STORY ARCHIVE

Five of the crew from back in the 80s and our good buddy Gary Jensen, is missing but not forgotten! Photo by Mark Walters.

An Outdoorsman’s Journal: Operation Musky 2022

Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!

This was at least the 20th year in a row that I was in what could be best described as a very fun weekend of musky fishing where several veterans and a whole bunch of guys — “The Red Brush Gang” and some other friends, a total of 32 — get together on the Eagle River chain of lakes. Back in the day most of us put in our time at Truax Field in Madison and worked on OA-37s, A-10s and F 16s. About 25 years ago some of the guys started this fun weekend and we have just as much fun socializing as we do fishing.

The earth these cattle are living on will be garden next summer! Photo by Mark Walters.

An Outdoorsman’s Journal: Independent Living 101

Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!

The column that I am about to write was supposed to be written on June 15 and it is my annual hobby-farming-getting-by-with-nature-as-much-as-possible story. Instead, the good Lord decided to have my beautiful woman pass away that night and so I had my 21-year-old daughter Selina write my column so I could meet my deadline.

Midwestern artist Lissie, who is releasing new album “Carving Canyons” September 15 and will be in Spring Green August 31. Photo by Lili Peper.

Shitty Barn session preview: With phenomenal ‘Carving Canyons’ indie-folk artist Lissie brings heartbreak, rebirth to forefront

“It’s allowed to hurt; I’m allowed to burn.” Midwestern Folk artist Lissie sings gently on her recent single: “Flowers.” With a soft yet melancholy tone, Lissie allows her strong, smoky voice to carry listeners to another world almost: a world of heartbreak and rebirth.

Residents are seen at the Spring Green Fire Station in November 2021 during the first offering of pediatric COVID-19 vaccination in Spring Green. Children were able to see ambulances and other equipment up close. Photo by Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

Local EMS directors respond to Marklein’s rural EMS bill as Evers issues a veto, expert weighs in

On March 31, Gov. Tony Evers announced that he had vetoed recently passed Senate Bill 89. The bill, introduced by Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, would have made the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam optional for emergency medical responders. Marklein argued the bill would improve recruitment and retention for rural emergency medical services. Local EMS directors fell on either side of the issue, with an expert in prehospital emergency medicine arguing lowering the bar is never the answer.

AMERICAN SONG CONTEST — “The Live Qualifiers Premiere” Episode 101 — Pictured: Jake’O (WI) — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Local musician Jake’O competes in national televised song contest representing Wisconsin

‘There’s music everywhere but the Driftless is definitely magical for me’

A local artist from our very own River Valley area recently returned home after representing Wisconsin on the national stage as part of NBC’s “American Song Contest”. Jake’O performed an original song on the show last month and shared his inspiration and thoughts with us on the journey.

Frank Lloyd Wright: Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin, Sunday January 23, 2022, after overnight snow. / © Mark Hertzberg

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announces creation of Taliesin Institute, sparks conversations about educational legacy

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation recently announced the creation of the Taliesin Institute, a new collection of programs that seek to advance the principles of organic architecture, seen as the core of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. However, other stalwarts of Wright’s legacy debate the need for such an initiative following the Foundation’s final split in 2020 from the school of architecture previously in residence at Taliesin.

Arena Village Hall (File photo)

Legal Column: Complaints filed with DA against Arena officials, open meetings law violated – analysis

On Tuesday, February 22, at 8 a.m. the Village of Arena Personnel Committee met, made a recommendation to accept the resignation of Arena’s superintendent of public works effective March 31, and started right in working on interviewing for a replacement. If nothing else, the committee moved with laudable speed to fill a hole that was not even official yet. 

Arena Village Hall (File photo)

Arena Public Works superintendent resigns, rush to fill position internally leads to open meetings law complaints

On Feb. 15, Village of Arena’s Public Works Superintendent Michael Schmidt submitted his resignation, with a month and a half notice. By the next week, the village was already holding a meeting to interview internal candidates. That rush to hold an interview resulted in several village officials having open meetings law complaints filed against them.

It was literally wall to wall kids for this fisheree! Photo by Mark Walters.

An Outdoorsman’s Journal: Volunteers

Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!

This week’s column is going to be a bit different but is a very real type of story in the form of a very successful, annual, kids fisheree that is held by Jim and Deb Bires – owners of Bires Northside Mobile in Mauston, Wisconsin. The point of this story is to tell about volunteers and how without them, this world would be a very different place.

