Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dachel assumes reins of Athletic Director/Transportation Director position

JR Dachel said his new position as Baldwin-Woodville Athletic Director/Transportation Director/Dean of Student for the High School is going well. He took over the position from Wade Labecki who took a job with the WIAA as Deputy Director.
Dachel, a Bloomer native, has been with the Baldwin-Woodville School District for the past seven years. He has taught technical education for seven years. In addition, for the past six years he has also taught drivers ed. Other duties which Dachel has filled include: football coach for a year and baseball coach for three years.
Dachel graduated from Bloomer High School in 1996 and continued his education at UW-Stout from which he graduated in 2002. He took the position in the technical education department after Stout. In May of this year Dachel finished his principal licensure schooling through UW-River Falls.
Dachel and his wife Rebecca have been married for three years. They live in Baldwin.

Woodville man guilty in traffic death

A man who caused the death of a woman and caused injuries to three other people in a traffic crash, has pleaded guilty to three criminal charges in a St. Croix County court.
Steven D. Tudahl, 26, of Woodville, and formerly of Glenwood City, pleaded guilty Friday to felony county of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and hit and run involving great bodily harm and a misdemeanor count of causing great bodily harm by reckless driving.
On March 27 of this year, Tudahl’s vehicle crossed the centerline of USH 63 about eight miles north of Baldwin and crashed head-on into another vehicle. Tudahl’s passenger Larissa Christenson, 27, of Glenwood City, was thrown from the vehicle and killed. The oncoming car was driven by Amy Dwyer, 26 of Clear Lake. She and her two children who were passengers, Noah Dwyer, 3, and Jadin Dwyer, 4, were all injured. Noah suffered a severed spine and permanant paralysis.
Tudahl faces a a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for the three charges. Sentencing has been set for October 13.

Sheriff Hillstead reports leads on Wilson shooting

St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead said Monday afternoon that there are “a lot of leads, a lot of follow-up,” but that no arrest has been made in the home break-in and shooting in Wilson that injured a husband and wife late in the evening on Saturday, August 1.
According to Sheriff Hillstead, however, the Sheriff’s Department does have a “person of interest” in the incident.
The incident happened at about 11:00 p.m., when Maria Erickson heard a noise at her and her husband Thomas’ home at 640 Main Street in Wilson. The couple discovered a person in their home wearing a cap, with a mask over his face, camouflage pants and t-shirt with the word “Sheriff” on it. The man pointed a rifle at the Ericksons and ordered them to give him money and drugs. The Ericksons then questioned whether the man was a law enforcement officer, an argument and confrontation ensued. A struggle followed and five shots were fired from the rifle. Both Thomas and Maria were struck by bullets, after which Thomas fell to the bottom of a stairway, the man fled and Maria called 911.
The Sheriff’s Department said an examination of the scene and recovery of forensic evidence was consistent with the statements of the victims. The three-year old child of the Ericksons was present in the home at the time but was not injured.
The incident led to a search of the area in and around Wilson, including use of K-9 units and a State Patrol airplane equipped with infrared cameras to detect body heat.
Sheriff Hillstead said after the home invasion/shootings that the perpetrator is a “dangerous individual” who would break down a door and fire five shots, but also that “we believe the attack was not random” and the general public should not be unduly concerned.
The man was described as about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed between 150 and 180 pounds. He was white, mostly bald and had a two day growth of beard. Individuals with information on the incident should contact the Sheriff’s Department.

Local seniors recognized for volunteer work

Earlier this year the Aging and Disability Resource Center of St. Croix County requested nominations for persons to honor during Older American’s Month. The nominations of county residents 60 years or older was reviewed by an advisory board and selection was made based on outstanding community/volunteer service. Recognition of the St. Croix County’s Outstanding Older Adults took place at the county fair.
Among the people nominated were Ruth TeGrootenhuis of Baldwin and Kathy Guski of Hammond. The following are their nomination biographies.
Ruth TeGrootenhuis was nominated by Mary Honkola of Baldwin.
Ruth retired at 85 from her Park View Senior Care Center Activity Aide job in April 2009 and then returned to work as a volunteer 3 to 4 days a week.
Ruth lived on a farm and has no fear of hard work. She reads books and newspapers to residents at Park View and also calls Bingo and participates in the musical activities.
Ruth bakes cookies. She bakes 150-300 cookies every Wednesday and Friday to give away and estimates that so far 43,000 cookies have been enjoyed in the Baldwin/Woodville area.
Ruth says she is still a ‘fast polka dancer’ and enjoys dancing. Her favorite hymn ‘One Day At A Time’ speaks to the kind of person she is. She loves her life and appreciates each day and has a desire to make people happy.
Kathy Guski was nominated by Harriet Meath of Hammond.
Kathy has been the Hammond Town Treasurer for over 20 years. She also was the bookkeeper for her church for over 30 years.
Kathy received the 4H St. Croix County Living Memorial Award for 2008. She has been a leader of the True Blue 4H Club for 37 years as well as serving as a volunteer on various County committees.
Service has been a priority as a 4H Leader and parent. Kathy and her husband raised 4 children and all of them were 4H members. She has 16 grandchildren and all of them are also 4H members.
Community service has been the high priority as a 4H leader and parent. Activities to serve others include caroling at the Care Center and making Valentines for the residents’ food trays. She also takes part in the Care Center Pet Day by having the 4H members bring in pets for the residents to see.
Kathy helps with the Hammond Easter Egg Hunt and the planting of flowers in the triangle as you come into Hammond. She has served on her church Guild office at St. Mary’s Church and been a CCD teacher.
Kathy was a Postal Clerk in the Hammond Post Office for over 20 years. She was also a volunteer in school and church and in her community. Kathy has been a member of the Hammond Central Club for many years.
Kathy makes the best Swedish Krinkle that is highly sought after at the church Bake Sale.

