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December 5: 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.

LA FARGE– The La Farge School Board has slowed plans to add solar-powered panels to the roofs at the school and bus garage. The final result of the evening’s discussion is that solar plans are on hold at this time, that bids would ultimately be undertaken, a committee formed, and for all to keep coming up with plans, ideas and money. The board approved a motion to apply for the Focus on Energy Grant with a stipulation that the school could back out if plans change… 

ONTARIO– It was in March 2018 when a member of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association emailed the wardens’ public information officer concerning a timber theft of burls from standing trees on private land in Waupaca County. “It had to be more than one person using a ladder and chainsaw. Unbelievable!” she wrote in her email message. Burls or cankers are the result of fungus that invades the tree and results in these growths. To the observer, they look like bowling balls hanging off a tree. But to these bandits, they were deposits that could lead to cash payments. How so? The burls are carved into bowls or high-end veneers or countertops. To cut these from a tree is likely to promote death of the tree or the tree will weaken and fall in the wind. The theft of the burls in Waupaca County prompted a team of landowners and county officials to investigate and they eventually tracked down the burls as the thieves were attempting to sell them. The case was adjudicated in Waupaca County Circuit Court on May 6. One of the two in the couple was found guilty through a plea agreement of theft and possession of stolen property.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– The Sober House Project received a big boost on November 20 when the Crawford County Finance Committee approved of giving the project $25,000 to go toward the purchase of the former Villa Succes building in Prairie du Chien, 121 S. Prairie Street. Juvenile Court Worker Kari Sanding said the money would go toward the down payment for the building. She said $36,000 is needed for the down payment and the asking price for the building is $180,000. “There is a huge need for this in our community,” said Sanding, who noted that the sober house would be for Crawford County residents who are fighting alcohol or drug addiction. There will be a board of directors for the sober house, which will have 11 to 15 rent-paying residents at any given time. There are 11 bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large kitchen and a meeting room in the house, which will be sold completely furnished. The hopeful new owner will be ‘For Pete’s Sake.’ For Pete’s Sake was formed in May of 2019 and is in the processes of becoming a non-profit entity. Pete Zibrowski will be the sober house manager and will be collecting rent, helping to reintegrate individuals back into the community, helping with job applications and retaining employment, helping with their plans for the future and helping them establish and carry out their recovery plans and providing accountability. Sanding said Community Development Alternatives of Prairie du Chien is helping For Pete’s Sake to find funding. Donations from individuals or organizations are also welcome. Interested persons can donate by contacting Community Development Alternatives at 608-326-7333. A name is yet to be determined for the house, a large donor could get naming rights for the house.

RICHLAND CENTER– Chelsea Kaderavek, a 2008 Richland Center High School graduate, successfully undertook an arduous five-month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico-California border up to the Washington-Canada border. In all, she hiked 2,652 miles plus off-trail hikes to towns for supplies… The Town of Westford farm of Agnes and the late Maurice (Jack) Stittleburg was recognized at this year’s Wisconsin State Fair as a Century Farm. This 40-acre Richland County property was purchased by Agnes’ father, George Riedel, from Frank and Pearl Masat on May 19, 1919. George and his wife, Catherine, operated a dairy farm there for many years and after their death, it was inherited by Agnes and her brother, James Riedel, and sister, Agatha Thomas, in 1954. Jack and Agnes then purchased Agnes’ siblings’ share of the farm and continued the dairy operation for several more decades before converting to just raising crops. Although Jack passed away in 2006, Agnes continues to live on the farm where she was born, having resided there for 88 of the past 100 years… A free evening highlighting upcoming enrichment classes will be held at UW Platteville-Richland on Wednesday, December 11, from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. showcasing classes and instructors in cooking, computer use, woodworking, art, parent-and-me, and others that will be offered in the coming months. Attendees who sign up for classes at this event will receive 15 percent off their total registration… The Partners of the Richland Hospital, Inc. purchased a new Olympus Microscope for the Richland Hospital Laboratory. The Nikon microscope has a polarizing component, which aids in the examination of synovial fluid and urine sediment. The microscope also features two sets of oculars, allowing more than one tech or a tech and a student to observe the same image simultaneously. This is very beneficial for teaching purposes and for techs to confer about their observations. Additionally, the purchase of a new $116,000 ultrasound machine was made possible by generous donations to the Richland Hospital Foundation. The new GE Logic E10 features higher image quality, streamlining, portability, and faster storage of images. It will also support the new 3D mammography machine once it is ready to go… Three more selections have been made for enshrinement into the Richland Center High School Wresting Hall of Honor. Induction ceremonies are planned this year on the eve of the Richland Center Wrestling Invitational in December. Two wrestlers from the glory years of the 1960’s and a late 1970s stalwart who was a multi-sport athlete, will be inducted prior to the Hornets dual meet with Dodgeville. The three bring to 63 the number of individuals selected for the Wrestling Hall of Honor since the ceremony was instituted during the 1999-2000 school year. This will be the 21stannual induction event. This year’s trio includes Cy Dalberg (Class of 1964), Loren Brown (Class of 1965) and LaVern Louis (Class of 1979). All three were state qualifiers; all three would spend time in the military.

BOSCOBEL– Jason Dailey, a 2012 Fennimore graduate, was found dead of apparent blunt force trauma in his Necedah home on Tuesday, November 12. His girlfriend, Crystal Pharis, was arrested for charges in connection with his death. According to the criminal complaint, Pharis was was found in the home they shared, unresponsive and with a two-month-old child lying underneath her. The report stated that twenty-minutes prior to discovering Pharis unresponsive, she had told a sheriff’s deputy that Dailey had left two days prior without his wallet or car. Pharis and the child were transported to the hospital by ambulance and subsequent toxicology tests for the baby were negative for drugs. While checking the residence for more information regarding Dailey’s disappearance, Detective Benjamin Goehring found Dailey deceased in the master bedroom… An estimated 1,500 people were evacuated recently at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College after a utility contractor struck a gas line on the north end of campus. In response to the event SWTC was prompted to follow their safety protocol. They state that they are grateful everybody is safe and thank the people involved in responding to the situation as well as the many, many others who calmly and professionally responded as directed.

FENNIMORE– The Fennimore Community Scholarship Foundation recently received a $25,000 donation from former Fennimore School District Administrator Connie Schiestl, which will be gratefully added to the General Fund. All Fennimore graduates qualify for a scholarship from the Foundation’s General Fund. In fact, as part of one of their courses at school, they fill out the application ensuring their opportunity is fulfilled… MQ Signs and More, Fennimore’s newest gift shop is located at 4462 Highway 18. The cheerful little storefront is filled with a wide variety of gift offerings.