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November 5: News from around the Driftless Area
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‘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 – More than 100 costumed kids, some accompanied by parents, stopped by the Westby History Alive Project’s History House at 218 N. Main St., Westby, Friday, Oct. 30. They were met with a challenge to catch their treats that had been “launched” from the upper end of an angled, 10-foot PVC pipe off the house's porch. The pipe was loaned to HAP volunteers by Strang Plumbing and Electrical, Viroqua. The community’s event was sponsored by the Westby Chamber of Commerce… County Seat Laundry is bringing laundry into the digital age––get their app to check for availability! The app comes with their savings card, which saves you 10 percent on every wash. Stop by to pick yours up when you wash your clothes next. If you're struggling to pay for laundry you can always ask them about their program of prepaid washes… The Liberty Pole ‘Country Christmas’ event will take place on Saturday/Sunday, November 7-8… The Viroqua Food Co-op announced that the recipient of this month’s ‘Give Where You Live’ donation is the Bethel Butikk - "Boutique" in Westby. They are a local food pantry and thrift shop that is volunteer operated which serves Vernon County and our surrounding communities… Second Nature at Reads Creek is now closed for the season. We truly appreciate all of the amazing experiences we have had with our customers this season. We cherish all of the opportunities we have had to help beautify the homes and businesses in the Driftless Area in 2020… The holidays are just around the corner so now is a great time to stock up on country goodness from Westby Creamery. Choose from one of their ten gift boxes or just select your favorite products and add them to your cart. From now through November 15, 2020 every order you place online at will give you one entry to win a chair and cooler set. Want to save 15 percent on your order? Visit to sign-up for our e-newsletter (new e-newsletter subscribers only). 

LA FARGE – The Kickapoo Valley Reserve (KVR) is a biologically and culturally unique example of the Driftless Area in southwest Wisconsin and a popular destination for education and tourism experiences. An integral part of the KVR is the Visitor Center that includes a popular exhibit gallery. Here, everyone can learn the story of the natural and cultural heritage of the Kickapoo Valley. The current exhibits have served us well but are now in need of a modern approach. It is time for an update in the stories we tell and methods we use to tell them. The Friends of KVR are spearheading the fundraising campaign with a goal of $600,000 to upgrade the educational exhibits. To date, over $200,000 has been raised from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Should the Matching Grant initiative exceed the $600,000 level needed for the exhibit upgrade, those funds will be retained by the Friends of KVR and dedicated to the ever-expanding Education Program. Thanks to an incredibly generous offer from our friends at Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust, your donations will be matched dollar for dollar through December 31st. To learn more, go to… The Stark Town Board voted recently to deny a permit for a campground on Mike Donskey’s property in rural LaFarge. This came after a 30-minute meeting in closed session. The board’s reason was the lack of a business plan and failure to submit needed paperwork… What appeared to be the perfect Halloween decorations in the yard of Matt and Alison Benson in LaFarge was actually toilet paper in the trees. Alison is the coach of the school’s volleyball team that had just won the conference championship… At the October LaFarge Lions Club meeting, club members had to consider cancelling several annual events – the annual Halloween Costume Contest, and the annual Veteran’s Day Dinner. Instead of the costume contest, parents were encouraged to take pictures of their children and post them on the village’s website. The dinner will also not be held – it usually followed a ceremony at the school, which has also been cancelled. In addition, the Lions Fall Pancake Supper, originally scheduled for November 11 is cancelled…  The Village of Viola-Economic Growth and Flood Recovery Plan will host a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., where they will present how they pulled together and configured the recovery projects components into an ordered set of renderings, diagrams, maps, and layouts and schematics that make up the community’s complete Site Development Master Plan. Cost estimates, environmental assessment, and necessary permits for future development and implementation of the plan will be included.

ONTARIO – The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District’s mill rate will be the lowest it has been since 1984, the district announced at its annual meeting recently… The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District agreed Monday to begin applying for a FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure Grant, a move that could lead to a new gymnasium and auditorium… The Ontario Community Hall, Wisconsin’s very last publicly owned building with a unique lamella roof, is evidently headed for the scrap pile. The honey-comb-like nature of the ceiling often caused visitors to gaze upward in amazement… At its meeting Sept. 14, the Kendall Village Board accepted a Community Development Block Grant award of up to $1 million for upgrades to municipal well No. 2, a project that may end up costing $1.5 million… The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District’s winter sports season is slated to begin, Superintendent Travis Anderson told the County Line recently.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN – A farm -to -table food distribution took place at the Prairie du Chien High School Parking lot on Friday, October 30. Food was prepackaged in boxes and each box contained a leafy green, a root vegetable, a gallon of milk, eggs and precooked meat… For several months the, Prairie du Chien Police Department has investigated multiple stolen vehicle reports. Investigations included video and forensic evidence, interviews of witnesses and suspects and cooperation between law enforcement agencies. Through this, a trend has been identified. It is believed a group of juveniles from the LaCrosse, Onalaska and LaCrescent, Minn. area are involved in a multi-state auto theft ring. The suspects range in age from 13 to 17. In Prairie du Chien, all vehicles stolen had their keys in the vehicle. There have been instances where the vehicle owner left their keys in the vehicle and only the keys were taken. The owner believed they misplaced the keys, only to have their vehicle stolen several days later. In addition to vehicle thefts, these suspects are removing items of value if there are no keys but the cars are still unlocked. In other incidents, license plates are stolen from vehicles that are locked, and those plates are then used to replace the plates on vehicles that have been reported stolen. The police department would reminds the public that all vehicles, garages and homes should be locked. Measures should be taken to ensure that outside motion lights are in working order and if you have any home video surveillance technology, the police department would like to see any images captured by these devices… As Prairie du Chien’s Meg Katzung prepared for her fourth sectional cross country race, the temperature was 36 degrees, light wind, and the sun was peeking through the clouds. Meg finished in fourth place overall and third place in the “Individual Group” to move on to the State Cross Country Meet. She had a time of 20:07. With that said, Megan will become the second girl in Prairie du Chien history to participate as a state qualifier all four years of her high school career (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) at any distance.