You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
top story
Chippewa Falls 'Skate for a Cause' event to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities

The first day of 2019 is set to host the first charitable event of the New Year in Chippewa Falls.

“Skate for a Cause,” is an annual charitable event put on by the Chippewa Figure Skating Club for more than a decade, where all the proceeds for the evening go to charity. The event is scheduled for 1:30-3 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1 at the Chippewa Area Ice Arena in Chippewa Falls. Admission is free, with all donations free will.

This event will see members of the Chippewa Figure Skating Club High School competition team skating performing either their competition routine or one just for the event individually, and other skaters are invited to perform as well. The event will feature a wide array of music and performance styles.

The chosen charity for this year’s “Skate for a Cause” is the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Ronald McDonald House Charities is an American independent nonprofit organization started with the intent of improving the health and well-being of kids across the county.

Michelle Czech, president of the Chippewa Figure Skating Club, said the charity was chosen due to it directly affecting one of the club’s skaters.

“It fits in with the cause we raised money for last year,” Czech said. “One of our skaters had cancer and recovered, and now that she is going to Madison and using Ronald McDonald House all the time we realized there really is a need to help these places.”

Besides ice skaters new and old performing different routines to different music, Czech said a new aspect of the event this year sees a different demographic being involved in the fun.

“There’s a lot of little kids this year, kids who can barely skate,” Czech said. “They have some really cute music they’ll be performing to.”

Following the event, there will be a few hours of open skating time dubbed “Open Skate Day,” in honor of National Figure Skating Month. This event will also serve as the beginning of registration for the next session of the club.

For more information on “Skate for a Cause,” and how you can donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities, you can visit the Facebook Event page.

top story
'It just fills you with warmth': Stibor, Faith Riders surprise shoppers by paying for groceries

STANLEY — Weekdays, Mike Stibor labors over a keyboard and behind three horizontal computer screens as an Information Services Client Specialist at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital — taking requests from colleagues who need computer help.

But on weeknights and weekends, Stibor is worshiping with Faith Riders Motorcycle Ministries — a local nonprofit organization dedicated to reaching people for Christ through motorcycling.

His bald head and leather jacket may say biker gang, but in early December, people at Hansen’s IGA in Stanley might have seen Stibor with his white beard as more of a Saint Nicholas. He and six other Faith Riders made the holidays jolly by paying for patrons’ groceries, offering fellowship and exemplifying the love of Christ.

“We do not advertise,” Stibor said of the group’s Community Grocery Giveback. “We just show up and as patrons come up to pay for their food we introduce ourselves and explain that we will be purchasing their items (up to $50 per person).”

This year, with a matching donation of $750 from Jacob’s Well Church in Lake Hallie, the group was able to raise $1,500 to help people out this holiday season.

“It just fills you with warmth the entire day,” Stibor said. “We usually go for a late breakfast together and just have a blast talking about it.”

The group’s first foray into the grocery giveback was in 2017 when they gave $1,000 of groceries to people at Hansen’s IGA in Mondovi.

“We try to pick small towns because we know the need is there,” Mike said. “We get to meet so many people — many say they don’t deserve it, or ‘give it to someone else,’ but we tell them that everyone deserves something nice to be done for them.”

One woman told the Faith Rider group that she has done the same thing for years in grocery store lines but had never had it done for her, Mike said.

“It’s such a blessed day,” he said.

Philip Edison, manager of Hansen’s IGA in Stanley, said he spoke with the group a few weeks before the Dec. 8 event to make sure he had enough staff on hand and to make accommodations for the Faith Riders.

“It gave the entire store a great, positive feeling,” Edison said. “People were excited about it and taken aback. It was really appreciated by everyone.”

Edison, who has been manager of the store for more than a year, said he knew of the Faith Riders organization and was happy to invite them into the store to honor the community.

“I wish there were more charity things like this that affect people on a personal basis,” he said. “It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season.”

EPA targets Obama crackdown on mercury from coal plants

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday targeted an Obama-era regulation credited with helping dramatically reduce toxic mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying the benefits to human health and the environment may not be worth the cost of the regulation.

The 2011 Obama administration rule, called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, led to what electric utilities say was an $18 billion clean-up of mercury and other toxins from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants.

Overall, environmental groups say, federal and state efforts have cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 85 percent in roughly the last decade.

Mercury causes brain damage, learning disabilities and other birth defects in children, among other harm. Coal power plants in this country are the largest single manmade source of mercury pollutants, which enters the food chain through fish and other items that people consume.

A proposal Friday from the Environmental Protection Agency challenges the basis for the Obama regulation. It calculates that the crackdown on mercury and other toxins from coal plants produced only a few million dollars a year in measurable health benefits and was not “appropriate and necessary” — a legal benchmark under the country’s landmark Clean Air Act.

The proposal, which now goes up for public comment before any final administration approval, would leave the current mercury regulation in place.

However, the EPA said it will seek comment during a 60-day public-review period on whether “we would be obligated to rescind” the Obama-era rule if the agency adopts Friday’s finding that the regulation was not appropriate and necessary. Any such change would trigger new rounds in what have already been years of court battles over regulating mercury pollution from coal plants.

Friday’s move is the latest by the Trump administration that changes estimates of the costs and payoffs of regulations as part of an overhaul of Obama-era environmental protections.

It’s also the administration’s latest proposed move on behalf of the U.S. coal industry, which has been struggling in the face of competition from natural gas and other cheaper, cleaner forms of energy. The Trump administration in August proposed an overhaul for another Obama-era regulation that would have prodded electricity providers to get less of their energy from dirtier-burning coal plants.

In a statement, the EPA said Friday the administration was “providing regulatory certainty” by more accurately estimating the costs and benefits of the Obama administration crackdown on mercury and other toxic emissions from smokestacks.

Hal Quinn, head of the National Mining Association, charged in a statement Friday that the Obama administration had carried out “perhaps the largest regulatory accounting fraud perpetrated on American consumers” when it calculated that the broad health benefits to Americans would outweigh the cost of equipment upgrades by power providers.

Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, condemned the Trump administration’s move.

The EPA has “decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” after the successful clean-up of toxins from the country’s coal-plant smokestacks, Carper said.

He and other opponents of the move said the Trump administration was playing with numbers, ignoring what Carper said were clear health, environmental and economic benefits to come up with a bottom line that suited the administration’s deregulatory aims.

Janet McCabe, a former air-quality official in the Obama administration’s EPA, called the proposal part of “the quiet dismantling of the regulatory framework” for the federal government’s environmental protections.

Coming one week into a government shutdown, and in the lull between Christmas and New Year, “this low-key announcement shouldn’t fool anyone — it is a big deal, with significant implications,” McCabe said.