Kansas man reflects on return to Kendall after 30-year absence

Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to return to a town after decades of absence? Richard Brown shares his bird’s-eye view of Kendall after being gone for more than 30 years.

Richard Brown was in the U.S. Navy from 1962-65. Following military service, he attended Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, Ill., where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science. He attended the University of Hawaii for his master’s degree, and then began a 30-year civilian career with the U.S. Army in civilian personnel management. Ten of those years were in Korea, where he met his wife Sung Hi. Following retirement from federal service, Richard and his wife settled in Overland Park, Kan., to be near their daughter and grandchildren. He still makes periodic trips to Wisconsin to visit his 92-year-old aunt, Doris Pollard Wichern, who grew up in Kendall but now lives

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    Ontario of yesteryear

    County Line staff has been searching for the photo below for a long time. It is a rare shot of the Vernon Hotel, which stood on the lot now occupied by the Ontario Community Hall.

    In its heyday, around the 1870s, it was considered one of the finest establishments in Vernon County and was a regular stop for travelers making their way from Portage to La Crosse. In 1876, the Sparta Herald called the Vernon House a “roomy and commodious”

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    Mobile food pantry continues to meet local needs

    By ROSE EDDY | Special to the County Line

    Last month marked three years that Second Harvest Food Bank’s mobile food pantry has been coming to the Norwalk Community Center.

    Shirley Degenhardt of Norwalk is coordinator for the event and, with 15-20 other area residents, helps unload the truck, set up the food for distribution and, of course, distribute it to the people who come each month.

    The mobile pantry comes

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    A bump in the road: Gary ‘Drifty’ Withrow adjusts to life after amputation

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Publisher

    Anyone attending Wild West Days in Viroqua last month might have seen a strange sight: A 90-year-old man pushing his 66-year-old son in a wheelchair.

    “People must have been thinking, this doesn’t add up,” said Gary “Drifty” Withrow, who earlier this summer sustained an accident that resulted in resulted in his leg being amputated. His father, Bill Withrow, helped him make his way around Wild West

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    Celebrating 150 years down on the farm: Breidensteins to host sesquicentennial weekend

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Editor

    It might surprise the Irish poet Thomas Moore to hear a retired Kickapoo Valley dairy farmer recite from memory the stanzas to “Oft in the Stilly Night,” a mournful poem on the creeping sadness and loss that haunts old age.

    But if Bob Breidenstein is feeling sentimental, who could blame him? This year his farm in Cass Valley, near Wildcat Mountain State Park, will have been in the family 150 years, and Breidenstein, 75, has been on that farm for

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    Wildcat gets large-animal rescue glide

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Editor

    Usually horses are sure-footed creatures. But like people, they occasionally come to grief when they miscalculate a step or suffer a fright.

    Rescuing a large animal from a predicament is difficult under any circumstance, but the steep hills and deep ravines on the horse trails at Wildcat Mountain State Park make rescues even more problematic.

    A gift from the local chapter of the Wisconsin Horse Council, along with funds from the Equine Foundation of

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    Wilton’s Corner Grill revived

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Editor

    The Corner Grill is back in Wilton and doing a brisk business, according to Jennifer Downing. She has leased it from the owners who decided not to open it this year due to health problems.

    Downing has experience cooking in Melvina and at The Place in Norwalk.

    “I hated to see it sit empty,” Downing said. She is continuing with a menu

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    New restaurant opens in former Gina’s Pies Are Square building

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Editor

    “400 Main” is not only the address, but also the name of Wilton’s newest restaurant and antique shop.

    Mark and Debbie Eckelberg have leased the property from Aldis Strazdins and opened on Wednesday in what was formerly Pettera’s Country Thyme Café and, before that, Gina’s Pies Are Square.

    Although Debbie is an avid antique hunter and has spent many hours touring the shops of Galena, Wis., and the

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    A makeshift abode

    This robin is neither smart nor a good housekeeper, claims Ontario resident Fern Ferries, who lives on Division Street and has done her best to make life easier for a feathered friend that returns year after year.

    First the robin built a nest on a decorative piece next to the front door. Ferries had her daughter build a new home for the addled avian and nail it up under the eave of the garage. Though the cozy accommodations were built

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    The kindness of strangers: Community helps family recover from fire

    By KAREN PARKER | County Line Editor

    Evangelina Mendoza had just stepped out of her mobile home in Ontario to call on a neighboring family member. Like many busy moms, she popped a load of clothes in the dryer before she left.

    That was a big mistake. The dryer caught fire, and within a very short time, she watched everything the family owned go up in flames. Luckily, the Mendoza family’s children were in school

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