Four Boscobel people receive Federal Indictments
in overdose death

On January 13, 2014, the Boscobel Police Department was notified

Jordan Faulkner

of an apparent drug overdose of Jordan Faulkner, 18 of Boscobel.  An autopsy revealed that Jordan died of a morphine overdose.
   A yearlong investigation by the Boscobel Police, The Richland Iowa Grant Drug Task Force, and the Dept. of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation has culminated in the arrests and Federal Indictments of:
     Craig D. Bellis, 33, Boscobel, WI
     Mary E. Grant, 63, Boscobel
     Brent A. “Tony” Venglish, 46, Boscobel
     Thomas A. Kussmaul, 24, Boscobel
The above individuals who are all charged with Distribution of controlled substance, Morphine, a scheduled II controlled substance.
   Grant, Venglish, Kussmaul, were arrested on 1-9-14 and transported to the U.S. Marshall’s office in Madison, WI to await their initial appearance.  Bellis is currently in the Grant County Jail on unrelated charges.
   This is an ongoing investigation with more charges expected.  The Grant County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrests.

Oil train derailments – are we ready?


January 18, 2014 - In the last seven months three oil trains have derailed and exploded resulting in towns being evacuated, and 47 people killed.  The number of oil train shipments, carrying oil from the N. Dakota oil fields, and the Canadian tar sand fields, to refinery in the south, has skyrocketed in the last few years to an all time record.     

   Approximately 50 freight trains pass through Prairie du Chien, WI on a typical day, many are oil trains pulling 100 oil tanker cars.  The sheer number of these shipments means that while the chance of a derailment and explosion is still unlikely, it is much more likely now than it was just a few years ago.
   Considering that oil trains transit many small towns through Grant and Crawford Counties, Midwest News wanted to know if city planners and emergency personal have plans in place to deal with a train derailment and explosion.  Midwest News talked with Crawford County Emergency Management Director Roger Martin See video.

Armed man surrenders after 12 hour standoff

On Sunday January 19, 2014 at approx. 3:30 p,m.  Dispatch received a call of an ongoing domestic on Cyprus Lane in Bridgeport Township.  As officers responded the information gathered was that a 36 year old male had gotten into an argument with his 34 year old wife at their rural Bridgeport home. 
   During the argument and prior to officers arriving the 36 year old male had barricaded himself inside his bedroom with numerous weapons.  Sheriff Deputies arrived and took the wife of the man along with their four children out of the home and to safety.  The Crawford County Crisis Resolution Team (CRT) was activated.  The team is made up of members of the Crawford County Sheriff Dept., Prairie du Chien Police Dept. and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The home was surrounded by members of the CRT team, Crawford County Sheriff Deputies and Prairie du Chien Police Department officers.

   Myself, Prairie du Chien Police Chief Chad Abram and the two CRT Team leaders discussed our options in this situation said Sheriff McCullick.  We decided based on the fact that the General Public was in no way threatened, and the man was confined to his bedroom we were going to secure the residence and wait him out, added McCullick. 
   We had constant voice contact with the subject and we were continually attempting to talk him out of the room.  We made it as uncomfortable inside the home as we could, said McCullick and eventually he came out.  At 3:15 a.m. almost 12 hours after the initial call came in, the 36 year old man placed his gun outside the bedroom and walked out to our officers.

   The outcome was exactly what we wanted, Said McCullick.  The male subject was extremely paranoid and delusional and sometimes those types of situations don’t end this well.  All of the officers involved in this did a great job.

   We want to thank Tri State Ambulance as well, they were put on standby and they had an ambulance waiting less than a mile from the scene during the entire situation.

Will the LP shortage affect us?

LP Gas David Neal

David Neal, general manager, New Horizons.  See video

January 27, 2014 – Recent news stories have mentioned an LP gas shortage nationally, and today, Wisconsin was one of the states mentioned as being adversely affected.  The unusually cold weather, that has much of the country shivering, has increased the demand for LP beyond typical levels.
   Will we run out of LP, or have to pay exorbitant prices?  Midwest News asked New Horizons Supply Cooperative's General Manager David Neal about the possibilities. 
                                                             See Video

When words fail

Wood cuttingCS Brown 005

By Dave Collins
When tragedy strikes a neighbor in your area what do you do?  How do you say you’re sorry, that you feel for their loss?  Words often fail, but doing something to show your compassion is just the thing.

