From The Early Files Dec. 1, 2021




Dec. 5, 1996

A Christmas parade, a visit from Santa and a craft show will highlight the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce Festival of Trees on Friday. 

The Whitehall city council last week approved a 1997 budget that will result in a substantial increase in city-purpose property taxes. The council did so while admitting that the increase could have been smaller. The message was less, “It could have been better,” than “it’s going to be worse.”  That’s because the council, anticipating major city expenditures in subsequent years, included some things in the 1997 budget that could have been paid for later. “The council committees decided to make 1997 a transition year… 1998 and 1999 look to be pretty drastic,” city clerk Johnson explained. 

People who have struggled to find their way around the Trempealeau County Courthouse during the county’s $3 million plus remodeling and renovation project will need another new map. Government agencies and departments were on the move again this week as the county gets ready for the final phase of the yearlong project. Some offices, in fact, will be moving to their permanent locations in the weeks to come. 

As an individual surveys Arcadia during the holiday season they can see a bright star on top of a hill behind Gold’n Plump. There is a deep meaning behind the story of the star and its reason for existence. In 1962, an employee of Trempealeau Electric Cooperative, Earl Everson died from cancer at 32 years old. He left behind his wife, Jean, and three young sons, Jeff, Ross and Todd. Jean used the money from Earl’s memorial fund to erect the star and cross, which would be lit during the holiday season. The star and cross was constructed by Trempealeau Electric employees on their own time. They, like Jean, wanted a lasting tribute. 

Julie Giemza, daughter of Joe and Jane Giemza of Arcadia, has been selected to receive the Wisconsin Holstein Association Younger Member Recognition Award. The award will be presented at the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention to be held in Lake Geneva in January. 

All seven of the 1996 road fatalities in Trempealeau County were alcohol-related Sheriff Ralph Weisenberger said announcing a possible highway safety award that could help remedy the situation. The sheriff said Monday that he was notified by state highway officials that the county could receive up to $25,000. The funds would be used by deputies in the form of overtime to work extra shifts. 

In what might be a first for the school district, a father-son team has taken the reins of the girls basketball program at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School. Brady Olson is the new head coach. His father, Harold “Punk” Olson is his assistant. 

Village officials will use services of a consulting firm to survey Ettrick residents about their wishes on a community center or possible community development projects. The firm will survey residents in an umber of areas on a confidential basis, turning over the results to the village board. 


Dec. 9, 1971

Representatives of the Whitehall Teachers Association and Whitehall district school board met Thursday with a representative of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in an attempt to reach a settlement in the recently declared negotiations impasse.

The Rev. Richard Kelling, new assistant pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, will arrive in Whitehall Jan. 1. Rev. Kelling has been a chaplain with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 10 years, serving in Kentucky, Colorado and California.

Led by 20 points from Fred Thompson and 12 each from Doug Knutson and Dave Schroeder, the Norsemen defeated Alma Center Lincoln 64-56 Friday for their first win of the season.

Enactment of the new revenue sharing bill by the state legislature this fall and a combination of other factors have resulted in a considerable saving to local taxpayers. The net property tax to be levied to city of Arcadia taxpayers this year will actually be $1.54 per thousand of assed valuation lower than last year. 

A unanimous ballot was cast for two new directors, LeRoy Fernholz and Aaron Bisek, at the annual meeting of stockholders of the Arcadia Cooperative Association on Saturday. 

Business people of the community were guests of the A-G Cooperative Monday for tours of co-op facilities and dinner in the evening at the Arcadia Country Club. The occasion provided an opportunity for Sister Mary Agnes, St. Joseph Hospital administrator, to comment to the business community on important challenges facing them in keeping the hospital functioning here as an essential service. Sister will leave Arcadia at the end of the year for new administrative duties at her order’s hospital and nursing home at Shakopee, Minn.  

The treasurer’s report for the annual meeting of the Galesville Volunteer Fire Department was read from the original treasurer’s book in which the first entry was made in 1880 in the Norwegian language. 

The annual Christmas concert of the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School music department will be presented on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. in the high school gym. 

Mrs. Mike Corcoran was the first winner of a $50 shopping spree awarded by the Galesville Business Association. 


Dec. 5, 1946

H.J. Elstad, city clerk, has received official notice that electricity must be conserved in Whitehall. Outdoor and window display lighting is curtailed, and electricity in homes and business places may be used for essential purposes only during the present emergency.

National Newsreels, Inc., of Whitehall and Black River Falls is the first movie company in the United States to have a complete series of high school football games in color, according to the incorporators, Colonel Larson of Whitehall and Henry Quartermont and Y. “Pidg” Hallingstad of Black River Falls. National Newsreels was started as an idea nine years ago by Mr. Larson, who took films of summer resorts in Wisconsin and Minnesota for advertising purposes.

