Accused killer deemed incompetent

The Jackson County man accused of killing his father is incompetent to stand trial and the case is on hold while he receives treatment.

Lars E. Helgeson was declared incompetent to assist in his defense last month and Judge Mark L. Goodman subsequently ordered the 20-year-old be committed to an institution, according to his attorney and online court records.

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A Sweet Celebration

A Sweet Celebration

Melrose was abuzz with activity to help the village celebrate 100 years as a municipality.

There was music.

There was food.

There were kids games.

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Skyline Golf Course launches fundraising drive

Skyline Golf Course launches fundraising drive

A fundraising drive is under way to help improve Skyline Golf Course in Black River Falls.

The $300,000 goal would help the 57-year-old facility with operations and allow it to conduct needed maintenance projects and improve the clubhouse.

The city’s Committee of the Whole recently OK’d giving $20,000 from its economic development fund to contribute to the effort, which organizers said represented a crucial step for securing other donations.

Gil Homstad, who’s helping lead the fundraising drive, called the golf course a “real asset” to the community and area that is a draw for visitors and potential new residents and is helpful to community organizations’ own fundraising efforts.

There’s something going on there all the time, and it’s not just golf,” Homstad said during a presentation to the Committee of the Whole late last month.

Skyline Golf Course, located on N. 12th Street, opened in 1957 as a nine-hole facility and added an additional nine to make it an 18-hole course in 1990.

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Teen cited in tow truck vs. SUV crash

A 17-year-old has been cited after a two-vehicle crash flipped an SUV on Highway 54 near Kwik Trip in Black River Falls last week.

Matthew G. Brauner was cited for failure to yield at an uncontrolled intersection after he struck an SUV with a tow truck about 1 p. m.

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Melrose clean-up days being ‘misused’

Melrose’s clean-up days are being misused by some residents who are putting out regular garbage and recyclables in addition to large items, public works director Ray Knudtson said.

Knudtson reported the issue to the village board at its meeting last week and suggested the village look into options for addressing the problem, although he’s unsure of a good solution, he said.

It’s just being abused,” he said after the meeting. this point, I don’t even know (how to address it) – I just know that people are going to have to put (regular) garbage out when it’s in a yellow bag and do their recycling.

The village holds spring and fall clean-up days that allow residents to discard large articles, like broken furniture and non-recyclable plastic, but there has been a rise in people also putting out regular garbage and recyclables during the cleanup, Knudtson said.

This leads to the need for more dumpsters to hold and remove waste after the large-item pickup, he said.

The village may put the issue up for discussion on a future public works committee or regular board meeting.

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Woman swindled out of $3,300 in scam

A 20-year-old Black River Falls woman was swindled out of nearly $3,300 in a scam where a man claimed she owed the money to the Internal Revenue Service.

The incident was reported by the woman’s cousin last month after the victim turned over $3,286 via gift cards because the perpetrator said via phone she owed the IRS back taxes, according to the Black River Falls Police Department report.

A BRF police officer talked to the male perpetrator posing as a friend of the victim and noted the man had a “heavy accent” and threatened to have the officer arrested because he was “obstructing” the process, according to the report.

The woman provided the money through numbers on gift cards purchased at Dollar General and was told she owed an additional $7,000 after she turned over the first $3,300, according to the report.

The incident comes a little more than a year after the sheriff’s department warned area residents about the prevalence of scams in the wake of an elderly town of Albion man turning over $20,000 in an over-the-phone scheme.

Black River Falls Police Chief Dave Frederick said the department doesn’t receive many reports of scams, but cases tend to be more associated with elderly victims rather than young adults, he said.

Frederick said anyone who suspects they have been contacted by a perpetrator or have been a victim of a scam shouldn’t hesitate to contact police.

It never hurts to ask questions,” he said. Don’t just (provide money).

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Beef cookout back for 16th year

Beef cookout back for 16th year

What’s for dinner this Saturday? Beef.

The 16th annual Jackson County Beef Cookout will return this weekend with its popular menu item – rib eye steak sandwiches – in addition to a new selection of all-beef hotdogs for hungry guests.

The Jackson County Beef Promotional Committee hopes the event will attract a large crowd for a good meal and some education about the beef industry, co-chairperson Hope Laufenberg said.

The reason we started the cookout was to have people enjoy a good beef meal and educate consumers,” said Laufenberg, who helped launched the event 16 years ago with husband Jerome.

We’re trying to educate consumers about the nutritional value of beef and … educate them a little on how beef is produced.

The event will run from 3:30-9 p.

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Officials reeling in plans to restock fish at BRF pond

Local officials are moving ahead with plans to restock the fish at the pond at Lunda Community Park after a harsh winter killed the entire population.

A fundraising effort last week by D&S Manufacturing, the business for which the pond is named, drew in more than $1,500 to help the effort.

We did not anticipate that kind of a reaction from people,” said Sherrie Hein, D&S Manufacturing’s human resources manager.

We felt somewhat of an obligation to help get things back to normal. It’s an important part of the community.

The fish in the D&S Manufacturing Nature Pond were discovered dead in February after suffering from a lack of oxygen from prolonged cold and snow cover.

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Fourth of July activities to light up area with entertainment

Area communities are gearing up for their annual Fourth of July events to help mark the country’s independence.

Activities are scheduled in Black River Falls, Hatfield, Melrose and Millston later this week.

The newly revamped Festival in the Park event is back for its second year and will take place on the July 4 holiday on Friday — a tradition organizers hope will continue for years to come.

The Lunda Community Park event will have a similar lineup to last year with a few small additions, including a morning basketball tournament and more musical entertainment.

The tournament is scheduled to kick off in the morning at the park’s courts and there is a break until about 4 p. when the 451st Army Band is scheduled to play music for event-goers.

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Local authorities not affected by Supreme Court decision on cell phone searches

Local law enforcement agencies say they won’t be affected by a recent U. Supreme Court decision that mandates they obtain warrants before generally searching cell phones.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Black River Falls Police Department already make it a regular practice to get search warrants before obtaining information from phones during investigations.

Both Chief Deputy Mark Moan and BRF Police Chief Dave Frederick echoed the high court’s sentiment that modern phones have much more information on them than just phone calls and text messages, making them more like computers than only devices for talking.

The ruling) makes sense to me. You’ve got all your personal stuff on the phone — if we need that, we can get a search warrant,” Frederick said.

If you’ve got reason to look at the phone, get a search warrant.

The Supreme Court last week ruled that police may not generally search the cell phones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants and the decision was prompted by cases in San Diego and Boston.

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State OKs natural gas pipeline that extends into Jackson, Monroe counties

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission last week approved a $182 million pipeline project between Tomah and Fairchild that brings natural gas to frac sand mining processors and several communities in Western Wisconsin.

The commissioners by a 2-1 vote said the WE Energies pipeline was in the public’s interest because it served future economic development needs, brings natural gas to areas not currently served and adds needed capacity to the Black River Falls and Tomah areas.

Called the West Central Lateral, the approximately 80-mile-long pipeline would extend south through the Jackson County towns of Cleveland, Garden Valley, Alma, Adams, Brockway, Manchester and Millston. It also would extend into the Monroe County towns of Lincoln and La Grange to a regulator station at 1200 W. Veterans St.

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