Welcome to the Kewaunee County Comet – and what’s the big idea?

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The Kewaunee County Aggregator is changing its name and address. Click here to find the new Kewaunee County Comet.

The response to the Kewaunee County Aggregator has been amazing. I picked the name because it is functional: This was intended to be literally an aggregation of news items from and about Kewaunee County, with some of my original reporting sprinkled in as time allows. That’s still the purpose.

But with the migration to a more agile and robust website comes a less unwieldy name. I, um, gravitated toward the name Comet in part because it has historical significance to the area: Before there were Luxemburg-Casco Spartans, there were Casco High School Comets. It’s a snappy and memorable name.

As if to complete the argument, Earth was visited by a New Year’s comet just around the time it was time to decide on a name. And then there was that celestial object that caused a stir the other night when it let out a sonic boom over Northeast Wisconsin. That was a meteor, not a comet, but there’s a family resemblance.

And so, welcome to the Kewaunee County Comet.

A Declaration of Principles

There’s a classic scene in the great movie about journalism Citizen Kane. Charles Foster Kane has just purchased the great New York Inquirer and scribbles a Declaration of Principles that appears on the front page of the first edition under his watch:

“I will provide the people of this city with a daily paper that will tell all the news honestly. I will also provide them with a fighting and tireless champion of their rights as citizens and as human beings.”

Of course the film is about how he didn’t live up to those principles. It’s hard to imagine someone who could. But they represent a noble ideal to pursue.

Kewaunee County is in need of a news outlet that will tell all the news honestly and accurately. It’s a big job, but that’s the goal here.

There is no agenda on this page except, as the witness oath says, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

I recently looked at something I’d written a year ago, about what a TV newscast might look like if the goal wasn’t to chronicle every conflict and bad thing that had happened in the world in the last 24 hours, and a phrase came to my mind:

I am looking for a journalism that isn’t trying to present the worst possible light.

I can’t change modern journalism all by myself. But I can be that journalist.

There is conflict in Kewaunee County, although people are coming together as people do when there’s a community challenge. The biggest challenge is about groundwater contamination, where it came from and how to fix it.

When I sat down and talked with John Pagel in his office, all I sensed was a guy who wanted to run the best dairy operation he could muster. When I sat down on Lynn Utesch’s porch, all I sensed was a guy who wanted the same. I didn’t see heroes or villains. I saw men who love their homes and want to do right by them.

If you see a hero or a villain in my news stories, I didn’t set out to declare anyone as such. If the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth leads you to conclude one thing or another, well, that’s what journalism is all about.

But my goal here is to present each person’s viewpoint in the best and most accurate light possible. The rest is up to you as a reader and a citizen. I’m just the witness.

Most of the time, though, this is a community working together, and that’s also what this page is all about.

The mission is to tell the story of Kewaunee County – to share its voices and celebrate its heritage, its challenges, its solutions, its cherished past and its brightest future.

Welcome to the Kewaunee County Comet.

Warren Bluhm

Editor & publisher

Karst workgroup meets Wednesday

kewaunee-lighthouse-2An Alternative Practices workgroup established by the state Department of Natural Resources will be meeting this afternoon to discuss ways to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination in area with fragile karst geology.

12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Alternative Practices workgroup
Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department, 625 Third St., Luxemburg

Contact: Russ Rasmussen, 608-264-6278
Detailed information: The subject of the meeting is as follows: identify and investigate alternative technologies and practices that may be applied to further reduce the risk of groundwater contamination in sensitive areas of Kewaunee county and the state – focusing on karst geology overlain by shallow soils; continue discussions regarding issues raised in the Sensitive Areas / Best Management Practices Work Group that were not resolved; evaluate the effectiveness of practices being applied in sensitive areas and suggest alternatives if necessary; and evaluate and suggest additional research that may be warranted to better derive effective solutions to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination in sensitive areas.

via Meetings Events Calendar – Wisconsin DNR

Freezing rain advisory issued

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The National Weather Service in Green Bay has issued a freezing rain advisory that will be in effect from 9 p.m. Monday through noon Tuesday.

Expect freezing drizzle and freezing rain to develop during the late evening and continue until about midday Tuesday.

Total ice accumulations of up to a 10th of an inch are expected. The ice will result in difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute Tuesday.

Be prepared for slippery roads. Slow down and use caution while driving. The latest Wisconsin road conditions can be obtained by calling 511.

Biogas seminar is ‘well-attended’

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A Wisconsin Public Radio report says questions remain after three state agencies held a seminar Feb. 1 to provide detailed information about a request for proposals to build and operate digesters that can convert large amounts of manure into energy.

Gov. Scott Walker came to Kewaunee County on short notice in November to announce that the state would provide up to $20 million for projects that could serve multiple farms. The RFP was released a month ago, and interested parties have until May 1 to submit proposals. Continue reading

Casco woman dies after snowmobile accident

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A 37-year-old Casco woman died early Monday from injuries sustained in a snowmobile accident in the town of Casco on Saturday night, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department reports.

The woman was a passenger on a snowmobile driven by a 34-year-old Luxemburg man. The driver turned abruptly and the woman fell off, striking a fixed object, the department said.

She was taken by Eagle III emergency helicopter to a Green Bay hospital, where she died Monday morning.

The accident occurred on private property off Pheasant Road just before 11 p.m. Saturday. In addition to the Sheriff’s Department, Luxemburg Rescue responded as well as first responders from Casco, Lincoln and Red River.

Dogs at Crescent Beach on council agenda

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The Algoma City Council is expected Monday night to consider approval of an ordinance that would permit dogs in the public portions of Crescent Beach and Crescent Beach Boardwalk.

The agenda also includes Mayor Wayne Schmidt’s appointments of Harold Nell to replace Terry Jorgenson on the Zoning Board of Appeals, and Bruce Charles as an alternate member of that board. Continue reading

KCEDC installs new officers, board members

kcedcThe Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation (KCEDC) has elected its slate of officers and two new board members for 2017.

Previous board Chairman Lynie Vincent returns to KCEDC’s top leadership role. Vincent is the corporate vice president/vice president of sales & marketing at N.E.W. Plastics Corp. and is currently serving his second term on the KCEDC board. Continue reading