Colfax Year in Review: January, February, March 2014

Complied by LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — Another year has come and gone.

Here is the Year in Review from the Colfax Messenger archives for January, February and March of 2014.

January 1, 2014

• The Dunn County Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a special exception for Air Products/EPCO Carbon Dioxide Products on December 19 to operate a carbon dioxide manufacturing plant at the Big River Resources ethanol plant between Wheeler and Boyceville.

• The Colfax Village Board approved at the December 18 meeting a salary range of $41,000 to $52,000 annually for the new police chief who will be hired to replace Colfax Police Chief Pete Gehring upon his retirement in April.

• The Elk Mound Village Board approved for 2014 a general fund budget of $778,449 and a water and sewer budget of $325,037.

January 8, 2014

• With wind chills far below zero, the Colfax Fire Department was called out to a house fire on 810th Avenue south of Colfax the morning of December 30. The home was a total loss, said Colfax Fire Chief Don Logslett. The house was owned by Brian Jain and was occupied by Jain’s son and his family.

• Three Dunn County Board members (Donald Krause of New Auburn; Alec Kirby of Menomonie; Don Francis of Menomonie), two members of the Elk Mound Board of Education (Bill Moore and Jim Holte), and one Elk Mound Village Board trustee (Deborah Creaser-Kipp) have filed non-candidacy papers and will not be running in the April 1 election.

• Probation has been extended for one year for Roger Thompson, a 53-year-old Ridgeland man convicted of starting a garage on fire in the Town of Elk Mound in May of 2012. Thompson was ordered to pay $3,100 in restitution to the owner of the building, Judith Hayden. Probation was extended because Thompson had not yet paid $502 that he still owes.

• With an air temperature of 23 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, wind chills were 40 to 50 degrees below zero January 7.

January 15, 2014

• Of the 29 positions on the Dunn County Board for the April 1 election, four positions will be open, one position will require a primary, two positions have two candidates, two positions have no candidates, and the remaining positions will have incumbents on the ballot.

• Elk Mound graduate Monica Bertsch and her boyfriend, Chris Sweeney, braved extremely cold temperatures while attending the Green Bay Packers playoff game at Lambeau Field January 5.

• Cedar Country Cooperative’s “Guess Your Gas” event December 19 ended up with 23 winners and netted $3,000 for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center.

• The Elk Mound Board of Education will have four candidates for three positions in the April 1 election: Tim Sivertson, incumbent Board of Education president; Mark Cedarblade; Kelly Holzer and Patrick Rhude.

January 22, 2014

• The congregation at St. John Lutheran Popple Creek held the first church service in their brand new church on county Highway W north of Colfax on January 12. The old Popple Creek church burned down exactly one year earlier. An open house for the community will be held this spring.

• Megan Mittlestadt of Boyceville has been appointed as the Dunn County treasurer to replace Cindy Kopp, who retired last fall.

• By the time 2017 rolls around, the village’s new wastewater permit will require Colfax to discharge about eight times less phosphorus than is currently being discharged. Paul Gont, the village’s wastewater engineer with Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH) reviewed the village’s draft Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit with the Colfax Village Board January 13.

January 29, 2014

• A group of first and second graders were bound and determined to spend time outdoors at a sliding party north of Colfax January 25. The temperature was barely above zero with a brisk wind but it got even colder over the next few days, forcing schools in the area to close yet again with wind chills between 30 and 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

• A 25-year-old Menomonie man has been sentenced to four years of probation and one year in the county jail for charges related to a high-speed chase last September that ended in Colfax. William J. Lambie II pleaded guilty to three of the charges and was sentenced by Judge Rod W. Smeltzer in Dunn County Circuit Court January 13.

February 5, 2014

• A 55-year-old Town of Tainter resident, James E. Kernan, was arrested for secretly videotaping a woman at his photography business, Picture Perfect Photography, after a 25-year-old woman contacted the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department January 21.

• A 22-year-old Colfax man, Jesse Thoms, pleaded no contest and was found guilty of burglarizing a property on January 15 owned by state Representative Tom Larson and his wife, Mary. At around noon on January 15, a man called the Dunn County sheriff’s department to report he was following a gray Dodge Dakota pulling a trailer that he suspected had taken items from a residence near Colfax.

• Anna Jacobson, who graduated from Elk Mound High School in 2004 as Anna Suechting, was interviewed on the Wisconsin Public Radio program Spectrum West on January 23 prior to a performance of the brass trio she plays with, V3nto, at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls on January 26.

February 12, 2014

• Although the threat itself on Facebook was somewhat vague, it was the picture of Mound View Elementary that was alarming. At around 11:20 a.m. on Thursday, February 6, the Dunn County sheriff’s department received notification of a social media threat directed at Mound View Elementary in Elk Mound. A concerned citizen reported to the Rhinelander Police Department that an adult male from Oneida County had placed a threatening post on Facebook concerning Mound View Elementary.

• Multiple days of below zero temperatures and wind chills have caused the frost to go down eight or ten feet on village streets, freezing water lines in the process. As of the evening of February 5, Colfax businesses and residents were asked to turn on a faucet and leave it running continuously in a pencil-sized stream until further notice.

• Elk Mound’s new police chief, Travis Hakes, attended a week-long seminar in Madison for new police chiefs and sheriffs sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

February 19, 2014

• During the execution of a search warrant by the West Central Drug Task Force and the Eau Claire County Regional Tactical Team at a residence in the Town of Red Cedar, a confrontation resulted in a suspect, 32-year-old Dennis B. Grohn, being fatally wounded by officers.

