8-1 NEWS

Beginning in January, sales tax will be collected on internet purchases in Iowa. The new legislation is a game-changer according to Decorah area chamber of commerce executive director Kristina Wiltgen.


Wiltgen says the legislation allows any local option sales taxes to be collected as well.

If you’re on Medicare you should be seeing a new card showing up in your mailbox sometime soon. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.

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A task force studying the potential of an elementary school in the downtown Decorah area met for the first time this summer Monday. The task force consists of Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska, Decorah city manager Chad Bird, two school board members and two city council representatives. Haluska said it was a good, honest discussion. He added he believes both the city and the school district understand each other’s positions and are examining various compromises. Haluska says the group will likely meet again in early August.

Two people were arrested after authorities conducted a search warrant on East Water Street. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 44 year old Bruce Divers and 43 year old Valerie Burke, both of Decorah, were each charged with child endangerment, third or subsequent offense possession of methamphetamine, third or subsequent offense possession of marijuana and possession of ephedrine.

A Decorah man was taken into custody on warrant Saturday. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 18 year old Nathaniel Darling was charged with third degree sexual abuse, a class C felony, related to an incident at the Upper Dam on July 22nd.

7-31 NEWS

A prominent Iowa brewery is suing its former head brewer. The Associated Press reports a legal action filed by Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. seeks to stop Chris Flenker from helping run a new brewery in Cedar Rapids, alleging he is violating a non-compete agreement.Toppling Goliath is known for its popular Pseudo Sue pale ale and other beers that have made it one of the nation’s top ranked breweries. Flenker worked at the Decorah-based company from 2015 until his departure in January 2017. Flenker is now working at Thew Brewing in Cedar Rapids, which opened earlier this year. Toppling Goliath says Flenker agreed not to work for a rival business within 150 miles of Decorah for two years after his departure. The company says Flenker had access to its proprietary recipes, formulas and techniques and is using those trade secrets for gain.The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking Flenker’s work at Thew.

Supporters of a potential ordinance which would allow ATV and UTV use on Winneshiek county secondary roads met with the county board of supervisors Monday morning. Adam Thornton and Jeremy Bjerke told the board they gathered 1505 signatures supporting such an ordinance. Thornton and Bjerke cited the positive economic impact of recreational vehicle use, saying its a fun opportunity to see the beauty of the county to provide an alternative form of recreation in a safe responsible way. County sheriff Dan Marx says his department wouldn’t have a lot of opposition to the idea, but added all safety measures would need to be monitored. Supervisors chair John Logsdon says the board will continue to study the issue. Logsdon told the supporters the board would need to get more information regarding potential county liability and would seek the opinion of the county attorney and county engineer on the matter.

A teenager was seriously injured in a single vehicle accident in rural Fayette County early Friday morning. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says the unidentified 17 year old female ost control of her vehicle on Neon Road, entered the ditch and struck a tree. Authorities say the driver was air-lifted to La Crosse. The accident remains under investigation.

A Monona woman has been charged with possession of contraband in a correctional facility. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 33 year old Amanda Renee Greene was charged after drug paraphernalia was found in her possession after she was booked into the Fayette county jail on a traffic charge. The drug-related charge is a class D felony.

The Decorah city council recently heard two presentations from engineering firms regarding potential improvements to Locust Road. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says the city has accepted some federal money which will be put towards the project, meaning there is a deadline to make a decision.


Bird says the council is expected to make a discuss the project further in September.

Iowa and other Midwestern states are seeing more weather extremes this summer, with many areas experiencing heavy rains that cause flash flooding followed by long periods of heat with no rain. Meteorologist Dennis Todey (TODD-ee), director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, says in some regions, those heavy rain showers may come more often.


Todey says there’s growing concern those weather extremes could also apply to rapidly spreading drought conditions.

7-30 NEWS

A Decorah woman escaped injury after she drove her vehicle down a narrow mountain bike trail near Dunning Springs Sunday afternoon. Decorah police say 59 year old Mary Ann Bradley drove nearly two miles down the trail before it narrowed. Bradley’s vehicle slid partially over the river embankment and was stopped by two trees. Police say Bradley told deputies she thought the trail was a road because she had travled it in the past. The trail has never been a road. The Decorah Fire Department utilized a tracked UTV to winch the vehicle out until it could be removed.

