If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Another year has gone by, and we will soon be approaching the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Colfax Messenger has been reporting on local news since April of 1897. Here is a look back at the top headlines from April, May and June of 2021.
April 7, 2021
The Colfax Commercial Club has awarded the J.D. Simons Community Volunteer Award for 2020 to Susan Hill. The owner of the Tapestry Trunk Bed and Breakfast, Hill was nominated for her volunteer efforts around the community and her devotion to preserving Colfax history.
Based on a recommendation from the executive committee, the Dunn County Board is considering an option that would freeze the property tax levy and would use $3 million per year in borrowing to fund capital improvements.
A 26-year-old Colfax woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison and four years of extended supervision for possession of methamphetamine in an amount greater than 50 grams. Cassandra P. Davis appeared before Judge Rod. W. Smeltzer for a sentencing hearing March 23.
April 14, 2021
The Colfax Community Fire Department has achieved an ISO rating of Class 4. The ratings range from Class 1 to Class 10. A Class 1 fire department provides the very best in fire protection services. Class 10 means the area virtually has no fire protection services.
Registered write-in candidate Jody Albricht received 51 votes for Colfax village president in the April 6 election. Registered write-in candidate Jeff Prince received 71 votes for village trustee, while registered write-in candidate Jen Rud received 58 votes for village trustee and registered write-in candidate Mark Mouledoux received 38 votes. Incumbent village trustee Margaret Burcham was the only candidate to turn in nomination papers in January. Burcham received 125 votes.
Christina Mayer has been elected as the Branch II judge in Dunn County Circuit Court in the April election after facing challenger Nicholas P. Lange. Mayer will replace Judge Rod W. Smeltzer, who is retiring this summer. Luke M. Wagner was elected as Branch III judge in Dunn County. Wagner was the only candidate on the ballot for Branch III, which was recently added to Dunn County’s Circuit Court to alleviate the caseload of the other two branches.
Incumbents Gary Bodenburg and Mark Oas will retain their seats on the Elk Mound Board of Education following the April 6 election. Bodenburg and Oas faced challengers Michael Jenson Jr. and Mark Levra.
Incumbent Tom Zwiefelhofer prevailed in the April 6 election for town chair in the Town of Howard, and Heather Rothbauer-Wanish won the Supervisor I position. Zwiefelhofer faced challenger Wayne J. Schindler, and Rothbauer-Wanish was on the ballot against Jeffrey Bennesch.
April 21, 2021
The Colfax Village Board has accepted the low bid of $359,717 from Skid Steer Guy LLC for the Riverview, High and Dunn Street projects.
Colfax High School students participated in a distracted driving simulation on April 13.
Sergeant Andrea Wahl, a recruiter with the Wisconsin National Guard, and Specialist Lance Lauffer, a 2007 graduate of Colfax High School, presented the MRE Challenge to students in one of Amanda Kalscheur’s Family and Consumer Education classes April 12.
The Elk Mound Plan Commission has recommended that the village board approve the project plans and preliminary plat for the Settlers Ridge Development, a 337-acre parcel on the southeast corner of Elk Mound.
April 28, 2021
Updated visitation guidelines for the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center now allow children who are 12 years and older to visit a resident at the facility. Prior to this, guidelines implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow children to visit CHRC residents.
The Dunn County Zoning Board of Adjustment has granted two special exceptions for Milestone Materials to operate temporary asphalt plants for the state Highway 170 project and the state Highway 29 project this summer.
The Dunn County Board has appointed A. Sifia Jevne as county treasurer to fill the unexpired term of office created by the resignation of Doris Meyer.
The Elk Mound Village Board has amended a purchase agreement with Golden Warriors LLC for the lot east of the village hall during the April 19 meeting. The agreement was amended to extend due diligence time until July 23, 2021.
May 5, 2021
A Sauk County jury has found a 58-year-old La Crosse man guilty on 15 felonies in connection with a traffic crash on I-94/I-90 near Lake Delton in October of 2018 that killed two Dunn County men. Albart B. Shores was convicted following a five-day jury trial in Sauk County Circuit Court that began April 19. Scot Miller, 56, the co-owner of the Whitetail Golf Course south of Colfax, and David Howe, 60, the owner of Menomonie Transportation, died as a result of the accident. Other passengers in the vehicle who were injured were Thomas Millar, age 62, and Richard Schoenke, age 56. Millar is a retired agriculture teacher from the Colfax school district.
