HOME
24June 2022

Utica man missing on four-wheeler

UTICA, Minn. – A sheriff’s search was launched for a rural man, Thomas Alvin Mueller, 65, who vanished on a John Deere Gator 835 with an  full enclosed cab and a dump bed. Mueller was last seen Wednesday near his home on County Road 18. The search focused on points west of Utica, which is dotted with sinkholes.

Mueller. Five-foot-8, 170 pounds, dark hair, goatee. Last seen in cream or gray shorts, a blue button up short sleeve shirt, and gray slip-on shoes.

24June 2022

Congressman about Johnson: Pants on fire

WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Kelly, R-Pennsylvania, denied being an intermediary for a fake list of Wisconsin presidential electors that ended up with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Earlier in the day Johnson had claimed Kelly was the source of a request to send the list forward to muddy up the certification process for the 2020 presidential election. Kelly’s news secretary, Matt Knoedler, called Johnson’s  naming of Kelley “patently false.”

Verbatim:

Knoeller: “Senator Johnson’s statements about Representative Kelly are patently false. Mr. Kelly has not spoken to Senator Johnson for the better part of a decade, and he has no knowledge of the claims Mr. Johnson is making related to the 2020 election.”

Kelly. In Congress since 2011 from western Pennsylvania. Like Johnson a staunch Trump supporter.

23June 2022

Army Corps delays full passage past Genoa

GENOA, Wis. – Repairs at the shipping lock around Dam 8 on the Mississippi River is taking longer than expected. The single-lane lock will be closed beyond the original target of Thursday to complete installing mew gates, the Corps said. The Corps did not set a nrw date to restore the lock to 24-hour service.

Earlier: River commerce faces slowdown at 5-A

Earlier: Earlier: River traffic to be backed up at Genoa dam

23June 2022

Johnson update on source of courier text

MILWAUKEE, Wis.  – Senator Ron Johnson came clean about who asked him to hand-deliver a list of fake Wisconsin presidential electors to Vice President Mike Pence on the crisis-filled day of the January 6 Capitol invasion. On the right-wing Vicki McKenna radio talk show in Milwaukee, Johnson said the request came from Congressman Mike Kelly, R-Pennsylvania. Earlier Johnson  claimed not to know from whom the request came. Further checking, he said, identified source as Kelly. Both Kelly and Johnson have been long-term Trump.

Earlier: Text messages discombobulate senator

Earlier: Senator complicit as Trump courier January 6

McKenna. Her WISN radio talk show, a friendly safe forum for Johnson.

22June 2022

Wisconsin fugitive nabbed, drugs in car

WINONA, Minn. – Police arrested a Hudson, Wisconsin, man who cut off a court-ordered ankle tracking monitor and fled. Winona police had been asked to be on the lookout for Kenneth Michael Sizemore, 41. And there he was, 100 miles from home, in a car with expired plates. The traffic stop was about 11 a.m. As police approached Sizemore’s car, there were sudden frantic movements inside, apparently to retrieve things from the middle console and under the seat, police said. Police reported finding colored pills and meth. Sizemore was cuffed and taken to jail to be picked by authorities from St. Croix County in Wisconsin.

22June 2022

WSU dorm plan wending through city approvals

WINONA, Minn. – A 340-bed dorm that Winona State University wants to build on Main Street continued its path through the city approval processes. At 71 feet, the building needs a variance from the zoning cap of 25 feet. Also, the building would sit on a narrow strip along Mark Street that requires a 45-foot rear yard setback to the Canadian Pacific railroad mainline. The university wants only a 16-foot setback as an exception. A fundamental issues for the city to decide is whether the dorm would infringe on the character of the neighborhood, which is zoned R-2 as medium-density residential area. Also, the dorm would require that three existing structures be razed – two houses and a privately apartment building that caters to student renters.

Sandwiched tightly. As planned, the dorm would need to be sandwiched closer to streets and the Canadian Pacific mainline than zoning ordinances normally allow. Another issue is occupancy density, which also would exceed R-2 zoning caps.

