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Colfax A Year in Review: A reflection on local news events in 2012 – 1st Quarter

COLFAX — During 2012, a variety of news and events were covered in the pages of the Colfax Messenger. The newspaper’s first edition was published on Friday, April 30, 1897.

Here are some of the highlights from the first quarter of 2012:

January 4, 2012

• Crews have been making progress by leaps and bounds on the new Colfax fire station on County Highway M. As of December 30, the building had a roof and walls. Construction on the $750,000 building is expected to be completed by the end of February.

• Anthony Benish, 39, Menomonie, was sentenced December 7 by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to six months in prison for converting property pledged for a Farm Service Agency loan.

• A Hudson attorney representing former Colfax resident Michael Fodness said at a December 27 court hearing that she wanted the Dunn County District Attorney’s office to provide various information, including a cell phone that is buried in a yard somewhere. Fodness is charged with multiple counts of sex crimes against teenaged girls.

• The Colfax Lady Vikings played in the AAU 18th Annual Holiday Classic at UW-Stout on December 29 and defeated Minong Northwoods 44 to 27, bringing their record to 5-0, but 24 hours later, they suffered their first loss of the season to Minneapolis DeLaSalle on a score of 61 to 45.

January 11, 2012

• Two county board supervisors from the Colfax area have been shifted out of their districts by the redistricting process. Richard Johnson of Colfax, supervisor for District No. 5, has been shifted into District No. 1 and filed nomination papers for the new district, currently represented by Donald Krause of New Auburn. Gary Bjork of Colfax, District No. 6, was shifted into District No. 7. Charlie Owen, the incumbent for District No. 7, filed non-candidacy papers, leaving Bjork as the only candidate. A primary on February 21 will narrow the candidates to two for District No. 1. Kenneth Bjork of Colfax also filed nomination papers for District No. 1.

• A routine traffic stop in Colfax on January 5 resulted in deportation to Mexico for 29-year-old Antonio Flores Caballero. During the traffic stop, Colfax Police Chief Pete Gehring discovered there was a federal immigration warrant for Caballero. Because of a felony identity theft conviction in Dunn County in April of 2010, Caballero was ordered to leave the country voluntarily but did not leave.

• At a special meeting January 4, the Dunn County board voted 25 “yes” to four “no” to sell $23 million in general obligation bonds to build a new health care center in Menomonie.

• A new trial date has not yet been set for former Wheeler Police Chief Gary Wayerski, who has been charged with multiple counts of sex crimes against teenaged boys that allegedly occurred at the time Wayerski was employed by the Village of Wheeler. A trial had been scheduled for January 10 through January 13.

• Three positions are up for election on the Colfax Village Board in April, but only two candidates filed nomination papers by the January 3 deadline. Trustee positions currently held by Mark Halpin, Rick Johnson and Mike Laska will be on the ballot in April. Halpin and Johnson filed nomination papers, but no candidate emerged for the third position.

• Not having played a game since December 16, the Colfax boys’ basketball team picked up where they left off with a 59 to 25 win over St. Croix Central January 6. The boys’ team has a 5-0 conference record.

January 18, 2012

• Maltee McMahon of the Bremer Foundation, and Royed Wollberg of Bremer Bank, presented a check for $49,400 on January 3 to the Colfax Fire Department for the new fire station on County Highway M. The money will be used to purchase furnishings and new turn-out gear for the firefighters.

• At the January 9 meeting, the Colfax Village Board learned that the Colfax Rescue Squad had received a letter of commendation from Menomonie Fire and Rescue.

• New Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain maps place more homes in the floodplain along Eighteen Mile Creek, which will require more village residents to buy flood insurance from their mortgage lenders.

• In a match between two undefeated teams, the Colfax Vikings boys’ basketball team lost to the Chippewa Falls Macks January 9 with a score of 49 to 53. The Macks were ranked fifth in Division 5, and the Vikings were ranked fifth in Division 4.

January 25, 2012

• Sharon Hostak, a social studies and history teacher at Elk Mound High School for 28 years, retired midyear on January 20.

