Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Primary election moves Gherty and Cameron on

Mark J. Gherty with 4,593 votes and Howard Cameron with 3,077 votes were the top vote-getters in last Tuesday's primary election. Those two will move on to the general election in April.

Other candidates for the new judicial position for St. Croix County, and their vote totals, were: Carol L. Law 2,395; Charles B. Harris 2,107; and Ken Sortedahl 1,502. There were 45 write-in votes.

In the presidential preference primary, St. Croix County mirrored Wisconsin as a whole. On the Democratic side, Barak Obama received 5,467 votes in the county to top Hillary Clinton's 4,930 votes. Other candidates who have withdrawn from the race received a scattering of votes. On the Republican side, John McCain was the winner with 2,459 votes while Mike Huckabee was second with 1,597. Ron Paul received 381 votes and other candidates no longer in the running received a scattering of votes.

Man shot by sheriff's deputy after threat

A standoff in the Town of Hammond late Saturday night with an allegedly suicidal man has left the man dead.

According to a news release from St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead, at approximately 11:02 p.m. on Saturday, the Sheriff's Office was notified of a 9-1-1 call stating that Jacob Lee Sperl, 22, of 1848 60th Avenue in the Town of Hammond had made suicidal threats and was armed with a shotgun.

The caller said that in phone contact with Jacob, Jacob had indicated he had shells for the shotgun and was going to take his own life and "if the cops come up the driveway it will be too late."

The caller also said that Jacob's parents were in the residence and Jacob was outside the home.

At 11:16 p.m. St. Croix County Sheriff's Deputies arrived at the scene and parked on the road. The Deputies approached the residence on foot and as they were crossing the yard from the west, an unknown vehicle pulled into the driveway and stopped in front of the home. Two individuals got out of the vehicle and made contact with Jacob who was on the east side of the
residence's attached garage.

The two deputies continued to approach Jacob and the other two individuals. Jacob moved quickly away from the other two people and then reached down and picked up a shotgun laying on the ground.

A deputy yelled that "he has a gun," then ordered Jacob several times to put the gun down.

Jacob ignored the verbal commands, raised the shotgun and pointed it at one of the deputies. At that time both deputies discharged their weapons at Jacob, striking him.

Emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene and determined that Jacob was dead.

A examination of the shotgun determined that there was one round in the chamber. Nineteen additional shotgun rounds were found on Jacob's person.

Both the Sheriff's Deputies have been placed on administrative leave in accordance with Department policy, said the release from Sheriff Hillstead. The release said the incident remains under investigation by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department and the St. Croix County Sheriff's

BTI and B-W partner to launch school channel

Baldwin Telecom presented a donation last Friday to Baldwin-Woodville Schools to help with programming costs for the new school channel. Pictured from left to right are Wade Labecki, athletic director, Eric Russell, B-W High School Principal, Pat Beierman, B-W High School teacher, Larry Knegendorf, BTI general manager, and Matt Sparks, BTI operations manager.

Local telephone and cable company, Baldwin Telecom, has partnered with the Baldwin-Woodville School District to produce a school television channel on the local cable system. The programming can be found on Channel 18 on the BTI cable system. It will include schedules, announcements, menus, drama and music production and high school sports.

"Our company is very proud to be a part of working with Pat Beierman of the B-W schools to bring access to a school channel," said BTI manager Larry Knegendorf. "I would like to thank our team of employees at BTI for making this happen and the B-W school staff."

Baldwin Telecom presented a donation for $2000 on Friday to the school to help with costs associated with programming for the school channel.

"The school channel has been on the air for about three months and continues to get better and better," Knegendorf noted. "The school is responsible for the programming on the channel and many students are involved with making that happen."

Chamber Annual meeting held Monday

Outgoing Baldwin Area Chamber of Commerce President Allene Eggen, left, and incoming President Sonya Jansma participated in the traditional "passing of the wooden shoes" ritual at the Chamber's annual meeting held Monday evening, February 25 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Club.

Fire destroys barn, 40 head of stock in sub-zero cold

Billowing clouds of smoke combined with steam emanated from a barn fire east of Baldwin last Wednesday morning at the Mike Haller farm. Firefighters fought the fire and then remained on the scene for cleanup well into the evening hours.

Mike Haller, engaged in the terrible work of removing animal carcasses Monday morning, took a brief time out to talk about his plans for the future. He mentioned beef or raising heifers as possibilities.

Whatever the future holds for Haller, it won't be dairying, he said. "The dairy industry is too tough for the small farmer," he said.

United Fire and Rescue and other emergency agencies were called to the Haller farm with the barn on fire about 5:50 Wednesday morning when the temperature hovered between -15° and -20° F. The farm is about two miles east of Baldwin on 230th Street.

Mike has spent his whole life on that farm and in 2001 he bought it from his grandfather, Galen Anderson. His grandparents still live with him on the farm.

The fire appears to have started in a light switch, Mike said he was told by an insurance adjuster. The adjuster said the barn is a total loss because even though the lower part of it is intact, water that has gotten into the cement blocks will freeze and crack and make it unusable.

Lost with the barn were close to 40 head of cows and calves, Mike said. He said he still has two dry cows and heifers that weren't inside the barn. Also lost in the fire were 800 bales of hay, 1,000 bales of straw and chopped straw.

The barn was metal sheathed, said Mike, and that metal probably is the reason that a close-by shed and a feed bin weren't also destroyed by the heat of the fire, although a beam did fall on an auger and damage that.

Baldwin Station Chief of United Fire and Rescue Gary Newton said there were apparently three injuries suffered by firefighters, although hopefully none will prove to be serious or permanent. One injury was to a knee, another to a back and a third firefighter suffered frostbite to his

A total of about 185,000 gallons of water was poured on the fire and one of the firetrucks suffered a frozen line during the fight against the fire. Also responding to a mutual aid call were Roberts-Warren and Spring Valley.