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Mon
05
Jun

St. Mary’s Academy and College placed on the State Register of Historic Places

The Wisconsin Historical Society placed St. Mary’s Academy and College, in Prairie du Chien, on the State Register of Historic Places on May 19.

St. Mary’s Academy and College was significant as an all-female Catholic school between 1872 and 1961. St. Mary’s was one of the only Catholic girls’ schools operating in the region during the late 19th century and drew students from throughout the Midwest, particularly Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. In 1913, the school became the first four-year Catholic college for women established in Wisconsin. St. Mary’s College relocated to Milwaukee in 1929 (with the new name Mount Mary College), but the complex in Prairie du Chien continued to serve as a preparatory high school for girls until 1961.

Mon
05
Jun

Drowning indicated in autopsy


The Highway 82 Lansing bridge approach was repaired late last week after it eroded May 30, causing a fatal car accident. Crawford County Highway Commissioner Dennis Pelock said the county hauled in heavy riprap Thursday, June 1, installed new guardrail Friday morning, and reopened that stretch of roadway by midday Friday. (Photos by Dennis Pelock)

County personnel worked hard to get the stretch of road reopened to the public.

BRIDGE APPROACH REOPENED

The victim of last week’s bridge washout, James Walleser, 59, of Lansing, Iowa, died as a result of drowning, according to autopsy results received by the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department late last week.

Walleser was driving to work in his 2000 Jeep and heading east on the Highway 82 bridge when part of the approach span eroded and washed away into the Mississippi River on May 30. His vehicle became completely submerged in the river, which was 40 feet deep, reports said.

The La Crosse Dive Team and Milo’s Towing Service pulled the vehicle from the water. Walleser was pronounced dead at the scene.

Walleser’s funeral service was held Saturday at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Lansing, Iowa. An obituary is available at the Thornburg-Grau Funeral Service website (graufuneralhomes.com).

Mon
05
Jun

PdC native, former curatorial assistant, named Villa Louis manager


Josh Wachuta officially started his duties as Villa Louis site manager on Friday, June 2. He will work part-time through December, until he finishes his dissertation, and then he will become full-time.

By Correne Martin

A fresh, but familiar, face is fulfilling the Villa Louis site manager role.

Josh Wachuta, born and raised in Prairie du Chien, and a former Villa staff member, officially started in the manager’s position Friday, June 2. He will work under Susan Caya-Slusser, Wisconsin Historical Society southwest sites regional director.

Wachuta first started employment at the Villa Louis as a guide for a couple years in high school. He then went to college at UW-La Crosse and eventually returned to the local historic site as a curatorial assistant for a few more years before heading off to graduate school at Loyola University Chicago.

Wed
31
May

Fatality occurs when high water washes out bridge


A portion of Highway 82 at the Lansing bridge eroded and washed away early Tuesday morning. A vehicle driven by James Walleser, 59, of Lansing, Iowa, drove into the undermined area and became submerged in the Mississippi River. Walleser was pronounced dead upon being pulled from the river. (Crawford County Sheriff’s Department photo)

By Correne Martin

An area man died Tuesday morning, May 30, when his vehicle fell into a washed out portion of roadway at the Lansing bridge and became submerged in the river, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed.

Emergency officials from Crawford and Allamakee counties were called to Highway 82, a half-mile west of Highway 35, in Freeman Township, just after 4:20 a.m. Tuesday, for a reported traffic accident. Authorities found that James Walleser, 59, of Lansing, Iowa, had been operating a 2000 Jeep east on Highway 82, when his vehicle crossed a bridge span and drove onto a part of the roadway that had washed out. The vehicle fell into the Mississippi River and was completely submerged.

Authorities said a witness, who was a quarter-mile behind Walleser when the incident happened, contacted Crawford County. Walleser was said to be going to work at the time of the accident.

Wed
31
May

Dairy royalty to begin journey pouring their hearts into the industry


Crawford County’s 2017 dairy royalty, crowned May 21 at the dairy kickoff banquet, are (from left) Rita Sime, Lil Miss Squirt Attendant; Sarah Kearns, Dairy Princess; and Grace Callahan, Lil Miss Squirt. (Photo by Donna Hartley)

Strong support for the dairy industry brought out a “full house” for the Crawford County Dairy Kick-Off Banquet Sunday night, May 21, at the Eastman United Methodist Fellowship Hall, where Sarah Kearns was crowned the 2017 Crawford County Dairy Princess.

Sarah, the 17-year-old daughter of Tom and Beth Kearns, will serve as Crawford County’s 61st Dairy Princess. She grew up on her family’s 150-cow dairy farm near Seneca. She is homeschooled and will graduate this spring.

Sarah is involved in 4-H dairy judging, the dairy and livestock quiz bowl team and is a club officer. She is also active in the junior Holstein and Crawford County state fair dairy team. Sarah’s duties on the farm include calf barn manager, registering calves, keeping cow records and milking. Her favorite activities are showing Holsteins and driving tractor.

Wed
31
May

Farmers markets ready to satisfy cravings

nagel
Lioubov Nagel sells jams and soup, along with many other homemade products at the Prairie Street Market. The market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lucky Park in downtown Prairie du Chien. (Photos by Rachel Mergen)
foxes
Barb and Jim Fox own and operate the West Side Farmer’s Market, open every Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the intersection of Wisconsin Street and Highway 18 West in Prairie du Chien.

