Our Riverbank’s next phase, Property Tax Bills Mailed Tomorrow, City’s Recycling Program Taking Shape

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Wisconsin Rapids Riverfront to Begin Next Phase

02_ph1_inviteI am happy to share more exciting news happening in Wisconsin Rapids. I invite you to join us and the Riverfront design team kick off final design for phase 1 and two of the Riverbank Project. This event will take place at the Hotel Mead Grand Ballroom C, Wednesday, December 14.

The public event will kick-off at 6 pm with a meet and greet reception, along with light refreshments for residents to see exhibit boards about the project.  The main event will be a presentation by Taewook Cha of Supermass Studio  at 6:30pm.

Taewook Cha of Supermass Studio will be providing the current state of the Riverbank project and a road map of the project.

Property Tax Bills to be Mailed Friday

The coming of year’s end reminds us of the blessings of families and holidays. We also are reminded of our shared commitment to ensuring that our community has the resources to meet the essential service needs of its citizens. Property taxes play a major role in fulfilling that commitment.

Friday, December 9, our Finance Department will mail property tax bills to Wisconsin Rapids property owners.

Payment deadlines are January 31, 2017 for full payment or the first Installment; April 30 for the second installment; and July 31 for the third Installment (balance).

To ensure that taxes are collected on time, the City enables residents multiple ways to conveniently make their payment:

  • Pay via the Internet by credit or debit card, or by an electronic check (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa).
  • Deposit payment in the drop box located outside of the Police Department at City Hall, 444 W. Grand Avenue.
  • Mail check(s) to the Finance Department-Tax Collection, 444 W Grand Avenue, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495. The envelope must be postmarked before the full-payment or installment dates of January 31, 2017, April 30, 2017 and July 31, 2017.
  • Pay in person at the Finance Department-Tax Collection on the Third Floor of City Hall, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

As we celebrate this holiday season, let us also celebrate our ability to work together to keep our community strong, and to build for a more prosperous future.

For more information on tax collection through the City, here.

City’s Recycling Program Taking Shape

containers1The long anticipated changes to our recycling program will be instituted soon! New recycling carts will be delivered as soon as tomorrow and Saturday with Monday’s East-side routes. It is anticipated that delivery will be completed by Friday, December 16th.

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Recycling Video

The carts will be dropped of at the curb of each residence and will be the responsibility of the homeowner to bring them to the house. If you are not going to be home that week, please make arrangements with a neighbor, friend or family member to take the cart up to the house.  If suitable arrangements cannot be made, call the City Garage to make alternative arrangements at 715-421-8218.

All recyclable items will be able to be co-mingled and placed inside the new recycling cart beginning January 9, 2017.   The recycling collection will remain as usual on a bi-weekly schedule.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Celebrate the Holidays at Historical Museum “Christmas Tree Walk”, Council on Beautification Spearheads Sharing of the Spirit Downtown, Legion Park Picnic Grove Begins Taking Shape

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 Celebrate the Holidays at Historical Museum “Christmas Tree Walk”

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-09-40-amThis is the time of the year when one of our area’s great treasures helps us to celebrate the holidays.

Starting this weekend, the South Wood County Historical Museum adds a festive note to the season, during its annual “Christmas Tree Walk” event. You can wrap yourself in an atmosphere of warmth and good cheer, on Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.; Friday, December 9, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, December 10, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

The museum will come alive with themed Christmas tree arrangements, holiday table decorations and special Christmas collections, provided by local organizations and individuals. Live vocal and instrumental music, and complimentary refreshments will also help to convey the holiday spirit.

This event also provides an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to experience the rich history of our community, through a wealth of exhibits highlighted by vintage displays, photos and documents.

So, take time with friends and family to take in “Christmas Tree Walk.” This event is sponsored by the South Wood County Historical Corporation, the Mayor’s Council on Beautification and through a grant from Incourage. The museum is located at 540 3rd Street South in Wisconsin Rapids. For additional weekend events, visit this link.