   That's what happened when Scott and Kari Brown of Whippoorwill Lane in rural Boscobel lost their 12 year old son, Briar in a tragic gun related accident on February 11th.  Someone thought that providing firewood might be of help during this cold winter, and a way to show support.  So the word went out for volunteers to cut up and haul firewood.
   Todd and Deanna Sander donated part of a wood lot on their property bordering Harvest Lane.  On Sunday, February 16th, neighbors from miles around arrived with chainsaws, pickup trucks, log splitters, and all manner of heavy equipment.  There were perhaps 30 to 40 pickup trucks, and upwards of 100 people cutting, hauling, splitting, and loading pickup trucks with load after load of firewood.
   A Canadian logging operation had nothing on this group.  The hill was alive with the sounds of chainsaws, and tractors pulling trees up the hill.  Men and women bent to the task with enthusiasm knowing they were sending a heartfelt message of community support to the Brown family.  We can all feel proud that we have neighbors this caring.

Meth lab busted, 3 arrested, 2 children removed

Home VincentDahlberg

Vincent Dahlberg

Home AndreaDahlberg

Andrea Dahlberg

Home KelleneCull

Kellene Cull

On February 13th, 2014 following an eight month investigation into the manufacturing of methamphetamine (meth) the Crawford County Sheriffs Department obtained and executed a search warrant at 13812 State highway 27, in the unincorporated Town of Fairview, Utica Township.
   At 5:25 p.m. on February 16th members of law enforcement began the execution of the search warrant at the home occupied by Vincent and Andrea Dahlberg.  While doing so, numerous items associated with the manufacturing, delivery, and sale of meth where located in and around the residence.  The remnants of several “one-pot” meth labs found at the scene suggest the manufacturing practices have been taking place for sometime.
   Three adults were taken into custody during the execution of the search warrant.  Vincent Dahlberg, age 51; Andrea dahlberg, age 37, and Kellene Cull, age 41.  Vincent and Andrea Dahlberg were arrested on charges of manufacturing meth, possession of meth, and possession of schedule 2 narcotics.  Cull was arrested on an outstanding warrant issued through Crawford County and may face charges associated with this investigation.
   Vincent and Andrea Dahlberg could also face charges of child endangerment for exposing the two young children, who also reside at the residence, to the volatile process of meth manufacturing.  The two children were removed from the residence by Crawford County Human Services for their safety.  This case remains under investigation.

Recalls up to date,
reason for loss of power still unknown

School bus road 003 Bob

Bob Welsh’s view of Mill Road as the brakes and power steering went out on his school bus.

Update - February 24, 2014 - District Administrator Dr. Michael Garrow personally checked with Thomas Bus company, and determmined that the school bus in question had all required recalls performed.  His letter is as follows:
February 24, 2014

Re:   Transportation Services and Thomas Bus Recalls

From:   Dr. Michael S. Garrow

After speaking directly with a representative from Thomas Built Buses, I was able to confirm that Bus #22 - the bus which experienced the loss of electrical power on February 6, 2014 has no recalls on it that have not been addressed/updated.

   The bus in question is a 2008 Thomas Saf-T-Liner EF bus purchased by the School District of Wauzeka-Steuben on June 29, 2007.  Since the purchase of the bus, there have been four recalls that were noted to be addressed.  1) a PC board issue – addressed in May, 2008; 2) a steering arm recall– also addressed in May, 2008; 3) a door handle issue (to avoid corrosion) – addressed in October, 2008; and 4) a dual power switch recall – addressed in September 2009.  All recalls on the District vehicle were addressed.  

   It is the intent of the District and Board of Education to provide safe and responsible transportation to and from school, extracurricular events, field trips, and all scheduled school activities.  The safety and welfare of student riders is first consideration in all matters pertaining to transportation. 

   We strive to ensure all vehicles used to transport students are maintained in such condition as to provide safe and efficient transportation service with a minimum of delays and disruptions of such service due to mechanical or equipment failure.  Our school buses are inspected regularly in accordance with guidelines established by the Department of Transportation.

   At this point, the District is not aware of what caused the electrical power loss on February 6, 2014 and have taken the vehicle in for service to check into the matter further.  We applaud the efforts of Mr. Bob Welsh and his utilization of safe driving skills to ensure student safety when the unexpected event did arise. 

