Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two long-time town officials to retire

Ken Klanderman has decided that 55 years as Town of Baldwin Clerk is long enough. He will not be running for re-election in the spring election.

A spokesperson at the Wisconsin Towns Association, located in Shawano, said there have been a few town officials that have served longer than 55 years, but they are few. The Towns Association does not keep longevity records, so it is unknown if Klanderman is the longest serving Town Clerk in Wisconsin, but the spokesperson said 55 years "is a long time."

Another Town of Baldwin official, Treasurer Reuben Doornink, has also decided not to seek re-election to the position.

Klanderman said he does not know of persons who are interested in the two positions.

Klanderman, a native of the Town of Baldwin, is a Baldwin High School graduate. He then entered the military and served in Japan with the occupying forces. He graduated from River Falls Teachers College in 1951 with degrees in agriculture and science.

After a short stint in Thorp employed in a federal veteran's assistance program, Klanderman returned to the family farm where he and his wife Ruth have raised four children.

In 2001 Klanderman stopped milking cows.

Klanderman was appointed as Town Clerk in 1953 when Edwin Ferg resigned the position and every two years since he has stood for re-election and been successful.

Although Klanderman, 82, has no health issues, he said it is time for a change and someone else should take the job of Town Clerk.

Christmas was special

There are some things that happen that can make a family, or even a neighborhood or whole community believe, Christmas is more special than normal.
This Christmas was that way for the family, friends and neighbors of Matt and Erin Knegendorf of Baldwin and their son Mitchell.
On Tuesday, December 23 after school Mitchell, 10, a fourth grader at Greenfield Elementary, fell head-first into a hole he had dug in a big snowbank in front of his house. He struggled to get out, but the more he did the tighter the snow collapsed around him.
The end of the story is this, Mitchell is now fine after he was discovered probably up to 30 minutes after falling into the snow hole by his father, who is a trained emergency responder and performed CPR to revive him. Mitchell spent the night at the Baldwin Area Medical Center but left by 10:00 the next morning with no long-term lasting effects.
"I'm glad I know CPR," said Matt. "It's important that people know CPR. I don't know what mode I was in—a dad, firefighter or first responder—but again, it was just reaction."
After school Tuesday, Mitchell went outside to play. His usual buddies weren't there, but Mitchell took a shovel and dug straight down in the snowbank. He told his parents that he remembered waving good-bye to one of the children his mother cares for. Then, his memory is of slipping head-first into the snow hole. The hole was too deep for him to push himself back up. He hollered and yelled for help but the snow collapsed around him and just got tighter and tighter around his body.
Mitchell is about 4 feet eight inches tall, and only his boots were showing above the snow.
Matt said he normally snowblows the driveway in the morning but it was still snowing when he left for work, so he left it for after work. So he parked in the street and noticed the shovel laying there.
Then he saw a pair of boots sticking out of the top of the bank. "I looked at them and thought 'please let them move.' But they didn't so I climbed up there and recognized Mitchell's boots."
Matt said he started yelling for help and for someone to call 9-1-1. "I tried to pull the boots but I didn't have enough leverage, so I dug out his ankles. The neighbors had all called 9-1-1 and were starting to come out and I don't know whether it was the adrenaline or what, but on the fourth tug I pulled him out of the snowbank. I pulled him right out of his coat. He was purple and bleeding from his nose. He wasn't breathing and was unresponsive."
Matt took Mitchell down the bank and started rescue breathing for him. "On the fourth breath he started breathing and I checked and he had a weak pulse."
So, said Matt, instead of his worst fears being realized, there was hope. Baldwin Area EMS showed up in the ambulance. "They immediately started to warm Mitchell up and did an excellent job. They took him in the ambulance to the hospital where they continued to warm him up. And thanks to the staff at BAMC for the excellent job they did."

Small barn destroyed by fire

A smaller barn and all the hay it contained were destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon. The barn was owned by Herb Lucks and was located in the Village of Wilson, according to United Fire Department Baldwin Station Chief Gary Newton. Although the barn was in the Village of Wilson, it was north of most of the Village, since a large area is incorporated within the Village, said Newton.
In addition to storage for hay, the barn was used as a stable for horses, said Newton. All the horses were saved from the fire. About 2,000 bales of hay were lost in the blaze.
Newton said the fire started from an effort to unthaw a frozen water tank

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

4,800 pounds of vegetables harvested at area community garden

Master Gardener Ellen Hurtgen and garden manager Carolyn Barrette
weigh some the 4,800 pounds harvested from the St. Croix Community Garden,
all of which is donated to the less fortunate in St. Croix and Pierce

St. Croix Community Garden Project co-managers Carolyn Barrette and
Don Hall have reason to celebrate this week. They and over 60 volunteers
grew, harvested, and donated 4,800 pounds of vegetables to the less
fortunate in St. Croix and Pierce Counties.
Last week marked the end of the six month long community garden
effort that is coordinated and sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Master
Gardener Association. The St. Croix Community Garden is located north of
New Richmond on land graciously donated by Jonna Z. Klucas of Garden
Expressions Consulting.
According to Barrette, people came from all over the area to help
make the garden a reality. The community garden project began last March
with volunteers planting seeds in Barb Weinmann's greenhouse in Amery. The
land was prepared in April by Don Hall and Dick Klucas of New Richmond.
Twenty-three different vegetables from beans to rutabagas were
donated to 27 locations in every city in St. Croix and Pierce Counties.
This year the deliveries went to locations such as: the Croix View Senior
Apartments in Hudson; the River Falls Community Meal program at United
Methodist Church; St. Croix County Public Health Women, Infant, and
Children Program in New Richmond; and the Baldwin Senior Center. Over 200
pounds of carrots alone were given to the Food Shelf Warehouse in Hudson.
Barrette said, "The volunteers are particularly devoted to donating
veggies to places like Grace Place in Somerset, the only 24-hour staffed
homeless shelter in the five county area. The elderly at senior meeting
centers are especially appreciative of the fresh produce as it reminds them
of the time when they had their own gardens."
Most community gardens only rent plots to individuals, but the St.
Croix Community Garden rents about 20 plots then asks volunteers to grow
the rest of the one acre site to give away to others who can't have a
"I am constantly amazed at the giving spirit of the volunteers who
plan, plant, tenderly care for, harvest the garden-and deliver the produce
to the less fortunate," said Ruth Hilfiker, UW-Extension Horticulture
Educator who advises the garden managers. "This year the volunteers donated
700 hours of time or about $6,000 worth of labor."
According to Hilfiker, "During these difficult economic times with
all the foreclosures in our area, donated vegetables helped maintain the
health of lower income families and seniors. It is part of making our local
food system development work for the whole diversity of people who live in
our communities."

They're off to state!

Kayla Wagner of the Baldwin-Woodville cross country team and the
entire St. Croix Central boys cross country team will be competing in the
Division 2 state cross country meet at Wisconsin Rapids at Ridges Golf
Course on Saturday, November 1.
Wagner, running at the Unity High School course on Friday afternoon
in chilly conditions, finished second with a time of 15:30.
Members of the St. Croix Central boys team, and their times, are:
Brett Johnson (4, 17:17.3), Steven Zerwas (13, 17:55.9), Derrek Pedersen
(16, 18:05.9), Ryan Hansen (22, 18:17.5), Stephen Brunshidle (23, 18:17.8),
Logan Snyder (51, 19:23.1) and Alex Halvorson (53, 19:28.4).
The Central boys race for Division 2 will be at 11:40 a.m. Wagner
will run in the Division 2 girls race which will begin at 1:40 p.m. An
awards ceremony following the races will be held at Wisconsin Rapids High
School at 3:45 p.m.

Village Board pares down spending

The Baldwin Village Board, at a special meeting on Wednesday,
October 22, dealt with economic realities and worked to keep the village's
budget for 2009 to no increase in taxes.
Village President Don McGee explained after the meeting that
valuation of the village is down, so the board worked to keep the mill rate
thesame as last year and keep taxes as low as possible.
McGee also noted that at the meeting last Wednesday, the board
added funds for contingencies and kept street projects in at a level
comparable to past years. Some of the cuts came at the expense of the parks
budget which had a path project cut.
"If we're hurting [financially], we just hold off on some of these
things," he said at the meeting. "But if it's for safety you have to do
it." McGee noted that the equalized value of the village fell by more than
$8,000,000. He agreed that parks took a hit, but noted that last year some
expenditures for streets were taken out of the budget so the parks budget
could be enlarged.
The Board will hold a public hearing on the budget at their meeting
on Wednesday, November 19 starting at 6:00 p.m.
The proposed budget for 2009 that will be the subject of the
hearing totals $3,082,243. That compares with a proposed budget for 2008 of
$3,077,944 and actual projected of $3,149,894.
Of the amount proposed for 2009, local property taxes account for
$1,992,747, which compares to $1,953,674 this year. Anticipated for 2009 is
intergovernmental revenue of $644,236, down substantially from this year's
figure of $722,454.
On the expenditure side, the biggest expense for the village is
public safety with proposed spending in 2009 of $979,334, compared to
2008's figure of $1,042,879. Next in line is public works which is proposed
at $972,609 for 2009 compared to $919,204 this year.

