COMMUNITY UPDATE – Attend Economic Growth Assessment Event Tonight, Wood County Health Needs Assessment Survey; United Way Months are here; Help a Child Succeed by being a Reading Mentor



Regional Economic Growth Assessment Event this Evening

As part of our ongoing effort to engage our residents in the economic development of our community, I extend to you a hearty invitation to participate in the roll-out this evening of the recently completed study on behalf of the Regional Economic Growth Initiative, Inc. (REGI). This event takes place at Wisconsin Rapids Area Middle School, 1921 27th Avenue South, at 6:00 p.m. (before the Packers Game!)

Diane Lupke, owner and founder of economic development consultancy Lupke and Associates, will present a detailed assessment of our region’s competitive assets, such as education, transportation, business environment and human resource. The study provides a firm foundation upon which to build a comprehensive economic development approach for the central Wisconsin region, focusing on the twin pillars of jobs and investment. The report also offers strategies to maximize the value of our economic development investments, address critical needs and enhance our competitiveness.

Because this initiative affects the future of all our citizens, we seek your input and reaction to ensure success. I look forward to seeing you in attendance and look forward to hearing your comments and questions regarding this ambitious regional approach to economic development.  I will report on the assessment in a future update.

Wood County Health Needs Assessment Survey

During my State of the City Address in February, I emphasized the theme of a Healthy Community. One characteristic of good health we identified was the active engagement of all our citizens. Now, each one of us has the opportunity to engage in a process that may literally improve our physical health.

The Wood County Health Department is completing a Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan for Wood County, to determine our community’s health priorities for the next three years.

We need your help. Please complete this short 5- to 10-minute survey by Wednesday, September 30.

Survey link: Community Health Needs Assessment 

By participating in this survey, you will help WCHD focus efforts on the best investment of resources to improve the health of residents of Wood County. Let’s work together to achieve a healthier community for all our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers!

September and October 2015 are United Way Months in Wisconsin

To recognize the launch of United Way annual campaigns throughout the state. Governor Scott Walker has officially designated September and October 2015 as United Way Months in Wisconsin. I am proud to join the Governor in recognizing the work of the United Way and encouraging Wisconsin Rapids area residents to support our United Way of Inner Wisconsin during this crucial time period.

IMG_9599Last year, United Way of Inner Wisconsin raised $619,688, providing funds to local programs that focus on the building blocks of a better life: education, income, health and safety net services. This year, United Way of Inner Wisconsin is raising funds to support 35 partner programs as well as the South Wood County Hunger Coalition, Supportive Community Health Services Roundtable, Learning for Life Reading Mentor Program and South Wood County Homelessness Coalition.

When a child succeeds in school, families are financially stable, and people have good health, we all win. So, it is truly heartening to see Wisconsin community members and businesses step up with passion, expertise, and resources to help create lasting change.

I urge all our residents to help to the extent you can, as financial contributors, volunteers or advocates. To learn more, please visit

Help a child succeed, as a Learning for Life Reading mentor volunteer

Now, more than ever, our children need the support of our community.  United Way of Inner Wisconsin’s Women’s Leadership Council is currently looking for 75-100 adults to help make a significant impact in the life of a child, as volunteers in the Learning for Life Reading mentoring program. This program helps kindergartners through third graders students in kindergarten through third grade to become great readers and succeed at life.  Volunteers can influence a life by “being there” for children students just one day per week for 45-60 minutes.

IMG_8088Participating schools for the 2015-16 school year are Mead Elementary Charter and Washington Elementary in Wisconsin Rapids, and Humke Elementary in Nekoosa.

Assist our dedicated teachers, and help make a difference.  Sign up to be Learning for Life Reading mentor at For more information, call 715-421-0390. 

Thank you for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink



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