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Mon
20
Nov

Vehicle located at bottom of Mississippi near Marquette


This vehicle was first spotted by a fisherman using side imaging sonar in August. It cannot be recovered at this time, though arrangements for a dive have been made for 2018.

Officials from the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department and the La Crosse County Dive Unit located a vehicle at the bottom of the Mississippi River near Marquette, following a tip from a local fisherman. (Submitted photos)

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office received a report on Aug. 17, of a vehicle discovered in the Mississippi River near Marquette. The information was reported by a local fisherman who was using new side imaging sonar and discovered what appears to be at least one vehicle on the bottom of the west channel of the river.

On Nov. 2, the sheriff’s office enlisted the assistance of the La Crosse County Dive Unit and conducted a successful dive, locating the vehicle. Water clarity, depth and swift current prohibited a thorough processing of the vehicle. The vehicle could not be recovered and arrangements are being made for a 2018 dive.

Specifics on how, when or why the vehicle ended up in the river are unknown. The sheriff’s office is releasing this information to enlist the assistance of the public in gathering information to unanswered questions. If you have information, contact the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office at (563) 245-2422.

Mon
20
Nov

Area school district open enrollment better than last year

By Ted Pennekamp

The Seneca School District gained this school year with 48 students who open enrolled into the district, said Seneca Superintendent David Boland.

“We had a few more students open enroll this year,” said Boland, who noted that Seneca had 43 students open enroll last year.

“The overall increase in open enrollment funding this year is $31,030 higher than last year, which goes into the general fund for staffing, programming, and day-to-day operations,” Boland said. “We feel our school’s small size and dedicated staff allow all students to maximize their talents and reach their potential as they strive to accomplish their goals.”

“Open-enrollment numbers are very important to all public school districts. We saw a net increase through open enrollment of seven students from last year,” said Wauzeka-Steuben Superintendent Robert Sailer.

Wed
15
Nov

GUILTY: Defendant murdered girlfriend


Jimmy McDaniel personally testified Friday and Monday to his rocky relationship with Linda Kline as well as to the events of what happened Oct. 4-5, 2016, in Bridgeport. He was convicted by a jury of his peers of two separate counts, first degree reckless homicide as well as strangulation and suffocation. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Crawford County District Attorney Tim Baxter points to body camera footage of the defendant hovering overtop Linda Kline, as if performing CPR, when the first officer arrived at the murder scene.

Jimmy McDaniel looks at the jury toward the end of the trial.

Prosecuting Attorney Tim Baxter gives his closing remarks to the jury. Baxter put together an impressive murder case, with which the jury ultimately agreed.

By Correne Martin

After seven hours of jury deliberation Monday, Jimmy McDaniel was found guilty of first degree reckless homicide in addition to strangulation and suffocation in the Bridgeport murder of his girlfriend Linda Kline, Oct. 4, 2016. As the verdict was read, McDaniel, 50, dropped his head showing little emotion, while Kline’s family—including her mother, brother and children—cried tears of gratification.

The 12-member Crawford County jury gave the guilty verdict around 10:45 p.m. Monday, in front of Judge Lynn Rider, following five days of testimony from local law enforcement, family, neighbors and forensic pathology experts.

Wed
15
Nov

Warczak’s life revolves around preserving records


The Warczak-Patterson History Room was officially dedicated at the Bloomington Public Library on Aug. 28, 2016. It was made possible by a donation from the George Redman Estate, as Redman was a longtime village employee. It was named for two historians from the village of Bloomington: Jim Warczak, a longtime Bloomington High School teacher, former village librarian and avid historian; and the late Robert Patterson, who was a prominent businessman, collector and historian. Warczak and Marge Patterson (Robert’s wife) are pictured cutting the ribbon held by Joan Senn (far left), library board president, and Kathy Atkins (far right) Bloomington Public LIbrary director. (Photo by Sue Kuenster)

By Rachel Mergen

“I never dreamed I would get what I have now. I thought many items would remain in boxes forever,” Jim Warczak, Bloomington historian, shared about his current project, the Warczak-Patterson History Room. The history room is in no way the first contribution Jim has made to the local community throughout his own history. His resume includes school teacher, librarian, adviser and historian for the area.

Wed
15
Nov

Prairie du Chien School District gains revenue through open enrollment

By Ted Pennekamp

There is good news again for the Prairie du Chien School District regarding open enrollment for this school year.

District Administrator Robert Smudde said open enrollment into the district this year is 85 students. Open enrollment out of the district is 31 students. So, there is a net gain this year of 54 students.

“We gain $610,000 in new revenue to the district, which is higher than last year’s revenue of $489,999 by $120,001,” said Smudde. “This benefits our students greatly by giving extra revenue to the district for staffing and innovative programming.”

Smudde also said the district is seeing a gain of new open enrollment applications and students attending this year of 17 more than last year.

