Year in review: Top stories of 2017
By Kris Leonhardt
A chronological look at some of the Marshfield area’s top stories in 2017:
Wildwood Zoo’s deer gain global attention
A video on the Wildwood Park & Zoo Facebook page attracted worldwide interest. The video, posted Christmas Day, shows the zoo’s white-tailed deer eating a Christmas meal.
Within a week, the zoo’s Facebook page increased in likes by 3,948 and the video had been viewed by 6 million and had 125,000 shares.
Storms hammer Marshfield area
Two waves of thunderstorms crossed into the Marshfield area in early, leaving multiple sites of damage due to wind, hail, heavy rain, and a possible tornado. West of Marshfield, winds crossed County Highway Y heading northeast, downing numerous trees and damaging one home in the Sloping Meadow subdivision.
Current deal for City Hall sale off the table
The deal the city of Marshfield had with a Milwaukee firm to renovate the existing City Hall Plaza into apartments has fallen through. Both City Administrator Steve Barg and Mayor Chris Meyer confirmed that the proposal from Gorman and Company has been taken off the table.
Knights of Columbus Hall to close Dec. 31
The Knights of Columbus Hall, a longtime Marshfield event venue, will be closing its doors at the end of the year due to declining bookings.
Missing Marshfield woman’s body found
The body of a Marshfield woman was found approximately one mile from where her abandoned vehicle was located last week.
Anna Ineichen went missing and was last seen Thursday evening, June 22 at 10:30 p.m. at her residence in Marshfield. Her vehicle was recovered in Dexterville in the vicinity of State Highway 54 and State Highway 80 on Friday morning, June 23 at 3:30 a.m.
Marshfield Clinic Health System completes hospital purchase
Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) announced it has completed the asset purchase of Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.
The 500-bed hospital, which will now be called Marshfield Medical Center, and Marshfield Clinic will provide complete inpatient and outpatient care for central Wisconsin and beyond. The hospital purchase also adds approximately 1,200 employees to MCHS.
PCA to relocate to Marshfield
The Marshfield Common Council voted 9-0 during a special meeting held Aug. 10 to move forward with a developer’s agreement with Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) that will relocate the production facility in Colby to Marshfield.
Marshfield municipal pool to remain on current site
If the city of Marshfield builds a new aquatic center to replace the aging Hefko Pool, it will remain on the pool’s current site on the south side of the city.
The decision came after Marshfield Parks & Recreation Director Justin Casperson came before the Marshfield Common Council seeking direction on where a new pool might eventually be constructed.
Construction begins on Wenzel Family Plaza
Construction on the future Wenzel Family Plaza began, marked by a groundbreaking ceremony held on the west 200 block of downtown Marshfield.
The plaza is being built with a combination of city and private funds, which includes a large contribution by the Wenzel family, creators of Wenzel Farm Sausage.
School board approves design, fundraising contracts for athletic facilities
The Marshfield School Board approved motions to extend the contract with Stevens Point-based Rettler Corporation and proceed with the design and fundraising phase of the district’s plans to improve existing and develop new athletic facilities.
The $10.5 million dollar athletic facilities project will include a new football/track multisport complex, new soccer fields, a junior varsity baseball field, and practice fields.
UW-Marshfield/Wood County celebrates STEM Center opening
The University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County commemorated the opening of the new Everett Roehl STEM Center. The project took less than a year to complete and included renovations to the campus’ existing Aldo Leopold Science Building.
Initiated to address the increasing demand for education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, the center was funded through a combination of public and private sources.
Marshfield Police have safe resolution to standoff with wanted man
The Marshfield Police Department had a safe resolution to a negotiation with a wanted individual on the 1100 block of East Kalsched Street in Marshfield.
The situation began at 9:52 a.m. when a Marshfield officer noticed 24-year-old Michael J. Lea outside of a home in which he had been suspected to reside. Lea had an outstanding warrant for a robbery in Kansas City and was considered armed and dangerous due to prior convictions.
CWSF dates to change for 2018 season
The Central Wisconsin State Fair board decided to proceed with its decision to adjust the fair dates for the 2018 fair season, moving the event from its longtime home on Labor Day weekend.
Transitional shelter closes, future still uncertain
While discussions continued regarding a possible changeover or conversion of Marshfield’s transitional shelter, the facilities closed, while all but one family found alternative housing.
2nd Street Community Center opens
The last portion of Marshfield’s new public library project opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 2nd Street Community Center. The center is the former Marshfield Public Library, which has now been renovated, after the new Everett Roehl library opened last year.