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ELLSWORTH -- The 4-year-old kindergarten program will go from four to five days a week next fall. Ellsworth School Board made that decision at a special meeting Monday. Board members also examined proposed districtwide budget adjustments. Much of the kindergarten discussion was about how children at that age would fare under a five-day schedule.
ELLSWORTH -- Father Tom Donaldson may be retiring after 22 years at St. Francis Parish, but he's not resigning from the priesthood. "I could never do that," Donaldson said, explaining that when he leaves here at month's end, he'll move to Arkansaw, Wis., to assist with St. Joseph's Parish and live in the rectory there. It seems like the right time to move on, he said. The condition of his legs prevents him from standing in one spot over long periods.
ELLSWORTH -- He's not yet done with school studies, but Jared Christiansen already is acting on his interest in public service. Moreover, the Ellsworth native is aiming high. He's declared his candidacy for governor. "I decided to seek office when Barack Obama in the last election said, 'Get involved in your communities,'" Christiansen said. The 18-year-old started out with the idea he'd run for the State Assembly.
ELLSWORTH -- Ellsworth School District's 2009-10 budget is set. The board certified the $7.69 million levy Monday. A mill rate of 8.70 (tax per $1,000 of valuation) was included. "The levy is basically the same as last year," Supt. Barry Cain said. Key pieces of information regarding state aids, student enrollment and grants weren't available when board saw the proposed budget in August. The district received that missing information Oct. 15, Cain said. The superintendent reminded the board that it approved tapping the district fund balance for a new middle school roof.
DIAMOND BLUFF -- Some dedicated volunteers have transformed a private serene spot along the Mississippi River into a public park. The new Sea Wing Park, across from the Diamond Bluff Town Hall, will be dedicated at 3 p.m. Thursday. Citizens have made $150,000 worth of improvements since the project began in 2003, according to Fred Ottem of the volunteer group.
It wasn't until almost a year after he left the military that Devin Feuerhelm joined the American Legion. Once Feuerhelm became a member, his involvement escalated rather quickly.
The next generation of plumbers in the Bigaouette family is establishing a rural business in Pierce County. Barry Bigaouette worked with his father, Ed, in plumbing most of his adult life. Now that his dad is ready to retire from his business in Stillwater, Minn., Bigaouette has set out on his own. His new Pierce Plumbing Inc. in Gilman Township got under way early this year. Plumbing as Bigaouette has known it has been in eight-plexes and four-plexes, besides single-family units, he said.
Plum City Village President Douglas Watkins will face a challenger in Tuesday's election. Trustee Peggy Gilles, who has been on the Village Board for 20 years, wants the top seat. "I believe Plum City can be managed better," she said. Two others on the ballot -- Leonard Dodson and Roland Eccles -- are running for the two open trustee seats. Dodson is an incumbent, while Eccles looks to take the seat filled by the departing Teresa Fedie. Watkins is 57 years and was born and raised in Plum City. He and his wife, Gloria Lecheler Watkins, have four children.
No matter what health challenge Mary McHardy faces, the Multiple Sclerosis patient from Ellsworth keeps on fighting. The latest challenge was a bout with pneumonia which put her in Hudson's hospital for three days, McHardy said Thursday.
ELLSWORTH -- Like an overgrown game of musical chairs, several Pierce County government offices are switching places inside various county buildings. If all the remodeling and moving can be equated to the music in that game, it seemed to have stopped. And at least three offices are settling into new homes. The Pierce County Fair office and the Aging and Disabilities Resource Center vacated their adjacent spaces on the street level of the Pierce County Office Building, which the Information Technology Services eventually will occupy.