COLFAX MESSENGER 2017 – A Year in Review: A look back the top news stories in October, November, and December

COLFAX —  The Colfax Messenger celebrated its 120th birthday in 2017.

And, as the newspaper did 120 years ago, the Messenger continues to bring news to its subscribers.

Here is a look back at the top news stories in 2017 from October, November and December.

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October 4, 2017

• Maci Harvey, Meadow Keltner and Rayna Keltner recently placed first, second and third respectively in 10K and 5K trail races in the southern Wisconsin in the Kettle Moraine State Park as part of the North Face Endurance Challenge.

• The Colfax Board of Education held a special meeting September 25 to affirm the approval of issuing Chromebooks to students. The students in grades 2 to 6 will have the Chromebook computers available to them in the classroom. Students in grades 7 through 12 will be able to take their Chromebooks home with them for homework. The Chromebooks cost $275 each, and the purchase was part of the $7.2 million referendum approved by voters.

• The Colfax Village Board has approved buying two new Chevrolet Silverados from Colfax Chevrolet for a total of $59,082 to replace the 2001 and 2004 sewer and water and street trucks.

• Elk Mound High School’s homecoming dance was held September 30, and Emily Winchester and Ben Lambele were crowned queen and king.

• Colfax High School’s homecoming dance was held September 29, and McKayla Moore and Treyton Teige were crowned queen and king.

October 11, 2017

• Kevin Peterson of K&D Builders out of Menomonie spoke to the Colfax Plan Commission October 2 about his interest in building 12 duplexes in the East View residential development.

• Every Friday a group of volunteers gathers at Shepherd of the Hill Lutheran Church in Elk Mound to pack between 80 and 100 Mounder Meals for the weekend.

• Kedar J. Davis of Colfax has pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery and has been sentenced to 40 days in jail and two years of probation.

October 18, 2017

• The Colfax Community Fire District Board has approved a 2018 budget of $112,700 and a levy of $94,700. The budget and the levy also were $112,700 and $94,700 in 2016 and 2015.

• The Town of Colfax is seeking a temporary easement from the Village of Colfax to widen 810th Street, which is the road to the Colfax collection station west of Colfax off state Highway 170.

• The Dunn County planning, resources and development committee has postponed a rezone decision for Denmark Dairy south of Colfax on county Highway B and would like the dairy to remove 20 acres from the rezone request for 120 acres to protect Sinking Creek.

• Although initially it sounded like it might be a good idea, the Colfax Village Board decided at the October 9 meeting to not rent out the buildings at the Colfax Fairgrounds for winter storage.

October 25, 2017

• The Colfax school district held a dedication ceremony for the $7.2 million referendum projects October 16. The referendum projects began in the late fall of 2015 with discussions of space needs. The referendum was approved in the November of 2016 election, and construction started in April and was finished by the time school started this year.

• The Colfax girls’ volleyball team won the program’s first WIAA Division 3 Regional Championship in the title match October 21. The team won the Dunn-St. Croix Championship for the fifth straight year.

• Dunn County Judge Rod Smeltzer honored a plea agreement for Jami A. Golden and ordered her to pay  $706.20 in restitution related to a hit-and-run accident last December involving Linda Salazar, the owner of Mom’s Restaurant and Pub in Colfax.

November 1, 2017

• The Elk Mound Village Board learned October 25 that the public safety committee had met earlier in the week to selected seven applicants to interview for the position of police chief.

• The Colfax Board of Education set a tax levy for the 2018 budget of nearly $2.8 million at the October 23 meeting, which is about $92,000 less than last year’s property tax levy.

• Colfax Pharmacy completed a remodel last summer and a new pharmacist, Selena Rick, as well as a new pharmacy technician, Colfax native Lynsey Lloyd, have been working there for several months.

• The Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee is recommending the county board approve a rezone of 100 acres for a proposed expansion at Denmark Dairy on county Highway B south of Colfax. The dairy currently milks 1,300 cows.

November 8, 2017

• The Elk Mound Village Board has approved pay increases of three percent for the village clerk, office assistant and public works director starting in 2018. The two public works employees will each receive a raise of $1 per hour in 2018 with three-percent pay increases in 2019 and 2020.

• Colfax native Kevin Snyder was the golfer selected to make the “last putt” on the ninth hole to close Whitetail Golf Course October 30. The temperature was in the 30s with a 10 to 20 mile per hour wind that felt raw and damp.

• The Elk Mound football team has won their first Dunn-St. Croix Conference Championship since 2012.

November 15, 2017

• Captain Paul Mommsen, U.S. Army Reserve, Combat Engineer, was the guest speaker at the Colfax school district’s annual Veterans Day program Friday, November 10, at Colfax High School. The gymnasium was packed to standing room only for the program.

