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State

A3 Tuesday, September 20,

Koenig brothers get joy from relief mission By MIKE TIGHE La Crosse Tribune

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The Koenig brothers of La Crosse delivered a truckload of supplies to other Native Americans protesting a North Dakota pipeline this weekend and returned with heartloads of regard for the resolve of the people trying to safeguard the environment. Both 26-year-old Miles and 21-year-old Bronson cited meeting people from other tribes as the highlight of their mission to one of four protest camps set up to support the Standing Rock Sioux in their protest of the oil pipeline. Miles and Bronson discussed their experiences in a phone interview during a lunch break Sunday on their roughly 700-mile trek back to Wisconsin from the Peace Garden State. “It was good — nothing like I expected,” said Miles, a community outreach organizer at Three Rivers House, a Ho-Chunk branch in La Crosse. “I got close with a few people. “It was awesome, being with my people with a sense of unity and togetherness to stop this pipeline once and for all,” said Bronson,

an Aquinas High School basketball star who has gone on to be an anchor as point guard for the University of Wisconsin. “I’m glad I went,” Bronson said. “I soaked up a lot of information.” That information included the controversy surrounding the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline that Energy Transfer Partners is building through 1,172 miles of North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, with a capacity to transport 570,000 barrels of oil a day. The 18-foot truck they drove from Madison to North Dakota Friday included everything from clothing and coats to food and water, from hygiene products to two, 8,000-watt generators expected to help provide electricity not only now but also as the protest continues into the winter, Miles said. The protesters “made a big line outside the truck” to unload and distribute the items, he said of the relief mission, similar to one that Ho-Chunk President Wilfrid Cleveland led to North Dakota two weeks ago. The Koenigs, accompanied by physical trainer Clint Parks, stayed at the Red Warrior camp, which is accommodating about

The Associated Press

University of Wisconsin basketball player Bronson Koenig leads a basketball clinic for kids Saturday at Standing Rock High school in Fort Yates, N.D. 1,500 people and is one of four everyone is happy.” That is far different from two such enclaves where an estimated weeks ago, when private security 7,000 protesters are camping. People of all ethnic back- guards unleashed attack dogs that grounds from states from Florida chased and bit protesters. “The company security had to to California and Arizona to the East Coast are joining protesters at pull out, because there may be the camps, which Miles described charges from that,” Miles said. The Koenigs joined in ceremoas “very laid back, very spiritual —

nies, which included “all types of dancing — there were even some Mexicans dancing,” Miles said. One of the highlights not only for the Koenigs but also for the youths from the surrounding area was a two-hour basketball camp Bronson led in the gym at a high school on the Sioux reservation Saturday afternoon. “It was really heartwarming,” Miles said. “It brought a lot of joy to promote cultural health and wellness,” Bronson said. “There definitely was some talent from the local high school,” he said. Jokingly asked whether he was able to recruit any players for the Badgers, Bronson responded with a laugh, saying, “No, that would be illegal.” Some of the protesters are gearing up to maintain the vigil throughout the winter, Miles said, adding, “Everybody can’t stay in tents.” Miles expects to return to the camps within a month to help stockpile winter provisions, he said.

FROM A1

ASSESSOR:

said Jamo could take on the task of writing a new one. Plemel said he wanted to see the city consider hiring an outside assessing firm that was “neutral,” and said he was concerned about Bastien’s involvement in helping Negro, since there appear to be problems with the existing assessments. “Why did she let it happen?” he asked. “Because Peg was only helping and she wasn’t the assessor of record,” Stegeman said. Council member Heather Nelson asked Jamo for the status of the 2015 tax roll that was seized by the State of Michigan Department of Treasury after it was never signed. “We’re still waiting to hear from the State Tax Commission with respect to the review that was conducted,” Jamo answered. He said he was told a couple of different scenarios from Negro, “one would be October, and one would be as late as December.” “We have 12 pending petitions (with the State Tax Tribunal),” Nelson said. “Would it be possible for her (Negro) to write down what her recommendation was and why she did what she did with those properties?” “Certainly,” Jamo said. Nelson said there are other updating that hadn’t been handled. Fifarek said the city needed to put its tax issues to rest. “If we have a perfectly qualified Level II in house, I think we should go with it, even if it means writing a new job description.” Council member Doug Robinson called Bastien “above reproach” and said the council may be making “this a harder job than it is.” He said he could see the position returning to full time, but that the ultimate decision was up to the city manager to decide. “I’m totally confident in Peg Bastien’s ability to take the job on.” “I’ve heard numerous complaints from my constituents (about the tax assessments) and it needs to be dealt with. And with all respect to Peg, I don’t know her background

