News in brief
News in brief

News in brief

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Mr. Onalaska Pageant set for April 10

The Onalaska High School chapter of the National Honor Society will put on its annual Mr. Onalaska Pageant starting at 7 p.m. Friday, April 10, in the Claude C. Deck Performing Arts Center at OHS.

This year 10 contestants will compete in the pageant, in which contestants will be scored in four categories: outfit of choice, swimwear, questionnaire and talent. This year’s contestants include Cameron Robbert, Zayne Wicks, Mitchell Schaller, Konrad Ernst, Asher Freybler, Ben Pietrek, Bjarki Sigurdarson, Nick Schmidt, Shane Kucharczyk and David Solie.

Dakota Marcon and Molly Trannel will serve as emcees, and there will be entertainment during intermission, when audience members can cast People’s Choice votes by putting money into their favorite contestant’s bucket.

Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door, with proceeds going to Gundersen Health System’s Global Partners program, which is dedicated to improving health and well-being in communities around the world, including Ethiopia, Nicaragua and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Advance tickets can be purchased in the high school office.

OHS band spaghetti feed, concert set

The annual Onalaska High School Band Boosters spaghetti dinner will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the OHS commons, followed by the large group festival concert at 7:30 pm in the Claude C. Deck Performing Arts Center.

Food will be supplied by Fazoli's Restaurant. Advance tickets are $7, $4 for children 5 and younger, and can be purchased online at www.onalaskabands.com. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $8, $5 for ages 5 and younger.

Admission to the concert is free and open to all.

The Band Boosters supports the OHS band program through trip scholarships, college scholarships, instrument purchases and help with travel expenses.

Conservation group plans awards banquet

The La Crosse County Conservation Alliance’s 39th annual awards and recognition banquet will be held Thursday, April 9, at Drugan’s Castle Mound, rural Holmen.

The award for outstanding conservation organization will be presented to the La Crosse Rifle Club. The outstanding conservationist award will be presented to Mark Zeigler of the West Salem Rod and Gun Club, and the outstanding youth conservationist award will be presented to Emily Vanderkamp of West Salem.

In addition, eight retiring public agency natural resource professionals will be recognized for their service – James Nissen from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mike Jawson, Barry Johnson, Pete Boma, Ken Lubinski and Bob Gaugush from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The featured speaker will be Sabrina Chandler, the recently appointed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complex manager for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. She will talk about what is ahead for the refuge.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and dinner is at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $18 and are available from Marc Schultz (781-1662), John Wetzel (526-4238) and organizations who belong to the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance.

Onalaska library offers movie screenings

The Friends of the Onalaska Library spring series of free Thursday night movie screenings at Onalaska Public Library, 741 Oak Ave. S., continues April 16 with a screening of “Wild,” which is rated R.

Movies start at 6:30 p.m., and some of the movies to be screened are rated R. Nobody younger than 18 will be admitted for the R rated movies.

For other shows, children younger than 8 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Shows are subject to change, with updates posted at the library or online at www.lacrossecoutylibrary.org.

People who attend the movies will get a free bag of freshly popped popcorn.

Other movies to be shown include the following:

• April 30: “Unbroken,” PG13

• May 14: “Interstellar,” PG13

• May 21: “Selma,” PG13

• June 11: “American Sniper,” R

• June 18: “The Imitation Game,” PG13

Senior day trip to theater planned

The Onalaska Recreation Department is sponsoring a senior excursion on Thursday, April 30, to Old Log Theater in Excelsior, Minn., to see a production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

The play centers on competing con men who target wealthy women on the Riviera.

The bus leaves from Onalaska at 7 a.m. and will return by about 7:15 p.m. Cost is $71, which includes transportation, theater admission and a meal.

Registration deadline is April 10. For more information or to register, call 781-9560.

Prescribed burns planned on refuge land

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct prescribed burns this spring and fall on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in the Onalaska area.

Sites planned for burning in 2015 include the following units: Brice Prairie (near the visitor center) and Upper Halfway Creek (just west of the town of Midway). These sites may be burned in March, April or May.

Fire helps maintain a healthy native plant community which provides habitat for migratory and nesting birds as well as other wildlife. Prescribed fire is commonly used as a tool to manage habitat. Burning helps restore and maintain plant communities by removing dead plant material, returns nutrients to the soil, encourages growth of forbs and opens space for new plant growth.

