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Open Door day center open | Weekly Wausonian
Wausau News for the week of March 23, 2023
A representative of Open Door says the day center for the unhoused is essentially open.
The service originally served as a way to help those who’d just been released from jail adjust to life outside, providing help getting connected with services. They’re now partnering with Catholic Charities to operate a day center for the unhoused after the city awarded it some ARPA funding.
Open Door’s Bob Grady says he’s seen 340 unique individuals comes through the day center, which is now operating seven days a week with extended hours. They’d added a larger kitchen and are working on increasing the programs they offer while being conscious not to duplicate programming offered elsewhere.
A recent job center program helped five individuals become employed, for instance, Grady says. Grady says he will be bringing more detailed reports to the city as the center progresses.
Subscribers this week read about a committee in Kronenwetter recommending an administrator candidate for the village; but didn’t say in open session who it was. Turns out, there might be a reason they didn’t say who it was.
What else in Wausau?
Rehoused: Speaking of the unhoused, 1 Community Outreach Specialist Tracy Rieger has now helped 20 formerly unhoused people become housed, with 100% of them remaining so since she started late last year. That includes three individuals helped last month. The challenge remains case management, since it often takes a lot of work to keep those individuals housed. But North Central Health Care, Inclusa and the ADRC have helped with that management.
Swatting incident: Police responded Wednesday morning to Wausau East after receiving a call that multiple people had been shot in a bathroom at the school during an athletic event. It turned out no one was harmed and it appeared to be a “swatting” incident in which someone calls in a false report of a crime to potentially harm the person they’re calling about. It’s spring break week so only athletes, coaches and staff were in the building.
Around the metro
Nursing home woes: Lincoln County is exploring its options for what to do with its county-run nursing home as it’s only about two-thirds full. The nursing home has a capacity of 120 beds, and only 84 residents, leading to financial difficulties. A committee formed to come up with options is recommending either using the extra space for a daycare, an assisted living wing, or renting it for some revenue-generating use; or possibly demolishing the unused portion, or even privatizing the facility.
Coffee re-open: Honest J’s is now open in the former Ugly Mug spot, according to the coffee shop’s Facebook page. The owners are the same who recently bought Sweets on Third. The new owners are the fourth since the coffee shop opened as Alister Deacon (not counting Something’s Brewing a long time ago). The name comes from Wausau’s second mayor, Jacob Paff.
Ale Trail approved: The city’s Public Health and Safety Committee approved a new ale trail downtown that would coincide with the Wausau River District’s new Night Market. It’ll be similar to Exhibitour where participants can get wristbands and purchase beer as they enjoy the highly-curated night market. Originally it was to be held at the city square building downtown, but that will be undergoing some construction so it has been moved to the 400 Block, River District Director Blake Opal-Wahoske.
Cake opening: A new business called Caked It Bakery opened in the building right next to City Pages on First Avenue. The business offers made-from-scratch cakes, cupcakes and other treats.
Saturday, March 25: Kathleen Madigan has had a long career making people laugh. In her 32 years, she’s gone from comedy clubs to selling out theaters and is on the road 250 nights per year. She’s even appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars getting Coffee. Madigan will bring her comedic talent to the Grand Theater this Saturday - so buckle up for some laughs! 7:30 pm. See the event page for more details and ticket information.
Saturday, March 25: There’s something cool that you really only get to do once per year - and that’s Granite Peak’s pond skim! Basically GP makes a big pond in the middle of the ski hill and snowboarders and skiers attempt to see how far they can get across it - bonus points if they make it all the way to the other side. Participants tend to wear tutus and dinosaur costumes and other such shenanigans so it ends up quite the spectacle. Be there or be square. Starts at noon. See more on the event page.
Sunday, March 26: Pretend Friend has a great name, and they also happen to be a pretty talented bluegrass jam band. Pretend Friend’s talent is anything but pretend — this progressive bluegrass act had a unique sound, something that is sometimes hard to achieve in the bluegrass arena (Horseshoes and Hand Grenades pulls it off too). Come see this mix of bluegrass and jam band rock out The Mish (Intermission, for those not in the know) — what else ya got to do on a Sunday? Check out the event page for more details.
Looking for kids/family events? Check out the family-oriented listing from The Wausonian’s partner Wausau Mama, who puts together a weekly listing of children/family activities.
Boys Basketball: The Wausau Newman Cardinals boys basketball team earned its first-ever state title in boys basketball on Saturday. The Cardinals defeated McDonell Catholic 66-54 in the final and never won a game of the tournament by less than 10 points in the state tournament. It’s the first time any Wausau school won a state title in boys basketball since 1960, when Wausau (before East and West schools emerged) took the title.
Ultra write-up: Ultra-runner and Ironbull Director Andrea Larson completed one lap of the Barkley Marathons and finished her second but missed the cutoff last week. Laps at the Barkley are officially 20 miles but unofficially are typically longer, more like a marathon in length and there are five of them. The course is generally unmarked and more like a navigation race, and the vast majority of runners don’t complete the race; some years none do. Completely a “fun run” of three completed laps is considered a giant accomplishment; even getting to the start line is a challenge. Larson recaps her race here.
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The Wausonian has decided to adopt the term unhoused — not for politically correct reasons but because it’s a more specific descriptor. Unhoused specifically refers to people without shelter or in shelters for the unhoused. Homeless collectively refers to the unhoused, plus people with temporary arrangements at friends’ couches and such.