Community Update: Young Professionals highlight local opportunity, Join Wisconsin Rapids Spring Clean 2.0 on May 13

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Young Professionals highlight local opportunity

Wisconsin Rapids will join 26 other communities throughout the State of Wisconsin to focus on the future of our community, during Young Professionals Week, April 20-28.

Current , the vibrant Young Professionals organization in Wisconsin Rapids, invites area professionals of all ages and career stages to share experiences, viewpoints and aspirations through a variety of interactive learning and social events:

  • Multi Millions: Community Investment Panel will run from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, at the Wisconsin Rapids Elks Club, 430 W. Jackson Street. Panelists representing Aspirus Riverview Hospital & Clinics, South Wood County YMCA, Wisconsin Rapids Area Boys & Girls Club, Incourage and the City of Wisconsin Rapids will provide an overview and answer questions about the multi-million dollar projects happening in our City.
  • Workout Wednesday, on Wednesday, April 25, will feature a morning yoga class at 7 a.m. and an evening workout at 7 p.m. at Limitless Bootcamp, 3110 48th Street N. in Grand Rapids.

YPWeek highlights the range of opportunities that are possible in our area and how young professionals can help to bring that future to life. I join with Current in inviting you to continue joining in to grow a sustainable environment for civic engagement and economic growth.

Join Wisconsin Rapids Spring Clean 2.0 on May 13

The City of Wisconsin Rapids and Current, our local Young Professionals organization, once again urge all residents, young and old, to help beautify our City’s neighborhoods, during the second annual Spring Clean event.

File photo – In 2017 the event took place in Downtown Wisconsin Rapids, but this year the event will stage outside Sportsman’s Pub & Grille, 4810 Eighth Street S.

Meet us this Sunday, May 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., outside Sportsman’s Pub & Grille, 4810 Eighth Street S., for a group photo and drink specials. Location assignments, garbage bags and gloves will be provided.

This is truly a total community event, for young and old. Adults and minors  can register to pitch in and help.

Do your part for to put a good “face” on our community … join Spring Clean 2.0!​

Thanks for reading,

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Dispose of outdated/unwanted medications at Drug Take-Back Event, Healthy Family Fun Night, Dispatch Center telecommunication on front line of keeping citizens safe

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Dispose of outdated/unwanted medications at Drug Take-Back Event

Do you have prescription drugs that are outdated, no longer needed and/or could be abused by someone in your home?

Bag up your unneeded medications, and bring them to the Prescription Drug Take-Back Event, this Friday, April 20, at the Wisconsin Rapids Copps, 900 E. Riverview Expressway.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can dispose of a wide variety of controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, creams, inhalers, liquids, non-aerosol sprays, ointments, patches, pet medications and vials.

For more information, call the Wood County Health Department at 715-421-8923.

And, don’t forget to join thousands of other Wisconsinites next week in the battle against substance abuse, during Dose of Reality Week, April 22-29. Together, as a community, let’s learn how we help to prevent opioid, narcotic, and prescription painkiller abuse and addiction.

Healthy Family Fun Night

Recognizing and encouraging our local efforts to improve overall community health and well-being is very important for our community to prosper.  Please join the Healthy People Wood County, the Boys and Girls Club of Wisconsin Rapids, and UW-Stevens Point who are hosting a community “Healthy Family Night” Thursday, April 19 from 5-6:30pm held at the former Pitsch Elementary School site.

There is no cost to attend the event and a free meal is provided to families who attend the event along with fun activities and a raffle to win a prize!

The night will include activities such as:

  • Family Fun Boot Camp
  • Mushroom Tag
  • Family Fun Yoga
  • Healthy Family Dinners on a Budget
  • How to Read a Nutrition Label

In addition to offering a fun night of programming, the group is looking for input through a short survey questions

Please help spread the word about this  event to parents, organizational staff, and other stakeholders, it would be much appreciated.   For more information visit their Facebook Event Page.

Dispatch Center telecommunication on front line of keeping citizens safe

Photo submitted – Wood County Dispatch Center workers take calls.

This past week has been highlighted by the observance of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. The City of Wisconsin Rapids recognizes all the highly skilled professionals who provide life-saving assistance to citizens and emergency responders 24/7, and throughout the year.

Our law enforcement and other emergency dispatchers work behind the scenes to help police, firefighters and medical professionals coordinate timely responses to an array of urgent – and sometimes, life-threatening  – situations. Employing advanced training and cutting-edge technologies, these dedicated individuals help to alleviate injuries, minimize property damage and save lives.

Since last August, the Wood County Dispatch Center has operated out of renovated facilities on the second floor of the County Courthouse here in Wisconsin Rapids. Twenty employees rotate on two-hour shifts across six terminals, taking calls from all over Wood County. Calls from residents of Wisconsin Rapids total some 25,000 per year – a number that indicates the crucial role safety telecommunicators play in our daily lives.

Dispatch Center Supervisor Lori Heideman invites the public to come in to see the new, upgraded facility. For more information about how Wood County Dispatch works for you, contact Lori at 715-421-8668.

Thanks for reading!

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Observe “Work Zone Awareness” as construction season proceeds, Beautify your neighborhood through the Community Tree Sale, Arbor Day is near – plant a tree, leave a legacy

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Observe “Work Zone Awareness” as construction season proceeds

Photo by Travis Plowman/WRCM – When driving locally or statewide, drivers are asked to stay alert in work areas.

Will Spring arrive so we can transition our Public Works activities?! Of course it will, but when?!

April 9 to 13 has been designated Work Zone Awareness Week in Wisconsin. This event is designed to prevent traffic crashes and injuries in construction and maintenance areas along Wisconsin’s roadways.