• A Dunn County judge removed the Michael Fodness trial from the February court calendar during a hearing January 17.

• The Colfax Board of Education on January 16 agreed to buy 5.5 acres from the Finley family for $1,500 and to hire Julie Duce-Richard as a full-time registered nurse for the school district.

• The Dunn County Board approved a nonmetallic mining moratorium for six months at the January 18 meeting.

• The Elk Mound Board of Education approved posting “no weapons allowed” signs to be posted near the entrances of Elk Mound schools at the January 16 meeting.

• The Colfax boys’ basketball team lost 44 to 48 to Elk Mound, leaving a three-way tie in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference among Colfax, Elk Mound and Elmwood.

• The Colfax girls’ basketball team won over the Mondovi Buffaloes January 19 on a score of 45 to 36. Both teams started the evening with a 6-0 record in conference play.

February 1, 2012

• The Colfax Village Board learned at the January 23 meeting that the footbridge at the Colfax Fairgrounds is the culprit responsible for adding more houses into the floodplain. Previous floodplain maps did not include the footbridge.

• Colfax will be advertising again for a public works director. The village started advertising last fall but received only a few applicants.

• The Elk Mound Village Board approved a Smart Growth comprehensive plan update at a cost of $8,000 with Rudd and Associates at the January 25 meeting.

• Chad Zweifel of Colfax was found not guilty on four felonies and guilty on four misdemeanors after a jury trial in Chippewa County Circuit Court January 25. Zweifel, 37, was charged in connection with a shooting incident in the Town of Howard last June.

• Glacier Sands, the company prospecting in the Knapp Hills for frac sand, has approached Gary Stene, village president, about building a sand processing plant in Colfax.

• The Elk Mound boys’ basketball team remained in first place following their win over the Elmwood Raiders with a score of 65 to 57.

• The Colfax girls’ basketball team were 8-0 (11-2 overall) following a 51 to 34 win over Elk Mound January 24.

February 8, 2012

• The state Department of Natural Resources has denied a petition for sand mine air emission rules. Several residents living near frac sand mines in Chippewa County, including Ken Schmitt of Colfax, submitted the petition.

• A Dunn County judge at a February 3 hearing scheduled a trial in August for former Colfax resident Michael Fodness, who is charged with multiple sex crimes involving teenaged girls. The trial will be held in Rusk County and was originally scheduled to begin February 6.

• The Colfax Village Board at the February 2 meeting rehired Mike Boyd, the village employee responsible for operating the village’s sewer and water utility. Boyd retired in December.

• “The Unexplained” author Chad Lewis visited the Colfax Public Library on January 26.

• The Bloomer-Colfax wrestling team placed fourth in a conference meet in Hayward on February 4.

• The Elk Mound boys’ basketball team scored their highest point total of season with an 80 to 43 win over the St. Croix Central Panthers January 31.

February 15, 2012

• The state Supreme Court in a decision issued February 8 upheld the Cooks Valley nonmetallic mining ordinance on the basis that the ordinance was a licensing ordinance and not a zoning ordinance.

• Millie Windsor, director of nursing at Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center, retired after 18 years on the job. Residents and staff held a retirement party for Windsor on February 3.

• A Town of Howard dog owner could be fined up to $1.6 million according to the township’s dog ordinance. Katherine Henry owns more than 60 Dachshund dogs that were discovered by firefighters during a January 31 fire. None of the dogs were licensed.

• The Elk Mound Village Board has decided to update the village’s Smart Growth comprehensive plan in-house rather than hiring an outside firm for $8,000.

• The Colfax girls’ basketball team broke their 38-game winning streak with their first conference loss to the Boyceville girls’ team on a score of 61 to 52.

February 22, 2012

• The Menomonie and Colfax Fire Departments responded to a fire at a Town of Tainter trailer home on February 19 at E6673 871st Avenue.

• Northern States Power Wisconsin is proposing to rebuild 42.6 miles of existing powerline that passes through Dunn County. The project will extend from the Cedar Falls substation to the Clear Lake substation and will cost $14.7 million.

• The Colfax Village Board at the February 13 meeting approved a $24,700 contract with Ayres Associates for water tower engineering to oversee repairs to the Colfax water tower.

• An 18-year-old citizen of Mexico, Juan Carvajal Castro, pleaded guilty in Dunn County Circuit Court for stabbing a woman and cutting her throat and leaving her for dead at a Town of Grant residence not far from Colfax last May.

February 29, 2012

• The Elk Mound Village Board approved buying the Laundromat at S101 Holly Avenue for $5,000 at the February 22 meeting.

• Although a former employee of Colfax Farmers Union, Jennifer Sokup, is accused of embezzling $30,000 and was scheduled for a plea hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court February 20, the exact amount is still unknown.

• The Colfax Fire Board has approved auctioning off the old Colfax fire station and rescue squad building at an auction scheduled April 21.

• The Colfax boys’ basketball team is the 2011-2012 Dunn-St. Croix Conference champions. Colfax and Elk Mound started the last conference game with records of 14-1. Colfax won over Elk Mound on a score of 54 to 50.

March 7, 2012

• Mark Dillon Castillo, 30, of Colfax pleaded guilty to possession, bail jumping and an OWI while other drug charges were dismissed during a court hearing February 24.

• The Cooks Valley Town Board, following the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the township’s sand mine licensing ordinance, has approved asking sand mines already operating to submit applications for a mining license.

• The Colfax girls’ basketball team is the 2011-2012 Dunn-St. Croix Conference Champion. This is the girls’ sixth conference title in seven seasons.

• The Elk Mound boys’ basketball team lost a game to Fall Creek on a score of 46 to 54, leaving Elk Mound with a final record for the year of 21-3.

March 14, 2012

• The Colfax boys’ basketball team proudly displayed the sectional plaque they earned after a game with the Boyceville Bulldogs on March 10 with a score of 55 to 41.

• The Colfax Village Board has fired new administrator, Tom Cogswell, effective March 5. Cogswell began his duties as administrator on October 3, 2011.

• The Howard Town Board may seek a warrant to check on the welfare of dogs still believed to be on the premises following a January 31 fire at 7201 25th Street, the residence of Katherine Henry.

• Of the three young men charged with the armed robbery of the I-94 Mart in Elk Mound last November, the case involving 17-year-old Brandon Hurlburt has been consolidated with a Chippewa County case in which Hurlburt also is charged with armed robbery and burglary.

• A satellite branch of the Menomonie Public Library is scheduled to open in Elk Mound on May 1.

• The Colfax girls’ basketball team won their first regional title since 2009 following a 59 to 48 win over Osseo-Fairchild March 10.

• The Colfax boys’ basketball team won the semi-final sectional game on a score of 52 to 42 March 8 in Altoona against Fall Creek.

• The Colfax boys’ basketball team had an overall record of 24-2 to become the Division 4 Sectional and Regional champions.

March 21, 2012

• The Colfax boys’ basketball team lost to Dominican with a score of 44 to 67 in the WIAA Division 4 state semifinals March 15 at the Kohl Center in Madison.

• Chad Zweifel of Colfax, 37, has been sentenced in Chippewa County to four months in jail and two years of probation in connection with a shooting incident in the Town of Howard last June.

• The Colfax Village Board decided at the March 12 meeting to cut down the big evergreen tree in Tower Park next to the municipal building because the tree is diseased.

• The Colfax Village Board decided March 12 to hire a temporary deputy clerk and to start a search for a new administrator. Deputy Clerk Jessica Eastman is going on maternity leave in April.

March 28, 2012

• The Elk Mound Board of Education approved building budgets of $153,000 for the 2012-2013 school year.

• Construction is scheduled to start this summer on the County Highway D bridge by Jake’s Supper Club.

• The Colfax Fire Board has finalized plans for auctioning off the old fire station and rescue squad building. The auction will take place at 2 p.m. on April 21. The terms will be 10 percent down with the balance due at closing within 30 days.