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Concerned parents complain to school board about bullying

A group of parents complained to the Hayward School Board Monday that the schools aren't doing enough to deal with students bullying other students.

In turn, Supt. Craig Olson asked the parents and others who are concerned about bullying and safety to come to a community forum at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at the high school auditorium.

Nancy Anderson said the school district's procedure on bullying needs to specify that complaints be submitted in writing, not verbally, to school administrators to meet Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requirements.

Olson responded that he wants to talk to a complainant personally to get details of what's going on.

Another woman said her daughter was depressed because of bullying at school. "It's kind of frustrating because it doesn't feel like it goes anywhere, like anyone really

listens and takes it seriously," she said. "The child who's getting bullied shouldn't be punished for it," she added.

"There should be documentation and action," Anderson said.

A man said his 15-year-old son "is getting bullied at the high school and he can't do nothing about it. I told him either call me or just go home and I'll deal with it."

Board member Stacey Hessel stated that if the problem has been going on all year, "why are we just hearing about it now." The woman replied that she just learned about her daughter's situation this week and learned about her son's situation last month, so she has been trying "to do due diligence and research."

Another woman said her son was verbally harassed by another boy during lunch at the middle school two weeks ago. The aggressor "attacked him from behind and started choking him," she said. Her son fell and hit his head on the concrete and the other boy started kicking and punching him, she said, and noted her son had a concussion but did not get any medical treatment for four hours while at school. He started falling asleep and was yelled at, she added. His mother took him to the emergency room and now she faces a medical bill of

The bully who attacked her son later posted a video on You Tube "about how many times he punched my son and how my son hit him back," she added. "I don't feel justice was served and I would like to know how the school is moving forward with these bullying issues and how the board is holding the administration accountable for following through," she said.

Olson said he met with the parent and he would like to hear more about the issues at next week's community forum. The forum's purpose is "a solution-based discussion on what's went wrong and what we can do in the future moving forward," he said.

Olson added that he's only met with one person so far this school year with regard to bullying.

A woman said "Most people are afraid to say something. Why would we go and report to someone when the adults in authority treat us like scum? We feel like we're lower class."

A man asked what happens to a student who makes false accusations that another student is bringing an AK-47 rifle to school.

Board president Linda Plante said people should feel free to bring their concerns to board members, who will give the information to the appropriate administrator to handle.

"Our administrators do care about the issues; they work on them constantly. They struggle with these issues like you do," she said.

Another parent said Parent Advisory Committees (also called Parents Assisting Canes) meet regularly at each building to talk about these things and any parent or community member can come to them and talk about policies and concerns.

Anderson said it's hard for working parents to get to those meetings.

Board member Dr. Harry Malcolm said the board is concerned about the bullying topic. The weapon rumors will appear on social media from time to time and "be dealt with very seriously before the school day" begins, he said.

Suspects arrested in Hayward shooting

Several individuals were arrested following reports of shots fired late Tuesday, May 14, in Hayward, according to Police Chief Joel Clapero.

At 10:41 p.m. Tuesday, a city police officer was sent to West Fourth Street regarding multiple 911 calls about shots fired. Sawyer County dispatch received an additional 911 call from an adult male stating that he was just shot at and was following the black Chevy vehicle in which the suspects had fled.

The responding officer located the vehicles traveling on Highway 27 South near Lee Road, traveling at a high rate of speed. The officer performed a traffic stop on Highway 27 at Raven Road. When assisting Sawyer County sheriff's deputies arrived, the four occupants — three adult males and one adult female — were removed from the vehicle and taken into custody. A handgun was located in the vehicle's back seat.

A follow-up investigation recovered spent shell casings at the scene of the incident and a bullet hole in the vehicle in which the victim escaped.

Clapero said the Sawyer County district attorney's office is considering numerous possible felony charges related to the incident, which remains under investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Hayward Police Department.


Engineer failed to properly slow train in 2019 collision, report says
Canadian National says damages topped $1 million

A recently released accident investigation report on the June 16, 2018, collision of two Canadian National (CN) trains near Weirgor, 33 miles south of Hayward, said the most likely cause was "failure to comply" with signal indicators by one of the engineers. In laymen's terms "failure to comply" means an engineer was being told by signal lights to slow the movement of his train, but he failed to do so.

