8-30 NEWS

Democratic Presidential candidate Steve Bullock will make two stops in Winneshiek county (Friday). The Montana Governor will be at the Lingonberry at 218 West Water Street in Decorah beginning at one p.m. After the Decorah appearance, Bullock will travel to a tariff-proof farm at 2264 200th street in Calmar. Campaign officials say tariff-proof farms rely entirely on local and regional markets to sell their goods.

The air conditioners are off and the windows are open as we’ve been enjoying mild temperatures in the last several weeks. Iowa State University extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong (Dee-Young) says things are great for people — but the crops need some more heat to get things growing.


DeJong says corn in many areas will really have a tough time beating the frost.

A new marketing slogan for Decorah and Winneshiek county was unveiled Wednesday morning. Winneshiek county development director Stephanie Fromm says people will be invited to Drift Less.


Cubic Marketing from Tulsa, Oklahoma was hired to come up with the new campaign. The Visit Decorah destination branding project was funded by the Hotel/Motel Marketing committee.

City manager Chad Bird and a group of engineers began some pre-planning for the Locust Road project Wednesday.


Bird says they hope to present some options regarding the project to the public in November. Construction is planned for next year.

8-29 NEWS

The city of Decorah has received a grant from the Wellmark Foundation. The city will receive a 25-thousand dollar MATCH, or Matching Assets to Community Health, for park improvements to enhance safety and encourage physical activity. City officials say improvements will be made to Phelps, Pulpit Rock and Van Peenen Parks to make the parks safer, maximize outdoor recreation opportunities and make it easier to engage in active living.

A West Union coffee shop has been recognized by Main Street Iowa. Euphoria Coffee bested four other businesses in the Open 4 Business contest sponsored by the organization. Main Street Iowa officials say Euphoria Coffee owners Nick and Jacey Yost will receive a 20-thousand dollar grant which they plan to use to purchase additional roasting equipment and reate an outdoor gathering space at their new location.

Vaccination rates in Iowa rose between 2017 and ’18, according to a new report from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Don Callaghan (CAL-ah-han), bureau chief of the state’s immunization program, says the vaccination rates for Iowa teens exceeded regional and national averages.
Last year, Iowa’s the rate for the Tdap (TEE-dap) vaccine, which covers diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, rose to 94-percent. That’s up six-tenths of a point from the previous year and is more than five full points higher than the national average and well above the regional average of 86-point-six percent.

The Decorah civil service commission will meet (Thursday) afternoon. The commission will discuss the testing and certification procedures related to the assistant police chief police. Dave Smutzler was the assistant chief and was promoted to chief earlier this month. The meeting will begin at two p.m. at the Decorah Law Enforcement Center.

8-28-19 KDEC NEWS

A new destination brand for the Decorah area will be unveiled (Wednesday) morning. Kristina Wiltgen is the executive director of the Decorah area chamber of commerce.

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Wiltgen says the public presentation will be the culmination of a year-long process.

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The public presentation will begin at eight a.m. in the Steyer Opera House of the Hotel Winneshiek.

City of Decorah officials say they will begin to inspect minimum clearance heights for trees overhanging streets and sidewalks this week. City Forester Sam Hogenson says city code says its the property owner’s responsibility to prune boulevard trees or plantings so they will not cause a hazard to the public, block public walks or interfere with proper lighting of public streets and places. City engineer Jeremy Bril says the city will assist residents with meeting the required clearances by trimming any tree/planting that is not currently meeting the minimum street clearances. Bril says once the city does its trimming, property owners will be expected to maintain the proper clearance. Anyone with questions can contact Hogenson.

The Winneshiek county supervisors approved an agreement with the University of Iowa Law school at its meeting Monday. County officials say the agreement will help fund the law school research regulations at the state and county levels associated with precious metal mining. The agreement will cost the county one thousand dollars.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is going to start offering generic versions of the new blackout license plate next week at your county treasurer’s office to help meet the demand. D-O-T spokesman, Daniel Yeh (Yeah like play) says the plate orders have been brisk and they’ve had nine-thousand sold they began offering them July 1st.


He says the demand for the blackout plates has gone beyond what they expected. Yeh says the wait time for personalized blackout plates has been four to six weeks, and they hope that offering a standard version of the blackout plate will ease some of that demand.

An Elma nursing home has been recognized by the state of Iowa. The Colonial Manor of Elma has presented a Governor’s Award for Quality Care in Health Care facilities. This is the second time the Colonial Manor has received the recognition earning the award back in 2012. The Governor’s Award for Quality Care was established to recognize health care facilities that provide a high level of care to their residents.