By Rachel Mergen

Farmers markets are a great way to calm the craving for locally-grown, organic produce in small communities. Prairie du Chien is the home of two, both ready to satisfy an appetite for anything from tomatoes to chicken soup.

One of these markets is West Side Farmer’s Market, which has been present in the community for the past 14 years. The history of this market runs much farther back though. Approximately 40 years ago, the father of Jim Fox, the current owner of West Side Farmer’s Market, opened a market in McGregor, Iowa. He ran his market until his passing, which was when Fox’s mother attempted to take over. Age limited her ability to do so though, and soon enough, Fox took control and moved the market to Prairie du Chien.

Wed
24
May

River Ridge bus, dump truck collide


Rescue crews from about 10 different departments worked on the scene of a school bus versus dump truck crash in Patch Grove Township Tuesday afternoon, caring for the eight children, bus driver and truck driver involved in the accident that stunned the River Ridge School District community. (Photo by Correne Martin)

River Ridge Principal Clay Koenig (left) and Superintendent Jeff Athey (center) speak with officials and walk the crash site moments after one of the district’s school buses was involved in a collision Tuesday afternoon. (Photos by Correne Martin)

The dump truck involved was owned by Lepke Trucking. It ended up on the roadside. The driver appeared uninjured at the scene.

Some rays of sunshine peeked through darkened skies as rescue personnel assess the scene on County P.

The dump truck came to rest on the north side of County P.

Emergency crews brought injured students up out of the field to ambulances.

Teacher Joe Schulte reflects upon the accident situation from a distance.

By Correne Martin

A River Ridge school bus carrying children was struck by a dump truck Tuesday afternoon, May 23, not far from the district’s Patch Grove facilities. The Grant County Sheriff’s Department reported eight children and the driver were injured in the collision, which happened around 3:55 p.m., at the intersection of County Highway P and Morgan Road/Borah Ridge Road in Patch Grove Township.

The sheriff’s department said a Warco school bus entered County P from Morgan Road, as a westbound dump truck, owned by Lepke Trucking, crested a hill and couldn’t stop before crashing into the front of the bus near the exit doors. Upon impact, the dump truck exited the roadway on the north shoulder and came to a rest. The school bus spun around and went backward off the road, through the ditch and a barbed wire fence, before coming to a rest in the pasture.

Wed
24
May

Touching surprise caps final concert for PdC High School vocal music teacher


Longtime Prairie du Chien High School Vocal Music Instructor Phil Stiemke shows off his surprise retirement gift, a brand new Rickenbacker bass guitar, to a full gymnasium during his final concert Tuesday night, May 23. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Phil Stiemke shared many grins, jokes and even held back tears at his last concert. He was proud to see many alumni come to the event and perform a surprise final number, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”

From the emotions on the faces of students and alumni Phil Stiemke taught over the years, his impact on the school’s young musicians was clearly evident.

By Correne Martin

In the 1970s, Phil Stiemke worked hard to save money for his dream bass guitar. He finally got enough to purchase it and he loved that guitar. Not too long afterward, someone broke into his car and stole it.

If you know Mr. S, as he’s affectionately been called at Prairie du Chien Schools for 19 years, chances are, you have heard this story or at least heard about the Rickenbacker bass guitar he used to have. He still talks about it nearly 40 years later.

For his retirement, which is happening at the end of the school year, his family proposed a Replace the Base crowdfunding campaign on GiveButter.com to Stiemke’s alumni, students, family and others who’ve known and loved him. The premise of the fundraiser was to pull together about $2,000 and purchase a brand new Rickenbacker as a surprise gift to give him after the final song of his final Prairie du Chien High School concert last evening, May 23.

Wed
24
May

Regal Marine Group given 30 days to move out

By Correne Martin

Less than one week ago, Regal Marine Group posted to its Facebook page that the marina operations in Prairie du Chien were open for the 2017 season, though not exactly at full speed due to lack of power at its docks.
Yet, on Monday, May 22, a three-person arbitration panel rendered a written order granting an eviction judgement in favor of the city and against Regal Marine Group, in the recent binding arbitration case.

“The Regals have 30 days to get their stuff off the property,” cited City Attorney Lara Czajkowski Higgins. Any of Regals’ property remaining after June 21 shall become property of the city.

The order was based on the following:

1. Regal Marine Group failed to file a 90-day notice to renew the 1963 contract for 2012 through 2017.

2. Regal Marine Group was not entitled to renewal because it had already breached the contract prior to the expiration date of Oct. 31, 2012.

Wed
24
May

Crawford County Dairy Breakfast


The Steger family includes Terry, Harley the cow, Emily, Jessica, Zeke the dog, Tim and Char. (Photo submitted)

 

Steger family to host 2017 

Dairy Breakfast on June 3

By Ted Pennekamp

 

Saturday, June 3 is the morning of the Crawford County Dairy Breakfast, and the Steger family is glad to welcome everyone to their farm once again at 60724 Irish Ridge Road about three miles north of Prairie du Chien on Highway 27. 

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