Wauzeka, WI, February 21, 2014 – Midwest News has learned that the loss of electrical power in the Wauzeka-Steuben school bus on February 6th may not have been a freak occurrence.  Our research found that certain models of Thomas school buses were recalled for a defect in power switches that resulted in complete loss of electrical power, identical to what happened to Mr. Welsh. 
   Over 17,000 Thomas school buses were recalled in December, 2008 for defective power switches.  The recall notice reads in part, “Solid state circuit breakers may trip unnecessarily potentially resulting in a loss of power to the bus chassis and body electrical circuits causing an unexpected loss of engine power and exterior lighting.  Unexpected loss of engine power and exterior lighting could result in a vehicle crash [emphasis added].  Dealers will replace the solid state dual power switch with a mechanical circuit production (mega fuse).  The recall is expected to begin during February 2009.”
  Midwest News contacted the school district to see if the bus Mr. Welsh was driving, on February 6th, might have been included in this recall, and if it was included, was the recall fix completed.  District Administrator Dr. Michael Garrow was cooperative, instructing Mr. Peter Pomerening, the transportation manager, to release the information.  However, after five days of repeated calls to Mr. Pomerening he continues to refuse to release the information.
   Had Mr. Welsh's school bus been a half mile further along that steep, twisty Mill road when he lost brakes and steering, the outcome might have been far different.  People have a right to know that their kids are riding in buses that have been kept up-to-date with all safety recalls.  Midwest News will continue to seek the needed information; year, make, and model of the bus, the cause of the electrical failure, if known, and the recall record of this bus.

Wauzeka, WI - February 14, 2014 - Picture yourself driving a school bus heading down a steep and very twisty road when the engine quits, taking with it your power brakes and steering.  You stand on the brakes, pull on the emergency brake, but the bus still picks up speed.  This  is what happened to Bob Welsh of Wauzeka, WI last Thursday, February 6th.  Listen while Bob tells us in his own words, what happened.
   What went wrong with the bus?  Good question.  The school district would not comment.

Wisconsin's corrupt legislature

Madison, WI - ” As the legislative session winds down, the state  Senate's leader [Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau)], is putting on the fast track a bill to rewrite campaign  finance law to allow lobbyists to hand off clients' campaign checks to  lawmakers and other elected officials during the legislative session”. - Journal Sentinel

   Unbelievable! - Perhaps we should install ticker tapes on each lawmakers desk, so they can sell their vote to the highest bidder in real time.

Mining committee votes to strip
towns of local control

Cartoon Vote Mining 2

In an effort to prevent local communities from regulating sand mining in their areas, Republicans are fast tracking a bill to strip communities of any say in the matter.  The state Senate’s mining committee voted for the bill 3-2, breaking along party lines.  The final vote must come soon, because the legislative session ends next month.  (Cartoon by Sandy Collins)

Millville home burns, no injuries

Home Millville Fire 2

On Saturday March 8, 2014 at 12:30pm the Guttenberg Fire Department was dispatched

to 2530 South Main Street in Millville. Upon arrival of the first fire personnel it was determined to be a working structure fire in a two story home.
   First reports from fire personnel were that fire had broken through the roof of the structure. The fire department began a defensive fire attack on the structure to protect surrounding structures and contain the fire to the initial home.

   After an initial investigation the cause of the fire was undetermined. Because of the extent of damage to the structure a formal investigation did not yield any additional information. The structure was too unsafe to enter and find a cause or point of origin. At this time there are no immediate signs that the fire was intentional and is being ruled accidental.

   Later in the evening the fire department returned to the scene to extinguish hot spots. The fire department remained on scene until all visible fire sources where contained to the best of our ability.  Fortunately the owner, Joan Wacker, was out of the structure when the fire department arrived and there are no reported injuries. The Tri State Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to the scene to assist.

   The Guttenberg Fire Department was assisted by the New Vienna/Luxemburg Fire Department, Holy Cross Fire Department, Colesburg Fire Department, Guttenberg Ambulance, Guttenberg Police Department, Clayton County Sheriff’s Department, and American Red Cross. (Photo Courtesy Guttenberg Fire Department)

Barn fire in rural McGregor

Home Thomas's barn -Mason

At 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2014, a barn belong to Stanley Thomas caught fire.  (Photo courtesy of Timothy Mason of McGregor, IA.)

Inferno destroys parts of Marquette, IA

Marquette Fire

And then there was nothing.  Half a block of North street lay in ruins after an early morning inferno moved from building to building displacing families, destroying businesses.  In addition to the hardware store, two houses, one on each side of the store, and a duplex building behind the store were a total loss.  (See Video)
   Anyone who would like to help, can make a donation in care of the Central Bank or Friends Helping Friends, PO Box 371, McGregor, IA 52157.

