Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crash at intersection results in fatality

A two vehicle collision at the intersection of 220th Avenue and 170th Avenue last Wednesday morning resulted in the death of Larry W. Scheel and serious injury to his passenger, John M. Bazille.

On October 7 St. Croix County recorded its 12th traffic fatality of the year. At approximately 10:50 a.m. Larry W. Scheel, 65, of rural New Richmond, was traveling northbound on 220th St. in a 2000 Ford F250 Super Duty pickup, while Roger W. Fisher, 48 of Emerald was traveling westbound on 170th Ave. in a 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup.
Scheel failed to stop at the sign and was struck by Fisher. Scheel’s vehicle overturned in the northwest ditch, Fisher’s vehicle came to rest in the field northwest of the intersection.
Fisher was transported to the Baldwin Area Medical Center by Baldwin EMS with non-threatening injuries. A passenger in the Scheel vehicle, John M. Bazille, 54, of Emerald was transported by Baldwin EMS to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with serious injuries. Larry Scheel was pronounced dead at the scene by a St. Croix County Deputy Medical Examiner.
Units from United Fire in Baldwin and Woodville as well as Wisconsin State Patrol assisted the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department with the crash.
None of the occupants in either vehicle were wearing seatbelts. The crash is still under investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department.

Keefer receives scholarship offer from Badgers

When Baldwin-Woodville junior football standout Jake Keefer received a telephone call Tuesday morning, October 6 he wasn’t expecting Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema on the line. But that’s who it was. And Bielema offered Keefer a full scholarship in two years to join the Wisconsin Badgers as a linebacker.
Keefer said he was thinking that Bielema maybe would call him on Junior Day in February, so the call last week was a surprise. But Bielema said he saw two game films of Keefer playing “and saw no need to wait.”
Keefer is a standout player for the Baldwin-Woodville team this season. Just last Thursday against Prescott, for example, Keefer rushed for 61 yards and caught passes for an additional 71 yards and scored two touchdowns when they were needed by his team. On defense he had nine tackles.
The offer of the scholarship “is really exciting,” said Keefer. “I still can’t believe it. It’s awesome.”
But at the same time, although Wisconsin is at present Keefer’s first choice, he won’t definitely say that’s where he is going to play college ball. “I love it there at Wisconsin. I’m very interested. I can definitely see myself playing there.”
But, there have been other schools that have showed an interest: “LSU has been sending a lot of letters,” he said, for example. “But probably the Big 10 is where I’m leaning toward.”

Kindergartners receive visit from Deputies

            Pictured from left to right are Deputy Justin Johnson and his K-9 partner “Cash” and Deputy Jessica Zupfer.

             Barking and squeals could be heard coming from the lunchroom at Greenfield on Monday, October 5. Deputy Jessica Zupfer, Deputy Justin Johnson and his K-9 partner “Cash” visited the kindergartners at Greenfield Elementary in Baldwin.

            Officer Zupfer’s presentation included information on 911, strangers in the neighborhood, playing with matches, wearing bike helmets and seatbelts, and saying “no” to drugs and alcohol. She also explained the duties of a police officer and their uniforms.

            Deputy Johnson introduced his partner “Cash” and demonstrated some dog obedience behaviors. The children were thrilled! Petting working animals was discussed, and the students were told that it is not okay to pet a dog if he is “working” for a blind person. Although Cash is a working dog, he was not working today, just visiting, and so everyone got to pet his head as they left the room to go back to the classrooms.

            The Kindergarten unit at Greenfield Elementary is very appreciative of the County offering this opportunity to early educate our students to “Be Safe,” which is one of our four primary rules at Greenfield.

 Changes mean improvements at Baldwin Care Center

           Changes in the way Medicare funding works combined with evolving expectations by residents and their families regarding care at nursing homes, and what that care entails, have resulted in changes already made and more expected in the future for care of residents.

            According to Baldwin Care Center Administrator Eileen LaFavor, “what’s at issue right now in the federal budget is Medicare funding. They are looking at cuts now that will affect our funding.”

            At the same time, LaFavor said, more than half of the residents at Baldwin Care Center are no longer long-term but instead are there for a rehabilitative stay, usually short term.

            “We now send more people home and more than half of our residents come for a one to sixty day stay,” said LaFavor. She gave the example of someone who has fallen, suffered a broken bone and spends three days in a hospital and then 20 to up to 60 days at Baldwin Care Center for rehabilitation. The change in the status of residents has been a “progression that has occurred over a number of years,” she added.