Fire can also significantly reduce the invasion of woody plants in prairies and encourage the growth of forbs, i.e., the showy flowers.

Prescribed burns are only conducted under a specific set of guidelines for weather and safety. Factors such as the humidity level, wind speed, and wind direction have been evaluated and are included in a “prescribed burn plan.”

Area fire departments, law enforcement agencies, state natural resource offices, and neighbors are contacted prior to conducting the burn.

For additional information, questions, or to review prescribed burn plans, contact Wendy Woyczik at 779-2387 or Kendra Niemec at 779-2386 or stop by the visitor center at N5727 Hwy. Z on Brice Prairie.

OHS Wall of Excellence nominees sought

The Onalaska High School Alumni Association is accepting nominations for the 2015 Wall of Excellence through May 1.

People can be nominated for the Wall of Excellence as former students, former staff members or community members who have made significant contributions to Onalaska High School. Former students must be at least 10 years out of high school and former staff members must have been gone from OHS for at least five years.

Nomination forms are available at Onalaska High School or online at www.onalaskaalumni.com. Completed nomination forms may be mailed to: Onalaska High School Alumni Association, 700 Hilltopper Place Onalaska, WI 54650.

Past inductees include graduates Frank “Mick” Pooler, Dave and Barb Skogen, Mike Thorson, William Otto, Scott Skogen, Tim and Tom Gullikson, LeRoy Hougom, Sandra Lee, Orlene Hough and Andy LeFebre and educators Claude Deck, Marian Mieden, Charles Deeth, Ron Johnson and Florence Hyatt.

For more information, call OHS Principal Jared Schaffner at 783-4561 or email schja2@onalaskaschools.com.

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. The Brenengen Chevrolet 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 Culvers in Onalaska.

For more information, visit brenengen.com

Fundraiser aims to get vermicompost for area school, nonprofit gardens

A fundraiser called “Worm-poo-pa Palooza” aims to enable Hillview Urban Agriculture Center in La Crosse to supply area school gardens and other nonprofit gardens with vermicompost (otherwise known as worm poop).

Participating school districts include Bangor, Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem, and other gardens include Clearwater Farm and ONA Community Garden in Onalaska and WisCorps.

The participating gardens are listed on Hillview's website along with their goals. Donors can select the school/garden of their choice and purchase “Virtual Worms” for $5 each. People donating $50 or more will receive a soft-cover copy of Hillview's recent publication, "The La Crosse Area's Growing Experience: Past, Present & Future," in which area school gardens and nonprofit gardens are featured.

Donations also can be made at Hillview’s booth at the 2015 Earth Fair on Sunday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Myrick Park. The fundraiser will run through May 8.

Besides raising funds for vermicompost, some school/nonprofit gardens are raising additional funds to have Hillview’s vermicompost specialist do a presentation and/or to purchase seeds and/or equipment for their gardens.

Vermicompost is the result of the process of breaking down food waste by using red wiggler worms. As worms eat through waste, they produce a well-balanced, nutritious fertilizer called worm castings. Also referred to as “Black Gold,” worm castings are a natural fertilizer that provides readily available nutrients to plants.

A little goes a long way in making plants healthy, It can be mixed in with the soil, sprinkled on top of the soil or put in with the seeds before covering them. Research has shown that vermicompost can reduce pests and damage to plants.

UW-L exhibit, speaker explores 1964’s freedom summer

Events surrounding the freedom march of 1964 are on display at UW-La Crosse, with the traveling exhibit closing with a presentation featuring a Wisconsin Historical Society historian.

Michael Edmonds will speak on “Risking Everything: The Story of Freedom Summer” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in 150 Murphy Library, UW-L’s Institute for Campus Excellence. An exhibit on the same topic is on display on the first floor of Murphy Library during regular library hours until April 8. Both the exhibit and the talk are free and open to all.

Freedom Summer in 1964 was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement when more than 900 northern volunteers, 120 activists, and thousands of Mississippi residents faced Ku Klux Klan firebombs and police shotguns to secure voting rights and challenge segregation.

Edmonds, deputy director of the Library Archives division at the Wisconsin Historical Society, designed the society’s online archive of 35,000 documents about the summer’s events. He also curated the travelling exhibit and edited a book of eyewitness accounts of Freedom Summer, both of which will be available at the talk. Edmonds will describe how America changed forever during the summer of 1964 and why one of the nation’s premier research collections on civil rights ended up in Wisconsin.

