News in brief
News in brief

News in brief

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Onalaska church to host Soberfest on Saturday

First Free Church will hold its annual SoberFest on Saturday, a family-friendly event that offers a good view of the fireworks offered by the Festival Foods Salute to the Fourth.

The free event runs from 4 to 10:30 p.m. in the church parking lot at 123 Mason St. It will feature musical entertainment from Brat Pack Radio, The Soap Box Project and the Joel Baxley Band. Comedic entertainment will also be featured from husband and wife team Barnes & Miner.

Along with raising awareness of the problem of alcohol and substance abuse, SoberFest organizers use the event to educate the public about resources available to people who want a sober life for themselves and their loved ones.

For more information, go to

Dollar Tree store to open July 2

A new Dollar Tree store is scheduled to open July 2 in the Holmen Square shopping center in Holmen.

The chain, which sells its merchandise for $1 or less, has begun taking applications for jobs at the new store, which is at the north end of the shopping center.

The store at 500 N. Holmen Drive will have about 15 employees. Store hours are expected to be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Dollar Tree also has a store in La Crosse, one in Onalaska and will open one in Sparta in late August.

The chain is based in Chesapeake, Va., and as of last month operated more than 5,400 stores in 48 states and five Canadian provinces. For more information, visit

Bike tours set for this weekend

The Battle of the Bluffs, a two-day, two-state bicycle event, kicks off Saturday, June 27, in Holmen and continues Sunday in La Crescent, Minn.

Riders can chose between several routes of varying length, from 10 to 67 miles per day. Saturday’s ride, called the Majestic Metric, takes bicyclists from Holmen through the Mindoro Cut via several loops of varied distance. Sunday’s ride, the Apple Blossom Tour, consists of several longer routes atop the bluffs to the north and east of La Crescent, or a shorter route around Hokah.

Cost is $30 per event for the longer rides. There are also a 10-mile, $10 family ride Saturday and a free 5-mile ride Sunday. For more information, visit or

Antique appraisal event set for Aug. 5

The Holmen Area Historical Society will host its third annual antique appraisal event, "What's it Worth?" with Mark Moran, from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Holmen Village Hall. Registration in advance is required and will be done on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration is $15 per item, with a limit of two items per person. To register an item for appraisal or more information about the event, stop by the Holmen Area Library during regular library hours.

Area Bremer grants total $345,000

As part of the Otto Bremer Foundation’s latest round of grants that totals $12 million in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin, six grants totaling $345,000 were awarded to La Crosse-area organizations.

They were:

• Couleecap Inc. of Westby, $120,000 to support Couleecap’s Basic Needs and Self-Sufficiency Initiative, which serves low- income people, including the homeless, in La Crosse County.

• La Crosse Promise, $50,000 for general operating support of the organization, which connects students to the resources necessary to achieve their post-high school goals.

• Options in Reproductive Care Inc. of La Crosse, $75,000 for general operating support for the organization, which provides accessible, affordable, quality reproductive health clinical services and community health education in western Wisconsin.

• The Salvation Army of La Crosse, $50,000 to support the Housing Stabilization program, which provides intensive, in-home case management to keep families in their homes and out of homelessness.

• Tellurian Inc. of Monona, Wis., $20,000 to assist the La Crosse Care Center with the purchase of equipment critical to the safety of the patients it serves.

• WAFER Inc. of La Crosse, $30,000 for general operating support for the organization, which provides food for people throughout La Crosse County and La Crescent, Minn.

Based in St. Paul, Minn., the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. Founder Otto Bremer was a successful banker, and community and business leader. OBF is the 92 percent owner of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio.

Lumbering is Sons of Norway talk topic

Glenn Borreson, a retired pastor from Holmen, will give a presentation on logging history and Norwegian immigrants’ role in it at the next meeting of the Wergeland Lodge Sons of Norway.

The program, which is free and open to all, starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2, at North Presbyterian Church, 1327 N. Salem Road, in La Crosse. Food will be served after the program.

Viking Award nominees sought

Holmen High School’s Viking Alumni Award Committee is seeking nominations for the Holmen Viking Alumni Award.

This award was developed to recognize graduates of HHS whose accomplishments have brought honor and distinction to Holmen schools. These accomplishments may be demonstrated through distinctive records of achievement in their personal or professional lives. This record of distinction should extend over a period of time to assure continuity of performance and maturity. All HHS alumni, living or deceased, having graduated at least five years ago are eligible for nomination. Nominees do not have to reside in the Holmen School District.

Those who submit nominations are asked to provide detailed information on the nominee in respect to the following criteria: Community service activities; examples of leadership; personal achievements; contributions to their school district; professional achievement; and honorary awards and citations.

