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A look at the top news stories in April, May and June 2014

Compiled By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  — The Colfax Messenger Year in Review continues with April, May and June of 2014.

April 2, 2014

• A Dunn County judge has lifted the stay on jail time and has ordered Greg LaPean, the former owner of LaPean Implement in Menomonie to report to jail by 5 p.m. April 27. LaPean was convicted in 2011 of defrauding a New Auburn bank in a case involving missing farm equipment that served as collateral.

• To stay compliant with the Affordable Care Act, the Colfax Village Board has started considering group health insurance for employees through Kado and Associates out of Menomonie.

• One of the recommendations in the economic development chapter of the Smart Growth Comprehensive Land Use Plan is that the village consider purchasing land for residential, business and industrial purposes.

• The Colfax Sesquicentennial Parade Committee is looking for parade units for the Sesquicentennial parade on Saturday, July 19.

April 9, 2014

• The Elk Mound Village Board approved at the April 2 meeting a $50,000 line of credit at Independence State Bank to finish the library and community center located in the building that formerly housed a Laundromat and a beauty shop.

• Dunn County Medical Examiner Chris Kruse released a report April 1 saying that Dennis Grohn, a suspected drug dealer killed by a SWAT team in February at his home in Cedar Falls, had a nearly lethal dose of methamphetamine in his system.

• The insurance adjuster for the Village of Colfax has declared the beer tent building at the Colfax Fairgrounds a total loss after the roof collapsed following a heavy, wet snow in February.

• Dunn County District Attorney James Peterson was elected circuit court judge during the April 1 election. Christina M. Mayer challenged Peterson for the position. Mayer gathered 2,322 votes. Peterson received 2,472 votes. Dunn County Circuit Court Judge William C. Stewart retired at the end of 2013.

April 16, 2014

• A pair of longtime dartball players from Colfax, Gaylon Gotliebson and Paul Strand, were inducted into the Wisconsin Dartball Hall of Fame April 5 in Manitowoc. Both men have been playing dartball for more than 50 years in leagues around Colfax and Eau Claire.

• About a dozen Fourth Avenue residents attended a meeting April 8 to find out more information about the proposed $350,000 street improvement project.

April 23, 2014

• The Colfax Village Board has agreed to pay 90 percent of the premium for group health insurance to cover employees and 100 percent of the dental plan. The total monthly cost to the village if all employees choose to take Medica insurance with the village paying 90 percent would be $5,700, the village board learned at the April 14 meeting.

• The Colfax Village Board approved demolishing the collapsed  beer garden building at the fairgrounds along with engineering services to build a new one at the April 14 meeting. The village board accepted the low bid of $1,100 from GP Excavating to demolish what is left of the beer garden.

• Allie Kruger, a 2007 graduate of Colfax High School, is the new owner of Anytime Fitness in Colfax.

• New sand mines in the Town of Howard east of Colfax will have to be located at least 800 feet from a residence. The Howard Town Board approved a number of revisions to the township’s nonmetallic mining ordinance at the April 15 meeting, including the setback provision.

April 30, 2014

• The Colfax Fire Board accepted a donation of a used fire engine from the Colfax Firefighters Association at a meeting held April 24. The firefighters purchased the fire engine from the Bayport fire department at a cost of $12,000.

• GP Excavating out of Colfax demolished the beer garden building at the Colfax Fairgrounds April 22.  The beer tent was built in 1964. The building collapsed following a heavy, wet snow in February.

May 7, 2014

• The Colfax Village Board has approved spending $33,375 at the village’s wastewater treatment lagoons to install electricity, a chemical feed pump, a converter and for Solar Bee upgrades in an attempt to better control phosphorus discharge.

• EMTs and firefighters from Colfax, Glenwood City and Boyceville responded to a bus-train accident in Wheeler during an EMS disaster drill May 3.

• The Colfax Village Board approved an employment agreement at the April 28 meeting with Bill Anderson to serve as the new Colfax police chief.

• The Elk Mound Board of Education approved eliminating the every-other-day option for all-day kindergarten at the April 28 meeting.

May 14, 2014

• Captain PJ’s BBQ will be coming to Elk Mound this summer as part of the farmers’ market. Brian LaFontaine, owner of the business, spoke to the Elk Mound Village Board at the May 7 meeting about setting up in Elk Mound on Fridays.

• The Colfax High School class of 1974 has donated 400 trees and shrubs to be planted along Eighteen Mile Creek. Ralph Roggenbuck, representing the Class of ’47, presented the proposal to the Colfax Village Board April 28.

