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2019 Memorial Day Holiday Roundup

Here are some facts, schedules and other information you might want to know for the 2019 Memorial Day holiday:

Weather forecast

Expect pleasant weather for the holiday weekend. Mostly sunny skies are on tap for both Saturday and Sunday with highs forecast to be 70 and 71, respectively. Memorial Day will feature mostly cloudy skies and a high of 69.

Parades/ceremonies

• The Memorial Day parade on Monday in Eau Claire will follow its traditional route, starting at Wilson Park on Barstow Street, continuing on Lake Street and ending on First Avenue at Owen Park at the UW-Eau Claire parking lot. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m.

Bands from North and Memorial high schools, and Northstar, DeLong and South middle schools, will perform in the parade.

Army veteran Dan Cavanaugh will be the featured speaker at a Memorial Day program after the parade at Boyd Band Shell in Owen Park. The names of deceased veterans will be read and the North High School band will provide music.

The community and all veterans organizations are invited to participate in a Memorial Day worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday at Chapel Heights United Methodist Church, 300 E. Hamilton Ave.

Memorial and decoration ceremonies will be Saturday at 10:30 and 11 a.m., respectively, at Lakeview and Forest Hill cemeteries.

The events are sponsored by the Eau Claire Patriotic Council.

• The Menomonie Patriotic Council will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Evergreen Cemetery near Lake Menomin in Menomonie. The guest speaker will be Lt. John Roosen, a Marine Corps and Navy veteran. Because of the length of the program, spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The road to the cemetery closes at 9:30 a.m. and stays closed through the ceremony. In case of heavy rain, services will be moved to the Veterans Center of Menomonie, E4710 Highway BB, which is two miles north of Menomonie on Highway 25.

Other Dunn County Memorial Day programs on Monday will be at 7:45 a.m. at Hay River Cemetery, 8:30 a.m. at Zion Cemetery, 9:15 a.m. at New Haven Cemetery, 9:45 a.m. at Connorsville Lutheran Cemetery, 10:15 a.m. at Chimney Rock, 11 a.m. at Hay River Town Hall, 11:30 a.m. at Wheeler Cemetery, 1 p.m. at Lucas Cemetery and 3 p.m. at Potters Field in Menomonie.

• The Chippewa Falls Memorial Day parade will start at 10:15 a.m. Monday at North Bridge and Willow streets and end at the Irvine Park Band Stand. Veterans, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are welcome to march in the parade.

A program will be held at the Band Stand in Irvine Park at 11 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Max Bergen, an Army Air Corps World War II veteran, POW and Purple Heart recipient. Other speakers include John Dienger, Jakeb Smiskey and Antolin Espinoza.

In other Chippewa County events, memorial programs will be at 11 a.m. today at the Chippewa Falls Senior Center, at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Chippewa Falls, 2175 E. Park Ave., at 11:45 a.m. Sunday at Bateman Cemetery in the town of Lafayette, and at 9 a.m. Monday at Prairie View Cemetery in Lake Hallie.

• A Memorial Day ceremony will be at 3 p.m. Monday at The Highground, a veterans memorial park about four miles west of Neillsville on U.S. 10. Guest speakers will be Jeff Bignell, the Gold Star Father of Scott Nagorski, and Jon Weiler, executive director of The Highground. At 11:30 a.m. at The Highground the names of Wisconsin residents who were killed or missing in action in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan will be read. At 2 p.m., the Memorial Day Honor Ride Motorcycle Rally will enter The Highground. Motorcycle routes are coming in from various areas of the state.

• A Memorial Day ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery just off U.S. 53, three miles south of Spooner.

Travel

Several construction projects in west-central Wisconsin could inconvenience travelers during the Memorial Day weekend:

• Expect reduced lane widths for the replacement of the Red Cedar River Bridge on South Main Street in Rice Lake.

• Highway 25 north of Barron is closed for bridge and culvert work. The posted detour utilizes U.S. 8, U.S. 53 and Highway 48.

• Traffic is reduced to one lane for the replacement of the Elk Creek Bridge on Highway 121 between Gilmanton and Independence.

• Lane closures can be expected for improvements to the Red Cedar River Bridge on U.S. 12 in Menomonie.

• Lane closures are in effect for various areas of construction on Interstate 94 between Menomonie and Hudson.

• Motorists can expect minor delays and flagging operations for 26 miles of construction on Highway 54 from Black River Falls to City Point.

• Expect some lane closures for bridge work on U.S. 10 between Prescott and Hastings, Minn.

• Expect lane closures on I-94 from Eau Claire to Osseo for a comprehensive road improvement project.

For Wisconsin road construction conditions, call 511 or check the state Department of Transportation’s website at dot.wisconsin.gov.

Motorists won’t see much difference in gas prices compared to Memorial Day 2018. The American Automobile Association of Wisconsin said the average price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded gas in the state is $2.83, which is the same as a month ago and 5 cents less than last Memorial Day.

AAA estimates nearly 43 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend, which will be 3.6% more travelers than last year. That will create the second highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2000, AAA said.

Government offices

Government offices in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Altoona and Menomonie are closed Memorial Day.

Also closed Monday are: Chippewa Falls Public Library, 105 W. Central St.; Menomonie Public Library, 600 Wolske Bay Road; and L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St.

