Local

Two people were cited after a three-vehicle crash along Interstate 94 earlier this month.Marin L. Flick, 35, and Deyan N. Kapitanov, 29, were cited after the accident about 4:35 a.m. Feb. 3 near mile marker 127, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.Flick, of Black River Falls, was driving a 2001 Ford F150 westbound when the windows suddenly fogged and the vehicle moved to the left, striking a semi driven by Gary L. Vannatter, 43, of Muncie, Ind.Another semi, operated by Kapitanov, was unable to avoid striking Flick’s truck.No injuries were reported, but Flick was cited for failure to keep vehicle windows reasonably clean and deviating from the lane of traffic. Kapitanov was cited for following too closely.The Black River Falls Fire Department and Jackson County Highway Department assisted at the scene....

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Ice racing competition will heat up the ice at Lake Arbutus this weekend.The annual ice races return Sunday when nearly 150 competitors will hit the ice on the final stop of the Central Wisconsin Ice Racing Association’s season schedule. Kids and adults will compete in a variety of ATV and motorcycle classes on the three-eighths of a mile track on the lake in Hatfield.“It’s a nice place to go ice race. We have great spectator turnout when the weather’s nice,” said Mark Muth, a CWIRA board member who helps organize the event. “It’s the entertainment value of doing something in the winter, and it’s a family sport. There are families who come and their kids races and the dads race and sometimes the moms ride.“It’s about the speed and the fun.”Last year’s races featured warm weather that allowed for higher-than-average turnout, but organizers and racers also grappled with inches of...

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BLACK RIVER FALLS — Jackson County voters this week will narrow the list of circuit court judge candidates as six vie to move on to the April ballot.The top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary will be listed in the spring race and face off for a six-year term to the county’s circuit court. The primary will feature all five local attorneys who sought appointment to the position last year when Judge Thomas Lister stepped down midterm as well as a write-in candidate.Incumbent Judge Anna Becker, who was appointed by the governor to fill the remainder of the term, will seek to retain her seat against candidates Dan Diehn, Robyn Matousek, Mark Radcliffe and James Ritland. Michelle Greendeer-Rave is running as a write-in candidate.The Jackson County Circuit Court system will be faced with some changes in the next few years as the county considers adding a second circuit court branch, the...

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Jackson County’s program to treat alcohol- and drug-related offenders is on hold for now without services on hand to provide its participants therapy.Judge Anna Becker suspended Jackson County Treatment Court last fall after West Central Wisconsin Behavioral Health opted to no longer provide addiction-focused mental health services that are deemed crucial to participant success.“I think we have a dire need for both AODA issues and mental health issues in our county – I see it every day in court,” said Becker, who was sworn in on Oct. 1, 2014, after being appointed. “The problem is if you don’t have a treatment provider that has that type of background, the training and the willingness to work in the court on a regular basis for treatment purposes, you shouldn’t be having a treatment court.“We’ve been working very hard to get a provider.”The local treatment court program, launched in June 2008, is designed...

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Officials say Jackson County’s treatment court programs are vital and will remain intact despite recent concerns that they may discontinued altogether.Judge Anna Becker said Monday she wanted to clear up misinformation that the county’s drug and alcohol and family treatment programs may be disbanded. The presentation to the Executive and Finance committee came on the heels of a recent letter to the editor from former Judge Thomas Lister where he raised concerns that the drug court would be significantly scaled back and the family court’s progress would be halted.“We feel strongly that this information needs to come out because it (could) endanger the future of our treatment courts,” Becker told the committee in the presence of current and past treatment court team members.“To say that we are getting rid of our treatment (courts) … is a lie.”Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox argued that Lister’s letter was politically motivated on...

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Two threats prompted heightened security at Black River Falls High School last week.The district was made aware of the first incident Feb. 4 and added the extra police security the next day after a subsequent social media post escalated into another perceived threat, although both situations ultimately were unfounded.The two male students involved in the incidents are not in school, and BRF Superintendent Shelly Severson said taking extra precautions remains important when possible danger arises.“I think the most important part to reiterate is that the district never takes these things lightly,” she said. “(Intent) is not for us to decide. The words were spoken and we handled them very, very strongly from the get go.“Intention is not a necessary part of the discussion.”A parent reported an incident on Feb. 4 where her child said a 16-year-old student threatened to bring a gun to school and “shoot people” after recently being...

