Voters will go to the polls in the spring election Tuesday, April 6, to make their choices for many local offices and two statewide or regional offices.
Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout Sawyer County and the rest of Wisconsin. Citizens also have the choice to mail in an absentee ballot or vote early in person at their local clerk's office.
On the ballots are candidates for school board, city, village and town officers, and Sawyer County circuit judge, as well as state education superintendent and court of appeals judge.
Incumbent Sawyer County Circuit Judge John M. Yackel has filed for election to a second six-year term. He is unopposed.
Hayward School Board
Only incumbents filed for election to three open positions on the Hayward Community School District Board of Education. They are Linda Plante, Derek Hand and Stacey Hessel.
Hayward City Council
Incumbent Mayor Charlie Munich has filed for re-election and is unopposed. Filing for the city council alderperson positions are: Harold Johnson Sr., Ward 1 (incumbent); Gary Gillis, Ward 2 (incumbent); Ward Williamson, Ward 3 (incumbent); and Linda Hand, Ward 4. The fourth ward incumbent, Al Voight, is not seeking re-election.
Those who have filed for election as town officers in this area are:
Town of Bass Lake (Sawyer County)
The incumbents have filed for the open positions. They are: Chairperson, Justin Hall; supervisors, Bob Hammond, Marshall Savitski; and treasurer, Kari Aderman.
Town of Hayward
For the office of Chairperson, Gary Gedart, who is currently a town supervisor, has filed for election as chairperson. The incumbent, Jeff Homuth, is not running.
Three persons are running for two supervisor positions: Henry Bearhart, Ron Siemers and Andrea Wittwer. Incumbent Dan Cousins Sr. is not running. The candidates were profiled in last week's Record.
Town Clerk Bryn Hand said they will hold the election in the town fire hall. The last day to vote in person (early voting) is Friday, April 2. The last day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed is Thursday, April 1.
Town of Hunter
Only incumbents filed for election. They are Laura Rusk for chairperson; Kay Ryan and Jim Dier for supervisors; Patty Swaffield for clerk; and Cindy Gutsch for treasurer.
Town of Lenroot
Only incumbents filed for election. They are: Gordon Christians, chairperson; Jack Sjostrom and Mike Bandow, supervisors; Carol Stone, clerk; and Rebecca Brunner-Stroede, treasurer.
Town of Round Lake
The candidates are:
Chairperson: Rolfe Hanson (incumbent); supervisors (two positions open), Kay Wilson (incumbent), Ginny Chabek (incumbent) and James Strandlund; clerk, Kathy McCoy (incumbent); and treasurer, Vicki Palya (incumbent).
Town of Sand Lake
The town caucus was held Jan. 11. Those who were nominated are:
Chairman, Robert Langham; supervisor 1, Edgar Gregory; supervisor 2, George Shedivy; clerk, Elaine Nyberg; and treasurer, Joan Rainville.
Town of Spider Lake
Those running include Tim Sheldon (chairman), unopposed; Kathy Overman (treasurer), unopposed; and Chelsea Tripodi (clerk), unopposed.
Three candidates are on the ballot for two open supervisor positions: Mike Lemminger (incumbent), Mark Johns and Sarah Delaney. Also, Scott Crosby is running as a write-in candidate.
Running for town officer positions are:
The town caucus was held on Jan. 12. Those who were nominated are:
Chairperson: Laura Kilmer, incumbent; first supervisor, Charlie Vig, incumbent; second supervisor, Lee Magnuson, incumbent, and Chris Hinkfuss; clerk, Jeri Boyce; treasurer, Jeri Boyce, Bobbi Hinkfuss.
Jeri Boyce was nominated for both the clerk and treasurer positions.
The town caucus was held Saturday, Jan. 9, and the incumbents were nominated for the April 6 ballot. They are: Bill Groat for chairman; Donald Plante and Gary Elliott for supervisors; Katie Parks for clerk; and Sandy Johnson for treasurer.
