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August 8: 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– Shane and Emilee Nottestad of rural Westby plan to open their third Zzip Stop convenience story by late August at 4050 Highway 35 in Genoa. This spring, they bought the former Pedretti’s Kwik Stop convenience store, which had closed last fall. The Nottestads razed the old building and are constructing a larger 3,200-square-foot building. They’ve also replaced the store’s underground fuel tanks with new ones. When it opens, the Genoa convenience store will offer fuel, a beer cave, tobacco products, a grab-and-go hot food bar with items such as broasted chicken and burgers made from beef from the Nottestads’ farm, take-and-bake pizzas, essential groceries and dairy products. Catering will also be available. The new store will have about 13 employees. Genoa has been without a gas station since Pedretti’s closed… In the fall of 2016, Power of 100+ Driftless Region was launched in an effort to make an immediate, direct, and positive local impact with charitable dollars. After an initial donation of $2,400, the group has steadily grown and donated over $60,000 in less than three years to organizations and causes in the local area. Every three months, members of the group gather together and listen to three nominated causes that compete to win a $100 check from each member. Co-founders, Randi Strangstalien and Jenna Bean, are community-oriented individuals who lead busy lives outside of running the volunteer-based organization. The group sees opportunity for people who don’t have time for volunteering, but still want to be active in growing and supporting their communities. “Our youngest member is 23 and our oldest member will be turning 90 this fall,” shared Strangstalien of Westby. “It’s a space for people who want to do good, and that has been such a unifying theme for us over the years.” To join, the commitment for each member involvespledging $100 per meeting for a total of $400 per year. The group meets four times a year for about a half hour each time and learns about three randomly selected charities nominated by members. The members of the group vote and one winner is selected to receive the individual checks of $100 from the members. The checks are written directly to the local agency, not a foundation or Power of 100+, so there are no administrative fees or transactions. For more information visit contact Randi Strangstalien at 608-606-0448 or

LA FARGE– Thirty-three plus people attended the Village of LaFarge board meeting July 22. The meeting involved four area communities working together to obtain Community Development Block Grants for 2018 flood recovery planning. Besides LaFarge, the other villages include Ontario, Viola and Readstown–all with representatives in attendance. The communities are collaborating first of all for a Special Projects Grant from the State of Wisconsin for $50,000 for each community. This grant money will basically be used to hire engineering firms to make plans to aid each village if more grant money is available. LaFarge is also working to obtain other grants only for the Village of La Farge where new water mains are needed the entire length of Main Street, plus new sewer lines along the same corridor… Natalie Nordmann represented Wisconsin and LaFarge well in the recent national high school rodeo championships. This was the first year of competing in high school rodeo for Natalie, a junior at LaFarge, who shared her experience on Facebook. “2019 NHSFR was a blast! For .22 light rifle shooting I made it back in the top 20 for the short go. After the short go I ended 16thin the world!!! In Girls Cutting I was 39th, which is not bad considering I have only been cutting for about 7 months. Thank you to everyone who has supported me!” 

VIOLA– On July 11, the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction awarded nearly $75,000 for mental health services to a consortium formed by the LaFarge and Kickapoo Area School Districts. Through the grant, LaFarge and Kickapoo Area Schools will be able to increase access to mental health treatment for students through the creation of referral pathways and collaboration with community-based mental health providers… Villages along the Kickapoo River succumbed to yet another flood on July 19 and 20, giving a new meaning to the phrase ‘100-year-flood’ in that it’s going to happen every year for 100 years. As of 3 p.m. on Friday, July 19, Viola crested at 17.2. With most of the work completed at the Viola truck and tractor pull area for the 89thannual Viola Horse & Colt Show, crews will once again have to clean up to get it back in shape for the Sept. 20-21 event.

ONTARIO– As part of its national tour, Johnsonville brought its Big Taste Grill to Ontario recently, serving up free brats to an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people. Other companies also contributed food toward the event, including Organic Valley, Pepsi and the Ontario Fastrip. In all that evening, the Village of Ontario received about $6,800 in flood-relief donations, which will be set aside for a new community hall and pavilion. The Ontario American Legion, whose hall was severely damaged in the August 2018 flood, also solicited donations. The event was the brainchild of Mike Paskiewicz of rural Ontario… This year’s Labor Day weekend celebration in Kendall for the first time will include the Kendall Mustang Mudder, sponsored by The Kendall American Legion. The Mudder is a 5K and 10K race in which runners will grind their way over a challenging course featuring hills, countless water obstacles, and may other challenges. Participants can expect a beer at the end of the trail. The race will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday, September 1 on Ron and Patty Leis’ farm, 1.6 miles east of Kendall on County P. There is still time to sign up. For more information, call or text 608-547-0909, on Facebook at ‘Kendall Mustang Mudder,’ or register at The early-bird fee is $25; the day of the race, the fee is $35… Norwalk, Wisconsin is celebrating their 125thanniversary this year: 1894-2019… Keira Rogalla, the daughter of Theresa and Terrence Rogalla of Wilton, recently returned from Anaheim, California where she scooped up a FCCLA gold medal for her project aiding victims of sex trafficking. She had raised funds and made blankets for these young victims, whom she felt needed something warm and comforting. Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for young men and women.

RICHLAND CENTER– The American Legion Hall and Flag Park in Richland Center was the site of much activity recently, when Post 13 celebrated its 100thanniversary. The weekend-long event included both fun and somber elements, including kids’ activities during the day on Saturday and a headstone dedication early that evening. The headstone dedication was for Ralph Verlin Jackson, a 1948 graduate of Richland Center High School who served his country during the Korean Conflict. He went missing in action in November of 1950 and was declared killed in action in December of 1953… The Sixteenth Annual Walk with GRACE will be held on Friday, August 9, at Krouskop Park in Richland Center. The walk is held ‘In memory of those who have died, in honor of those who have survived, and in thanks to those who have cared.’ The opening ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Decorated luminary bags need to be turned in by 8:30 p.m. and the luminary ceremony will begin at 9 p.m. Luminary bags can be decorated at Krouskop Park the day of the walk, or are available to be picked up at Richland County Bank, associated Ban, Community First Bank, All American Do It Center, and Walsh’s Ace Hardware. Decorated bags with the completed form and $5 donation for each name can be returned to the GRACE office, a team captain or to the park on the day of the walk. Please return the money and bag at the same time.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– Sarah Grace, a 2018 finalist of The Voice, brought her youthful southern charm and her band, The Soul, to Prairie du Chien during the Prairie Dog Blues Festival Saturday afternoon. Grace wowed audiences and walked off the stage into the crowd for an intimate song amid some adoring fans. Festival President Todd Yeomans said the 22ndannual event held on St. Feriole Island ran smoothly thanks to good weather, an easygoing crowd, stellar performers and a host of local volunteers, who worked hard to keep the blues alive for another year… Colonel Karl D. Jansen officially became the new commander of the St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during a ceremony on July 10. Jansen, along with other corps personnel, began a tour of the St. Paul District’s lock and dam system. Jansen is the district’s 66thcommander and district engineer.