Common Council rejects group’s Thunder Parade permit request
By Jalen Maki
TOMAHAWK – The City of Tomahawk during its Tuesday, Sept. 1 meeting voted 8 to 1 to reject a permit request by a group that sought to hold the Friday night Thunder Parade on Friday, Sept. 18 during Fall Ride weekend.
The Northern Wisconsin Riders Group, which submitted the permit request, hoped to maintain the longstanding Fall Ride tradition that in previous years had seen up to 1,000 motorcycles wind their way through Tomahawk area backroads before cruising down W. Wisconsin Ave. as onlookers lined the parade route.
District 1 alderperson Patricia E. Haskin noted the spread of COVID-19 could potentially occur during the parade.
“I feel a responsibility to the citizens of this community,” she stated.
District 3 alderperson Mike Loka pointed to the impact the parade could have on law enforcement as a reason for his “no” vote on the permit request.
“I think we owe it to our police department, also,” he said. “I think this would bring complete havoc to our law enforcement to throw something like this.”
District 1 alderperson Mickey Loka noted problems could occur after bikes enter downtown.
“We don’t have the street closed, so you have your parade, but to what end? You end up downtown with nowhere to park your bikes, nowhere to go,” he stated.
Loka also pointed out that with stop signs at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Street intersections along W. Wisconsin Ave.,
“How do you have a parade? We’re not detouring traffic, so there’s going to be other traffic, and if you’re intermixing traffic at all the stops signs, you’re just asking for an accident,” he said.
Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins noted that the parade would impact State Highway 86, something the City of Tomahawk did not have permission from the state to do.
The council ultimately voted 8 to 1 to deny the permit request, with District 1 alderpersons Haskin, Mickey Loka, and Ed Nystrom, District 2 alderpersons Jeff Kahle and Dale Ernst, and District 3 alderpersons Mike Loka, Steve “Ding” Bartz, and Tadd Wegener opposed. District 2 alderperson Will Garske cast the lone vote to approve the permit.