From Our Early Files May 5, 2021




May 9, 1996

The village of Pigeon Falls, which witnessed a building boom last year, may see another one in the near future. The village board Monday night agreed to participate financially in a project that would develop up to 16 new residential lots.

A judge has refused to shorten the prison term of a convicted Arcadia child molester who claimed he was sentenced incorrectly. Pierce County Judge Robert Wing last week Tuesday denied a motion filed by the attorney for Howard Harmston, who was found guilty last may of sexually assaulting children for the second time in three years. Harmston, 56, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for first-degree sexual assault after he had pleaded no contest to having sexual contact in the fall of 1992 with a girl who was six years old at the time. Wing ordered that the sentence run concurrently to the four-year term he had been given on an earlier charge. In doing so, Wing had rejected the county district attorney’s office’s recommendation of a three-year sentence.

Kids young and old in the Whitehall area will be able to relive a great American tradition next month when the circus comes to town. The Whitehall Lions Club will sponsor an appearance by the King Royal Bros. Circus on June 4.

His predecessor served 22 years without doing it, but Gary Smieja didn’t even make it through one meeting. The new Independence mayor, in the first regular council session he chaired, had to cast a tie-breaking vote Monday night. And the issue was the same as the one that forced former Mayor O.J. Evenson to intercede a month earlier. But Everson had voted against rejecting the city’s participation in a state program that pays municipal police officers to perform inspections on motor vehicles that have been repaired as a result of accidents. Smieja, took the opposite side, voting to accept a law enforcement committee recommendation against the proposal.

Arcadia native Dennis “Lead” Bjorge recently signed a one-year lease with the Arcadia Country Club board to manage the facility. He is taking over from Jerry “Red” Gadzinski, who decided not to renew his lease.

Betty Moe recently decided to open a branch of Higgins’ Travel Associates in Arcadia at the same location of her other business, Bernice’s Style Shop.

The Independence Volunteer Fire Department along with the Arcadia-Glencoe department responded to a fire at the farm of Robert Luethi in Independence last Friday evening. The blaze quickly consumed the barn, but no livestock was lost in the fire.

Scores of tools, appliances, office supplies and furnishings that the city acquired with the purchase of Marynook will go on the auction block June 1, under a plan proposed by a mayor’s advisory committee.

Members of the Trempealeau village board want to know what’s on their neighbor’s minds in the annexation kind of way. They’ve called a meeting with adjoining property owners and officials from the towns of Trempealeau and Caledonia. The issue was raised at the end of the board’s May meeting Monday night by Trustee Lisa Wolters. She said that if development of residential lots on the perimeter of a golf course being developed by Harold Wilber proceeds to the point that a septic system are developed, those homeowners aren’t ever likely to want to pay for the village sewer service, the price, in effect, of being annexed.

Electors from the Blair-Taylor School District went to the polls and defeated a $6.5 million building referendum by a margin of more than two-to-one, voting 974 against and 450 in favor. Had the referendum been approved, it would’ve provided the necessary funds to build a new high school.

The need is here and now that need will be fulfilled with the opening of Blair Kiddy Care. Brenda Shefelbine of Blair and Sandy Thompson, Galesville, will be opening the center at 206 W. Broadway St. on May 13.

Blair-Taylor High School senior Christina Miller has been selected as a finalist for the Coulee Region Sportsmanship Award. Fifty schools comprise the Coulee Region and only 10 finalists are chosen.


May 13, 1971

Selection of jurors for the murder-abortion trial of David Franzwa of Eleva, charged with killing his pregnant wife in December, began Monday morning in Trempealeau County Circuit Court.

Fred Pfeiffer, president of the Pigeon Falls State Bank, has announced that construction will begin immediately on a new bank building, with completion expected by Dec. 1.

Hutchins-Stendahl American Legion Post Tuesday discussed the second and third phases of its conservatory project in the area near the Whitehall dam.

Sixteen Arcadia girls, all spring graduates of Arcadia High School, have entered the 1971 Broiler-Dairy Festival queen competition. Contestants include: Therese Bremer, Barbara Foegen, Jeannie Haines, Gloria Hannon, Nancy Kube, Becky Lawrence, Linda Lecheler, Peggy Maloney, Judy Olson, Jackie Persick, Barbara Pronschinske, Linda Rossa, Sharon Rumpel, Kathy Schank and Jane Sobotta.

New Arcadia Public School teachers include Mary Abts, Jane Matchey and Paula Erdman.

Cheryl Anderson was named valedictorian and Kathy Collins salutatorian at Gale-Ettrick High School. There are 89 members of the senior class.

