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  • Center of Hope helping tornado victims cope, rebuild (VIDEO)

    5247COURTESY PHOTO Home after tornado in April, 2020.

    Putting plans into action

    BY BRIAN BESCH

    An organization that has done so much for so many after tragedy struck in Onalaska and Seven Oaks wishes to give thanks for all who contributed to helping those when it was most needed.

    Center of Hope in Livingston has helped over 50 homes with damage from the tornado in April with the funds brought in from the community. Center of Hope disaster response coordinator Mike Fortney said the funds provided allowed some homes to receive extensive repair, while others required only a moderate amount.

    The task of helping in repairs is one leadership at Center of Hope expects to be complete by the end of winter. There are still five or six residences, but Fortney said some repairs to those are complete. After those have been tackled, the total will be just shy of 60 homes.

    Anything from wheelchair ramps, to roofs, decks, windows, doors, fences and walls — the many agencies partnering with the center were able to repair for those in need after the deadly storm. An emphasis was placed on homes that were either uninsured or underinsured.

    20210118 124715COURTESY PHOTO Home under reconstruction.

    Over 30 families received assistance with non-construction aid as part of Unmet Needs. This ministry helps families with needs stemming from the tornado to replace items such as appliances, furniture, vehicles or household goods. They were even able to replace a set of dentures that blew away during the tornado.

    This week, the Enterprise had the opportunity to visit two families who have received such help. Each had a tree that fell into the home, both of which were within arm’s length of where they were bracing for the storm.

    At the O’Donnell home, a roof and ramp were built, while the family worked on flooring for the house. The Flanigans, a family of seven, lost nearly everything and began building themselves. Volunteer groups traveled to help them complete a home, and installed windows and electrical. They are currently adding on another room for additional space.

    It takes a village, and Center of Hope has certainly built that. Among those helping were Economy Maintenance and Repair, Dowden Leveling and Texas Choice Home Construction. They all worked to fix dozens of homes, giving reduced prices in most cases to spread Center of Hope funds or even absorbing the costs themselves. As Covid-19 hampered the volunteer team roster and Hurricane Laura drew other teams away, the contractor partners were a large part of the process and continue to do so. 

    Church repair teams include First United Methodist Church of Onalaska, United Methodist Army of Kingwood, Lone Star Cowboy Church from Montgomery County, First Baptist Church of Livingston, Cypress UMC, and Atlanta UMC. Many homes were repaired by these teams, who volunteered time and resources to the incredible project.

    There were churches that also helped in other ways, like food and donations. Those include First United Methodist Church of Onalaska, Revival Center Church of Onalaska, and First Baptist Church of Onalaska. These groups adopted individual families, helped fix homes, ran a furniture warehouse for survivors, fed survivors and provided spiritual care for families. All ministered to families and continue to do so.

    The Orphan Grain Train out of Nebraska sent a large donation of materials totaling $35,000 that filled a warehouse. That warehouse, was arranged by Calvary Medical of Livingston, which allowed donated building materials to be stored free of charge and is still used today.

    The chambers of commerce, along with leadership from Polk County and the City of Onalaska helped tackle several challenges in response and recovery.

    All of this help was in addition to the immediate response from Center of Hope following the storm, where they set up a donation center, coordinated hot meals and volunteers, and supplied bulk food, water and materials to the impacted area.

    Fortney said, most of all, God gave his team solutions before new problems existed. Prayers were answered providing work teams, materials and funds. Teams were kept safe and what he calls "mini miracles" made the difference in getting the jobs completed.

    Trailers and vehicles were available at the right time to meet a specific need. Material donors covered the bulk of what was necessary for most projects. Teams arrived from outside of Polk County with the skills to complete jobs. A warehouse space was supplied at the right moment as donating materials were on their way, and several times donors showed up with the exact things needed at that moment.

    With the work in Onalaska nearly complete, there are limited resources still available to help survivor families. If a family has a lingering need stemming from the tornado, they may contact the Center of Hope at 935-327-7634 or visit 600 South Washington in Livingston to work with the group there.