Council on Beautification Spearheads Sharing of the Spirit

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-32-33-amVisitors to our Downtown area this year have been able to experience even more of the season’s spirit than usual. Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor’s Council on Beautification and our local Yard & Garden Club, and generous donations from businesses and individuals, several streets in the heart of our City have been brightened by the addition of colorful floral balls – or, as they are often described, “kissing balls.”

Purchased from local tree farms, these hand-made floral creations were installed just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, on November 21. They can be viewed on 1st Street from East Jackson to Oak Street; 2nd Street from East Jackson to East Grand Avenue; and Oak Street from 2nd to 4th Streets.

According to Council on Beautification member Sue Wesley, the council’s desire to do something “special” during the holidays received a supportive “push” from a local merchant, and the (kissing) ball started rolling from there.

Thanks and appreciation also go out Public Works- Streets division staff, whose positive response to this idea affirms their ongoing efforts to make the City of Wisconsin Rapids a better place in which to live.

Legion Park Picnic Grove Plans Take Shape

dsc_7339Thanks to the generosity of businesspeople and private donors, fixed picnic tables and grills will soon be set up to create a scenic picnic grove at Legion Park. This is hopefully just the first step in an ambitious and creative proposal by Heart of Wisconsin 2014 Leadership Class members to strengthen an older neighborhood, while at the same time enhancing our riverfront trail system.

These community leaders viewed the former east-side pool site on 1st Street as a beautiful space that was woefully underutilized. After the group presented its plan to the Park and Recreation Commission, the Commission approved moving forward with the project and agreed to provide matching funds up to $11,000. At its November 2 meeting this month, the Commission approved matching funds for the purchase of park tables, in the amount of $9,206. The tables will be delivered this winter. A formal dedication will occur in Spring.

While the picnic grove is a welcome development for Legion Park and for the surrounding community, the Leadership Class envisioned even more for the area, with the support of the City. As a result, concrete pads will be poured for a patio stage/amphitheater in the southwest corner of the park, as a site for acoustic musical performances. This facility will be located inside the recreational trail. This concept is similar to park amenities found in Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park and Wausau waterfront.

The potential recreational opportunities offered by the Legion Park site, along with the recent opening of Le Chateau, The Manor Bed and Breakfast, at 840 1st Street North, should inspire all of us to consider how the living experience in a neighborhood can be enlivened and upgraded.

Thanks for reading!

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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“Rekindle the Spirit” with Holiday Parade and Celebration, Local Stakeholders Invited to Learn about “Investing in Healthy Communities”

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“Rekindle the Spirit” with Holiday Parade and Celebration

The holidays are upon us, and I invite one and all to again observe the season this Wednesday evening by celebrating a colorful Downtown Wisconsin Rapids tradition – the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce’s Rekindle the Spirit” Holiday Parade and CelebrationThis festive occasion offers something for every member of t
he family.

  • The fun begins at 5:45 p.m., when I lead the countdown of the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park.
  • The Holiday Parade immediately follows, featuring emergency services vehicles from Wisconsin Rapids and surrounding communities, area veterans, and floats representing local businesses and organizations. The procession starts from the JCPenney parking lot at Rapids Mall, makes its way across Grand Avenue Bridge and ends at 4th Street.screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-12-15-08-pm
  • After the parade, Hotel Mead welcomes everyone to enjoy its warm hospitality, highlighted by a visit with Santa, music, and hot chocolate and cookies in the Riverside Ballroom.
  • Then, cap off the evening at McMillan Memorial Library for a screening of the heartwarming movie Christmas Land, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Share the good cheer … join us this Wednesday for “Rekindle the Spirit”!

Local Stakeholders Invited to Learn about “Investing in Healthy Communities”

healthy-communitites-copyOur recent national election brought to the forefront significant concerns and questions about the health and economic well-being of our citizens and the communities in which they live. To this end, it is an honor that our City will soon host a daylong conference that takes on these challenges with fresh and innovative ideas.

Incourage and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are co-sponsoring “Investing in Healthy Communities: Ideas to Action for Health People, Places and Planet” on Wednesday, December 7. A range of leaders from the fields of banking, community development finance, philanthropy, health care, city planning and government will share leading practices in economic development, sustainability and investment.