Two dead in vehicle crashes in past week

St. Croix County suffered a pair of traffic fatalities in two
separate crashes during the past week.
Dead are 17-year-old Erik F. Ness, a junior at New Richmond High
School and 51-year-old Thomas A. Ellefson of Spring Valley, according to
the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.
On Thursday, October 23 at 3:59 p.m., Ness was involved in a
two-vehicle crash at the intersection of 120th Street and 130th Avenue in
the Town of Richmond. According to the Sheriff's Department, Ness was
driving a 1995 Plymouth Neon and was southbound on 120th Street. Ness
failed to stop at the stop sign and was struck by a 2003 Sterling grain
truck driven by Larry W. Reckin, 59, of Elmwood and owned by Countryside
Cooperative of Durand. After Ness' car was struck, it overturned and
entered the ditch at the southeast corner of the intersection. Ness was
partially ejected from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the
St. Croix County Medical Examiner. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the
time of the accident.
The truck driven by Reckin entered the south ditch and came to rest
in a field. He was wearing a seatbelt and was slightly injured.
Assisting at the scene in addition to Sheriff's Deputies were the
New Richmond Fire Department, New Richmond Rescue and New Richmond EMS. The
crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Department and the
Wisconsin State Patrol.
Ellefson was killed early Sunday morning when his motorcycle left
the roadway east of Baldwin. According to the St. Croix County Sheriff's
Department, on October 26 at 2:36 a.m., the Department responded to a
motorcycle crash at the intersection of Rose Lane and CTH BB in the Town of
Ellefson was driving a 2004 Honda VTX motorcycle and was eastbound
on Rose Lane. According to the Sheriff's Department, as he approached the
intersection, he failed to stop at the stop sign, lost control of his
motorcycle and put the motorcycle on its side. The motorcycle slid across
CTH BB and came to rest in the east ditch and Ellefson was ejected from the
motorcycle. He was transported to Baldwin Area Medical Center where he was
pronounced dead by the St. Croix County Medical Examiner.
The Sheriff's Department said Ellefson was not wearing a helmet at
the time of the crash.
Assisting at the scene were the Baldwin and Woodville Police
Departments and United Fire and Rescue. The crash remains under
investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.
Ness is the county's eighth traffic fatality of 2008 and Ellefson
is the county's ninth.

From the Exchanges
Interesting news items from
Surrounding communities

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD: The father of a boy who was sexually assaulted by a
substitute teacher has filed a civil lawsuit against her and her husband.
The suit, filed in Pierce County, asks for unspecified monetary damages
from Ann and Wade J. Knopf, W5820 950th St., Ellsworth. To protect the
minor's confidentiality, both he and his father are identified in the
complaint only by their initials. The suit claims Ann Knopf's actions
"passed the boundaries of decency and are utterly intolerable to the
civilized community" and her husband had a duty as a homeowner, spouse and
parent to avoid exposing the boy to risk of harm in the Knopf house. The
suit alleges assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional
distress and says the boy will and has suffered "depression, guilt, shame
and generalized anxiety" as a result of the abuse. The lawsuit asks for
compensatory and punitive damages from both Knopfs. In July, Ann Knopf
pleaded guilty to second degree sexual assault of a minor and was sentenced
to nine months in jail and five years probation. She was also ordered to
have no contact with underage males, to register as a sex offender and to
follow through with treatment. According to the civil suit, Knopf has been
diagnosed and treated for mental illness and her husband was aware of that.

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): Former Osceola police officer Mike Jarvey was sentenced
to 30 days in jail and three years of probation, during which time he is
not allowed to be in Polk County. Jarvey, now 42, of Green Bay, Wis., was
convicted last June on two felony counts of officer misconduct/excessive
authority and possessing a firearm after court injunction after pleading
guilty to the latter and no contest to the former. Judge Rasmussen
admonished Jarvey for his conduct and for betraying the trust of the
people. Rasmussen also noted Jarvey's "sterling reputation" and that he had
found him to be honest and well prepared at times when he had appeared in
court. Polk County District Attorney Dan Steffen said he was not entirely
happy with the outcome of the sentencing hearing, given that he had
suggested nine months of jail time and at least five years of probation. "I
think the most important thing here is that Mike Jarvey is now a convicted
felon and not a police officer," Steffen said. "I realize that some people
will be disappointed in this, but, ultimately, he has been punished." Tim
Lauridsen also was not pleased with the verdict. Lauridsen believes the
sentence was in line with pair of misdemeanors, not a pair of felonies.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: St. Croix Sheriff Dennis Hillstead said two teenage
boys age 14 and 15, admitted setting the August 20 fire in an unattached
garage located at 436 Red Brick Road in the Town of Troy. The boys
confessed to that crime as well as to breaking into the house and
vandalizing parts of it. "It just took a little while to gather
information," the sheriff said. People speculated at the time of the fire
that a controversy surrounding the property may have prompted wrongdoing at
the address. Controversy had erupted after Heartland Montessori School
brought the foreclosed home and made plans to move its Hudson campus there.
Neighbors united and protested the school's coming, saying it didn't belong
in their neighborhood. Residents appealed the County Board of Adjustment's
to decisions to grant the school its special-use permit. As of the
beginning of September, the second appeal case was pending and Heartland
had decided to stay at least another year in its Hudson campus on Rodeo
Circle. Hillstead said the investigator concluded that the controversy had
nothing to do with causing the fire. The sheriff says his department got a
tip leading them to the boys, who told officials that they'd been visiting
friends in the neighborhood and taken beer from their parents'
refrigerator. Upon walking home, they decided to break into the empty house
and ended by damaging the inside. According to officials, the boys said,
"They wanted to learn what would happen if they pouredgas on the lawnmower
and set it on fire." According to Hillstead and the report, the boys
entered the garage, doused the lawnmower with gas, poured a trail of gas
from it to outside the shed, then lit the trail. Next the lawnmower
exploded and flames engulfed the garage. The shed was a total loss.
Firefighters tore down all the walls in order to fully extinguish the

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

St. Croix County Seniors top in Wisconsin State 4-H judging contest

Pictured left to right are Bob Zwald, Jill Cowles, Jacob Kruschke, Tom Zwald, Chuck Kruschke and Kendra Mitchell.

The St. Croix County Senior Dairy Judging Team took top honors at the State 4-H Senior Dairy Judging Contest at the Polk County Fair in St. Croix Falls on July 25.

Senior contestants placed ten classes and delivered four sets of oral reasons. St. Croix County's team members and their parents are: Kenra Mitchell, Jackie and Dennis Mitchell, New Richmond; Jill Cowles, Dave and Cheryl Cowles, Roberts; Tom Zwald, Bob and Kay Zwald, Hammond; and Jacob Kruschke, Chuck and Mary Kruschke, New Richmond. The team coaches are Bob Zwald and Chuck Kruschke.

"These four kids have been judging dairy cows since they were nine years old in the 4-H dairy project," said Bob Zwald. "This is the result of nine or ten years of hard work."

Zwald noted that every year about Easter St. Croix County dairy judging practice starts. The kids compete to represent St. Croix County at the northwest district in the middle of June. Practices are held once a week from April until the contest in June.

This invovles about 200 kids from 18 counties in northwest Wisconsin. The winning teams then represent their county at the state contest which was held at St. Croix Falls this year.

In all, over 800 4-Hers compete for this title. From the state contest, the winning team represents Wisconsin at the National 4-H Dairy Judging Contest held at the World Dairy Expo in Madison on September 29 this year. Contestants from about 40 other states will compete in the

The winning team at Expo will get an educational trip to represent USA at Edinburgh, Scotland next summer. This year the state of Wisconsin will be represented by St. Croix County. The contest at World Dairy Expo will be preceded by a three day tour of some of the best dairy herds, where practices will be held along with educational tours of Hoards Dairynan Magazine, Nasco Farm Supply, and the Dairy Shrine Museum at Fort Atkinson.

"We are very proud of the dedication and accomplishments of these outstanding youth," Zwald commented.

FCCLA and CO2 receive community service award

Pictured are: Jordan Lorenz, Angela Schmoker, Zac Humphrey, Mark Serier and Caleb Larson. Not in the picture are: Sara Donahoe, Bailey Larson and Jon Willert.

The Lions Club Foundation of Wisconsin awarded a first place plaque and a check for $500.00 to the Baldwin-Woodville High School FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and independent student band "CO2" for their community service project entitled, "Band for Benefit."

