From The Early Files April 7, 2021




April 11, 1996

Members of the 1996 Whitehall High School Junior Prom court are Chris Schroeder, Jeff Martinovici, Chad Foss, Travis Schroeder, Larry Paul, Cameron Severson, Rebecca Thompson, Amanda Staff, Tracie Schroeder, ALisha Sharp, Jarrod Fromm, Arne Berg, Annesa Semingson and Tabitha Lyon. Tyler and McKenzie Bortle, children of Mr. and Mrs. John Bortle, will be the miniature prom king and queen.

The city of Whitehall probably will receive a $500,000 federal grant to construct a new water reservoir on the west side and improve other municipal services in that area. The city council was informed Tuesday night that the Economic Development Administration had approved the city’s pre-application for a grant. The council approved completing a final application for the grant, which would cover about 50 percent of the cost of the project.

If the Whitehall city council adopts a special committee’s recommendation, the fire station would be moved to the City Center. A special ad hoc committee recommended to the council that an addition be built onto the former Memorial High School to house the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Department. The city purchased the old school from the Whitehall School District in 1994 and moved most city functions to the facility last year.

Josh Windjue and Rose Kulig were named the recipients of the 1996 Norse Awards and the senior scholar-athlete awards.

Mary Ann Servais of Arcadia was selected as the WWIB Radio Farm Woman of the Year. She has been involved in agriculture most of her life and currently farms with her husband, Dale. Considering the number of counties represented for the award – the station is based out of Chippewa Falls – Servais said she feels very fortunate that she was selected as the recipient.

Members of the Arcadia High School Junior Prom are Malissa Scow, Kendra Slaby, Sara Brandt, Kathryn Slaby, Rebecca Benusa, Mark Rumpel, Justin Giemza, Matt Chambers, Chris Blaschko and Nate Mullikin.

A fire that apparently began in a burn barrel destroyed a machine shed on a Highway K farm Tuesday. A pickup truck and a loaded corn wagon were among the items destroyed in a fire whose black smoke was visible in Galesville, five miles to the northeast.

A 140-acre farm on Hwy. K between Galesville and Trempealeau has moved up to the No. 1 choice among potential high school sites, in part because the top-ranked tract doesn’t seem to be available. The stated unwillingness of one owner to sell his share of the 80-acre Evenson-Vasques site at Hwys. K and 54-93 means that the Bender site further south on Hwy. K has moved up in the consideration of the G-E-T school board’s long range planning committee.

R & L’s Bar and Grill in downtown Blair was broken into early Wednesday morning April 3, sometime after closing hours. Stolen was a money bag containing a few hundred dollars and cigarettes. A break-in at Petersen’s Bar was also reported sometime later in the week. Both are being investigated by the Blair Police Department and the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office.

A painting of the Trempealeau Valley Lutheran Church was recently presented to the church by Roger Waller, rural Pigeon Falls, in emmory of his parents, the late Alfred and Esther Waller. Joe Maldonado, Trempealeau Valley Church president, accepted the painting on behalf of the church.


April 15, 1971

Blair Republican Alan Robertson, a 29-year-old first-time candidate, won special election for the State Assembly seat representing Jackson and Trempealeau counties, defeating veteran Democrat Keith Hardie, who once represented the district. Robertson succeeds John Radcliffe, who resigned.

An old landmark on Scranton St., which has housed a variety of businesses since the 1890s, is being torn down. Located just east of the Johnson Furniture Store, the building is being razed by Mr. Johnson in order to provide an entranceway at the rear of his building.

Funeral services for Lois Sobotta, 19, killed in a one-car accident near Plum Creek about 5 p.m. Saturday were held at Our Lady of perpetual Help Catholic Church in Arcadia. Lois, daughter of Mrs. Aurelia Halverson, Arcadia, and the late William Sobotta, was pronounced dead on arrival at Tri-County Memorial Hospital in Whitehall. She died of a broken neck, according to coroner Monica Liley. The accident scene is about five-and-a half miles south of Whitehall on a town of Arcadia road.

“Purple Haze” has been selected as the prom theme by the Arcadia High School junior class. Prom royalty are James Haines, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Haines, and Marcea Hanson, daughter or Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Hanson, all of Arcadia.

A trip to visit friends and go to the Twin City Zoo resulted in fatality for the wife and three young children of Rev. Mark Shore, pastor of the Berean Baptist Church, Galesville. Patricia Shore, in her early 20s, Joel, 3, David, 2, and Paul, about 1, lost their lives as a result of a head-on collision on Minnesota Highway 61.

In a joint meeting of the Trempealeau and Gale-Ettrick school boards, both groups admitted that misunderstanding had arisen do to differences in policies and philosophies of the two school boards. These misunderstandings resulted in a lack of communication between the two boards. The boards further worked out methods whereby they could work together more closely for better understanding and overall cooperation in the new district.

Blair Forensics students going to the state meet are Jinny Davis, Anna Legreid and David McFarland.


