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Community-based vaccination clinic at UW-EC Barron County doors open
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UW-Eau Claire Barron County student Clare Dellinger, wreathed in smiles, confidently stepped up to the sign-in table at Wisconsin’s sixth community-based vaccination clinic.

The 20-year-old had suffered from COVID-19 last October and November. Although the illness didn’t strike her severely or require hospitalization, she knew others were at high risk of contracting the sometimes deadly disease and that their health could be more greatly compromised.

AMI Expeditionary Health employee Jessica Dreyer of Almena, left, signs in UW-Eau Claire Barron County student Clare Dellinger at the community-based vaccination clinic at UW-Eau Claire Barron County in Rice Lake.

“I feel like I’m doing my part to protect myself from getting it again but also to protect community members,” Dellinger said of her decision to get vaccinated.

Dellinger and 16-year-old Jace Fitzgerald got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday morning, the second day of the clinic’s operations. They led the way through the easy and quick process at UW-EC Barron County’s gymnasium, where AMI Expeditionary Health had set up the COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Fitzgerald, a student and athlete at Rice Lake High School, got his shot behind a privacy curtain while his father, Chris Fitzgerald, looked on as 16- and 17-year-olds must have a parent or guardian present.

Jace Fitzgerald knew a few fellow students who had received the vaccine, but most of his friends hadn’t. Still, the avid player of hockey, golf and football had compelling reasons to get the shot in the arm.

“It’s important to me so I don’t get quarantined from school and I miss out on sports, and so I don’t affect anyone else,” he said.


After the two students waited their allotted time to ensure they suffered no adverse reaction, county, state and UW-EC representatives adjourned to the student commons area for a briefing on the efforts to vaccinate people to bring an end to the pandemic.

Brittany Nielsen, campus director at UW-EC Barron County, said the opening of the clinic, which is a partnership with AMI, the state Department of Health Services and Barron County Public Health, serves to encourage people to get vaccinated.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt gives an address on the second day of the community-based vaccination clinic located at UW-Eau Claire Barron County in Rice Lake.

Then James Schmidt, UW-EC chancellor, stepped to the microphone, saying the university had preserved small-class or one-on-one educational opportunities in Barron County while taking a few classes online. Now the vaccination clinic on campus can do its part to protect the community by getting as many people vaccinated as possible.

“Today, we’re moving one step closer to independence from this virus” Schmidt said.


DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake emphasized that in Wisconsin everyone who is 16 years and older is eligible to receive the vaccine.

The state’s goal is to see 80% of everyone who is eligible be vaccinated, she said, and of Wisconsin residents 65 and older, 79% had gotten their first dose.

“We are doing so well, and we are on our way,” Timberlake said. “As of today, almost 60% of all those eligible have already gotten their first dose.”


State Rep. David Armstrong, who represents District 75 and had himself suffered from COVID-19 in November, cited the need to end the pandemic.

“We all want to see this end — the destruction has been immense physically and financially,” he said.

Barron County Public Health Officer Laura Sauve urges people to get reliable information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dellinger and Barron County Public Health Officer Laura Sauve touched on the topic of safety concerns over the vaccine.

Dellinger said she had been skeptical at first about being vaccinated, but a talk with one of her teachers allayed her fears. Plus, she really wanted to see her grandparents in N.C. for the first time since her high school graduation.

Sauve urged people who questioned the vaccine’s safety to get information from reliable sources such as Barron County Public Health — just give them a call.

“We’re there for you to help you with this decision,” she said.

First day

People who have not yet received the vaccine have a great chance of getting into the UW-EC Barron County clinic quickly, said Daniel Beck of AMI Expeditionary Health.

Eighty shots were given on the opening day of the clinic Tuesday, and AMI will be able to give 250 first doses. Beck anticipated that people could schedule same-day appointments or at least get in by the end of the week.

The clinic is open to everyone who lives, works or studies in the state, with Barron County serving as a hub for northwestern Wisconsin counties. Although the youngest eligible have to be at least 16, Timberlake said Pfizer has submitted a vaccine that could be given to children as young as 12, and it’s possible the green light could be given by the end of May.

The state’s sixth community-based vaccination clinic is located in the UW-Eau Claire Barron County gymnasium at 1800 College Drive, Rice Lake.

The clinic is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. There’s no cost to receive the vaccine, and free rides may be available to some residents by calling 715-537-6333.

Walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment, visit vaccinate.wi.gov or call 844-684-1064.

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Seed Song Flowers are in tune with nature
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Seed Song Flowers offers organically grown cut flowers and floral arrangements.