            “It’s much different than when I came here,” explained LaFavor. “Then people came here and decided to stay for the rest of their lives. But now people come for either short-term rehabilitative stays or ‘end-of-life’ stays in conjunction with hospice. We have some very acutely ill people coming here.”

            So, with the new emphasis, Baldwin Care Center has made two dramatic changes. First, effective October 1, the Care Center reduced the number of licensed beds at the facility to 55 from the previous number of 65. That in turn allows the Care Center to more than double the number of private rooms available to residents, to 15 from the previous seven.

            Double rooms, explained Administrator LaFavor, are “difficult to live in and difficult for our staff to provide care in with the equipment needs some people have and there simply isn’t room in a double occupancy room to do that.”

            In addition, said LaFavor, “gone are the days when we looked at residents as a group of people.” Now instead, each resident is seen as an individual and care is “patient-centered.” That has combined with consumer preference changes—not only by residents but also their family members—for a “different set of expectations when it comes to long-term care.”

            That benefits Baldwin Care Center because of its small town setting and all that includes, including low employee turnover compared to the national level and staff who have family members at the Care Center. “I think we are somewhat special,” because of those considerations, said LaFavor.

            So, in addition to providing more single rooms, the therapy area at the Care Center has been expanded from what was one converted resident room to three resident rooms. “We see such a demand for that area,” said LaFavor.

            Along with the expansion of the therapy area, the company that provides therapy to residents has changed. The new company, called “People First Rehabilitation Services,” has started at Baldwin Care Center to rave reviews. “What this company does is hire local people as a full-time team to provide services for each facility” they work at. While the previous company that provided therapy had four people who split their time between four facilities. With the switch to the new company and full-time people at Baldwin Care Center “we have seen dramatic gains in the residents here,” said LaFavor.

            “Previously the residents who got the most services were the short-term residents,” said LaFavor. “But now we have every resident in the Care Center involved and we have started in new areas that you wouldn’t think of as therapy.” Some of those new areas include: urinary/incontinentence and a wound program; in addition another program has led to a decrease in falls by residents.

            Another area the new therapy regime is tackling is pain management. “And they’re really assisting us with that,” said LaFavor. “They use a treatment called diathermy and we’re seeing dramatic results in the area of pain management.”

            The new team of therapists includes six people: an occupational therapist; a certified occupational therapist assistant; a physical therapist; a physical therapist assistant; a speech therapist and a rehabilitation aide.

            The therapy bill for Baldwin Care Center, as you might expect, has doubled, but the services are reimbursable by Medicare and “the residents here are seeing the services they’re entitled to.”

            Mrs. LaFavor said the Board of Directors at Baldwin Care Center are looking at “what we would like to do with this campus to promote the culture change” of being patient-centered and looking at each resident as an individual. “What does this campus need to become? What additional services do we need to provide?”

            The president of Baldwin Care Center is Dorothy Schneider. Vice President is Jon Mentink. Marcia Graf is Treasurer.


From the Exchanges

  Interesting News Items from

    Surrounding Communities

PIERCE COUNTY HEARLD (ELLSWORTH): A former UW-River Falls student was sentenced to eight years prison Wednesday in Pierce County Circuit Court. Andrews Moreno-Richey, 22, received terms of five and three years for third degree sexual assault and burglary, respectively. Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Robert Wing ordered those terms to be consecutive. Wing also ordered Moreno-Richey to be on extended supervision for nine years after he is released. Wing stated that, with no explanation given for what he did, Moreno-Richey is a “great likelihood to re-offend” and the need to protect the public is high. Moreno-Richey was charged with third degree sexual assault relating to an incident in August 2008. The burglary charge resulted from an incident last January. He was also sentenced to nine months in jail for fourth degree sexual assault. That term will run concurrent to his prison sentence. The criminal complaint stated that, in the August incident, Moreno-Richey went to the home of a “pretty girl” whom he’d seen in a local bar and knew from classes at UW-River Falls. This occurred at Broadway Street in River Falls. Finding the one he after not home, Moreno-Richey snuck into the bedroom next to her and sexually assaulted the woman in that room. The complaint continues he described the girl to a friend as “incapacitated” by crack or cocaine. Moreno-Richey went to that friend’s house after the assault and told her about it. He described the incident saying he’d wanted “to see what he could get away with.” He declared he had not enjoyed the sex, but thought the victim had. The friend told Moreno-Richey what he described was rape because the victim had been incapacitated and unable to consent. The friend reported the crime to police and questioned Moreno-Richey’s mental capacity saying at least once he’s “out of his mind.”

