2013 In Review - 2nd half*

 * 1st half of year was lost due to computer problems

Three people arrested in drive-by shooting

Grant County, WI - On July 5th, 2013 at about 8:42 PM the Grant County Sheriff’s Office was notified of gunshots being fired from a truck that drove by a residence on (1171) Rock Rd, Smelser Township. 
   The victims, 3 males, reported that they were standing outside this residence when a UTV drove by with a couple of people on it.  One of the victims could hear someone on the UTV comment about wanting to shoot someone there.  A short time later, the victims reported that a black truck drove by the address and there were three gunshots fired from the truck. 
   No one was struck or injured during the incident and no property was reported as struck by the gunfire.  The truck, and all three occupants, fled the area prior to the arrival of sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers. 

   At about 11:20 PM a sheriff’s deputy located a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle driving north on Hwy 15, as it was reported the suspect vehicle had returned to the area of the shooting and a neighbor followed it, reporting its location.          Eventually officers from several agencies, including K9 Diego, conducted a high-risk vehicle contact.  Two people were detained (a man and a woman). 
   Further investigation lead to find out that Bradley Wilson, 31 of Cuba City, went to the address on Rock Rd., riding in a truck driven by Aaron Gregory, 29 of rural Platteville, and he shot a Ruger .357 handgun out of the window of the truck towards the residence on Rock Rd. 

   Based on the investigation the following charges are being recommended to the District Attorney’s Office:

Arrest or Charges:

   John Henry, 53 of rural Platteville:   Party to the Crime- Endangering Safety by Use of a Dangerous Weapon

   Aaron Gregory:  Obstructing, Party to the Crime - Endangering Safety by Use of a     Dangerous Weapon, Bail Jumping

   Bradley Wilson:   2nd Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety

   The Grant County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Wisconsin State Patrol, Cuba City Police Department and the Platteville Police Department.

Deputies ID two persons of interest in
Rock on the River attack, victim still critical

On July 13, 2013 at approx. 10:45 p.m., the Staff from the Crawford County Sheriff Department working at Rock on the River were notified of an unconscious male subject near the bathrooms in the camp ground area of the fest grounds.
   Deputies and Emergency Medical Staff working on the grounds responded and found, 28 year old Joshua Milligan from Dubuque Iowa lying face down, unconscious in the gravel with apparent head wounds.  Milligan was taken to Prairie du Chien Hospital and later transported by med flight to Gunderson Hospital in La Crosse.
   Through interviews Deputies received information that Milligan was likely struck in the head during an altercation.  Deputies working in pairs interviewed everyone at the campground along with every occupant of all vehicles leaving the grounds the next morning.
   “The investigation has lead us to two persons of interest”, stated Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick.  “The people we are looking at are acquaintances of the victim and are also from Dubuque Iowa”, McCullick added.
   After it was learned that our persons of interest resided from the state of Iowa, Crawford County Sheriff's Investigators contacted the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and began a joint investigation.  Search warrants in both Iowa and Wisconsin have been conducted.
   “This is an ongoing investigation and once completed all information and evidence gathered will be turned over to the Crawford County District Attorney's office for charges”, stated Sheriff McCullick.
   Milligan’s condition has improved but he remains in critical condition at Gunderson Hospital in La Crosse.

Laufenberg sought in shaken baby incidence

Update - August 1, 2013 - Troy Laufenberg is wanted for questioning in a shaken baby incidence (in addition to various drug charges) to 18-month-old Myah Larson.  The baby suffered severe brain damage.
   It has been reported by KCRG-TV that the family has taken the child off life support Tuesday.  The baby was found unresponsive at her mother's home at 1031/2 E. Center Street in Monona on July 15th.  Laufenberg is the mother's boyfriend.

Monona, IOWA --- Several arrest warrants have been issued for Troy Alan Laufenberg of Monona, Iowa.