• Bail was set at $10,000 cash in Dunn County Circuit Court for Brandon D. Hervey of Wausau, who is charged in connection with a robbery in the Town of Elk Mound in August.

• Kathleen E. Johnson, 69, has been identified as the victim in a residential fire in the Town of Sand Creek November 6.

November 22, 2017

• Dave Christianson, executive director of the Passenger Rail Organizing Council, a sister organization of the West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition, spoke to the Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee November 14 about plans for passenger rail from Eau Claire to St. Paul.

• The Elk Mound Village Board held a closed session November 15 under the exemption in state statute regarding employment and compensation, and although interim police chief Mike Tietz and attorney Jason Brasch of Bakke Norman also attended the closed session, no indication was given as to the purpose of the closed session.

• The Colfax Board of Education learned at the November 13 meeting that the school district is planning to survey students about their lunch preferences.

• The Colfax Village Board has approved the use of Third Avenue and Cedar Street by Timber Technologies for empty semi-trailers to travel to the business’s loading area on Legion Drive.

November 29, 2017

• Two Eau Claire men, Michael A. Tenney, 33, and Ryan J. Weiss, 38, have been arrested in connection with a burglary to house in the Town of Rock Creek destroyed by fire in October in which one of the stolen items was a signed Michael Jordan jersey.

• A facility assessment team reported to the Elk Mound Board of Education at the November 20 meeting that all three schools need updates, including energy efficient lighting and weather proofing, roof repairs at the elementary school, redoing the football field and track area to improve drainage, parking lot resurfacing and better design, and improvements to the music department and girls’ and boys’ locker rooms at the high school.

• The Dunn County Board has approved a rezone for Denmark Dairy to allow for a proposed expansion.

• A few weeks ago, an epidemic struck the Chippewa Valley of threats being made at high schools, including bomb threats and gun violence. Administrators in the Colfax school district decided it would be beneficial to have local law enforcement speak to students about the consequences of such threats at a special assembly November 16. Students were advised, “If you see something, say something.”

December 6, 2017

• A 29-year-old Eau Claire man, Patrick E. Nolan, has been charged in connection with stealing guns during a burglary in the Town of Spring Brook in June.

• The Colfax Village Board started out with a deficit of nearly $32,000 for 2018 during a budget meeting November 15. By the end of the three-hour meeting, a deficit of $6,000 remained.

• Deficits in the proposed water and sewer budgets for 2018 have prompted the  Colfax Village Board to being thinking about the possibility of raising rates. The water utility is expected to have a deficit of about $6,000, and the sewer utility is expected to have a deficit of $9,500.

December 13, 2017

• Two engineers from Cedar Corporation reported to the Elk Mound Village Board at the December 6 meeting that water utility projects, such as a new reservoir and a loop in the water system, would cost $1.4 million. The reservoir would cost about $750,000, and the University Street loop would cost $264,000. The Independence Drive loop would cost $203,000. The Juniper Avenue loop would cost $84,000, and a secondary connection to the existing reservoir would cost $126,000.

• Northern Sands Wisconsin has installed four groundwater monitoring wells in the first phase of the proposed 1,300-acre Albertville Valley sand mine southeast of Colfax.

• The “Looney Lutherans” will be performing at the Colfax Municipal Building theater January 14. Tickets are $15 each.

• The Colfax Village Board has approved a revenue and expense budget of $1.187 million for 2018.

December 20, 2017

• The Dunn County Board’s Community Resources and Tourism Committee has reviewed the Rural Broadband Gap Analysis Report and has forwarded it to the county board. The analysis is based on surveys filled out by county residents so areas with poor or non-existent Internet access can be identified and mapped. Local Internet service providers will use the report to help them apply for grants to improve Internet access in rural areas of the county.

• Officers with the Colfax Police Department participated in Shop With a Cop in Menomonie December 9. All together, nearly 40 children and 40 police officers went shopping at Walmart. Each child received a $100 gift card to spend.

• The Colfax Village Board approved raising sewer rates by 3 percent at the December 11 meeting.

December 27, 2017

• Three parents attended the Elk Mound Board of Education’s December 18 meeting to support changes to the district’s open enrollment policy for students needing special education services. The school district currently has a lack of space in the special education program for adding open enrollment students. Accepting new students would likely require hiring new staff members.

• Although the Colfax school district has received an overall score of “meets expectations” on the state report card, no one knows exactly what that means, reported William C. Yingst Jr., district administrator, at the Board of Education’s December 18 meeting. Yingst said he had called the state Department of Public Instruction for additional information, but no one at the DPI is really sure what the score means, either.

• The Colfax school district has the 36th lowest mill rate among the 39th schools in Cooperative Education Service Agency No. 11 with a mill rate of $8.41 per $1,000 of property value. [/emember_protected]