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Enjoy live raptors, nature discussions and more Feb. 27-28

Luke Hart, of the Macbride Raptor Project at the University of Iowa, presented a live hawk and owl program at the 2014 Bald Eagle Appreciation Days event in Prairie du Chien.

Professional photographs by Harold Schaefer, of Fennimore, were quite popular with event-goers at last year’s event. (Courier Press file photos)

The annual Prairie du Chien Bald Eagle Appreciation Days, Feb. 27 and 28, offers a free weekend of educational entertainment for raptor lovers of all ages and interests.

Not only is the weekend a good one for excellent viewing of eagles locally, but the programming on Friday and Saturday is sure to thrill audiences with live bird and reptile demonstrations, life-sized bald eagle mounts and nest displays, nature activities for kids, as well as several informative talks about the eagles and other raptors of the Upper Mississippi River.

Two Friday night presentations kick off the weekend. At 6 p.m., Author/Photographer Ty Smedes will discuss “Iowa’s Bald Eagles” at Country Inn and Suites. At 7 p.m., at the AmericInn, Brenda Kelly, WDNR’s Mississippi River wildlife biologist, will share information about the “Waterfowl of the Mighty Mississippi River.”


A lot of interest brewing in Driftless Brewing Company, Soldiers Grove

Michael Varnes-Epstein, Scott Noe, Cynthia Olmstead and Christopher Balistreri enjoy a moment at their Driftless Brewing Company in Soldiers Grove.

By Ted Pennekamp


Something new and distinguished is brewing in a former grocery store in Soldiers Grove. 

Indeed, with labels such as Kick-Axe Pale Ale, Dirt Brown Ale, Metamorphosis, Solar Town Stout, Rolling Ground IPA and The Local Buzz, the Driftless Brewing Company is making quite a name for itself with its alive, unfiltered and unpasteurized beer.


Lloyd Darrell Duha


Lloyd Darrell Duha, 78, passed away on Monday, Feb. 16, at his home in Seneca. 

He was born Feb. 12, 1937 in Seneca township, Crawford County, the son of George and Elizabeth (Heisz) Duha.

Lloyd was united in marriage with Donna Bailey on March 3, 1962 at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Prairie du Chien.


Patrick Leo Shannon


Patrick Leo Shannon, 68, of Fairbank, Iowa passed away at his home on Sunday, Feb. 15, after battling cancer.

Patrick was born Aug. 23, 1946 in Fairbank, Iowa to Daniel and Veronica (Weber) Shannon. Patrick graduated from the Immaculate Conception Catholic High School, Fairbank in 1964. He married Susan Kleitsch on Sept. 19, 1971 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Fairbank, Iowa.


Construction underway at rail loadout site

Rough grading and foundation digging have begun at the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad rail loadout site along the Highway 18 Bypass in Prairie du Chien. The construction marks the onset of a new seven-track switchyard and $1 million building to enclose much of the current outdoor operations. Shown here, heavy equipment operators work on the south end of the property. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Brush currently sits piled on the north end of the WSOR property.

By Correne Martin

Wisconsin and Southern Railroad has begun changing the landscape of its rail loadout site along the Highway 18 Bypass in Prairie du Chien. According to Tim Karp, director of business development with WSOR, rough grading as well as foundation digging have taken place to prepare the location for a seven-track switchyard and a 6,000-square-foot, 94-foot-high, $1 million building that will enclose much of the current outdoor operations.

“If all things go well, we’re looking at late-May to mid-June for a completion date. Of course, a lot is dependent on the weather,” Karp said. He also noted that the public won’t begin seeing the structure take shape for at least one more month.

“[The new construction] will provide a lot more efficiency for us and it will also free up our main line so we can serve all of our Prairie du Chien area customers better,” he pointed out.


