Russell and Charleen Thill were having a good time at their 40th anniversary party when the couple decided to get up and sing a karaoke song, but once they were done, their daughter had one last surprise for them.

She got on stage and announced that her parents would be the Citizens of the Year for North Bend Days.

“I couldn’t really talk very well, I was like, ‘Wow!’ We had several surprises in that day previous to the anniversary party, let alone her announcing that in front of friends and relatives. It is an honor, it really is,” Charleen said.

Earlier on in the day, they were surprised several times with the outpouring of love from the community and a special cake that was the perfect replica of their wedding cake, complete with the wedding topper from their original cake that Charleen had saved for 40 years.

Construction on the new 7,500 square foot Kwik Trip at the corner of Hwy. A and Hwy. 12 in Black River Falls began recently, with the new location expected to open Oct. 19.

“Black River Falls is a great community for us and we are just delighted to have a second store there,” John McHugh said, director of public relations. “Obviously we have one on the one side of town, but if you’re coming in from the west or getting off at that exit, there isn’t a Kwik Trip there so it gave us the ability to be on both exits of the interstate.”

This new store will be the second Kwik Trip in Black River Falls, with the other one located near the other Interstate 94 exit on Hwy.

Active kids do better in school. It shows in their grades, their participation levels, their attendance and of course their health—both physical and mental.  With more than 30 percent of children in this country being overweight or obese, it is especially important for children to be physically active. The best and easiest way for this to happen is to ensure that there are strong physical education programs in schools. As a volunteer advocate for the American Heart Association in Wisconsin, I had the pleasure of visiting a physical education class at West Salem Middle School recently, and I saw just how much PE class has changed since I was a kid.  In addition to every child being active for almost the entire class, students were encouraged to engage each other in the games, make the best use of their entire team and have as much fun as possible.

Is the county managing Lake Wazee to death? A lake that was famous among scuba divers for it's 40-60 feet visibility is now only a little clearer than a mud puddle. For me, this demise began in the Spring of 2016. After traveling five hours to get here, we discovered that the water was cloudy due to the lake management dumping a silty sand at most of the access points...to make beaches. The second trip of 2016 we discovered that the water was cloudy due to the lake management vacuuming out weeds and clouding up the lake with vacuum exhaust. The third trip wasn't much better, but we didn't see a reason why. Now this year 2017, our first trip to Wazee and the visibility was no better than 2-4 feet.

Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) students received 264 scholarships totaling more than $143,000 recently when the CVTC Foundation hosted its annual Scholarship Awards Receptions.

At the events, scholarship recipients were paired at tables with representatives from the families or organizations that generously donated the scholarship funds. Often donors create scholarship funds to memorialize a loved one, or support a cause, but it all comes down to making a difference in the lives of the recipients.

Local students receiving scholarships included:

From Black River Falls: Justin Brown, Arnold and Lois Domer Foundation Scholarship and Joel Kinder, Lake Wissota Garden Club Scholarship.

From Blair: Benjamin Nimeskern, I.B.E.W. Local 953-EPD Scholarship.

Chippewa Valley Technical College campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls.