Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baldwin-Woodville Chamber opens new office

The Baldwin-Woodville Chamber of Commerce had a ribbon cutting Saturday morning August 29 to celebrate the opening of their new office space. Pictured above are (l to r): Cindy Rassbach, Chris Diegnau, Gail Diegnau, Donna Hayes, President Tracy Carlson, cutting the ribbon, Brian Bedford and Sonya Jansma.
The office is located at 780 Main St., Suite 3, in Baldwin. Stop by and have a look around.

Man charged with shootings

A man already being held in the Eau Claire County jail has been charged with seven felonies in connection with the August 1 home invasion and shooting of a husband and wife in Wilson.
According to a news release from the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, an arrest warrant has been issued by Judge Eric Lundell for Justin G. Rott, 26, of Eau Claire. Currently, Rott is being held in the Eau Claire County jail for a probation violation.
The arrest warrant issued for Rott for the St. Croix County incident charges Rott with:
•Armed robbery with use of force;
•Attempted armed robbery with use of force;
•Armed burglary;
•Possession of a firearm by a felon;
•Impersonating a peace officer to aid in commission of a crime;
•First degree reckless injury; and
•Aggravated battery.
Rott was in the Eau Claire County jail on a probation hold. He has been held since August 3.
The charging of Rott is not the end of the investigation of the August 1 invasion and shooting at the home of Thomas and Maria Erickson, Sheriff Dennis Hillstead told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. Rott was linked to the crime scene in Wilson by DNA evidence. A hat he left at the scene of the home invasion and shooting had a blood spatter on it that the State Crime Lab tested and determined was left by Rott. Sheriff Hillstead also noted that law enforcement officers are continuing the investigation in an attempt to determine whether Rott had an accomplice.
A woman wanted in connection with the case, Jessica Christner, 29, who is Rott’s former girlfriend, was located Wednesday, August 26. She was arrested and taken into custody due to several warrants, Hillstead said.
According to the Leader-Telegram, Sheriff Hillstead reported that the Ericksons had at least three previous break-ins, most over the past year. None of the break-ins were reported. The Leader-Telegram also said “reports indicate Rott hitchhiked to Polk County, then to Cumberland before getting a ride to Cornell. He eventually was arrested by Menomonie police on August 3. He had a head wound and was carrying a flashlight similar to the one the intruder was carrying.” In addition, “Several witnesses said Justin Rott was wearing the same T-shirt and camouflage attire that the Ericksons described the intruder wearing.”

Man killed after truck hits bull

A Spring Valley man died Thursday morning in a one-vehicle accident after striking a bull and going off the road about two miles south of Spring Valley.
Logan M. Jacobson, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Jacobson was in a pickup truck westbound on 770th Ave. at 210th St. when the truck collided with the bull on the road.
The truck went off the road and hit a tree. Jacobson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected.
The incident was reported at 6:23 a.m. Thursday. Authorities were on scene about two-and-a-half hours.

Citizens State Bank receives FDIC order

According to a news release issued by Citizens State Bank, headquartered in Hudson but with a long association with Woodville, the bank has been issued a “Cease and Desist Order” by the FDIC.
The news release says “Citizens State Bank joins a long list of banks in Wisconsin and Minnesota [that] have been adversely impacted by today’s turbulent economy. The bank recently announced that the FDIC has issued a Cease and Desist Order. The Order primarily directs the Bank’s Board of Directors and Management to resolve problem loans and improve its capital position.
“We are in agreement with these goals and are taking all the necessary steps to meet the requirements set forth by the regulators,” President and CEO Gene Haberman is quoted saying in the news release.
The information from Citizens State Bank comes simultaneously with news of the closure of Main Street Bank, headquartered in Minnesota but which operated a Hudson location.
The news release says Citizens State Bank, like many other banks across the nation, was active in commercial real estate lending and business lending, supporting growth and development throughout its markets in western Wisconsin in recent years. “Many of its customers have suffered significant financial challenges due to the prolonged recession, affecting their ability to repay their loans. “We have been and will continue to work closely with our borrowers, to address these issues,” said Haberman. “We’ve already made significant progress in several areas under the agreement.
While the bank is considered adequately capitalized by FDIC standards, additional capital is being raised to support the bank’s current and future needs, the news release says. “It is our goal to exceed the ‘adequately capitalized’ threshold,” said Haberman.
The news release says “The bank has stayed in communication with its customers and employees as it navigates this difficult economic environment.” Haberman said “We have confidence that we will work through these challenges and emerge an even stronger financial institution. For our customers, it’s basically business-as-usual. They can count on the same quality service they have always received. We’re still opening accounts, making loans and serving our customers. Customer deposits are fully guaranteed under the same expanded coverage limits that apply to all FDIC insured institutions. We remain committed to our customers and the communities we serve.”
In a letter to its customers, Citizens State said: “As always, you can be confident that your money is safe and secure at Citizens State Bank. Your deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000 (larger deposits can be structured in such a way to provide an even higher level of coverage), and there is currently unlimited FDIC insurance on non-interest bearing checking accounts.”
Citizens State Bank has assets of $180 million. It is headquartered in Hudson but was founded in Woodville, where it maintains an office. It also has offices in Glenwood City, Roberts, Elmwood and Menomonie.