22June 2022

Text messages discombobulate senator

WASHINGTON – Senator Ron Johnson has laid low since a revelation that he was enlisted to deliver a bogus document from Wisconsin on January 6 with the goal of reversing the presidential election. Johnson, a Trump devotee, was watching live tekevison coverage of the House investigation of the January 6 riot at the Capitol, unaware that he was about to be implicated deeply into evetns the day of the riot through text message that investigators had uncovered. s. Startled and also knowing reporters would be at his office right away for his side of the story, Johnson ran out of his Capitol office. The usually button-down Johnson was so hurried that didn’t even grab his suit coat. Halfway to his car, reporters caught up with Johnson. First he pretended he had more important things on his mind, Then, still almost jogging, he blurted out extemporaneous and confused responses between pants. He stumbled and contradicted himself.  He claimed ignorance of details of what had happened with the fake elector list. Where did the list come from? Had he seen it or not? How could his chief of staff taken it on himself to himself try to forward such an important document to Vice President Pence, who was presiding that day over the certification process for the 2020 presidential ekection. ? If Johnson was indeed on the floor of the Senate at the time, as he claimed, could he not have been reached?  Yes, he said he was aware of the document. Then he said he wasn’t. Reporters didn’t know what to believe. Here, pieced together from Johnson’s on-the-run interview, is what he said:

Who brought the envelope containing the list of fake Wisconsin presidential electors to Johnson’s office? It probably was “some staff intern” from some House office.” “I wasn’t involved.” “We got contacted by somebody — I don’t know who – who said, ‘We got this envelope for the vice president. Can you, Senator Johnson, deliver it?’ Because I’m obviously on the Senate floor. And the rest of the story is nothing.” “I didn’t offer to give the document to Vice President Pence.  It was staff to staff.” “There’s no conspiracy here. This is a complete non-story.”

Later, Johnson’s spokesperson, Alexa Henning, trued to bring some order to Johnson’s explanation: “The senator had no involvement in the creation of an alternate slate of electors and had no foreknowledge that it was going to be delivered to our office. This was a staff-to -staff exchange. Johnson’s new chief of staff contacted the vice president’s office. The vice president’s office said not to deliver alternate Wisconsin electoral list to the vice predient, and we did not. There was no further action taken. End of story.”

Johnson. A bad day for the Wisconsin senator. Many questions reman unaddressed. Inferences are unflattering: Johnson’s lapses in knowledge about basic facts are suspiciously convenient, doubters say. Also: What kind of leader would shirk responsibility by blaming underlings? It didn’t help Johnson’s credibility that he has been a vocal supporter of the false and discredited Trump claim that the 2022 election was rigged. The document that Johnson was asked to deliver to Vice President Pence was part of the scheme to decertify the 2020 election and keep Trump in office.

Text exchange. Between Johnson aide Sean Riley and Pence aide Chris Hodgson. Posted as evidence at U.S. House committee hearing into the January 6 Capitol invasion.

22June 2022

Emergency, fire crews make 44 calls

WINONA, Minn. –The Fire Department reported 30 emergency medical calls plus 14 fire calls in recent days:

> Monday, June 21:  3 medical calls plus 1 fire call.

> Sunday, June 20: 3 medical calls plus 5 fire calls.

> Saturday, June 19: 6 medical calls plus no fire calls.

> Friday, June 18: 5 medical calls plus no fire calls.

> Thursday, June 17: 6 medical calls plus 1 fire calls.

> Wednesday, June 16: 7 medical calls plus 6 fire calls.

> Tuesday, June 15: 2 medical calls plus 1 fire call.

Earlier: Emergency crews make 55 calls

22June 2022

Minnesota bids for early primary status

WASHNGTON. – Three leading Minnesota Democrats made the case for the state to be allowed to run an early presidential primary in 2024. If the national party accepts Minnesota’s bid, the state conceivably could replace Iowa with the first in the nation primary. Lobbying the Democratic National Committee’s bylaws committee were:

> Ken Martin, state Democratic chair.

> Peggy Flanagan, lieutenant governor.

> Keith Ellison, attorney general.