Because of the resignations of 15 Emergency Medical Technicians
from the Boyceville ambulance service, the Colfax Village Board has approved an ambulance response agreement with Boyceville.
After working for 36 years in food service at the Colfax school district, head cook Teri Knutson has decided to hang up her apron and call it day. Knutson’s letter announcing her retirement was dated March 19. The Colfax Board of Education unanimously approved Knutson’s retirement.
The Elk Mound Board of Education approved making masks optional for students and staff during the April 26 meeting as part of updating the school district’s COVID-19 response plan.
The Colfax Board of Education agreed at the April 26 meeting to continue with the district’s harm reduction plan that requires everyone on the school buildings to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
May 12, 2021
The Dunn County Fair Board is planning to move ahead with the Dunn County Fair scheduled for July 21 through July 25. Between April 21 and May 4, Dunn County’s activity rate for the SARS-CoV-2 virus was 142.9 per 100,000, which is considered a high transmission rate.
The Dunn County Facilities Committee has recommended a resolution to the Dunn County Board pertaining to 100 percent renewable energy and carbon neutrality by 2050.
After the village of Colfax tried for a number of years to encourage residential development in East View along Dunn Street, Homes by Croix Creek now has one house started and has plans to build four more. But that’s not all the Colfax Plan Commission learned at a meeting held April 29. Andrew De Moe of Andy’s Custom Concrete is interested in building a triplex in East View, and Mike Miller, of Whitehorse Construction, is interested in building single family housing in East View.
The Elk Mound Village Board has approved new ATV routes from Fir Street via Taylor Street to the Elk Mound Travel Stop and a route from Holly Avenue to University Street and east to 970th Street.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced May 5 that the Elk Mound school district has been awarded a $25,000 state grant for a fabrication laboratory (fab lab).
May 19, 2021
Several residents have presented a resolution to the Colfax Village Board asking that the village be declared a second amendment sanctuary.
The 89 members of the Elk Mound High School Class of 2021 graduated May 14.
Although the Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee has forwarded a proposed land division ordinance to the Dunn County Board for consideration that includes a provision to manage residential density in unzoned townships, the PR&D committee most likely will ask the county board to send the proposed ordinance back to the committee for changes.
After discussing the ordinance since 2018, and after holding two public hearings, the Dunn County Land Conservation Committee is recommending the county board approve an updated ordinance on agricultural performance standards and manure storage and management.
May 26, 2021
The Colfax High School Class of 2021 graduated Friday evening, May 21.
With 8.5 days of school left, the Colfax Board of Education decided to continue requiring masks to be worn in the buildings and school buses. More than 50 people attended the school board’s May 17 meeting, and of the 13 who spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting, nine were in favor of making masks optional.
The Dunn County Board has appointed Andrew Mercil as the county clerk to fill the unexpired term of Julie Wathke, who resigned from the position in April.
A village resident who lives on South Holly Avenue in Elk Mound spoke during the citizens forum at the May 17 village board meeting about vehicles he frequently sees exceeding the speed limit in front of his home. Sonny Pierce said he often witnesses cars driving by his home at speeds of 40 or 50 mph, which is well over the posted speed limit of 25 mph.
If you are fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, you can go to the races at the Red Cedar Speedway regardless of the capacity determined by the infection rate of COVID-19 in Dunn County.
June 2, 2021
After pausing in 2020 because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the Colfax Free Fair will be held again this year June 17 through June 20. The Colfax Fair Board waited until April to make a decision about the Colfax Free Fair, said Steve Ackerlund, president of the fair board.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is planning to resurface state Highway 40 from state Highways 12/29 to county Highway M in 2026 or earlier if the engineering is finished and funding is available. WisDOT is asking Colfax to make a decision about the parking lanes, whether to pave with 1.5 inches of asphalt or 3.25 inches.
A Dunn County jury has found a former Boyceville woman guilty on one felony count of mistreating an animal and one misdemeanor count of intentionally failing to provide food for an animal. The jury delivered the verdict concerning Anne M. Iehl, age 30, following a two-day trial May 26 and 27 in Dunn County Circuit Court presided over by Judge Rod W. Smeltzer.
