks, I've met with grassroots activists and leaders all across the state and am overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I am receiving," said the 28-year old Rae. "I look forward to traveling the state and explaining my positive vision of change for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and for our state." Rae has more than a decade of experience serving both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The attempted homicide suspect found by Washburn County law enforcement officials through a Facebook post last week has been charged in Washburn County Circuit Court. Terry A. Kiefer, 36, of Minong, appeared in court on Monday for an initial hearing on charges of attempted second-degree intentional homicide, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm by a felon. He posted a $5,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday, Jan. 28. Kiefer is accused of trying to kill Charles L. Kroeze, also of Minong, in the early morning of Jan. 3. At 3:23 a.m., Kiefer's daughter called 911 at 3:23 a.m. and said her "dad came into their home covered in blood and said that he'd just shot and killed someone," stated the criminal complaint. After a sheriff's deputy arrived at the home on Hwy. I, he was told by Kiefer's girlfriend that there was a victim lying dead on Rice Lake Road. The deputy responded to Rice Lake Road and Hwy. I where he found only an unoccupied vehicle with blood on it in the ditch and one set of footprints leading to Kiefer's residence just down from Kroeze's residence on Rice Lake Road. The deputy went to Kroeze's residence and found another man and a woman there who said Kroeze was there and in bad shape. The deputy saw that Kroeze had a large cut in the middle of his forehead in a rectangular shape and another gash down the middle of it. Wednesday, January 14, 2015
The City of Rice Lake will see a bump in General Transportation Aids from the state in 2015, according to data released last week. But that doesn't necessarily mean the city will be keeping up with road maintenance, according to city leaders. "Although this increase is well received, it is far below what is needed to keep up with the deterioration of our infrastructure and costs of day-to-day maintenance," said Jim Anderson, city director of Community Services. "The decrease in the past few years was due to budget shortfalls at the state level." The city's transportation aid is still lower than in 2011. The aid goes directly to the city general fund, as does the other major source of state aid, shared revenue. Shared revenue has declined steadily for more than 10 years. Together, shared revenue and GTA have been approximately $200,000-$250,0000 lower in each year since 2011. Wednesday, January 14, 2015
One seat on the Rice Lake City Council will be contested in the April 7 spring election. District 1 Alderman Bruce Willers, who is in his first 2-year term, is challenged by James F. Dorrance. Dorrance served on the City Council from 1992 to 1998, was Council President during his last 2-year term and filled in as interim Mayor from July of 1997 to April of 1998. He has served on the Parks and Recreation Board and Planning Commission and represented the city in Miharu, Japan for the Sister City 10-year anniversary. Willers currently serves on the personnel and negotiating, housing authority and economic development committees. Incumbents Dan Schwab, Stuart Durkee and Michael M. Diercks in Districts 2,3 and 4, respectively, have also filed for new terms. Three Rice Lake school board seats are also uncontested, with all incumbents filing for re-election. Stephen Bowman and Don Cuskey are running for new 3-year terms representing the city and Keven Jensen is running for another 3-year term representing rural parts of the school district. The deadline to file for candidacy was Tuesday. Most local villages and townships are holding caucuses this month to set ballots for the spring election. There are no county races on the ballot. Wednesday, January 7, 2015
State Rep.-elect Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake) announced Monday that he will be holding an in-district inauguration ceremony in Rice Lake on Friday, Jan. 9. Quinn defeated Democrat incumbent Steve Smith in November, and will be entering his first term in the state Assembly. The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. in the Lakeview Chambers of Rice Lake City Hall. Municipal Judge Eric Kasper will preside. A reception will follow. "An inauguration in Madison is fine. However, I want to take the oath of office right here in Rice Lake, in front of the voters of Northwest Wisconsin," said Quinn. "As their state representative, I will always put their needs before the needs of Madison special interests." Quinn said he's excited to get to work on behalf of his constituents. "The voters are looking to me to invest in worker training, strengthen education, and bolster our tourism industry, all while holding the line on spending," said Quinn, who said he will work with both Republicans and Democrats in Madison to accomplish those goals. Quinn, 24, was the youngest elected mayor of Rice Lake at age 19. More recently, he worked as a salesperson at Viking Coca Cola's Rice Lake branch. Quinn officially takes office as the Assembly's 75th District representative on Jan. 5.