On Saturday, September 13, members of the "Band for Benefit" project attended the State Lions Club Foundation Camp and Open house in Rosholt, Wisconsin. Students Jordan Lorenz, Mark Serier, Zac Humphrey and Caleb Larson were in attendance along with advisor Angela Schmoker and Frederick, as chaperones. While at the camp, students were able to tour the 440 acre facility, which allows blind, deaf or hard of hearing and cognitive disabled children to attend camp, view the eyeglass recycling center and participate in the awards ceremony. The plaque and check was awarded to the FCCLA and "CO2" based on their written essay that was previously submitted.

The community service project had taken place during the 2007-2008 school year. FCCLA members and "CO2" were contacted about a local family that was in need. The students put a plan into action to play at local establishments and churches, took up a free will donation and raised enough funds to meet the needs of the family. After hours of practice, several performances and a fundraiser concert with the band "Lightswitch," the students raised over $1500.00. The money was used to pay a family's mortgage payment, fuel, groceries, household necessities and Christmas gifts.

"The FCCLA and "CO2" feel honored to have done this project for their community and look forward to continuing their efforts where needed," said Mrs. Schmoker "Thank you to all thelocal Lion's Club members for this award. It was truly a tribute to the amazing work the Lion's Club does for the state of Wisconsin."

Veenstra is National Merit semifinalist

Rachelle Jayne Veenstra, daughter of Anson and Sylvia Veenstra, has been honored in the National Merit Scholarship Program as a Semifinalist.

About 1,600 high-scoring participants in each year's National Achievement Scholarship Program are designated Semifinalists. Semifinalists are the highest-scoring program participants in the states that constitute each region.

Application materials are sent to Semifinalists through their high schools. Before being considered for a National Achievement Scholarship, a Semifinalist must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and other requirements.

I-94 crash early Sunday kills one

The driver of an east-bound vehicle that crashed and rolled over early Sunday morning on I-94 in Hudson was ejected from the vehicle and killed, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The crash that killed the 25-year-old male driver from Minneapolis happened about 2:20 a.m. Sunday, September 14.

A female 25-year-old passenger was also ejected from the vehicle and was severely injured. She was taken to Hudson Hospital and then transferred by air ambulance to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. The State Patrol said she was from Hudson.

Neither name had been released as of mid-Monday afternoon, pending notification of relatives, the State Patrol said.

Both the man and woman were under the influence of alcohol, the State Patrol said in its news release. Neither were wearing their seat belts. The crash remains under investigation.

Board makes offer on industrial land

The Baldwin Village Board put together the final touches on an offer for 160 acres of industrial land in the Alreich Properties/Baldwin Business Park development southeast of the USH 63/I-94 interchange during their regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, September 10.

And according to Village President Don McGee, the terms offered by the village appeared to be agreeable to owner Jim Reich, when he was asked whether the offer would be accepted. "I think so. It sounds like they're favorable to it."

The terms of the offer are that the village will pay $1,940,000 for 160 acres, of which 20 acres is the maximum amount of wetlands. That price is considerably more favorable to the village than a previous agreement, which fell through, which called for a price of $2,250,000 for 140 acres.

McGee said First Bank of Baldwin has offered favorable, below market interest rates to the village to pay for the land. The funds from the purchase price will be paid into an escrow account from which the payments for a road and utilities to serve the property would come.

In addition to the details of the offer to purchase, the board worked out questions about easements in the land that may have to be moved, said McGee. Those terms will be part of the developer's agreement with Alreich which McGee hopes will be finalized at the October village meeting, along with the offer to purchase.

McGee also noted that an updated wetland map for the property has been approved by the Wisconsin DNR but still needs approval by the Army Corps of Engineers.

In other action at the meeting:
-The board approved a conditional use permit for the Orchard Restaurant and Banquet Facility. The zoning of the property-the former New Leaf Nursery-has been changed from agriculture to highway commercial, but a conditional use permit is still required for operation of a bar.
-The board considered an offer on a narrow parcel of land adjacent to Nilssen's Super Valu. The offer is for $1,500 which is the value assigned the property by an appraisal. However, the offer was not accepted until contingencies are included for utilities and a standard form is used
for the offer.
-The board approved installation of a sign at the Baldwin Industrial Park that will list the names of all the entities within the park. The sign cost of about $15,000 will be paid for by the village from TIF district funds. A base for the sign will be paid for by the Chamber of
Commerce. The sign will be located on St. Croix County land at the south east intersection of USH 63 and Fern Drive.
-The board approved issuing a class "A" beer license to Amwest, Inc, doing business as Bob and Steve's BP. Eggen's Supermarket will surrender their license prior to the new one going to Bob and Steve's.
-The board approved issuing an alcohol beverage license to Quinn Johnson and QS Enterprises, LLC, doing business as The Phoenix Grill at Baldwin Retail on Gracie Drive (on the southwest of the I-94/USH 63 interchange).

B-W schools having technical difficulties

If parents have been sending e-mails to Viking Middle School and not getting a response, there's a reason. Similarly, for anyone trying to telephone the high school since last Friday and not getting through, there's a reason for that too.

"Our server crashed the first day of in-service for teachers," Viking Principal Hank Dupuis informed school board members at Monday night's meeting, "and we've been struggling with it ever since.

"We're probably getting e-mails from parents that aren't being answered," he continued. Some of the e-mail accounts are now working Dupuis explained, but not all. Additionally, some folders, when retrieved, have lost bits of information, he said.

"Bryan Jones (Network Administrator and Technician) has been working hard on the problem and we hope to have it resolved soon," said Dupuis.

At the High School, the telephone hard drive crashed last Friday, according to Principal Eric Russell.

"BTI (Baldwin Telecom, Inc.) has been working with us," said Russell, "and we expect the new system to be working tomorrow."

During the open forum portion of the meeting, district resident and employee Kim Paul addressed the board on behalf of the Four-year-old Kindergarten Advisory Board. She explained the advisory board is studying the possibility of offering such a program at Baldwin-Woodville. The board would like to communicate with the community and will report to the school board on a regular basis. The Vision Statement of the advisory board is to provide all four-year-olds access to developmentally appropriate learning experiences through partnerships with communities and families.

Teachers Jackie Bensen and Jen Schommer gave a Smart Board presentation during the meeting. Bensen, a third grade teacher at Greenfield, explained that last school year, the district's Technology Committee made the decision to purchase Smart Boards for each building:
five at Greenfield, one at each grade level; four at Viking, one at each grade level and one portable; and three mounted and one portable at the High School.

"At Greenfield, teachers wrote proposals for the Smart Boards and we decided from there which classrooms would get them," said Principal Gary Hoffmann.

Smart Boards are connected to the teacher's computer and project from there. Students and teachers can then write or touch and move data around on the Smart Board screen. Notes can be taken and saved and it's easy to incorporate the Internet into lessons, according to Bensen. Lesson templates are provided through the software that comes with the boards.

Bensen said some teachers received training in operating the Smart Boards and then they trained other teachers in the district.

Using this new teaching tool benefits a variety of learning styles, according to Bensen. Visual learners as well as kinesthetic learners, who learn through physically interacting and touching the board benefit from the Smart Board. "It gets students involved in the lesson," she said.

High School Spanish teacher Jen Schommer invited board members to interact with the Smart Board. Board members then took turns writing on the board. Schommer and Bensen each demonstrated various lessons they have used with the Smart Board.

"The ways that we deliver information to students is constantly changing," commented Superintendent Rusty Helland.

During committee reports, board member Mike Bondarenko reported that since the No Child Left Behind legislation, national graduation rates are up two percent for a 74 percent graduation rate. He said two-thirds of schools have achieved the standards.

Transportation Director Wade Labecki informed the board that next week is Bus Safety Week and students will be practicing safety procedures.

Supt. Helland noted that Labecki (also B-W Athletic Director) is on the ballot for the WIAA Advisory Board.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Harvest Festival this Saturday

Jim Daddies Harvest Festival will be held this Saturday on the east end of the 700 block of Main Street in Baldwin.

The festival, sponsored by Jim Daddies BBQ Sauce and BBQ UniverCity, will be from noon until 6:00 p.m. rain or shine. It will feature the music of Howard Luedtke and Patchouli with a reunion of members from the Onyx/Second Wind/Bottom Line bands.

The cost of admission is $10 (or half price with a non-perishable food shelf donation). The proceeds will be divided between the Baldwin Parks fund and Tapestries of Life Mexican Orphanage. In addition, the ticket will enter you in a drawing for a grill and other prizes.

The Festival is the brainchild of former Baldwin resident Robert Dull, who currently works for Pearlygate Network, which assists artists in production.

Tapestries of Life is a U.S. based organization that takes seriously the Christian mandate to take care of widows and orphans. In order to accomplish this mandate, Tapestries of Life is focusing on two large initiatives.

The first vision is to build an orphanage in Guadalupe Mexico, which will be the largest orphanage in all of Latin America. When completed the orphanage will house over 400 children and the government promised to fill it within 24 hours of when it's doors open with a small percentage of the over 7000 children that are living on the street in that area alone. This orphanage is being built by churches in America, Canada, Scotland and all over the world.