Michigan also vying to be the next early primary state in the Midwest. The bylaws committee is expected to announce its decision in August.

21June 2022

Senator complicit as Trump courier January 6

WASHINGTON – The Trump White House looked to Senator Ron Johnson to deliver a fake certificate of Wisconsin’s presidential electors in the critical hours ahead of the riotous January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol.  Johnson’s role showed up in text messages unveiled by the U.S. House committee investigating the invasion. As soon as the messages were unveiled during live television coverage of the House hearings, Johnson fled his Capitol office to evade news reporters. With reporters in pursuit across the Capitol parking lot and between sweaty pants in the humid upper 80s as he tried to outpace reporters, Johnson denied any role himself in trying to deliver the list of fake electors. It was all done at a staff level, he said. The denial was dubious. How could any staffer choose to be a Lone Ranger on such a critical issue as deciding the presidency of the nation?  Too, the parking lot chase seemed telling. Johnson held his cell phone to his ear as he scurried out of the Capitol, pretending to be engaged in more important matters until a  reporter shouted at him that the phone  screen was blank. There was no call. Johnson’s attempted image as busy-on-he-phone was a ruse.

Johnson. Diehard Trump supporter. Finishing second term in U.S. Senate. Sitting here for official Senate portrait.

The back story

Although defeated by Joe Biden, Trump contrived a wide range of tactics to retain the presidency. These included creating a false list of electors in several states to muddy the complex electoral process. These lists were trickery made of whole cloth and had no legitimacy. The lists were intended to reach Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the constitutionallv required certification of the popular vote in every state. Somehow the fake Wisconsin list was delayed in transit to the Congressional archivist.

To get the list physically to Pence, who was presiding over the certification process at the Capitol, the White House urgently texted Johnson as a close ally of Trump.  The message: Please hand-deliver the Trumped-up list of Wisconsin electors as an alternate to the legitimate list. Johnson’s chief of staff, Sean Riley, then texted Chris Hodgson, an aide to Pence: “Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS,” the all-cap abbreviation being short-hand for “vice resident of the United States.” Hodgson texted back asking what the “something” was. Riley responded, “Alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn’t receive them.” By then, Pence had already decided to certify the legitimate electoral lists from the states. Hodgson replied to Riley, “Do not give that to him.”

Meanwhile, pro-Trump rioters had massed outside the Capitol and were preparing to invade to interrupt the certification process. They were chanting for assassinations. There firearms arms and batterung rams. The certification process was indeed interrupted. Members of Congress were evacuated into hiding spaces for their safety. Later, when Trump finally called off the rioters, the certification process resumed with Pence in charge. The process confirmed Biden as president 306-232.

In the aftermath, Johnson wasm as alwaysm excusing Trump. He characterized the invasion merely as tourists visiting their elected representatives – despite five deaths and 138 wounded police officers. Damage exceeded $1.5 million.

21June 2022

Cops: Woman found dead near Viola likely murdered

ROCHESTER, Minn. – The body of a woman found under a tarp in field near Viola was that of Tia Mercedes Arlerth, 28, police said. Alerth was from Minneapolis but spent considerable time in the Rochester area, police said. She was identified through lab tests from partial fingerprints, police said. The death is being regarded as a homicide. Arerth been reported missing June 12 by her mother. She was last seen May 30 in the Rochester area. The body was found roughly six weeks later 11 miles east of Rochester on County Road 2 and 70th Avenue Northeast.

Earlier: Body found under tarp along Viola road

21June 2022

River commerce faces slowdown at 5-A

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. – The Army Corps of Engineers plans to close the single-lane lock at Dam 5A across the Mississippi River between Fountain City and Winona for repairs. The lock will be closed July 19, 21, 26 and 28 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Backed-up barges and excursion riverboats will have priority access each night. Whether the closure will delay or cancel riverboat dockings in Winona and other ports of call was uncertain. The Corps is replacing the lock chamber’s metal gates, which have been damaged and distressed over 90 ears of use.

