Sherman affected by town of Scott’s EMS transitions

Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

SHERMAN — Becky Kuehmichel addressed the Town Board at their Feb. 6 meeting.

“I am the new EMS chief for Batavia,” Kuehmichel told the board, explaining that the Batavia EMS (or first responders) had a contract with the town of Scott to operate until Feb. 28. However, she said, town of Scott could give them “a three-day written notice if they [Scott] get their licensure up and going” with a new EMS service of their own.

Kuehmichel said there was no indication that Scott was close to getting EMS licensure.

Town Chairman William Goehring said the board had some decisions to make, but doubted they could be made that night. The Batavia EMS currently covers an area that includes most of the western tier of sections of town of Sherman. Whenever Batavia EMS is dissolved, Goehring said, it must be decided how that area will be covered.

Kuehmichel said she, Dennis Schulz and Dean Dolence currently comprise the Batavia first responders. At one time, that group had nine members; the other six will possibly become the new town of Scott EMS.

She said, “I’ve been told by the town of Scott town chairman that it would be a cold day in hell when I become a first responder for the town of Scott.”

Kuehmichel also belongs to the Random Lake Fire Department ambulance service. Schulz and Dolence are now undergoing EMT training.

Because Kuehmichel lives in Silver Creek, she responds to EMS calls by going directly where EMS services are needed. “I can serve anywhere in the town of Sherman, anywhere in the town of Scott, or wherever Random Lake ambulance responds to.”

She added, “As a town of Sherman resident, I would not want to pay one penny to the town of Scott First Responders because, for one, they’re not going to get here before the [Random Lake] ambulance gets here. That’s just the facts of life.”

Supervisor James Fahney asked if Kuehmichel saw any chance for the Batavia First Responders to remain solvent.

“We can’t,” she replied, “tf we don’t have a contract with the town of Scott. We cannot be our own entity.”

Kuehmichel said Scott wants possession of a van used to transport EMS equipment. “They want it back,” she said. “But they’re not going to use it. They’re only going to be responding with their personal vehicles.” This means, she said, that all of Batavia’s EMS equipment, stored in that van, “would be of no value.”

She said the three remaining first responders had discussed making that equipment available to the Silver Creek Fire Department.

Kuehmichel said Scott originally notified Batavia EMS that their contract would be dissolved at the end of 2017. That was extended to late January and now to Feb. 28.

“Dennis, myself, and Dean are the daytime crew,” she told the board. “We are the people who respond in the daytime. [Scott doesn’t] have a daytime crew now, other than their town clerk, who is from Adell.”

She said while Schulz and Dolence are taking their EMT classes, “If the page goes off, and it’s town of Sherman, rest assured, we’re still going to service you, whether we’re with town of Scott First Responders or Random Lake ambulance.”

“The whole thing was very underhanded,” Kuehmichel said.

Resident Donna Borgwardt, a past member of the Batavia Fire Department and first responders, made some comments. She couldn’t see why, when the Silver Creek Fire Department provided Scott with fire coverage at no charge, that Scott couldn’t cover the west side of Sherman for EMS for free. Sherman had paid Batavia about $700 for that EMS coverage. Borgwardt expressed doubt that any newly-organized first responder system from Scott could reach an emergency before the three Batavia first responders or the Random Lake ambulance.

As a Sherman resident, Borrgwardt said, “What is happening in the town of Scott — they do not have the best interests of the residents at heart. We volunteer our time for the safety of the resiby There’s something going on. We don’t know exactly what’s going on.”

This issue will be on the board’s March agenda. Goehring believed a published notice of this issue would be informative for residents, and would give those affected an opportunity to express their views before any changes are made. Random Lake EMS and town of Scott officials would be invited. Prior to that meeting, Steve Steinhardt, Sheboygan County emergency management director, will be contacted to learn what decisions the town is allowed to make regarding its EMS coverage.

Other town business

The board had a conversation with farmer Doug Miller. Miller allows trucks to spread wastewater from Krier Foods on his farmland. Board members have documented damage to road shoulders where the heavy trucks have parked.

Additionally, as Supervisor Robert Boehlke said, the way the trucks park cause unsafe conditions. They sometimes take up most of a lane, and sometimes at places with limited visibility — even no-passing zones. Supervisor James Fahney and Clerk/Treasurer Rhonda Klatt agreed with Boehlke’s observations.

“Were the roads made for unloading, off of the road?” Boehlke asked. “They’re not!” He said he’s seen many unsafe situations created by trucks parked on Lynn Road, Abbott Drivce and County. I.

“We’re simply providing the land to haul the wastewater on,” Miller told the board. If the trucks cause damage or unsafe conditions, he said, the responsibility lies with the trucking company. The board agreed, but as Goehring told Miller, they had to start this conversation somewhere. The board decided to take the discussion next to Krier Foods, who contracts with the trucking company.

Supervisor Kris Klein proposed that the board consider some visionary, far-ranging goals.

One is a new, separate facility for the board to meet and to keep town records secure. Several months ago, the town approached the Silver Creek Fire Department about possibly remodeling the town office room. That would make record storage more secure. That proposal, however, did not seem to be supported by the fire department.

5.64Klein also suggested a possible upgrade of the transfer station. Very few transfer stations have open-top dumpsters as Sherman does.

Towns like Wilson and Belgium have very successfully installed compactors, which have saved those municipalities significant money.

Bringing the two possible projects together, Klein suggested a new town hall be located near the transfer station. Electricity could then be provided to the hall and the transfer station.

Goehring questioned whether the DNR would allow installing a new well so close to the closed landfill, located behind the current transfer station.

Spending money for a new town hall will be one topic presented for residents’ consideration at the town’s annual meeting on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m.

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