Thursday, December 31, 2009

Items and cash collected for Food Pantry at B-WHS

Maddie Otis was happy for the chance to “pie” Mr. Bassak, and shows determination in placing the pie squarely on his face.
A total of $1,350 as well as 698 pounds of food and personal hygiene products were collected at B-W High School during the “Food Fight” competition among homerooms.
The top collecting homeroom was Mr. Hush’s. Students in Mr. Hush’s class collected $463 and 30 pounds of food and other needed items.
Food Pantry representative Claire Stein explained that the cash collected was especially important because it can be used at a food-buying cooperative to purchase nine times the amount collected. He said the funds collected would help stock the Food Pantry for up to two months.
As a reward to students for their efforts on behalf of the Food Pantry, students whose names were drawn had the chance to “pie” a volunteer member of the school’s staff.

Man sentenced for battery to four and one-half years prison

The Eau Claire man involved in the invasion and shooting incident on August 1 at a home in Wilson has been sentenced to four and one-half years of prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and substantial battery.
Justin G. Rott, 26, was sentenced to the prison term on Friday, December 18 by Judge Ed Vlack in St. Croix County Circuit Court. As part of the sentence, Rott was also placed on five years of extended supervision and he was ordered not to use alcohol or illegal drugs, receive appropriate counseling and pay restitution. Rott was given credit for 112 days he has already served in jail.
Other felony counts, including impersonating a police officer, burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon, first-degree reckless injury and two counts of attempted armed robbery by use of force were dismissed.
According to court records and the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, a Wilson couple were asleep on Saturday, August 1 when their home was broken into by a man, later identified as Rott, wearing a t-shirt that said sheriff on it and carrying a rifle. He said he was a police officer and asked for money and drugs. When the couple was skeptical, a scuffle ensued and both the man and woman were shot but have since recovered. Their child was not hurt. Rott received a gash to his head.
According to court records, the homeowner told police he had been selling drugs from his garage and a relative of Rott’s said he bought marijuana from him the day before the shooting. Rott was arrested two days later by Menomonie police. Rott had a head wound and was wearing similar clothing and carrying a flashlight similar to that described by the victims.

DNR biologists have tracked cougar in western Wisconsin

Biologists with the state Department of Natural Resources have tracked what could be the same cougar through parts of St. Croix, Pierce and Dunn counties in western Wisconsin.
It is possible this is the cougar that was photographed and tracked Dec. 11 in Stillwater, Minnesota. That cougar was moving east, and it would have been easy for the big cat to cross the frozen St. Croix River. Tracks found in Stillwater and in St. Croix County are similar in size.
This question may be resolved as DNA samples (hair) were collected in Stillwater and in Pierce County and then again today in Dunn County. These are being sent to the Wildlife Genetics Lab in Missoula, Montana, for analysis. Results are not expected for at least two weeks.
This past Wednesday, a farmer photographed cougar tracks near Spring Valley, about 25 miles east of the St. Croix River near the border of St. Croix and Pierce counties. DNR biologist Harvey Halvorsen picked up the trail on Friday and tracked the cougar for more than a mile to the Eau Galle River.
A motion-activated trail camera took a photograph of the cougar Saturday night, south and west of Downsville in Dunn County. DNR biologist Jess Carstens verified the tracks on Monday, indicating the cougar has continued to move south and east at a rate of five to seven miles per day.
It had been expected that the cat would make a kill and Carstens found a cache Monday, a fawn deer that had been partially eaten and then covered with corn stalks from a farmer’s field. Evidence examined today shows the cat likely returned to the cache overnight.
The DNR has no immediate plans to capture the animal. Landowners in the lower Chippewa River valley are being asked to be observant for signs of the cougar.
If an individual finds what appear to be cougar tracks the best course of action is to take the highest quality photographs possible with something in the frame – a ruler is preferred but cash money will work – as a reference for measurement.
Instructions for reporting rare animal signs – and up to date information on cougar sightings in Wisconsin – can be found online at: This information includes e-mail addresses for transmitting digital photographs.
This is the second time cougar signs have been found in this part of western Wisconsin. In May, confirmed cougar tracks were found on a farm in Pepin County.
A cougar first spotted near Milton, Wisconsin, in January 2008 was the first confirmed instance of a wild cougar in Wisconsin since they were extirpated from the state in the early part of the 20th Century.
Biologists suspect that the handful of sightings since then are the result of male cougars dispersing from breeding populations in the Dakotas. Parts of western and southwestern Wisconsin offer ideal habitat for cougars with heavily wooded terrain, high-ridged valleys and large deer populations. There is no evidence of breeding populations in Wisconsin.
Cougars are listed as protected in Wisconsin. It is illegal to kill a cougar except to prevent injury to a human.
Wildlife officials said there is no reason for concern as cougars typically avoid any contact with humans. While the risk of a cougar attacking a human is exceedingly small, it does exist. Officials from Arizona, which has a large population of cougars, offer this advice if you encounter a mountain lion:
Do not approach the animal. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
Stay calm and speak loudly and firmly.
Do not run from a mountain lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Stand and face the animal. Make eye contact.
Appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly. The idea is to convince the lion that you are not easy prey and that you may be a danger to it.
Maintain eye contact and slowly back away toward a building, vehicle, or busy area.
Protect small children so they won’t panic and run.
Fight back if attacked. Many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, their bare hands, and even mountain bikes. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the animal.

From the Exchanges
   Interesting Items from
      Surrounding Communities

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: One thing everyone agreed on when the Hudson Plan Commission opened discussion on revisions to the city’s sign ordinance was that the existing rules aren’t working. Community Development Director Dennis Darnold said that over the years he’s collected countless illegal garage-sale and real-estate signs left standing on street corners. “I’d like to have a dollar for every realtor sign I’ve picked up,” Darnold said. Mayor Dean Knudson at the commission’s Dec. 10 meeting identified three types of signs – directional, vinyl banner and sidewalk sandwich-board – that are frequently in violation of the city current sign ordinance. Knudson also wants new rules on electronic message board signs. He says the city’s existing regulations on message board signs are conflicting and obsolete.

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD: The events of November 15, 2008, are still having a profound effect on Nicholas Thayer to this day. On that day, the 29-year-old Ellsworth native admitted to killing a deer with a gun which was illegal at that time. For that, he was charged with hunting a deer during closed season and failure to attach ear tag to deer carcass. He pleaded guilty to the deer hunting charge and his DNR rights were suspended for three years. Wednesday, Thayer was charged in Pierce County Circuit Court with alleged perjury before a court in relation to the testimony he gave when he was a witness in the jury trial of Daniel Place, his accomplice that day. Place was acquitted of the ear tag charge. In Place’s written statement to Warden Brad Peterson on the night of the incident he said he received a call from Thayer at 8:30 a.m., met Thayer at his house between 9:30 and 10 a.m. and then drove to the area where the deer was shot near Co. Rd. A and 420th St. Place also said that during their time together Thayer told him he shot the deer with a gun, for which Place called him “a dumb ass.” Place also said how Thayer was going to stick an arrow in the buck to cover the bullet hole. During Thayer’s testimony on May 6, the complaint says Thayer denied and said he never had that conversation with Place about the details of the bullet hole or he had shot the deer with a gun instead of a bow. It was stated in the complaint “Place’s statement appears to be a factual statement of events and he would have no motive to lie to the warden when he implicated himself in being party to the crime.”

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): Polk County’s Land Information committee wants one more month to chew on it. After giving Kraemer Mining and Materials more than a month to prepare before formal rebutting more than nine hours of public testimony and comment taken at a hearing in October, the Land Information Committee heard Kraemer’s rebuttal, then voted to table the issue one more time last Wednesday. Kraemer and a group of area landowners are seeking a Special Exception Permit from the county that will allow them to open a 61-acre trap rock quarry in Osceola township. During last Wednesday’s hearing, Kris Anderson, Kraemer’s business development manager, refuted many of the suggestions and accusations made during the public comment period, including that Kraemer had exaggerated its estimates of job creation and tax revenue generation.

AMERY FREE PRESS: The Polk County Health Department said that the first H1N1 related death has occurred here. It was an adult with underlying health conditions. Gretchen Sampson, RN, MPH department director, announced that no information about the patient’s age, sex, race, or residence out of respect for the family and patient confidentiality laws. “For most people, the 2009 H1N1 flu is not severe. However, the risk of hospitalization death is higher in young children (six months or younger, pregnant women, parents, siblings and healthcare workers, emergency medical services, personnel and persons with compromised immune systems).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

National Honor Society members inducted at B-W

New National Honor Society members were inducted at a ceremony recently at Baldwin-Woodville High School. The new members are pictured above. In the front row, left to right, are: Shauna Basques, Erin Booth, Marissa Braymen, Abby Gadbois and Ross Jennings. In the second row, from left, are: Brooke McNamara, Adam Newton, Ashley Robole, Jordan Johnson, Katie Wahlquist and Tanya LaFavor. In the third row, from left, are: Dakota Ramberg, Jordan Weyer, Emily Veenstra and Jalena Timmers.

