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July 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 – The Vernon County Solid Waste and Recycling Committee’s July 15 agenda included a discussion of expanding their landfill. The topic has elicited lots of comments in the past, and was expected to be relatively controversial. At that meeting, the committee discussed the Financial and Environmental Analysis… Vernon County’s Legal Affairs Committee met recently, and learned that the case brought against them by Tim Solverson for crop damages at the City of Viroqua’s new Business Park has been resolved. The county and the city will each pay for 50 percent of the damage that occurred to Solverson’s corn crop in the construction process… Nine years after they started Kvarnstrom’s Bakery in their backyard, Joyce Quarnstrom and her husband, Gordon Vande Voorde, still enjoy turning out Scandinavian and other specialty baked treats. ‘A Taste of Scandinavia’ is their motto for the bakery, which operates from a 13- by 20-foot red building behind their house at 210 Coon Prairie Avenue on the south side of Westby… The 2020 State Proficiency Winner in Nursery Operations is Rachel Gianoli of the DeSoto FFA.The Nursery Operations proficiency is sponsored by Mr. James and Mrs. Mary Handrich-Grasee. State proficiency awards recognize students who have outstanding work-based learning projects, called SAEs (Supervised Agricultural Experiences). These awards were announced during the Wisconsin FFA Online Convention.

LA FARGE –The Town of Whitestown annual meeting drew only five participants on July 7. Board chairman George Wilbur opened the meeting with a moment of silence to remember former supervisor Jim Lee who had passed away. Their new truck, which had arrived in the spring, was on display in the garage. The truck, which replaced the former 17-year-old truck is equipped with snow plow equipment. Those present voted to negotiate the purchase of 1.2 acres across from the town shop from landowner David Parr. The land will be used to store items kept outside, freeing up space in the garage… At their July 8 meeting, the Town of Clinton Board learned that they had received a $54,420.56 FEMA payment, which was sorely needed to pay the $147,724 seal coating bill the town was facing… After a long search, the Town of Stark has found a new waste management and recycling manager. Ray Danielson, who lives nearby on Plum Run Road, started his new position in late June. Danielson replaces long time manager Smiley Fortun, and equally long time substitute Gary Hagen.

ONTARIO – This year’s Norwalk Lions Club Truck & Tractor Pull will be at a new location – the Muehlenkamp farm adjoining the village. The pull is usually conducted on a track on DNR-owned property (the Elroy-Sparta State Trail) near the Norwalk Village Park. This year, citing COVID-19, the DNR would issue a permit only if the Norwalk Lions Club kept the event at 50 or fewer people, according to Glen Degenhardt, a club member. The National Tractor Pullers Association has cancelled its part of the pull, but the club intended to have a brush pull (non-sanctioned pull) on Saturday night instead… Concerned about risks associated with COVID-19, the Kendall Village Board denied the Kendall Mustangs ATV/UTV Club’s request to host a tractor pull on Labor Day weekend at Glenwood Park or on a village street. The village’s Labor Day celebration, of which a tractor pull has been part, had already been cancelled… The Wilton Village Board voted Monday to begin the condemnation process of a residence in the village. The village has not been able to successfully communicate with the owners regarding clean up of the property. To qualify for condemnation, it must cost more than 50 percent of the assessed valuation of the home to bring it up to ‘livable’ standards. The property is assessed at $44,900, according to Monroe County records. About 12 residents attended the meeting to register their concerns about the property. Wilton resident Sheri Laffredi told the board “my biggest concern is some child or teenager going in there and getting hurt, because it’s a disaster waiting to happen. An insurance company would consider it an attractive nuisance.”

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –During its regular monthly meeting, the Prairie du Chien School Board recently approved a re-entry to school plan for the 2020-21 school year. The re-entry plan involves various options for families to choose from. One option is a blended hybrid, in which a student will be in the school building part of the time, at home engaging in virtual learning the rest of the time. Another option is a live virtual option, in which students will learn from home via a live virtual classroom using Zoom. Another option is for some students to have face-to-face instruction in the school building full time. The option is criteria-based, and is for students who have a difficult time learning via live virtual instruction… In what’s begun to feel like a weekly occurrence, severe weather ripped through Clayton County the afternoon of July 9, bringing heavy rainfall and high winds. Over two inches of precipitation was recorded in Monona, and wind blew over large swaths of corn around Monona and toppled power lines on Klein Brewery Road outside of McGregor… The day finally arrived for the Prairie du Chien High School Class of 2020 on July 12, when their senior graduation ceremony took place. The event was held on a sunny football field, with the graduates socially distancing on the bleachers… Prairie du Chien’s Smokey Mezera recently caught a mess of sheepshead and two channel catfish on the Mississippi River. Smokey said his homemade barometer was right on, and the big red wigglers that Smokey bought at Stark’s Sport Shop helped a lot too.

RICHLAND CENTER– For persons dealing with kidney failure or awaiting a kidney transplant, the ordeal of travelling to receive dialysis treatment will become much less arduous. For more than a year, since the previous dialysis center was closed, local persons needing dialysis had to go at least 30 miles several times a week to receive the lengthy treatment. The Richland Center City Council and the city’s Redevelopment Authority approved an agreement with Dubuque Internal Medicine, a developer’s agreement and the sale of a property for a new facility at their most recent meeting… A new local radio station is playing hits of the 70s abd 80s. Retired NBC15 chief engineer Tom Weeden recognized a need for a radio station in southwest Wisconsin, and created Ridge Radio, aka, ‘The Ridge.’ Weeden has always had a side interest in weather, and wanted to provide weather forecasts, specifically for southwest Wisconsin. The Ridge Radio Facebook page features current radar maps, and updates on sever weather conditions. Listen to The Ridge online at http// or on your smartphone… A sense of pride and optimism was at the forefront during the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating new ownership of the Starlite-14 Drive-In movie theater. New owners Tony and Holly Johnson, along with Brent Montry, are excited to bring new ideas to and show off a spruced up concession stand. In addition to showing films, the drive-in will be the site of simulcast live concert showings.

BOSCOBEL – Boscobel School Board President Todd Miller opened their most recent meeting with an announcement that Boscobel District Administrator Greg Bell had informed the board that he would be taking an extended leave of absence for medical reasons. The major topic of the meeting was planning for the reopening of Boscobel Area Schools. The district is still in the process of formulating a final plan, but is considering options similar to many other districts in the region… The Boscobel Swimming Pool opened three weeks ago, and despite days of scorching heat and humidity, has been relatively empty so far this summer. Due to the coronavirus capacity of 45, numbers would have been limited, but according to staff, the pool hasn’t even filled to its reduced capacity.