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2018 year in review (part one)
hh on milking
DAIRY FARMER Hillary Hartley explains some of the equipment used for milking cows to Thomas Petri, an aide to Senator Ron Johnson. Petri toured her familys farm in North Clayton last Friday. The morning tours for politicians and other officials were conducted before the meeting to discuss the deepening farm crisis that was held at the Seneca Town Hall in the afternoon.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - JANUARY:Rick Busch, President of Royal Bank in Gays Mills retires after 26 years of service to the community. Rick said he will work on some special projects from his home office, and will continue to serve on Royal Bank Board of Directors…Jack Rath, long-time member of the Royal Bank Board of Directors, retires after having been an active member of the bank boards since 1965, joining Royal Bank Board of Directors in 1991 when the bank acquired the location in Gays Mills…A 2009 Ford four-door was located over a steep embankment against trees. No one was at the scene. Numerous footprints led to and from the car. Passing motorists advised that the car had been there prior to 7 p.m. the previous evening. The car is registered to Jennifer R. Wojciechowski of Chicago…There will be two full moons this January, an unusual event to have two full moons in the same month. It will happen this year because the time between full moons is 29 ½ days, which means no full moon in February… A manure spill has occurred from the East Town Dairy in Cashton, a CAFO located along the Monroe-Vernon County line.  Thousands of gallons of liquid manure overflowed a manure flush flume. The manure spread over a pasture and froze. The East Town Dairy is responsible for cleaning up the frozen manure by the end of the week. If the manure is not removed before the next thaw or rain event, it will run off into the West Fork of the Kickapoo River… Jimmy D. McDaniel was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision for first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Linda Kline on October 5, 2016…The North Crawford-Seneca wrestling team took home second place at the Lee Griffin Invitational held at Kickapoo High School…The Seneca girls basketball team beat the North Crawford Trojans 75-37 on January 4…Wisconsin’s latest round of Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants has been awarded to 17 groups of farmers who will work with conservation agencies and organizations to address soil and water issues tailored to their local conditions… The Crawford County Land Conservation Committee took up and passed a resolution urging the state of Wisconsin to recognize local sensitivities of natural assets such as ground water, support local control in regulating and protecting those assets, and improve the oversight of the DNR’s Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program… The 2018 Crawford County Fair Ambassador is Cali Cauffman, the 2018 Junior Fair Ambassador is Michaela Cauffman…The Town of Harmony in Vernon County passed a 12-month Moratorium on Livestock Facilities/Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility Ordinance…Joe Brandt is pictured with Ginny Manning and two police officers as they joined 300,000 other people during the Women’s March on January 20 in Chicago, IL. 

FEBRUARY:Johnson’s One Stop employee and founding farmer of the Driftless Back to the Land Cooperative Mike Mueller met with other farmers interested in learning more about pastured pork production…. Shayne Swadley, 24, Readstown, was sentenced in Vernon County last Friday to 30 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision for first degree attempted homicide of Christine Mazilauskas… J&J’s on Main in Gays Mills had a rabbit hunt and raffled off guns and other sporting items. They donated the profits, $1,431 to Wheel of Todd… A benefit will be held for longtime Town & Country Sanitation employee Doug Martin, who has been diagnosed with ALS. Doug and his family, wife Tina and son and daughter, Jason and Michelle are residents of Gays Mills. The benefit will be February 17 at the Gays Mills Community Center… The Village of Soldiers Grove approved a resolution for village to be part of MABAS network, which is a mutual aid measure that may be used for deploying fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel between multiple jurisdictions…Tammy Olson has been watching the problem of the farm crisis grow from her position behind the counter at Olson Feeds in Seneca. The normally upbeat customers at Olson’s have grown visibly more depressed over the past six months. “I decided I had to do something,” Tammy said. She posted the story about the farm bankruptcy rate in western Wisconsin on the Olson Feeds Facebook page and she decided it was time to contact elected officials. Tammy reported that she had been contacted by a representative of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who indicated the senator was interested in visiting farms and meeting with local farmers to discuss their concerns and what actions are being taken, an event date has been scheduled…An investigation of former Crawford County Public Health Department Director Gloria Wall has resulted in two misdemeanor charges based on her alleged mishandling of prescription drugs…The Crawford County Board of Supervisors took up and unanimously passed a resolution urging the State of Wisconsin to recognize local sensitivities of natural assets such a groundwater, support local control in regulating and protecting those assets, and improve the oversight of the DNR’s Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) program.