    For those looking to help the Center of Hope, donations are always put to good use. There will also be a barbecue fundraiser at the Center of Hope Feb. 27 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Plates are $10, with proceeds going toward the vehicle used in disaster response.

  • Covid forces cities to cancel Veterans Day ceremonies

    Onalaska FlagJASON CHLAPEK I PCE A pair of volunteers post flags along US Highway 190 in Onalaska to honor Veterans on Veterans Day, which was celebrated on Wednesday throughout the nation.

    By Jason Chlapek

    ONALASKA - A pair of Veterans Day ceremonies were canceled or postponed because of Covid-19.

    The Polk County Garden Club’s annual tribute to Veterans on the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker has been postponed until Memorial Day 2021, and Onalaska’s annual Veterans Day program was canceled. Onalaska Mayor Chip Choate chimed in on his city’s decision to cancel its annual ceremony.

    “We did not have a Veterans Day ceremony this year because of Covid,” Choate said. “Most of the Veterans in this area are senior citizens and they are the most vulnerable to this virus. We wanted to be very cautious and try to avoid any congregation, so we’re going to plan to have it next year. We have plans for Veterans Day 2021.”

    Onalaska still did something to honor Veterans, however. The city placed American flags along both sides of US Highway 190.

    “We put out the American flags three times a year — Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day,” Choate said. “We put the flags out a little early this year to let everyone have the opportunity to see the patriotism in our community.”

    Choate hopes the virus will run its course and not be a threat by Veterans Day next year. He also reminisced about previous Veterans Day ceremonies.

    “In the past, we invited Veterans throughout the community, played patriotic music and had speakers such as State Rep. James White, Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy and Commissioner Rodney Vincent,” Choate said. “We also displayed flags and played the songs of each of the five branches of the service. We also do a muster. This is where we call out the names of Veterans from our area who passed away in the past year. When we call their names, we invite relatives or friends to call out, ‘Here,’ when their Veteran’s name is called.”

    At the Blue Star Marker, Livingston VFW Post 8568 teamed up with Livingston High School Junior ROTC cadets to present the flags. The Onalaska High School JROTC did something similar at the Onalaska Veterans Day ceremony.

     

  • FFA presents for Onalaska’s board

    FFAPHOTO BY EMILY KUBISCH-SABRSULA Onalaska’s FFA team gave their agricultural issues presentation over wild horse management to the board before they take it to contests.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula


    ONALASKA — Onalaska’s board met earlier this month to go over their formal agenda, as well as receive a presentation from the ag issues team as they prepare to complete in upcoming contests.

    Agricultural issues team
    Onalaksa’s FFA team unveiled their agricultural issues presentation over wild horse management. Two students on each side of the argument presented on the pros and cons of the regulation of these animals.
    The presentation included the history of how the horses were introduced to the United States, how Native Americans used them, their contemporary existence in the western U.S., and laws introduced to protect them. Pros included seed distribution and historical significance, while cons included hard packing of soil and over-population.

    Elementary report
    Elementary principal David Murphy informed the board that elementary UIL started meeting last week in the afternoons, but with after-school tutorials also starting soon, they are working to find ways to meet with both groups on campus in a safe manor.

    Sixth grade currently holds the highest attendance with 95%, earning them a pizza party later this month. On Nov. 3, the district will hold its first Title I meeting virtually.

    The presentation will go over what Title I is, requirements the school needs to meet, and what parents need to know. Questions and comments can be added to a chat box during the meeting to be addressed.

    Junior and high school report
    Robyn Thornton gave the junior and senior high school report.

    Administration will start teacher observations soon with plans to be finished before Thanksgiving. With the first nine-weeks over, Math and English Language Arts teachers will start determining which students need educational interventions, including after-school tutoring.

    The NHS and NJHS classes of last spring were inducted earlier this month, unable to do so last year due to Covid. Since the program started in 2006, 206 members have been initiated.

