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August 1: News from around the Driftless Area
News From Around the Arrea

‘News from Around the Driftless Area’ is a compilation showcasing the excellent work and interesting tidbits from the community journalists sprinkled throughout our area.

VIROQUA– The Coulee Antique Engine Club will present its 48th annual show two miles north of Westby on Highway 27 on August 2-4. The gate opens at 8 a.m. all three days. Organizers are welcoming the Massey Family Collectors of Wisconsin to the show. An antique tractor pull takes place on Friday at 6 p.m., breakfast will be served Saturday at 7 a.m., and the American Mini Pullers will make an appearance on Sunday… Brianna Hall, 22, Westby, was crowned the 2019-20 Fairest of the Vernon County Fair. The daughter of Mike and Sherry Hall is the 49thwoman to promote the fair. Hall will reign over the 163rdannual fair September 11-15… A Coon Valley man driving a pickup truck in western Minnesota failed to stop for a stop sign, authorities say, causing the death of two people from Moorehead, Minn. James Helgeson, 26, failed to bring his Ford F250 to a stop at an intersection in Wilkin County at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 19. His truck struck a Subaru Forester, killing Margaret Mary O’Neill and Thomas Andrew Burton, both 62.

LA FARGE– The Vernon County Town of Bloom was recently in the process of cleaning up and deepening roadside ditches. They determined that the ditch area in front of June Prucha’s house near Cherry Valley should be 18 inches deep and 24 inches wide. A few years ago, the town increased the height in front of Prucha’s house, and in the process, made a deeper ditch line. This resulted in a blocking effect and water ponding in her yard. To solve the problem, the Prucha’s son-in-law, Jerry Crostenburg filled the ditch up to an acceptable level, installed underground perforated tiling, and ran an underground line from the basement sump pump, all to a culvert. They spent $3,000 to do the work. Then, the town recently sent them a letter telling them to return the ditch to the way it was or the town would do it, and charge them accordingly. They were given only a few days to comply. Crostenburg and Prucha asked for a meeting with the town board at their homes, and this meeting took place on Monday, July 15. The neighbors were all waitng when the three members of the town board arrived. After looking at the work that had been done, expressing some concerns about water from the underground lines freezing in the winter, they stated that the work looked good and was satisfactory… Even though there was no outright opposition to a Bug Tussel tower in the Vernon County Town of Webster at the town meeting on Tuesday, July 16, there were several questions for Chris Henshue of Bug Tussel. Henshue told meeting participants that the company had previously built towers without public hearings or notices to the county zoning committee in Liberty Pole and on Brinkman Ridge. The Town of Webster board had previously expressed concern about the location of the proposed driveway for the tower near Avalanche on the Croell property, but since that time plans for the driveway had been changed. It would be moved to provide a safer line of sight for traffic, and the additional width of the ditch culvert will make it easier to enter from either direction. The board will act on the driveway permit at their August meeting. Henshue said the closest house to the tower was 844 feet, another was 854 feet, and two others were 1,600 and 2,400 feet respectively.

VIOLA– The Old Highway 131 auto tour in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve (rescheduled from June 4) will take place on October 12, from 12-4 p.m. Take a drive down memory land. The Old 131 Trail will be open to vehicle traffic (cars, motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs). The names of the former homestead sites will be in place along the trail and the Friends of KVR will host refreshments and a history slideshow in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Visitor Center… To promote invasive and/or rare plant monitoring, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve is offering three more plant identification hikes: August 3, September 14, and October 12. For each date, the hike will meet at the south gate of the Old Highway 131 Trail at 9 a.m., and will walk north observing and identifying plants… Organic Valley, seeking to respond to the demand for nutrient-dense beverages, recently unveiled the first organic, ultrafiltered milk available nationwide. Ultrafiltered milk boasts 50 percent more protein and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk.

ONTARIO– There are some really good people in the world, and some of the best were in Kendall recently helping to restore Glendale Park. Two groups were in Kendall the week beginning July 15: Team Rubicon and AmeriCorps. Team Rubicon’s motto is ‘Built to Serve,’ and its mission is to serve communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. AmeriCorps is the Corporation for National Community Service, and its goal is ‘helping others and meeting critical needs in the community…’ …Wilton Wood Turtles Days, Inc., has designated Sleep in Heavenly Peace – LaCrosse Chapter as the recipient of the offering that will be taken at the Sunday church service in the Wilton Community Center on August 4.  While there are charities providing clothing, meals, and toys to families in need, children also need and deserve a safe, comfortable place to sleep. In the United States, too many boys and girls go without a bed – or even a pillow – to sleep on.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– On Friday, July 19, at about 4:30 p.m., the westbound lane of Highway 18 near Big River Campground buckled due to high heat. Highway Commissioner Dennis Pelock said the lane was closed for about three hours while the highway crew conducted repairs. “The stress on the curve in the roadway there caused the pavement to split horizontally for about 60 feet,” Pelock said. “We used an excavator with a large hammer to break out a section of the highway that was raised and caused the blow up…” A grain bin entrapment ended with a man’s life saved on June 28, thanks to the quick thinking of those on-site and the use of a grain bin rescue tube. According to Boscobel Fire Chief Todd Fischer, emergency officials were called at about 5:20 p.m. to the Bailey residence on County M in Watertown Township. David Bailey, 66, had become stuck inside a grain bin and shed structure, where he was surrounded by shelling corn for over an hour before a truck driver pulled in and found him. The driver and other employees called for assistance, and the Grant County Tech Rescue Team and Wauzeka Fire Department was called in because of their grain bin rescue tube and equipment. Once Bailey was extricated, Boscobel Rescue took him to a remote location where he was airlifted to a regional hospital for medical attention. Bailey was released from the hospital the next morning, according to his family, and is expected to have little to no long-term effects.

RICHLAND CENTER– The Richland County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, July 16. At the meeting, they considered a resolution allowing the use of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Utility-Terrain Vehicles (UTV) on the Pine River Recreational Trail. The trail runs from County O to the Village of Lone Rock, and the use of the trail is currently restricted to pedestrians, bicycles and snowmobiles. The County Parks Commission proposed that ATVs and UTVs be allowed to use the trail. The motion to approve the commission’s recommendation was defeated by a roll call vote, with 10 approving and 11 voting no… Plans have been made to develop the rooftop of the A.D. German Warehouse, just above the future fourth floor meeting area, into a pop-up space that will be open for special events. It’s expected that the rooftop venue with views of the city would be open in conjunction with special events and performances in the city and Driftless Region. Tours of the warehouse are offered May through October on Sundays, from 11 a.m. t 3 p.m.