4-1 NEWS

EVEN THOUGH THE AIR TEMPEATURE HAS WARMED UP, THE GROUND TEMPERATURE STILL HAS A WAYS TO GO. BECAUSE OF THAT TODD IHDE WITH THE DECORAH WATER DEPARTMENT SAYS HOME OWNERS THAT HAVE RUN A STREAM FROM A FAUCET NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO SO.

IHDE

IHDE SAYS VARIOUS PARTS OF THE CITY HAVE DEALT WITH FROZEN PIPES AND MAINS THROUGH THE WINTER.

THE STREAK IS FINALLY OVER. SUNDAY WAS THE FIRST TIME IN 132 DAYS DECORAH HAD A HIGH TEMPERATURE OF OVER 50 DEGREES. THE DECORAH WATER DEPARTMENT, THE OFFICIAL WEATHER REPORTING STATION FOR THE COMMUNITY, RECORDED A HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 61 DEGREES. THE LAST DAY DECORAH HAD A TEMPERATURE OF OVER 50 WAS NOVEMBER 17TH AT 59 DEGREES. THE 132 DAY STREAK TIED FOR THE SECOND LONGEST IN DECORAH RECORDED WEATHER HISTORY WITHOUT A 50 DEGREE TEMPEARTURE. THE LONGEST WAS 146 DAYS FROM NOVEMBER 7TH OF 2000 TO APRIL FIRST OF 2001.

REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOSH BYRNES OF OSAGE REMAINS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT INCREASING INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING AT THE STATEHOUSE.

BYRNES

BYRNES SAYS HE’S HOLDING CONVERSATIONS ON THE ISSUE EVERYDAY AT THE STATEHOUSE. HE SAYS IN THE LAST FEW DAYS, THEY’VE GOTTEN SOME SENATORS TO GET ON BOARD WHO PREVIOUS WERE AGAINST A FUEL TAX INCREASE.

THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY BETTERMENT AND STREET COMMITTEES OF THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL WILL EACH MEET TONIGHT. THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY BETTERMENT COMMITTEE WILL DISCUSS LOW TO MODERATE INCOME HOUSING AND TAX INCREMENT FINANCING OPTIONS AT SIX P.M. THE STREET COMMITTEE WILL MEET AT SEVEN P.M. THEY WILL DISCUSS THE CITY’S FIVE YEAR STREET PLAN, INCLUDING THE LOCUST ROAD PROJECT, STEYER BRIDGE AND EAST MAIN STREET.

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL WILL LOOK TO APPROVE A NEW HOTEL/MOTEL TAX REVENUE AGREEMENT NEXT WEEK. DECORAH CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS THE COUNCIL’S BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE RECENTLY MET TO MAKE A RECOMMENDATION,

BIRD

THE AGREEMENT DIVIDES THE REVENUE GENERATED FROM HOTEL AND MOTEL TAXES COLLECTED IN THE CITY OF DECORAH.

 

KEITH BRUENING OF BRUENING ROCK PRODUCTS DISCUSSED THE FRAC SAND MINING ISSUE WITH THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS THIS MORNING. BRUENING TOLD THE BOARD WHEN THE ISSUE FIRST SURFACED, HE HELD CORDIAL MEETINGS WITH THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY PROTECTORS ON THE ISSUE. BRUENING SAID THE PROTECTORS TOLD HIM HIS COMPANY WOULD BE PART OF THEIR DISCUSSIONS ON THE ISSUE, BUT THEY HAVE BEEN NAMED CALLED. BRUENING SAID THE INFORMATION THEY’RE PRESENTING IS ONE-SIDED AND THROUGH VARIOUS CHANNELS THEY’VE BEEN TOLD THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO STOP ALL OPEN PIT MINING IN WINNEHSIEK COUNTY . BRUENING SAID HE HAD NO ISSUE WITH THE HOW THE BOARD IS HANDLING THE SITUATION AND SAID HE SUPPORTED THE MORATORIUM ON THE FRAC SAND PRACTICE. SUPERVISORS CHAIR JOHN LOGSDON SAID FELLOW BOARD MEMBERS DEAN THOMPSON AND DENNIS KARLSBROTEN CONTINUE TO DO DILLIGENT STUDY ON THE ISSUE AND NEW INFORMATION IS BEING PRESENTED ALL THE TIME. KARLSBROTEN TOLD BRUENING IT IS NOT THE GOAL OF THE BOARD TO STOP OPEN PIT MINING. THOMPSON TOLD BRUENING HE AND KARLSBROTEN HAVE TAKEN TRIPS WITH OLSON EXPLOSIVES REPRESENTATIVES TO TOUR MINES IN WISCONSIN AND HE HAS SUBSCRIBED TO MINING MAGAZINES TO BECOME MORE INFORMED ON THE ISSUE. LOGSDON SAYS THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO FIND AS GOOD OF A BALANCE AS POSSIBLE ON FRAC SAND MINING MOVING FORWARD.

3-31 NEWS

TWO DECORAH CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEES WILL MEET TONIGHT. THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY BETTERMENT COMMITTEE WILL MEET AT SIX TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE ACTION REGARDING LOW TO MODERATE INCOME HOUSING AND TAX INCREMENT FINANCING OPTIONS. THE STREET COMMITTEE WILL MEET AT SEVEN TO DISCUSS THE LOCUST ROAD PROJECT, STEYER BRIDGE AND EAST MAIN STREET. BOTH MEETINGS WILL BE HELD AT CITY HALL.

