Colfax Messenger 2016: A Year in Review: A look back the top news stories in July, August, and September 2016

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  While we now sit huddled indoors, hiding from below-zero windchills or the snow piling up outside, before we know it, the hot summer days of July will be here.

Here are news highlights from the Colfax Messenger in July, August and September of 2016:

July 6, 2016

• After serving in education for 37 years, Dr. Ron Walsh, school superintendent in Elk Mound, officially retired at the end of the school year on June 30.

• The Colfax Village Board has approved $410,000 in funding for Third Avenue and Pine and Maple Streets.

• Colfax has a new park — The J.D. Simons Memorial Park. The Colfax Village Board approved naming the park where Eighteen Mile Creek empties into the Red Cedar River the J.D. Simons Memorial Park at the June 27 meeting.

• Colfax has earned a 3.74 GPA on the Compliance Maintenance Annual Report, and the discharge of phosphorus from the Colfax wastewater treatment lagoons in 2015 was less than the limit of 3 milligrams per liter set by the state Department of Natural Resources. 

July 13, 2016

• Northern Sands LLC and Ahlgrimm Explosives Company, Inc. have been fined a total of $26,000 for failing to properly abandon 25 frac sand boreholes in the Town of Howard.

• Skeeter, the Advance Clown for the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus, visited Tower Park July 8. Skeeter also made an appearance at Kyle’s Market and at the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center.

• Based on a recommendation from the Elk Mound Plan Commission, the Elk Mound Village Board has approved an extra-territorial Certified Survey Map in the Town of Elk Mound submitted by Loren Hanson.

• A 34-year-old Colfax man, Chad H. Stewart, is scheduled to be arraigned in Dunn County Circuit Court in September on seven felony counts of possessing child pornography. 

July 20, 2016

• According to a report written by the state Department of Natural Resources, frac sand mining is not expected to have a negative impact on air quality but could have a cumulative impact on wetlands. 

• The Colfax Village Board has amended Tax Increment Finance Districts 3 and 4 to fund the Third Avenue street project.

• To be prepared for the July 18 meeting, the Colfax Board of Education held a special meeting July 12 to review resolutions for the $7.2 million referendum planned for the November election.

• If you have been concerned about not being able to see toward Main Street when pulling out of the Dollar General driveway, you will soon have a clear line of sight. The Colfax Village Board approved “no parking” on the south side of Fifth Avenue from Main Street to Park Drive at the July 11 meeting. 

• The Colfax Public Library is gathering recipes for a new cookbook, “A Thyme to Remember.”

July 27, 2016

• The Colfax Board of Education has approved a $7.2 million referendum for the November election.

• A 43-year-old woman, Susan R. Shackleton of New Auburn, drowned in the Red Cedar River at Riverside Park in Sand Creek Sunday afternoon.

• Based on a recommendation from the Elk Mound Plan Commission, the Elk Mound Village Board approved a rezone for property at N418 Menomonie Street from Business 1 to single family residential based on a request from Patrick Lien.

• The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus held two performances in Colfax at the Colfax Fairgrounds July 18. 

• An owl was one of the birds Dan Hnilicka, an interpretive naturalist with the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, presented to the audience gathered at the Colfax Municipal Building Auditorium for the Colfax Public Library’s Summer Reading Program July 20.

August 3, 2016

• Six candidates for representative of the state’s 67th assembly district will be on the ballot for the August 9 partisan primary: Dennis Hunt; Michael Hanke; Rob Summerfield; Travis Hakes; Tony Zammit; Dennis Doughty. 

• Alice Langby of Elk Mound and Rachel Ottinger of Colfax performed their skit on Hallie Flanagan Davis at the National History Day competition in Washington D.C. in June.

• The Dunn County Board at the July 27 meeting denied a request for a rezone from Hansen Auctioneers and Real Estate from general agriculture to general commercial in the Town of Tainter.

• The Colfax school district will end up paying 54 cents a gallon for the fuel for the district’s liquid propane buses after an alternative fuels federal credit is applied.  

August 10, 2016

• Laurie Craft of Colfax participated in the 2016 Powder Puff Fishing Derby on Lake Michigan presented by “The Wharf” in Sheboygan in July. 

• Troy Knutson received the very first J.D. Simons Community Volunteer Award at the dedication of the J.D. Simons Memorial park August 6 for the Colfax Founder’s Day Main Street Block Party.

• The Colfax Messenger welcomes Cara Dempski as the new sports reporter and general assignment reporter for the Messenger and the Glenwood City Tribune Press Reporter.

