Online Event – Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Convention

Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area is pleased to co-sponsor this event. We hope you will be able to attend!

Call of the Loon


The Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area (FOECLA) is pleased to announce Iris Wichman is the recipient of its first annual student scholarship. Ms. Wichman, a 2019 graduate of Drummond Area High School, will pursue a degree in environmental studies at UW-Barron County this fall. FOECLA board member Martin Olson presented Ms. Wichman with her $1,000 scholarship at the school’s Senior Scholarship Night on May 15.

“We created this scholarship to assist students who wish to enter any field of study that would promote our mission to protect and improve lakes, rivers, forests and wildlife resources,” said Kevin Shriver, FOECLA board president. “Now more than ever we need to support young adults like Iris who care about the environment.”


FOECLA also partners with the Drummond Area School District in providing a unique educational program for seventh grade students. The “Lake Ecology Education Program for Youth” (LEEP) provides students with classroom lessons and field experiences designed to prepare them for becoming life-long lake stewards. The curriculum meets Wisconsin education standards. “Creating this annual scholarship underscores our commitment to the education of our youth,” noted Shriver. “We are very happy to put our resources to such good use, and we congratulate Iris on her award.”


In addition to supporting the education of our youth, FOECLA also supports the following important programs:

  • Town of Barnes AIS Committee – We provide financial support to the Town in its efforts to control the spread of aquatic invasive species, and we refer volunteers interested in monitoring their shorelines for invasive species.
  • WDNR Citizen Lake Monitoring Network – This spring, we provided funding to purchase new water testing equipment for citizen monitors to use on area lakes. We also refer individuals interested in this program.
  • Town of Barnes Clean Boats Clean Waters – We provide funding to support the hiring of monitors at boat landings who inspect boats and educate boaters on “aquatic hitchhikers”, and we refer individuals interested in becoming boat landing monitors.
  • Town of Barnes Vatten Paddlar – We sponsor this annual race that highlights the beauty of our lakes. We also refer individuals interested in volunteering for the race.
  • Annual Education Program – Every August, we host an educational program for the community at the Barnes Town Hall.

We couldn’t do any of this without the support of our members! If you aren’t yet a 2019 member please consider joining or renewing today

Wisconsin Lakes Symposium April 10-12,2019 Holiday Inn Convention Center Stevens Point Wisconsin

Mike O’Keefe Candidate Supervisor- Town of Barnes Board

Mike OKeefe
1865 Lake road
Friends & Neighbors ,
The following provides the information requested in the “Voters’ Guide.

My name is Mike OKeefe . Many of you know who I  am. I  spent  26  years working for the city of Chicago providing emergency services as a policeman / paramedic / firefighter .

We moved to Barnes in 1996 , full time in 2000 . I’ve  been your Constable for the last 19 years .

 I’m running for town board for the   same reasons I did 19 years ago . I feel I have something to offer , and I care  about this is town , and the  people  that  make  Barnes  a  very  special  place  to live.

 The issues  that  concern  me  the  most  are  the  ones  that  effect  Barnes every day of the year . Re-configuring  our  emergency  medical  /  fire  service  is very important .

 Maintaining our roads , and infrastructure is also an important issue .

 As a lifelong conservative I’ve always  felt  that  viewing  ”  more government” as an answer is wrong . More government is the problem ! We as a local board need to create an environment for small business , new and old  to prosper . All while protecting our natural resources .

 It’s my hope that we as a very diverse group of friends and neighbors will be able  to  compromise  on issues that divide us with the success and prosperity of Barnes as our primary goal. On that I think we all agree .

Phone: 715.795.3111

Sue Jansen Candidate Supervisor- Town of Barnes Board

Background Information:
Over 30 years ago, my husband and I purchased a small cabin on
Outlet Bay, Upper Eau Claire Lake. Before I retired from 36 years of teaching 2nd and 4th graders, we bought a home on the Upper, and have lived here as permanent residents for the last four years. For many years before becoming a permanent resident, I have been involved in community activities, volunteering and serving on the town AIS committee as secretary, the VFW, the conservation club, and the LEEP program, which brings Drummond 7th graders to the Barnes area lakes to learn about lake stewardship and ecology. Through volunteering, I have met many wonderful, dedicated people who work hard to enrich and strengthen this beautiful place.
 Why are you seeking this office?

Being retired, I have the time to devote to learning more about how the town works, the financing, the daily operations that are necessary for the safety and well-being of the  residents, visitors and other property owners of Barnes. I am curious, honest, and open-minded.  I know I can make a  positive difference. I commit to representing our community’s interests.
What experience(professionally/personally/volunteer) will help you in office?
As a teacher for 36 years, I learned to work closely with other people to create and accomplish common goals, and to include many divergent ideas and perspectives in the decision- making process. Part of my job involved making short and long-term plans, and I see value in planning ahead.
I have joined with other volunteers here in Barnes to teach, organize, and schedule events(LEEP), to make a difference (Conservation Club and AIS committee volunteer secretary), and to work with others to ensure successful events(VFW) in our community.