May 21, 2014

• The Colfax Village Board approved advertising for bids on the $350,000 Fourth Avenue project at the May 12 meeting.

• Graduation ceremonies were held for the Colfax High School Class of 2014 on May 16.

• The Colfax Railroad Museum is in the top five of privately owned china collections in the United States.

• Amber C. Goodell, 31, of Boyceville, was found guilty of stealing $48,000 from Bremer Bank in Elk Mound after pleading no contest in Dunn County Circuit Court on May 13.

• Based on a discussion at the Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development committee meeting, the Colfax Town Board has agreed to explore intergovernmental cooperation with the Town of Howard for regulating sand mines.

May 28, 2014

• The Elk Mound Board of Education at the May meeting approved a 2 percent increase in salaries for extracurricular positions that amounts to a total increase for the school district’s budget of $2,145. The increase affects 64 extracurricular positions, and the increases range from $5 to $105.

• Although the Colfax Village Board had hoped to replace the beer tent building at the fairgrounds by the time of the Colfax Free Fair in June, the village board rejected both bids that were opened at the May 21 meeting. One bid was incomplete, and the other bidder wanted to do the work in mid-summer. The Colfax Sesquicentennial Celebration is planned for July 17 through July 20.

• The Honorable Scott R. Needham, a St. Croix County circuit court judge and the Chief Judge for the 10th District in Wisconsin, spoke to the Dunn County Board May 21 about the possibility of Dunn County adding another judge for a total of three for the county.

• A retirement party was held May 18 for Swanhild Rasmussen, who is retiring after writing the Sand Creek Chatter column for the Chetek Alert, the Bloomer Advance and the Colfax Messenger for 30 years.

June 4, 2014

• After six years, the “Welcome to Colfax” signs have finally been installed at all three major entry points into the village. The signs have actually been in Colfax and were ready to go up for the past four years, but state regulations about how and where the signs could be installed prevented them from being put up right away. Ron Peterson, who helped design the signs, and former village president Jean Olson, had hoped to have the signs up in time for the Colfax High School All-School Reunion in 2010.

• A representative for Northern Sands, Paul van Eijl, said at the Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee meeting May 27 that the company will voluntarily apply any setbacks established by the Town of Howard in Chippewa County to properties located in Dunn County. Van Eijl is planning to develop a 2,000 acre sand mine in the Town of Howard next door to the Town of Colfax.

• Elk Mound’s Elly Friberg made a clean jump in the high jump during the Dunn-St. Croix Conference meet in Mondovi May 20. Friberg finished fourth with a jump of 5”1’ in the event at the WIAA Division 2 Bloomer sectional and qualified for the state meet in LaCrosse. Jonah Bauer will represent the Elk Mound boys.

• Four individuals from Colfax, Heidi Lieffort, Noah Pretasky, Ben Kragness and Dempsey Fogarty will represent Colfax at the state track meet in LaCrosse.

• Colfax historian Troy Knutson has published “Looking Through the Lens: Colfax History Through Pictures.”

June 11, 2014

• The 95th  Colfax Free Fair started June 12.

• Colfax resident Gary Stene has filed nomination papers to run as a Democratic candidate for the 67th Assembly District in November against incumbent Tom Larson of Colfax.

• Jonah Bauer of Elk Mound won the Division 2 100-meter dash at the WIAA state track meet June 6 and 7 at  UW-LaCrosse.

• Colfax Police Chief Pete Gehring retired May 23 after serving in law enforcement for 43 years.

June 18, 2014

• A house fire at 511 East Third Avenue on May 24 has been determined to be “suspicious” in nature.

• The Colfax Village Board approved at the June 9 meeting a rezone for a lot on Iverson Road to allow the construction of a twin home.

• Although the Colfax Village Board is borrowing $350,000 for the Fourth Avenue street project, Tax Increment District No. 3 is expected to cover the cost of the loan. The village board approved the TID 3 plan amendment and borrowing the money for Fourth Avenue June 9.

June 25, 2014

• Colfax resident Kobi Shaw was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres television show May 23 wearing her bell jumpsuit to play “Carol of the Bells.”

• The Dunn County Board at the June meeting approved two referendum questions for the November ballot. The first advisory referendum question will ask voters to give their opinion on whether the governor and state legislature should accept federal funding to expand BadgerCare. The second question will ask voters about their opinion on whether the U.S. Constitution  should be amended to state that only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights and that money is not speech.

• The Midwest Brass and Gas Club stopped in Colfax on June 16 with a variety of antique cars, all of which were older than 1912. More than a dozen cars stopped for a coffee break at Lynn’s Brewed Awakenings and to shop at the Colfax Arts and Antique Mall.