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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
“Pass the Plate:” Extend Balsam boat landings
By Lynda Berg Olds
Balsam Lake Police Chief Tom Thompson reported to members of the Balsam Lake Village Board at Monday night's meeting that over the last month he has been busy bringing the new officer up to speed.
“He is now on his own and getting comfortable with both town and what's going on, the equipment and where things are and who people are. So that seems to be going well. He seems to be doing well and he seems to be happy – and I'm happy with how he is doing at this point in time.”
Chief Thompson said the village is up a bit with numbers for service, noting part of it is having a new, young officer. We've had a few more traffic stops than we would have, but some of that may go down as he settles in to his normal routine.”
Library Director Linda Heimstad gave her report and the numbers were impressive. She said they had 51 kids in attendance to make fairy rock gardens.
“And we had Border Collies at the park, then we went over to Doc's and the kids got to make their own small pizza. The end of the summer party was held at Unity, who had a DJ and there were 47 kids at that party too.”
Heimstad noted they also did a scavenger hunt during Freedom Fest, with 36 participants (that they could count). She said a pair of twins and their family won and they were thrilled.
“We also had an escape room back here. I don't know if any of you saw the set up, but it was phenomenal, just awesome. We had 68 participate on Friday night and Saturday. It was a blast.
Some of the business was mundane. The public works computer crashed and a new one needs to be purchased for the sewer plant.
In other business, the village approved the bid by Nick's Trucking to do the demolition of the building at 101 First Avenue East at a cost of $10,250.
Also, donation boxes will be placed at the boat landings on Balsam – at the 46 Store land and at the beach. All monies will go 100 percent back to the landings and the lakes. With this were some interesting numbers of how many boats were launched on Balsam Lake (3,033!) at the end of June (with the caveat that boats were not counted on Sundays or Mondays). Here is the breakdown: Town Bay, 1,104; 46 Store, 932; East Balsam, 457; and Little Balsam, 540.
Funds are needed to extend the boat landings to alleviate the power loading problem. The idea of the donation boxes then it to simply “pass the plate.” If everyone just gave one dollar there could be $3,000 built up in no time. Grants will also be sought through the DNR. It is things like this that come up that makes the Outdoor Recreation Plan that Trustee and Parks chair Caroline Rediske worked so hard on, so valuable.
For most grants that come through the DNR the Outdoor Rec Plan is mandatory for a village to have in place.
Rediske also noted in her report to the board that another Eagle Scout, Johnny Ward, is undertaking a bridge project in Pine Park, with completion set for this fall.
Finally, Rediske shared the goose statistics, but she started out by commending the individuals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR, who, she said, were excellent to work with.
Rediske reiterated that 74 geese were harvested in the fall of 2017 and 56 eggs were oiled this spring. Also a total of 97 geese were “rounded up” (and exterminated) this summer - for a total of 224 less geese in Balsam Lake, and on Balsam Lake.
August 9, 2018
Waak walks away with a victory
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
Both parties held their primary elections on Tuesday and now Polk County knows who their next sheriff will be.
Brent Waak received 2,003 votes and Tony Grimm received 1,809.
Patrick McLafferty, who was running as a write-in candidate for the democratic party received 73 votes, short of the required amount which is at least five percent of the vote cast in the jurisdiction or district for the party's gubernatorial candidate at the last general election or the number of votes equivalent to the minimum number of signatures required on nomination papers for that office, whichever is more.
“I am humble to win,” stated Waak. “I so appreciate all the support we had during the campaign. I want to thank Tony Grimm for his approach to this race.”
In Grimm's concession statement he said: “It looks like we lost by a couple hundred votes. I think we had a fantastic campaign and our message was clear. Congrats to Brent Waak and his family for a fantastic campaign. We will support his agenda wholeheartedly.”
Other state results
Scott Walker - 91.6 percent
Robert Meyer - 8.4 percent
Tony Evers – 41.6 percent
Mahlon Mitchell–16.4 percent
Kelda Roys – 12.8 percent
Mandela Barnes-68 percent
Kurt Kober-32 percent
Secretary of State
Doug La Follette–65.9 percent
Arvina Martin–31.4 percent
Jay Schroeder-71.3 percent
Spencer Zimmerman – 28.7 percent
Sarah Godlewski-43.4 percent
Dawn Sass-32.3 percent
Cynthia Kaump-24.3 percent
Travis Hartwig-72.3 percent
Jill Millies-27.7 percent
Leah Vukmir-48.9 percent
Kevin Nicholson-43 percent
George Lucia-4.2 percent
US House – District #4
Margaret Engebretson-57.3 percent
Brian Ewert-42.7 percent
August 16, 2018
Horses and snowmobiles on trails...moving forward
By Lynda Berg Olds
An Open House was held Tuesday evening at the Polk County Government Center “to celebrate the determined recommendation to present to the county's Environmental Service Committee to move forward with the Master Plans for the Stower Seven Lakes Trail and the Cattail Trail.”