Burglary investigation progress made

According to Baldwin Police Chief Jim Widiker, there has been progress in the past week in the investigation into recent burglaries of businesses on Baldwin’s Main Street.
Chief Widiker said there were two search warrants executed last week in Baldwin in connection with the investigation. In one of the searches illicit drugs were discovered as well as a receipt from a pawn shop that led investigators to a laptop computer stolen from PC Doctor.
Chief Widiker said his department has also received word of a personal computer discovered in a dumpster in River Falls but the PC has not yet been examined.
One person is in jail on a drug charge related to the search, said Chief Widiker. He said investigators believe the two burglaries are related.
The second search warrant executed last week turned up no evidence, Chief Widiker said.

New retail store open on Baldwin’s Main Street

Motorcycle Leathers and More is a new retail store open in Baldwin. Located at 740 Main Street, it is owned by Brad Coplan, currently a Baldwin Police Officer.
Coplan said his tentative plan is to retire from the Baldwin Police Department in March “so this is my retirement project.” He has been a officer for 22 years, including 16 in Baldwin.
Coplan said “I’ve had all kinds of bikes all my life,” so he enjoys motorcycle themed products. “I wanted the chance to get a quality product out there at a decent price,” he added. So far business has been good, he said.
The store carries brand name jewelry, wallets and purses, leather jackets, vests and chaps and some art work. “The big item obviously is leather jackets,” said Coplan, “and they’re not just for motorcycling.” He said more items are arriving and one of his goals is to get a line of kid’s clothing. Most of the products sold at the store are from Hot Leathers, which is a wholesaler in Connecticut.
An open house is being planned for this spring as the riding season gets closer, said Coplan. He hopes to have on hand a tattoo artist, someone to pinstripe motorcycles and a motorcycle wash.
The phone number of Motorcycle Leathers and More is 688-3075.

From the Exchanges
   Interesting Items from the
      Surrounding Communities

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office has determined that a Polk County officer’s use of force in the shooting of a Clam Falls area man was justified. Polk County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Michael Stoffel returned to work December 4 after a shooting review panel unanimously determined that Stoffel acted appropriately when he shot and wounded Jason King, 31, in the chest after midnight on November 15 in the driveway of King’s family home. The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and a seven-member shooting panel reviewed the information on December 3. Stoffel has been with Polk County since 1993 and was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2001.

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD (ELLSWORTH): A 24-year-old-man was hospitalized early Friday after being shot following a skirmish at the Harbor Bar. Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies were called just after midnight to the Harbor Bar in the Town of Trenton for reports of shots fired. Deputies said the victim was shot in the upper torso. He was transported to Fairview Red Wing Medical Center then airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. Red Wing firefighters said the man was in serious condition when he was transported from the scene. A St. Mary’s spokeswoman said there was no information on the victim. The Red Wing Republican Eagle has obtained the name of the victim, but is withholding it at the request of authorities. Lt. Dennis Sorenson of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the victim is still alive, but said his condition was unknown. “We’ve got a lot of pieces to put together,” he said. According the a press release the victim and a possible suspect identified by Red Wing police as a 25-year-old Red Wing man became involved in “some type of altercation” in the bar. Bar owner Brad Smith said the shooting stemmed from an argument that began near the pool tables.

BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL: Back on track and moving forward. That’s the status of the new Burnett Community Library in Webster following last Wednesday’s Webster Village Board meeting in which the village and Terry Larsen, who is donating his building for the new library, reached an agreement. “The second set of borings showed pretty minimal contamination so the board felt comfortable taking it over,” trustee Tim Maloney reported. The borings, ordered after the first borings conducted as part of an environmental assessment revealed some sort of petroleum spill, were not too bad. “It is now up to the Department of Natural Resources if the site needs to be cleaned up,” Malone continued. “But for the village’s part, we will take over the building from Terry by the end of the year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bell ringers raise funds

Ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s red kettle last week on Main Street in Baldwin were Baldwin Area Medical Center employees Barb LaVigne and Terry Rademaker.

Two stores robbed on Main Street

Two stores on Main Street in Baldwin were recent victims of robberies.
PC Doctor was broken into some time during the night time hours on Monday, December 7. The person or persons involved used a brick to break a window on the Main Street entrance, reached inside and unlocked the door.
Merchandise stolen, along with damages, totaled about $1,000.
On Sunday morning of this week, between the hours of 7:00 and 7:30 a.m., a brick was thrown through a Main Street window of Fennern Jewelers. The burgler reached in and stole six to eight pieces of diamond jewelry in a display case.
Baldwin Police suspect the two robberies were carried out by the same person or persons. No suspects have been apprehended. Both cases continue to be under investigation.

Village Board approves five year extension of United Civic Center contract

The Baldwin Village Board at their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 9 approved a five year extension of the contract for use of United Civic Center with the Blackhawk Hockey Association.
Included in the extension is the village’s agreement to continue providing the Hockey Association with an annual payment of $20,000 from the tourism fund the village has as a result of a motel/hotel tax.
The current agreement between the village and hockey association doesn’t expire until 2012. However, Jon Zevenbergen, representing the hockey association, said that if there is no extension with the $20,000 payment, the hockey association would have to start making plans to raise revenue. He said “significant planning” would be necessary to find substitute revenue, and some of it would perhaps have to come from raising fees to those who play on teams.
Raising the cost to hockey players could result in fewer numbers of players, Zevenbergen said, so the hockey association tries to keep registration fees “as low as possible.”
Annually, about $250,000 is necessary to run United Civic Center, Zevenbergen said. One of the largest revenue sources is tournaments, he added, and all the tournaments planned for this season are full. “There’s a lot of activity that way,” he said.
Among the recent improvement at United Civic Center are a security system and remodeling of a coaches room and extra space for storage.
“You have to be impressed with the job the Hockey Association has done in the past few years,” Trustee Claire Stein said before the board voted to renew the agreement from 2012 through 2016
In other action at the meeting:
-The Board approved expending $12,070 for a 2005 Trailblazer for the Baldwin Police Department. It will be equipped with siren and lights. The amount was budgeted.
-Caucus was set for Wednesday, January 13 at 6:15 p.m., which is before the regular monthly January meeting.
-The board was told that there are 11 or 12 applicants for the position of Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer. The deadline for applying is Tuesday, December 15. After the deadline is passed a committee will meet to pare down the list of applicants.
-The board accepted the improvements in Baldwin Energy Park conditional upon erosion control and street signs that will be done in the spring when the ground thaws. The acceptance is not final, but does give the village ownership of the improvements which means the village will plow snow on the street.
-The watermain loop under I-94 is progressing said engineer Mike Stoffel. He said the pipe, originally stopped by rock, has been relocated up about two feet. A pay request for the work done was approved and an extension of time to finish the work was approved until December 31 because of the unexpected rock conditions.
-Police Chief Jim Widiker said cab driver Abdi Askar who was involved in an incident in Baldwin on December 7 in which he was critically injured, remains hospitalized at Regions Medical Center and is on life support and has no brain activity.
-Engineer Stoffel said the Thompson building has been cleared of asbestos and the company hired to demolish the building would like to start as soon as the paperwork is completed, perhaps as early as this week.

News from the exchanges
Interesting items from
surrounding communities

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: The North Hudson village board put an agenda item on the fast track last Tuesday (Dec. 1) in order to make a grant application deadline. At issue was an urban wildlife abatement control grant which, if awarded, would give the village $5,000 toward the cost of an archery deer hunting season. The urban deer season is in its final trial year under the guidance of River Valley Deer Management. President George Klein moved the item up from No. 14 on the agenda to No. 4 in order to make the Dec. 1 deadline. “We have permission to fax the application in tonight,” Klein said. Lon Feia, president of the management group, said last week that 22 deer had been bagged since the season opened September 12. Their goal is 30 to 50 deer in during the pilot program that will end when the archery season closes January 31.

THE COURIER-WEDGE (Durand): Recently the Durand Police Department has received several complaints regarding a money scam that has occurred in several churches in Durand area as well as several churches in surrounding counties. A male would contact the churches by phone and advise that a close relative had died a long distance away and he had no money for transportation to the funeral. Arrangements were made by several Churches to provide assistance. The Durand Police Department with assistance of the Pepin County Sheriff’s Department and Pierce County Sheriff’s Department apprehended 37 year old Eric Allan Kisor on November 25, 2009 in the City of Durand. When interviewed Kisor stated that he lives in Rochester, Minn., and has defrauded several churches in various locations, and sometimes used an alias name. If you have been a victim of this type of scam, please contact your local Police or Sheriff’s Department. Kisor is currently in the Pepin County Jail.