"Lisa (Dull) Seaman and her husband Quinn are working on the orphange," Dull noted. "They hope to be open in about a year."

The second part of the vision is meeting the immediate daily needs of today by providing much needed food to the poor of Mexico. Many of these items are provided by donations specifically for this ministry or by the work teams involved in the distribution.

The festival opens with Howard "Guitar" Luedtke, a versatile musician who performs regularly at rock, blues and jazz festivals all over Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Bruce Hecksel and Julie Patchouli recorded their first jam session together on January 6, 1993 in a church in Chicago. With Bruce playing an acoustic guitar and Julie on a 5 gallon pail they discovered their desire to create music together out of anything and everything around them. That desire fueled their relationship as it grew out of this musical love they shared and keeps them grounded in the music they create still to this day.

The song Patchouli was the first instrumental piece they wrote together.

Bruce attended college and grad school for music and theology. Julie studied ethnobotany (the study of cultures and plants) and environmental science. Together they blend the idea of cultures, music, environment and theology into the positive vibrations of Patchouli music.

Patchouli's deeply rooted musical base combined with advanced studies in yoga, meditation and other healing disciplines work together to make music with a remarkable capacity to inspire and uplift the human spirit.

New flooring store in Baldwin

Colleen Smith, picctured above, and her husband Dean own Baldwin Design & Full Specctrum Flooring, a new store at Baldwin Retail.

Colleen Smith, who along with her husband Dean owns Baldwin Design & Full Spectrum Flooring, admits that the housing slow-down has probably affected their business. But she added that their store, at Baldwin Retail on Gracie Drive in the mall on the southwest quadrant of the I-94/USH 63 interchange, has been staying busy with remodelings and commercial and church work in the area.

The new store opened in February and it carries hundreds and hundreds of floor covering products in tile, hardwood, carpet, laminates and vinyl from a variety of companies, said Colleen. Colleen is the store manager and Dean, a Glenwood City native, is the chief installer.

Colleen said that what sets their store apart is that their installers are in-house. We follow the product "from beginning to end," she explained.

Dean has 25 years experience in installing floor coverings, most out of the Twin Cities. Colleen manages the store and has previous managerial experience. They employ a salesman, Matt Multhauf, also a Glenwood City native, who has been selling in the Twin Cities for the past
10 years.

The Smiths decided to start a local store, near where they live. Their home is almost equal distance from Hammond, River Falls, Spring Valley and Baldwin.

Serious crash sends two to hospital

A t-bone crash between two vehicles at the intersection of CTHs BB and N southeast of Baldwin early Friday evening resulted in the occupants of the two vehicles being sent to the hospital, including one in critical condition.

According to rescue workers on the scene, the occupant of one of the vehicles was taken to Baldwin Area Medical Center with critical injuries and then flown by air ambulance to Regions Medical Center in St. Paul. That individual remains in critical condition.

The individual in the other vehicle was taken to BAMC and from there was sent by ground ambulance to Regions for further treatment of injuries. That person is in stable condition.

Agencies responding to the scene in addition to Baldwin Area EMS were Baldwin Police Department, St. Croix County Sheriff's Department and United Fire and Rescue.

Lowered speed limits approved; Main Street will be done by school start

New speed limits for a road bordering Baldwin's southeast side were approved by the Baldwin Village Board at last Wednesday's regular monthly meeting.

In addition, Village Engineer Mike Stoffel of Ayres Associates told Board members that the Main Street utility and repaving project is going well. When questioned whether the work will be finished by the start of school, Stoffel said "they should be pretty well completed by then." A pay
request for $141,519 to Albrightson Excavating was approved by the board.

At the recommendation of Village Police Chief Jim Widiker, the Board set new speed limits on 220th Avenue, on Baldwin's east side, south of Maple Street (70th Avenue). From Maple Street south to Cedar Street, the new speed limit will be 25 miles per hour. From Cedar Street south to 55th Avenue the speed limit will be 45 miles an hour. Chief Widiker said the amount of traffic has greatly increased on 220th Street with the opening of Cedar Street to it. Traffic has also increased on 220th due to the construction on USH 63.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Skydiver falls to his death

A Chippewa Falls man fell to his death Friday, August 8 after his skydiving chute made "an abrupt turn" just prior to landing, according to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, and the man landed at a 45 degree angle.

Todd Jacobson, 39, was skydiving at Skydive Twin Cities in the afternoon, just west of Baldwin on CTH J. According to the Sheriff's Department, "witnesses at the scene stated that Mr. Jacobson was skydiving with a group. His chute deployed normally, but just prior to landing his chute made an abrupt turn in the air so that Mr. Jacobson was at a 45 degree angle to the ground," causing him to land on his head. The Sheriff's Department release said it is unknown why the abrupt turn was made.

The Sheriff's Department was notified at 2:18 p.m. of an injured person at the scene. Upon arrival, deputies performed CPR on Jacobson. He was then transported to Baldwin Area Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 3:07 p.m.

The Sheriff's Department news release said Jacobson was identified as an experienced skydiver with several thousand jumps to his credit.

According to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Jacobson was a safety and training advisor and videographer for the Skydive Wissota Indianhead Sport Parachute Club. According to that Club's webside, Jacobson had successfully completed 5,200 jumps since 1991.

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department news release said the death of Jacobson remains under investigation by his office.

Gold Finch Farm provides cut flowers to retailers

If you make the commute between Baldwin and Woodville on Highway 12, you've probably noticed the transformation which has occurred at the former Francis and Ruby Dees farm.

For the last four years Harold Wilkins and Bryan Gjevre have transformed the former dairy farm in a huge flower and shrub garden the partners grow to sell to retail floral shops, such as Hermes Floral, for floral arrangements.

"We are wholesale only," Harold stressed.

Wilkins is retired from a career of Professor of Horticulture, which included 25 years at the University of Minnesota and two years filling an endowed chair at Ohio State University. Gjevre was a student of horticulture, attended the U of M and met Harold while both were working on a project at Berkeley in California. Because the flower business is seasonal, Gjevre said he is attending a CNA program and hopes to work at Park View in Woodville during the winter m

Currently the partners have about three of the five acres at Gold Finch Farm under production. The top annuals include zinnias, sunflowers, amaranthus, celosia, dill, broom corn, sage and trachelium.

The broom corn can grow up to 15 feet in height, Wilkins noted. "A local farmer stopped in the first year we were here because he was amazed at how tall it was and no cob."

Perennials growing at Gold Finch Farm include artemesia, sedum, a variety of lilies, hostas, phlox, echinops, yarrow, Siberian Iris, allium, dahlia, Chinese Lantern, three species of milkweed, astilbe, campanula, foxgloves and callas.

"Bryan is in charge of research and development," Wilkins noted. Gjevre admitted some of his plantings do not work, mostly because they don't last in a bouquet. Only two varieties of foxglove survive the winter.

Eriogron is a flower they tried, but no one wanted to buy," Gjevre said.

Sweet pea flowers was another experiment that didn't work. "We ordered a variety from Britain, but couldn't sell a one," Wilkins said. "But we also had a variety from a test seed organization blooming when we got a call from a Hudson florist. A woman had passed on who loved sweet pea
flowers and the family wanted them for a funeral bouquet. So we sold $5.00 worth."

"Harold has the contacts (for wholesale), including the Baldwin Greenhouse," Gjevre commented. They also have an arrangement with Baldwin Greenhouse to use the walk-in cooler to store cut flowers before delivery.

Other local contacts include the three workers the business employs. Logan Veenendall and Justin Morrissey are high school students working seasonal full time at Gold Finch Farm, while Diane Hudson works part time weeding flower beds and Byron Jelen provides mechanical services

"We found the local workers are excellent," Wilkins said.

Harold also has arrangement with Jon-De Farms to have manure delivered to be used at mulch and fertilizer.

Gjevre said woody shrubs have also been planted, "but is takes three to five years for them to be ready." The shrubs are not grown for replanting, but are instead the branches are cut to be used in floral arrangements.

The next time you travel from Baldwin to Woodville, or vice versa, watch for Gold Finch Farm located on the north side of the highway on the curve and you'll see what's growing. You'll most likely see Bryan, Harold or one or more of the employees weeding the flower beds.

Area residents invited to Open House at Contour Plastics

Contour Plastics, Inc. invites members of the public to the expanded facility in Baldwin's Industrial Park on Friday The facility now contains 91,000 square feet of floor space.

To celebrate the completion of a multi-million dollar addition to their manufacturing facility in Baldwin, Contour Plastics is hosting an open house on Friday, August 15 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The company is located at 660 VandeBerg Road in the Baldwin Industrial Park in Baldwin.

The Contour addition project began in May of 2007. The addition nearly doubled the facility to 91,000 square feet. The project includes a two story structure that added a mezzanine level, offices, training, production and clean rooms that regulate air flow, pressure, temperature and filtration. Frisbie Architects of River Falls served as architect for the project and Gavic Construction of Hudson was the general contractor.