Previous people honored include Leif Marking, Rev. Gregory Van Dunk, Sigurd Hanson, Barry Bertelson, Paul Anderson, Ruth Granum, Marilyn Pedretti, Marna Holley, Rector Wall, Lyle “Duke” Henthorne, John Daily, Mary Brown, Leah (Jessesski) Colby, Dan McHugh, Kevin Baird and Chuck Olson.

The nomination form can be accessed online at (Community and Partners / Alumni / Holmen Viking Alumni Award).

Nomination deadline is June 30. For more information, contact HHS activities director Mark Englerth at 526-9208 or

The recipient will be honored during Homecoming activities on Oct. 10.

OHS to host ALICE training course

The Onalaska School District will host a two-day instructor training course on Aug. 17-18 designed to teach proactive survival strategies for violent intruder or active shooter incidents.

The course will be presented at Onalaska High School by the ALICE Training Institute, which is changing how schools, universities, and businesses respond to armed intruders. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) developed after the mass shooting at Colorado’s Columbine High School, teaching strategies to survive a life-threatening event.

The goal of the ALICE program is to provide individuals with survival-enhancing options for those critical moments in the gap between when a violent situation begins and when law enforcement arrives on scene.

ALICE can be useful in a wide variety of settings and professions beyond schools, including law enforcement, hospitals, businesses and places of worship. Completing the ALICE instructor training course provides people with certification in ALICE training and allows them the opportunity to bring ALICE strategies back to their places of work. Additionally, registrants will gain access to exclusive ALICE resources.

The registration fee is $595 per person, and registration can be completed online at

Heider Center tickets for sale

Advance season tickets for the 2015-16 season at the West Salem’s Marie W. Heider Center for the Arts are on sale now through July 10.

The season includes The Manhattan Dolls and Billy McGuigan among other acts. Individual tickets won’t be available until Aug. 24.

For tickets or more info, call 786-2550 or visit

Junior golf program offered on Thursdays

Coulee Golf Bowl in Onalaska is hosting a weekly youth golf program from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Thursdays this summer starting June 11.

The aim of the program, which is headed by Onalaska High School golf coach Scott Skogen, is to provide an opportunity for young golfers to play nine holes of golf with other kids at a shorter course length to encourage them to learn and enjoy the game of golf.

The course will be shortened to a par 32 course, using the purple tees, and kids will be paired up with different kids every week to introduce them to new people.

Current and former high school, college and pro golfers will be invited to assist, and participants will get instruction on golf rules and etiquette.

Cost is $5 per session.

Moon Tunes back at Riverside Park

Music will return to La Crosse’s Riverside Park Thursday evenings this summer.

Valley View Rotary and the La Crosse Parks and Recreation Department have teamed up again for Moon Tunes, which features a dozen weekly concerts between June 11 and Sept. 3 (except July 2). Concerts are at the band shell from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to support a new sound system for the park’s renovation project.

Food will be available some evenings. Local high school Interact Rotary Clubs will sell soda and water at all concerts. Michael Scott of Old School Variety Show and La Crosse radio legend Brucie Bumchuckles will emcee the concerts.

Current policy is to cancel concerts in the event of bad weather. Options for a rain site are being addressed.

For more information, visit

The schedule of remaining concerts includes:

June 25: TUGG

July 9: String Ties

July 16: Greg Balfany Jazz

July 23: Grateful Dead Tribute

July 30: British Invasion (food available)

Aug. 6: Fayme Rochelle and the Waxwings

Aug. 13: Shuffling Duprees

Aug. 20: The Executives, with classic car show (food available)

Aug. 27: Old School Variety Show

Sept. 3: Woodstock in the Park (food available)

Tuesday special on black and white cats

The Coulee Region Humane Society will offer discounted adoption fees for select cats on Tuesdays throughout June.

The Black Tie Tuesday special means 50 percent off of adoption rates for cats that are solid black, solid white or black and white. The humane society has 10 black- and white-colored cats available for adoption.

The discounted adoption rate applies only to black- and white-colored cats. It does not apply to dogs or other small animals.

For more information about Black Tie Tuesday, call the Coulee Region Humane Society at 781-4014. Details are also posted on the shelter’s Facebook page.

Online best-of-county survey returns

The Best of La Crosse County nomination survey is now open at, giving people a chance to nominate favorite venues to eat, drink, shop and more.

People can nominate favorites through June 22. From July 1-31, people can pick from the selected nominees to be crowned Best of La Crosse County. Winners will be announced Aug. 12.