Mon
13
Nov

Broadcasting underwater noise may be a sound solution for repelling Asian carp on Mississippi River


A silver carp is tagged with an acoustic transmitter (black tag located on the fish’s back) to monitor movement in the Mississippi River. Fish were monitored in response to the recording of a boat motor as part of the “Use of Sound to Alter Behavior of Silver Carp and Bighead Carp” research conducted by the United States Geological Survey.

Field implementation of sound as a deterrent to movement of bighead carp through a constructed lock approach channel was conducted by the United States Geological Survey. Six speakers were suspended off rafts across the middle of the channel, and a recording of a boat motor was played in both directions (to the left and right in the photograph) to deter fish passage through the channel. (Photos submitted)

By Ted Pennekamp

How can Asian carp be stopped? That is the question that biologists and other researchers have been working on for many years in their continuing quest to deter the invasive species from advancing up the Upper Mississippi and many other rivers.

Mon
13
Nov

Trio arrested on drug charges

Three individuals were taken to the Crawford County Jail  after being arrested on drug-related charges, among others, during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 8.

According to the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, at about 2:45 a.m., a patrol deputy observed a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the roadway, with its hazard lights on, on County N and Plum Creek Road in rural Wauzeka. The deputy pulled in behind the vehicle and activated his lights.

The rear passenger immediately exited the vehicle and approached the squad car. He was identified as George Vallem, 36, of Boscobel. While speaking with the deputy, a meth pipe was located on the ground near Vallem’s feet. Vallem attempted to discard the pipe without the deputy’s knowledge. He was subsequently arrested for possession of meth paraphernalia.

Mon
13
Nov

Mingle and Jingle holiday shopping event Nov. 18 in downtown Prairie du Chien

Prairie du Chien’s downtown business community is hosting a holiday shopping event they hope will get people moving from door to door. On Saturday, Nov. 18, from noon to 7 p.m., the first Mingle and Jingle shopping promotion will involve fun-filled events, specials, giveaways and other festivities. This is intended to get customers into the many downtown storefronts as possible so they can see what there is to offer.

Shoppers will stop at their first business for a sheet of paper to take with them to be initialed at each business place. These initials will count toward a raffle ticket for a grand prize drawing done at the end of the day.

Customers will receive one entry per business where they stop. They will also receive an entry for every $10 they spend at a retail store. Other non-retail businesses will have specials, such as one entry per drink purchased, for those participating at their establishment.

Mon
13
Nov

Animal shelter ready to open after 10 years of fundraising


A little picket fence has been painted around the puppy area inside the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter lobby. The shelter is nearly ready and is anticipated to open Dec. 4. (Photos by Randy Paske)

Dog kennels are shaping up inside the new animal shelter that will open next month in the North Gateway Business Park in Prairie du Chien, after 10 years of fundraising by local volunteers.

After more than 10 years of almost continuous fundraising and donation requests, Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter (RABAS) volunteers will soon see their long-awaited dream become reality. The RABAS Board of Directors recently hired Staci Roth to fill the full-time shelter manager position. Staci is from Wauzeka. She has many years of experience in animal health care as a vet tech in La Crosse, as well as operating her own parrot rescue in Coon Valley. Staci is passionate about helping homeless animals find their forever homes and is very excited about being the manager of Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter. The Board of Directors feels Staci is a “perfect fit” for the organization and hopes her enthusiasm for animal rescue will be contagious to the entire community.

Mon
13
Nov

Jury debates between strangulation or hanging


Crawford County Lt. Investigator Jaden McCullick displays evidence in the courtroom, the 2x2 “T” from the post that Jimmy McDaniel said Linda Kline used to hang herself. Attached to the “T” is the extension cord allegedly used as well. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Carl Wingren, a forensic pathologist who was hired by the defense to review Linda Kline’s autopsy report, pictures and medical records, demonstrates how Kline would have positioned herself for the partial suicidal hanging the defense claims happened in the case. Also pictured is Jimmy McDaniel’s co-counsel Vince Rust. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Stier performed the autopsy on Linda Kline and believes with 100 percent certainty that this case involves a manual strangulation.

Trial expected to end Monday, maybe Tuesday

By Correne Martin

Blunt force trauma, manual strangulation and a staged scene? Or a partially-suspended, suicidal hanging?

What happened to Linda Kline on Oct. 4-5, 2016? Was she a depressed alcoholic who impulsively decided to take her own life? Or was she murdered by her boyfriend, then manipulated post-mortem to make her look like she’d hung herself by a household extension cord?

What will become of Jimmy McDaniel, her boyfriend and alleged assailant? He took the stand to testify in Crawford County Court Friday afternoon and again Monday. Judge Lynn Rider expects the trial to end today (Monday) or tomorrow.

Two different forensic pathologists—one who performed the autopsy on Kline’s body, and the other who didn’t personally examine her body, but was hired by the defense to review the case—testified, giving strongly opposing opinions about what happened.

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