Village ordinance splits up hockey family - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Village ordinance splits up hockey family

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by Brittany Earl

PARK RIDGE(WAOW)--The battle is on in the Portage County Community of Park Ridge over whether some hockey players can live with a host family.

The Grote household says they are like any other family, they eat dinner, do laundry and even play rock band together. So even though three of the family members aren't blood related, they say that doesn't matter.

For the past two hockey seasons Mike and Mendy Grote have housed three 19 year old men who play for the Central Wisconsin Saints Junior Hockey team.

Mendy Grote, Host Hockey Mom says, 'Because my son is involved in hockey we decided to open our home and our hearts to these players. We provided a family atmosphere for them, support, education and meals. We provide a place for them to call home when they are away from home."

Gavin Palm, one of the hockey players living with the Grotes says, "We go to the living room play rock band together, watch TV, watch movies together just like any other family."

Back in September the Grote's next door neighbor made a complaint to the Village of Park Ridge. The Grote family was notified by the village president who told them they are in violation of a village ordinance.

Mrs. Grote says, "They notified us stating we were only allowed to have one none related person live with us." Gavin says, 'Oh absolutely we are a family, I would consider them my family as much as my family back home."

The Grotes say it was disheartening to hear what the neighbor had to say. "He didn't feel as if the boys belonged in the village, actually the exact words were the integrity of village would be lost if the hockey boys were to stay," said Mrs. Grote.

Newsline 9 did speak with the neighbor who brought this case to the attention of the village. He told us the boys are fine boys, they aren't doing anything wrong in the neighborhood, but that he was turned down by the board when he asked permission to board UW-Stevens Point students. He said he just wants everyone on the same page.

The Village administrator notified the Grotes saying the boys had to be out within 30 days, that's means this Saturday if the family does not comply they could face fines up to $1,000 a day and prosecution costs.

The Grotes asked the Village Council to not up root the boys this season to let them stay through the season. At an appeal meeting Wednesday night, the council ruled the definition is clear and the Grote family along with the boys do not fit the village ordinance definition of what a family is. As Saturday approaches two of the boys will need to find somewhere to live.

Mike Grote, Host Hockey Father says, "Now were only allowed to keep one, so how do you choose."

Online Reporter: Brittany Earl

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