Only incumbents were nominated at the town caucus held Jan. 11. They are: For chairman, Ted Crandell; for supervisor 1, Jack Coddington; for supervisor 2, Dan Buchman; for clerk-treasurer, Michelle Drabek.
Town of Cable, Bayfield County
The Town of Cable will conduct a drive-through election on April 6. The candidates are:
Chairperson: John "Jack" Radecki and Malcolm Haag. Incumbent Chairperson Brett Rondeau is not seeking re-election.
Supervisors (four positions open): Elaine "Bunkie" Miller, Dean Hambrecht, Ken Cluck, David Popelka, Tony Merrill and Kyle Weber
Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly are running in the nonpartisan election for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction. The incumbent, Carolyn Standford-Taylor, is not running.
For more information on this race, see the Associated Press article in this edition of the Record.
The incumbent Wisconsin District Three Court of Appeals judge, Mark Seidl, has filed a notification of noncandidacy. This district covers the northern part of the state.
Two persons have filed their papers for election to this position: Outagamie County Circuit Judge Greg Gill Jr. of Appleton and attorney Rick Cveykus of Wausau.
A colorful and huge postcard mural highlighting several of the Hayward area's highly-regarded recreational and cultural attractions was installed Friday, March 26, on the brick side wall of the Lake Kids building at the southeast corner of Second and Main Streets.
Members of the Northland Area Builders Association (NABA) donated their time and expertise to install the "Greetings from Hayward" mural, which consists of 17 painted, weather-sealed aluminum panels measuring a combined 12 feet high by 45 feet long.
The panels were painted by Butternut artist Kelly Meredith, who was commissioned by project chairperson Stacey Hessel.
The images depict the Lumberjack World Championships, fishing, mountain biking, the American Birkebeiner, the Honor the Earth Pow Wow and the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame with its iconic "Big Fish" museum.
The mural is one of two being installed in downtown Hayward this spring, said Hessel, who spearheaded the project and solicited donations to pay for it.
The other mural will be installed in May on the Second Street wall of the Odd Fellows Lodge building (currently housing the Hayward Shirt Factory and formerly Inhoff Drugs) on Second Street, she said.
The second mural will have 40 panels depicting "Hayward Founders," Hessel said. They are lumberman Anthony Judson Hayward (for whom the City and Town of Hayward are named), North Wisconsin Lumber Company founder Robert McCormick, entrepreneur Tony Wise, and Fishing Hall of Fame founder Robert "Bob" Kutz.
Besides the painted images of each person, there will be a short biography of each one on the mural, Hessel said.
Hessel said she started working on the project about a year ago. "My son Dalton (also known as 'The Northern Nerd') put it in my head to do an Instagram mural representing Hayward to beautify our town," she said. "I got the donors for the artwork on my own. NABA is doing this as a community project, donating their time."
Arrow Building Center and Nelson Lumber and Home donated lumber for the project.
"The owners of each building on which the murals are placed signed a 10-year lease, so the murals will be there at least 10 years, Hessel added.
Artist Kelly Meredith has previously created murals for the cities of Mellen, Ashland, Park Falls and Glidden, as well as Virginia, Minnesota, and Ligonier, Indiana. She also painted a sidewalk at Hayward Area Memorial Hospital.
"This is a great project for a great community," Hessel said.
Sometime this year the U.S. Congress likely will vote to make the area of the St. Croix watershed, which includes some 18 counties in two states, a National Heritage Area called the "North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix."
A National Heritage Area is an official designation by Congress signifying "a region's important contributions to America's history and culture and celebrates its stories."
There are more than 50 such areas in America, including the entire state of Tennessee. The closest one to the St. Croix watershed is the Silos and Smokestacks area of northeast Iowa.
Locally, the national designation would include most of Sawyer County and portions of Bayfield County, particularly the Cable area.
