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July 2: 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 – Vernon County is on track for new voting machines for all municipalities. County Clerk Ron Hoff told members of the county board finance committee recently that the new machines would cost $6,600 each. Only one machine will be needed at each polling place. Voters will mark their choices on paper ballots, and then place those ballots into the new machine, which will tabulate the votes… It appears the sheriff’s department will have be building a police radio tower near Wildcat Mountain State Park. Chief deputy Nate Campbell told the board finance committee that opposition had developed in the Town of Whitestown for towers. Campbell stated that fiber optic is now being considered… The Vernon County Museum Notes started out with the following: “You’ve vote to be carefully taught” go the lyrics from a song in the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1949 musical South Pacific – taught to “hate all the people your relatives hate,” taught to hate and fear anyone who doesn’t look like you, specifically anyone of another race. The museum’s collection contains some objects that are a witness to our country’s deeply-ingrained racism. While the items are repellent, they can be useful in a museum setting where they can be used to educate others on the topic. The objects include old post cards, stereopticon images, and sheet music, all with racist descriptions of African Americans from more than a century ago. The archives contain items and information related to the Ku Klux Klan, which was active all across the nation, including in Vernon County in the mid-1920s, and more.

LA FARGE –On June 17, law enforcement responded to 115 South Bird Street in LaFarge for a report of criminal damage. It was reported that approximately between 5 and 7:30 p.m., person(s) unknown caused significant damage to a moped located at that address. Law enforcement believes an individual was injured during the incident due to the amount of fresh blood found on the vehicle. The scooter belonged to Al Maldonado, who was working in the village when the incident happened… The Town of Webster annual meeting, previously delayed due to COVID-19, was held on June 16 with a small crowd. The meeting didn’t provide much excitement. The minutes of the 2019 meeting were approved, and clerk Ole Yttri read the 2019 financial report. Two resolutions were approved to allow borrowing of money until taxes are paid, and to place on the tax roll any money owed the town by property owners… The LaFarge School Board heard good news concerning a $4-5 million upgrade to their facility. Sue Peterson from survey company School Perceptions reported that 198 of about 700 surveys sent out were returned. The full $9 million option was preferred by 21 percent; the $7 million option was preferred by 15 percent; and the $4 million option was preferred by 36 percent. Peterson said she was comfortable recommending that something in the area of $5 million would pass on referendum.

ONTARIO – Because of health risks associated with COVID-19, the Kendall Community Hall will remain closed for the time being. Kendall Village Board member Art Keenan, who made the motion to keep the building closed said “I think it’s incumbent upon the board to try as hard as we can to protect the interests of the Village of Kendall – the residents and everything the board is responsible for,” citing the possibility of the village facing accusations of negligence… Royall will host an in-person graduation on Saturday, July 11, but it will not be open to the public, staff, or other students… After 30 years as a patrolman in the Town of Wilton, Ed Wilde will no longer have to wake up during the winter and hear the ice and snow pellets hitting the window, and suit up and go out in the weather. By now, Wilde likely knows every nook and cranny of the town. His last day is June 30, but the township has not yet found a new hire. Wilde expects to keep busy in retirement with his wife Donna’s ‘honey-do list,’ as well as some remodeling projects for his daughter… Karen Parker starts her weekly ‘Backtalk’ column with the following: So you say you don’t like wearing a mask? Had you the fortune (or misfortune) to have been alive in the 17thcentury, you might have found yourself wearing a much worse outfit. Charles de Lorme, a physician who catered to the royals during the 17thcentury, described an outfit that included a coat covered in scented wax, breeches connected to boots, a tucked-in shirt, and a hat and gloves made of goat leather. Plague doctors carried a rod that allowed them to poke victims. Now that’s social distancing. There were actually three pandemics of the plague that stretched across centuries, the last considered to be the disease that ravaged Asia between 1894-1959. At its height, victims were dropping at the rate of 10,000 a day, reducing Europe’s population by a considerable chunk.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –The McGregor Lake Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project in Pool 10 of the Mississippi River began in April, and is going well. Boaters and partiers, however, have raised a concern. Drawn by newly deposited sand that has been brought in as part of the project, boaters have been partying on the new “beach” areas in recent weeks. People are not allowed in the area, and fines will soon be issued for such activities, say U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel… During a recent hearing in LaCrosse Circuit Court regarding a lawsuit against the Prairie du Chien Area School District, it was decided that a jury trial will be held beginning Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. The case involves a civil lawsuit filed by Dennis Knight of Prairie du Chien alleging personal injury inflicted on his son, Talmadge Knight, who sustained a chemical burn to his hand while a student at Bluff View Intermediate School… A Bagley man was airlifted to a Madison hospital after a motorcycle crash in Wyalusing Township on June 12. Craig Homuth, 54, crashed his 2011 Harley Davidson on County P near Willis Lane when he failed to negotiate a left hand corner… Fireworks are not allowed on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge due to the disturbance to wildlife and the litter left behind. Firework’s loud sounds and abrupt lights are often seen as a threat by nesting bald eagles and easily startle great blue herons and other colonial nesting birds… The Bluff Country Long Spurs, of the National Turkey Federation, has announced they will not hold their annual Landowner Appreciation Day this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RICHLAND CENTER – The Richland Center Parks will officially open on Wednesday, July 1. Outdoor shelters will be limited to 50 people at any given time or 25 people in the Dr. Kilian Meyer Building to observe social distancing. Rest room facilities will be available. Crews will be cleaning facilities on a daily basis. City sponsored recreation programs are also expected to begin in July. Bleachers will not be available for spectators… Announcements have been made that two Richland Center businesses are shuttering operations. The former MPC manufacturing facility, purchased a few months ago by the French company Novares, will be shut down by the end of November. The Sears outlet, located on Bohmann Drive, will close its doors for the last time on July 4… 

BOSCOBEL – Boscobel Utilities recently donated $2,000 to the Northern Grant County Food Pantry thanks to a grant from its wholesale electric power supplier WPPI Energy through its Community Recharge Funds program… A tubing accident on the Turkey River claimed the lives of two women earlier this month. On June 8 the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office received a report of two people who were in distress after going over the dam near Clermont on the Turkey River. A rescue was initiated, but despite life-saving efforts, both victims were transported to Palmer Hospital in West Union and pronounced deceased. The victims were later identified as mother and daughter Sharon Kahn, 64, and Vicki Hodges, 44, both of West Union.