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An attorney for the Pierce County has asked the judge for a 30- to 60-day delay in a scheduling conference for a lawsuit filed nearly four years ago by Trumpeter Development LLC. In a letter to Trempealeau County Judge John Damon, attorney Robert Horowitz asked for a postponement of a June 28 conference. Horowitz claims the plaintiffs' attorney interrupted a deposition and has put off answering a question that goes to the heart of the lawsuit in which Trumpeter is asking for over $4 million in damages. The case involves the 700-acre Trumpeter Valley development near Prescott.
ELLSWORTH -- In an attempt to take control of the 2007 funding process from the start, Pierce County's finance committee voted Monday night to direct each department to prepare a plan to cut its budget 15 percent. Each department is to set internal priorities, offering cuts in areas less important to the department. The plan must also include an analysis of the impact of the cuts.
Two women have announced their candidacies for Pierce County treasurer. Both Tami R. Langer of Ellsworth and Fay C. Owen of Maiden Rock, are running as Republicans. Lee Skog, who has been treasurer for the last 12 years, said he will not seek re-election. Skog, who turns 68 this summer, is retiring. Langer, a lifelong resident of Pierce County, has a background in banking and finance. A graduate of Ellsworth High School, she began working for M&I Bank right after graduation.
Christy Spindler spreads the pictures on the table. The four young people smile out at her, looking full of life and full of promise. All were Wisconsin residents, all were college students, all died within 18 months of one another, and all died of bacterial meningitis. The young man on the left is Spindler's son, Erik. He was a junior at University of Wisconsin-River Falls when he died Nov. 11, 2002. Another list records six other University of Wisconsin System students stricken with meningitis earlier in 2002.
Winning $50,000 was the first step. Now 45 Pierce County Highway Department employees are going to court to get separate checks for their shares. The 45 have asked a judge to declare that they each have an equal interest in the prize and that each is entitled to an equal share.
MAIDEN ROCK -- It took years of searching, but when John Huffaker and Charlene Torchia first set eyes on the property in Salem Township, they knew they had found a home for their dream. Three years later, they are ready to welcome guests to the inn they've built on 67 acres of prairie and hilly woodland. "We were trying to create a quiet, peaceful place," Huffaker said.
ELLSWORTH -- Concern about property tax levy limits and, apparently in some cases dissatisfaction with the sheriff, led Pierce County supervisors last week to limit pay raises for elected officials. The resolution on the May 23 County Board agenda would have given 2.5 percent raises to the clerk of court, county clerk, register of deeds, treasurer and sheriff in 2007 and 2008.
As assessors and other officials become familiar with the process, Pierce County is collecting more farmland conversion fees. Treasurer Lee Skog said his office has billed out $101,840 in conversion fees this year and so far has collected $63,024. Half of the money collected goes to the townships. "The county is making some money on it at the expense of a lot of hassle," Skog said. He called Wisconsin's farmland penalty statute "a poorly designed law." First, he said, the statute calls the fee a penalty. "In this case, nobody did anything wrong," Skog said.
A year after a Pierce County department head filed a grievance saying his parent committee publicly undermined his authority and credibility, he resigned and county officials agreed to pay him over $73,000. According to documents received through an opening meetings request, Land Conservation Supervisor David Sander hasn't worked since April 1, but he will be paid his regular wages and benefits, except health insurance, through May 31, 2007.
ELLSWORTH -- Following a heated discussion, the Pierce County Finance and Personnel Committee voted Monday night to recommend that an $81,000 Sheriff's Department overrun be covered by the county's general fund. About $35,000 was attributed to higher gasoline costs, and there was little objection to that.