The report was completed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Railroad Safety Accident and Analysis. The accident occurred between two southbound CN trains, each hauling over 100 freight cars. Two locomotives and four cars were derailed and fire ignited from spilled locomotive fuel.

The report notes CN estimates equipment damage at $1,048,094 and damage to the track, signal and structures

at $153,775 for a total of $1,201,869 in damages.

Two persons, one from each train, suffered injuries.

The report does not include the names of railroad personnel.

Expert's take

The Record shared the FRA accident report with David Van Landschoot, a retired railroad engineer with 40 years of experience. He said the report reveals the train in the northern position, Train 1, that collided with the southern-positioned train, Train 2, received an "Advanced Approach" light on the track at 9:03:56 a.m. that tells the engineer to slow down to 30 mph within one mile where another "Approach" light indicates where the train should be moving at 30 mph.

But the report notes that at the Approach light the train had not slowed to 30 mph but was traveling at 46 mph. At the Approach light site, mile marker 376.05, Van Landschoot noted, the engineer should have then been able to see an upcoming "Restricted Proceed" light at mile post 373.7, or 2.35 miles ahead, telling the engineer where the train should be proceeding at 20 mph.

But the report notes that Train 1 was moving at 43 mph at the Restricted Proceed light and then seconds later the engineer applied emergency brakes, the first time brakes are applied to slow Train 1 during the period the report tracks the train's location starting at 8:11:38 a.m.

At 9:08:02, the report shows, there was just a little over 2,300 feet between trains 1 and 2 on a portion of track on a slight descent on a wet day. The collision occurred 43 seconds later at 9:08:45 a.m.

In Van Landschoot's opinion, Train 1 was going too fast at the Restricted Proceed light to stop in time to avoid a collision. The slight downward descent and rain contributed to the inability to stop, but he believes if the engineer had started to use his air brakes to slow the train at the Advance Approach nearly five minutes before, the engineer could have easily been in position to slow his train down to 20 mph before the Restrict Proceed light and reached a complete stop before colliding with Train 2.

"You read in the report where the conductor is telling the engineer to slow down," Van Landschoot said.

Report narrative

The report says Train 1 had two locomotives and was hauling 140 freight cars; Train 2, the southernmost train, also had two locomotives and was hauling 134 freight cars.

The crew of Train 2, conductor and engineer, reported to duty first at the Pokegama Yard in Superior at 1:30 a.m. and then departed south at 2:28 a.m.

Right behind Train 2, the crew of Train 1 reported for duty at 3 a.m. and traveled south at 4:46 a.m. The report notes that this was the first time the conductor and engineer of Train 1 had worked together.

The report said Train 2 was not moving at a place called Chittamo Siding, mile post 412.6, (northern Washburn County) and Train 1 slowed down to allow Train 2 time to get farther ahead.

The report said Train 1 was following Train 2 "operating on a clear signal indication until they received an Advance Approach signal indication at le post 377.15." This is where the engineer in Train 1 was being told to slow down to 30 mph within one mile.

The report said Train 2 had stopped at mile post 371.4, "clear of Applebee Road" in the Town of Weirgor, and Train 1 continued to follow Train 2 and received "an Approach signal indication at mile post 376.05 (where it should have been at 30 mph) and a Restricted Proceed indication at mile post 373.7 (where it should have been at 20 mph)" but was traveling at 43 miles per hour (mph) as it passed the Restricted Proceed signal.

As Train 1 passed the Restricted Proceed signal, the report said, the rear end of Train 2 became visible and then the engineer of Train 1 applied the emergency brake at 9:08:06 a.m., just 2,330 feet from Train 2.

The engineer of Train 1 then broadcast "emergency, emergency, emergency" and called the engineer of Train 2 to brace for impact. Train 2 had just received a clear signal to move south again. At 9:08:45 a.m., Train 1 was traveling at 26 mph and struck Train 2 traveling at 3 mph.

