Local News

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Wed
18
May

FirstMerit Bank’s local branch closing in July

By Correne Martin

FirstMerit Bank announced last month that, as of July 22, at 5:30 p.m., its branch at 300 E. Blackhawk Ave., in Prairie du Chien, will permanently close. Accounts will be moved to the FirstMerit Darlington branch, located at 207 Wells St.

Customers of the Prairie du Chien branch were notified of its upcoming closure via an April 19 mailed letter, signed by Doug Young, senior vice president and director of retail banking, at FirstMerit. The letter explained that, with banking features such as online bill pay, paperless statements, external transfers, mobile deposits and person-to-person payments, access to customers’ needs would remain at people’s fingertips.

Wed
18
May

PdC K9 unit starting in 2017, pedestrian/bike path expanding

By Correne Martin

The addition of a K9 unit to the Prairie du Chien police force is anticipated next year. Police Chief Chad Abram and Officer Casey Cox, the intended K9 officer, made a presentation to the Prairie du Chien Common Council during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

According to Cox, the dog, Rico, is being trained to begin fulfilling his duties with the department in the spring of 2017.

Abram said about $44,000 of the needed $74,000 has been raised through donations and in-kind gifts. Alderman Edward Hayes-Hall said he fully supported the campaign, and pledged to donate $500 to the effort. No action was taken.

Wed
18
May

Prairie du Chien students learn valuable lesson about respect


Bluff View School fifth grader Breanna Smithson was one of six classmates who painted over graffiti underneath the Blackhawk Avenue bridge in Prairie du Chien Tuesday. (Photos by Correne Martin)

The proud Bluff View School fifth grade special education class, that worked on the project, included (front row, from left) Bryce Priebe, Connor Olson, Jon Gobin, Maliki Ray; (back row) Morgan Heins and Breanna Smithson.

Fifth graders Bryce Priebe, Connor Olson and Jon Gobin paint a couple coats of gray overtop the graffiti. They said the project was fun and something they will remember for a lifetime.

This is how the graffiti underneath the Blackhawk Avenue bridge appeared last week, prior to the students’ painting project. Some of the obscenities have been Photoshopped from the picture, but the crux of the infuriating vandalism remains. It’s what inspired teacher Jim Shilling to create a valuable lesson for his students.

By Correne Martin

Six fifth grade students in Jim Schilling’s Bluff View School special education class have learned an important lesson about what’s right and what’s wrong in the world. They spent Tuesday afternoon painting over graffiti on the cement underneath the Blackhawk Avenue bridge.

The obscene, painted vandalism infuriated Schilling, a fisherman who noticed the graffiti as well as trash and broken beer bottles recently upon visiting the tucked away spot. He was so greatly bothered by the inscriptions that he decided to create an opportunity for his students to learn from others’ wrongdoing and also participate in bettering the community.

“They’re here to make the community a better place, but I have them here to teach them a very valuable lesson,” Schilling stated.

Mon
16
May

Journey Through Time


A group enjoys riding along Blackhawk Avenue in a horse-drawn carriage Saturday morning as part of the Journey Through Time Downtown Open House in Prairie du Chien. The horse-drawn rides were sponsored by Peoples State Bank. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Wind In the Barley performed lively Irish songs with fine pickin’ and blended harmonies next to Lori Knapp Companies at the corner of Blackhawk Avenue and Beaumont Road.

A sharply attired Chuck Dyer greeted guests and gave tours of the former Fort Crawford Hotel in downtown Prairie du Chien Saturday. The land for the hotel was purchased in 1864 and the hotel was built sometime between 1864 and 1870.

This is the former ballroom of the Fort Crawford Hotel in downtown Prairie du Chien. Plans have been underway by the owners, The Crawford Preservation Group, to restore the hotel to its historical splendor but with modern amenities in 20 guest rooms.

Area musician Denny Garcia got toes-a-tappin’ and put smiles on faces in front of Driftless Edibles Saturday at the Journey Through Time Downtown Open House.

