Taylor County Records 3rd Traffic Fatality of 2016 July 19, 2016
On Tuesday, July 19th at approximately noon, the Taylor County Sherriff's Office dispatch center was notified via cellular 9-1-1 that there was a one vehicle crash on County Road "C", just north of Bonde Avenue in the Town of Rib Lake. The initial caller reported that the single occupant of the vehicle was not responsive.
Emergency responders from the Taylor County Sheriff's Office, Rib Lake Fire Department, Rib Lake Ambulance Service and Medevac responded to the scene.
The inital investigation indicates the 84 year old operator, Mary Becker of Rib Lake, was traveling north on County Road "C" when her vehicle drifted into the east ditch and struck a tree. The driver and lone occupant was not responsive upon the arrival of emergency responders and was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene by the Taylor County Medical Examiner's Office.
There is no indication that speed or alcohol are factors, at this time. The operator was using a safety belt and the vehicle air bags did deploy.
This is the third traffic fatality recorded in Taylor County in 2016.
Bicyclist Collides With Van 7/18/16
The normally quiet road near the Highway 13 Westboro wayside was the scene of a bicycle colliding with a van recently. Taylor County officers were called Thursday July 14th just after 11 A.M. with the report of a van and bicycle collision. The accident reports indicate that Marty Waller of Medford was driving a van southbound on Highway 13 when he came up behind a bicycle which was also southbound. The report indicated that 14 year old Daniel Lennartz of Westboro turned his bicycle to the left in front of the van striking the van in the passenger front. Daniel Lennartz was ejected from the bike and hit the windshield of the van, rolling off the vehicle and landed on the northeast turn lane of the Westboro wayside. Daniel Lennartz was seriously injured. The driver of the van was not injured. The investigating officer’s report indicated that the bicycle driver failed to yield the right of way with an improper turn.
No K99 Dairy Dessert Contest at This Year's Taylor County Fair
At K99/WIGM Radio we have received several calls, emails etc. on if we will be running a Dairy Dessert Contest at this year’s Taylor County Fair. The radio station has organized this fair activity to include sponsors and participants in different forms of baking contests for the past 25 years. We started out with a pie contest in the Merchants Building to what we consider now to be a premier dairy dessert competition. After consideration and some unexpected events this past couple months, we shared with the Fair Board Manager that it was unlikely that we could continue the tradition this year. We thank you for your understanding and we look forward to reviving the contest in the years to come. Special thanks to our sponsors : K&B Refrigeration, Rural Insurance Laurie Peterson Agent, Taylor County Farm Bureau and Marathon Cheese.
STATE HIGHWAY 13 NEAR HIGH BRIDGE WISCONSIN
SOUTH OF ASHLAND
Storm Update – July 12, 2016 11:30 am
Heavy rain fell last night and continued this morning causing flash flooding. Counties impacted include Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, Washburn, Price, Iron, and Douglas. Several areas from Minong to Cable to northern Iron County received 8-12 inches of rain causing flash flooding. Strong winds caused downed trees and power lines during the storms. The National Weather Service expects dry weather in northern Wisconsin for the next day.
There were 33 people that were trapped on Michigan Island in Lake Superior off Saxon Harbor in Iron County. As of 10:30 a.m., 20 people had been rescued. The rest are being rescued now. There were no injuries. Also at Saxon Harbor 85 boats were damaged or destroyed.
Numerous roads and highways are damaged and closed. State and county engineers are evaluating bridges and roads. Below are the major road closures:
• Ashland County: U.S. Highway 2 at Sum Road, U.S. Highway 2 at Denomie Creek, and WIS 13 at Silver Creek and Trout Brook
• Bayfield County: WIS 137 at Whipperfurth Road, U.S Highway 63 at Twentymile Creek
• Iron County: WIS 122 at U.S Highway 2
• Washburn County: Portions of WIS 77 and U.S. Highway 53 north of Palmer Drive
The National Weather Service – Twin Cities – is looking at possible tornado damage that may have occurred early this morning. Officials are reporting downed trees in Ellsworth and north of Chippewa Falls with a home with roof damage.
