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'River Rats' step up
River Rats from the Blanchardville Rod & Gun Club help restore the east branch of the Pecatonica River to a navigable condition last weekend by removing a massive cottonwood tree from the waterway. Ted Gilbertson performs a balancing act on the tree trunk while Dan Ducky Duckwitz, left, and Al Gruenenfelder look on.
BLANCHARDVILLE - Gene Kolb's track hoe roared to life along the banks of the Pecatonica River last weekend to complete a task unlike any it had ever attempted. "I do a lot of things that nobody else wants to do," said Kolb, owner of Gene Kolb's Specialties out of Argyle. The cottonwood tree was massive - five-and-one-half feet in diameter, 15 feet, eight inches in circumference and a root-to-treetop length easily capable of reaching the other side of the river. So how does one lift such a monster tree from this watery grave? "Use common sense," Kolb reasons.