TRIBUNE PRESS REPORTER (Glenwood City): Only seven Glenwood City firefighters were on hand to fight the Emerald Dairy fire a little more than a week ago, and that has Carlton DeWitt worried. DeWitt, owner, editor and publisher of the Glenwood City Tribune, appeared before the Glenwood City Council Monday night to discuss the issue and to urge council members to encourage city employees – and their own employees – to volunteer for the fire department and the ambulance service. DeWitt currently is a member of the fire department and in the past served the community as fire chief for 25 years. “City business must be done at this table, not down the street and especially not on the apparatus floor of the fire station. Because some members of the council engaged in a discussion about the ambulance outside of this table were overheard, someone was offended. Because of this we have lost two members off the ambulance service and one off the fire department. If you have problems with city business, it belongs at this table,” DeWitt said, reading from a letter he had written to the city council. Part of DeWitt’s letter stated: “The fire department is in worse shape for personnel. At the structure fire last week, only seven members of the department responded. Thank GOD for the mutual aid agreement. Our neighbors covered our butts.”

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): F&A Dairy Products in Dresser wants to further clean up its act. The 40-year-old commercial dairy, which makes mozzarella and other cheeses, is planning to install a new $500,000 aerobic digester that will decrease the amount of solids and other pollutants leaving its wastewater treatment system. The dairy submitted plans to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for approval last month, but could take up to 90 days to gain approval. If approved, the project is scheduled to be installed and operational by April 2010. Mike Breault, vice president operations at the dairy, said the new digester will produce a “fine bubble” aeration that will “get more air in there and treat things better.” “It should be cleaner and smell better” for residents near the treatment facility west of Highway 35 in Dresser Breault said. Breault said the new system is being installed in response to increased production at the dairy, not because of any permit violations. The dairy is currently processing more than 1 million pounds of milk every day, up from 900,000 a few years ago. The dairy employs about 50 people and currently is producing about 2 million pounds of cheese every month, Breault said.

MONDOVI HERALD-NEWS: The Mondovi School Board discussed changing the early admittance policy currently in place for four-year-old kindergartners at the board meeting held Wednesday, December 2. The discussion stemmed from many requests for early admittance that have come forward. The policy currently states that a child to be placed in four-year-old kindergarten who will not yet be four years old by September 1 needs to be evaluated through testing. If the child does not pass the test, and appeal can be made to the principal and then to the school board. Elementary principal Paul Franzwa said three or four requests have come to his level in the past five years. He said he recommends children entering four-year-old kindergarten should be at least four years old by September 1 and no early admissions should be allowed. He said some of the four-year-old kindergartners turn five soon after starting school and he emphasized that the needs of three-year-olds and five-year-olds are different.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa visits Baldwin

Ashley Jones, daughter of Loretta Lindsey, was a bit shy but Santa made her smile during their visit on Sunday, December 6 at the Windmill in Baldwin. The event was sponsored by the Baldwin and Woodville Chamber of Commerce.

Rick Walton killed in farm accident

Well-known local farmer and entrepreneur Richard “Rick” Walton, Jr., age 50, was killed in a farm accident on Saturday evening, December 10.
According to emergency workers who were called to the scene of Walton’s farm in the Town of Rush River, south of Baldwin, about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 5. Walton had been discovered on the ground next to a grain bin/dryer. It appeared he had slipped and fallen from the bin and the fall could have been from as high as 40 or 50 feet. Walton appeared to have suffered considerable trauma to his head and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Emergency workers said it appeared Walton had fallen a considerable amount of time prior to when he was discovered and emergency personnel were summoned.
Walton is best know as the owner of Rush River Meats, a direct sales meat market. Walton also had a large cash crop operation.
Funeral services for Walton have been set for Thursday, December 10 at 10:00 a.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, south of Baldwin on CTH N.

Charges dropped in car slashing; may be re-filed

The charges of first degree reckless endangerment for causing injuries to the driver of a cab that crashed into Greenfield Elementary on Monday, November 23 have been dismissed against a man who was a passenger in the cab.
After a preliminary hearing in the case on Wednesday, December 2, the reckless endangerment charge was dismissed but Cordaro D. Little, age 22, of Minneapolis, was instead charged with a felony count of possession marijuana. A preliminary hearing on that charge has been scheduled for Thursday, December 17.
The driver of the cab that crashed into the school, Abdi ASkar, 38, also of Minneapolis, has not been interviewed and remains in critical condition in Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He suffered internal injuries and slash and puncture wounds to his neck in the incident. He is still in Regions in critical condition and law enforcement officials have not yet been able to interview him.
According to Sheriff Hillstead, investigators are waiting for crime lab reports, including DNA testing, from the scene. He said although the initial reckless endangerment charge was dropped, as more pieces of the puzzle are put together, the charges “most probably will be re-filed.”
According to authorities, when police first found the cab crashed into Greenfield, neither man was inside it. Investigators believe the driver, Askar, jumped from the moving cab. He was found unconsious about 30 feet away from the cab on a sidewalk and was taken by ambulance to Baldwin Area Medical Center and then transferred to Regions in St. Paul.
The cab was totaled in the crash and first hit a garbage bin and then a parked vehicle before striking the school. Conditions at the site suggest that it crashed at a high rate of speed.
Little was seen running from the scene and was caught by an off-duty Roseville, Minn. police officer who had heard the car crash and was arrested about two blocks away from the crash site. A bloody knife was found along the route he took when he ran from the cab.
Little told investigators that he and the cab driver Askar argued over the fare from Minneapolis to Baldwin. Little said Askar increased the speed of the cab, locked the doors and pulled a knife wrapped in some sort of cloth. Little said he pushed the knife away from himself in self defense and that’s when the knife cut Askar’s neck, after which Askar apparently fell from the cab.
According to the original complaint, Little said that after the crash he ran away from the scene and as he was running he found the knife entwined in his clothing and threw it away.
Sheriff Hillstead said investigators are still trying to get a firm grasp on why the two in the cab were in Baldwin. He said information suggests that Little knew someone in the Baldwin area but “that person has not spoken with us and we’re having some difficulty making contact” and both Sheriff’s Department investigators and Baldwin Police Department officers are continuning to follow up on that aspect of the case.
In addition, Sheriff Hillstead said the cab lost contact with the company’s dispatchers about half an hour prior to the crash into Greenfield and investigators are trying to determine why that happened.

VIPs of Teaching recognized by MSOE

Former Good Shepherd Christian Academy teacher Jennifer Beierman, of Baldwin, now teaching at Red Wing High School, received the VIP Excellence in High School Teaching Award from Milwaukee School of Engineering on Nov. 21. Beierman was nominated by her former student Emily Knowlen, who graduated with high honors from MSOE with bachelor’s degrees in architectural engineering and construction management.
Each academic quarter, graduating students at MSOE are invited to nominate an individual from their own secondary school experience or their working experience -- someone who not only “knew her/his stuff,” but could communicate it, and whose commitment to others included encouragement of further educational and career goals. In more than a small way, these individuals had a positive and significant influence on the life of one or more students.
At a time of much concern over the educational skills and competencies of our nation’s young people, MSOE recognizes those who have had a significant influence on their students’ future educational achievement and career goals. Not only does MSOE shine a spotlight on its graduates, but also recognize and thank those, who in some important way, motivated them, inspired them and helped make it happen for them.

 In nominating Beierman for the award, Knowlen said, “Mrs. Beierman is an inspiration to me. I remember how she would answer any of our questions and do her best to ensure we really understood the subject matter. She instilled and nurtured in me an excitement for science and math and how they describe the world. Mrs. Beierman went beyond teaching me the academics I needed to know to set up a strong base for me to build on in college.”
MSOE is an independent university with 2,600 students. MSOE offers 17 bachelor’s degrees and nine master’s degrees in the engineering, engineering technology, architectural engineering and building construction, computer, business, nursing and health-related fields. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; and extremely high placement rates and starting salaries. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.

From the Exchanges
   Interesting new items from
      surrounding communities

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: A company that was contracted to collect bills owed to St. Croix Emergency Medical Services has sued the city of Hudson, claiming the city breached the contract. Lifeline Systems of Wautoma, which did business for Hudson as LifeQuest, is asking for up to $465,296 in compensatory damages, plus reimbursement for court costs and attorney’s fees. The complaint filed November 20 in St. Croix County Circuit Court alleges that the city didn’t notify LifeQuest soon enough that it intended to terminate its agreement with the company at the end of the three-year contract. According to the complaint, Hudson entered into an agreement with LifeQuest on April 1, 2006 to have the company provide a customized billing, collection and data management system that the city used to collect receivables for ambulance service. The contract required either party to give notice at least 180 days before the end of the term if it didn’t want it to renew for another three-year period, the complaint says. LifeQuest alleges that it wasn’t notified until March 20, 2008 that the city wanted to end the contract on April 8.

