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Transit director quit; says city hall didn't support him | The Weekly Wausonian
Wausau news for Nov. 2, 2023
Many were surprised to learn this week that the city’s new transit director - who started with the city earlier this year — has resigned.
Matthew Rosenbloom-Jones told The Wausonian that he turned in his resignation a couple of weeks ago and will be finishing out the week before officially leaving the post.
Why? Lack of support at City Hall. Rosenbloom-Jones told The Wausonian this week that the transit department isn’t well understood within city hall and that he didn’t receive the support from the mayor’s office that he expected. “I think as a director I needed the mayor’s office to stand behind me on the decisions that needed to be made,” Rosenbloom-Jones said in an interview with The Wausonian earlier this week. “That support didn’t come.”
Rosenbloom-Jones said he had been working on developing the system’s technology, which he saw as the first step toward revitalizing Metro Ride (that was also spelled out in the city’s transit plan from a consultant the city hired). The next step could have been expansion, which the system will need in order to be viable.
He didn’t want to go into too many details while still on the job, Rosenbloom-Jones told The Wausonian, but said it left him no choice but to leave.
Rosenbloom’s departure comes on the heels of the city’s fire chief retiring and the police chief resigning earlier this year. The city also lost a Human Resources Director last year. Wausau recently hired James Henderson to fill the role.
Mayor Katie Rosenberg told The Wausonian that she was surprised by the departure, but she said the role was a challenge for a new person to walk into.
I don’t get to tell people how to feel but I know that our internal teams, myself, other directors, and our council president included, spent a lot of time trying to help sort through questions and concerns. We’re disappointed that this wasn’t the right fit.
Transit Committee Chair Becky McElhaney told The Wausonian that because Rosenbloom-Jones left within a hear of his hiring, the city will get another recruitment for free.
The Wausonian had a busy week, with stories about How your Wausau taxes are going up, how we’re looking deeper into the Everest Metro Police Chief investigation, and the outcome of a defamation lawsuit against Minocqua Brewing Company owner Kirk Bangstad.
What else in Wausau?
Mayoral challenge: City Council Member Doug Diny announced he will be running for mayor Wednesday outside the East High Apartments. Diny, according to an early draft of his speech, is positioning himself as taking a non partisan approach: “Do you want a city hall that serves the people of Wausau or a partisan political agenda? Wausau city government needs people who can draw on a lifetime of experience to make good decisions." Diny emphasized focusing on core services for residents. Mayor Katie Rosenberg announced her intention to run for another term earlier this year.
Searching for domestic abuse suspect: Police are searching for a man they say committed a number of crimes, including some related to a domestic abuse incident. According to court records, Walter Calloway, Jr. was expected to appear in court Sept. 15 for a plea and sentencing hearing in a case involving felony vehicle theft. Court records indicate he did not make that appearance, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Charges were filed against Calloway Sept. 9 that include strangulation and suffocation, criminal trespass to a dwelling, disorderly conduct, theft and bail jumping.
Former police captain named deputy chief: Todd Baeten, who most recently served as one of the police department captains, has been named deputy chief. Baeten was instrumental in the police department’s video and social media program, and has served on the Wausau Police Department for 20 years. Baeten’s appointment as deputy chief comes after Matt Barnes, the former Deputy Chief, was recently named police chief following a national search.
Tailgating shooter facing attempted homicide charges: A man police say tailgated another vehicle, then pulled up alongside that vehicle and shot into the car twice on Highway 51 is now facing attempted homicide along with a slew of other charges. Police ended up chasing 41-year-old Bennie Green in a high-speed pursuit before arresting him after using tire rippers to stop his vehicle. He’s being held in Marathon County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond.
Around the metro
Snowmaking begins: Snowmaking at Granite Peak began Wednesday, following the area’s first snowfall that left the city with some lingering ground cover. Meanwhile, The Wausonian has struggled to get any kind of a timeframe on when improvements to Granite Peak or the rest of the park will happen, since the new park plan was approved last winter. (And that included some last-minute changes to Granite Peak’s portion of the Rib Mountain master plan long after the public weighed in.
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Coffee revamp: The Pinery Coffee Company opened officially on Wednesday in the shop that last was Honest J’s, and before that The Ugly Mug, The Paisley Mug and Alister Deacon. Started by Daniel Tyler and Nolan Baker, they duo are focusing on roasting their own beans, making the highest quality espresso possible and making sure the customer experience is consistent.
Venado Cerveceria has expanded its incredible inventory to offer you an even more diverse and delightful array of choices in wine and spirits, bringing you the best! We invite you to experience the epitome of indulgence at our location, 209 Grant Street, Downtown Wausau. Operation Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 4-8 PM Friday and Saturday: 4-9 PM. Our bar exudes a fantastic vibe that guarantees a memorable time. Step into a haven of relaxation and enjoyment. Whether you're winding down after a long day or looking to kick off a great night out, our welcoming atmosphere and outstanding selection promise an unforgettable experience.
Sunday, Nov. 5: IMomSoHard started out as a web series created by two comedians who also happen to be — you guessed it — moms. Their web series took off, launching a TV show, Amazon Prime special, children’s book series, podcast and national touring act. Join Kristen and Jen as they riff on everything from nipple hair to hemorrhoids, sex after marriage, mom bods and more in this raunchy show that’ll leave no doubt what it means to mom so hard. 18+, definitely not for the little ones (check them out on YouTube and you’ll see why). 7 pm. Starting at $42, VIP meet and greet package at $172. Check out the event page for more.
Saturday, Nov. 4: You know what you’re getting with this Minneapolis-based bluegrass act — The Last Revel combines their skills with guitar, upright bass, banjo and fiddle to create timelines music that evoke the feeling of a porch in the country. Here at Whitewater Music Hall, they’re combined with Kevin Troestler, who appear to have been a late replacement for Hemlock Chaser. Troestler is a country/blues powerhouse and a ton of fun to listen to.
Friday, Nov. 3: The Seth Brown Duo just as a cool vibe from the moment they start to play. Brown for some reason reminds me of Tom Petty, who coincidentally Brown claims as an inspiration. Partnered with wife Desiree and a full-length album Campfire Currency under his belt, The Seth Brown duo is a group worth checking out when they’re in town. And they’ll be at The Garage, which is starting to become a real music hotspot in the area. 7 pm. See 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.
Girls golf: Wausau West-East finished the best of Wausau area teams at the Green Bay Preble Regional tournament. East/West finished fifth out of eight teams. D.C. Everest finished eighth. Julia Schlindwein of East/West qualified for the sectional tournament last month and tied for 10th place.
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