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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Week in and week out, since April of 1897, the Colfax Messenger has delivered local news, local features and local sports. And, as an added benefit, the newspaper archives will be around one hundred years from now when your future family members are working on their genealogy projects.
Here is a look back at the top news stories from January, February and March of 2018:
January 3, 2018
• A rural Colfax man died in a house fire in the Town of Grant Saturday evening, December 30. Late Monday afternoon, January 1, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as 84-year-old Wallace Cutting, owner and occupant of the house.
• Two of the resolutions that will be considered by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards during the state education convention in January focus on school voucher transparency and no referendum restrictions, reported Ken Neuburg, Colfax school board member and the board’s voting member on resolutions at the Wisconsin Association of School Board’s annual convention.
• The Colfax Village Board has approved two percent pay increases for village employees.
January 10, 2018
• With an end loader from the Village of Colfax on the left and an end loader from Timber Technologies on the right, the new warming house built by Timber Tech employees was unloaded at Tom Prince Memorial Park January 3 and was positioned next to the ice skating rink. The warming house was the first project for the Timber Tech Community Enrichment Program. Employees decide on projects, and the company pays the employees to do the work. Timber Tech also donated the materials for the new warming house.
• Bail has been set at $15,000 cash for a former Colfax man charged with five additional felonies related to substantial battery, false imprisonment and intimidating a victim. Kedar J. Davis, 20, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court before Judge James Peterson December 28 for a preliminary hearing on five felony charges of strangulation and suffocation, false imprisonment, intimidating a witness/threatening force, substantial battery intending bodily harm and felony bail jumping.
• Five incumbents on the Dunn County Board have filed notifications of non-candidacy for the April 3 spring election: Jerome Prochnow, Menomonie; Richard Creaser, Menomonie; Paul DeLong, Menomonie; Timothy C. Mather, Menomonie; Steve Rasmussen, Boyceville. Rasmussen is the current Dunn County Board chair.
January 17, 2018
• The Stoughton High School Norwegian Dancers performed at Colfax High School the morning of January 15. The dancers performed a variety of dances that included superb acrobatics. The public was invited to the event, and when the audience was asked how many people were of Norwegian descent, many hands went up.
• Imagine Lynn Niggemann’s surprise when she opened the Xcel Energy December bill, and instead of an amount due, saw a credit of nearly $23,000. Niggemann, the village administrator-clerk-treasurer, called the company right away. As it turned out, the credit went back as far as 2008. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Village of Colfax had been over-billed for electricity, mostly for street lights.
• Jessica Cutler and Nick Anderson, the new owners of The Blind Tiger on Main Street in Colfax, which was formerly The Buck Snort, say they had been looking for a bar-restaurant to buy for four or five years before they found the one they wanted. They officially began operating the bar-restaurant a few months ago.
January 24, 2018
• The Colfax Board of Education is planning to decide at the February meeting whether Colfax should have its own wrestling program or whether to continue in the cooperative program with the Bloomer school district.
• The new controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning units in the Colfax school buildings could save up to 20 percent on energy costs.
• While it is not illegal to view adult pornography on the Colfax Public Library’s computers, the activity could be offensive to other library patrons and inappropriate if children are in the library. To address the issue, the Colfax Public Library Board adopted an Internet use policy at the January 16 meeting.
January 31, 2018
• The Colfax Village Board has decided not to accept the offer of the former nursing home building on High Street from the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center.
• The Colfax Public Library has launched the “Reading Road Trip Challenge,” a series of 12 geography questions designed to help youngsters learn more about geography. “We want to draw them into reading, and what a good way to learn how to research,” said Jolene Albricht, youth services librarian at the Colfax library.
• Joe Solberg, a firefighter with the Colfax Community Fire Department, handed out first, second and third place prizes in the Colfax Fire Department’s poster contest at Colfax Elementary January 25. The theme selected this year for the poster contest by the National Fire Protection Association was “Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out.”