A man from Mexico caught using someone else’s Social Security number when he applied for a job in northeast Iowa has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.
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The Winneshiek county supervisors will discuss a potential ordinance to allow ATVs and UTVs to travel on county secondary roads at its meeting today. Adam Thornton will meet with the board. The issue was discussed in a public meeting attended by one hundred people last Thursday night. The board will also discuss legal, road and insurance matters. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

A task force studying potential locations for a new elementary school in Decorah will meet again today. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluksa says it will not be the final time the group gets together.


Haluska says the district still perfers the location where softball diamond number two and the municipal parking lot is currently located. The task force meetings are not open to the public since the group does not have a quorom of school board or city council members.

Iowa school advocates hope a bipartisan push to extend a statewide sales tax for schools receives legislative approval early next year. State Sen. Dan Dawson, a Council Bluffs Republican, says a bill to extend the 1 cent sales tax until 2050 will be a top priority next session. A bill passed the House last session but didn’t receive a vote in the Senate as legislators pushed to pass $2.1 billion in property tax cuts. The sales tax proceeds can go to fund facility improvements and technology in public schools. The program is authorized until 2029 and seeks to reduce the use of bond issues funded by property taxes. Some districts have started returning to bond campaigns as proposals to extend the sales tax program have languished in recent legislative sessions.

7-29 NEWS

Should Winneshiek county allow UTVs and ATVs to travel on secondary roads? The issue will be discussed at tomorrow meeting of the Winneshiek county supervisors. Adam Thornton will meet the board. Thornton lead a meeting of county residents to discuss the issue Thursday night. The board will also discuss road and legal matters. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building.

The impact of President Trump’s announced soybean deal with the European Union is unclear. U.S. soybeans are already sold in Europe and China’s market for soybeans is far larger than the European Union’s. Ray Gaesser (GAS-er) of Corning is past president of the American Soybean Association.
Soybean prices are down 20 percent from March when the U.S. trade disputes with China started to escalate.

Winneshiek county senior citizens will have another opportunity to receive coupons to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables at the Decorah Area Farmers Market. The coupon giveaway will be held this coming Wednesday at the Decorah Farmers Market from three until four-30. Senior Citizens who received coupons in June are eligible to receive a second packet of coupons.

The Decorah Parks and Recreation Department and the CREW will host their annual Middle School pool party this week. The event will be held Friday from eight-30 until ten-30 at the Decorah Municipal Swimming Pool. It is a free event for all middle school students and it includes swimming, music and fun. A concession stand will be open with snacks and beverages wiill be available for purchase.

7-28 NEWS

A task force studying the possibility of an elementary school in the Downtown Decorah area will meet again next week. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says the group will meet for the first time this summer on Monday. The task force consists of Haluska, Decorah city manager Chad Bird, two school board members and two city council members. Since there are only two council and school board members on the task force, the meetings are not open to the public.

An Onalaska, Wisconsin woman was injured in a Thursday morning accident on the Locust Road. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says shortly before nine a.m, 24 year old Krista Freybler lost control of her vehicle and entered the ditch. She was transported by Mabel Ambulance to Winneshiek Medical Center.

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has revealed three out of every one-thousand Iowans it insures were diagnosed with an opioid-related disorder last year. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.


Two county auditors say Iowa election officials were told to follow the state’s new voter identification law despite a judge’s order temporarily halting several provisions. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald and Linn County Auditor Joel Miller say Ken Kline, deputy commissioner of elections at the Secretary of State’s Office, told a gathering of the Iowa County Auditor Association on Thursday they didn’t need to follow a temporary injunction issued Wednesday by Polk County Judge Karen Romano. A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office said state officials weren’t aware at the time of the meeting that the injunction was already in effect. Secretary of State Paul Pate plans to appeal the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court. An Iowa Attorney General’s Office spokesman says the injunction must be followed.