 What issues are facing Barnes today and what actions would you propose to deal with those issues?

I’ll work hard to re-establish enthusiasm and pride in our community. I will invite and provide opportunities for public discussion of issues and pending decisions, expand participation in activities and membership on Town committees, publicize requests for volunteers to share their knowledge, skills, insight, judgment, and energy to help our community succeed and prosper. We need to develop more effective means for communicating information about town issues, to encourage more participation on the decisions that affect all of us.


I supported the expansion of the town building to house  EMTs  and equipment, and will work with others to identify and provide needed services to our area, especially keeping pace with the changing demographics.  I support measures to maintain and improve the health and safety of town residents and visitors by providing up-to-date  fire  and  rescue equipment, staff, and ambulance services with well-trained EMTs.  We need services to help an aging population remain here and flourish, by creating a robust network to link people who need services and skills to people who can provide these services.  I see the need to investigate the availability of adequate housing for low-income families and individuals, as well as creating a support structure for those who need assistance in meeting basic needs.  Alternative sources of revenue for project-focused funding need to be aggressively pursued.

  My 2-year vision for Barnes?  And 10 years from now?

We have much to celebrate here, the beautiful lakes, rivers, streams, the forests, and the many organizations active in our community. In ten years, these organizations, such as Men’s Group, Conservation Club, VFW, Vatten Paddlar, Barnstormer Snowmobile Club, BAHA , in addition to newly established groups, will continue to remain active in  our  community  as they provide many opportunities for learning, enjoying, exploring, and sharing with others all the gifts the area has to offer. Trails and parks in the Town of Barnes or nearby natural areas will all be open to the public, and benefiting from the many volunteers who work to maintain and improve them.
Working together will ensure that our lakes, streams, forests, etc. are passed on to the next generation in the same condition (or better) than when these resources were entrusted to us.


Businesses in Barnes will continue to contribute to our local economy by bringing growth and innovation to the community in ways that protect and preserve the abundant resources that brought us to this area and give us reasons to stay.

 I support efforts to attract new businesses to help stimulate responsible economic growth that provides meaningful employment opportunities to people living in Barnes.


Well-maintained roads and bridges make a crucial contribution to the area’s economic  development  and  growth.  We  know that both require regular and frequent repair and replacement. These are known expenses, and long-term planning will provide for adequate funds to be set aside, minimizing surprises of an unexpected tax increases.


 Barnes is changing and we need to come together as a community to figure out what we want our future to look like, what defines us as unique. Definition determines direction and we’re on the trip together.
I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to listen, to learn, to gather facts from a variety of sources to  help  me  make decisions that are wise, sustaining, and good for our future and beyond, decisions which we all agree will  help  us  move forward.
     How can voters reach you before the election if they have questions for you? 
Susan Jansen: upperlakesj@cheqnet.net715-795-2389


Donna Porter Candidate Supervisor- Town of Barnes Board

Background Statement:
I have lived in Barnes for almost 30 years now. I belong to BAHA. I have monitored boat landings. I was an EMT for 37 years and am still currently the Secretary/Treasurer for the ambulance and very involved with the July 4th fundraiser. Also, I have been on the Town Board as a Supervisor for several years. I also worked for the DNR for 10 years and the State Bank of Drummond for 20 years.


Why are you seeking this office?
I have been on the board since 2005 and have enjoyed helping in decisions for the betterment of the Town and that is the basis for my decisions.


What experience will help you in office?
I have been on the board several years. I have been involved in the Park Committee and we have been expanding both parks. I had been an EMT for 37 years. I believe my experience and knowledge are helpful. I have been a monitor on the lakes for CBCW.


What Issues are facing Barnes today and what action would you propose to deal with those issues?
There are many issues but I believe on of the most I important issues is the Ambulance Service. Part of it is lack of volunteerism. We have selected community members that have done much research and we have come up with some ideas to help alleviate the problem. One solution is that we are planning on hiring a full-time EMT.
Another concern is for the Town to provide safe roads for everyone and we are always working on that.


What is your vision for Barnes 2 years from now and 10 years from now?
In 2 years and possible sooner I would hope that we have a viable and sustainable ambulance service for the Town to be protected.
And In the long run I hope we can keep up with the paving and crack sealing all our roads so they are safe for everyone.
We are also working on our parks to create more recreational activities by expansion and making more opportunities for our residents and create more tourism in our town.


