MOSINEE, Wis. (WSAW) – Numerous agencies, organizations, and companies in Marathon County are preparing for President Donald Trump to campaign in Mosinee Thursday night.
He was originally scheduled to visit Friday, but Monday evening plans changed to Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Central Wisconsin Airport. Doors open at 5 p.m. As of Tuesday afternoon, it is his only campaign stop scheduled for Thursday.
The change itself has caused some additional meetings and calls for local agencies to make adjustments including several happening Tuesday, however, Marathon County Chief Deputy Chad Billeb said the secret service has made the switch fairly seamlessly and has had good communication about what they need and responding to local agencies.
“The visit that we’re having this year is very similar to the one in 2018,” he said. “We have a lot of preparation in advance to make sure that we have the right assets in the right place to prepare for all of the people who are going to come to see the president speak.”
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wis., Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)(Susan Walsh | AP)
Billeb said there are too many agencies and resources to name that are working to accommodate this campaign stop, but they include federal, state, and local agencies especially around the Wausau metro area. Even if area police and fire/EMS departments are not directly on the site, various agencies are prepared to assist those departments that are by providing services to calls in their local jurisdiction, as well as are part of contingency plans for various emergency scenarios.
For example, Mosinee Fire and EMS had about 12-15 people working on-site at the 2018 Trump rally, prepared in the event an emergency would happen and also tend to participants for heat-related issues. To assist them with any local calls, deputy chief, Adam Grahn said they had SAFER ready to help, which he said they plan to do this year. SAFER also had paramedics on the grounds in 2018.
“We ensure that all of our agencies in the county are represented and that the sheriff’s office also has staffing. We don’t impact those numbers when we do the planning that we have for an event like this because our primary responsibility is to the citizens of the county and that we have an adequate police, fire, and EMS response to everyone while something like this is going on,” Billeb urged.
The sheriff’s office detailed its hours and costs from the 2018 visit. There were 37 employees assigned to that event including those on the bomb, SWAT, mobile dispatch, traffic, security, and incident command. That totaled to 157 regular hours, 166 overtime hours, for a total of $10,161.68 in cost. Billeb said he expects about the same for Thursday’s event and like 2018, some costs could be reimbursed by the campaign. This total cost is only for the sheriff’s office with other departments also entailing costs, including officers from Wausau and Everest Metro police departments that have members on some of these special teams.
The Mosinee Police Department had four officers assigned to the detail in 2018 with 13.25 regular hours and 23.75 overtime hours totaling $1,451.59. Chief Ken Muelling said they will have four officers there again this year and anticipate about the same
“Everyone of them (the special teams) has some sort of an advisory role and in some cases, they’re actually brought in to be a part of the actual event, but not all of them are actually on-site” Billeb explained.
In 2018, the then-St. Clare’s Hospital (now Marshfield Medical Center-Weston) was contracted as the closest facility to the event and had a walk-through with the secret service to prepare for any emergencies. Marshfield Clinic’s media relations specialist, Jeff Starck confirmed they are working with the local and federal authorities, including the White House.
“We are well prepared for the presidential visit as we are every day to meet the needs of our communities,” he said.
In terms of impacts to the Central Wisconsin Airport, the manager Brian Grefe said the event is actually coming at a good time for outgoing and incoming flights, with no flights having to be moved or canceled due to the visit, though there is the potential for flight delays, as a result, the day of the event. Travelers will still be able to navigate the airport and people will still be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers, though Grefe said there will, of course, be more security.
He also advised that travelers should prepare more time into their plans. Parking for airline passengers is designated in the west lot, which is the first right turn on CWA Drive, though he said travelers should consider modes of transportation that will not require parking, like a friend or family member, All-American Taxi, Northwoods Cab, Uber, or Lyft.
Parking for the event will take place in the main airport parking lot on a first-come-first-serve basis, which is the first left turn on CWA Drive. Overflow parking will be available across the street at Crystal Finishing. Unlike 2018, parking will not be allowed on the grassy area or anywhere off the pavement on airport property. Grefe also encouraged people to be dropped off instead of having to park at the event. He also noted that having a ticket to the event does not guarantee access to the event.
“We expect people to show up, be patient, and plan ahead. Understand that the public who is not coming to this event should avoid the Mosinee I-39, 153 area because it is going to be congested,” Billeb said. He continued, people should plan to get to the event early and just to be patient as they wait to get in and get out of the event.
In 2018, there were approximately two protesters on the site of the event. Billeb said, like in 2018, they will have a designated area if there are people who plan to demonstrate, but not attend the event. He asks that those attending the event or protesting the event be respectful to all parties and people.
For tickets, you can register here on the President’s campaign website. WSAW-TV does not have or distribute tickets.
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