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).