February 7, 2018
• Dunn County Circuit Court Judge Rod Smeltzer ruled in favor of the School District Boundary Appeals Board — part of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction — and the Elk Mound and Eau Claire school districts after a petition filed in July of 2017 alleged the board acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” when denying a request to change one of the eastern boundaries between the two districts.
• Employees at Bremer Bank in Colfax presented two checks to members of the Colfax FFA January 26 to put toward building the new swine barn at the Colfax Fairgrounds. The donations were collected during Bremer Bank’s Christmas open house in December and were in the amounts of $354.86 from visitors at the open house and $500 from the Otto Bremer Foundation.
• Winter Carnival time has arrived once again at Colfax High School, and the contestants have been chosen by their classmates for the Mr. and Ms. Colfax competition: RyAnna Martinson, McKenna Yingst, Haley Seston, Nokomis Nosker, Adam Pretasky, Chris Scharlau, Hunter Larson and Scout Flodquist.
• The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group, the Colfax Public Library and the Colfax Commercial Club, in an effort to bring more activities to the municipal building, selected the original “Star Wars” as the movie to be shown in the municipal building auditorium’s Cozy Theatre Saturday, February 10.
February 14, 2018
• The Colfax High School chapter of the National Honor Society has raised $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Colfax High School students, Colfax Elementary students, school district staff and community members all contributed money to the project.
• Two Colfax men have been charged in connection with a burglary at a house in Colfax on Balsam Street. Donald J. Binder, 29, and David A. Berg, 36, are both charged with Class F felonies of burglary of a building or a dwelling for an incident that occurred in Colfax the evening of December 13.
• When it comes to roads, quarries and gravel pits, and shoreland zoning to help lakes polluted with blue-green algae, who is going to know more about the local situation: Dunn County or Madison? A panel of speakers invited to the Dunn County Judicial Center by the Chippewa Valley League of Women Voters February 8 believed the answer is — Dunn County. The panel included Dan Fedderly, chair of the Town of Sherman, chair of the Dunn County Towns Association, and former St. Croix County highway commissioner; Steve Rasmussen, chair of the Dunn County Board; and Scott Cox, St. Croix County corporation counsel and former Dunn County corporation counsel.
February 21, 2018
• Police officers in Colfax will soon have a backup squad car to drive. The Colfax Village Board approved purchasing a 2007 Chevy Impala squad car with the police equipment already installed from the New Auburn Police Department for $6,000 at the February 12 meeting.
• It was a case of what used to be true no longer is true. To rectify the situation, the Colfax Village Board has approved allowing snowmobiles to take the shortest route through the village from a residence to a marked trail. The board also approved a trail to the Colfax school district so students who are old enough and who have completed snowmobile safety can ride their snowmobiles to school.
• Elk Mound’s Brady Redwine was named to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association’s first team all-state for his 2017 season and was honored at a banquet held January 27 in Wisconsin Dells.
February 28, 2018
• The Dunn County Board has increased the salaries for clerk of court by 8 percent and for sheriff by 7.5 percent.
• A former Colfax man charged with multiple felonies has been found guilty of felony intimidation and misdemeanor battery and violating a domestic abuse restraining order. Kedar J. Davis, 20, appeared before Dunn County Circuit Court Judge James Peterson February 22 for a plea hearing. Davis pleaded guilty in another case involving the same teenaged victim in September of 2017.
• The Colfax Sno-Drifters Third Annual Vintage Snowmobile Show will be held March 3 at Kyle’s Market in Colfax.
• Interim Elk Mound Police Chief Mike Tietz says that everything appears to be on track for the new full-time police chief to start April 1.
March 7, 2018
• A 13-year-old Elk Mound Middle School student involved in a verbal and physical altercation on a bus returning from a field trip last Wednesday carried the altercation into school and threatened the possibility of a shooting at the school on Friday, March 2.
