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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 April, May and June of 2018:
April 4, 2018
• Governor Scott Walker visited Mound View Elementary March 27 to talk about the school safety bill he had signed into law that creates an Office of School Safety in the Department of Justice and allocates $100 million for grants to help schools make safety improvements.
• A Dunn County judge has set a $250,000 cash bail for 20-year-old Ezra McCandless of Stanley who was arrested in connection with the death of 24-year-old Alexander J. Woodworth in the Town of Spring Brook. Woodworth’s body was found in a car on Friday, March 28. According to the preliminary autopsy results, Woodworth was stabbed 16 times.
• About 60 people attended an informational meeting to find out more about the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry and to voice their concerns about registered sex offenders living in Colfax. The Colfax Village Board held the informational meeting at the Colfax fire hall March 26.
• The Colfax Village Board met in closed session March 28 with the village’s attorney, Christopher Gierhart of the law firm Weld Riley, to discuss a sex offender residency restriction ordinance.
April 11, 2018
• It’s a brilliant strategy, really, because how would you react if someone hit you in the face with a stream of bee spray from 30 feet away? The bee spray is part of the Elk Mound school district’s active shooter preparedness that is one component of the ALICE training (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) that school staff and students participate in several times every year.
• Students in Mark Mosey’s human anatomy and physiology class at Colfax High School could choose to do a vertebrate for their third quarter projects. The project involved removing all of the meat from a carcass, boiling the bones and then reassembling the bones into the skeleton. George Scharlau, Chris Scharlau, Wyatt Olson and McKenna Yingst chose a deer. When the deer carcass was found in the woods, coyotes had already removed most of the meat.
• Ronald P. Score of Boyceville has won the April 3 election for the District 4 position on the Dunn County Board. Steve Rasmussen of Boyceville, who served as supervisor for District 4 for 28 years — 12 of them as chair of the Dunn County Board — decided not to run for re-election.
• Steven Abraham, Elk Mound village president, reported at the Elk Mound Village’s Board’s April 4 meeting that he had met recently with Eric Turner, director of the Dunn County Economic Development Corporation, and Seth Hudson, senior manager of economic and community development at Cedar Corporation, about workforce housing for young professionals that would feature one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
April 18, 2018
• Imagine what it would mean to have the capability of putting out, say, a car fire in 15 seconds using eight gallons of water. The technology is called “ultra high pressure” and Colfax Fire Chief Don Logslett told the Colfax fire board at the April 12 meeting that he plans to get a Hydrus Droplet system for the Colfax Community Fire Department.
• The Colfax Village Board has approved a sex offender residency restriction ordinance that places a 1,000 foot buffer around the Colfax school buildings and a 500 foot buffer around other areas where children congregate. The village board adopted the ordinance at the April 9 meeting after holding an informational meeting two weeks earlier and then another meeting of the village board in closed session a few days after the informational meeting.
• Although it has been a long time coming, installation of the new water meters has now started in Colfax. The first two weeks of meter change-out notices have been scheduled for April 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19.
• A Dunn County judge has sentenced a Colfax man to two years in prison for violating his probation after being found guilty of stealing iron from the Colfax Railroad Museum in October of 2014. Donald J. Binder, 29, appeared before Judge Rod Smeltzer March 26 for a sentencing hearing.
April 25, 2018
• Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith, who has served as sheriff in Dunn County for 18 years, has decided not to run for re-election in November and filed a notification of non-candidacy with the county clerk April 10.
• With a theme of “To the Moon and Back,” the 2018 Colfax High School Prom Queen and King crowned April 21 in the Martin Anderson Gymnasium were McKenna Yingst and Chris Scharlau. Other members of the 2018 prom county included Kinley Brunn (junior princess) and Kolton Svee (junior prince). The queen’s court included Abby Klueckmann, Savannah Henricks, Hailey Prince and Emma Hurlburt. The king’s court included Dalton Bradford, Wyatt Olson, George Scharlau and Tate Russell.
• A 42-year-old Elk Mound man has been charged in connection with delivering heroin to a resident at the Arbor Place Treatment Center in Menomonie. Steven M. Clickner appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court with his attorney, Charles S. Huff, on April 17 before Judge James Peterson.
• Steve Rasmussen, the now-retired chair of the Dunn County Board, handed the gavel to the newly-elected chair of the Dunn County Board, David Bartlett, at the April 17 meeting. Bartlett has served as a supervisor on the county board and as chair of the Sheridan Town Board for many years.
• Kevin Bygd, the current Captain of Field Services for the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, and Adam Zukowski, a deputy with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, have announced their candidacies for Dunn County Sheriff in the November election. Sheriff Dennis Smith will retire at the end of his term.
