Local News

Mon
22
Sep

Local man charged with his fifth OWI

A 61-year-old Prairie du Chien man has been charged in Crawford County Circuit Court with one count of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (fifth or sixth offense).

Donald D. Lasse faces up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 26 at 11:53 p.m., a Prairie du Chien police officer saw a car traveling north on Marquette Road with no front or back license plates. The vehicle’s lights also went off for about five seconds and then came back on. The officer stopped the vehicle, which was being driven by Lasse. Lasse was subsequently placed under arrest for OWI.

Lasse has previously been convicted of OWI four times.

Mon
22
Sep

Fifty years of natural gas service in Prairie du Chien


On Vineyard Coulee Road, eight-inch steel natural gas main is installed in 1964. This picture looks east in the vicinity of the current South Marquette Road and Vineyard Road intersection.

In 1989, Wisconsin Southern Gas celebrated the 25th anniversary of local natural gas service in Prairie du Chien. Shown giving away a deluxe gas grill are Patricia Hill, Mark Oehler (current district manager-Prairie du Chien for MGE), Ross Bushnell (retired, former district manager), Elmer Wisnefsky (retired) and Bob Valley (former district manager). Pat Hill and Robert Valley are now deceased.

The gas company’s office is shown five years after it opened at the former Commerce Court Mall (now Blackhawk Junction) in 1964.

An unknown individual is shown installing gas main in Prairie du Chien in 1964.

Fifty years ago, on July 23, 1964, natural gas turn-on ceremonies were held at the Wisconsin Southern Gas Company gate station on Vineyard Coulee Road. In attendance (pictured, from left) were former Prairie du Chien Mayor Edward Farrell; the company’s former president Kenneth D. Knoblock (deceased); and now retired Prairie du Chien manager for propane operations Alex McEwan.

This was some sort of celebration at the WIscosnin Propane Gas Corp. office on Blackhawk Ave. Names of the individuals are not known.

Bill Wachuta, serviceman for Wisconsin Propane Gas Corp. and eventually Wisconsin Southern Gas, is pictured by an old pump.

This summer marked 50 years of natural gas service in Prairie du Chien. While a lot has changed since 1964, the reliable natural gas service that comes with friendly customer service has withstood the test of time.

“Congratulations to the people of Prairie du Chien on 50 years of natural gas. MGE is happy to be a part of that history, and we take great pride in bringing a safe, reliable and affordable energy source, to customers in Prairie du Chien and the surrounding area,” said John Yogerst, assistant vice president of gas operations, for MGE.

At the time of the turn-on ceremony on July 23, 1964, there were 1,055 residential and commercial customers signed up for natural gas service in Prairie du Chien.

Wed
17
Sep

Vermin complaints at Blackhawk Junction addressed


Complaints of vermin, such as rats and skunks, at Blackhawk Junction mall due to the remaining debris from the April 13 Slumberland fire are being addressed by the Crawford County Public Health Department and other local authorities. The vermin have yet to be substantiated but are said to be nesting in the fire debris. The mall’s owner, Thomas Gialamas, said he is seeking exterminators and a definite start date for cleanup. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Complaints of a vermin problem at the Blackhawk Junction mall in Prairie du Chien prompted the Crawford County Public Health office to send a letter of concern to Thomas Gialamas, the owner of the mall, earlier this month.

The letter, dated Sept. 5, inquired about the cleanup efforts of the fire debris and informed the owner of the possibility of vermin, referring to both as environmental hazards. Gialamas responded to the letter on Sept. 9, noting that exterminators are being sought and cleanup of the debris should begin within weeks.

Crawford County Public Health Director Gloria Wall confirmed last week that her department has received several complaints of rats and skunks going in and out of the debris that remains from the April 13 fire, which destroyed Slumberland Furniture and caused smoke and soot damage to a number of other businesses in the mall.

Wed
17
Sep

Pizza Hut closed for expansion, rebranding


Pizza Hut in Prairie du Chien is closed for four to six weeks for a remodel. The current building will expand and the brand will become Pizza Hut and WingStreet, which will offer new chicken wing selections in addition to the current menu offerings.

By Correne Martin

Pizza Hut in Prairie du Chien closed its doors on Sunday, Sept. 14, for four to six weeks of remodeling. According to Manager Cindy Spiker, the whole interior of the restaurant will be transformed into a more modern-looking establishment before reopening to the public in its current location, 1501 S. Marquette Rd.

“We are also becoming a Pizza Hut and WingStreet,” Spiker said.

This means customers can expect the pizza dishes to remain virtually similar to what has been offered in the past. The WingStreet label will offer customers three chicken wing styles—traditional, breaded bone-in and breaded bone-out—tossed in one of eight signature sauces: buffalo burnin’ hot, buffalo medium, buffalo mild, spicy Asian, spicy BBQ, honey BBQ, lemon pepper and garlic Parmesan.
The most noticeable change to the bricks and mortar will be an expansion.

