From Our Early Files Jan. 27, 2021


Feb. 1, 1996

Most people who heard about the Jan. 19 carbon monoxide poisoning that killed two Blair-area residents probably figured it couldn’t happen to them. Not Eric and Audrey Haas of rural Whitehall. They knew that the colorless, odorless gas could kill anyone — because it almost killed them only eight days before the Blair-area incident. The Haases and her daughter Stephanie Maug, were alerted to the danger when a carbon monoxide detector went off that morning. A check by C-op Equity in Whitehall heating personnel found potentially fatal concentrations of CO, caused by a cracked heat-exchanger in the Haases’ 17-year-old Singer gas furnace.

Area residents are starting to refer to it as an “old-fashioned” winter, but the weather of January 1996 is creating some thoroughly modern problems. Snowfalls totaling about two feet over the past two weeks, along with blizzard-like conditions at times have city of Whitehall employees scrambling to keep streets clear. And school cancellations might keep the kids in class through early June.

The Arcadia Chamber of Commerce distributed its annual awards including Outstanding Business, Jensen Tie & Lumber; Outstanding Community Service, Adeline Klopotek; Outstanding Farm Family, Aloizy and Rose Waletzko; Corner Stone of Service Award, Helen Blaha and Outstanding Educator, Ken Theisen.

During his 36-year tenure with the Arcadia-Glencoe Volunteer Fire Department, one thing has remained constant for Alvin Zastrow, his never-ceasing commitment to the local community. He has worn several hats during his involvement with the community as he also served as the Arcadia Police Chief for many years. He was instrumental in working with the ambulance service and has been an EMT, but has now decided to retire.

Should Bob Koba be allowed to rebuild his fire-damaged home along the Mississippi River south of Trempealeau? Yes, said Koba at a public hearing at the courthouse in Whitehall Friday. Yes, said two of his neighbors and yes said the Mount Trempealeau Corp. and the Trempealeau Town Board. No, said the Department of Natural Resources and the Trempealeau County Zoning Department, which had denied Koba a building permit to rebuild the cabin that was struck by fire Dec. 15.

Last week’s storm, considered the worst in at least 10 years in terms of snowfall and wind-blow drifts, disrupted work and play schedules for many. Jeff Paulus of Jeff’s Service said he towed between 15 and 18 vehicles daily, including farm tractors and five semis that had slid off snow-clogged or icy roads.

Gerald Davis, Blair-Taylor High School forensics coach, was one of five people honored by the Wisconsin Forensics Association.

Clara Quarne of rural Blair was recently interviewed by a radio station in Norway. The phone conversation was spoken in Norwegian and is to be aired on the radio in Norway.


Feb. 4, 1971

State Rep. John Radcliffe has resigned from the Assembly and accepted appointment as state highway safety coordinator. Four candidates already have announced their intention to run for Radcliffe’s seat: Democrats Keith Hardie of Black River Falls, Alex Nelsestuen of Ettrick and Ernest Vold of Osseo; and Republican Alan Robertson of Blair.

Rick Auseth and Doug Nichols scored 28 and 22 points, respectively, as Trempealeau defeated the Whitehall city team 84-75 Saturday. Barry Johnson led the locals with 21.

Arcadia High School wrestlers captured the Dairyland Invitational Wrestling Tournament held in Independence Saturday.

Jim Sobotta, chairman of the Trempealeau County Farm Bureau safety committee presented a trophy to Randy Weltzien, president of the Arcadia FFA chapter, winner of the county farm bureau’s farm safety promotion contest.

Since the referendum for reorganization of the Trempealeau and Gale-Ettrick School Districts, questions have been raised as to the validity of the actions, the powers and the legal status of the G-E school board and administration. Reporters for the Galesville Republican have heard similar questions from the residents of both the G-E- and Trempealeau Districts. G-E- Superintendent Robert Howard studied the 1967 Senate Bill 353, Chapter 117m, titled School District Reorganization. Howard said: “Simply because there are changes in a school district, that does not mean that the district must cease to function. Regardless of the structural changes in the school district, youth still need education. The Wisconsin laws clearly designate which groups or school boards shall have these powers while reorganization is taking place.”

Vilas Crogan, 69, of Ettrick was fatally injured Friday when the car he was driving collided with a pickup truck driven by Lloyd Erickson, 53, Edward, Ill. The head-on collision occurred about 1.5 miles north of Ettrick on County Trunk C off state highway 53, during a blinding snowstorm.

The Trempealeau River Reclamation project is in its final stages. The purpose of the project is to remove all present fish life, which includes primarily pike, suckers and carp in order to provide a more suitable environment for trout.

Irwin Hogden was elected president of the Ettrick Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Ettrick State Bank elected Vilas Suttie as president.

