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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. 


Bird Survey, Forest Inventory

For the past several years, bird researcher Jon Stravers has been boating and trekking into hard-to-reach areas to document clusters of cerulean warblers, neo-tropical migrants which inhabit the bluffs and ravines near the Upper Mississippi River for approximately three months each year. “I love this place,” said Stravers. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

Cerulean warblers are good indicators that species such as peregrine falcons and red-shouldered hawks, as well as various neo-tropical migrants, are also abundant in the area. (Photo by Kat Busse)

Intern Nate Vogt (left), biologist Billy Reiter-Marolf and intern Melissa Blasky work on the forest inventory in Sny Magill. (Photo by Dan Phillips Jr.)


Bird survey, forest inventory may shape 

habitat management actions in areas of Pool 10

By Ted Pennekamp



Long Spurs believe landowner appreciation is important to continued quality hunting

Some of the members of the Bluff Country Long Spurs NWTF chapter gathered for a photo at Landowners Appreciation Day. From left are Matt Davis, Mike Skaife, Bob Irvine, Mike Cross, Mike Hazen, Chad Gruber, Rich Noel and Bob Ziel. (Submitted photos)

Landowners Appreciation Day is time for private property owners and their families to enjoy spending time with one another and be thanked for their contributions to hunting in Wisconsin.

A sawdust pile filled with coins gives the kids attending something to enjoy while their parents are socializing.

By Correne Martin

For 27 years, the Bluff Country Long Spurs have hosted Landowners Appreciation Day in Prairie du Chien the Sunday after Father’s Day. It’s one of five events of its kind held across the state to say thank you to private property owners for allowing hunters to utilize their fields and wooded areas without charge.

“It’s one of those great days. The landowners say they appreciate it,” said Bob Ziel, the chapter’s appreciation day chair. “They don’t see each other through the year so it’s a chance to sit and talk.”

The first year, in 1990, there were 150 people and, at one point, the occasion drew just shy of 600 people. Yet, in more recent years, about 240 landowners and family members have attended the local gathering.


City of PdC to negotiate with DOT for surplus land near wastewater treatment plant

By Correne Martin

The Prairie du Chien Common Council has decided to enter negotiations with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for a small piece of surplus DOT land that remained after the Highway 18 Bypass project years ago.

The land in consideration includes a section bounded by the city’s wastewater treatment plant, Lockwood Street, the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad tracks and campground property, as the council discussed Tuesday night.
“There’s some additional land there and the council wishes to negotiate with the DOT to see if they can agree on a plan that might be beneficial to the city,” noted City Administrator Art Osten.

No specific plans for that property have been released.

Brunson/Fowler alleys flooding
When heavy rains occur in Prairie du Chien, flooding has tended to be an issue in the area of Brunson and Fowler Streets, where they intersect with 9th and 10th Streets.


Area student represents and wins at FBLA nationals

Pictured are (from left to right) Rebecca Breuer, Jonathan Breuer and Bea Mumm. These students were able to experience California and the national FBLA convention as Jonathan found success with his project by taking third place among the national competition. (Photos by Tina Dilley)

Jonathan Breuer, National FBLA winner for 3D animation, and his sister Rebecca, were defined as the sibling version of a “power couple.” Jonathan received third place at nationals in Anaheim, Calif.

By Rachel Mergen


Jonathan Breuer, at the age of 16, was officially the first to ever qualify, compete and win at National Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) for River Ridge. He traveled to Anaheim, Calif., earlier this month with FBLA members Bea Mumm and his sister Rebecca, his adviser Tina Dilley and her husband Troy, for a life-changing experience that would lead to third place in the nation.

“I did the project so I could learn,” Jonathan said as he looked back on the simple start of a long journey. FBLA had determined the topic of his contest, 3D animation, as “Go Green.” He began researching and brain-storming about this theme in September 2016. For the next six months, he would find himself spending hundreds of hours creating what would eventually, according to Tina, “completely blow the judges away.”


Wauzeka’s young adult population increasing quickly

By Rachel Mergen


“The beautiful area and small community is amazing. [It’s] so close you can’t go anywhere without running into someone you know. It makes Wauzeka very welcoming and a great place to live,” Kylie Zimmerman, Wauzeka resident, exclaimed about the community she calls home. Zimmerman is a member of the young adult population in the small municipality of 721 people.

Recently, University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates and faculty declared the town’s Millenial and Generation X population as one of the fastest growing in the state. 

The goal of the study, titled the Engaging Young People Research Project, is to “find how positive forms of community development attract and retain young adults,” according to the group of researchers who took the lead.


Passenger arrested for meth

On July 9, at 11:06 p.m., a deputy with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office was patrolling County Road B near Morkrid Drive in the township of Utica. The deputy came upon a 1997 Toyota RAV 4 parked partially in the eastbound lane of traffic with its hazard lights flashing.

The driver was identified as Kimberly K. Brown, 37, Gays Mills, and the passenger, Ryan T. Melvin, 29, Readstown. Brown and Melvin provided the deputy with two different responses about why their vehicle was parked in the roadway. Melvin was acting nervous while speaking with the deputy.


Students exchange familiarity for a year abroad through Rotary

Kamryn Tesar and Magnus Goltermann, both 16, have a unique bond. They’re both Rotary Youth Exchange students, Kamryn from Prairie du Chien traveling to Taiwan next month, and Magnus, who is headed home to Denmark after a yearlong adventure in Prairie du Chien. The coats they’re wearing exhibit pins from many fellow exchange students they’ve met and befriended. Kamryn’s collection is likely to look like Magnus’ within a year. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Two teenagers from different parts of the world became close friends in Prairie du Chien this past year thanks to the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

Kamryn Tesar, of Prairie du Chien, and Magnus Goltermann, of Ballerup, Denmark, are 16-year-old exchange students with quite similar interests and outlooks. Magnus came to Wisconsin in August 2016 and Kamryn will leave her hometown next month for Dounan, Yunlin County, Taiwan.

In March 2016, Kamryn, the daughter of Kim Corpian and Kevin Tesar, had been approved for an overseas exchange and, expressing a desire to know more about the program, became connected online with Magnus, who was soon to embark on his journey to the United States. Cheryl Mader, the Prairie du Chien Rotary Club’s youth exchange coordinator, helped bring the pair together. The two were fast friends; Kamryn even went along when Magnus was picked up at the airport last summer.


Casual community party at Memorial Gardens July 19

By Correne Martin

A picturesque garden and a boisterous party—how might they mesh if brought together?

Well, the St. Feriole Island Memorial Gardens Committee hosted a couple hundred people last July, upon bringing the idea of a party gathering to the serene gardens. They will host Went to a Garden Party once again on the 10 acres of city property, Wednesday, July 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. The entire community is invited to this open house in the gardens, rain or shine.

This free, casual event is intended as an opportunity to showcase the gardens to the public. There will be samples of Eagles Landing wine and Potosi beer, Valley Fish and Cheese specialties and complementary music to enjoy. Local and statewide Master Gardeners will be in attendance to talk with anyone having questions and give informal tours, while informational pamphlets will also be available for the taking.


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