Local News

Wed
18
Nov

Prairie du Chien common council hears proposed budget

By Correne Martin

An overview of the city of Prairie du Chien’s proposed 2016 budget was given to the common council Tuesday night, prior to the council’s scheduling of a public hearing for Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. City Administrator Aaron Kramer said exact numbers won’t be known until next week when state tax credits are revealed, but he estimated the overall impact on tax payers in Prairie du Chien to be a $46.18 increase on a $100,000 home. This approximation includes county, school and Southwest Tech portions of the tax bill.

The city’s budget includes a 1.12 increase in the tax levy—$2,300,300 up from $2,274,723—or an $25,577 in additional levy. Key aspects, as recommended by the finance committee, include:

•a wage increase of 30 cents for employees not covered under a contract.

•a garbage fee increase to $12.50 per month for garbage, recycling and clean sweep services.

Wed
18
Nov

SafeRide Program

 

City considering dropping 

its part in SafeRide Program, 

but program expected to continue

By Ted Pennekamp

 

Mon
16
Nov

Proposed Referendum Limits

 

Prairie du Chien School Board takes stand against bill to restrict referenda

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Prairie du Chien School Board unanimously passed a resolution on Nov. 9 against proposed legislation that would place restrictions on school district referendum ballot dates and implement a two-year waiting period following a failed referendum. 

Mon
16
Nov

Pete’s Hamburgers gives to library

Pete’s Hamburgers contributed a donation of $500 toward the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library capital campaign to raise $1.5 million, which the city will match, toward expansion of the facility. On Thursday, Nov. 12. Paul Gokey (front, right) presented the donation to library board chair Linda Munson (front, left). Also pictured are Librarian Nancy Ashmore (back, left) and Prairie du Chien City Administrator Aaron Kramer. “I’m grateful to see this library expand,” Gokey said. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Mon
16
Nov

Crews in final stages of removing former hospital


From Dunn Street looking southeast, the former Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital structure continues to disappear, as about 10,000 square feet of the 95,000-square-foot former facility remains to be torn down, sorted and recycled. Still standing on Nov. 9 was part of the covered ER entrance. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Mounds of dirt and exposed infrastructure now sit in place of the old Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital building, shown here from Taylor Street looking northwest. This was the side of the hospital where the sunroom previously stood.

As the final portions of Prairie du Chien’s former hospital building are removed, Crossing Rivers Health looks back with fondness at the legacy of service the building provided, and looks forward to new opportunities the property will offer to area communities.

An update on the project was provided Friday by hospital administration:

•10,000 square feet of the 95,000-square-foot former Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital facility remains to be torn down, sorted and recycled.

•The extensive asbestos abatement project is complete. This abatement undertaking by Robinson Brothers utilized more than 30 workers for four weeks.

•According to Fred Runde, of Clayton County Recycling, more than 1,000 tons of metal were recovered through the sorting and recycling efforts.

•After the concrete is removed, the site will be seeded to await future possibilities.

Mon
16
Nov

Seneca unveils veterans memorial


A veteran is reflected in the polished black granite of the entry stone to the new veterans memorial in Seneca, dedicated Wednesday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day 2015.

Veterans and their families searched intently for the names of their loved ones among the granite tablets listing all service men and women from the Seneca area who served, dating back to the Civil War.

Groundbreaking for the Seneca Area Veterans Memorial began 14 months ago. Since that time, over $120,000 was raised to erect the memorial, which was designed by 2014 Seneca graduate Cacey Ostrander. The project itself was spearheaded by Seneca resident and businessman, the late Jerry Johnson.

Trudy Johnson unveils a small stone and plaque at the base of the memorial’s flagpoles that Krause Monument donated in memory of her husband, Jerry, whose idea started the groundwork for a veterans memorial in Seneca.

Members of the McCormick-Rose American Legion Post 308, of Gays Mills, saluted the American Flag as it was raised for the dedication ceremony of the Seneca Area Veterans Memorial on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

By Correne Martin

Seneca area citizens and natives gathered with grateful hearts Wednesday, Nov. 11, for those who worked so hard to dream, plan and create a beautiful veterans memorial in the community, a reminder of the people who placed freedom for others over and above their own safety. In the words of Pastor Lynn Schreck, “It’s now a permanent reminder of our memories and our gratitude for those who’ve served.”