“Many of my plants come from heirloom seeds, which are collected each autumn and sown the following spring,” said Laurie Broome of Cumberland. “All flowers, shrubs and trees are grown with the health of the soil, pollinators and living creatures in mind.”

Without bees to pollinate and good soil for healthy roots, there would be no flowers, so it’s no surprise that she spends time and energy on both.

“I have bee hives and use compost worms to assist with pollination, feeding the flowers and enriching the soil,” she said. “I make fertilizer tea with comfrey and stinging nettles and am always on the look out for manure.”

She’s also passionate about seeds.

“I’ve been a member of the Seed Savers Exchange for years (see seedsavers.org) and am passionate abut the value of saving seeds and passing them from one generation to the next.”

She added, “I have packages of seeds saved from last year, from approximately 30 drying bags.”

Former teacher, still learning

“I retired from teaching Spanish at Cumberland High School a few years back,” Broome said as a way of introducing herself to the public. “Not long before I retired, my husband and I purchased 10 acres of property just outside of Cumberland and though we weren’t sure what we would do with it, we made a commitment to each other and to the land that it would be a safe haven for pollinators and other creatures living on it. The fall after retirement, we moved to Mexico for four academic years, returning to the property each summer, where I started a perennial flower garden.”

She continued, “During this time one of my sons, who works in set design in St. Paul and often uses floral arrangements on set, suggested that I sell some flowers and herbs.”

To further help her dreams to bloom, Broome read about The Little Garden That Could, a cut flower business by Carla TePaske of Cameron, who in a Aug. 22, 2018, Chronotype story recommended the book “Cut Flower Garden” by Erin Benzakein of Floret Farms.

Broome recalled, “I purchased and read. The incubation process began.”

She said there was so much to learn about the history of cut flowers in the United States. What was once a thriving industry in the U.S. went into decline after the early 1990s due to the Andean Trade Preference Agreement. Though the agreement had the good intentions of persuading farmers in South America to grow flowers instead of cocaine, it also ended up devastating the cut flower industry in the U.S. South America now supplies well over 85 percent of cut flowers to markets in the United States.

So flower growers got together to promote and market American-grown flowers.

Broome shared, “There is now a growing movement, an American-grown flower movement, often referred to as Slow Flowers (See slowflowers.com), which has the goal of promoting locally grown cut flowers. It’s kind of like the Slow Food Movement. If you’ve heard the expression ‘Know your farmer, know your food,’ this has the twist of ‘Know your farmer, know your flowers.”

The flower farmer continued, “When we returned to the United States full-time, I decided to experiment with annual flowers instead of limiting myself to perennials. I also began listening to flower podcasts, reading flower blogs and checking out dozens of Instagram pages of flower farmers.

“Finally, two years ago, I made the decision to try the cut flower business out in earnest. Since i love working in the soil, am an ardent seed saver, and feel that beauty and fragrance of flowers can only add joy to the lives of others, it seems like a perfect fit.”

Broome said, “I came up a name and have spent the past two summers experimenting with the best times to cut flowers, with vase life, and with organic methods of gardening, and now I’m ready to start selling.”

When asked how she came up with the name, Broome replied, “The name Seed Song Flowers. I am fascinated by and in love with seeds. They are tiny miracles. From those bitty little beings, huge plants with flowers and food come forth. They have everything they need to sprout if only given soil, water and warmth.

“I’ve been a seed saver and strong believer in heirloom seeds for years, so I knew I wanted a name that give honor to seeds. The word ‘song’ came to mind because I also love music but also because it’s what bursts forth from the seeds. It’s their pronunciation to the world, ‘see me, see my beauty, take in my fragrance!’ The whole process is glorious.”

Flower subscriptions

She explained how a Seed Song Flowers subscription will work.

“For now I am offering a summer flower subscription, like a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture], and I will be selling at local farmers markets, as well as searching for other possible venues.”

The CSAs will be delivered June through September. While the actual flowers may not be blooming by Mother’s Day, she suggests most any mom or grandma would like a summer flower subscription on her special day.

What types of flowers are included in a summer flower subscription? Broome replied, “Many of the flowers are what were in our grandparents’ flower gardens: sweet peas, snapdragons, asters, zinnias, cosmos, bachelor’s buttons, coreopsis, sunflowers. I also grow healthy doses of amaranth, celosia, foxglove, phlox, larkspur, strawflowers, statice, ornamental grasses and herbs.”

