Your Polk County, Wisconsin hometown newspaper since 1883 .
The News...

Governor mandates masks for Wisconsinites

The wildlife of Balsam Lake

​Demolition Derby dropped from plans this summer

Suicide Awareness Walk slated for September

Water tower project underway

Dresser Village Board rejects sanitation bids

TF Fire Department going after grants

St. Croix Falls Public Library getting back on track

Swim advisory at Big Butternut Beach

Luck schools to send out another survey

Corn on the go from Luck Fire Department

School lays out educational options for this fall in letter

Future Farmers of America get a grant

Letter to the Editor:

County needs better CAFO rules


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Video scene from the May 25, 2020 Memorial Day program at the Balsam Lake Cemetery
Butternut Beach receives swimmers advisory
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
On Aug. 3 the Polk County Health Department issued a swimming Advisory on for Big Butternut Beach due to high levels of fecal Coliform Bacteria.
According to a press release, high levels were confirmed in conclusive water tests done on both July 22 and July 29.
The swimming advisory will remain in effect until two consecutive tests resulting in acceptable levels are obtained.
The health department is operating under the authority granted to it under Wisconsin State Statute 254..46, which gives local health departments the authority to restrict swimming if a human health hazard exists.
The testing consists of sampling for fecal coliform bacteria, an indicator of human and animal waste contamination. Current test methods cannot detect all pathogens or give instantaneous results. Testing requires 24-48 hours of incubation before problems can be detected, leaving ample time for exposure to occur. Current analytic methods do not distinguish between human and animal waste contamination.
Swimming in contaminated water may result in minor illnesses such as ear, eye, nose, and throat infections, the most common being gastroenteritis (upset stomach).
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The wildlife of Balsam Lake
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
The wildlife of Balsam Lake was up for discussion at the Balsam Lake Village Board meeting on Monday.
Trustee Jim Duncan noted that he had been approached by several people regarding the deer in town. Duncan noted that these residents were unhappy, often due to the fact they would come into town and eat people's plants.
Duncan wanted to open up the option of having a fall (bow) deer hunt within the village, just as other municipalities in the area have allowed.
No one would be able to hunt on private land without permission from the owner. One of the areas that may see some hunting this fall if bow hunting in town were approved is the site of the old dam across from the millpond. This area is attractive to deer (and geese). The one issue Duncan noted that they may have is that there are walking trails in the area.
Village Board President Kathy Poirier noted that they might restrict access to walkers in those areas on certain dates and times to allow for hunting to take place and minimize any risk to the public.
The deer, however, aren't the only ones ruffling feathers with village residents, the Canadian geese that call Balsam Lake home are wearing thin their welcome.
Geese like hanging out at the beach and in mowed areas near the water's edge. Balsam Lake has oiled eggs in previous years to 'control' the population, but there are feelings that this may need to be done again in the future.
The last four years, the village has allowed a goose hunt to take place in the fall. The village board agreed to allow it again this year since there have not been any problems in the past.
Right now there are four groups of hunters allowed to participate. Others who are interested in the fall goose hunt can fill out an application at the village office. The final decision on the permits will be made by President Poirier.
Over 200 geese have been culled in this manner.
Some possible sites for the goose hunt include the sewer plant, Metcalf's Field, behind Steve Williams property and on the hills behind the bank.
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Water tower project underway, remaining money allocated
The Village of Dresser has begun the water tower painting project as well as weekly meetings to provide updates on the progress to the village.
At the Monday night Dresser Village Board meeting, Village Board President Bryan “Fatboy” Raddatz praised the efforts of KLM on the project thus far.
“It's a well-oiled machine up there, it's impressive. The weather has been perfect. They've only lost one-half day so far, so that has been awesome, ” Raddatz said.
According to Raddatz's report, the loud noises coming from the water tower improvement project will only last about another week or so.
