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Some beneficiaries of the 2007 Pierce County Gift Box Program will see a difference in how the program is delivered. Coordinator Felicia Sather believes they will appreciate the change. The Board of Directors of the Hunger Prevention Council of Pierce County, which has coordinated Gift Box for the past few years, has also decided it needs to focus on its mission to reduce hunger and inadequate nutrition. Therefore, another organization is needed to coordinate the 2008 Christmas program. Each year Gift Box accepts applications from about 220 needy families.
"Slow down for winter conditions," warns the Pierce County Highway Department's patrol superintendent. "Most winter accidents are caused by going too fast for conditions," said Al Thoner, advising that highway hazards come on fast. He urged drivers to be particularly cautious after snow falls. "Give way to any snow emergency equipment (that is) plowing snow," said Thoner.
Like a family banking money for lean times it's been told will come, Pierce County's finance committee voted Monday night to raise the 2008 property tax levy to the maximum allowed by the state. The proposal, which puts $737,108 in a "risk management" fund, will go to the full County Board Nov. 13. Until Oct. 26, the county was looking at a 2008 mill rate of 4.33, which would have resulted in a county tax of roughly $866 on a $200,000 house.
When property tax bills arrive in the mail later this year, Ellsworth Supt. Dan Kaler asks district residents not to panic at the school levy but to look at the bottom line. While the school levy is higher than past years, it will be reduced by a school tax credit that will show up on individual tax bills. "The mill rate doesn't reflect the fact that there is also a tax credit," said Kaler.
Phyllis Beastrom, who has worked 18 years in the office, is Pierce County's new treasurer. Her appointment was approved by a unanimous vote of the county board Tuesday. Beastrom was one of 12 applicants and one of three interviewed for the job being vacated by Paula Knutson, who took office in January. Citing stress and health problems, Knutson is resigning effective this Wednesday. Beastrom has been county property tax lister since July 1989. In that job, she worked with legal descriptions, real estate and personal property assessments and the taxation process.
A series of connections gave a Ugandan veterinarian a first-hand view of a Pierce County dairy farm last week. The veterinarian, Daniel Ofwono, was hosted for the second year by two UW-River Falls staff members as he attended the UW-RF Food Microbiology Symposium Oct. 21-24. Faye Perkins, a professor in the Health and Human Services Department, said when he registered, Ofwono asked about youth hostels in the area.
A four-person panel will look into Pierce County's financial situation with an eye toward setting short- and long-term goals. The county seems to have no financial goals or direction regarding its investments, said former County Board Member Greg Kerr, who advocated for the study when he served on the board. He said the committee's final product will be an outline to develop a financial plan.
Although votes weren't expected until Tuesday, members of both parties seemed fairly satisfied with a state budget agreement announced last Friday. "We have achieved a workable compromise that Wisconsin families can afford," said Rep. Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson, taking a short break from a conference committee meeting Monday afternoon. In a press release sent out Friday evening, Gov.
Three applicants for the job of Pierce County treasurer will be interviewed this week. A committee expects to recommend a candidate to the county board at its meeting next Tuesday. Personnel Specialist Sandy Langer said 12 people applied for the job. Interviews are set for this Thursday. These are the three finalists: Phyllis Beastrom, Ellsworth, the current real property lister in the treasurer's office; Kelly M. Schreiber, Spring Valley; and Jean Weiss, Ellsworth. Treasurer Paula Knutson, who was elected last fall and took office in January, has resigned effective Oct.