    Student council will hold a Trunks and Treats event on Oct. 31. This drive-thru event will take place at the junior and high school campus with a drive-in movie being shown afterwards.

    A copy of the school’s events calendar can be found at https://www.onalaskaisd.net/ under the “Events Calendar” tag at the bottom of the page.

    Superintendent Report
    Superintendent Anthony Roberts gave the enrollment report, stating the district had gained 37 more students since last year. Attendance has remained stable despite Covid, but the district is still held harmless for average daily attendance.

    A bid from Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong out of Lufkin to repair roofs on the junior and senior high campus, ag and transportation barns, weight room, softball pavilion and a modified roof for the administration building for just under $300,000 was approved.

    Sam Houston Electric Co-Op will lease a radio tower behind the high school to the district to improve communications around the district with the help of a safety and security grant. A tower in Livingston is currently used, but the more local tower will cost around $140 a month, less than half of what they currently pay.

    District to add cyber security clause
    With Senate Bill 820 passed, the district is required to adopt a cybersecurity framework and designate a coordinator to report all incidences should a breach occur. Technical support has already done so and has begun to establish procedures.

    The board voted to amend the emergency operations plan.

    For a calendar of future Onalaska ISD board meetings, visit https://www.onalaskaisd.net/, click on the “Superintendent’s Office” tab at the top, scroll to the bottom and click “School Board Agendas.”

  • Livingston nips Onalaska (Video)

    Livingston Onalaska 12 15 2020

    By Brian Besch
    Photos by Brian Besch

    LIVINGSTON— The Livingston Lions escaped Tuesday with a narrow 59-55 home win over Onalaska. 

    With several lead changes in the final period, the Lions were able to hold off a surging Wildcat squad. Onalaska put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep the game in doubt until the last four seconds.

    “I'm proud of my kids, especially being down two starters,” Onalaska coach Nick Tyerman said. “To have this game and play as well as they did, I am so proud of them. When you look at the other side, they have the depth and we had five left. We had one get hurt and one foul out. It was a great game, but not what we want, because we always want to win the game. For our last competition before district starts Friday, I feel great.”

    Tyerman said Tuesday's game was one of the best that his team has played on the young season.

    “Probably close to it. There was good execution and good patience and a good all-around game on both sides of the ball, which I'm very proud of. I love how much we moved around on defense. We flew around to the ball and drew a lot of charges, we closed out hard and we made it tough for them to score. I think they really didn't start getting it inside until we started getting a little gassed there at the end.”

    Lion Chris Washington led all scores in the game with 23 points, Jontavian McNeal had nine and Willie Fagan had eight. For the Wildcats, Chase Fletcher led with 15 points and blocked several shots, Kevin Redden had 14 points and Ryan Kratz added a dozen. 

    Early on, the Wildcats held an 8-3 advantage before Livingston found their footing. A late 3-pointer put Onalaska up by one going into the second quarter. The Lions moved back in the front and remained there until the fourth quarter, holding leads of as large as 16 points.

    “We went to full-court man some and then we came back and just put pressure on the ball, and that got us back a little bit,” Livingston coach Calvin Phillips said. “Every game that we've had the last few ball games, we've kind of been behind. It is always us coming in on man-to-man defense, making a quick steal and going down to score to turn the game around.

    “I didn't think we guarded the ball very well. That was something I was a little afraid of going in — that the 3-ball was going to hurt us. We went out there with our hands down. The times that we got up there and got our hands up and guarded the ball, they didn't hit their shots. I thought that was the key. You can't take it away from them; they shoot the hell out of the 3-ball.”

    Perimeter shots were falling for the Wildcats, which always seems to be a little more important in Onalaska. Previous teams by the lake have lived on the 3-pointer, but Tyerman believes that is changing a bit this year.

