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April 8: 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 –Children kicked off the Easter weekend with an egg hunt on the grounds of Norseland Nursing Home in Westby, Saturday morning. About 50 children participated. The younger group collected treat-filled eggs on the front lawn and the older group in the backyard. The Easter Bunny was available for photos and baby goats were onsite for petting. Some of the nursing home residents watched the action from the windows… The Viroqua Farmers Market is returning May 1, and will run through October 23. Keep an eye out for safety rules as they are posted––even if COVID-19 cases appear low, our first responsibility is to the safety of our vendors, shoppers, and broader community. The market will once again be in the Western Technical College parking lot… On Friday, April 2, the new owners of the remodeled Historic Fortney held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. New businesses to be located in the building include Pink Spruce Photography, Ridge & Valley Counseling, Linnea Wynant Salon, and Driftless Healing… The Driftless Cafe will be ending their weekly Thursday night Community Burger night at the end of April. That means you'll only have FOUR more opportunities to support the The Historic Temple Theatre. The Driftless has raised $2,500 for the Theatre, and their aiming for $3,000! You can call in your order beginning at 5 p.m., and check out their event for more information… The Westby Chamber of Commerce will hold a city-wide rummage sale from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2. The City of Viroqua will hold their city-wide rummage sales on the same weekend… The West Fork Sports Club has some very exciting happenings we would like to share with everyone. Come and enjoy your club. The clubhouse is in great shape and waiting for groups to enjoy. It has a full kitchen, bar, eight long tables and eight round tables for use. It is reservable online and is perfect for enclaves, workshops, lessons, weddings, graduations, reunions etc. It comes with the large day shelter near the building, lots of outdoor space and use of modern bath- rooms. All camping is first-come- first-serve, including 10 electrical sites. Every site is a group site so you can camp anywhere in the park. Well-behaved dogs are welcome off leash if you pick up after them. They cannot accept credit cards for payments other than through PayPal. Membership is $32 by going to westfork- or by mail at WFSC P.O. Box 52, Viroqua WI 54665.

LA FARGE – The LaFarge Information Center has been closed for the winter, but will be open again daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m… Long-time Executive Director of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Marcy West has announced that she is retiring from the position, with her last day April 23. West has been the director for the entire time that the Reserve has been in existence, and even before the transfer from the federal government to the State of Wisconsin… The LaFarge School Board approved the resignation of two teachers at their March 16 meeting, and hired two to replace them for the remainder of the school year. New school board member Ashley Schlicht was in attendance. She replaced Dr. Shawn Sedgwick, who recently resigned after moving from the district. The final financing has been secured for the remodeling project approved by referendum. Administrator Meaghan Gustafson stated that interest rates were better than expected, so the cost to taxpayers for the next 20 years will be $1.84 per $1,000 assessed value instead of $2.24 as earlier thought. She also told the board that the school would be eligible for $550,000 from the American Rescue Plan, and the funds could possibly be used for updates to the school building.

ONTARIO – Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Richard Radcliffe set a $100,000 cash bond for a Tomah man accused of firing shots outside a Wilton bar. Curtis Goulet, 51, is facing eight criminal counts, including attempted first-degree homicide after an incident at the Hitchin’ Post… The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District will experience a boon to its budget when it receives $1,360,876 in federal ESSER funds. To use the funds, according to Superintendent Travis Anderson, the district is considering upgrading all of its desktop computers and laptops, plus purchasing interactive panel displays… Two Royall High School teams participated in the virtual LaCrosse/Coulee Region Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl on March 16. One Royall team won the first round of tournament play and lost its second game. Another team made it to the championship round and won, placing first in the tournament… April in National Poetry Month, so the Wilton Public Library is celebrating with artistic poetry in April. When poetry books fall apart, turn them into art. Citizens can pick up a page of poetry and create an inspirational masterpiece.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN – April is child abuse and neglect prevention month. To raise awareness, the Crawford County Health and Human Services Department placed blue pinwheels in front of the Main Street entrance to the county administration building and the county courthouse. The pinwheels at the admin building represent the 121 alleged victims of child abuse and/or neglect assessed in Crawford County in 2020. The pinwheels at the courthouse represent the 34 children found in need of protection and/or services in Crawford County in 2020… To dedicate 48 years to being town clerk, one must be a people person and be able to roll with changes. Knowing bookkeeping, and being organized and flexible is also important. This April, Carol Mullikin will retire from the position she’s held since February 1974 as Wauzeka Township clerk. Instead of her name on the ballot for the spring election, this time, it will be Shawna Walz running uncontested… Construction on the U.S. Highway 18 Bridge connecting Marquette and Prairie du Chien will resume on Monday, April 5, weather permitting. The $6.2 million project, which includes deck and bridge wall repairs, new pavement and guardrail replacement, began last March. The rehabilitation is intended to prolong the life of the bridge, which opened in 1975… The Prairie du Chien School Board approved having fifth through eighth-grade students attend school face-to-face, five days per week, at their most recent meeting. High school students will also attend four days per week, with Wednesdays as an intervention day for students who are struggling… A Luther College professor and team of students have collaborated to develop a scale to measure hate. In the study ‘Hateful Emotional Responses Scale,’ (HatERS), Loren Toussaint, professor of psychology, and the team detail their development and testing of a new scale used to measure hateful emotional responses to being hurt by an offender… Clayton County Conservation held a grand opening event for the Motor Mill Trail on March 20. The celebration recognized the neighbors along the route as well as the partners who provided strategic planning, promotion and financial support for the project. The grand opening also served as the official start of the annual Motor Motor 5K race, and a new 10K race added as a result of the trail’s construction.

RICHLAND CENTER – The Richland Center Performing Arts Council and the Auditorium Renovation Project was recently awarded a major federal grant, and with a sizable donation from the Joan Woodman Orton McCollum Foundation, they are in a great position to add an elevator to the Auditorium. The total cost of the elevator is close to $1.2 million… Chief Billy Jones of the Richland Center Police Department reports that a several months-long investigation conducted by the department has culminated in the arrest of two Richland Center men and a Richland Center woman for various drug related charges. During a search of a residence, Methamphetamine, Suboxone, Hydrocodone, Adderall and Marijuana were located.