From the Exchanges
  Interesting News Items from
    Surrounding Communities

HUDSON STAR-OBSERVER: An unusual tornado touched down briefly Wednesday afternoon, August 19, in the town of Hudson, knocking down trees and causing minor damage to a handful of homes. The words damage occurred along Larsen Lane, beginning south of Co. Rd. UU near Dru Drive and extending north of the county highway for about a quarter-mile. The National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minn., identified that as the path of an EF-0 tornado, the weakest category of tornado. “But it still had winds of 80 to 85 mph,” said Jim Taggart, a NWS meteorologist. The Art and Cheryl Forester residence at 807 Larsen Lane sustained the most damage. The limb of a big American elm tree hit the Foresters’ house as it fell, punching a hole through the roof and breaking a section of fascia board and eave. The storm also knocked down five large poplar trees on the Foresters’ property and shredded others. The yard was littered with fallen trees and branches when the wind stopped. Taggart said the tornado was on the ground for only 30 seconds to a minute. Its path was about 25 yards wide and a third of a mile long according to the NWS.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: Terry Roen said early this week that he’s been fielding calls from loyal customers asking, “What will we do?” They had heard the news that Roen Ford, 660 N. Main accepted a buyout offer from Ford and will close September 1. His brother Ron Roen explained, “We will no longer be an authorized Ford dealer.” Ron said the soon-to-be-former dealer will remain open for service work on all autos except those covered by a Ford warranty. Terry said he hasn’t shed any tears yet but probably will before closing the dealership that’s been a Main Street staple for 42 years. He thinks taking the limited-time opportunity from Ford was the best possible business decision. “The market forces were overwhelming,” Terry said about the auto industry. Ford first thought it could reduce the number of dealerships through attrition, but that wasn’t working fast enough to unload the target number of 800-1000 dealers. Terry anticipates a “very quiet” fourth quarter and knows many other dealers, both large and small, are also taking the buyout offer. He said Roen is entering a “wind down” period with Ford that will take about 18 months. Though not selling cars, the Roen brothers will be around the former dealership, taking care of odds and ends and continuing the service end of the business.

AMERY FREE PRESS: Congressman Dave Obey made two stops in Amery on Monday morning. He visited the Habitat for Humanity home under construction on Minneapolis Ave. and Dynatronix at Stower Community Park. Rep. Obey toured the plant meeting with Norm Osero, founder of the firm and President Dennis Malek. The member of Congress helped secure a $5.3 million Department of Defense contract for the firm to develop an environmental plating process to prevent corrosion on metal machine parts. Malek said that Dynatronix is working on a three program process to develop a plating protocol which eliminates chromium and cadmium, both cancer causing agents with nickel and cobalt. The first year will be devoted to design engineering, the second year to developing prototype pulse platers and the third year for production. Dynatronix is an industry leader in pulse plating technology. Its units precisely control electronic current with time to give uniform plating performance.

NEW RICHMOND NEWS: For the past three years, an engine engineering firm has been quietly operating in basement offices of The Creamery building downtown New Richmond. Few people know they are there, but owners Michael Fuchs and Steven Weinzierl like it that way. They are developing a new product that will likely have a huge impact on the local economy and they’d rather not have competitors snooping around. But the company’s obscurity is about to disappear. A September 10 public hearing has been announced by the St. Croix County Board’s Finance Committee to discuss and apparent $600,000 Community Development Block Grant for the company. The state funding provides $300,000 a year for two years to help the company continue moving forward. The grant funds would allow Engineered Propulsion Systems Inc. (EPS) to develop a light-weight diesel engine for use in small airplanes and helicopters. The technology could revolutionize the general aviation industry, according to Fuchs and Weinzierl. Other companies have tried to engineer a diesel aviation engine in the past, but with no success. Fuchs and Weinzierl think they’ve figured it out. Once the new engine is perfected, Fuchs said, “the diesel engine will be a replacement for the gas engine.” That’s a big deal, Weinzierl said, because aviation fuel is scarce and expensive. Diesel fuel is available pretty much around the globe and is much less expensive.