Local News

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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.


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.


Trick-or-treating and costume contest fun are Oct. 31 in PdC

This year, Halloween falls on Saturday, Oct. 31. In the city of Prairie du Chien, as with prior years, the sirens will sound around 5 p.m. to begin trick-or-treating hours. The sirens will sound again at 8 p.m., signifying the end of festivities for young goblins and their families.

Police Chief Chad Abram would like to remind trick-or-treaters and parents, as well as community members who plan to be out and about, of these tips, to assure a pleasant and safe night.

•Watch for children crossing the street.

•A parent or adult friend should accompany children.

•Wear light-colored, flame-retardant costumes decorated with reflective tape or stickers.

•Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent falling.

•Wear face paint or makeup; a mask can restrict vision.

•Carry a flashlight or glow stick to increase visibility to drivers.

•Trick-or-treat at houses with porch lights on.


Remax realizes success among ‘river’ of real estate agents

Randy and Kristin Kozelka, of Remax Ridge-N-River Realty, were selected by Top Agent magazine as the cover story feature for Wisconsin’s October edition.

By Correne Martin

Since 2010, Randy and Kristin Kozelka have built their business, Remax Ridge-N-River Realty, above and beyond what they even expected, with attention paid to hard work, honesty and trustworthiness. They’ve taken great joy in helping people buy their dream homes and sell their financial burdens and, through meeting their clients’ needs, they have achieved numerous honors from the industry.

Most recently, Top Agent real estate magazine chose Ridge-N-River Realty to be the cover story for its October issue in Wisconsin.

“Three are chosen a month out of over 5,000 agents in Wisconsin. It’s a very elite group,” Randy explained. “You need to have the performance though (to be selected).”


Design Homes donation kicks off Prairie du Chien library campaign

Randy and Shelly Weeks, of Design Homes, proudly kicked off the capital campaign for the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library expansion project this week with a $125,000 donation. Randy and Shelly said they are pleased to contribute to this project as it will benefit the whole community. The city council has approved the $3 million expansion, while it is up to the community to raise $1.5 million. (Photo by Correne Martin)

The Prairie du Chien Memorial Library capital campaign received an extremely generous kickoff contribution Tuesday from Design Homes. Randy and Shelly Weeks and the Weeks family gave a $125,000 gift to name the children’s reading area in their honor.

Earlier this year, the city announced a $1.5 million capital campaign to match a $1.5 million contribution to the project by the common council.

“Shelly and I are very excited to be part of the library expansion project,” Randy Weeks said. “Like most people in this electronic age, we were not aware of how important the public library is to our community. It is not only a place to read or check out a book, but also a gathering and meeting place and a place for children to go use and see some of the latest in technology. We are excited to see the library expand and grow to meet the needs of this and the next generation.”


Oktoberfest feier fun for all ages

Fred Isaak, of River City Ruckus, was not only astounding in his accordion playing but he was also very much the entertainer with his expressions and crowd interaction inside the tent at Oktoberfest. Hundreds of festival-goers sought warmth under the big top, where delicious German food and beer were served and dancers got moving on the dance floor. (Photo by Correne Martin)

While the bigger kids were taking a break, Erin Nolan snuck onto the hay bales for a few brave jumps by herself. The hay bales were quite the attraction for the young ones attending Oktoberfest in Prairie du Chien Saturday. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Oktoberfest committee member Taegan Stein passes through a powder station during the Fall Color Run Saturday in Prairie du Chien. All proceeds from the Color Run, which is not officially timed, benefit the Prairie du Chien Skate Park. (Photo by Randy Paske)

“Bunny,” the French bulldog, attracted plenty of children wanting to pet the cute puppy. “Bunny” was one of the winners of the canine costume contest at Oktoberfest. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Scott and Joan Paulson, two of Oktoberfest’s volunteers, shared some German exuberance as they made their way through the parade route Saturday morning. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Antoine admires new city street bearing his last name

Team USA Skeleton racer Matt Antoine was in Prairie du Chien last week visiting family and friends before heading on to Lake Placid, N.Y., where he will begin preparing for the 2015-2016 season and the World Cup circuit. While here, he took a moment of his time to check out the new street named after him. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

The Prairie du Chien Common Council decided in April to name two streets in its North Gateway Business Park after the community’s two Olympic medalists: Matt Antoine and Joe Delagrave. Antoine Way was named after the 2014 men’s skeleton bronze medalist and Delagrave Drive was chosen to honor the 2012 wheelchair rugby team bronze medalist.

While Antoine was back in Prairie du Chien last week visiting family and friends before heading to Lake Placid, N.Y., to start the 2015-2016 USA national skeleton season, he took some time to admire the street sign in his name and pose for pictures with it.