From Our Early Files Oct. 27, 2021




Oct. 31, 1996

Voters in the area and throughout the United States will go to the polls this coming Tuesday, cast their ballots for everything from county courthouse posts to the highest offices in the land. Heading the ballot on the Nov. 5 general election is the race for president of the United States. Bill Clinton is seeking to be the first Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be elected to the office twice, and is opposed by former U.S. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas and Texas Billionaire H. Ross Perot, plus a host of minor-party candidates. 

The contest to succeed Trempealeau County Register of Deeds Janet Peterson pits one of the retiring Democrat’s deputies against an opponent whose campaign has run afoul of the federal government. Rose Ottum of rural Independence is seeking to replace her boss, who is retiring after five terms as register of deeds. Opposing Ottum is William Thoma, also of rural Independence, until recently benefits specialist with the Trempealeau County Agency on Aging. 

The contest for county district attorney is a rematch of the 1994 race with Democrat Peter Gierok again challenging Republican incumbent LaVern Michalak. 

The fall musical produced by the Arcadia High School Masquers Club is less than two weeks away and Grease, this year’s musical production, promises to be as sensational as past shows. 

Citizens from throughout the coulee region will gather at the Arcadia High School gym for the second annual Holiday Fair. The Arcadia Chamber of Commerce will once again be sponsoring the event, while the Franciscan Skemp Healthcare-Arcadia Campus Foundation will be providing the meal.

Chris Blaschko ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns while adding 91 receiving yards on five catches as Arcadia amassed 511 total yards in a 49-28 victory over Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. Arcadia head coach Dick Fredrickson said that he has coached nine championship teams in his 33 years and he doesn’t remember when an offensive unit has had such an impressive outing. “This just goes to show you that the team finally found its identity. They played one of the best games I have ever seen. Chris (Blaschko) had one of the finest individual performances I have ever seen.”

A 14-year-old eighth grader at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau middle school won the age 14-15 girls state titled in a state football skills contest in Green Bay Sunday. But it will be several weeks, apparently, before Danelle Pretasky finds out if she qualifies for the national competition during a professional football playoff game at the end of December. She is the daughter of Daniel and Teresa Pretasky of Galesville. 

Time and funds may be running out for a group seeking improvements to the Square and blocks facing the Square in conjunction with bridge and Main Street reconstruction in 1997. With two weeks until a possible Galesville city council vote on a 1997 budget, councilmen say they still don’t have a definitive cost estimate from an historic preservation group on which costs the city is being asked to pick up for items such as new sidewalks and curbs on blocks north, south and east of the Square. 

For the past one and a half years, Gretchen Benjamin and a task force she heads have been evaluating ways to restore some of the Mississippi River’s aquatic habitat. Next week, the two dozen members of the task force will sit down to discuss a solution that seems to be the best of the 10 studied — an experimental drop of 12 to 18 inches in the waste level in one pool on the river. 

The Blair-Taylor school board tabled a discussion regarding hiring a referendum consulting service. Board member Gordan Dace felt the firms were overpriced for what the district would get. 

Leisurely living, companionship, security, safety, independence and recreational opportunities will all be a part of Willow Bend Retirement Community; a new style of living soon to be offered in Blair. 

Six young men have been arrested in connection with a burglary ring in Jackson, Trempealeau and Clark counties. Arrested the later part of last week were Anthony George, 19; Christopher Villarreal, 21; Dale Amundson, 17; Justin Shramek, 18; Travis Pellowski, 19 and a 16-year-old. Many of the stolen items were located at an abandoned farm in the town of Springfield. 

A benefit for 15-year-old Ryan Stevens will be held Friday evening at the Keggle Haus in Ettrick. Stevens has been diagnosed with leukemia. 


Nov. 4, 1971

The Cooperative Educational Services Agency No. 11 discussed its tentative, long-range plans for consolidating 26 western Wisconsin school districts into 10 districts, with the aim of creating more effective and efficient schools. Under the proposed plan, the Arcadia, Blair, Independence and Whitehall districts would be merged.

“The Crucible,” the Whitehall High School Senior Class Play, will be staged this Friday and Saturday at the new Sunset Memorial auditorium. Cast members are Andrew Johnson, Mary Harnisch, Marilyn Sveen, Carolyn Hegge, Jay Risberg, Gary Holen and Gary Karasch.

Funeral services for Henry R. Vogel, 81, mayor of Arcadia for 14 years and prominent in business for 50 years, were Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. 

Airman Francis Klonecki, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Klonecki, Arcadia, has graduated with honors at Keesler AFM, Miss. From the technical training course for U.S. Air Force administrative specialists. 

The Galesville Business Association will hold their next meeting at Wason’s Supper Club on Nov. 8. All members are urged to attend as a number of important items are on the agenda. 