THE FRAC SAND MINING ISSUE WILL BE DISCUSSED AT TODAY’S MEETING OF THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS. KEITH BRUENING WILL MEET WITH THE BOARD REGARDING THE ISSUE AT ELEVEN-30. KYLE SORENSEN WILL MEET WITH THE BOARD REGARDING COMPLAINTS AGAINST THE BOARD AND THE ZONING ADMINISTRATOR. COUNTY ZONING ADMINISTRATOR TONY PHILLIPS WILL DISCUSS A ZONING UPDATE. THE BOARD WILL ALSO HAVE A PROCLAMATION FOR SEXUAL ASSUALT AWARENESS MONTH AND WATER TOWER ACCESS RIGHT OF WAY FOR THE FREEPORT WATER DISTRICT. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

FARMLAND VALUES IN NORTHEAST IOWA HAVE DROPPED SEVEN-POINT-ONE PERCENT SINCE SEPTEMBER. THAT ACCORDING TO A SURVEY RELEASED LAST WEEK BY THE IOWA CHAPTER OF THE REALTORS LAND INSITUTE. KYLE HANSON WITH THE ORGANIZATION SAYS A RECENT UPTICK IN COMMODITY PRICES HELPED AVOID A STEEPER DECLINE.

HANSON

STATEWIDE VALUES DECREASED FIVE-POINT-FOUR PERCENT.

THERE WILL BE COMMUNITY GARDENS THIS YEAR. BUT LIKELY AT A DIFFERENT LOCATION. DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION DIRECTOR ANDY NIMROD SAID THE ISSUE WAS DISCUSSED BY THE PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD LAST WEEK. THE GARDENS HAVE BEEN LOCATED ACROSS THE DIKE IN THE FLATS AREA OF DECORAH. NIMROD SAYS WITH GARDENERS DRIVING THEIR VEHICLES OVER THE DIKE, IT DOES CREATE A SAFETY CONCERN WITH THOSE USING THE TRAIL. NIMROD SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT IS CONTINUING TO EXPLORE OTHER LOCATIONS THE GARDENS CAN BE LOCATED.

WHAT SHOULD THE RETAIL HOURS IN DECORAH? IT’S A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS ACCORDING TO DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DIRECTOR NIKKI BREVIG. BREVIG SAYS BUSINESSES ARE TRYING TO FIND HAPPY MEDIUM WITH THEIR CUSTOMER BASE AND EMPLOYEES.

BREVIG

BREVIG SAYS TOURISTS COME TO TOWN AND EXPECT STORES TO BE OPEN AT HOURS WHICH ARE CONVIENT FOR THEM AND THE RETAIL COMMUNITY IS STILL ADJUSTING TO A TWO PARENT HOUSEHOLD.

TIM HAGLE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA’S POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT SAYS BRUCE BRALEY’S SENATE CAMPAIGN IS IN “DAMAGE CONTROL” MODE- IN LIGHT OF CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS THE CONGRESSMAN MADE, THAT WENT “VIRAL.” HAGLE SAYS THE CAMPAIGNS COULD USE THE ISSUE TO THEIR BENEFIT….OR TO THEIR DETRIMENT.

HAGLE

BRALEY’S COMMENTS INFERRED THAT IOWA REPUBLICAN CHARLES GRASSLEY’S FARMING BACK-GROUND, IS INSUFFICIENT TO LEAD THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, SHOULD THE REPUBLICAN PARTY REGAIN CONTROL OF THE U-S SENATE. THE COMMENTS, RECORDED AT A FUNDRAISER, PROMPTED BRALEY TO APOLOGIZE TO GRASSLEY.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT IS INVESTIGATING A SUNDAY MORNING ACCIDENT ON THE TROUT RUN ROAD. AUTHORITIES SAY A PICKUP LEFT THE ROADWAY SHORTLY BEFORE EIGHT AND ENDED UP PARTIALLY SUBMERGED IN A CREEK. OFFICERS RESPONDING TO THE SCENE WERE UNABLE TO FIND ANY OF THE VEHICLES OCCUPANTS. AUTHORITIES ARE STILL INVESTIGATING THE SITUATION

CLASSES ARE CANCELLED TODAY AT FILLMORE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL IN HARMONY. SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAY THE DISTRICT IS DEALING WITH A WATER MAIN BREAK. THE CLOSURE EFFECTS STUDENTS IN GRADES SEVEN THROUGH 12. KINDERGARTEN THROUGH SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS WILL STILL HAVE CLASS TODAY.

3-30 NEWS

NEXT WEEKEND IS WOMEN’S WEEKEND OUT IN DECORAH. GAIL MAGNUSON IS ONE OF THOSE HELPING ORGANIZE THE EVENT.