May 2, 2018
• The message was “making good choices.” The scene was a mock car crash at Colfax High School on April 18 ahead of the Colfax High School junior prom on April 21. The actors were Colfax High School students, Colfax Police Chief William Anderson, Colfax Police Officer Josh Shipman, Colfax Rescue Squad Director Don Knutson, Colfax EMTs, Colfax Fire Chief Don Logslett, Colfax Community Fire Department firefighters, and representatives from Sampson Funeral Home.
• Dunn County Judge James Peterson has ordered a competency evaluation for 20-year-old Ezra McCandless of Stanley who is accused in the death of Alexander Woodworth in the Town of Spring Brook. Woodworth’s body was found in a car identified as belonging to McCandless on March 23.
• The Wisconsin Department of Transportation plans to replace the bridge over Rock Creek on state Highway 85 in Rock Falls sometime between 2020 and 2024. The dam beneath it also will be removed. The dam was originally built in 1878 out of wood and was upgraded to concrete in 1923. The bridge was built in 1941 and received a new deck in 1987.
• Following a school walk-out April 20 in which two students participated, Elk Mound high school students gathered in the afternoon to talk about their ideas for school safety.
• Third graders from Colfax Elementary went on a tour of Colfax April 23 to take photographs as part of their unit on Colfax. Scott Kingzett, tour guide at the Colfax Railroad Museum, told the youngsters about the train cars at the museum. A week earlier, Kingzett had expressed concern that big snow piles would still be in front of the museum when the students visited, and in fact, some snow remained in shady areas.
May 9, 2018
• “I went from things that go bump in the night to things that will bump you off” is how Chad Lewis described his research adventures into gangsters in Wisconsin. Lewis, the author of “The Wisconsin Road Guide to Gangster Hot Spots,” spoke about Wisconsin’s gangster history at the Colfax Municipal Building Auditorium Sunday, April 22.
• Elk Mound High School held the 2018 prom on April 28 with Evean Brown and Maddie Jenson crowned king and queen. The court included Jared Strand, Mattea Linberg, Bryce Kasper, Lexi Schindler, Kole Ploeckelman, Emily Bartig, Hunter Burlingame, Hannah Carlson, Javon Pinley, Bailey Gilbertson, Carter Scholze, Alex McQuality, Hunter Lemler, Paige Romanowski, Guage Weir, Mary Tamke, Jesse Stewart, Melanie Balts, Kaden Wright and Olivia Hay.
• Dunn County Circuit Court Judge James Peterson sentenced former Colfax resident Kedar J. Davis, 20, on April 27 to three years in prison and six years of extended supervision after revoking a deferred prosecution agreement and probation related to stalking, false imprisonment and battery. All together, in three separate cases involving the same woman, who will turn 20 later this year, Davis was charged with 10 felony counts.
May 16, 2018
• Braden Lemler, 16, of Sand Creek, was killed after the GMC Sonoma he was driving rolled multiple times on county Highway M in the Town of Grant north of Colfax Friday afternoon. Braden was on his way home from school.
• Mikaela Leibfried signed a letter of intent May 9 to attend Midland University in Nebraska on a $25,000 per year scholarship. Powerlifting is one of the varsity sports available at Midland University.
• A “new to us” replacement for Tender 9 is expected to be on its way soon to the Colfax Community Fire Department. The fire department has decided to go ahead with the tender located in Canada at a cost of $90,000, said Don Logslett, fire chief, at a special meeting of the Colfax Community Fire Department Board May 9.
• The Top 10 seniors at Colfax High School, in no particular order, are Erika K. Brantner, Mackenzie G. Jensen, Leslie D. Ritenour, Hailey M. Durand-Christianson, RyAnna L. Martinson, Marcus J. Reisdorf, Adam D. Pretasky, Rebecca J. Lee, Allison I. Tuschl and Makayla L. Mattson.
• The Elk Mound High School valedictorian is Emily Bartig, and the EMHS salutatorian is Aric Jensen.
May 23, 2018
• Tractors driven by Colfax High School students in memory of 16-year-old Braden Lemler headed down University Avenue to Main Street to form a funeral procession May 16 following the memorial service for Braden at the Colfax High School Martin Anderson Gymnasium. The Lemler family invited memorial service attendees to the Colfax Fairgrounds for a chicken dinner after the memorial service.
• Northern Sands Wisconsin is still working on the sand mine license application for the proposed 1,300 acre frac sand mine southeast of Colfax in the Town of Howard. The application has not yet been submitted to the Town of Howard but will be finished soon, perhaps by Friday, said Tom Gapinske of Northern Sands Wisconsin at the Howard Town Board’s May 15 meeting.
• The Dunn County Board has authorized the sale of 5.9 acres between Highway 12/29 and The Neighbors of Dunn County in Menomonie to Prevea for $653,400. Dunn County was approached by Prevea about purchasing six of the 14 acres owned by the county, said Paul Miller, county manager, at the Dunn County Board’s May 16 meeting.
• Dunn County Sheriff’s Department investigator Rod Dicus has announced his candidacy for Dunn County sheriff.