The competition features more than 180 categories, including nearly three dozen food- and drink-related categories, and the survey offers the opportunity to write-in overlooked categories.

Survey participants who nominate at least 10 entities and vote in at least 50 of the 105 categories will automatically be entered in a drawing for a two-day vacation (or staycation) in La Crosse, including gift certificates for restaurants, bars, and shopping centers.

The Best of La Crosse County winners will receive printed posters to hang at their establishments. See survey rules at

New county plat book published

The 2015 version of the La Crosse County Plat Book is now available.

The new edition of the plat book can be purchased at the La Crosse County UW-Extension office in downtown La Crosse. Books also are available at area banks and branches of First National Bank, River Bank, Union State Bank and 1st Community Credit Union. The price is $30. Premium wall maps are also available.

Traditional landownership maps of township and range, a land owner index for easy cross referencing, and other county information are all available in the new plat book. This book includes aerial view maps opposite the landownership map pages. Mapping Solutions is the publisher.

The Plat Book project has been a longstanding tradition and fundraiser for the La Crosse County 4-H program. Proceeds from the project will benefit educational programs, project support, camp, learning opportunities, scholarships and much more.

For more information, call 785-9593.

Interstate Fair to offer online entries

Planning is in full swing for the La Crosse Interstate Fair, which will run July 15-19, and the exhibitor fairbooks are now available.

People can find the fairbook rules and regulations, departments and items on the fair website at In addition, print versions are available for $5 at the UW-Extension office in downtown La Crosse or by emailing a request to

This year for the first time exhibitors can register entries online on the fair website. The online entry link will be available starting June 1 and participants have until June 26 to register. No changes or corrections will be accepted for online entries after June 26.

People also can do paper entries, with entries due by June 12 to the UW-Extension office.

For 2015, the La Crosse County Agricultural Society is waiving the entry fee for both junior and open class exhibitors. This is a courtesy for those using the new online system as well as a celebration of 25 years of fair ownership by the ag society. Late fees still apply, however, with paper entries coming between June 12 and 26 carrying a $10 late fee.

Entry tags will be ready July 7 and can be picked up at the fairgrounds Farm Progress Office after 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Marla Stello at (608) 788-5506 or

Registration open for Steppin' Out in Pink

Registration has begun for the 10th annual Steppin’ Out in Pink on Sept. 12, a 4.5-mile walk starting at the Gundersen Health System La Crosse campus.

The Gundersen Medical Foundation fundraiser honors breast cancer survivors and memorializes those who have died. It includes entertainment and vendors, with a portion of the proceeds from those sales also benefitting Steppin’ Out in Pink.

Registration is available at The fee for those who register by July 31 is $15. Registration costs $20 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 7, and $25 between Sept. 8 and 12. Those who register in advance are guaranteed a T-shirt and chances to win Steppin’ Out in Pink merchandise during weekly drawings.

The event has raised more than $3.4 million during the past nine years, with all of the proceeds going primarily to the foundation’s breast cancer research initiatives. A portion goes to providing assistance to breast cancer patients in need, subsidizing mammograms for underinsured and uninsured patients in the region and supporting the Gundersen Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and the Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care.

For more information, go to or contact the foundation at 608-775-6600 or 800-362-9567, ext. 56600.

DMV now offers online chat option

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles recently implemented a new live chat service for seven of its popular online services.

“We wanted to offer customers using our online self-service offerings another tool to get their questions answered fast. Now, it’s only a click away,” said Michael Domke, driver information section supervisor. “Online chat is an efficient and immediate support option to resolve customer questions or problems. This is personalized service by a knowledgeable representative.”

The online chat option is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for help with online attempts to:

• Get a duplicate driver license or ID card

• Check eligibility and reinstate a driving privilege

• Check eligibility for an occupational driver license

• Find out how long high-risk (SR-22) insurance is needed

• Purchase a driver record

• See if a license is valid

• Change an address

The DMV continues to expand its online services, at, including the self-serve Interactive Driver License Guide. This mobile-friendly site gives customers information about obtaining or renewing a Wisconsin driver license. Both regular drivers and commercial users can access their information here. Customers can also receive crash reports and title a vehicle online.

State adds specialty license plates

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently added two new specialty license plates, one dedicated to the memory of fallen law enforcement officers and one for Trout Unlimited.

This Law Enforcement Memorial license plate is now available. Unlike the other new releases, this license plate design was not established as a fundraiser. Specialty plates are made available for a $15 issuance fee for non-personalized plates.

Also new this spring, is the Trout Unlimited license plate which was released in March. Purchasing these plates includes the $15 issuance fee for non-personalized plates and an additional $25 tax-deductible donation.