A view of our newsroom, with three of our favorite quotes featured. Photo by Taylor Scott, Managing Editor

Valley Sentinel moves to a bi-weekly model to offer more in-depth content, better serve and build community

We’ve shared many times some of the quotes that grace the wall of our newsroom. We’ve definitely focused on the first, making things work and then making them work better. We’ve definitely focused on the second quote and we’ve called people and powers-that-be out where necessary. The third quote we haven’t covered enough because — frankly — in the moment or in retrospect, we don’t think we’ve been able to adequately taste life enough. 

Lake Louie Brewing Wild Tropic and Berry Kombucha. Photo contributed by Wisconsin Brewing Company.

Review: Lake Louie offers a taste of summer with hard kombucha

Local favorite Lake Louie Brewing, formerly of Arena and now part of Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona, recently sent over a couple cases of their newest product — hard kombucha!

Valley Sentinel launches Impulse Initiative

Valley Sentinel lends platform in print and online to foster community ideas

We are pleased to announce the (soft) launch of Valley Sentinel’s Impulse Initiative. It has always been our goal to build community and over the past year plus we’ve been talking to area residents every day about their wants, hopes and dreams for the community. We’ve asked many times in print what ideas you had for the community and how we go about doing them. This initiative is a culmination of those things.

Gov. Evers peruses Arcadia Books in Spring Green in Tuesday after speaking with staff about grants. Photo by Taylor Scott, Managing Editor

Governor Evers visits Spring Green businesses that received ‘We’re All In’ grants

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers visited Spring Green Tuesday to tour two businesses that received “We’re All In” grants, in the midst of a proposal that would seek to change how federal moneys, including those that fund grants like these, are allocated and by whom.

The Cedarburg spice wine glazed pork chop, sweet potato fries and vegetable medley. Photo by Taylor Scott, Managing Editor

Review: Roarin 20s offers inspired 2020s options surrounded by 1920s flair

We finally had the chance to Waltz by and try out the newest dining and social club in the Valley. Pairing veteran businessman Mike Haight as owner and general manager with classically trained executive chef David Moreno, Roarin 20s Dining and Social Club (1170 Main Street, Plain) adds art deco charm to downtown Plain. In full disclosure, we were surprised to find out that dinner was on the house, however that has no bearing on our review. Unflappable, we took the opportunity to review some of the menu and drink options and ask Haight and Moreno some questions.

A rocket ship light, a menu and two pizzas — a spicy BBQ chicken and pesto veggie — warmly welcome you to Rocket Man Pizza, which recently opened in downtown Plain. Boasting a pinball machine and indoor/outdoor viewing windows, this is a pizza place not to be missed. Photo by Taylor Scott, Managing Editor

Review, Q&A as Rocket Man Pizza lifts off, bringing hand tossed pizza to Plain

We recently had the chance to stop by and try out the newest pizza place in the Valley. With veteran pizzaman and restaurateur Rich Peterson at the helm, Rocket Man Pizza (1150 Main Street, Plain) is a gem in downtown Plain that will delight. (Disclosure: They even sent us home with some more options to try!) We took the opportunity to review the options and ask Peterson some questions.

The School of Architecture founded by Frank Lloyd Wright back in Spring Green for summer immersive design program

The School of Architecture, founded by Frank Lloyd Wright as the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932,was back in Spring Green July 11-17 for a “Summer Design Discovery 2021” immersive design program. The visit comes months after the School dropped ‘Taliesin’ from its name following a split from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, settling into a new home at Cosanti in Paradise Valley, Arizona and Arcosanti, in Mayer, Arizona.

Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Evers, DHS Announce Gender-Neutral Language Options to be Added to Wisconsin Birth Certificates

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers June 28 with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that beginning Thurs., July 1, 2021, Wisconsin parents will have a new, gender-neutral option for identifying the parents of a child. Birth forms used to generate birth certificates will be updated to include an option for “parent-parent,” in addition to “mother-father.” This change reflects
the Administration’s commitment to gender-neutral terminology and recognizing that families are diverse and should all be recognized and valued in state systems.