May 30, 2018
• Sixty years ago on Monday, June 4, a tornado tore through Colfax that killed a dozen people, injured countless others and destroyed many homes and businesses. The 60th Anniversary Colfax Tornado Edition of “Truth Be Told” (real stories told by real people) Sunday, June 3, will feature four speakers who experienced the tornado: Nancy Odom, Chuck Mehls, Mike Henderson and Ron Fjelstad.
• Ezra J. McCandless, the 20-year-old Stanley woman accused in the stabbing death of Alexander Woodworth, 24, in the Town o Spring Brook in March, has told a Dunn County judge she is competent to stand trial.
• The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department has obtained arrest warrants for two people believed to have been involved in a shooting Sunday night in the Town of Tainter. The suspects are 34-year-old Shawn Harris Goplen of Red Wing, Minnesota, and 36-year-old Kari Lynn Blank of Ellsworth. The man who suffered a gunshot wound at a Town of Tainter residence in the 5900 block of county Highway D was transported to Mayo-Eau Claire by ambulance.
June 6, 2018
• The two suspects in the shooting of a Town of Tainter man Sunday night have been apprehended in Rice Lake. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department received information about Shawn Harris Goplen and Kari L. Blank being seen at the Dollar General store in Rice Lake on Thursday, May 31. The Dunn County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim in the Town of Tainter shooting as Bruce R. Sundstrom, 48, of rural Colfax.
• Gary Stene, village president, reported during the “communications from the village president” portion of the May 29 Colfax Village Board meeting that he had spoken with Bill Yingst, Colfax school district administrator, about the Vietnam Veterans memorial. In 1983, after the softball field was finished, the Colfax Village Board named the park the Colfax Area Recreational Park and dedicated the park to the veterans of the Vietnam war. Thirty-five years later, a memorial for the Vietnam veterans still has not been placed at the park, which is now known as Tom Prince Memorial Park.
• The installation of the new “smart” residential water meters in Colfax is nearly completed. Rand Bates, director of public works, said at the Colfax Village Board’s May 29 meeting he thought the installation would take until fall.
• Next year, in June of 2019, the Colfax Free Fair will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group and the Colfax Messenger are seeking free fair stories and memorabilia for a booth at the fair next year.
June 13, 2018
• Members of Solomon Plank’s construction crew worked on the roof of the concession stand at Tom Prince Memorial Park on Monday morning, June 11. Casey Rihn and members of his construction crew worked on the concession stand on Friday, June 8. Plank and Rihn are donating the labor to put a new roof on the structure. When the roof is finished, it will match the roof on the new ice skating rink warming house.
• All together, five candidates have filed nomination papers for Dunn County sheriff in the November election: Adam Zukowski, Kevin Bygd, Jacob Ohman, Rodney Dicus and Randy Knaack.
• The Colfax Village Board’s public safety committee has recommended the village board establish an ATV/UTV route in the village on county Highway M and then west on Railroad Avenue a far as state Highway 40.
• The Elk Mound Village Board has approved a conditional use application for additional storage units along U.S. Highway 12. The parcel is zoned B-1, and under the zoning, storage units are permitted as a conditional use. Patrick Rebman, the owner of the storage units, said he has a list of people who are interested in renting storage units.
June 20, 2018
• Lt. Tyler Davies, a pilot with the United States Navy Blue Angels, presented a Blue Angels lithograph to the Elk Mound school district following his talk at the Elk Mound High School Friday morning, June 15. The Blue Angels were in Eau Claire for the Chippewa Valley Air Show Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17.
• The 99th Colfax Free Fair starts at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 21, with poultry and rabbit judging and arts and craft exhibits judging.
• Danny E. Davis, a 37-year-old Colfax man charged with three counts of felony burglary, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court June 11, and Judge Rod Smeltzer found probable cause and bound Davis over for trial.
• The Colfax Village Board approved an ATV/UTV route through the village at the June 11 meeting. The village board is not anticipating taking any action on an ATV/UTV ordinance until after the Dunn County Board adds Highway M to the list in the fall. If the Dunn County Board does not add Highway M to the list, an ATV/UTV route will not be established in Colfax.
June 27, 2018
• Colfax graduate Mikaela Liebfried had the opportunity to experience new countries and cultures when she competed in the Women’s World Bench Press Championship in Potchefstoom, South Africa, this past April. Liebfried placed third in the 57 kilo class of the juniors competition.
• The Dunn County Board is considering whether to move all of the county offices from the old courthouse building on Wilson Avenue to the Community Services Building on Highway 12/29.
• The Colfax Public Library Board and the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group have agreed to share the cost of preliminary planning for installing an elevator at the Colfax Municipal Building. The quoted price for a schematic drawing of the preliminary design is $3,500.
• The Colfax Plan Commission has recommended the village board not accept an offer from the Colfax Railroad Museum of $3,500 for village-owned property in Soo Park to use for a miniature train ride.