Local

A ribbon cutting marking the official opening of the new city of Black River Falls recreational trail and tunnel will be Friday, May 5.

The project – which included construction of three miles of new trail and the construction of an underpass under state Hwy. 54 – was more than 20 years in the making. The trail eliminates an unsafe crossing across four lanes of Hwy. 54 and connects additional lodging and business facilities.

“This project is a huge benefit to the community, to our businesses and of course for the trail users,” said Chris Hardie, executive director of the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce. “This project is the result of strong community and organizational collaboration. Working together is essential in a smaller community like ours because we can accomplish more with finite financial resources.

Students attending Viterbo University were recently honored for being on their Dean's List, receiving a GPA of 3.5 or above. Below are those from Jackson County that were honored:

Alexander Koch, Black River Falls; Jesse Mann, Black River Falls; Katie Pettibone, Black River Falls; and Brandi Shramek, Alma Center.

Students attending Viterbo University were recently honored for being on their Dean's List, receiving a GPA of 3.5 or above. Below are those from Jackson County that were honored:

Alexander Koch, Black River Falls; Jesse Mann, Black River Falls; Katie Pettibone, Black River Falls; and Brandi Shramek, Alma Center.

After more than three years of fundraising, the BRF Fire Department has a new heavy rescue truck in its fleet.

Steve Schreiber, the fire chief of the BRF Fire Department says this is a needed upgrade.

“It is replacing our 1993 heavy rescue truck that is underpowered and getting tired. It is time for a replacement. It is the busiest truck of the department because it responds to motor vehicle crashes and highway incidents,” Schreiber said.

Schreiber says the new truck includes several upgrades including having headsets for each of the firefighters in the truck, which allows everyone to be on the same page before they arrive on-scene.

“Instead of trying to yell over the sirens or not being able to hear the radio, each firefighter will be wearing a headset so they can hear communications clearly,” Schreiber said.

In anticipation of the 2017 tourism season, the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce has released its 2017 Official Visitors Guide.

“The visitors guide is the handy catch-all tool that helps to promote the Black River area and is a tool visitors can use to find their way around and a way for them to find all of the recreational things and businesses that we have to offer,” said Chris Hardie, executive director of the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce.

The visitors guide is placed in several locations throughout the county and at Wisconsin Department of Tourism visitor and information centers around the state.

The 44-page magazine features information about annual events, the Ho-Chunk Nation, outdoor recreation, the state forest, parks and much more.

In conjunction with Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson County Emergency Management will be conducting drills in conjunction with the Statewide Tornado Drill on Thursday, April 20.

This year, there are two drills scheduled, one at 1:45 p.m. and another at 6:55 p.m. The National Weather Service will be issuing a mock tornado watch at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. and a statewide mock tornado warning will be issued. In conjunction with the mock tornado warning, Jackson County will be testing the outdoor weather sirens and the mass notification system.

These drills provide a perfect opportunity for schools, businesses and family to practice safe procedures for severe weather.

“The first time to practice your emergency procedures should not be when you are in the middle of an emergency situation,” said Kristina Page, Jackson County emergency management coordinator.