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Rusk County News


Meteorological spring is coming to an end and it was a tale of three very different months. Looking back, March was a little cooler and drier than normal with a total snowfall in Eau Claire just below 7″. April felt like a return to winter with over 18″ of snow and temperatures ending up -11.2° from average. We certainly made up for this month with May temperatures running well above average for most of the month. We are ending up with temperatures about 6° above average. In Eau Claire, the monthly precipitation has been below average but La Crosse has now recorded the 6th wettest May on record. And, it has been a very soggy decade with 2013, 2015, and 2017 all being reported as soggy. La Crosse has seen a total of 7.41″ rainfall this month securing that number six spot. This has also been the wettest May since 2013 in the city when a total of 8.49″ fell.

After a cloudy and foggy start, some sunshine will be returning Thursday which will get temperatures rising. Afternoon highs will be in the low 80’s but we will also have a chance for a few scattered showers and storms. A weak surface trough/front will follow the departing low, leading to at least a small chance for that rain, otherwise most places will remain dry.


Rusk County (WQOW) – The first court date is set for the Rusk County murder suspect who was captured one week ago last Wednesday. Preston Kraft, 31, is facing a 1st degree intentional homicide charge in the shooting death of 53 year old Robert Pettit near Conrath on Friday, May 18th. He is also being charged with felony bail jumping as a repeater. A five-day manhunt followed, before he was eventually captured North of Bruce. Kraft has not appeared in court since he was arrested. According to online court records, Kraft’s case will go before a judge June 5th at 11:30 AM. Bail is expected to be set at that hearing.

Just after 8:30 PM Wednesday night, a female employee at Kwik Trip advised Ladysmith Police that a male subject was sitting on the sidewalk and was crying. A City Officer responded to the scene and reported that the male subject was upset because his friend left him there. The subject advised that his friend may be a residence on 2nd Street Ladysmith. According to the report, after an investigation, Kevin N. Ramsey, 28, was located at the address on East 2nd Street South. Ramsey tried to evade Officers by jumping out the back window of the residence. Ramsey was stopped before he had the chance to run. Probation was notified of Ramsey’s behavior and a hold was placed on him. Ramsey admitted to drinking and smoking Methamphetamine earlier in the day. He was transported to the Rusk County jail.

Mayor Alan Chirtianson called the Ladysmith Common Council meeting to order Tuesday evening. In action items taking up by the council, they advanced and item on the agenda pertaining to a proposed Change Order, in the amount of $24,222, to extend the retaining wall along Pederson Ave. and to add a safety railing at the top of it. It was pointed out this should have been in the original MSA design, which would have resulted in the City paying for it regardless. MSA has taken responsibility for this mistake and agreed to cover ½ of the cost of the wall extension, which will reduce the City’s cost to $15, 725. A motion was made and carried to approve this Change Order. The City Council also approved to adopt a resolution authorizing creation of a Youth Commission and to adopt a resolution modifying the City’s facade assistance program. The council approved to extend water main in East 3rd Street South by one pipe length at a cost of $9,921 to the water utility. The purpose is to get it out from under new pavement so that it doesn’t have to be disturbed if a decision is made in the future to develop a portion of the area lying to the South as a residential subdivision. The purchase of a 2019 model Chev pickup as a $29,636 cost to the water and sewer utilities was approved and a Hoover Construction Proposal to install pavers around the Lake Ave. Rail Display at a cost of $1,482 was approved. A claim from Wal-Mart seeking lower property taxes be submitted to the City’s insurance carrier was suggested and negotiated settlements are often reached in these cases, which seem to be in the news nationwide. Mayor Chistianson read a Lion’s Club Centennial Celebration Proclamation noting this is the local club’s 50th year and national organization’s 100th. In the future the minutes of the Ladysmith City Council Meetings will be sent to Wldy-Wjbl.

The American Red Cross, Northwest WI Chapter, will be visiting the Rusk County community as part of its Home Fire Preparedness Campaign to teach people how to be prepared for home fires and install smoke alarms where needed. Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire. Countless others suffer injuries. To combat these tragic statistics, the Red Cross has launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent over the next five years. The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is happening all over the country and involves Red Cross workers joining with local fire departments and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of these neighborhoods.

The Red Cross will be in Rusk County on Saturday, June 2nd starting at 10 AM to install smoke alarms in homes that need them and teach people about what to do now in case a fire breaks out in their home. To register to make an appointment to have up to three free smoke alarms installed in your home you can go to the following website: or call Indianhead Community Action Agency in Ladysmith at 715-532-4222

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — A man in Eau Claire is in custody after police responded to a report of gun shots Wednesday night.

The incident took place near the intersection of Starr Avenue and Birch Street.

The Eau Claire Police Department said it received a report of a man possibly shooting a gun in the air just before 10 p.m. Wednesday. Officers set up a perimeter and were able to take a 67-year-old man into custody. Police have not released his identity.

According to police, no one was hurt in the process and there is no threat to the public.

Officers left the scene around 1 a.m. Thursday but are still investigating.

  • Rusk County News December 11, 2018
    WLDY-WJBL NEWS 12-11-18 Monday afternoon at 4;15, a female subject walked into the LEC to turn herself in. According to the police log, a Criminal Felony Warrant was brought down by the Rusk County Clerk of Courts. After an investigation, the female subject was taken into custody and taken to the Rusk County jail. At […]
  • Craig G. Miller December 11, 2018
    Craig G. Miller, 56 of Ladysmith passed away peacefully at Marshfield Medical Center-Ladysmith on Saturday, December 8.  Craig is survived by his wife, Donna, 3 daughters, Melissa Miller, Samantha Skinner and September Burns, 4 grandchildren, 5 brothers and sisters, Rick Miller, Gary Miller, Patti Aebi, Cathy Guse and Luci Miller as well as many loving […]