Two realtors being sued by a man who claims they knowingly sold him a house that he was unaware was near a frac sand haul route have denied that claim. The attorney for Stacy R. Neuman and Jason A. Derousseau last Wednesday filed an answer to a complaint filed by Kyle C. Severson in Barron County Circuit Court. Neuman works for and Derousseau owns Re/Max Advantage in Rice Lake. Severson's $111,500 offer on the house was accepted June 16. He asserts that Neuman knew about but didn't tell him of the upcoming road construction to widen Half Avenue for a haul route and the effect that it and the constant heavy truck traffic would have on the property before listing the property for sale. He alleges that the Offer to Purchase stated, "Sellers/Sellers' agent to provide literature in regard to mining operations within Sioux Creek Township, which may pertain to the property being purchased within 15 days." The answer states that language was written in an earlier, unsigned version of the offer, but the executed version of the offer and an attached exhibit did not contain that language. "The language was officially stricken at the request of the plaintiff," stated the answer. Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Low oil prices and winter weather have slowed down but not stopped the rapid expansion of the frac sand operations that came into Barron County 3-4 years ago. In the Town of Arland, Superior Silica Sands has opened up its third sand drying plant in Barron County. In the Town of Dovre, Chieftain Sand & Proppants and Great Northern Sand are expanding capacity at their dry plants. Chieftain, as well as Source Energy in the Town of Sumner, are in the process of permitting hundreds of acres to expand their mining operations. Tuesday, December 23, 2014
A former volunteer firefighter who killed his girlfriend's ex at her request was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday. Maximum penalty for the conviction of second-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime was 40 years in prison. Barron County Circuit Court Judge James Babler sentenced Ian J. Skjerly, 35, of Rice Lake to 20 years in prison because he believed Skjerly's agreeing to testify against his girlfriend, Trista M. Hrabak, 30, was instrumental in getting her to plead to first-degree reckless homicide as a party to a crime. The judge said that benefitted Daniel J. Raven's family because they didn't have to go through a trial and the awful details. Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The Rice Lake Planning Commission will consider plans for a large skilled nursing home and assisted living facility on the north side of the city at its meeting Thursday. Gemini Holding LLC seeks to construct a 50-bed skilled nursing facility on six lots totaling 4.1 acres at Bear Paw Avenue and Bristol Street, according to commission documents. A future assisted living facility of up to 40 units is also planned on the site. The company is requesting Bristol Street be vacated for the facility. The one-story nursing facility will be open 24 hours per day and employ 110 people, with about 70 working full time. Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Cameron's new water tower is scheduled to be put into service starting Tuesday. The tower and other updates to the water system are expected to eliminate low water pressure problems that have plagued parts of the village, but Cameron officials are cautioning the public that it also may lead to isolated problems. The improvements will raise water pressures by an estimated 30 pounds per square inch. The increased pressure could lead to leaks in deficient water systems at homes or businesses. Faucets that did not leak under the lower pressure of the current system may start to drip, toilets may possibly leak and older galvanized piping may leak where it previously had been pitted due to corrosion. Wednesday, December 10, 2014
A 21-year old Chetek woman was found dead in a food elevator where she worked at the WingDam Saloon and Grill in Fountain City on Monday. Brooke Baures was a senior majoring in social work at Winona State University in Minnesota and a WSU Gymnastics team member from 2011-2014. She is the daughter of Ron and Kerri Baures. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Cameron with Fr. James Bartelme officiating. Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday and 10-11 a.m. Saturday at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Cameron. Fountain City police officers were called to the bar Monday at 8 p.m. and found a woman, Baures, dead in the 3-by 3-foot food elevator, or dumbwaiter, used to carry items between floors. Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Traffic lights and turning lanes will be added at the intersection of Allen Street and Wisconsin Avenue while school is out next summer, according to the city's project plan. A public hearing was held last Wednesday as the city finalizes a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant with the state, which will fund the majority of the project. Bigger stormwater pipe, more inlets, new curb and gutter, some sidewalk and the traffic lights will cost an estimated $595,000, according to SEH project engineer Vance Powers. The final cost won't be known until the project is bid. Bids start Dec. 15. The city will cover 10% of the project cost and 100% of the cost of 0.012 acres-or 522 square feet- to increase the size of the right-of-way. From 2004 to 2013, 40 crashes have occurred at the intersection, the most of any in the city. Tuesday, November 25, 2014