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March 12: 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 –Join a member of the VMH Provider team for a FREE, fun, walking program. What a better way to start your weekend than literally making strides toward a healthier lifestyle? At the walk you will learn about important health topics, have your questions about VMH providers answered, find new friends, get to know our healthcare providers, and enjoy an informal, relaxed and fun walk! March 18 and April 15, everyone meets at Blue Dog Cycles at 5p.m… Join the Viroqua Chamber Main Street and the AARP on Friday, March 13, from 1-3 p.m. for a Community Walk Audit. Many communities in Wisconsin are designed exclusively or almost exclusively for automobile travel, with very little consideration given to the needs of pedestrians. A scarcity of sidewalks, multilane roadways that are unsafe to cross, and a lack of street maintenance are all factors that discourage or outright prevent people of all ages from walking… Kickapoo Gold Organic Maple Syrup will be hosting its 17th annual breakfast/open house to benefit local FFA chapters. The Westby FFA will be cooking on Saturday, March 14, and the Viroqua FFA will do the same on Saturday, March 21. Both breakfasts run from 8 a.m. to noon and are held at the farm of Phil and Sarah Gudgeon, E8533 Cherry Grove Road, Viroqua. Adults are $7, ages 4-11 are $4, and 3 and under are free. Sponsors for the event are Kickapoo Gold and Organic Valley. They are donating all organic food for the meal, including Organic Prairie sausage, Organic Valley milk, and OV eggs for the “special recipe” FFA pancakes. Proceeds collected will benefit the FFA organizations. There will be free wagons rides, sugarhouse tours and woods walks available.

LA FARGE –Week before last, 19 LaFarge residents showed up for the second of four planned meetings to continue creating ideas for the beautification of the village’s Main Street. Sarah Pritz and Katherine Westaby of Vierbicher Planners presented their public engagement results recently conducted with community members. Results indicated that the village is more of a destination community instead of a place where people want to live. The village is challenged with a poor business climate and a shortage of housing options. The next meetings will take place on March 19 and April 9… Driftless Veterinary Service will be offering vaccinations at the LaFarge Village Hall on March 23, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m… The Vernon County Zoning Department court case concerning illegal sewerage facilities took place in Vernon County Circuit Court on Friday, March 6. Upwards of 20 area Amish are listed in the court records as being in violation. This case will ultimately determine if it is legal to have running water in a person’s home without an approved septic system. It may also determine if outhouses in any shape, form or location meets Vernon County’s zoning ordinances.

ONTARIO – Sustaining significant damage in the August 2018 flood, Kendall became the third local village to hire James Twomey as a floodplain administrator recently. Twomey, of Valley, also provides his services to Ontario and Viola, both of which also suffered heavy flood losses. Kendall will pay Twomey $300 per quarter, the same salary he receives from Viola and Ontario. Among Twomey’s tasks for Kendall is helping get elevation numbers for ‘substantially damaged’ properties, or properties that sustained more than 50 percent damage of its market value. Those property owners will need to obtain from a licensed surveyor the as-built, lowest floor elevation numbers for their properties. Two properties in Ontario, Titanic Canoe Rental and the Well Youth Center, also had to obtain elevation numbers… During an assembly for National FFA Week, Brookwood student Skippy Muehlenkamp smashed a pie into principal Angela Funk’s face. Funk had earned the honor by receiving the most votes among the students… The Monroe County Local History Room will present ‘History of the Tomah Indian Industrial School,’ a public history presentation, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 2. Historian Ken Alderson will share the history of the school as well as the motives for and consequences of the Indian Boarding School system.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –A disabled man, who was lost and distressed, was rescued from the woods behind Bluff View Intermediate School on Thursday, Feb. 27, according to the Prairie du Chien Police Department. Law enforcement personnel made phone contact with the man, but communication was difficult due to his clear exhaustion and difficulty breathing. Authorities learned the man suffers from severe asthma. The Prairie du Chien Fire Department and Tri-State EMS were paged and staged at the school while police personnel searched the bluffs. Around 4:30 p.m., the man was located several hundred yards into the woods in severe respiratory distress and suffering from hypothermia… Crawford County recently received a grant for $47,920 to pay for aerial imagery of the county that will begin this upcoming spring. The imagery will be obtained using a four-band digital mapping camera with a six-inch pixel resolution. Previously, the county had used a 12-inch pixel resolution camera, so the new images will have twice the resolution of the old ones. The imagery will be done through the Wisconsin Regional Orthoimagery Consortium, which is a multi-entity group, which has built and maintains a multi-participant program to acquire updated digital orthoimagery and elevation data on a five-year cycle. Digital orthoimagery is the foundation for geographic information system (GIS) mapping, which forms a base layer from which many other data layers are created.

RICHLAND CENTER –Did Richland Center act too hastily or at least without enough information when the city council passed a resolution against the development of a dog breeding operation for medical research in the city? Opponents of the resolution asked the council to conduct a discussion about the issue at an upcoming meeting as well as to reconsider and possibly rescind the resolution… At the proverbial last minute it was announced that the Lee Lake Polar Plunge will return next year after all. Event organizer Teri Benning has stated that this year’s 20thanniversary event would be its last one. However, at this year’s event, Benning was surprised to be called up to the microphone. Then Krissy Harrison, who has helped with the event for the past 15 years, let Benning know she was going to carry on the tradition.

BOSCOBEL – On Saturday, Feb. 29, at 1:28 p.m., the Grant County Communication Center was notified by the O’Hare Airport in Chicago of a plane crash in a cornfield between Boscobel and Woodman. Sheriff’s deputies and Boscobel police responded and began searching for the downed aircraft. Additional information was provided that the pilot was not injured. Officers located Colten Jaekel, 22, Coon Valley, and the aircraft in a cornfield near Sand Hill Road in Marion Township. The pilot reported to deputies that he began losing RPMs over Fennimore. He said he began descending 500 feet per minute while flying at 4,500 feet. Jaekel attempted to make it to the Boscobel Airport, but was unsuccessful… Trapping violations are under investigation by Wisconsin DNR following an incident that occurred on state wildlife property near Muscoda, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Department. On Jan. 30, at 1:22 p.m., the sheriffs deputies responded to the state wildlife property along the Wisconsin River in Muscoda Township for a male party whose dog was caught in a foot trap. Lee Perko, Muscoda, was walking his dogs in the property when one of his dogs stepped in the trap. In trying to free the dog, Perko was bit and was unable to free the dog. Several firemen who arrived first assisted Perko, while other firemen freed his dog from the trap. Perko was transported to a local hospital for his injuries, and the dogs were transported to a local vet clinic for medical attention and safe care.