Third District Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) has drafted legislation for the national designation and it's expected a bill will be considered this spring.
Marty Harding, board chair of the non-profit North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area, said, there would be a renewed effort to inform the public. Between 2012 and 2014 there was very visible effort, with public meetings and articles written about the pursuit of the designation.
But then everything went into a "lull" and not much was heard about the national designation, Harding said.
That "lull" began with the Washburn County Board in December 2014 suspending its support of the designation when Washburn County Forester Mike Peterson raised concerns that the initiative's feasibility study presented an "unrealistic picture" to Congress by downplaying the importance of the forestry industry in the state. Peterson also expressed concerns the designation could be used "a tool for litigation" against the forestry industry.
In 2015, Danette Olsen, former co-chair of the non-profit, addressed Peterson's concerns to a gathering of the Wisconsin Forestry Association at the Heartwood Conference Center in Washburn County and later talked to the Record.
"A heritage area has no jurisdictional controls on anything at all," she said. "A heritage area doesn't own or manage land. It works in partnership with other organizations. There are no policies that come in to place with national area status. None."
Martha Raymond, national coordinator for the heritage areas in Washington, D.C., told the Record in 2015 that she concurred with Olsen.
"Heritage areas do not impose on private rights," she said.
Harding said the initial feasibility study presented in 2014 to the National Park Service gave the wrong impression about the forestry industry, which was not the intent. Later the feasibility study would be amended to discuss the role of forestry and the county forestry system in Wisconsin, which, she said, is "exemplary."
But besides the opposition that began in Washburn County, Harding said, then-Congressman Sean Duffy of the 7th District never fully got behind the designation.
"We never got a no from him," Harding said, "but it was always, 'Well, let me consider it if you and talk with this group,' or 'Well, maybe if you go and talk with that group.' And so we spent a lot of time actually in the northeastern part of the watershed doing just that, getting support from all kinds of people, but it always felt like there was one more thing that we needed to do."
During the "lull" in visible activity, there was an ongoing effort to address or amend issues the National Park Service had identified with the feasibility study.
"Their criteria is very difficult, " Harding said. "You really have to show that you have a story, and a story of national significance that happened here and didn't happen anywhere else."
The non-profit also began efforts via its website to promote the St. Croix watershed with activities and raising awareness. Then on Feb. 9 of this year Harding received a letter from National Park Service that all 10 criteria of the feasibility study had been met the last hurdle before Congress.
"And so the next step for us is being designated by Congress," she said.
However, the designation has little chance without support from congressional leaders from both Minnesota and Wisconsin who represent people living within the watershed.
Harding said Congressman Peter Stauber (R-Duluth) of Minnesota's 8th District supports the designation, along with Rep. Kind on the Wisconsin side, and there is hope that Wisconsin Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) of the 7th District also will lend his support for the designation.
"We've only spoken with his staff members," said Harding of Tiffany, "and so I don't have any kind of sense from Mr. Tiffany on how he will ultimately react."
Recently, Harding said, a webinar was conducted with regional economic development organizations from the two states, including the Northwest Regional Planning Commission out of Spooner, during which the organizations supported the designation, anticipating economic advantages for raising the profile of the area nationally.
Now, there's just the matter Harding and other volunteers to take the same message out again to all 18 counties in the two states.
On March 25 the U.S. Senate approved legislation to extend the deadline for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from March 31 to May 31, offering local businesses and non-profits another two months to apply for the federal program via a local lender.
It's likely President Joe Biden will sign the legislation.
The paycheck program was established under the federal 2020 Cares Act to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with a forgivable loan if certain conditions are met. In Sawyer County more than 400 entities applied for PPP, receiving more than $18 million in relief.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed March 11 by President Biden placed another $7.25 billion into the PPP fund and opened up eligibility, including local digital news services.