In recognition of the job opportunities and contributions to the community, Governor Jim Doyle announced on June 8, 2007 that Contour Plastics would receive up to $250,000 in Technology Zone credits as part of the facility expansion.

Contour Plastics specializes in the manufacture of precision injected molded plastic production parts and assemblies, principally for the medical, electronics and communication industries. Growing demand by these industries for specialized services, including class 10,000 and 100,000 clean rooms, were some of the pivotal reasons for this expansion. Customers choose Contour Plastics for the quality of its people, the speed of performance and its technical excellence.

Contour was established in 1990. In 1994 the company was honored as the Wisconsin Emerging Business of the Year by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. St. Croix Economic Development Corporation named Contour Plastics as the 2000 Business of the Year (medium category) in St. Croix County. Currently, the company has more than 200 employees.

The public is invited to the open house.

For more information about Contour Plastics go to

Hayley Hawkins is "Miss Hammond"

Hayley Hawkins was crowned "Miss Hammond" at the Hammond Heartland Days pageant last Thursday evening. Joining her on the Heartland Days court are princesses: Kelsey Criego, Tiffany Rogers and Kayla Forrest. Kelsey Criego was also chosen as Miss Congeniality.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Man dies after fall from bridge

A Hudson man was killed Sunday night, August 3 when he either jumped or fell off a bridge onto westbound I-94 and then was hit by three vehicles.

According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, Andreas Karl-Hubert Schoene, 34, of Hudson, fell or jumped from the 11th Street overpass. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy on Schoene's body is being conducted in an effort to determine whether he died as a result of the fall or from being hit by the three vehicles. The fall or jump and resulting death required re-routing vehicles in the westbound lane for about an hour and one-half.

The State Patrol said no one in the three vehicles was injured. The call to the State Patrol was received at 10:42 p.m.

Two accidents near Woodville sent five to hospitals

Two accidents near Woodville last week sent five people to hospitals, with one injured person suffering possible life threatening injuries.

According to emergency personnel who responded to the accidents, one was a T-bone accident on USH 12 near 260th Street on Woodville's northeast side. One individual was unresponsive with possible life-threatening injuries and was transported to Regions Medical Center in St. Paul. Three others in the accident were transported to Baldwin Area Medical Center with lesser injuries.

Another accident was at the intersection of CTHs B and N south of Woodville. Again, a vehicle was T-boned by another in the accident. Two persons from one of the vehicles in the accident were transported to Baldwin Area Medical Center for treatment with non-life threatening injuries. The occupant of the other vehicle refused treatment.

Agencies responding to the scene of both accidents were Woodville Police, Baldwin EMT Department and United Fire and Rescue.

Paulette Anderson's organizational skills a benefit to Hammond

Paulette Anderson admits she's good at organizing and that has proved beneficial to the Hammond area in several ways. Years ago she took a grant writing course at UW-River Falls and as part of the course applied for a grant for a fictional organization called the Hammond Arts Alliance. Her business is gardening, at one time operating Paulette's Gardens and now as a gardener for others, and her skills with plants have resulted in more beauty at the Hammond Hall.

For those activities and others that have benefited the community, Paulette has been recognized by the Hammond Heartland Parade Committee as Grand Marshal. Paulette will be walking in the parade perhaps accompanied by two-person llama costumes designed to publicize the upcoming premier of a documentary film "Running of the Llamas" by local filmmaker Heidi Freier.

Anderson is a native of Amery, or more specifically, Range, where her family had a turkey farm. She spent a couple years in college and then traveled and worked as a waitress for 20 years. Then she started her gardening business, which she has now been involved in for 20 years. She
had a retail operation for six or seven years, "Paulette's Gardens," but now is out of retail and does flower garden maintenance. At one time she had many clients, but at present has just a few.

Paulette admitts that gardening is a passion for her. She said for many years she tried to find a job she could do and have summers off so she could garden and now she is able to garden all the time. She volunteers her gardening expertise at Adoray Gardens and the container gardens at the Hammond Library and Hammond Post Office. About gardening she said: "I like it. I'm a part of it."

The Hammond Arts Alliance story is interesting. "Thirteen years ago I took a grant writing workshop," said Anderson. It was a day-long workshop at UW-RF. She said that afterwards she was excited about the prospects and was talking to the late Fred Kraemer and he said Bruce Foster would probably allow Foster Hall to be used for a gallery. A 501(c) organization was formed and that's how the Hammond Arts Alliance and Foster Hall got their start. "I like making things happen," she said. The Hammond Arts Alliance is now in its 12th year. Foster Hall is no longer the venue for the Alliance, and instead upstairs at the Hammond Hotel is used as well as
some remote locations.

Anderson said that over the years she's had many employees who were artists and so has a network of artists she knows. "I'm kind of a social person," she said, and knows art students, art teachers and everyone in between. She also said Hammond is an interesting place in which to have an art gallery.

Friday Paulette said she will be at the new farmers market, next to Hammond Hall. She will be selling flowers, be available to answer gardening questions and to talk about one of her new projects-establishing community education. Another of her current projects is to renovate the upstairs of Hammond Hall so it is usable year-round.

In addition to her organizing and gardening activities, Paulette has found time during the past eight years to serve as a trustee on the Town of Hammond Board.

Paulette and her husband Joe live just north of Hammond in a prairie style home filled and surrounded by plants and works of art.

The preview screening of the documentary "Running of the Llamas" will be on Thursday, September 11 at 6:00 p.m., which is just before this year's llama race which is at 7:00 p.m. The film will be shown in the Hammond Hall above the library. Next door, above the Hammond Hotel in the Kraemer Loft Gallery, will be a show of award-winning items made from llama fiber by members of the St. Croix County 4-H/FFA.

BAMC and Smestad team up to give students insights

Kit Smestad, left, B-W High School guidance counselor, took a course through WITC over the summer familiarizing herself with many aspects of the medical field at Baldwin Area Medical Center. Trudy Achterhof is BAMC's Human Resource Director.

A credit class through WITC taken over the summer by B-W High School guidance counselor Kit Smestad at Baldwin Area Medical Center has given her insight into medically related fields which will help her advise kids about them.

Smestad spent time over the summer in 16 separate areas at BAMC to gain knowledge about each of the areas and the qualifications needed for each.

"Now I have a better idea how to advise kids and can make them aware of different opportunities in the medical field," said Smestad. "It's not to tell them what to do but to give them information so they can decide what to do."

Smestad worked with BAMC Human Resources Director Trudy Achterhof to set up the course. Over the summer Smestad was able to spent time in departments or areas including: surgery, risk management, infection control, diabetes control; respiratory therapy, clinic, social services, lab, radiology, ER, OB and scheduling and registration.

Achterhof said that because BAMC is a smaller facility Smestad was better able to see the whole of the operation, rather than at a large medical facility which has thousands of employees spread across hundreds of areas. She added that the 16 areas visited by Smestad were probably three-quarters of the areas at BAMC. "It made it more manageable for Kit," said Achterhof.

Smestad said the course, practically speaking, involved spending time in each of the departments, speaking to the people in them "and finding out what they do." She also discussed schools that educate students in their areas. The connections she made with employees also provides Smestad with a contact person for a student if they have questions in that area.

"The great thing about health care is there are many options and the training varies from on-the-job to being a doctor," said Smestad.

"That's the message we try to send when we go to schools," added Achterhof, "there are many options." She said BAMC puts lots of energy into recruiting and working on partnerships with schools because of the shortage of health care workers. "We try to make ourselves available to their school programs and to be speakers and participate in their school programs and in interview days as a way of saying we care about students who want to advance themselves and help them achieve their goals in health care." Achterhof said

BAMC has between 20 and 25 students yearly from WITC and CVTC who do clinical rotations. She said that provides a pool of resources from which the hospital may recruit in the future. "Many people prefer to be in a small [hospital] environment," said Achterhof. BAMC also offers multiple rotations, she added, with nursing a great example. A nurse can be trained in four or five areas at BAMC, while at a large facility a nurse would work in only one area. "People who come here want the diversity and variety they get."

BAMC also offers a program called "Me and my shadow" for high school students to shadow a health care practitioner in an area of their interest, said Achterhof. "In surgery, for example, a student may get achance to be in surgery."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eggen's Supermarket now closed

Eggen's Supermarket in Baldwin is now closed for good.

A Bob & Steve's BP Convenience store will continue to offer BP products and the usual convenience store items from a portion of the Eggen's building.

Jon Eggen will remain at the store as a Bob & Steve's employee to manage the convenience store. Bob & Steve's BP has 28 stores, including locations in Hammond, Baldwin, Woodville, Knapp and Boyceville. The company is headquartered in Menomonie, said co-owner Steve Jerlow. Steve Eggen said he has no immediate plans.

Jon Eggen said that options for the remaining space in the building are being explored.