MAGNUSON

REGISTRATION AND A SCHEDULE OF EVENTS IS AVAILABLE AT DECORAH-AREA-DOT-COM

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS WILL DEAL WITH A NUMBER OF ZONING MATTERS AT ITS MEETING TOMORROW. KYLE SORENSEN WILL MEET WITH THE BOARD REGARDING COMPLAINTS AGAINST BOARD AND THE ZONING ADMINISTRATOR. COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATOR TONY PHILLIPS WILL DISCUSS A ZONING UPDATE. KEITH BRUENING WILL ALSO MEET WITH THE BOARD TO DISCUSS FRAC SAND MINING. OTHER MATTERS ON THE AGENDA INCLUDE A SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH PROCLAMATION, ROAD MATTERS AND BRUCE FRIEDEN WILL DISCUSS A WATER TOWER ACCESS RIGHT OF WAY. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

POLITICAL ANALYSTS ARE REVIEWING IOWA’S U-S SENATE RACE, IN LIGHT OF CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS MADE BY CANDIDATE BRUCE BRALEY. TIM HAGLE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA’S POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT SAYS THE COMMENTS CREATE SOME PROBLEMS FOR BRALEY- EVEN AMONG VOTERS WHO HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION.

HAGLE

BRALEY’S COMMENTS INFERRED THAT IOWA REPUBLICAN CHARLES GRASSLEY’S FARMING BACK-GROUND, IS INSUFFICIENT TO LEAD THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, SHOULD THE REPUBLICAN PARTY REGAIN CONTROL OF THE U-S SENATE. THE COMMENTS, RECORDED AT A FUNDRAISER, WENT “VIRAL” AND PROMPTED BRALEY TO APOLOGIZE TO GRASSLEY. HAGLE SAYS IT HAS ALSO FORCED BRALEY’S CAMPAIGN TO TAKE OTHER “DAMAGE CONTROL” MEASURES, INCLUDING AIRING PRO-AGRICULTURE ADS.

Democratic lawmakers, determined to question state administrators about confidential settlements reached with fired state workers, are accusing top administrators at the Department of Administrative Services of stalling. The Senate Government Oversight Committee asked the agency’s director, Mike Carroll to appear Thursday but he declined. Two other to administrators also said no. Democratic Sen. Matt McCoy, a member of the committee says it’s the Legislature’s role to provide oversight and he won’t give up. The DAS spokesman did not immediately return messages. More than 320 state workers have been fired since Republican Gov. Terry Branstad took office in 2011. Several were paid more than $427,000 to keep quiet about their dismissals. Republican leaders say Democrats are pushing so hard because it helps Sen. Jack Hatch, who’s running against Branstad for governor.

THE STATEHOUSE RACES IN THE AREA HAVE NOW BEEN SET FOR THIS FALL. THIS PAST WEDNESDAY WAS THE DEADLINE TO FILE PAPERS TO BE ON THE PRIMARY BALLOT THIS JUNE. IN DISTRICT 55, DARRELL BRANHAGEN WILL BE THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE AND RICK EDWARDS WILL BE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE. CURRENT REPRESENTATIVE ROGER THOMAS IS RETIRING AFTER 16 YEARS IN THE LEGISLATURE. IN DISTRICT 51, INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN JOSH BYRNES WILL BE CHALLENGED BY DEMOCRAT LAURA HUBKA.

3-29 NEWS

THE DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT IS CONTINUING TO WORK ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW PARK OF DECORAH’S NORTH SIDE. THE PARK WOULD BE LOCATED IN THE VENNEHJEM (VEN-E-UM) AREA OFF OF LOCUST ROAD. PARKS AND RECREATION DIRECTOR ANDY NIMROD SAYS THEY RECEIVED A GRANT FROM THE NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION TO BUILD A SHELTER AT THE PARK. NIMROD SAYS THEY ARE PLANNING TO HOLD SOME NEIGHBORHOOD MEETINGS TO DISCUSS WANT AMMENITIES PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN THE PARK.

THURSDAY MARKED ANOTHER WEATHER MILESTONE FOR DECORAH. IT WAS THE 130TH CONSECUTIVE DAY WITHOUT A 50 DEGREE TEMPERATURE IN DECORAH. DECORAH WEATHER STATISTICIAN RICHARD BERNATZ SAYS THE MARKS THE THIRD LONGEST STREAK IN DECORAH RECORDED WEATHER HISTORY WITHOUT A 50 DEGREE TEMPERATURE. THE SECOND LONGEST IS 132 DAYS, WHICH COULD BE TIED IF THE 50 DEGREE PLATEAU IS NOT REACHED BY SATURDAY. BERNATZ SAYS THE LAST 50 DEGREE TEMPERATURE IN DECORAH WAS A HIGH OF 59 ON NOVEMBER 17TH.,

A DECLINE IN COMMODITY PRICES, HIGHER AG INPUT COSTS, RISING INTEREST RATES, AND ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY ARE AMONG THE FACTORS CITED IN A NEW FARM LAND VALUE REPORT.

HANSON

KYLE HANSON OF THE IOWA CHAPTER OF REALTORS’ LAND INSTITUTE SAYS HE ACTUALLY EXPECTED STEEPER DECLINES. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2009, THAT AVERAGE FARM LAND VALUES HAVE GONE DOWN. HANSON SAYS ALL DISTRICTS DROPPED, -VARYING FROM A TWO PERCENT DECLINE IN SW IOWA TO AN EIGHT-PERCENT DECREASE IN THE SOUTHEAST PART OF THE STATE.

