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Colfax Messenger Year In Review: A look back the top news stories in April, May and June 2015

COLFAX  — Here are news highlights from the Colfax Messenger for April, May and June.

April 1, 2015

• Seven people were arrested March 25 in Colfax as part of an ongoing investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine: Shawna Allegro; Clifford Cline; Karen Herrera; Randy Johnson; Alicia McMullin; Dennis Mittelstadt; and Seth Swenson.

• Colfax kindergarten student Arianna Hoffman received a haircut from Susan LaNou, owner of Deluxe Beauty Salon, to be donated to Locks of Love in honor her two grandmothers, Andrea Hoffman and Kathy Wenzel.

• The April 7 election will feature a variety of candidates for the Village of Colfax, Town of Colfax, Town of Grant, Town of Otter Creek, Colfax school board, Village of Elk Mound, Elk Mound school board, Town of Elk Mound, Town of Howard, and the Town of Tainter.

• The Colfax Village Board approved a rezone to residential for the East View development on Dunn Street March 23.

April 8, 2015

• A one-day jury trial has been scheduled June 1 for a 53-year-old Colfax resident, Karen Herrera, who was arrested during a drug raid in Colfax March 25.

• The Colfax Fire Department responded to a grass fire on 990th Avenue in the Town of Otter Creek April 3. Grass fires also were reported earlier in the week near Eau Claire and Spring Valley.

• The Elk Mound Village Board at the April 1 meeting approved adding a new police officer for 25 hours per week.

• The Elk Mound school board contemplated how to spend $80,000 in surplus in the 2015 budget at the  March 30 meeting.

• Although old records for the Colfax Public Library indicated that the library has a square footage of 1,800 square feet, recent measurements indicate the library is actually 1,246 square feet, reported Lisa Ludwig, library director, at an open house March 26.

April 15, 2015

• Longtime Colfax Village Trustee Beverly Schauer lost her bid for re-election in the April 7 election to David Wolff. Four candidates were on the ballot for three positions: Schauer (incumbent); Annie E. Schieber (incumbent); Wolff; and Susan Olson (incumbent).

• A 44-year-old man, Miles J. Gloss, who was arrested in Colfax last December after fleeing on foot from a police officer, has agreed to testify against several people implicated in a multiple thefts and burglaries in the area, including Ryan Hobbick and Stevie Walls Jr.

• An off-duty Dunn County sheriff’s deputy, Russel L. Waddell, has been cited for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) first offense.

• Aydin Bork, 6, of Colfax, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder, when she was three years old. The disorder causes tumors to form on nerves.

• Colfax students sang and danced the night away during the Fifth Annual Spotlight Night talent show April 11 in the Martin Anderson Gym at Colfax High School.

• Voters in the Town of Sand Creek approved two separate licenses for the sale of beer and wine in a referendum election April 7. The referendum questions did not include a question to allow beer and liquor stores and did not include a question authorizing taverns in the township. The licenses were intended to allow certain activities at Sand Creek’s sesquicentennial celebration during the summer.

April 22, 2015

• A bridal show scheduled at the Colfax Municipal Building auditorium May 2 will feature antique and vintage wedding dresses and other wedding apparel.

• Golfers from the Ladies Monday Night League at Whitetail Golf Course collected $328 in a “cuss fund” that was donated to Lisa Pederson, who works with Special Olympics.

• The Howard Town Board has agreed to seek a legal opinion on whether there is a conflict of interest between two town board members and the proposed Albertville Valley sand mine. The board will seek opinions concerning Dennis Dvoracek, re-elected to the town board April 7, and Todd Wanish, elected to his first term on the town board in April.

• The Colfax Village Board has approved buying five new portable radios for the Colfax Police Department that will cost 25 percent of the total cost thanks to a grant received by Dunn County. Colfax will pay $2,750 for the radios, which would normally cost about $11,000.

• Dunn County Judge Rod Smeltzer ruled April 13 that a 21-year-old Cadott man, Michael J. Sonnentag, is competent to assist in his own defense. Sonnentag is accused for killing two people and injuring six others in an accident that occurred on I-94 near Elk Mound in October of 2014.

April 29, 2015

• Rod Larson, whose son, Michael was killed in a motorcycle accident August 12, 2014, was the keynote speaker in a presentation April 23 to Colfax High School students, “Speak Up to Slow Down,” sponsored by the Colfax Rescue Squad.

• Celebrating to the theme of “Masquerade” April 25, Colfax High School students selected Courtney Dressel and Jarrod Rudi as the prom king and queen.

• Ryan Krall and Jordan Sorenson were prom king and queen in Elk Mound. The theme was “Eiffel in Love in Paris.”

