In a new episode of “As the OBNOM Turns,” we present to you the King of the OBNOMs, Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.
The Hartzheim name is about as common in Minocqua as “Anderson” is in Minnesota, so we know Tom’s connection with OBNOM (Old Boys Network of Minocqua) is thick. But before we dive into today’s episode, let’s remember how the saga has unfolded thus far.
Town of Minocqua ignores Covid, Town Board Member throws party for local water ski troup, they all get Covid, entire downtown restaurant scene closes in middle of July, Minocqua Brewing Company (MBC) loses $30K in revenue due to shut down.
Minocqua Chief of Police copies and pastes Republican Party memo in an official letter to Governor Evers refusing to enforce statewide mask mandate in a gross act of insubordination worthy of dishonorable discharge, Town Board does nothing.
Oneida County Board threatens to fine MBC for overly large Biden sign, gets humiliated in national news for forgetting about a SCOTUS ruling forbidding the regulation of political signs
King of OBNOM, Mark Hartzheim, pens email to MBC refusing to let us host an all-day live music party encouraging vaccination on our own property, noting that since we don’t yet have permits to improve our new tap room, we can’t use our own property—note the Town is actively dragging its feet on said permits.
In an act of defiance towards getting “effed” by the Town of Minocqua, MBC puts up beautiful progressive art on our new Tap Room, which instantly becomes the largest tourist attraction in the downtown area. We asked all tourists taking pictures of our art to send it to the OBNOM King to remind him they “weren’t spending any tourist dollars in Minocqua until they stopped trolling MBC.”
County Planning Official Karl Jennrich (yes, the same dude who threatened to fine us for our big Biden sign) refuses to make a parking exemption for our new Tap Room and forces us to create 7 parking spots on our tiny lot. This exemption in the county code was specifically designed for commercial real estate like ours, because it is old and cannot be expanded without decreasing the actual use of the property itself.
And that brings us to the present day.
After jumping through the punitive hoop of creating 7 parking spots on our tiny property to be able to start renovating our building before the snow comes (we need to fix the roof or there will be costly water damage this winter) the town is now claiming that we cannot put those parking spots (which shouldn’t have to go there anyway) on an area of “no man’s land” that lies next to highway 51 North.
The only reason they know that this area of our property is a “no man’s land” is because we told them about it.
Read that again. They’re forbidding us to build on a plot of land that they didn’t know wasn’t ours until we told them it wasn’t.
We saw that this tiny triangle didn’t belong to us on our deed, and we called the State Department of Transportation to ask if they owned it.
They said no.
Then we called the county and the town to ask if they owned it.
They said no.
Then we researched why no one was claiming it, and we found a surveying error that was made in a previous road construction that simply forgot to redraw the lines—thus “no man’s land.”
So now that we’ve alerted the town that this section of our property doesn’t officially belong to us, they’re refusing to let us encroach upon this area, which we have to do in order to jump through their completely bogus extra parking hoop.
Check out King Hartzeim’s email to Karl Jennrich, in which he claims that it doesn’t make sense for MBC to come to a Town Board meeting, because he “doesn’t see” the Town handing over property they don’t even own to the Minocqua Brewing Company, when the property is of no value to anyone else but us. And its only of value because they’re forcing us to create an unneeded parking lot.
Folks, this is what happens in small towns with an Old Boys Network that runs them. They don’t have to care about economic development, or what is good for their own community. They can just be vindictive because they don’t like a company that repeatedly calls them out on their anti-science, anti-intellectual, and anti-democratic way of operating.
We encourage you to email King Hartzheim at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him how you feel about him and his antics. Tell him how you feel about small town reactionary and regressive politics, and how those politics hurt economic development and tourism and certainly detracts from people wanting to live and work there.
Stay tuned, because surely this saga won’t will continue.