The exhibit and talk bring to light primary sources collected by the Wisconsin Historical Society that provide both firsthand accounts of this grassroots struggle, as well as a broader understanding of the civil rights movement.

“You’ll read their letters, eavesdrop on their meetings, shudder at their suffering, and admire their courage,” Edmonds said. “You’ll witness the final hours of three workers murdered on the project’s first day, hear testimony by black residents who bravely stood up to police torture and Klan firebombs, and watch the liberal establishment betray them.”

Edmonds, a 1976 graduate of Harvard University, earned a master’s degree at Simmons College in 1979 and taught part-time at UW-Madison. The author of several articles and books has won national awards from the American Folklore Society and the American Association for State and Local History.

See more about the exhibit and talk at librarynews.uwlax.edu/freedom-summer.

It's 'Game On' for Riverfront fundraiser

Riverfront Inc. will host its second annual “Game On! The Ultimate Game Night” at 6 p.m. April 10 at the La Crosse Center ballroom.

The show, modeled after NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night,” incorporates a celebrity host and eight fundraising teams from the Coulee Region who compete in party games to become “Game On!” champions. The teams compete in five rounds and have the opportunity to earn up to $1,500 for a local school’s special education program in the championship game.

The event also will feature live music, raffle prizes and a cash bar.

The La Crosse-based Riverfront created the game as a fundraiser to benefit the agency’s Innovation Fund, which it uses to create new projects and programs or buy adaptive equipment. Proceeds from the event last year helped buy new technology, computers and iPad apps for its day services program.

Tickets to the event go on sale Monday at $30, with a chance to participate in some portions of the games. People also can donate in the name of one of the teams.

The teams include:

Team Gray Matter: Jason Munz, Esti Tierney, Angela Strangman and Dustin Cunningham.

Team Mathews Archery: Dawn Jaehnke, Aaron Brooks, Christi Bender and Dave Weninger.

Team Coulee Bank: Joe Zoellner, Jeff Kumfer, Sarah Danielson and Mike Gargaro.

Team Ol’ Lady Os: Karla Stanek, Sue Dillenbeck, Julie Bartels and Florence Aliesch.

Team Fab Four: Mary Mickelson, Randy Mickelson, Sandi Ritchie and Matt Ritchie.

Team Pretty in Pink: Tiffany Padgett, Kaitlin Sill, Kendra Frase and Alexis Kravik.

Team Riverfest Commodores: Mike Diveley, Mike Hartigan, Dawson Strutt and Janet Miller.

Team Domin8ers: John Schmidt, Jennifer Livingston, Bill Graul and Kyle Dimke.

To buy tickets or donate to a team, go to Riverfront’s website at www.riverfrontinc.org. For more information or to enter a team for next year, contact Elizabeth Smaby at 608-785-3559 or elizabeth.smaby@riverfrontinc.org.

Fools Five to aid Gundersen cancer research

The 37th annual Fools Five Road Race, sponsored in part by Gundersen Medical Foundation, will be held Sunday, April 12, at 1 p.m. in Lewiston, Minn. Proceeds from the event will benefit cancer research at Gundersen and the Eagles Cancer Telethon.

The event features a one-mile race and an 8K race, and is open to runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes of all ages. The entry fee is $10 for the 8K race and $6 for the one-mile race. Children 12 years and younger pay $3 for either race. Each participant is encouraged to raise pledges, and those raising $20 or more will receive a race T-shirt. Snacks, soft drinks and ice cream will be provided.

After the race, a social and awards presentation will be held at the Lewiston Altura High School. The guest speaker for the event will be A. Erik Gundersen, retired pediatric and thoracic surgeon and vice chairman of Gundersen Medical Foundation.

Runners and walkers may register at www.foolsfive.org. For more information, call (507) 523-2024 or email us@foolsfive.org.

Barbados band to play at UW-L

The Cover Drive, a popular band from Barbados, will perform at UW-La Crosse at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in Valhalla in Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition.

The Cover Drive was the opening act for Rihanna’s Loud Tour and was featured by the Barbados Tourism Authority. The band is known for its infectious energy and music for dancing. Admission is free.