How can voter reach you?
Phone: 715-795-2013


G Fred Barnes Candidate Supervisor- Town of Barnes Board

I have lived in Barnes all of my childhood and most of my adult life. I grew up working in a Mom and Pop business run by family and relatives — a bar, restaurant, gas station, grocery store, and farming 640 acres of land at the time, one of the biggest farms in Bayfield county.
The answers to the questions presented within the “Voters Guide” are answered in the following narrative:
I served on the Barnes Town Board in the past. In addition, I have been a volunteer fireman and EMT for the Town of Barnes for several years.
My professional activities are as follows; I worked for Aon Corporation, a Fortune 500 company for 40 years in upper management. I have owned with my wife in Barnes a successful beef and dairy farm; also, an antique shop, riding stable, and miniature golf course.
I cannot personally lower your taxes. We can, however, spend your tax dollars more effectively. We have way too much town equipment. We do not have enough space to properly store it all.
The biggest issue facing us today is fire and ambulance protection. This must be addressed and fixed immediately.
Our lakes are our most important asset in our town, not only to lake property owners but also off-lake owners also.
I support all of the businesses in Barnes except two – the trailer court between Outlet Bay Rd. and Hwy. 27. it is a public disgrace to the town. The other is the Buck & Bass report. I do not personally approve of the way they run their business in any way, shape, form, or manner.
If elected, we can hire a town administrator and not raise our taxes to pay the salary.   This can be done by lowering, or eliminating the salaries of the Town Board. I don’t believe we need to be paid, especially if we have an administrator. In addition, we can accomplish this by purchasing less equipment which is used very little.
The only thing certain in the next ten years is change and we must adapt and keep up with it.               
G. Fred Barnes
3955 Lake Rd, Barnes,WI. 54873
Phone 715.795.2252


Chris Webb Candidate Chair- Town of Barnes Board

Background Statement
I was fortunate to be part of the community in the 60s and 70s. Almost every business had gas-pumps, almost every resort had a bait shop. There were supper clubs that had live music and dancing every weekend, multiple auto repair shops and gas stations, cabin rentals, dining establishments, multiple gift shops, and even a snowmobile dealership. These businesses provided many jobs in the community. I worked at my family’s business as store clerk and bartender, but also worked as a waitress in supper clubs, cleaned cabins at resorts and babysat for tourists who spent entire days skiing at nearby Telemark Lodge. There were community dances at the town hall and community fishing contests sponsored by businesses. It was fun. Although tourism was high in those days, it was the locals who supported these businesses year-round. The 80s found my focus revolving around children. My children attended Barnes Community Church and youth group. There were enough young families in Barnes providing leadership to enable the opportunity to have a local 4H, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Little League games, Hockey lessons, skating parties, teen dances, swimming lessons and even a triathlon, attend baseball and softball games, Halloween parties and other community events. It was fun. Focus on community broadened in the 90s as my family became more involved in organizations. The Webb family sponsored a VFW Post fund-raising event for 5 years straight in memory of a family member. Our family donated time, money, and auction items to make this a successful event for a very worthy cause. It was fun. Barnes has always been a caring community, wanting to provide for its citizens. This is the background that has shaped my commitment to this town.
 Why are you seeking this office?
I truly take pride in Barnes, living and working in the community. My family supports the businesses, and organizations that are so vital to small communities. We attend as many of fund-raising events as possible and volunteer when we can. Barnes shares the same issues as other rural areas with fewer businesses, vacant housing, fewer volunteers, less tourism, less EMTs and firefighters. Recent focus has been on emergency services and other responsibilities mandated by State Statutes. Land has been purchased to allow potential for expanding trails and recreational opportunities to improve quality of life for residents and visitors. Area organizations have use of public land for ski trails, hiking trails, snowmobile trails and ATV/UTV trails, while the organizations themselves maintain the various trail systems. I am not ready to be done. I enjoy working with people, listening to concerns and researching potential solutions. My discussions and decisions are based on as much fact and research as possible. I listen to various sides of issues from all sources in the community, make contact with state and county officials, contact researchers, educators and read, read, read, before determining my vote on an issue. I expect others to do the same. Fair decisions cannot be made based on special interests or personal feelings, or peer pressure from family or groups.
What experience (professional/personal/volunteer) will help you in office?
I have over 50 years of accounting and business experience, banking and financial experience, and many years in customer service. I began attending town meetings and school board meetings in the early 1980s. I co-organized community voters to support referendum to centralize elementary schools to Drummond. We had full buses of Barnes voters attend school district meeting to vote on referendum which was approved because of Barnes’ participation. In 1984 I was appointed Town Treasurer and was subsequently elected to that position. I learned much about town operations from the Town Clerk at that time. I joined the Recreation Committee at the time the skating rink was erected, Tomahawk swimming beach improved, and swimming lessons organized. As part of the Recreation Committee, I assisted the swimming instructor in a Triathlon for children for several years, managing advertising and registration for the event. My parents were successful, respected business owners in Barnes. My in-laws sparked my interest in serving my township, as my father-in-law served on their County Board and my mother-in-law served as Mayor of their city. I currently serve as Wisconsin Town Association secretary for Ashland-Bayfield Counties. I have established a network via WTA involvement, with other municipal offices throughout the County and other portions of the state, allowing me additional resources to gain knowledge about issues and methods to continue improvements within our township.


