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The Paper's Story

Wisconsin’s Hay River Valley has long attracted people looking for community — a place where they can get to know their neighbors, work to help each other out, and strengthen connections. In 1987, a group of pioneers conceived of publishing a monthly newspaper, focusing on the people of Prairie Farm and Ridgeland.

The earliest issues of the Hay River Review were just four pages long. Revenue from advertisements covered the cost of printing and distribution, and all writing and editing efforts were done by volunteers. Lowell Bolstad, a pastor at an area church, was the first official editor. Slowly, the paper grew in size and readership.

In the early 2000s, board members took an important step in securing the newspaper’s future. They created the Hay River Publishing Cooperative, a governing body that would be owned by, and report to, the people. Shares in the cooperative were offered for $10, a price which still holds today.

Today, the paper routinely reaches 24 to 28 pages. Advertisements and stories now cover the area from Highway 8 south to Menomonie and from Sand Creek west to Clear Lake — the majority of the Hay River watershed. 

Papers are mailed free to houses within the Prairie Farm School District — Prairie Farm, Ridgeland, and Dallas. While subscriptions are sold to help send the paper to people outside the Hay River Valley, advertisements remain the primary source of revenue for the paper.

The Hay River Review’s founders laid out their vision for the paper in the first issue, stating: 

“The success of this new venture will depend on community participation on a number of different levels. This paper will be made possible through those who purchase advertising. The Hay River Review will also depend upon community people submitting information on events from different organizations.” 

These words are still very much true. We’re grateful for the community involvement that’s upheld our success all these years, and encourage everyone with an interest to get involved.

Board

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Betty Glaser, Secretary

Betty has been a resident of the Town of Wilson for 13 years. She is employed as a Nurse Manager for the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. She has served as Secretary for the past six years and is also a contributing writer. She embraces the Ridgeland area community through many organizations. One of her goals is to maintain a small community newspaper that focuses on the area’s residents.

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Donnette Mickelson, Director

Donnette and her husband Corey have been married for 26 years and have loved raising their family in Ridgeland. As the Library Media Specialist for the Barron Area School District, she enjoys sharing books, reading, and learning with all ages. She is also involved in the community by serving on the Ridgeland Library Board, the Ridgeland Parks, and the Historical Park Committee. She is also a contributing writer.

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Joshua Lovelady, Director

Josh lives in rural Ridgeland with his wife and four children. When he’s not chasing children around to volleyball, track, band, or various other events he enjoys the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and letting his mind wander. Josh is new to the Board in 2023 and looks forward to helping maintain the tradition of the small-town paper. He is a regular contributing writer.

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Brianne McLennan, Director

Brianne lives just south of Prairie Farm with her husband and two sons. She is a special education teacher at Barron Area School District. She’s lived in the Ridgeland-Prairie Farm area since 2014 and has found no better place to call home. In free time she enjoys theater, hiking, and crafting. Brianne is new to the board and looks forward to helping our publication continue for further generations and plans to be a contributing writer.

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Darla Peters, Director

Darla has lived in Ridgeland for the past eight years. She owns and operates Blueberry Line Quilting, selling quilting cottons and doing longarm quilting for clients. She loves assisting clients in designing the quilt they want to make, and also consulting on fabric choices. Darla has been a board member since 2021.

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Shelley Lee

Shelley joined the Board in 2023. She and her husband LeRoy have deep ties to the area. They were instrumental in establishing the Ridgeland Area Library. 

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David Williams, Treasurer

A retired UW-Stout administrator, David has valued his land and neighbors in Vance Creek for nearly 50 years. In addition to serving on the Board, he regularly contributes articles.

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DKO Pike (Douglas Owens-Pike), Director

For decades Douglas has helped homeowners and land managers move toward practices that help us thrive with the least impact on future generations. He resides in Otter Creek Township, in NW Dunn County. Douglas is also a contributing writer.

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Tommie Kelley

Tommie owns a farm on the Hay River focused on perennial agriculture. The Hay River Review helped her family learn about this area when they arrived in 2018. She serves on the Board of Directors, working on projects to help our paper continue serving our vibrant communities.

Staff

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Cassandra Kyser, Editor

A native of New Richmond, Cassandra has lived in Boyceville since 2016. She joined the paper in August 2023, bringing over 25 years of experience in writing and editing. She believes small town newspapers are critical to building community, and that everyone has a story to tell. 

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Alicia Krusey, Ad Sales

Alicia is a recent graduate from Prairie Farm High School and Northwood Technical College. She has lived in the Prairie Farm area for around 8 years, and is a teller at Dairy State Bank. Alicia has a vast love for everything involving FFA, boating, and connecting with her community.  

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Jessica Fischer, Layout Designer

Jess lives between Clayton and Prairie Farm (since 2005), and runs her own graphic design business focused on community building. She’s also a homeschooling mom, holds space for dance, and loves foraging. She’s excited about someday hosting a community arts space in the historic schoolhouse where she lives.

