‘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– A training tower for the Viroqua Fire Department will be built east of the fire station, which is located at 702 E. Broadway. Viroqua Fire Chief Chad Buros said plans for the training tower began three or four years ago when members of the fire department discussed the biggest needs that weren’t covered by the budget. The tower will be four stories high and have multiple rooms. The overall footprint of the tower, which will be built out of cargo containers, will be 24 by 40 feet. The tower will offer many kinds of training scenarios, such as search and rescue, hose advancement, standpipe operations, ventilation, roof work, aerial operations, chimney fires, ladder work, rope rescue and confined space… Vang Lutheran Church in rural Westby has established a flower garden on church grounds, and the public is welcome to explore it at any time. In addition to lush flowers, the garden includes garden art scattered throughout… Organic Valley, the farmer-owned organic dairy and produce cooperative headquartered in La Farge, announced it has reached its 100 percent renewable energy target set in 2017. OV started increasing its renewable energy portfolio by installing solar panels on its roofs and buying renewable energy credits from two wind turbines that it owns and operates with Gundersen Health System. The cooperative hit its renewables goal with the completion of three solar projects in Cashton, Arcadia and St. Charles, Minnesota, which significantly scaled up its renewable energy portfolio, said Stanley Minnick, energy services and technology manager at Organic Valley. The projects are rated at a combined 12.67 megawatts of direct current power.
LA FARGE– LaFarge Miss Fourth of July Evy Price and her court attended the music in the park sponsored by the Crafty Cookers on Monday, July 29. It was a great night with food and music by the Whiskey Chiken Band… Jessie Clift, granddaughter of Pee Wee and Audrey Clift (formerly of La Farge) and daughter of Jim Clift (also formerly of LaFarge, Class of ’82) was selected to the 2019 Wisconsin Softball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game… The LaFarge School district has a new school-based dental program. Bridging Brighter Smiles, Inc. will be offering preventative dental care right at the school. Visits are held throughout the school year and students 4K-12 are welcome to enroll. Services include oral screenings, cleanings, fluoride varnish applications, dental sealants, dental health education and referral assistance.
BOSCOBEL– The WIAA and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association announcement of the formation of Football Only Conferences has the Boscobel Bulldog football team competing in Six Rivers Conference in 2019. Some of the driving forces included disparities in the number of conference games relating to playoff qualification, difficulties in scheduling nonconference games, school enrollments and competitive disparities within conferences, the formation of coo-op programs, the implementation of an eight-player football tournament, and programs dropping varsity season schedules because of low participation. The objective of the Football-Only Conference realignments, as stated in a joint press release, is to keep as many conferences together as possible while reaching the stated goals of the proposal. The plan addresses varsity-level competition only, and allows sub-varsity scheduling to be determined by local school districts and conferences. The overall goal is to create and maintain a more competitive and player-safe balance within conferences.
FENNIMORE– The Roughnecks MC of Wisconsin, Fennimore’s own motorcycle club has been based out of Fennimore for about three years. The club as a whole was founded around late 2002 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The group is hoping to help fill an ever- constant need, the requisite duty of serving, helping and supporting one’s community. It all started with the love of motorcycles, and as part of the clubs’ bylaws that they needed to host a charitable event throughout the year, a natural fit for a club which primarily consists of public service individuals and veterans. For their first benefit ride the group focused on helping families in the area get back-to-school clothes and supplies for their kids, as well as winter coats and boots. For the second year, they rode to benefit a Fennimore Firefighter battling cancer. This year, the group rode to help raise funds for former Boscobel Police officer Jeremy Kass. Kass, who served 12 years in law enforcement, was studying to be a registered nurse. However, in 2018, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon/rectal cancer, and later a brain tumor was also discovered. During removal of the brain tumor, Jeremy suffered a stroke. Despite all of this, he seemed to be in good spirits when he joined the Roughnecks at the Fennimore Police Station recently, and Kass was able to join the Roughnecks on their benefit ride for him and his family. The Roughnecks presented Kass with a check for $5,000, funds raised during the July 27 ride, which included about 75 bikes touring the local area. The club also presented Kass with a gift for his wife, Nicolle, a certificate for a massage which was a door prize donated back to the group. The family-oriented club welcomes new members and supporters, and they hope to keep a benevolence fund to allow them to give immediate help to the community.
RICHLAND CENTER– Grant County officials, with assistance from the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office, have ruled the death of 25-year-old Kevin L. Flint as an accidental death with a cause of acute cocaine intoxication. On June 19, 2019 Flint was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Richland County deputies. During the stop, illegal drugs were located in the vehicle. Flint, along with the vehicle operator, were arrested for possession of illegal drugs and transported to the Richland County Jail. As the investigation continued, a search warrant was obtained to conduct a body cavity search on Flint at the Richland Hospital by trained medical personnel. Flint was transported to the hospital, where the warrant was executed. He was then returned to the jail with full medical clearance. Shortly after returning to the jail, Flint fell ill and lost consciousness during the booking process. EMS was immediately paged, and CPR was started by deputies prior to EMS arrival. Flint was transported to the Richland Hospital ER, where he died a short time later.PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– Two years ago this month, the owners of Los Aztecas Mexican Restaurant, of Dubuque, Iowa, announced they had purchased the former Coaches Restaurant in Prairie du Chien. The time has finally come for them to start renovating the eatery and surrounding property, with the intent to open a restaurant serving authentic Mexican cuisine, according to owner Lorenzo Dominquez. Work to strip the interior for a completely new look began the week of July 22, with excavation of a portion of the parking lot happening the next weekend… The Starsplitters of Wyalusing is a non-profit group formed in 1999 of amateur astronomers who have partnered with schools, educators, interested citizens and benefactors to bring the fascinating science and wonders of astronomy to everyone. The group is based at the Lawrence L. Huser Astronomy Center which is located within Wyalusing State Park. The Starsplitters offer a number of different programs to the public. With about a dozen telescopes and an observatory deck, the astronomy center provides a great view for looking at the moon, planets, stars and galaxies, which are all shown at the group’s public programs. The Starsplitters are always looking for new members and anyone who has an interest in astronomy and would like to be a part of the group is encouraged to join… Olivia Breuer, who will be a senior pursuing a bachelor of design degree in architecture at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall, recently gave a presentation about improving St. Feriole Island to the Prairie du Chien City Council. Her presentation entitled, ‘The Island’ included a 16-page presentation with some ‘big and bold’ ideas, and other more doable ideas as well. Breuer published a community feedback survey asking participants for information and recommendations. Among her many design ideas, she considered recreation, parking, walking paths for highlighting historic sites, as well as complete restoration of all historic sites to their original state. She showed that flood mitigation efforts to improve the island could involve underground systems to capture the water, and that system could be connected to the city’s water and sewer system. Along with other helpful projects she suggested the use of pervious pavements to help water permeate better into the ground, the use of cisterns, rain barrels, natural plantings and bio-swales that could slow the flow of rain.