Local News

Mon
29
Feb

Bald Eagle Appreciation Day


Everyone oohed and aahed when Lindsay Focht-Obermier of the Schlitz Audubon Society walked through the crowd at Hoffman Hall with Valkyrie, a female bald eagle who is still in the process of turning into an adult. Valkyrie will eventually sport a completely white head and a bright yellow beak. Bald eagles become adults after about five years, and the females become bigger than the males. The Schlitz Audubon Society conducted several presentations on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. involving Valkyrie and several other raptors. There were numerous other displays at Hoffman Hall along with various presentations Friday night and Saturday at venues including the AmericInn, Country Inn and Suites, and the Prairie du Chien Regional Tourism Center. The Tourism Center had spotting scopes and numerous bald eagles could be seen throughout the day. Visitors were also able to see eagles sitting in trees and flying at other Prairie du Chien area viewing spots on a beautiful February day. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Lindsay Focht-Obermier is all smiles as she shows off Valkyrie Saturday at Hoffman Hall.

Valkyrie drew rapt attention as numerous people took photos with cameras and cell phones.

Meg Kinney of the Schlitz Audubon Society walks past attendees with Tallulah, a turkey vulture, during a presentation at Hoffman Hall Saturday morning. The 11th Annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Day drew enthusiastic crowds at all venues including Hoffman Hall, the Prairie du Chien Regional Tourism Center, the AmericInn and Country Inn and Suites.

People view the numerous eagle displays at Hoffman Hall.

Loki the crow takes a dollar donation from an appreciative attendee and puts it down the slot.
Mon
29
Feb

Clinic outgrows one-man’s vision from 66 years ago


Gundersen-Prairie du Chien Eye Clinic, as it’s known today, employs 10 staff members (from left) Michelle Gregerson, optician, seven years; Kathy Kramer, ophthalmic tech, 22 years; Joyce Kregel, ophthalmic tech, 20 years; Dr. Brad Collins, optometrist, one year; Patricia Arnold, ophthalmic assistant, 30 years; Trudy Joy, patient liaison, 14 years; Nancy Posten, patient liaison, 27 years; Dr. Phil Holzer, optometrist, nine years; Todd McWilliams, optician, 40 years. Missing is Nicole Baumler, optician, one year. (Photo by Correne Martin)

This picture, from the Prairie du Chien Historical Society, depicts how the McWilliams/Gundersen eye clinic building originally appeared when owned by the Bohonek family. It once housed Bohonek’s Quality Market and Faultless Bakery and another eye clinic in the upstairs before Dr. Robert “R.J.” McWilliams saw patients in one room downstairs.

By Correne Martin

When Dr. Robert “R.J.” McWilliams established his optometric practice in downtown Prairie du Chien in 1950, he could have never envisioned where his one-man enterprise would stand 66 years later.

Just as the eye care industry has evolved in that time, so has the practice. In fact, the Gundersen-Prairie du Chien Eye Clinic—as it’s known today—is moving mid-March to a recently-constructed, state-of-the-art facility at 118 S. Marquette Rd. Gundersen Health System-Dental Specialties (orthodontics and oral surgery) will join the eye clinic in the new building, which is expected to open to patients Monday, March 21.

“Our last day [at the 213 E. Blackhawk Ave. location] will be Wednesday, March 16. We will be closed March 17-18 before we open at the new location,” stated Jodi Webb, clinical manager.

Mon
29
Feb

Meeting to preview Highway 18 project

A public information meeting to preview the upcoming U.S. Highway 18 reconstruction will be held Thursday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at the Bridgeport Fire Station, 63176 Vineyard Rd., Prairie du Chien.

Work is scheduled to begin mid-March to reconstruct Highway 18 into a four-lane highway between South Town Lane and Highway 60. Construction on the $16.7 million project is scheduled to continue to November and resume in the spring of 2017. Completion is expected in May 2017.

Access to residences and businesses will be maintained during construction. Highways 18 and 60 will remain open to traffic. Some side roads will be closed for reconstruction and access will be provided via alternate routes. Public notification prior to those closures will occur.

The public is invited to attend the meeting. DOT project staff and contractors will be available for questions after a short presentation.

Wed
24
Feb

Prairie du Chien’s four welcome signs will be refurbished this spring

By Correne Martin

The four “Welcome to Prairie du Chien” signs at the entries into the city have never been repaired or retouched since they were installed in 1998, and the Prairie du Chien Common Council is acting on that.

During its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23, the common council approved a proposal from Openwood Studios, of Madison, to refurbish the front of each of the four signs at an expense of $2,025 apiece, or $8,100 total.

The work will include repairing and gluing all checks and cracks, sanding, priming and painting of the sign panel. The signs will actually be removed and delivered to Openwood Studios where two weeks of refinishing will take place. Then, they will be picked up and reinstalled by the Prairie du Chien Public Works Department. The company will supply stain for the posts to be refinished as well.

