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July 25: 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– Local veterans and their families are invited to a discussion on the veterans programs offered at the Tomah VA. The forum is at Viroqua American Legion Post 138 Wednesday, July 24, 3-5 p.m… The eighth annual Driftless Music Festival attracted 4,000 people to Viroqua’s Eckhart Park on Saturday, July 13… The Viroqua Municipal Airport was buzzing with activity on Sunday, July 14, as it was the site for a fly-in breakfast sponsored by EAA Chapter 1439. The breakfast menu included eggs, pancakes, sausage, coffee and milk. In addition, there were airplane and helicopter rides, Young Eagles rides, and Viroqua Fire Department and GundersenAIR appearances. There was also a pedal pull for younger pilots… The Coon Valley Business Association and Trout Unlimited are once again teaming up to sponsor Coon Creek Trout Fest in Coon Valley on Saturday, July 27, from 8-11 a.m. The ninth annual event features a wide variety of activities for all ages, including a pancake breakfast, fishing for children, a vendor show, music from the Couleegans from 7-11 p.m., and the Trout Fest Bobber Races.

LA FARGE– Bug Tussel towers will continue their march across the Vernon County landscape after the county zoning committee approved to more of the structures at a meeting on Tuesday, July 9. The 300-foot towers, part of 17 to be installed in the county that will “talk” to each other, is part of a so-called broadband network. The two towers approved are located in the town of Greenwood at Highway 80 and County EE, and in the Town of Genoa on the Venner property on Hickory Road. Idelle Fauske spoke at the public hearing part of the agenda about her concerns with property values for properties in proximity to a cell tower. She stated that local realtors have said that property values in proximity to cell phone towers fall between 20 and 40 percent. “We don’t get into property values,” Chris Henshue of Bug Tussel said. There was also discussion of what limitations could be placed on towers beyond what state law requires. LaCrosse County, for instance, has set up distance parameters between towers, require FAA aircraft approval and an environmental impact statement, notification of adjacent landowners, and town approval. Town of Harmony resident Susan Harris, present at the meeting, suggested that the county should not approve the permits until the town board where the tower is to be built has acted on the proposal.

VIOLA– The Village of LaFarge hosted the Villages of Ontario, LaFarge, Viola and Readstown, where the villages held a public hearing regarding its proposed joint application for a Community Development Block Grant- Special Project Planning Program (CDBG SP-PLNG) funds for flood recovery planning. The meeting took place on Monday, July 22… The proposed closure of Gore Hollow Road in the Town of Liberty drew some attention at a public hearing on Monday, July 15. Nearly 30 people gathered to discuss the proposed closure. According to town supervisor Adrian Amelse, the town spends about 10 percent of its annual $140,000 budget for road maintenance on the road, which has a 17 percent grade hill. Of biggest concern was safety, as cited by Gore Hollow resident Lester Meyer. “We need the road open for emergencies,” Meyer stated. For those living on the top of the hill, the road is the only way to get out when the road gets closed due to washouts. Access by emergency vehicles and buses is an issue when the road becomes impassable. Another concern was the increased traffic for those residents on the road because there would be only one way in and out. Jeff Wendorf, transportation director for Kickapoo Area Schools, would like to see the road left open, citing that KAS bus drivers encounter worse hills than Gore Hollow in the district that aren’t being talked about being closed.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– The Crawford County 4H Dairy Judging teams tried their skills out at the Area Animal Science Contest in Lancaster on June 29. Eight hard-working dairy judging team members competed in the all-day event where 4H members were challenged on their skills of linear evaluation of cattle, type analysis questions, and required to give three sets of oral reasons. Senior members Regan Kramer, Aisja Achenbach and Meg Katzung did exceptionally well for having only three participants on their team, and after a very long day, placed sixth out of 15 teams. Regan Kramer placed in the top ten overall with the rest of her team not far behind. The Crawford County junior team placed third out of 19 teams, which earned them a trip to the state competition in Marshfield. The junior team consisted of Jake Kramer, Luke Kramer, Lucy Manning, Dominic Manning, and Carson Sime… The Wauzeka Rod and Gun Club will hold their annual catfish tournament on Saturday, July 27. Fishing hours will be from midnight to 1 p.m., with weigh-ins starting at 1 p.m. Fishing and boundaries for the tournament will be between the Wisconsin River bridges from Boscobel to Bridgeport, and anywhere in the Kickapoo River. Teams must be signed up by 11 p.m. on Friday, July 26. You can sign up at the Horseshoe Tavern or Yog’s Sportsman Lounge… The Eastman seventh and eighth-grade baseball team competed in the Eastman Tournament, taking third place. Team members include, front row: Grant Nagel, Theo Kuck, Quentin Hall, Damian Hall, Will Riley and Coach Cal Kramer; back row: Coach Chris Cooley, Nicholas Walz, Kurt Wall, Lucius Cooley, Dylan Wright, Max Cooley and Coach Jesse Hall.

RICHLAND CENTER– Challenges to keeping township roads in good repair is the subject of a free, open to the public, program scheduled for Saturday, July 27, from 6-8 p.m., at the residence of Richard McKee, 24184 Fawn Meadow Lane, Richland Center. To get there, take White Lake Trails off of Highway 80 north. Issues related to current and future maintenance of township roads – particularly those in Richland County supervisory districts 4,5,6 and 16, will be the focus… An ‘Adult Prom’ was held at the White House in Richland Center, with the theme ‘After Sunset,’ on Saturday, July 13. The event was a fundraiser for the new aquatic center that is currently being built in the city. The total amount raised at the event was $10,800, surpassing the 2018 total of $9,600.

BOSCOBEL–The body of a 53-year-old Madison man who disappeared below the waters of the Wisconsin River, just below the Prairie du Sac dam on Saturday, July 13, was recovered about 10 miles away near Arena the next day… Jason Edwards, a Richland Center native, is the new manager of the Boscobel Airport. His grandfather was a pilot, and Edwards was flying a plane before he was 25. He did his flight training with the Buena Vista Flying Club, and after he started flying, he came to an interesting revelation. “I’ve been an auto mechanic my whole life and when I started flying, and found out you could actually crash, I figured I’d better know the guy who fixes it, and that guy is me,” he recalls. “I trust that guy.” Edwards says the Boscobel Airport is a “beautiful facility,” and “I really appreciate how friendly and welcoming everyone has been, from the members of the Airport Commission to the mayor and the city staff. They have been out here and helping us in any way to try and help us succeed here…” 

FENNIMORE– The Kickapoo Caverns, now owned by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, opened up for tours on Saturday, July 13. The caverns were discovered sometime in the late 1800s by a lead prospector, and opened as a show cave in 1947. Over the years, more and more of the cave was excavated, and today it can boast to be the longest cave in Wisconsin. In the ‘registration room,’ one name that appears is Henry Bukoski from Fennimore, dated 1927… On July 14, at about 7:55 a.m., the Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to a motor vehicle versus Amish buggy crash at Highway 18 near Ridge Road in Mount Hope Township. The occupants of the buggy suffered no or minor injuries, and the horse had a broken leg.