MVC plans hike up Miller Bluff

Mississippi Valley Conservancy is sponsoring a hike up La Crosse’s Miller Bluff on Sunday, April 18.

With its large sheer rock face, Miller Bluff is one of the most beautiful and scenic bluffs protected by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. The hike is uphill and rocky but it will lead participants to a beautiful prairie and spectacular views overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.

The hike starts at 10 a.m., and after the hike participants can head over to Myrick Park for the annual Earth Fair, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To RSVP for the hike, email kfrise@mississippivalleyconservancy.org or call 784-3606 ext. 6.

Onalaska cancer run set for April 19

The American Cancer Society Sole Burner - Hula Hustle 5K (formerly the American Cancer Society Family5K Run/Walk), is set for Sunday, April 19, starting and ending at United Healthcare, 2700 Midwest Drive, Onalaska.

The event, which has a separate run for children, has a Hawaiian theme and participants are encouraged to dress accordingly. This event is a pledge-based run/walk that participants can choose to participate on a competitive timed-level or a noncompetitive level. Funds raised at the American Cancer Society Sole Burner - Hula Hustle 5K will help provide programs, services and research to find a cure.

The non-refundable registration fee is $25, $15 for kids, and this fee counts toward the fundraising goal. For more information or to register, visit www.acshulahustle5k.org.

Free skin cancer screenings offered

Skin cancer screenings will be offered from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 25, at Mayo Clinic Health System’s Onalaska Dermatology Department.

With early diagnosis and proper treatment, skin cancer is a very treatable condition, even for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The screening is free but appointments are required. For an appointment, call 392-5844.

Free ACA help sessions scheduled

The Western Region Enrollment Network will provide assistance to those who qualify for the Affordable Care Act special enrollment period and desire help in navigating through the Healthcare Marketplace. WREN is providing opportunities for community members to access the Healthcare Marketplace and be assisted by local trained professionals.

In La Crosse County, walk-in assistance sessions are planned for 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, and 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, in the first-floor conference room at the La Crosse County Health and Human Services Building, 300 N. Fourth St. La Crosse.

People planning on attending a session should bring the following information:

• Addresses for everyone applying for coverage.

• Social Security numbers.

• Employer and income information for every member of the household (pay stubs or W-2 forms).

• An estimate of household income for 2015.

• Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of the household.

• Notices from current plan that include plan ID, if there was health coverage in 2014.

• A completed “Employer Coverage Tool” for every job-based plan someone in the household is eligible for. Visit HealthCare.gov/downloads/employer-coverage-tool.pdf to view or print the tool.

• Document information for legal immigrations. VisitHealthCare.gov/help/immigration-document-types for more information.

Seven vie to be guest conductor

The seven contestants in this year’s La Crosse Symphony Orchestra conductor wannabe competition will raise money for the symphony and their favorite charities under a new format.

In the past, contestants had raised money only for the symphony, but fundraising has been added for their favorite charities “in the spirit of collaboration,” said Tracy Fell, the symphony’s executive director.

The symphony organization wanted to give back to the community and help nonprofit organizations as well, Fell said.

“The conductor wannabe competition is one of the symphony’s most anticipated annual fundraisers,” she said. “The candidates spend a generous amount of time and effort into garnering community support and raising awareness of the great things we are doing at the LSO.”

The seven contestants will choose a nonprofit organization that will receive half of the money they each raise during the campaign. This year, each “vote” is $2 — $1 going to the LSO and the other dollar going to the candidates’ chosen charity. The winner and runner-up with the most votes received by April 28 will make their conducting debuts with the orchestra at the season’s final concert May 2.

This year’s contestants are:

• Karen Becker has chosen Catholic Charities as her designated charity.

• Cameron Carey, an undergraduate advisory committee member for the Delta Sigma Phi National Fraternity, is also a blood drive volunteer and has chosen the American Red Cross as his designated nonprofit organization.

• Mike Desmond, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse, is representing his organization.

• Josh Gates. director of major gifts at Family & Children’s Center, represents his organization.

• Ann Kappauf, executive director of New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers, represents her organization.

• Ilene Kernozek. vice chairwoman of the UW-L Foundation and relationship manager at Trust Point, has chosen UW-L Foundation as her organization.