Wed
17
Sep

Harvest of the Month featured in county grocery stores


The Harvest of the Month program features one product each month in the locally-owned grocery stores in Crawford County. For September, tomatoes are featured on fliers and recipes handed out at the stores, as well as samples if the store so chooses.

By Correne Martin
 
It can be fun to try new things, particularly if they are healthy for you. And if your child is excited about it, even better.

Starting this Friday evening, Sept. 19, from 4 to 6 p.m., all the locally-owned grocery stores in Crawford County will host a Harvest of the Month promotion. New and loyal families of customers are invited into the stores, where they can sample fresh and tasty produce, learn about how it’s grown locally and take home fun facts as well as easy recipes featuring the products.

Stores participating include: in Prairie du Chien, Zinkle’s Piggly Wiggly, The Local Oven and Driftless Edibles; in Wauzeka, Stuckey’s Market; in Seneca, Johnson’s One Stop; and in Gays Mills, Kickapoo Exchange Natural Foods Co-op and The Marketplace.

Mon
15
Sep

Fur trade through Civil War era tasks


Keith and Verta Kerr, of Postville, incorporated the young students attending Cannons at the Fort Friday, Sept. 12, into their rope-making demonstration. The Kerrs have participated in the annual Cannons event for many years and enjoy sharing their craft with the youth on Friday as well as the adults who attend on Saturday. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Prairie du Chien’s own Jean Titlbach (left) and high schooler Chloe Lorenz (center) showed Jackson and his classmates how to felt wool at this year’s Cannons at the Fort, hosted by the Fort Crawford Museum in Prairie du Chien, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 12 and 13.

Interpreter Mary Ann Carolan and her sister Virginia Antoine (right behind her) teach youngsters from MFL Mar Mac how to dance to period music at the annual living history event.

Kay Tesar gets the flame started in the open fire cooking booth, as students gather in close to watch and keep warm on the cool and wet Cannons at the Fort gathering Friday.
Mon
15
Sep

South half of Marquette will open to local traffic on Sept. 22

By Correne Martin

The southern two of the three planned roundabouts on Prairie du Chien’s Marquette Road are nearly complete and expected to open to local traffic on Monday, Sept. 22, in addition to the stretch of highway from Wisconsin Street south to Mooney Street.

“We have some retaining wall work and some landscaping to finish yet but, with the exception of a few possible lane restrictions, everything from Wisconsin Street south should be open,” stated Randy Henkel, superintendent for contractor H. James and Sons. “It will be open to local traffic only, and the detour will remain in place for through-traffic until the entire project is complete.”

Mon
15
Sep

Videos on roundabouts offered online, at tourism center

By Correne Martin

“We’re not here to debate the pros and cons of roundabouts. They’re here and we need to be educated about how to navigate them,” Prairie du Chien City Administrator Aaron Kramer said Wednesday evening, Sept. 10, at a public meeting affectionately dubbed “Roundabout 101” at City Hall.

The Marquette Road/Highway 35 Wisconsin DOT reconstruction project in Prairie du Chien includes three roundabouts at the intersections of Iowa Street, Wisconsin Street and Blackhawk Avenue. The roundabouts will be closely coordinated with the nearby railroad with special signing and signals. Several informational animation and traffic simulation videos were developed to acquaint road users with driving around and understanding the roundabouts.

Wed
10
Sep

Recovery program in jail

Drug, alcohol program in County Jail
Bill Miller, who will run the jail’s drug and alcohol program, and Jail Administrator Russell Wittrig stand in front of some of the book shelves in the jail’s library.

 

Crawford County Jail continues to expand programs

By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Crawford County Jail is starting up a new drug and alcohol program for the benefit of its inmates and is striving to continually improve in other areas as well.

Wed
10
Sep

Novel explains unexpected story of the prominent Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman


Author Marilyn Leys first found the story of Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman to be an unexpected one when she toured the Villa Louis for the first time several decades ago. Then, a Milwaukee resident, Leys didn’t know she would eventually reside in the hometown of her main character in the novel, “Madame Jane.”

By Correne Martin

Local author Marilyn Leys felt it was a peculiar story that must be told. The life of Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman, the first woman in Wisconsin Territory to file for a divorce, intrigued Leys initially almost three decades ago—many years before she herself would move to Jane’s hometown of Prairie du Chien. Finally, in December of 2013, Leys’ novel, “Madame Jane,” was published.

Just after the War of 1812, 14-year-old Jane married Joseph Rolette, the most powerful, ruthless fur trader in Prairie du Chien, the western outpost of the American Fur Company. After she was separated and widowed by Rolette, Jane married a second wealthy fur trader, Hercules Louis Dousman, who built a mansion that preceded the Villa Louis.

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