    “This year, we've been more 50/50,” the Wildcat coach said. “They, for some reason, were playing more for our drive, and I think that is because the last few games we have been attacking more. That is what has been there. We are so known for our 3-point shooting that everyone wants to take that away. Now we've become a little more balanced and we're better at reading the defense, where we can see what they are going to give us today. We are taking advantage of it.”

    Down by eight going into the fourth quarter, the ‘Cats continued to work their way back into the contest. They took a one-point lead at 47-46 with 4:30 remaining. 

    With just 22 seconds to go, Onalaska’s Kratz hit a free throw that tied the game at 55. Fagan connected on a jumper in the lane to put the Lions back on top by two. After a defensive stand, Washington was fouled and made good on both of his free throws to put the game out of reach with four seconds on the clock.

    Though it was there at the end when the Lions needed it most, Phillips said he worries about his half-court offense because his team lacks patience at times.

    “We have to win off of our pressure defense, because if we don't, we are going to have a hard time. Everything has to be in transition getting layups off of steals and that type of stuff. If we get it going, it's going to be a little bit different.”

  • Onalaska City recognizes local election results

    SwearinChoateEMILY KUBISCH-SABRSULA I PCE David Johnson swears in newly re-elected Mayor Chip Choate before being sworn in himself as Municipal judge.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

    ONALASKA - Re-elected Mayor Chip Choate opened the monthly Onalaska city meeting with news of an agreement made with TXDOT to allow the city to place flags on the Kickapoo Creek bridge, outside of the guardrails. Traditionally, the city has put flags along Highway 190 on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day, but has been unable to along the bridge due to TXDOT regulations.

    During his announcements, the mayor also encouraged meeting-goers to reach out to their representatives, James White and Robert Nichols, citing their inaction on legislation to assist the Alabama-Coushatta reservation in retaining their gaming activities. With hundreds of bills already filed for the 87th legislation, which will start at noon on Jan. 21, 2021, there is still time to reach out to representatives to better help the tribe, which helps bring millions of dollars to East Texas and Polk County.

    For a list of representatives by zip code, visit www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.

    The city approved several hires and appointments, including Onalaska-raised Simon Prince, who will serve as a full-time officer with a standard probationary period. Chief Jessica Stanton said his prior experience includes working in Cleveland and in San Jacinto County before deciding to move back.

    Other positions include the re-appointment of David Johnson for Municipal Judge, Associate Judge Greg Magee, city council member Paul Laverty, and newly appointed Attorney and Prosecutor for Onalaska, Chris Thompson. Thompson will replace David Mormon, who earlier resigned after 17 years with the city to take on a judgeship for Walker County.

    Shirley Gilmore was also continue serving as Mayor Pro-tem.

    City Events

    On Nov. 21, the Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department will hold a blood drive from 2:30-7 p.m. Those wishing to participate must sign up online prior to giving blood.

    Sign-up forms can be found at tinyurl.com/y56z8mkp.All. Successful donations will include a free Covid-19 anti-body test.

    The Second Annual Onalaska Reindeer Dash will be on the afternoon of Dec. 5, which the Christmas Parade immediately following. Parade participants will toss candy and parade-goers are encouraged to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

    For more information on the race or parade, contact Tammy Seader at 936-646-5000 or visit the city’s Facebook Page. Parade forms are also available online at cityofonalaska.us.

    The City of Onalaska meets every second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Public comments can be made at beginning of the meeting.

  • Onalaska duo aims for top spots

    Onalaska Duo LARRY LAMB I HCC Onalaska seniors Brady Neuman (left) and William Boyce will compete in the Class 3A cross country meet Monday afternoon in Round Rock. Boyce is aiming for the state championship, while Neuman, the front-runner for OHS’s Class of 2021 Valedictorian, is aiming for his personal-best time.

    By Jason Chlapek

    ONALASKA – William Boyce and Brady Neuman have a few things in common.

    They’re both members of Onalaska High School’s Class of 2021, the OHS cross country program, OHS track and field program, and OHS FFA, to name a few. Speaking of cross country, both Boyce and Neuman will represent OHS at the state cross country meet Monday afternoon in Round Rock.

