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January 2: 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.


JANUARY 7, 2010 – Design guidelines for the new construction planned for Gays Mills were discussed at a meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee, and flood recovery coordinator Julie Henley presented a draft of the proposed guidelines to the committee. During Henley’s explanation of the specific architectural guidelines contained in the proposal, some of the topics covered included placement of structures on lots, landscaping, sustainability, the placement of clotheslines, type of construction, exterior materials, fencing, garages, identical plans, identical colors, lighting, mailboxes, porches, play equipment and relocating existing homes.


JANUARY 6, 2000 – Laura Helgerson, a long-time resident of Mt. Sterling, is one of the few people in Wisconsin to have lived in three different centuries. Laura celebrated her 100thbirthday last year, still lives in her own home in Mt. Sterling, and still does some cooking, baking, light housework, and gardening. Laura was born February 27, 1899 to Larina and George Halverson. Shortly after her sister Georgia was born their father drowned in the Mississippi River. After selling the farm, Larina went to work in Minneapolis to be able to support her family, and Georgia and Laura went to live with their grandmother in rural Gays Mills, where they became bilingual, for their grandmother spoke only Norwegian. Laura went to college and graduated in 1916 with a degree in parochial school teaching. She married Roy Helgerson in 1920 after he returned from service in World War I. The couple had two daughters, Laurayne and Darleen who are now retired and live near their mother in Mt. Sterling. Roy died in 1984.


JANUARY 4, 1990 – A lawsuit in connection with the long effort to get the LaFarge Dam project on track again was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Listed as plaintiffs are Vernon County, Towns of Stark and Whitestown, Village of LaFarge, and Martha Driscoll of Fennimore. Defendants are the United States of America, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Robert W. Page, Assistant Secretary of the Army, and Col. Roger Baldwin, District Engineer. Driscoll is a litigant who had property taken during the start of the dam project some years ago. The main issue at stake, according to Driscoll, is completion of the dam portion of the project. It was stated that the issue of flood protection for the Village of Gays Mills is included in the lawsuit, not with construction of a levee there, but for flood protection a dam at LaFarge would bring. The complaint alleges that Driscoll and the other plaintiffs have suffered ‘great and substantial economic injury due to failure of the defendants to complete the project (authorized in 1962).’


JANUARY 3, 1980 – The community of Seneca was stunned this week by the death of a popular young teacher, Thomas J. Malin, 24. Malin died of smoke inhalation during an early morning fire in a Wausau apartment where he had gone for the weekend… Joel B. Oppriecht, son of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Oppriecht, Rt. 2, Gays Mills, is on the swim team at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He is a sophomore majoring in light building construction.


JANUARY 7, 1970 – The North Crawford senior high school building at Gays Mills was broken into Monday night or early Tuesday morning and a sizable amount of school cash was stolen from a safe in the secretary’s office. The amount of money taken was thought to be around $500 in hot lunch funds and cash belonging to clubs and organizations.


JULY 23, 1959 – Mary Ward Bannen gets second place in a recent Kickapoo Tales Contest with her story of her grandparents’ arrival in America and the home they made in the Trout Creek valley, two miles east of Soldiers Grove… The plea for blood donors with Blood Type ‘O’ to help little Sarah Ann Ryan, two-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Ryan, rural Soldiers Grove, through a delicate heart operation, has received heart-warming response. Among those from the Gays Mills and surrounding areas who plan to go are John Moses, Harry Steinhorst, Mrs. Bob Carter, La Vern Steen, Bill Brewer, Hubert Freeman, E.S. Gorman, Miss Ruth Gorman, William Young, Lorraine Orrick, Jerome Smith, Mrs. Frank Moore, Kenneth Crogan, Mrs. Byron Ambrose, Mrs. Earl Bown, Emmett Maybee and Scott Jameson.