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Wed
09
Aug

New K9 adjusting to Prairie du Chien police duties


Prairie du Chien Police Officer Casey Cox demonstrates obedience drills with his new partner, K9 Officer Rico. Cox has been with the department for five years and stepped up in late 2015 with interest in the K9 handler position. Rico was officially sworn in on July 16. (Photos by Correne Martin)

K9 Rico is a 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois who came to Prairie du Chien from Working K9, a Toronto, Canada, company. The typical career-span of a police K9 is seven to nine years.

Cox commanded Rico to do an area search for a set of keys in the courthouse courtyard. Within minutes of searching around the trees and grass, he detected the human odor and found them, lying down with the keys under his chest.

Rico is already demonstrating great attention to his handler, especially when Officer Cox is holding his favorite toy, a ball on a rope, during obedience training.

By Correne Martin

The Prairie du Chien Police Department’s new K-9 officer, Rico, is officially on duty. The 1.5-year-old Belgian Malinois arrived July 16, was sworn in and has been busy getting used to his new environment.

Officer Casey Cox is his partner and handler. Cox spent a week with Rico, July 9-16, in Toronto, Canada, training one-on-one with the owner of Working K-9. They worked on tracking, drug work, criminal apprehension and article and area searches. Then, they headed home to Prairie du Chien together.

“He’s still very new,” Cox said, noting that the two have done one school demonstration thus far and attended a city council meeting for introductions.

Wed
09
Aug

FEMA probably coming

 

FEMA expected to come to 12-county area, but not confirmed

Storm damage estimates not expected to change much

By Ted Pennekamp

 

Mon
07
Aug

Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center to open


Karen Gallema is a member of a fourth generation family of clammers. Her family is featured within the education and visitor center. In this picture she is featured beside a cut out of her mother Grace Verdon. On the left is Jim Janett, conservation director of the Allamakee County Conservation Board. (Photo by Rachel Mergen)

Pictured is the view from one of the center's balconies. (Photo by Rachel Mergen)

The Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center in Lansing is preparing for its grand opening Aug. 12. (Submitted photo)

By Rachel Mergen

 

“There is no other place like this in the United States,” Jim Janett, conservation director of the Allamakee County Conservation Board, stated about the unique area that is the driftless region.

The driftless region, which is the area left untouched by glaciers, includes four states—Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. To teach about the geography, history and wildlife of this region, the Allamakee County Conservation Board has worked to build and prepare the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center in Lansing. The stunning, 10,000 square-foot-building will have its grand opening Saturday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mon
07
Aug

Boy’s family wishes to grieve privately after pool incident


The water and grounds at the Charles Wacouta Aquatic Park were still and quiet Thursday after lifeguards discovered and pulled an unconscious 4-year-old boy from the pool. Staff hoped the pool would re-open Monday, Aug. 7. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

 

A 4-year-old boy pulled from the Prairie du Chien public swimming pool unconscious Wednesday night, Aug. 2, died Friday at a La Crosse hospital, according to local officials.

Authorities have not released the boy’s name. A family friend who contacted the Courier Press recognized that most of the community knew the boy’s name and that plenty of circumstantial speculation has since spread on social media. However, she requested the public heed the family’s wishes to grieve privately. 

“They’re going through hell right now,” she said.

Prairie du Chien Police Chief Chad Abram said the police department continues seeking facts about the scenario. 

Mon
07
Aug

Scenic airplane rides canceled, city and company can’t compromise

By Correne Martin

 

Scenic and public airplane rides provided by Walter Aviation, of Independence, Iowa, at the Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport, were canceled within days of the scheduled offerings last weekend because the company did not agree to a special flying service operator agreement. The contract, which included fees of $1,000, was presented by the city’s airport commission and Aviation Concessions Inc. (ACI), the facility’s operator. 

In a Courier Press letter to the editor written by Walter Aviation President Jonathan Walter, he said, “Unfortunately, Walter Aviation will not be there this weekend, nor this coming fall.” 