ACADEMY:

graduates stays involved with the police department, and hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year to benefit the department’s programs and safety in general. Graduates can also join police officers on ride-alongs of up to four hours of observation during patrol. For more information about the Citizens Academy visit the Marinette Police Department, email MPDcitizensacademy@marinette. wi.us or call Sgt. Jeff Cate at 715732-5155. Applications for the class are available at the police department and online at www. marinette.wi.us. In other business, the committee discussed: ■ The arrival of the new K-9 officer Riggs and his handler, Matt Borths, to the Marinette Police Department this fall. Borths and Riggs’s first day will be Nov. 20. ■ The condition of the sidewalks and buildings and accumulation of pigeon feces on Main Street. Ward 5 Alderperson Wally Hitt said he was pleased with the current state of the sidewalks, as preventative measures such as pigeon glue and trapping and relocation were keeping pigeons from roosting and nesting.

… but I personally think it’s a full-time job,” said Council member Dennis Klitzke. “Bring in a consulting firm and then possibly look at hiring a full-time assessor.” He said the assessments dictate the city’s revenue and “property owners need to be treated fairly,” including receiving notification as to why their tax values were increased. Pohlmann said he believed it was up to the city manager to propose how the city should replace Negro. “I would be happy on some of the other topics brought up to bring before the finance committee to go case by case over some of the changes that were made, who the property owners are and what the consequences of the changes were, who has benefited from it, who has not benefited from it.” Council member Josh Jones said Jamo made it clear at a recent committee meeting that he was looking for input from the council. “In regards to what Councilman Pohlmann said about finding out why the assessor is leaving so soon, I agree wholeheartedly,” he said. He reminded council members that they were all given information back in May about the changes the assessor made from one year to another, and said he knew “someone who would be willing to talk to all of you about that outside the meeting,” referring to his brother, Joe Jones, who represents eight of the petitioners. Josh Jones said he wanted to see the council leave its options open, with a goal of getting the tax role back, “which has been our goal going back to last year when we were rushed into making the decision we made then. I think that we should look at hiring an outside consultant firm or assessment firm, get us through what we currently have to do; then we can finish our manager search and get a manager on board. and in consultation with our new manager, look at what we are going to do long term.” Jamo was finally asked his position and he said “It’s my opinion it’s my duty and responsibility to report back to you with the appointment of a city assessor which is what I will do as soon as possible.”

TOURISM:

three today and further it to to the Finance and Personnel committee to see where we stand and if there is a possibility to get it in the 2017 budget.” She asked Henessee, who along with Anderson was at Monday’s meeting, if its wasn’t too late to get her proposal in the 2017 budget. “It’s pretty late right now,” the administrator replied. “Is there a possibility?” Kaufman asked. “Well it’s got to get through the Personnel and Finance committees,” Henessee said. “At least before the (Finance Committee) meeting on the 29th (of this month) when the budget will be presented. So it would have to go through all those before it would be complete (for a vote by the county board).” He advised Kaufman that “there is no extra money” available to promote Kostreva to a 40-houra-week employee. “It would cost roughly $40,000 to $42,000 for wages and benefits,” Henessee said. “Because he currently works 29 hours a week, he has retirement benefits for the position. So the additional money would be for health insurance and the additional hours.” “That’s something that the Personnel and Finance committees need to decide,” Kaufman said. “Right now it is forwarded to them and so we’ll see what happens. “I hope it comes though because if that happens we’ll be able to go further and get something done regarding cooperation between the city and county.”

MANAGER:

cil would “still be on target for the October interview process.” A motion was made to remove one candidate from consideration, which was unanimously approved. The council had on the agenda discussion of reimbursement of travel expenses for the candidates, but Council Member Bill Plemel suggested that issue could be discussed

at the special meeting, where it would be decided who would be called for an interview. City Attorney/Interim Manager Rob Jamo said the names of the candidates would not be released until the council chose those to be interviewed. The council also voted unanimously to approve contracts with the firefighters and police unions. The contract with the International Association of Fire Fighters is retroactive

to July 1, 2016, and continues to June 20, 2019, as does the contract with the Menominee Police

Professional

Association

and

Police Officers Association of Michigan. A wage adjustment for nonunion city employee, match

which

the

would

percentage

increase given to the unions, was removed from the agenda at the start of the meeting.

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