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May 16: News From Around the Driftless Area
News From Around the Driftless Area

‘News from Around the Driftless Area’ is a compilation showcasing the excellent work and interesting tidbits from the community journalists sprinkled throughout our area.

VIROQUA –The Wisconsin Department of Transportation held the second of three public meetings to discuss the planned Highway 14 reconstruction project in Westby. The project, scheduled for construction in 2022, will reconstruct North Main Street in Westby (Highway 14) through the City of Westby. The project begins south of Locust Street and ends just north of High Echo Lane. The approximately 1.6-mile project will replace the pavement structure, improve intersections, improve pedestrian accommodations, replace the storm sewer system, and make improvements to street lighting… McIntosh Memorial Library of Viroqua will be hosting a two-part workshop titled, ‘Websites for Artists.’ The first workshop, by Viroqua artist Anne Butera, will be held Thursday, May 9, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and will focus on essential elements for an artist’s website. Butera will show examples of current sites and lead a discussion on the options available for building and housing your website. In the second workshop, on Thursday, May 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Butera will be joined by Matthias Mining from Mac Help in Viroqua for a structured study lab to work directly with artists on the creation of a website. Registration for the May 16 workshop is required, as space is limited to 10 people. To register for the class, stop by or call the library at 608-637-7151.

VIOLA – The third annual banquet of the Viola Sportsmens Club took place on Saturday, April 27. More than 200 people gathered for event which featured good chances at great prizes. Members of the Junior Rifle Team were present selling raffle tickets, and the club’s board provided a great experience for its members despite predicted bad weather. VSC member Linda Mabb helped to serve a meal prepared by the Viola Quik Stop, Dave Matthes provided his auctioneering skills, and Davus and Corbin Ellefson along with their dad, Phil Ellefson Jr., worked the new raffle wheel… To promote invasive and/or rare plant monitoring, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve is offering five plant identification hikes on Saturdays, May 4, June 15, August 3, September 14, and October 12, to learn about some of the common plants of the area. For each date, the hike will meet at the south gate of Old Highway 131 Trail at 9 a.m., and will walk north on Old 131, observing and identifying plants. Using the same route, participants will see the different growth stages of the same plant, while watching for the next flowers to bloom. Topics such as native versus non-native, invasive versus aggressive, control methods of invasive plants, comparisons of other plants, and/or propagating native plants might also be discussed.

ONTARIO – The Kendall Marshall’s Office is looking for assistance. At 11 a.m. Thursday, April 25, a call was received by the Monroe County Communications Center referencing suspicious activity on the 100 block of W. South Railroad Street in Kendall. Assistance is being sought in helping to identify a driver, described as a white male in the 30- to 40-year-old range with a red beard. He was wearing a black ball cap and black sweatshirt. The male was driving a black, newer-style pickup four-door model, with a topper. The male in this matter made inappropriate comments to a juvenile female. According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the man allegedly asked the girl to get into the back of his pickup truck… Monroe County Highway N, 0.4 miles south of County A and the townsite of Clifton, closed May 1 to enable bridge replacement over the Little Lemonweir River. The project is expected to be complete and the highway reopened by the middle of June. Larson Construction of Chippewa Falls will construct the $472,450 project, funded by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Local Bridge Program and Monroe County.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN – Applications for farming hemp in Wisconsin have gone up significantly this year over last year, which was the state’s pilot program for the new cash crop. Wisconsin was once one of the leading hemp producers in America and it is expecting to challenge once again for a big market share in the coming years. According to DATCP, there are 1,405 who have applied to grow industrial hemp this year, 1,244 of them first-time growers. Crawford County had applications from six processors, 15 grower locations, and 72 growing acres. Grant County had applications from three processors, 34 growers and 378 growing acres. Vernon County had applications from 25 processors, 84 growers, and 405 growing acres… Though it is more than a month before the Wacouta Aquatic Park open for the summer, patrons will be happy to know know that, because of a new filtration system, the water should be clear and clean as it was when the outdoor pool opened 28 years ago. Thanks to the Prairie du Chien street department staff, they provided the muscle to move the 62-inch diameter filters.