Mon
07
Aug

Bloomington’s Ballantine Mansion rescued and restored by Udelhofen


Pictured below is the formal dining room and parlor of the mansion. Time appropriate furniture was purchased by Udelhofen to go along with items that were found in the house. Above is James Ballantine’s office, which was the focus area of his own private bank. Today, it houses many novels that were found in the home, along with Ballantine’s original safe.

The Ballantine Mansion is pictured prior to Rick Udelhofen’s work to restore it. (Submitted photo)

By Rachel Mergen

 

When Rick Udelhofen was 16, he met one of the loves of his life, the Ballantine Mansion. Udelhofen, originally from Lancaster, and his friend snuck into the house, like many mischievous kids in the village of Bloomington did at some point while it was vacant. Instead of simply leaving without any souvenirs though, Udelhofen took home an appreciation and adoration for the old, supposedly haunted house. 

He noted about his original experience running around the house, “The house was like crack cocaine. I had to have it.”

Wed
02
Aug

Antiques find their way to local homes through Mt. Hope store


Cindy Wachter opened the store Memorial Day weekend, following her passion for antiques and her dream of having the building be a store again.

Inside the store, there are a variety of items for sale that will interest people of all ages. (Photos by Rachel Mergen)

By Rachel Mergen

 

“It was important for me to have it as a store again,” Cindy Wachter, owner of Mount Hope Mercantile, stated about the building her antique shop occupies. The store opened Memorial Day weekend and calls the same location home that the Lansing Store once did years before. 

The building, which also once housed a bar and a sewing shop, was constructed in 1865. 

After losing her job of 17 years, Wachter’s husband pushed her to open her antiques to the community, and she recognized the importance of having the old structure return to its store roots. She stated that she had always loved antiques and wanted to be able to bring them to the local community. 

Wed
02
Aug

Ag classes important to rural students, teachers in high demand

By Rachel Mergen

 

“Agriculture classes are more than just teaching, they include actual life experiences,” Amber Patterson, River Ridge alumna, stated. Patterson was a highly active member of the River Ridge FFA chapter, and is now studying at UW-River Falls to become an agriculture teacher.

Agriculture instructors are in great demand at the moment. At the end of the last school year, both River Ridge and Wauzeka-Steuben’s agriculture teachers departed from the districts. Agriculture and FFA are large parts of the rural schools, with 45 students participating to some degree on average each year at Wauzeka-Steuben and approximately 60 percent of the River Ridge High School student population taking part.

Wed
02
Aug

State park hosts Smokey Bear’s 73rd birthday party


Attendees of the 2016 birthday bash enjoyed learning the story of Smokey Bear and posing for pictures with him. (Photos by Randy Paske)

By Rachel Mergen

 

“I don’t know what it is about Smokey, but kids gravitate toward him,” Bruce Klang, president of the Friends of the Wyalusing State Park organization, exclaimed. On Saturday, Aug. 5, children and their families will be able to take part in Smokey Bear’s 73rd birthday bash at the state park. 

Smokey’s birthday has been celebrated at the park every year since 2014. This year, there will be a parade starting at 6 p.m. led by the iconic bear, followed by a social that will include Smokey Bear stories, cake and small presents for the children. The annual celebration will be wonderful for the entire family, because even older generations are able to  recognize the symbol from their own youth.

Wed
02
Aug

Wauzeka-Steuben Baseball Grandstand


At the high school baseball field for the ground-breaking ceremony for the new grandstand and press box are: SkillsUSA advisor Brad Gillitzer, Zachary Martin, Gabe Martin, Ethano Karnopp, Nathaniel Martin, Bradly Karnopp, Nick Benish, Riley Hooker, Kaleb Marx, Nate Benish, Braden Folbrecht, Jayden Berger, Isaac Byrne, and Head baseball coach Ben Dums. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

 

Wauzeka-Steuben baseball 

field to get grandstand, press box

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Wauzeka-Steuben High School baseball field will have a new and better look next season.

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