NINE STUDENTS FROM WINNESHIEK COUNTY WILL BE HEADING TO CEDAR FALLS MONDAY FOR THE INDIVIDUAL ALL-STATE SPEECH FETSIVAL. THE EVENT WILL BE HELD ON THE U-N-I CAMPUS. MAGGIE BREITENSTEIN, NAOMI DAVIDSON, BRIANNA DOYLE, CONNOR FREEMAN AND WILL YAHR WILL REPRESENT DECORAH HIGH SCHOOL AT THE FESTIVAL. THREE SOUTH WINNESHIEK STUDENTS WILL ALSO PARTICIPATE, INCLUDING LOGAN BRINCKS, JON BARNESS AND CAITLIN HOLIEN (ho LEEN)

THE PROPERTY TAX ASKING IN THE CITY OF DECORAH WILL BE GOING UP NEXT FISCAL YEAR, DUE IN LARGE PART TO CITY UTILITIES BEING EXTENDED EAST ALONG HIGHWAY NINE TO THE DECORAH BUSINESS PARK. SOME HAVE QUESTIONED THE NEED TO DO SO. DECORAH CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS THE POSITIVES OUTWEIGH THE NEGATIVES.

BIRD

THE OTHER PART OF THE PROPERTY TAX INCREASE IN THE CITY OF DECORAH WILL BE THE FINANCING OF A NEW FIRE TRUCK.

Organizers are offering a reward for information in the search for a missing teen.
As of Thursday afternoon, they have raised $595 in donations through the GoFundMe.com website to help find 16-year-old Ashlee Ruhl. Ruhl was reported missing to the New Hampton Police Department on March 7. The first $1,000 collected will go toward the reward for Ruhl’s safe return with the remaining money being used to cover the costs her family incurred in the search. New Hampton Police Chief Mike Anderson initially said there are no indications of foul play in her disappearance, but the fact she has been missing for almost a month is concerning.

3-28 NEWS

BOTH WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS RACES THIS FALL WILL BE CONTESTED. WEDNESDAY WAS THE DEADLINE TO TURN IN NOMINATION PAPERS TO BE ON THE PRIMARY BALLOT IN JUNE. IN DISTRICT ONE, INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN DENNIS KARLSBROTEN WILL BE CHALLENGED BY DEMOCRAT JOHN BEARD. IN DISTRICT TWO, INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN FLOYD ASHBACHER WILL BE CHALLENGED BY BARB MASSMAN. BOTH KARLSBROTEN AND ASHBACHER HAVE BEEN ON THE BOARD FOR TWO YEARS, BUT THEIR TERMS WERE STAGGERRED AFTER THE 2010 CENSUS.

ALLIANT ENERGY CUSTOMERS WILL SEE STEADY RATES FOR AWHILE. ANDY PETERSON REPORTS.

NORTHEAST IOWA IS LOSING POPULATION ACCORDING TO THE LATEST ESTIMATES FROM THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU. THE IOWA DATA CENTER SAYS WINNESHIEK COUNTY LOST 67 PEOPLE IN THE PAST YEAR, A REDUCTION OF POINT-TWO-NINE PERCENT. THE CENSUS ESTIMATES WINNESHIEK COUNTY’S POPULATION AT 20, 994. THE CENSUS BUREAU SAYS HOWARD AND CHICKASAW COUNTY LOST LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF ITS POPULATION IN THE LAST YEAR, ALLAMAKEE COUNTY LOST JUST OVER ONE PERCENT OF ITS POPULATION AND FAYETTE AND CLAYTON COUNTIES LOST NEARLY TWO PERCENT OF THEIR POPULATION.

THERE BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT SCANDALS THIS WEEK AT THE STATEHOUSE. FROM GOVERNOR BRANSTAD’S ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZING SECRET SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS TO FORMER EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES TO THE DIRECTOR OF IOWA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT BEING ACCUSSED OF INTIMIDATING ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES INTO SIDING WITH EMPLOYERS INSTEAD OF EMPLOYEES IN UNEMPLOYMENT HEARINGS. REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR MIKE BREITBACH OF STRAWBERRY POINT SAYS IT’S NOT SURPRISING THIS STUFF COMES UP DURING AN ELECTION YEAR.

BREITBACH

BREITBACH SAYS BOTH ITEMS ARE WORTH LOOKING INTO BUT SHOULD HAVE BEEN LOOKED INTO WHEN THEY OCCURRED RATHER THAN WHEN IT’S POLITICALLY CONVIENT.

LUTHER COLLEGE PROFESSOR (MA-RAIN-A) (BA-ZA-LAY-VICH) WAS BORN IN THE UKRAINE. SHE SAYS IN HER OPINION THERE ARE SOME UKRAINIAN PEOPLE THAT ARE LOYAL TO RUSSIA BUT THE MAJORITY WOULD LIKE TO BE A PART OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. (BA-ZA-LAY-VICH) SAYS PUTIN’S RECENT INVASION OF THE CRIMEA IN THE WESTERN PART OF THE COUNTRY IS A CLEAR VIOLATION OF THE 1994 BUDAPEST ACCORD.

BA-ZA-LAY-VICH

SHE SAYS THE U.S. HAS BEEN GENERALLY SUPPORTING, THE U.K. NOT AS MUCH BECAUSE BRITIAN HEAVILY RELIES ON RUSSIAN OIL

3-27 NEWS

TWO OF THE TOP MUSIC BUSINESSES IN EASTERN IOWA ARE COMBINING RESOURCES. WEST MUSIC, HEADQUARTED IN CORALVILLE, HAS ACQUIRED KEPHART’S MUSIC CENTER, WITH MUSIC RETAIL LOCATIONS IN DECORAH AND DUBUQUE. THE KEPHART-WEST MUSIC DECORAH STORE WILL BE MANAGED BY JIM AND ANN KEPHART. THE STORE WILL REMAIN LOCATED AT 126 EAST WATER STREET. THE STORE HOURS WILL BE NINE A.M. UNTIL SIX P.M. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY AND NINE A.M. UNTIL FIVE P.M. SATURDAY.