Eggen's was started 60 years ago by Jon and Steve's grandfather Lloyd and his brother Bob. It was then operated by Lloyd's son and Jon and Steve's father, Don. It moved to the present location in 1981 from what is now the westernmost portion of Baldwin Telecom. Jon and Steve came into the business in 1997. They have had as many as 25 to 30 employees over the years.

Preschool "Catch the Reading Bug"

The Preschool "Catch the Reading Bug" summer reading program at the Baldwin Public Library enjoyed listening to the Book Diary of a Worm and eating Bar-b-qued mealy worms and gummi worms.

Brothers died of overdoses

On May 27 Jeffrey Konrad Knoll, age 38, and Gregory Allen Knoll, age 43, were found dead in their apartment at 1102 County Rd. A in Burkhardt. A subsequent investigation showed that both brothers probably died on or about May 10.

Autopsies were conducted on both brothers on May 28. The final autopsy report from the Ramsey County Minnesota Medical examiners office received on July 17 revealed that Jeffrey died of a heroin overdose and Gregory died from an overdose of prescription drugs.

These deaths remain under investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office.

Survey asks businesses for input on health care benefits Results will assist regional health care cooperative

A steering committee seeks input from the region's small businesses to help determine if a health benefit purchasing cooperative should be formed. The committee is asking businesses to respond to a confidential survey on health benefits and costs. Businesses are also asked if the cost of health care prohibits their ability to offer it. A solution could be the formation of a cooperative. In the same way rural residents worked together to bring electricity to farms, members of a health care cooperative would purchase health benefits as a group. According to a guiding principle of a cooperative, more members lead to greater bargaining power.

The committee was formed last April following a 2-hour workshop on health care cooperatives. About 100 people attended the workshop. The workshop was hosted by State Senator Sheila Harsdorf and St. Croix Economic Development Corporation. In 2003 and 2005, Senator Harsdorf authored legislation that made health care cooperatives in Wisconsin a reality. Bill Oemichen, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, led the discussion at the workshop. He explained that an old idea like cooperatives could help small businesses obtain affordable health insurance. Oemichen said the Farmer's Health Care Cooperative, designed to help farmers and agri-businesses obtain health insurance, celebrated its first anniversary in March. Similar cooperatives are being established elsewhere in the state.

Steve Healy, a retired rural electric cooperative executive, serves as chair of the steering committee. The 13-person group meets twice a month and keeps attendees from the April workshop informed by distributing meeting notes.

The committee is reviewing by-laws for the cooperative, and has identified an 18-county region of western, west central, and northwest Wisconsin as a potential territory. Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer, Trempealeau, and Washburn counties are tentatively included in the cooperative's region. The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance must approve the cooperative's operating region, according to state statute.

The proposed cooperative has a working name - Cooperative Health Choices of Western Wisconsin, or CHC. A 2-page fact sheet helps explain how CHC would operate. In the mission statement, CHC says promoting wellness and healthy behaviors is its highest priority.

The committee has received assistance from a Green Bay-based cooperative known as Healthy Lifestyles. This co-op is currently enrolling small businesses into its third year of coverage, effective January 1, 2009.

Survey participants can go to to take the confidential survey. The deadline for completion is August 8.

For more information, contact Steve Healy at (715) 425-9447 or William Rubin, St. Croix EDC at (715) 381-4383.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Buzz has busy week; third in Cumberland tournament

After splitting a doubleheader with Grantsburg on Tuesday night, the B-W Buzz had a rough outing on Thursday night against New Richmond. What was supposed to be a doubleheader turned into a single game due to continuing rain as well as a poor playing field. "We had a rough game," said B-W Coach Grey Hush about the New Richmond game.

"They beat us pretty good. We tried to do two games but the field fell apart." But the Buzz came back strong for a weekend tournament at Cumberland, finishing third. In the first game on Saturday B-W beat Cumberland 8-3. In the second game "we lost to a very good Onalaska-Luther team 9-8 in seven innings," said Coach Hush.

B-W was ahead of Onalaska-Luther 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh but gave up six runs as O-L came back. "We had a couple of errors and before you knew it they won. We played pretty darn good baseball for six innings," said Coach Hush. Jason Geurkink was the starting pitcher for B-W and pitched a great game. Dylan DeMotts came in to relieve Geurkink and also pitched well said Coach Hush. On Sunday B-W beat Ellsworth 13-3 in five innings to take home the third place trophy. In the championship game O-L beat New Richmond by 10 runs.

"So we had a pretty good weekend but ran into a very good team," concluded Coach Hush. B-W's game scheduled for Friday at Osceola was postponed until this Wednesday, but may have to be canceled. Coach Hush said the Legion Tournament may begin Thursday. Coach Hush said he is sure there will be a tournament game or two this week, with place and times to be announced. He noted that the Legion Tournament is double elimination.

Buzz has busy week; third in Cumberland tournament

After splitting a doubleheader with Grantsburg on Tuesday night, the B-W Buzz had a rough outing on Thursday night against New Richmond. What was supposed to be a doubleheader turned into a single game due to continuing rain as well as a poor playing field. "We had a rough game," said B-W Coach Grey Hush about the New Richmond game. "They beat us pretty good. We tried to do two games but the field fell apart." But the Buzz came back strong for a weekend tournament at Cumberland, finishing third. In the first game on Saturday B-W beat Cumberland 8-3. In the second game "we lost to a very good Onalaska-Luther team 9-8 in seven innings," said Coach Hush. B-W was ahead of Onalaska-Luther 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh but gave up six runs as O-L came back. "We had a couple of errors and before you knew it they won. We played pretty darn good baseball for six innings," said Coach Hush. Jason Geurkink was the starting pitcher for B-W and pitched a great game. Dylan DeMotts came in to relieve Geurkink and also pitched well said Coach Hush. On Sunday B-W beat Ellsworth 13-3 in five innings to take home the third place trophy. In the championship game O-L beat New Richmond by 10 runs. "So we had a pretty good weekend but ran into a very good team," concluded Coach Hush. B-W's game scheduled for Friday at Osceola was postponed until this Wednesday, but may have to be canceled. Coach Hush said the Legion Tournament may begin Thursday. Coach Hush said he is sure there will be a tournament game or two this week, with place and times to be announced. He noted that the Legion Tournament is double elimination.

Flood plain shrinks with new bridge; "Safety Night Out" planned

Up to ten residences in the Village of Baldwin, all on the north side of the Baldwin Creek, will be out of the flood plain as a result of the new bridge being installed as part of the USH 63 upgrade project. In other action, the board approved the closure of Franklin Street between 6th and 8th Avenues for "Safety National Night Out," which is planned to be a part of "National Night Out" with the added element of safety incorporated. The event is planned for Saturday, August 2 from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. The individuals who requested the street closure also asked if representatives of the police, fire and EMS could be present for a time during the event. About 80 residences would be within the area of the event. The information on the flood plain status in the village as related to the Baldwin Village Board at their regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, July 9 by village engineer Mike Stoffel of Ayers Associates, the village engineering firm. He said the new USH 63 bridge—or culvert—has a much larger capacity and thus will not impede the flow of water during high flows.

County Fair is this weekend

The St. Croix County Fair kicks off at the Glenwood City fairgrounds this Thursday, July 17 and continues through Sunday. The fair starts Thursday with a flag raising and open ceremony at 10:45 a.m. in Memorial Gardens (near Croix Court). The Horse pull starts at 6:30 p.m. At 8 p.m. the Fairest of the Fair Coronation will be held and The Huet Maker's/Badger Dutchman Band will perform at 8:30 p.m. A fun-packed Friday includes Dance Explosion at noon and 2, a kiddie tractor pull in front of the barns at 1:30 p.m. The St. Croix County Outstanding Older Adult award will be presented at 1 p.m. Jason Huneke, comedian and juggler will perform at 3 and 5 p.m. The WSCA Open Game show starts at 6 p.m. 4-H/FFA meat animal auction and St. Croix Valley Pullers Tractor Pull both start at 6:30 p.m. The Battle of the Bands will start at 7 p.m. at Croix Court and The Twerps will play at 9 in the beverage tent. Saturday starts out with ATV mudraces at 11 a.m., Lake Country Cloggers at noon and 2 p.m.. The St. Croix County Canine Unit at 1 p.m. the C.A.M.L. Treble Barbershop Quartet will perform at 3 and 5:30 p.m. 4x4 Mud Races at 7 p.m. The Memories and Stampede will perform in the evening. 4-H Key Awards and Scholarships will be presented at 10 p.m. A non-denominational church service starts at 9 a.m. Sunday. 4-H music at 10:45 a.m. At 11 a.m. there will be a living memorial award presentation, mud volleyball and an antique tractor and garden tractor pull. Ole and Elmer musical comedy starts at 11:15 a.m. and a Talent Show at 1 p.m. Enjoy Walk Around Entertainment by Karen Burrell on Friday and Saturday. Pony rides and a petting zoo will run throughout the weekend.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Drowning at Pembles Beach over holiday weekend

On July 5 at approximately 1:30 p.m., the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department was called to an apparent drowning at Pembles Beach on the St. Croix River in Troy Township, approximately five miles south of the Hudson I-94 bridge. 42 year old Lona Yvonne Donahue, South St. Paul, Minn., was swimming there with her 13 year old daughter and a friend of the daughter. The daughter reported to Sheriff's deputies that they were standing on a long submerged sandbar when they were swept further into the river by large waves. The three tried to swim for shore instead of back to the sandbar, and were unable to stay afloat.