Garbage pickup

Garbage pickup in Altoona, Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire will be pushed back one day next week.

Financial Institutions

Financial institutions with personal service will be closed Memorial Day.

Museums

The Chippewa Valley Museum in Carson Park will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day.

The Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Carson Park is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Memorial Day.

Train rides

The Chippewa Valley Railroad Association begins its miniature train rides in Carson Park on Memorial Day. The rides are available from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Sports

WEAU-TV (Channel 13) will carry the Indianapolis 500 beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday. WEUX-TV (Channel 48) will air the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 race at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Eau Claire Cavaliers amateur baseball team will play the Eau Claire Bears at 5 p.m. Monday at Carson Park in the 2nd Annual Billy Noss Memorial Day Game.


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Caps & Gowns: Altoona High School
Gratitude in action: Double lung transplant leading grad to medical career

ALTOONA — Graduating senior Tristen Brown doesn’t need anyone to give her these two well-intentioned bits of advice often directed at someone in her situation: Appreciate every moment, and don’t underestimate your ability to get through tough times.

Brown doesn’t merely understand those sentiments — she has lived them.

Brown, who received a double lung transplant Sept. 6, 2017, is receiving her diploma Friday at Altoona High School. She needed the procedure because she was born with cystic fibrosis, a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

Now describing her health as “excellent,” Brown was asked what she has learned — about life and about herself — from her health challenges, surgery and recovery.

About life in general: “Just be grateful for every day and live every day like it’s your last,” she said in an interview at the school. “I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true, especially in my circumstances, because tomorrow something could actually go wrong and then you just don’t know.”

About herself: “That I can overcome a lot of things that I didn’t know were possible.”

Brown is headed to Chippewa Valley Technical College and plans to earn her surgical technologist certificate. She’s starting classes on June 10 for prerequisites.

Needless to say, Brown has a head start on fulfilling the requirements of the profession. Those entail, she said, working in the operating room assisting surgeons with medical tools and instruments, such as handing them what they need. She also hopes to “maybe occasionally” assist in a surgery.

“I just wanted to do something in the medical field because … my mom’s a nurse and it’s very interesting to me,” she said. “And basically with all the medical stuff that’s happened to me, it’s easy for me.”

Besides the technical medical knowledge she’s gained, her life experiences would be an asset in her chosen field.

“If I did assist in surgery, I know what people will go through,” she said. “The fears of the operating room, (being) scared of being put under the anesthesia. Maybe I could relieve some of their stress because that’s what I’ve been through.”

Her mother, Sharon Varley, agrees Brown would be more than qualified for that line of work.

“With her whole life of doctors’ appointments and everything she’s been through ... she can show quite a bit of compassion to any of the patients she would be dealing with and knowing what they may be feeling and going through,” Varley said. “I think that’s a big plus she has on her side.”

Brown received her double lung transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. She was one of 44 children in the United States, and just three in Wisconsin, to receive a lung transplant in 2017, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, the private organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system for the federal government.

Brown’s choice of a profession came, in part, from the relationships she formed with her medical team.

“I did look up to the nurses and doctors because you get really close with them,” she said. “So my transplant doctor, we’re really close. It’s not just like another doctor. Or my (cystic fibrosis) specialists; they’re really close because I’ve known them since birth.”

Thanks to the transplant, the lung difficulties have been taken care of, she said, but other “small problems,” in her words, persist. She gets stomachaches, she said, and she’ll be taking medications for the rest of her life.

During her conversation with a reporter, the petite young woman gave no indication she deals with any health struggles at all. Her mother certainly can see the difference in her daughter’s health now compared with before the surgery.

“It’s a 180-degree turn from what it was,” Varley said. “She had no energy and just struggled with the simple things we all take for granted. Just walking from her bedroom out to the living room was a struggle. Now it’s running around the house and going to the mall or shopping or any places with her friends is really good.”

Despite missing significant amounts of school time before and after the transplant — she had to take only online classes for two years — Brown has gotten back up to speed academically and socially. These days she spends her free time enjoying the company of friends doing things such as going shopping or “just hanging out in my house.” Before the surgery she had said she hoped to earn her driver’s license, and indeed she has passed that test too.

Brown and Varley have been in touch with the family of her donor, a 15-year old boy. The parents also have a son and daughter Brown estimates are about 19 and 20 years old, and a younger son is about 5 years old.

The family, whom Brown describes as “very nice,” is Hispanic, she said, and while a language barrier exists, they have shared letters, communicated through Facebook Messenger and hope to meet someday.

“They celebrate his life,” Brown said. “They are grateful that I got his lungs. The mom is very supportive. She comments on my picture, saying ‘beautiful.’ She’s very nice.”

Varley expressed a deep sense of gratitude for the gift of life given to Brown.

“The sheer selflessness of the donor and the family is always on my mind, knowing without them this couldn’t be possible,” she said.

In fact, Varley explained, the family’s generosity saved many lives. The boy’s heart went to 9-year-old-boy who is doing well, and also donated were his kidneys, corneas and tissue.

“Many people really benefited,” she said.

Brown also spoke of her own thankfulness.

“My mom … didn’t really think I would go to college or do all this because if I didn’t get a transplant we weren’t seeing myself this far in life,” she said. “So we’re really happy about it … just grateful.”

Spoken like someone ready to show how much she appreciates her gift by using it to help others.