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September 19: 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– Chaseburg Village Park will once again be filled with cancer survivors, cancer patients, caregivers, family members and other community members when the 14thAnnual American Cancer Society Sole Burner of Chaseburg kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 21. The event features food, silent auctions, raffles, vendors, children’s games, music by the Driftless River Band, Westby Thorbots team demonstration and much more… After being cancelled in 2018 because of flooding, the 89thAnnual Viola Horse and Colt Show is ready to go as planned on Saturday, September 21. The dairy cattle show has been reinstated after it was announced it had been cancelled. All other livestock shows will also be held. Highlights this year include an eight-horse hitch leading the parade on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Mr. Ed’s Magical Midways offering a wrist band special Friday, September 20 from 6 to 10 p.m. Other events on Friday include a truck and tractor pull at 6:30 p.m., and ranch rodeo and shoot-out penning at 6 p.m. Events on Saturday include a horse-pulling contest on the Viola American Legion grounds at 9:30 a.m., a horse show at Bud Wheeler Memorial Arena at 10 a.m., an antique tractor pull at 11 a.m. and a truck and tractor pull at 10 a.m. which resumes following the parade. A free country and western dance will be held in the Viola Community Building on Saturday from 6-10 p.m. This year’s show will feature Monty Berger and the Country Gold Band. 

LA FARGE– On September 5, the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call about a semi trailer on fire on Highway 27 near County P. The Westby Fire Department arrived on the scene and was able to extinguish the flames. The driver of the semi-truck was identified as Darryl L. Sorum, 49, of Rochester, Minnesota. The semi trailer sustained severe damage and was removed from the scene… The new bridge on County D, between Wemmer Road and Haugrud Hollow Road, west of LaFarge, will soon be open for traffic. County D has been closed since the last week of July, without an official detour. It appears that all that remains to be done is the guardrails and the ‘tiger’ signs.

ONTARIO– Kurt Munchow of Vierbicher Associates, the Village of Ontario’s engineer, announces the village has been awarded a $30,000 USDA Search Grant. The village will be obligated to contribute $5,000 toward the grant. The funding will go toward a study of the former Ontario Elementary School property and the 35 acres owned by Merv Taylor… Harry and Ruth Oakes are the directors of Sun Haven, the former Sunset Estates, which the Oakes purchased in March of 2017. Sunset Haven is an eight-room assisted-living facility in rural Ridgeville on the corner of County A and Junco Road. The facility offers a warm and inviting home setting with meals, activities and transportation… The Quality Foam Insulation team was this year’s champion in the Ontario softball league. Team members include: Jeffry Janzen, Travis Wegner, Dylan Scharping, Cameron Onshus, Brandon Schmitz, Jason Williams, Alex Arentz, Nate Schmitz, Connor Kaiser, Brandon Arentz and Jaden Schmitz.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN– Jeremy Dempsey, 23, of Prairie du Chien, was struck by a Burlington Northern Sante Fe train September 4. He was walking along the tracks with headphones on and did not hear the train approaching him. As the train passed, Dempsey’s right arm was struck. The train’s conductors stated that the pedestrian was observed and the train’s horn was activated, emergency braking was employed, but the train was not able to stop prior to striking the pedestrian. Dempsey was transported to Crossing Rivers Health where he was treated for his injuries.

RICHLAND CENTER– Nick Ringelstetter of the Lone Rock area recently traveled to Bowling Green, Ohio, to participate in the Black Swamp Arts Festival. His efforts paid off, with him receiving the Best In Show Blue Ribbon. He may be familiar to area residents from the whimsical snow art creations he’s made, some of which have been pictured in the Richland Observer… The Richland School District Foundation Board is pleased to announce the Outstanding Alumni recipients for 2019. They are Doug Duhr, class of 1971; Susanne Twedt, class of 1973; and Robert McConkey, class of 1991. These outstanding graduates of Richland Center High School were selected based on their achievements and accomplishments since high school in their career, community service, arts and entertainment, academics, military service, or volunteerism. The recipients will be honored during Homecoming Week 2019 and will participate in the homecoming parade Friday, October 11 starting at 2:55 p.m.

BOSCOBEL– The old Blue River tobacco warehouse was demolished last week, but the project was temporarily halted when a large swarm of bees was discovered. According to Val Bailey, Blue River Village Clerk, the bees had amassed about 50 pounds of honey that was removed. Beekeeper, Jason Chiasson was called in to remove the bee hive and donning his protective suit tore off the exposed wooden lathe, and simply scooped the bees off the wall and into a bee box. He trucked the bees to his home in Excelsior where they joined four other hives. The bees appeared to be thriving as of Friday, flying off to a nearby field of goldenrod. Chiasson said he felt the queen was alive and well due to the way the bees were behaving. An impressive number of bats also called the old structure home and were able to fly off on their own… Todd Reynolds of Reynolds Brothers Excavating was busy last week dredging the opening to the Boscobel Boat Landing, where Wisconsin River currents deposit sand throughout the year at the western entrance to the landing. After digging down to water level, Reynolds was able to dredge the bottom of the landing, creating a deeper channel for boats leaving and entering the landing. The sand is then hauled away by city trucks for later use. The dredging operation is done annually at the end of the summer boating season and is funded by launch fees paid by canoes, kayaks and motor boats. Cost is $2 per day if purchased at City Hall or Tall Tails, $4 at the landing, or $20 per year… Muscoda firefighters continued a half-century-old tradition providing the public with a dinner featuring chicken halves barbecued with a special sauce. In addition, the public had the opportunity to view the Muscoda Fire District’s equipment and speak with Muscoda Rescue Squad members about their duties and opportunities to serve. A Snoopy bounce house and games were provided for the children. The September barbecue and Morel Mushroom Festival Steak Feed in May are the two main fundraisers.

FENNIMORE– Byron Reeves of rural Fennimore, was recently recognized for his military service in a Quilt of Valor presentation. Byron enlisted in the summer of 1969 in the Naval Air program. He had two deployments based in Japan with an antisubmarine patrol in a P-3 Orion. He was a Naval Air Lieutenant and served as a navigator. He served until February 1974, when he came back to Wisconsin and served for awhile in the Naval Reserves after marrying his lovely wife Jackie… Derek Kephart, a 2019 graduate of Fennimore High School, is part of history this fall playing on the first ever football team at Clarke University in Dubuque. Kephart, a freshman linebacker at Clarke, began his college career playing special teams in the Pride’s 49-6 season-opening loss to visiting Central Methodist University at Dubuque’s Dalzell Field. Kephart was named the 2018 SWAL Defensive Player of the Year and earned first-team ALL-SWAL honors for a second straight year at linebacker. The three-year starter finished his four-year Fennimore career with 320 total tackles, four sacks, and five interceptions in 39 games.

LANCASTER – Grant County deputies were extra busy recently, searching high and low in a massive raid of the area’s most despicable and dirty offenders. The list was long - business owners, coaches, car salespeople, county officials, a radio personality, individuals who had used their good name for a good cause. They came into the new county jail, many handcuffed, but all with a smile on their face as they were ‘arrested’ for a Jail-and-Bail event. Most people were happy when they came in, and some got fed a meal, the same meal that would be served to inmates who will be staying there in the near future. The meal for the day was a breaded chicken patty, with barbecue sauce, corn, and cherry cobbler. The event was to raise money for the annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ program, where county law enforcement go shopping with a young person in the county so they can provide presents for the holidays.