A bar, just closing up after a very successful New Year's Eve Celebration, half burned to the ground early this morning. Fire erupted around 4:45 at Crocker's bar on the outskirts of Sparta, just after the owners had closed up.
Firefighters were on scene most of the afternoon and the State Fire Marshal was on scene around 3pm to investigate the blaze. It took firefighters about an hour in single digit temperatures to knock down the blaze that could be seen from the I-90/94 overpass about a half mile from the bar.
No one was in the bar at the time the blaze broke out and there were no reported injuries. Two houses on the property close to the bar were not damaged. No word yet on what caused the blaze.
Imagine the roof collapse at the Metrodome, happening on a much smaller scale...
A cave-in at the Boys and Girls Club of West Salem looks more damaging than the recent accident in Minneapolis. The center of the club's roof fell in overnight, pushing the ceiling of the lobby area down to the floor. Boys and Girls Club director Mike Desmond says insurance ought to cover the damage. The building is owned by Franciscan Skemp, which operated a clinic there until the current Onalaska clinic opened three years ago. Desmond was helping firemen and volunteers remove furniture and game tables from the building today. The club was scheduled to be closed for the New Year's weekend anyway.
This hasn't happened in over 25 years...
Wisconsin's 94th Assembly District is preparing for a special election to fill a vacant seat, because state rep Mike Huebsch has a new job in Governor-elect Walker's cabinet. Huebsch will not get to serve the term he won in November against Democrat Cheryl Hancock. And Hancock says the possibility of Huebsch getting a promotion out of the legislature was rumored about a couple of years ago.
Hancock hasn't decided whether she would run in a spring election. The last time the 94th District seat was open was in 1984, when Democrat Virgil Roberts gave up a safe seat to run a losing campaign for State Senate. Roberts regained the seat two years later, and kept it until he lost in 1994...to Mike Huebsch.
They are at $1.8 million.......and hope to close the books on 2010 with a huge day today.
Jen Dobrenz of the Great Rivers United Way says Friday ends the yearly campaign drive and the goal is $2 million.
She says she feels confident that the goal will be reached as people use this time of the year to make tax deductible donations in preparation of the coming tax year. And the fact that 60 programs will use the funds collected........they all have employees as well that donate and know first hand where the money goes.
The office in Onalaska will be open all day Friday.
Over 400 law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will have extra officers looking for drunken drivers this weekend. And in the Lacrosse area..........the "cherries and berries" will be out looking for you if you choose to drunk and drive.
Lt. Bob Berendt says over the last couple years, the statewide number of alcohol-related traffic deaths during New Year's weekend has been a little lower than average. He says it's likely because people are doing what law enforcement wants them to do -- planning ahead and having a designated driver or taking a cab.
Berendt says one challenge police will face this weekend is that New Year's Day falls on a Saturday and bars will be open 24 hours.....making some police shifts very long.