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The Ellsworth Police Department will be looking to hire two new part-time police officers soon. At the Jan. 8 Ellsworth Village Board meeting, the board accepted the resignation of part-time officers Luke Radke and Cole Clements and gave authority to Police Chief Eric Ladwig to hire part-time officers once background checks are completed and finalized. Ladwig said the Ellsworth part-time officers many times use their experience in Ellsworth to help them gain experience for future jobs.
The city of Prescott held its first Common Council meeting of 2018 on Jan. 8. Interim Police Chief Robert Funk reported to the board on what is going on with the police department. Funk said they are finishing up the process of hiring two new full-time police officers and hope to have them in place by the beginning of February. In other police news, Funk said the number of active drug cases in Prescott increased 400 percent from 2012 to 2017.
During the cold, icy winter months many in the area are trying to find ways to stay on their feet with the icy conditions. Roads, sidewalks and driveways can be dangerous places when ice covers them. Kevyn Juneau, Certified Ecologist and Assistant Professor of Conservation and Environmental Science at UW-River Falls, said using deicers can impact the environment on many levels. The National Research Council reports about 10 million tons of salt are applied to roads in the United States.
Construction on a new water main in Spring Valley is expected to begin this summer and be completed in late fall. Residents that will be affected by the new water main looping project on County Highway B were invited to attend an informational open house before the Jan. 3 Spring Valley Board meeting. Wendy Sander, director of municipal services, and Isaac Steinmeyer, municipal staff engineer, were at the open house to answer any questions residents had.
While 1 in 68 children have been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this was not always the case; 20 years ago cases of autism weren't as prevalent. Lauri Moreland of River Falls said when her 28-month-old daughter, Lindsey Moreland (who will be 24 years old this month) was diagnosed with autism, it was not something with which she or her husband Todd were familiar. "We [Todd and I] had never heard of autism," Lauri said.
Discussion at the Jan. 3 Spring Valley Board meeting covered a variety of topics from the need to reduce phosphorus levels from the Wastewater Treatment Plant, to options with the Spring Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center, to building construction at the Westland Meadows Business Park. Spring Valley Village Clerk Luann Emerson said Dean Schilling will be moving his Asphalt Maintenance and Paving company to the Westland Meadows Business Park. Schilling will have to have his building completed by the end of 2018, said Village President Marsha Brunkhorst.
Impacting the community and helping out is exactly what the Girl Scouts are preparing young women to do. River Falls High School Junior Evelyn Okal has been in Girls Scouts since she was 5 years old. She said the Girl Scouts has taught her to be part of the community and has shown her how to make a difference. In the spring, she is hoping to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award for her contribution to the community. Prior to being able to apply for this award, she first had to receive the Bronze and Silver awards.
Plans have already begun for upgrading the Plum City Wastewater Treatment Plant, hopefully by 2019. The upgrade, said Plum City Village Clerk Michele Burg, will include replacing much of the equipment and the existing dome that covers the plant. "[The plant] is starting to deteriorate pretty fast," said Plum City Village President Doug Watkins. "The machinery that runs it is run down and can't get parts any more." The plant, originally constructed in the 1980s, is still working, but the Village believes it is time to start planning for the plant to be upgraded.
As plans for the 2018 Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival are already underway, the promotion of the event will once again have funding from the Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant through the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Kim Beebe, member of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce administrative team, said this is the second year they have received funds to help promote the Cheese Curd Festival as a foodie event. Last year they received $25,900 and this year they are receiving $13,900 to help advertise and promote the event. Beebe said.
Being aware of dangers around you is a hard task when they're invisible. Radon is one of those deadly dangers that you cannot see or smell but it could be in your house. January is National Radon Action Month and Keith Bergeson, Dunn County Health Department Environmental Specialist and coordinator for Radon Information Center in Western Wisconsin, said January is a good time for people to test their homes for radon. He said homes tend to have the highest levels of radon in the winter months, so this is the best time for people to test their homes.