Please enter your login information to view this article.
Username and Password Help
by LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — For more than 120 years, since April of 1897, the Colfax Messenger has published local news, local feature stories and local sports.
Here is a look back at the top news stories from October, November and December of 2019:
October 2, 2019
• At 7:50 p.m. Tuesday, September 24, an EF3 tornado touched down near Elk Mound and traveled for more than four miles with a base a half mile wide.
• Colfax crossing guard Wendy Lausted has been named in the top three crossing guards in “Chippewa Valley Family” magazine survey.
• The Colfax High School Class of 1949 celebrated their 70th anniversary at Mom’s Restaurant and Pub on September 21.
• The locally produced and filmed movie, “The Lumber Baron,” will be shown at the Colfax Municipal Building’s Cozy Theater on Saturday, October 5.
• The Village of Colfax has now reached the point where 50 percent remains on the village’s debt capacity, meaning the Colfax could borrow up to another $1 million if necessary. Colfax’s debt limit is $2.7 million, and as of January 1, 2020, the village will have outstanding debt of $1.3 million, said Sean Lentz of Ehlers and Associates, at the Colfax Village Board’s September 23 meeting.
• At the annual meeting September 23 for the Joint Review Board overseeing the Colfax Tax Increment Financing Districts, board members learned Colfax TIFs are “right on track.” The base value of TIF 3 is $4,436,900 with an added valuation (incremental value) of $3,236,600. The base value of TIF 4 is $1,876,600 with an incremental value of $1,228,000.
October 9, 2019
• The weather on Saturday, September 21, was cool and rainy and not the best for a motorcycle ride. But the American Pride Poker Run, organized by Colfax residents Annie and Rich Jenson in honor of area veterans and to raise money for the Vets Fighting 4 organization, left the Outhouse Bar that morning on schedule.
• The Popple Creek HCE donated a funeral quilt to Sampson Funeral Home October 1. Geri Bates got the idea for a funeral quilt after her brother passed away.
• The Elk Mound Village Board has approved All Terrain Vehicle/Utility Terrain Vehicle (ATV/UTV) and snowmobile routes in the village.
• Dunn County judge Rod Smeltzer set bail at $10,000 cash for David JR Hoffman at a hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court October 16. Hoffman is accused of an armed robbery at U-Fuel near Elk Mound on October 11 at People’s State Bank in Boyceville on October 1.
• Steven O. Johnson, age 48, who was found in a garage in Colfax in August of 2018 with methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia, has been sentenced to 12 months in jail and six years of probation.
• The Village of Colfax is planning to apply for a state transportation grant that pays up to 90 percent of the cost of resurfacing roadways. The state has appropriated $75 million for transportation projects to enhance economic development. One section of the project would involve Oak Street from High Street to state Highway 170. Another section would involve High Street from Birch Street to Riverview, and a third section would be High Street from the Colfax school district bus garage to county Highway M.
• “Americana — Very Tall Tales, American Folklore and Legends” will be the Red Cedar Sounds 12th Annual Harvest of Harmony Cabaret and will be performed at Colfax High School in the Martin Anderson Gymnasium October 19.
October 23, 2019
• David J.R. Hoffman, 21, of Wheeler, who has been charged with two counts of armed robbery at Peoples State Bank in Boyceville and at U-Fuel near Elk Mound, was driving an older Ford Escape he had borrowed.
• Residents in the village of Colfax can expect a revaluation of their property in 2021. The Colfax Village Board has approved a two-year maintenance assessment contract for $20,400 and a $12,000 exterior revaluation contract for 2021 with Barbara M. Zempel, Zempel Appraisal Service.
• If a particular topic was the subject of a public hearing, you will no longer be able to speak about that topic during the public comments section of the Dunn County Board meetings or committee meetings. The Dunn County Board approved, on a second reading, an ordinance pertaining to public comments at the October 16 meeting.
• On a vote of 15 “yes” to 12 “no,” the Dunn County Board has approved an amendment for a sunset provision on the proposed ordinance establishing a $20 annual county vehicle registration fee. The Dunn County Board considered the proposed ordinance at the October 16 meeting and will vote on whether to adopt the vehicle registration fee at the November 12 meeting.
• The Colfax Community Fire Department has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation to purchase an ultra-high pressure system.
• If you are looking for the Dunn County register of deeds’ office, the county clerk’s office, or the the county treasurer’s office, as of November 4, those offices will be located in the Community Services Building on Highway 12/29 in Menomonie.
• Molly Heidorn has been a diamond in the rough for the Colfax girls’ cross country team, and the freshman runner proved it last Thursday as she won the 2019 Dunn-St. Croix individual conference championship at Spring Valley High School.
• For the second consecutive year, the Elk Mound boys cross country team can call themselves the Dunn-St. Croix conference champions.