8-27 NEWS

A Caledonia man is dead as a result of a tree-cutting accident near Dexter, MN Sunday. KIMT reports 64-year old Earl Klankowski died and two others were injured in the incident when they fell 30-35 feet while cutting trees shortly after noon Sunday.

While persons have until September 19th to file their nomination papers to run for city council or school board positions this fall, those wanting to run for the ward two position on the Decorah city council have until the end of the week to do so. Earlier this month, the Decorah city council set September 24th as a date of a special election in Decorah’s ward two. Dan Bellrichard stepped down from the position in July when he moved out of the second ward. At the August fifth meeting, Emily Neal was appointed to the position by the council. Later that week, the petition with the signatures of 56 ward two residents was presented to the council requesting the special election. City clerk Wanda Hemesath says papers must be turned into the Winneshiek county auditor’s office by Friday. Hemesath adds the election will cost the city around 1500 dollars. City manager Chad Bird says after the petition was presented, the council was obligated to call for the election. Whoever wins that election, will serve three meetings until the general election is held on November fifth.

Iowa gas prices have fallen three cents a gallon in the past week, to an average of $2.43 a gallon. GasBuddy reports prices in Iowa are 13.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, and 29.3 cents a gallon lower than one year ago. The lowest price in Iowa today is $2.14 a gallon, while the highest is $2.99 per gallon.

As the new school year starts in Decorah, there will be some new faces in school classrooms. Decorah schools superintendent Mark Lane.


Lane says only one of the new faces in entirely new to the profession. Lane says Decorah is a well-known school district with a strong reputation and that allows the districts to receive applications from educators with extensive experience.

A Howard County man has pled guilty as a result of a motorcycle vs. car crash that left a woman with a broken foot in August of last year. 52-year old Lonnie Dishinger of Cresco wss riding his motorcycle when he crossed the centerline and hit a Dodge Neon. The driver of the Neon suffered 12 fractures in her foot as a result.

As students head back to class, dozens of Iowa schools are preparing to offer free breakfast and lunch. A federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision or C-E-P pays for meals at select schools. Patti Harding, at the Iowa Department of Education, says schools have to show they have a high percentage of students who qualify for free lunch through other federal programs like SNAP or welfare.

Harding 1

As students head back to class, dozens of Iowa schools are preparing to offer free breakfast and lunch. A federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision or C-E-P pays for meals at select schools. Patti Harding, at the Iowa Department of Education, says schools have to show they have a high percentage of students who qualify for free lunch through other federal programs like SNAP or welfare.

Harding 2

A total of 157 Iowa schools were part of the program in the 2018-19 school year. Based on preliminary numbers, Harding expects more Iowa schools to offer free lunch this year, but at fewer school systems overall.

8-26 NEWS

Today is the first day persons can file papers to run for city council and school board. Both the city council and school board elections will be held November Fifth. There will be three seats open on the Decorah city council, whoever wins the September 24th special election in ward two, ward four councilman Steve Luse and at-large council representative Kirk Johnson. There are three seats open on the Decorah school board, Ben Lange, John Hjelle and Brian Petersburg. The deadline to file papers is September 19th.

This week is the first full week of school. Winneshiek county sheriff Dan Marx is reminding travelers persons who pass a stop school bus could face serious penalities,
Marx says fortunately there has not been any injury accidents in Winneshiek county but says they’ve had a number of close calls.

The Winneshiek county board of supervisors will review a temporary wavier request regarding the county’s UTV ordinance at its meeting today. Aaron Johnson will make the request on behalf of the St. Jude’s Benefit Ride. The board will also discuss road matters and an agreement with the University of Iowa. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah

The Decorah city council will hold a special meeting tonight. The council will look to approve the plans and specs for the East Broadway Alley Improvement project and will set a public hearing for the 2019 street improvement project. The meeting will begin at five p.m. at city hall.

Following the special meeting, the property committee of the council will meet. The topic of discuss a proposed veterans memorial park and purchasing real estate and selling public real estate.

A Monona man was arrested following a Friday night traffic stop. The Waukon Police Department says 26 year old Jacob Reed was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

8-25 NEWS

Two senators seeking the Democratic party’s nomination to run for U.S. in 2020 will be in Decorah today. Theresa Greenfield and Eddie Mauro will be at the Whalen Cabin at Phelps Park from three-30 until five-30 p.m. The winner of the democratic primary will face Joni Ernst in November of 2020.

