Plane crashes near Viroqua airport, pilot killed

On August 19, 2019 at approximately 6:34 pm, the Vernon County 911 Dispatch Center received a 911 phone call indicating an aircraft crashed near the Viroqua Municipal Airport in a private field. Emergency crews were able to quickly locate the downed aircraft in a field off of Miller Road, in the Town of Jefferson.
   The Viroqua Fire Department was able to put out a small fire on what was eventually identified as an Experimental Rotorcraft Sportcopter Vortex. The single rotor became detached from the body of the aircraft upon impact, and the body of the aircraft continued another 40 feet before coming to rest in a corn field.
   Witnesses stated they could see the aircraft leaving the Viroqua Municipal Airport when eventually they heard the engine stop. The aircraft then descended and emergency crews were notified, after receiving two 911 calls.  The name of the lone-operator of the aircraft is not being released at this time pending notification of the family. 
   Responding Agencies: Vernon County Sheriff's Office, Viroqua Police Department, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board, Viroqua Municipal Airport, Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance, Viroqua Fire Department, Vernon County Coroner's Office.
   The accident remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board,  Vernon County Sheriff's Office, and the Vernon County Coroner's Office.

Some things you wanted to know about CAFOs,
but were afraid to ask

Editor’s note - This column written by Gina Holtz is an amazing detailed and referenced overview of CAFOs with their twisted relationships with various government agencies. At first glance one might think they are protected, only to realize they are not, and that the citizen has few rights or say in the matter.  It is a long read, but well worth your effort, as this is the most important local issue of our time.

By Gina Holtz -
Dear Citizens of Crawford County,
Did you ever have a moment in life when you realized how unaware you have been about what is happening around you?  I have had these moments in my life, and they usually occur after I notice things that happened while I was distracted.
Pix Holtz2 single IMG_3703
I’ve missed turns or traveled in the wrong direction while driving, my children have acted as tornadoes in the house while I was doing yard work, the dog has chewed up shoes while I was cooking dinner on so on. About seven weeks ago I had another realization of how unaware I have been about what is happening around me, not just in my home, or my neighborhood, but throughout our state and country. I learned from a neighbor that a CAFO, otherwise known as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, was planning to start up in our neighborhood in Marietta Township. I realized at that time that I knew nothing about CAFOs or what CAFO even stood for. So, like many people do, I Googled it. 

After many hours of weeding out information from questionable sites and reading information from those I considered to be more reliable, I realized how unaware I have been about what has been, and is, currently going on in the farming industry. I am not against a person’s right to farm; in fact, I have friends who are farmers. Also, where my husband and I built our retirement home in Steuben, we have many times had more trail cam footage of cows wandering our property than anything else, and we are okay with that, otherwise we would not have built where we did. However, what I have learned about CAFOs has been shocking to me and I would like to share some of the information with you. As you may have read or heard about already, Marietta Township has passed a 12-month CAFO moratorium and I am hoping that Crawford County will follow suit in order to protect the people and our environment.   Continue

Four people rescued when their kayaks capsized
due to swift-water on the Kickapoo

A swiftwater rescue was conducted in the afternoon hours of August 11, 2019 on the Kickapoo River between landing 10 and bridge 11, near Rockton, WI in the town of Whitestown.  Sheriff Spears reports rescue efforts resulted in locating and safely rescuing four individuals.
   Overnight rains north of Ontario, WI caused the Kickapoo River to rapidly rise, creating unsafe river conditions.  Vikki L. Hanson, age 49, Karen M. Beard, age 53, Lori J. Brabek, age 51, and Mindy L. Thompson, age 49, all of Rockford, IL, were recreating on the river in personal kayaks prior to the incident.
   At 12:20 PM, Vikki Hanson was able to place a 911 call to the Vernon County Dispatch Center reporting she and had her three friends’ kayaks had capsized, and were stuck in a log jam.  Kickapoo Valley Reserve Police located the stranded kayakers after an extensive search, but were unable to reach them due to the rugged terrain.  Kickapoo Valley Reserve Police remained in voice contact with the stranded kayakers. 
   The La Farge Fire Department began their swiftwater rescue efforts by canoeing downstream from landing 10.  The La Farge Fire Department located the stranded kayakers on a section of the Kickapoo River with rock embankments on both sides of the river.  The location made rescue efforts difficult.  Safety ropes were deployed, and the stranded kayakers were hoisted to safety, and taken to a nearby medical triage for treatment.  The quick response from rescue personnel minimized medical complications.  All parties were treated and released from the scene.
   Sheriff Spears reports that even though the recent rains did not cause the Kickapoo River to overflow its banks, the heavy rains caused the river to rise, and the current to move very fast.  The Kickapoo River normally has a slow current, but navigation through river debris has become a problem over the last couple of years, due to continuous flooding.  Crews from the Kickapoo Valley Reserve do a great job at clearing debris.  However, Sheriff Spears encourages people to stay off the Kickapoo River when the river rises, and the current is moving fast.  Sheriff Spears encourages river users to contact the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Wildcat Mountain State Park, and local canoe outfitters for current river conditions.  Sheriff Spears states checking with local weather information sources, and keeping an eye on current weather conditions is vital for safe river travel.

Multiple burglaries in Grant County

Grant County, WI 8/9/19 - On the morning of August 8, 2019, starting at around 7:30 a.m. the Grant County Sheriff's Office started to receive multiple reports of burglaries in the Cuba City and Hazel Green areas. Several Ag Service and Implement businesses were broken into. There was forced entry at each location and there was an undisclosed amount of money stolen from each location.
   Multiple agencies are investigating these incidents including the Cuba City Police Department, the Hazel Green Police Department, the Lafayette County Sheriff's Office, and the Grant County Sheriff's Office. All of these cases are still under investigation as Officers and Detectives are following up on leads.
   Anyone with any information regarding these burglaries are encouraged to contact that Grant County Sheriff's Office or Grant County Crime Stoppers.

Township grants 1-year moratorium on CAFO

Marietta Township, WI – August 5, 2019 – A gathering of approximate 80 people either stood or sat on wooden benches in the garage bay of the township garage, as the crowd was too large to squeeze into the regular meeting room.  The night was hot and humid with a thunderstorm raging outside.
   Most of the people were residents and landowners who were totally opposed to a 10,000 hog industrial Consolidated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) being installed on a geology sensitive ridge near them.  They spend 2 hours explaining their concerns which included loss of property values, water and air pollution, impact on health, roads, etc.  The group asked the board for a one year moratorium to have time to investigate the full impact of this proposed CAFO.
   The board voted 2 to 1 in favor of the moratorium.  Teddy Beimborn, chairman, and Eric Sime voted in favor, with Reggie Lomas casting the descending vote.  A citizen committee was appointed to research the various concerns and make recommendations back to the board.

Harpers Ferry farmer killed by bull

Harpers Ferry, Iowa - On 7/28/19 the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center received a report of a farmer who had been attacked by a bull i a farm pasture at 1418 Conway Road in rural Allamakee County.
   John Francis Conway (age 59) of rural Harpers Ferry, Iowa was in a wooded pasture area when he was fatally attacked by the bull.  It was determined that the attack happened in the evening hours of 7/27/2019.  the bull was dispatched on the property by sheriff’s deputies due to its extremely aggressive behavior.
   The incident is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office.  Assisting at the scene was the Harpers Ferry Fire and Rescue.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019 



High: 84, Low: 67
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