SUN-ARGUS (THE GATEWAY TO PIERCE COUNTY): One thousand pounds of produce? This is the amount of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, onions, beets, squash and green beans, added to the plates of our friends, neighbors and families grown in the Plum City Community Garden. Our first year has been a great success. The plan, from our early spring meetings, was to go small and do well. It worked! There has been very little cost for the garden this year with all volunteer labor, most Wednesday evenings all summer, plus other days. The plowing and fertilizer, the tilling, mowing and trimming, the seeds and plants, the fencing and gates, the signage, the flower containers, were all donated and put to use. The Village of Plum City helped with the location and water tank, keeping it filled. People have stepped up to maintain, pick and transport produce and help with taking the material at the end of the season for compost. The produce was distributed through the Plum City Food Pantry, and surplus was delivered to the Food Shelf in Ellsworth. The Community Garden idea is a very old and historic way to grow food for your area. Many local communities are organizing to have a community garden of their own. A surprise benefit of the garden has been sharing garden tricks and tips and conversation.

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): A 62-year-old Luck man has been charged with murder in the apparent stabbing death of a former Edina, Minn., man last Saturday evening around 9:45 p.m. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Wayne Rouillard at his Bone Lake township home after a third party reported that there had been a stabbing. According to the sheriff’s office, the apparent victim, Stephen Dahlstrom, 61, of Bogota, Columbia, was found in the garage area of Rouillard’s residence. Dahlstrom suffered “severe blunt force trauma and at least one fatal stab wound,” the sheriff’s office reported. Polk County Sheriff Tim Moore said the department recovered a number of weapons all of which may have played a role in the incident, including a hammer, a large knife that was found still in the deceased’s body, and a splitting maul. “This is one of the more graphic scenes I’ve been on,” Moore said.

RIVER FALL JOURNAL: Hailed as a “significant partnership,” UW-River Falls officials are expected to announce a joint deal with Racine-based Case IH and Value Implement of Menomonie/Osseo this Wednesday morning, December 2. The deal is predicted to greatly benefit students in the university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Services (CAFES). “We are grateful for this partnership which will provide (CAFES) with access to state-of-the-art equipment and will help prepare our students well for careers in agribusiness,” said UW-RF Chancellor Dean Van Galen. “This equipment will be technologically advanced and more efficient and ‘green’ than what our students currently have access to. These hand-on experiences will enhance the education of our students, which will also result in a brighter economic future for our region and state.” CASE IH is a global production of farm equipment – from tractors and combines to harvesters and tillage tools. Value Implement is a farm equipment distributor and CASE IH dealer in western Wisconsin.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

DNR purchases 155 acres adjoining Casey Lake State Wildlife area

Left to right are Harvey Halvorsen, Mike Soergel, Brett Olson and Ryan Brathal, all with the Wildlife area at the DNR office in Baldwin, standing near the new signs at the 155 acre addition in public land next to Casey Lake State Wildlife Management Area. The state-owned area is available for public use for hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and cross-country skiing.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has purchased a 155 acre tract of land adjoining the 210 acre Casey Lake State Wildlife Management Area. The property is at the corner of 200th Street and 130th Avenue north of Baldwin in the Town of Erin Prairie.
The property was purchased from a pair of Minnesota men for a price of $465,000, or $3,000 per acre.
According to the information used to review the proposal to purchase the parcel, the 155 acres “will consolidate state ownership, provide addtional recreational opportunities, and allow habitat restoration and management of the area for wildlife in conjunction with the Western Prairie Habitate Restoration Area project.”
The sellers are Lowell Bliss and William Potts, of Burnsville, Minn.
According to Wildlife Biologist Harvey Halversen of the Baldwin DNR office, “I was really happy that we were able to make the acquisition.” He said the land is an important part of the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Project [WPHRA] in western Wisconsin that spans an area from River Falls to Osceola and points east, including all or parts of 15 towns in St. Croix and Polk counties.
Within the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Project area of about 350,000 acres that was started in 1999, the goal is to eventually acquire 20,000 acres of land and restore it to pre-settlement condition. The project is a collaboration of the Department of Natural Resources, local governments and non-profit conservation organizations. The goal of 20,000 acres will protect approximately 10% of the landscape of the original prairie from pre-1850. In addition to prairies, the project will protect pothole lake areas and marshes. Those areas are important for pheasant and waterfowl production. Currently about 5,000 acres are owned by the state, local government and non-profits as part of the project.
The impetus for the WPHRA was “based upon comprehensive research of biodiversity and ecosystem management practices. Restoration of viable grasslands and wetlands to provide habitat for waterfowl, pheasants and grassland birds is the primary objective of the WPHRA project. The intent is to widely scatter suitable habitat throughout the area, rather than concentrating the habitat in one place. Reductions in habitat quality and quantity because of land use changes have contributed to the decline of grassland nesting wildlife populations. In addition, wetland loss or degradation has been an important factor in the decline of many wetland wildlife species. Ten species of birds known to occur in this area are state-listed as endangered or threatened and 19 species are listed as special concern.”
Casey Lake State Wildlife Managment Area contains the headwaters of the Kinnickinnic River and contains an important Great Blue Heron rookery. Acquistion of the Bliss/Potts property connects “Casey Lake to the subject’s uplands, thus increasing the brood and nesting success of the birds. Along the east side of the property is a complex of forested wetlands. Further to the east is Pine Lake. Pine Lake has protected shoreland via easement through the West Wisconsin Land Trust. The lake offers good brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl. The connected complex of wetlands and uplands of Casey Lake, the Bliss/Potts property, the forested wetlands and Pine Lake creates a vital association of nesting areas in this area.”
According to the proposal review material, of the 155 acres of the Bliss/Potts property acquired by the DNR, 110 acres is in grassland and 45 acres is “lowland woodland.” Prior to public ownership, the land had been in the Conservation Reserve Program [CRP], said Halvorsen, with much of it planted in native grasses. It will be burned next spring if the weather cooperates, said Mike Soergel, Wildlife Management, of the Baldwin DNR office. Plans for the lower areas of the property, on the south side, may include a dike to create a pond.
“The property will be open to the public for all nature-based outdoor recreational activities to include hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and cross-country skiing.”
Halversen said another 240 acre parcel in the vicinity is in the process of being purchased.

Fire destroyed building at Emerald Dairy

A Sunday morning fire at Emerald Dairy about seven miles north of Baldwin on CTH G destroyed a building that housed the manure digester for the large dairy.
John Vrieze, owner of Emerald Dairy, said the cause of the fire appeared to be a fan malfunction in the distiller in the building. No one was injured and no animals were lost as a result of the fire. However, the building appeared to be a total loss.
The manure digester produces natural gas from manure produced on the dairy.
Called to the scene was the Glenwood City Fire Department. United Fire and Rescue Department of Woodville, Baldwin and Hammond were called for mutual aid to protect buildings on the south end of the digester building.
Vrieze said he has insurance for the loss.

Christmas kick-off in Baldwin this weekend
Horse parade is Saturday; Santa visit, lighting is Sunday

As is traditional, the kickoff to the Christmas season in Baldwin will be this coming weekend.
The Baldwin-Woodville Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a visit by Santa Claus and Festival of Lights on Sunday, December 6.
The events will be held at Windmill Park. Santa’s visit will begin at 5:30 p.m., and he will continue chatting with children until 7:00 p.m. A warming tent will be set up and there will be refreshments for children and adults.
The Festival of Lights will also be at Windmill Park. The Windmill and the Christmas Tree at Windmill Park will be lighted at 6:00 p.m.
The 20th Annual Christmas Spirit Horse and Wagon Parade will be held Saturday afternoon. The horses and wagons festooned for Christmas are expected to parade down Main Street at 1:00 p.m. The Christmas Spirit Horse and Wagon Parade is sponsored by local merchants. Contact person is Mike Smith.
A number of additional Christmas sales and events are also planned in the area.

News from the exchanges
   Interesting items from the
      surrounding communities

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD (ELLSWORTH): A Spring Valley man was charged earlier this month in Pierce County Circuit Court with intentionally abandoning animals. William Gokey, 53, is looking at misdemeanor charges carrying a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or nine months in jail if found guilty. According to court records: Pierce county sheriff’s deputies were called to an animal complaint on September 26 near N48870 410th St. in Spring Valley. The homeowners were alleging they saw a truck stop, drop its tailgate and dump a dog. They were able to track the truck into the Village of Spring Valley where the police were notified. After a few minutes, they saw a male walking to the truck, where he was identified as Gokey. Deputies asked him if he had been in the Town of Gilman earlier that day and was the driver of the pickup. He said yes to both. He was then asked about being involved in the alleged dumping incident, a charge he denied saying, “I would never do that. I would shoot a dog before I dumped it in the middle of nowhere.” He also denied seeing a stray dog on his route to Spring Valley or that he would pick up a stray and drop it off again. Four days later, sheriff’s deputies got a call from an anonymous tipster who said she heard Gokey talking at a bar and saying his son called him four days ago, told him there was a stray dog on his property and asked his father “to get rid of it.” The caller then said Gokey was bragging about dumping the dog in the middle of nowhere and getting away with it. Law enforcement went to Gokey’s residence where he initially denied knowing anything about the incident. Gokey the admitted to picking up the stray dog from his son’s home and taking it to the place where he dropped it off. He kept denying the charge because he thought they were only asking about dogs he owned. A few hours later, sheriff’s deputies were notified the stray dog had returned to Gokey’s son’s home.

