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October 3: News from around the Driftless Area
News From Around the Driftless Area

‘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– Westby Area High School will be celebrating Homecoming September 29 through October 5. The 2019 theme is ‘We Love Our Earth.’ Homecoming activities kick off Sunday with the Homecoming Hue Hustle on school grounds… The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has sent a letter to Westby Mayor Danny Helgerson stating there will be a roundabout added at the Highway 14/61/27 intersection for the 2022 Main Street reconstruction project. Wisconsin DOT is planning to host a public meeting in November to present the updates…Residents of the greater Chaseburg metropolitan area filled the village’s park to participate in the 14th Annual American Cancer Society Sole Burner of Chaseburg event, Saturday, Sept. 21. After listing all of the communities represented at the walk, master of ceremonies Glen Hoff said, “It takes more than one village to fight cancer.”

LA FARGE– The Webster Town Board was happy to receive a big check from FEMA for 2016 flood damage, but the money only covers part of their costs. The $254,933 check was disbursed in the amount of $147,451 to Vernon County for new bridges (half to be received back), and $70,011 to the county for road repairs. Now, the town is playing the waiting game for reimbursement dollars from FEMA for the 2018 flood. When received, those funds will go to pay off the bank loans taken out to pay for repairs after the historic flooding. The FEMA formula is they pay 75 percent of flood damage repairs, and then the state and the town are each responsible for 12.5 percent… LaFarge will hold its Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Bean Park. The family-friendly event will offer face painting, kids games, pumpkin painting, vendors selling crafts and more, a farmers market, and music… Otter Creek, just west of LaFarge, is getting streambank work near the Donna Smith farm. Work will go on upstream and downstream from the nearby bridge. Otter Creek is the body of water that has absorbed two manure spills from the Wild Rose Dairy CAFO in recent years.

ONTARIO– For the Royall School District, a drop in state aid is likely to result in a mill-rate hike this year, causing local taxpayers to take on a greater share of the district’s funding responsibility. District Business Manager Jeff Lankey said that according to estimated figures; the mill rate will go up from $9 per $1,000 worth of equalized valuation to $9.84. In other words, the owner of a $100,000 property, for example, would pay $984 for school taxes… Torrential rains hit the Ontario area on September 18 and 19, causing the intersection of Highways 131 and 33 to become inundated by Thursday morning. Water also overflowed the banks of the Kickapoo River near the Ontario canoe liveries and creeped into Palen Park. The storm also damaged nearby rural roads… The 2019-20 4-H year has started for the Norwalk Clovers. At their first meeting of the year, they elected their 2019-20 officers. This year they have a lot of new members… Andrew Haffele, superintendent of the Wildcat Work Unit of the DNR, discussed repairs to the Elroy-Sparta State Trail on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the Elroy Public Library. Haffele discussed the final stages of the repair and possible ways the community could provide support.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– Pattison Sand began facilitating a 25 percent reduction of its workforce in the third week of September, according to the company’s sales and marketing manager, Jackie Lee. Lee said Pattison was employing 280 people prior to the reduction, which dropped the number to a little over 200… In the sixth year of the USDA-NRCS cover crop seeding program in Crawford County and the first year in Grant County, NRCS District Conservationist Karyl Fritsche said the program has become quite a success and has grown a lot since it began in 2014. In its first year, there were seven producers in the program and about 1,700 acres were seeded. Last year, 3,800 acres were seeded, and as of September 2019, 9.857 acres were seeded in Crawford and Grant counties… Carol DuCharme always said she could write a book about her storied little tavern on the corner of Guard and Business Streets in Wauzeka. DuCharme has operated the bar there for the last 45 years. Greg and Tina Russell and DuCharme’s son, Grant, purchased the tavern from her and renamed it ‘Boondocks Sports Bar and Grill.’ DuCharme believes the tavern is the second oldest continuously operated bar in Crawford County, second only to Bob’s Bar in Prairie du Chien… Prairie du Chien will celebrate its 10thAnnual Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 19, with most festivities taking place at the St. Feriole Island gardens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A parade downtown will precede the other events, and starts at 10 a.m.

RICHLAND CENTER– Wylde Chylde, a four-piece group from Southwest Wisconsin, will open for the October 4 concert with headlining act Chris Kroeze. The concert will be performed at the Richland County Performing Arts City Auditorium, and doors open at 6 p.m. with the concert beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 for limited reserved seating and $25 for general admission… The National Park Service (NPS) has announced $12.6 million in Save America’s Treasures grants to assist funding 41 preservation and conservation projects in 23 states. Among the projects funded is Richland Center’s AD German Wholesale Company and Warehouse. NPS will provide $360,250 to help with restoration and preservation of the historic structure…Harvest Guest Home hosted a Constitution Day Program on September 17, sponsored by Daughters of the American Revolution – Black Hawk Chapter. Karen Koch and Amy Kilgor chaired the event, and Analea Brown led the guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jane Adams spoke about the constitution – the oldest and shortest of any of the major world nations. Darlo Wentz was the featured speaker, and his topic was patriotism and the importance of citizens working together.

FENNIMORE- Throughout history, women sharing their breast milk to nurture and grow babies that were not biologically their own has been common place. As the centuries have passed, the advances in feeding babies have changed as well. Part of this development has been the creation of milk banking. In an effort to contribute to the ongoing work to support premature babies with valuable nutritional resources, the Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP) has opened its own Milk Depot. The SWCAP Milk Depot is located at the Iowa County Food Pantry at 138 S. Iowa Street in Dodgeville. The facility that celebrated its opening on Sept. 18 is a collection point for human milk donations from healthy, pre-screened lactating women… On Friday, Oct. 4, at 9 a.m., UW-Platteville faculty, staff, students and community will hold a special rededication ceremony for Rachel, an enslaved African American at Hillside Cemetery in Platteville. The repair, restoration and rededication are part of ongoing research being conducted by Dr. Eugene Tesdahl, Assistant Professor of History at UW-Platteville. The research was undertaken to uncover information about enslaved African Americans in the Southwest Wisconsin region. Their research has found that prominent figures of the region brought enslaved African Americans with them including Henry Dodge of Dodgeville, George W. Jones of Sinsinawa, and John Rountree of Platteville… Three Grant County fire departments have received grant awards through the federal 2018-19 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Hazel Green will receive $118,285 to replace outdated Self Contained Breathing Apparatus packs. Cassville will receive $46,441 as the sponsor of a regional grant to offer 12 classes for first responders across the region. Lancaster will receive $23,863 as the sponsor of a regional grant to provide swiftwater rescue training to firefighters throughout the region. Departments are responsible for a local match of only 5-10 percent toward the costs of the overall projects.