Mon
16
Nov

A joyful noise benefits a good cause


Jen Kapinus, the local Salvation Army coordinator, is happy to be able to assist Crawford County families and transients throughout the year, but she always looks forward to spreading Christmas magic to families in need each year as well. The public can help the organization by putting spare change in the iconic red kettles or by sponsoring a family’s presents this Christmas. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

The local Salvation Army raised a record amount of funds in 2014 thanks to community participation in its holiday Red Kettle campaign. The $18,234 in donations received right here in Crawford County benefitted 98 individuals and families in homeless and emergency situations, with needs such as rental assistance and emergency lodging, groceries, meals, clothes, school supplies, gas to get to work and appointments, medical supplies and prescriptions, domestic abuse refuge, utility bills and some vehicle repairs. The yearly campaign is the Salvation Army’s only means of fundraising.

Mon
16
Nov

Area kids treat our troops


Tessa, Logan and Kye Higgins, of rural Wauzeka, decided to donate their Halloween candy as Treats for Troops. Thanks to a little help from their parents and Suppz Gym’s Mary Sheckler, and her kids, 150 pounds of assorted candy was sent to surprise a number of troops.

By Correne Martin

Over 150 pounds of Halloween candy was sent to members of the military from the area, thanks to some local kids who gave up their goodies for a Treats for Troops effort.

It all began on Oct. 31 when Michael and Lara Czajkowski Higgins’ three kids were trick-or-treating and learned that another youngster was trick-or-treating for troops. When they got home that evening, Logan, Tessa and Kye discussed with their parents how they could do the same and help brighten a service member’s day. The three threw all of their candy into a bucket—all 10 pounds of it—and decided to pay it forward. Though, as kids can be kids, they kept 12 pieces each. The next day, they put up signs at their school about the plans to collect more treats, and Michael and Lara also placed Treats for Troops boxes at their workplaces, Peoples State Bank and Czajkowski Higgins and Rider.

“In one week, we had 85 pounds,” Michael said.

Mon
16
Nov

More than just apples making their way into the classroom through Farm to School program


The AmeriCorps Farm to School coordinator for Crawford County, Haley Mahr, who started in August, is pictured explaining to B.A. Kennedy Elementary School students about beets.

By Correne Martin

Apples might be a familiar sight on teachers’ desks across Crawford County, but other locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables are finding a place in the classroom regularly as well. Haley Mahr, the county’s new AmeriCorps Farm to School coordinator, is one of those who helps introduce and refresh kids’ experiences with such produce.

Every month, the Farm to School program, which falls under the UW-Extension arm, is present in the Prairie du Chien public and Catholic schools as well as Seneca, Wauzeka and North Crawford. As the county’s nutrition educator, Mahr, who came to Crawford County as a recent college graduate from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, focuses on helping people, especially kids, become more connected with their community’s agriculture.

Wed
11
Nov

Area Korean War veteran takes honor flight


Louie Wachter, of Millville, took the Freedom Honor Flight Oct. 17 to Washington D.C. with 86 other veterans to see the memorials that stand in their honor. He is shown here in front of the 19 stainless steel statues making up the Korean War Memorial, which he described as realistic and somewhat haunting as the sun set.

Louie, who was accompanied by his daughter Susie Mergen on the honor flight, got to meet former Senator Bob Dole at the WWII Memorial.

Several group pictures of the Freedom Honor Flight veterans were captured during the trip. This one was in front of the WWII Memorial and includes only part of those veterans on the honor flight. Louie is second from the right, in the front row. Wheelchairs were available to every veteran and provided for those who didn’t feel they could walk all day around the many memorials.

Louie and his daughter, Susie, posed in front of the Korean War Memorial.

By Correne Martin

Korean War Army veteran Louie Wachter, 85, of Millville, respectfully reflected upon his fallen comrades first when telling about his Oct. 17 Freedom Honor Flight experience: “A person feels kind of humbled because there were so many more who didn’t get to go.”

Louie was one of 69 Korean veterans, 13 World War II veterans and five Vietnam veterans who took the honor flight to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials that stand in their honor. It was the 16th one-day trip from La Crosse since the organization started in April 2008. Two flights have gone every year since then.

Louie applied to the Freedom Honor Flight organization two years ago. In August this year, he received a call saying he was picked to go.

“Everybody said I should go. But, I said the only way I’d go was if my daughter (Susie Mergen) could go too,” he said.

“Most of them on the La Crosse flight were accompanied by family members,” Mergen noted.

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