    Boyce and Neuman each want to be at the top of their field, but this is where things begin to differ. Boyce wants to be the top male runner in Class 3A and has plans on winning Monday’s race, but Neuman wants to be the top student in OHS’s 2021 senior class.

    “I’m currently ranked in the top of the class,” Neuman said.

    Neuman plans to go to Texas A&M and major in biomedical and become a physician. During district FFA competition on Nov. 12, Neuman and his ag issues team finished first and his public relations team finished second.

    Boyce also finished third in job interview at the district FFA competition. Onalaska finished second overall in district FFA, and the top two finishers in each category advanced to the area competition which took place Thursday.

    Neuman also won the FFA wildfire competition last month for the third year in a row. He earned a belt buckle and scholarship money.

    Neuman qualified for the state cross country meet by finishing as the eighth competitor not attached to a top-3 finishing team. The top three teams and top 10 individuals not attached to a top-3 team qualified for state.

    “This is my second trip to state,” Neuman said. “Last year we went as a team. If we hadn’t qualified as a team, I actually wouldn’t have advanced. I knew I had to run for my life this year if I was going to make it to state.”

    The Onalaska boys cross country team won its seventh consecutive district championship in October as well. Boyce and Neuman were the top finishers for the Wildcats in both the region and district meets.

    “The state course is my favorite course that I’ve run on,” Neuman said. “I’m going to show up and run my best race. I don’t go in there to race everybody else, I go in there to race myself. I worry about myself instead of the people around me or the people in front of me.”

    Boyce has one goal in mind Monday afternoon – first place. He is a three-time district champion and two-time region champion individually, and won both titles this year.

    “When I look at the Round Rock course, I think of Texas as a whole,” Boyce said. “There’s all sorts of terrain on that course. Each region has different soil textures. With Austin being smack-dab in the middle of Texas, I feel like you have all of Texas in one spot. The course itself has hills, sand, rocks, holes, ditches, everything. It’s definitely an all-terrain course and it represents Texas terrain.”

    Boyce plans to attend college on a track and field or cross country scholarship. He wants to become a teacher and coach with plans to enter into administration.

    Boyce believes the courses he and his teammates ran on in district (Anderson) and regional (Huntsville) will have him ready for Old Settler’s Park’s course in Round Rock. He also has it in his mind that he will be the first one to cross the finish line.

    “I have to have self-motivation and go in there like I know I’m going to win,” Boyce said. “If I go in there thinking I’m going to lose, I’ve already beaten myself. I feel like cross country as a whole is a mindset game. You have to push yourself to your limits.”

  • Onalaska Lady Cats defeat Goodrich (VIDEO)

    IMG 1824BRIAN BESCH | PCE The Onalaska Lady Cats leave Goodrich with a 71-15 victory Friday over the Lady Hornets.

     
    By Brian Besch

    The Onalaska Lady Cats used a few different presses to leave Goodrich with a 71-15 victory Friday over the Lady Hornets.

    Behind 23 points from Kierra Anstee, 14 from Kylie Sisk, and 12 by Jordyn Shutter, the Lady Cats won a game that was never in doubt.

    Onalaska opened the contest with an 18-0 advantage, picking off passes and tipping the ball away from Goodrich dribblers. By halftime, the Lady Cats were on the positive side of a 38-4 lead.

    “We are 2-1. We've lost a heartbreaker at Pineywoods (Christian Academy),” Onalaska head coach Ashley Sustaita said. “We were up with 20 seconds to go and turned the ball over twice to let them tie it and then let them take the lead. To be in a game this year with a great opponent — it's a good feeling. It's one of those losses you're not even mad at because, looking at last year, we weren't even supposed to be in a game like that. We have a deep bench and a lot of good talent.”

    Sustaita has 11 players to deploy at any point, and was able to rotate five new faces in at a time, while Goodrich was forced to play its same five the entire game.

