Council member faces ethics investigation | Weekly Wausonian
Wausau news for Dec. 23, 2022
A member of the city council is facing an ethics investigation after she allegedly tried to get a county board member fired from his job.
The city’s ethics board met Thursday to review a complaint against City Council Deb Ryan. According to the complaint, Ryan accused County Board Member and Judicare attorney William Harris of illegally providing legal advice to Mayor Katie Rosenberg regarding the A Community for All resolution.
Ryan then, according to the complaint, tried to get Harris fired from Judicare and when the director wouldn’t comply, threatened her job as well. Harris in an initial letter wanted a public apology from Ryan, saying not only were her allegations untrue, but not legal even if they were. Harris moved forward with the complaint after she refused any apology.
The board will review the complaint, determine if there is substantial merit to the claim, and if so, decide whether to hold a hearing and make a determination or forward it to the city attorney for prosecution.
It’s the last Weekly Wausonian for the year! I just want to give a big thanks to all the subscribers we added this year. Whether free or paid, I appreciate you all! And an especially big thank you to all our paid subscribers - this thing is growing and I couldn’t have done it without all of you! I hope you all have a great Holiday season and I will see you again in 2022 - in the meantime, enjoy this extra beefy Weekly Wausonian.
What else in Wausau
The Wausau School Board vote to have staff craft the language of a $182 million referendum, though many members hinted at the idea of a lower amount. The referendum amount would pay for needed building improvements and maintenance, along with upgrades to things such as the athletic fields and the fine arts facilities.
The city council now has five contested races if everyone ultimately runs in 2022. Jesse Kearns filed paperwork to run for District 4, currently held by Tom Neal. Neal told The Wausonian that he wouldn’t run next term, and Doug Diny already filed to run for the seat. And Thomas Brown filed for District 8, to take on incumbent Sarah Watson. The other races are Carol Lukens vs John Kroll (D1); incumbent Jim Wadinski vs Gary Gisselman (D5); and incumbent Deb Ryan vs Chad Henke (D11). Candidates have until Jan. 4 to file all paperwork.
A nationwide threat to schools announced via TikTok came and went without incident Friday. School officials and police were on high alert after the threats, which apparently included elementary schools; but Chief Ben Bliven told The Wausonian that nothing came of the threat in Wausau schools.
Around the metro
Marathon County is likely to get $3.5 million in a settlement from its role in a class-action suit against Big Pharma over opioid abuse. The suit alleged that pharmaceutical companies knew the dangers of long-term use of pain medications but ignored that when selling to doctors and the public. That amount, which must be used for prevention, treatment and education around the dangers of opioid use, is one of three settlements that are likely coming.
The race for Marathon County Circuit Court Judge has another contender. Rick Cveykus, a managing parter with Cveykus Law Firm who ran for appeals court earlier this year, will face fellow challenger William Harris for the seat.
This week in data
We ran a longer story on this issue for our subscribers, but the data shows an alarming trend in the Wausau School District — that enrollment numbers have been dropping for some time. The trend shows that the school district recovered from its COVID enrollment drop, but 2021’s counts lined up with the downward trend.
(Coded by me via Python through Replit)
Maria Calovang had a Puerto Rican pop-up business since 2017 — but when she opened Boriken Mart as a restaurant this month, she sold out of a month’s worth of inventory in one day. She’s since restocked, and is selling empanadas, pastelillos and other Puerto Rican cuisine at the Fulton Street eatery. (Update: She posted she will be closed from 12/22-27 for private parties.)
Brad Emanuel is one of those performers who, when you go see him, you know you’re going to get a good show. (Fun fact, this writer once attended music classes with Emanuel at UWMC.) Emanuel has spent years honing his craft and he’s a showman of epic proportions, knowing how to work a crowd. And he managed to translate those skills to live-streaming during the pandemic. Enjoy a post-Christmas Boxing Day beer at 2 pm Sunday at Bull Falls Brewery and let Brad entertain you for awhile.
New Year’s events
Since this is the last Weekly Wausonian for the year, here’s a few New Year’s Eve events for you (though there aren’t a ton of listings up yet, maybe out of COVID concerns):
Substyle was on track to play the 400 Block before the pandemic struck — they were a growing working band but COVID put the brakes on that, causing the band split for a while. Now they’re back, and they present a great way to spend New Year’s Eve. Come check out the soul/pop/R&B band as they take on Arrow Sports Lounge starting at 10 pm. (Also, you can check out guitarist Harold Melo’s other band, Short Pay Riders, the night before, Dec. 30, at 8 pm at Ciao’s.)
The great thing about kids is that they’re a great excuse to stay in. So you can bring the kiddos to the Greater Wausau Children’s Museum at noon New Year’s Day. There’s a big balloon drop at noon (much easier to stay up for!) and punch, cookies and crafts to keep the little ones occupied. $5 per child, adults, members and children under 12 free. Check out their event page for more info. (Note, they used to be in the mall, they’re in Rothschild now, 10101 Market Street Suite D70.)
Hiawatha Lounge will host its Glitz and Glam New Year’s Eve Celebration with band Fennec Fox. The event will kick off at 5 pm with a good old Wisconsin fish fry among other offerings; and dress up for a night of glam with local band Fennec Fox. You gotta love an indie band that combines a fiddle and harmonica - it should prove to be a fun evening.
If you’d prefer to head out on Saturday night instead to avoid the crowds a little, Granite Peak’s got ya covered. Check out Blaine Howard at ‘The Peak 5 pm in their Sundance Chalet. Howard rocks a blend of folk, pop and Americana and has shared the stage with Grammy winners such as Nickel Creek, so you’re in for a treat. And heck, maybe you spend a day skiing first? The fireplace and adult beverages will feel nice after a day out in the cold. Check out the event page for more.
The Wausau West Girls Basketball team heads into the holidays with a 3-0 Valley Conference record, the only team to do so. Wisconsin Rapids trails with a 2-0 Valley record, and Everest and East lost Tuesday to keep West at the top.
The Wausau West Boys Basketball team is currently the top Wausau area school in the Valley Conference heading into the break, with a 1-0 Valley record. That’s good for third place behind SPASH and Marshfield. They’ll host SPASH Jan. 4.
Not to make this the Wausau West show, but the Warriors hockey team currently leads the Valley standings with a 3-0 record. They’ll host third-place Marshfield Jan. 4.
Thanks for reading The Wausonian! Have a great holiday season, and feel free to send along tips or any corrections to email@example.com. Tell your friends!