Courier Press

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Situational awareness-self defense class planned in aftermath of beating, burglary

A free situational awareness-self defense class is set for Saturday, Nov. 7, at Suppz Gym in Prairie du Chien, in light of the fear that has spread around the community since the Oct. 21 beating and burglary of a local business owner.

Prairie du Chien resident Kent Stark, of Stark Armament Company, and Edward Glimme, a Systema Russian Martial Arts instructor from La Crosse will lead the day-long class from 9 a.m. until around 4 p.m. Stark said the class may last longer “depending on what people want to learn.”

“We’ll be teaching non-lethal ways for people to defend themselves,” Stark said. “If people want more training, we’re willing to open other dates as well.”


Be the Match event finds local donor

Michael Lane, of Marquette, was pretty proud of being a marrow cell donor in late August. He joined the Be the Match registry in January and, seven months later, gave a donation to a 74-year-old man with stage five leukemia.

Michael said the donation process was so simple. It took six hours but it was painless and he kept busy on his laptop the entire time.

By Correne Martin

Just seven months after a Be the Match registration drive was held in Prairie du Chien on behalf of hometown native Carl Shedivy, a young man who registered at that event actually donated bone marrow.

Thanks to the Jan. 31 registration drive, Michael Lane, 21, of Marquette, signed up and, just three weeks later, he was notified that he was a potential match for somebody in need. Then, after testing that determined he was a 100 percent match, he donated at UW-Madison on Aug. 24 to a 74-year-old man who had stage five leukemia. The donation process is confidential for at least the first year after donation.

“My aunt (Beth Fitzl) actually told me about the drive,” Michael said. “I lost my other aunt to leukemia, so I guess that’s why I signed up.”


Kozelka’s closes after 88 years

Kozelka’s Men’s Wear in downtown Prairie du Chien is going out of business due to retirement of the owners. The retail business has been in the family since Ralph Kozelka started it in 1927. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Tom and Richard Kozelka

By Correne Martin and Ted Pennekamp

The owners of Kozelka’s Men’s Wear, Tom and Richard Kozelka, have retired, and the decision has been made to go out of business after 88 years of retail in downtown Prairie du Chien. Kozelka’s is closed Monday through Wednesday this week to prepare for a quitting business sale, which will begin Thursday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. and run until the last day of business.

Gary Kozelka, Lisa (Kozelka) Dyer and Linda (Kozelka) Heal continue running the business at this time. They have not set a final closing date.

All gift certificates will be honored at the store until it closes. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.


Gundersen constructing new Prairie du Chien eye, dental clinic

Shown is a rendering of the new Gundersen dental and eye clinic, scheduled to open in Prairie du Chien in the spring of 2016. It will be located at 118 Marquette Rd./U.S. Highway 35 and provide space for basic services as well as expanded dental specialties and specialized eye testing.

Construction on the Gundersen dental and eye clinic at the intersection of Marquette Road and Blackhawk Avenue in Prairie du Chien got underway earlier this month.

A group of Prairie du Chien Gundersen employees and community members gathered under a tent Wednesday morning for a groundbreaking on the new site.

Gundersen Health System is expanding its facilities in Prairie du Chien, strengthening its commitment to residents and the community. A kick-off ceremony was held today (Wednesday) for Gundersen’s new dental and eye clinic at 118 Marquette Rd./U.S. Highway 35.

The new 8,000-square-foot clinic will:

•Consolidate Gundersen’s dental and eye services into one location. The dental services are currently available in the Biehl and Okano dental office behind Hardee’s, while the eye clinic is located at 213 E. Blackhawk Ave., where it’s been since Dr. Robert McWilliams opened the clinic in 1950. (His son, Dr. Tom and wife Lynn McWilliams sold the business to Gundersen in 2002.)

•Provide space for expanded dental specialty services, beginning with oral surgery.

•Feature state-of-the-art dental radiology and ophthalmic equipment.

•Include more vision exam rooms and designated rooms for specialized eye testing.


River Ridge wins Regional

Seneca’s Liv Swanson (1) smashes the ball past Sierra Schier (32) of River Ridge.

Taylor Langmeier of River Ridge pounds a winner against visiting Seneca in the regional final.

River Ridge's Bridgette Myers slams one for the kill.

