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The Weekly Wausonian, July 1, 2021
Wausau news: Environmental justice, poor school survey results and DCE success in state track and field
The city council will take up an environmental justice resolution next month; but with mixed recommendation from the Public Health and Safety Committee.
The rub: The committee voted 2-2 to forward the resolution, developed by City Council member Tom Kilian, to city council. It calls for equitable treatment of all residents environmentally, regardless of economic, gender or racial status. It also calls for equal access to public participation regarding environmental issues.
The reaction: Lisa Rasmussen says she isn’t sure what the actual impact of the resolution will be. It doesn’t call for specific actions, and isn’t sure what it would do that the city couldn’t do now with existing resources.
The prognosis: Mixed. Many speakers supported the resolution Tuesday, including former council member Gary Gisselman. But committee members (as well as council members) say they haven’t gotten a positive reaction from many residents. And a 2-2 mixed recommendation sends a signal that this won’t pass easily, if it does.
The weird: The meeting hit a weird hitch early on, with a potential meeting law violation afoot. It turned out, too many members of the city’s Parks Commission showed up to the meeting and represented an unnoticed quorum. Parks Commission Member Lou Larson had to leave so that the city wasn’t violating open meetings laws.
What else in Wausau?
Wausau School District leaders shared some data around a survey they conducted and… well, it wasn’t good. Staff weren’t happy about pay, how student mental health is handled, and that the school board presented a bad image of the district. And parents’ perceptions of the district dropped from ranking in the 70th to 90th percentile among peer districts in most categories to the 33rd to 53rd. Superintendent Keith Hilts said it was a challenging year for the District, and the survey reflects that.
The school district is working on a new policy after the Freedom From Religion Foundation called out the district for “subsidizing” the Every Black Life Matters event. Superintendent Keith Hilts explained that the event fee system is more complicated than the FFRF made it sound, but at the behest of school board member Jane Rusch administration will be working on adding a disclaimer and allowing the ability for the district to cancel an event if need be. The speaker was the same who slander Mayor Rosenberg in a county meeting, provoking the county chair to apologize for not intervening.
Aspirus broke ground on its new clinic next to the YMCA’s new expanded building. The project was delayed because of COVID-19 but now the company is back underway constructing the 36,000-square-foot clinic. The clinic will employ 60 people and nine providers with room to grow. It will provide primary care, walk-in, lab and imaging services.
Around the metro
Rib Mountain most likely will soon start the process to become a village. Leaders at a town meeting Tuesday explained how it would work, and that town residents would need to circulate and file a petition to start the process. Leaders weighed out the pros and cons, and some surprises including that a Rib Mountain Village wouldn’t need its own police department and that taxes should stay pretty much the same. Expect a more detailed breakdown in a future Wausonian post.
Aspirus is providing COVID-19 vaccinations at the Concert on the Square series. The organization has seen a growth in vaccinations since first offering them at the 400 Block concert series. See the Concerts on the Square lineup here.
The Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra will be playing in Monk Gardens 4 pm today (Thursday). Doors open at 4 pm, but show is from 5-7 pm. The event is free but donations to the gardens are accepted. According to the event page, they expect and encourage people to come and go during the performance, and walk the gardens. See more on their event page.
Wausau didn’t have a fourth of July event his year, but Stevens Point brought back its Riverfront Rendezvous this year. Running from July 2-4, the event will feature a number of live performances including Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, and other events such as a lumberjack log roll, inflatable games for kids and horseshoes and cornhole tournaments. See the Riverfront Rendezvous page for more info.
D.C. Everest senior Danni Langseth cleaned house this past weekend, taking two first-place finishes in the WIAA State Championship. Langseth took first in the shotput and discus events. Several Everest athletes finished fourth in their events, just outside of the podium. D.C. Everest also tied for first place as a team (with Muskego), scoring 46 points.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks as of Wednesday continued to lead the Great Lakes West division of the Northwoods League. The Chucks were 20-10 as of Wednesday, one game ahead of Fond du Lac, and are on a two-game winning streak. Surprisingly, the Woodchucks are doing that without anyone in the top three in the league for batting and pinching stats. Tyler Kehoe of Liberty University is leading the team in batting average with .341. The Chucks host division rival Fond du Lac at home Thursday at Athletic Park.
On the pod
Check out Keep it Wausome’s podcast with Stephanie Kohli, Wausau’s go-to mural artist. She shared some cool stories on the podcast about her start and some of the difficulties she faced!
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