The flower subscription agreement states “Seed Song Flowers will deliver one floral arrangement to the doorstep of each subscriber the first week of each month, June 2021 through September 2021. Each bouquet will include at least 15 different stems of flowers and greenery and will be delivered in a fruit jar. The cost for four delivered floral arrangements is $100. Subscriptions more than 25 miles from Cumberland are $120. I think the outer limits of what I would deliver would be 40 miles from Cumberland. Payment must be received by May 15, 2021. We will contact you via phone, text or email (your preference) on the day before delivery to let you know you can expect your flowers.

“Our flowers are organically grown, with the health of the soil, winged and legged creatures in mind. Flowers are picked the morning of delivery for the best vase life.”

The agreement adds, “We do not offer refunds. A CSA is about a commitment to a local farmer, and Seed Song Flower’s commitment to you. If you have made a purchase and no longer want to receive it, you can donate your arrangement to someone else in your area.”

She encourages the purchasing of a flower subscription as a gift for another. Explaining how that would work, Broome said, “When people purchase a subscription as a gift, I have a gift certificate that I send to the receiver, letting them know that they have been gifted a subscription, who it’s from, and that I will be delivering flowers to their doorstep the first week of each month, June through September. I am hoping that people will be interested in this as a Mother’s Day gift.”

Checks for subscriptions should be made payable to: Seed Song Flowers and mailed to: 556 21½ Ave., Cumberland, WI 54829.

After the difficult year of 2020, and with many challenges still spilling into 2021, Broome hopes her flowers will brighten the Barron County area through the subscriptions, farmers markets and more.

She said, “I plan to find ways to contribute to the Cumberland/Rice Lake communities as well as finding ways to get flowers into the homes of those who may not have access to them for various reasons.”

For more information or to order a flower subscription, Broome can be reached by phone at 715-931-7599, email at seedsongflowers@gmail.com, #seedsongflowers or @seedsongflowers.

Barron woman charged after high-speed chase
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A Barron woman was charged Friday with a felony count of fleeing an officer after leading deputies on a high-speed, 11-mile chase on April 21.

According to the criminal complaint:

A deputy observed a silver minivan passing in a no-passing zone just north of Barron at 4:52 p.m. on Highway 25.

The vehicle turned eastbound onto 14½ Avenue and he activated his patrol vehicle’s emergency lights.

As the minivan continued east it appeared to accelerate at a rapid rate and the deputy activated his siren.

At the intersection of 16th Street, the suspect vehicle passed through the stop sign at an estimated 70 to 80 mph. The vehicle again did not stop at a stop sign at the intersection of 18th Street, only slowing enough to make a northbound turn onto 18th Street. The deputy reported that while traveling on 18th Street, the vehicle reached speeds of approximately 105 mph. The deputy said the vehicle failed to stop at a the stop sign on 18th Street at 16th Avenue, and passed through the intersection at about 90 mph. At the intersection of 18th Street and 18th Avenue, the vehicle again failed to stop at a stop sign and proceeded westbound on 18th Avenue.

The deputy said the suspect vehicle traveled westbound for one mile and then turned northbound on 17th Street, which was a gravel road, and again accelerated at a rapid rate.

At the intersection of 17th Street and 19th Avenue another deputy placed a tire deflation device on the road to try to deflate the vehicle’ tires but it was unsuccessful.

The chasing deputy said the suspect vehicle turned westbound on 19th Avenue, again failing to stop for stop signs at 16th Street and at 19th Avenue and Highway 25. At that time the vehicle was traveling at about 90 to 100 mph. After crossing Highway 25, the vehicle continued westbound until it turned northbound at 14th Street. A second deputy then took over as primary pursuer.

A third deputy joined the pursuit at the intersection of 14th Street and 20½ Avenue. The pursuit continued westbound on 20½ Avenue for a half-mile until the suspect vehicle turned southbound on 13½ Street, pulled over and came to a stop.

The deputy said the lone occupant of the vehicle exited and laid down on the roadway. She was later identified as Jayme Lyn Odash.

According to a Barron County Sheriff’s Office news release, Odash, 38, was taken into custody without further incident. No one was injured, and no property or vehicles were damaged.

Four traffic forfeiture cases were also filed Thursday in Barron County Circuit Court: refuse to take test for intoxication after arrest, reckless driving-endanger safety, fail to stop at a stop sign, and passing in a no passing zone.

If convicted of attempting to flee or elude an officer, Odash faces a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for 3½ years, or both.

She returns to court on the felony count on May 20 and remains free on a $2,500 signature bond.


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