From The Plain and Simple Correspondent…Them and Us: Transcending Gender Differences 2

Humans have been debating the definition of “normal” as regards sexuality ever since we climbed dripping wet out of the swamps and looked around in search of intimacy. In between conducting sieges, banging vengefully on each other, and finding other fun ways to be hurtful, our ancestors have loved and lived in a bewildering variety of ways. Look at the ancient Greeks, who practiced homoeroticism openly and with impunity, as their decorated pottery attests. The Romans looked askance at intimate relations between men but it was okay for women to engage in it, I’ve read. They had another hang-up: if women were raped, it humiliated the entire family, especially the male members, and was considered the women’s own fault. (Punish the victim is still a favorite playbook in many Middle Eastern quarters, not to mention closer to home. Sometimes the raped woman is disowned or even killed.) The Egyptian pharaohs reputedly practiced incest, marrying brothers to sisters, or fathers to daughters, to perpetuate the throne within the clan, although some scholars now dispute this in part because incest was frowned on for ordinary folk. The point may be, what was conventional or “normal” depended on where you lived, when you lived, and what your status was on the social ladder.

Arena Police Department squad car and drone. Photo via Village of Arena.

VIDEO: Committee finds no wrongdoing in complaint against Arena Police Chief

The Arena Police Committee did not take any disciplinary action against Arena Police Chief Nicholas Stroik following a complaint from an area resident who said she felt harassed and targeted by the chief. 

Rep. Dave Considine

Representative Dave Considine— Personal Property Tax Bill

On June 29th the Wisconsin State Assembly voted on Assembly Bill 117 relating to eliminating the personal property tax. I have been an advocate of repealing the personal property tax since I was elected. The personal property tax is unfair to small businesses. It taxes the tools they own which are necessary to conduct their business like blow-dryers for a salon, ladders for a roofer, or ovens and mixing tools for restaurants. However if the state eliminates this tax, it should supply the revenue it takes away from local municipalities. These dollars are what local governments use to repair local roads and supply police, fire, and EMT services.

Driftless Grace— Something (or nothing) happens

My mind inevitably goes blank when someone asks me what I did yesterday (or over the weekend, or on Tuesday — wait, isn’t today Tuesday?!). Lately, though, that response has been close to the truth of what I’ve been doing: nothing. At least, nothing that strikes me as worth talking about.

Sen. Erpenbach , D-West Point

Column: Republican Budget Falls Short—Wisconsinites Pandemic Recovery Disregarded by GOP

MADISON – Despite overwhelming public support for Governor Tony Evers’ state budget proposal that prioritized a successful economic recovery for the state, Republican politicians settled for less. Senate Democrats introduced an amendment to enact key proposals from the Governor’s Bounceback Budget, including investing in schools, increasing access to affordable health care, securing federal funding for the state, and ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, Republicans voted against these commonsense proposals and turned their backs on the communities that they represent.

Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green

Sen. Howard Marklein: State Budget Passes the Legislature

MADISON, WI – Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) made the following statement June 30 following the final Senate’s passage of the State Budget bill: “I am very proud of the legislature’s state budget. We made strategic investments to support the priorities of the people of Wisconsin while respecting the hard-working taxpayers we serve.

Community comes together following tragic Wisconsin River accident that leaves a local man missing

“One of the most dangerous things about the Lower Wisconsin River is that it doesn’t look dangerous.”

Timm Zumm, president of Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW), shared those words of warning and wisdom this week during a brief break in the search for 22-year-old Parker Kruse, of Arena, who was knocked overboard in a boat collision after rescuing someone in need on July 3 into a Wisconsin River that was high and swift.

Onlookers take in the fireworks show at Firemen’s Park in Lone Rock on July 4.

River Valley celebrates 4th of July with parade, fireworks in Lone Rock

The Valley came out in full force to celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July, congregating in Lone Rock to enjoy everything from a parade, to a chicken BBQ, a lawn tractor pull, fireworks and more.

The Sauk County Gardener— Help Your Garden Feed You

This past week I was checking out our basswood tree that finally started blooming, trying to see what bees and other pollinators were visiting it. As I moved the branches around, a whole kaleidoscope of moths just flew out of the tree. Although it was actually quite pretty to see, I knew my broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale were in harm’s way. I spoke with a fellow gardener, John, and he said he had more white moths than he’d seen before as well. Unfortunately, the dreaded cabbage moths are thick this year. Start checking your plants closely so you can hand-pick the eggs and worms. You can also use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis var Kurstaki or Aisawai) as it is can be a highly effective organic way to control cabbage worms. This needs to be sprayed every 1 to 2 weeks or after it rains to help control the cabbage worm and other cole crop pests. If you decide to use an insecticide – organic or otherwise – read the label closely to ensure it can control the pest you are trying to get rid of and only apply the correct amount.