Whether driving locally or statewide, drivers are asked to stay alert in work areas.  As the spring thaw begins, our City’s Public Works department are out filling potholes, removing sand from city roads, picking up brush and more, so please slow down in the work areas to keep our workers safe.

The week long event includes awarenesses of local municipal projects, utility work and emergency response situations, as well as major highway construction and rolling maintenance operations.  

How can you help?

  • Be especially cautious while driving in areas where workers are present;
  • Eliminate distractions such as the temptation to grab your phone;
  • Obey posted speed limits; and
  • Be courteous and patient.

More tips and information are available here.

Whether we’re working, walking or driving in a work zone, everyone wants to make it home safe at night. Let’s work together to be safe!

Beautify your neighborhood through the Community Tree Sale

Spring is officially here despite the scene outside portraying a wintery look; and the Mayor’s Council on Beautification’s Annual Community Tree Sale is under way.

Through Monday, May 7, you can place an order for your property … or, you can generously donate a tree to spruce up city property. You can also order in honor of or remembrance of a special loved one – memorial plaques are available at additional cost. Money from the sale helps to fund more beautification projects for the city.

You can order from among four species of three- to ten-foot bare root trees for $65 apiece:

  • Autumn Blaze Maple – Rapid growth in an upright manner, drought tolerance and orange-red fall color; grows to 50’-60’x40’.
  • Donald Wyman Crabapple Upright in youth and rounds into maturity, with glossy green foliage and white flowers that give way to small, red fruit; 20’x20’.
  • Profusion Crabapple Upright, spreading crabapple features abundant, purple-red flowers with pink centers; purple foliage fades to bronze-green; 18’-24’x25’.
  • Whitespire Birch Displays chalk-white bark and a hardy nature that is tolerant of most soil conditions and considered pest resistant; grows to 30’-40’x20’.

Pick-up takes place at the City Garage in mid May.

For more information, or to place an order, call Sue Winch at 715-213-1747 or e-mail swinch9@gmail.com.

Arbor Day is near – plant a tree, leave a legacy

City file photo- Celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree.

It was in 1872, a Nebraska newspaper editor and, later, Secretary of Agriculture J. Sterling Morton suggested setting aside a special day for tree planting. That idea is now more important than ever. In addition to adding value to your home, trees regulate the temperature of your neighborhood, and provide food for wildlife.

Arbor Day takes place this year on Friday, April 27. Here are a few suggestions for commemorating the day:

  • Plant a tree;
  • Choose a public park or downtown area to clean up;
  • Hold an Arbor Day block party; and
  • Organize a Big Tree or Oldest Tree search within your community.

You can find other ideas by checking the Arbor Day Foundation website.

Together, let’s work to make our community cleaner and greener. Plant a tree, and watch it grow!

Thank you for reading.

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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Community Update: Thank you; Support your community – be a volunteer; Opportunity Zone designation offers investment potential

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Thank you!

Despite a historic snowfall strongly impacting voter turnout, a core number of voters were undeterred in exercising their right to vote Tuesday. I am deeply grateful to be able to continue serving you- the residents for another term! Our work continues in supporting a pro-business environment to promote new investments in business and job growth, to improve neighborhoods, and to bring about world-class community facilities. I look forward to working with residents, Staff and the City Council to ‘make it happen’.

Support your community – be a volunteer

One of the rewards of being Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids is the opportunity to see firsthand the active engagement of our residents in activities and initiatives designed to make our city a better place in which to live, work and play. “Right now” is always the ideal time to share your talent and support as a volunteer.

If you’re looking to volunteer check out the current opportunities, here.

To find your volunteer match, call 715-421-0390 or search, here.

Volunteering is great way to become engaged in our community and help others in need.

In recognition of volunteers, I will be attending the Volunteer Recognition Breakfast at the Hotel Mead on Tuesday, April, 17.  If you would like to attend please register by April 10, 2018, here, or call 715-421-0390.

In addition, opportunities abound for civic-minded individuals as part of a Mayor’s Council. Members of he Mayor’s Beautification Council, for example, currently are putting together working with City officials on the Streetscape proposal incorporated into the East Grand Avenue reconstruction plan; and planning for the summer hanging basket program.

Also, Youth Council members have solicited community input contributing to the Municipal Zoo Master Plan and maintaining their fundraising efforts for the Regional Aquatic Center at Witter Field.

Again, the time is always right help build a stronger and more vibrant community. Step forward as an individual, or enlist your family, friends, co-workers or social group. However you choose to take action, you inspire and create change for the better.

Opportunity Zone approval offers investor potential for City

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A portion of the area designated (River-west; W. Grand Ave- south)

Thanks to Governor Walker and State of Wisconsin economic development officials, the City of Wisconsin Rapids has an enhanced opportunity to secure redevelopment investments.

After a thorough review process, the State on March 21st, selected a low-income census tract in the Wisconsin Rapids area to be designated as an “Opportunity Zone.” The local tract was included in a list of areas statewide that the Governor sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

This new economic development initiative was included in the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage economic growth in low-income census tracts across the country. The Opportunity Zones program gives investors the chance to reduce their capital gains tax when they invest in distressed parts of the country.

Once approved, the Opportunity Zone designation will remain in place for 10 years, if necessary.

The Department of Treasury must complete certification of Opportunity Zones within 30 days of receipt of a nomination from a governor. Thus, implementation of the program could begin as early as the fourth quarter of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019.

We express gratitude to State officials for working with us to designate a qualifying area of Wisconsin Rapids for this exciting investment opportunity. Special recognition also goes to U.S. Representative Ron Kind, who co-sponsored the Opportunity Zone concept in Congress.

We continue to pursue every available investment tool available to grow our economy and create jobs for our residents.

Thank you for reading.

Mayor Zach Vruwink

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