The kindergartners of the Whitehall school took a trip to the toy departments of the various stores in the city Tuesday, and when they returned to class wrote a letter to Santa Claus, which included their requests for Christmas gifts.

Kermit Fagernes, hunting with Henry and Omer Nelson and Claude Jackson near Gordon, was the only one in that group to bring home venison. Vernon Lokken got a buck near Saddle Mound, while hunting with Edwin Anderson and George Lokken of Blair. Lory Halverson was the only member of the Whitehall-Independence group hunting at Gordon to have success. W.E. Sprecher, hunting with C.B. Melby in the north, got a buck, and Harold Arneson got his near Prey. County Agent Main, who missed a fine shot, changed guns and got a buck on Thanksgiving Day.

The continuous honking of an automobile horn warned Merton Hagen of Pigeon Falls that something was wrong in his garage Sunday morning, and he hurried out to 6 a.m. to find that his car was on fire. The Whitehall fire department arrived about 6:30, but it was too late to save the garage.

Preliminary plans for organizing a basketball league for city teams in this area were laid at a meeting held at the Legion clubrooms Tuesday, called by Roy Matson of Whitehall and the Rev. Francis Przybylski of Independence. Arcadia, Blair, Independence, Osseo and Whitehall were represented, but the league probably will have eight teams.

Rev Father Wren, chaplain at the state prison at Waupun, who wspent four years as a chaplain in the navy aboardship will be speaker at the K.C meeting at the club rooms in Arcadia. 

George Frisch and Bernard Tandeski have purchased the Winholz meat market and locker plant at Galesville and took charge of their new enterprise Monday of this week. They brought the business from Leon Fernholz who had operated it for about a month and a half, but was forced to give it up due to poor health. 


Dec. 8, 1921

Never since school board conventions have been held has there been such an attendance as at the annual event held in Whitehall last Thursday. Miss Berg was surprised and pleased with this manifestation of interest on the part of school board officers and others. The seating capacity of the courtroom was inadequate to accommodate them; chairs had to be brought from outside, and still there were people standing in the aisles.

At the trial of the case of Ogodziski against the Rev. Fr. Gara of Independence, held in La Crosse the past week, the plaintiff was successful in increasing his award of damages from the previous trial, the jury giving $5,000, while $3,500 was awarded at the trial held here. The case of Mrs. Ogodziski, who was awarded $8,000 in the first trial, is now before the jury.

Monday evening, the Whitehall Improvement Association met in both monthly and annual session. The association went on record as favoring a sales day in Whitehall, and appropriated a sum not to exceed $50 to defray the costs of advertising the same.

Arrangements have been made to heat the ladies restroom in the Village Hall. A radiator has been connected with the furnace that heats the library room, thereby assuring the restroom being warm enough for use during cold weather.

Carol Curtis is reported ill with scarlet fever.

York — Maurice Dahl traded 18 head of Holstein cattle for nine of Julius Thomley’s fine Guernsey cows.

Gale College offered a winter short course, 14 weeks of practical work for short termers. 

Public dances are under a ban at Blair for high school boys and girls outside of the village of Blair during school days or nights. It is hoped that the above ruling mentally and physically will be taken with good grace and that the public will assist the board in making our schools one of the best in the state. 

An excited youth from the town of Gale, Lester Hagen, reported seeing a deer and two others have seen deer. These are the first seen in many years. 


Dec. 3, 1896

The band masquerade ball at Opera Hall in Whitehall on Thanksgiving was largely attended and a pleasant affair.

Great ice gorges are causing floods that imperil Chippewa Falls. A terrible condition of affairs prevailed there Monday, with the city submerged for eight blocks from the river. The gorge is over five miles long and in many places 30 t0 60 feet high.

S.E. Alexander has moved his family into his new residence within the past week, and Geo. E. Birdsell has taken possession of the residence vacated and owned by Mr. Alexander.

C.W. Van Horn returned last week from New London. He remained there long enough to make it so hot for the butchers of that bailiwick that, in order to get rid of his lively competition, they bought him out. Mr. Van Horn has again opened his meat market in this town, and will be pleased to serve his old customers and new patrons. The genial John Nowitski, the expert, is in his employ.

Blair — Roads are pretty rough wheeling. Their condition ties farmers to their homes, and puts a dampener on trade.

Galesville — Lake Marinuka was never in a more inviting condition, and is giving a series of entertainments this week that calls out both old and young.

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