The FRA report said the lead locomotive of Train 1 rode up over the last car of Train 2 and fell on its side. The second locomotive of Train 1 followed the lead locomotive and fell on the opposite side.

The three lead cars of Train 1 derailed upright, as did the last car of Train 2. The report said both locomotives on Train 1 ruptured fuel tanks and caught fire, which spread to the first two cars of Train 1 and the last car of Train 2.

The engineer and conductor of Train 1 crawled out of the lead locomotive through the door on the front of the engine and walked toward the head of Train 2. Using a hand-held radio, the engineer from Train 1 called the crew of Train 2 requesting a 911 call.

At approximately 10 a.m., the Sawyer County Sheriff's Department had established an incident command post near the collision scene. First responders included ambulance, Sawyer County Hazardous Material Team, various fire departments and law enforcement agencies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The conductor from Train 1 was taken by ambulance to Lakeview Medical Center in Rice Lake.

The report said the fire was brought under control after 7 p.m. and the track was back in service the next day by 1 p.m.

The FRA notes its personnel arrived on scene between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. FRA investigators "conducted an on-scene investigation, performing inspections, obtaining documents and photographing the accident scene."

The FRA interviewed the train crews and analyzed event recorder data and signal downloads and looked at track inspection and equipment maintenance inspection records and more.

Analysis and conclusions

The FRA found no issues with the equipment, with the condition of the tracks or with signals or train controls. All personnel were tested for drugs and alcohol and neither was determined to be a factor.

The FRA noted the engineer of Train 1 had only eight months of experience and the conductor of Train 1 had seven months experience.

The engineer of Train 1 had been disciplined by CN for a "signal violation on April 6, 2018" that prevented him from returning to duty until May 7, 2018, or just a little more than a month before the collision on June 16.

The FRA also determined the Train 1 engineer failed to adequately handle the brakes.

"A review of the locomotive event recorder corroborated the locomotive engineer's statement that he struggled to control the speed of the train once he realized he was going too fast" said the report

The FRA concluded "the qualifications, experience level and training of the operating crew and their actions contributed to the cause of the accident."

The FRA also concluded the engineer of Train 1 failed to comply with a "Restrictive Proceed signal" as Train 1 approached Train 2 and that was the "probable cause of the accident."

The FRA did look at the 10-day work history of both train crews and reported that both crews probably had some fatigue. However, it was unable to determine if fatigue contributed to the accident.

Vallem remembered for service to vets, community

A World War II veteran and Hayward native who throughout his life was known for his cheerful service to veterans and the community has passed away. Fittingly, Arvid H. Vallem died on Armed Forces Day, May 18, 2019, at the age of 94.

Vallem "had a hand — more than a hand — in everything that went on for veterans in this county," said a neighbor and fellow veteran, Steve Lynch. "We owe him a lot."

Vallem was "100 percent Norwegian-American," as he termed it. One of five children of Arthur and Ruth Vallem, he grew up on a 60-acre farm that included land where Walmart is located today.

In a memoir titled "The Good Olde Days," he wrote "our land was surrounded by the railroad tracks on the west and north, the Smith farm to the north and east, and the Ranch nite club, originally the Aladdin, to the east. The Trettin farm was to the south and

residences nearby were in the City of Hayward limits.

"Dad worked for a sawmill" owned by Arthur Dietz on a corner of the farm, Vallem wrote. He also worked for the Town of Hayward with a team of horses pulling a grader. He also worked on a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project at the state fish hatchery, located where Hatchery Creek County Park is today.

"Times were hard and you were very fortunate if you could make a dollar a day," Vallem wrote. "We also farmed and raised corn, potatoes, hay and beans."

After the family was grown, his mom worked for Stanley Laska's greenhouse for many years, Vallem added. "Everyone worked when able to. We all picked beans for income, had paper routes and entered our 4-H club projects in the fair for some extra cash.

"Everyone who was 10 years of age or older on Dec. 7, 1941, can remember what they did that day (when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese)," Vallem wrote. "I was skating on the pond that Sunday afternoon and when we got home we heard about it on the radio."