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): With her credibility eroded, Polk County Finance Director Tonya Weinert resigned Monday evening at the request of the county board’s five-member Finance Committee. Since last spring Weinert had projected that Polk county faced a 2010 budget shortfall of at least $3 million. Late last week, however, other county officials who scrutinized the budget numbers, including two certified public accountants who served on the Finance Committee, concluded that the projected shortfall was more in the neighborhood of $780,000. “This position requires a level of trust from Polk County employees, supervisors, department heads, the county board and the general public,” Weinert wrote in her resignation letter. “Recent actions have caused me to question that level of trust, which diminishes my effectiveness.” Finance Committee chairman Gary Bergstrom announced Weinert’s resignation by reading a short press release after the committee returned to open session after being in closed session for two-and-a-half hours.

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: After a decline last year, enrollment in the Hudson School District is back on the rise. According to the official enrollment count required by the Department of Public Instruction on the third Friday of September, the district has 5,365 a net increase of 94 students over last year. There are 53 more students this year at the elementary level. That number includes 411 kindergarten students and 2,496 children in grades 1-5. Hudson Middle School enrollment increased by 46 which puts that building over its capacity by 86 students. Hudson High School had a net loss of five students but saw an increase of 31 in grades 9 and 10. There are 37 children in this year’s Early Childhood program at River Crest Elementary.

BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL: I’m growing weary of this – it isn’t fun doing this job anymore when I have to come to meetings,” Burnett County Sheriff Dean Roland declared at last week’s public safety committee meeting. At issue was the sheriff’s budget and Roland having to defend himself. “There’s $250,000 in the budget for out-of-county housing for jail inmates and we might spend about $110,000 this year,” Roland said. “Some have questioned whether I pad my budget because there’s such an excess. Yes, we are under budget in that line-item, but were it not for drug court and other programs, I’d be $160,000 over,” the sheriff said. “I have 34 years of experience, I know how to do this job,” a clearly agitated Roland continued. “My budget has been under budget every year I’ve been sheriff – yet I’m called on every little thing.” “From my perspective, I’m seeing a little animosity toward the sheriff’s department,” committee member Gene Olson pointed out. “I think as a committee, we need to investigate the source of that animosity. I think our sheriff’s department is doing an outstanding job,” Olson continued. “And here we are asking them to do more with less. We’ve made promises we haven’t kept and if there’s a personality problem, we owe it to our sheriff to resolve it,” he said. “I appreciate that,” Roland said to Olson. “The budgets are what they are but I’m very passionate about keeping people safe.” Roland pointed out, “When it comes to communication, I don’t like being blind-sided.” Olson agreed.

CENTRAL ST. CROIX NEWS (HAMMOND AND ROBERTS): Kids pedal tractor pulling has become a family affair for the Iversons of Hammond. Seven-year-old Alyssa, the oldest of three children and only girl, last month qualified for the International Competition that will be held next summer, most likely in Iowa. This year marked the fourth year Alyssa qualified for the national competition, held at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, by first placing in the top three at Wisconsin State Competition. At this year’s national competition Alyssa took first place. She was one of six Wisconsin competitors to advance. Alyssa’s 5-year-old brother, Brett, qualified for state competition in both Wisconsin and Minnesota this year as well.

THE COURIER-WEDGE: Approval of a bid from Freier’s Electric and Heating of Ellsworth for purchase and installation of a wood pellet boiler this fall was the highlight of the regular Pepin Board of Education meeting on Monday, September 28. District Administrator Bruce Quinton presented the board with the bid from Freier’s. Quinton stated that after three years of research and investigation into alternative heating sources, the Building and Grounds Committee was ready to move forward with its recommendation to approve the wood pellet boiler project. Earlier in the meeting, Building and Grounds Committee member Reisgraf reported that they had had two meetings this past month to make final preparations to being the wood pellet boiler bid to the board for approval. The goal, Quinton said, was to have the new system installed before the start of this heating season. The system will also give the district the future flexibility in the type of fuel that is used including corn, coal, grass pellets or other multi-fuel pellets, that could come out in the future. This project would ensure the district and its taxpayers would have flexibility in fuel usage and better control over volatile fuel markets.