Trail use has long been debated and the Stower Trail has been in the news constantly of late – with the age-old argument of motorized use versus non-motorized use. The proponents of each are firmly embedded in their camps with no apparent give on either side.
The ad for the Open House extended the invitation for the public to speak one-on-one with the Trail Planning Sub-Committee of Stower Seven Lakes and Cattail Trail.
Of note, for those who may not have seen the invitation in last week's issue of the County Ledger Press, it reads:
“The voted recommendation is to leave the current uses on the Cattail Trail as is – and add horseback riding as a use for the entire trail.
“For Stower Seven Lakes Trail the voted recommendation is to keep the current uses and add horseback riding and snowmobiles to the approved uses when permitted.”
Approving the minutes themselves of this voting body took a little bit of time and one party insisted it be noted that the voting was not unanimous by the Trail Planning Sub-Committee at their meeting on Aug. 14. After some time, the amendment to the minutes stated the first vote was 1-2-3. That is, one vote for silent use; two votes for horses and snowmobile use; and thee votes for everything (all uses).
The next vote then was tied three to three, with three voting for horses and snowmobiles and three voting for everything. When it came time then to break the tie – to reach a consensus for a proper recommendation to pass along to the Environmental Services Committee, that final vote was 4 – 2, with the majority okay with horses and snowmobiles (when permitted), rather than all uses, which would include ATVs.
This is by no means the end of the road for this issue. Now it goes to the the Environmental Services Committee – who will pass it along to the full County Board of Supervisors, who will then in turn forward their input for the Master Trail Plan to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Indeed the wheels of government turn slowly – and for this issue, by the millimeter, as this controversy seems to keep bubbling up until it spills over. This was an informational meeting only and no action was taken
August 30, 2018
Village reluctant to create TID for one business
By Lynda Berg Olds
MSA Professional Services rep Dave Rasmussen attended Tuesday night's meeting of the Balsam Lake Village Board meeting. He was there at the behest of the board to provide a summary of how the various Tax Increment Financing Districts within the Village were performing. This update fell into the context of a specific agenda item - “discussion on creating a TIF District that includes 264 County Road I, which is Paradise Landing.
The Paradise Landing stakeholders have gone on record saying they want to build some type of motel/hotel/condos or whatever – and they want a TIF District created to help them.
Rasmussen noted that TID #5, the downtown district was “severely distressed.” He said it did not look like it was going to cash flow, but it does have some value now with the 2018 tax increment at $9,843.
“It is starting to produce increment that will hopefully pay off...TIF #6, that was the overlay and that overlaid TIF #5, which included the county shop building and went around the Mill Pond. Again, because that TIF has a 27-year life, it can go until 2040. And I believe you used TOD funds on the County I Bridge.”
Rasmussen related that TID #2 can donate to TID #3, TID #5 and could donate to TID #6 as well. (TID #2 and #3 are in the Industrial Park).
“If you created another TID District, that could also donate to #5 and #6,” Rasmussen said as he concluded his summary.
Village President Geno D'Agostino asked Economic Development Director Vince Netherland, also present, if he had anything to add.
“I just think it is a little too early (to consider adding another TID) as there are a lot of moving parts going on right now with the hotel study and possible housing study. It is not going to be long to see what transpires – especially with the hotel study. So I think it's good that you are discussing it because it may be an option if you decide that's where you want growth – that direction out there (meaning Paradise Landing). It's always kind of tough when you do a TIF District for one business...but it might offer an alternative if a hotel doesn't work down there. Or it might offer some incentive to start looking at if that is a direction you want to go – to move people or businesses.”
D'Agostino concurred, stating, “That is what I was thinking.”
D'Agostino told the Ledger Wednesday morning that he was concerned about the Village being in the business of creating TIFs for a specific business – and setting that precedent.
Rasmussen put in, “Your hotel study can be paid for by the TID.”
“Well, we know where we stand,” added Trustee Rod Preble.
Moving on, the next item approved adding Former Trustee and business owner Jeff Reed as Balsam's Lake representative to the Regional Business Fund. This action was unanimous.