A major focus will be on approaches to strengthening ties between urban and rural communities, and on the ways in which banks, community development financial institutions, philanthropy, and others are investing to promote across-the-board access to health and prosperity.

This daylong event takes place from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at Hotel Mead. Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics, Inc., University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and the Wood County Health Department are among the organizations serving as hosts.

Conference attendees can expect to:

  • Explore promising community development opportunities and sustainable, innovative financing strategies
  • Consider the interdependence of rural and urban communities
  • Learn how environmentally sustainable practices advance health and well-being
  • Grow and strengthen networks

Participate in collaborative action to realize healthy communities.  Since my “State of the City” address in March of 2015, I have encouraged our citizens to pursue a “healthy community” vision for Wisconsin Rapids, centered on fostering and nurturing an environment for business development and job growth; making city services more accessible and responsive to our citizens; and engaging citizens to help shape the culture and the future of our community. This conference echoes and expands upon those themes.

I urge stakeholders who play a role in forging our community’s economic development to attend this most timely event.

Register for the event, here.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Early Voting Available Tomorrow at City Hall, Busy Public Works Construction Season Comes to a Close, Every Kid in a Park

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Early Voting Available Tomorrow (Saturday) at City Hall

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The long campaign season is winding down, along [Deep Sigh]

City of Wisconsin residents still have time to cast early ballots early for the General Election with in-person absentee (early) voting available tomorrow, Saturday, November 5, at the City Clerk’s office on the first-floor of City Hall, at 444 West Grand Avenue.

Voters who opt for tradition should remember that Election Day is next Tuesday, November 8. Polling takes place from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., at these locations:

  • Grove Elementary School, 471 Grove Ave.
  • Howe Elementary School, 221 8th Street N.
  • Mead Elementary Charter School, 241 17th Avenue S.

Fo more information about the election process in the city please visit our City’s elections website page, here.

Whatever time you decide to vote, keep in mind that you must be or become a registered voter in the City of Wisconsin Rapids and have a valid form of identification.

Please exercise your precious American privilege to affirm the candidate of your choice!

“Every Kid in a Park” Initiative Expands Learning Opportunities for Young Students

park-logoThe time is now to plan a spring or summer park trip visit that can expand the traditional classroom for our young people.

To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, the White House, in partnership with the Federal Land Management agencies, launched the Every Kid in a Park” initiative. The immediate goal is to give 4th grade students across the country the opportunity to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

By visiting www.everykidinapark.gov, all kids in the 4th grade can obtain an Every Kid in a Park pass. This pass provides free access to national parks across the country throughout the 2016-2017 school year, until August 31, 2017. Teachers also can obtain the free passes for their students.

In support of Every Kid in a Park, the National Park Foundation is raising funds to help connect fourth graders to America’s public lands and waters through transportation grants, with a special focus on underserved and urban communities. With cutbacks in school funding for field trips, this strategic funding will help provide comprehensive access to all national parks.

As an educational “plus,” this initiative also helps schools and families arrange field trips and visits by providing trip-planning tools that highlight educational programs and tools that connect students, teachers, families and volunteers with public lands and waterways.

With support from the Every Kid in a Park initiative, and with encouragement from parents, teachers and all residents concerned about our children’s future, enabling 4th graders to visit, experience and enjoy their country’s spectacular outdoor places can help them to become lifelong learners, both inside and outside the classroom.

Information about our City parks, here.

Busy Public Works Construction Season Comes to a Close

Under the guidance of the City of Wisconsin Rapids Public Works Director, our Public Works Department staff are responsible for, among other tasks, coordinating short-and long-range planning and implementation of new construction, infrastructure management and replacements – all designed to enhance the safety, convenience and quality of life for our City, its residents and visitors.

As these professionals conclude a fruitful season of activity, two projects particularly spring to mind:

14729195_1252032748172107_4302444348616223397_n8th and Chestnut Streets Safety Enhancement – State-contracted crews recently completed safety improvements at the intersection of 8th Street South and Chestnut Street, which was the scene of 54 crashes between the years of 2003 and 2009. The new intersection layout provides dedicated left turn lanes that allow drivers to see oncoming traffic more clearly, as well as left turn signals that allow for a protected left turn phase.