August 17, 2016

• Rob Summerfield will be the Republican candidate in the November election for the state’s 67th  Assembly District.

• Work on Maple Street and Pine Street in Colfax will proceed for $53,000.

• According to the results of the Colfax health survey, respondents would like appointments in the morning and want routine care if a new clinic were to locate in Colfax. 

• Jodi L. Larson, 43, of Colfax, has pleaded guilty in Eau Claire County to embezzling $41,000 from her employer, RB Scott Company.

• Samuel Hayes, 25, of Wheeler, died Sunday afternoon when his motorcycle collided with a car on county Highway S in the Town of Otter Creek.

August 24, 2016

• The Colfax Board of Education at the August 15 meeting reviewed the first concept plan for $7.2 million in referendum projects that will be on the ballot in the November election. 

• Ardys and Vernoid Hoveland celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary August 17. 

• Dunn County’s junior livestock judging team took second place in the state 4-H Livestock Judging Contest held July 25 in Lodi.

• The Colfax Board of Education has hired Eric Kyles as the district’s new athletic director.

August 31, 2016

• The Colfax Village Board’s public property committee discussed the possibility of wastewater from the lagoons being used to irrigate nearby farm fields at the August 24 meeting.

• Chris Hahn has been selected to serve as the new principal for Elk Mound Middle School. He replaces Eric Wright, who earlier this year because superintendent in Elk Mound.

• The Colfax Board of Education has expelled two high school students for drug-related offenses. 

• The tax levy in the Elk Mound school district will decrease slightly for the 2016-2017 school year to $2,744,891, compared to $2,845,965 last year.

September 7, 2016

• Students returned to school in Colfax September 1.

• A 19-year-old Elk Mound man, Brody E. Bergh, has been found guilty on the felony charge of manufacturing marijuana with the intent to deliver and placed on two years of probation.

• An elusive, intact Ole Noer bottle has been excavated from an outhouse pit at a property on University Street in Colfax. The bottle dates from 1900 to 1905.

• Thirty-five years after the first slowpitch softball tournament at Tom Prince Memorial Park, electric scoreboards and lights on the second ball field were installed this summer.

September 14, 2016

• The Colfax Village Board’s public property committee is recommending that the village demolish the building built in 1903 on Evergreen Street next to Iverson Park used to store salt-sand.

• Haas Sons was hard at work on the Third Avenue street project in Colfax the first week in September. Although rain delayed progress for a few days, by the end of the week, crews were going full tilt on the $350,000 street project.

• A 25-year-old Wheeler man, Mykle McMahon, who was previously convicted of first degree child sexual assault, has now been charged with felony false imprisonment, felony strangulation and misdemeanor battery. 

• The 49th Annual Firefighters Ball was held September 10.

September 21, 2016

• Now that Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, has had a full year to work with the village’s financial records, the auditor says he is pleased with the improvements he is seeing in record keeping. Eric Davidson with Bauman Associates presented the 50-page auditor’s report for 2015 to the Colfax Village Board September 12.

• The Colfax Village Board has approved hiring the engineering firm of CBS Squared as the village’s wastewater engineers. 

• Megan Schleusner, Colfax High School senior, attended the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, sponsored by the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Students, in Boston this past June.

• A 65-year-old former Colfax resident, John Olson, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Deerfield Road south of Eau Claire September 14.

September 28, 2016 

• Educational materials will be available soon for residents in the Colfax school district regarding the $7.2 million referendum in November.

• A storm September 21 that dumped 4.5 inches of rain on the Colfax area and 8.5 inches of rain at Lake Wissota caused Eighteen Mile Creek east of the state Highway 40 bridge to swell far beyond its normal width. Periods of heavy rain occurred during the day on Wednesday, September 21, and on into the evening. No roads were flooded and there was no reported road damage in Dunn County, but Chippewa County and Eau Claire County reported numerous closed roads.

• Two members of Dunn County’s dairy judging team, Brooke Brantner and Ben Powers, took top honors at the international dairy judging competition in Scotland this past June. The dairy judging team, which includes Brantner (Little Elk Creek 4-H), Krista Styer (Willing Workers 4-H), Luke Powers (Little  Elk Creek 4-H); and Ben Powers (Little Elk Creek 4-H), spoke at the Dunn County Board’s September 21 meeting about their experiences in the international dairy judging contest at the Royal Highlands Show in Scotland earlier in the summer.

• The Colfax Public Library has officially launched a backpack program to provide emergency supplies for people in need.