Joint Statement by Mayors of Wisconsin Rapids and Park Falls on Legislature’s passage of “Mill Bill”
WISCONSIN RAPIDS/PARK FALLS – The Wisconsin Legislature passed the “Mill Bill” on June 29, 2021, which would provide a $50 million loan to a buyer for the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill and $15 million loan to a buyer for the Park Falls paper mill. Both of these mills are currently idle, ravaged by the economic fallout over the last year. The impacts on both communities have been severe, with thousands of manufacturing jobs lost, thousands of logging jobs severely impacted, and leaving two enormous facilities idle in the middle of both communities.
We are calling on the Governor to sign the legislation as quickly as possible, to ensure that confidence is restored to both communities and the affected workers and loggers. We understand that there have been legitimate concerns raised on both sides, as it relates to the details of this bill. However, the urgency of this bill necessitates an urgent response – the Governor should sign the bill that the Wisconsin Legislature has passed.
“Time is of the essence, the workers cannot wait any longer,” said Mayor Michael Bablick, Park Falls, “if the Governor signs this bill, I believe it is possible to see the mill at partial production by mid-late August and major capital improvements starting earlier than that.”
“The idling of our city’s paper mill has already had a profound financial and social impact on our community, our region and our state. This bill poses an opportunity to inspire hope in our community while bringing back family-sustaining jobs and ensuring our paper professionals’ expertise stays local. Now is the time to act on this bill, “ said Mayor Shane Blaser, Wisconsin Rapids.
The Rapids Together Task Force now has a webpage set up for Wisconsin residents to quickly express your support of the bill. If you support the bill, please sign the form, hit “submit” and share the link with your networks. Sign the letter of support here: legis.wisconsin.gov/rapidstogether/contact-the-governor/
Learn more about the Rapids Together Task Force here: legis.wisconsin.gov/rapidstogether
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The City of Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Shane Blaser encourages Governor Tony Evers to sign the “mill bill” (2021 Assembly Bill 367, AB 367), which would provide a $50 million loan to a buyer for the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill and $15 million loan to a buyer for the Park Falls paper mill.
Both of these mills are currently idle, having a profound impact on our communities, our region and our state. The mill bill has now been passed by the State Assembly and concurred in by the State Senate, and it is headed to Governor Evers to either sign it into law or to veto it.
Mayor Blaser understands that there have been legitimate concerns raised on both sides, as it relates to the details of this bill. However, the urgency of this bill necessitates an urgent response – the Governor should sign the bill that the Wisconsin Legislature has passed.
The Rapids Together Task Force now has a webpage set up for Wisconsin residents to quickly express your support of the bill. If you support the bill, please sign the form, hit “submit” and share the link with your networks.
Sign the letter of support here: legis.wisconsin.gov/rapidstogether/contact-the-governor/
“The idling of our city’s paper mill has already had a profound financial and social impact on our community, our region and our state. This bill poses an opportunity to inspire hope in our community while bringing back family-sustaining jobs and ensuring our paper professionals’ expertise stays local. Now is the time to act on this bill, “ said Mayor Blaser.
An estimated 2,686 jobs statewide are affected by the idling of the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill, which creates lost earnings for Wisconsin’s people and lost tax revenues for Wisconsin’s municipalities. The Wisconsin Rapids paper mill also consumed one-quarter of the pulpwood cut annually in Wisconsin, advancing timber and transportation industries throughout the state, while making an important impact on Wisconsin forestry.
Learn more about the Rapids Together Task Force here: legis.wisconsin.gov/rapidstogether
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin (June 22, 2021) – Independence Day is fast approaching, and plans are in the works to make this a safe, enjoyable and memorable holiday for Wisconsin Rapids residents and visitors.
On Sunday, July 4, one of the best fireworks displays in the area will be launched from the Wisconsin River in downtown Wisconsin Rapids. The display will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. and may be viewed along most of the riverbank and downtown area, except for the launch and safety zone on the western bank of the river from the foot of the Grand Avenue Bridge to south of the Moravian Church.
This year’s Fourth of July Fireworks display will once again be choreographed to music, and Mayor Shane Blaser will be starting the show with the ceremonial lighting of the first shot. The National Anthem will be sung by the LHS Acapella Choir.
The DJ will start playing music at 6:00 p.m. Food and refreshment vendors will be located on West Grand Avenue on the west side of the river, and on Second Street South, south of East Grand Avenue, on the east side of the river.
The fireworks show relies upon donations from citizens and businesses, and donations are still being accepted.