For a video of the intersection please click, here.

A brief overview of 2016 Public Works projects includes:

  • April 6 – 24th Street South, 100-foot extension at Home Depot (1,050 feet north of County Highway W); completed in early June.
  • April 18 – Apple Street, from 12th Street South to 15th Street South; completed in early June.
  • June 6 – 1st Street North closed to through traffic from Spring Street to Poplar Street, with detours for 1st Street truck traffic along State Highway 54, Riverview Expressway, West Grand Avenue and West Jackson Street, and for all other local traffic along Pleasant view Drive, 5th Street North and Spring Street; completed in late October.
  • September 12 – 3rd Avenue North, from West Grand Avenue to Jackson Street, closed to through traffic due to street reconstruction; re-opened in November.
  • October 7 – 1st Street North, between Apricot Street and Lavigne Avenue, closed to through traffic for water main improvements and street resurfacing; re-opened in late October.
  • City Hall and Fireman’s Memorial – Parking lots at both sites were re-paved, striped and are now open to traffic.
  • 2016 Sewer Lining Project – Manhole rehabilitation work remains on 17th Avenue. Subcontractor Hydro-Klean will soon finish this work, after which the City can begin closing out the project with prime contractor Visu-Sewer.

We thank the residents of our community for their patience and understanding as our dedicated Public Works employees strive to ensure our City infrastructure replacements go as smoothly as possible making our city an attractive place to live and do business.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Wisconsin Rapids invests in new business development with Crowdfunding, 8th Street South and Chestnut Street Safety Improvements, Kids Trick-or-Treating Hours in Wisconsin Rapids

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Wisconsin Rapids Supports Wood County Crowdfunding Project for Business Creation and Expansion

As Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, I am proud to be a member of a recently formed team of Wood County leaders who are supporting Wood County as one of just a few areas in the country – and the only one in Wisconsin – to be selected as a demonstration site for the Rural Crowdfunding Project of The Local Crowd.

Crowdfunding is commonly used in times of tragedy or illness to raise funds but doing so for business growth and development in rural areas like ours is far less common. Crowdfunding empowers entrepreneurs to raise business capital through the Internet and social engagement. With the help of The Local Crowd, Wood County can give ambitious individuals a single platform upon which to showcase and share their brand, resources and plans with potential investors. This approach also enables entrepreneurs to be creative in offering investors more ways to contribute, ranging from financial investments in exchange for equity, to small-scale donations in exchange for a first-run product or other reward.

The Local Crowd model includes locally-based crowdfunding software, consulting and instruction – including webinars, seminars, workshops, retreats, in-person and online classes, and courses for groups and individuals. The Local Crowd taps into community involvement by working directly with local economic development groups – in this case, the North Central Community Action Program (NCCAP).

To qualify for the Rural Crowdfunding Project, NCCAP submitted a detailed proposal in which it committed to:

  • Establishing a virtual incubator at NCCAP offices;
  • Including Wood County leaders as team members;
  • Attending all trainings and provide research assistance;
  • Marketing the program via local Community Media (TV), public radio, print media and social media and;
  • Sharing experiences with local and state governmental bodies.

Our NCCAP team represents a wide swath of Wood County, from north to south. Joining me as team advisors are: Joe Ancel of the Clean Green Action Program; Mary Jo Carson, former Wisconsin Rapids mayor; Jenny Harms, of Incourage; Karen Olson, of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Service Corps of Retired Executives; and Ed Wagner, Wood County Board and Marshfield Council member. Carla Lenk, Jobs & Business Development coordinator for NCCAP, serves as team leader and liaison to The Local Crowd.

NCCAP deserves kudos for opening up this opportunity to local people seeking to start or expand their businesses. As Aaron Hagar of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has expressed it, “With the help of modern technology, crowdfunding is revolutionizing business finance for both small companies and small investors.”

