From The Early Files Feb. 17, 2021




Feb. 22, 1996

The Pigeon Falls Fire Department was called out about 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon to battle a barn fire on the Roger Guse farm, located just south of the village on W. Daggett (formerly Fuller) Coulee Road. The PF firemen, aided by men and equipment from the Whitehall department, were on the scene until 10 p.m. and returned several times overnight. The fire was caused by an electrical short, Guse estimated the loss to the building and its contents – baled hay and straw and some equipment – at upwards of $60,000.

What was billed as an attempt to increase farmer representation on the Trempealeau County Land Conservation Committee ran afoul of county board rules Monday night. A resolution to add two farmers to the LCC failed at the monthly county board meeting, despite being supported by a majority of the supervisors. But since the measure was considered a change in board rules, the 11-to-nine favorable vote fell three ayes short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Not only will Whitehall High be represented by a competitor — sophomore Lee Meinerz — at this year’s Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state wrestling tournament, one of the school’s teachers will be on the mat too. Longtime mathematics instructor Chuck Walek will be officiating when the tournament opens Thursday. Meinerz is the first WHS wrestler to qualify for the state tournament in 15 years.

Gerald Myers and his sons are following a dream that he has had for more than 15 years. Myers has always enjoyed growing things, now he plans to grow Shitake mushrooms. He said it has always been a dream to raise the mushrooms in a northern climate such as Wisconsin. He along with his four sons: Pat, Tom, Al and Mike, are getting the business off the ground.

Three Arcadia wrestlers, Matt Chambers, Jim Dabelstein and John Giemza qualified for the WIAA State Tournament.

Centerville’s Sylvia Severson has been selected to help carry the Olympic torch on its way to Atlanta. She is one of nine Wisconsin residents selected on the basis of community spirit and leadership to each carry the torch for a symbolic approximate, one kilometer in La Crosse on June 2.

The Trempealeau County Emergency Dispatch Center – reacting to a tragedy in Blair where carbon monoxide fumes killed two people and left two others unconscious – says it will refer all monoxide alert calls to local fire departments.

About 50 parents, most from Trempealeau and surrounding area, objected to the busing that would be part of a plan calling for central kindergarten in Galesville, at a meeting in the village Sunday afternoon.

The Blair Police Department received a report that four-door car belonging to Cindy Hanson was stolen from the Blair High School parking lot at about 10 p.m. Friday night. At 2 a.m. Saturday morning, officer Roger Will spotted the vehicle in the area of Tenney Avenue and South Urburg and he saw a juvenile male departing from the car. The driver then pulled out and headed toward Highway 95 before Will attempted to pull him over, however the driver did not heed the warning and fled. A chase continued onto County Trunk D, before Will came upon the car on as now-covered hill. He exited the vehicle to find no one in it. One adult male and two juveniles left the car in gear and fled on foot into a wooded area. The two juveniles turned themselves in after hiding in the woods — both had to be treated at Tri-County memorial Hospital for frostbite and were later picked up by their parents. The adult driver of the car is still at large.

First Lieutenant John Blaha, formerly of Blair, a member of the 132nd Support Battalion located in Madison was promoted to the rank of Captain by Major James Hart, Commander. Blaha is the son of Gerald and Geraldine Blaha of Blair.


Feb. 25, 1971

The Whitehall Lions Club will host a professional wrestling matches to be held at the high school gymnasium on March 26.

Trempealeau and Jackson county residents will go to the polls next Tuesday in a special primary election to select nominees in each party for the office of assemblyman left vacant by John Radcliffe of Strum. The runoff between the top vote getter in each party will be held April 6 in connection with the general spring election. Republicans Alan Robertson and Mrs. Frieda Kislinger will face off with the winner competing against the top vote getter from the Democratic field of Keith Hardie, Ernest Vold, Alex Nelsestuen, Marion Michaels and Ernie Reck.

Salaries and wages for Arcadia city employees were among the main issues for the city council last week. The councilmen set base and top salary scales for five salaried city employees and then went about setting actual salary and wage increases for 1971. Base salaries include $500 per month for the city clerk/treasurer, $300 for assistant city clerk/treasurer; $500 for chief of police; $400 for police officer and $500 for street commissioner.

Arcadia High School will send one man – 98-pounder Jim Haines – to the Wisconsin state wrestling tournament. The son or Mr. and Mrs. Jack Haines has a season record of 30-0-0 and a career record of 48-3. He is a high school junior.

An open house will be held to see the new elementary addition and new high school laboratory in Blair.

A young musical group called the Sunnyside Singers have been very busy entertaining since their beginning. Members are Bruce Dahl, Rosalie Anderegg, Jeff, Kevin and John Jacobson and Nancy Emerson.

