Western Wisconsin News Briefs: Alpacas die in fire at Colfax farmWestern Wisconsin News
-- Authorities are trying to determine what started a weekend fire that killed dozens of alpacas at a farm near Colfax.
COLFAX - Authorities are trying to determine what started a weekend fire that killed dozens of alpacas at a farm near Colfax.
Around 65 alpacas were killed Saturday night and early yesterday at the Rising Sun Alpaca Farm, owned by Mike Schmit and Suzanna Lasee. They told WEAU-TV of Eau Claire that they’ve received lots of help – but they need food and water for the 45 animals that survived the blaze. The Menomonie Fire Department and four others help put out the fire. Schmit lost a hand in a fireworks accident that was reported a week ago – and the couple cannot keep up with the farm financially anymore. Lasee told the TV station they want to sell the alpacas – and if they can’t, they’d like to find another spot to place them.
Authorities said alcohol and cold weather may have contributed to death of a 23-year-old UW-La Crosse student. Neala Frye’s body was found last night, after a search took place throughout the day just north of La Crosse in Onalaska. Frye was last seen at a bar on Saturday night, where she and another woman were planning out a promotional event for a massage-and-tanning studio. She failed to show up for work yesterday – and that’s when her family-and-friends started searching. Onalaska Police Chief Jeff Trotnic said her credit cards were found close to a railroad track near the bar. Frye’s body was discovered about 300-feet from the track.
A search for a missing snowmobiler was suspended yesterday on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, due to rough conditions on the Saint Croix River. Authorities were told that the victim’s machine hit a large patch of open water on Saturday night at the National Scenic Waterway – and he disappeared after being thrown from his unit. Pine County sheriff’s deputies in Minnesota said the victim might have been swept downstream and under a pack of ice. Rescuers found a snowmobile partially-submerged on turbulent open water – but there was no sign of the victim there. Officials said it was too dangerous to search the water. But officers from Minnesota's Pine County, Wisconsin’s Burnett County, and the National Park Service began a ground-and-air search Saturday night. It continued yesterday – but it was suspended early in the afternoon due to problems with turbulent waters and rough terrain. The victim’s name was not immediately released.
A 22-year-old northern Wisconsin man killed in a Bayfield County snowmobile crash has been identified as Ryan Maly of Bryant. Sheriff’s deputies said he was riding with three friends when he decided to move to the front of the group. His machine then lost control on a corner, and struck a tree. It happened late Friday night, about four miles east of Iron River. Maly is the 11th person to die in Wisconsin snowmobile crashes this winter.