Preble gave his Public Works Committee report where discussion was held on paving Pheasant Lane and Loon Drive. There was no recommendation forthcoming from Public Works for this $90,000 project (half of which the county would pay), rather the matter was forwarded to the full board for further examination. Ultimately, the decision was made that the project should be added into the appropriate budget for and prioritized.
Same went for paving Pearson Road, which also was not on the street repair/paving schedule. The right thing to do was to put it on the schedule/budget and prioritize like the rest of the roads.
In other business, a drainage issue behind Dalles Electric building was brought up. To fix the issue two drains were approved for purchase. The purchase of three grinder pumps was also approved.
Finally, 12 Wild Game Harvest Permit Applications were approved for the 2018 Fall Goose Harvest.
September 6, 2018
Technology, Wellness and Homecoming
By Lynda Berg Olds
“The Unity School District website is undergoing a transformation again,” informed District Administrator Brandon Robinson at Tuesday night's meeting of the Board of Education. “So on Oct. 1, our planned date, we are going to unveil the new website.”
Robinson said the new, improved website will “more seamlessly” work with the school's mobile app and they are thinking that it has a much easier interface with the public. That is, the new website is expected to provide a more efficient and appealing experience for the community with “a better user interface” and effective organization.
“We look forward to you guys experiencing that around Oct. 1.”
The Unity School District app is available for both Android and iOS mobile devices. The app, Unity School District, can be found at the App Store or Google Play. Parents and students downloading the apps will instantly be connected to tailored user experiences for accessing assignments, grades and more. The new apps are designed to make it easy for parents and students to monitor student progress with up-to-date information – according to Robinson. He urged parents to please visit the website to ensure they stay informed regarding the District’s events, policies, activities, performance, and programs.
Unity Homecoming was the next subject and there's a whole bunch of activities. Homecoming is on Friday, Sept. 21, which will be an eventful day as students will participate in the Annual Unity Community Homecoming Parade at 11 a.m. with the Village of Milltown hosting the parade this year. Robinson noted students will return to school for lunch and have an early release at 1 p.m. The Homecoming football game will be played on Friday night at ROK stadium on campus at 7 p.m., following the Unity Community Picnic, which is free for the Unity Community and will feature a grill-out and many activities for children. Food will be available around 5:00 p.m.
Finally, Robinson related, “You too can be a member if you're interested in a wellness class. You can be a member of the Aquatic Center or the Fitness Center [or both] and we've got great rates on those and the information is online.”
Robinson's report commented that plans can be tailored to fit individuals or entire families. Membership information, costs, and facility hours can be found online at https:// www.unity.k12.wi.us/community/fitness.cfm. Questions Communicate with Christa Ross, Community Education Coordinator, at 715-825-3515 x1560.
September 13, 2108
It's big, it's beautiful, it's the Gandy Dancer Marathon
By Lynda Berg Olds
Excitement is mounting for Luck's Annual Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon as they are celebrating their fifth anniversary this year on Oct. 13. Runners, walkers and volunteers by the score are gearing up for another fabulous fall event.
And this year, those who have participated for all five years will get a special commemorative memento (see photo).
In addition to the official 26.2 mile marathon, there is also the Half Marathon, the 5K and the Marathon Relay.
There is one tiny glitch this year due to the Village of Luck's Main Street Improvement Project. The course has changed a little bit due to the construction. Runners will go a bit further to the north on the Gandy to make up for not being able to run down Main Street for that final leg.
Organizers Seth Petersen and Eric Olson advised they had no other option than to change the course of the Marathon.
“By doing this we are unable to make this year's course a certified Boston Qualifier. However, the Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon guarantees the course will be 26.2 miles and will still qualify as a marathon for 50 states club, etc.”
Olson and Petersen thank everyone in advance for their understanding. The races will simply end where they began by the Fire Hall.
Peterson advised that the 26.2 mile marathon route has a total ascent of 537.91 feet and has a maximum elevation of 1,262.76 feet.
All finishers receive a T-shirt and medal.
On race day, Oct. 13, bibs can be picked up at the Luck Fire Hall starting at 6 a.m. - or on ?Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Parking is also available at the Fire Hall and attendants will direct folks where to park.
The marathon starts at 8 a.m., the half marathon starts at 9 a.m., the 5K starts at 9 a.m. and the relay at 9:15 a.m.
Participants may register online or mail their forms to:
PO Box 444
Luck, WI 54853
As for the relay, the registration price is per team and not for each individual. Teams can be co-ed and individual runners are welcome to run more than one leg of the relay.
It should be noted that there are significant discounts to be had for registering early.
September 20, 2018