The opportunities to visit residents at the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center just keep getting better. As of May 19, “We are allowing visitors of all ages to visit and increasing our visitor total per residents. We will allow four visitors per resident at one time. Infants (children under one year old) do not count with the four visitors,” said Kenzie Galetka, nursing home administrator, in a Facebook post May 19.
June 9, 2021
The permit for the miniature train ride at the Colfax Railroad Museum has finally been approved by the State of Wisconsin. The museum is planning to hold a grand opening for the miniature train ride June 17 to June 20, to coincide with the Colfax Free Fair.
Ebert Sorkness, who farmed in the Town of Grant and later in life lived in the village of Colfax, was a Civil War Veteran who died at the age of 100 in 1940. Sorkness is buried at the Faith Lutheran Church Cemetery in Running Valley and will be honored by the Wisconsin Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War on June 12 in a ceremony at the cemetery in recognition of being Dunn County’s last Civil War veteran.
The Dunn County district attorney is still waiting on a report from the state crime lab concerning DNA evidence gathered in a homicide investigation in the Town of Dunn last November.
The Elk Mound power lifting teams recently competed in Nationals at Aurora, Colorado. The girls’ squad finished first while the boys placed second.
The Colfax Board of Education has made wearing masks optional for summer school, summer swimming, and for summer events such as the school musical and Summer Saunters.
The Colfax High School musical “Shrek” will be performed June 11, 12 and 13. The musical is under the direction of Derek Westholm, Colfax High School music teacher and band director. Costumes are by Emily Krause, with Jolene Westholm assisting.
June 16, 2021
John Decker, the commander of the Wisconsin Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, conducted a recognition ceremony June 12 at Faith Lutheran Church in Running Valley for Ebert Sorkness, the last Civil War veteran who died in Dunn County.
The 101st Colfax Free Fair starts Thursday, June 17, and runs through Sunday, June 20. If it were not for the fair being postponed last year because of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic, this year would be the 102nd fair.
After losses in revenue from the bottom falling out of the recycling market and borrowing $330,000 from Dunn County, the final close-out of the Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling program could end up “a wash.”
The Elk Mound Village Board, during at audit report from Kim Shult of Baker Tilly, learned the village has enough cash liquidity to cover 10 months of operating expenses.
Mark Mosey, recently retired biology teacher at Colfax High School, spoke about birds and other wildlife to members of Chippewa Valley Learning in Retirement June 3 at the Colfax Red Cedar Preserve and Recreation Area. Ferry Pond is in the background.
June 23, 2021
With only 36 percent of Dunn County residents vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, several Dunn County Board supervisors are wondering if the county health department would do outreach clinics in rural communities, and the answer is “yes” — if asked.
Members of the Colfax Village Board have decided they do not quite yet have enough information to form a fifth Tax Increment Finance District. Creating TID 5 would be necessary to pay for the additional work on Dunn Street to install sewer and water so that Phase 2 of the East View residential development could move forward.
The Colfax Village Board has sent the proposed resolution declaring the Village of Colfax a second amendment sanctuary to the public safety committee for review.
For the first time in years, Colfax has received less than a perfect grade on the Compliance Maintenance Annual Report for the operation of the wastewater treatment facility. Two sections of the report received a “C” because one discharge sample was taken instead of two samples.
June 30, 2021
In a letter announcing her retirement, Nancy Wittmer said she was told she would know when it was time to retire as a bus driver — and after 30 years, the time has come. The Colfax Board of Education approved Wittmer’s retirement at the June 21 meeting.
The Colfax Board of Education has approved a long-term capital improvement plan for Fund 46 that includes for this year repaving parking lots, maintenance upgrades, an LP bus and technology upgrades. With $322,052 left over from the 2019-2020 budget last July, which the school board approved transferring to Fund 46, the Colfax school district’s Fund 46 now has about $460,000.
The Elk Mound Board of Education received an update on construction of the referendum projects at the June 21 meeting. The asphalt surface has been laid for the track and requires approximately 30 days to cure prior to laying down the recycled rubber, which could be installed sometime in July.
The Dunn County Board has approved the sale of $6.85 million in general obligation bonds to finance capital improvements and to refinance existing debt.
About half of the number of animals were sold at the Colfax FFA Alumni Auction at the Colfax Free Fair this year compared to previous years. The auction sold 15 meat animals all together on Sunday, June 20, including 11 pigs and four beef animals of which three were dairy steers and one was an Angus steer.