    The Lady Cats should rely on defense and a few different looks defensively in the 2020-21 season. On Friday, both a full-court and half-court press gave the opponent trouble.

    “We want to run and we want to press. We've been working really hard on the rotation and we have a couple of other things we've been throwing in as far as the press,” Sustaita said. “I think our speed is going to kill. We've been able to run teams into the ground pretty good, so I'm excited.”

    The Onalaska coach believes small details such as transition defense, blocking out and consistently putting the ball in the basket will be what the team needs to work on before district play.

    “We put in a lot of specific drills that I think are paying off now,” Sustaita said. “They are able to knock it down and do a good job of not getting down on themselves when things aren’t falling early.”

    Goodrich was led by Breya Passmore, who scored seven of her team’s 15 points. Jamya Garrett and Aralyn Angel each added three points. The team played its best basketball in the fourth quarter, where a winded bunch was able to score in double digits.

    “We have to keep working and it is a whole different level now from junior high,” Goodrich coach Khadijah Carter said of her baby bees. “We have to learn that.”

    Carter has a monumental task of developing four freshmen, a sophomore and, as of now, no bench. The team just ended a successful cross country season and has yet to practice with all five team members.

    “Really, we're just working on offensive plays and we are running a 2-3 zone,” Carter said. “We have to stretch that zone as much as we can, and I am thinking about going to man. It is a little difficult right now and not being able to practice with a full team has been tough. Once I get at least a full week with full-team practices, we should be OK.”

    Playing every minute, the Lady Hornets will be in good shape quickly. Those who may not have participated in cross country before are getting the same impact now.

    “If anything, we are going to be in shape and a fit team. By the end of December — and we start district in December now — I think by then we will have it,” the Goodrich coach said. “We have to. I will have it right and we will be a more developed team.”

  • PCSO arrests man in shooting death

    Dallas SimonDallas Simon

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    ONALASKA – A man is behind bars after shooting his brother to death Sunday afternoon in Onalaska.

    Dallas Joseph Simon, 55, was arrested for murder after he shot his brother, 57-year-old Kevin Simon, to death after a brief altercation. Dallas Simon was booked into the Polk County Jail with a murder charge and a bond set at $100,000.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Dallas Simon who stated he and his brother, Kevin Simon, got into an altercation and he shot him. Deputies responded to the residence, off of May Drive in Polk County, and found Kevin Simon deceased at the property.

    Investigators arrived on scene and began to process the crime scene and interview witnesses. Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Robert Johnson conducted the inquest and ordered an autopsy to be performed by Jefferson County.

  • Playing together as a team (VIDEO)

    IMG 3533BRIAN BESCH | PCE Kenadi Houser shoots for two in the lane.

    By Brian Besch

    The Onalaska Lady Cats proved just how far the team has come in a month's time, defeating New Waverly 63-27 Friday by the lake.

    In their first meeting, the Lady Dogs took a 51-37 match from December. Whether revenge, redemption, payback or just the will to win, Onalaska left little doubt from the start. They took an early 14-4 lead and led by 11 by the end of the first period. 

    A quarter later, the advantage grew to 32-12.

    "If you go back to the game that we played at New Waverly, it wasn't even the same team," Onalaska coach Ashley Sustaita said. "We have done a complete rehaul of attitude and mindsets. They are totally bought in to their role and their job, and it's all 12 of them. They do such a good job of doing what I need them to and what the team needs them to do."

    The struggles for New Waverly continued, as a suffocating Lady Cat defense held the opponent to just 14 points through three quarters. 

    "We don't have a dominant kid and we've had teams try to box-and-one us," Sustaita said. "We just have such a great team right now and it is awesome to be a part of."

    Sustaita feels each player knowing their role and how they fit into the team was the problem before. That appears to be settled, with the team shuffling five girls in and out and each playing a part.

    "It's easy to want to be the top dog or not have any responsibility. I'm very open with my girls and very transparent with what I want them to do to be successful. We definitely put 'we' before 'me' every single day.

