By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Year in Reviw: 2019 had a bit of everything
WR spill 2019
A PASTURE AREA where a drag line hose break occurred in the May 2019 manure spill from Wild Rose Dairy in rural LaFarge. The area shown is just south of Allen Road, and according to DNR investigators, ma-nure spray was observed around the entire area and up into the tree. The dairy had also had a manure spill in October of 2017.

SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN -JANUARY: A $500 grant was awarded to the Ferryville Farmers Market from the Viroqua Food Co-op’s first ever Cooperative Community Fund for a youth grower/vendor initiative, which recruits middle school students from home school, public and private schools of the region to be growers and sellers at the Ferryville Farmers Market… The first round of well water sampling results in the ambitious Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology Study (SWIGG) were released on January 2. Those results showed that 42 percent of 301 randomly selected wells tested in Iowa, Grant and Lafayette counties exceed federal health standards for bacteria that can come from animal or human waste, or for nitrates that can come from fertilizer. The same day, Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos issued a statement saying that he would form a water-quality task force following reports of contaminated wells across southwestern Wisconsin… Several members of the Eugene Moran family joined John Armbruster to fly to Germany for the 75thanniversary of the B-17 Flying Fortress, Rikki Tikki Tavi, getting shot down over a small city named Syke… Brian McKnight, great-grandson of Steven L. Brown, has chosen to honor his family’s heritage by endowing the McKnight-Brown Academic Scholarship at North Crawford High School… Blas E. Cuahutzihua, 45, was killed when he was pinned between the cab and the arms of a skid steer on which he had been working… Steven Allen of DeSoto was the lucky winner of $350,000 from a Quick Pick SuperCash! Jackpot lottery drawing… The Polar Vortex has affected the area with temperatures of 30 below zero on January 30 and 40 below zero on Janury 31.

FEBRUARY: North Crawford Business Development Manager Demetri Andrews was named ‘2019 George Gray WASBO New School Business Manager of the Year’ at the recent Wisconsin Association of School Boards Convention in Milwaukee… Authorities in Viroqua reported a gas leak outside a business on Nelson Parkway from an above ground LP tank at Nelson Global Products… Andy Nelson, the Solar Town pharmacist, traded his suit and tie for jeans and a headband, and filled in playing the stand up bass for the Medicine Brothers at the ‘Love the Land’  event, fundraiser for Crawford Stewardship Project… Grant and Nikki Stluka have taken over ownership of the Eastman Locker… Seneca and North Crawford schools have to modify their schedules to allow for 11 makeup days due to flooding, snow, ice and cold weather… Sophomore, Raiden Steele, the 113-pound wrestler from the North Crawford-Seneca wrestling team, took sixth place at the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament… The North Crawford School Board has decided to bring back the Ag Education course and has approved a half-time teaching position for the 2019-2020 school year.

MARCH: In the early morning hours of February 18, at the Viroqua wastewater treatment facility, a component of the anaerobic digester clogged resulting in a spill. The clog coincided with problems with the control system, leading to the alarm not responding in time to notify staff before the spill. Roughly 2,000 gallons overflowed onto the ground… Seneca’s basketball team member Jared Payne has been selected 1stTeam All-Conference and Co-Player of the year… Organic Valley CEO George Siemon has stepped down after 30 years of service to OV. Robert Kirchoff has been appointed as interim CEO… Crawford Stewardship Project has completed the sampling of over 50 private wells in Crawford County as part of their ‘Drinking Water Education and Testing Program.’ A ‘Public Drinking Water Education Event’ will take place in April after all testing and analysis is completed… Almost 25 citizens gathered to listen to Joe Heim, Professor of Political Science/Public Administration at UW-LaCrosse, and Jay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, discuss gerrymandering and the upcoming vote on a Fair Maps resolution in Vernon County… A ‘Richland Water Quality Forum’ event drew more than 50 concerned participants to the Lighthouse Chapel in Richland Center… The Gays Mills Village Board called a meeting for community members to come together to discuss the needs of the village swimming pool. The nearly 70-year-old pool requires critical costly maintenance and repairs in order to serve the community this year. The board is dedicated to keeping the pool open along with volunteers willing to spend their time and resources. The board is quick to reassure everyone that the pool is in no danger of closing; it’s not a matter of ‘if’ the pool will close, but rather a matter of how we will raise the necessary funds. After the informational meeting and plea to the community for help finding ways to raise the funds, a group of volunteers sprang into action and revived the ‘Friends of Gays Mills Swimming Pool’ and have quickly begun work on raising funds. A goal has been set to raise $100,000. These funds would provide for this year’s repairs as well as set up a fund for future maintenance and operating costs.

