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'Honey Queen' visits Chippewa Valley, highlights local beekeepers

Maia Jaycox has a very unusual party trick.

The 19-year-old calls it a “bee beard”: She lets honeybees crawl onto her face. However, it’s for a good cause.

Jaycox, the 2017 American Honey Queen, has spent the last 10 months traveling the United States visiting farmers markets, beekeeping clubs, schools and government groups. Her mission? Spreading awareness of the problems honeybees face in today’s climate, and raising grassroots support for local beekeepers, from Minnesota to Florida and everywhere in between.

Jaycox made a stop in the Chippewa Valley the week of Oct. 30, visiting several local schools and beekeeping organizations. She’ll cap off her Wisconsin visit with an appearance at the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association Convention in Eau Claire. The conference began Thursday and will end Saturday evening, at Holiday Inn Eau Claire South at 4751 Owen Ayres Court.

“It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Honestly, I didn’t expect this,” Jaycox said.

It all began when Jaycox’ mother found out she had an allergy to honeybees. “I got pushed into the picture. ‘Maia, you’re going to be the beekeeper now,’” Jaycox remembered. “Things went from there.”

Her family now keeps ten hives, harvesting roughly 50 pounds of honey from each one every year.

Four years after she began keeping bees, the Iowa teen was discovered volunteering at her state fair. The then-Iowa Honey Queen met Jaycox, encouraged her to apply for the position, and the rest is history.

People are typically surprised when they bump into her, Jaycox said. “They honestly don’t know there’s a Honey Queen. It’s amazing to see peoples’ reactions on how much we can talk about bees and what we do for the beekeeping industry.” The position has been a state Honey Queen chosen by the American Beekeeping Federation since 1959.

Not a fan of insects? Jaycox knows the feeling. “Honestly, starting off … I was afraid of the bees. Working with them for the past five years, I’ve grown to like them. If you’re calm around bees, they’ll be calm around you,” she said.

She doesn’t recommend picking up beekeeping as an impulse hobby, however: It can be costly, but the rewards are long-lasting. “Learn about bees before getting bees,” Jaycox said. “Join a beekeeping club, get a mentor. You’ll want to start in the springtime, so they can establish in the year before winter comes.”

Apartment- and city-dwellers can also do their part. Bee-friendly plants are disappearing, Jaycox said, and people can plant blue, white, purple or yellow flowers to attract them.

Jaycox is a sophomore at Iowa State University, studying agricultural business and communication. No matter what the Midwestern native ends up doing after college, she said beekeeping will always be a part of her life: “I’ll always have bees. In, at or around me, even after I graduate.”

Jaycox’s message always circles back to cultivating honeybees and supporting the people who keep them. “Help support local beekeepers. Buying local from them shows a lot of support,” she said.

For more information on the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association Conference in Eau Claire, visit www.wihoney.org.

For more information on the Honey Queen and the American Beekeeping Federation, visit www.abfnet.org/?12.


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Chippewa Falls Police look to stop mounting number of vehicle break ins

Over 70 vehicles have been entered and gone through in Chippewa Falls since July, and Chippewa Falls Police want to put an end to the thefts.

Some of the items taken in the vehicle break-ins include money, purses, wallets, knifes, electronics and guns. The vehicles that have been entered have been parked on roads and driveways.

“We believe that multiple groups are committing these thefts. We have arrested three juveniles earlier this fall and are continuing to follow up on more leads, however the thefts are continuing. We are continuing to work with other area departments to solve these crimes,” the police department said Friday.

Just on Thursday alone, there were six reported break-ins of vehicles. They were reported in the 120 block and also the 200 block of South Culver St., twice from the 1100 block of Evergreen Lane, the 900 block of Pine Cone Lane and the 700 block of East Spring Street. In the Spring Street incident, three vehicles had break-ins.

Police are asking the public to keep vehicle doors locked and to report any suspicious activity.

Anyone with information about the thefts is encouraged to call police at 715-726-2706 and ask for Investigator Jason Jacobson.

