Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
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In a March 17 letter to supporters Rep. Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson, said she will announce Friday that she is retiring from the Wisconsin Assembly. Rhoades, 58, has represented the 30th Assembly District for the past 12 years. Her current two-year term ends Dec. 31. She said she intends to fill out the term. "Our lives come in phases, and it's time to move on to the next phase now," said Rhoades in a phone interview Thursday morning.
The Pierce County Board is scheduled to vote next Tuesday on giving raises to the clerk of court and sheriff when their new terms begin next year. The resolution proposes giving the sheriff 2.5 percent increases on Jan. 1 of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The sheriff's current salary is $68,195 and would increase to $75,275 in 2014. The proposed resolution would raise the clerk of court's pay from $51,128 this year to $53,974 in 2011, an increase of $2,846 or about 5.6 percent. The increases for the next three years of the term would be 2.5 percent.
Pierce County's drive for countywide high-speed internet is still headed forward, but it's made a little change in course. Clearwire, a nationwide wireless internet service provider, recently contacted the county about partnering on the project and will be a co-applicant when Pierce applies for a federal grant, Brad Roy said.
Charges were filed last week against a Hammond woman accused of stealing $3,705 from a River Falls business while she worked there in early 2009. Kimberly A. Arnold, 27, allegedly made unauthorized debit card charges and wrote unauthorized checks from accounts belonging to Quality Computer Services, 408 Kennedy St. She faces one felony count of theft in a business setting and is scheduled to make her first appearance in Pierce County Court at 10 a.m.
Even after the bank bought the property, area development companies and a North Hudson man owe over $7.2 million in four foreclosure judgments. St. Croix County Judge Edward Vlack found the $10 million bid by Citizens State Bank, 375 Stageline Road, Hudson, represented fair values in the foreclosure sales. Last week the bank docketed judgments totaling $7,240,247 against BrightKeys Real Estate LLC, BrightKeys Development Corporation, BrightKeys Housing Partners LP, ConSpec Corporation and C.R.
Twenty people, representing 11 households, have filed a lawsuit against Pierce County and its administrators, claiming blasting at the CTH VV quarry has destroyed the value of their houses. The lawsuit, prepared by attorney Warren Lee Brandt, asks for damages equal to the fair market value of the houses. The quarry--which produces rock and sand for road projects--is in the Town of Trenton.
Nearly two years after the former administrative coordinator resigned, Pierce County is looking to hire a new one. At the recommendation of a study committee, the county will begin advertising for a fulltime administrative coordinator to replace Curt Kephart, who resigned in May 2008.
In the end, Pierce County District Attorney John O'Boyle's 11th hour trip to Madison to assure his place on the ballot for Pierce County judge didn't pay off. O'Boyle was by far the low vote-getter in Tuesday's primary. Instead, two private practice lawyers, Joe Boles of River Falls and Bob Loberg of Ellsworth, will face off in the April 6 general election. Preliminary numbers reported by municipal clerks show Boles received 2,026 votes; Loberg, 1,759; and O'Boyle, 327. Official figures will be posted on Pierce County's website after the Board of Canvassers review election results Feb.
With just five months to go, Pierce County organizers are growing confident they'll be ready to smoothly host the tens of thousands of visitors expected at Farm Technology Days (FTD). From finances to food to displays, plans are coming together, said Pierce FTD Executive Committee Chairman Mel Pittman and Executive Secretary Greg Andrews last week. As many as 80,000 guests and 800 exhibitors are expected to attend the July 20-22 event at the Roger and Beverly Peterson Farm. The annual statewide outdoor show moves to a different county each year.
On a 13-3 vote Tuesday, the Pierce County Board gave its 52 non-union department heads, managers and supervisors 2.5 percent raises. "It seems to me it's a bad time to dish out money now," protested Supervisor John Kucinski, Town of River Falls, one of three to vote no. While the county has good employees, with a weak economy, falling home values, higher taxes, failing businesses and high unemployment, taxpayers can't afford to give public employees raises, he said. The 2010 cost of the raises and associated benefits for the 52 workers is $91,204. "The private sector's really hurting.