Friday, November 2, 2007

Clear Lake Woman Killed in Crash

A 51 year old Clear Lake woman died as the result of a traffic accident in New Richmond on Friday, October 26.

According to New Richmond police, a 1989 Toyota van northbound on Knowles Avenue, driven by Thomas H. Lange of Clear Lake attempted to make a left turn on to New Richmond Way in front of a 2005 Econoline Ford van driven by Thomas W. Deal of Houlton and the vehicles collided.

A passenger in the Lange vehicle, Sara J. Lange of Clear Lake was transported to Westfield Hospital in New Richmond where she was pronounced dead. Both Sara Lange and Thomas Lange had to be extricated from their vehicle.

Responding to the crash were New Richmond Police and New Richmond Area Ambulance and Rescue Service and New Richmond Fire Department.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Kayla Wagner, Reid Anderson, Kya Grafenstein, Ian Schoenke, Jason LaFavor and Kirsten Hoffman (missing from picture) would love to see you at the musical!!

Why was The Wizard of Oz chosen for the all-school play this year? Often our directors are asked who picks the all school play. It has been nineteen years since Mrs. Hanson delivered a baby on opening night of Wizard of Oz. Because of the number of people in last year's all school play, consideration was given to a large, flexible cast. We also had to identify the number of sports teams which did well this year and would take many of our hours of rehearsal time away from us. After reviewing multiple shows, we decided that the song that was voted the most influential of the twentieth century should be our mantra this year: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" has captured our hearts.

The play is actually based on Frank Baum's novel which was written in 1905 with political satire to enlighten teenagers of the ironies within society. Baum writes his main characters to criticize the public's view of teens, agricultural, industrial, and natural resource practices in our country. The Scarecrow satires farming, the Tin Man: manufacturing, and the Cowardly Lion: natural resource abuse. Everyone always believes the green stuff (money) will be able to fix everything, so our characters travel to Oz expecting amazing things. When Dorothy encounters little people and a good witch as well as a bad witch, she realizes that all sorts of qualities are found right in the people in her own back yard.

We hope to educate our youth and entertain all with this year's all-school play, The Wizard of Oz.

Performances are on November 1, 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7 p.m. and November 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $6 for adults, $3 for students, and $1.50 for children five and under. Tickets are on sale now by calling 684-3321, ext. 118. We hope you are able to join us.

Wagner Finished Seventh at State

Kayla Wagner of B-W rounded a corner in the WIAA Division 2 cross country meet at Ridges Golf Club at Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday. Wagner finished in seventh place with a time of 15:15.8 over the difficult 4,000 meter course.

B-W's premier cross country runner Kayla Wagner finished in seventh place of the 151 runners in Division 2 in the WIAA State Cross Country meet at Ridges Golf Course at Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.

Wagner was in fifth place until the very end of the 4,000 meter course when she was overtaken by two runners who she was unaware were so close to her and unable to hear the shouts of spectators because of the tremendous roar of the crowd.

Wagner finished in 15:14.8 for her seventh place finish. Both the fifth place finisher, Emily Bachhuber of Shorewood, and Kelsey Bernet of New Glarus/Monticello, had their times listed at 15:14.7.

"Kayla had a superb race," said her coach, Jennifer Cimino. "The course is really tough-probably the toughest she races on because of the hills and long stretches of sand. It's really tough to run through sand like that."

Although Kayla finished in seventh, "it was an extremely close race," said Coach Cimino. "From the human eye it was a tie and the only way to tell the difference was with the chip."

Coach Cimino said that throughout most of the race Kayla battled back and forth with her chief competitor over the regular season, Breanna Tinney of Osceola. They changed fourth and fifth places several times in the race.

Although Kayla's best time of the season was a 14:59, the course Saturday was more difficult and she beat her time in the last couple of races.

The seventh place finish is a great achievement, said Coach Cimino. "Considering the number of spectators, for a first time athlete to have that big of an event and not have your emotions overwhelmed is a big accomplishment. I'm really proud of her. I think she did awesome."

Winning the Division 2 race was Ashley Buetler of New Glarus/Monticello with a time of 14:11.3. Tinney finished in fourth with a time of 15:09.5.

United Fire and Rescue District Jumps a Class; Donation for Vision Goggles Presented to United Fire

Loparex, represented by Hammond Plant Manager Michael Stang, presented a check for $1,500 to Todd Criego, Assistant Chief of the Hammond Station of United Fire and Rescue for purchase of "smoke vision goggles" which are used to "see" objects by the heat radiating from them in dense smoke.

Investment in equipment, water utilities and training over many years have paid off for United Fire and Rescue.

The local fire department which includes stations in Woodville, Baldwin and Hammond has received an improved fire rating from the Insurance Service Office, or ISO, which may pay off in better insurance premium rates, especially for commercial properties.

According to United Fire Chief Reid Berger, Baldwin's and Hammond's fire ratings have improved to three from four; and Woodville's has improved to a four from five.