There is a chance of thunderstorms today. For Wednesday, severe thunderstorms are expected between noon and 6 p.m. for south of I-90. The National Weather Service says the storm could produce large hail, damaging winds and threat of isolated tornadoes.
The State Emergency Operations Center is elevated to Level 3 with Wisconsin Emergency Management, WI National Guard, WI Department of Transportation, WI State Patrol, WI Department of Administration, WI Department of Natural Resources, and WI Department of Health Services. WEM Regional offices are on scene working with county emergency management agencies.
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4th of July Scarred By Trauma, Loss & Death
The 4th of July weekend is typically enjoyed with outdoor events among family and friends. Taylor County’s 4th of July was scarred with trauma, loss and death. Medford native Tommy Gengler died suddenly while enjoying a fishing trip to South Dakota. During his 63 years he made many friends and was well known for his ability to make effective fishing lures.
The Wesle family on Stetson Avenue lost their dairy barn in a fire on Saturday. While the family and a neighbor were able to get the cows out of the burning barn, firefighters were unable to save the barn. The cows are now in a neighbor’s barn.
The danger of fireworks was illustrated by a serious hand injury suffered by a Medford area teenager. While lighting fireworks, one of them exploded severely injuring the young man’s hand resulting in the possible loss of a finger.
Tragedy turned deadly Monday night when a motorcycle and a deer collided on County M. 61 year old Robert Dassow Jr. died as the result of the crash. His wife is hospitalized.
With the conclusion of the 4th of July weekend, these families are dealing with the challenges of rebuilding, healing and grieving.
Train-Pickup Crash And No Injuries!!
With so much trauma and drama in today’s world, the guardian angels won a big victory on Tuesday when a Canadian National train and a pickup collided in western Taylor County with no injuries reported!
The Taylor County dispatch center was told of a crash at 2 PM Tuesday, June 14, on 11th Avenue in the town of Maplehurst, southeast of Lublin.
A pickup truck pulling a gravity box filled with lime was northbound on 11th avenue when it approached the train tracks at 11th avenue. The pickup driver, Matthew Shirk of Thorp told Taylor County officers that he had been looking east to check the crossing and did not see the train coming from the west at 55 m.p.h. until he heard the train whistle.
The pickup driver attempted to brake just prior to the collision but was unable to stop and the train literally tore the front end of the pickup off as the pickup slid into the rolling train. From the impact the pickup and the trailer loaded with lime slid into an adjacent ditch.
Following the crash, the driver of the pickup, Matthew Shirk and 5 passengers in his pickup truck all escaped uninjured. The engineer of the train was also reported to be uninjured.
Missing Person Identified
The investigation into a missing person from Price County and human remains found in Taylor County is continuing. What is known at this time is the name of a missing person, and that human remains found at the scene of a fire are not identified. Price County Sheriff Brian Schmidt has confirmed that Judy Davis age 53 of Kennan was last seen at her Town of Georgetown home on April 29th. She was reported missing on May 3rd. Several hours later a Taylor County deputy located a burned out mobile home with human remains in the Town of Westboro just off of County D in a heavily wooded area of northern Taylor County. The vehicle which she was last seen driving was found near the burned out mobile home. Taylor County Sheriff Bruce Daniels indicated that the human remains have not been identified at this time. Agencies assisting in the investigation include the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, Crime Lab Scene Response Unit and Wisconsin State Patrol.
Tax Deed Land Sale Held
Many people are attracted to auctions with the chance of landing a deal. The Taylor County Courthouse was the site of a tax deed land sale on Tuesday, May 10th. The third floor board room was nearly filled to capacity with 28 people present. A total of 6 parcels were listed for sale because of delinquent property taxes. Parcel 1 involved a house on Second Street in Chelsea with a minimum bid of $10,000 and as supervisor Lester Lewis asked for an opening bid, there were no bids. The second parcel was a 39.66 acre woods in the town of Jump River. Mr. Lewis indicated the parcel was land locked. Two individuals began bidding at $5,000 increasing in $500 increments. The bidding stopped at $17,500 with Dennis Sova the high bidder.
