Monday, June 25th

Local

Abbey Johnson and Kacey Koenigs, college students from Black River Falls, have each received Fern Helbling Scholarships from the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce.

The scholarships honor Helbling, a local registered nurse who died in 1999, who established a fund to benefit local scholars.

This year, two $500 scholarships were awarded in the Business Scholarship category due to lack of applications for the Women’s Scholarship.

The Business Scholarship is awarded to a male or female student applicant enrolled in a four-year college. The student applicant must be at least a college sophomore in good standing, currently taking at least six credits, and enrolled in a business curriculum of his or her choice.

The first recipient selected for the 2018 Business Scholarship was Abbey Johnson of Black River Falls. She is enrolled at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point and is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Interior Architecture.

My learning curve has always been on a slightly steeper slope but I recently had a great epiphany in the midst of swearing at a piece of farm machinery.

It came to me after an hour of trying to thread a piece of twine through the knotter of an old square baler. I understood why big round hay balers were invented.

I still put up some small squares because it’s much easier handling them with our smaller animals. But like everything else this spring, the 2018 haying season was delayed by several weeks because of wet weather. Trying to find a window of dry weather while juggling another full-time job is a challenge.

But it looked like we finally had an opportunity and I enlisted the help of a neighbor, teenager Blake Stenberg, who could also bring some equipment — although it’s even older than the 36-year-old baler that I use.

The Blair-Taylor school district received $43,047 Wednesday through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program.

The grant was announced by Attorney General Brad Schimel, part of $1.9 million granted to 19 schools and districts in Wisconsin.

The grant money will fund building safety improvements, as well as training for faculty and staff.

“School officials and law enforcement share the responsibility in keeping our kids safe when they leave their homes every day,” Schimel said. “These grant funds will establish a meaningful way to improve school safety through physical improvements to school buildings, and a focus on mental health training for school faculty.”

Grant applicants are required to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure that proposed expenditures, visitor protocols, and school safety plans will be effective and provide students with the safest learning environment possible.

Grant dollars are divided into two categories: the Primary School Safety Grant and Advanced School Safety Grant.

MADISON – Patricia Kling of Taylor has been elected to a three-year term on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

She is one of eight directors elected to begin July 1. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot to serve on the 25-member board.

Kling represents District 14, which includes Jackson, La Crosse and Trempealeau counties.

Twenty years ago, my wife Sherry and I became official landowners on the family homestead.

My parents sold us 40 acres of land which included an old farmhouse and a few outbuildings. It was part of a 120-acre parcel they had purchased from a bachelor farmer in 1972 that adjoined their land.

My parents bought the farm lock, stock and barrel, including the cows and a few pieces of equipment that included a small Ford tractor.

The house was rental property for years.

After we bought it, we made it our weekend destination property from Easter through Thanksgiving and closed it up over the winter, as the only source of heat was a couple of wood-burning stoves. The original house was built on a stone foundation with a root cellar type basement.

The house is gone now, but the barn, granary, chicken coop and a small shed used as the milkhouse still stand — sort of.