• Sparks flew at the Town of Howard annual meeting over a possible conflict of interest regarding town supervisors Dennis Dvoracek and Todd Wanish.

• Peggy Freitag, a retired special education teacher in Elk Mound, pleaded guilty April 23 in Chippewa County Circuit Court to one count of sexually assaulting a teenage boy to whom she was providing foster care.

May 6, 2015

• The Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee agreed at the April 28 meeting that Dunn County should participate in the United States Geological Survey’s tri-county groundwater monitoring pilot study in Dunn, Chippewa and Eau Claire counties.

• Josie Doerr and Ciara Riste, both third graders at Colfax Elementary, greeted guests at the door of the Colfax Municipal Building auditorium for the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group’s wedding style show May 2.

• Zoey Brooks, the state’s 67th Alice in Dairyland, visited Colfax Elementary April 29.

• Following a public hearing April 28, the Dunn County Zoning Board of Adjustment granted a variance for Big River Resources Boyceville LLC to build a corn dryer and grain elevators with a maximum height of 225 feet.

• Dennis K. Mittelstadt, 48, of  Colfax, pleaded guilty in Dunn County Circuit Court on April 28 to delivering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug trafficking place. Mittelstadt was arrested during a drug raid March 25 executed by the West Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force.

• Based on a recommendation from the parks committee, the Colfax Village Board approved buying a new John Deere commercial mower for $15,000 after trade-in at the April 27 meeting.

• Katie Bundy, 36, of Colfax, was sentenced in Dunn County Circuit Court on April 28 to an additional two years of probation for one felony county of possessing methamphetamine.

• Kaely Rieck and Hannah Yingst earned silver medals in play acting, and Grady Gibson won a gold medal for radio broadcasting at the state forensics competition at UW-Madison April 17.

May 13, 2015 

• Susan Haake, clerk for the Town of Howard, reported at the May 5 meeting that Northern Sands is intending to apply for a non-metallic mine exploration license from the township and then plans to properly abandon 26 boreholes associated with the proposed 1,300-acre Albertville Valley sand mine.

• Jim Eggert of Colfax has donated two more disease resistant American Elm trees to the village. Students from Mark Mosey’s Global Science class at Colfax High School planted one of the trees at Evergreen Cemetery May 1.

• The Honorable Maureen Boyle denied a request for a new trial from Gary Wayerski, the former Wheeler Police Chief, in Barron County Circuit Court May 4. The hearing was the last of three hearings in the matter. Wayerski was convicted by a Dunn County jury in October of 2012 on 16 felony counts of sex crimes against teenaged boys.

May 20, 2015 

• Dunn County has hired Boyceville native Amanda Hanson as the county’s brand new water conservationist. Hanson began her duties as Conservation Planner — Water Quality Specialist several weeks ago. She has worked for Dunn County in the Land and Water Conservation office since 2002.

• Woods Run Forest Products in Colfax donated a deck gun to the Colfax Community Fire Department. The total cost of the deck gun was around $1,800.

• At the Colfax High School graduation ceremony May 15, 56 graduates earned diplomas.

• Katie Paulich, the Elk Mound High School Class of 2015 Valedictorian, addressed classmates and audience members at the EMHS graduation ceremony May 15.

May 27, 2015

• Cindy Prince of Colfax, the founder and a member of the Pony Tales Refuge and Rehab Inc., drove out to Maryland the first of May and hauled home six newborn foals from nurse mares.

• A 2003 graduate from Colfax High School, Nick Moen, was reported missing from the Wisconsin Dells area on May 11, which was the last day that Nick’s family had heard from him.

• In what was believed to be only the second time in the last 44 years, the Memorial Day parade and ceremony in Sand Creek and Colfax were cancelled Monday. The National Weather Service was predicting rain and strong thunderstorms with lightning.

• At the May 18 meeting, the Elk Mound Board of Education approved 34 new applications to open enroll into the district and 21 new applications to open enroll out of the district.

• The Dunn County Board accepted proposed changes to the county’s comprehensive zoning code related to utilities, residential and agri-tourism at the board’s May 20 meeting.

• The Colfax Public Library is in the process of forming a “Friends of the Library” group based on a recommendation from John Thompson, director of the Indianhead Federated Library System, at the Colfax Public Library Board’s May 13 meeting.

• Members of the Colfax Public Library Board discussed at the May 13 meeting what their next steps should be to expand the existing library space or to build a new library at another location.

June 3, 2015

• A 53-year-old Colfax woman arrested during a drug raid March 25 at 408 Cedar Street, Karen A. Herrera, has been found guilty in Dunn County Circuit Court May 22 on felony counts of maintaining a drug trafficking place and selling methamphetamine.

