From Our Early Files Jan. 20


Jan. 25, 1996

When he becomes secretary of the state Department of Financial Institutions, it won’t be a first for Dick Dean, but it will be for Wisconsin.  The Whitehall native has already headed a state agency – the office of state banking commissioner – for not quite three years. But he will be the first boss of the new department, which combined four separate agencies and responsibilities from other offices.

Two Whitehall men working as emergency medical technicians were among the casualties in a carbon monoxide poisoning incident that killed two Blair-area women Friday night. Anthony Brickner and Lennis Helgeson, volunteers with the Tri-County Memorial Ambulance Service, were overcome by the deadly gas when they came to the aid of Rudolph and Ardella Dahl and their daughter Sally. Ardella Dahl, 81, and Sally Dahl, 58, died from their exposure to the fumes. It all began at 6:32 p.m. with a phone call by Sally Dahl reporting her mother was having difficulty breathing. When EMTs arrived at the residence, they found the door locked and saw Rudolph Dahl unconscious in a chair. They pounded on the door, but were unable to wake him. Sally Dahl remained on the line with dispatch, but had also gone unconscious. After forcing entry, dispatchers found Ardella and Sally Dahl unresponsive in a bedroom.

Something happened last Friday night which will forever effect Kerry and April Suchla of Arcadia. Kerry said that he went to bed Friday night and thought that he had three weeks to prepare for being a father for the second time. He was wrong. April told Kerry that her water broke and that they should get started for the hospital in La Crosse. While making the trip, April had a strange sensation, her unborn child wasn’t going to cooperate with his parents. Kerry was driving as fast as he could, but it wasn’t fast enough as he was forced to pull over on the road and Dalton Kerry Suchla was born in the front seat of their car.

Matthew Starck, 19, of Independence was pronounced dead at he scene of a crash on Trout Run Road near Arcadia last Tuesday.  

Glen Woychik, a farmer from Independence, participated in the National Athletes Strength Association’s National Competition in Kansas City on Jan. 20.

Youngsters are still grouped by grade at Trempealeau Elementary School, except for 30 minutes every Friday. Then children of all ages and grades join the 20 “family units” that were created last fall to introduce the new educational component, one in which older and younger students mingle, get to know each other, share ideas and offer the kind of family support that, ideally, members of real families offer each other.

The Trempealeau planning committee has limited the scope of the village’s historic district to generally both sides of Main Street between Third and First and praised a planned seven-lot subdivision off Fremont Street.

Three calls in four days were made by the Blair-Preston Fire Department. On Jan. 21, the department was called to the John and Brenda Emerson house on the corner of West Broadway and Peterson Avenue. On Jan. 18, they were called during a blustery snow storm to extinguish a chimney fire at the Spencer Hanson farm home in Welch Coulee. On Jan. 19, they were called to assist at the Rudolph Dahl home.

Joyce Christenson of Blair made a trip to the Wisconsin Lottery Money Game in Milwaukee and won $3,200.


Jan. 28, 1971

The Trempealeau River reclamation project is awaiting only warmer weather for the treatment of a total of 32 miles of the river and tributary streams with a toxicant that will destroy all fish in the waters. The object of the project is to create a more suitable environment for trout.

Pam Koepke, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Koepke, recently was named recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award.

Fred Thompson’s 25-foot jump shot at the buzzer gave Whitehall a 51-50 win over Augusta Friday, and kept the Norsemen within one game of first place Osseo-Fairchild. Thompson led the locals with 16 points.

Three incumbent Arcadia city aldermen and the candidate for municipal justice were the only persons to file nomination papers with city clerk Warren Shankey by the deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Three lines, three hooks; that’s the new rule for ice fishing in Wisconsin. The Department of Natural Resources reminded fishermen this week.

Arcadia High School moved into 18th place in the Wrestling’s Top Twenty ratings sponsored by the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association because of a 33-10 setback handed to Melrose-Mindoro last week. The Raiders have a 10-1 record.

The Gale Packing Company’s board of directors named Richard Byom plant manager last week.

An advisory citizens committee to the Gale-Ettrick School Board has been selected to assist the board in making plans for the new Galesville Elementary School, tentatively planned for construction in the early 1970s.

A blinding snowstorm hit the area as 17 inches of snow fell and winds of 25-to-30 miles per hour piled snow into huge drifts and closed most roads.

A large crowd was drawn to the second annual Snowmobile Derby at the Blair Sportsmen Club. There were 134 race entries.

The newly organized Trempealeau County Junior Livestock Auction Committee met for the first time.


