Referendum denied | The Weekly Wausonian
Wausau news for March 16, 2023
The Wausau School Board on Monday balked at holding a referendum to get the community’s views on its restructuring plan.
The board voted down the idea of holding an April 2024 referendum on the plan 5-4. They wouldn’t have been able to hold a referendum this April because the deadline for getting a question on the ballot has passed.
Board Member Pat McKee, who pushed for the referendum, said it just made sense to get the community input.
But Board Member Karen Vandenberg said the problems of low enrollment, teacher allocation and unequal opportunities and populations on the east and west sides of town aren’t going away. The school board needs to make the decisions that will best serve student learning and success, not what is popular, Vandenberg says.
McKee countered that if they strongly go against the will of the public, it won’t matter because everyone on the board will be voted out in two cycles and the policy will be reversed anyway.
This week, readers read about the new Granite House, which could open soon as a replacement to the shuttered Community Corner Clubhouse. Mike Frankel never quit on his clubhouse members - here is his story:
We also had a lively open thread:
Quote of the week
If we circumvent this now, if we don’t get the support of the public, then there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell we go back to the same group and say ‘oh, can we have some more money?’
Pat McKee, on whether or not to hold a referendum
What else in Wausau?
Nine Mile driver busted: Someone over the weekend drove a truck onto the ski trails at Nine Mile Forest, right after they’d been freshly groomed. Sheriff’s Office officials saw them and the occupants will be issued citations. What those citations will be, or anything about the identities of the culprits, remains a mystery. The Wausonian asked for those details and will update you when we hear back. Damage was confined to the grooming of the trails, and a staff member was able to put in extra time to get them ready for skiers again.
Childcare center details: Wausau School Board members Monday kicked around the idea of creating two childcare centers run by the YMCA as part of the district’s restructuring plan. It turns out not only has the district lost recruits because they couldn’t find childcare, but some 350 district employees don’t have reliable childcare. Either way the 2,000 childcare slots it would create would be useful as the number of childcare facilities in the community continues to decline.
Around the Metro
TIF, TIF: County leaders are looking into a TIF task force. The contention? TIF districts in theory should benefit all the taxing jurisdictions when they reopen with higher values (and higher property taxes) but perpetual TIF districts make that a pipe dream. If created, the task force would look deeply into TIF and their impact on the county.
When you just gotta make a Kwik Trip run: A Town of Day official just had to make a Kwik Trip run last Friday; and unfortunately left the test ballots they’d just picked up from the county clerk behind. A Wausau resident recovered the ballots and took them to city hall; the ballots eventually made their way back to the county clerk. The test ballots have been destroyed and new ones used to test the machines have been issued. We get it. Sometimes you just gotta have those Kwik Trip glazers. Just leave the ballots in the car next time.
Juvenile center reopened: Last spring The Wausonian reported that the juvenile detention center had closed. Turns out, the county opened it back up in October. Except for one detail: they forgot to tell anyone on the Public Safety Committee, whose members were surprised to learn about the facility’s reopening in October. Most of its juvenile detainees come from outside the county.
Rib Mountain getting a Chipotle? That’s a possibility, says Rib Mountain Community Development Director Jared Grande. Chipotle was included in plans for a spot on Rib Mountain Drive, in the former Olson Flooring spot.
Friday, March 17: I mean, considering it’s St. Paddy’s Day, you gotta hit an Irish pub, right? Malarkey’s will join local singer/guitarist Brad Emanuel with owner Tyler and friends and vocalist Sydney Rose for a night of fun and revelry in celebration of all things Irish. Starts at 3 pm, Emanuel starts at 8 pm. Here is the event page.
Sunday, March 19: I’ve been really getting into country guitar lately, thanks in large part to Daniel Donato. So I’ve always got my eye out for a country act coming nearby — and Moe Bandy is a legend. The old country classics do something well - they tell stories. Those stories are interlaced with twangy telecaster guitars and lapsteel melodies that take you to another place, someplace real. And that describes Bandy, who will be at Wittenberg-Birnamwood high school auditorium this Sunday. 4 pm. $40. rubbersoulproductions.com for more info.
Saturday, March 18: Well, it looks like it’s a country music edition of The Wausonian’s entertainment section this week. Jackson Taylor is a rising country singer-songwriter from Medford. He’s going to bring his talents to The Garage, which has become quite the music venue this Saturday. The Garage has become quite the hot spot - they really pack the house on some nights. 7 pm. See the event page for more info.
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 wrestling: Two Wausau area made it pat the first round of the state tournament this year. Wausau West’s Thai Yang in the 106 weight class made it two rounds deep into the state tournament, finally losing to Owen Becker of Germantown. D.C. Everest’s Easton Cooper at 126 made it to the third round before losing to Carter Freeman of Wisconsin Rapids.
Girls wrestling: Savannah Danielson of Wausau West made it to the finals of the WIAA state tournament. Danielson finally fell at 107 to Taylor Whiting of Octono 4-0. Christina Nordstrom of West at 185 made it to the semi-finals, falling to Ella Creighton of Badger Girls.
Attempting a first: No woman has ever finished The Barkley Marathon, considered one of the toughest ultra-marathons in existence; only 15 people total have ever completed it. (Probably because it’s five loops of 20 miles, and many consider it longer because of the elevation.) Wausau’s own Andrea Larson, director of Ironbull, attempted the race this week. The Wausonian was rooting for her, but based on unofficial trackers, Larson didn’t make the cutoff for the second lap; she missed the cutoff by 12 minutes for lap two.
BTW, if you want to learn about the race and why it’s so hard most don’t finish it, check out this documentary.
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