The purpose of PPP is to provide an incentive for employers to retain employees. First-round PPP loans could be used for payroll items, including benefits, but also mortgage interest, rent, utilities and COVID-19 efforts for workers and uninsured property damage caused by civil unrest in 2020, as well as supplies and expenses.
The first round of PPP was capped at $10 million per application, but the average loan in Wisconsin was much less, with 70% of small businesses in April of 2020 averaging $150,000.
It is possible to secure a second PPP loan, a second draw, if an entity has met the following criteria: has no more than 300 employees (the first round of PPP applicants were limited to 500 or fewer employees), has used or will use the full amount of the first PPP loan and can show a 25% "reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020."
For most entities, the maximum loan amount for the second draw of the PPP is 2.5 times the average monthly 2019 or 2021 payroll cost up to $2 million.
For businesses in the "accommodation and food service industries," the maximum amount is 3.5 times the 2019 or 2020 monthly average up to $2 million.
Other grants, loans
Other programs impacted by American Rescue Plan include Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants and loans.
The EIDL program received another $15 billion from the recently signed ARP. It is a low-interest loan program for small businesses, including non-profits.
The EIDL program offered in 2020 included targeted grants up to $10,000 that did not have to be paid back. The "targeted grant" category of EIDL is not open to new applications. The Small Business Association (SBA), which administers the EIDL and PPP programs, will be contacting businesses that had applied for a targeted grant in the past that did not receive any funds or less than they requested.
The loan category of EIDL is open to new applicants. For those loans approved starting the week of April 6, the maximum loan is $500,000; for loans approved prior to the week of April 6 they "will be eligible for an increase based on new loan maximum amounts announced March 24, 2021," the SBA said. Those applicants do not need to submit a request for an increase, but the SBA will contact the applicants about increasing the loan amount.
The ARP also provides another $1.25 billion to help shuttered venues, those venues providing live performances that were closed or operations impacted because of the pandemic.
Prior stimulus legislation under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act had placed $15 billion in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program.
The $16.25 billion in grants now available for shuttered venues will be administered by SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible entities include live venue operator or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations operators, relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums meeting specific criteria, motion picture theaters and talent representatives.
Of the $16.25 billion, $2 billion is reserved for entities with up to 50 full-time employees.
Applicants may qualify for a grant up to 45% of their gross earned revenue with the maximum amount capped at $10 million.
Entities in operation on Jan. 1, 2019 are eligible for the 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue or $10 million, whichever is less; for those in operation after Jan. 1, 2019, grants will be for the average monthly earned revenue for each full month of operation during 2019 multiplied by $6 million or $10 million, whichever is less.
Local entities that may be eligible include the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, the Park Center, Cable Natural History Museum, Lumberjack Bowl, the Hayward Cinema 4 movie theater, Project Northwoods Nature Center and Wilderness Walk, to name a few.
The SBA is expected to begin accepting grant applications April 8.
The first priority for the SVOG — during the first 14 days of the grant awards window — is venues that have suffered a 90% or greater loss in revenue from April to December 2020 due to the pandemic.
The second priority — for the 14 days following the first priority time frame — is venues that suffered a 70% loss from April to December 2020.
The third priority — 28 days after the first and second priority awards are made — is for those that suffered a 25% or greater loss between one quarter in 2019 and the same quarter in 2020.
Supplemental funding is also available after all three priority periods have passed for those recipients of first, second and third priority awards that also experienced 70% or greater loss in revenue for the first quarter of 2021, as of April 1 or later.
The PPP, SVOG and EIDL programs each impact the eligibility requirements of the other programs or how dollars can be used.
PPP: Those who received a first draw PPP are eligible for a second draw of the PPP, and those applying for the SVOG may apply for the SVOG if they had "received" a PPP loan "prior to applying" for the SVOG, but a PPP loan received after Dec. 27 will reduce the amount of the SVOG. Those who have received a PPP can apply for an EIDL loan, but the EIDL dollars cannot be used for the same purposes as the PPP dollars.
