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November 14: 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– A Genoa man was cited over the weekend after he hit a La Crosse traffic light, knocked the pole to the ground and then fled the scene. A woman reported seeing a southbound car on South Avenue cross the intersection and hit the traffic light at about 6:17 a.m. on Saturday. La Crosse police officers were able to follow a trail of fluid left by the car to a Chevrolet Cobalt with yellow paint marks on its damaged front end, as well as damage to the roof, back windshield and under carriage… The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will hold a public involvement meeting to discuss the planned Highway 14 reconstruction project in Westby. The meeting is scheduled from 5-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18, in the Community Room at the Bekkum Memorial Library in Westby. A brief presentation will be made at 5:30 p.m. The remainder of the meeting will be an open house. For those who cannot attend the meeting, or would like additional information, call Travis Buros at 608-789-5702 or email… Bekkum Memorial Library patrons can join millions of readers worldwide in a riveting tale of survival during Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From Nov. 4–18, book lovers can borrow Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones’ powerful debut novel, ‘I’m Not Dying With You Tonight,’ from their public library as an eBook or audiobook with no wait lists or holds. Bekkum M.L. readers may join by visiting or downloading the Libby app then discuss online at

LA FARGE– 47-year-old Jason Melvin, Monticello, Wisconsin, is in critical condition after being shot in the back of the head near Eastman in Crawford County. He is at University Hospital in Madison, where he was flown after initial admission into Crossing Rivers Hospital in Prairie du Chien. Melvin is the son of Paulette (Ames) and the late Ron (Red) Melvin, both graduates of LaFarge High School… Students and staff at LaFarge Schools were dressed in pink on Friday, Oct. 25, in honor of breast cancer awareness month. The middle and high school student council hosted a cookout that day at the Premier Co-op in LaFarge, and raised over $750 in donations for the Gundersen Medical Foundation in LaCrosse to aid in the expense of cancer research… Viola Methodist Church will hold a Community Turkey Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 5-7 p.m. There will be no charge for the dinner. The dinner is advertised as ‘Giving thanks for our friends from surrounding communities.’

ONTARIO– The Monroe County Agents for Change hosted an ‘Escape the Vape’ room, along with the ‘Wake Up Call’ room at Brookwood High School on Thursday, Nov. 7 during parent teacher conferences. The group had information about how to talk to kids about vaping and underage drinking, along with other resources… The former Cook Creek School, located at the former Ontario Elementary School site, was torn down last week. The building had been moved from Cook Creek (the Niagara Road area north of Ontario) to Ontario in 1956, and over subsequent decades, it was used for band classes, as a kindergarten facility, and later, as storage space. After Ontario Elementary School closed in 1995, the building became a residence. The Village of Ontario bought the building from Dakota Karper for $10,000 earlier this year… The Monroe County Land Conservation Department will host its Land Stewardship Awards Banquet to recognize and celebrate the 2019 Conservation Farmer, Conservationist, and Tree Farmer of the Year, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. The City of Sparta will be honored as Conservationist of the Year; Joe and Deb Hemmersbach will be honored as Conservation Farmers of the Year; and Chris and Joyce will be honored as Tree Farmers of the Year. The banquet will be held at Jake’s Northwoods in Sparta, and will consist of an evening meal, program featuring WCOW morning show ‘Ben & Arnie,’ awards presentations and youth conservation poster contest recognitions. The registration deadline  is January 17. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased through the Monroe County Land Conservation Department. For more information, contact Arin at 608-269-8973 or

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– City of Prairie du Chien Fire Chief Jeff Boughton submitted his resignation effective on November 18. The resignation was acknowledged and confirmed by an 8-0 council vote. Boughton started with the city on December 28, 2017, after Harry Remz retired from the position. Boughton leaves his position after serving for 40 years in the fire service, including his years as fire chief in Prairie du Chien and the 12 years he was chief in Boscobel. Prior to the meeting where his resignation was accepted, the police and fire commission voted on two occasions, September 12 and October 17, to deny Broughton’s request for an extension of the fire chief’s residency requirement… Lonnie and Jane Achenbach were the recipients of the 2019 Friends of 4-H Award at this year’s Crawford County 4-H Award Program on Oct. 20. Both grew up in the county 4-H program with their families near Eastman. They have been volunteer county 4-H leaders for 19 years… One of the most unique sponsorships this year for the Prairie du Chien Oktoberfest was its partnerships with Mississippi Meats and Potosi Brewery to offer the world’s only Potosi Brat for two weeks leading up to Oktoberfest. Because of this, a portion of proceeds generated from the sale of these brats were donated to Oktoberfest, which will in turn, be provided as a donation to the upkeep of St. Feriole Island Gardens. Almost 1,000 brats were sold and Mississippi Meats donated $300 to Oktoberfest.

RICHLAND CENTER– The Richland Center City Council approved a new ordinance combining two existing ordinances to authorize bow hunters to hunt deer within the city’s corporate limits on city-owned property. However, maps designating property on which hunting will be permitted were not part of the ordinance. The ordinance permitting hunting within the city will require bow hunters to prove their bow hunting proficiency before being permitted to hunt. Hunting will only be permitted from elevated stands, with coordinated drives not being allowed, and hunting will not be allowed within 300 feet of a city park.

BOSCOBEL– The Fin-N-Feather bar in downtown Boscobel appears to be a total loss after a fire raced through the upstairs apartment recently. Aerial units from Boscobel and Fennimore fought the blaze for over three hours in the middle of the night. Blue River Fire also assisted. Boscobel firefighters returned to the station at 5:28 a.m., but were called back about a half hour later when the fire reignited. Fire Chief Todd Fischer confirmed the fire was electrical in nature, caused by as many as five electric space heaters plugged into the same outlet after the upstairs renters had their natural gas shut off for non payment. Owner Lionel Snick’ Schlump was insured but the renter, Dean Kirschbaum, was not… Marcella Gardner and Maxine Boughton, better known as the McDowell twins, died only hours apart in the Boscobel Care and Rehab Center after each became ill. The sisters worked at the Boscobel Area Hospital, now known as Gundersen Boscobel Hospital, for 40 plus years. Both women were devoted to their families and their work at the hospital, providing care and compassion to both. 

FENNIMORE– The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service is announcing the availability of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek 345-kV Transmission Line Project Final Environment Impact Statement. The Final EIS evaluates environmental impacts of construction and operation of the C-HC Project, which would extend approximately 125 miles, connecting Dane County, Wisconsin and Dubuque County, Iowa. The Final EIS is available online at