RICHLAND CENTER – On the afternoon of Sunday, April 28, a Richland Center man was in the right place at the right time to help out a couple in need. Around 4 p.m. that day, Riley Anderson was walking in the area of Sixth and Orange streets, near the Richland Center Community Center, on his way to play softball at Krouskop Park. Suddenly he heard a loud bang, and saw flames coming from beneath a pickup truck. “I immediately dropped my ball stuff and ran towards the truck,” Anderson said. “I ran to the driver’s door and told them their truck was on fire. I was wearing shorts and could feel the flames near my legs. The driver put it in park and I assisted him in getting his seat belt off and in grabbing his oxygen tank.” Meanwhile, Anderson said, the man’s wife was able to get out of the truck immediately, along with their small dog… We all know that it was a long, cold, and snow-filled winter. There has been an epidemic of cabin fever, but finally spring is here! May 10thmarks the start of the motorsports season and Richland Center is proud to host one of the biggest motorsports events in the Midwest. Motorsports Mayhem will return to the Richland County Fairgrounds on May 10-11, with a wide variety of motorsports events. For the first time ever, Motorsports Mayhem will offer a two-day show. On Friday night, the gates will open at 5 p.m. The truck and tractor pull will start at 6 p.m., featuring the Tricounty Mini Rods and the qualifying pulls for the Wisconsin Cash Days Truck Pull. The day will end with car and truck drags on the pulling track. On Saturday, the show will roar to life at 11 a.m. with ATV, dirt bike, and snowmobile  grass drags. The Kindschi Pedal Pull event will take place at 1 p.m., with events wrapping up in the evening with car and truck drags on the pulling track starting at 9 p.m.

BOSCOBEL – A 38-year-old Sun Prairie man pleaded no contest to one of two charges in connection with an armed robbery at Highland State Bank on January 25. Jermaine Anthony Smith pleaded no contest in Iowa County Circuit Court to an amended charge of robbery with threat of force on Thursday, April 2. A charge of robbery of a financial institution was dismissed, according to court records… From the east side of Blue River, looking toward Muscoda, along Highway 133, Mark Hackett captured the image of the Blue River flooded and well beyond its banks with a drone shot recently. The Wisconsin River at Muscoda had peaked earlier the same day at 56,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), shattering the old record of 48,000 cfs set in 1972. The river gradually receded ove the course of a week, but due to rains expected the week before last, was expected to remain at 30,000 cfs, well above the average of 15,000 cfs. On the Mississippi River, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department had requested a No Wake Zone in the areas around residences on County K and Ambro Road, where flood waters had made high speed travel dangerous to boaters and residents.

FENNIMORE – On Armed Forces Day, on Saturday, May 18, one American flag will embark on a 110-day journey, transported 14,500 miles through all 48 continental states by motorcycle riders in a city-to-city relay that raises funds to support disabled veterans. Following a 10 a.m. ceremony, the 10thAnnual Patriot Tour launches from downtown Beaver Dam at 11 a.m., travelling 115 miles to its first stop in Fennimore. The Patriot Tour is presented by the ‘Nation of Patriots,’ and is a united effort to raise funds to support veterans and their families… Now in its third year, the Turkey Donation Program returns this spring and provides hunters the opportunity to donate their harvested turkeys to needy families across the state. Turkeys will be processed free of charge, and the meat will be provided to local food pantries. Hunters can participate in the program by: legally harvesting and registering a turkey; field-dress the turkey and keep it in a cool location; call a participating processor – a list can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keywords ‘turkey donation;’ drop the turkey off during regular business hours by May 31; and fill out the log sheet at the processor to verify the donation. Hunters must donate the entire turkey carcass in order for the donation to qualify.