Wilbur Dick, a lifelong resident of the Galesville community, just can’t stay out of service stations and away from his old haunts at the corner of North Main and East Ridge. Dick is back doing “business as usual,” yet there is a difference. The service station has been completely redecorated and there is a brand name. Since May 1, Dick has been selling Texaco. Dick reported that Mrs. Ernest Erickson, owner of the property, recently signed a lease agreement with the company and asked Dick to manage the station. As the distributor of another petroleum product, Dick had closed the station in 1970.

Street signs and house numbers are being purchased and installed by the Ettrick Lions Club.


May 9, 1946

The new Walgert Hotel, which takes its name from the first names of its proprietors, Walter and Gertrude Hauge, is now open to the public. The Hauges recently purchased the hotel from Whitehall Enterprises, which had bought the business from Mrs. Henry Hundt a year ago and has since extensively remodeled the building. Mrs. Hundt had run the hotel from 1911 to 1945, the first 11 years with her late husband.

Major Gen. Ralph Immell, the son of the late Frank Immell of Blair and his wife, has announced his candidacy for governor on the Republican ticket. A veteran of World Wars I and II, he recently returned home after many months of service overseas.

The Memorial Forest on the hill north of Whitehall is badly in need of a good trimming up to save the young evergreen trees. The Boy Scouts, under Oscar Thoreson and Keil Blank, have done a good job with the forest, but they should have help at this time. The Lutheran Brotherhood has set this coming Monday at 3 p.m. as the clean-up day for this civic enterprise.

Baseball makes its official post-war debut at Melby Park Sunday, when Mondovi opens the Bi-State League schedule against the Whitehall Cubs. Sheriff Basil Erickson was the unanimous choice for manager at the meeting held Friday evening. Fifteen men have been working out at the park, and the returned GIs, along with last year’s squad, should be able to uphold the local baseball reputation.

Carol Passow and Lucille Rotering were Arcadia High School’s representatives at the state FHA demonstration contest in Chippewa Falls. A representative from Prairie Farmer magazine awarded prizes to the contestants.

Four Arcadia Public School teachers have announced their resignations effective at the close of the present school year. Those who will not return are Miss Rosanne Bates, Mrs. Mary Bautch, Miss Eunice Mottley and Mrs. Evelyn Frisch.

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Andrews of Bloomer and Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson of Colfax have purchased the Century Theatre from LaVerne Kostner of Arcadia.

Basil Benedict, 26, died last Sunday evening while getting the cows.


May 12, 1921

Miss Myrtle Larson of Strum, alleged responsible for the death of her newborn child, was bound over to circuit court at an examination held before Justice Larson here Friday, and was released on furnishing a bond of $5,000. The trial is set for June 20 before Justice Higbee.

Tomorrow evening marks the graduation of a class of six nurses of the Whitehall Training School, the ceremony to be held at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church at 8 p.m. The members of the graduating class are Gertrude Halverson, Ina Anderson, Mabel Sinrud, Petra Larson, Martha Halverson and Agnes Stone.

Last Friday and Saturday, some of our citizens noticed “aeroplanes” passing over Whitehall.

Whitehall was host to a group of substantial businessmen from Durand. A committee appointed by the businessmen’s club there called at our hospital to get pointers on building a similar institution in there city.

The first game of the season was played on the home grounds last Sunday, and resulted in a victory by the Whitehall boys, 8 to 1 over Strum.

York — The farmers around this vicinity have commenced work on the road where it was greatly damaged by the flood this spring.

The new St. Michael’s Church at North Creek was completed and blessing of the new bell was to take place on Sunday.

Gale College students had a merry party on the lakefront Saturday evening. A picnic lunch and Maypole were included in the program.

Ingvald Iverson is carrying an arm in a sling. He cranked a Ford.

Carl Anderson received the tanned skin of a tiger cub from his brother, Guy, who is in the U.S. Navy.


May 7, 1896

At the Whitehall village election, there was only one contest between the caucus nominees and independent candidates. George Quackenbush, nominated at the caucus, defeated Joseph Sherwood and W.G. Fuller. The contest for the mayoralty was conducted in friendly spirit and no bad blood was spilled nor rancorous feeling engendered as a result. The new administration is composed of good men, who have the best interests of the village at heart, and we shall look for a conservative and businesslike management of the affairs at their hands.

Clean up your dooryards, but don’t dump your decaying vegetables and other offensive stuff in the streets.

Blair — E.L. Immell has a pair of half-grown owls on exhibition at his warehouse. He bought them from Ebert Everson. They are of a large species, and quite attractive.

Pigeon Falls — Fremstad and Refsnas are doing a good business at their meat market. One of the gentlemen attends to the shop, while the other drives the meat wagon out in the country.

Pigeon Falls — P. Ekern has bought another cream separator, which will be put at Northfield. The cream will be hauled from that station to his creamery at this place to be churned. The machine will be started this week.


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