From the Exchanges
    Interesting News Items from
        Surrounding Communities

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): For Polk County Sheriff Tim Moore, the dismissal of a lawsuit against him represents closure, and a chance to move his department forward. “Does it weigh on your mind? Absolutely,” Moore said during an interview at the Polk County Fair last Saturday. “I’m just glad that it’s over.” In a lawsuit filed last year in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, former deputy Jared F. Cockroft had accused Moore of unfairly demoting him and violating his First Amendment rights after he and his wife Jenifer Cockroft actively campaigned for Moore’s opponents — first, Arling Olson in the Democratic primary, then Republican Tony Grimm — in the 2006 sheriff’s election. Cockroft wrote letters of support to area newspapers and circulated e-mails that were critical of the sheriff. A federal judge granted a summary judgment in favor of Moore last Tuesday, however, holding that Cockroft “failed to prove that (his reassignment) was anything other than a lateral transfer” and that “(i)t appears unlikely that (Cockroft) could show that a person of ordinary firmness would be deterred from engaging in election campaigning by the three deprivations he suffered.”

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: On a calm, pleasant evening just before dark Elaine Baumann was at her home computer. It was almost time for bed and she was in her robe. What followed was a “pretty intense couple of minutes” after a roar shook the roof of her Town of Clifton house. Baumann, River Falls High School principal, opened the screen door and stepped on the patio. “It came so close and so low, it seemed like it was going to hit us,” said Baumann of a Cessna C185 piloted by Mark A. Campillo, who was flying back to Alaska from an Oshkosh air show. The sputtering plane zoomed over the Baumann home toward the Kinnickinnic River, banked and turned back, the pilot obviously trying to find space to land. The plane’s return again got Baumann’s attention. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s coming this way,’ and it was clear by the way his engine was cutting in and out that the plane was in trouble,” Baumann said. Two men from Wasilla, Alaska, walked away from the emergency plane landing last Wednesday night. Campillo, the 39-year-old pilot, wasn’t hurt. Passenger Miles S. Haisten, 53, was taken by ambulance to the River Falls Area Hospital where he was treated and released. The two landed several miles west of River Falls, south of County Road M, in the hayfield near woods on the 500-acre property of David and Karin Meyer. The Meyers custom raise dairy heifers for other farmers.

TRIBUNE PRESS REPORTER (GLENWOOD CITY): The jury trial of Vicki L. Christmas co-owner of the Wooden Nickel concluded last Thursday with the jury finding her guilty of obstructing an officer with the charges stemming from an event that occurred February 16, 2008. The incident began with Glenwood City Police Officer Joe Heath initiating a traffic stop within the Glenwood City limits and the driver of the vehicle pulling into the Wooden Nickel parking lot that sits outside the city limits just north of town on Highway 128. According to the report Heath was proceeding with the traffic stop when a female, who was later determined to be Christmas came up to him and began swearing at him to get off the property and the people were upset that he was there. Heath asked Christmas to step away from the vehicle and attempted to talk to her several times. Christmas continued to demand he leave the property and then said she wanted to make a complaint and Heath verbalized the steps she could take, according to the report. Heath told Christmas that he just needed to finish the stop and he would leave and repeatedly asked her to step away from his vehicle. Christmas continued to verbalize demands Heath eventually rolled up his squad car window and shut the door when Christmas opened the driver’s side door to the squad. Heath closed it to lock it when Christmas opened it again. At this time Heath placed Christmas under arrest and eventually physically assisted Christmas to the ground, according to the report.
MONDOVI HERALD – NEWS: A Mondovi man pleaded guilty to embezzling $21,000 while serving as treasurer of a 4-H fundraising organization in Buffalo County. John L. Gehrke, 57, pleaded guilty in Buffalo County Circuit Court July 29 to a felony charge of theft from a business setting. A criminal complaint said Gehrke stole funds by making cash withdrawals and writing checks issued to cash or business place. Gehrke Floral & Greenhouses of Mondovi. Some of the checks, according to court records, were made out to the Mondovi Church Softball League. Gehrke also served as treasurer of that organization. Gehrke pleaded guilty to a felony charge that carries a maximum sentence of up to ten years in jail and a $25,000 fine. Gehrke served as treasurer of the 4-H group for 16 years. He was removed from office in November after irregularities were found during an audit of financial records.