HUDSON STAR-OBSERVER: Zachary Wiegand was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday morning for the Wisconsin portion of a crime spree he went on six years ago. The sentence will be served in addition to more than 12 years in prison that he was given in Minnesota for convictions on charges of first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. St. Croix County Circuit Judge Eric J. Lundell handed down the Wisconsin sentence after the 32-year-old Wiegand, a 1995 Hudson High School graduate, pleaded guilty to armed robbery five days earlier. Wiegland’s robbery of an armored car outside of Citizens State Bank in Hudson on the morning of May 29, 2003, came near the end of an episode that had started the previous evening in Lake Elmo, Minn. A 42-year-old Lake Elmo woman was shot four times by Wiegand in that attempted car-jacking. When another woman stopped to help the shooting victim, Wiegand stole her van at gunpoint. Judge Lundell also sentenced Wiegand to one and a half years in prison for an arson charge that resulted from him setting fire to the stolen van that he used as a get-away vehicle in the armored-car robbery. The arson sentence will be served concurrent with the other sentences.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: Police continue to look for an armed man who held up a female Schwan’s truck driver around 8 p.m. Friday, November 20 in the city’s industrial park. The woman had returned from her route to the Schwan’s depot, 1050 Benson St. About to plug her refrigerated truck, she was confronted by a man holding what police describe as a “steel rod.” River Falls Police Sgt. Jon Aubard said the man demanded money. The driver tried to give him her business wallet, but he told her not to look at him and to remove the cash from the wallet and hand it over.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crash into Greenfield remains under investigation

A Blue and White cab was crashed into a parked vehicle at Greenfield Elementary Tuesday night. Law enforcement has an individual in custody and another man is hospitalized at Regions Medical Center in St. Paul as a result of the incident.

A crash of Minneapolis cab at Greenfield Elementary School took place Monday night, November 23.
According to a press release from Baldwin Police Chief Jim Widiker, the Baldwin Police Department was notified at 6:40 p.m. of a one-vehicle accident on Maple Street at 14th Avenue at the Greenfield Elementary parking lot. When Baldwin officers arrived they discovered a man identified as Abdi Mohamed Askar, age 38 of 211 W. 28th Street, of Minneapolis, Minn. lying on the sidewalk on the north end of the Greenfield Elementary parking lot. Askar was identified as the cab driver and had picked up a fare in Minneapolis and had driven him to Baldwin.
It was then discovered that a Blue and White Minneapolis cab had crashed into a street light pole, then struck a parked vehicle near the receiving entry at Greenfield, near the gym.
Baldwin officers were notified that a second individual was seen fleeing from the accident scene and was being followed by two citizens. Officers found the fleeing individual approximately two blocks from the scene of the accident.
The investigation at the scene indicated that the cab had been traveling above the posted speed limit and that Askar had jumped out of the cab prior to it striking the light pole.
Askar had numerous injuries and was transported to Baldwin Area Medical Center and from there transferred to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
The passenger of the cab, who is not being identified by law enforcement at this time, is also a resident of Minneapolis. He being held in custody pending further investigation by the Baldwin Police Department and St. Croix County Sheriff’s office.
Police Chief Widiker indicated that an intense search of the area was conducted in an effort to gather evidence. He did not reveal what evidence was being sought or whether any was found.
Observations at the scene revealed that St. Croix County K-9 units and then later dozens of United Fire and Rescue volunteers participated in the search.
Several areas were cordoned off with yellow police tape during the search and the Greenfield bus driveway remained off-limits due to police tape on Tuesday morning. However, the tape was removed shortly after 8:00 a.m. Police tape remained in the front yard at a residence on the south side of Maple Street, south of Baldwin-Woodville High School.
Chief Widiker said there appeared to have been some sort of verbal altercation that led to the incident.
Those with inquiries about the incident are directed to call the Baldwin Police Department at 715-684-3856.

Area Boy Scouts to receive highest award

Pictured from left to right, Zac Humphrey, Nick Huston and Mark Serier will receive the Eagle Scout Award on Sunday, November 29 at Peace Lutheran Church.

On Sunday, November 29, Boy Scout Troop 110 of Baldwin and Woodville will present the Eagle Scout award to three area Scouts.
Zach Humprey, Nick Huston, and Mark Serier have earned the rank of Eagle, Boy Scouting’s highest award. Each Scout enters at the rank of Scout and progresses through the ranks of: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and finally Eagle.
A variety of requirements must be fulfilled including 21 Merit Badges which provide more in depth study in a variety of skill and interest areas. Each Scout also provides service to the community, learns outdoor camping, cooking and survival skills, studies citizenship and strives to work together in leadership building activities.
Service projects for the community have included: highway cleanup, Baldwin American Legion Chicken dinners, Woodville American Legion Flag burning ceremony, cleanup for community Christmas and Halloween parties, Woodville Lion’s Pancake breakfast, and Salvation Army bell ringing.
A major portion of the Eagle award involves coordinating a project that benefits the community. The Scout needs to develop the plan, arrange for needed funding, and coordinate volunteer workers to complete the project.
Zach Humphrey’s Eagle project was to build an outdoor worship area for Peace Lutheran Church.
Nick Huston’s Eagle project was to install permanent benches and trash receptacle holders throughout the parks in Woodville.
Mark Serier’s Eagle project was to clean up the 10 acres surrounding the Rush River recycling center.
The community is welcome to attend the Eagle Ceremony on November 29 at 3:00 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church in Baldwin. A special invitation is extended to any Eagle Scouts living in the area to attend this ceremony. Refreshments will follow.
Cave Dahl American Legion Post 240 in Baldwin charters Troop 110.

Cindy Deringer to retire from Village’s administrator’s post

At last Wednesday’s Baldwin Village Board special meeting, the board heard not only about the budget for 2010. Village Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Deringer also made the announcement that she will be retiring from the post she has held for nearly 13 years.
Deringer told board members that she will retire effective January 5, 2010. She started in the position in April of 1997.
When Mrs. Deringer started work for the village the office was located downtown in what is now the west portion of the Baldwin Telecom office. Baldwin’s population was hovering around 2,200.
Now the village offices, library, senior center and police offices are located in a new building on Cedar Street and the population of the village had grown by more than a third to about 3,560.
The village office had computers when Mrs. Deringer started work for the village, but now the internet is used extensively and electronic filing of reports on-line is commonplace.
Mrs. Deringer said she will use her retirement to do what she finds she enjoys the most—and some of that may be up in the air. What she does know is that she will be able to spend more time with her children and grandchildren. Other possibilities to take up her time include more time at the lake, traveling and hobbies that have been on hold for years. She also said she may attend graduate school; she is just short of the requirements for her masters in business administration. Her undergraduate degree is in broad area accounting.
Cindy said the village is in good shape fiscally. She added that long-term “I think we have a great location with the interchange and I-94 and USH 63.”

News from the exchanges
   Interesting items from
      surrounding communities

THE COURIER-WEDGE (DURAND) – Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith reported to a Rock Falls area home at approximately 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, November 4 after a shooting incident was reported. Allegedly an argument over the sale of some marijuana or a disagreement about a comment made about a girlfriend may have been the catalyst for the drive-by shooting, authorities said. According to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, the suspects wanted for the shooting have been arrested and face felony charges in Dunn County for being part of first degree reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm from a vehicle. Brent Skinner, a Dunn County reserve judge, set bond and also ordered the men not to have any contact with the family that lives in the home or go within a mile of the house. They also cannot possess any dangerous weapons. The Leader-Telegram also reported that deputies also found eight .22 caliber shell casings near the end of the driveway. A deputy also found a .22 caliber bullet on the floor of the kitchen.

