One-seventh of Washburn County may not be represented after the spring election on April 7.
No one filed nomination papers in three of the 21 county board districts as of press time on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 7. Candidates for city councils and village, school, and county boards had until 5 p.m. that day to file their nomination papers and secure a spot on the ballot.
Most of those on the ballot this year will be incumbents. Having more than two candidates in any race triggers a primary election in that contest, and none met that criteria.
Anyone who missed the filing deadline can run as a write-in candidate since their name would not be on the ballot.
At the federal level, a special election will be held this spring to fill Wisconsin's District 7 seat that Rep. Sean Duffy vacated in September. The primary election on February 18 will narrow the field to two representatives of opposing parties. The Democratic candidates are Lawrence Dale and Tricia Zunker, and the Republicans are Jason Church and Tom Tiffany.
The winners of that primary will face off in a special May 12 election.
The following are as of press time Tuesday afternoon.
Washburn County Board
If a lack of candidates is any indication, the county board could see some vacancies come election time.
Three incumbents – David Haessig, Chris Thompson, and James Dohm – have decided not to run again, and no one has stepped up to be on the ballot in Haessig or Dohm's district. Nor has anyone volunteered to serve on the board in
District 19 since Steven "Fluffy" Sather resigned this past summer, and no one will be on the ballot in that district.
All of the candidates are incumbents, except Keith Trembath, who previously served on the board.
• D1 – Jerry Smith
• D2 – Linda Featherly.
• D3 – Mark Radzak.
• D4 – Sandy Johnson.
• D5 – Thomas Mackie.
• D6 – Cristina Masterjohn.
• D7 – Bob Olsgard.
• D8 – Tim Kessler
• D9 – Keith Trembath.
• D10 – Hank Graber.
• D11 – Dave Wilson.
• D12 – David Masterjohn.
• D13 – Dennis Wood.
• D14 – No candidate.
• D15 – Romaine Quinn
• D16 – No candidate.
• D17 – Jocelyn Ford.
• D18 – Robert Reiter.
• D19 – Vacant; no candidate.
• D20 – Stephen Smith.
• D21 – Clint Stariha.
Birchwood Village Board
Birchwood will have a caucus at5;30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, for the trustee positions presently held by Virginia Hurckman and Nancy Seffinga.
Minong Village Board
Three trustee positions are open: Incumbents Lloyd Wallace and Brenda Jelinek filed their nomination papers, and incumbent Andy Podratz registered as a write-in candidate.
Shell Lake City Council
Only the mayoral seat on the city council will be contested: Mayor Sally Peterson will face challenger Matt Dryden in the election.
Incumbent alderpersons are running unopposed for the four open seats: Mike Andrews and Brent Edlin in Ward 1 and Ken Schultz and Dan Harrington in Ward 2.
Spooner City Council
Spooner's council may see little change in its makeup: All of the candidates on the ballot will be incumbents. They are Mayor Gary Cuskey and District 1 Alderperson Richard Coquillette, District 2 Alderperson Carol Blizzard Dunn, and District 3 Alderperson Daryl Gabriel.
District 4 Alderperson Tim Donovan took out nomination papers but had indicated he does not plan to seek re-election, Clerk Pati Parker said on Tuesday afternoon. noon.
That would leave no one on the ballot for that position (as of press time).
The four-year term for municipal judge, currently Andrew Lawton, also will go before voters. He is not seeking reelection, and Katherine Stewart will be only candidate on the ballot.
Birchwood School Board
Jessica Downey's seat is the only seat on the ballot this year, and she is the only candidate.
Northwood School Board
Michelle Manor's seat, representing the town of Wascott, will the sole open seat, and she is looking toward re-election.
Shell Lake School District Board
Incumbents Nicole Tims and Matt Ciesielski will be the sole candidates on the ballot for the two open seats.
Spooner Area School Board
The three members whose seats are up for election are held by Erin Burch, Robert Hoellen, and Nathaniel Melton.
Burch and Hoellen are not running for reelection. Melton will be on the ballot, along with Michelle Jepson.
Other nomination papers were not returned as of press time.
RIDGELAND– A homicide victim whose locally discovered remains were unidentified since the early 1980s has been found to be Kraig King from White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The Barron County Sheriff's Department is asking the public for information on what may have led to his being in the area and to his death.
On September 21, 1982, loggers found a pile of clothes in the woods on private land about 100 yards from the tree line near Hwy. 25, approximately four miles north of Ridgeland. Upon closer inspection, they discovered it was actually badly decomposed human remains.
After conducting an autopsy, a pathologist reported the deceased was a white male, between 18 and 22 years old, 180 to 195 pounds, and 5'8" to 5'9" tall. The man had brown hair and a husky build. It is estimated the time of death was April to May 1982, and the manner of death was homicide.
The sheriff's department with the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and DNA Doe Project eventually identified King's remains.
The sheriff's department is
seeking the public's help as the investigation of King's murder continues. Anyone with information on why he would have been in Barron County in 1982, or any knowledge of the case, should contact the department, 715.537.3106.
Without the assistance of the DNA Doe Project, Barron County John Doe would have never been identified, said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald.
The DNA Doe Project is a non-profit volunteer organization formed to identify unidentified deceased persons using forensic genealogy. The DNA Doe Project also acknowledges the following people and organizations: DNA Solutions, HudsonAlpha Discovery, Justin Loe – Full Genomes Corporation, Dr. Greg Magoon – Aerodyne Research Corporation, and GEDmatch.
"The Barron County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate and work with the DNA Doe Project on the December 3, 2017, unidentified remains discovered, and we do not believe they are connected," Fitzgerald said.
