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Minocqua Votes for More Parking, Raises for Chair & ClerkSubmitted: 04/18/2013
Story By Lex Gray


MINOCQUA - Anyone who goes to Minocqua in the summer knows parking can be a hassle, especially during big events like Beef-a-rama and Crazy Days.

The town board wants to help alleviate that problem.

The board put in a $55,000 offer for a piece of property a block and a half from Oneida Street.

They want to put 20 parking spaces where a house and shed currently stand.

Development would put the total cost at $74,000.

Board chairman Mark Hartzheim thinks it will pay off.

"You don't want people to drive into your business district, not find a parking space, and decide it's not worth and go somewhere else," he said. "You want them to spend time in town."

The board asked the town to buy the property at tonight's annual financial meeting.

All five town members who attended voted yes, plus the 12 town officials who have to attend.

Also at that meeting, Tom Handrick asked his fellow Minocqua residents to increase the town chair and town clerk's salaries after their next election.

The positions aren't up for election until April 2015.

Whoever is elected will get a $2,500 raise.

That will put the clerk and chair's salaries at $44,500 each.

Handrick said the chair and clerk currently make less than the town's other 25 full-time employees.

"I believe the two positions I made a motion to raise are two of the most important positions in our town," Handrick said. "They deserve to be paid accordingly."

Politicians and public officials usually face public anger over raises.

But Handrick says the town had an opportunity to vote on this, but only five of its 5,000 year-round residents showed up.

"I'm very active in the community and always believed in the philosophy that if you don't vote, you shouldn't complain about anything," Handrick said.

Hartzheim has been the town chair for two years and hasn't had a raise before.

He does plan to run for re-election.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - A 77-year-old man died in a crash near Boulder Junction late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol, it happened around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and County Highway H.

Investigators think a van went through an intersection and hit a semi truck.

"There was injury," said Boulder Junction Fire Chief Matthew Reuss. "The two passengers in the van had to be extricated. One was taken to Howard Young Medical Center for further care. The driver of the semi was uninjured and the second passenger in the van was pronounced dead at the scene."

According to Wisconsin State Patrol, the driver of the van is a 68-year-old woman from Colby. Crews later took her to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield for non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 77-year-old male from Colby, died in the crash. They were both wearing seatbelts. 

The driver of the semi is 63 years old and from South Range. 

Traffic was rerouted through Boulder Junction for several hours and was reopened shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Several units responded to the scene.

"Because we had multiple patients, we dispatched multiple ambulance units," Reuss said. "We called in resources from Arbor Vitae for traffic control and we called Manitowish Waters for help in extrication and ambulance service as well as Medic 5 out of Howard Young."

State Patrol and the Vilas County Sheriff's Office will investigate the crash.

Police will not release the names until the families are notified. 

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