Earlier: River traffic to be backed up at Genoa dam

20June 2022

Trial run for Prairie Island nuclear incident

WELCH, Minn. – State, county and city agencies will work through protocols in a simulated emergency at the Prairie Island nuclear power plant in the Mississippi River on Tuesday. Involved are agencies in Dakota and Goodhue counties in Minnesota and Pierce County in Wisconsin. The plant, on Prairie Island, is five miles upriver from Red Wing, 22 miles from Lake City, 35 miles from Wabasha and 68 miles from Winona.

19June 2022

Owatonna sweeps Steamboat band honors

WINONA, Minn.  – The 90-member Owatonna Hugh School marching band was proclaimed the best unit in the Steamboat Days parade.  Fred Benning, parade chair, made the announcement. The Owatonna band also won other three other categories: Best color guard, best percussion and best winds. High school bands from Worthington, St. Peter and Onalaska finished, respectively, second, third s and fourth overall. Other awards:

> Most Entertaining: Little Warriors Drum Corps.

> Visiting Royalty: LaCrosse Oktoberfest, first; Goodview Days, second; Houston Hoedown Days, third; Ettrick Lions, fourth.

> Non-high school misical units: Little Warriors Drum Corps, first; Mabel Calliope, second.

>Motorized units: Rochester Shrine Cycles.

> Horse and Animal units: Still Brooks Clydesdales.

> Novelty Units: Mabel Calliope, first; BMX Mega Jump; Winona State Warriors cheer team; Warrior Junior and Senior Baton Corps, fourth.

> Clown clubs: LaCrosse Zor Shriners Fire House Jesters, first; Winona Clown Club, second.

> Commercial units: Little Caesar’s Pizza, first; the Horse Guys, second; Borkowski Towing and Salvage, third.

.

Best of best. Owatonna show-off band in royal blue and silver.

19June 2022

State revenues rolling in fast, very fast

ST.PAUL, Minn. – Coffers at the Minnesota Revenue Department are swelling. Tax collections in May were $1.9 billion — 40 % more than expected. The breakdown:

> Personal income taxes: $488 ahead of projects.

> Miscellaneous collections: $50 million ahead.

> Corporate taxes:  $8 million ahead,

> Sales taxes: Off $11 million.

19June 2022

Co-op coverts capital credits to scholarships

RUSHFORD, Minn. – MiEnergy Cooperative awarded $70,000 in scholarships to high school students who exemplify community commitment. The scholarships were funded through unclaimed capital credits that otherwise would have been turned over to the state. Recipients listed by high school:

Aquinas: Ellie E. Kath.

Caledonia:  Sasha McLees,, Grace Myhre, Brianna Stemper, Lillian M. Doyle, Sadie Treptow, Amber Stemper.

Chatfield: Lauren Elizabeth Cole, Zayda Thieke Priebe.

Cotter: Alessia Maria Velasquez Nitti.

Crestwood: Chance Everett-Charles Carter, Emily Grayce Voyna, Lyli Kunert.

Decorah: Melia Kruse, Ashley Schneberger,; Drew White, Abby Halverson,; Sage Katherine Wedmann, Emily Grace Carolan, Kassidy Rae Steines.

Houston: Ethan Hargrove, Maci Woodard, Calley A. Colsch, Caden Charles Ness, Karalee Christensen, Therese Jore.

Kingsland: Isaac Hauser.

LaCrescent-Hokah: Lydia Rosendahl.

Lanesboro: Ella Jane Cambern, Brielle Ruen, Carson Ruen, Adam Ruen.

LeRoy-Ostrander: Anna Dru Welsh, Kylie Jo Welsh.

Lewiston-Altura: Melanie Wardwell, Elise Marie Sommer, Emma Marie Mueller, Matthew Schell,; Anna Christine Hennessy, Katelyn Ketchum, Anissa Neu.

Mabel-Canton: Emily Ann Carolan.

New Hampton: Bailey Kriener, Chloe Reicherts, Zachary Utley.

Onalaska Luther: Madelynn Carol Marie Crabtree, Rachel Mae Koenig, Evan Erdman, Faithe Rupprecht, Kayleigh Anderson.

Riceville: Mitchel Marr.

