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At its Tuesday, Sept. 22, meeting, the St. Croix County Board will be asked to authorize a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant loan for Engineered Propulsion Systems, New Richmond. The company, which intends to build a new diesel engine for airplanes and helicopters, has applied to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce for the federally funded grant. The company has patented a light-weight flat V-8 engine and plans to bring the fuel-efficient diesel engine into production.
Arguing for fairness and that more money would mean more resources for people looking for jobs or inexpensive entertainment, librarians are asking St. Croix County to raise its library tax. The county's finance committee listened to discussion last week but took no action and will instead forward the matter to the full St. Croix County Board during a preliminary 2010 budget presentation Sept.
Although more than a third of them won't be back, St. Croix County supervisors were asked last week to give serious thought to how they believe the new board should be organized. Last fall county residents voted to cut the number of county board members from 31 to 19. A redistricting plan has been developed, and when board candidates file for the 2010 spring election, they will run for 12 fewer seats. The Administration Committee has been charged with developing proposals to restructure board committees.
Participants in a planning session for St. Croix County's nursing home intend for it to become self-sufficient by 2015 and to diversify its services to meet changing needs. The big first step, reported Nursing Home Administrator Frank Robinson on Tuesday, will be to cut $300,000 from the amount the facility receives annually from the county property tax levy.
In a July 21 decision, the District III Court of Appeals ordered that the Central St. Croix Rod and Gun Club's firing range, south of Baldwin, be permanently closed. In May 2006, Barry Serier and other neighbors sued the club, which operated several shooting ranges on 11 acres it owns in the Town of Eau Galle. The neighbors complained they had experienced many near misses with stray bullets and that their buildings had been hit by bullets.
In a June 17 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found a Baldwin-Woodville teacher is indeed entitled to back pay after an error placed her on the wrong lane of the salary schedule. This ruling reverses a District III Court of Appeals decision in a lawsuit filed by the West Central Education Association on behalf of Christine Johnson. The appeals court had ruled that the Baldwin-Woodville School District didn't owe Johnson back pay because she filed her grievance too late. According to background in the Supreme Court decision, Johnson was hired as a Baldwin-Woodville teacher in fall 2002.
The Wisconsin Legislature is apparently close to adopting a statewide public indoor smoking ban. The measure, which would prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars, sports arenas and most other workplaces, was approved by a 5-2 vote of the Senate Health Committee and by an 11-2 vote of the Assembly Health and Healthcare Reform Committee Friday. Both houses of the Legislature are expected to vote this week on the bill, which would take effect July 5, 2010. Randy Calleja, owner of Ready Randy's Sports Bar & Grill, said the move isn't a surprise.
Just as repair work on the Government Center roof got underway, St. Croix County supervisors were advised last week that the roof on another county building needs replacing. Facilities Manager Art Tobin said he isn't asking for money to repair the roof on the Agricultural Services and Education Center in Baldwin now, but suggested the work be done next year. "This isn't going to last three (years)," said Tobin. "You got 11 years out of those shingles. That's terrible," commented County Board Chairman Roger Rebholz.
Fifty-three candidates met the May 5 deadline to apply for the position of St. Croix County treasurer. The County Board voted last month to take applications and appoint a treasurer to fill out the term of Cheryl Slind, who is leaving May 29 to take a job with a private software company. Slind, who has been treasurer for six years, began a new term Jan. 1. The person appointed to replace her will hold the job until Dec. 31, 2012, but would have to be elected by citizens to serve longer than that. A review panel will meet at 10 a.m.
St. Croix County, its insurer and a company that provided medical services to inmates have agreed to pay $1 million to the family of a 28-year-old man who died in jail. An out-of-court settlement was reached with the family of Brandon Lee Hessler, New Richmond, who died March 18, 2007, three days after being booked into the county jail in Hudson. U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb approved the agreement last Thursday. The settlement calls for St. Croix County and Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company to pay $812,500 and for Health Professionals Ltd.