NCCAP  Newsletter link: here. 

During the past several months, the Wisconsin Rapids area has made tangible forward steps toward our vision of a vibrant and prosperous community: private and public Downtown development projects; Riverfront revitalization grant assistance from the State of Wisconsin; Incourage’s Tribune Building project; and the growing interest of prospective Triangle Area developers, to name a few. The time is ripe for current and aspiring entrepreneurs to share in an exciting era for our community by growing or creating businesses right here. The Rural Crowdfunding Project offers another asset for fulfilling both community and individual aspirations for success.

8th Street South & Chestnut Street Safety Improvements in Place

I have often spoken about the need for a “healthy” community, from the standpoints of finance, sustainability and civic engagement. From the government administration standpoint, this vision extends to protecting our community’s literal health.

14729195_1252032748172107_4302444348616223397_nReflecting this spirit of concern and responsibility for our citizens’ welfare, the Wisconsin Rapids Engineering Department recently completed safety improvements at the intersection of 8th Street South and Chestnut Street, which has been the scene of a significant number of traffic accidents. The City has received both positive and negative responses from area motorists regarding these upgrades, but I feel the improvements will result in a safer driving experience for motorists.

Between 2003 and 2009, 54 crashes occurred at the intersection of 8th Street and Chestnut; most of these crashes resulted from left turns, and nearly 43 percent led to injuries. In 2012, the City Engineering Department received funding from the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation Highway Safety Improvement Program to help make this intersection safer by reducing left turn crashes.

The new intersection layout provides dedicated left turn lanes that allow drivers to see oncoming traffic more clearly and electronic left turn signals that allow for a protected left turn phase. Once the left turn arrow disappears, motorists can still make a left turn, but must yield to oncoming traffic.

We understand that these changes may take some getting used to. In the long run, however, the safety prospects for residents and visitors will be greatly enhanced.

For more information regarding this safety improvement, residents can call the City Engineering Department at 715-421-8205, or my office at 715-421-8216.

Kids Trick-or-Treating Hours in Wisconsin Rapids

1640053_moonlightparty_layered_landscapeOctober is here, and that means costumes, candy and fun. Make plans for your kids to safely enjoy the season in the Wisconsin Rapids.

Trick-or- treating hours are from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 31.  Trick-or-treating is a time for fun, but please make sure your kids are safe, by following a few tips:

  • Children should always go out trick or treating accompanied by a responsible adult. For a group of kids, parents should choose two or three adults to go along.
  • Stick to the times set by the community, and stick to subdivisions and areas with a lot of homes so your kids can get in as much trick or treating as possible.
  • Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
  • Parents with older kids should plan safe routes to know where their kids will be at all times. Make sure children are old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves, insist that they stay in a group and set a time for their return home. Make sure that they have a cell phone.
  • Make sure your children know to stay in populated areas and stay in well-lighted areas with lots of people around. Explain to them why it can be dangerous for kids not to do this.
  • Remind your children to look both ways before crossing streets.
  • Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you.
  • Instruct your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.
  • Motorists should be aware of the increased presence and activity of children, stay alert and drive carefully.
  • May you and your children celebrate Halloween in a safe and fun way!

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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City continues fight against drug abuse and distribution, Day Of Caring, Parks Department Prepares for Winter Season

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Drug Task Force on the Front Line in Stemming Drug Abuse

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) State Health Officer recently issued a Public Health Advisory that contained alarming information: In 2015 – for the second year in a row – more than 600 people in the State of Wisconsin died from opioid-related causes. These numbers capped a dramatic increase in our state’s opioid-related deaths, which tripled from 2003 to 2013, from 194 to 588. More people in Wisconsin die from drug overdose than from breast cancer, colon cancer, firearms, HIV, influenza, motor vehicle crashes or suicide.

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Unfortunately, the City of Wisconsin Rapids and surrounding communities have not escaped the effects of this health crisis. Achieving measurable progress in combating the crisis requires work in a comprehensive way. In this update, I’d like to share one of the ways the City is acting – in the area of law enforcement.