SVOG: Those that have "received" SVOG dollars may not apply for the PPP, but can apply for the EIDL, but the EIDL dollars cannot be used for the same purposes of the SVOG dollars.
EIDL: A business cannot apply for a second EIDL, but can apply for PPP or SVOG; however, both the PPP and SVOG dollars may not be used for the same purposes as the EIDL dollars.
The ARP includes $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) for the food service industry, one of the hardest-hit industries by the pandemic, including bars and restaurant restricted in Wisconsin under the Safer at Home emergency order that ended in May 2020.
Of the $28.6 billion, $5 billion is being set aside for those entities showing $500,000 or less in gross receipts in 2019. Applicants are eligible for the difference between the 2019 and 2020 revenues. Grants are capped at $10 million with $5 million per location for restaurants with multiple locations.
However, pandemic-related losses are reduced by the any PPP dollars received in either 2020 or 2021.
The SBA is administering the RRF program but has published no details. It is expected that more information will be available by early April at the SBA's COVID-19 relief option web page listed below.
More information on these COVID-19 relief programs administered by the SBA is available at www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options.
Helping to assist local businesses is Mike Gardner, executive director for the Sawyer County/Lac Courte Oreilles Economic Development Corporation. Gardner can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (715) 462-4775.
Another source of information is Andy Donahue, director of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He can be reached at adonahue@uwsuper. edu or (715) 394-8352.
Based on an estimates by the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau of funding earmarked to help local government in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP), Sawyer County governments as can expect to receive $4,848,098.
The ARP, signed into law on March 11 by President Joe Biden, appropriated $130.2 billion in the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (LFRF) to help "units of local government," including counties, cities, towns and villages.
On March 23, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau published a memorandum to describe "the major provisions of the ARP and the potential amount of funds that Wisconsin is eligible to receive under the federal legislation."
Based on that memorandum, the following is a breakdown of how the $4,848,098 will be distributed.
At the March 18 monthly meeting of the Sawyer County Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Tom Hoff announced the county government would receive $3.2 million. Actually, the county will receive $3,211,322.
Counties are awarded according to population and each county receives the LFRF funds directly from the federal government.
City, towns, villages are considered "non-entitlement units of local government." Each non-entitlement unit is eligible up to 75% of the "most recently enacted budget as of Jan. 27, 2020."
The LFRF dollars for non-entitlement units of government go first to the state and then the state has 30 days to distribute the funds. Non-entitlement units of local government in Sawyer County are expected to receive:
City of Hayward: $228,444
Town of Bass Lake: $237,142
Town of Couderay: $39,837
Town of Draper: $20,264
Town of Edgewater: $51,600
Town of Hayward: $350,919
Town of Hunter: $67,811
Town of Lenroot: $127,913
Town of Meadowbrook: $12,949.
Town of Meteor: $15,816
Town of Ojibwa: $24,910
Town of Radisson: $40,034
Town of Round Lake: $96,775
Town of Sand Lake: $81,354
Town of Spider Lake: $33,510
Town of Weirgor: $32,621
Town of Winter: $94,798
Village of Couderay: $8,501
Village of Exeland: $18,782
Village of Radisson: $23,131
Village of Winter: $29,665
The total amount for the city, towns and villages is $1,636,776.
The federal LFRF funds can be used locally for the following:
1. To respond to the coronavirus pandemic or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to hospitals, small businesses and nonprofits or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality.
2. To replace revenues lost as a result of the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, for the purposes of providing governmental services.
3. To make investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.
4. To provide premium pay of up to $13 per hour per worker in addition to a worker's usual wage or remuneration (up to $25,000 in total for any single worker) for "essential work during the pandemic, or to provide grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work."
5. To transfer funds to private nonprofit organizations, tribal organizations, public benefit corporations involved in the transportation of passengers or cargo, or special-purpose units of state or local governments.
The funds cannot be used to offset taxes or for pension funds.