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From the files 2-13-19

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 1989

Some 130 members of the Menomonie Lions Club are presently selling “ice breaker” tickets with proceeds earmarked for the club’s Game Park project. Contest participants predict when the car will plunge to the bottom of Lake Menomin, and 15 winners will receive prizes ranging from $10 to $500. The club has sponsored the project the past 20 years and the car has disappeared twice on March 15- 1966 and 1973. Latest departure date is April 17 in 1972 and 1979. Club members directing the contest are, from left, Vice Chairman Chazz Wold, Dean Lecheler, Chairman Dick Weber, Mike Wagner, Harvey Probst, Maynard Berglin and Rodney Price.

135 years

Saturday, Feb. 16, 1884

About 10 o’clock Friday forenoon the Central school building was discovered to be on fire.

School was immediately dismissed, and the teachers safely conducted the pupils out of the building without confusion.

The alarm was given without delay and the Hook & Ladder Company appeared promptly. Little tongues of flame were seen issuing from the wood-casing around the flue above the roof.

Firemen were soon on the building and with their axes tore away the casing and extinguished the fire, there, while others deluged the roof, on the inside with water. Alderman Seely was on hand with a few hand grenades which were used with good results on the fire inside.

In half an hour the danger was over and the building saved. The citizens have reason to thank the firemen and others for their promptness and efficiency on this occasion.

The damage to the building is slight and will soon be repaired. Prog. Ingalls announces that school will open Monday morning as usual.

125 years

Friday, Feb. 16, 1894

L.D. Hobbs, of Dunnville, who has been in jail here since last fall, charged with horse-stealing, was taken before Judge Kelley for examination in regard to his sanity.

He was pronounced insane by Dr. Grannis and Baker, and Sheriff Miller took him to the asylum at Mendota, Wednesday.

A party of our Knapp people while coming from Glenwood one night last week, tried to follow a logging road but found it did not lead them where they expected. They turned around, found another old road and finally found a house where they stopped to inquire the way, but the occupants were about to give them a reception with a shotgun.

Having shown that they bore good moral characters and were of good standing in the community in which they lived, they were directed toward home, which they reached shortly before school time.

Mr. and Mrs. Francis had the misfortune to be spilled out of their cutter last week. The horse ran towards a freight which was standing on the side track and broke up the cutter a good deal, but no damage done to horse or passengers.

100 years

Thursday, Feb. 13, 1919

Menomonie has one of the most modern outfits in the state. Although the weather has fallen below zero nearly every night for a week and a half, not one call has come to the city hall for help thawing out frozen water pipes.

The city, however, is prepared to give this service, having an up-to -date electrical equipment for the purpose.

In this respect Menomonie is ahead of most other Wisconsin cities. For thawing frozen water mains, water service pipes, catch-basins, sewer inlets, hydrants and similar services, most Wisconsin cities use discarded fire engines or portable boilers. Few of them have tried electricity or other methods suggested by various authorities and extensively used in other states.

How Jack Frost is conquered in various cities of Wisconsin and other states, with details about special methods and devices, is outlined in a special report of “Thawing Frozen Services, “ which has just been prepared upon request by the municipal reference bureau at the University of Wisconsin Extension division.

The Badger cities whose methods are studied are Appleton, Beloit, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Madison, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Racine and Superior.

The university experts might do well by looking into the Menomonie method.

75 years

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 1944

A new record for collection of paper in Menomonie was established Saturday when Boy Scouts collected over 25 tons of paper that was generously contributed by citizens.

The railroad car that was assigned to carry the paper form the city to one of the National Biscuit company plants was filled to capacity, holding over 20 tons. An additional four or five tons had to be stored to be held until the next drive.

Of the paper collected, 2½ tons was brought down from Knapp. It was collected by the new Boy Scout troop there.

Two representatives of the National Biscuit company were here, and they praised the scouts and Menomonie citizens for the fine cooperation shown. They expressed their praise in particular for the manner in which citizens carefully tied the bundles of paper that were packed tight in the railway car.

Paper in some places was not collected. This was because the bundles were placed at the curb after the trucks had gone by. Some citizens left their bundles on porches, and these were missed. Those still having paper are advised to keep it for the next drive.

Each of the following donated to use of a truck to haul the paper: City of Menomonie, Dunn County highway department, Berg Chevrolet company, Robert’s company, Roy McDonald, Al Sager and I.S. Ofstie. Everett Chilgren donated his services all day to supervise the Boy Scouts pickup of paper.

The paper was weighed at the Carter scales and then loaded in the car.

50 years

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 1969

It was a cold Saturday night on Jan. 21, 1916, in Menomonie when the world-famous Helen Keller, and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, walked from the wings to the stage of the Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater to bring to the overflowing crowd an inspirational message of optimism, of hope, of happiness.

