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WWII plane severely damaged at airport

Pictured is the aircraft prior to the storm. (Submitted photo)

Frank Weeks (right), of Prairie du Chien, surveys the damage done to his prize possession, a WWII defender, when three hangars at the Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport were pummeled in last week’s chaos. Weeks has owned the aircraft for over 50 years.

A 1942 Aeronca Defender aircraft was severely damaged in the straight line winds that destroyed three Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport hangars. 

During World War II, there were no helicopters. Civilian aircraft were modified for military use. The L3 can take off and land in about 500 feet and were used for many purposes but primarily for artillery spotting. 

The N48014 was purchased by Jim La Bonne, Earl Nicholson and Frank Weeks in the early 1960s for $750. All three took lessons, and their first solo flight in this aircraft locally was called the Chickenhawk. 

It was vandalized and sold to a mechanic who repaired it. When fixed, it was purchased by Frank Weeks. 


Memorial weekend burger sales benefit local charities, programs

Mary (Gokey) Huser hands a donation for $500 to Jann Sturmer, Couleecap Food Pantry director. The funds will help stock the pantry for area individuals and families in need. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Pete’s Hamburger Stand employee Ryan Schickert presents a $500 donation to Mike Ulrich, Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation director. The money is earmarked for the city’s special needs outdoor programming at Washington Street Park.

By Correne Martin


Pete’s Hamburger Stand in Prairie du Chien recently distributed donations in the amount of $500 apiece to the Couleecap Food Pantry and the Prairie du Chien Parks and Recreation Department’s special needs programming at Washington Street Park. The money came from proceeds made during its Memorial Day weekend sales. They also contributed $500 to several other local charities. 

The Gokey family started its annual fundraiser in 1975, on Labor Day, with the intent of raising money to donate locally in honor of their father, Robert. 

“We were only thinking it would be a one-time thing,” said Paul Gokey, Robert’s son.


Two injured in rollover

On Monday, July 17, at 12:10 p.m., the Crawford County Dispatch Center was notified of a one-vehicle crash with injuries on Norwegian Hollow Road in Utica Township.

Kevin L.E. Burke, 18, rural Viroqua, was driving a 2006 Chevy Equinox south on Norwegian Hollow Road when he lost control while negotiating a curve. The vehicle went off the roadway and overturned four times, coming to stop on the vehicle wheels. Burke and his passenger, Skyler Britt, 18, Gays Mills, were both ejected from the vehicle.

Both were taken to Vernon Memorial Hospital. Britt was treated for a broken arm.  Burke sustained some broken bones and a head injury and was later transferred to Gundersen Health in La Crosse.

The vehicle sustained severe damage and was towed from the scene.

Burke was cited for failure to keep the vehicle under control and no seat belt use.


Man injured in motorcycle accident

On July 16, at 7:42 p.m., the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department was notified of a motorcycle crash on Dutch Ridge Road at the intersection of Rhien Hollow Road in Wauzeka Township. 

John Kuntz, 66, Fennimore, was traveling west on Dutch Ridge Road and operating a 2011 Can Am Spider motorcycle. Kuntz lost control of the motorcycle while negotiating the curve and went into a corn field on the north side of the roadway. Kuntz was transported to Crossing Rivers Health by Tri State EMS for further treatment of his injuries. Kuntz was wearing his helmet at the time of the crash.


Mosquito species capable of transmitting Zika virus found in Dane County not concerning

MADISON—Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Medical Entomology Laboratory and health officials from the Department of Health Services and Public Health Madison-Dane County announced this week that the Aedes albopictus mosquito has been found in Dane County. This is the first documentation of this species of mosquito in Wisconsin. 

Aedes albopictus is one type of mosquito that is capable of spreading Zika virus; however, there is no evidence of Zika-infected mosquitoes in Wisconsin. 