4PeteSake announces date for day in the park and golf outing, new recipients

Spring Green, WI – After a year hiatus, 4PeteSake’s Day In The Park returns to Spring Green’s North Park on Sunday, August 15th. What began in 2005 as an impassioned eff ort to help a 20-year-old cancer survivor has become a summer tradition and a symbol of the River Valley’s commitment to helping neighbors in need.

Local kids jam in Downtown Spring Green

On recent hot summer days you may have seen Eli Saperstein and Dylan Perry sitting on the corner of Lexington and Jefferson Streets in Spring Green — or, rather, you may have heard them first. Equipped with five gallon buckets and drumsticks, both describe themselves as long time drummers.

Community column: Katie Green’s ‘Along the Milky Way’

My maternal grandmother in Iowa loved her milk cows. Born in 1878, she and millions of others like her in the 19th Century nourished a tender relationship with their farm animals. In the first Federal Census in 1790, 90-some percent of the people enumerated in this country were engaged in farming of one kind of another. By the 1940 census – the last one we can have access to — the statistics were reversed, with 90-something percent of our citizens off the farms and doing something else for a living. I cherish a photo of Grandma perched on her milking stool, cheek against the flank of a cow, filling a bucket to be drunk at the next meal by her many dependents, or to make butter, or use in many other delicious ways. Such as to whip up a batch of her buttermilk “gems”. Yum! My cousin Jerry, who grew up in my grandparents’ house, would only drink the Brown Cow’s milk (a Guernsey, perhaps), not the other milker they kept at that time. I couldn’t tell the difference between the two, myself, but he had developed discriminating tastebuds and insisted on Brown Cow. On the other side of the tree, my father’s family established successful dairies in Dundee, Illinois in the mid-1800s, replicating dairies they had owned in Western Massachusetts before emigrating West.

Anna Stocks-Hess

Finding your gender and sexuality in a rural small town

Discovering yourself in any space can pose challenges for someone. Whether it be your career choice or becoming the person you were born to be, figuring yourself out is a long journey. This is also a journey that never ends. Don’t expect to wake up one day, and suddenly be your completed self. You should be growing and changing every single day.

Business Spotlight: Inspired Nutrition

Tell us a bit about Inspired Nutrition and your mission
Inspired Nutrition started after my cousin opened her Nutrition club in Muscoda. We started these nutrition clubs because we were seeing great results with the Herbalife product. Our mission is to get our products into households to help people live a more healthy active lifestyle.

Last Leaf public house open for apps, cocktails in pub and patio

Last Leaf Public House (134 W. Jefferson Street, Spring Green), in the former Freddy Valentine’s location, is now open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. serving cocktails and appetizers for dinning inside the pub and on the patio.
Appetizers include hand cut fries, sweet potato fries, smoked salmon dip, chicken curried frites and chicken wings.
Menu options, hours and dining will increase sometime in mid-July.

Rep. Dave Considine

Representative Dave Considine— Celebrate our dairy farmers

It’s been one heck of a year. Through it all, our farmers have been strong and steady. They have added extra hours onto their already long days to ensure that we have safe and healthy foods on our table each night. They also have weathered unpredictable markets, pricing, and supply issues. Producers and processors are hard workers, they give back, and they make up so much of what we value in rural communities.

Community Column: Racial injustices and the importance of Juneteenth

We had our own homegrown Juneteenth celebration here in Plain last weekend, in a village known more for its homogeneity than diversity. The party in our neighborhood was ostensibly a birthday party for a one-year-old, but it was charming and inspiring in its inclusion of a wide variety of ages, races, and genders.

RVACG holds inaugural student gardening program to get young students outside

The River Valley Area Community Garden started a Student Gardening program to get young students out in nature and learning about gardening. The program had its first event June 8 where students had the chance to assist gardeners with planting different type of plants and produce in garden beds. The program will include planting and tending to the garden beds, arts and crafts as well as story time in the garden.

RV trap team takes home the Division 2A state title

The River Valley Trap Team won the Division 2A State Title June 13 in Rome, Wisconsin. River Valley’s score of 485 edged out West Salem’s team by one point to take the title. Clear Lake’s team finished third with 482.

Community Column: Flag Day — Wave The Thing But Don’t Worship It

The radio this morning has paid homage to Flag Day by playing some of my favorite music –for example, John Philip Souza’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”– and some that I have an aversion to –e.g. our national anthem, which is unsingable and filled with bloodthirsty war images besides. I much prefer “America the Beautiful”, which contains stirring, idealistic phrases that move beyond a narrow definition of patriotism and aspire to something far better, such as “crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”

RV Golf takes on conference cup

Saturday, May 29th was the 11th annual SW Golf Cup between rival SWAL and SWC conferences. The event is held each year at Dodgepoint Golf Course. The top 24 golfers from each conference compete head to head in various formats of match play.

RV Girls Soccer

This week was a fun week of soccer. Our JV team played extremely well against Platteville. We moved the ball well and Claire and Isabelle scored great goals.

RV Trap first in the conference

RV Trap Shooting finished 1st in the top conference for the Spring 2021 season. With a total of 59 shooters, we had 5 finish in the Top 100 for the State: Joseph Day, Jaydon Rose, Sam Cady, Gaige Dilley and Joshua Crook.

RV softball dominates season

RV Softball Player Emily Esser making a catch. The RV softball team is currently No. 1 in conference play, dominating Lancaster June 1 11-0, and beating out Mount Horeb 6-4 June 5.

Birding report: Early June — migration wanes and nesting waxes

As we head into the unofficial start of summer, bird migration is winding down. Shorebirds are the most prominent remaining migrants, many of them headed for breeding areas on the far northern tundra. Species most commonly being seen include semipalmated, least, and white-rumped sandpipers, ruddy turnstone, sanderling, dunlin, and semipalmated plover. Unusual finds include whimbrel (especially along northern Lake Michigan), red-necked phalarope, and American avocet. Wilson’s phalaropes, a species whose core range lies in the Great Plains, have been far more numerous in the state this spring than any in recent memory.

The Sauk County Gardener — scouting for Japanese beetles

This last week’s higher temps and humidity made me think we skipped summer and jumped right to August! I tried as best I could to time my plantings between the bouts of rain and the times of high heat. I wasn’t able to completely avoid the high heat as I spent one afternoon out in my newly installed cutting garden beds planting 50 dahlia bulbs and 30 ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lilies. I ran out of steam before I could plant the nine rose bushes. I’m still working on getting all my annuals planted and there are some vegetables I need to get planted as well. Now is the time of year when I have way more garden tasks compared to the hours I have to spend in the garden – especially when the heat and rain do not cooperate with my schedule. I am sure many of you feel the same way.

Home Talent: Plain A’s Fight Back in Loss to Mazo Mustangs

Plain A’s’s effort to come back from down six runs in the seventh inning came up just short, as they fell 14-12 to Mazomanie Mustangs on Sunday. Plain A’s put up nine runs in the failed comeback. Keegan Smith, Jack Meixelsperger, Derek Bodendein, Will Jewell, Zach Paulus, and Brock Mahoney powered the rally with RBIs.

Driftless Grace — this week: seeing double

I just made a short visit to a place three degrees of latitude farther north. That’s not much for seasoned travelers, but it served to remind me that my home is only halfway to the equator. The farther north you go, the more the spring is compressed into a few fleeting days. (We had our share of frosty weather last month, but at least we don’t have a Great Lake messing with our temperature.)

Before and after: See how Wisconsin republicans redrew the state’s congressional districts to their advantage

tatewide election in the last four years, including U.S. president, governor, U.S. senator and attorney general. Yet Republicans have easily held five of the state’s eight seats in the U.S. House for all of the last decade. And they nearly took a sixth in the 2020 election. Some experts say gerrymandering is at least partially to blame for that. Others say mostly.

Highway 23 bridge ready to open for one lane traffic June 12

The good weather and the dedicated employees at Kraemer North America have kept this project on schedule. Kraemer North America and their subcontractors have poured all the concrete for the bridge and are now working on the necessary road improvements to open STH 23 to traffic again.

Waterfowl go for a stroll near Wilson Creek Pottery

Lucy and Poncho, a duck and goose duo from a neighboring farm went for a stroll down Highway WC near Wilson Creek Pottery last week. The waterfowls are new to the Valley and were captured and returned to their owners. The duo got their names from a follower of Wilson Creek Pottery.

Three-week closure starts June 9 for US 14/Commercial Street in Mazomanie

Starting Wednesday, June 9, US 14/Commercial Street near County KP in Mazomanie will be closed to all traffic until late June. Through traffic should follow the signed detour route of WIS 78 to Sauk City, US 12 then WIS 60 to Spring Green. Access will be maintained to local residences and businesses. Crews will install storm sewer pipes under the highway near County KP.

RV Baseball continues season

The one and only Jaydon Rose, an RV Varsity Baseball player, catches during a recent game.

American Players Theatre 2021 season is underway, capacity upped

American Players Theatre’s (APT) in-person season began May 14 with Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop in the 201-seat indoor Touchstone Theatre. The first performance of James DeVita’s world premiere of An Improbable Fiction took the Hill Stage on May 27. These two plays will run in repertory until The Mountaintop closes on June 19, and An Improbable Fiction closes on June 26. These will be the first in-person performances since APT was forced to cancel the 2020 season, and the company is beyond thrilled to be welcoming audiences back to the theater.

Wander Provisions Owner, Kyle Adams, left, chats and checks out customers at the stores open house May 22. The store offers hand-curated, locally sourced snacks, picnic options and vintage recreational items. The store can be found on Instagram @Wanderprovisions. Photo by Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

‘Go outside. Take a snack.’ Wander Provisions opens, offering community the tools to do just that

Albany Street in Spring Green has a new business, and they want to encourage you to head out and explore the area, snacks in hand. Wander Provisions held a soft opening May 21 and 22, showcasing an abundance of vintage picnic and camping supplies and curated, upscale, locally sourced snacks.

Rep. Dave Considine

Rep. Dave Considine column: Shifting to a restorative model

Over the past twenty years, Wisconsin’s prison population has grown twenty percent. This growing prison population puts a strain on our budget and the people of Wisconsin. Instead of heavily funding prisons we need to fund restorative programs like the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program. Wisconsin’s TAD program allows District Attorneys or judges to offer off enders the opportunity to enter into voluntary substance abuse treatment, case management, or another risk reduction program as a safe alternative to jail or prison. TAD was implemented in 2005 in Wisconsin and has had a positive impact on many lives. As a member of the Committee on Mental Health, I recognize the trauma that many off enders have faced in their life that led them down the wrong path. I commend Governor Evers’ proposed investment in TAD so we can continue to more towards a restorative criminal justice system.

Ruby enjoying her time on the Popple River.

An Outdoorsman’s Journal: Florence County Trout Fishing Trip

Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!

This week’s column is all over the map. My plan was to trout fish in Florence County and sleep in the bed of my truck at night, simple, inexpensive, and adventuresome. I had obtained some information from some very good friends of mine and my plan was to fish Woods Creek and either the Pine or Popple River.

Now is a great time to find dozens of warbler species in Wisconsin, including nearly a quarter of the world’s population of Golden-winged Warblers. Photo via Ryan Brady, Wisconsin DNR

Birding report: Birdwatchers enjoying a bounty of birdsong & colors

Birdwatchers are delighting in a bounty of song and color as birds continue to return statewide. Baltimore and orchard orioles, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks, ruby-throated hummingbirds and other backyard favorites like house wrens, gray catbirds, American goldfinches and red-headed woodpeckers are showing well in most areas. Warblers are moving later than usual this year with large numbers still being seen in the southern tier of the state, only now including later species like Canada, bay-breasted, and Connecticut warbler.

The Sauk County Gardener—Lots to do in the garden in June

This last week’s higher temps and humidity made me think we skipped summer and jumped right to August! I tried as best I could to time my plantings between the bouts of rain and the times of high heat. I wasn’t able to completely avoid the high heat as I spent one afternoon out in my newly installed cutting garden beds planting 50 dahlia bulbs and 30 ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lilies. I ran out of steam before I could plant the nine rose bushes. I’m still working on getting all my annuals planted and there are some vegetables I need to get planted as well. Now is the time of year when I have way more garden tasks compared to the hours I have to spend in the garden – especially when the heat and rain do not cooperate with my schedule. I am sure many of you feel the same way.