“This wonderful girl who has so brilliantly triumphed over the triple afflictions of blindness, dumbness and deafness, gave a talk with her own lips on ‘Happiness’ and it was a lesson which will be remembered almost as a piece of inspired teaching by those who heard it,” reported The Dunn County News.

At 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, 53 years after their personal appearance on the same stage, the curtain will rise on the opening night performance of the Menomonie Theater Guild’s production of William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker.

Playing the part of the young Helen will be Julie Gauvin with Ann Langmack assuming the difficult role of Annie Sullivan.

This is the first play in the 10 year history of the MTG that the cast has been faced with challenge of portraying real lives of very real people.

25 years

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 1994

Some elementary school students may have to be bused to other schools next year because of overcrowding in specific grades, according to a report given to the Menomonie Area School Board Monday.

Based on the number of kids already in the schools, a task team recommended grades with either too few, or too many should be adjusted.

The “most likely” projection from the 1993 demographic study showed 1,663 elementary students in 1994-95. Without any growth, the district has already exceeded that projection by 77 students.

The task team also pointed several areas of concern. North will have two sections of sixth graders with a total of 61 students. Downsville will have only 15 third graders. Lucas will have only 18 sixth graders. Oaklawn currently has two sections of each grade. There will be 54 second graders, 59 third graders, 58 fifth graders, and 60 students in sixth grade. River Heights will have 89 fifth graders in three sections.

To alleviate these situations the task team recommended eight students from Oaklawn be moved to the third grade at Downsville. The entire fifth grade and teacher at Lucas, and nine fifth graders move to Oaklawn to fill three sections of fifth grade.

The transition kindergarten and early childhood programs will have to move to Knapp for Oaklawn to have an extra room for the fifth grade. The third grade at Knapp will move to Lucas. No changes would be made at Cedar Falls or North and Little Elk Creek would stay closed.

The task team said instructional assistance will be needed in the large classes and recommended the professional staff increase from 74 to 75.

15 years

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2004

The driver’s education teachers at Menomonie High School have agreed to take a pay cut in their behind-the-wheel activities in order to save the program.

The Board of Education Monday night accepted the offer and voted to maintain the current program next year. The calculations by Business Manager Marlene Clark assumed that all instructors are at the top of the pay scale, there will be a classroom size of 40 and 300 students will take driver’s education, next year.

The teachers will make $40.45 per hour for classroom instruction and the base pay rate of $22.56 per hour for behind-the-wheel instruction. In addition, the school will maintain three vehicles, but (for planning purposes) will seek new leases on two Saturns for 36 months to go with the remaining Ford Taurus.

Under the calculations, total costs next year would be $77,031.63, while total revenues ($250) per student would be $77,500, a net excess of $468.38. And, even when the student count will drop to 225 for drivers education, the program will still pay for itself because one less car would at be needed and only the two Saturns would be used.

The school administration also looked at three other options: Discontinue the current program and contract out with a private driving school; possible combination of the current program and private or CESA involvement; or discontinue the program and provide no alternative on-site.

10 years

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

The University of Wisconsin Stout has renamed its Collegiate Forensics Tournament the Michael Nicolai Collegiate Forensics Tournament to honor a retired professor.

Michael Nicolai retired from UW-Stout as department chair and professor of speech, communication, foreign languages, theater and music in 2008, after

34 years of service to the university. “I am in awe of how students challenge themselves intellectually and artistically each time they compete at a forensic tournament,” Nicolai said. “As a forensic educator, my goal was to provide the best intellectual and competitive opportunity for each student. I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my efforts by having my name associated with the UW-Stout forensic tournament.”

Mike Nicolai is a role model to many individuals involved in forensics and is quite deserving of this honor,” said Susan Come. director of forensics. “As one of the founding fathers of the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament, Mike’s forensics achievement will live on not only at UW-Stout, but throughout the nation. This is a long overdue, small acknowledgement of Mike’s very large contributions to the forensics community.”

5 years

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014

At 11a.m. Monday, nearly 50 people gathered in sub-zero temps at Leever’s to witness firsthand the beginning of the demolition of the former grocery store.

According to Dennis Blau, project manager for Cedar Corporation, it will take No Mercy of Eau Claire—weather permitting—roughly six weeks to complete the job of razing the building.

Mayor Randy Knaack said that while he welcomes new development to the city, he was a bit skeptical when the original plan was brought forward to construct a student housing project. After AHMC of Eau Claire abandoned the project, the firm sold the south end of the 2.67 acre parcel to Broad Street Menomonie, L.L.C.

A four story mixed use retail and housing planned unit development was proposed and approved by the Menomonie City Council.

Although a development agreement with the city has not yet been signed, Public Works Director Randy Eide said developer Brett Naylor has verbally indicated his intention to begin construction in the spring.

“This is a positive for the city of Menomonie,” Knaack said. “Now let’s get this building torn down!”

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Sofi Doane is the Collections Manager for the Dunn County Historical Society. She can be reached at 715-232-8685 or


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