Anyone who knows Mark Lundeen, the radio engineer at WOJB, will tell you his signature look is a colorful tropical blue or purple shirt featuring large, yellow/orange hibiscus flowers and greenery.
Lundeen often compliments those noticeable shirts with either blue-or purple colored framed glasses.
"I want a loud, vibrant tropical shirt because nobody wears those kind of shirts," he said.
In fact, Lundeen owns 18 tropical shirts that he rotates through the month.
And the shirts are "tropical" not "Hawaiian" because for Lundeen they represent the idea of a desirable, warm destination with sandy beaches versus a specific location.
The last time Lundeen was not wearing a tropical shirt was 15 years ago at a funeral, but now even at funerals he looks like someone plugged him into a light socket.
"To me a funeral is a celebration of a life and why not celebrate the life?" he said. "A lot of people say, 'He's in a better place now.' Well, I would like to think he's in a tropical location."
Tropical state of mind
For Lundeen the tropical shirt is less about being noticed and more about an intentional or tropical state of mind.
"In northern Wisconsin, it cost me $17 to put on my tropical shirt and to put on my attitude of I'm on vacation," he said. "I love my work. I love
my job. I get paid to do a hobby, so why not live and breathe like I'm on vacation doing a job I love. Why not be and feel like I'm in the tropics."
In all the years people in the area have known Lundeen, he claims no one has asked why he wears tropical shirts 365 days a year.
"I find that remarkable," I said, and he responded, "ReMARKable! Yes it is."
"Living a reMARKable life" is the name of Lundeen's web page atmarklundeen.com, where he explains the background to "reMARKable."
"I was living a 'good' life, a good family and marriage, good friends and social life," he wrote. "I was still missing something in my everyday life. I was always 'waiting' for something great to happen, but it seemed that the 'great thing' or opportunity kept passing me by. I was always reacting to life's ups and downs. Then I read a book by Jim Rohn, 'Take Charge of Your Life.'"
Rohn's ideas challenged him to accept responsibility for his life and be more intentional. Instead of letting life just happen to him, he intentioned to make the life he wanted.
"I learned to take charge of my life and determine where my happiness is going to come from and where my destinations are going to be and what do I plan to be in life and how successful do I plan to be in life and what is success," Lundeen said.
He decided to literally wear his intentionality on his sleeve.
"To me the shirts are just an outward demonstration of what I feel like inside," he said. "People say to me, 'Did you just come from Hawaii?' and I say, 'No, I'm still there.'"
He describes himself as "an average guy with an above-average attitude living an above-average life" or a "reMARKable life."
Then a little over a decade ago, Lundeen and all his intentionality experienced a year where his wife of 19 years left him, he was unemployed raising two children, and he lost his house and filed for bankruptcy.
"That was really, really tough," he said. "I never had thoughts of ending it all, but I just wasn't sure how I was going to move forward. I really held strong to my faith, and I went back and read those books that talked about attitude and keeping a good attitude, and I had a lot of good friends who said we are going to make it through this, and I did. It was actually a significant change in my life for the better."
Lundeen said he learned walking through the proverbial "valley of the shadow of death" that it is a valley with open on two ends and the most fatal mistake in that valley is to stop moving until one is out.
"Don't stop, keep going because you'll get to the other side of it," he said. "Lot of people stop in the middle of the valley and die. Whether it is emotionally or mentally, they are stuck. But don't stop, keep going."
On the reMARKable website, Lundeen shares life lessons he has learned from walking out of the valley and from his years of studying inspirational speakers like Rohn and Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, and Earl Nightingale.
In a recent post, he shared five of Rohn's concepts of choosing a lifestyle: "To me, lifestyle is not something that happens overnight, nor even within a couple of months. Lifestyle is first a choice and then a commitment to a life-long journey. The key is I get to choose what the journey will be like regardless of what is happening outside my control."
Choose to be grateful
One of the key concepts he has learned to living the lifestyle he has chosen is to be grateful.
"Just being grateful will change your whole world and how you look at the world," he said. "To be thankful for every experience you come across, both good and bad, be thankful for those experiences because they made you grow in character and character is what everyone is seeking."
Lundeen also describes himself as a bornagain Christian who had a remarkable conversion in 1981. He went from a high school drop-out who used drugs and smoked a pound of marijuana a week to someone who never used an illegal substance again.
"To me that said God was real," he said of his conversion.
His faith and life experiences have taught him to be empathetic to others who are struggling. He encourages people to accept how they feel but when they are in those dark places to also recognize they can choose to "move on."
"I have told many people who I know have gone through a really bad experience, that you were created for a purpose and you are not working through that purpose right now," he said. "You are stuck in this place. You need to move on. How they move on, I don't know. I can't give them specifics on how to move on."
January is the time of year when many feel stuck and many are making resolutions to change their lives.
Lundeen said most lifestyle changes realistically take up to two years to effectuate. He encourages people to be patient and make small changes that over time become significant.
Often when people try to make huge changes, he said, they do not keep up the commitment and then swing back and sometimes digress, but small change over time collectively creates a new normal and an upward ascendancy.
For himself, Lundeen has made a commitment to be in better physical shape, and during these winter months three times a week, wearing those loud tropical shirts, he walks around the inside of Walmart. It is not an intense workout every day, but it is something he can do three times a week every week.
"People ask me, 'How can you be so happy?'" he said. "Happiness didn't come to me overnight. It came to me one bit at a time. I had to discipline myself to see that happiness is a choice. It's not an emotion."
Lundeen chooses to wear those tropical shirts every day.
He chooses a tropical state of mind.