• Joe Kruse, chief administrative officer for Mayo Clinic Health System- Franciscan Healthcare, has chosen Gerard Hall as his nonprofit organization. Gerard Hall is a program offered by Mayo Clinic Health System for young women at risk and their children.

Western offering child care courses

Western Technical College, through a Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Educational Opportunities grant, is offering Wisconsin Child Care Registry Credential courses at no cost to child care providers employed in YoungStar two- and three-star level facilities.

The Family Child Care credential course, Special Topics in Family Child Care, will meet on Fridays and Saturdays, June 19-20, July 17-18, and Aug. 21-22.

The Preschool Child Care Credential, Child Development, will meet Saturdays, May 30, July 11, July 25, and Aug. 22.

All courses are taught face-to-face, in a weekend accelerated learning format. Each course is three credits. Child care providers are encouraged to complete an entire credential, but they may enroll in individual courses as well.

Courses are offered in partnership with Viterbo University, UW-La Crosse, and The Parenting Place. Three credentials are available: Family Child Care, Infant & Toddler, and Preschool.

Registration is required and enrollment is limited. For more information or to register, contact Pat Chilsen at 789-4755 or chilsenp@westerntc.edu.

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 www.leopoldconservationaward.org/the-award/application-info.

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.”

Retired educators to meet for lunch April 6

The La Crosse Area Retired Educators will meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 6, at River Jack’s restaurant in La Crosse. Everyone who has retired from Wisconsin public schools is invited.

The program for the meeting will feature John Blanchar, a La Crosse man who has run marathons in all 50 states and all seven continents.

Cost of the meal is $10. For reservations, call Karen Broadhead at 788-2485 or Marlene McCabe at 781-1039.

Dance troupe to perform at UW-L

The Many Moccasins Dance Troupe will bring Native American dance to UW-La Crosse with a performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in Valhalla, Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition.

For more than 14 years, the Many Moccasins Dance Troupe (based in Winnebago, Nebraska) has shared stories of Native American dance. The troupe is named from the concept that all tribal nations have their own unique way of making moccasins.

The dancers, who represent a number of tribes, will perform a combination of new and more contemporary dances while promoting and educating about the Native American way of life.

Advance tickets are $5, $2 for students. Ticket prices are double at the door. For tickets or more visit uwlax.edu/CAB or call the Cartwright Information Counter at 785-8877.

Singing duo to perform at UW-L

Singing duo Adelee & Gentry will perform at UW-La Crosse starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in The Cellar in Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition.

Adelee & Gentry, who were featured in Billboard’s column “The 615,” got their start working with country singer LeAnn Rime’s session player, Jason Webb. Music has helped the two overcome various obstacles they have faced.

Adelee & Gentry’s performance is part of 1-2-3 Thursdays. Admission is free.

Western offers PCW certification

Western Technical College will offer a 40-hour Bridges2Healthcare personal care worker certification course. The course will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 9, 10, 16, 17 and 23, and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 27 on the La Crosse campus. Registration in advance is required.

The 40-hour PCW course will provide certification for entry level employment opportunity in healthcare setting. Many personal care workers go on to expand their education in several areas of the healthcare industry such as nursing assistant, respiratory care, nursing, physical therapy assistant and more. Participants are expected to commit to the full workshop and will receive a certificate upon completion.

There will be an employer “meet and greet” at the end of the personal care worker course. Employers are invited to meet potential workers. Students will have an opportunity to meet the employers and discuss employment opportunities or set up interviews.

The cost for the course for Wisconsin residents is $130.35. Participants 62 years and older pay $4.50. To register, call 785.9553.

NWS offers storm spotter training April 15

The National Weather Service will hold a SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter Training class starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, at the Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Medical Center (Marycrest Auditorium) on West Avenue in La Crosse.

The class will last about two hours and includes a multimedia presentation. Training is intended for storm spotters or potential storm spotters, but is open to the public and free of charge. A review of past tornadoes will be included.

The NWS relies heavily on actual storm reports from “spotters,” which can include sheriff’s departments, local emergency management officials, police and fire departments, amateur radio operators or anyone else that has attended one of these classes.

These reports can prompt warnings that save lives, which has been proven many times through the years when severe weather strikes.

Registration is not required. For more information, visit www.weather.gov/lacrosse.

Franciscan Auxiliary geranium sale coming

The Franciscan Healthcare Auxiliary’s 35th annual geranium sale is coming soon, with all proceeds going toward nursing scholarships at Viterbo University and Western Technical College.

