Community Update – Healthcare Alignment, Heavy Metal Bus Tour and Stand Down Event

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Healthcare Provider Alignment

Last Friday, it was announced that Riverview Hospital Association and Aspirus Inc. would be pursuing an affiliation that would result in Aspirus acquiring ownership of Riverview Hospital, integrating both hospital systems- with a goal of a more efficient and comprehensive coordination of health care services. The new affiliation will also result in the endowment of a $100 million foundation to be used to invest in the health and wellness needs of Wisconsin Rapids for generations to come.

Friday’s announced intended affiliation will serve as a way to accomplish enhanced access to specialty care and unify the organizations’ goal of delivering an innovative approach to healthcare.  The announced collaboration is one that is a positive step for healthcare delivery in Wisconsin Rapids that will thrive in our area.  I commend Riverview and Aspirus for uniting to combine the best of what each entity has to offer while keeping the community’s health care needs a top priority. As was stated in the joint announcement, both organizations have much to be proud of in the support and commitment shown to the Wisconsin Rapids community. News article here.

In September, Aspirus received Council approval to annex property near their existing clinic, to achieve their announced expansion plans. During the approval process, questions were raised presenting an opportunity for the community to understand the role of city government. Is it city government’s role to decide whether market conditions exist to substantiate development? In this particular case, the items to be acted on were annexation, rezoning and a conditional use permit. Whether in the case of healthcare or any other opportunity that will come before the City, at the core, the decision is quasi judicial. Consistency in how business opportunities are considered by our City is critical. What conditions must be placed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public? What zoning standards exist?  Our City stands ready and willing to entertain every opportunity that comes before us.

Heavy Metal Bus Tour

Last Wednesday, to provide a capstone to the Governor’s proclaimed “Manufacturing Month” in Wisconsin,Heavy Metal Bus Tour Sophomore High School students from Nekoosa, Port Edwards, Assumption and Lincoln took part in the Heavy Metal Bus Tour, to get an inside look at our local manufacturing facilities and highlight the challenging and rewarding careers that manufacturing offers.  The day’s activities included tours of NewPage, Tweet/Garot, Fey Printing, and ECC Corrosion Inc. and learning more about the training opportunities for careers in manufacturing at Mid-State Technical College. This was a great opportunity for area employers and Mid-State Technical College to come together to benefit students by giving them exposure and awareness to careers in manufacturing.

Heavy Metal 2Offering a competitive annual salary, and having vacant positions that need to be filled through the retirement of baby boomers, the field of manufacturing is more vibrant and appealing than ever before.  In our area, manufacturing job vacancies exist that can provide engaging work and a rewarding career.  Seeing firsthand what jobs in manufacturing entail helps provide students with the opportunity to explore and learn more about the compelling jobs the manufacturing industry can offer them.

Rapids Mall Grand Re-Opening

rapids mall grand reopeningLast Monday, I joined Mall management and members of the community to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of the Rapids Mall.  Over the past couple months, you’ve probably observed various improvements to both the exterior and interior of the Mall.  Now under new management, new paint has been applied to the interior and exterior and a new website has launched.  Additionally, a new store has been announced and efforts for filling vacant locations is underway.  After working with management and ownership, these are just the first of many steps in improving and determining the future of the Rapids Mall.  Be sure to visit in the months ahead to see what is new!  A Business After Hours event taking place at the Rapids Mall is planned for next Tuesday, November 11, from 4:30-6:30PM.

“Wisconsin Rapids Stand Down” Event

This Wednesday, November 5 from 9:00AM-3:00PM, the Tomah VA Medical Center, Wisconsin Rapids VAStand Down Outpatient Clinic and the Wood County Veteran Service Office will be hosting the “Wisconsin Rapids Stand Down” event at the Rapids Mall.

The Stand Down event, designed to acquaint veterans with the many resources available to them, will cover opportunities including enrolling for VA benefits, employment programs, credit and financial counseling, help for substance abuse, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Flu shots will also be available to registered veterans who attend.

The State of Wisconsin has a long history of providing supporting benefits, programs and services to returning veterans, but many individuals aren’t aware of the help they are eligible for.  Wednesday’s Stand Down event will provide an excellent opportunity for all veterans to increase awareness about state or federal military benefits they may be eligible for.  For more information about the Wisconsin Rapids Stand Down event, please contact Rock Larson, Wood County CVSO, or visit the County Veterans Service Officer’s Association website.

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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