From The Early Files Feb. 10, 2021




Feb. 15, 1996

Two area residents and a couple trucks donated by local fire departments, are part of a caravan of vehicles headed south this week on a Mission to Mexico. Clark Moe of Whitehall and Duane Sackett of Independence departed Saturday morning with about 20 other people and 10 other vehicles involved in the Lions Club project.

A rural Whitehall man who is fighting Trempealeau County’s mobile home ordinance was dealt a setback Friday. County Circuit Judge John Damon granted a motion for summary judgment, filed by the county district attorney’s office, against John Long. The judge’s action dismissed Long’s challenge to the way the ordinance was adopted in 1994.

Criminal proceedings against a fired former employee of the Trempealeau County Social Services Department were settled last week with a plea bargain. Kay Speerstra pleaded guilty last week Wednesday in Trempealeau County Circuit Court to two counts of misdemeanor theft by embezzlement. Speerstra, 41, originally was charged with two counts of misconduct in public office, a felony.

The city of Whitehall will apply for state grants that would help a new business locate in the east-side industrial park. The city council Tuesday night unanimously approved preparing applications for a state Department of Development grants. Also authorized was hiring Short Elliot Hendrickson —a Chippewa Falls engineering firm which has written successful grant applications for the city — to assist with the application. Sayer Lack USA, a Michigan-based firm, would purchase up to 10 acres of land from the city at $1,000 per acre. The company is a supplier of paints, stains and related chemicals to manufacturers. One of its largest customers is Ashley Furniture Industries.

The new connector wing at Franciscan Skemp Healthcare-Arcadia is scheduled to open Feb. 19. FSH-Arcadia administrator Robert Tracey, said that the opening of the connector wing is something which everyone has worked very hard to accomplish.

The FSH-Arcadia Foundation recently inducted five new members into the organization. New members are Deborah McKeeth, Janet Mueller, Larry Sonsalla, Carolyn Stark and Al Suchla.

A criminal complaint filed Monday by the Trempealeau County District Attorney’s Office accuses Ricardo Jiminez of Galesville of possessing more than 183 grams of cocaine. Jimenez, whose West Gale Avenue residence was raided Jan. 10, is charged with two counts of possession and dealing in cocaine as a repeat offender, and faces fines that could exceed $500,000 and a total prison term of 51 years if convicted.

The Hampe family of Galesville, through its Industrial Toolcrafters firm, said it’s willing to sponsor a youth program at Marynook beginning this year in the amount of $20,000 to get the ball rolling.

Nearly one-and-a half dozen parents questioned everything from the length of bus rides to the length of the school day for preschoolers in their first chance to talk to school officials about their plans for an all-day kindergarten as part of a new preschool center.

The publicity committee of the Blair-Taylor Partners for Progressive Education published a letter on the front page of the Blair Press highlighting why B-T School District residents should vote in favor of a $6.5 million referendum.

The Fagernes Lutheran Church held its annual meeting in which Lynn Axness, Nancy Bergman, Bud Hanson and Karen Husmoen were elected to the church council.

Winter in Wisconsin has called off school, thus far, in the Blair-Taylor School District five full days. This is in addition to the late starts and early dismissals. The snow days must be made up so the school year will be extended into June.


Feb. 18, 1971

The Whitehall High Student Council has chosen six names for the new school building nearing completion, from the list submitted by students and district residents: West Glen, West View, Centurion, Liberty, Heritage and Freedom. The district school board Monday night asked that two more names, Sunset Memorial and Vocational and Arts Center, be added to the list upon which the entire student body will vote.

The Whitehall city council last week Tuesday night voted to engage the Ehlers and Associates of Minneapolis to develop a long-range financing plan for several projects, including the proposed new swimming pool.

Three more candidates, Republican Frieda Kislinger of Black River Falls and Democrats Marion Michaels of Black River Falls and Ernie Reck of Arcadia, joined the race for 91st District Assembly prior to Friday’s filing deadline, bringing the field to seven.

A very successful year of operation was reviewed at the first annual meeting of the Arcadia Ambulance Service a week ago, according to Nic Jensen, president. Although the service was organized a year ago, operations actually began in July with the arrival of a new ambulance.

In a joint session of the Arcadia city council and public utilities commission last week Wednesday, it was unanimously decided to proceed with plans for additional electrical generation equipment to be installed at the municipal power plant.

Gerald Gleason and Gary Urness, instructors in the instrumental music department of the Arcadia Public School, announced that they are now rehearsing and preparing the various groups under their direction for cutting a record in the next few weeks.

