MARINETTE - A policy to limit smoking in city parks is moving forward in Marinette.
The new rule would cover areas only around playgrounds where children are often present. The recommendation comes after months of compromise.
The smoking ban came to light last month. The Healthy Youth Coalition of Marinette and Menominee counties asked Marinette officials to ban smoking in all city parks.
The Recreation Programming Board came up with a compromise.
"We're going to post the playground areas as non-smoking, and pretty much see how a voluntary program is going to work before we look at a city ordinance," said Kent Kostelecky, City of Marinette Recreation Department director.
Maryann Bergfelt walks her dog Rebel here every day.
"I wouldn't want somebody standing inside of that gated area, with a four-year-old, people standing there smoking," said Maryann Bergfelt of Marinette.
Jon Schievink visits the park with his daughter.
"Nobody should be exposed to cigarette smoke if they really don't want to be, but then again at the same time, it's bad because they're taking away the rights of the smokers as well," said Jon Schievink of Marinette.
The city fielded opposition from dozens of softball teams in the area, whose players also use these facilities.
"We got 36 teams that play every Sunday. There's nine games on each field from noon until eight o'clock at night, and all of those folks smoke and drink," said Kostelecky.
Kostelecky says enforcement would be another issue.
"We didn't want to make a priority of having police to have to come down and ask an adult to put out a cigarette," said Kostelecky.
The Healthy Youth Coalition sees the policy as a victory for non-smokers.
"They don't want to be around drinking and smoking. They like to go down as a family, and enjoy smoke-free air with their small children," said Sarah Hanson, Healthy Youth Coalition of Marinette and Menominee Counties executive director.
The Coalition has offered to help pay for signs and smoking receptacles. City officials say that could amount to a few hundred dollars.
Signs could be up by spring.
There is a similar ordinance on the books in Houghton, Mich. The fine for smoking in a city park there is $50.
The victim in a weekend shooting at an Appleton night club is being kept alive on life support so his family can donate his organs.
There was enough snow Monday to make driving a challenge, including one deadly crash in the Fox Cities.
For 11 seasons, Blaise Winter played defensive end in the NFL. Three of those years were with the green and gold. Now, the man who overcame numerous health issues is being honored for his work.
A 68-year-old man is dead after a multi-vehicle crash in Neenah.
A Fond du Lac standoff involving shots fired at some area police officers is over.
A Grand Chute firefighter has died in a car crash.