What issues are facing Barnes today and what actions would you propose to deal with those issues?
Wisconsin Statutes defines the critical responsibilities of the Town as: providing fire protection for the town, contracting for or operation of ambulance service for the town, care and supervision of all highways within its jurisdiction. There are other important responsibilities, but other municipal officers in the state of Wisconsin and beyond will list these as the most pressing issues.


EMTs, First Responders and Firefighters are in short supply everywhere. Plans are in the works to erect a new fire hall with ambulance bay. The goal when authorizing final plans is to relieve current overcrowded conditions, and to provide area for full-time EMT/Paramedic quarters. Whether the town hires a full-time EMT or contracts with a Paramedic service, it will be important to our citizens to have a building here that can function as a full-fledged emergency center, rather than have to wait for response from an out-of-town emergency station. There is a need for more collaboration between neighboring townships; creating pools of firefighters, EMTs,  and first responders and others to cover multiple townships when emergencies happen. Our hopes for the future are that Bayfield County will take a leadership role in providing staff while we provide building and equipment. At this time, we continue to consider contracting with paramedic service to provide staff.


Maintenance of town roads makes up most of the town’s budget. It is the town board’s responsibility to have safe, well-maintained roads meeting standards set by Wisconsin Statutes. The board has tasked the Roads and Right-Away Committee to create a five-year plan that will highlight critical road maintenance and prioritize road improvements based on state-based rating system, traffic counts and input from Engineering resources. This plan will be completed by September 2019. Over the past few years, road maintenance was under funded, and storm damaged roads became a priority allowing little to be accomplished on normal improvements. Future budgets will need to be redistributed to increase highway funding to allow necessary reconstruction of older blacktop roads.


The charge of fiscal irresponsibility toward the town board is inaccurate. Compare Barnes levy with other townships on Bayfield County’s website.


The town’s portion of tax levy has been maintained at one of the lowest rates in the county for years and increased only on short term basis when necessary. The amount allocated for highway/road maintenance over the past few years has not been sufficient to keep roads in repair. Storm events in the past three years have moved priorities and there will be a concerted effort to recover from these unexpected additional expenses this year. Another reason for the increase in tax levy this year is for planned improvement and staffing of emergency services. Since most park improvements will be completed this year, park funding may be reduced and redirected to next priority when planning the next budget.


 What is your vision for Barnes 2 years from now? And 10 years from now?
Barnes in two years will continue to be a great place to live. Emergency medical staff will be stable since the town will employ an EMT or paramedic, while we continue to work with Bayfield County, Sawyer County, neighboring townships, and area paramedic services to cement relationships and ensure expert medical treatment for our citizens and visitors. Continued recruitment of firefighters , EMTs and first responders will ensure support system to medical staff while also being prepared for any type of emergency. Road Management Plan will enable decisions based on critical need and priority, and be available to the public to increase awareness of timeline for roads of their own interest. Forest Management Plan will be implemented, ensuring protection and management of renewable resources on public lands, which is so important for air quality. Aquatic Invasive Species Committee will continue to monitor water quality and spread of invasive species on area lakes. Barnes will have recognition for being Telecommuter friendly, offering the potential for population growth from those who can work from home. Recreational opportunities of all kinds will rekindle tourism interest in our area.


I hope that in 10 years, Barnes will be more diverse with as many young working families as retirees. Businesses, churches and organizations flourish in more diverse communities. Northern Wisconsin will always be more of a tourist and timber area. Cottage industries and small businesses need local support as well as tourism to keep our community vibrant. Sometime between the 2 years and 10 years asked for, there will be a paramedic service/community paramedic serving the Town of Barnes. The quality of our natural resources, forest and waters will remain as good as they are today. Roads and parks will continue to be improved, and recreational opportunities will continue to grow maintaining health and quality of life for all.


How can voters reach you if they have questions ?:


Town of Barnes citizens and taxpayers are always free to contact me. I reserve Monday and Friday mornings for meetings at the Town Office, but willing to meet anytime, anywhere. I can be reached by email:, by phone: 715-795-3425. In the past, I have met with concerned citizens at the office, at the hall, at my home, at their home, at business of choice or events.