The Erickson Lumber Company, owned by Don Erickson, Blair, has been sold to Ivan Stenberg of Blair.


Jan. 31, 1946

At the annual meeting of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church held Monday evening, Arthur Galstad was elected secretary of the congregation, succeeding Oswell Fremstad, who asked to be relieved of his duties after serving 15 years in this capacity. Lawrence Christopherson and Palmer Nelson were elected trustees, succeeding Orin Evenson and Emil Hanvold, who declined reelection. It was reported that 104 people had joined the congregation during the past year, and 24 were lost to death or removal from the community. One-hundred and 50 men and seven women from the congregation were in military service during 1945.

Whitehall is joining in on the national infantile paralysis drive for funds, and local chairman Roy Matson has decided on a basketball game as a source of entertainment and means of collecting funds. Two outstanding games will be played Feb. 3, starting with a preliminary match between the Arcadia and Whitehall city teams. The thriller will be between the undefeated Taylor American Legion team and the Independence Catholic Youth Organization quintet, which has nine victories and two losses this season. Leonard Ellison, former Blair basketball star, has been engaged to referee the contest.

The medical unit of the 313th Infantry with which Roman Sosalla of Whitehall served in the European theatre has been disbanded, so perhaps he is coming home soon.

Miss Blanche Knutson, who is employed at Eau Claire, spent the weekend with he parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benhard Knutson. Miss Knutson has been elected financial secretary for the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workers at the Claire-Mont Meat Producing Co.

Melvin Ackley of the town of Pigeon and Thomas Truog of Lincoln were reelected directors of the Cooperative Oil and Produce Co. at the annual meeting Saturday.

Edward Kampa, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kampa of Independence, was painfully injured in a car accident on Highway 93 just east of the Elk Creek bridge last Thursday night at approximately 11 p.m. Kampa was taken to the Whitehall hospital and treated for a concussion, a broken nose and many lacerations on his head.

Herman Sense has been engaged as the new state traffic officer for Trempealeau, Jackson and Buffalo counties. He succeeds Merlin Peterson of Black River Falls who territory will not be confined to Jackson County. Sense, who was moved here from the northern part of the state, called Sheriff Basil Erickson at Whitehall last week.

The village of Ettrick will install a sewage and water system. With a population of 400 it is said to be the largest unincorporated village in Wisconsin.

Discharges from the service include Tharald Thompson, Franklin; Orton Flaaten, Blair; Stanley Ekern, Ettrick; Borge Olson, Ettrick; Kermit Torkelson, Franklin; Millard Mark, Ettrick; Ralph Crogan, Ettrick and Archie Komperud, Ettrick.


Feb 3, 1921

F.W. Lowe has resigned from the Whitehall school board, and S.N. Hegge was appointed as his successor.

Are you aware there is a new industry in town? Just drop by Ted Kouf’s rooms and look at that library table he has just made, and then you will know there is a furniture expert right here in Whitehall.

Joe Haugh reports an increasing business at the Independence creamery, of which he has charge. Mr. Haugh is an efficient buttermaker, and we hope his success will continue.

The Rev. Hodney, formerly of the Baptist church here but now with the Anti-Saloon League, was here Tuesday.

The Beaver Valley State Bank of Ettrick has opened for business.

Miss Margaret Smith of Osseo has accepted a position with the John O. Melby and Co. Bank, succeeding Wm. H. Melby, who has become the cashier of the State Bank of North Bend.

The State Bank of North Bend opened its doors last Wednesday.

Sheriff Ed Erickson has named Arthur Kindschy to the post of deputy sheriff.

Several cases of smallpox are reported in Fox Coulee, in Tamarack.


Jan. 30, 1896

Genuine venison at the new meat market.

C.P. Thompson has resigned his business as business manager of the Whitehall and Pigeon Trading Association, to take effect as soon as a competent person can be found to succeed him, after five years of service, and will remove his family to La Crosse. In the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, Whitehall loses one of its most energetic and capable businessmen, and the society two of its most estimable members.

About two dozen persons from this vicinity attended the Burns festival at Arcadia Friday night.

Elk Creek — Albert Olson and Co., has finished filling the creamery ice house with ice.

Independence — Louis Runkel, known to many of our readers, has been chosen captain and pitcher of the Wisconsin University baseball team for the coming year.

Blair — Since reporting the death of M. Nutting, late of Taylor, last week, we have been told by a former neighbor that the deceased was not addicted to the use of liquor, our informant stating that during an acquaintance of 25 years, he never saw him enter a saloon nor drink intoxicants. We gladly make the correction. It is not our intention to libel the living, much less the dead.

Independence — The seats for the new Catholic church are being made at La Crosse. It will have a seating capacity of about 1,000, and will likely be dedicated about Easter.

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