CS Fire Marquette1

Marquette, Iowa - 3/17/2014 - A little after midnight this morning, a fire broke out in the old Marquette Hardware store on North Street.  Other buildings were also engulfed in fire.  More details will follow.  (Photos courtesy of Lazy Gate Manufacturing)

CS Frie Marquette2 - Lazy Gate

Search for possible gunman in rural Boscobel


Update - Thursday, March 20th - Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick today clarified several points in the investigation.  The man in question was not masked, but had his face partially covered.  The person in question was known to the elderly woman.  He was a suspect in an earlier robbery where a gun was stolen, therefore the police felt he might be armed.  Sheriff McCullick stressed that there is no danger to the community.

Rural Boscobel, WI - March 19, 2014 - A call went out about a man trying to break into a rural farm house at approx. 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. An elderly woman stated somebody was trying to break down her door, the person had a mask on, and may have been armed.  Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputies and Boscobel Police descended on Pleasant Ridge Road just off of Plainview Ridge Road (I misspoke in the video).
   A K-9 unit was used in the search with perhaps a dozen police officers who scoured the countryside and near by farms and out buildings looking for the gunman.  No one was found however neighbors were cautioned to keep their doors locked and to be aware of any strangers in the area.
See video of the search.
Video viewing tips: Until we get high speed access, the best way to enjoy these videos is to start it, then put it on pause, so the buffer can load.  Go have a cup of coffee or do something else on the computer, wait ten minutes, then play it.  You may also view full screen.

Prairie du Chien man beaten & left for dead

On 03/12/14, the Forest County Sheriff’s Office responded to a complaint of a person that was located in a wooded area that had been physically assaulted and a Rescue Squad was needed. The victim was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander. The victim then was transported via helicopter to the Marshfield Hospital due to the seriousness of his injuries.

   A search warrant was conducted on a Town of Wabeno residence that resulted in numerous evidentiary items being collected and six arrests. Four adults and two juveniles were arrested. The investigation is ongoing.
Home Raymond Jones

Raymond Jones, 45

Home April Jones

April Jones, 38

Home Justin Bey

Justin Bey, 21

Home Samantha Mcclellan14

Samantha Mcclellan, 18

It has been widely reported that the victim, Steven Roberts 40 of Prairie du Chien, was beaten over a period of days before being dumped at the end of a rural road and left for dead.  Two men on ATVs came across him over a day later.  He was in serious condition and may have to have some limbs amputated due to frostbite.
   Those arrested are being charged with attempted 1st degree homicide among numerous other charges.

Murder/Suicide threat at SW Tech leads to arrest

Fennimore, WI – March 28, 2014 – On March 27, 2014 the Fennimore Police Department was contacted by staff at the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in regards to a student that was threatening to shoot others on campus, as well as himself.  The Sheriff’s Office dispatched a Deputy and the Fennimore Police Department to the campus to investigate.

   The investigation resulted in the arrest of Nathan Allbee, age 21 of Hazel Green, for two counts of disorderly conduct for his behavior on campus.  The deputy and officer conducted several interviews and determined that Mr. Allbee had made threats to shoot up the campus to a couple of other students.  Based on this information, Mr. Allbee was placed under arrest and transported to the Grant County Jail.

   Mr. Allbee was also barred from the campus by the administrative staff of Southwest Technical College and will not be allowed back in the future.

   Charges will be referred to the Grant County District Attorney’s office for two counts of Disorderly Conduct and Mr. Allbee remains in custody at the Grant County Jail.

Frankville fire destroys towns only business

CS Frankville Fire

Frankville, Iowa - March 25, 2014 - Last night at approx. 10:16 p.m. shortly after The Old Store bar & grill closed, a fire broke out in the rear of the store.  Frankville Fire Chief Monty
Wilder said that the building was fully engulfed when they arrived on scene.  Black ice formed due to the cold night which gave firemen another challenge to deal with.  The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
   Chief Wilder mentioned how thankful they were to have the assistance of fire departments from Castalia, Ossian, Postville, and Decorah along with Winneshiek Sheriff’s Dept. and Alliant Energy.
   The Old Store was the only gathering place in this small town, the last business.  It’s loss will surely be missed.  Photo & video courtesy of Darrel Crawford.

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