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Dear Neighbor,

I am honored to represent you in the state capitol. Below, you will find updates from the capitol and around western Wisconsin. Please feel free to reach out to me with your legislative and state agency concerns. 

In addition to this newsletter, you may follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

I ask that you help share this newsletter with your friends and family. An informed community is a strong community, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our communities' concerns. 





- Sen. Patty Schachtner

Meeting with Governor Evers 

I shared my legislative priorities and western Wisconsin’s regional needs during a meeting with Governor Tony Evers. I am encouraged by the governor’s commitment to bipartisanship. Already, he has met with the Republican caucus and with individual legislators from both parties.

The November election results mean that we can and must work together. Republican legislators have already expressed interest in some of the governor’s proposals, including a middle-class tax cut and funding to backfill transportation projects.  I look forward to a productive legislative session that prioritizes local needs and working families. I am optimistic that we can find common ground to help build a stronger Wisconsin.  



Burnett County Meeting 

I had a great meeting with Burnett County Supervisor Jeremy Gronski and Burnett County Administrator Nathan Ehalt. During the meeting, we discussed health, transportation, and public safety issues facing the county. One particular issue – rising meth usage – has created significant budget issues with law enforcement, foster care, and treatment programming.

As a former town supervisor, I appreciate meeting with local officials and hearing their concerns. Local governments are important for many aspects of daily life like road maintenance and first-responder services but they are not always heard in Madison. Since 2011, lawmakers have passed over 120 measures to limit local control and add new unfunded mandates. As a state senator, I look forward to making state government more accessible for and responsive to local elected officials and citizens.

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Evers Proposes to Close Tax Loophole 

Governor Evers’ budget will propose to close the Dark Store tax loophole. Under this loophole, large retailers sue municipalities to reassess their taxes based on the vacant – not operational – value of their property. This shifts property tax burdens from big-box retailers to local homeowners.

The Dark Store loophole has affected western Wisconsin municipalities. In St. Croix Falls, Walmart and Menards have filed lawsuits against the city challenging their property tax assessments. If successful, the companies could claim close to $100,000 in tax refunds plus interest. In St. Croix County, Hudson residents could see property tax increases of $374 – or about 9 percent of current assessments – should retailers sue using the Dark Store loophole.

Last session, I joined Senate Democrats in offering an amendment to close the Dark Store loophole. However, the amendment attempt was shut down on partisan lines. I am hopeful that the legislature can adopt the governor’s proposal and stand with our local officials and property taxpayers.


Meeting with Tourism Secretary 

On February 5, I met with Department of Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney. Secretary Meaney is expected to come before the Senate Committee on Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce – of which I am a member - as a part of her confirmation process.

We had a great conversation about tourism in our region and attractions like the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Kinnickinnic State Park. Tourism events like the Hudson Hot Air Affair and others bring communities together and spur additional income for local businesses. I look forward to working with Secretary Meaney and the Department of Tourism to highlight the great things going on in western Wisconsin.



District Events


Whopper Ice Fishing Contest

Saturday, February 23; 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Join us on the ice for this popular annual event on Siren's Clam Lakes! Great contest prizes, on-ice raffles, and many door prizes! Sponsored by the Siren Lions Club. Tickets are $7 pre-sale and $10 on the day of the event.


St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Saturday, March 9; 10 a.m.

Join the 9th Annual Shamwalk/run - Run, Walk, or Leprechaun Leap your way thru this fun family event! Find our 'Lucky Lilacs' in our 5th Annual Scavenger Hunts! Plus meet the St. Paul Winter Carnival Royal Family & Vulcans at our 41st Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade! Chances to Win Fabulous Prizes with a button purchase! And enjoy food & beverage specials plus music at several local establishments.




AARP Wisconsin Income Tax Assistance

Wednesday, February 6 – Thursday, April 11

Income tax assistance will be provided at the Judicial Center located at 615 Stokke Parkway in Menomonie. AARP volunteers will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Appointments are required and can be scheduled through the Dunn County Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 3001 US Hwy 12 East, Menomonie (715) 232-4006.


Menomonie Learn to Skate

Saturday, February 23 – Sunday, February 24

The learn to skate and mite hockey home tournament has food, raffles, vendors, games, prizes and fun for all ages. Come check it out!




Fare For All Food Distribution

Tuesday, January 22

Fare For All buys fresh produce and frozen meat in bulk from wholesalers and manufacturers to find the best deals available, then prepacks the produce and meat in food packages that are sold to anyone who prepays and orders ahead of time at a great discount.

Orders must be placed by the Thursday before the distribution date. Upcoming distributions are scheduled for Nov. 13 and Dec. 11, 2018, and Jan. 22, Feb. 19 , March 19, April 16, May 14, June 18, July 16, Aug. 13, Sept. 17, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Dec. 10 in 2019.

Distribution is at the River Falls United Methodist Church at 127 South Second St., River Falls, WI 54022.


Farmer Appreciation Breakfast

Saturday, February 23

River Falls FFA will be hosting a farmer appreciation breakfast in the shop at River Falls High School. Breakfast will be provided by the chapter and alumni but donations are appreciated. Farmers, as well as anyone else working in agriculture, are welcome along with their families. Children's activities will be set up so bring the little ones too!. Please RSVP by Wednesday, February 13th.

RSVP to Ryan Pechacek at or 715-425-1830 extension 3775




Vinter Fest Cross County Ski (Balsam Fest)

Saturday, February 16

Cross country ski event at D.D. Kennedy. Childrens 2K, Middle and high school 6K, and 10K and 20K for adults. Warming station and refreshments available.


Lake Magnor Ice Fishing Contest

Sunday, February 17; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Richardson Sportsmen Club's annual ice fishing contest on Lake Magnor. Cash prizes for various fish species in weight and size. Door prizes and raffle tickets. Food and beverages will be sold on ice.



St. Croix

Willow River State Park Candlelight Ski

Saturday, February 16; 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Join the fun at Willow River's Nature Center for our annual candlelight event. Enjoy 2-3 miles of candlelit trails for skiing, hiking and snowshoeing. There will be two bonfires and refreshments will be available. No pets allowed. This event is sponsored by The Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks.


Cabin Fever Classic

Saturday, February 16

A 9-hole putt-putt course through 9 of the area’s favorite pubs and you will have a chance to play it!! Each of our sponsor pubs will have a unique and challenging putt-putt hole for your entertainment. All participants will get to play the 9-hole course, enjoy some drinks and meet some new friends. For added fun have your team dress up in costumes too!! There will be prizes for top teams and costumes.