Troy Laufenberg

Laufenberg’s whereabouts however are unknown at this time.  If you can assist officers in locating Laufenberg, please contact DCI Special Agent Mike Krapfl, 563-599-4239.

   When apprehended Laufenberg will be charged with Child Endangerment (Class D Felony), Possession with Intent to Deliver (Class D Felony), Possession of a Controlled Substance (Serious Misdemeanor), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Simple Misdemeanor).

   These charges are a result of the collection and analysis of evidence seized during the execution of a search warrant on July 19, 2013 at the home of Troy Laufenberg and Emily Voshell.  The pair lived at 103 E. Center Street in Monona, Iowa.
   Officers were initially called to the residence on July 15 on report of an injured child.  That child remains hospitalized.

   The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, and Monona Police Department are investigating.

Huge turnout for Gays Mills fire chief’s funeral


The motorcade bearing the casket of Kevin Oppriecht stretched for miles as it wound from Soldiers Grove to the Gays Mills Cemetery.

Longtime volunteer firefighter and Fire Chief of the Gays Mills Fire Department, Kevin Oppriecht passed away on Sunday.  He was the finest of men;   working tirelessly for his community, for his family and in their family-run business - Sunrise Orchards in Gays Mills, Crawford County.
   An honor guard of police, firefighters and fire engines escorted the Chief to his final duty station (See Video).

Laufenberg arrested, held without bail

Troy Laufenberg, 21 of Monona, Iowa, was arrested Saturday, August 24th, 2013 in Dubuque, Iowa.  Police had been looking for Mr. Laufenberg for several weeks. 
   Mr. Laufenberg is facing numerous drug related charges, but the most serious is for a shaken baby syndrome, in which he allegedly caused severe injuries to 18-month old Myah Larson in July.  He is being held without bail.  (see back-story)

Lower Riverway Board votes ‘No’ to frac sand mining
in the Wisconsin Riverway

Crawford County, WI - August 23, 2013 - Last night, the Board of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway held a meeting to decide whether to approve Pattison's proposed sand mining operation near the Wisconsin River in Bridgeport.  The board voted 6 to 2 against the proposed mining operation along the river.
   Although those opposed to the mining operation are delighted, this vote will not stop frac mining between the scenic highway and the river.  It is unclear what restrictions will be put in place, but perhaps it might restrict mining within so many yards of the river.
   Another wild card that might be played would be Gov. Walker perhaps overriding the board.

Another fire at ILNorplex


The ILNorplex, Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa (file photo by Dave Collins, MWNews)

Postville, Iowa - At 7:45 p.m. On Thursday evening, August 29th, 2013, the Postville Fire Department was dispatched to ILNorplex for reports of smoke inside the plant.  Dispatch informed the Postville Fire Dept. that the building was being evacuated.
   The Fire Department arrived on scene within 5 minutes, and observed thick black smoke coming from the roof.  Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Bissell, who is also employed by ILNorplex, requested immediate assistance with Engines Companies from Luana and Waukon Fire Departments.
   Postville Firefighters were able to quickly suppress the fire utilizing an 1 1/2 inch attack line on the roof, and one inside.  The plants sprinkler system assisted in containing the fire as well.
   Twenty-five Postville fire fighters remained on scene for 2 hours to monitor the area and help vent the building.  The cause of the fire is being contributed to a malfunction in the venting system.  Damage is estimated at $25,000.00.
   No injuries were reported, and approximately 50 employees were inside the building and evacuated safely.  The Postville Fire Dept. was assisted by the Luana Fire Dept., Waukon Fire Dept., Postville Area Ambulance, Postville Police Dept., and the Allamakee County Sheriff's Department.
   ILNorplex has only been operating at about 60% capacity as a result of an explosion at the plant a few months ago, which resulted in approximately 15 million dollars in damage, said Postville Fire Chief Jeffrey J. Bohr.

