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November 28: 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– Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes and other state and local economic development leaders toured Viroqua businesses Wednesday to encourage residents to ‘shop local’ on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday will fall on Saturday, Nov. 30. The annual event is marking its tenth year. Nora Roughen-Schmidt, Executive Director, Viroqua Chamber Main Street, said Viroqua’s partnerships with WEDC and other state agencies “have meant everything for our entrepreneurs.” Hughes, who said she has lived in the community for 16 years, said what’s been done in Viroqua to promote downtown redevelopment is incredible. “Viroqua was one reason I took the job,” Hughes said. “The ability to make a vibrant community is incredible.” Hughes said she hopes to take what’s happening in the city to other communities in the state… Reconstructing Main Street in the Village of Stoddard next spring is prompting the water utility to seek a nearly 30 percent rate increase this year. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will reconstruct Highway 35, which runs north and south through the length of the village, and the village will have the 79-year-old water mains replaced. The village wants to finance the estimated $700,000 to replace Main Street’s water mains through the state’s Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, but Village Clerk/Administrator/Treasurer Kent Hatlestad hasn’t receive approval yet… Local winners have been announced in the 2019 VFW ‘Voice of Democracy’ Contest sponsored by Westby Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8021. The theme of this year's competition was ‘What Makes America Great.’ The contest was open to all students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students. This is a national contest, where the national winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship. Junior Isabella Nedland won the $100 first place prize; Freshman Madalyn Komay won the $75 second place award; third place was won by Junior Ellen Johnson, who received a $50 prize. Freshman Audra Johnson won fourth place and received $40; the fifth place winner was Freshman Grace Fremstad who won $30.

LA FARGE– Kickapoo Valley Reserve will hold another in their Driftless Dialogues series of presentations, ‘Carnivores of Wisconsin,’ on Wednesday, December 11, 6:30-8 p.m. Scott Walter, Large Carnivore Specialist with the Bureau of Wildlife Management, will talk about the development and coordination of carnivore management plans in Wisconsin. Refreshments and socializing begin at 6:30 p.m., and the talk begins at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public… On Wednesday Nov. 20, 5th - 12th graders at LaFarge Schools had the opportunity to attend sessions focusing on mindfulness with a special guest speaker. Students learned about and practiced some mindfulness strategies that can help them remain alert and aware in stressful situations. Students played games in which they had to pay close attention and use focus with different senses. They cheered each other on in a Rock-Paper-Scissors championship to practice mindful team building, learned about their sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, played a beach ball game using active listening, and practiced making judgment-free observations. Research has shown that students who practice mindfulness often improve their attention, grades, behavior, mood, and ability to self-regulate and not become over-reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around them. This opportunity was funded through the Kickapoo-La Farge Mental Health Consortium grant… The Viola Sportsman’s Club will hold a raffle drawing at the Liberty Bar on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m… 

ONTARIO– The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton (NOW) School District “meets expectations,” according to the recently released Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Accountability Report Card. Superintendent Kelly Burhop explained to the school board that the school’s standing is more complex than it appears because DPI has changed its assessment methods. NOW elementary school is reported to “meet expectations,” and the Brookwood Junior/Senior High School is reported to “meet few expectations.” Burhop reported the report cards are based on four major priority areas: student achievement, growth, closing gaps, and on-track and post secondary success… Wilton will continue to work toward meeting DNR standards on effluent phosphorous levels at its wastewater treatment plant. The village board agreed to apply for a new five-year multi-discharge variance at their November 11 meeting… The Kendall Village Board is asking local organizations to help defray the costs of new Christmas street decorations, the village board decided at their November 11 meeting. The aging decorations will remain in place this year, with the possibility that new ones would be installed next year…Young adult author Jacqueline West of Red Wing, Minn., visited the NOW elementary school recently, speaking to the third through sixth grade classes.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– Tracy and Mark Pedretti of Prairie du Chien ranked as third largest in registering the most Angus beef cattle in Wisconsin and with the American Angus Association during fiscal year 2019. Also, Meadow Lawn Angus, operated by the Lenzendorf family of Eastman, ranked tenth largest… Regan Kramer, daughter of Becky and Travis Kramer, Wauzeka, and Rachel Kramer, daughter of Ray and Beckey Kramer, Eastman, received the Wisconsin 4-H Key Award for Crawford County this year. The prestigious 4-H Key Award, the highest honor a 4-H member can receive, honors a select group of 4-H participants annually. Youth receiving this award have demonstrated consistent growth in their 4-H involvement, developed and applied their leadership skills, and actively participated in the functions of their club and their community.

RICHLAND CENTER– Six areas of city-owned land were approved for deer hunters during the Richland Center City Council’s meeting recently. The council voted 8-0 in favor of a proposal that establishes zones on the north, east and southeast sides of the city for bowhunters. Alderperson Todd Coppernoll noted that there are twice as many deer in the area as the DNR believes is healthy. Alderperson John Collins said there is a desire to ‘make it safe’ with the inclusion of a 300-foot rule around walking paths. Collins said bowhunters interested in hunting on city-owned property are expected to be able to obtain packets by December 2… Richland Center’s own Ada James was a nationally known and recognized force in the suffrage movement. One hundred years ago, due in large part to her efforts, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to ratify the 19thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. ‘Memories of Ada’ is a play about the story of her life and struggles to get the amendment passed. One December 5 at 6 p.m., and December 7 at 7 p.m., and December 8 at 2 p.m., Community Players will present a dramatic reading of an original play written by Sharon Zales to share Ada’s story. This will be presented at the Richland Performing Arts Auditorium, downtown on Central Avenue, with a question-and-answer session after each performance… There was a festive mood at the Brewer Library in Richland Center recently when a celebration was held to observe the 50thanniversary of the library being at its present location on Central Avenue. Event highlights included a live performance by Jake O McCluskey, refreshments, and drawings for books and other materials. Historian Crystal Sutton Foley set up a lovely and interesting display of wedding gowns that are in the Richland County History Room collection. Also, overdue fine forgiveness was enacted for visitors that day… Billed as ‘the regions most spectacular light display,’ the Rotary Lights at Krouskop Park in Richland Center is made possible partly due to efforts of students in the Electrical Power Distribution program at Southwest Tech.