The Winnebago Lakes Council has received two grants totaling $50,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to begin Phase II of a large-scale issue prioritization and response program.
The program will benefit residents along and users of lakes Winnebago, Winneconne, Poygan, and Butte des Morts.

“During Phase I, we asked for public input on the most important issues facing the system,” Calumet County Director of Resource Management Julie Schmelzer said. Using www.WinnebagoWaterways.com, residents can still give feedback to local officials on various lake issues and receive news about grant projects. “The second round of funding will allow us to move forward investigating and implementing recommendations we received from lake users,” said Schmelzer, who was recently appointed to the Winnebago Lakes Council Board of Directors.

via DNR grant awarded for Lake Winnebago.



icestarOshkosh – He’s an icon around Lake Winnebago, because for more than thirty years, Don Herman’s company has helped to pull hundreds of vehicles from the lake after they’ve fallen through the ice. And now that lifestyle could be turned into a reality TV show.Don Herman is the expert when it comes to Lake Winnebago ice conditions. He has decades of experience to prove it. So when a reality TV show producer called Herman and expressed an interest in doing a show on his business, Sunk? Dive and Ice Service, and what happens around the lake in the wintertime, Herman was not interested.

“I said yeah, whatever! And I hung up,” recalls Herman. “I thought it was fake.”

But persistence paid off for producer Jay Russell who finally got Herman to agree to participate. Russell truly believes the Lake Winnebago ice fishing sub-culture is something America would love to see.

“We feel like it’s something that is different,” says Jay Russell from ACR Productions. “I mean one of the big positives is you don’t have shows, reality TV shows from this geographical area. There’s none on there because it just hasn’t been found.”

So, since April, Russell has been working with Herman and a cast of characters to produce a trailer that will be shown to network executives with hopes to sign a deal for a reality TV show. It’s a vision that Russell says actually has potential of being picked up.

He says, “Everybody seemed to really like it, you know, that it was different. It was dangerous, it was high stakes, that kind of thing.”

And for herman it’s helped to breathe new life into his decades old career.

Says Herman, “I said I was going to retire, but it kind of gave me a boost of energy now.”

A boost that will get bigger if the show is picked up, something that could happen by early next year.


Lake Winnebago Icon Could Become Reality TV Star – WBAY.



OSHKOSH – From Riverside Park, Oshkosh Common Councilor Steve Herman can see evidence of Oshkosh’s central city revitalization in every direction.

There’s the Best Western Premier hotel and Oshkosh Convention Center to the west, the Leach Amphitheater to the east, the ongoing demolition of the former Jeld-Wen property to the south and, of course the river walk all around.

“Redevelopment is slowly occurring and everyone is so pleased with the development of the river walk,” Herman said. “But then they have to look at that.”

“That” would be the new Canadian National, or CN, lift bridge that replaced the 114-year-old swing bridge over the Fox River on Aug. 19. Herman is one of many who would like to see the CN bridge painted or lit or —something, anything really — to improve its appearance.

“It just looks terrible,” Herman said. “We’re re-energizing our central city and that’s what they get to look at. It takes away from the river walk, in my opinion.”

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student Tony Montalvo has a clear view of Lake Winnebago from his apartment in the 100 North Main building. Well, it’s clear until the new bascule span’s counterweight pushes the center span almost 125 feet into the air.

Still, Montalvo said the old bridge was worse.

“When it’s up, it obstructs the view, but it’s not bad. It’s better than the black hunk of crap that used to be there. And it’s not loud at all,” Montalvo said.

But would a coat of paint help?

“Paint would definitely make it look better,” Montalvo said.

Herman has translated his displeasure with the bridge’s appearance into a resolution the Council will consider when it meets at 6 p.m. tonight. In it, Herman strongly urges CN “to review the aesthetic qualities of the replacement bridge over the Fox River” and “to take such actions as may be appropriate to make the bridge more complementary in appearance with the surrounding properties and structures along the riverfront.”

But it seems unlikely local concerns about the bridge’s appearance will make much difference.

The company’s spokesman, Patrick Waldron, said the company has no plans to paint the bridge and that a substantial portion of the $27 million project has been completed.

“You have a $27 million in the transportation infrastructure of Oshkosh that we’re very proud of,” Waldron said. “It was a major construction project that we’re pleased to see completed.”

Not everyone is upset with the appearance.

Bayshore Marina owner Larry Akstulewicz has monitored progress on the bridge replacement since it began two years ago from his Bay Shore Drive marina. He said he likes the appearance, but would like it more if its operators could open it more often.

He was a bit surprised to learn CN had no intention of painting it, though.

“It’s a neat feat of engineering. It’s cool as heck,” Akstulewicz said. “I give a ton of kudos to the engineers and designers. It’s awesome. But I can’t see them spending that kind of money and not protecting it. At least they painted the old (bridge) a couple of times over the years it was there.”

via Appearance of new rail bridge draws complaints | Fond du Lac Reporter | fdlreporter.com.



FOND DU LAC (WITI) – The Fond du Lac Fire Department has taken delivery of two Mercury inflatable rescue boats and a tandem trailer by working jointly to with Mercury Marine and Mr. Marine.

The FDLFD will use these assets not only along the south shore of Lake Winnebago, but in the rivers that wind throughout the city, retention ponds, and in areas of flooding.

The FDLFD has previously deployed waterway resources not only in rescues, but has served to locate victims, deploy booming for hazardous materials spills in Lake Winnebago and rivers, ice rescue, assisting the Fond du Lac Police Department in water investigations, and submerged boat and vehicle incidents. Fire department members will undergo “hands-on” training in the coming weeks so they are prepared for deployments.

The tandem trailer concept was brought to Fond du Lac Fire Department through its partnership with Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) which developed this boat rapid deployment model.

via Fond du Lac Fire Dept. receives two rescue boats | FOX6Now.com.