At the first weekly water tower meeting, there were already change orders being discussed. The governing body of the project decided that they didn't need to change the safety capability of the handrails near the top of the water tower. They did so because there has never been any up there before and because when workers are up there, they are already tied off and secured to prevent any chance of falling. 
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Braves looking forward to playoffs
Since July 29, the Osceola Braves have played four games. In those games, the team has a 1-3 record with the lone winning coming against the second-ranked team in the state, the River Falls Fighting Fish.
On that Wednesday night game against River Falls, the Braves had almost their entire roster at the game and played sound defense – in addition to timely hitting – to show what they are capable of before the league tournament begins.
Brett Carlson pitched seven innings during that game and he set the tone for that game. The Braves scored a run in the top of the first inning so they were able to play with a lead for what ended up being the entire game, according to Braves player/manager Brian Hronski.
“We swung the bat pretty well. We had some guys that had some good games hitting and we played sharp in the field. It was good pitching, good defense and pretty good hitting. We had our regular team there and it felt like we were ready,” Hronski said.
After that Wednesday night road trip, the Braves played Friday night at Oakey Park in Osceola against the St. Paul Hops.
What appeared to be a one, two three inning for the Braves in the top of the first quickly turned into something else. After two flyouts, the third batter hit a triple to the gap. The next batter hit a routine flyball to shallow right field that was dropped and led to an unearned run for the Braves' starter for the night, Brady Berg.
The Braves answered right back with a run of their own. Brandon Rolf pulled a ball deep down the right-field line that eventually left the ballpark for the Braves' first home run at Oakey Park this year.
The Braves weren't done scoring yet. In the bottom of the third inning when the game was tied 1-1, the Braves had two runners on base after two walks to start the inning. The next Braves batter hit a double to the left-field gap scoring both runners and giving the team a 3-1 lead.
The next several innings were quieter. In the top of the seventh, the Hops fought their way back into the game. After two singles, an error and a passed ball, there were runners on second and third. The next batter was walked to make the bases loaded. After that, a single to right field scored two runners tying the game at 3-3.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hops brought in their flamethrowing reliever who had the radar gun register him at 84-88 mph. He threw steady fastballs at every Braves batter and nobody could manage to get ahead of it. He struck out eight of the nine batters that he faced to finish the game.
“He was throwing high 80s, close to 90. I think if we would have seen him another time or two we would have had a chance. I think our guys would have adjusted to it but in a short two or three-inning stint, that was kind of tough,” Hronski said.
In the top of the ninth inning, the game was tied at 3-3. It remained that way until there was a single, a steal and a passed ball that turned put the runner on third base. After walking the next two batters the Hops had the bases loaded with no outs. A balk scored the go-ahead run for the Hops and then a sacrifice fly made it 5-3. When all was said and done, the Hops left Oakey Park with a 6-3 victory.
Hronski explained after the game the level of talent on that Hops team.
“Those guys have two Division I hitters in their lineup. [Berg] had to navigate four or five good hitters. He pitched seven innings and pitched great,” Hronski said.
That wasn't the only talent on the team. The Hops also have a pitcher that pitches for Gophers and the aforementioned closer also plays at a Division I school.
On Sunday, the Braves played their two final regular season games of the year in a doubleheader against the second-place team in the league, the Haugen Knights.
In the first game, the Braves couldn't get any of the bats going. Hronski pitched five innings in a 10-2 loss.
The second game was another loss. Nick Paulsen pitched five innings and only gave up one run. After that, the Braves gave up four runs in the fourth inning and never could get back into the game. The Knights swept the series with a second game victory in 5-1 fashion.
“We're looking forward to the playoffs. We just have to win two games in our bracket next weekend. The teams we've been playing have been as good or better than the teams we will play in our league tournament, and that's not taking anything away from those teams because they're good,” Hronski said.
The league tournament is scheduled for this weekend in Haugen. The Braves play Brill at 1 p.m. The winner of that game will play the Knights for a chance to go to the championship on Sunday.