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The Douglas County Planning and Zoning committee tackled fees and noisy bells during a morning meeting today. Committee members approved fee hikes for land-use permits covering houses, accessory buildings and sanitary systems today. The recommendation was moved forward to the administration committee for approval. If approved, the new fees could go into effect as soon as June 1. The cost for a land-use permit for a dwelling would climb from $135 to $170.
Two South Range residents contend they are not to blame for the death of a colt after it was boarded at their farm. Lawyers for Pam and Shane Javenkoski have requested hearings to seek dismissal of misdemeanor charges. They will argue there was no written contract to board nine-month-old "Windchill," who died Feb. 29. Pam Javenkoski, 48, faces one count of failure to provide proper food and water and one count of providing improper shelter in connection with the death.
Superior Noon Rotary Club 40 unveiled a flood of need when in January it offered a $42,000 pot of grant money to the community. "We had almost 100 proposals," said member Jann Brill. "It was amazing." That was more than twice the 40 proposals the group was expecting. "It was a real surprise," said Rotarian Greg Guenard.
The question of whether a fenced feral pig is fair game may be decided in Douglas County Court. The issue was raised in a civil complaint filed Feb. 4 against Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec and District Attorney Dan Blank. The plaintiff, William F. Holst, resides in Prescott, Wis., but runs a licensed game farm in Cloverland under the name Heavy Horns Ranch Inc.. He seeks a judgment on whether or not it is legal for people to shoot wild hogs in the fenced area of his property. The complaint stems from a January warning letter Dalbec sent to Holst.
Theft charges were filed Wednesday against a Solon Springs woman accused of draining as much as $71,000 from the bank accounts of an elderly couple who granted her power of attorney. Jennifer Lynn Lefler, 30, faces one charge of felony theft.
Douglas County Court Commissioner Paul Baxter found probable cause Wednesday to arraign a Superior man accused of sexually assaulting a boy he was babysitting following a closed preliminary hearing. The alleged assaults occurred at least five times over a four-year period, according to the criminal complaint. Jonathan "Joseph" Andrew Polonia, 19, faces one charge of repeated sexual assault of a child. The Class B felony carries a maximum sentence of 60 years. Polonia is accused of assaulting the boy at two different residences, beginning when the boy was 5 years old.
Rumors of an early April truckers' strike to protest skyrocketing diesel prices won't slow things down at Dean's Trucking. "None of the owner operators to my knowledge are going to strike or shut down," said Larry Johnson, co-owner of Dean's, located in South Superior. Although, he added, "They're not happy." Diesel costs keep jumping, with prices topping $4 per gallon in some areas. Vern Bryce, fleet manager for Dave Evans Transport in Superior, said the company's 50 trucks are currently spending an average of $3.93 a gallon for fuel.
Oulu was alive with "The Sound of Music" Saturday afternoon. Members of the town's community theater filled S.R.S. Hall, also known as the Workshop, with strains of "Edelweiss," "So Long, Farewell," and "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" The group has been making music for more than a decade. "I could not work with a nicer bunch of people," said director Eunice Laakso. "The majority have been with us since the beginning." As pianist Kitty Wahlberg put it, "This is family." The Oulu Community Theater has always dreamed big.
The public defender who represented convicted murderer Jason Richard Borelli takes the stand in May to respond to claims he provided ineffective counsel at the murder trial. A jury of 12 found Borelli, 34, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Leah Gustafson in her Superior apartment. Gustafson was choked, bludgeoned and ultimately stabbed to death with a collector sword on Jan. 7, 2006.
Rural baseball diamonds see plenty of activity over the summer. "Wherever you find them, it's gold," said Troy Lupa of Brule. The town, population 607, is sitting on a gold mine. It has not one, but two sandy ballfields. The original was built about 25 years ago by volunteer labor, said Town Chairman Dennis Smet. As the number of youth teams in the area dropped, however, the field became a playground for adults. "It's pretty much used every night of the week," said Keith Olson of Brule. The church leagues, tavern league and women's leagues all called Brule's field home.