Pierce County Board appoints Redistricting Committee ELLSWORTH – As the Pierce County Board got underway with its 12-minute in length Aug. 24 regular board meeting, Chair Jeff Holst asked for …
Pierce County Board appoints Redistricting Committee
ELLSWORTH – As the Pierce County Board got underway with its 12-minute in length Aug. 24 regular board meeting, Chair Jeff Holst asked for public comment. District 6 Supervisor Michael Kahlow, who is a chemistry and biotechnology professor at UW-River Falls, took the mic.
He said that as a scientist and science educator, he had to speak to the misinformation on the COVID-19 vaccine shared at the July 27 board meeting. Citizen Lisa Kuchinski had written in a letter to county board supervisors, read aloud at the July 27 meeting by Supervisor Mel Pittman, opinions disputing the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and how it works.
“The vaccine works,” Kahlow said. “There is no DNA or genetic information involved.”
Kahlow explained how the vaccine triggers a body’s immune response.
Vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions on how to make a protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells makes copies of this protein, our bodies recognize that this protein should not be there and build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that fight infection, that will remember how to fight the virus if we’re infected in the future.
Kahlow said 34 people have died from COVID in Pierce County, while there have been no deaths from the vaccine anywhere. Kahlow also said there are far more deadly variants of COVID out there, some with a 15 percent death rate. Fifty percent of those 65 and older die of some strains. Chances of a vaccinated person showing symptoms are 88 percent lower than an unvaccinated person, Kahlow said. One in 100 unvaccinated individuals dies from COVID, while one in 100,000 of vaccinated people die of COVID, he added.
“We can’t make political decisions if we don’t have the correct information in front of us,” Kahlow said. “Pope Francis and Donald Trump have asked people to get vaccinated.”
Public comment shifted to the Pierce County Fair. Holst said the fairgrounds have never looked better, and commended groundskeeper Matt Kelly for a job well done.
Supervisor Dean Bergseng, chair of the Pierce County Fair Committee, said motocross attendance was up by 31 percent, while a total of 41,056 people paid to get into the fair Aug. 12-15. This may be an all-time record, he said.
Tractor pull attendance was up by 51 percent, while beer sales have increased by 224 percent over the six-year average. While the number of exhibitors had decreased a bit, Bergseng said the fair’s number one problem remains the lack of parking.
•On first reading, the board adopted a resolution stating the county will offer employees accident insurance coverage throughWisconsin Employee Trust Fund and Securian, beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Employees would pay the premiums out of their own pockets with no cost to the county. The idea is that an expanded benefits package will help recruit and retain employees.
•The board approved the following appointments to the Redistricting Committee: District 3 Supervisor Jon Aubart, Corporation Counsel Brad Lawrence, Administrative Coordinator Jason Matthys, County Clerk Jamie Feuerhelm and GIS Specialist Kevin Etherton. The 2020 Census results should be published by Sept. 2. A proposed redistricting map will be available on the county website. A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 15.