Local News

Wed
01
Apr

Four candidates run for two River Ridge board seats

Compiled by Correne Martin

The River Ridge School District has two seats up for election on April 7—one currently held by Bob Key, who chose not to re-run, and the other held by Bob Mathre, who did not advance past the February primary election. Four district residents are running for the two spots. Each of the candidates was recently asked to respond to the same set of provided questions:

Wed
01
Apr

Downsized referendum presented to River Ridge voters

By Correne Martin

The taxpayers of the River Ridge School District will decide, in an April 7 referendum, where the district is headed and how it’s going to get there. On the spring ballot, voters will be asked to approve a $9.9 million facility referendum that would create one PreK-12 campus at the Patch Grove site. Doing so would include remodeling and renovation projects, ADA modifications, HVAC replacement, a gym addition, a safe and secure entrance as well as other improvements and upgrades.

Since the unsuccessful, $13 million Nov. 4 referendum, the school board has downsized its budget by $3.1 million. It is no longer asking for the track and football field to be relocated to Patch Grove; they will remain in Bloomington. It is no longer including the parking lot and ag shop additions either. The secure entrance/office addition has been reduced by 1,000 square feet also.

Mon
30
Mar

Missing man found dead

WOODMAN—On March 21, at 6:01 p.m., the Grant County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a body was located in the woods near the Cozy Acres Trailer Court, not far from the Wisconsin River, in Woodman Township. Several people were out walking in the woods looking for deer antlers, when they noticed a body in the brush near a tree.

Deputies from the sheriff’s office responded, along with a detective from the Wisconsin Criminal Investigation Unit to investigate the scene. After an investigation and identification by family members, it was determined the body was that of missing person William Swatek. Swatek, 49, was last seen just before Christmas 2014.

It was determined that Swatek died from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. This case is now closed and the sheriff’s office would like to thank all those who were looking for Swatek during the past few months.

Mon
30
Mar

Austin produces maple syrup in homage to his father’s sweet dreams


The most recent product of Austin’s Rush Creek Farm is its homemade maple syrup—which Brian Austin proudly shows here—in addition to their popular dilly beans, pickled beets, jams and jellies. (Photos by Correne Martin)

After the bags are about half full of sap from numerous maple trees, Brian collects the results and then transports the sap back to his cooker, where the syrup making begins.

Brian skims froth from the top of a pan of boiling sap.

By Correne Martin

Three years ago, Brian Austin set out to fulfill the sweet dreams of his late father, who always had a deep yearning for Brian to produce maple syrup. The first jar of his creation, aptly labeled Dad’s Dream, was capped in 2013, seven years after Brian’s dad passed away. He made only one gallon that first year of production.

“I just started talking to people at farmers markets and reading up on how to do it,” Brian said, noting that his dad’s desires stemmed from growing up on his father’s sugarbush farm in northern Vermont, where the family patriarch made maple syrup too. Now, Brian is quite proud that the Austin family tradition has come full circle. And he’s pleased with the results of his growing operation as well.

Wed
25
Mar

Legendary Locals


Mary Antoine holds a copy of her new book “Legendary Locals of Prairie du Chien.” (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

 

Local historian writes about those who impacted Prairie du Chien

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The stories of numerous Prairie du Chien people, past and present, famous and not famous, are explored in a new book “Legendary Locals of Prairie du Chien” by local author Mary Elise Antoine. 

Wed
25
Mar

This week’s heavy snow blamed for numerous accidents

During the winter storm of Sunday through Monday morning, there were numerous slideoffs and temporary road closures due to semis blocking the road. The following are reportable accidents that occurred during the winter weather event.

On Sunday, March 22, at 1:51 p.m., the Crawford County sheriff’s department was notified of a two-vehicle crash on Highway 27 near the intersection of Nolan Road in the township of Prairie du Chien.

Norman Hare, 48, of Viroqua, was traveling northbound on Highway 27 in a 2004 Toyota Corolla when he lost control of his vehicle due to the snow and slush on the roadway. Hare crossed the center line into the southbound lane and struck a trailer being pulled by a 2006 Ford F150 operated by Stephen Stormer, 70, of Madison. Stormer had two passengers in his vehicle, Jacob Stormer, 37, of Stoughton, and Robert Noethe, 52, of Blue Mounds.