The discovery of Aedes albopictus is unlikely to indicate an elevated risk of locally-transmitted Zika virus in Wisconsin. Zika virus is primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which survives in warmer climates, and has not been found in Wisconsin or any neighboring states. 


$28k short of bringing Aunt Marianne sculpture to PdC park

The sculpture torso has been covered with the silicon rubber mold material. The bumps embedded in the mold are there to register with the plaster backing which will be applied in sections to keep the mold firm. When this is done and all sections are complete, they will be removed from the clay model and the sections will be ready for receiving the sculpture wax. (Submitted photo)

The life-sized clay sculpture of Aunt Marianne LaBuche, the next statue planned for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park in Prairie du Chien, has been taken to the bronze foundry in Milwaukee.

To achieve the complete foundry processes, along with shipping and insurance, $28,300 is yet needed to bring the Aunt Marianne LaBuche statue to the park. Her arrival is highly anticipated. To donate, visit or contact the sculpture park committee at Mississippi River Sculpture Park, P.O. Box 395, Prairie du Chien, WI 53821, or


Prairie Legion is Statebound

Jon Dyer scores on a squeeze bunt by Drake Coleman in the fourth inning against visiting Viroqua in the regional championship game Sunday afternoon. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Peyton Hall scores in the fourth inning versus Viroqua in the regional title game.

Gavin Greene fires in a pitch in the championship game while Cory Check plays short.

Chas Sagedahl defends at first base against Viroqua.


Grasshoppers on a roll, 

excited about state tournament

By Ted Pennekamp



Blues fest marks 20 years with ‘The Voice’ finalist, ZZ Top tribute band

Laith Al-Saadi was a 2016 finalist on TV’s “The Voice.” He will perform Friday, July 28, at 7 p.m., at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in Prairie du Chien.

Eliminator, a ZZ Top tribute band, will undoubtedly enliven the blues fest crowd with its spot-on reproduction of the classic songs and costumes—beards and all—as well as a show that includes the famous spinning guitars.

By Correne Martin

From the iconic, spinning fuzzy guitars of Eliminator, a ZZ Top tribute band, to the powerful and soulful vocals of Laith Al-Saadi, 2016 “The Voice” finalist, the 20th annual Prairie Dog Blues Festival is a party that won’t disappoint, set for this weekend in Prairie du Chien. In addition, 10 vibrantly stylistic music acts will play the perfect mix of global blues varieties that you’ve come to expect from the blues festival.

This year’s event is Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29, on St. Feriole Island. Tickets for one or both days, as well as on-site camping passes, can be purchased at the gate.


EF1 tornado rips through McGregor, straight line winds leave damage in Prairie du Chien, Bridgeport

McGregor’s Main Street Mall Antiques building (center) collapsed in the tornado, its top level resting where the ground floor had once been. To the left is the once three-story building that housed INKspiration Tattoo. These were among the hardest hit areas in downtown McGregor. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Darryl Buffington and Kathy Lange clean up and pick through their items kept inside storage units, owned by Cleary Building/CT Investments in Bridgeport, that exploded due to what the National Weather Service is calling straight line winds in Prairie du Chien, Wednesday evening, July 19. (Photo by Gary Howe)

Three docks at the Campion Street Boat Landing in Prairie du Chien were flipped during Wednesday evening’s storm. (Photo by Gary Howe)

At D&J Toppers & RV, three campers, a few wrecked toppers and a cargo trailer—which blew over the Crossing Rivers Health employee entrance roadway—were totaled. The hospital itself sustained no damage, though it was on lockdown during the storm. (Photo by Gary Howe)

The 100-year-old building, where INKspiration was most recently located, was obliterated by the tornado in McGregor. The structure and its debris were completely removed by Clayton County Recycling over the weekend. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Power lines were laid down along Highway 27 between Prairie du Chien and Eastman, near Limery Road. Power outages were an enormous problem in the aftermath of Wednesday’s storm. A large portion of Crawford County residents were still without power by noon Friday. (Photo by Correne Martin)

This was a photo shared on Facebook, from a Bridgeport resident who lost their trampoline due to the winds.