• The Rotary Club of Menomonie has awarded a $500 grant to the Town of Colfax for improving handicapped accessibility at Felland Park.
• The developer’s agreement for the East View residential development pertains to single family dwellings, but now that a developer has expressed interest in building duplexes, the agreement should be updated. The Colfax Plan Commission and the Colfax Village Board met in separate meetings February 26 to begin contemplating what changes should be made to the East View developer’s agreement for the planned residential development along Dunn Street.
• The Elk Mound school district plans to offer lunch and transportation to students August 29 and 30 to give students and teachers a chance to smooth the path for the new school year with a team-building exercise between not only staff members, but also between staff and students.
March 14, 2018
• In what is described as a “formality,” the Elk Mound Village Board has approved making a final job offer for the police chief position to Chad Weinberger, who is currently employed by the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department as an investigator.
• The Dunn County Board’s facilities committee has approved moving forward with a rezone to a conservancy district for a proposed 146-acre park in the Town of Colfax. The acreage is located along the Red Cedar River just north of the Village of Colfax and east of state Highway 170 across the road from the Town of Colfax’s Felland Park. Known as the “Ferry Pit,” Dunn County previously used this parcel as an asphalt plant and a gravel pit.
• The state Department of Natural Resources has tentatively approved a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for Squires Farm to expand to 2,975 animal units and discharge in the Muddy Creek Watershed. The farm is in the southern part of the Town of Spring Brook, and the DNR is asking for written comments to be submitted no later than 30 days after the February 28 publication date of the public notice.
• The Elk Mound High School pirate-themed Rube Goldberg machine won the competition held Friday, March 2, at UW-Stout. The machine had 75 steps to complete the task of pouring a bowl of cereal.
March 21, 2018
• An appreciative audience gathered in the Colfax Municipal Building auditorium Sunday, March 11, for a performance by The Britins, a Beatles tribute band from Milwaukee. The performance was sponsored by the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group as part of the group’s efforts to use the renovated auditorium and to raise money for an elevator for the building.
• Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, and Rand Bates, director of public works in Colfax, have a March 22 meeting scheduled with the village’s engineering firm, CBS Squared, to “get moving” on the Red Cedar River bank project. Since their tour of the site in 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working on designing a project to stabilize the river bank and stop the erosion so the lagoons do not wash out into the river. The village’s share of the project is estimated at $650,000.
• Although spring has officially arrived, snowmobilers living in Colfax will be “good to go” with a new snowmobile ordinance and a set of approved routes for next year’s snowmobile season. The ordinance was written according to the discussion about the issue at a previous Colfax Village Board meeting.
• About a dozen people attended the listening session March 12 held by state Representative Rob Summerfield, 67th Assembly District, at the Elk Mound Community Center. Attendees covered a broad range of topics from water quality to Foxconn. The listening session was scheduled for an hour but actually ended up going for an hour and a half.
March 28, 2018
• The Colfax High School production of “The Music Man” was performed in the Martin Anderson Gym March 23, 24 and 25. The townspeople in River City, Iowa, did not know they had “trouble” and that they needed a boys’ band until “The Music Man,” played by Tate Russell, arrived in town.
• The Dunn County Board has approved a resolution supporting the initiation of passenger rail service between West Central Wisconsin and the Twin Cities.
• After 28 years on the Dunn County Board — 12 of them as chair — Steve Rasmussen has said “farewell.” Rasmussen, a Boyceville resident and the county board’s representative for District 4, delivered his farewell address at the Dunn County Board’s March 21 meeting.
• Cooperatives have provided electrical and telephone service in rural areas for decades, and in keeping with the rural tradition of cooperatives, the Colfax school district has joined a health insurance purchasing cooperative.
• To help parents understand what ALICE active-shooter training entails, the Elk Mound Board of Education discussed the idea of a safety presentation for the community at the March 19 meeting. ALICE stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.”