"I want to give the credit to the people who deserve it," said Berger, citing the people who run the consolidated fire department, including chiefs and assistant chiefs at each station, firefighters, and the people who sit on the fire board and village and town boards. He said the nearly 80 firefighters of the three stations and the on-going training is an important reason for the success of the department. Training is both in-house and from WITC.

Berger said the class three rating for Hammond and Baldwin are ones of only a few for communities of their size and some of the neighboring towns have ratings of five or six. The fire rating systems goes from a one, the best, to a ten. Gary Newton, chief of the Baldwin Station of United Fire, said many volunteer departments, like United Fire, are rated seven or eight.

According to Newton the ISO rating is based 50% on the grade for the fire department; 40% on the water system that serves it; and 10% on training and communication of the department. "The emphasis is put on training and the ability to get out and deliver the water," he said.

Newton said an ISO inspector, Jim Murphy, spent more than a week's time in the spring and summer in the three communities and surrounding area surveying water systems, reviewing past fire calls and equipment that went out and training records. Included in the survey was detailed inspections of water utility systems and water flows.

Berger said the new ratings may not have much effect for existing business, although in some cases they may result in lower rates. However, he noted that the better rating makes fire insurance coverage cheaper for new commercial enterprises and may make the communities more attractive for new business. "The rate may be an incentive for a new business to locate
here," he said.

Rick Houston, chief of the Woodville Station, said that in some cases the new rates may have an impact on residential insurance rates, also.

Rural locations are under a separate rating system based on how much water can be brought to the location. And Newton said Inspector Murphy did go out to each town served by United Fire and determined how much water could be brought to locations. Miles to a fire department or station is sometimes important in ratings, said Newton, so having three stations for United Fire has proved to be important.

Berger said Bill Peavey, secretary for United Fire, was instrumental in orchestrating the rating improvement because he compiles data and keeps all the department's records.

Berger noted that when he started as chief of the Baldwin Fire Department in the late 1970s the department had a seven rating. The consolidation process started in 1994 informally at first with all three department responding with mutual aid to each other's calls without specific calls for aid. He said the merger was based on Chippewa Falls' merger and involved discussions for two or three years before it was finally put in place. Elliott Stene of Woodville and Norman George and Duane Larson of Hammond were instrumental in the final merger that emerged.

Berger offered his thanks to everyone who helps United Fire and the achievement of the improved rating system: from the members and villages and towns that support it to the people who help fundraise and donate to the department. "It's a team and it all comes together," he said.

Postal Jacket Stolen from Display Case

Could Halloween be the reason a United States Post Office hat and jacket were stolen from a display case at the Baldwin Post Office?

Personnel at the Post Office hope that is true and they also hope the items are returned to the Post Office after Halloween. And Postmaster Deb Clennon quipped that if the clothing articles win a prize for the wearer, she and the other employees at the Baldwin Post Office hope they
get to share a portion of the winnings.

The jacket belonged to the late Bud DeSmith and he wore it when he was Officer in Charge in the Woodville Post Office in the 1970s. It was placed in the display case with other Post Office artifacts by his daughter Deb Graf, a clerk at the Baldwin Post Office. It was at center right in the display case, pictured above.

Also missing is a hat that belonged to a retired postal carrier from Lake City, Minnesota who gave it to Postmaster Clennon when he learned of the display at the Baldwin Post Office.

The lock on the display case was apparently not broken, but was manipulated in some way to get the case open to remove the two articles of postal clothing.

Baldwin Man Pleaded Guilty in Federal Court

Erik C. Peterson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Wayne Ruoho, 40, Baldwin, pleaded guilty in Madison before U.S. District Judge John C. Shabaz to a charge that he conspired to distribute methamphetamine. Ruoho will be sentenced on January 11, 2008 at 1:15 p.m.

Ruoho conspired from September 2001 to the end of December 2004 to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute, methamphetmine. Ruoho traveled with co-conspirators from Minnesota to California, transporting large amounts of U.S. currency to obtain multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine; large quantities of methamphetamine obtained in California were then transported to Minnesota for distribution by Ruoho and his partners in various locations, including Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Ruoho utilized couriers to deliver methamphetamine, and personally delivered methamphetamine, to his co-conspirators for distribution in the Western District of Wisconsin. Angela Trudelle, formerly of Washburn County, distributed Ruoho's methamphetamine to customers from various counties in the Western District, including Washburn and Barron Counties. Michele and Timothy Nelson distributed Ruoho's methamphetamine to customers in various counties, including St. Croix, Pierce, and Dunn Counties.

Timothy Nelson has pleaded guilty to this conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. In addition to Michele Nelson (262 months) and Angela Trudell (119 months), Lawrence Bauer (262 months), Terry Mortier (135 months), Richard Holland (170 months), Jamie Briesemeister (121 months),
and Reanne Taylor (180 months) have all been convicted and sentenced to federal prison as a result of their involvement in this methamphetamine conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Peterson stated that this guilty plea is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation-Narcotics Bureau; the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department; the Washburn County Sheriff's Department; and the Barron County Sheriff's Department.