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WKEB Local News Archives for 2013-03




  Memorial Health Center of Medford has planned a renovation and expansion to the Medford facility.  Memorial Health Center CEO Greg Olson recently visited with K99's Brad Dahlvig and discusses the renovation and expansion project....







  West Point Cadet, Corey Tallier of Gilman, recently visited with K99's Patrick Porten.  Corey shares with us his experiences, thus far, at West Point and what is required to become a West Point Cadet....





  Students in Cory Nazer's American Government Class at Medford Area Senior High School have been busy preparing questions for Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.  Students will meet with Senator Johnson and ask their prepared questions on Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30 A.M. in the Red White Theatre of the Medford Area Senior High School.  K99's Russ Gowey recently visited with two of the American Government students...Zach Olson and Cole Quednow...



     A former Medford businessman has been charged with arson following a Main Street fire which consumed the building that had housed his business. 

     35 year old David J. Johnson of Medford has been charged with felony arson of a building.  The February 16th fire destroyed the downtown Medford building which had been the location of the Main Street Pizza and Grill.  Johnson told state special agents that he had planned to burn the building which he had been renting from Steven P. Fischer.  Fischer told Medford Police that Johnson was about $2,800 behind in rent and expenses.  Court records indicate that Johnson blamed the public and police for his business failure.  Further, he blamed the fire department for letting it burn all the way down.  The fire which Johnson said he started in a basement bathroom ultimately spread to the main floor level before being discovered by an on duty Medford Police officer at about 6:30 AM on February 16th.  

     The maximum penalty for the felony arson charge is up to 40 years imprisonment, up to $100,000 in fines or both.  Johnson’s next court appearance is a pre-trial conference on April 19th.  He is being held in Taylor County Jail on $10,000 cash bond.

     Members of the Medford Area Fire Commission and Community Development Authority “Kicked the tires” of a new ladder fire truck on Saturday, March 23rd at the Medford Firehall. 

     Representatives of the Pierce Company of Appleton gave a feature presentation of the 2011 Pierce Ladder truck.  The vehicle has a 100 foot ladder with an enclosed work platform, a 2,000 gallon per minute pump, powered by a Detroit Diesel engine.  The cab has capacity for 6 firefighters with 5 of the seats equipped with S.C.B.A. air tanks.  Several months ago the commission had voted down a used truck and sent the truck committee back to search for alternatives.  Commission members expressed their pleasure with this vehicles 5 year new truck warranty.  The new vehicle is a demonstrator unit which had been shown at fire shows around the Midwest.  Comparably equipped new ladder trucks are selling for over $1 milliion.  Final price of the demonstrator unit was placed at $837,000.  The department’s current 33 year old ladder truck is lacking many safety and performance features. 

     The C.D.A. voted to increase their contribution to 33% of the cost of a replacement ladder truck and equipment, up to $250,000. 

     While the commission members were meeting in closed session to negotiate terms with the Pierce representatives, the waiting Medford firefighters were paged out to  rescue an injured snowmobiler.  The Medford fire department off-road rescue unit retrieved the injured snowmobiler from the 18W trail south of the Perkinstown tower.  The crash occurred about a mile off of the roadway where the Medford ambulance was waiting.  The male driver who was with a group of  snowmobilers from southern Wisconsin was taken to Memorial Health Center for treatment. 

     When the Medford firefighters returned to the hall they learned that the fire commission had voted unanimously in favor to purchase the 2011 Pierce Ladder truck.  Two members of the commission were absent.  The truck was taken back to the Pierce factory for installation of requested features.  It’s expected that the new vehicle will be in service within a couple of months.



     The Taylor County Zoning Committee met Wednesday morning.  Zoning administrator Kyle Noonan told the group that his office is  working to rewrite the county’s shoreland ordinance.  The state is changing language regarding water front structures.  The county’s codes will need to be updated to comply with the new state regulations.

     On March 15th a meeting was held in Gilman to discuss the possibility of a new 5,000 sow operation being located in the town of Taft or Aurora.  Representatives of Waukon Feed Ranch of North East Iowa requested the meeting.  Waukon Feed Ranch is looking for a site in Western Taylor County because there is not currently any large hog facilities in the area.  Preliminary plans call for an operation which would cost an estimated $8 million with 2 or 3 barns.  There would be manure storage below the barns in pits 8 to 12 feet deep.  The manure would be injected into the ground to minimize odor. 

