Housing needs reaching ‘crisis’ level, says judge

Jackson County is experiencing a housing “crisis” and needs to launch projects to combat the problem, Judge Thomas Lister said last week.

Lister convened an emergency meeting of housing authority and county justice council members to address the issue in light of a current treatment court participant being unnecessarily housed in jail because of a lack of housing.

I would like to get … together a plan of action to address our immediate needs for people like this young man who is in jail,” Lister said. s just one of many who have unmet housing needs.

The emergency meeting comes less than a month after the city of Black River Falls formally re-launched its housing authority to help pave the way for new housing projects, like a living space for offenders on probation as they transition back into the community.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Melrose addressing horse droppings

Melrose may adopt a new ordinance to address the rising incidence of horse droppings in the village.

The village board last week discussed the proposed new ordinance, which would require horse, dog and cat owners to have equipment with them to remove animal droppings that are left on public or private property.

Village President Tory Lockington said the village began considering addressing the issue horse after an increased number of complaints surfaced last year. He also noted other communities, like Cashton, that experience Amish buggy travel have similar regulations.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

BRF EMS gets new respiratory equipment

BRF EMS gets new respiratory equipment

Black River Falls Emergency Medical Services now is equipped with devices vital for assisting patients in respiratory distress.

BRF EMS recently received 28 continuous positive airway pressure devices that allow EMTs to better assist patients who have a wide range of breathing problems. The local EMS has been pushing for the equipment for the past five years because of its importance, EMS Chief Jody Stoker said.

We’re just trying to take advantage of the skills that the state says we can do,” he said.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

State could add dozens of species to invasive list

Wisconsin wildlife officials want to give the state’s invasive species list its first overhaul, proposing to relax efforts to eliminate the emerald ash borer but get tougher on nearly 90 other plants and animals.

The revisions would lift a requirement that anyone who discovers the ash borer on their property take steps to contain or destroy it. The move amounts to an acknowledgment that the pest has become too widespread to eradicate. The beetle, which has killed tens of millions of ash trees since it was discovered near Detroit in 2002, has been found in 19 Wisconsin counties so far.

It’s not a reduction in concern in any way,” said Andrea Diss-Torrance, the Department of Natural Resources’ invasive forest pest specialist.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Mayor Danielson re-elected to fourth term

Black River Falls Mayor Ron Danielson was re-elected to his fourth term following Tuesday’s election.

Danielson garnered 548 votes to defeat challenger Randy Molini (226) and take about 70 percent of the vote, according to unofficial totals.

I really appreciate the support of the voters in Black River Falls. It really helps us keep our local government to be run by local people,” said Danielson, who was facing his first challenge since being elected mayor in 2008. We’ll continue to work with the county and the towns like we’ve been doing to make Black River Falls and Jackson County a better place.

Molini, a Black River Falls business owner, was seeking his first public office in the election and said he is optimistic about the support he received throughout his campaign.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

State boosts prison wardens’ pay while officers languish

Six Department of Corrections wardens recently got new assignments and pay raises of between 8 percent and 13 percent, DOC records show, while correctional officers working for them got 1 percent raises.

Another official, a Jackson Correctional Institution deputy warden, was promoted to warden, earning a 26 percent pay boost, according to the records obtained by Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees’ Union, and provided to the Wisconsin State Journal.

An eighth warden, Bob Humphreys, head of the Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Institution, was transferred but got no raise. Humphreys was appointed warden of Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution.

The raises and new assignment bring the salaries of all eight wardens up to $99,996 a year, or $48.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Former Three Bears Lodge owner pleads guilty to theft

Edward Van Der Molen pled guilty Friday to theft by contractor before Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Todd Ziegler as part of a plea agreement in the works with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The former owner of Three Bears Lodge in Warrens will continue to contest charges of racketeering and securities fraud, according to his lawyer, Thomas Brown.

Essentially, the defendant is going to plead guilty to count three,” Brown said.

With his guilty plea, Van Der Molen, 68, Ruff’s Dale, Pa. admitted to taking $85,000 as part of a contract to build a villa and spending the money elsewhere.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Area farmers optimistic about 2014

Area farmers optimistic about 2014

Paul Wehrs is optimistic about 2014 and the prospect of making some improvements on his rural West Salem dairy farm.

Milk prices look to be close to a record,” Wehrs said. It should be a good year.

Wehrs said 2013 was a “reasonable” year, but farmers had higher input costs after the drought of 2012 caused high feed prices that extended into the following year.

Wehrs also recalled that “2009 was a disaster” for dairy farmers when milk prices dipped but rebounded the last couple years.

But he hopes this year’s higher milk prices and lower feed costs will allow him to update equipment and facilities in 2014.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Utility seeks OK for new water tower

Black River Falls Municipal Utilities is seeking state approval to replace its 91-year-old 10th St. water tower with a new $800,000 structure.

Built in 1923, the roof of the 150,000 gallon-water tower is severely corroded and leaks. Bird nests and feathers have been found inside the tank on several occasions, according a March 28 letter to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Fish plan to improve Wazee Lake

Officials are formulating a plan for better management of fish at Wazee Lake in an effort to assist the species, anglers and divers.

The Jackson County Forestry and Parks Department is working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop the plan, which will improve the habitat and aid species appropriate for the lake’s cold water.

We were just wondering if there are other things we can do to improve the fish habitat out there because it’s such a popular spot for a lot of people to fish,” said Jim Zahasky, the county’s forestry and parks administrator. nd of a unique resource. We get a lot of comments from fishermen.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Census Bureau: Jackson among state's fastest growing counties in 2013

Jackson and Trempealeau counties are among the state’s 10 fastest growing counties for 2013, according to the U. Census Bureau.

While gaining fewer residents, Trempealeau and Jackson County both grew by 0. 7 percent, putting them among the state’s 10 fastest-growing counties for the year.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle