Our latest edition published May 18 and is available, free on newsstands in the area.

The next edition is scheduled to publish June 15 due to a death in the family, a birthday and Best of the River Valley reader poll preparations. We ask for grace and understanding as we navigate these events.
The Best of the River Valley reader poll closed June 1.

As always, the community calendar is updated and published here. Except right now, it’s not updated and we apologize.

The May 18 e-edition is available below:


We care more.

Valley Sentinel is your independent, local news source covering arts & culture, outdoors & recreation, local meetings, events in our larger Lower Wisconsin River community.

In times like these, our community needs to come together.
So, let’s build community together.

Covering Arena, Lone Rock, Plain, Spring Green and the surrounding areas in Sauk, Iowa and Richland counties.

Recent Stories (updating soon!)

Members of Valley Sentinel pictured with the publication’s 22 awards, including Best in Division E, after the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s awards banquet in Madison March 24. Pictured from left: Beverly Pestel, columnist; Anna Stocks-Hess, former graphic designer; Nicole Aimone, co-owner, publisher, editor-in-chief; Taylor Scott, co-owner, publisher, managing editor; Julianna Williams, graphic designer; Gary Ernest Grass, esq., legal editor. Photo by Kathleen Farrow.

Valley Sentinel wins Best in Division E at Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards banquet

The Wisconsin Newspaper Association recently recognized the state’s newspapers for their exceptional work during its 2022 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet. The event took place on March 24, at The Madison Concourse Hotel in downtown Madison. Among the winners, Valley Sentinel was awarded as the Best in Division E.

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Sunshine Week, held annually in March, was launched in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors (now News Leaders Association), and aims to promote open government and shine light into the dark recesses of government secrecy.

EDITORIAL: Open government report card — Arena improves, Lone Rock sued, other local public bodies receive letters

Sunshine Week is a time to celebrate government transparency and public service, as well as a time to address lapses in the same. In October 2020, shortly after incorporating and shortly before our first edition, we sent out a Wis. Stat. 19.84(1)(b) written request by email from news media to our local governmental bodies asking…

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With the many things going on in Lone Rock and Richland County covered by this edition, we wanted to put together an illustration that created a representative interpretation of the issues raised. “County line, Lone Rock, Wisconsin” (2023) Mixed media/digital, by Valley Sentinel/AI/ Public Domain.

Legal Editor’s Column: Lone Rock Lawsuit, open meetings update

A couple months back, I wrote here that the Valley Sentinel was suing the Village of Lone Rock. It feels like time for an update, and I wanted to talk about our two cases — one not yet filed and one possibly almost done, and why they are so different.

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This composite illustration is representative of a Village of Arena water bill with an estimated read. In February and March 2023 an astounding 85% of water bills in Arena were estimated reads. While the village clerk tells us the issue has been fixed now after an antenna upgrade, this isn’t the first time Valley Sentinel has gotten complaints about Arena’s water bills. Illustration by Julianna Williams.

Arena board hears tenure of current Arena clerk audited in Monticello, discrepancies found in water bills

Audit reached no conclusions, but shows potentially large errors in water bills. During public comment at last month’s regular meeting of the Village of Arena Board of Trustees on March 7, board members were handed papers by former Village President Paul Pustina. Those papers contained an “Independent Accountant’s Report” covering current Arena Village Clerk/Treasurer DeNean…

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An undated picture of Minerva Montooth. Photo courtesy of Minerva Montooth.

The (not so) Plain and Simple Correspondent: Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom

In the Roman pantheon, Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, justice, law, victory, and the sponsor of arts, trade and strategy. Gracious! It boggles the mind that even a goddess could possibly incorporate so many sterling qualities. As it happens, there is a human being who comes close. She lives at Taliesin – “Shining Brow”,…

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David Kopitzke speaks to Senator Marklein and Assemblyman Kurtz about the need to take action to save our campus, at a recent listening session held in Richland Center. Image Credit: WKOW

UW-Richland information session and town hall meeting to be held

Community is invited to share ideas about how to save campus. An information session and town hall meeting will be held on Thursday, January 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. on the UW-Richland campus in the Pippin Conference Center of Melvill Hall. 

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