Meantime, the Stanley Police Department posted this notice Friday on its Facebook page: “During the overnight hours, multiple vehicles had batteries stolen from them within the city. The reports we have received at the time of this post have centered around the area of the Stanley Travel Stop and Industrial Park. If you have been the victim of theft we ask that you please contact the police department. In addition, anyone with any information regarding the theft of vehicle batteries is asked to please contact the Stanley Police Department. As always, you can remain anonymous.”


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CVTC looks to 'give vets a smile' with free dental clinic

Chippewa Valley Technical College is partnering with Marquette University’s School of Dentistry to provide inexpensive dental care to low-income families in the Chippewa Valley. But, for today, the clinic is serving a different purpose: providing care for veterans.

Veterans in need of dental care and upkeep can and will receive free dental hygiene and assistance between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. today (Saturday, Nov. 4), at the clinic to be held at the CVTC Health Education Center, 615 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire. The clinic is part of the technical college’s third annual Give Vets a Smile event.

Any veteran without dental benefits with a military ID and is enrolled in VA Health Care is eligible for the free services. The dental services include hygiene treatments, such as blood pressure screenings, oral assessments, patient education, dental cleaning, x-rays, dental exams and fluoride treatments, and dental services, such as fillings and limited root-canal therapies and denture services.

Students from CVTC’s respiratory therapy program will also be offering free diabetes screenings and checking lung and respiratory functions as well.

There are currently 80 appointments scheduled for Nov. 4, CVTC dental hygienist and assistant program director Pam Entorf said. Appointments are still available today for veterans looking to get care. Walk-in help is not available.

The work is done by local professionals, faculty, alumni, CVTC and Marquette students in the dentistry programs, and community volunteers also assist in the day-long clinic, all with the simple goal of offering thanks.

“Part of it is they’ve given up part of their life to serve for us, and this is a way to say thank you for their service,” Entorf said.

The day also gives a service to veterans that might otherwise be hard for them to obtain. Unless a veteran is 100 percent disabled or injured orally during service, Entorf said they do not receive dental benefits.

The veterans who come in for the service, Entorf added, also help the students by giving them a chance to add to their 100 hours of community service needed to graduate.

Any veteran in need of more or advanced care can work with the dental providers and organizers at the event and clinic to make arrangements for further care, such as working with that same dental professional in a class or within the clinic during its regular operation.

“We do our very best to get... pretty much most basic needs and pressing needs,” Entorf said. “We look for other options for the patient.”

Veterans are asked to call 715-833-6271 to schedule an appointment with the Give Vets a Smile event.


Child tests with highest concentration of meth in Chippewa County's history

The 1 1⁄2 year old son of Thomas D. and Molly M. Mcglynn of Chippewa Falls has tested as having the highest level of methamphetamine ever seen of a child by the Chippewa County Department of Human Services, according to a court document.

“The 18- month-old also tested positive for a narcotic, Oxcodone, which could only have been through oral consumption,” a criminal complaint against the child’s parents said.

The complaint said the couple’s six-year-old daughter also showed as having a high level of meth and amphetamine.

The hair follicles of each child was used to detect the drugs in their bodies.

Thomas D. Mcglynn, 28, and Molly M. Mcglynn, 29, each are charged with possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a drug trafficking place and two counts of child neglect. All of the charges are listed as being a party to the crime.

According to the complaint:

The Chippewa Falls Police Department was called to a Chippewa Falls residence for a report of a possible overdose. When police arrived, Molly and Thomas Mcglynn were at the residence along with a friend. Police were told the person having the overdose had left.

Deputies said multiple items of drug paraphernalia were in plain view in the residence. Molly Mcglynn denied the officers consent to do a search, so a search warrant was secured.

Molly Mcglynn admitted to used meth two days prior to the Sept. 28 call to police. Thomas Mcglynn admitted using meth the prior evening.

The children have been placed in another home.

Molly and Thomas Mcglynn are scheduled to next appear before Judge Steven Cray at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. Each has signed a $2,500 signature bond.