• A tipped over semi hauling fill to 505 Balsam Street in Colfax blocked off the street for several hours May 20. According to Colfax Police Chief William Anderson, as the semi activated and raised the boom for the dump trailer, the load shifted.

• A 60-year-old Colfax man, Leo Herrera, who was sentenced to one year in jail on a revoked probation for felony possession of methamphetamine, was granted Huber privileges May 27 to work in the jail garden.

• The Colfax Village Board has adopted a stricter ordinance regulating pit bulls and other dangerous animals.

• Transient merchants operating in Colfax will now be required to pay a $10 registration fee, a $45 per calendar quarter permit fee and also will be required to carry a copy of the permit. The Colfax Village Board approved the new provisions at the May 26 meeting.

• The Colfax Village Board updated the pool ordinance to require fences at the May 26 meeting.

• This year’s Dunn County Dairy Promotion Breakfast will be held June 6 at the Steve and Angie Olson farm, Maple Hills Dairy, just off state Highway 64 near Connorsville.

• Progress on the Fourth Avenue project in Colfax has been slowed down by rainy weather.

June 10, 2015 

• The Tapestry Trunk Bed and Breakfast at 503 Pine Street will be open for business June 15.

• Although it was possible a plea deal could be reached, a two-day jury trial is scheduled to go forward starting June 18 for a 44-year-old Colfax woman, Beth Mittelstadt, who is accused of setting fire to a house occupied by Katie Bundy at 511 East Third Avenue in May of 2014.

• EOG Resources plans to increase stormwater management for the Dennis Schindler frac sand mine in Cooks Valley. The modified non-metallic mine reclamation plan would add 37 acres for stormwater management facilities. Following persistent problems with local runoff from the mine reported by neighbors the previous summer, a torrential rain on September 3, 2014, resulted in 18 Mile Creek through Colfax being polluted by colloidal clay runoff from the EOG mine.

• The Elk Mound Village Board amended the village’s ordinances June 3 to not pay 50 percent of the repair or replacement of defective sidewalks.

• Members of Brownie Troop 3114 based out of Elk Mound recently painted a garbage can to be used by members of the community as they walk between the middle school and high school. The painted can was part of a project called “A World of Girls Journey.”

June 17, 2015

• A 2003 graduate from Colfax High School reported missing May 11 from the Wisconsin Dells area, Nick Moen, came to the Colfax Police Department on June 11 at around 9:30 p.m. and talked to Colfax Police Officer Mike Madrid to confirm his safety.

• 4-H Club and FFA members showed off their porcine prowess at the Northern Wisconsin Show Pig Circuit Colfax Classic at the Colfax Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 13.

• Because the contractor for the Fourth Avenue project, R.M. Schlosser out of Durand, is taking such a long time to finish the work, the delay could cost Colfax almost $20,000 more in engineering fees, the Colfax Village Board learned at the June 8 meeting.

• Although the Village of Colfax’s fund balances are down $266,000 over the previous year, the village’s financial statements are still in “good shape” according to the auditor, Eric Davidson of Bauman Associates, who presented a report to the village board June 8.

• The attorney for Gunnar Zurek, 19, of Elk Mound, who was the driver in a Town of Tainter car accident last September that killed his girlfriend, asked at a June 8 court appearance for a day-long motion hearing about factual problems with the case.

• Following a closed session June 3, the Elk Mound Village Board approved hiring Dan Lew for a water, wastewater and public works crew position.

• The Colfax Fire Board approved at the June 11 meeting the purchase of a 2005 International truck chassis and moving the tank from the existing 1978 tanker truck at a cost not to exceed $75,000.

June 24, 2015 

• The 96th Annual Colfax Free Fair began Thursday, June 25, and ran through Sunday.

• Although trials were scheduled in June and November for Beth Mittelstadt, 44, of Colfax, who was charged with arson and attempted murder, a plea deal June 10 ended up in the charges being reduced to criminal damage to property and recklessly endangering safety. Mittelstadt was accused of setting fire to a house on Third Avenue and was charged with attempted murder and other felony charges after she was accused of trying to attack Colfax Police Chief William Anderson with a machete.

• The Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked the license to practice law on June 9 for William R. Lamb, 54, Menomonie, and ordered him to pay nearly $30,000 in restitution and costs for the disciplinary proceeding.

• The Elk Mound school district has received about $100,000 more in revenue than was anticipated the Elk Mound Board of Education learned at the June 15 meeting when Superintendent Ron Walsh presented the budget variance report for the 2014-2015 school year.

• Bremer Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary in Colfax June 18 with a picnic. The July 2, 1900, edition of the Colfax Messenger reported that a new bank in Colfax would be called People’s State Bank and would be capitalized for $20,000. The bank held its grand opening in February of 1916.