TRIBUNE PRESS REPORTER (GLENWOOD CITY) – A 57-year-old North Dakota man pleaded no contest in Dunn County Circuit Court November 13 for possessing an untagged bear and was fined $4,140. Michael C. Graff of West Fargo, North Dakota, was originally charged with harming a bear in its den, shooting and killing a bear without a license and hunting bear during closed season. Graff was accused of shooting the bear on the Neil Schlough farm in a corn field near County Highway VV in the Town of Sheridan on November 25, 2008. Prior to the plea hearing, a November 24 trail had been scheduled in Dunn County Circuit Court. The charge of hunting or harming a bear in its den was dismissed and Graff was found guilty of possessing an untagged bear. Schlough initially assumed he had struck the bear and killed it with his combine while harvesting corn. In addition to the $4,140 fine, Graff’s hunting privileges were revoked for three years. Dunn county Circuit Court Judge William Stewart, Jr., ordered Graff to pay $100 per month toward the fine until the fine has been paid in full. According to a statement Graff gave to a North Dakota game warden in early January, Graff said he had been hunting by himself on November 25 last year when he saw something that looked like fur lying on the ground. Graff said he thought it was a big buck and shot it twice to make sure it was dead. When he found out it was a bear, Graff told his father about it, and Harold Graff recommended they get a license. The two men drove to Ridgeland but found out that bear season was closed.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL - Accused of the Nov. 2 armed robbery at Dick’s Hometown Liquor, 17-year-old Blake Halverson has since been charged with two more felonies: Intimidation of a witness and bail jumping. Last Thursday night Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies arrested him at his rural River Falls home at N7923 870th St. and took him to jail. Halverson was to appear in circuit court for a preliminary hearing on the armed robbery charge Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 18. According to River Falls police investigator John Wilson, the latest felony charges against Halverson relates to his return to classes at the high school last week Tuesday. After paying a $2,000 cash bond, Halverson bailed out of jail the day before and then went to school the next day. He’s a high school junior. At school, he allegedly “verbally intimidated” a witness in the robbery case, a high school female student. Wilson said this violated conditions of Halverson’s bail. Both the witness intimidation and bail jumping, felonies, were added to the felony armed robbery charge and a misdemeanor charge for receiving stolen property. Halverson was only in school last week one day before being suspended.

HUDSON STAR-OBSERVER – A young Stillwater, Minn., woman whose small pickup lunged over the side of a freeway overpass in Hudson last January has died. Marissa Anne Saad, 21, passed away on Tuesday, November 10, following a decision by her family to take her off the live support systems that had been keeping her alive. In a post on Saad’s website, her mother, Lori Babcock of Stillwater, said Saad died in her arms. “It is with unbelievable sadness, sorrow and grief that we have decided to let Marissa Anne go,” her parents and siblings said in a statement on the CaringBridge site a few days before she was taken off life support. Saad was on her way to work at the Freedom Valu Center on Coulee Road in Hudson on the morning of Jan. 28 when she came upon an accident and lost control of her 2000 Ford Ranger as she was attempting to avoid that crash. Her truck vaulted over a guardrail, went airborne and plunged nose-first into Front Street, which passes beneath I-94.

BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL – Everyone knows the new Burnett Community Library in Webster is a work-in-progress but that work ran into a road block last Wednesday night. “I don’t have anything in writing and I just want it all to be legal but I don’t know how to go about doing that,” Terry Larsen told the Webster Village Board. At issue was Larsen’s donation of his former car dealership for the village’s new library and the fact he needs an appraisal for the write-off he plans to submit to the Internal Revenue Service. “I’ll retract the offer,” he threatened. “I have nothing to gain and everything to lose – there are a lot of IRS rules here and I need an appraisal which will stand up to the IRS. Part of the deal from the beginning was that I would get a tax credit for donating my building.” Larsen explained. That credit amount was called into question when village trustees talked about performing a “friendly” condemnation of Larsen’s building in order to obtain a liability exemption for the village. The liability exemption allows the village not to be liable for any site cleanup. The concern was raised after an environment site assessment of the Larsen property revealed a petroleum spill of some sort and questions who would be responsible for any clean-up efforts. Dave Rasmussen said the building owner can still apply for cleanup funds to get the site cleaned. Rasmussen is the engineer with MSA Professional Services, the company the village has been working with on the project. “How will the clean-up affect my donation price,” Larsen asked. “Your asking price is what the Department of Commerce is using,” trustee Tim Maloney answered. “They have already accepted the $225,000 asking price.” Because Webster has received a $360,000 grant for the library as long as the village matches that amount with local assets, the $225,000 price tag of the building can be considered matching funds.

MONDOVI HERALD-NEWS – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that Thomas A. Callaghan, Eau Claire, has agreed to pay fines and costs totaling $5,000 for his unlawful discharge of pollutants into the waters of the state without a permit – namely, metal shavings from Tremplo Manufacturing, Inc., into a storm sewer manhole that led directly to the Buffalo River. After the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted an investigation and referred the matter to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) for prosecution, a criminal charge was brought against Callaghan for this 2006 violation of environmental protection laws. Callaghan pled no contest to the charge and was found guilty at a hearing on November 10, 2009. Trempealeau County Circuit Court. Judge John A. Damon approved the plea agreement entered into between Callaghan and the Wisconsin Department of Justice. In a related case, Callahan’s employer, Tremplo Manufacturing, Inc., which fabricates metal parts for industrial mixers has agreed to pay forfeitures and costs totaling $18,907 in a civil action arising out of the same discharge. Judge Damon approved this settlement on November 10, 2009.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rumpel and Bonnstetter are Heisman High School State Finalists

Wendy’s has announced that two Baldwin-Woodville students are Heisman High School State Finalists for Wisconsin. According to a letter sent to them, both Bethany Bonnstetter and Edward Rumpel are State Finalists. The letter says that from November 19 through December 31 Wendy’s and Fox Spots Net will produce and air profiles of each finalist. The profiles will air statewide and be included in all WIAA programming.

School board votes 6-1 to bring pool up to code

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the outdoor swimming pool in Baldwin will be open for business next summer.
The Baldwin-Woodville Board of Education gave the go-ahead to fund the design and installation of new drain gates and sump pumps in order for the district to be in compliance with the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The approval came on a 6-1 vote. Voting yes: Mike Bondarenko, Ann Hilmanowske, John Hinz, Dustin Klanderman, Jody Lindquist and Jeff Campbell. Voting no: Todd Graf.
Cost of the project is estimated at about $20,000 according to a proposal presented at the September meeting of the board by district Maintenance Supervisor Mike Timm.
Prior to the vote, local resident and former board member Tom Schumacher spoke in favor of keeping the pool open. “The pool is a significant asset to the community. Many students in the district benefit from the pool through swimming lessons, employment and recreation,” commented Schumacher. “If the pool is closed there will be costs involved
and it is unlikely to open again. We have this asset, we need to maintain it just like we do other district facilities,” he said.
“Swimming lessons are very important for all students,” said Superintendent Rusty Helland. “In my opinion, it’s important to open the pool for the community.”
In response to questions from board members, Helland explained that the district cannot charge for swimming lessons because it receives state aid for each participant. “We get about $14,000 a year in state aid, which is used to pay for instruction which costs about $7,000,” he said. Non-resident participants are charged for lessons, added district bookkeeper Pam Rose.
“We can charge what we want for open swim,” Helland said.
Board president Jeff Campbell spoke in favor of opening the pool and then exploring other options for the ongoing maintenance of the pool. “We need to be pro-active here and come up with a plan, instead of scrambling every time some big repair comes up,” he said.

Village Board approves new flood map

The Baldwin Village Board completed action on a new flood map that should remove all single family residences from the flood plain of the Baldwin Creek that was first created in 1988.
The action comes as a result, partly at least, of the new USH 63 bridge which will supposedly allow more storm water to pass quickly under the highway.
The flood plain in Baldwin was first created in 1988 by the federal government. In 1990 the size of the flood plain was reduced. The new map decreases the size of both the floodplain and the flood fringe. Passage of the village resolution decreasing the size of the flood plain is contingent on DNR approval.
“Thankfully, we can put the flood plain to bed,” noted Village President Don McGee. “When we started this I think we had 46 houses in it. There were lots of people who really worked hard and now the 46 houses are out of it.”
Although all homes that were in the flood plain are now out of it, some trailer homes remain within the flood plain boundary.
In other action at the meeting:
-Justin Juelich, who resigned as a member of the village’s Board of Appeals, was appointed to the Planning Commission, replacing Nancy Hable.
-The Board approved the annual fireworks seller permits for both Fireworks City and Fireworks and More, Inc.
-The Board authorized an alternative health insurance plan—a Simple Health Insurance Premium Pre-tax Plan—that will save the village money and does not have any annual reporting requirements.
-The Board voted to rezone the property at 670 USH 12 from local commercial to general commercial. Two trustees voted against the motion. The new zoning was requested by the owner to increase the options available for renting the property, including allowing spray painting.
-The Board approved a site plan for remodeling at the Kwik Trip at the intersection of USH 63 and Main Street. The plan includes a small addition on the east end of the building that will be used to enlarge the kitchen.
-Engineer Mike Stoffel of Ayres Associates reported that on Tuesday, November 3 boring under I-94 was commenced for a water main. After going 16 feet rock was encountered, so the boring stopped.
“As soon as we hit rock the boring costs go up tremendously,” Stoffel said. He said a company has been called to do some testing of the ground to see if the path for the bore hole can be moved up or down to avoid rock, or if that isn’t possible to move the boring to the west, which may require a new easement from a property owner. Stoffel assured the board the boring can be completed this year and the new utility locates will be done by Friday if the boring has to be moved west.

