Sunday, May 31, 2020
Paramedics Thomas Colloton and Jeremy Schaller were recognized at the Tomah City Council meeting for their quick actions during an ambulance fire Jan. 12. Herald photo Bob Kliebenstein

Tomah Veteran's Memorial Committee to disband

The Tomah Veteran's Memorial Committee has completed its mission.

The council approved a request from the committee to disband after 13 years. Tom Flock, one of the original members, spoke to the council Monday night at Committee of the Whole. The group was convened to provide direction for the construction of the memorial on Superior Avenue. Flock was one of the original committee members. Flock said it is at the request of surviving committee members to disband. Three of the original members, Frosty Mades, Nello Felton and Harlow Fox, are now deceased.

Flock recalled how an approximate 1,000 people attended the unveiling of the memorial. As final official recognition program is planned on Memorial Day Monday at 10 a.m.

Details are still being planned, but Flock expects some type of military fly over to salute veterans whose names are listed on memorial tiles. There are only five blank tiles remaining, Flock added.

There is $23,000 remaining in a committee account. Those funds will stay in an account to offset annual expenses for the memorial, purchase of flags, lawn care, snow removal and other costs. Financial donations will still be accepted for that account. The Parks and Recreation will assume maintenance at the memorial.

The council approved capitol borrowing $700,000 for new downtown street lights. They will also approved borrowing for reconfiguration of Goose Avenue to meet Department of Transportation requirements as a complete reconstruct to Gopher Avenue to accommodate expected traffic at the new Tomah hospital. The facility is on track to open in early October. Costs for both projects are $1.28 million.

Lights will be paid through from tax increment district (TID 8) revenue. Street infrastructure costs will come from TID 10 reimbursement.

Tomah Area Ambulance Service Director Randy Dunford recognized two paramedics for their performance during what he described as an ordinary patient transfer that became unordinary in Jan. 12. Paramedics Jeremy Schaller and Thomas Colloton were en route from Tomah to Madison when the ambulance they were driving caught fire near Baraboo.

They were recognized for quick actions to stop the unit and get the patient to safety.

Their quick actions saved the patient and thousands of dollars of equipment, Dunford said.

Schaller and Colloton were treated for smoke inhalation. Colloton was taken the Sauk Prairie hospital. Schaller stayed with the patient who was transported to a Madison hospital by Sauk Prairie EMS staff. He eventually had to be treated in At UW Madison hospital.

City administrator Roger Gorius shared information with the council on a roundtable discussion being organized by Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Richard Radcliffe.

The focus is implementing a drug treatment court in Monroe County to deal with the presence of illegal drugs, with a focus on methamphetamine. The event is Wednesday, April 10, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Assembly Room  in the Monroe County Justice Center.

An adult drug treatment court is designed to treat individuals with struggling with substance abuse and provide tools to change lives. The public is invited to attend.

Tomah school district superintendent Cindy Zahrte provided background on a referendum question for the district that will be on the April 2 ballot.

The district is seeking approval to exceed revenue limits by $1.5 million over the next four years for operating costs and school educational programs.

A key figure shared with the council, over the four year span the total tax impact would be approximately $1.50 per year for $100,000 of property value (on average). Broken down further, that equates into 13 cents per month over that four year period.

Zahrte reminds voters the need for that amount could be less based on education budgets that come from Madison during the administration of Gov. Tony Evers. She also pointed out Evers is required to work with legislators likely to challenge his budget proposals during his administration. Thus the need to seek in the referendum.

The council approved a resolution to trim the Long Range Planning Committee by one member for ease of having a quorum for its meetings. One member has decided to step away from the committee due to other time commitments. When the proposal was presented in February, the logic was to reduce the committee size.

Tomah Public Works director Kirk Arity assured residents his department is doing its best to combat the inevitable winter stress on city streets.

Arity said the city has used its allotted salt supply for Monroe County. A salt/sand mixture will be used, if needed, in the event of additional snow or ice this season. Street crews have been working overtime to stay ahead of snow and ice. Arity's budget is a reflection to the tune between $20,000 and $30,000 for overtime wages.

While warmer weather will ease some of the problems, Arity asked residents to be mindful of street parking for ease of plow trucks. And yes, public works is fully aware of the pot hole onslaught.

Drive with care. Filling pot holes with patch material defeats the purpose until some of the moisture dries out. If a pot hole becomes to large crews will take appropriate action.

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