The Winneshiek county supervisors will have a light agenda for its meeting tomorrow. The board will consider an agreement with the University of Iowa. Aaron Johnson with the Saint Judge Benefit Ride will discuss a wavier of the UTV ordinance waiver for prohibited roads. The board will also discuss road matters with county engineer Lee Bjerke (Beer-key). The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

Friday is the deadline for ward two residents in Decorah to turn in papers for the special election for the Decorah city council. The council set September 24th as the date for a special election for the ward two after a petition with 56 signatures calling for the election. City officials say there must 10 ward two residents sign a petition to be eligible to be candidate.

As students head back to class, dozens of Iowa schools are preparing to offer free breakfast and lunch. A federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision or C-E-P pays for meals at select schools. Patti Harding, at the Iowa Department of Education, says schools have to show they have a high percentage of students who qualify for free lunch through other federal programs like SNAP or welfare.
Harding says some schools choose not to participate, even if they qualify. That’s often because the reimbursement rate is too low to make up their food budget. Harding says the program streamlines the paperwork for providing free meals by making them available to everyone.

A new study finds the popularity of electronic cigarettes among Iowa teenagers is growing at what one activist says is an “epidemic” rate, worthy of a national health emergency declaration. Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), says vaping is now four times as prevalent among Iowa high school students as traditional cigarettes.
Between 2017 and 2018, Berkman says there was a 78-percent rise in the use of e-cigarettes among high schoolers and a 48-percent rise in vaping by middle schoolers. Berkman is working to rally students and parents nationwide to have flavored e-cigarettes banned through federal legislation.

8-24 NEWS

A Festina teenager is in the Northeast Iowa Juvenile Detention Center is Waterloo after allegedly stabbing his mother Thursday afternoon. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 15 year old Nathan Sutton was charged with willful injury, which is a class C felony. Authorities say his mother was transported by ambulance to Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Additional charges have been filed against a Decorah man who was arrested Wednesday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 21 year old Dominick Watson was originally charged with a felony controlled substance violation. Authorities say Watson was also charged with the violation of pre-trial suspension. The sheriff’s department say a search warrant executed of his car and further charges are pending.

You can take your dog for a swim (Saturday) in Monona. The Humane Society of Northeast Iowa’s 10th Annual Pooch Paddle will be held from eleven a.m. until two p.m. at the Monona Aquatic Center. Registration is ten dollars for the first dog and five dollars for any additional dogs. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Humane Society.

The Decorah Police Department is in the process of hiring two new officers. Police chief Dave Smutzler told the city council this week its takes around three months to hire an officers. Smutzler says they’ve also started the promotional process to see who will serve as assistant police chief. Smutzler was named police chief earlier this month after serving as assistant chief for the past nine years. He replaced Bill Nixon who retired in July.

Decorah Parks and Recreation director Andy Nimrod repairs to the bridge is close to complete. Nimrod says the rock has been put in place and the railing and the landscaping will soon be completed. Nimrod says Parks and Recreation officials are discussing only allowing handicap parking at Dunning Springs but no final decisions have been made.

Iowa’s Attorney General has joined in an agreement with his counterparts in the rest of the United States and several phone companies to try and cut back on robocalls. Spokesman Lynn Hicks says the major carriers have signed on.
The principles include implementing call-blocking technology at the network level at no cost to customers; making available to customers additional, free, easy-to-use call blocking and labeling tools; implementing technology to authenticate that callers are coming from a valid source and monitoring their networks for robocall traffic. He says the phone companies have agree to abide by these principles.

Farmland values across the region fell by one-percent during the second quarter compared to a year ago but they rose one-percent in Iowa, according to a report from the Chicago Federal District. Sam Funk is director of ag analytics and research for the Iowa Farm Bureau. He says Iowa’s farmland values are in better shape than in the rest of the region.
The Chicago Fed District Survey covers all of Iowa and parts of Illinois and Indiana as well as southern Wisconsin and the lower peninsula of Michigan.

8-23 NEWS

A Decorah man was taken into custody Wednesday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 21 year old Dominick Watson was arrested on a warrant for a felony controlled substance violation.

Winneshiek Medial Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval. Medical Center representatives say the accreditation was achieved following an unannounced survey earlier this month. Chief administrative officer Lisa Radtke says the recognition reflects the staff’s dedication to the mission, vision and values of the medical center, their daily improvement process and their focus on the needs of their patients. A team of seven Joint Commission surveyors evaluated Winneshiek Medical Center over four days for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients.

As the new school year begins there’s a new district with a familiar name. The North Winneshiek Community School has been scaling back for years and ceased to exist on June 30th, as did the old Decorah Community School District. Mark Lane is the new district’s superintendent.


Lane says North Winn students moving into Decorah buildings will find familiar faces among classmates as well as teachers, bus drivers and other staff. Jim Samuelson, director of transportation in Decorah, says it’s been tricky to nearly double the square mileage of the district without making students’ travel time unwieldy. Samuelson says as currently planned, some rides may last just over an hour.