The sale includes 4.5-inch potted geraniums for $4.25 each (sales tax included) as well as patio pots, hanging baskets and combination planters. Gift certificates are available in the Franciscan Healthcare volunteer office. To purchase gift certificates, call 392-2709.

Geraniums will be sold at the Franciscan Healthcare garage building at 11th and Ferry Streets in La Crosse from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 29 – May 1 and in Onalaska from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 29-30 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 1. The Holmen Clinic will sell geraniums from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 29.

Cullen, Schultz to discuss redistricting

Former Wisconsin state Sens. Tim Cullen and Dale Schultz will be the featured speakers at the Leaque of Women Voters program starting at 5:30 p.m. April 14 at Viterbo Nursing Center – Collins Auditorium, 916 S. 10th St., La Crosse. Cullen and Schultz will discuss redistricting issues and how this affects the La Crosse area. The meeting is free and open to all.

Beware of foreign lottery scams

The mythical story of the “pot of gold” says to search for the treasure at the end of a rainbow, but scammers will have you believe that the pot of gold is coming directly to you. Among their favorite tricks are foreign lottery scams. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection warns that foreign lottery promotions are phony – and illegal.

“Americans lose more than $120 million a year to foreign lottery schemes,” said Sandy Chalmers, DATCP assistant deputy secretary. “If you purchase a foreign lottery ticket through a solicitation, your name will be placed on a ‘sucker list’ used by crooks, and you can expect more offers for phony lotteries or investments.”

DATCP occasionally hears from consumers who are tied up in a cycle of payments to scammers after falling for a fake foreign lottery pitch. Initially they received a phone call or mailing from a scammer telling them that they can win a major prize by purchasing a lottery ticket using the sender’s “secret system.”

The payment cycle kicks in as victims are repeatedly asked for money for additional tickets or to secure a non-existent prize. Over time, victims begin to fear stopping these payments at the risk of losing out both on the expected prize and on the money that they have already invested in the scheme.

DATCP offers the following tips for avoiding these and other prize scams:

It is illegal to enter foreign lotteries and there are no secret systems for winning them.

Ignore all mail and phone solicitations that promise big prizes in foreign lotteries or contests. If you receive what looks like lottery or sweepstakes material from a foreign country, destroy it or report it to the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

You should never have to pay to win a prize or to “improve” your chances of winning (unless you are entering a local raffle).

Never wire money, turn over the card numbers on a prepaid debit card or provide personal or banking information in response to an unsolicited offer.

Some scams might require you to call a “900” number to claim your prize. Calling this number will cost you a per-minute fee.

Legitimate contest offers will include rules, information on how to enter and the odds of winning.

Kicking Bear youth event set for April 4

For the third year, La Crosse Archery in Onalaska will host a Kicking Bear Camp for Kids. This year the event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at the company’s store at 1231 Oak Forest Drive.

Kicking Bear Camp for Kids is put on by Kicking Bear Ministry, a nationwide, faith-based nondenominational organization that provides opportunities for children who normally wouldn’t have the chance to have outdoors experiences. During the camp, children will be given the opportunity to shoot arrows at targets from bows and crossbows, learn to throw a tomahawk and learn about hunting and the outdoors. This event is free and includes lunch.

To register or for more information, call 781-7752 or visit www.kickingbear.org.

Applicants sought for YCC summer job

The Winona and La Crosse districts of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge will be hiring six students this summer, four in Winona and two in La Crosse, to work on a Youth Conservation Corps crew.

This summer’s YCC program will begin Monday, June 15 and end eight weeks later on Friday, August 7. Crew members will be paid $7.25 per hour for a 40-hour work week (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

YCC, which is open to ages 15-18, is a well-balanced work-learn-earn program that develops an understanding and appreciation in participating youth of the nation’s environment and heritage. Crew members will work with agency staff and volunteers on a variety of biological, maintenance and visitor service projects. The program also presents an early opportunity to explore a career in natural resources.

Teens interested in being considered for the crew must complete a YCC application form. Applications are available online at www.fws.gov/refuge/upper_mississippi_river under the “Jobs” link or at either District office, which are open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.

Applications must be received by 4 p.m. April 10. Applicants will be selected by random drawing and notified by April 17. For more information, call Laurel Kullerud at 779-2232.