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A new store will move into the former Walmart building in Black River Falls after the facility sat vacant for nearly the last decade.Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto plans to open its second Wisconsin location at the 616 Highway 54 site in June. The family-owned retailer, headquartered in Iowa, plans to employ approximately 30 to 40 people at the store, which will sell farm supplies, hunting and sporting goods, lawn and garden and other products.“We’ve been looking at Black River Falls as a potential store for about three years,” said Jim Theisen, president of the company. “We’re really pleased at the response we’ve had initially and we want to tailor the store to the needs of the community.”Work soon will begin to convert the building into the new operation, which expects to use the 40,000-square-foot main room for its products. A portion of the building not needed for retail may be converted into...

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Black River Falls voters will decide the fate of the city’s police department in the April 7 election.The city council unanimously voted last week to send a binding referendum to the spring ballot on keeping the local department or contracting with the sheriff’s department for law enforcement.City Attorney Dan Diehn remains in the midst of working on the wording of the ballot question in conjunction with administration and community members. The council will vote on the issue at next week’s Committee of the Whole meeting.“I think we’re getting to a point that we’re going to be able to put something together,” Diehn said at the Feb. 3 council meeting. “I’m encouraged (that) there seems to be consensus arising as to what that question should look like between the various groups.”The council’s decision comes after several meetings where the public expressed opinions and questions of the proposal to either maintain the...

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The villages of Hixton, Melrose and Merrillan will see contested races in the April election.Hixton will feature three people vying for two open trustee seats, Melrose will see five candidates running for three trustee positions and Merrillan will revive a previous faceoff between the current president and a former one for the village’s top spot.In Hixton, incumbent Tom Herbert and newcomers Aaron Charles and Kathy Gilles will vie for two seats after trustee Jim Gilles opted to seek the presidency when Laura Pentecost opted not to seek re-election. Gilles will run unopposed for the president position.In the Melrose race, incumbent trustees Chris Nelson, Bertina Zager and Joel Gilbertson will be challenged by newcomers Angie Arneson and Mike Murray for three spots. Incumbent Village President Tory Lockington will run unopposed to retain his seat.Merrillan’s election for president features a rejuvenated race from 2011 where Gayle Horton will be challenged by previous...

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Jackson County voters next week will narrow the list of circuit court judge candidates as six vie to move on to the April ballot.The top two vote-getters in the Feb. 17 primary will be listed in the spring race and face off for a six-year term to the county’s circuit court. Tuesday’s primary will feature all five local attorneys who sought appointment to the position last year when Judge Thomas Lister stepped down midterm as well as a write-in candidate.Incumbent Judge Anna Becker, who was appointed by the governor to fill the remainder of the term, will seek to retain her seat against candidates Dan Diehn, Robyn Matousek, Mark Radcliffe and James Ritland. Michelle Greendeer-Rave is running as a write-in candidate.The Jackson County Circuit Court system will be faced with some changes in the next few years as the county considers adding a second circuit court branch, the court addresses...

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La Crosse Area Postal Credit Union members have voted to merge with Co-op Credit Union.The consolidation will be effective March 31 and has been approved by both boards of directors, the Office of Credit Unions, the National Credit Union Administration and La Crosse Area Postal Credit Union members.“We are pleased that La Crosse Area Postal Credit Union chose us as a consolidation partner,” said Eric Chrisinger, CCU president and CEO. “We feel it’s a good fit geographically and a good match for two credit unions that reflect the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People.’“Also, it’s our mission to serve our members where they are, through all stages of life. Our members travel to the La Crosse area for school, work, recreation, shopping, medical appointments, etc. This is where we need to be.”La Crosse Area Postal Credit Union president Sue Jacobson said it will be a good partnership.“Like LAPCU, Co-op...

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