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La Crosse police seize 2 pounds of meth in North Side raid
La Crosse Police Department 

Police said the amount of methamphetamine seized from Henke is more than all the 37 possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine charges that police referred to the La Crosse County District Attorney’s office in 2018.

Police busted a La Crosse man Tuesday with more than two pounds of methamphetamine and other drugs with an estimated value of $40,000, police said.


Andrew R. Henke, 35, was arrested on a charge of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, police said.

La Crosse police said officers executed a search warrant at a residence of the 800 block of Avon Street after receiving a tip that drugs were being sold from there.

Police arrested Henke and investigators discovered more than two pounds of methamphetamine, which is equivalent to about 1,000 grams and has a street value of about $26,000, police said.

Police also said they discovered drug-packaging material, more than 110 grams of an unknown white substance and more than $14,000 in cash.

“While the La Crosse area continues to struggle with drug dealing of all kinds, methamphetamine is clearly the most significant drug issue for our community,” police said in a statement.

Police said the possession with the charge of intent to deliver methamphetamine is a growing issue and has exceeded all the other possession with intent to deliver charges referred to the La Crosse County District Attorney’s office in 2018.

Here are the 2018 statistics for possession with intent to deliver: 37 possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, 20 possession with intent to deliver THC, nine possession with intent to deliver heroin and seven possession with intent to deliver cocaine charges.

The Emergency Response Team assisted La Crosse police investigators in executing the search warrant.

La Crosse County Circuit Court felony cases in March
La Crosse County Circuit Court felony cases in March

Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune 

Kimberly Thompson talks with her birds, Aeires, left, a macaw, and Corky, a cockatoo, as the three took a walk together recently down a South Side alley. To see a video, go to

Lisa Mellen is 2019 Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival breast cancer survivor ambassador
Emily Pyrek / Contributed 

Lisa Mellen will serve as the 2019 Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival breast cancer survivor ambassador during the annual event on June 22. 

Lisa Mellen loves to talk up paddling, pulling aside anyone who will listen to extol its virtues. So it was only fitting the ever- enthusiastic La Crosse woman will serve as breast cancer survivor ambassador for the 2019 Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival.

Mellen, 52, was diagnosed in March 2012 and paddled in the Dragon Boat Festival’s inaugural event in 2013 and every year since.

During a reception Wednesday evening at the Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern, Mellen was revealed as ambassador for the annual fundraiser, race and awareness event. It’s an honor Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival event coordinator Heidi Odegaard says is well deserved.

“Lisa is compassionate and giving to others facing breast cancer,” Odegaard said. “She’s a supporter, friend and sounding board, and she’s a self-described dragon boat missionary.”

During the past two decades, dragon boat racing has become a symbolic and therapeutic activity for those who underwent breast cancer surgery, the arm exercise helping to prevent or reduce lymphedema and the team component a source of emotional support.

“Paddling in the festival is a great thing because you are with other survivors,” Mellen said. “You don’t feel like a breast cancer patient, you don’t feel like a victim, you are a fighter. You’re in that boat and you’re fighting together. No one person does it alone.”

Though a proponent of seeking support, Mellen understands how difficult it can be to broach the subject with loved ones. When she discovered a lump in her right breast after a mammogram in October 2011, Mellen was hesitant to share the news, not wanting to worry anyone prematurely and already scheduled to go on a trip to Hawaii with friends.

She made the most of her trip, searching out a majestic waterfall and earning the nickname “Princess Standing Tall” as she posed majestically in front of the flowing water. But all the while, concerns about her health continued to nag at her.

In March 2012, Mellen underwent a second mammogram and an ultrasound at the Mayo Clinic Center for Breast Care, a biopsy and imaging revealing she had cancer.

“I was quite shocked,” recalled Mellen, who has little history of cancer in her family. “I of course didn’t expect it. I remember saying to the nurse, ‘I don’t understand this. I’m very healthy.’”

Mellen elected to have a single mastectomy, and within a month she was in remission. But “there was still fighting left to do,” the expanders needed for reconstruction surgery causing her pain and Mellen suffering from lymphedema in her right arm. She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy during the next months to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

“There’s always concern,” says Mellen, who is vigilant about self examinations and annual breast exams. “It happened once, it can happen again.”

The next March, Mellen received a letter from Mayo Clinic Health System, inviting her to participate in La Crosse’s first Dragon Boat Festival on the “Mississippi Sisters” survivor team.

Immediately on board, Mellen and her teammates practiced by sitting at the edge of a swimming pool and synchronizing their oars. The race occurred on July 6, which happened to be the anniversary of her third round of chemotherapy.

“It was like, ‘Take this, cancer!’ “ Mellen said of the significance of the date.

Mellen instantly developed a passion for the sport, noting, “It’s kind of infectious once you get in the boat. It doesn’t matter what kind of day I had. ... It makes you feel strong, it makes you feel good. It does feel empowering.”

Last year, Mellen joined a group of women in the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission Dragon Boat Festival in Italy. Held every four years, the event draws more than 100 teams of breast-cancers from five continents. Being part of an all-survivor team, both in Italy and La Crosse, is a bonding experience.

“It’s an incredible group of women,” Mellen said. “Courageous, strong, they’re all fighters. The focus is on the fight, the focus is on getting us stronger, the focus is on dragon boat and being a team.”

Mellen, who has been called a “warrior,” is excited to join the sisterhood of ambassadors at the 2019 Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival, being held June 22 on the Black River along Copeland Park.

“I was really touched, really honored to be selected” Mellen said. “The group of ambassadors — they’re people I look up to, women with incredible stories.”

Photos: Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival in La Crosse
Photos: Big Blue Dragon Boat Festival in La Crosse

Richard Tsong-Taatarii