Volunteers needed for MS fundraiser

Volunteers are needed to help with on the Walk MS: La Crosse event on Saturday, April 25, the annual fundraising walk for multiple sclerosis.

Volunteers will help throughout the morning and early afternoon with a variety of roles including set-up, registration and check-in, medical assistance/first aid, parking guides and cheering the walkers across the finish line. The walk starts at 10 a.m.; set-up and check-in begins earlier.

The event will be held at the La Crosse Center. More than 650 walkers are expected. The goal is to raise $100,000 to support research and direct services for the more than 11,000 children, women and men in Wisconsin with MS and their families.

Anyone interested in volunteering or participating in the event can sign up by visiting walkmswisconsin.org, calling (262) 369-4400 or emailing info.wisMS@nmss.org.

Western students offer massage clinics

Western Technical College therapeutic massage students will gain hands-on experience when they offer massage and bodywork clinics that are open to the public.

Through April 24, appointments will be taken for Tuesdays at 4:30, 5:45 and 7:15 p.m. and Thursdays at 4:45, 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday offerings will be available on March 14 and 28 and April 11, from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Sessions will be in Room 124 of the Coleman Center, 124 N. Sixth St.

Services offered include relaxation, deep tissue, sports, pregnancy (second and third trimester only) and reflexology. Cost is $25 for a 55-minute session, $15 for a half hour session. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Jeanne Johnson at 785-9253 or johnsonj@westerntc.edu.

Free online tax filing offered

More than half of individuals and families in the United States earned $60,000 or less last year, making them eligible to receive free tax preparation and filing assistance this tax season. Many of these families are unaware of their options and could pay, on average, more than $200 to file their federal and state tax returns. MyFreeTaxes.com is the only free online platform that can be used to file federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

MyFreeTaxes provides qualifying filers access to tax self-preparation assistance. The online tool allows taxpayers to self-file for free using a simple step-by-step process that includes free telephone, email and online chat support from IRS-certified specialists. More than 47 million people self-prepared their tax returns last year, a 6 percent increase from 2013 filing data, according to the IRS.

“It’s a great platform to ensure working families are taking all the credits they are allowed, specifically the Earned Income Credit, and it lets the consumer keep all of their return as it’s completely free,” said Jason Larsen, Great Rivers United Way community impact director.

Funded by the Walmart Foundation and operated in partnership with Goodwill Industries International, the National Disability Institute and United Way, MyFreeTaxes works with filers to maximize their refunds and help eligible families and individuals claim valuable tax credits.

Those unable to file their taxes online or through self-preparation should contact the local AARP tax help site at 789-7443 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Better Business Bureau warns of bogus emails

Better Business Bureau is warning businesses not to click on an email that claims to be a “BBB SBQ” (standard business questionnaire). The email was sent out recently to potentially tens of thousands of businesses across the country. The email has a ZIP file attachment that links to a site that can download malware on the user’s computer.

Spoofing well-known and trusted brands is a common scam tactic. Other organizations such as the IRS, the FBI and Fortune 500 companies have been spoofed in similar phishing campaigns that victimized consumers and businesses.

“As soon as we heard about the scam, we immediately notified our security vendors and we are in the process of taking down the website,” said Ben Steinberg, chief information officer for the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America. “We have a structure in place to quickly address and mitigate the impact of scammers who use our name. Our highest priority is protecting the public.”

The emails are coming from the domain “BBBL.org,” which is not a BBB domain name, although it is clearly designed to look as if it is. The domain name was created last October and is registered to an individual in Antwerp, Belgium. It’s not immediately clear if the domain owner is directly involved in the phishing scam, but BBB will be turning over its information to the FBI and Interpol for further investigation.

BBB offers this advice to anyone who receives this or other unsolicited emails with links or attachments:

Do not click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email.

If your email program allows it, tag the email as spam.

Report the email to your internet service provider.

If you are unsure if an email is legitimate, call the sender using a phone number that you know to be correct (not from the email).

Check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam) for additional information on scams.

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 gundersenenvision.org/waste-management.

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 www.UHCCF.org, 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 Kay Stewart at 786-1400, ext. 40195, or stewart.kay@co.la-crosse.wi.us.

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 greatrivers111.org.

To submit your information for a public service announcement, e-mail it to wsm.news@lee.net.

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