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News of the decade

News of the decade News of the decade


As we close out a decade and begin another, let’s take a look back across the past 10 years to see how our communities were shaped over time by events both man-made and natural, big and small, special and unusual.


There were storms of all sorts that had some big effects on the area since 2010. September floods were more often than not the cause for most of the damages seen in the decade, beginning in 2010 with heavy rains on Sept. 23-24. That event, dropping more than five inches of rain, resulted in a State of Emergency called as schools were closed, homes evacuated and total damages amounted to about $600,000. Another rain event in September of 2015 damaged roads and trails in the Town of Hendren, amounting to about $100,000 in damages. The last major flood event that caused widespread damage in Clark County occurred when six inches of rain fell on Sept. 21-22, 2016. Most of the $900,000 in damages occurred in the Town of Butler, and areas around Chili, Granton (where a man had to be rescued in the Community Park) and Neillsville. A flood also occurred on June 13, 2012, where three were killed after a culvert washed away.

Two tornados blew through the area in the past 10 years. On Aug. 23, 2011, a tornado hit homes in the Town of Fremont, destroying approximately $700,000 worth in property. Another tornado occurred on Sept. 24, 2019 a few miles south of Greenwood where several farming properties saw damage. Though not as severe as a tornado, high winds on June 14, 2012 ripped off a portion of the roof at the Greenwood Elementary School, causing $115,000 in damage.

There were several house and barn fires that destroyed personal property in the 2010s. The largest fires, however, only occurred near the end of the decade in the spring of 2018. On April 29, two fires in the Towns of Dewhurst and Hatfield burned 120 acres of forestland near Bruce Mound. Another series of forest fires in the Town of Foster near Rock Dam on May 19 of that year burned another 120 acres and destroyed a barn.

Cooling off a bit, there were some winter events of note. Fog and snowstorms on Feb. 17, 2011 caused accidents across Clark County, and a serious accident on Highway 29 where one was killed and dozens more injured. In early February 2014, the cities of Greenwood and Loyal and the village of Spencer were dealing with frozen pipes due to an extremely cold winter that drove frost levels deep into the ground. Residents at the time were asked to run water at a trickle 24/7 to keep their pipes from freezing. In February 2019, schools were closed for days at a time due to extreme cold and severe snowstorms. The excessive amounts of snow days caused schools to extend the length of school days and add on additional make-up days at the end of the year to make up for lost time.


About a dozen major anniversaries of local organizations, communities and events occurred in the past 10 years. The first of these was celebrated in Willard in May 2010 when Holy Family Parish turned 100. Three years later, on May 6, 2013, the Greenwood Public Library likewise celebrated its Centennial. In 2014, Zion Lutheran Church in Granton turned 150 years old and September 2015 saw the celebration of the LuCille Tack Center’s 20th season. In 2016, both the village of Granton and the city of Greenwood reached important milestones -- Granton reaching its 100 birthday and Greenwood making it to its 125th anniversary.

The annual Make-A-Wish truck convoy turned 20 in June 2017 while just about a year later, in March 2018, the Willard Beaver Days reached a quarter of a century in age. When the Highground in Neillsville turned 30 on Sept. 22, 2018, the event was celebrated with a county-wide Yellow Ribbon Campaign. In early December 2018, the Granton Rotary Club turned 75 and in June of 2019, the Tribune-Record-Gleaner celebrated 50 years of delivering news to the area.

School Concerns

With the recession still giving schools a hard time in 2010, in early November of that year, the Loyal and Granton School Districts began holding talks to combine certain services offered at the districts in order to cut costs. The Spencer School District also soon joined the talks and in December 2010, agreements were made to share teachers between districts.

The problem of staying afloat, however, only increased as time went on. By the time March 16, 2011 rolled around, the school districts of Loyal and Greenwood began laying off staff members for the coming school year to further trim budgets. The School District of Spencer was also in need of funds, considering a referendum to spare their teachers from being laid off.

In Granton, the situation appeared to be so dire that the School Board considered a whole-grade sharing option with the Neillsville School District in April 2011 that would have closed its high school. By October however, after 12 staff members left the district and fearing legal troubles with whole-grade sharing, the district abandoned the idea of closing the high school.

Though the area districts pulled through hard financial times, low enrollment numbers were giving schools trouble in the later part of the decade. Area schools began co-oping sports teams due to low numbers and in January 2019, the Greenwood School District made the difficult decision to try 8-man football beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

School Improvements

While area schools did have a difficult time in the 2010s, there were improvements made to the area’s educational buildings that each community could be proud of. In 2010, the Loyal School District replaced its 46-year old bleachers in its high school gymnasium and upgraded its school security system with a buzz-in system in 2013. Five years after it started a project to upgrade its athletic field facilities, the Spencer School District held a ribbon cutting on May 2, 2015 to conclude the work.