Not only can Wisconsin motorists have specialty license plates, the plates can be personalized. A $15 personalized plate fee is required each year in addition to the regular annual registration fee. A handy online tool checks whether the personalization is already in use. It can take four to six weeks for the manufacturing and mailing process before the plates arrive.

A complete list of specialty plates offered is available at the WisDOT website:

Brenengen offers free car seat checks

Brenengen Auto Group offers free monthly child car seat fitting stations at its West Salem and Onalaska locations by certified child passenger safety technicians.

Fittings are offered at Brenengen Chevrolet in West Salem from 3 to 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month April through September. Brenengen Chevrolet in Onalaska offers the same fitting hours on the second Thursday of the Month.

No appointment is necessary. Participants will also receive a coupon for a free ice cream from Culver's in Onalaska.

For more information, visit

Nominees sought for Leopold Award

Sand County Foundation and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation are accepting applications for the $10,000 Leopold Conservation Award, which honors Wisconsin farmers who demonstrate responsible stewardship and management of natural resources.

Applications are due by Aug. 7. Finalists and winner will be announced in late 2015. For complete application information, visit

Given in honor of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, inspires other landowners in their communities through these examples and provides a visible forum where leaders from the agricultural community are recognized as conservation leaders outside of the industry.

In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

Gundersen offers drug disposal service

Gundersen Health System is expanding its pharmaceutical waste collection program by providing medication disposal containers for public use. The containers are available at Gundersen’s:

• Onalaska Clinic pharmacy retail area

• La Crosse Clinic pharmacy

• La Crosse East Building pharmacy

Medications that can be discarded in the public containers include prescription, over-the-counter and pet medications, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, and liquid medications in leak-proof containers.

Those using the containers should:

• Place medication, including pills and liquids, in a sealed plastic bag.

• Leave liquid medications in their original containers.

• Block personal information with a black, felt-tip marker.

• Do not place unused or used needles in the container. Needles and sharps in accepted containers can be exchanged at the clinic pharmacy.

Chemicals and cosmetics should be taken to the county hazardous materials facility at 6502 Hwy. 16.

For more about Gundersen’s pharmaceutical waste collection program, visit

Medical grants available for Wisconsin children

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is seeking grant applications from families in need of assistance to help pay for children’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plans.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per child to help pay for services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the U.S. and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at, and there is no deadline.

VA seeking volunteer drivers for veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah uses volunteers to help veterans travel to medical appointments, and this service is expanding. Additional volunteers are needed to serve veterans in and around the Tomah area.

Volunteers do not have to be a veteran or belong to a veterans’ organization to be a VA volunteer driver.

Volunteers can help as often as they like. Some routes can be accomplished in as little as four hours, so time commitments may vary.

Volunteer drivers must pass a free physical that is provided at the VA in Tomah. During the visit to Tomah for the physical, the volunteer can complete the other necessary procedures to become a VA volunteer.

For more information or to start the process, call (608) 372-1727.

Volunteer help sought at Lakeview Center

Lakeview Health Center in West Salem is looking for volunteers to help residents with low-level activities during the evening lounge program activity weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

People don’t have to volunteer for every evening, just the ones that work best for them. To volunteer or for more information, contact Luann Rose at 786-1400, ext. 40195.

Great Rivers 2-1-1 offers wealth of info

Great Rivers 2-1-1, a regional information, referral and crisis line, has been active in the community for more than 35 years, with a database of more than 3,000 agencies updated annually to ensure that the information given out is accurate and up to date.

“When family, co-workers, and friends come to you for help or even when you need assistance yourself, it may be hard to know where to turn. Instead of spending your time researching all of the possible resources available; simply dial 2-1-1 to reach a trained information and referral specialist,” said Mary Mundt Reckase, director of Great Rivers 2-1-1. “Let Great Rivers 2-1-1 do the work for you. We take the guess work out of your search for help and have the answers you’re looking for.”

Calling Great Rivers 2-1-1 is free and confidential. Some examples of the types of calls include referrals for:

Support groups

Emergency shelter, rent payment assistance and utility payment assistance

Food pantries, free meals

Credit and budget counseling

Parenting resources

Community mental health and substance abuse support

Seasonal programs such as back-to-school supplies, holiday toy/meal programs and tax assistance

Community resources such as where to vote, community festival information, medication drop-off, etc.

“We know that people often end up making a lot of phone calls to find help for a personal or family situation,” Mundt Reckase said. “Why not dial 2-1-1 and let our staff be a friendly link between you and the help you are looking for. We are here 24/7 and will give you options that match your needs.”

For more information, visit

To submit your information for a public service announcement, e-mail it to


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