‘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 Board Zoning Committee met on May 12 with two new members. Those members are Ole Yttri and Adrian Amelse. A public hearing was held on a proposed Bug Tussel cell tower in the Town of Genoa. Bug Tussel’s Chris Henshue was there, and no citizens participated in the hearing. He told the committee that they now have nine of the planned 26 towers in Vernon County “alive,” with twelve more being built but not yet in service. Committee member Will Beitlich had questions about trenching which he said would run across his property. Nate Campbell from the Sheriff’s Department was there to ask why it is so expensive to co-locate on a Bug Tussel tower. He said that the department had explored the cost, and because it is so expensive, are considering building their own tower. The cost would be $1,605 per month or $124,581 over the five years of the lease. After 23 minutes of discussion, a vote was taken by the committee on the permit application. Amelse, Yttri and Beitlich voted no and the permit was denied… The Coon Valley Conservation Club will be having our scheduled monthly meeting Thursday May 28th at 7:30 pm. We will do our best to have the club house set up to follow all social distancing guidelines… Norwegian pride was on display Saturday morning when people wearing their Norwegian apparel and waving Norwegian flags scattered themselves along Main Street in Westby. About 20 people (including two trolls) participated in an hour-long waving, which fell on the weekend that would have been the 52nd annual Syttende Mai celebration. The annual event highlighting the Westby area’s Norwegian heritage was canceled back on March 24, in light of coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 concerns… The Vernon County Museum is planning to re-open to the public on Monday, June 1. Our summer schedule is Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These hours are for the months of June, July, and August. The Vernon County Historical Society is following established guidelines regarding safe practices during this time of crisis. We have instituted extra cleaning at our museum. Researchers will be seated at separate tables, with extra tables set up in the conference room. Exhibit visitors will follow a one-way path through the exhibit halls whenever possible, to put more space between individuals and families. Everyone is asked to bring a mask when visiting the museum… The James P. Bigley Pool at Viroqua Area Schools will not be open this summer due to COVID-19 concerns. Viroqua Area Schools’ Bigley Pool will not be open for the summer. The Viroqua School Board voted Monday to accept the recommendation of the Building and Grounds Committee. Matt Tubbin said the committee made the recommendation in light of COVID-19 and because there isn’t clear direction from the state as far as safety. “We thought it prudent to close this year,” he said.
LA FARGE –The dates of Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6, have been selected for the annual village-wide rummage sales in LaFarge… May 2 was meant to be a special night for the high school students at LaFarge Schools to celebrate the Roaring 20’s at prom. Under the current circumstances, they were not able to do so, at least not yet. To help recognize the night that would have showcased all the Juniors hard work, Quarantine Prom Baskets were delivered, including the Great Gatsby DVD, popcorn, snacks, and exclusive invite to Google Meet and a personalized balloon… At their May 11 meeting, the LaFarge Village Board voted to cancel their Fourth of July Parade.
ONTARIO – A black bear was spotted last weekend along Highway 131, south of Tomah, near the Wilton side of the Tomah hill It spent an hour in a field near the hill, and then went towards Tomah. This was one of multiple bear sitings in the local area… Hanna Brey, a student at Brookwood High School in rural Ontario, received a $10,000 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation 2020 Excellence Scholarship. Faith Watke also received a $10,000 scholarship from the foundation… In response to the Supreme Court ruling on May 13 regarding the revocation of the ‘Safer at Home’ order, Monroe County strongly encourages county residents and businesses to take the necessary steps to continue top protect the health and safety of themselves, their families and the community… Larry Ballwahn wrote in a letter to the editor, “Enclosed is a $38 check to cover a year of the Linda Smith subscription you lost. Since you’ve never claimed to be anything but a liberal, left-leaning is a fair charge. “Far left, hate-filled and bitter” can be a claim only made by someone who watches the “fair and balanced” network regularly. [Editor’s note – this letter is in response to a letter from Linda Smith of Tomah that appeared in the County Line’s April 30 issue. Smith was critical of County Line Publisher Emeritus Karen Parker’s ‘Backtalk’ column.] … We must be willing to read and/or listen to views we don’t agree with and be willing to find a middle ground, compromise, and move forward… The $38 is my small attempt to support particularly thoughtful and well-written editorials.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN –Prairie Industries issued a statement in response to an inquiry about the number of employees who tested positive for COVID-19 following mass testing on-site on May 5. “We have, unfortunately, had a small number of employees test positive for COVID-19,” the company statement said, not specifically releasing exact numbers of positive cases… Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crawford County Master Gardeners have announced their decision to err on the side of safety for all and cancel the Lawn Chair Learning program for 2020. The Kids in the Garden face-to-face program will be revamped to do some online programming… The Wisconsin Horse Council recognized Charlene and Rodney Boom of CR Quarter Horses in Bridgeport with a Lifetime Achievement Award recently. A plaque, which couldn’t be presented to them at the Midwest Horse Fair due to COVID-19 was sent to them in recognition of their contributions to the horse industry in Wisconsin… Local Master Gardener Donna Teynor was asked to step in with her expertise and help hundreds of plants, flowers and vegetables thrive when COVID-19 forced the school to shut down, and neither students nor teachers could be on-site to do the work.
RICHLAND CENTER – As if a presidential election wasn’t enough to create interest in the 2020 election in November, local interest could be increased with the prospects of a school bond referendum. The The Richland School District’s study committee led by FEH Design has been looking at addressing operational and capital needs for the district. District residents will be able to weigh in on a survey regarding the findings to help the board determine its course of action. To get the referendum on the ballot, a decision will need to be made in a month or so… The Richland Center City Council delayed action on a proposal to include administrator to the title of Clerk/Treasurer Melinda Jones during its two-hour virtual session Tuesday night. The council also delayed action on a motion to renew the facilities agreement between the city and the Richland School District… Maintenance work will start Tuesday, May 26, on the Highway 130 bridge over the Wisconsin River in Lone Rock. The project includes repairs to structural steel elements, substructure repairs, cleaning and painting.BOSCOBEL – The annual Boscobel Area Lion’s Club and Dick Thompson Memorial Scholarship golf outing has been cancelled for this year. The event was scheduled for June 13 at Hickory Grove Golf Course. Lion’s members took into consideration the uncertainty of the times with personal and economic health in making this decision… With the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation, out of adherence to guidelines and respect and safety of our community, the artists, and visitors - the 51stAnnual Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair that had been scheduled for June 27 and 28 is being cancelled… July 1 has been the date set to determine if there will be a Grant County Fair this summer, and what form it will take if there is.