This vehicle, in the MPC parking lot, was among many damaged area wide. It appeared that the SUV was lifted off the ground, while some aluminum from the destroyed storage units in Bridgport blew underneath. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Frank Weeks, of Prairie du Chien, surveys the damage done to his prize possession, a WWII defender, when three hangars at the Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport were pummeled in last week’s chaos. Weeks has owned the aircraft for over 50 years. (Inset) The plane before the storm wreaked havoc on it. (Photo by Gary Howe)

Inmates at the Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution cleaned up around its Prairie du Chien facility and assisted around the community. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

This house on Parrish Street near the Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution was among several that ended up with a large tree falling upon it amid the storm. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

Trees also fell on railroad tracks in the area, halting trains attempting to make their way through Prairie du Chien Thursday, until they could be cleared. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

This enormous pine snapped and fell onto a boat on South First Street in Prairie du Chien. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

The boat docks utilized by private owners Doc Holidays were damaged by the winds. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

An Amish farmer assesses the ruins of his greenhouse in Bridgeport, near the intersection of Marquette and Vineyard Coulee roads. The entire outer shell of the greenhouse was ripped off, shredded and strewn across the vicinity. (Photo by Correne Martin)

This downed tree between Jones' Black Angus and the Bridgeport Inn blocked the roadway between the two facilities. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Rubble was strewn all over MPC's parking lot, the majority of which came from the ruined storage sheds owned by Cleary Building/CT Investments. (Photo by Correne Martin)

More debris near MPC. (Photo by Gary Howe)

A number of play sets in people's yards were whipped around in the storm. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Hardly any section of the Prairie du Chien community was left untouched. This sign is located along Marquette Road in Bridgeport. Also pictured, one of the city’s trucks carries broken tree limbs to the city’s brush and compost site. (Photo by Correne Martin)

This broken stoplight laid at the intersection of Marquette Road and Vineyard Coulee Road Thursday. (Photo by Correne Martin)

The items stored inside the Bridgeport storage sheds that were destroyed remained still in their same square footage, even though the structure was lifted up and thrown some distance away. (Photo by Gary Howe)

This tree was bent down across the city of Prairie du Chien street at Beaumont Road. (Photo by Gary Howe)

The roots of this big, old tree gave way to the wind speeds, toppling the tree onto a house in the center of Prairie du Chien. (Photo by Gary Howe)

By Correne Martin, Audrey Posten and Ted Pennekamp

A confirmed EF1 tornado, with winds up to 110 mph, ripped through the small, historical river town of McGregor, Wednesday, July 19, around 6:15 p.m., devastating buildings, snapping trees and blowing debris, as it severely changed the community’s downtown landscape indefinitely. No one was killed in the storm, though one man died during clean-up efforts on his own farm, according to Clayton County authorities.

Once the storm, which included plenty of hard-driving rain too, ravaged McGregor, it crossed the Mississippi River into the south end of Prairie du Chien, at the boundary with Bridgeport. There, weaker straight line winds, as National Weather Service officials are saying, wiped out more structures, tipped campers and left behind days’ worth of damage to clear for businesses and residents.


Rains cause Kickapoo River to flood, river now receding

The sandbag wall around Jo's Kountry Bar in Steuben held back the water fairly well. Pumping was being done continuously and the bar was open. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

The playground at Steuben was under water on Saturday.

The Kickapoo River goes over the bridge at Steuben on Saturday.

A house in Gays Mills was surrounded by water.

Much of Gays Mills was flooded.

This view from an overlook shows downtown Gays Mills.

The park in Soldiers Grove was flooded.

Roads near the park in Soldiers Grove were closed.

By Ted Pennekamp


The severe thunder storm that brought an EF1 tornado, high winds and heavy rain to Crawford County on Wednesday evening is also partially to blame for the flooding of the Kickapoo River. 


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