CENTRAL ST. CROIX NEWS (HAMMOND): MiKenna LaVenture of Hammond has a hard time putting into words her favorite part about riding in horse competitions, but her mom, Kara Amundson LaVentura, knows just the right phrase to describe it, “adrenaline rush!” “I don’t like going slow,” said MiKenna, who with her horse Andy, captured the title of Grand Champion Arabian Country English Pleasure Walk/Trot 10 $ Under at the 2009 Youth Nationals Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show held July 24-August 1 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. MiKenna also made it into the Top 10 of the Arabian Saddle Seat Eq Walk/Trot 10 & Under – a competition MiKenna said is not her specialty.

John and Judy Newton are Hammond Parade Marshals

John and Judy Newton have been living in Hammond since 1960 and since then they have been involved with many aspects of the community’s activities and development. This year they have been named the Marshals in the Hammond Heartland Days celebration Grand Parade on Sunday, August 9. The parade begins at 12:30.
John Newton was raised on the Newton family farm south of what is now I-94. His brothers are Verlyn, Earl and Duane and his sister is Delores (Lind). After graduating from Baldwin High School he worked first for Farmer’s Elevator and then for Lloyd Eggen at Eggen’s Supermarket as a meat cutter.
Judy Sather, also a Baldwin High School graduate, worked for Northwest Airlines after high school and then for Chet Nelson at the Baldwin Creamery.
Judy and John were married in 1960. “I was looking at the meat market in Hammond,” related John, but wasn’t able to come to terms. Instead, he was approached by Edwin Larson who had a grocery and general merchandise store. John and Judy bought the store and converted it to just groceries and meat. That store was where the bank in Hammond—Associated—is now. The Newtons added on to their store once and then in 1976 they built and moved into a new store. During the years they had a grocery store they worked together while they raised their three children.
In 1986 the Newtons sold the store. John worked in River Falls for awhile before he took a position with Donaldsons where he worked for 14 years before he retired. Judy worked for St. Croix County at the Register of Deeds office for 16 years before she retired. After her retirement she worked part-time for the Register of Deeds office and also looked after a lady who was in the Heritage Care Center.
John has been involved with the Hammond Golf Club since it started—and even before. “We started working on it in 1967 but didn’t get it built until 1970,” he said. “I’m the only one left of the 32 who were the original charter members,” said John. “But you know at that time we had a lot of good businessmen who helped with a lot of things. We had a lot of businesses and could do a lot of things.”
That’s been one of the biggest changes in Hammond, like in a lot of small towns, said John. Hammond had a hometown owned bank, a doctor, feedmill, pharmacist. “They were all good workers.”
John said he was also a member of the Hammond Development Corp., which only had four or five members. But the Development Corp. bought some land, built a building and sold some of the land back and also donated some of the land as a village park.
Although retired, the Newtons stay active. John said he golfs about four or five times a week and also does volunteer work at the Hammond Golf Club, including spraying and trimming. He enjoys ice fishing in the winter.
The Newtons were originally members of Gethsemane Lutheran Church but were involved in the establishment of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hammond in 1972. The Newtons remain active in Trinity. Judy also golfs, but not as much as John. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April.
“Our grandsons are a big part of our life,” said Judy. Their children are Jay, and his friend Barbie, who lives in Roberts and has three sons, Jonathan, Zachary and Logan; Jayne Murphy and her husband David of New London and their three boys, Mike and Jake and Luke who died tragically at the end of March. Their other daughter Jennifer is married to Louie Johnson of New Hope, Minn.
The Newtons expect all three of their children to attend the parade Sunday and will wave to them when they go by.