April 11, 1946

The Whitehall city council Monday evening passed an ordinance creating a housing authority to administer the 10 new demountable homes that have been purchased from the Federal Housing Authority and moved here from Indiana.

The expansion of the Pigeon Falls Cooperative Creamery is continuing. Work is progressing on the 40- by 108-foot warehouse currently under construction.

County Agricultural Agent Arnold Wochos has announced that, due to the considerable interest shown by farmers in the use of dynamite for digging drainage ditches, a demonstration will be held this coming Monday on the Melvin Gilbertson far, located on Co. Hwy. D near the Bruce Valley School.

Ardell Linnerud, freshman at Whitehall High and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carsten Linnerud, had a happy surprise one day last week. Station Agent A.B. Erickson called the school to inform Ardell that he had received a cablegram, which had come from his grandfather, Andrew Linnerud of Oslo, Norway. The message was sent immediately on receipt of Ardell’s confirmation picture.

For the first time in several years, Whitehall High is publishing an annual. The senior class has just sent to the printers a 36-page book that will be called “The Echo,” chosen since it was the first name of an annual put out by the school.

Charges of selling fermented malt beverages to a person under age 16 have been filed against Clarence Bautch and Charlie Pietrek, operators of taverns in the town of Burnside and Independence, respectively. They are charged with selling beer to Verne Gunem, a Whitehall High freshman who was one of two youths injured when a car driven by his brother, Donald Gunem, struck a tree on Co. Hwy. X Sunday evening.

Ernie James, proprietor of the Whitehall Dray Lines, recently purchased an International Tractor and semi-trailer from Briggs Transfer Co., and is using the vehicle in hauling ice from Eau Claire to the Land O’ Lakes plant here. The plant is shipping two carloads, and a truck-load or two, of milk products a day by rail, destined as far south as Florida. The cars and trucks have to be iced, and Mr. James is attending to that task.

Vern Gunem, son of Carl Gunem of Bruce Valley, near Strum, is recovering at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Arcadia form injuries he received from being in an utomobile accident near Independence. The 16-year-old received most of his injuries when he was thrown from his vehicle.

Mrs. LaVern Sobotta, the former Irene Joan Lee of London, England, and her two-year-old son, James arrived in the state in late March. They came to Arcadia to be reunited with their husband and father, who was discharged from them military on Aug. 9.

Wm. Moen sold his farm in Tappen Coulee to Jerome Skorstad.

Cornel Hogden, Ettrick has torn down the barn on his property and will erect a garage.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith Beirne are moving to the Van Vleet house south of Ettrick.


April 14, 1921

E.J. Onstad, secretary of the Wisconsin Progressive Association, and Phillip La Follette were here Wednesday speaking in the interests of the progressive movement. A temporary organization was affected, Elmer Immell being elected chairman and J.P. Hanson, secretary.

The Whitehall High girls practiced indoor baseball for the first time this season last Monday afternoon after school.

The local Legion post did not prepare a special program for Loyalty Week, but at Independence the Sura-Marsolek post observed the whole week by flying the colors, and by a special program Thursday afternoon.

York — There is a crew of men working on the mill pond here. The dam still threatens to undermine, and it is now hoped that it will stop.

Excavating for Dr. Jegi’s new residents on Ridge Street is well underway. Work on the George Kell’s new home in the University Addition is moving along.

Every day finds Galesville’s big canning factory nearer completion. Solicitors are contracting a large acreage of peas.

The year of 1920 was a banner period for the First Presbyterian Church of Galesville. Not only is the congregation free of debt, there is a balance of $500 in the treasurer.

Pastor C.B. Bestul of French Creek congregation conducted funeral services April 4 for Pvt. Martin Erickson, a son of the late Paul Erickson and the first Trempealeau County soldier to be killed in France in the World War. Services were held from the Fagernes Church. When the American Legion Post at Arcadia was organized, it was named after Private Erickson.


April 9, 1896

Three inches of snow fell last night. It is to be hoped that we will have some “weather” after this.

A.E. Wood had his took chest broken into last Thursday night, while it was temporarily housed under a shed in the lumber yard, and about $40 worth of his carpenter tools stolen. As yet the guilty parties have not been rounded up.

The village of Osseo is all torn up over a very dirty case, to say the least. Dr. James Best, a physician of that place, is accused of committing rape on Mrs. Henry Browne, wife of the editor of The Recorder, the local newspaper. The sentiment of the community seems to be divided as to the guilt of the offender; but whether he be found guilty of the crime of rape or not, the accusation and attendant results are bound to break the doctor up in business.

In all probability, Main Street between the town hall and John O. Melby’s residence will be built up this summer, as all the lots excepting one have been purchased by Messrs. Parker, Sweet and Stallings, who intend to build residences as soon as weather permits.

E.L. Barber, of the Green Bay Mercantile Protective and Collection Association, was arrested last week, charged with violating the postal laws by mailing a newspaper to C.F. Dickinson, the paper being so folded that an advertisement offering for sale an account against Dickinson was plainly visible.

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