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The Year in Review - part 1
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The Soldiers Grove Library was awarded $2,000 by the Crawford County Community Fund to purchase new computer equipment and software……..Soldiers Grove had to remind some snowmobilers that the use of snowmobiles on village sidewalks was prohibited…..The Second Harvest Mobile Food Pantry, which visits Gays Mills one a month, changed their visit site to the new Gays Mills Community Commerce Center…Crawford County introduced a new emergency alert system – Code Red – utilizing the landline phone system, as well as text and email messages….Bridgeport Concerned citizens was organized in opposition to a proposed frac sand mine in the Town of Bridgeport…..Influenza was making its presence felt, though luckily the season’s vaccination was an almost 100-percent match for the strain making people sick, authorities believed…The Soldiers Grove Public Library expansion project was underway, beginning with demolition of the interior of the former Solar Town Pharmacy.


The Gays Mills Arts Collective held a reception for their second show, ‘To and From the Heart,’ in the new gallery… Challenges at the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center, involving inadequate parking, poor accessibility to the pallets of food, and problems with parking lot navigation for the semi-truck delivering the food, led the Second Harvest Mobile Food Pantry to opt for a return to their former site at the Gays Mills Community Building on Main Street…..The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board met in closed session with an attorney from the Wisconsin Department of Justice to discuss conflicts between state statute and administrative rules applying to the permit application for a proposed frac sand mine in Bridgeport Township that lay partially within the Riverway boundaries…..The 10-month investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by Crawford County Highway Commissioner Dennis Pelock ended with a decision to not pursue prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Przbylinski…..The Lower Wisconsin Riverway Board asked Pattison Sand Company to voluntarily withdraw their permit application for frac sand mining, which Pattison declined to do…..Ron Kind visited North Crawford Schools to recognize their efforts toward improving student health, funded with a three-year Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant.


Nancy Dowling’s wildlife photography was on display in the Crawford County Administration Building in Prairie du Chien…The Soldiers Grove Library closed the doors of the library, while construction took over during the expansion project. Limited services such as interlibrary loan, new materials, audio-visual materials, and limited computer access were offered two afternoons per week in the village community room……The North Crawford Playhouse produced the comedic play ‘Shakespeare in Hollywood’……The Crawford County Fair opened an office in the Gays Mills Mercantile Center…Pat Brockway announced he would challenge incumbent Gays Mills Village President Craig Anderson in the coming election…The Town of Bridgeport Planning Commission approved the application by Pattison Sand Company for a conditional use permit for frac sand mining in Bridgeport Township……A new Christian youth group, ‘Teens for Truth,’ held their first event in the Gays Mills Community Building on Main Street…….Long-time North Crawford coaches Shelly Biggin (volleyball) and Gary Hines (boys basketball) resigned from their positions after more than 25 years of coaching apiece.


Pat Brockway was elected as the new Gays Mills Village President…A special meeting was held for Gays Mills residents to discuss the future of the Gays Mills Community Building on Main Street…..The Town of Bridgeport approved the reclamation plan for Pattison Sand Company’s proposed frac sand mine…..A wolf was sighted just east of the Kickapoo Orchard on Highway 171…..North Crawford School hosted a wellness event with wellness fair, 5K walk/run, health checks, and more…The Gays Mills Arts Collective’s gallery was a focal point of the annual Earth Day celebration. Artists, vendors, and music inhabited the Gays Mills Mercantile Center during the day with more music at night in the community room of the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center.


Cooler weather was delaying planting and fruit tree blossoms……Sunrise Orchards had begun selling apple wood to the Red Arrow company, which manufactures smoke flavorings…Seneca High School was ranked tenth best in the state of Wisconsin by U.S. News and World Report. The following week saw the school again recognized, this time by Newsweek, which ranked them 33rd in the state…The Gays Mills Village Board voted to extend the use of the Community Building on Main Street through October 1…..The Kickapoo Grazing Initiative and Great River Grazers co-hosted a pasture walk near Steuben, highlighting the proper use of rotational grazing with improved stream quality…Online postings of threats led to disciplinary action against a North Crawford student…Undelivered lighting fixtures delayed the reopening of the Soldiers Grove Public Library, following the almost completed expansion.


Two problems, which arose from the Gays Mills flood recovery effort, were addressed at a Gays Mils Village Board meeting. One was a discrepancy between the village flood ordinance and a state error that left some properties purchased in the floodplain without future development restrictions. The other problem concerned the need for a push from the general contractor, Weiser Brothers, to finish the incomplete work on the Gays Mills Mercantile Center’s HVAC system…Farmers were concerned about crops due to delayed planting and continued cool weather, with planting estimated at only 85-90 percent compete…Storms hitting the area left many roads damaged and the Village of Bell Center, hit by a tornado, reeling. Rising waters forced the Gays Mills Post Office and a handful of floodplain residents to relocate temporarily.