    "I always tell my kids that we don't have starters. We have five kids that I think we need to start the game, but they know that it may not be the five that we need to finish the game to win it for us. Being ready on the bench and being active in the game is so important."

    Kierra Anstee led the Lady Cats with 19 points, Kenadi Houser and Jordyn Shutter each had a dozen, and Maddie Stelck had eight.

    "We have some freshmen who have stepped up defensively and have done a good job. It has been awesome to see our juniors take them under their wing and be excited for them. 

    "On the last play, it was a freshman that shot the ball and my junior point guard is over there losing her mind for her. That is family and it is what we preach. I think we've done a good job of changing the culture here for women's basketball at Onalaska."

  • Robert Rolin needs your votes

    Robert and the snowmanCOURTESY PHOTO Robert and the snowman

    Onalaska man in final round to win custom motorcycle from television show

    By Brian Besch

    Over three decades ago, a motorcycle crash nearly killed Robert Rolin.

    However, the Onalaska resident is now surviving several rounds of voting and close to winning a custom motorcycle from the television show Orange County Choppers.

    "Paul Teutul and his son started a show called American Chopper," Rolin said of the television show's beginnings. "It was him and his son building motorcycles in their garage. They built some really nice custom bikes. They built showcase bikes. They started building for celebrities and superstars.

    "I was on Facebook one day and saw this thing that said "dream chopper." It said enter a contest to win a dream chopper. It also helps the Hudson Valley SPCA in New York."

    Rolin said when he signed up, there were 70,000 other people who did the same. He won the first round and the group shrunk to 9,000. He won a five more rounds and has just three more competitors in his way of the grand prize.

    Also included in the grand prize is an appearance on the television show and a feature on the cover of Cycle Source Magazine.

    A vote is free, but additional votes can also be purchased to accumulate more. The money donated goes to helping animals.

    The competition runs until 10 p.m. Thursday evening.

    Rolin says he has many groups voting for him, with numbers in the hundreds. However, the other contestants have similar backing.

    "It's very humbling. I am kind of a private guy and I keep to myself. Me and my son have a company; we build houses. It is my son's company, but I work with him."

    If Rolin wins, Teutul will build a custom motorcycle for him. Rolin has a history with motorcycles, some good and some nearly fatal.

    FB IMGCOURTESY PHOTO Robert's red motorcycle.

    "I lost my left arm in a motorcycle wreck back in '87. It was a rainy night and back then, I had about the fastest 750 made. I had a real need for speed when I was a youngster. I was just going really fast and the road that I was on was a two-lane road. One lane went up about an inch, so when you change lanes, it threw you to the left. I went too far and hit the curb and there was a fire hydrant. It hit my arm and just took it right off at the shoulder."

    Rolin said the officer that responded didn't even notice his arm missing, because his leg was so badly injured. The officer was actually a high school classmate of Rolin. The officer ran across the street to a corner store and filled an ice chest with ice and poured it into Rolin's leg, likely saving that limb.

    That officer is also one of the voters helping Rolin.

    "I almost died and it tore my right leg up. I don't have a quadricep in my right leg. I lost five inches of my femur, but they put a steel rod in my leg and it has held my leg together. Here 33 years later, I am still getting along."

    Though it was difficult to get back on a bike, he still rides today, owning a Harley-Davidson trike.

    Rolin said he is a positive person, who tries to promote ability instead of disability.

    "I hope that I can inspire one person. Just because they might have lost their leg or their arm or had some kind of disability or even people that just have low self-esteem -- you have to just get out there and try. I hope, if I win, I really want to promote that disabled people can do things. I'm just a normal guy that doesn't have a left arm. I want to get up there and show the world that we can do things. If you are disabled, don't give up. I boat, I water ski, I hunt, I fish and I build houses -- I never let it slow me down.