Rushford-Peterson: Olivia Thompson, Malachi Bunke, Brianne Papenfuss, Emarie Jacobson.

Spring Grove: Marah Jean Mathison, Ashlyn Hammel.

St. Charles: Carter Mathison.

South Winneshiek: Shaun Klimesh, Janessa Kay Zweibahmer, Jenna Sadler, Holly Jane Schmitt.

Stewartville: Nicole Brianna Schultz, Samantha Feine, Dyllon Lohmann.  

Turkey Valley: Jalyssa Blazek, Josie Mai Weber, Garrett Bradlee Kurtenbach.

Van Meter: Dustin J. Barth.

Winona: Andrew Robert Wooden.

19June 2022

Touch of Holland at UM horticultural showcase

CHASKA, Minn. – Open-air trams take visitors through the 1,200-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It’s the largest public garden in the Upper Midwest. Tours run 90 minutes. University of Minnesota horticulturalists have maintained the arboretum  since 1907.

Every bulb every year. Most people let their perennial tulips propagate on their own.  Not so at Minnesota Aboretum. Each bulb is is placed individually every year for spectacular impact. Image: Nancy Wagner

19June 2022

Double-A grades lead Middle School honors

WINONA, Minn. – These students were named to the spring quarter Double-A honor roll at Winona Middle School:

Fifth Grade:  Evan Galewski, Wyatt Hazelton, Clara Heinrichs, Lauren Heltemes, Trigg Lecy, Glady Miner.

Sixth Grade: Emma Bergler, Ava Ellinghysen, Lydia Flesch, Kirsten Hillery, Harrison Kelley, Alaina Malin, Autumn Merchlewitz, Clayton Mlynczak, Jonah Scoville, Colton Smith, Kaia Van Tol.

Seventh Grade: Benjamin Allington, Teagen Berzinski, Keira Bratland, Gavin Clemons, Elias Fernandez-Greene, Elsa Heinrichs, Cole Hoffman, Jazmyn Prolo, Reagan Quinn, Joseph Sheridan, Lila Topness.

Eighth Grade: Savannah Bell, Amanda Chesher, Connor Ellinghysen, Ava Henderson, Claire Lynch, Ashlee Miller, Calla Pike, Salome Tolvaisas, Justin Woyczik.

18June 2022

Week’s summary: June 18, 2022

18June 2022

New Miss Winona faces a whirlwind year ahead

WINONA, Minn. – A Winona State University student, Mikaela Mohr, sang and orated her way to the Miss Winona title in the annual pageant at the Middle School. Her social impact speech was titled “ThinkPINK “ At Winona State she studies marketing sales and  entrepreneurship.

Earlier: Upward, onward: Miss Winona now Miss Minnesota

Earlier: Two hometowners in Miss Winona contest

Mohr. Aspires to a career in business.

18June 2022

HBC cable service almost to Arches enclave

STOCKTON, Minn. – A trench-digging crews is laying fiber–optic cable through a sparsely populated area along U.S. Highway 14 from Stockton four miles to the Arches enclave at Farmers Park. The project is part of a $2.6 broadband expansion of the Gigaworld services offered by Winona-based povider HBC.  When complete, 21st century communication will be available to an area of steep coulees where broadband access has been problematic.

Earlier: New broadband to five rural neighborhoods

Orange progress. The utility contractor MP Nextlevel of Maple Lake, Minnesota, is trenching and laying fiber-optic cable. Now at this staging area at Farmers Park. Image: Stev Lunde

Primary HBC service area

Altura, Altura, Cannon Falls, Cedar Valley, Chatfield, Dover, Elba, Elgin, Goodview, Hastings, Homer, Kellogg, Lake City, Lewiston, Miesville, Minneiska, Minnesota City, New Trier, Pepin, Pickwick, Plainview, Red Wing, Ridgeway, Rollingstone, St. Charles, Stockton, Trempealeau, Utica, Wabasha, Waucouta, Whitewater, Wilson, Witoka.

