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It's getting to be a trend. A La Crosse DARE student has again finished in the top three in the state's DARE essay contest. Second consecutive year. Piper Hatlestadt, a fifth grader at Southern Bluffs Elementary this past school year, is this year's winner. Her essay was selected by DARE officer Jon Wenger to be entered in the state competion. Last year's state winner was also a fifth grader at Southern Bluffs.
Some real careful demolition appears to be the best choice for the old Masonic temple on La Crosse's northside. The city has agreed to pay for tear down and partial renovation of the dilapidated building that wraps around the north and east sides of Buzz's bikes on Rose street. City council member Chris Olson says that was a better option than tearing the whole thing down because, at least this way, Buzz's can still stay in business. Olson's convinced that the city will be able to recover some costs for the project from the temple's current owners.
Suddenly, La Crosse's little brewery doesn't seem so small. Joe Katchever's Pearl Street Brewery has entered the Fox Valley market. His beers in seven stores from Green Bay to Fond Du Lac. Big growth from small vats of kegged brew in the basement of a bar downtown 12 years ago. Katchever says his brewery can expand more, but ramping up production takes time. Also, distribution's a key, says Katchever; he wants to continue to be his own distributor. That way he knows his beer is being handled correctly when it hits store shelves.
There's been plenty that's changed about La Crosse's downtown business parking assessment over the years. Originally, the assessment was put into place to take the place of revenue that was lost from parking meters removed to help downtown complete with the mall. Now, the money goes to offset parking utility costs in ramps. It also raises a bit more cash as property grows in value, says Tony Hutchens, in the city's public works department. In 2001, the parking assessment raised about 75 thousand dollars. About a hundred thousand this year. But, as business owners in downtown La Crosse have recently learned, the parking assessment this year will stay at about two bucks per thousand, the same it's been since the mid eighties when the assessment was put into place.