Kruger indicted by grand jury

Grant Co PC Kruger

The Grant Co. Sheriff's Department held a press conference Wednesday to provide details of the charges against James Kruger, and a description of the events leading to his arrest.  See Video.

Update - September 19, 2013 -

The Grant County District Attorney’s Office has filed formal charges against James Kruger in regards to the incident that occurred on September 10th in Grant County.  The following are a list of the charges:


Mr. Kruger is scheduled for an initial court appearance on September 20 at 8:15 a.m. in Grant County Court

Update - September 18, 2013 -

James M. Kruger, 36, Madison, Wis., is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. The indictment alleges that on September 10, 2013, Kruger possessed a .22 caliber double-barreled firearm, a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun, and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun. Kruger was arrested on September 10.

   If convicted, Kruger faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Grant, Iowa and Dane County Sheriffs’ Departments; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Cassville, Dodgeville, Fennimore and Platteville Police Departments. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea.

Update - 3:49 p.m. - Kruger went to a residence in the Village of Cassville and assaulted the male subject and took several guns from the residence.  Kruger left the residence and it was reported to the Grant County Sheriff’s Dept. that shots were fired south of Cassville.
   A search for several hours was conducted.  At about 11 a.m. the Sheriff’s Dept. received a call from a female reporting a kidnapping.  Kruger went to a residence outside of Cassville and took a male subject hostage and pointed a gun at the female.  Kruger took the male subject’s vehicle and cattle trailer along with a male subject at gun point and left the residence.
   The cattle trailer was later unhooked alongside a back road.  The male subject was released in the City of Dodgeville unharmed.  After a high speed chase Kruger was taken into custody in Dane County.  The victim's names are not being released at this time.  Charges are pending.

- 1:55 p.m. - James M. Kruger is in custody at this time.  More to follow.

Grant County, WI - September 10, 2013, 10:23 a.m. - Law Enforcement Officers are searching for a James M. Kruger, 36 years old.  He is wanted on attempted homicide charges from Madison Police Department as well as charges from Platteville Police dept., and the Grant County Sheriff's office.
   Kruger is considered armed and dangerous.  If seen, the public should not attempt to make contact and should seek safety and contact the Law Enforcement by dialing 911.
   Kruger was last sighted south of Cassville, WI at 7:15 a.m.  He has a 2011 Black Honda Civic two door with white decals.  License number 546-UWN (Wisconsin registration).

Local amateur astronomer photographs
ISON Comet heading our way

comet Wunderlin 566

Comet ISON Due Later this Year
By John Wunderlin -
You may have heard in the news this spring that a comet will be visible later this year.     Comet ISON (named after the International Scientific Optical Network, the observatory which discovered it) is currently approaching the sun at over 60,000 miles per hour.     It’s an object about 4 miles in diameter made of many different materials including rocks and water ice.  
   This comet is called a ‘sungrazer’ because it is going to pass very, very close to the sun- in fact it will be less than 1 solar diameter (the width of the sun) at its closest pass.   At that time, it will be traveling at over 400,000 miles per hour and will experience temperatures hot enough to melt iron.

   If this relatively small ‘dirty snowball’ survives its close encounter with our nearby star, it has the potential to be a terrific sight in the night sky starting in early December when it emerges out of the glare of the sunlight just before sunrise.     For most of December it will only be visible before dawn, but it will gradually rise earlier every day until it becomes visible all night long in the northern hemisphere by the end of 2013.

   The comet will be at its brightest early in December, but with luck it will remain visible without binoculars for several weeks and will remain a good binocular object for several months in early 2014. 
   Editor’s note - There are two active astronomy groups in this region.  In the Mineral Point, WI area, it’s the Iowa County Astronomers (www.icastro.org), and in the Prairie du Chien area, it’s the Starsplitters of Wyalusing (www.starsplitters.org/).  (Photo courtesy of John Wunderlin, Iowa County Astronomers)

Young man killed in crash

Update - The young man has been identified as Ryan T. Watters.

On Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at approximately 8:45 p.m., the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department was notified of a two vehicle crash. The crash occurred on US Highway 61 at the intersection of County Rd. X, in the Township of Clayton.
   A 19 year old man from rural Gays Mills was driving a 1992 Chevy S10 truck westbound on County Rd. X. While entering US Highway 61 the vehicle was struck by a 2000 Ford F-350 operated by Daniel Sandvick, age 49 of Desoto. The Sandvick vehicle had one passenger Derick Suiter age 32 of Viroqua, WI. The Ford F-350 was towing a 1990 Dodge truck northbound on US Highway 61 when it struck the driver side of the 1992 Chevy S10.

   Both vehicles then became engulfed in flames and entered the southbound lane striking the guardrail for several feet. The vehicles then continued down the roadway and came to a stop in the middle of US Highway 61. US Highway 61 was closed for approximately 4 1/2 hours to reconstruct the accident.        

   Sandvick and Suiter were transported to Vernon Memorial Hospital with minor injuries and were later released. The 19 year old male suffered fatal injuries from the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene..

   Assisting at the scene were the Gays Mills Fire Department, Soldiers Grove Fire Department, North Crawford Rescue, Wisconsin State Patrol Reconstruction, Bob’s Towing, Crawford County Coroner Joe Morovits, Crawford County Highway Department, and Digger Dons. Viroqua Police Department and Vernon County Sheriff’s Department also assisted.     This accident currently remains under investigation at this time.

Mondo arrested in Florida

Update - September 23, 2013 - Suspect Almondo Baker (07/06/1980) was arrested early this morning by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department (Ft. Meyers, Florida area). He was arrested on a Warrant and is being held by Lee County at this time.


At 5:07am on 08/31/2013 officers responded to a report of an unknown disturbance in the area of Adams St. and Farnam St.   While enroute additional calls came in stating that there were gunshots and someone had been shot.  

Almondo Baker - Male, Black, date of birth 07/06/1980, 5’11”, 170lbs., of 1020 Farnam St., in La Crosse.

   Upon Officers arrival to the area, they discovered that the incident took place at 1020 Farnam St. and discovered that there had been several gunshot victims that had already left the scene and were transported by other persons to Gundersen Health System – La Crosse.

   In all three (3) victims were treated for gunshot wounds to the legs and abdomen and 1 has been released from the hospital.   Their identity is not being released at this time.

   The investigation has pointed to a possible suspect of Almondo Baker (also known as “Mondo”) and the La Crosse Police Department is asking for the communities help in locating him.  The incident remains under investigation at this time.

   Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to please contact the La Crosse Police Department at (608) 785-5962.   Callers can also remain anonymous by calling the La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 784-8477 or text laxtips at Crimes (274-637)’ or online at www.lacrossecrimestoppers.com.   Callers to Crime Stoppers can be eligible for rewards of up to $1,000.

Wyalusing Academy license revoked by WI Dept.
of Children & Families due to child neglect

Home 2Wyalusing 001

Wyalusing Academy will continue to operate during appeal - Mary Beth Specht, executive director of Wyalusing Academy.

Prairie du Chien, WI - September 25, 2013 - While the facts of what exactly happened are clouded in legalizes, and known only to the various departments, the main incident stems from the following:
The licensee failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of children in its care when Child 1 was severely injured after an incident that occurred at Wyalusing on June 24, 2013.  The initial injury occurred after a series of three restraints were performed on Child 1 by Staff 1, Staff 2 and Staff 3 on June 24, 2013, at approximately 6:00 a.m.  Wyalusing failed to provide appropriate care, including medical evaluation, to the child after the injury.  Moreover, outside medical attention was not sought until approximately 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on June 25, 2013, more than 24 hours after the holds occurred.
   The department goes on to list numerous other past violations.
   Wyalusing Academy released a statement that states in part -
Because we have filed an appeal, the state has now suspended the recent revocation of our license to operate the facility.