Wilson couple recovering from shooting, home invasion
Suspect still at large; public asked for help

A Wilson couple is recovering after both were shot during a home break-in late Saturday night.
According to the St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead, the couple, Thomas Erickson, 28, and Maria Erickson, 27, of 640 Main Street, Wilson, were both wounded by bullets but both are expected to make a full recovery.
Maria Erickson was treated Saturday night at Regions Medical Center in St. Paul for a “through and through” bullet wound to one of her calves, and then released. Her husband Thomas was shot in his stomach. The bullet lodged in his abdomen and doctors decided not to remove it, said Sheriff Hillstead. Thomas Erickson is listed in good condition, Sheriff Hillstead added.
Phone calls to the Erickson residence on Monday to check on their status were not answered.
The incident that led to the Ericksons’ wounds began late Saturday evening. According to a press release from Sheriff Hillstead, the Sheriff’s Department was notified about 11:00 p.m. Saturday, August 1 of a home invasion at 640 Main Street in Wilson and that two persons had been shot.
Upon arrival, deputies found Thomas and Maria Erickson. “Thomas had sustained a gunshot wound to his abdomen and Maria had received a gunshot wound to her lower leg.” Deputies performed first aid until arrival of EMTs from Baldwin Ambulance Service. Both Ericksons were transported by ambulance to Regions.
According to the press release, “investigation revealed that at approximately 11:00 p.m., Maria and Thomas and their three-year-old child were asleep in the bedroom which is located in the basement of the house. Maria was awakened by the sounds of loud banging and a crashing sound. She awoke Thomas and they both left the bedroom and were confronted by a person at the bottom of the steps. “The subject was wearing a cap, had a mask on his face, camouflage pants and a black t-shirt with the word ‘Sheriff’ on it.” The subject pointed a rifle at them.
The subject said “Sheriff’s Department, get down on the ground,” the press release said. “The subject then ordered the Ericksons to give him the money and drugs.” Thomas and Maria began to question whether the subject was a law enforcement officer. “After some arguing, Thomas got off the floor and confronted the subject. The subject began to back up to the stairs and attempted to ascend them. At this point Thomas engaged him in a struggle half way up the stairs. Maria was at the bottom of the steps. During the struggle five shots were fired.”
One of the shots hit Maria in the leg and one shot hit Thomas in the abdomen. “Upon being shot, Thomas fell to the bottom of the steps.” Maria entered the downstairs bathroom and called 911. The man ran out the kitchen door.
The Sheriff’s Department press release said “examination of the scene and recovery of forensic evidence is consistent with the statements of the victims. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram quotes St. Croix County Chief Deputy John Shilts as saying five .22 caliber rifle casings were found at the scene.
The statement by the Sheriff’s Department also said the child in the home was not injured. Sheriff Hillstead said the child is being taken care of by relatives and Maria is staying at the same residence, at least temporarily.
The immediate aftermath of the incident resulted in a search of the area, including with K-9 units, and with help for the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department by the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department to secure the area and roads around Wilson, and the Wisconsin State Patrol with tracking. The State Patrol also used an airplane equipped with infrared cameras to search the area in and around Wilson. The search as of Monday afternoon has been unsuccessful.
Sheriff Hillstead noted that investigators are working on several promising leads in two areas. “We have some pretty good information that’s been developed today,” he said Monday, and investigators continue sifting through leads and interviewing people. He said the investigation process can be arduous for an incident that lasted only about five minutes, but he hopes the process will lead to getting the suspect off the street.
“Obviously, he’s a dangerous individual, a person who would knock a door down, was in a struggle and fire five shots.” At the same time, said Sheriff Hillstead, “we believe the attack was not random and that the person had either direct or indirect knowledge of Thomas Erickson’s activities so we do not think the general public should be overly concerned, but the suspect is a dangerous person and we want him off the street.”
The Leader-Telegram quotes Shilts as saying a small amount of marijuana was found in the residence. He said Maria had a good look at the man who was described as white, mostly bald with a two days growth of beard. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed between 150 and 180 pounds.
The news release said the public is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 1-715-381-4320 or St. Croix County Dispatch at 1-715-386-4701 or 684-2112 if they have information about the incident.

BAMC announces Clint Semrau, D.O. to medical staff

The Baldwin Area Medical Center announces the addition of a full-time general surgeon to the medical staff. Dr. Clint Semrau began seeing patients at BAMC on August 3.
Dr. Semrau is trained in general surgery with a special interest in minimally invasive/laparoscopic surgery. He attended medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa and completed his internship at the Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center in Lancaster, Pa. He then completed a General Surgery residency at Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital in Pontiac, Mich.
“This is a new era for Baldwin Area Medical Center,” states Alison Page, CEO. “Having a full-time surgeon on staff will result in better service to our patients. Dr. Semrau has been trained in the latest, non-invasive, surgical techniques which result in better outcomes and shorter recovery times for patients.”
BAMC is a community-based organization providing comprehensive health services to the communities of Baldwin, Woodville, Hammond and surrounding areas. Services include primary and specialty medical care, emergency care and inpatient services.
Dr. Semrau is excited to start his practice in the community of Baldwin. For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Semrau