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Renee Bartz, Bookkeeper/
Subscriptions

Renee resides on her family farm near Connorsville. After successfully raising five children, she now has time to function as the accounting staff for the Hay River Review, when she is not caring for her grandchildren. Renee’s commitment to her community motivates her to give her time toward better connections with our neighbors.

Contributors

Our regular volunteer contributors are an essential part of the Hay River Review and give our paper its character. Every month, they cover numerous aspects of life in rural west central Wisconsin and general human interest topics.

Andy Gaertner: “Relatively Obsessed”

“Each of us has family history that is also connected to the history of the places our ancestors lived. Each month, I take a dive into some piece of genealogical research, and I bring you along for the ride. I would love to help you with your family tree. Contact me to find out how to get started, gaertner.andy122@gmail.com.”

Darlene Ramos:“Less is Plenty”

Darlene is a retired cafe owner and decades-long resident of the Hay River township. Born and raised in California she eventually migrated to Wisconsin for life in a “little (farm) house in a big woods” with her family, wherefrom many articles and columns were written for local publications. If you have thoughts about any of her writings, you can reach her at yorba73@yahoo.com.

Donnette Mickelson: “Mickelson’s Book Binge” and “Table Talk”

In her free time, Donnette enjoys reading, embroidery, quilting, and going to garage sales. In whatever endeavor she pursues, Donnette strives to contribute positively to her community and learn more about the world around her. Donnette is also a board member.

Kallie Anderson: “Boyceville Library Bulletin”

“I have been the Director of Boyceville Public Library since March 2023. I grew up in the area and dreamed of working here since I was a child. Over the last few years, I have worked in a variety of positions within the IFLS Library System, from circulation assistant to youth services, which gives me a unique perspective on library work. My greatest passion is connecting children and teens with books that help them build a lifelong love of reading.”

Sam Dodge: “Homestead Hacks”

“I’m a mostly self-educated putterer/maker/doer who has a hard time stopping his brain from thinking, his body from moving, and his hands from twisting and fixing bits of this and that into semi-useable gewgaws. Sometimes I get actual ideas, and sometimes I even make actual, useful things.”

Barbara Peterson:
“The Book Report — Dallas Public Library” 

“I grew up two miles from Dallas on a farm.  I got my bachelor’s at Augsburg College and my master’s at UW-River Falls. I taught for 37 years at Luck High School in English/Language Arts and Reading. I was also the church organist for St. Peter’s Lutheran. Currently, I also play for Dallas Lutheran and occasionally for Hay River Lutheran.  When I moved back to Dallas in 2010, I got involved with the Dallas Library and have been writing the column.

David Williams: “Vance Creek Report”

David has owned his land in the Vance Creek area of the Hay River Valley for almost 50 years. He writes about the people and government of the Vance Creek area, some history of the region, as well as ways to enjoy the beauty of our region by bike and other human-powered means. He is also a board member.

Douglas Owens-Pike: “Sustainably You — How to Thrive”

“In this time of transition, we face multiple challenges from viruses, climate crisis, and political turmoil.” Douglas has decades of experience helping homeowners and land managers move toward practices that help us survive with the least impact on future generations. He is a resident of Otter Creek Township in NW Dunn County. Doug is also a board member.

Lon Christopherson: “Photos from Our Past”

“If you have an interesting photo from our community’s past that you’d like to share, email it to me at lonchristopherson1@gmail.com or stop by the Ridgeland Library on Thursdays between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.”

Betty Glaser: “Ridgeland Civic Club,” “American Legion Auxiliary,” and “Ridgeland Park N Rec”

Betty is an active member of several local organizations/clubs and covers news and events associated with them. Community activity between all of these Ridgeland organizations is plentiful, and a great way to get to know your neighbors while having some family fun close to home. Betty is also a board member.

Donna Rogers: “All Aboard with the Ridgeland Library Review”

“I have resided in Hay River country for over 50 years. I love the human interest stories included in the Hay River Review. I especially enjoyed being part of the Senior Memories group at our Library, and I am excited about all the ways our Library can serve the community.” 

Josh Lovelady: Various pieces celebrating and appreciating rural life

“I have spent my whole life in rural areas and wouldn’t have it any other way. There may be things missing from the immediate and at hand, but the wonder of the countryside, forests, and small towns more than makeup for it. I live outside of Ridgeland in the woods with my wife, who is a Ridgeland native, and my four children.” Josh is also a board member.

Martha Wright: “Field & Woodland Wanderings”

Martha Wright lives in the Hay River area where she spends as much time in the woods as possible. She enjoys long nature walks, looking for new plants to identify, and foraging for wild edibles. Her favorite wild edible is red clover blossoms made into fritters.

Let our volunteer contributors and board of directors know you appreciate their time & effort. The quality of this community newspaper is in large part because of the work they do for free.

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