   Wyalusing Academy is looking forward to meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families to discuss operations at the residential care center for children and youth.

During this review process, Wyalusing Academy will continue to serve children and youth as it normally does. However, the state does require that a temporary hold be put on admissions during the review.

   We expect our discussions with the Dept. of Children & Families to be productive and to yield ideas on how the facility can continue to effectively serve children and their families.
Additional information - The letter of revocation further states:
On August 27, 2013, Licensing Specialist Katrina Nerge was notified by Crawford County Human Services that four current employees of Wyalusing, Staff 4, Staff 5, Staff 6 and Staff 7, have been substantiated for medical neglect as a result of the events that occurred between June 24, 2013 and June 25, 2013.  Per the Initial Assessment completed by Crawford County: “[t]he information gathered at the time of the assessment indicated that there was a failure to provide appropriate general care to meet general basic needs, completed (sic) a thorough assessment and seek out further medical assessments by a medical facility while in a caretaker role.”  the Initial Assessment further notes that “the failure to timely seek out further medical attention may have aggravated the initial injury causing further serious harm.”

Body found in river identified

Prairie du Chien, WI - On Saturday SEPTEMBER 28, 2013 two individuals that were duck hunting on the Mississippi river discovered what they thought was a body on an island south of the sewer plant in Prairie du Chien. Members of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Dept. and the Prairie du Chien Police Dept. responded.  

   It was later determined that the body was that of Trey M. Cornell age 19 of Prairie du Chien.   Cornell was reported missing May 25 2013.   The investigation in May led officials to the Mississippi river and a search was conducted of the river by Wisconsin and Iowa law enforcement and DNR personnel.  Foul play is not suspected in the investigation.

Man wanted on Homicide charge turns himself in

Update - Oct. 8, 2013 - ARREST MADE: Thomas J. Beitlich the Attempted Homicide Suspect turned himself into the La Crosse Police Department shortly after noon today. He was accompanied by his attorney and is currently in La Crosse County Jail awaiting his initial appearance in court this afternoon.

   The La Crosse Police Department wants to thank the community for the information provided to help resolve this case.

The La Crosse Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Mr. Thomas J. Beitlich (04/24/1982) who is wanted on a $250,000 cash bond warrant for Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide and Use of a Dangerous Weapon.
Thomas Beitlich

Thomas J. Beitlich

     On 10/06/2013 at 2:54 AM the La Crosse Police Department was dispatched to 1502 Ferry Street for an incident in which Mr. Beitlich broke into his ex-girlfriends (Amanda Eklov) residence, hit the victim (Terrance Callahan) numerous times with a blunt object and then fled the scene. The victim is currently at a local hospital in critical condition with between 15-20 lacerations to his head area and possible Skull fracture.

     Thomas has ties to the Vernon County area and is believed to still be in the La Crosse area region.

     Anyone with information regarding Thomas Beitlich location is asked to please contact the La Crosse Police Department at (608) 785-5962.  Callers can also remain anonymous by calling the La Crosse Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 784-8477 or text laxtips at Crimes (274-637)’ or online at www.lacrossecrimestoppers.com.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can be eligible for rewards of up to $1,000.

They're not from outer space

Home Puffball

Late September, early October is the time to look for these tasty giant puffball mushrooms in a forest near you.  In this video, Midwest News shows how to harvest & prepare giant puffball mushrooms.

Officer Dresen & Deputy Vesperman receive
Hometown Hero award

CS_Rep. Tranel Hometown Hero Presentation 100813 2

Left to right: Deputy Jerry Vesperman, Rep. Travis Tranel, Officer Walt Dresen with his boys Corey & Casey Dresen.

Madison WI - On October 8th, 2013, Rep. Travis Tranel (E-Cuba City) introduced the officers before the state assembly saying in part, “Today, I have the honor and privilege of introducing two very distinguished Hometown Heroes -- Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Vesperman and Fennimore Police Officer Walt Dresen.  These two officers protect and selflessly serve the citizens of Southwest Wisconsin with the highest distinction.”