Friday afternoon
Nordic Fest is underway in Decorah. Entertainment at the downtown canopies will be held throughout the day. The Beverage Garden will be open tonight with no charge for admission. Matt Mahlman will perform at seven followed by the Avey Grouws Band. The Kanolopet Canoe Race will begin at six-30. The fest runs through Saturday in Decorah.

Saturday morning
A full day of activities is planned for the final day of Nordic Fest 2018. The grand parade will begin this morning at ten-30. The Nordic Fest Arts and Crafts Center will be open from nine a.m. until four p.m. Entertainment is scheduled at the downtown canopies throughout the day. Tonight’s beverage garden entertainment will be Jeffery Lackman and You Oughta Know. The fireworks display will begin at ten p.m.

Sunday morning
Entertainment will continue throughout the day for Nordic Fest 2018. This afternoon’s highlights include the Lutefisk eating contest at the courthouse square beginning at three p.m. Tonight’s beverage garden entertainment will be Jeffery Lackman and You Oughta Know. The fireworks display will begin at ten p.m.

7-27 NEWS

The 2018 Nordic Fest will get underway tonight. The theme of this year’s fest is you had me at lefse. The opening ceremonies will begin at six-45 at the courthouse square and music entertainment will begin in the downtown canopies after the opening ceremonies.

A group of county residents who wants to see an ordinance in Winneshiek county to allow ATVs and UTVs on secondary roads will meet tonight. The meeting will begin at seven p.m. at the Danan Lansing Building on the Winneshiek county fairgrounds. The meeting is open to the public.

It’s been a challenging growing season for farmers in many parts of Iowa, for a variety of reasons. Kent Klingbeil (KLING-byle), an agronomist with Ames-based Landus Coop, says his biggest concern is nitrogen stress in corn.


Many farmers in central and southern Iowa have crops that were damaged in the tornado outbreak one week ago. Other farmers, in south-central and southeast Iowa, are having problems with drought. But statewide, this week’s USDA report rated 79-percent of Iowa’s corn crop in good-to-excellent condition and 76-percent of the state’s soybean crop in the good-to-excellent category.

An attorney is accused of stealing from a dead person’s estate. 56 year old Todd M. Kowalke of Cresco is charged with one count of 1st degree theft. Investigators say Kowalke took more than $35,000 from the estate of Violet Brokken during the summer of 2017 and used the money for gambling, as well as business and personal expenses. According to court documents, Kowalke admitted during a court hearing that the money in Brokken’s estate was gone, apologized to the estate’s executor and said he would repay “every penny.”

Wednesday, the DNR approved a permit to allow Menards to build within the Decorah flood plain. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says that approval is just part of the process.


The matter will be discussed by the Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission on August 13th.

7-26 NEWS

Should a full-time Decorah fire engineer be allowed to respond to fire calls as a volunteer? The issue was discussed by the public safety committee of the Decorah city council Tuesday. Fire engineer Zach Kerndt is not allowed to respond to fires as a volunteer after a decision by city manager Chad Bird. Bird says Kerndt would not be covered by workman’s comp or insurance should get hurt on the job as a volunteer. The two other full-time engineers, Jeff Ode and Darren Sander, are allowed to respond to fires as volunteers. Bird says they were grand-fathered in because they were engineers prior to the policy change. Ode asked why a talented, dedicated, knowledgable firefighter like Kerndt can’t serve the city when he’s willing and able to do so. Committee discussed the possibilities of allowing Kerndt to respond to calls while limiting his liability risk. Committee member Ross Hadley called that idea a good, common-sense compromise. The committee agreed to continue the discussion.

What should the city of Decorah do about deer? The public safety committee of the Decorah city council discussed the issue this week. City manager Chad Bird said he had a conversation with Ross Ellingson with the DNR. Ellingson advised Bird to not conduct a aerial survey. Ellingson told Bird the DNR has severely limited funding to assist cities with the surveys and the data is just a snap shot of that point in time. Bird says Ellingson advised the city to open up all city parks to hunting and have the city reimburse the hunters for the tags. When the city discussed the issue two years ago, the council did not support opening up park land for deer hunting. Bird says Ellingson said safety has not been a concern in other cities that have opened up land for hunting. Bird added hunters have told him they want to stay away from people while hunting. Committee chair Steve Luse said they will continue to discuss the issue.

