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September 12: 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– Brianna Hall, the 2019-20 Vernon County Fairest of the Fair, is ready to take on her role as the fair’s ambassador. “I was really excited when it was announced I was Fairest of the Fair,” Hall said. “It will be an awesome experience and opportunity to promote the fair.” Hall, a member of the Westby High School Class of 2016, was crowned Fairest of the Fair at the Vernon County Fair Ferris Wheel Breakfast on July 20… The Vernon County Fair starts on September 11 this year. Because this is such an important day in our lives and the first day of the fair, there will be a special service commemorating this day at 7 p.m. on the Bob Fredrick Free Stage at the Vernon County Fairgrounds. All military personnel, police, fire, rescue, EMT, first responders and municipal road crews will be honored… The Vernon County Fair, which runs September 11-15, will once again feature Junior Fair and Open Class exhibits, food, commercial exhibits, carnival rides and games, and a wide variety of other activities and events. This year’s theme is ‘Makin’ Memories,’ and it will be used for decorating buildings, barns and the grounds. Bill Marohl, treasurer of the Vernon County Agricultural Society Board of Directors, said there is a cultural arts class in Junior Fair that gives youth an opportunity to design a cover and define a theme for the Vernon County Fair – Official Premium Book.

LA FARGE– The School District of LaFarge’s newest teachers arrived at the school August 26 for an orientation day ahead of the arrival of students on Sept. 3. The new teacher’s names are Rosa Rose (fifth grade), Kristine Da Prato (Family & Consumer Science), Deb Michaels (Elementary Music), Sara Keenan (Elementary Special Education), and Amanda Fonk (Third Grade)… Phil Campbell recently celebrated his 20thyear in business in LaFarge as the owner of Phil and Deb’s Town Tap… The LaFarge Library has posted results of the power generated in the month of August from the solar panels they recently installed. As of August 28, the panels had generated 1.1MWh of power worth $110. Since installation, the panels have generated $627 worth of electricity. The environmental benefit of generating power for the library in this way is described as being the same as planting 244 trees.

VIOLA– The Viola Sportsmen’s Club is in need of workers for the annual food stand held at the Viola Horse and Colt Show on Friday, Sept. 20th and Saturday, Sept. 21. Send them an e-mail if you would like to get signed up for a shift. or contact an officer. You can call or text Jr at 608-606-3175. Shifts that are needing additional help: Friday, 5:30-9 p.m., and 9 p.m. to close; and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3-6 p.m., 6-9 p.m., and 9 p.m. to close… The Viola Horse and Colt Show will once again take place in Viola after being cancelled in 2018 due to the severe flooding that impacted the village. The event will take place on September 20-21, and will feature such events as a horse show, ranch rodeo, horse pull, truck and tractor pull, a midway carnival, a parade, an arts and craft show, a dance, exhibits and live entertainment. For detailed information about the schedule, go to

ONTARIO– It was just a year ago that many residents of Monroe and Vernon counties were dumbstruck by the damage caused by one of the worst flooding events in history. Homes were lost, businesses were destroyed, and most property owners were unsure what could mitigate the damages that threatened not only the small villages, but the surrounding agricultural enterprises. The initial days and weeks provided the adrenalin high that accompanies weather disasters, as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and many other good Samaritans descended upon our communities with food, clothing and household supplies. FEMA stepped in with instant aid for those who had lost water heaters and furnaces, and they provided funds to restore homes to pre-flood condition. But, as time passed, communities began to realize that there would be very little help available for businesses other than loans. This is the introduction to an excellent story written by Karen Parker in the Ontario newspaper, The County Line… Hunters and wildlife observers planning fall and winter outdoor activities in Monroe County are reminded that deer baiting and feeding is prohibited. DNR conservation warden Matthew Modjeski, who serves Monroe County, says the ban on deer baiting and feeding was implemented on December 1, 2017, as a tool to limit the spread of the fatal and highly contagious deer disease known as chronic wasting disease. Bans on baiting and feeding are established within a geographic range of any confirmed CWD case.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– Prairie du Chien School District Administrator Robert Smuddle has resigned and his last day serving the district will be Friday, September 13. Smuddle said he will be the new Director of Pupil Services and School Psychologist for the Dodgeville School District. Smuddle has been the District Administrator at Prairie du Chien for the past two years… ATVs and UTVs will be able to utilize routes in the City of Prairie du Chien, as soon as signs are up and a public notice is published twice in the Courier Press. After multiple meetings and hearing from a conservation authority on the matter, the Prairie du Chien Common Council finally approved an ordinance establishing this new option in the city for recreational enthusiasts… The Wauzeka-Steuben School Board has announced its selection of an interim superintendent, David Alexander, who will assume duties from current interim, Gary Albrecht. Alexander’s contract will be approved at the September 16 board meeting. Alexander holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from UW-LaCrosse, and a Master of Science in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. Prior to his retirement in June of 2019, Alexander worked 24 years in the Yorkville (Wisconsin) School District, including 18 as superintendent.

RICHLAND CENTER– The Richland Center City Council endorsed a plan to create a full-time position of economic development director with Richland County during a 90-minute session recently in their Municipal Building. All seven council members in attendance voted in favor of the plan to create, fund and oversee the position, although some expressed reluctance. The plan calls for a person to be hired as a county employee with an office in the Municipal Building. The cost, including salary and benefits will be $130,000 with the city picking up 40 percent and the county taking on 60 percent… Richland Center Mayor Mike Kaufman signed a very important proclamation in honor of Constitution Day, September 17, and Constitution Week, September 16-22. This proclamation asks citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed us through this guardian of our liberties, remembering that lost rights may never be regained. The Daughters of the American Revolution are proud to be a part of it. A Constitution Day program will be held on September 17, 2 p.m., at Harvest Guest Home.

FENNIMORE– Fennimore High School students will have a new opportunity to serve their community this year. “The Fennimore High School mission is to facilitate the development potential of each student so they may be successful in society,” the report prepared by the Fennimore District Assistant Principal Lisa Wallin-Kapinus shared. “In our efforts we will be implementing a Silver-Cord Service Program. This service and volunteer program will provide students with opportunities to develop to their fullest potential and become valuable members of the community and society.” The Silver Cord concept is recognized nationally, and will require 160 hours of volunteer service throughout the student’s high school career… A new and possibly controversial program is being explored by the Grant County Health Department. ‘Syringe Services’ is a needle exchange service providing clean new needles to intravenous (IV) drug users, and a location to return dirty needles safely.