   In nominating these officers Rep. Tranel explained their actions,  “In the early morning hours on May 21, 2013, at approximately 1:44 a.m., the Grant County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call of a vehicle that crashed into the Big Green River off of County T near Dutch Hill Road.  

   The caller advised there was one person trapped in the vehicle and it was fully submerged in the water.   Within 10 minutes of the call, Deputy Vesperman and Officer Dresen arrived on scene finding the car in the river, upside down and mostly submerged, with only the tires sticking out of the water.  

   Officer Dresen and Deputy Vesperman entered the river, walking through chest deep, swiftly moving water.   Officer Dresen dove under the water and was able to open the vehicle finding the driver trapped, but alive due to a small air pocket.   Deputy Vesperman and Officer Dresen were able to free him from the vehicle and get him to the shore, where he was treated by the Boscobel EMS unit and transported to the hospital.

   Deputy Vesperman and Officer Dresen acted quickly, risking their own lives to save the driver.   I am proud to be able to represent such extraordinary public servants and very thankful they have chosen to protect and serve their community.   They are both truly deserving of the Hometown Hero award.  I congratulate and thank them both for their dedication and service.”

Sex offender now in custody

Update - On Monday, October 21, 2013 at approximately 8:00 p.m., Willard Tyler was apprehended by a Crawford County Deputy near Dutch Ridge Road and Biederman Hollow.  Tyler is now in custody at the Crawford County Jail.

On Sunday, October 20, 2013 at approximately 11:00 p.m., the Prairie du Chien Police Department attempted a Probation and Parole arrest at 517 East Blackhawk Avenue in the City of Prairie du Chien.    
photo3 Tyler

Willard D. Tyler

   The officers did not receive an answer at the door so Probation and Parole was notified and the officers were able to gain access to the residence with the assistance of Probation and Parole.  

   Once inside the residence officers did not find the subject, but did find his ankle monitoring device cut off and on the floor.   Immediately a nationwide alert was sent out electronically through the dispatch center to law enforcement agencies.

   The subject Willard D. Tyler, 46, male, white, 5’08”, 180lbs is a registered violent sex offender and was released to Prairie du Chien in 2011.   If you see Tyler please call law enforcement immediately.

Dept. of Children & Families closes
Wyalusing Academy in PdC

Statement from the Department of Children and Families regarding the closure of Wyalusing Academy
The Department of Children and Families’ first obligation is the safety of the children at Wyalusing Academy.

   Yesterday (October 29), Clinicare Corporation agreed to surrender their license to operate Wyalusing Academy and close the facility in lieu of license revocation by the Department of Children and Families.

   The Department will work with Clinicare to ensure they carry out relocations of the current residents in a safe and orderly manner. During the closure process, the Department’s licensing agents will ensure that conditions at Wyalusing are maintained and that the children are treated with care.

   The Department of Workforce Development is deploying their rapid response team to provide services to help dislocated workers find employment and training. Final closure is dependant on relocation of current residents, but is expected to occur no later than November 22, 2013.
It is believed that the Academy has 144 employees, and 45 residents.

Update -Statement from Wyalusing - Wyalusing Academy voluntarily relinquishes license to operate; will cease operations on Nov. 8th

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (Oct. 29, 2013) – Wyalusing Academy will permanently close and cease doing business as a residential care center for children and youth on Friday, Nov. 8th after voluntarily relinquishing its license to operate as part of a settlement agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families.

   The settlement stems from an appeal made in September by Clinicare Corp., the operator of Wyalusing Academy, to the Dept. of Children & Families, which revoked the facility’s license to operate based on an incident involving a resident that occurred in June. Pending the outcome of the appeal, Wyalusing Academy was permitted to continue operations.