    "It took me two years to get out of a wheelchair. Once I did, I've never looked back. I try to live life. I ended up raising five kids and having a great life. I didn't get back on a motorcycle for about 20 years. Once I did, I loved it. This (contest) has been a great experience, it has brought me back to the policeman that was on the scene and people that I remember from my high school. It has been a great experience, but I still want to win."

    To help Rolin win, go to dreamchopper.com and place a vote.

  • Wildcats win 7th straight district title

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Onalaska athlete Kierra Anstee finishes third in the District 23-3A cross country meet last week in Anderson. Anstee will participate in the Region III-3A Meet Monday in Huntsville.

    By Jason Chlapek

    ANDERSON — For the seventh year in a row, the Onalaska boys cross country team is a district champion.

    The Wildcats accomplished this feat last Thursday at the District 23-3A Meet in Anderson. Onalaska finished with 47 points, while runner-up New Waverly had 56.

    “I think individual commitment from each runner and making sure we were playing it safe, wearing our masks and maintaining social distancing helped us maintain our streak,” Onalaska coach Terri Boyce said. “We’ve also been very dedicated and we were determined to win come heck or high water. I’m very proud of them.”

    The top two teams and top 10 individuals qualified for the Region III-3A Meet on Monday at Kate Barr Ross Park in Huntsville. At the region meet, the top three teams and top 10 individual finishers not attached to a qualifying team will earn berths in the 3A state meet Nov. 23 in Round Rock.

    Leading the charge for the Wildcats last Thursday was three-time district champion William Boyce — the coach’s son. Running in chilly, windy conditions on a hilly course, Boyce finished the race with a time of 17 minutes, 37 seconds — nearly a minute faster than runner-up Hutton Edney of New Waverly (18:30).

    “This was my first goal (to win district),” Boyce said. “I ran on my own and made sure I was faster on my times. I made sure I ran faster and longer in practice. I also conditioned myself on hills because there’s a bunch of hills on this course. Over the summer, I hit the hills really hard. We have a lot of hills in Onalaska that I ran on. This is the coldest I’ve run in a district meet. I’ve run in mud and slush for district, but never something this cold. I feel like that helped with breathing.”

    Boyce also is the defending region champion and finished third in state last year. A runner-up finish in district his freshman year gave Boyce all the motivation he needed to make sure he never took home a silver medal in a district meet again.

    “In junior high, I won both years — seventh and eighth grade — so I thought I was going into it pretty good my freshman year.,” Boyce said. “That’s what it’s been since then (first place).”

    Now that the first goal is complete, Boyce is aiming for the second one — a repeat region championship. With this being his senior season, Boyce also hopes to complete the triple crown by winning gold at the state meet, and that his team will qualify as well.

    “I’ve been to state every year,” he said. “I hope we can get there again. I won region last year and finished third in state. I hope to take him gold in both regionals and state this year. I need to put my head down and put the work in. There’s a bunch of guys real close and I hope to use them to push myself to run my best.”

    Rounding out the boys scoring was Brady Neuman (fourth), Cy Turner (12th), Jason Arnold (14th) and Canyon Holley (16th). Derek Winkle (21st) and Jaykob Lowrie (25th) also participated for Onalaska.

    On the girls side, the Lady Cats were 13 points shy of returning to the region meet. New Waverly and Anderson-Shiro finished 1-2, respectively, in the team standings.

    This ended Onalaska’s streak of four consecutive district championships. However, Kierra Anstee and Emily Kirkley qualified for the region meet as they finished third and 10th, respectively.

    “We’re very young and had three freshmen running,” Terri Boyce said. “We have a really good eighth grader coming up who’s going to run next year and help us out quite a bit. She’ll bring some speed to our team. We have one senior girl — Kierra.”

    While Boyce will just have to replace one spot on the girls side, she’ll have three holes to fill on the boys side. Among those are Boyce and Neuman.

    “We have three senior boys, including my top two finishers,” Boyce said. “We’re going to be struggling a little bit next year, but I’ve got two eighth-graders who can come in next year who could easily fill those shoes.”

    Which could lead to an eighth straight title.