The third parcel was a narrow 5 acre parcel in the town of Maplehurst. The bidding between 2 individuals started at $2,000 and ended with the high bid of $7,000 placed by Jim Bauer.
Parcel number 4 was in the town of Westboro, 4.44 acres on County D, known as the former Augies Palace. Two individuals sent sealed bids but they were quickly topped by 4 different bidders at the auction with the top bid of $7,500 being placed by Bob Vanluven.
The fifth parcel was in the Village of Lublin on Railroad Street, with a minimum bid of $100. A sealed bid from a land trust was announced by Lester Lewis at $231. One bidder who was in attendance topped the sealed bid of $231 with a $250 bid and that’s what the Lublin parcel sold for. High bidder was Dan Ustanowski.
Parcel six which is at 749 South Whelen Avenue was purchased by the city of Medford prior to the sale. The parcel is adjacent to the city sewage department.
Lester Lewis again asked for a bid on the house in Chelsea but no one offered the $10,000 minimum bid.
4/8/16 Facelift For Ice Age Trail
In 2015, the Ice Age Trail Alliance upgraded 5.8 miles of signage within the Taylor County Forest while scouting options to reopen a section of trail in the Gus Johnson Lake area.
Plans for 2016 include 2 mobile skills projects in Taylor County: May 18th thru the 22nd a base camp will be set at Wood Lake County Park. Plans are to work with the Rib Lake and Medford school districts, and New Vision Wilderness to bring youth out on the trail for a day of services and learning. The focus area will be west of County C, but not in county forest.
The second effort will be July 26-31st within the county forest. Base camp again will be at Wood Lake County Park. It is anticipated this will involve 100 to 125 volunteers from New Vision Wilderness and around the state. Work will include constructing ¼ mile reroute north of Gus Johnson Lake to work around an area inundated by beaver.
A bridge over Wood Creek will be replaced with a 24 foot clear span bridge. From County C to Bear Avenue, ½ mile of tread with rock walls and landings will be completed, along with a 49 foot and 100 foot boardwalk and a 16 foot simple bridge. Along Highway 102 at the former Walbeck property a 6 car parking lot will be established. Within Wood Lake Park, the boardwalks will be upgraded to meet current standards.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s volunteer chapter in Taylor County is continuing their effort to maintain and improve the Ice Age Trail.
Van Der Geest Dairy Machine Shed Burns 4/6/16
A fire Wednesday afternoon, April 6, destroyed a machine shed on the Van Der Geest dairy farm between Wausau and Merrill. The fire which started in the machine shop at about 3:30 Wednesday afternoon was discovered by a worker who tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. Reports indicate that while the machine shop was destroyed, no people or animals were injured. Firefighters had some anxious moments as the fire raged near a 500 gallon diesel fuel tank. The dairy farm milks about 3,000 Holstein dairy cattle. Preliminary estimates of damage are placed at $400,000.
Two Deaths in Downtown **UPDATE**
On Thursday, March 24, 2016 the Medford Police Department responded to a report of two deceased individuals at an apartment off of South Main Street in the City of Medford, Taylor County, WI.
The deceased have been identified as 27 year old Chad K. Mayes and 20 year old Kristina I. Knopp both of the City of Medford.
The criminal investigation in coordination with the Taylor County Medical Examiner has determined that Kristina Knopp died as a result of homicidal gunshot trauma and Chad Mayes died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Medford Police Department would like to thank the Dept of Justice, Div of Criminal Investigation, Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.
There is currently no danger to the community and we are not seeking suspects at this time.
Bryan Carey, Sgt.
Medford Police Department
Two Deaths in Downtown
On Thursday, March 24, 2016, at approximately 7:40 pm, the Taylor County Dispatch received a 911 call reporting two deceased subjects in an apartment off of South Main Street in the City of Medford. A Medford Police Department Officer responded to the scene where he found a deceased male and female inside an apartment. Based on the circumstances the Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was contacted and asked to assist the Medford Police Department with the investigation.
At this time the Department of Justice, DCI, Medford Police Department, and members of the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department are working together on this investigation.
I would like to emphasize to the members of the public that based on our initial investigation there is no danger to the community at this time.
Ken D. Coyer, Chief