Letters to the Editor: Aug. 30, 2023

Letters to the Editor published in the Aug. 30, 2023 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.

Let’s work together and find solutions

Lincoln County Citizens,

Listening to the Pine Crest discussion during the August County Board meeting was painful. My concerns are the few options being considered and the short timeframe for the decision. Political biases and predetermined solutions are clouding our judgment. There are more options available.

Let’s look at the Pine Crest asset and see it for what it is. It’s a large building, with great location and infrastructure operating below capacity. This should be an opportunity instead of a burden. Let’s use the space to its full capacity, alongside elderly care, and help meet additional County needs:

  • Housing
  • Daycare
  • Labor

Using a multipurpose approach to the Pine Crest Complex, including quality elderly care, will make it viable. It will be a benefit for the County. Income generated with this approach could be spent on infrastructure. If not, it could be used as a property tax credit.

More options need to be evaluated before Pine Crest is sold. It is less expensive to repurpose a building than build new. There may be grant money available to address affordable housing and daycare, due to the major need throughout the country. Why not try to bring grant money into Lincoln County to help fulfill our needs?

We need to reevaluate the sale and listen to citizen’s input. Selling is the easy answer, but there are other options. Let’s consider other options. Let’s work together and find solutions that will most benefit the people of Lincoln County.

Brian Hanson


That’s the nature of the business

A number of restaurants in the area failed to open for the tourist season. Some others are operating on a reduced schedule, and some have announced that they will be closing early (for good?).

The reason seems to be a lack of people to fill the jobs and do the work. Travel around the area and it’s hard to miss the “now hiring/help wanted” signs. It’s a workers market.

Drive anywhere and it’s hard to miss a construction zone. Roads and streets are getting a long overdue updating and rebuilding. Sewer and water are being updated along with those construction projects. Money is on the way, some has already arrived, to extend high speed internet services throughout the Northwoods.

Even inflation, though still a problem, seems to be under better control. Sure there continues to be profiteering in the form of higher gas prices, and that’s the nature of the business.

Proud to still be wearing my almost worn out T-shirt with the graphic “Never underestimate an old man on a bicycle” on the front.

Jim Leschke


I am not

Attention: “People for Pine Crest”, Lincoln County voters, Lincoln County property owners.

Here are a few true facts to consider:

A Lincoln County resident does not have priority when applying to go to Pine Crest.

A person does not need to even be living in Wisconsin to be accepted to receive care at Pine Crest.

There is no guarantee when the time comes that Pine Crest will take you. (e.g. I know a lady who lived her entire life in Lincoln County, was living on her own with help with meds from family, wanted to go to Pine Crest for rehab after a stroke and she was turned down. She ended up in Tomahawk at a privately-run facility. Incidentally, it did not cost more than Pine Crest.)

All licensed nursing homes are held to the same levels of care! Further, a skilled nursing facility has many standards it is required to uphold – like a building in good repair, functioning AC, etc. Maintenance cannot be put off until the furnace fails and the repairman fixes it overnight. This issue is not a question of the care. It is the management for last several years that has brought us to this situation.

What will happen to these empty wings if county ownership continues? Right now 80 residents are supposed to cover the cost of a 180 bed facility. As noted in Foto News last week, and by Ken Wickham (county board member), Lincoln County is having to pick up the debt payment $630,000.00 (until 2038) plus $440,815.00 to NCHC for management plus $400,000.00 a year maintenance. In 2022, In addition, there was $1 million dollar operating loss. This has been explained over and over again and you just don’t get it! It is not just now, it has been the case since 2016!

Under Wisconsin statues a county has to maintain certain departments – such as law enforcement, health, highway, register of deeds. Lincoln County has forestry and landfill that bring income or the county might be in bankruptcy already.

Reminder: people living in the northern part of the county have facilities in Tomahawk and Rhinelander but are being asked to pay more taxes to help Pine Crest break even – “hopefully”!

If or when the county sells Pine Crest it will be under condition that it remains open as a skilled nursing facility.

Further, we pay federal income tax, state income tax, social security tax, medicare tax and if we own property, we pay property tax. It’s the property tax on real estate that goes to county, state, local and schools.

The Nubs Ashbeck proposal was for 10 years at $85.00 per $100,000.00 of valuation; computing to a $300,000.00 property increasing the property tax by $255.00 for the county portion. Look at your property tax bill for a complete breakdown.

Are you willing to pay an additional $250.00 a year to try to keep Pine Crest “afloat” for 80 people? I am not.

Leona Vander Sanden


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