Jan. 24, 1946

Sidney Hall of Eau Claire, engaged last fall by the city council as consulting engineer on public projects, recently submitted a draft of his plans for improvements of the facilities at Melby Park. They include rearrangement of the baseball field, creation of a football field in the outfield area, erection of movable bleachers and construction of restroom and shower facilities. The changes would be accommodated by vacating all of LaFollette St. from the Alf Wilberg property to the Albert Engen carpenter shop, and half of the street from the shop to Lincoln St.

Pvt. Danver Davidson was so anxious to reach the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Davidson in Irvin Coulee, after receiving his discharge from Camp McCoy, that he hired a taxi to bring him up from La Crosse.

A photographing unit is in use at the courthouse, making photographs of county records. The work is being done by the Trempealeau County Abstract Co., owned by Attorney Burr Tarrant, and the photographic unit is being operation by Charles Mason, recently discharged from the Navy.

Gerald Hagen, town of Pigeon treasurer, is a happy man these days, having received a 1942, three-wheeled Cushman motor scooter for Christmas. Gerald is hampered in his walking by an attack of poliomyelitis he had as a boy. In addition to his duties as town treasurer, he is employed as a bookkeeper at Trempealeau Valley Truck Lines.

The Army recruiting office, which has been maintained at Whitehall, with headquarters in the office of Service Officer Lon Tubbs, has been moved to Black River Falls.

Mrs. John Tomten of Pigeon Falls on Jan. 18 received a letter from Christian Gronvold, who lives near Oslo. Mrs. Tomten had sent clothes for Norwegian relief, and attached her name and address to the garments.

Leo Haines returned from a two-week trip which included a stay at Ottumwa, Iowa where he saw Sgt. Lloyd Hill, one of the two known survivors of the B-29 bomber on which Leo’s son, Sgt. Milton Haines was a gunner. Milton Haines was killed in action when the B-29 he was in exploded.

Ole Leque and Peter Siefert, Ettrick, paid fines of $5 and costs of $6.40 each after pleading guilty in justice court before P.M. Paulson at Whitehall Monday morning to charges of intoxication on the highway.


Jan. 27, 1921

Three officials of the Wisconsin Railroad Commission to Whitehall Thursday and held a meeting upon complaint against the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Co. regarding the rates charged for service to farmers and other rural residents along the lines the company put in between Mondovi and Fairchild and Alma Center and Blair. About 45 Trempealeau Valley farmers were present.

F.W. Lowe left last Friday, again for Texas, having in charge a dozen or more excursionists from Hixton and Alma Center.

The chronology editor of this paper, in the home-building article in the issue of Jan. 6, omitted one improvement highly important in that it was conceived by a woman and its construction directed by a woman. This home is on Abrams St., and the author and finisher of this neat little bungalow is Mrs. G.M. Steig.

Pigeon Falls — The baseball team will give a dance Wednesday evening, Feb. 2. A three-piece orchestra will furnish the music.

Northfield — Mr. Steen and Olaf Bergerson left for Texas last Friday on an excursion trip.

Borst Valley — Dave Hunt was kicked in the face by a horse last Wednesday. Archie Nyen has rented Hans O. Longseth’ farm, and moved on there last week.

Arcadians contributed $480 to the Starving Child of Germany fund, to be sent to the National Committee for American Relief with Herbert Hoover as chairman.

The newly organized Arcadia city basketball team was set to open the season with Mondovi.

The Arcadia village board passed an ordinance prohibiting the operation of an automobile, motorcycle or similar vehicle from going more than 15 miles per hour within the corporate limits of the village. Another regulation required the use of one lamp on the front and one red light on the back during night time hours.

Fire destroyed the large farm home of Thomas Oslie near Ettrick last Saturday.

Galesville’s canning plan is nearing completion. Strangers visiting town are surprised at its magnitude for it is said to be one of the largest in the state.


Jan. 23, 1896

The sale of the Green Bay railroad is formally announced to occur at Fort Howard on Feb. 18.

Isn’t it perhaps true that the reason so many men prefer to stay downtown rather than go home, is because it is so cold around the hearthstone.

Gilbert O. Eid of Pigeon drew a load of pressed hay from his farm to town, a distance of eight and one half miles, yesterday that weighed 6,965 pounds. When this feat is beaten we shall be pleased to record it, and give the man and the team the praise they deserve.

G.H. Olds has just unpacked another lot of Standard dictionaries, and is now delivering some to subscribers. It is a great work, and seems to be appreciated in this locality.

Pigeon Falls — This valley is exporting a great deal of hay this season, the present splendid condition of the roads being favorable to the hauling of the same.

Blair — Carl Johnson met with a serious accident Saturday by having one leg badly broken, and the other severely bruised, when he was kicked by a horse. It appears that Carl won a heavy draft horse through a raffle the night before, buying one ticket at 67 cents, and everybody thought that he got the horse cheap. But as this was the very horse that kicked him and broke his leg, it is likely to prove the most expensive piece of horseflesh he has ever owned.

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