Samuelson says some routes may have 10 or 15 minutes after the last student boards before they arrive at school.

City of Decorah officials are continuing to study air b-and-b’s and short term rentals in the city. City manager Chad Bird says the planning and zoning commission discussed the issue at its meeting earlier this month. Bird says the number of air b-and-b’s and short term rentals have doubled in the last two years. He adds the issue is impacting issues such as affordable housing and zoning. The planning and zoning commission has not reached any final conclusions on how to proceed. Bird says air b-and-b’s do pay hotel-motel taxes.

School begins (Friday). Winneshiek county sheriff Dan Marx says be careful.

Marx 1

Marx is also encouraging patience.

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Marx reminds people anyone passing a stopped school bus resulted in a 30 day suspension of a driver’s license and an up to four hundred dollar fine.

8-22 NEWS

A Missouri man who ran what’s called the largest fraudulent organic grain scheme in U-S history through his Ossian brokerage firm has taken his own life. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.

Danielson voicer

Representatives from the Iowa Department of Economic Development met with the Decorah Main Street committee last week after Decorah’s application to enter the program was turned down. Decorah city council representative Johanna Bergan says the state representatives offered a series of suggestions and gave feedback and recommendations to the Decorah group. The Main Street Iowa program accepts new cities into the program every two years. Coon Rapids and Nevada were the two communities accepted into Main Street Iowa this year.

Water and Sewer rates in the city of Decorah will be going up. The Decorah city council unanimously approved the third reading of ordinances to raise water and sewer rates in the city. City officials say the base water rate increase will be 51 cents and the base sewer rate increase will be 54 cents.

The school year is about to begin and that begins the Decorah swimming pool season is about to end. Decorah Parks and Recreation officials say the regular season hours will continue through (Thursday). Friday’s pool schedule will include morning and noon lap and aquacise. Public swimming will be held Saturday from one p.m. until eight p.m. and Sunday from one p.m. until six p.m. to close out the season.

Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation has announced a new transportation director. Lori Egan will lead EARL public transit and its fleet of 54 vehicles in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Howard, Fayette and Clayton counties. Egan had previously served for 15 years as the Director of NEICAC’s Health services program.

8-21 NEWS

The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department is releasing details of an August 13th accident which seriously injured a Utica, Minnesota man. Authorities say a vehicle driven by 20 year old Braden Sanders ran a stop sign and struck the Old World Inn building. The sheriff’s department says Sanders sustained serious injuries and was transported by private vehicle to a hospital. The accident remains under investigation and charges are pending.

For the 2nd time in six days, a Ridgeway resident has won big playing an Iowa Lottery scratch game. Lottery officials say Trisha Kountkofsky won one hundred thousand dollars playing the Mega Crossword Scratch game. She purchased her tickets at the Engen Express store in Ridgeway and claimed her prize last Wednesday at the lottery regional office in Mason City. Six days earlier, Jill Mitchell won 30-thousand dollars playing Bonus Crossword. She purchased her ticket at Decorah Mart in Decorah.

A La Crosse, Wisconsin man was transported from the La Crosse county jail to the Winneshiek county jail Monday. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 35 year old Peter Torres was arrest on a Winneshiek county warrant for a probation violation.

The Decorah social security office was not be staffed in the future. Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski discussed the issue at Monday night’s Decorah city council meeting. Borowski said her and city manager Chad Bird recently met with a social security representative from the Kansas City office. Borowski says the social security representative in Decorah is expected to retire soon. Borowski says social security representatives are considering providing a video service at the Decorah office. The mayor says she’s disappointed to hear the news but it comes from a cut in funding to social security services. She is encouraging persons to contact their federal lawmakers to express their concerns.

A park on the east side of Water Street received approval from the Decorah city council Monday night. The Dry Run Park will be located near the intersection of East Water Street and Riverside Avenue. City manager Chad Bird says organizers say the park will be similar to the one located just outside of the Oneota Community Co-op. Bird says the only permanent strucuture in the park will be a gazebo-type structure to provide shade.

The medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health confirms Iowa is among the states that’s investigating cases of lung disease or illness that may be tied to vaping. Dr. Caitlin Pedati (pah-DOT-ee), also the state epidemiologist, says national reports indicate 15 states have at least 120 such cases under watch.


he would not provide any details on the case, including the victim’s name, age, region of the state, type of illness or severity of illness. Pedati notes that vaping was introduced as a way to help smokers quit, so it would be unfortunate if vaping turned out to pose a serious health risk as well.