The City Council and I prioritized the investment in our Police Department’s two dedicated detectives to follow up and develop leads on drug use in Wisconsin Rapids. Recently, the Legacy Foundation and City partnered to hire a third individual to join the detective bureau, through a hybrid patrol/drug detective position that, will perform investigative and treatment support.

13876470_1075472879155647_5309836456410249255_nThese detectives also represent our City as members of the Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force. This multi-county, multi-agency initiative has had a significant impact on drug arrests and the availability of illicit substances.

The Drug Task Force comprises the Wood, Waushara, Waupaca, Portage, Juneau, Marquette, Green Lake and Adams County sheriff’s departments; and the Wisconsin Rapids, Waupaca, Stevens Point, Marshfield, Grand Rapids and Berlin police departments. We are proud to be a participating municipality in this team effort.

Of course, as in so many circumstances involving the overall welfare of the entire community, “it takes a village.” If you have any information about illegal drug activity, you can help by calling the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department at 715-423-4444, or a detective at 715-421-6216.

You can also provide anonymous tips to Wood County Crime Stoppers by using the secure online form, sending a text message or calling 1-877-325-STOP (1-877-325-7867). Text your tip to 274637 and start your message with WCCS. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. You may also call the Wisconsin Drug Hotline at 1-800-622-DRUG.

As a City, we are committed to continuing our fight against drug abuse and distribution. Taking a proactive approach to solving this problem is essential to protecting and nurturing the overall health and welfare of citizens in our community. In future updates, I will share other ways we are applying resources and effort to combat this serious health situation.

Share Your Spirit of Charity During Day of Caring

If you care, share … your time and spirit of giving, tomorrow Saturday, October 22. That is when United Way of Inner Wisconsin calls on community members to come together to provide needed services for its annual Day of Caring. Students, families, co-workers, church groups, service organizations and individuals are all welcome to rake a yard or two for our local elderly and disabled neighbors.

Do you need your yard raked?

  • If you are unable to physically rake your yard, and cannot afford to pay for the service, dial 2-1-1 to register.


    day-of-caringWe need groups of volunteers who care about the community to provide needed services to our local elderly and disabled neighbors! We are looking for:

    • STUDENTS:  Get a group of friends together to volunteer and have fun!
    • FAMILIES:  Parents – show your kids the value of volunteering… volunteer together as a family!
    • CO-WORKERS:  If your company is having a United Way campaign, this is a great way to incorporate volunteering!
    • CHURCH GROUPS
    • SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
    • INDIVIDUALS: We will pair you with other volunteers so you can make new friends!

The day starts at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast at the Grand Rapids Lion’s Club. You will then receive your assignment(s) as part of a group of four or five people per yard. Please provide your own transportation, rakes and gloves. Homeowners provide garbage bags. All volunteers receive a free t-shirt.

Show that you care: To sign up or for more information, call Day of Caring Coordinator Amy Fluno at 715-421-0390, or send an email to amy@uwiw.org.

Parks Department Prepares for Winter Season

“Winter is coming” … but that does not mean our Parks & Recreation Department staff get a break.

As temperatures in the area begin to dip below freezing, Parks and Recreation is working hard to winterize bathrooms and sprinkler systems throughout the city. To avoid the possibility of freezing water, bathrooms in local parks were closed October 14.

Parks & Recreation staff also has a full checklist of projects they have either completed or will complete in coming weeks, including:

  • Blowing out and winterizing all systems and adding antifreeze where necessary;
  • Winterizing and cleaning buildings;
  • Removing water meters;
  • Preparing heating systems for startup; and
  • Removing volleyball and tennis nets.

In addition, leaf pickup will take place October 17-21 and October 31-November 4; final mowing of green areas, within the next two weeks; brush pickup, October 24-28; and skate park shutdown by mid November.

Looking further ahead, parking lots will be graded for low-board hockey installation;

West Side Christmas decoration platforms will be installed and decorations inspected; and low-hanging tree branches on plow routes will be trimmed.

