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