Man’s body recovered at Hudson marina

A man’s body was recovered floating in the water at a Hudson marina last week. Hudson police recovered the man’s body floating near a dock at St. Croix Marina on Friday.
The white male was believed to be in his late 50s. He was discovered at about 12:30 p.m. by an employee of the marina.
According to Hudson Police Sgt. Eric Atkinson, authorities believe they know the identity of the deceased man but are withholding his name until his relatives are notified.
Sgt. Atkinson said the man was believed to be a member at the Marina and had a boat there. The boat was taken into custody and will be examined after a search warrant is obtained.
The body was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office in St. Paul for an autopsy to be performed.
“With any death where we don’t know the cause of death, we make sure we do an investigation that tries to explain the manner in which the person died,” Sgt. Atkinson was quoted as saying. However, foul play is not suspected by authorities in the death. Both the Hudson Police Department and St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the death.

Armagost bound over for trial

At a preliminary hearing held Monday, November 16, James Armagost was bound over for trial, according to St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson.
Johnson said an arraignment for Armagost was set for Thursday, November 19, at which he will be given the opportunity to enter a plea.
Armagost, 45, was charged last week in St. Croix County Court with “repeated sexual assault of a child” and “use of computer to facilitate a child sex crime.”

From the exchanges
   Interesting items from
      the surrounding communites

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company’s motto is “Strength in Members,” but other members see St. Croix County as the weak link and the county will pay a price. St. Croix has been notified that its liability premium for 2010 may be increased over 25 percent and that its self-insured retention, roughly comparable to a deductible, will be increased from $250,000 to at least $500,000 per loss. Actual costs will be determined in December. “From the other members’ perspective, we are not a good risk” summarized Kristin Ziliak, St. Croix’s risk manager. The most recent settlements involve a death in the county jail and a class action strip search lawsuit.

MONDOVI HERALD-NEWS: A rural Arcadia man died after falling from a silo on Wednesday, November 4, in the Town of Glencoe. The Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department was notified at approximately 10:45 a.m. that Daniel J. Kamla, 55, was found at the base of an 80-foot silo. According to the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department, a farm worker had seen Kamla at the top of the silo checking to see how full it was. The worker then found Kamla at the base of the silo within minutes of seeing him at the top of it. The Sheriff’s Department says no one witnessed the fall. The Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department at the scene were the Arcadia Ambulance, Arcadia Fire Department and Arcadia Police Department.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: A tip from an informant with no interest in a reward led River Falls police to the young man believed responsible for holding up Dick’s Hometown Liquor last Monday night. Blake Halverson, 17, a River Falls High School junior, was arrested at his home Friday night and taken to county jail in Ellsworth. Monday afternoon he was charged by the Pierce County district attorney with a felony armed robbery and misdemeanor for receiving stolen property. The first criminal charge carries a maximum sentence of a $100,000 fine and 40 years in prison. By Tuesday morning Halverson was back in school, having paid a $2,000 cash bond that was set by the judge. Police officers with a search warrant, went through Halverson’s home looking for evidence Friday night when he was arrested. Lead investigator John Wilson said the gun and cash stolen in the robbery have yet to been found. “W e have no clue where the gun is,” Wilson said Monday morning. “So, yes, we need help finding it if anyone has that information. Wilson said the gun used in the robbery is a black/blue semi-automatic pistol. Wilson said he was called at home last Thursday night by a person offering a key tip in the robbery. “That was the turning factor in getting this solved,” Wilson said, adding that Halvorson has not admitted to being the robber.

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD (ELLSWORTH): Three people in their early 20s were charged last month in Pierce County Circuit Court with burglary and attempted burglary. Valerie K. Vorwald, 21, Roberts, Justin D. Krizan, 20, Hammond, and Andrew J. Grisell, 20, Sarasota, Fla., are looking at a maximum $37,500 fine and nearly 19 years in prison if convicted of both felonies. The charges originate from an incident October 28 in which Pierce County Sheriff’s Department was called to a burglary at W4709 710th Ave. in the Town of River Falls. Daniel Frigo reported in the criminal complaint a red Sears Craftsman riding lawnmower, a red Swisher brand trail mower, a camouflage hunting chair and three red five-gallon gas cans were missing. Sheriff’s deputies also noted in their report several doorknobs were taken and found in a burn barrel. The following day, deputies were dispatched to that address again for an attempted burglary, as Frigo reported there was a truck at the house. The truck left as deputies were nearing the house, but they were able to stop it.

AMERY FREE PRESS: Tim Miller, district network technician at Clear Lake Schools, has been dismissed by the Clear Lake Board of Education at their regular meeting Monday evening, November 9. The board took the action after a nearly hour long closed session under Wisconsin Statute 19.85 (1) (b), where they heard from Miller before the action was taken. Miller was discharged for computer related misconduct reported last week. He was observed recently with pornography on a work computer. He has been with the district for approximately eight years.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

B-W FFA is recipient of National FFA Alumni Grant

The five Baldwin-Woodville FFA members and their advisor, pictured above, left to right, are Tamika Branchaud, Liz DeVries, Taylor Hovde, Mrs. Kamm and Jordan Van Dien.

Five Baldwin-Woodville FFA members and their advisor Mrs. Kamm were the recipients of a National FFA Alumni Grant in the amount of $1,000 which they received at the FFA 82nd National Convention that was held October 15-18 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The B-W FFA members are Tamika Branchaud, Liz DeVries, Taylor Hovde and Jordan Van Dien.
The grant application was written by B-W FFA Alumni Association President Megan Frye.
The grant theme was “Adventures in Agriculture.” The funds will be used to promote activities by the B-W FFA including growing poinsettias, which is in conjunction with the second grade classes; the petting zoo for B-W kindergartners; and participating in the parade and having a food booth at Baldwin’s June Bug Days.
Among the other activities in which the B-W FFA members participated at the national convention included attending a PRCA championship rodeo, hearing speaker Mike Rowe of “Dirtiest Jobs,” attending a concert by Toby Keith; two members taking an Indy Speedway tour; and a tour of Fair Oaks Farms, which includes ten farms with 30,000 animals between them. On the way home the FFA members visited a corn maze and haunted house. They bused to the convention with six other FFA chapters from the area with a total of 45 FFA members.

Farm-City Day wins national award

St. Croix County’s Farm-City Day has won a national award.
At the National Association of County Agricultural Agents annual convention held September 20 through 24 in Portland, Oregon, St. Croix County Ag Agent Lee Milligan was presented as the National Winner of the PRIDE award. PRIDE stands for Public Relations in Daily Efforts and was presented for the annual Farm City Day held in St. Croix County.
The award was presented at a banquet held Monday, September 21.
The 28th annual Farm City Day was held this year. According to Milligan, the annual event was started by Bob and Mary Zwald “who deserve the credit for getting it started.”
Milligan said there were 18 entries from across the country for the PRIDE award. A review process was followed for selecting the winner, he said.
Farm City Day involves 100 to 150 volunteers from around the county each year, Milligan said. “It’s been hosted by a different farm family each year.”
As an award winner, Milligan gave a presentation on Farm City Day. He said that of the nominees for the award, “I would say ours is the largest” event. He gave a presentation at the banquet on Farm City Day and there were people in the audience who “wanted to use elements from our Farm City Day and incorporate it into their events.”
“Really, when you get an award like this, it’s the volunteers and people who started it who should get recognized,” said Milligan. “I just happened to write it up and send it in.”
According to the program for the PRIDE banquet, the award is sponsored by the United Soybean Board, The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as well as the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Man charged for sexual assault

A Hammond man has been charged with two crimes involving sexual activity with a child.
According to a criminal complaint filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court on Monday, November 9, James Lawrence Armagost of Hammond, 45, has been charged with “repeated sexual assault of a child” and “use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.”
Armagost was arraigned Monday.
According to the complaint, the “defendant on and between February 1, 2009 and August 31, 2009 … did commit repeated sexual assaults involving the same child,….”
The count of “repeated sexual assault of a child” is a Class C felony and upon conviction may result in a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment of not more than 40 years, or both. Use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime is punishable upon conviction and requires the court to impose a “bifurcated [separate] sentence including a term of initial confinement for at least five years. The Court may impose a sentence of less than five years or place the person on probation upon finding on the record that the Court finds the lesser sentence is in the best interests of the community and the public will not be harmed.”
According to the criminal complaint, a relationship developed between the defendant and the minor that “started with the exchange of email communication to her….”
The complaint graphically spells out the sexual contact, which did not include sexual intercourse, between the defendant and the minor.