MARCH:Crawford County is initiating a course of action to bring the county into compliance with the provisions of the State of Wisconsin Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) Program. This means that the home of every resident of the county will either need to be connected to a municipal wastewater system or a code compliant POWTS (septic system) that is regularly inspected a minimum of every three years once the ordinance is enacted… Seneca student Storie Recker won the spelling bee for the third year in a row… Wauzeka farmer Howard AV Roth was elected vice president of the National Pork Producers Council… On Wednesday, March 14 students across the nation are planning to walk out of school for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims of the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida.    Rather than taking a punitive approach to the walkout, the North Crawford staff is planning on using that time as a learning opportunity for all. Any student and staff member who chooses can walk out.  Concluding the morning, students will be divided into smaller groups, where they will participate in different team building activities centering on empathy, teamwork, and universal acceptance… The eagerly anticipated industrial hemp administrative rule was released by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) last week. People who want to grow or process industrial hemp in Wisconsin will need to apply for a license, and at the same time, register their intentions to grow or process hemp in the state this year… John Young, a longtime member of Soldiers Grove Volunteer Fire Department was named ‘Crawford County 2017-2018 Fire Fighter of the Year.’… The one-act play ‘This is a Test’ was added to the playbill of the North Crawford Playhouse spring production which featured ‘Up the Down Staircase.’ Both plays seemed to draw rave reviews from those who attended… It was reported that a reckless driver eastbound on Highway 14 from the Readstown area did not stop for Vernon County Sheriff’s Deputies, and a call for help was made to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to deploy ‘Stop Sticks’ (tire deflation devices). It was learned that the suspect’s vehicle had been involved in at least three crashes in Vernon County, involving both civilian and law enforcement vehicles. Authorities attempted several trained maneuvers to stop the suspect, as he appeared to intentionally ram into squads.  As the suspect entered Richland County, he crashed into four additional civilian vehicles traveling on the roadway, drove through a ditch, and continued to flee from deputies. Contact was made with the suspect vehicle by squad cars in a trained manner, which temporarily stopped the suspect. However, as deputies exited to make contact with the driver, he accelerated and continued eastbound.  The suspect was yelling out the window at authorities, and throwing items from his vehicle as he drove.  The chase reached a maximum speed of 35 mph, according to authorities. The subject was stopped on Highway 14 at Wescott Road in Richland County’s Sylvan Township, and was taken into custody and transported to the Richland County Jail.

APRIL:Crawford Stewardship Project has completed mapping and reviewing sinkholes in Crawford County. At the end of this part of the Karst Landscapes and Groundwater Susceptibility Survey, the findings indicate there are 264 ‘probable’ and 195 ‘possible’ sinkholes—that’s a total of as many as 459 sinkholes in Crawford County. This qualifies Crawford County as a ‘high sinkhole density area’ (over 25 sinkholes/, according to the only large scale study done comparing various karst regions of the US)…CEO of Organic Valley, George Siemon announced that the cooperative had suffered it first annual loss in 20 years. Siemon explained that an oversupply of organic milk, like the oversupply of conventional milk, had impacted demand and resulted in lower prices…Premium Iowa Pork, PIP has made the decision to not expand or operate the building and business that had been slated to open in the fall of 2018 as a large-scale pork slaughterhouse at the former Driftless Meats, located between the cities of Viroqua and Westby. Over the last eight months, as local residents learned the implications of what a large-scale hog slaughter facility would mean for the area, they signed petitions and held meetings to voice their concerns… The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) approved a State Trust Fund Loan totaling $305,000 to the village of Eastman to finance roadwork and water main improvements.

MAY:The Tainter Creek Watershed Council’s plans for 2018 just got a little bit bigger with the almost doubling of DATCP Producer-Led Watershed Grant funds awarded to the group as a result of recent state legislation. The group’s funding increased from $17,000 to $30,004… More than 50 members of local rescue squads and fire departments, as well as Crawford County Sheriff’s Department personnel, practiced an ALICE-based active shooter response at North Crawford  Schools… All charges against former Crawford County Public Health Director Gloria Wall were dismissed last week in Crawford County Circuit Court… The Driftless Brewing Company LLC has launched an expansion project at its brewery in Soldiers Grove to a 15-barrel brewing system and 70-seat taproom... A $6,000 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation 2018 Fellowship was presented to Rebecca Molledahl, an elementary school teacher in the North Crawford School District. The school will receive a matching $6,000 grant… Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz took time at the end of the regular meeting to thank John Johnson for his many years of service on the village board… Kaitlyn Riley of Mt. Zion, has been chosen as Wisconsin’s 71st Alice in Dairyland… The North Crawford girls’ track team are Ridge & Valley Conference Champs… The North Crawford boys track team won the John Young Ridge and Valley Championship for the fifth consecutive year in a row by the narrowest of margins, edging out favorites Kickapoo-LaFarge by only two points…. At the end of May, Maura Otis, the Gays Mills librarian since 1986, retired and the new librarian, David Gibbs took over for her.

JUNE:The Seneca softball team traveled to Royall on Thursday, May 31 to face Blair-Taylor for the Sectional Championship. “These ladies have done a great job this season and we could not be more proud of them,” Coach Erika Wall said. “These ladies have won conference championships in all three sports this year, which is a first in the Ridge and Valley Conference history.”… A 31-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed early Friday, June 22 forcing the evacuation of some Iowans in northwest Iowa. There were no injuries. It was reported that not all of the cars were leaking, but a significant number of them were… The Town of Liberty in Vernon County adopted a new ordinance related to Livestock Facility Licensing. The ordinance sets forth the procedures for obtaining a license for the siting of new and expanded livestock facilities in the Town of Liberty.