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Wausau news: Wausau lays out plan for clean water
Weekly Wausonian for Feb. 24, 2022
City leaders laid out a series of directives to address PFAS chemicals found in the city’s water supply. For the whole backstory, check out Wausau PFAS for The Wausonian’s breakdown. But essentially, the city discovered levels of PFAS higher than state recommendations for human health in all six of the city’s wells. The city draws drinking water from those wells.
The city council in a committee of the whole session instructed city staff to look at short-term options that include pallets of bottled water (the city has secured some already), purchasing filters for residents that filter PFAS out of their tap water, and the possibility of a mobile water filter at the city’s current drinking water plant. (Until the new plant can be built.)
City leaders asked staff to present that research to the city’s Water Commission on March 1 but says it could still act independently on funding any or all of those proposals.
Meanwhile the city’s Finance Committee approved an application to ARPA funds of $240,000 to help fund a pilot study to test materials that could be used to filter PFAS out of the drinking water long-term, including at the new water treatment plant set to go online this summer.
Note: New information sparked by a reader comment led us to look into the type of filters that work best. Water filters that meet the NSF 53 or higher standard effectively filter out PFAS from the water. A Duke study referenced earlier by The Wausonian, which called into question the efficacy of home filters, did not indicate whether filters studied met that standard or not. Experts recommend looking for the NSF 53 standard (pitchers tend to start at around $60.
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What else in Wausau?
A plan to designate John Marshall Elementary School has been put on hold. The city’s Historic Preservation Committee had voted to designate the school, built in 1920, a historic landmark. But the city’s Plan Commission nixed those plans in favor of letting the Wausau School District study its building needs in the face of declining enrollment.
The Grand Theater has lifted its vaccine proof requirements, but will keep mask wearing in place. The change comes as new COVID-19 cases have rapidly dropped in Marathon County and Wisconsin. The county in mid-January had a 7-day average of new cases of 383; that number as of Wednesday was only 28.
A yet-unnamed developer is interested in Lot Nos. 4 and 5 of the former Wausau Center mall site, an REI engineer says; and that includes another lot on the site as well. T. Wall Enterprises was reportedly working on one of the mall sites, but leaders hadn’t specified which one. Preliminary plans on that site call for mixed-use residential development.
Around the metro
Police responded to 174 crashes around the county during Friday’s snowstorm. That included multi-vehicle crashes on Hwy. 51, such that emergency crews needed to close off ramps to the highway and bring in a bus to transport some crash survivors from the scene. 30 of the 174 crashes involved injuries.
Workers at Plover’s Starbucks are trying to unionize, the second in the state to do so. Members sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson demanding their union be recognized. A Starbucks on Howell Avenue in Oak Creek was the first in Wisconsin to seek unionization.
The Garage, a new bar in Rib Mountain that opened last year, will now feature Megan and Bob Lamovec as its sole owners. Julie and Keith Rybacki are no longer owners, the couple reports on Facebook. Rybacki also started Crafties, a small craft beer bar in Weston. The Garage is, as you might have guessed, a garage-themed bar that even has a car hanging from the ceiling.
Friday, Feb. 25: Members of The Station were all set to take on Whitewater Music Hall earlier last month when most of the members came down with the illness that shall not be mentioned. It was starting to become a common occurrence and events canceled left and right. But they’re all healthy and this Americana act is ready to rock! Come check out this band that could be called something of a Wausau super group as they take on the tap room at the hall. Oh, and the NightTribe cocktail guy will be there too, whipping up his fancy mixology. 8 pm. See the event page for more.
Saturday, Feb. 26: It could be that you’re a little sick of the snow at this point. But if you’re not quite there yet, or just really want an excuse to drink wine, check out the Snowshoe Hike and Wine Flight this Saturday at the Stable Hands Equine Therapy Center. Enjoy a mile-long lighted snowshoe walk, then stop back for some wine flights, snacks and hot chocolate all around a nice, cozy campfire. 6 pm. It’s free, but they’d appreciate a donation of some sorts. Check out their page for more details.
Saturday, Feb. 26: Looking to get the kids to burn up a little energy? Greenheck Fieldhouse has a climbing wall and kids are welcome! The wall has auto-belay that keeps them from falling from the wall (or at least, falling in a controlled fashion). Participants 5 and older must be fitted for a harness and get some climbing instruction before diving in. 7:30-9pm, $5 per person, adults and children 5 and up. People under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Check out the event page for more.
Wausau West girls basketball got one final win to finish the season with a perfect 12-0 Wisconsin Valley Conference record. The Warriors beat Wisconsin Rapids 67-51 Thursday to maintain their unbeaten record. Wausau West earned a first-round bye in the playoffs but will take on Oshkosh West at home 7 pm Friday.
D.C. Everest boys basketball still has a chance to tie for second in the Valley Conference to end the season. SPASH, current second, lost to Marshfield Friday. If Everest can beat Wausau East today (7:15 pm Thursday at East) they’ll finish tied for second with the Panthers going into the playoffs.
Wausau West boys hockey season came to an end last week after losing to SPASH 3-1 Thursday in the third round of the playoffs. That leaves SPASH as the only Valley team standing in the playoffs. They took on Hudson Wednesday night.
UPDATE: The Central Wisconsin Storm defeated Northland Pines Wednesday night 8-1 to move on to the sectional finals. Hannah Baumann scored a hat trick (three goals in one game) and Sammie Federici scored two in the blistering win. The Storm will host Hayward in the Sectional Final 7 pm Friday at the Greenheck Fieldhouse. The winner will advance to the state finals. See the Central Wisconsin Storm Facebook page for more details.
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