Two other beachgoers, Matthew Finley, 19 of River Falls, and Matthew Leick, 23 of Hudson, were able to rescue the juvenile females, but were not able to reach the adult female in time. The heroic efforts of Mr. Finley and Mr. Leick are credited with saving the lives of the two 13 year old girls.

An exhaustive rescue search was mounted for Ms. Donahue Saturday afternoon, followed by a recovery effort for the victim. Rescue workers worked until midnight Saturday night, and reconvened at 9:00 on Sunday morning. Ms. Donahue was recovered at 11:29 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department was aided by members of the Pierce County, Wis., Washington and Dakota County, Minn. Sheriff's Departments, as well as the Wisconsin DNR, River Falls, EMS, and the Hudson EMS Dive Team.

This incident remains under investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.

Fire destroys 42 round bales

A fire of undetermined origin destroyed 42 large round bales south of Baldwin in the Town of Eau Galle at the hobby farm of Jeff and Laura Kennett Saturday just before noon.

According to Jeff, the 42 bales of dry hay were stacked and ready to be tarped. He said Laura was out in the yard, but a small fire burning in the grass was first noticed by a neighbor who told his wife to call the fire department and then within a minute the entire pile of hay was in blazes. Kennett said he is sure the fire wasn't caused by fireworks because there were none in the area at the time of the fire.

Kennett said that despite the loss he is thankful that the only other damage was to two tires on a hayrake. He said the wind was favorable to blow the flames away from buildings and with the help of two Sheriff's Deputies and neighbors, all other equipment was taken from harm's way. "It went quick-the hay was dry," he said.

The bales are valued at between $50 and $80 each, Kennett said, so the loss will total between $2,100 and $3,000. He said he has insurance but isn't sure whether it covers the hay.

Kennett has 11 head of beef animals and two horses.

"We're very fortunate all it was was hay," said Kennett. "No buildings were damaged and nobody got hurt."

Peace Lutheran members broke ground Wednesday

Members young and old and everywhere in between were encouraged to turn a shovel full of dirt at the groundbreaking Wednesday for Peace Lutheran's new sanctuary addition.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the conclusion of Wednesday's outdoor church service, which followed a meal served to all who were present.

The members of the building committee and church council posed for a picture, above, following the groundbreaking ceremony. In the front, from left to right, are Steve Meyer, Louise St. Germain and Pastor John Hanson. In the middle row are Paul Ramberg, Barb Ramberg, Sharon Hauschild, Barb Fields, Tracy Carlson and Paul Gavic of Gavic and Associates, the general contractor for the project. In the back are Amy Hutchins, Kathy Miller, Stephen Clausen and Ken Rimer.

The $1.6 million addition and remodeling project was okayed by the Peace congregation at a meeting held in May. In addition to a new sanctuary, which will be built to the north of the present church structure, remodeling will result in new administrative and fellowship hall

Fund-raisers for cancer victim Jentai Otremba upcoming

A pair of fund-raisers have been planned for two and one-half year old Jentai Otremba of Baldwin. Jentai is pictured above with her parents Jake and Jo. Jentai was diagnosed in late March with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. On top of that family crisis, Jo is expecting a baby in August.

Jentai is being treated with chemotherapy at Children's Hospital in St. Paul.

Because of the demands of Jentai's treatments, Jo was unable to keep her job and also lost her medical insurance, so the family faces many expenses.

Two fund-raisers for the family have been planned. The first is a spaghetti dinner with a silent auction and door prices on Saturday, July 12 from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. at St. Patrick's Church at 1500 Vine Street, Hudson. Tickets are available in advance for $15 for adults and $10 for youth by calling 715-220-0727. Or tickets at the door are $20 for adults and $10 for youth.

The second benefit is the following Saturday, July 19 at Clifton Hollows Golf Course. The cost is $65 per person with registration due by July 12. A scramble will kick off the afternoon's golfing at 1:00 p.m. followed by food, prizes and a social time. Sign up with Dan Hedstrom at 612-306-0671 or by e-mail at

Updates on Jentai's condition and treatments can be found at

Site plan approved for new restaurant

A new restaurant in the former New Leaf Nursery building along USH 63 on Baldwin's south side received approval by the Baldwin Plan Commission Monday night. The site plan will now go to the Baldwin Village Board for final approval.

Dick Pearson, who owns the land and buildings, said he has someone lined up who will operate a restaurant, banquet and bar in the building. He also said there is considerable work remaining on the building and the site. "You're always concerned about doing it the right way. Rest assured, when it's all said and done it will be something that's very appealing. It will be done very professionally."

At Monday's meeting, the Plan Commission also heard Village Engineer Mike Stoffel tell members that there is no conditional use permit necessary for a restaurant or bar in highway commercial zoned areas. "A restaurant/banquet facility fits" highway commercial. However, a bar is a conditional use and requires a permit. A hearing will be held on the conditional use permit at the Plan Commission's August meeting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fiber optics being extended to rural area

Workers employed by Tjader-Highstrom used a machine to plow fiber optic cable through a wet area along 110th Avenue last week. Twenty-five miles of fiber optic will be added north of Baldwin which will allow cable TV, telephone and internet access.

Baldwin Telecom, Inc. began a plan to extend fiber optic cable to an area north of Baldwin two weeks ago where the existing copper cable had reached capacity. The project will result in installation of 25 miles of fiber optics cable.

Fiber optics cable allows transmission of phone, internet and cable TV signals over one cable on a much higher bandwidth than is possible with copper cable. The 25 miles of new cable will be mainly in the Towns of Hammond and Baldwin, but some will also serve small areas of the Towns of Emerald and Erin Prairie.

Baldwin Telecom, Inc. (BTI) General Manager Larry Knegendorf said the area that will be served by the new fiber is centered on Pine Lake and extends mostly to the west and east.

The facilities in the area where fiber will be installed needed upgrading "and we didn't want to put copper back in the ground," said Knegendorf. He said the present copper service had reached capacity and "it's not capable of handling what's coming down the pipe as far as bandwidth. We're building for future needs. The old equipment isn't capable of providing cable TV."

Other rural areas in BTI's territory that are served by copper have not reached capacity and there are currently no plans to install fiber in other rural areas.

The successful bid for the project was by Tjader-Highstrom, Inc. of New Richmond for $971,000. The project involves about 25 miles of fiber optics that will pass 180 to 190 homes. Two weeks ago that company started with the most difficult aspects of the project-boring under roads and laying cable through swampy areas. In wet areas the fiber optics cable will be contained in plastic pipe and in other areas the fiber will be within an armored cable.

Knegendorf said the project is a bit delayed from original expectations because of high demand for fiber and other telecommunications equipment from areas that have suffered natural disasters and have infrastructure that needs to be replaced.

Fiber optic cable is being encouraged by the federal government, said Knegendorf, through the agency that lends to rural communications companies.

Fiber optics is more expensive than copper because of complicated installation to the homes, Knegendorf continued, although because of escalating metal prices copper wire now costs more than fiber optic cable. The much higher bandwidth of fiber allows more services to be provided.

BTI engineer Ken Carlsrud said expectations are that the 25 miles of fiber will be installed by this fall and "hopefully be up and running on October." He added, however, that completion is dependent on supplies and the weather.

Brad Mortel of BTI said that one nice feature of fiber optics for internet is that no modem is needed in the home and that "eliminates a potential point of failure."

The bandwidth of fiber optics is much larger than with copper and that allows for cable TV transmission. Matt Knegendorf said one advantage of fiber and cable TV is that the coming digital transition will be taken care of on the Baldwin Telecom end. He added that BTI's basic digital package includes 140 plus channels including the Big 10 network and the B-W and local access channels exclusively. Cable TV also doesn't suffer from rain fade and local channels are free in high definition. Another cable TV service is digital video recording.

Shaymein Ewer of Baldwin Telecom said fiber optics allows faster internet connections, more internet sites and more interactive sites. He added that one study found that fiber optics to the home increased the average home value by about $5,000.

New barber pole donated to "Kenny the Barber"

For the past several months vandals had been taking a toll on Ken Van Someren's barber pole. And about two weeks ago it had been completely smashed and broken. But now, thanks to an anonymous donor, a new barber pole graces the front of Ken's Barber Shop.