Contact the Mayor’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you are planning to attend this event, please consider the following as you make plans:
• No tarps, blankets or chairs may be placed on the river bank or in any City park before 6:00 a.m. on July 4. Any article placed before 6:00 a.m. will be removed. Do not place blankets over plantings or mulch.
• No parking will be allowed on Second Street South between East Jackson Street and Mead Street, from 6:00 a.m. on July 4 through the conclusion of the event.
• No vehicle traffic will be allowed on Birch, Maple, Walnut, Pine, Witter, Locust and Mead Streets between Second Street South and Third Street South, from 3:00 p.m. on July 4 through the conclusion of the event.
• Parking spaces designated for individuals with disabilities will be available at the Moravian Church on Goggins Street (West side) and First Congregational Church, Maple Street parking lot (East side).
o There will be a safety zone established (dependent on weather conditions) which will be set and monitored by boat patrols. This will protect boaters from being in an area where fallout from the display could strike a person or boat and potentially cause injury, or a fire or explosion.
o Boaters are reminded to make sure there are sufficient certified flotation devices onboard and the boat’s capacity is not exceeded.
• For easier departure at the conclusion of the event, park on the side of the river in which you live or the area from which you travel.
• Obey traffic direction provided by local law enforcement.
• Always yield to pedestrians and be especially alert for children.
• Take the time you need to return home safely.
In the event of inclement weather, stay tuned to local media and communications outlets for information. If possible, a decision to cancel the display will be made by 3:00 p.m., July 4. The alternate date, should the display be canceled, will be Monday, July 5, 2021.
Local media and communications outlets:
Radio: Y105.5, AM 1320 WFHR
Wisconsin Rapids Community Media, Solarus Channel 3, Charter Channel 985; www.wr-cm.org
Nixle (Sign up for nixle alerts at www.nixle.com)
United Way 211 Dial “211”
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune website: www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com
City of Wisconsin Rapids Website: www.wirapids.org
WSAW website: www.wsaw.com
WAOW website: www.waow.com
Also, regarding the possession, sale or use of fireworks, everyone should be reminded of the following:
• City Ordinance 20.04 (1) (a) allows private individuals and organizations to purchase, possess and use only those fireworks allowed in Chapter 167 of the Wisconsin Statutes. This would include sparklers, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers and confetti poppers with less than one-quarter (¼) grain of explosive mixture. These items are legal without permits.
• Any device which contains more than one-quarter (¼) grain of explosive powder, that emits a report, discharges a flame, or leaves the ground is not permitted to be sold, possessed or used in the City of Wisconsin Rapids.
• All other fireworks, including roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortars, etc. are illegal except for groups with permits. Anything which explodes or leaves the ground is illegal without a permit.
Our thanks to City of Wisconsin Rapids staff who have been a part of the planning process and to those who will carry out responsibilities during the event. And a special thanks to our colleagues in law enforcement, fire, EMS and Rescue who have committed time and resources to make this event safe and family-friendly.
From all of us at the City of Wisconsin Rapids, please have a very safe and enjoyable Fourth of July celebration.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS -- Mayor Shane Blaser has issued a proclamation for "Poppy Day".
The red poppy is a nationally recognized symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since World War I. The Memorial Poppy, red in color, signifies and represents the blood which was shed by the many war dead and brings back memories of loved ones, relatives, friends and acquaintances lost in conflicts this country was involved with.
For more information please visit: https://www.legion.org/poppyday
Subject: Commercial Fire at 1120 5th Avenue North, Wisconsin Rapids
At 2018 hours (8:18 p.m.), the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department was dispatched to the VERSO Mill in the City of Wisconsin Rapids for a commercial fire. Dispatch information was a smokestack with flames, and possible flames on the roof. A fiberglass stack that was part of the idle hardwood digester caught fire. Fire and heat compromised the stack causing a collapse, which then started subsequent fires in and around the digester tower.
Fire service personnel in coordination with mill employees mitigated the fire. The fire was declared under control at approximately 2145 (9:45 p.m.). Firefighters remained on scene until approximately 0100 (1:00 a.m.). Approximately 60 firefighters responded to the scene; assisting were Port Edwards Fire, Grand Rapids Fire, Biron Fire, Nekoosa Fire, Vesper Fire, Rudolph Fire, and the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department and Saratoga First Responders.
One firefighter was treated and released on scene for symptoms of heat exhaustion. No Verso employees were injured. Damage assessment continues and it appears the fire damage was limited to the stack area in the number 1 digester building. Cause is undetermined at this time.
The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department would like to thank the mutual aid departments that responded and assisted with this incident.
For more information, contact:
Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal
Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department