Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
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Those who expect large population or economic growth in St. Croix County after the new Stillwater bridge opens in 2016 are probably in for disappointment, according to a new study. Study results were presented to the St. Croix County Board last week by Matt Kures of UW-Extension’s Center for Community and Economic Development in Madison and Tom Gillaspy, former state demographer for Minnesota and now owner of Gillaspy Demographics in Stillwater, Minn. These are some of their conclusions: — While for decades, St.
Illegal drug use and the consequences are major problems facing their departments, said the St. Croix County medical examiner and sheriff as they made their annual reports to the County Board on Tuesday, Dec. 2. “Two-thirds of our unnatural deaths are due to drug addiction and drug-related (causes),” said Medical Examiner Patty Schachtner, who called the problem “huge.” “We’ve got an issue in St. Croix County with prescription drugs, with heroin,” agreed Sheriff John Shilts as he gave his report.
During their Dec. 2 meeting, St. Croix County supervisors approved a land exchange with Somerset and asked the state for a waiver to make it easier for small vendors to contract with the county. County Board members approved transferring 9.7 acres to the Village of Somerset in exchange for five acres of village-owned land. Both parcels are in the same area. The village wants the land for the expansion of the business, the Big Bad Toy Store. “It’s a win, win, win situation,” said County Highway Commissioner Tim Ramberg.
Voters in Wisconsin’s Seventh Congressional District will choose Nov. 4 between Sean Duffy, the Republican who has represented the district for one term and Kelly Westlund, a Democrat, businesswoman and former Ashland City Council member. Here are the candidates’ responses to two questions: What are the most important issues in your race, and how do you plan to address them? Duffy: Jobs and the economy remain the number one issue on the minds of the 7th District’s hardworking middle class families.
Despite concern that the architect’s estimates are substantially higher than the amount the board intends to spend, the St.
As St. Croix County officials dig into their 2015 budget work, Administration Committee members were told last week that preliminary budget requests are significantly higher than the county can afford. While County Administrator Pat Thompson was reluctant to put a number to the gap between requests and revenue, Finance Director Tabatha Hansen laid it on the line: “It’s north of $3 million.” At this point revenues are expected to be $68 million, and budget requests total $71 million. A large portion of the increase is for new positions the County Board added this summer, said Thompson.
Since Jan. 1, a St. Croix County assistant district attorney has filed eight civil court cases, attempting to claim over $18,500 in cash, three printers and an automobile seized during drug arrests. ADA Amber Hahn, who advises the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force, said officers were frustrated at arresting dealers, helping convict them and then seeing them walk away with cash apparently earned selling drugs – even though the offenders still owed fines or restitution. “Once the case was closed, they were basically handing the money back over to the drug dealer,” said Hahn.
Former St. Croix Central Superintendent Dan Woll was injured Sunday in a bike racing incident that will claim the life of a retired Eau Claire teacher. Woll, a 65-year-old River Falls resident, also previously served as superintendent in the Menomonie School District. According to the Eau Claire Leader Telegram, Woll saw Cheri Uelmen’s crash and flipped his own bicycle.
Last week, after months of work by staff and supervisors, the St. Croix County Board adopted an employee handbook that includes more checks and balances and addresses several points that concerned workers. “Ultimately it’s the County Board that makes the policy decision on how the county will treat its employees,” said Corporation Counsel Scott Cox. He said the revisions provide more accountability and balance of power and are a good start in refining the handbook. “I believe it is balanced, it is appropriate,” said County Administrator Pat Thompson.