According to Ken's daughter Linda Booth, a man told her he wanted to replace the barber pole because he had been a customer of Ken's for many years and in honor of Ken being a veteran. But, he wanted to remain anonymous. So Linda ordered the new barber pole at a cost of $230. The man, upon hearing the cost, gave Linda $250, told her to keep the extra, shook her hand and offered thanks for Ken's service.

And, to make a good story better, the pole was replaced near Ken's 80th birthday, which was June 20, making a special birthday present.

Local campers aided search for autistic man

The successful and dramatic conclusion to the story of a 25-year-old autistic man who wandered from a camp and was found a week later after being lost in the woods has a local connection.

A group of seventh and eighth grade campers from Peace Lutheran was at Luther Point Bible Camp with Pastor John Hanson when the Shoreview, Minn., man wandered away on Sunday, June 15, from Trade Lake Camp, a camp for the developmentally disabled.

At Luther Point, the campers were allowed to volunteer for the search on Monday, June 16, but only if their Pastor was present and allowed the search and every two campers were required to be accompanied by a counselor or adult.

According to Shelby Weiske, daughter of Mike and Lisa Weiske who was among the campers from Peace Lutheran, about 200 campers from Luther Point helped with the search. About 15 of the searchers were from Peace Lutheran.

Keith Kennedy was found Sunday evening, June 22. He was suffering from a failing transplanted kidney, dehydration, hypothermia and was covered with ticks and bug bites. According to doctors, he was lucky to survive. His temperature was about 84 degrees when he was found.

At the height of the search hundreds of volunteers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and medics participated. He was finally found in thick brush on swampy ground next to a creek bed by a St. Paul firefighter. He was about a mile away from the camp he had wandered away from a week before.

The story of his sojourn will never be known since Kennedy can speak only four words.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

USH 63 reconstruction project will take longer than expected

Mohamed Mounir, Department of Transportation Project Manager for the USH 63 project through Baldwin.

There's good news and bad news about the USH 63 reconstruction project through Baldwin.

The good news is the same as always: when it's finished there will be a new, smooth roadway; left turn lanes; and new traffic signals, including a new signal at 60th Avenue.

The bad news, due largely to unforseen conditions in the roadway itself, is that the project is going to take longer than initially forecast.

Officials of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the contractors for the upgrade project thought before it started that it would be completed about July 18. Now, after a meeting Monday morning among contractors, DOT and village representatives the completion date has been pushed to August 28 according to Mohamed Mounir, Department of Transportation Project Manager.

The problem, according to Mounir, is that the original plan envisioned not having to remove any existing curb and gutter along USH 63 between Florence and Hillcrest Streets. However, when contractors got into the work, they discovered that the existing pavement was about 14 inches thick, rather than the eight inches that had been estimated. Leaving the original curb and gutter, then, would have left a grade of five percent from the center of the road to the curb line, which is too much for safety reasons, said Mounir. So the solution is to remove all the existing curb and gutter and replace it with new, which will result in a longer project.

Mounir noted that the bridge replacement project over the Baldwin Creek is progressing according to schedule.

In the end, said Mounir, correcting the plan to provide for the right slope for the road is the right thing to do, although it will draw out the project. "I believe is will be a benefit to the town-to do it right," he said.

Impact Ministries open house is July 5

Pastor Steve Olson stands at the entry to Impact Ministries, Inc. in Baldwin located at the Baldwin Residence at 640 Main Street. An open house will be held on Saturday, July 5 at the faith-based recovery program.

By July 5, Pastor Steve Olson will have new flooring, fresh paint on the walls and furniture moved in to the west wing of the Baldwin Residence at 640 Main Street that will serve as Impact Ministries, Inc. faith-based recovery center.

An open house will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 5 and area residents can see the facility and ask any questions they have.

Steve Olson is the director of Impact Ministries, Inc. In a brochure explaining the recovery program he says he experienced 23 years of alcohol and chemical abuse but in 1998 he found himself at a defining moment and changed his life. "The true definition of repentance is: to turn around, or change direction. My exact words were, 'This stops now!' From that point on, through realizing the transforming Power of God in all His Goodness all things have become new."

Impact Ministries will be located in the lower, west wing of the Baldwin Residence. In addition to client rooms, there will be an entry/office; a common room for dining and group sessions. A new porch and stairs will be used to gain entry to the Impact Ministries portion of the building.

Impact Ministries will be a six to 12 month program, depending on the circumstances of the client, said Olson. When clients complete the program they will have sustained sobriety, a savings account, a work record and a faith-based background.

The program is for men 18 years and older. Although Olson does not have any clients signed up at present, he has a couple of possible clients.

Olson has training as a chemical dependency counselor, pastoral training and completed an 880 hour internship as part of his chemical dependency counselor training. Also on staff will be a certified AODA counselor.

More information about Impact Ministries can be found at its web site at

Fire damages rural home

United Fire and Rescue Department was called to a residence in the Town of Eau Galle on Tuesday, June 17 when a neighbor reported smoke coming from the home.

According to Baldwin Station Chief Gary Newton, a home owned by Xia Lee at 2366 50th Avenue suffered extensive damage from the fire and smoke. Newton said no one was home at the time of the fire and no cause has been determined. Firefighters remained on the scene about two hours, Newton added.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tanis Klingler crowned "Miss Baldwin"

New Miss Baldwin Tanis Klingler, seated above, was crowned at the Queen's Pageant Saturday evening. Standing behind her, from left to right, are Third Princess Jennah Ackley, Second Princess and Miss Congeniality Mallory Precht, First Princess Morgan Benoy, and Fourth Princess Jessica

At right is Klingler being crowned by former Miss Baldwin Rachelle Veenstra at the conclusion of the Queen's Pageant.

Panthers eliminated in semi

Members of the St. Croix Central baseball team included, front row, left to right, bat boy Jared Tilton, Mark Shaver, Luke Brown, Caleb Peterson, Noah Bollom, Nick Nygaard, Tony Juen, Jared Fern and Michael Tilton. In the back row are manager Joe Thompson, Ben Brooks, Brian Poulin, Stefan Wood, Andrew Erickson, Mike Winkler, Brady Hartung, David Butler, Cody Olson, Jeff Fern and Brian Aldworth.

Coach Mike Fern (5) had a conference with his infield in last Wednesday's state semi-final game with Marathon. From left are Michael Tilton, Luke Brown (hidden), Mike Winkler, Fern, Brady Hartung, Mark Shaver and Nick Nygaard.

The St. Croix Central baseball team was stopped on their run for the state championship in WIAA Division 3 by Marathon in the semi-final game last Wednesday.

The Red Raiders scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to oust the Panthers 7-2. Marathon went on to beat Aquinas 3-2 to win the 2008 Division 3 state baseball championship.

"It was a great experience to the kids to play in the state tournament in a beautiful stadium," said Coach Mike Fern. "It was a great accomplishment and will be a life-long memory for them."

The Panthers had eight seniors in the starting line-up, Fern noted.

"It's disappointing to end with a loss, but unless you win it all that's the way it goes," Fern said. "When they look back, they'll remember they had a lot of fun."

The Panthers were held to four hits in the game, but still had opportunities.

"We left 13 on base. We just didn't have the key hits," Fern said.

"We didn't put the ball in play enough. We were not aggressive at the plate."

Fern said the 13 strike outs were one reason for leaving so many runners stranded. "I do give Marathon credit. They made some defensive plays that really hurt us," he said.

"We had our chances with runners at third or second with no outs or one out and didn't score," Fern continued. "If we could have gotten some runs early and put the pressure on them, it would have been a whole different game."

The Panthers had a chance in the first inning when Michael Tilton reached on an error and stole second. Tilton moved to third on an throwing error in a pick off attempt, but was stranded there.

In the second inning Nick Nygaard led off with a walk and Jared Fern followed with single. But the next three batters went down via the strike out.

Marathon scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning. In the bottom of the inning Jeff Fern singled with one out and took second on a wild pitch. Noah Bollom walked with two outs and Fern went to third on a wild pitch. But again Marathon got out of the inning with a
strike out.

The fourth inning provided the Panthers with another opportunity when Jared Fern and Brady Hartung walked and Luke Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. But two strike outs and a fielder's choice ended the inning with the Panthers getting a runner across the plate.

The Red Raiders scored three runs in the fifth inning on three hits and two errors by the Panthers. The Panthers again left two runners on base in the bottom of the inning.

Marathon collected four hits in the sixth inning enroute to scoring three runs before the Panthers came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Brown and Andrew Erickson both walked to start the inning. Cody Olson came in to pinch run for Erickson. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. Tilton drove in the first run with a sacrifice. Bollom drove in the second run with a single to center.

"Mark (Shaver) pitched a good game-well enough to win," Fern said.

"We made a few mistakes, which cost us, but we were two evenly matched teams. On a different day, I think it could have been a totally different outcome."

Shaver pitched all seven innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits and four walks. He struck out seven batters. Bollom accounted to two of the Panthers four hits in three at-bats.

"It's something the kids have been working toward for a long time," said Fern. "Making it to the state tournament is a good way to go out."