Wed
25
Mar

Well Woman Program is being restructured

By Correne Martin

The Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP), which provides preventive health screening services to women with little or no health insurance coverage, is undergoing a restructuring period.

Crawford County has provided WWWP services for more than 20 years. County administration first learned of the changes in late 2014.

Until now, every county has had a well woman coordinator who helps women apply and receive services through the program. In addition, there have been about 1,000 providers throughout the state of Wisconsin that administer well woman breast and cervical cancer screenings as well as multiple sclerosis testing for women with high-risk signs of multiple sclerosis, to uninsured and underinsured women ages 45 to 64. Last year, the state  decided it was going to eliminate some of the medical providers offering the screenings and also move toward a more regional approach with its coordinators.

Wed
25
Mar

Crossing Rivers desires direct access road from highway to main entrance


Pictured is the area where the desired direct access road from Highways 18/35 to the main entrance of the new hospital would begin. As it is now, those visiting the hospital would enter from the stoplights at Southtown Lane and drive past Nathan Plaza to access the facility. The hospital and city are hopeful that the Federal Aviation Administration will approve their request for the main access point to be directly off the highway. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Crossing Rivers Health’s new medical center on the south end of Prairie du Chien becomes closer to reality every day. CEO Bill Sexton said, last week, that the hospital is anticipated to open in the first part of June, though that depends on construction progress, state approval and a number of additional factors.

While the current main entrance to the property is via the stoplights at Southtown Lane (near Walmart) and past Nathan Plaza, Crossing Rivers and the city of Prairie du Chien wish for an access road to be built directly from Highways 18/35 to the main entrance of the new hospital. The desired entry point is located in the area where the former Stark’s Mobile Homes had its entrance. However, because of the close proximity to the Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport, it is unknown whether the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will grant the request to construct such a road.

Wed
25
Mar

Opportunity Center named Outstanding Service Provider by ContinuUs


The Opportunity Center, of Prairie du Chien, recently received the Outstanding Service Provider award from ContinuUs, a program that offers long-term care support through service provider network to adults with disabilities enrolled in Wisconsin’s Family Care program. The Opportunity Center is the first employment provider ever to win this award from ContinuUs’ 21-county region. Accepting the award from Angie Young (center), of ContinuUs, are (from left) Angie Engrav, Nicole Read, Karen Cooper and Pam Ritchie. (Submitted photo)

By Correne Martin

The Opportunity Center has been recognized with a quarterly Outstanding Service Provider award by ContinuUs, formerly Southwest Family Care Alliance, for the excellent quality of service it provides for adults with disabilities.

Since 1965, the Opportunity Center has been creating opportunities for people with disabilities to develop their full potential in society.

According to Ashley Trautsch, a Prairie du Chien area ContinuUs supervisor, the Opportunity Center was nominated and chosen for the award for many reasons.

Mon
23
Mar

Sen. Shilling hosts listening session on the 2015-17 state budget


Senator Jennifer Shilling hosted a listening session in Prairie du Chien Friday, focusing on the 2015-17 state budget and how “Governor Walker’s irresponsible ‘cut and borrow’ policies are preventing economic growth and holding Wisconsin families back.” Representative Lee Nerison joined her in providing feedback from his legislative viewpoint. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Just 15 constituents attended a listening session with Democratic Senator Jennifer Shilling Friday at Prairie du Chien City Hall, to share their concerns regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget and policies and to request Shilling’s representation when voting on changes to the budget. Republican Representative Lee Nerison also joined the session and gave feedback to those airing comments.

This week, there will be two hearings of the finance committee. Then, after a week off around Easter, the Senate will take up the budget, Shilling said.

Pam Ritchie, executive director of the Opportunity Center in Prairie du Chien, started the session by asking about long-term care program cuts, which has the elderly, individuals with disabilities and their families uncertain about future care options.

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