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January 30: 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 –A year after celebrating the 10-year anniversary of buying and reopening Borgens Cafe in downtown Westby, Blane and Mary Charles are the new owners of the Old Towne Inn supper club on the south end of the community. The Charleses bought the supper club on Oct. 28 from Susie Wedwick, whose family built and operated the business, which opened in February 1980. They installed a new stone fireplace between the main dining room and the lounge area and made a few other changes before reopening the supper club Nov. 19. The Charleses made some changes to the supper club’s menu, but Blane said it’s “very similar” to the previous one… Ski jumpers will be flying again in Timber Coulee in the 97th annual Snowflake Ski Jumping Tournament. Competition will be held on Friday evening, Jan. 31, beginning at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday Feb. 1, beginning at noon. There will be over 20 jumpers from across the U.S. and foreign jumpers from Finland, Slovenia and other European Countries. All jumps will be on a 118-meter hill, which is the same sized jump used in Olympic competition. The band High Mileage will play on Friday, Jan. 31, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

LA FARGE –Matt Moreau of Mid-States Associates attended the most recent meeting of the LaFarge Village Board to let them know that his firm is interested in the upcoming Main Street Renovation Project. The firm has worked with the village for 30 years. The infrastructure work will include sanitary sewer/water/storm water replacement between Mill and Cherry Street on Main Street… Once again, a town hall at Whitestown had a full house of citizens, all opposed to construction of a Bug Tussel cell tower in their municipality. Town chairman George Wilbur told the crowd he had been at the Vernon County Zoning Committee meeting earlier the same day, and it was stated that the committee may be acting on the Whitestown permit application at their next meeting in February. He asked those in attendance, “Do we want to play dead and roll over, or do we want to fight it?” The consensus was to continue opposing. Eric Turner said he felt that Bug Tussel was pretty shady in what they were trying to do. It was brought up that Bug Tussel management had removed Chris Henshue from representing their firm in dealing with the town, and replaced him with Lee Larson who was not in attendance at the meeting. It appears that Bug Tussel still prefers a town site next to Dutch Hollow Road, but that the second preferred site is farther off the road, but still on property owned by Jim Wilson. A neighboring landowner complained that if the tower went on the second site, the guy wires would be 10 feet from his property line. After much discussion, the board ultimately agreed to hire an attorney to impose and injunction. A private citizen also stated he and some others were seeking legal advice as well… The LaFarge Food Pantry received a donation of food from Organic Valley. Employee Sarah Jaiteh delivered the carload of food to the pantry run by the LaFarge Free Methodist Church.

ONTARIO – Considering a proposal created by UW-Platteville engineering students, the Kendall Village Board reviewed a plan for a re-imagined Glenwood Park at its meeting on Jan. 13. Strictly a preliminary design at this point, the proposal calls for additional off-highway parking, new park buildings, new bathrooms, pavilions, a 300-foot baseball/softball diamond, and several other features. The seven-acre park was severely damaged in the August 2018 Baraboo River flood. In all, the project would cost an estimated $1.5 million, according to UW-Platteville projections. The board suggested it would spread out the project over 10 years or possibly longer… Local villages hosted their caucuses for village board seats week before last. The results are as follows: Kendall: the only candidates who will vie for open spots on the Kendall Village Board are incumbents Art Keenan, Deb Larson and Waunnette Bunk. Norwalk: of the three incumbents, Christy DeWitt, Nicia Alcantar and Alan Neumann, both Alcantar and DeWitt received enough votes to be on the ballot in April. Four challengers also received enough votes: Alex Karis, Kevin Hilliard, Katie Vian and Dana Martenson. Ontario: incumbents Doug Broxham, Sue Rego and Travis Ford will run again, as will challenger Tess Stout. Wilton: incumbents Tom Brieske and Reina Coleman, along with newcomers Morgan Master, will run for three spots.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –The Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce will welcome area ice fishing enthusiasts to Prairie du Chien for the 70thAnnual Ice Fisheree on Jan. 31, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, with headquarters at the Crooked Oar Bar and Marina. Fishing is open to bodies of water in the Prairie du Chien area, with concentration on Gremore Lake. The fishing begins Saturday at 7 a.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m… The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Southwest Region held a public meeting in DeSoto recently to discuss proposed improvements to Highway 35 in Crawford and Vernon counties. There are two projects planned along Highway 35 between County N and Highway 56. The southern project will consist of 9.93 miles of resurfacing. The northern project will be for 11.83 miles of resurfacing. Construction on both projects is scheduled for 2022. Along with resurfacing, the projects will include the replacement of beam guards, repairs to or replacement of culverts, and bridge repairs. There will also be work done outside and beneath the shoulder nearest the railroad tracks in order to shore up several locations that have been made unstable due to flash floods and general erosion. He said that deteriorating culvert pipes under the shoulder will also be replaced… Dental Associates of Prairie du Chien will hod their annual ‘Have a Heart Day’ on Saturday, Feb. 8, giving local kids ages 4 to 18 who haven’t recently seen a dentist an opportunity to receive free dental care.

RICHLAND CENTER –The Richland Center City Council greeted a proposal to work with the Richland School District to acquire Stori Field and ownership of and responsibility for maintenance of Hive Drive during its most recent meeting. While the proposal to work with the district has not been shelved, it was not approved either… The Richland Center Police Department began a new era recently when longtime Lieutenant Billy Jones was sworn in as Police Chief by City Clerk Melinda Jones. Jones has been serving as acting Chief of Police since June 20, 2019, after former Police Chief Lucas Clements was placed on administrative leave while an investigation was underway by the State Department of Criminal Investigations. Clements was formally charged on October 29, 2019. Clements ultimately resigned on Nov. 4, 2019 and his Richland County court case remains open.

BOSCOBEL – The Madison Diocese added a ninth priest to its list of clergy members who have been ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children. Patrick Doherty, 85, was the pastor at Boscobel’s Immaculate Conception Church in the 1970s and 1980s before being transferred to Fort Atkinson, and eventually back to his native Ireland. The diocese determined that allegations against Doherty have the “semblance of truth,” according to a statement released week before last. The alleged victim, who did not want to be named, said the abuse happened more than 40 years ago… At their meeting recently, the Boscobel Board of Education announced the hiring of a new varsity football coach to head up the program in the Fall of 2020. Dustin Johnson, new this year to the district as a high school mathematics instructor, will not take the reins of the football program as well… The Boscobel Chamber of Commerce joined members of the Norsby family in a ribbon cutting at the Hickory Grove Golf Course just prior to the 50thanniversary celebration of the founding of the Dr. Rumley Snuff Band.