THE MONTHLY MEETING OF THE DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD WILL BE HELD TONIGHT. UPDATES WILL BE PROVIDED ON THE COMMUNITY CENTER, VENNEHJEM PARK, TRAILS AND COMMUNITY GARDENS. A REPORT WILL BE PROVIDED BY THE FRIENDS OF THE PARK. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT SEVEN P.M. AT CITY HALL.

MORE DISCUSSION IS BEING HELD AT THE STATEHOUSE REGARDING THE BRANSTAD ADMINISTRATION’S HANDLING OF LETTING GO OF SOME EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES AND PAYING THEM SECRET SETTLEMENTS. BRANSTAD SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THIS WEEK OUTLAWING THE PRACTICE. DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR MARY JO WILHELM OF CRESCO SAYS THE GOVERNOR’S ACTION DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH

WILHELM

WILHELM ADMIT’S THE INVESTIGATION WILL BE TOUGH BECAUSE OF THE CONFIDENTIALLY AGREEMENTS WHICH WERE SIGNED.

WHEN SEVERE WEATHER IS IN AN AREA, SOMETIMES THE PUBLIC IS CONFUSED ON WHY STORM SIRENS ARE SOUNDED. WINNESHIEK COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR BRUCE GOETSCH SAYS THE SIRENS ARE TURNED ON FOR A SIMPLE REASON.

GOETSCH

THIS WEEK IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE STATE OF IOWA.

AN OPEN HOUSE FOR THE NEW ROBOTICS MILKING LAB WILL BE HELD AT THE IOWA DAIRY CENTER (THURSDAY). THE EVENT WILL BE HELD FRM TWO UNTIL SEVEN P.M. WITH A FORMAL RIBBON CUTTING TAKING PLACE AROUND TWO-30 P.M. IOWA’S DAIRY CENTER IS LOCATED JUST SOUTH OF THE NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE CALMAR CAMPUS ON HIGHWAY 150.

3-26 NEWS

THE BRANSTAD ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN UNDER FIRE SINCE A REPORT SURFACED OF SIX EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES WHO WERE LET GO WHEN BRANSTAD BECAME GOVERNOR AND WHERE PAID SECRET SETTLEMENTS. DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE ROGER THOMAS OF ELKADER SAYS HE’S NOT SURPRISED BY THE REVALATION.

THOMAS

BRANSTAD SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER MONDAY TO NOT ALLOW SUCH PAYMENTS WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. THOMAS SAYS BRANSTAD CHANGED MORE EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES THAN A PREVIOUS GOVERNOR DID.

THOMAS 2

THOMAS SAYS CLAIMS THAT THE DIRECTOR OF IOWA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT WAS INITIMADATING ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES INTO SIDING WITH EMPLOYERS IN UNEMPLOYMENT CASES NEED TO BE LOOKED INTO AS WELL.

THIS WEEK IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE STATE OF IOWA. (WEDNESDAY) MORNING A STATEWIDE TORNADO DRILL WILL TAKE PLACE. TODD SHEA IS WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN LA CROSSE.

SHEA

SHEA SAYS THE DRILL WILL TAKE PLACE (WEDNESDAY) MORNING IN THE TEN A.M. HOUR.

A FRANKVILLE BUSINESS SUFFERED SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE IN A MONDAY NIGHT FIRE. FRANKVILLE FIRE CHIEF MONTY WILDER SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT WAS CALLED TO THE OLD STORE AROUND QUARTER AFTER TEN MONDAY NIGH AFTER A REPORT OF FLAMES THROUGH THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING. WILDER SAYS A CAUSE AND DOLLAR DAMAGE ESTIMATE IS NOT YET AVAILABLE. THE FRANKVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT WAS ASSITED BY THE CASTALIA, OSSIAN AND DECORAH FIRE DEPARTMENTS, FRANKVILLE AMBULANCE, ALLIANT ENERGY AND THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY ENGINEER’S OFFICE.

AN OPEN HOUSE HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR A NEWLY RENOVATED CARRIE LEE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AUDITORIUM. THE COMMUNITY IS INVITED TO VIEW THE NEWLY RENOVATED FACILITY ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL NINTH FROM FIVE UNTIL SEVEN P.M. WHEN THE BUILDING WAS RENOVATED IN 2007, THE AUDITORIUM STAYED IN ITS PREVIOUS FORM UNTIL NOW. THE AUDITORIUM WILL FEATURE MORE COMFORTABLE AND ROOMIER SEATING, AND UP TO DATE LIGHTING AND SOUND SYSTEMS.

OUR NATION’S TOP POLITICAL LEADERS SUNG THE PRAISES OF A HOWARD COUNTY NATIVE (TUESDAY) MORNING. THE STATUE OF NORMAN BORLAUG, KNOWN WORLDWIDE FOR HIS WORK TO ALIEVATE HUNGER WAS UNVEILED ON CAPITAL HILL (TUESDAY) MORNING. (TUESDAY) WOULD HAVE BEEN BORLAUG’S 100TH BIRTHDAY. HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER.

