Two announce interest to run for judge

The recently appointed Jackson County Circuit Court judge and a local attorney announced last week they will run for the position next year.

Judge Anna Becker, who was sworn in at the beginning of the month, and former prosecutor Robyn Matousek said they will seek the position when it comes up for election in spring 2015.

Becker, the county’s first female judge, was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to fill the remainder of retiring Judge Thomas Lister’s term.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Rustic Mill arson trial gets under way

The Rustic Mill arson trial is under way this week and testimony and evidence is expected to focus on the financial motive of the man who allegedly helped solicit another to burn the restaurant down.

Testimony in the trial of 42-year-old Brian C. Adkins started Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court and already began highlighting his alleged financial struggles in the lead up to the July 2011 fire that destroyed the historic Jackson County restaurant.

Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox, who’s prosecuting the case, said Adkins was facing increasing debts as business at the Highway 54 establishment was declining.

Both of those lines were going in the wrong direction,” Fox told the jury during his opening statement Monday afternoon.

The place just went into the ground.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Tensions rise over Melrose dam project

Emotions were heightened last week as Melrose village officials and the non-profit group working to restore Douglas Mill Pond sparred over an application to move the project forward.

Representatives from Friends of Douglas Creek and Melrose Mill Pond appeared before the village board as it considered whether to give the group permission to apply for a necessary Wisconsin Department of Resources permit to allow for construction of a new dam.

The board eventually voted in favor of allowing the permit application but not before tensions arose as some village board members questioned the group amid concerns about not yet having the land necessary for moving forward.

The discussion also eventually led board Trustee Bertina Zager to leave the Oct.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Accused killer to have competency hearing

The Jackson County man accused of killing his father will have a hearing to determine his competency for trial later this fall.

Lars E. Helgeson, 20, was deemed incompetent to stand trial and was committed to a mental health facility earlier this year. However, he’s now back at Jackson County Jail awaiting a contested competency hearing, according to Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox.

Attorneys won’t comment further on the contents of a report on Helgeson’s competency compiled after his stay at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison, but public defender Carly Sebion said the defense still is gathering information from the professionals who examined Helgeson and will be “retaining our own experts as needed.

The court plans to hold a contested competency hearing within 60 days, Fox said.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

New Jackson County judge takes the bench

New Jackson County judge takes the bench

Jackson County welcomed a new judge to the bench last week.

Judge Anna Becker was sworn in during an Oct. 1 ceremony in a packed Jackson County courtroom. She recently was appointed by Gov.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

BRF fire classification may improve insurance rates

The results of a recent audit of the Black River Falls Fire Department and areas in the local fire district may mean lower insurance rates for property owners.

An audit conducted by the Insurance Service Office last spring means the insurance classification for the city of Black River Falls and parts of the Rural Fire District will be lowered on Dec. 1 and should save insurance premiums for residential, commercial and industrial properties, according to the BRF Fire Department.

I think it’s great,” said BRF Fire Chief Steve Schreiber.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Good grades: Schools successful on report cards

All local school districts are meeting or exceeding state expectations on annual report cards that evaluate their progress.

The Melrose-Mindoro School District and all its schools are exceeding expectations as established on the yearly reviews, and Black River Falls and Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan are meeting expectations, according to data recently released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

We are really proud of the district and all three schools for exceeding expectations,” said Mel-Min Superintendent Del DeBerg. As a district, we made improvements and we also know we have areas that need to be addressed.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Bacteria found in Alma Center water

Village of Alma Center residents are able to consume their municipal drinking water again after two forms of bacteria were discovered in the system late last month.

The village instituted a boil advisory where residents were advised to heat their water before drinking it between Sept. 19 and Sept. 25, but the precaution since has been lifted after water system treatment and more testing.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Local jobless rate lowest since 2008

Jackson County unemployment is at its lowest rate since late 2008.

The county’s figure is at 5. percent for Aug. 2014, tying the same figure reported in Nov.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

City exploring how to increase Lunda Park funding

City exploring how to increase Lunda Park funding

The city of Black River Falls is exploring ways to provide more funding for the maintenance of Lunda Community Park.

It’s been 15 years since the park opened and 10 years since the city was to take over full financial responsibility for its upkeep, but budget constraints have been hindering the city from making the transition, said City Administrator Brad Chown.

What was made very clear was that the city needs to start stepping up to the plate and find ways to fund more of the operation and maintenance of the Lunda Community Park and move closer to taking full financial responsibility for the park,” he said. The expectation that the city assume full financial responsibility for the park is not too much to ask and is well overdue.

The city has an inherent responsibility to live up to the agreement the council entered into and I am looking at options to make that possible.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle

Oktoberfest back for eighth year this weekend

Black River Area Oktoberfest returns for its eighth year of fall fun this weekend.

The event added a “Stroll through Downtown Black River Falls” activity this year to help draw visitors into the downtown area in addition to the festival area near N. d Street. The stroll kicks off Thursday and runs through Saturday and allows visitors to visit as many retailers as possible and get a map signed for a chance to win prizes at Oktoberfest.

...

Read more @ Jackson County Chronicle