• Following a public hearing on February 10, the Colfax Village Board approved an ordinance to annex Evergreen Cemetery. Prior to this, although the village owned the cemetery, it was located in the Town of Colfax.

February 26, 2014

• The additional six to eight inches of heavy, wet snow that fell in the Colfax area Thursday, February 20, was too much for the roof of the beer garden at the Colfax Fairgrounds. No damage estimates were available, although Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, noted than an insurance adjuster planned to evaluate the collapsed roof sometime during the next week.

• Breanne Wieser, a life enrichment aide at Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center, recently  completed formal training on implementing the Music and Memory Program. The basic premise of Music and Memory is that residents in elder care facilities are given  iPods loaded with personalized play lists of music.

• Richard Lipina, 24, of Colfax, pleaded no contest in Dunn County Circuit Court on February 18 to burglarizing property owned by state Representative Tom Larson and his wife, Mary, and was sentenced to two years of probation.

• Dunn County District Attorney James Peterson and Christina Mayer, an attorney from Menomonie, will be the two candidates on the ballot for circuit court judge in the April 1 election to replace Judge William C. Stewart, Jr., who retired last fall.

March 5, 2014

• The third annual meeting of Cedar Country Cooperative was held February 11 in the meeting room at Bill’s Distributing in Menomonie. About 136 members and employees attended. Cedar Country Cooperative is the merger of several cooperatives, including the Colfax Farmers Union.

• Eric J. Pevan, 27, of Dallas, made an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court February 25 on one felony count of mistreating an animal for allegedly poisoning his neighbor’s dog in Ridgeland. The dog belonged to Shane Cutting of 314 Caroline Street.

• Coach Joe Doucette and the Colfax Lady Vikings basketball team won their sixth straight Dunn-St. Croix championship and the eighth championship in nine seasons. The Colfax team finished their conference win on a score 46 to 33 February 27 over the Boyceville Bulldogs.

• The Colfax boys basketball team reached the sectional level of the WIAA playoffs for the third straight year, but their season came to a screeching halt when they lost to Glenwood City in the first round of the regional tournament February 25 on their home court 47 to 43.

March 12, 2014

• A former attorney in Dunn County, William R. Lamb, 53, of Menomonie, has been charged with felony counts of theft, forgery and cashing a forged check in connection with an insurance settlement for a client. Lamb is accused of signing and cashing a check in the amount of $10,500 issued by an insurance company for his client, Randy Miller, and then keeping the money.

• The Elk Mound boys basketball team is headed back to Madison for the first time in two decades. After a 21-year hiatus, the Mounders punched their ticket to the WIAA State Boys Basketball Tournament with a resounding 48 to 37 win over the Prescott Cardinals Saturday afternoon, March 8, in the Division 3 Sectional Championship at Eau Claire North High School.

• The Chippewa County Department of Land Conservation and Forest Management will host an informational meeting March 18 to provide an update on the five-year groundwater study being conducted to evaluate the impact of industrial sand mining and irrigated agriculture in western Chippewa County. The study area extends into Dunn County and includes the Red Cedar River.

• The Colfax girls’ basketball team ended the season with a regional loss to Mondovi March 8 in Colfax. Mondovi scored 64 points, and the Colfax team scored 47 points.

March 19, 2014

• Colfax village employees and crew members from A1 Excavating worked diligently the morning of March 14 to repair a water main break at the corner of East Railroad Avenue and county Highway M near Sampson Funeral Home. Rand Bates, director of public works, said it was the first water main break this winter due to the depth of the frost, although about 40 water laterals have frozen this year because of the unrelenting frigid winter weather.

• Volunteers began moving furniture and supplies on Saturday, March 15, into the newly remodeled building at the corner of Menomonie Street and South Holly Avenue in Elk Mound. The building, which was most recently a Laundromat and apartment building, will be the village’s library and community center.

• The Colfax Village Board approved buying a new Bobcat T590 compact track loader from Bobcat Plus in Chippewa Falls at the March 10 meeting for $48,750, along with an excavator attachment at a cost of $3,500.

• The Elk Mound boys basketball team fell just short at WIAA State Boys’ Basketball semi-final game March 14 in Madison with a 50 to 47 loss to Lodi in overtime.

March 26, 2014

• Millie Packer, who lives at Sandy Ridge Apartments at Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center, celebrated her 100th birthday on March 25. Millie was pictured with a paper dress she had ordered from a newspaper ad for $1 in the 1960s.

• A plea agreement had not yet been reached for a 31-year-old Boyceville woman accused of stealing $48,000 from Bremer Bank in Elk Mound. Amber C. Goodell appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court with her attorney, William Laman, who reported that there was no plea deal and that he had received a new offer from Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki.

• The Dunn County Board approved a loan of $188,000 to the Dunn County Snowmobile Association for purchasing a John Deere 6140R tractor for grooming snowmobile trails at the March 19 meeting.

• Dunn County District Attorney James Peterson issued a decision March 19 that members of the Eau Claire Regional Tactical Team were justified in shooting and killing a Cedar Falls man while executing a search warrant in February. Dennis B. Grohn, 32, “essentially attacked members of the SWAT team lawfully executing a search warrant to search for evidence of a very serious crime.” Although toxicology reports were not yet available, the reports may later confirm that Grohn was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time, Peterson wrote in his report.