Posted on

Everywhere I go I find a pal

Everywhere I go  I find a pal Everywhere I go  I find a pal

Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review

In this week’s issue, we publish a special investigation into Tax Incremental Finance (TIF), concluding a year’s worth of study and research into the impact TIF has on local residential property tax bills.

I hope you find the story useful and enlightening.

In a sidebar rebuttal, Village of Marathon City administrator Andy Kurtz takes issue with a TIF analysis not included in the story.

This is not the place to debate Mr. Kurtz, but I wanted to explain what “the analysis” is. The story research started with pages of handwritten calculations, shifted to a spreadsheet and, in a final stage, shifted to an analysis, that is, a three-pager with dozens and dozens of calculations that was pitched to tax officials, academics and others to see if I could get a comment.

The analysis was never developed for the general public to see, but, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, I want to say that I have no problem sharing it with anybody who either is interested in TIF or simply wants to check my math. Just give me a call or shoot me an e-mail. I’ll send you a copy of “the analysis.”


I have the perfect replacement for RBG on the U.S. Supreme Court.



This is a story about a fish that neither I or anybody else ever caught.

It was Sunday night on the Big Rib River in Taylor County. I was having a splendid fishing run. Under a scuzzy gray dome of clouds, I was having good success catching trout with a No. 10 Tan Hendrickson. It imitated a small brownish moth that was flitting about.

I was fishing a very familiar stretch of the river. I finished my splashy walk upstream and reached the point where I normally call it a night. I thought to turn back and head to the car, but noticed I had a bunch of daylight left.

I decided to go exploring. I plunged further upstream, wading into an area of the river I had not seen before. The river narrowed into confusing little branches. Tag alders reached all the way across the river. I continued to go upstream. The fall evening sun glowed through a thicket of tree leaves and river bank grasses.

And then I saw it. It was a gleaming, metallic-looking thing in the water maybe 20 yards ahead. Maybe it’s a beer can or perhaps a chunk of white birch wood, I thought.

Instead, it was a fish, a dead fish.

I was, I believe, a brook trout that was 18 ½ inches long. The fish, dotted but pale and stiff like a board, lay submerged in about 14 inches of water in a part of the river that was no more than 10 feet across.

The fish had no obvious sign of injury. My conclusion is that this magnificent brook trout died of old age.

I took my wading stick, inserted it into the gills of the fish and took a good, close look at the corpse.

My emotions were mixed. First, I was stunned at the size of the fish. A 13 or 14 inch brookie is pretty good size in this smaller section of the Rib River. The trout get bigger as you go downstream; the fish live on crayfish. I felt a sense of pained loss. Oh, how I would have loved to battle this trout with my fly rod while it was alive!

On the other hand, I felt a grand sense of satisfaction that this trout, wise enough to ignore probably a decade’s worth of Tan Hendricksons tossed by anglers, grew to maturity and lived out its life in the wilds of Taylor County.

Here was a fish that lived far enough from the road that it never was caught. Good for the fish.

Contact Peter Weinschenk at pweinschenk@