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 danhedstrom@hotmail.com

Updates on Jentai's condition and treatments can be found at www.caringbridge.com/visit/jentai

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.