BOEHNER

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI

PELOSI

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID

REID

SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL

MCCONNELL

ALSO SPEAKING AT THE CEREMONY WERE IOWA GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD, IOWA REPRESENTATIVES BRUCE BRALEY AND TOM LATHAM AND IOWA SENATORS TOM HARKIN AND CHUCK GRASSLEY.

 

A HOWARD COUNTY NATIVE WAS HONORED AT THE U.S. CAPITAL YESTERDAY. NORMAN BORLAUG IS KNOWN WORLDWIDE FOR HIS WORK ALEIVATE HUNGER. A STATUE OF THE FATHER OF THE GREEN REVOLUTION WAS UNVEIVLED IN THE STATURY HALL OF THE CAPITOL TUESDAY MORNING. IOWA DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN BRUCE BRALEY
IOWA CONGRESSMAN TOM LATHAM
IOWA SENATOR TOM HARKIN
IOWA SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY
IOWA GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD
YESTERDAY WOULD HAVE BEEN BORLAUG’S 100TH BIRTHDAY.

 

THE DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD WILL MEET TONIGHT. THE BOARD WILL GET UPDATES ON THE COMMUNITY CENTER, COMMUNITY GARDENS, VENNEHJEM PARK AND TRAILS AND WILL RECEIVE A FRIENDS OF THE PARK REPORT. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT SEVEN AT CITY HALL.

 

 

3-25 NEWS

CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE STRUGGELD THIS PAST WINTER TO PAY THEIR ELECTRIC AND GAS BILLS… MAY HAVE SOME MORE BAD NEWS ON THE HORIZON. THE ANNUAL WINTER DISCONNECTION MORATORIUM ENDS ON APRIL 1ST. ROB HILLESLAND WITH THE IOWA UTILITY BOARD SAYS IF YOU’VE RECEIVED A NOTICE IN THE MAIL… CALL YOUR UTILITY COMPANY AS SOON A POSSIBLE.

HILLESLAND

THE EXTREME COLD TEMPERATURES IOWA ENDURED THIS PAST WINTER RESULTED IN HIGHER HEATING COSTS FOR MANY, AND NEAR-RECORD LEVELS OF “PAST DUE UTILITY DEBT.

(TUESDAY)WOULD HAVE BEEN THE 100TH BIRTHDAY OF NORMAN BORLAUG, THE HOWARD COUNTY NATIVE WHO IS KNOWN WORLDWIDE FOR HIS WORK ALIEVATE WORLD HUNGER. A STATUE OF BORLAUG WILL BE DEDICATED (TUESDAY) IN WASHINGTON, D.C. DECORAH MAYOR DON ARENDT IS A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE NORMAN BORLAUG HERITAGE FOUNDATION. ARENDT SAYS WHEN IT COMES TO BEING RECONGIZED FOR HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOCIETY, BORLAUG IS IN RARE COMPANY.

ARENDT

EACH STATE HAS TWO OF ITS NATIVES RECOGNIZED IN THE NATIONAL STATUARY HALL COLLECTION IN THE U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING. THOSE FROM THE AREA WHO WILL ATTEND THE CEREMONY INCLUDE 4 F-F-A STUDENTS FROM CRESTWOOD HIGH SCHOOL, HOWARD-WINNESHIEK SUPERINTENDENT JOHN CARVER, GOVERNOR BRANSTAD AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOSH BYRNES OF OSAGE.

NEXT MONDAY IS THE DEADLINE FOR UNINSURED PEOPLE TO GET COVERED UNDER THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT. BRIAN HUINKER WITH MIDWEST GROUP BENEFITS SAYS THOSE NOT COVERED BY THAT NOTE CANNOT GET COVERAGE UNTIL NEXT YEAR. HUINKER SAYS SINCE THIS IS A POLITICALLY ACTIVE ISSUE, ASKING AN INSURANCE AGENT TO ASSIST YOU IN THE PROCESS WILL HELP YOU SORT OUT FACT FROM FICTION.

HUINKER

HUINKER SAYS SOME YOUNG PEOPLE ARE RECEIVING HIGH DEDUCTIBLE PLANS FOR A LITTLE AS 15 TO 20 DOLLARS PER MONTH, SO IT’S WORTH CONTACTING AN AGENT.

THERE WILL BE A RACE FOR WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISOR DISTRICT ONE THIS FALL. INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN DENNIS KARLSBROTEN AND DEMOCRAT JOHN BEARD HAVE FILED PAPERS TO RUN FOR THE DISTRICT ONE SEAT. SUPERVISOR FLOYD ASHBACHER, TREASURER WAYNE WALTER AND COUNTY ATTORNEY ANDY VAN DER MAATEN HAVE ALL FILED PAPERS TO BE ON THE PRIMARY BALLOT IN JUNE. THE DEADLINE TO FILE TO GET NAMES ON THE PRIMARY BALLOT IS WEDNESDAY. THOSE WITHOUT A PARTY AFFILIATION HAVE UNTIL AUGUST 15TH TO GET THEIR NAME ON THE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT.

