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May 21: 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 U.S.Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.5 million grant to the city of Westby to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to expand the city’s industrial park and protect businesses from severe weather events. The EDA grant, to be matched with $868,800 in local investment, is expected to create 49 jobs and spur $15.6 million in private investment… The Viroqua Police Department opened its lobby as of May 14, 2020, and is now able to assist you with your vehicle registrations and renewals. The prescription drug box is also available to assist you with disposal of unwanted prescriptions… For the continued safety of our members and staff, WCCU’s lobbies will not be reopening at this time. All drive-ups will remain open, and we can be reached by phone, live chat, email or secure messaging. Members can also use our Online Banking and Mobile App 24/7 to meet their financial needs… The Westby Syttende Mai Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the 52nd annual Syttende Mai celebration back on March 24, in light of coronavirus and COVID-19 concerns. The annual event highlighting Norwegian heritage was originally scheduled for May 16-17. This month, Westby Syttende Mai and HAP are inviting all Westby and area residents to decorate windows and almost anything else for the Syttende Mai observance. People may decorate their home, porch, door, window, yard, church site, business, fence, kids’ bikes, vehicle, etc. Folks are also encouraged to wear their bunads, have their children or their pets dress up in all things Norse, and bake those special Norwegian pastries… Vernon Electric Cooperative crews were working on an outage between Liberty Pole and Readstown caused by a pole fire around 8:35 a.m. on Sunday morning. They hoped to have power restored in a few hours.

LA FARGE –On Friday, May 1, two men were seen on a 300-foot cell phone tower being built in the Vernon County Town of Webster in Avalanche on the Croell Stone Quarry property. Meanwhile, Town of Webster officials were at the tower site the day before to discuss various zoning and permit issues with two Bug Tussel representatives. The company has not yet complied with obtaining driveway permits, or handled erosion problems or road safety concerns. The two Bug Tussel representatives promised that all would be corrected within 30 days, according to Town Clerk Ole Yttri… Memorial Day ceremonies in LaFarge have been cancelled. The LaFarge VFW Post 9075 officially decided to cancel the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the Governor’s ‘Safer at Home’ order is presently still considered to be in effect until May 25. The post will hold a small ceremony on Memorial Day. They will conduct a 21-gun salute at the school parking lot at 10 a.m., followed by Taps. The post asks that if spectators plan to observe, that they stay in their vehicles.

ONTARIO – The Wilton Sportsmans Club has announced that the 2020 Wilton Tractor Pull has been cancelled this year… The Tomah NTPA Tractor Pull (June 25-27) will not happen this year. The event drew 60-70,000 visitors to Tomah last year, and signals a major loss in revenue for the area… The Norwalk Lions Club will proceed with the 54thannual Regional III Pull on August 15-16. Chairman Ope Degenhardt stated that “if it had been planned for June, it probably wouldn’t have happened…” Some events are tentatively planned for the Ontario July 4 celebration, including the parade, fireworks, a car show, a garden tractor pull, and the fun and run. Food vendors are being sought. Music is also tentatively planned, but the talent show, breakfast, kids games and bouncy houses are cancelled… So far, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve has lost $22,000 in camping revenue and the education program…

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –The Crawford County Veterans Service Office regretfully announced Wednesdy morning the cancellation of its annual Memorial Day program in Prairie du Chien, due to COVID-19 concerns… Wauzeka announced this week that its community will not be hosting the annual Memorial Day program there either, including the parade, ball tournament or chicken barbecue… The Prairie Villa Rendezvous, usually held Father’s Day weekend in Prairie du Chien, has been postponed to Sept. 17-20.  The 44th annual reenactment event of the Big River Long Rifles will remain on St. Feriole Island, but be delayed three months due to cautions for COVID-19… On May 12, the McGregor wastewater treatment plant had an overflow caused by disposable wipes and latex gloves being flushed, resulting in clogged equipment at the plant. This can also lead to backed up sewage in basements… The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is removing the closures to its facilities near the Mississippi River locks and dams from Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings, Minn., to Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. The change is effective immediately.

RICHLAND CENTER –Richland County Supervisor Shaun Murphy-Lopez is collecting signatures to be on the ballot as a candidate for Wisconsin’s 49thAssembly district. If you are a registered voter, you can complete nomination papers for the candidate of your choice from your home. If you want to support Murphy-Lopez, print it out, sign it, and send it to 20548 Cave Road, Hillsboro, WI 54634… Twenty-three hospitals, including The Richland Hospital, Inc. are being honored by University of Wisconsin Organ and Tissue Donation (UW OTD) for their ongoing commitment to saving and improving lives through organ and tissue donation… Every October, about 1.6 million juniors across the country take the PSAT. Those who score in the top one percent achieve the distinction of National Merit Semifinalists. Richland Center High School student semifinalist Lucas Myszkowski then applied to be a finalist. After finalists are selected that pool of students is narrowed down once more to the winner status. Myszkowski achieved that prestigious distinction. The RCHS senior is son of attorney Gregory and medical doctor Jennifer Myszkowski… Shaun Murphy-Lopez has announced his campaign for Wisconsin Assembly, District 49, which includes all of Grant and portions of Richland, Lafayette, and Iowa counties. It stretches from the Illinois border to the Village of Yuba on the northern edge. Murphy-Lopez made his declaration to run under the Democratic Party ticket before Village Clerk Katie McCollam.

BOSCOBEL – Graduating seniors at Boscobel High School were honored with the placement of senior protrait yard signs Friday in front of the school. They will remain displayed in front of the school until Monday, at which time they will be delivered to each senior’s yard by teachers and staff. A face-to-face graduation ceremony has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 16 beginning at 1 p.m... The village of Muscoda is in the midst of a major boat landing improvement project at Riverside Park. Contractor for the work is G-Pro Excavating of Muscoda. The construction bid was $186,883. That bid did not include engineering costs. The same firm is also the contractor for the new Avoca Lakeside Park boat landing. The village of Muscoda was the recipient of DNR grants totaling $83,883 to help finance the project… Lifelong residents of the Boscobel community, Eldon and Carol Bartels, decided they wanted to do something meaningful with the stimulus check that they received under the Cares Act. Both Carol and Eldon have been active members of our local communities and have always been driven to help others so, it was with gracious hearts that they donated their stimulus check to both the Boscobel Rescue Squad and SWCAP Northern Grant County Food Pantry…  Local people who are in the final months of life have a new choice for high-quality, home hospice care. Agrace, the largest Wisconsin-based nonprofit hospice, has expanded its service area to include Prairie du Chien. Agrace.