October 30, 2019
• The Colfax Board of Education has set a tax levy for the 2019-2020 school year at $2,977,075, representing a $20,000 increase over the levy approved at the school district’s annual meeting in July.
• Colfax resident Bob Fehr set a goal for himself to raise a pumpkin that weighed more than a thousand pounds. And this year — he succeeded. His aunt, Colfax resident Carol Boyd, also decided to try her hand at raising a giant pumpkin this year. Carol’s pumpkin weighs an estimated 650 pounds.
• The average ACT scores of Colfax High School graduates in 2019 increased in all areas compared to the 2018 scores, while statewide average scores decreased in 2019 as compared to 2018.
• Pam Meredith’s Colfax volleyball team is the Dunn-St. Croix champion for the seventh straight year and Division 3 regional runner-up.
• Molly Heidorn won a sectional title at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 cross country sectional held at Tiffany Creek Elementary in Boyceville to earn a state cross country berth. Heidorn led the girls’ team to a third place showing at the sectional meet.
• The former Deepwood Ski Area (also known as Deep Wood) will become WoodWind Park when it opens in the winter of 2021.
November 6, 2019
• Following a three-week trial, a Dunn County jury has found Ezra J. McCandless guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Alexander Woodworth in the Town of Spring Brook in March of 2018.
• The results of a survey sent out to residents of the Elk Mound school district show “strong support” for $15 million in referendum spending on facilities projects.
• The Colfax Village Board has given approval for subdividing a residential lot on University Avenue into two parcels. Roger Johnson, 709 University Avenue, asked for permission to subdivide the lot at the Colfax Village Board’s October 28 meeting.
• The official opening of the miniature train ride at the Colfax Railroad Museum is scheduled for May 1, 2020.
• Molly Heidorn has earned the right to call herself a state medalist after finishing fifth in the 2019 WIAA Division 3 Girls’ State Cross Country Championship in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, November 2.
• The Looney Lutherans are scheduled to perform in the Colfax Municipal Building’s Cozy Theater on Sunday, November 17.
November 13, 2019
• A fire reported Sunday evening in Colfax has destroyed a house located at 107 Viking Drive and has left several people injured.
• Dale Bergeson has run in the Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C. many times. For the past several years, Bergeson has been running the race with his daughter, Tabatha O’Keefe. This year, three generations of Bergesons ran the Ten-Miler: Dale, Tabatha, and Dale’s two grandsons, Morgan, 17, and Liam, 16.
• Students in third grade classes at Colfax Elementary taught by Kirk Secraw, Nancy Hovde and Jeannett Kiekhafer all received brand new dictionaries October 29 courtesy of Marilyn Fanetti representing the Menomonie Optimist Club. The Menomonie Optimists have given out new dictionaries to every third grade student in Dunn County for many years, including homeschooled students.
• Elk Mound will most likely have three new limited term employment (LTE) part-time police officers soon. Based on the recommendation of the employee relations committee and Elk Mound Police Chief Chad Weinberger, the Elk Mound Village Board approved establishing an eligibility list and starting the hiring process for three part-time officers at the November 6 meeting.
• Kameri Meredith was named the Dunn-St. Croix Conference’s Most Valuable Player of the Year for the 2019-20 volleyball season. Meredith became a varsity starter beginning her freshman year and has charged ahead ever since, ending her senior year with 1,024 kills and a fourth straight Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship.
November 20, 2019
• A 29-year-old Boyceville woman has been arrested in connection with an emaciated dog turned into the Dunn County Humane Society on November 1. According to a criminal referral from the Boyceville Police Department, Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin arrested Anne Marie Iehl November 11 and made a referral to the Dunn County District Attorney’s office for charging Iehl with one felony count of mistreating an animal causing disfigurement and one misdemeanor count of not providing proper food or drink to a confined animal.
• Vernoid Hoveland, a World War II veteran who is still active in the American Legion, received a plaque and life membership in the Russell-Toycen American Legion Post 131 at the Colfax Veterans Day program at Colfax High School November 11. American Legion Post Commander Chris Larson presented the plaque while William C. Yingst Jr., school district administrator and also a member of the American Legion, read the inscription.
• Dunn County is considering changes to the solid waste and recycling program that could include reducing the number of hours when the collection sites are open.
November 27, 2019
• While the Elk Mound Board of Education is expecting to go to referendum, the scope of the referendum has not yet been decided. A representative for CESA 10 and Tom Twohig of SDS Architects attended the Elk Mound Board of Education’s November 18 meeting to discuss the results of the School Perceptions survey.
• The Colfax Village Board is still working on assessing health insurance options for village employees. Amanda Webb of Kado Associates out of Menomonie spoke to the Colfax Village Board at the November 12 meeting about the options available.