THE ONEOTA HISTORIC FUTURE ALLIANCE WILL BE RECEIVING A LETTER REGARDING THEIR FINANCIAL OBLIGATION TO THE COUNTY. THE ISSUE OF THE CONTRACT BETWEENT THE COUNTY AND OHFA ORGANIZATION WAS DISCUSSED AT (MONDAY’S MEETING OF THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. THE CONTRACT STEMS FROM THE GROUP’S EFFORT TO SAVE THE CARETAKER’S HOUSE ON THE WELLINGTON PLACE PROPERTY. OHFA WAS GIVEN TIME TO FIND A TENANT FOR THE BUILDING OR GET THE BUILDING ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES.  OHFA AGREED IF THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN THEY WOULD PAY FOR THE BUILDING’S REMOVAL. LAST YEAR, OFFICIALS WITH THE ONEOTA HISTORIC FUTURE ALLIANCE TOLD THE BOARD THEY HAVE NO ASSETS TO FULFILL THEIR CONTRACTAL OBLIGATION. COUNTY ATTORNEY ANDY VAN DER MAATEN WARNED IT COULD END UP BEING A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY TO PURSUE THE MATTER, SINCE THE ORGANIZATION HAS NO ASSETS. SUPERVISOR JOHN LOGSDON SAID IF THE SAME AGREEMENT WAS MADE WITH A FOR PROFIT BUSINESS, THEY COULD WOULD LIKELY TREAT THE MATTER DIFFERENTLY, WHICH LOGSDON SAID THEY SHOULDN’T DO. THE BOARD REQUESTED VAN DER MAATEN WRITE A LETTER TO THE ORGANIZATION REMINDING THEM OF THEIR FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY TO THE COUNTY.

MOTORISTS ARE BEING ASKED TO AVOID FRANKVILLE IF POSSIBLE THIS MORNING. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS ONLY ONE LANE OF TRAVEL IS AVAILABLE BECAUSE AUTHORITIES ARE STILL ON THE SCENE OF A FIRE AT THE OLD STORE. FRANKVILLE FIRE CHIEF MONTY WILDER SAYS THEY WERE CALLED TO THE SCENE AROUND TEN-15 LAST NIGHT AFTER A REPORT OF FLAMES COMING THROUGH THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING. THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE AND THE DAMAGE AMOUNT IS UNKNOWN AS OF THIS TIME. THE FRANKVILLE DEPARTMENT WAS ASSISTED  BY THE POSTVILLE, CASTALIA, OSSIAN AND DECORAH FIRE DEPARTMENTS, AS WELL AS THE FRANKVILLE AMBULANCE, ALLIANT ENERGY AND THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY ENGINEER’S OFFICE.

3-24 NEWS

A VARIETY OF ISSUES WILL GO BEFORE THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AT ITS MEETING TODAY. KEN NESSET WILL MEET WITH THE BOARD TO DISCUSS TREASURER’S OFFICE SERVICE. LINCOLN TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE KELVIN RUE WILL DISCUSS FINANCING FOR A NEW FIRE TRUCK. OTHER ITEMS ON THE AGENDA INCLUDE THE ANNUAL AUDIT, VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE UPDATES, MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS AND DISCUSSION ON THE CONTRACT WITH THE ONEOTA HISTORIC FUTURE ALLIANCE. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

DESPITE THE FORECAST TEMPEARTURES THIS WEEK, WARMER WEATHER WILL BE HERE SOON AND WITH THAT THE POTENTIAL FOR SEVERE WEATHER. THIS WEEK IS SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE STATE OF IOWA. TODD SHEA IS WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN LA CROSSE.

SHEA

WEDNESDAY MORNING IN THE TEN O’CLOCK HOUR A STATEWIDE TORNADO DRILL WILL BE HELD.

LAST WEEK, HOUSE SPEAKER KRAIG PAULSEN, A REPUBLICAN FROM HIAWATHA, SAID HE HAD NOT SENSED A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE CONVERSATION IN EFFORTS TO INCREASE THE FUEL TAX AT THE STATEHOUSE. REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOSH BYRNES OF OSAGE SAYS HE DISAPPOINTED THE PAULSEN WENT TO THE MEDIA WITH THAT STATEMENT, INSTEAD OF TALKING TO A MEMBER OF HIS CAUCUS.

BYRNES

BYRNES SAYS HIS EFFORTS TO INCREASE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING HAVE TURNED INTO A LEGISLATOR BY LEGISLATOR PROCESS, WHICH DOES TAKE TIME. BYRNES SAYS HE’S BEEN HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS TO THIS POINT.

THIS PAST FALL, THE HEAD OF THE ENVIORMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY SUGGESTED A REDUCTION IN THE RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD. IOWA SENATOR CHARLES GRASSLEY SAYS HE HOPES PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ACTIONS MATCH HIS WORDS.

GRASSLEY

GRASSLEY SAYS HE’S SURPRISED NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE YET, BUT HE HOPES THE R-F-S WILL CONTINUE BECAUSE OF ITS IMPORTANCE TO CORN GROWERS IN THE STATE OF IOWA.

 

WEEKEND NEWS 3-22/3-23

SUNDAY

THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF NORTHEAST IOWA APPROVED NEARLY 119-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN GRANT FUNDING LAST WEEK. THE FUNDING WAS REWARDED BASED ON RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION. THE FOUNDATION REVIEWED 51 APPLICATIONS AND AWARDED GRANTS TO 30 AREA NONPROFIT AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS.

A DECORAH FOURTH GRADER RECENTLY WON A SPOT IN THE IOWA YOUTH ART MONTH GOVERNOR’S SHOW. GRACE GERLEMAN IS THE DAUGHTER OF CONNIE AND MYLES GERLEMAN OF DECORAH. GRACE’S ARTWORK WAS ONE OF 17 PIECES FROM STUDENTS THROUGHOUT THE STATE THAT WAS CHOSEN FOR THE SHOW. GERELEMAN ATTENDED A RECEPTION FOR THE EVENT MARCH TENTH AT THE STATE CAPITOL.

