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January 9: 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 spaghetti dinner fundraiser to support the Coon Valley Veterans Memorial will be held at the Coon Valley American Legion on Sunday, Jan. 12. Serving begins at 11 a.m. and continues until all the food is gone. In addition to the meal, which includes spaghetti with meatball sauce, garlic bread, salad, milk and coffee, there will be games, raffles and football games shown on the big screen TVs. Cost for the all-you-can-eat meal is $10; children under age 10 eat for $5… The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge implemented its pilot year of the Commercial Fishing Guide Permit Program in 2019. The refuge waived permit fees and offered a grace period to guides operating in 2019 to allow for a transition into this new program. The 2020 season will be fully enforced and fishing guides operating within the refuge will need to apply for and obtain a permit as well as pay applicable fees.

LA FARGE –Despite opposition to more cell towers in the area, work on constructing and planning the new 300-foot-high Bug Tussel towers continues upwards. Recently, workers installed one of the controversial towers near West Lima on the Scott Miller farm. This tower, part of the Bug Tussel complex, is located in Richland County. The tower sits next to several Amish family farms. Material has been brought in for a tower in the Town of Webster, but that town has not issued a driveway permit, so that may become an issue… The Lawton Memorial Library will be starting a social group called ‘Coffee and Conversations.’ This group will meet once per month at the library on the third Tuesday of each month. Their first meeting will take place on January 21. Lyle Berneau from Coon Valley will speak about the local history of round barns… A new storage building has been constructed in the Town of Stark. The building is located just off Spry Road and Highway 82, east of LaFarge. Mike Donskey had the building constructed recently after a barn he used for storage blew down. There had been some controversy with the location of the building and driveway from Dean Paull, and adjoining neighbor. Paull felt that environmental damage would occur due to erosion and then damage nearby North Bear Creek and a small spring branch alongside Spry Road. The Town of Stark Zoning Board approved the driveway and a building permit was issued as required.

ONTARIO – The Ontario Community Club is partnering with Friends of Wildcat Mountain State Park to provide a winter picnic meal from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11. The park will hold a monthly moonlight ski/hike from 5-9 p.m. Telescopes and astronomy information will be presented by the Astro Educators of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. A park sticker is required for entrance to the park, but all events, snacks and the dinner are free. The Ontario Community Club is giving away 10 passes for entrance to the park that day. Enter the drawing at either the Ontario Public Library or the Ontario Village Office. The entry deadline for the drawing was extended to Saturday, Jan. 4… The Wilton Public Library would like to announce its winter writing contest, which will be judged by the Wilton Public Library’s very own Second Saturday Writer’s Group. The theme is ‘Winter Memories,’ and the competition is open to all ages. All types of writing will be accepted: poems, short stories, essays, etc… Submissions must be less than 700 words… The WIN-WIN (Wilton is Networking with its Neighbors) business group would like to thank all of the Wilton businesses for their generous donations for the Christmas giveaway. Six baskets were given away this year.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –Online auctions have become quite popular in recent years and continue to grow each year. At Kramer Auction of Prairie du Chien, the trend has also been skyrocketing. Kramer says there are various reasons why online auctions have taken off. “You can participate from the comfort of your own home,” he said. “You don’t have to be at a particular place at a particular time to bid. It’s a convenience for buyers and sellers.” Kramer also noted that online auctions give bidders privacy and anonymity… After more than five years of declining occupancy and deterioration at the Blackhawk Junction shopping center, the city of Prairie du Chien and its Redevelopment Authority (RDA) are leading a detailed planning process to facilitate the eventual redevelopment of the site. The former strip mall is a nine-acre, tax delinquent, blighted property in the middle of a residential neighborhood contaminated by an old commercial dry-cleaning facility. Contamination was first reported to DNR in 2008, and the last known remedial action work (a draft site investigation scope report) occurred in 2010. Crawford County recently took title to the property through tax delinquency proceedings, and the RDA has reached an agreement to purchase the property from the county on December 31.

HILLSBORO – New Year’s wouldn’t be New Year’s without the iconic Rose Bowl Parade, an American institution along with the Rose Bowl since 1890. This year’s theme for the parade is ‘The Power of Hope.’ For some, such dreams involve remaining at home and continuing to live independently as they age. In recognition of these dreams, the SCAN Foundation is sponsoring a float entitled ‘Hope’s Heroes.’ The foundation is dedicated to helping people retain their independence, as they get older. The float carried two people from rural Hillsboro – Judy and Jerry Crostenberg. The Crostenbergs currently assist Judy’s 91-year-old mother in her home.

RICHLAND CENTER –As part of the expanding offerings at its branch campuses, and in partnership with Richland County Campus Foundation, UW-Platteville announced new ‘Launch’ scholarship for UW-Platteville-Richland students studying in both Food and Agriculture, and Business Administration. New Associate of Science degrees in both areas were started on UW-Platteville’s branch campuses in the Fall of 2019. The Launch scholarships will be available to students who have applied directly into either the Associate of Science in Food and Agriculture or Business Administration program at UW-Platteville-Richland, and will award $1,000 each year that students maintain full time status and good academic standing. When the associate degree is completed, the scholarship will continue at $1,000 per year for students who transition to UW-Platteville’s main campus to complete either a Bachelor of Science in a School of Agriculture major or School of Business major… A record number of people auditioned to be part of ‘The Living Last Supper.’ The cast was chosen, and a reminder has been issued for those wanting to sing in the ‘Heavenly Choir’ to appear in the music room in Mary’s Church.

PLATTEVILLE – The first two of four elections comes up within the next three months. There will be at least four new faces on the Lafayette County Board after the election is concluded. One of those races may have a primary, District 3 – Kendall, Seymour and Town of Darlington Ward 1 – where county board chairman Jack Sauer has two challengers in former county clerk Linda Bawden and Nick Metz… A recent $143,000 gift from the family of Robert ‘Bob’ and James Wright will enhance opportunities offered at UW-Platteville Wright Center for Non-Traditional and Veteran students. The center, which opened in 2014, was named for the brothers after James raised a significant gift for the center. The Wright Center provides support and resources to veterans and non-traditional students, helping them feel more connected to campus and achieve their educational goals.