Wed
24
Feb

Slow no-wake at Campion landing to get second council reading

By Correne Martin

The Prairie du Chien Common Council decided at its meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 23, to send a proposed slow-no wake designation for the Campion Boat Landing on to its March 1 council meeting for a second reading. This was based upon recommendation from the public works committee so the public has ample opportunity to share comments and concerns regarding the change.

The ordinance proposing the slow-no wake change has been reviewed and approved by the Department of Natural Resources. It would create a slow-no wake zone in the following area: 400 feet north of the northern edge of the Campion Street boat landing, then west to a point on Hunter Island, then south along the meandering line of the Mississippi River to the southern tip of Hunter Island, then east to a point 400 feet south of the southern edge of the Campion Street boat landing, then north along the meandering line of the Mississippi River back to beginning.

Wed
24
Feb

Packer fan’s memory bringing smiles to others


Julie, Tyler and Craig Bell proudly share one of their favorite photos of Todd Bell, who loved the Green Bay Packers so much that he applied for season tickets shortly before he passed away in 2012 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In his honor, those handicap game tickets are now donated, through the Wheel of Todd organization, to kids, like Todd, who deserve a break in life. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Todd Bell’s great big smile was a contagious one. It was a smile that lit up every face around him. And it was never bigger than when his beloved Green Bay Packers were winning.

It’s been three years since Todd passed, 11 days before his 27th birthday. Yet, his unforgettable grin, along with a little team spirit in his honor, is still making an impact on kids and families across Wisconsin. Through the unrivaled Wheel of Todd, a non-profit organization started by his parents, Craig and Julie Bell, his joyful legacy lives on in the experiences of kids attending Packer games.

Born and raised in Eastman, Todd Orland Bell inherited Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and was diagnosed at age 5 with the genetic disorder, characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

Wed
24
Feb

Ag Students Study Aquaponics


Zach DuCharme, Nick Johnson and Joshua Linder stand next to their grow bed. The fish tank with its automatic feeder can be seen through the window of the greenhouse.

 

Prairie du Chien agriculture students build aquaponics system

By Ted Pennekamp

 

A group of Prairie du Chien High School agriculture students have been delving into the interesting and increasingly popular field of aquaponics this year. Zach DuCharme, Nick Johnson, Joshua Linder and Travis Strnad have built an aquaponics apparatus in the greenhouse and are hoping to grow fish as well as plants.

Mon
22
Feb

Railroad crossing bill approved in State Assembly

By Ted Pennekamp

 

A bill authored by State Representative Lee Nerison (R-Westby), which would allow pedestrians to walk directly across a clear stretch of railroad track without facing a fine for trespassing, has passed in the Wisconsin State Assembly by a vote of 59-34.

Mon
22
Feb

Teen accepted into special effects institute


Kaci Mansfield, 18, a 2015 Prairie du Chien High School graduate, is pictured in some gory glycerin- and gelatin-based makeup she created on herself for her Instagram page.

Kaci can apply special effects makeup to herself in a way that looks pretty real. (Submitted photos)

Kaci also enjoys applying beauty makeup and has a modern eye for fashion and hair styling.

Her own “zombie” hand

By Correne Martin

Since she was a little girl, Kaci Mansfield has had an eye for color and creativity. She’s always loved art and painting and her talents seem to come naturally.

The 2015 Prairie du Chien High School graduate has also been watching horror movies since she was 8 years old.

“I used to watch them with my dad, and we liked to watch the special features afterward where they showed how they make everything happen,” she recalled. “I definitely think the gore looks awesome.”

Fast forward about eight years—Kaci started watching YouTube tutorials and practicing special effects makeup on herself in high school. She fell in love with using cosmetics and appliances to create the appearance of bruises, cuts, blood and other deformities on her face and her arms and hands. She began experimenting by making herself into a zombie by using gelatin, glycerin and food coloring. She also started using latex for some of her ghastly looks.

Mon
22
Feb

Veterans and families can receive free counseling services in Prairie du Chien

By Correne Martin

Wisconsin Vet Centers serve veterans and their families by providing quality individual, marital, family and group counseling sessions at no cost.

The organization’s fully-licensed counselors are combat veterans with master’s degrees. Neil O’Connor, a readjustment counselor from the Madison Vet Center, comes to Prairie du Chien to meet with area veterans every second and last Thursday of each month. Appointments take place at the Crawford County Veterans Service Office, 225 N. Beaumont Rd., Suite 137, Prairie du Chien.

“We work hand-in-hand with the veterans hospital, but we find that, if veterans have to go there for care, they simply don’t,” said Dave Hosking, Vet Center outreach specialist. “So, we have someone travel here to meet with the veterans close to home.”

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