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A sizable crowd was on hand Saturday morning to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating a new Marshals Office at the New Richmond Heritage Center. (L-R) Sheri Soderquist, Angie Logan, Bev Peirson, Jo Wrich, Chuck Mehls, Michelle Scanlan, Jamyn Peterson, Rachel Sauvola, Noah Wiedenfeld, Craig Yehlik, McKenzie Hazen, Scott Knudson. 

A sizable crowd was on hand Saturday morning to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating a new Marshals Office at the New Richmond Heritage Center. The new addition to the historic Heritage Center campus was the first in nearly 15 years and represented a dream realized for Chuck Mehls and his wife Anne, longtime volunteers and supporters of the Heritage Center.

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New Richmond Heritage Center Executive Director Bev Peirson presented Chuck Mehls with a plaque commemorating he and his wife Anne's contributions to the new Marshals Office building. 

“The reason that we’re here today is because of Chuck Mehls,” said Paul Mayer, President of the Heritage Center Board of Directors. “He had a vision for this building and he tried for years to convince the Heritage Center to please put up a Marshals Office. He finally got the Heritage Board to agree and we’ve been working on it since last year. Great thanks to Chuck for his vision and to he and his family for the financial donation they made to support its construction. We are proud of Chuck. He is a great friend to the Heritage Center and the City of New Richmond.”

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Chuck Mehls (l) and Jamyn Peterson (r) raise a U.S. Marshals Service flag over the new, unofficial, Willow River District Office at the New Richmond Heritage Center, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. 

Construction of the historic jail was truly a community effort incorporating barnwood siding donated from the school district’s Students Opportunities with Agricultural Resources farm program and doors, windows, ceiling wood and wood trim salvaged from the historic Beebe Building in downtown New Richmond.

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City Administrator Noah Wiedenfeld was the first city official to try out the view from inside the new U.S. Marshals Office building at the New Richmond Heritage Center.

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Construction of the historic jail incorporated barnwood siding donated from the school district’s Students Opportunities with Agricultural Resources (SOAR) farm program and doors, windows, ceiling wood and wood trim salvaged from the historic Beebe Building in downtown New Richmond.

“It was a way for us to link this building to the history of New Richmond,” said Mayer.

Marshals Service historian Dave Turk provided Mayer and members of the Heritage Center with guidance during construction of the building as well as the historical context of the service in Wisconsin.

“The Marshals have a history in Wisconsin that goes back to 1882,” said Mayer. “They have 2 district offices, one in Madison and one in Milwaukee. We asked them to please approve us naming this one the Willow River District. They graciously allowed us to do that. So now we have an unofficial third Marshals Office in the state of Wisconsin.”

Mayer especially thanked Executive Director Bev Peirson for her contribution to the Center, “who has brought a tremendous amount of energy to what we do and how we do it,” he said.

Mayer also extended thanks to Jamyn Peterson Construction for their help constructing the Marshals Office and their years of work building and maintaining all of the buildings on the center campus.

He also noted the essential role volunteers play in the success of the Heritage Center.

“This organization is run entirely by volunteers. Without them, we wouldn’t be here, this building wouldn’t be here.”

Tom Lindfors is a western Wisconsin freelance journalist and former Star-Observer reporter. Contact him at tom@lindforsphoto.com

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