From the Files photo

Herb Sakalaucks stands in front of the Soo Line depot in Colfax that he plans to restore with a $244,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant. Sakalaucks appeared at the Colfax Village Board meeting Monday to report on the successful grant application.

135 Years

Saturday, August 9, 1884

Dynamite explosions have no terrors for Deputy Sheriff Wright any more. They are mild compared with a smash-up he had last Thursday. As he was going down the big hill above the Chippewa River near Meridean, the pole-strap on his buggy broke, letting the pole fall to the ground. This frightened the horses and they made a tremendous effort to beat the fastest time on record.

The end of the pole finally struck a snag and then there was an upheaval that sent William, the buggy and everything else a-kiting. Wright and his horses escaped with slight bruises. The buggy was as bad a wreck as Cleveland’s moral character.

Persons who wish to go from Menomonie to Eau Claire and return the same day should remember they can leave this city at 10 a.m., by the C.M. & St. Paul road and return at 5:30, giving the traveler two hours in Eau Claire. Trains make close connection at Red Cedar Junction, both ways.

125 Years

Friday, August 10, 1894

It is reported that a Populist over in the town of New Haven in Dunn County recently hit upon a remarkable labor-saving expedient. Owing to a constitutional disinclination to physical effort of any sort more severe than breathing, he was to allow his finger nails to grow to a length that was the marvel of the neighborhood. One day while engaged in deep thought upon the question as to where the requisite ten cents could be obtained for his next plug of tobacco, he mechanically thrust his index finger into his right ear. The effect was startling! A low grinding sound was heard, and upon withdrawing the finger he observed that the nail had been cut down to the quick. And then it became evident that the wheels within his cranium had accomplished the work which ordinary men sweat and swear over with a dull knife.

100 Years

Thursday, August 7,1919

Mongolia survivor here. Miss Elizabeth Lyon of Chicago, who has been visiting Mrs. Emil Neubauer for a week, returned to her home Thursday night. Miss Lyon is a Red Cross nurse and served in France two years. Although Miss Lyon was on the fated Mongolia, the boat that was wrecked when a defective shell exploded she was not wounded, although other nurses were killed.

Elk Mound- Dr. George H. Schlenker of Jackson, Mich., arrived here Sunday morning to take up the medical practice at Elk Mound and vicinity vacated by Dr. P.E. Riley. Dr. Schlenker was recently discharged from the army after twenty months’ service. He was a captain in the medical corps of the Rainbow division and saw service overseas over a year and a half. His office will be located above the post office. Dr. Schlenker fills a much needed want by the people of Elk Mound and its tributary territory.

75 Years

Wednesday, August 9, 1944

There are shortages of most things these days, but entertainment will not be rationed at the big Dunn County Fair which opens in Menomonie on Aug. 17 to run through Aug. 20. Never in the history of the fair, claim the officials, has such a high-quality, diversified program of entertainment features been provided for patrons of this ever popular Dunn County event. Highlighted among these are the Miracle Horses, the Skylettes, who perform on two swaying poles 120 feet in the air, Bee-Ho Gray and his western riders and 17 other features in the mammoth grandstand presentation. Over 100 artists have been garnered for the annual Revue. Among these are stars from radio, circus and vaudeville, surrounded by spectacular scenic and lighting effects and garnished with a company of 20 beautifully gowned singers and dancers. A brilliant midway will be provided with the shows and rides of the Buckeye State Shows, one of the largest motorized carnivals and new to Wisconsin this year. All in all, it will be a great event- clean, wholesome and entertaining.

50 Years

Wednesday, August 6, 1969

Former county 4-H Queen in state “Fairest of Fairs” contest. Highlighting the excitement of opening night at this year’s Wisconsin State Fair will be the third annual “Fairest of the Fairs” pageant. Twenty-eight of Wisconsin’s prettiest young ladies, queens of county fairs throughout the state, will be in competition for the “Fairest” crown. Among the candidates for the honor are Miss Lorna L. Wyss, Knapp, who reigned as Dunn County 4-H queen in 1968-69; Miss Marilyn L. Drew, Rice Lake; Miss Nancy J. Morey, Durand; and Miss Sue A. Emerson and Mrs. Onis Peterson, both River Falls. Pat Boone, handsome cinema and recording star, is the featured entertainer for the pageant. Assisting him with the entertainment will be the accomplished ventriloquist and singer, beautiful Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss America of 1965. The “Fairest of the Fairs” show is the culmination of three days of press interviews, receptions, luncheons, and rehearsals for the girls. This year’s winner will be awarded $1,000 scholarship, accessory prizes, and a wardrobe. She will act as official hostess for the 1969 State Fair.