Man arrested in Baldwin with stolen vehicle

One of the four men allegedly involved with and who has been charged in connection with the burglary of Fennern Jewelers last year was arrested in Baldwin over the weekend for another alleged crime.
According to Baldwin Police Chief Jim Widiker, Joshua Krinkie, 29, was arrested late Saturday night in Baldwin in a stolen truck that had stolen license plates. Krinkie was at the Custom Storage building on Baldwin’s north side when he was arrested.
Chief Widiker said Krinkie will likely be charged and prosecuted in Minnesota for allegedly stealing the truck.
Krinkie is allegedly one of the four individuals involved in and charged with the burglary at Fennern Jewelers last year in which the perpetrators made off with pendants valued at approximately $25,000. The burglars gained entry by kicking in the door on the west side of Fennern’s. The burglars had first cut power to the building, presumably to disable the burglar alarm; however, backup power set off the alarm.
The alarm resulted in Baldwin Police Officer Randy Lindquist reaching Fennern’s almost immediately where he found the door kicked in and power shut off after a lock on the power box on the back of the building had been cut.
Later that day, Boldt’s Plumbing and Heating co-owner Dale Hudson reported vandalism to one of his trucks parked at the rear of his store in Baldwin. An employee called for a service call, discovered the truck with the shroud pulled off the steering column and parts scattered through the cab. After Hudson was called and first called police, he looked around the area and found Fennern Jeweler display boxes and also some pendants with Fennern tags on them that were determined to be from the burglary earlier that day.

BadgerLink is available to Wisconsin residents

Baldwin-Woodville High School Librarian and District Media Director James Perkins displays the BadgerLink page on a computer at the library at the High School.

A valuable resource is available to Wisconsin residents through the internet and Baldwin-Woodville High School Media Director James Perkins says more people would perhaps utilize it if they knew about it.
BadgerLink is an internet service available to residents of the state of Wisconsin that supplies on-line data bases. “It’s a tremendous resource available to everyone in the state,” said Perkins. “It’s funded by tax dollars and it’s something everyone can take advantage of.”
Each computer has a unique address, an IP, short for internet protocol, and BadgerLink is available to every IP address in Wisconsin.
BadgerLink is a project of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning. The purpose of BadgerLink is to provide access to online information for Wisconsin residents. It can be accessed by simply typing BadgerLink in a search engine.
The DPI at present contracts with five venders to provide access to a large volume of information. “Essentially, what we have here are vast collections of information,” said Mr. Perkins. “It’s organized by type or broad topic, for example business or consumer health, literature and others.”
The DPI website about BadgerLink says “Users can search approximately 20,000 full-text magazines, journals, newspapers, reference materials and other specialized information sources. Included are over 8,000 full text magazines and journals, over 1,500 newspapers and newswires, and approximately 6,800 full text books. Full text articles are taken from 2,900 historical newspaper titles. In addition the BadgerLink vendors provide access to automobile repair manuals, company profiles, country economic reports, industrial reports and yearbooks, biographies, primary historical documents, charts, author video programs, book reviews or discussion guides and many other full text resources not available through regular internet search engines.”
Mr. Perkins noted that at times the information available on BadgerLink may be uneven and perhaps, for instance, the information available as an automobile repair manual may not be as complete as a standard manual. “But it’s worthwhile to check it out because it’s free,” he added.
Resources are available to both students in the form of information about a work of literature and to teachers as teaching guides.
The BadgerLink page said it will connect users to the online catalogue of Wisconsin library holdings, called WISCAT, and an international database of library holdings called OCLC World Cat, as well as directories of libraries and digitized library collections.
Not only is the information available for public use on personal computers, but according to the DPI website about BadgerLink, “Most libraries also provide access to BadgerLink from public access computers within the library.”

News from the exchanges
   Interesting items from
      the surrounding communities

HUDSON STAR-OBSERVER: Two Twin Cities people have been arrested in connection with four burglaries in Hudson last spring. Several of the victims identified items recovered from the burglaries that were found inside the suspects’ vehicle and in the motel room. Other items were recovered from Twin Cities’ pawn shops, second-hand jewelry stores, and storage rental units. Hudson Police Department Det. Jeff Knopps said they were contacted recently by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department with information about a burglary ring that may have been responsible for the thefts in Hudson between May 6 and June 15. Ramsey County deputies said that a credit card was one of the items taken in a burglary there and that when it was used at a nearby convenience store for a car wash, they were able to track down the vehicle and the suspects using the store video surveillance. Knopps said some of the stolen property was found in the Ford Explorer which is registered to a River Falls man. The two suspects who were arrested are a male, age 43 from St. Paul and a female, age 42 from Shoreview. Police are not yet releasing their names.

PIERCE COUNTY HERALD (ELLSWORTH): Pierce County Board members will vote next month on whether to give themselves or future board members a raise next spring. The proposal to increase regular pay for committee meetings from $35 to $47 and for county board meetings from $50 to $70 was introduced and discussed briefly at Tuesday’s board meeting. Chairman Paul Barkla, noting board pay hasn’t been raised in 12 years, said the suggestion to increase came from Supervisor Rich Purdy, Town of River Falls, who was not at the meeting. Barkla said Purdy recommended tying the board increase to the percentage increases negotiated for employees. “I’m opposed to it,” said Barkla, explaining the board has asked departments to cut back and streamline and should set an example. But if a board raise is considered in the future, he would favor linking it to the percentage increases given to employees, said Barkla. “It taints the process,” said Supervisor Jeff Holst, Town of Diamond Bluff, of tying supervisors’ pay to raises given to county employees. Holst and other supervisors said they are not in favor in increasing county board compensation when taxpayers are struggling financially. The proposal would also increase the pay for long meetings – those lasting over four hours – from $50 to $70; the pay for attending two consecutive meetings from $50 to $70; and the pay for attending three meetings in one day from $70 to $90. In 2008, the per diem and expenses paid to the 17 county board member ranged from $17,980 for Barkla, who served as both board chairman and interim administrative coordinator, to $1,423 for Supervisor Ben Plunkett, River Falls. The average paid to the 16 supervisory positions (excluding Barkla) in 2008 was $3,560.

CENTRAL ST. CROIX NEWS (HAMMOND AND ROBERTS): When she made her speech at the groundbreaking ceremony held for the new Hazel Mackin Community Library in Roberts, Library Board President, Dora Rohl said the project, for which fundraising has been going on in full force for more than two years, “really began in 1974 when a group of women said ‘What should we do for the village of Roberts?’ The big suggestion was a library.” The Hazel Mackin Community Library was established in 1975 with four shelves of books in a corner of the village hall. Soon the collection had outgrown its space. When the village offices moved to a new building in 1985, the former village hall was remodeled into the present library which opened in 1986. The library will soon be moving from that 1,600-square-foot location on Main Street to a 7,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Warren Street and West Boulevard (Hwy. 65 frontage road).

RIVER FALL JOURNAL: Tuesday afternoon Dick Rinehardt was still stunned. “We’ve never had anything like this happen in 27 years of being in business here,” said the local owner of Dick’s Fresh Market and Dick’s Hometown Liquor. “It’s a sad day in Mayberry. You cannot describe what this feels like until it happens to you.” A lone masked gunman robbed his liquor store on South Main Street at 10 p.m. Monday. Two male clerks, one a college student, were working. Neither was hurt. No customers were in the store. The medium-build white male suspect wearing a hooded sweatshirt and handkerchief over his face, held a handgun and asked for money. His actions were captured on surveillance cameras. After being given cash from a till, the gunman was seen walking north toward the grocery store. River Falls Police Sgt. Jon Aubart said the suspect may have had a car parked nearby to escape in. Rinehart was called immediately at his home where he was watching Monday Night Football. He got dressed and came to the crime scene within 15 minutes. “The police department’s response was fast and incredible,” he said. “There were squad cars all over. The store was quarantined while they waited for a St. Croix County police dog. I had to wait an hour myself to get inside. A perimeter with barricades was set up to block streets off.” Police had one suspect with local ties, but Tuesday afternoon Aubart said that person was cleared of any involvement and the investigation was back to square one. “We’re still working on things and have sent fingerprints to the state crime lab, but we’re also looking for the public’s help,” he said.

TRIBUNE PRESS REPORTER: Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed felony and misdemeanor criminal charges against John Rassbach of Glenwood City, Wisconsin. Rassbach, 53, is accused of defrauding customers of his business, Rassbach Oil Company, which contracts to sell fuel products to Wisconsin homeowners and farmers. The charges which include multiple felony and misdemeanor counts, arose out of an investigation conducted by agents of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture , Trade and Consumer Protection (DAPCP), Division of Weights and Measures in conjunction with the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department. Rassbach, is charged with five felony counts of theft that stem from events occurring between April 20 and August 25, 2008 in which Rassbach, acting as Rassbach Oil Company, knowingly defrauded Paul Veenendall in the amount of $2,612.50, Randy Thompson in the amount of $3,098.70, Blackhawk Nutrient, LLC, in the amount of $4,400.55, Paul Wagner in the amount of $3,437.50 and Lee Seim in the amount of $5,161.20. All these charges, according to the criminal complaint, are for intentionally deceiving customers or attempting to deceive customers that he contracted to sell fuel products including LP gas, gasoline, and diesel/fuel oil in three general ways: (1) physically “shorting” the customer by pumping a portion of the fuel back into his delivery truck, (2) the use of fraudulent propane delivery invoices, and (3) issuance of duplicate and triplicate fuel delivery tickets by presenting the same ticket to multiple customers for a single fuel delivery.