18June 2022

Walz extolls vets’ burial close to home

WINONA, Minn. –Most fallen veterans would prefer to be buried close to home, Governor Tim Walz said at the dedication ceremony for new veterans memorial at Woodlawn Cemetery. Minnesotam the governio said,  has the Fort Snelling National Cemetery but proximity to home has its own values: “To have a place of reflection, a place to learn about what happened here, and to know who’s in this cemetery and again the uniqueness of this having a revolutionary war participant in here, all the way up to our modern conflict, I just think it shows we’re not going to forget, we understand that sacrifice and we’re here to make that clear to everyone.” The ceremony included the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Band and a salute from the Winona American Legion Post 9.

Governor at Woodlawn. Walz, in the necktie, is a retired National Guard member. When in Congress, he was the highest-ranking sercice member in Congress – a retired command sergeant major.

Verbatim

Walz: “I think when you spend time with your neighbors here, the differences kind of float away and the commonalities come together and I think these memorials have a very healing power to us. To understand those folks died – and the folks we’re talking about here – they died so that we would have the opportunity to debate passionately about our differences, but expect to honor our democracies.”

The eagle visits. Ashley Furniture’s patriot eagle makes the rounds of patriotic events. These included the dedication of the Woodlawn Cemetery veterans memorial in Winona. Image: Steve Lunde

18June 2022

Classy lineup at Harry’s Place

Awaiting the crowd. Outside Harry’s Place a low-slung Euro sports car, a duded-up 1937 Chevrolet Mile-Master pickup, a tricked-out 2019 Mustang, and a rare 1939 Mercury convertible for the parade marshal. Still dominant after all these years: St. Sacred Heart-St. Wenceslaus Church.  Image: Steve Lunde

Pine Creek celebrates its 170 years

PINE CREEK, Wis. – This remote hamlet celebrated 170 years with throngs on its main street and the parade marshal in a 1939 Mercury convertible. It was in 1862 that Bohemians and Kashubians from Winona migrated across the Mississippi to till the 13 miles  rich, black top soil above the Trempealeau valley to supply the growing river town of Winona with produce. Soon they had a church, two or three taverns, a dance hall, and a general store. Nowadays on the third Saturday every June their descendents kick up their heels at Pine Creek Day and hoist some at Harry’s.

18June 2022

Steamboat Days: A good time had by all

WINONA, Minn. – Fine summer weather drew thousands to the Levee and downtown streets for Steamboat Days community celebration.

Downtown blocked off. Ferris wheel took riders above the skyline to gander across the Mississippi main channel to Latsch Island and off-the-grid houseboats. Image: Steve Lunde

Sousa forever. The 38th Infantry Division’s Red Bull band adds summery martial touches.

17June 2022

Upward, onward: Miss Winona now Miss Minnesota

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –The reigning Miss Winona, Rachel Evangelisto, was crowned Miss Minnesota in a pageant finale. She is the first native American to hold the title. She is a Standing Rock Sioux who grew up in South Dakota. In the Miss Minnesota pageant she performed her polished presentation “Foster Care in Crisis: Native Youth in Minnesota.” At Standing Rock she provides court-ordered guardianship on behalf of children. Evangelisto, who is 24, holds a political science degree from the University of Minnesota-Morris, with an emphasis on law. In her pageant performances to date, beginning at age13, has won $13,000 in scholarships. Now she goes to the Miss America pageant. As Miss Winona she earned $1,200.

Earlier: Two hometowners in Miss Winona contest

Evangelisto. Her Indian earrings denote her pride in a native heritage.

WELCOME

The worthiest goal of journalism is to promote intelligent citizen involvement. Such is our goal with Winona Journal. We focus on local issues so you can go about your daily activities with confidence that you can be a genuine and valued part of informed public dialogue on the kind of community we’re building.

Although Winona-centric, we are attentive also to regional issues. Our community doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

You will find opinion here. We quote and paraphrase with attribution so you know the source and can assess ideas and thoughts. Sometimes you will find our commentary but always clearly labeled.

As journalists we are committed to accuracy but not perfect. Please let us know if you spot an error, whether substantive or even just a dumb typo. We’ll get errors squared away promptly.

We’re glad you’re with us.

John Vivian, editor