25 Years

Sunday, August 7, 1994

The Nevin family of Menomonie always has maintained a love affair with waterskiing. Bruce Nevin will be enshrined into the Wisconsin Waterski Hall of Fame later this month. A state champion many times over during the 1960’s right up until the mid 1980’s, Nevin bequeathed his passion for the sport to his two children.

His son, Krister, never took to competitive skiing — but that doesn’t keep the younger Nevin off the water.

“He skis for the recreational benefits and just loves it,” Nevin said, “and he’s a good boat driver.”

The next generation in Nevin family does have one skier who enters tournaments, daughter Turi, 22. She already has copped two national medals for ski jumping, which incidentally was her father’s specialty during his competitive days.

“She also has many state championships and has skied the last three years at the Tommy Bartlett show,” Nevin said. “And, of course, her best event is jumping.”

And, to top it off, Nevin tells the story of how his wife won the Wisconsin state jumping championship back in the late 1960’s when she was five months pregnant.

Nevin for decades ranked among the finest competitive skiers on the national circuit. He said a handful of skiers from Menomonie have competed, and done well, at the national level,

“And,” he said, “between state and nationals we have the 13-state regional tournament. We’ve had at least 30 locals at that. “All of the national and regional announcers knew how to pronounce Menomonie, he said,’ “We’d been going to nationals that many years.”

15 Years

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Blue Devils gymnastics coach heads for Winona. After six years as the UW-Stout women’s gymnastics head coach, Jeff Richards has accepted a similar position at Winona State University. During Richards’ tenure, the Blue Devils gymnastics team has broken every individual and team scoring record. As a team, Stout qualified to the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association ( NCGA ) championships for the first time in 2001, capping off a two-year run where Richards was named the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference ( WIAC ) coach of the year ( 2000, 2001 ) and the NCGA coach of the year (2000). Richards guided UW-Stout to a third place finish, the Blue Devil’s highest finish ever, at the WIAC Championships in 2001 and also finished seventh nationally that year. Richards has produced five All Americans during his six years. Richards believes he is leaving the Blue Devil’s in good shape. “I’m going to miss next year’s team,” Richards said. “It is a really developing team. They will do well. It was neat to watch them all grow and develop.” Richards replaces Bob Murray, who coached the Warriors for the last eight seasons.

10 Years

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thanks to the efforts of the Menomonie saddle club and the Dunn County 4-H Horse and Pony Project, riders competing their horses at the 2009 Dunn County Fair this year will be treated to a completely refurbished arena at the Dunn County Rec. Park. Work began on the arena in the spring and involved stripping and replacing the sand footing for the entire arena. Normally this would be an expensive and labor intensive project, but generous donations provided by businesses in the community reduced the cost and ensured the arena would be completed in time for this year’s fair. The total cost for this project came close to $4,500-less than half of what it would have cost without the donations.

The horse arena is used not only for the fair, but throughout the outdoor riding season by the Menomonie Saddle Club and the 4-H. Riders of all disciplines spend countless hours training and conditioning their mounts for competition. The footing in an arena can be an important factor in a horse’s performance. This year, riders can enter the arena knowing their mount’s legs and muscles are protected by safe, shock absorbing material. Many top regional riders have attended events at the arena since the improvements. Geri Wendt of the Menomonie Saddle Club said, “We had many riders comment that they thought our arena was the best in the region.”

5 Years

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Colfax man’s donation benefits fairgrounds in Chippewa. Rhett Kragness has exhibited several animals at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in Chippewa Falls. “I’ve shown for six years here. Nine total years in 4-H,” Kragness said. His father and grandfather have also showed animals at the fair. Kragness would like the tradition to continue in his family. “I want to see the fair around when I have kids” the 18-year-old from Colfax said. So on Thursday, he did something about it. He handed the fair a contribution of 10 percent of what he earned when he auctioned off his 1,370 pound dairy steer, “Bullwinkle” to Chippewa Valley Energy during last month’s fair. The $548 donation is being put aside in a fund the fairgrounds wants to eventually use to replace aging animal barns on the Chippewa Falls fairgrounds.

Kragness’ donation was gratefully accepted by Rod Cooke, the fair’s rural superintendent and chairman of the nonprofit Northern Wisconsin Fair Association. “Our goal is to start a fundraiser. What a great time to start, using Rhett’s contribution,” Cooke said. Right now the fair would like to hear from the community about what it thinks is needed to continue an agricultural fair, he said. Volk said it is wonderful that Kragness is starting the process. “I just wanted to give back,” Kragness said of his donation.

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