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The afternoon of June 28, 2017, will be remembered by many in Pierce County for the devastation left from an afternoon tornado that left a path of destruction through Martell, Beldenville and Spring Valley. Gary Brown, Pierce County Emergency Management director, said total damage in Pierce County from the tornado was estimated at $2,152,000. "The majority of the damages were to private residences and some businesses," Brown said. "Since the majority of the damages were private in nature insurance covered most of these costs."
As the Christmas season passes and people begin to start the clean-up from the holidays, for those that had a real Christmas tree, now they have to decide what to do with it. According to the National Christmas Tree Association website, there may be many different options depending on where a person lives. One of their recommendations is to set the undecorated tree outside.
Dr. Frank Springer spent much of his life taking care of the people in Elmwood and his presence will be greatly missed by family, friends and former patients who all cared deeply for a man that showed an entire town his compassion and love. He died after a short illness Dec. 22. He was 94. Being a doctor was a calling for Dr. Frank (as he was commonly known) and a profession he thought would make his mom proud.
Plum City residents have welcomed back the original owners of Bittersweet Bakery and More LLC as they re-opened the bakery on Dec. 8. Gwen Glaus and husband Todd originally opened Bittersweet Bakery and More LLC in 2004 and retired from the business in 2016. However, when the opportunity arose for them to reopen the bakery they seized the opportunity. "We didn't want the building to sit empty," Gwen said. "Didn't want to see business in a small town close."
No one wants to get hurt or need to call an ambulance, but it is a reassuring thought that a nearby ambulance service is available should you need it. However, due to increasing shortages of emergency medical technicians, ambulance services are trying to find ways to retain and get new EMTs to continue offering the best care possible. Local ambulance services have been impacted by the EMT shortage happening around the state.
During the holiday season many reflect on what they have to be thankful for. In the wake of tragedy, one Prescott woman and her children are finding their own reasons to be thankful. Gabrielle Hruska of Prescott is still in shock that her Monroe Street house in Prescott may be a total loss after a fire destroyed much of it Saturday, Dec. 2. Hruska said thankfully she and her two children, Sam (age 10) and Grace (age 19), were not home at the time of the fire, but sadly they lost their dog and cat in the fire.
Spreading some Christmas spirit is exactly what a father and son in Ellsworth have been doing for the last couple of years. Ryan Kelly and his son Aiden decided to start decorating their house for Christmas two years ago. Ryan said Aiden wanted to decorate. "I thought it would be nice for neighbors to see all the lights," Aiden said, "and they would be happy to see them."
Consumers may want to consider where they are buying their Christmas trees this year as the number of trees available at the national level is less than usual. According to the National Christmas Tree Association website, consumers may face higher priced Christmas trees this year, as there are not as many trees available. "Recent price increases are due to a tighter supply of harvestable size Christmas trees," states an article on the National Christmas Tree Association website. "The current tight supply situation results from fewer trees being planted 7 to 10 years ago."
Finding a home away from home is what 11 foreign exchange students are trying to find in the Ellsworth School District this year. Godwin Kudzo Gakpe from Ghana said he had wanted to see what America was like from impressions left on him from the movies. "I used to watch American movies a lot and always wonder if what they show in their movies is what actually it is," Gakpe said. "Moreover [I] wanted to understand why others behave differently from how we behave and what definitely makes us different."
This year Ellsworth Community School District has expanded their student exchange program and is hosting more students than it normally does. Ellsworth High School Principal Mark Stoesz said most years Ellsworth has three to five foreign exchange students but this year is hosting 11 foreign exchange students; this is "the most we've ever had," he said. The benefit of having these students in the school, Stoesz said, benefits the Ellsworth students as much as the exchange students.