   “This is a difficult decision to make, but we appreciate the discussions we had with the Dept. of Children & Families regarding ongoing operations of Wyalusing Academy. As a result of those talks, we’ve decided to voluntarily cease operations there as of Nov. 8th,” said David Fritsch, president of Clinicare Corp.

As of Oct. 29th there were 45 residents utilizing Wyalusing Academy. Administrative staff is assisting those individuals and their families with relocation efforts to other residential care facilities.

   Clinicare has contacted the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Enhanced Rapid Response Program in an effort to assist the facility’s 144 employees with transitioning to new employment.

   “While this is difficult news for everyone involved, we are doing everything we can to assist residents and employees with making necessary transitions,” said Fritsch.

Clinicare operates two other residential care centers in Wisconsin. Both of those facilities will remain open.                          (Background on story)

 Fire damages building housing
two businesses & 4 apartments    

Fire Planted Tree Champion1

Prairie du Chien, WI - last Tuesday night, October 29, 2013, fire damaged the building at 200 W. Blackhawk Ave. that houses Simply and The Planted Tree, plus 4 apartments.  The fire department felt that a carelessly discarded cigarette butt in a window-well might have started the fire.
   Teresa Champion, owner of The Planted Tree, said that art works from 30 artists have been affected by smoke damage. Clean-up crews are working to restore the building, apartments, and businesses.  It will probably be Mid-November before The Planted Tree can reopen, but Simply remains open. 
(photo courtesy of Teresa Champion)

Man arrested for multiple Wal-Mart robberies

On Monday, October 7, 2013 at approximately 4:35 a.m. the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an in progress retail theft incident at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located in the Township of Bridgeport. Deputies responded to Wal-Mart and located the suspect; Ethen Gebhard (Age 19) of Woodman, WI. Gebhard was taken into custody and transported to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. 

   As the investigation process progressed, it was determined that Gebhard has stolen merchandise on several different occasions from Wal-Mart stores including; Wal-Mart in Viroqua and Wal-Mart in Richland Center. Gebhard is suspected of stealing approximately $7000.00 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart in Prairie du Chien alone. Gebhard has been charged with felony theft of removable property. 

   Furthermore, this investigation has revealed that several other individuals residing in the County of Grant have been involved in stealing merchandise from the Wal-Mart stores along with Gebhard. The names of the other individuals involved are being withheld at this time pending further investigation and because some involved are juveniles. The other individuals involved are facing charges related to retail theft.

   The case currently remains under investigation at this time.

The misuse of crop insurance programs cost taxpayers

Currently No Transparency on Where Taxpayer Dollars Are Going


WASHINGTON, DC—Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) today continued their effort for more transparency in the crop insurance program. They are asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of crop insurance payments and shed some light on how much of the payments go to wealthy individuals and families.

   “The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2642) passed in July by the House expanded crop insurance subsidies,” the representatives wrote. “According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, these crop insurance subsidies will cost taxpayers $90 billion over the next decade. USDA reports it spent $14 billion on crop insurance last year alone.

   “These subsidies overwhelmingly flow to the largest and most successful farm businesses. Unlike other farm subsidies, crop insurance subsidies are not subject to means testing or payment limits and farmers are not required to adopt basic environmental protections in exchange for premium support from the taxpayer.”

   Members of Congress are currently negotiating a new five-year farm bill that could cut billions from nutrition and anti-hunger programs, while continuing—or even increasing—these crop insurance subsidies that have little to no oversight. Crop insurance payments are also not subject to means testing, payment limits or conservation requirements. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report with common-sense recommendations for saving taxpayer dollars by reducing crop insurance subsidies.

Farming like granddad never imagined

The following is a partial list of individuals who have received the most farm subsidies since 1995.  This is not meant to imply that these individuals have done anything inappropriate, it is merely a list of the top half dozen area people from a very long list.  To view a complete list click here: http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?z=1&zip=53821&page=0

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