Darcy Ann Gamoke, 14, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Gamoke, Galesville, is in critical condition after being struck by a car at 6 p.m. Sunday half of a mile south of Galesville on Highway 35. 

Gerald Davis is the Blair Public School nominee for Wisconsin Teacher of the Year.

Western Wisconsin Dairies merges with Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI) effective Nov. 1. 

An Ettrick landmark, small white building on Main next to the Corcoran brick apartment building was razed. Its owner was Don Corcoran. The Ettrick Advance Newspaper was established by E.E. Gilbertson more than 50 years ago in this building. 


Oct. 31, 1946

After 73 years of carrying mail for the U.S. Post Office, the Green Bay and Western Railroad will discontinue its mail car between Winona and Merrillan on Saturday. Paul Getman of Hixton has been engaged to operate the truck route that will replace the rail service.

The integrity of one of Whitehall’s youth was recently demonstrated when Gale Gabriel, who had found a purse with a considerable sum of money in it, advertised the fact, and the owner was found. Gale is to be congratulated on this proof of his honesty.

The Pleasantville school will present an original cowboy minstrel show at the schoolhouse tomorrow evening. Ernest Dahl, as the Sad Sack, will act as the master of ceremonies. Russell Dahl and Ruthie Berg as Lucy and Dopey will sing “Sioux City Sue,” and the rhythm band will feature Rosemary Sielaff on the tonette and Gerald Nelson on the accordion.

The bow and arrow deer hunting season is on, and several Whitehall enthusiasts are engaging in the sport. Sunday a group composed of John and Jimmy De Bow, Floren, Tommy and George Hegge, and Rollin Holtan spent the day in the Pray vicinity in the quest for deer. The boys saw several, but were not successful in bringing venison home.

Nov. 1 is the opening date for a smart new ladies’ and junior misses’ shop in Arcadia, to be called The Smart Shop. It will be owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Stelmach, who have come here from Milwaukee and, as the name implies, the shop will feature smart wearing apparel to outfit women and girls of this community almost from head to toe. The shop will be located in the newly remodeled Krumholz building. 

Dr. Benedict R. Walske announced this week that he his closing his office and will leave Arcadia to accept an appointment as Chief of Surgical Service at the Veterans’ Administration hospital in Marion, Ind. 


Nov. 3, 1921

The question of winter athletics and physical training at the Whitehall High School is still unresolved. This course is required by the state department. A canvass has been made of the vacant buildings in the village, but not are convenient or safe for basketball. This condition should bring home the need for a modern school building.

Mr. and Mrs. O.E. Stevens of Saskatchewan are visiting relatives here. It is 13 years since they left Whitehall to make their home in Canada, and this is the first time that both have visited here since going away. They will spend the winter in Wisconsin.

A wolf and a fox were bagged at the second wolf hunt to be held at Trempealeau Mountain with about 60 county hunters taking part.

Allen Gilbertson and James Hanson have their new homes nearly completed in Newcomb Valley. 

`The Galesville Music Study Club will hold its second meeting of the season at the home of Mrs. J.J. Powell. Russian music was featured. 

Galesville local of American Society of Equity meets in the Farmers office Saturday, Oct. 29.

There will be a children’s hour at the Galesville Public Library on Oct. 28 at 4 o’clock. Esther Bjoland will tell Halloween stories to boys and girls. 

Galesville will be connected with the Wisconsin, Minnesota high power current under the direction of Albert Loser, expert electrical engineer from Madison. New generators will be installed in the Davis Mill for emergencies. 

Ettrick property owners plan for a sewage system, disposal plant and water system. 


Oct. 29, 1896

What may be considered the best luck that ever happened to a lot of Whitehall hunters occurred near City Point last week, when Messrs. Kip Ecker, W.S. Kidder, Thomas Wright and Will and Ira Thompson brought down nine fine deer, killing five in one day. They brought home with them Monday five deer, among which was a buck that weighed 253 pounds.

A terrible catastrophe, which nearly resulted in the cremation of an entire family, comes from our neighboring village of Independence. Shortly before midnight on Sunday, the farm home of Frank Bautsch became enveloped in flames, spreading so rapidly that the family was forced to leap from the second floor to safety. Mr. and Mrs. Bautsch were burned badly, their hired girl fatally, and only Mrs. Bautsch’s father, Mr. Sygula, escaped with injury. Shortly before the fire started, a noise was heard and Mr. Bautsch saw someone outside the house, but could not make out who it was. After the fire was extinguished, a five-gallon can of oil was found to have been emptied into the house. Thus is seems there was a most dastardly attempt to cremate a whole family. Every effort will be used to find the fiend.

The Cornet Band will give an election dance in the Opera Hall next week Friday evening. Everyone is invited to come and help “whoop ‘er up” for McKinley. The boys promise the best of music and a good time to all.

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