     Some of the numbers include 5,000 sows which farrow approximately 2.5 times a year.  There would be approximately 960 lactating sows in any given time.  From 2,400 to 2,500 piglets would leave the facility every week shipped out of the area over 100 miles.  There would be individual pens.  Water consumption is 6 to 7 gallons of water per day per pig.  To feed the animals, 5 to 7 semi loads of feed per week are needed.  The farm would create 10 to 15 jobs.  The developers are hoping to use local contractors.   The possibility of future sites in the area may happen, at 10 to 15 miles apart.

     Committee member Lester Lewis indicated that the developers will need to check with the local townships for road weight limit restrictions.  Preliminary plans call for 2014 proposed construction with the farm opening in 2015.  DNR and Taylor County Permits would be needed. 

     The Medford Area Fire Commission met Wednesday night.  By a 9 to 3 vote, the commission approved the purchase of land adjacent to the firehall.  They approved paying for treasurer clerical work through the Medford city hall staff at a cost not to exceed $100 per quarter.

     Medford firefighter John Bauer presented information on a new ladder truck.  Bauer indicated that an internet search of firetruck dealers nationwide yielded a short list of qualified used ladder trucks.  One truck that drew the interest of the commissioners is a 2011 Pierce demonstrator model.  Bauer told the group that this ladder truck has never been owned by a department and has been shown by the manufacturer at various training and display exercises.  The vehicle is covered by a new truck warranty with 5 years of warranty coverage.  The asking price of the demo truck is just over $870,000, which compares to the cost of a newly ordered comparable unit which would be over $1 million. 

     Several commissioners expressed the sentiment that an investment such as this should be for a new truck with warranty instead of a used vehicle.  Chief Fales was asked if this was considered a new truck, would the tax district increase their contribution from the $200,000 which has been committed for a used vehicle, to the original $400,000 which had been allocated for a new ladder truck?  He indicated that decision would be up to the city’s Community Development Authority. 

     The joint fire commissioners and C.D.A. will get a chance to “Kick the tires” of the 2011 Pierce ladder truck on Saturday March 23rd at the Medford Firehall.  The proposed ladder truck would replace a 33 year old unit and increase the ladder height from 80 to 100 feet.

  The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) All Star Football Game will be played on Saturday, July 20th at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium on the campus of UW-Oshkosh.  Medford will be represented by offensive lineman Ben Hemer and running back Cole Loertscher.  As part of the event, money is raised by the coaches and players to benefit the WFCA charitable organization, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.  If you would like to make a donation, contact Ben or Cole or look for the paper footballs at many area businesses. 

  K99's Patrick Porten recently visited with Medford's WFCA All Stars...Ben Hemer and Cole Loertscher....


     The Medford Community Development Authority Board gave a financial boost to the purchase of a ladder truck for the Medford Area Fire Department.  The board met Tuesday.  City Coordinator John Fales told the group that when the tax district on Medford’s north side was formed, the plan included up to $400,000 to pay toward the purchase of a new ladder fire truck. 

     The Medford Fire Commission has directed the department members to search out a used ladder truck for a budget cost of up to $500,000.  When asked about financing of a fire truck, Fales indicated that the department hasn’t taken out a loan for a fire truck in 15 to 18 years.  At the fire commission’s last meeting in 2012 they voted to deny purchasing a truck which had been recommended by the department’s truck committee for just under $500,000.  The commission then directed the truck committee to continue their search and bring back 3 options.

Fales said that the truck committee has had difficulty finding a ladder truck of the caliber and price range of the previous model.

     Mayor Mike Wellner, who is a member of the board, expressed concern for the safety of firefighters and property owners with the current ladder truck now at 33 years old.  Wellner indicated that at the recent Main Street fire there had been some safety and performance issues with the 1980 ladder truck.

     To show their support, the Community Development Authority Board voted unanimously to commit 30% of the purchase price; up to $200,000 toward the purchase of the Medford Area Fire Department’s next ladder truck. 

     The Medford Area Joint Fire Commission is scheduled to meet on March 13th to address the issue of a replacement ladder truck purchase.



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