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December 31: Years Ago…
Years Ago

‘Years Ago’ is a compilation of newsy tidbits as published in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout on this week ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or sixty years ago.


DECEMBER 30, 2010 – Prairie du Chien’s 10thannual Carp Fest is rapidly on its way to becoming a major regional New Year’s Eve tradition. The initial push to drop the carp at midnight on New Year’s Eve came from Tom and Cathy Nelson. The couple watched a peach lowered in Savannah, Georgia at midnight New Year’s Eve during a vacation there. The Nelsons decided if they could drop a peach in Georgia, then, by God, the river folks in Prairie du Chien could surely drop a carp. So at midnight on December 31, 2001 it happened and it’s been happening ever since. Last year, Carp Fest drew 2,500 people… 


DECEMBER 28, 2000 – The Petersburg home of Lawrence and Penny Nelson and their four sons was badly damaged by fire Christmas morning. The family was home at the time of the fire, but they were able to get out of the house in time. The family lives in the building known as the old Venner store. The fire started in the chimney of the wood stove… A gingerbread castle with chocolate windows and ice cream cone towers created by Barry Jensen is on display at the Gays Mills Library… Jeremy Fradette blocks a shot attempted by Seneca’s Russ Wright in the December 19 game at Seneca. North Crawford won 50-47 in overtime.


DECEMBER 27, 1990 – Sixty-three senior citizens took part in the Christmas dinner held as part of the senior citizen lunch program at the Red Apple Inn in Gays Mills. Included in the group are Ole K. Helgerson, Annie Callaway, Laura Helgerson and Sophie Kvigne. Many who were planning to come decided to cancel the trip because of the inclement weather… A one-year-old garage at the Bernard Knoble farm, Highway 131, Gays Mills, was a total loss in a fire. Lost in the blaze was a 1981 Buick, Farmall M tractor, two brand new freezers and one older freezer, a new motor, air compressor and other new tools.


JANUARY 1, 1981 – The Gays Mills Motors and International Woodworks buildings in Gays Mills were destroyed by fire last Tuesday night... A Soldiers Grove landmark, the old Wheeler Garage, was reduced to a heap of rubble over Christmas weekend, as part of the village relocation project. The building was put up over the site of the old grist mill by George Edge at the time Kaiser-Frazier cars were first manufactured. Edge sold quite a few of these autos before their manufacture was discontinued. After that, Preston Wheeler took over the building, where he conducted an auto repair service until the 1978 flood.


DECEMBER 30, 1970 – Russell “Rusty” Childs, 11-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Childs, Rt. 2, Boscobel, was injured Sunday afternoon when the toboggan he was riding behind a snowmobile swung around and hit a picnic table. He is being monitored at Memorial Hospital… Eighteen area high school girls vie for the honor of reigning over the 1971 Snowflake Ski club jumping tournament to be held at Westby… An early morning fire that destroyed their home and most of their belongings has made a bleak holiday season for a young Gays Mills married couple. Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Stussey and their five-month-old daughter, who live north of the village, lost almost all of their belongs in the blaze.


DECEMBER 29, 1960 – Ed Nachtigal, Gays Mills has been hired as a tankwagon driver to replace Clayton Knoble who assumes managership of the cooperative January 1. La Vern Steen, manager of the cooperative since it was started some four years ago, has accepted a similar position with a Grant County bulk petroleum cooperative. Steen and his family will move to Fennimore… Neil Zajicek, who farms in the Bear Creek area, north of Gays Mills, witnessed an American eagle attack his flock of ducks. The bird sank its talons into one of Zajicek’s choice ducks, carried it aloft a few feet, and then dropped it.