APRIL: The North Crawford Playhouse’s recently concluded production of ‘Hamlet’ was a fitting farewell to the theater’s legendary director Rob Ghormley… A local resident drowned in the flood waters of the Mississippi on March 30. During the night, Mary Heath reportedly wandered away from a residence located on a roadway near Blackhawk Park, which is underwater from the spring thaw. The only way to access the residence was by boat. Mary Heath’s body was found by the Wheatland and DeSoto Fire Departments and the Vernon County Sheriff’s department approximately 300 yards down river from the residence… People will have to drive approximately 60 miles out of their way soon if they want to go between Lansing, Iowa and Crawford County, Wisconsin. The Iowa Department of Transportation will close down the Iowa 9 Black Hawk Bridge for about one week for repairs as they remove and replace several steel pieces on the bridge… The North Crawford School Board accepted resignations from two long-time staff members – teacher, Lori Fox-Gillespie will retire after 20 years of service, and school library aid Nancy Brockway will retire after 27 years… The Gays Mills Village Board cleared  The Vosseteig Funeral Home sale to Todd Torkelson, a fourth generation funeral home owner from Cashton… Several dozen pelicans have been seen enjoying the slough behind the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center… The North Crawford School Board has approved hiring MacKenzie Knutson for the new Agriculture Education position, and Camille Smith was hired to take Rob Ghormley’s place as North Crawford Playhouse Director.

MAY: The 2019 Crawford County Excellence in Leadership Award Winners are: Kathy Quamme, Grace Corlis, Michael Varnes-Epstein, Scott Noe, Cynthia Olmstead, Chris Balistrieri, Rob Ghormley, Harry Heisz, Ellen Brooks and Brad Niemcek… The ‘Courier Press,’ the biweekly Prairie du Chien newspaper, has changed ownership after four generations and 108 years under the Howe family name. Morris Newspaper Corporation of Wisconsin purchased the ‘Courier,’ ‘The Trader,’ a weekly shopper, as well as their three sister publications in northeast Iowa: ‘North Iowa Times’ in McGregor, ‘Guttenberg Press’ in Guttenberg, and ‘Clayton County Register’ in Elkader. MNC of Wisconsin owns newspapers in Lancaster, Platteville, Fennimore, Boscobel, Gays Mills, Cuba City, Darlington, Richland Center, Muscoda and Monroe… An estimated 10,000 gallons of manure spilled out of a split hose from the Wild Rose Dairy on May 16, 2019. This incident occurred only 19 months after the October 2017 spill from Wild Rose Dairy when an estimated 30,000 gallons of manure spilled into the Otter Creek Watershed in rural LaFarge leaving 1,300 dead trout… The 2019 Crawford County Dairy Princess is Regan Kramer, 2019 Little Miss Squirt is Lorelai Young and the Little Miss Squirt Attendant is Breckyn Schlee… North Crawford School co-valedictorians are Martha Bransky and Grace Babb… The North Crawford girls track team defended their Ridge and Valley Conference title for the fourth year in a row… Donald Cipra, 85, of Prairie du Chien died May 16 due to injuries sustained from being struck by a vehicle on the Highway 18 Bypass… Alissa Rooney is the Seneca High School Valedictorian for the 2019 graduating class. Taylor Sime has earned the honor of Salutatorian.

JUNE: Due to the hard work of a dedicated group of county conservation staff, public health staff, and citizen advocacy group partners, a tri-county well testing effort for Crawford, Richland and Vernon counties is moving forward… The Soldiers Grove Village Board approved a request for a farmer’s market on Friday afternoons. The weekly market will take place from 2-6 p.m. in front of the Driftless Brewery in Soldiers Grove… Marlys Oldenburg is retiring after 39 years of teaching at Seneca Schools… The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, awarded a $17 million contract to Kraemer North America, LLC of Burnsville, Minnesota, to carry-out tow rail rehabilitation projects at six Mississippi River locks and dams. The purpose of the tow rail system is to assist and speed up the upstream travel of 1,200-foot tows through 600-foot lock chambers… Helen Carstens finished fifth in the 3,200 meter run at the WIAA State Track Meet in LaCrosse. Carstens, a sophomore at North Crawford, ran her career best time of 11:33.89… The 2019 Apple Queen is McKenna Johnson and the Apple Queen Attendant is Maya Cade… A large layoff shook the offices of Organic Valley last week, as the LaFarge-based cooperative dismissed 39 employees, including some senior managers… Lou Shields and Stacey Roou, a local Viroqua couple, appeared on the Discovery Channel’s ‘Homestead Rescue’ on June 19… Allison Anderson of Mt. Sterling was crowned as the International United Miss Wisconsin Teen. She will represent the state of Wisconsin at the International pageant in July 2019 in New Jersey.