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January 23: 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 –Network, learn more about what's happening in the community, and join a group of dynamic women working to make a difference – join the Vernon Women's Alliance on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 11:30 a.m., for their monthly meeting at the Tap House 138 at the American Legion… The 12th season of "Wisconsin Foodie" started on Thursday, Jan. 16, with its new host Luke Zahm, the James Beard-nominated chef/owner of Driftless Cafe in Viroqua. ‘Wisconsin Foodie,’ which airs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays on PBS Wisconsin, is a two-time Emmy-award winning series. New 30-minute episodes will air weekly… Norskedalen Nature & Heritage Center will offer a beautiful evening of snowshoeing on trails lit only by candles and the moon on Friday, Feb. 7, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.  Participants can start in the shelter to register, hike to your heart's content, and then finish in the shelter with hot chocolate and s'mores. Norskedalen has a limited amount of snowshoes available for use; they are loaned out on a first-come-first-served basis. You are welcome to bring your own snowshoe, cross-country skies, or simply enjoy hiking through the candlelight in your snow boots.

LA FARGE –Vernon Electric Cooperative presented $9,000 to area food pantries this past holiday season. Each of the nine food pantries in the area received a $1,000 check. Funds came from Vernon Electric’s Federated Youth Foundation… There was no snow for the 20thannual Kickapoo Valley Reserve ‘Winterfest,’ but at least the 20-degree weather with a small bit of wind gave you that ‘winter feeling.’ The unscientific car count by the Episcope seemed a bit less than in past years, but that is sometimes misleading as to the time of day plus how long one has to walk from vehicle to exhibit. The dog races still went on at the Stark Town Hall, and the llamas were a big attraction at the Visitor’s Center… The Charlie Behrens comedy show at the LaFarge High School gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 10 was an overwhelming success. The KVR was responsible for getting the ‘Manitowoc Minute’ to come to LaFarge. There were 700 tickets sold for the event and it seems everyone showed up despite warnings of hazardous winter weather… Several Vernon County residents had Circuit Court appearances this past week for ‘sewerage violations,’ namely the lack of septic systems. Twenty of those were members of the Amish community. All now have trials scheduled for March 6, at 9 a.m… Shane Nottestad, Zzip Stop owner, was the winner of the LaFarge Village Non-Moving Parade event held on Friday, Jan. 10.

ONTARIO – Norcrest residents showed up to voice their worries at the Norwalk Village Board meeting on Tuesday. First to speak was Bob Quackenbush, a resident at Norcreat Apartments, who said that not only did he not get a letter, but also none of the other residents received letters from the board or anyone explaining that the previous management company, Horizon, would no longer manage the apartments. Village President Levi Helgren explained that the Norcrest Board had made it very clear to the Norwalk Village Board that it was not the latter’s responsibility… The regular monthly meeting for the Town of Ridgeville gave hope that the new cellular tower on County U would have all of its equipment installed by the end of the month. This knowledge came only after Supervisor Ron Luethe had made a phone call to ask about the progress of the services, and when the public could expect them. He was informed by the representative at Bug Tussel that the company had “forgotten about the tower.” Even after the equipment is installed, there is no timeline for when internet services will be available. After all of the towers in surrounding areas have been installed and connected, there will be public meetings about various options. Luethe also learned that Cloud One LLC, which had built the tower, had sold it to another company, M3 Hilbert, LLC, about six months ago… 

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –A Prairie du Chien High School alumnus has made a nice career for herself in the somewhat unusual vocation of actress, and text and vocal coach. Amy Malcom, a 2004 graduate, said acting is challenging but can also be quite gratifying. “Acting is a very hard but yet very rewarding career,” said Amy, a Chicago based actress. “Not every gig is fun, not every cast gets along. Remember, it’s still a job. It’s not who you are, but what you do. Find other things you are passionate about and do those as well so you’re not relying on just theatre/acting to fill you up. Because it won’t. It’s a very fickle career.” Amy is based in Chicago but has also worked regionally on occasion. Last year, she was in a production that was in Forbes Magazine because of its interesting and unique style of “immersive theatre” that has taken over the theatre scene… There has been some good news recently for the rain garden project underway at Prairie du Chien High School. Teacher Diane Colburn said that because of the article published in the Courier Press on Dec. 11, a donor has come forward to help with the project. Gale and Cheryl Beneker will be donating black dirt, decorative rock and birch trees to landscape the project. Gale and Cheryl are 1964 Prairie du Chien High School graduates who have lived near Prairie du Chien all their lives. Gale said they enjoy helping out and are proud to be part of the community. Colburn also said a $1,000 grant has been received for the rain garden (pollinator habitat) project from the Sand County Foundation. Twelve students in Colburn’s Forestry Wildlife Conservation Management Class have been working on the project and are eager to help make the school grounds look better by having rain gardens take the place of eyesores at various locations around the school. Rain gardens not only help to make an unsightly drainage area look good, they soak up a lot of water to help prevent erosion, reduce runoff onto the nearby roads, help get water into the groundwater, and can be used as an outdoor “lab” for various science and ag related courses at the high school. They can also help to reduce the amount of pesticides applied to the various drainage areas on school grounds.

RICHLAND CENTER –An audible sigh of relief was heard in the Richland County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 14, after a judge overturned the placement of a sex offender to a secluded rural area in the county. Visiting judge Darcy Rood of Vernon County presided over a hearing that had been scheduled in the aftermath of public outcry from neighbors subsequent to their learning of the proposed placement in their proximity of Richard Sugden, a convicted rapist. Judge Rood ordered that, temporarily, Sugden be returned to his previous placement in Ashland County, where he has been residing since 2019… Richland Center is a 2020 ‘Discover Wisconsin Choice Destination.’ Richland Center Tourism, along with Richland Rejuvenates, will host a free showing of the TV episode on Thursday, Jan. 30, from 4:30-7 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with social hour, followed by an introduction of ‘Discover Wisconsin’ host Mariah Haberman and episode producer Taylor Carruthers. The video will start at approximately 5:30 p.m.

BOSCOBEL – Tuesday, Jan. 7, was the deadline for candidates to file to run for non-partisan races up for election this spring. For most races in Grant County, incumbents will run unopposed, while for at least one race, a write-in will be needed to fill the seat. For the Grant County Board of Supervisors, there will be one contested election. Pat Schroeder will face off against challenger William McBeth for District 8… The Boscobel Housing Authority is in excellent shape – achieving both High Performer Status and a 99 percent occupancy rate since 2013 – according to an update given by BHA Executive Director Kelly Trumm at the Jan. 6 Common Council meeting… The Boscobel Women’s Club hosted the exchange students from Boscobel High School at their December meeting. Those students are Thomas Lenoir from Belgium and Nele Strifler from Germany. They shared information about their school system, home life and holiday customs.