The Blair-Preston Fire Department will buy a new tanker pumper in a 50-50 deel with the city of Blair and Preston township.

First Lieutenant Thressa (Shay) Vining, daughter of Thomas Shay, French Creek, was promoted to Captain and is an army nurse in Vietnam.


Feb. 21, 1946

For the first time, no local township elections will be held this spring in Trempealeau County and elsewhere in Wisconsin. Pursuant to a law enacted in 1943 and effective last year, towns will elect their officers in odd-numbered years for two-year terms; previously, elections were held every year for one-year terms.

A German field range finder used for spotting aircraft is among the trophies sent back from Germany by S/Sgt. Earl Stendahl, who has himself returned and received his discharge. It is currently one display at the Selective Service Board office in the courthouse.

Miss Helen Simenson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Simonson of Coral City, left Feb. 15 from Washington, D.C., for Stuttgart, Germany. Miss Simenson has been with the U.S. Department of State the past three years. Her brother, Pvt. Robert Simenson, is also in Stuttgart, with the occupation forces, and she intends to look him up at her first opportunity and surprise him.

The house of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Semb at Pigeon Falls and all its contents were completely destroyed by fire Thursday. No insurance was carried, so the loss was complete. The house was built out of two trailer houses and was located just north of the village on Hwy. 53.

Seven people were injured in a head-on automobile collision, which occurred on Highway 35 near Marshland. The injured were Ed Klink, his wife and daughter, Patricia, Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Sobotta, Henry Wener and his mother Edward. The vehicles collided in the center of the highway.

A.J. Sather purchased the Blair Hotel building from W.E. Chenoweth and will remodel the first floor into an up-to-date store with two modern apartments upstairs.


Feb. 24, 1921

The firemen’s mask ball Tuesday night was a huge success from every standpoint. There was a record attendance, with 247 dance tickets sold, excellent music by the Pathea Orchestra, and a large number of maskers. Laura and Jane Anderson, as George and Martha Washington, were judged the best-dressed couple; Joe Gamache and Irene Wold won those honors for the gentlemen and ladies.

John Saugstugen, who has a room above Mrs. Herb’s, accidentally set fire to his bed early Monday morning. He apparently had been smoking while lying in bed, setting the mattress and quilts on fire.

A.M. Dake, who has faithfully served the patrons of route three for the past 15 years, retires from Uncle Sam’s service this week. Louis Hanson will substitute on this route until a regular carrier is appointed.

Mr. and Mrs. Geroge Pieper, aged 25 and 24, and an infant child were instantly killed and another child, 3, seriously injured when their automobile was struck by a Burlington passenger train at a Cochrane crossing.

A deal was closed the past week by which Mike Abts traded his harness and repair shop, including stock and building, to Albert Pehler for the latter’s farm on Pine Creek hill.

Six Arcadians, found guilty as owners of stills in U.S. District Court at La Crosse, were let off with $5 fines following a plea by John C. Gaveney, their attorney, that none was willfully guilty of violation of the law and had, in fact, aided the prohibition agents in obtaining possession of their stills.

Ralph Hamilton, Caledonia farmer and dairyman, plans to start a milk route in Galesville. The price for milk will be eight cents per quart and 45 cents per quart for cream.

An organization known as the Trempealeau Booster Club was perfected last week with 25 charter members. George Gibbs was elected president.

Work on Centerville’s new schoolhouse and the creamery will be continued when the school building is complete, Centerville can boast of one of the most modern and upto0-date equipped schools in the county.


Feb. 20, 1896

Of course, the weatherman can disagree with the groundhog and avoid being called a “cuckoo.”

The Blair village council was down Thursday to see our chemical fire engine work. They did not conclude to purchase it.

Last first day the Blair polo club, in response to a challenge sent them by the Whitehall polo club, came down, and in the afternoon one of the best games that was ever played here was had. It was evident from the start that the game was for blood, as each player did his best to score a point. Undoubtedly the boys from our sister town thought that they would have a complete walkaway, the same as a year ago, but to their surprise and chagrin the tables were turned, and after six innings our boys were declared the winners by a score of six to one. Another game will be played in the near future, and this time it will be for “stuff.”

Pigeon Falls — The valentine insanity doesn’t seem to have any hold on the people of this locality, and we consider it greatly to their credit, as few things can show a lower purpose and less manhood than to try to show one’s contempt for another by sending one of these disgusting pictures with an equally dirty lingo to match.

Independence — A horse belonging to Clements Killian was shot dead Tuesday forenoon. It seems that it is the custom at these Polish weddings to have two mounted on horseback to head the procession, and they as a rule carry revolvers to salute. My mistake a bullet was sent through the horse’s head.

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