Galesville merchants will take the “hatchet” to prices in the retail stores of the community in celebration of Washington’s Birthday, Feb. 19, according to Larry Ellis, chairman of the Retail Committee of the Galesville Business Association.

Dr. Goodwin Toraason “The Terrible Swede” in 1922, retired after being Blair’s only dentist for 62 years.

Mrs. Basil Tuff and Miss Alice Stumpf both fell and broke their wrists.


Feb. 14, 1946

A complete conservation program in Trempealeau County would involve a 38,000-acre reduction in cropland “as a first step,” over a period of perhaps 20 years. This is the estimate of the board of supervisors of the county Soil Conservation District.

The eighth-annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association district basketball tournament will be held at the Whitehall High gym Feb. 18-21. Teams participating will be Alma Center, Blair, Hixton, Independence and Taylor from the Trempealeau Valley league, Galesville and Trempealeau from the Coulee Conference, and Whitehall from the Mississippi Valley.

Eddie Hulberg, proprietor of the Hulberg Hatchery, recently received two Jamesway incubator-hatchers which he is installing this week. The latest type equipment will enlarge the egg capacity of the plant by 2,900 to bring the total capacity to 20,000 eggs and permit him to hatch about 3,000 chicks a week.

Iggy Sonsalla became sole owner of the Arcadia Hotel as of Feb. 5 when he purchased the interest of his brother, Stanley. They bought the hotel together from George Kostner last November and had managed it jointly until Iggy assumed entire ownership. Their father, John Sonsalla, will remain with Iggy as his assistant in the hotel and bar.

English brides of three ex-soldiers arrive in New York on the Queen Mary. They are Doris Dahl, wife of Spencer Dahl; Elanor Carlson and Lenore, wife and daughter of Donald Carlson, Taylor and Marjorie Berzinski and Carol, wife and daughter of Joseph Berzinski, Galesville.


Feb. 17, 1921

At the mass meeting held at the Whitehall Village Hall Friday evening, for the purpose of organizing a commercial club, the following officers were elected: A. Vold, president; E.C. Getts, vice president; L.L. Solsrud, secretary; and O.W. Elstad, treasurer. The organization will be known as the Whitehall Advancement Association.

The culprit Pawelka, or Paremba, who escaped from the county jail in September after inflicting a blow on the head of Jailer Haugh, has been arrested at Waukesha for some other crime, and Sheriff Erickson has gone there to see if he can have him surrendered to this county.

Thursday, Thomas Hulberg disposed of his mercantile business at Pleasantville, Nels Gunderson and his son, Edwin, being the purchasers.

Carl Hertzfeldt purchased the Knoop and Son shoe store located in the Hidershide building and took possession.

“Kicked Out of College” was presented as an Arcadia High School play with roles taken by Marcus Fugina, Charles Smith, Aaron Michalski, Adolph Kube, Ralph Tickochinsky, Laverne Studt, Wilmer Rosenow, Apollo Watkowski, Arnold Amundson, Norris Hoesley, Catherine Bohrnstedt, Gloadys Peddar, Kathryn Bigham, Amy Brom, Louise Schmidt, Edna Kried, Vera Kindschy, Nettie Kreid and Zelda Mergener.

H.O Benrud left Monday on his trip to Norway, his native land.

The annual meeting of the Galesville Canning Company was held Tuesday. The company now has a capital stock of $350,000.

Galesville High School defeated Holmen at basketball, 36-5.

Burt Adams, South Street, Galesville, had a barn-raising last week. About 20 men were present to aid in putting the heavy timbers in place.


Feb. 13, 1896

Miss Kittie Melby closed her school in Irvin Coulee last Friday.

Archie Wood is building a shed on the ear end of the town hall to house the road grader.

L.H. Whitney formally succeed C.P. Thompson as business manager of the Whitehall and Pigeon Trading Association Monday.

The Odd Fellows are enjoying a series of social gatherings which are held weekly. The one Friday evening was held at the residence of Messrs. Wing and Gage, and tomorrow evening the three-linkers will be entertained by their brother, L.L. Solsrud.

District Attorney Ekern was at Arcadia this week to prosecute a saloon keeper for selling liquor to a minor.

A test case at Sparta shows that the vaccination law is all wool and a yard wide. Mr. Isaac Beck, a school director, has been held to the circuit court for persisting in sending his children to school without certificates of vaccination. The case will probably go to the Supreme Court, which ever way the circuit court decides.

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