A VARIETY OF ISSUES WILL GO BEFORE THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR ITS MEETING TOMORROW. AMONG THE TOPICS OF DISCUSSION INCLUDE THE TREASURER’S OFFICE SERVICE, THE ANNUAL AUDIT, MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS, DISCUSSION REGARDING THE CONTRACT FOR THE ONEOTA HISTORIC FUTURE ALLIANCE AND FINANCING FOR A NEW FIRE TRUCK. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND THE NORTHEAST IOWA DAIRY FOUNDATION WILL HOST AN OPEN HOUSE FOR ITS NEW RONOTICS MILKING LAB THIS WEEK. IT WILL BE HELD FROM TWO UNTIL SEVEN P.M AT THE NORTHEAST IOWA DAIRY CENTER THURSDAY AFTERNOON. A FORMAL RIBBON CUTTING EVENT WILL START AT TWO-30 P.M.

A FUNDRAISING RECITAL WILL BE HELD THIS AFTERNOON AT THE CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST IN DECORAH. THE RECITAL WILL FEATURE CLASSICAL MUSIC FOR PIANO, FLUTE, BRASS AND VOICE. THE RECITAL BEGINS AT THREE P.M. DONATIONS SUPPORT THE CHURCH’S SUMMER VOLUNTEER EFFORTS ON THE PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION IN SOUTH DAKOTA.

SATURDAY 

DECORAH HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN RECOGNIZED BY A NATIONAL PUBLICATION. SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE HAS NAMED DECORAH THE 19TH BEST SMALL TOWN IN AMERICA. THE PUBLICATION SAYS THEY COMPLIED THE LIST FOR PARTICULAR STRENGTHS IN HISTORY, MUSIC, VISUAL ARTS, LEARNING, FOOD, THEATRE AND SCIENCES. SMITHSONIAN SAYS IF DECORAH HAS A MISSION, IT’S TO PROVE THAT THERE’S MUCH MORE TO IOWA THAN CORNFIELDS. LANESBORO, MINNESOTA ALSO MADE THE LIST, AS THE TENTH BEST SMALL TOWN IN AMERICA.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AND THE DECORAH POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS RELEASED THE NUMBERS FROM ITS MOST RECENT STEP, OR SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM. THE PROGRAM WAS HELD LAST WEEKEND COINCIDING WITH ST. PATRICK’S DAY. BETWEEN THE TWO ENTITIES, 79 CITATIONS WERE ISSUES, INCLUDING 2 O-W-I ARRESTS, FIVE FELONY ARRESTS, FOUR ARREST WARRANTS SERVED, THREE INTERDICTION AND CANINE SEARCHES, FOUR NARCOTICS ARRESTS, THE INVESTIGATION OF TEN MOTOR VEHICLES ACCIDENTS AND RENDERING ASSISTANCE TO 14 MOTORISTS. SEAT-BELT USAGE ALSO WENT UP IN THE STRETCH FROM THE PREVIOUS STEP EFFORT, FROM 89 PERCENT TO 93 PERCENT.

NEXT TUESDAY WOULD HAVE BEEN NORMAN BORLAUG’S 100TH BIRTHDAY. THE HOWARD COUNTY NATIVE IS ONE OF ONLY THREE AMERICANS EVER TO RECEIVED THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE, THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL AND THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM. TUESDAY, A STATUE OF BORLAUG WILL BE COMMISSIONED IN THE NATIONAL STATUARY HALL COLLECTION AT THE U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING. BORLAUG WILL BE HONORED TO CELEBRATE HIS LIFE’S WORK AND IMPACT ON GLOBAL HUNGER.

THE DECORAH HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR WILL BE IN DES MOINES (SATURDAY). THE CHOIR WILL ONE OF NINE HIGH SCHOOL CHOIRS WHICH WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE AMERICAN CHORAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION’S NORTH CENTRAL REGIONAL CONFERENCE. THE CONFERENCE WILL INCLUDE A TWO-HOUR MINI-RESIDENCY WITH THE NATHANIEL DETT CHORALE IS BASED IN TORONTO.

A panel of Iowa budget experts said Thursday that the state economy is slowly improving, but lower corn and soybean prices and other factors could be a drag on the farm sector. Their advice to lawmakers working on the state budget was to be cautious. The Revenue Estimating Conference left its estimate of net state revenue – made up of taxes and other sources – at $6.68 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. For the 2015 fiscal year, which starts July 1, the group estimates revenue of $6.98 billion, a 4.5 percent increase over the current year.

(FRIDAY) IS/WAS THE 124TH CONSECUTIVE DAY DECORAH HAS BEEN BELOW 50 DEGREES. THAT IS THE TENTH LONGEST STREAK IN HISTORY ACCORDING TO DECORAH WEATHER STATISTICIAN RICHARD BERNATZ. BERNATZ SAYS THE LAST 50 DEGREE TEMPERATURE IN DECORH WAS NOVEMBER 17TH WITH A HIGH OF 59 THAT DAY. THE LONGEST STREAK OF DAYS WITHOUT REACHING 50 DAYS WAS IN 2000-2001, 146 DAYS FROM NOVEMBER SEVENTH THROUGH APRIL FIRST.