BOSCOBEL - This is the second installment of our 2020 Year in Review. The first installment ran last week.
Will Connely knows the ins and outs of Boscobel Bowl & Banquet, after all, he’s been cooking there since he was 21 years old. So when longtime owners Jan Richter and her brother Stacey Karsten decided to sell the popular Boscobel establishment on July 1—26 years to the day since they bought it from Quent and Gloria Hurtz, they couldn’t think of a better buyer.
“He’s been around here a longtime, he’ll be fine,” Stacey said.
On Friday, July 10, Crawford County was shaken by the news that a manhunt was underway for Prairie du Chien resident Chase Harville. The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the death of a three-year-old boy that occurred in the early morning hours of July 10 in rural Prairie du Chien Township, according to a press release from Sheriff Dale McCullick. The sheriff asked the public to assist the department in locating Chase M. Harville, 29. Harville had fled the scene of the death investigation on County N on foot, according to the release. At approximately 2 p.m., Harville was apprehended by the sheriff’s department in the woods behind the County N residence, the sheriff reported. Harville is being held in the Crawford County Jail on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide.
A lightning bolt during a thunderstorm last Tuesday night is being blamed for the fire that destroyed the Muscoda Sportsman Clubhouse and most of its contents.
In a special meeting Monday, the Board of Education laid down plans for the opening of Boscobel Area Schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. That administrative team recommended a plan consisting of two basic parts—first, a tiered system to provide guidance for the District to assess local conditions of the COVID-19 virus in order to determine plans and procedures and make adjustments. The second part of the plan would set the guidelines for student attendance and instruction to begin the school year, along with setting a checkpoint to reassess the level of threat caused by the virus and then adjust accordingly.
The Boscobel Swimming Pool closed Monday after an employee showed possible symptoms of COVID-19, according to city administrator Misty Molzof. “Better safe than sorry. We’ll find out Friday if we can re-open or if we have to wait the full two weeks,” Molzof said. “We will continue to keep the staff and community apprised of the situation and appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Boscobel High School held a socially distant graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 Sunday on the football field. Students and staff wore masks and maintained their distance as they accepted their diplomas.
Vehicle owners in Crawford County will each be paying $20 per year more when they register their vehicles beginning in 2021. By a vote of 14-1, the Crawford County Board passed a wheel tax of $20 during its regular meeting last Tuesday morning. Board member Duane Rogers gave a presentation in which he noted there are approximately 19,000 vehicles in the county that would be affected. This will result in the county receiving about $380,000 annually. The revenue must be used for transportation related purposes, and will go into the Highway Department budget.
It is with great excitement that the Wisconsin River Trail Organization (WRTO) Board would like to share the news received last week that they, along with the city of Boscobel, were awarded a $1.33 million grant for Phase 2A, starting on the south side of the railroad tracks on Borden Road, and ending at Cozy Acres Trailer Park (for now). There were 28 projects awarded within their $14.5 million budget. Construction will begin in the spring, and the WRTO will have until 2024 to finish the project, as well as pay the 20 percent of construction costs.
Citing visibility concerns and a request from the Unique Café for additional parking, the Boscobel Common Council approved two new stop lights on Wisconsin Avenue at the intersection with Bluff Street. The flashing stop lights could be up and running by the beginning of November.
The city of Boscobel has decided to shift from evening to afternoon hours, but trick-or-treating on Halloween—Saturday, Oct. 31—was approved by the Common Council Monday night. Hours are 2:30-6:30 p.m. “It’s kind of like what we did with the pool. If you don’t want your kids to participate, keep them at home,” said Mayor Steve Wetter. “They’re outside and they’ll be off the street before dark. Let’s not take everything away from the kids.”
A masked Boscobel School board met Monday night for a special board meeting via Zoom that lasted nearly two and half hours. The board got right to business as President Todd Miller informed the board and those attending virtually that they would not be taking public comments at all during the meeting. “People will need to reach out to administration or to a board member with their comments or concerns and we will address it at the next meeting,” Miller noted.
Voters in the city of Boscobel supported incumbent President Donald Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden, 713 to 584, as did Grant County, 13,981 to 10,942, but did the state of Wisconsin, or the nation as a whole for that matter? As absentee and mail-in votes continued to be counted in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania Wednesday morning, Biden led in the popular vote, 50% to 48.4%, and the electoral college, 238 to 213, but the final tally could be days away and court challenges appear imminent.
Removal of the Bohlman House on Parker Street, an icon south of the Gundersen Boscobel Hospital and east of Gundersen’s Boscobel Clinic, began Tuesday. The home was gifted by Vilas and Florence Bohlman to Boscobel Area Healthcare in 2008 to expand local medical services. Gundersen Boscobel and the Bohlman family mutually decided to remove the home that is now dormant.
A bull elk, rare to Crawford County wildlife, wandered onto a sheep farm in rural Wauzeka last week. No one seems to know where he came from. Rhonda and Greg Cerven own the rural property, just across Highway 131 from Husher Park, about five miles outside of Wauzeka toward Steuben. The 6x6, ginger and chestnut-colored elk first appeared on the Cerven farm Sunday morning, Oct. 25, according to Rhonda. He was still roaming their acreage around midday Tuesday, Nov. 3, Greg said. There were a few scuffs to the fur on the elk’s left ribcage area, but he looked to be in general good health.
The Boscobel Area School District will be pivoting to virtual learning on Monday, November 23. This is for both the elementary school and the middle and high school students. In determining how to keep students and staff healthy, the district feels it is in its best interest to pivot to virtual learning during this time. Students will return to in-person learning on Monday, December 7. When returning to in-person learning on December 7, as long as students can safely be in the buildings, in-person learning will continue through December 23. Please keep in mind that Wednesdays are still virtual which includes December 23, when students will be released at 1:15 p.m. for their winter break. When returning from winter break on Monday, January 4, classes will resume but will be virtual. Students will remain in virtual learning through January 13 and will return to in-person learning on January 14.
The Hildebrand Memorial Library recently welcomed back Janelle Miller as its new director after Michelle Tryggestad left for a new position just a few weeks after she was hired in late July to replace retiring Library Director Robin Orlandi. Miller, whose maiden name is Mathews, is a 2009 graduate of Boscobel High School and was the library’s first intern—a job which helped cement the library stacks in Miller’s heart.
Construction began in September on the new, $8.9 million “inmates program building” at Boscobel’s maximum security prison—the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPS). The project is scheduled to be completed in October 2021, and appears it will meet that target date, according to Warden Gary Boughton. Located on the west side of the prison, the building “will accommodate the recreational and educational needs of the more than 400 prisoners at the 18,270-square-foot facility. It will include a gym, exercise area, classrooms, a cosmetology education space, a hobby/music room, a chapel and offices,” according to a 2019 press release from the Department of Corrections.
Meeting Monday night at City Hall, the Boscobel Common Council approved spending up to $65,000 for engineering costs and grant applications toward the design and construction of a new Wisconsin River boat landing at its current location in 2022. Depending on the size of the project, costs could range anywhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Ultimately, it will be based upon priorities, and then could be reduced to allow for grant fund availability.The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) is converting Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution (PDCI) from a medium-security to minimum-security institution. The move aligns with the DOC’s priority of expanding opportunities in evidence-based community programs, while also lowering the number of individuals on the DOC’s wait list to get into a minimum-security facility.