Wausau News roundup: Ethics board hits more snags as investigation continues
The Weekly Wausonian for Feb. 10, 2022
The city’s Ethics Board is now in the process of collecting information as part of its investigation of a complaint against council member Deb Ryan by a county board member.
William Harris filed a complaint last year alleging that Ryan has falsely accused him of providing “illegal” legal advice to Mayor Katie Rosenberg and that she tried to get him fired, as well threatening Harris’ boss’s job after she failed to take employment action against Harris.
Harris is a county board member and is currently running for circuit court judge.
The board this week requested an answer from Ryan to the charges laid out in the complaint, and an explanation for any of the claims to which she admits. They’re also seeking information on conversations she had with other city council members about the matter.
This week the city council appointed an alternate to the Ethics Board, since if there is a hearing it will require four members. The chair, Mary Thao, quit after the first meeting, and member Calvin Dexter recused himself because he’d helped Harris get signatures for his candidacy for judge. The council had to punt on another appointment, because that potential appointee moved out of the area.
Check out The Wausonian’s previews of the District 1 and District 4 city council primaries as you head to the polls Feb. 15. All of The Wausonian’s election coverage is free to all, so be sure to subscribe to get it in your inbox. Or consider a paid subscription to support local journalism and get all The Wausonian’s content.
What else in Wausau news?
An expansion of the city’s first dog park is on hold because land that would help expand it is contaminated and its owner won’t clean it up. The city has a donor willing to buy the land next to Two Hearts Dog Park, the former Rosemurgy site, and donate it to the city. But the land’s current owner, which an investigation by The Wausonian found tied to a debt collector in Ohio, has ignored repeated orders from the DNR to clean up its site.
Police issued a press release this week about one of the Afghan refugees being arrested on sexual assault charges. Police say Matiullah Matie, who was featured in some local news stories about the new refugees, assaulted a woman who was helping with the resettlement. He faces fourth-degree sexual assault charges. Police felt the need to send out the release because he’d been featured in news stories about the resettlement.
A 28-year-old Wausau man has been arrested on suspicion of shooting his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Police say Richard Mason on Jan. 28 shot his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend at her Emter Street house. Police later arrested Mason on Lake View Drive near where he resided. Mason is being held in Marathon County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond and faces first degree attempted homicide charges.
Just at The Wausonian’s deadline, the city announced that levels of PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) that exceed Department of Natural Resources future recommendations for safe human consumption have been found in the city’s water. In a press conference, Mayor Katie Rosenberg announced that levels in city wells tested between 23 and 48 parts per trillion, and called on the Wausau Water Works and City Council to hold special meetings to address the issue.
Current EPA standards set 70 parts per trillion as an advisory level for PFAS, but some states have already set lower standards.
Public works will be conducting pilot studies to find ways to reduce PFAS in the city’s water plants and Department of Public Health experts are recommending reducing exposure to drinking water and cooking with water from the city for those who’d like to reduce their potential exposure to PFAS. Other uses such as showering or cleaning are fine, they say.
None of the levels violate current standards but a new standard of 20 parts per trillion will be voted on by the state’s Natural Resources Board later this month. The state legislature would still need to approve the standards. Rib Mountain discovered PFAS in one of its wells late last year.
Thursday, Feb. 10: Kevin Troestler will bring his unique blend of blues/country to Whitewater Music Hall at 8 pm. But that’s not the only reason to go. Whitewater will host Night Tribe Cocktails in residency as well. This level of drinking mixing (called mixology) turns adult beverage into an art form, and the drink’s creations are almost as entertaining to watch as they are delicious to drink. Drinks served starting at 5 pm, music at 8 pm. See Whitewater’s events section (both listed as separate events) for more details on each.
Saturday, Feb. 12: Dig Deep is kind of how you’d imagine a heavy metal band transformed into bluegrass musicians. They headbang and rock a stage but with banjoes and mandolins instead of guitars with drop-D tuning screaming out of Marshall stacks. They’ve played festivals, shared the stage with such notable musicians as Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, and are fully expected to tear the roof off of Malarkey’s Pub. 9 pm. See event page for more details.
Thursday, Feb. 10: Snowshoeing in the dark can be a little scary - but not when you have a big group with you? If you were ever curious about what Rib Mountain would look like on snowshoes at night, this is your chance. IronBull is hosting this free snowshoe hike on Rib Mountain. Bring your own shoes or IronBull has Northern Lites snowshoes for people to use. 60-90 minutes, meeting at the yellow gate at the end of Grouse Lane Road (warning, parking can be a little tricky since it’s road parking only). 6 pm. See event page for more details.
Sammi Federici scored the game-winning goal in OT to push the Central Wisconsin Storm girls hockey team past Hayward Tuesday night. Federici scored on an assist from Hannah Baumann to beat the Hurricanes 1-0. The win puts the Storm at 18-3 on the season. The Storm has one more game, at noon this Saturday before heading into the playoffs. The team will have a first-round bye before taking on the winner between Marshfield and Northland Pines.
Wausau West lost its dominance in boys hockey this week. The Warriors lost 6-2 to SPASH Tuesday, dropping them to second place in the Valley Conference. Unless SPASH loses to Marshfield today (Thursday), that will be the final standings for the season ahead of the playoffs starting this month.
The Wausau West girls basketball team beat Marshfield in overtime to hang on to a perfect 10-0 Valley Conference record and remain in first place ahead of the playoffs. West beat Marshfield 10-0 in overtime to hold on to the win. West takes on Rapids for the final game of the season.
D.C. Everest boys basketball is set to hold the highest place among area teams in the Valley Conference. The Evergreens hold a 6-3 record, good enough for third place in the Valley. With two more games left in the regular season, D.C.E. could still improve to second place ahead of the playoffs.
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