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September 10: 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 American Legion Taphouse #138 recently announced they will not be reopening, and in fact have sold the property to Nelson Agri-Center. The decision was made after lengthy discussion by the members and officers in attendance at the recent post meetings. Factors contributing to this discussion include the current situation we are in with the pandemic, what the future might bring and the lack of interest by our members. American Legion Post #138 is not surrendering its charter and will still be involved in the community and hopefully will become a more active American Legion Post to continue to work for veterans causes…  Despite being unable to perform in-person, the Viroqua Community Theatre has been hard at work to create videos to share! They have posted two new videos on their website, and are continuing to find ways to create and produce theater together safely. Head over to to watch their videos and see what's happening in that part of the Viroqua arts community… A Brush Pull will be held at the Vernon County Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 19. The afternoon session starts at 11 a.m., and the evening session starts at 6 p.m. For afternoon session information, call Erick at 608-606-1011, and for evening session information call Jeff at 608-632-4020 or Chris at 608-632-0236… The 15th annual American Cancer Society Sole Burner of Chaseburg event is Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Chaseburg Village Park, 401 Depot St., Chaseburg. “Best Ever Chicken" will be done as a drive through from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. After 1 p.m., with all COVID-19 protocols in place, there will be chicken, soups, a dessert auction, a silent auction, a wine cork raffle, and a raffle drawing. For everyone's safety, masks will be required and sanitizers will be on site. Contact Eric Ostrem at 608-452-3135 or Linda DeGarmo at 608-452-3367 or for more information. Donations may be made at

LA FARGE – The Village of LaFarge received good news recently when they were notified the community would be receiving a $1 million grant to be used for redoing Main Street facilities. The cost of the total project will be $2,647,575. The plan calls for new water and sewer lines, and related expenses. The village will be responsible for $823,790 (50 percent of the cost of the project less the grant amount). These funds will come from the village’s TIF account. The balance will be paid for through a WDNR Clean Water grant in the form of a 20-year loan at an interest rate of 1.76 percent. The project will start in 2021, and be completed by August of 2022… The Villages of LaFarge and Viola have new Mercedes-Benz vehicles in their fleet. They will be used for rural route delivery, but may also be used for delivery of the Amazon packages the Post Office now delivers seven days per week… The Village of LaFarge has received funds from the Economic Development Administration to prepare and Economic Recovery Plan in response to the August 2018 flood event. Village president reports that the LaFarge Utility manager Wayne Haugrud met with Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission recently. He reports that the commission had applied for a $1.9 million grant, with an 80/20 match, with the village to pay 20 percent. The money, if received, will be used for relocating the Electric Utility out of the floodplain. A Vierbicher Associates employee reports that a search is on to find a place to relocate the LaFarge Truck Center out of the floodplain. She also recommended that the community make an effort to retain the grocery store in town, and to maintain a foodservice location… Construction is nearly complete on the Viroqua Business Park, located on the east side of Highway 14 just north of Viroqua. The development includes ten sites that are ready for light industrial, and commercial retail and non-retail business. According to the City of Viroqua website, businesses that choose to develop at the site will have highway access, environmental corridors, multi-use trails, and all sites will be served by city utilities and broadband internet delivered by fiber optic.

ONTARIO – Though the Royall School District had considered running a referendum in April 2021, the board of education agreed recently to postpone it until at least April 2022. The board did hire Kramer Construction/FEH Architects, which help the district identify community goals and assist with other aspects of the planning process. The nature of the referendum remains undefined at this point, although the board has mulled over putting up a new building or enhancing safety measures, such as installing new doorways… A COVID-19 outbreak at the New Lisbon Correctional Institute contributed 41 cases to Juneau County’s case count week before last. The Wisconsin National Guard did facility-wide testing, and multiple agencies are investigating the outbreak… Shane Nottestad laughed when asked if he is competing against Kwik Trip. “They have 720 stores,” he said. Okay, but week before last, Nottestad doubled his holdings from three to six stores, and in small towns where choices are limited, customers may be surprised to find Nottestad’s Zzip Stores offer a broad range of choices more in keeping with the Kwik Trip brand than the Fastrip stores he bought in Ontario, Kendall and Wonewoc from United Co-op. The Kendall store will require extensive renovation and replacement of the kitchen, which was not restored after the 2018 flood. The Ontario store was updated after the 2018 flood, but Nottestad’s plans will require additional kitchen equipment.


Mike Ulrich, Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation director, proudly reflected on his department’s efforts despite the coronavirus pandemic. “We worked very hard this past spring/summer in learning and determining how to do things correctly in these very uncertain times.” Parks and Rec will offer some very user-friendly experiences for the fall at Hoffman Hall and at the city parks, that include: Youth/teen disc golf; Youth kickball; Jumanji; Outdoor youth volleyball; Kayak/canoe/bike rentals… The Prairie du Chien Haunted Hike is co-sponsored by the Prairie du Chien Public Library, and allows participants to join outdoor and Halloween enthusiasts on Saturday, Oct. 31, for the inaugural haunted hike, where the park trails will be riddled with ghosts and goblins. A non-scary/dog-friendly hike will go from 1-3 p.m., while a very scary hike is offered from 5-8 p.m. Afterward, enjoy one of three bonfires. Masks will be required. There is a small fee that can be paid on-site… An official cause report from the fire marshal’s office has not been completed for the recent fire and death in Lynxville. Due to the extent of the damage, the cause of the fire may never be certain, according to local officials. However, preliminary thoughts are that the fire was possibly started by a cigarette or electrical issue… Prairie du Chien Street Department Superintendent Dan Titlbach said the department is quite pleased with the city’s new line painting machine. “It has already paid for itself and then some,” said Titlbach about the machine which was recently purchased for $22,000. “This machine is way faster and more efficient than our old one.” Titlbach explained that the old machine had to be pushed along by the operator. The operator sits on the new machine and drives it.

RICHLAND CENTER – Football and other traditionally fall sports will be conducted this fall as a result of a vote by the Richland School District Board of Education last week. The board voted 5-2 to allow fall sports – football, volleyball, boys soccer, girls swimming, cross country and cheerleading – to be held this fall. The action also enabled Richland Middle School to have programs this fall... Rose Kohout, Richland County Public Health Officer, is at the helm of efforts to keep county residents safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s difficult to have enough staff to provide services,” Kohout said. “Home visits are not considered to be viable, and immunizations are not by appointment.”