• Kyle and Claudia Kressin, owners of Kyle’s Market in Colfax, are the recipients of the 2019 J.D. Simons Community Volunteer Award.
• With a score of 78.9, the Colfax school district is listed in the “exceeds expectations” category on the state report card.
• The annual Turkey Trot at Mound View Elementary in Elk Mound to kick off Thanksgiving vacation was as popular this year as ever.
December 4, 2019
• The Colfax Elevator Commission will be holding an open house at the Colfax Municipal Building on Saturday, December 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The elevator commission has been authorized by the village board to work on raising money for the elevator project, which is expected to cost an estimated $700,000.
• A 24-year-old Elk Mound man sentenced to more than six years in prison for the death of his girlfriend in a Town of Tainter car crash has been sentenced to more prison for child abuse. Gunnar D. Zurek, who was initially charged with two felony counts of the repeated sexual assault of the same child, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court November 20 for a plea hearing before Judge Rod Smeltzer. He was sentenced to a year and a half of initial confinement and three years of extended supervision.
• Who knew there were so many quilters and quilt enthusiasts in the Colfax area? When Sue Hill got the idea to hold a Quilt Review at her Tapestry Trunk Bed & Breakfast on Saturday, November 23, she was not expecting 53 quilts, and that’s not counting the table runners, wall hangings and other quilted items people brought.
• Tom Dunbar, a member of the American Legion Russell-Toycen Post 131 of Colfax, wants veterans to know that recent legislation has made more veterans eligible to join the American Legion.
• The Colfax Village Board has approved health insurance for employees through WEA Trust with a deductible of $4,000 for a single person and $8,000 for a family.
• The snowmobile route in Colfax could include the Outhouse Tavern this winter. State statutes allow snowmobiles to cross state Highway 40, said Mike Buchner, president of the Colfax Sno-drifters, at the Colfax Village Board’s November 25 meeting.
December 11, 2019
• The Colfax Village Board has approved a budget of $1,200,239 for 2020. The village board held the annual budget hearing December 2, although no members of the public attended the meeting.
• Former Colfax resident Richard W. Seehaver, who has been charged with one felony count of first-degree intentional homicide, has told a Dunn County judge he would like to fire his attorneys and represent himself. Judge Rod W. Smeltzer is not inclined to allow it.
• Jill Gengler has announced she will be stepping down as administrator at the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center effective January 1. Gengler has been the administrator at CHRC since 2006. Kenzie Galetka will become administrator of CHRC. Amber Moen will be appointed as the licensed administrator of Ridge Crest Manor and Sandy Ridge Assisted Living Apartments at CHRC.
• A 66-year-old retired deputy from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department has died in a tractor accident after falling out of the bucket and being run over by the tractor. The victim has been identified as Craig S. Koser, who retired in 2009 after 24 years of service.
• Although the additional recommended increase in the 2020 solid waste fee was $2.39 per person, Dunn County will not increase the per capita, but the hours at the collections sites will be reduced.
December 18, 2019
• Pleasant Valley Properties has purchased the Bremer Bank building at 301 Bremer Avenue in Colfax.
• Bail has been set in Dunn County Circuit Court with a $200 signature bond for a 29-year-old former Boyceville woman accused of turning an emaciated dog into the Dunn County Humane Society November 1. Anne M. Iehl made an initial appearance before Judge Rod W. Smeltzer December 10.
• The Colfax Village Board has approved a tax levy of $468,000 on the 2020 budget of $1,200,239.
• Leona Ubbelohde, Mary Kiekhafer and Elaine Bjork were the featured interviews for the Colfax Messenger’s annual Remembrances of Christmas Past stories.
• Snowmobile riders coming to Colfax will now be able to drive their snowmobiles to the Outhouse Tavern instead of parking them in the Synergy Cooperative parking lot. The Colfax Village Board approved the addition to the snowmobile route in Colfax at the December 9 meeting.
December 25, 2019
• The Colfax Village Board has denied providing a $1,000 Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution and stipend for village employees to offset an increase in health insurance deductibles.
• A 57-year-old rural Colfax woman was injured when the pickup truck she was driving struck a train at the railroad crossing on 700th Street about six miles west of Colfax around 10:15 a.m. December 17.
• The Colfax Board of Education has approved an agreement with the Elk Mound school district to form a cooperative boys’ and girls’ golf program beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
• The Elk Mound Board of Education has approved moving forward with a $15.7 million referendum question for the April 7 spring election. Although responses to the survey sent out by School Perceptions pertaining to keeping the swimming pool at Elk Mound High School indicated there was not enough support to include updates to the swimming pool on the referendum question, the Board of Education decided to keep operating the swimming pool, said Eric Wright, district administrator. School board members decided to keep the swimming pool because they did not want to create a controversy in the school district by removing the swimming pool, he said.