Seneca’s Haley Wall (5) and River Ridge’s Amber Patterson battle at the net Saturday night. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)


River Ridge wins regional title

Number one seeded River Ridge swept visiting and number two seeded Seneca three games to none in a Division 4 Regional final volleyball match Saturday night. 

River Ridge won the regional championship by scores of 25-11, 25-11 and 25-17.

River Ridge will next face another number one seed in Southwestern at 7 p.m. at North Crawford High School on Thursday, Oct. 29 in the sectional semifinal.


Prairie Football

Prairie du Chien’s Jacob Mallat catches a pass from Brogan Potter and crosses the goal line for a touchdown in the first half on a drizzly Friday night. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Prairie du Chien’s Eric Nolan (56) makes the tackle on the Waterloo ballcarrier.

Prairie’s Casey Hogenson looks for running room around the right side on a rainy night.

Blackhawk quarterback Brogan Potter runs for a good gain in the first half.

Jacob Mallat runs to the outside against visiting Waterloo.


Successful season ends for Prairie du Chien

By Zach Mara


The Prairie du Chien Blackhawks hosted the Waterloo Pirates in Round 1 of the WIAA Division 5 State Tournament Friday night. 

The Pirates (7-3, 1-0) ended the Hawks’ (6-4, 0-1) successful season, defeating them 25-19 in an exciting, closely contested game.


Business owner brutally beaten in burglary

Wasabi Japanese Restaurant in Bridgeport was closed late last week after the owner was severely beaten and the restaurant burglarized, allegedly by three Illinois rail workers Wednesday, Oct. 21. A tribute gift of balloons and a stuffed animal were tied to the front door of the establishment, along with a card with Kim’s name on it, Friday.

By Ted Pennekamp and Correne Martin

Three Illinois rail workers were arrested last week after they allegedly brutally beat a Prairie du Chien man and left him unconscious inside the Wasabi Japanese Restaurant he owns, according to Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick.

Young Su Kim, who was initially taken to Crossing Rivers Health, was med-flighted to a La Crosse hospital with severe head and brain trauma. A Wasabi employee who arrived to work at the restaurant Wednesday, Oct. 21, around 3:30 p.m., found Kim, 42, sitting unresponsive in a chair and covered in blood.

Officers from the sheriff’s department and the Prairie du Chien Police Department responded to the scene, as well as Tri State Ambulance.


Group lodging possible at large home on Wacouta

This eight-bedroom home at the corner of Wacouta Avenue and Iowa Street is owned by River to Valley Initiatives, who would like to lease it to AAA Family Homes, of Viroqua, for the purpose of a community-based residential facility. (Photos by Correne Martin)

This is the original banister, right off the front entryway of the home, leading to the second level—simply cleaned up and painted/stained.

This is a picture of how the kitchen will look upon completion of renovation.

The modern light fixtures in the home are quite ornate.

A notice to cease construction was placed on the front door of the 225 S. Wacouta Ave. home late last week by the city’s planning and zoning department, which has not seen state approval of building plans and code requirements.

River to Valley Initiatives and AAA Family Homes are meeting city and state roadblocks

By Correne Martin

A group lodging facility is proposed for the two-story, eight-bedroom home still undergoing renovation at the corner of South Wacouta Avenue and Iowa Street in Prairie du Chien. Owned by River to Valley Initiatives Inc. (RVI), the facility, which occupies three city lots, could be leased as early as April by AAA Family Homes, owned by William and Serap Graser, of Viroqua. It may be opened up to elderly individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or mild mental disabilities. But, the two entities have some hoops to jump through before that might happen.


Irene Mezera


Irene Mezera, 93, of Prairie du Chien passed away Friday, Oct. 23, at the Great River Care Center in McGregor, Iowa surrounded by her family. 

She was born June 25, 1922 in Nottingham, England the daughter of James and Elsie (Hopewell) Whysall. She married Frank Mezera on May 21, 1945 at St. Patrick’s Church in Nottingham. He preceded her in death on Dec. 16, 2004. Irene worked at Campion Jesuit High School and the Ben Franklin Store in Prairie du Chien. She also worked as the bookkeeper for the family business, Mezera Heating and Air Conditioning. Irene enjoyed playing cards and games with her grandchildren, especially scrabble. She loved corresponding and traveling back to see her family in England. 


Dennis D. “Borgie” Bahr


Dennis D. “Borgie” Bahr, 64, of Waukon, Iowa, died Wednesday, Oct. 21, at his home in Waukon.