After graduating from Hayward High School in 1942, Vallem attended the National Youth Administration (NYA) School in Superior, where he learned aviation mechanics. He tried to enlist in the Air Force, but was disqualified by both Army and Navy Air Forces for color blindness. Instead, the U.S. Army drafted him in 1944. He was 19.

On Aug. 3, 1945, he joined the 41st Infantry Division in Mindinowa, one of the Philippine Islands.

"We were getting ready to invade Japan," Vallem said. Three days later, on Aug. 6, "we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and all plans were canceled for the invasion," Vallem said. Three days after that, the United States struck Nagasaki. The Japanese officially surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945.

Vallem and some of his Army buddies visited the devastated Hiroshima seven weeks after it was bombed.

"The city was completely flattened — no trees, no buildings, no activity," he said.

That October, he and his ship survived a typhoon with winds of 115 mph. The ship reported to Kure Naval Base near Hiroshima.

Vallem then ran a recruitment office in Tokyo, where he primarily performed administrative work, and following that he ran a liquor warehouse. In the fall of 1946, Vallem was shipped back to San Francisco, where he was discharged as a sergeant.

Back in Hayward, Vallem worked for two years for Hayward Dairy. In July 1948, Captain Tony Wise started the Organized Reserve Corps, and Vallem was chosen as the administrator because of his Army experience.

Eight months later, Wise talked Madison into letting Hayward have its own National Guard Unit, Company B of the 724th Engineer Battalion. Vallem joined the National Guard on March 18, 1949, and worked at the Hayward Armory for 31 years as a recruiter, mess sergeant, training NCO and supply sergeant.

During the Berlin crisis, the Hayward unit was called up in September 1961 for active duty. They went to Fort Lewis, Washington, but they didn't have to go overseas again. They came back to Hayward in August 1962 and Vallem worked at the Armory until he retired in 1980 as a chief warrant officer.

Vallem then worked from 1980 to 1988 at the Sawyer County Sheriff's office as a part-time dispatcher, jailer and court duty assistant.

Starting in 1947, Vallem was a member of VFW Post 723 in Hayward. He served as both quartermaster and chairman.

"We have done a lot of military funerals," Vallem said in 2014. He estimates that he presented the American flag to several hundred next of kin since the early 1950s.

Vallem was also part of the original VFW group that organized a collaborative effort of area veteran groups to build the Veterans Community Center in 1990, which replaced the former Legion Cabin.

Vallem was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for 72 years. He served as quartermaster, adjutant and post commander. When his military service and membership in the VFW are combined, Vallem had 106 years of service.

In 2004-05, Vallem and Fred Worman were the first-ever members of VFW Post 7233 to receive the All-State Award at the VFW state convention in Eau Claire, which included a white hat.

Vallem was named Hayward Area Veteran of the Year by local veterans groups twice, in 1999 and 2014.

Community service

Vallem was town clerk for the Town of Hayward for 36 years and a town supervisor for 10 years. He served as chairman of the Sawyer County Zoning Board of Appeals and served on the Veterans Service Commission (33 years). He served with the American Red Cross, including as chairman of the local chapter, for many years.

He taught Wisconsin hunter safety and snowmobile safety classes to approximately 3,200 area youth.

During the 2014 Veteran of the Year banquet, his daughter Connie, a resident of Superior, said, "There aren't many people who can say they haven't wasted a single day of their life doing nothing. Dad has always been busy. Since he retired from the National Guard, he's volunteered just as much.

"Growing up, I remember him selling little red flowers (Buddy Poppies) on the street for veterans' needs," Connie said. "That cause was dear to his heart, and still is today.

"For many years, my dad has done an excellent job caring for my mom," she added. "He has faithfully and successfully fulfilled every one of his jobs. I'm very proud of him. Dad is a wonderful example of a life that's spent in service through important organizations. He's leaving us a legacy of organizational skills and the desire to give our time and talents to worthy causes."

Editor's Notes: This article is based in part on an interview by Record writer Kathy Hanson in September 2010, and on remarks at the Veteran of the Year banquet in November 2014.

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