The Ladysmith Common Council voted 7-0, Monday, to approve hanging banners with pictures of Ladysmith High School graduating seniors on the Memorial Park fence.

There is a group of parents currently working on yard signs for all seniors, as this expenditure was outside the school district budget, according to Ladysmith Middle & High School Principal Greg Posewitz. The district, city and a group of parents are working on getting banners made to hang in the city to celebrate the members of the Class of 2020, he said.

“It is a banner that has a students’ picture on it,” Ald. Brian Groothousen said. “The school did not have the funds. They are not cheap.”

The city council is providing the school with a location to place the banners. They are all expected to be of similar size, shape and appearance.

“They are not going to have a graduation,” Groothousen said. “I would say we are not responsible for any cost.”

Ald, Marty Reynolds said it is a city-owned fence, adding this is probably the first graduating class to not have a graduation ceremony. He called it a great idea.

“It reflects on what we are as a community,” Reynolds said.

School board member Chrysa Ostenso backed the proposal, saying the banners would be posted for a few weeks at the most. 

“All the kids should definitely have a banner if they are going to do it, and I think that is the idea,” Ostenso said. “Whatever we can do to accommodate and make it easier for this group of kids.”

Also Monday, the council:

- Heard a presentation from Rusk County Emergency Management Director Tom Hall on implementing a defibrillator program at city hall and the council chambers. Hall told the council the cost range is $1,200-$1,800 for a unit and his department can provide free training. Similar units are on hand in the Rusk County Government Center. The council began considering such a safety measure after a recent scare in council chambers when Ald. Al Hraban lost consciousness but quickly came too. “It is something to think about wherever people gather,” Hall said.

-  Voted 6-1 to approve the hiring of seasonal staff as applicants become available. There are 19 applicants with 11 returning from last year and eight new workers. There are currently only two life guards as of now with 6-8 needed to open the beach. “We are hoping to get more lifeguards back,” Assistant Public Works Director Doug Parker said. At the [Lindoo] elementary school, there is a lot of area there to maintain, according to Parker.

-  Voted 5-1 with one abstention to hold off on hiring a seasonal city hall/marketing intern due to there being many tasks currently underway at city hall including having a new administrator, making it difficult at this time to train a new person. There were two applicants.

-  Voted unanimously to donate the old Miner Plaza wall signs to John Hoover. They are currently on the city’s scrap metal pile.

-  Voted unanimously to advertise a possible new community garden at several empty lot locations in the city. The council wants to advertise to determine if there is support for such a venture. The lot locations were not identified at the meeting.

-  Heard a report on a proposal to go paperless for city meetings with Chromebooks at $300 each or laptops at $1,500 each. For nine devices that that would be between $2,700 to $13,500 plus $3,200 annually for software. No action was taken.

-  Voted to seek bids for planned mural sites and lighting improvements.This would be for two new wall-mounted murals each at Ace Hardware and Flambeau River Outfitters, rearranging the existing mural frame at the post office by moving the current plat book mural to the south end of the structure to make way for a new famous persons mural at the north end closer to Miner Avenue, and constructing a new 40 foot x 10 foot frame somewhere in the city to relocate the existing veterans mural on the former Coast to Coast building.

-  Heard a report on ongoing progress of the new public works facility. Rooftop ventilating units were installed this week, and the project was described as moving forward well with the usual construction issues.

-  Voted 6-1 to purchase two new summer worker pickup trucks from Flambeau Auto. The funds have been budgeted.

-  Voted 7-0 to approve a $23,724 bid from DC Crete for curb, gutter and sidewalk replacement. It is the only bid, and below the amount budgeted for the work.

- Noted the Ladysmith Board of Review will be held 1-3 p.m., Monday, May 18, at city hall council chambers.

n Heard a report on building occupancies as COVID-19 state restrictions are eased to allow restricted numbers of people into stores. City officials will begin reviewing these numbers this week Wednesday.

- Approved a permit for Flambeauland Fireworks to be prepared for possible summer sales should the business want to proceed. The council also approved liquor license and operator license applications. A recent change in state law allows for these licenses to approved administratively, and to do so in the city will require an ordinance change. The matter was referred to the council’s Legal Affairs Committee.

- Approved extending a new Business Emergency Relief Fund plan to Tax Incremental Districts 9, 10 and 11 as well as their respective halo zones. The project plan amendments contained the same language allowing for loans/grants as previously proposed BERF applications for TID 8. This action does not increase the available funding of $300,000 only the geographic boundaries, opening the program to most eligible businesses within the city with a few small exceptions. Applications are available at city hall starting May 11 with a narrow 2-week window to apply.

- Approved mayoral appointments to committees.

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