Love blooms via local floral shops on Valentine’s Day

Shelly Zinkle, co-owner of Zinkle’s Piggly Wiggly & Blooming Basket, stands surrounded by floral bouquets she and her staff created Thursday, Feb. 12, to be sold the next day. The Blooming Basket delivered about 150 to 200 orders locally on Friday and expected around the same number on Saturday. (Photos by Correne Martin)

For Valentine’s Day, Dan Shimala, of Prairie du Chien, special ordered a large clear vase with a dozen long-stemmed roses—each a different color—for his wife

Pictured in the walk-in cooler at Kemble’s Greenhouse are local residents’ Valentine’s Day orders for Friday afternoon.

A display of red and pink valentine's flowers fill the display cooler at Kemble's.

By Correne Martin

Sweet messages of love are spread every Valentine’s Day in various ways. Some choose sentimental cards, tried-and-true chocolates, a romantic dinner, or special homemade gifts. But, flowers may be the most beautiful way to express one’s endearment to another.

On Friday, Feb. 13, two local floral shops, Kemble’s Greenhouse and Zinkle’s Piggly Wiggly & Blooming Basket, were abuzz with the excitement of flower orders, florists arranging bouquets and delivery vehicles packed with blossoms of vibrant reds, pinks, peaches and violets.

“The phone was ringing off the hook, starting around 7 this morning. Our delivery workers are already on their second run,” Kemble’s Owner Wendy Wachter said around 10:30 a.m. Friday. “It’s much smoother this year, with Valentine’s Day falling on Saturday, so we’ve had a lot of business deliveries today and more of the personal ones will go Saturday.”


The Big Dance

The Hawkettes perform their pom routine at the State Dance Competition Feb. 7.


Hawkettes enjoy state competion

Will host Blackhawk Bleacher Bash show Feb. 22


RRC wrestlers

Marty Fischer of River Ridge-Cassville looks to gain control of Hunter Wardell of Fennimore in their 132-pound match Saturday in Lancaster. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Bo Kluesner of River Ridge-Cassville gets an advantage on Trenton Arndt of Iowa Grant-Highland in their 138-pound match.

Desmond Crapp of River Ridge-Cassville gains control of Jeremy Wick of Darlington-Black Hawk in their 152-pound match.

Tristan White of River Ridge-Cassville (right) squares off with Kyle Juedes of Mineral Point in their 182-pound battle.

Tyler Kirschbaum of River Ridge-Cassville faces off against Deven O’Brien of Fennimore in their 285-pound clash.


RRC grapplers at Lancaster Regional

The River Ridge-Cassville wrestling team competed in the Division 3 Lancaster Regional Saturday. River Ridge-Cassville scored 36 points to finish seventh. Fennimore won the meet with 237.

The following are the individual results for River Ridge-Cassville.

132 - Marty Fischer (20-20) placed 6th and scored 3 team points.


Delores M. Cooley


Delores M. Cooley, 80, of Bloomington, passed away Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse. 

She was born March 13, 1934 in Prairie du Chien, the daughter of Irving and Edna (Walters) DuCharme. She married Robert Cooley on July 23, 1955 at St. Gabriel’s Church in Prairie du Chien. Together they farmed in the Mt. Hope, area for many years. Bob preceded her in death on Aug. 31, 2013 after 58 years of marriage. Delores loved going to casinos, playing cards, squirrel hunting and fishing. She always made everyone feel welcome in her home. 


Voters will pick from five River Ridge School Board candidates in primary

By Correne Martin

The River Ridge School District has a momentous primary election approaching. On Tuesday, Feb. 17, district voters will be asked to select two individuals from five who are running for two at-large school board seats. The top four vote-getters on Tuesday will seal their spot on the April 7 spring election ballot, from which two will be named the new board members.  

Primary candidates include newcomers Justin Campbell, Jason Drone, Emilie Mumm and Cory Raisbeck. Bob Mathre is the only incumbent whose name will appear on the ballot. Current school board member Bob Key is not running for re-election.

Primary builds up to second referendum
The motivation behind the five candidates running in the primary could be, in large part, due to the referendum that will also appear on the spring ballot.