Over the course of 2017 and 2018, the Granton School District underwent a $2 million project to refurbish its 40-year old pool and reopened to facility to the public in August 2018. The School District of Spencer also began a years-long project to ascertain the needs at its district in 2017, eventually deciding on building a new $5.98 million domed gym that would double as a village emergency storm shelter. The district got a $2.5 million FEMA grant in June of 2019 to help cover the costs of building the new facility in the next year.

Finally, to address safety concerns, every area district received safety grants in the later part of the year in 2018 to improve security. The districts all added protective window film, cameras and buzz-in systems with the grant funds and the Greenwood School District decided to remodel its elementary school in 2019 to create a secure entrance to the building.


Our area veterans and those loved ones that have passed away were not forgotten even as time continues on. Several memorials were constructed or refurbished at The Highground veterans memorial park near Neillsville in the past 10 years including the Persian Gulf Tribute which was opened on July 19-25, 2016; the Military Dog Handler Tribute, opened on June 2, 2018; and the Gold Star Memorial, which was reopened on Aug. 24, 2019. The Highground also added a learning center in April 2010.

In the village of Spencer, a veterans’ memorial was planned and completed at the village park at the Highway 98/13 intersection during 2015. The dedication of the memorial occurred on July 20, 2015. In November 2019, the family of Lincoln Schrock spoke to the Loyal City Council about plans to construct a playground in the Loyal Community Park in honor of their son who passed away from cancer in September 2019.


No place is safe from sickness, not even our area. In the first week of June 2010, residents in the city of Loyal were under a boil order after trace coliform bacteria was found in one of the city’s wells. The order was lifted by the end of the week. In September of both 2011 and 2016, West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis was detected in the Loyal area.

In 2014 when school was back in session, the Loyal School District reported 27 cases of whooping cough from the months of September through November. In July 2015, the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease prompted officials to ban deer baiting and feeding in Clark County. Clark County also took action in November 2017 against opioid makers in a lawsuit along with 30 other Wisconsin counties. In 2019, schools across the county were dealing with a rise in vaping among students.

County Level

At the county level, there were decisions made in both Clark and Marathon counties that benefitted residents. In 2013, the Clark County Board worked out how it could upgrade its 1996-era emergency radio system. Deciding on a $4.7 million upgrade in 2014, the entire system was up and running by Oct. 3, 2018.

In 2016, the Clark County Board began talking about expanding the Owen Care and Rehab Center. Eventually deciding on a $7.5 million project, ground was broken for the expanded facility in May 2018. Work was completed in late January 2019. In Marathon County, a decision was made to update the address system in the county to make the system uniform across the county, making it easier for emergency services to locate homes. The update began in January 2018.

In 2018, a project began to revitalize the Clark County Fairgrounds. The project saw the fairgrounds expanded and fundraising efforts began to raise money to create new barns for the Clark County Fair events. After the 2018 Farm Technology Days were held in Marshfield, Clark County decided to pursue the possibility of being host to the event in 2022. After getting the chance to host in 2022, Roehl Acres outside of Loyal was announced as the site for the event in October 2019.


What is a list of events without a category for those strange or once-in-alifetime things that happens on occasion? Over the course of 2010-12, the Loyal Post Office was the center of controversy after

Please see Decade, page 10 being closed from March to May 2010 due to safety and health concerns with the building and again in September 2012 when the Loyal City Council condemned the building and later had it razed.

The city of Greenwood got a spot on national television when the Late Night with David Letterman Show stopped to do some filming for one of its episodes in May 2011. Also in 2011, the first rumblings of starting up a new festival in Spencer began. It wasn’t until 2017, however, when a festival -- Spencerama Days: the Revivial -- would be held on June 9-11. Greenwood, too, had festival troubles. In 2012, the last Greenwood June Dairy Days were held before the event was changed into the Greenwood Summer Fest in July 2013 to try to revive interest in the event. By July 2015, Greenwood decided to move the event once more to the end of summer for the End of Summer Fest.

Fall was an interesting time in Spencer in 2013 after the Spencer Village Board approved an archery hunt within the village limits in May that year. The hope was to reduce deer herd amounts in the village after residents complained of deer being a nuisance. A couple years later in 2015, the village removed another nuisance, making the village a quiet zone from train horns and whistles.

In April of 2017, dairy farmers were in a tough spot when local dairies began to be affected by milk export tariffs to Canada. Dairies in the area had too much milk and were becoming unwilling to buy more when the milk wasn’t being sold.