 

People take a ‘Journey Through Time’ Saturday

Prairie du Chien was one of 16 Wisconsin communities participating in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s first-ever Downtown Open House promotion. The purpose of the event called “A Journey Through Time” was to bring tourists and locals to the city to shop, dine, stay and learn, at their own pace, from period-costumed volunteer guides, about 12 historic buildings, churches, museums and interesting sites.

Mon
16
May

Electrical violations result in cut power at Regal Marina


Because state code violations caused electricity to be disconnected at the Regal Marina in Prairie du Chien, many boats still sit awaiting their first dip in the water for the 2016 boating season. Around a dozen boats were put in at the marina by Friday. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Electricity to the docks at the Regal Marina in Prairie du Chien has been disconnected. Depending on when electrical is brought up to state standards, it is unknown when power will resume.

On May 1, the city was directed to cut power to docks A, B, C and D as well as the gas dock because several state electrical code violations were uncovered by state inspectors Anthony Tadysac and Char Martin, according to City Administrator Aaron Kramer.

“The conditions are so dangerous, the city simply had to do something to assure safety,” City Attorney Lara Czajkowski Higgins said. “[The Regals] have to complete the repairs in order for the electricity to be turned back on.”

The Courier Press has made numerous attempts, since May 3, in person and by phone, to reach Dennis Regal Sr., president of Regal Marine Group, which leases the marina from the city. However, all have gone unanswered.

Mon
16
May

PdC library capital campaign announces 100 Families initiative

The Prairie du Chien’s Memorial Library capital campaign has announced a new initiative for its $1.5 million goal. Organizers have announced a 100 Families program with a generous matching grant to start this phase of fundraising.

“We are looking for 100 families to sign on and contribute $1,000 over a five-year period. This equates to a monthly contribution of $16.67 over the five-year commitment period. One could choose to make the donation in one lump sum, annually ($200), quarterly ($50), or monthly ($16.67). We believe this is an affordable way to make a tax-deductible contribution in a realistic way for many of our potential donors,” Library Board President Linda Munson said.

Mon
16
May

St. Mary’s murals unveiled Thursday

The refinished St. Mary’s Academy murals will be unveiled at a Business After Five Open House at Peoples State Bank’s main office in downtown Prairie du Chien on Thursday, May 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. The Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce is also sponsoring the event.

About 1910, Sister Mary Gertrude, a School Sister of Notre Dame, painted several murals. These murals adorned the walls of rooms within the buildings that were part of St. Mary’s Academy (1872-1968).
Two of these murals depicted the natural beauty of the upper Mississippi River valley. The other murals presented a tableau of important events that occurred along the Mississippi River.

Mon
16
May

Tax credits allocated for redevelopment of Wyalusing Academy

Commonwealth Development Corporation, of Fond du Lac, has been allocated $479,231 in tax credits to redevelop the former Saint Mary’s Institute/Wyalusing Academy into apartments.

Lawler School Lofts, as the facility will be named, is a historic adaptive reuse project. The transformation into the 40-apartment complex on the 80,000-square-foot property is anticipated to start in the second half of 2016, according to Kevin McDonell, of Commonwealth.

“Commonwealth was selected to develop the property late last fall and has worked closely with all interested stakeholders to bring the project to fruition while preserving the historic details of the property,” McDonell said.

Mon
16
May

School Facilities Upgrades

 

Community input sought to fine-tune school upgrades

Work could begin February 2017

By Ted Pennekamp

 

Mon
16
May

Local man charged with possession of meth

A 29-year-old Prairie du Chien man has been charged in Crawford County Circuit Court with one count of possession of methamphetamine.

Joshua R. Barrette faces up to 3.5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, a vehicle was stopped in the city of Prairie du Chien by a police officer because it was traveling without its headlights on at night.

The officer was informed by dispatch that Barrette, who was a passenger in the vehicle, had a warrant for his arrest.

A search of the vehicle revealed four plastic baggies containing a white crystalline substance and three green pills.

Barrette admitted to officers that the baggies contained meth, the complaint said. A chemical field test also revealed the presence of meth, according to the complaint.

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