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Second family takes advantage of scholarship-for-home program in La Crosse

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La Crosse Promise working on three more homes

Just in time for the holidays, a second local family has moved into a new home as a result of the La Crosse Promise program.

The program offers scholarships to families with children, who agree to move into neighborhoods near downtown and build or remodel an old home.

Those scholarships can be up to $50,000 if they live for at least four years in either the Washburn or Powell neighborhoods. Families could also receive breaks on mortgage loans from participating banks.

Phil Johnson and Celine Donofrio and their two teenagers – who could qualify for scholarships – will live in the house on 9th St. near Lincoln Middle School.

Wednesday, volunteers with La Crosse Promise were joined by Mayor Tim Kabat and others in welcoming the family to the house.

Johnson spoke about the support he got from former Promise director Jerilyn Dinsmoor, who died suddenly in September.

“Every time I talked to Jerilyn, she always made me feel like I was doing something special, while I thought I was doing something for myself,” Johnson said. “I really feel bad that she’s not here to share this with us.”

Ralph Heath from the Promise board of directors says a third family just applied and has been accepted for the program, while three other houses have been built and are waiting for buyers.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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