The City of Wisconsin Rapids is most fortunate to have this dedicated group of workers, who keep our public spaces attractive and accessible throughout the year.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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“Run with the Cops”, Join in Public Power Week Celebration at WWLC, “Dancing for a Cause”

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Step Up and “Run with the Cops” on Behalf of Special Olympics

Tommorrow, the Wisconsin Rapids area can enjoy the fall color and temperatures with a fun recreational opportunity for ‘good’ – join Wisconsin Rapids police officers for the Run with the Cops 5K Run/Walk and Kids’ Run

Local law enforcement officers and Special Olympics Wisconsin host this event, with proceeds helping local athletes with intellectual disabilities train and compete in sports year-round. Activities begin at 5:30 p.m., outside the Centralia Center at 220 Third Avenue South.

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Kids 12 years old and younger can participate in the half-mile run with McGruff the Crime Dog. Then, flashing police vehicle lights will illuminate the 5K adult run/walk route. Visitors also can try on SWAT gear, meet K9 officers and sit behind the wheel of a squad car

Last year, communities raised more than $65,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin. You can sign up online and donate to a participant of your choice, or collect pledges from family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, businesses and more for your own run/walk. Cash and check donations also are accepted.

This year, I encourage our community’s runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to step up on behalf of this worthy cause.

  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – On-site registration & packet pick-up
  • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Law Enforcement Vehicle Display, a fun opportunity for kiddos! Try on SWAT gear, tour a police command center, police cars, meet the local K9s and more!
  • 6:30 p.m. – Kid’s Dash with the Cops and Ace the K9!
  • 7:30 p.m. – 5K Run/Walk

Join in Public Power Week Celebration at Water Works & Lighting Commission

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-10-20-13-amI invite you to join us in celebrating Public Power Week this Thursday, from 3:00-7:00 p.m., at our Wisconsin Rapids Water Works & Lighting  (WWLC) facility at 221 16th Street South. Event highlights include gift certificate drawings, giveaways, bucket truck rides, tours of the water filter plant, and complimentary food and beverages.

Our WWLC celebration is part of an annual national observance to remind customers and stakeholders about the “hometown” advantages that community-owned public power electric utilities offer. WWLC is one of about 2,000 such utilities across the country, which serve 48 million Americans. WWLC holds down household and business costs with its not-for-profit rates, and then puts much of its revenue right back into the community in support of utility infrastructure reinvestment, local programs and services, such as investments in renewable energy projects.

When it comes to service, WWLC has a proven track record of keeping the power on and/or restoring it as soon as possible.

WWLC also contributes to the economic vitality of our community by providing jobs, purchasing locally, and contributing payments to our City coffers.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate and express appreciation for everything that public power does for us.

Put Your Best Foot Forward – Support “Dancing for a Cause”

Our community is fortunate to have a strong base of charitable and service organizations that nurture our culture of compassion and concern. One such organization, Wisconsin Rapids Sunrise Rotary Club, currently is building upon that tradition in a unique fashion, with its “Dancing for a Cause” campaign.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-2-38-03-pmThrough next Friday, October 14, you can go out and vote for dancing teams putting on performances online to raise money for community causes, and for Sunrise Rotary programs and services.

The campaign culminates at the “Dancing for a Cause” Dinner/Dance event being held on Friday, October 14, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the Hotel Mead. Guests can enjoy a cash bar, Little Italy buffet, raffles, dancing to the Downtowners Band (Fond du Lac} and continued voting for the winning dance team. Cost is $50 per person.

Funds raised will go directly to charities selected by the dance teams, with a share of net proceeds to support Rotary projects and new initiatives.

Wisconsin Rapids Sunrise and Noon Rotary Clubs place special emphasis on youth, with funds used for charitable programs within the community, youth exchange programs and similar projects. They are part of a world fellowship of business and professional persons united by the motto, “Service Above Self.”

Tickets for the “Dancing for a Cause” Dinner/Dance are available online, and from any Sunrise Rotary member. Purchase by Friday, October 7th!  Either (or both!) ways, contributing is an excellent way to thank them for their time, talent and energy on behalf of great community causes.

For more information, contact: mary_jo_green@hotmail.com.

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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