The 2018 federal farm bill is heading to a conference committee. Iowa secretary of agriculture Mike Naig says he doesn’t expect any major changes.
Naig is confident congress will resolve the issue before the current bill expires in September.

Northeast Iowa R-C and D will be teaming up with artist Mary Ann Gloe to develop postcards and posters of public natural areas along scienic byways in Northeast Iowa. The funding for the project is being made possible by a grant from the Iowa Depatment of Cultural Affairs. Through the project, the R-C and D will work with Gloe to identify six locations in Iowa State Parks from across the region. The project is scheduled to begin next month and run through June of 2019.

A Sumner man was transported from the Black Hawk to the Winneshiek County jail on a warrant for a parole violation. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 44 year old Charles Evans was taken into custody Tuesday night.

A permit to allow Menards to construct a building in the Decorah flood plain has been approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The DNR notified Menards of the decision Wednesday. The DNR says any person has a right to appeal the issuance of the permit within 30 days. Earlier this month, representatives from the Iowa Flood Center told the Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission that a Menards facility would have a minimal impact on flooding. The same representatives said they expect more heavy rainfall events in the future. The matter is expected to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission on August 13th.

A meeting will be held tonight to discuss the possibility of allowing ATVs and UTVs to drive on secondary roads in Winneshiek county will be held tonight. Meeting organizers say similar ordinances have passed in 33 counties, including Allmakaee, Clayton, Fayette and Howard. The meeting will begin at seven at the Danan Lansing Building on the Winneshiek county fairgrounds.

The 51st annual Nordic Fest begins tonight in Decorah. The opening ceremonies will begin at six-45 at the Winneshiek county courthouse square. The ceremonies will include performances by the Luren Singers and Nordic Dancers and honoring the fest grand marshall and flag recipient. Entertainment will begin in the downtown canopies following the opening ceremonies. The fest runs through Saturday in Decorah.

7-25 NEWS

A potential idling ordinance was discussed by the public safety committee of the Decorah city council Tuesday night, but there remains a lack of consensus on what the document should be. The potential ordinance would include all vehicles and would limit idling to ten seconds when the temperature is between 32 to 85 degrees. Exceptions in the ordinance would include using the motor to heat or cool passengers in a vehicle, public safety issues and when traffic forces vehicles to be motionless. Fines for idling too long would be 25 dollars under the legislation. Committee chair Steve Luse says the ordinance is designed to educate the public on the economic and environmental negatives of idling a vehicle. Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski raised a concern of a retired person shopping for groceries with a spouse who needs assistance getting around. Borowski says the 10 second limitation would be very difficult for them. Council member Ross Hadley wondered if the ordinance could be enforced on private property, since other traffic laws are not. Local resident Bob Watson, who presented the idea to Luse, said originally it was a to be purely educational ordinance with no fines for the first two years of its existence. Borowski stated she agreed with the educational aspect of the ordinance, but says in reality it will be tough to enforce.

Some of the boaters at an eastern Iowa festival on the Mississippi River earlier this month ended up facing charges. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.

The Winneshiek county historical society has received a ten thousand dollar grant from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Elizabeth Lorentzen with the historical society says the funding will be used to restore 14 second-story windows in the Landers-Adams 1860 Greek Revival home at 509 West Broadway in Decorah. The back apartment of the Landers-Adams home will become the headquarters and research center for the Winneshiek County Historical Society in December of this year.

A Florida woman who drowned on the Upper Iowa River near Decorah Sunday was kayaking on the river. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says 65 year old Susan Fechhelm was by herself in a kayak and believed to have been in distress. The DNR says no one witnessed Fechhelm’s kayak capsizing and she was wearing a life jacket when she left the canoe access. It is unknown why the jacket came partially off. Authorities say kayakers found the body of Fechhelm around two-45 Sunday afternoon. She was transported to Winneshiek Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. The investigation into the incident is continuing.

The Decorah school board will meet in a special session Wednesay at noon. The board will look to act on bids for a multi-passenger van. The meeting will be held at the Central Administration office.

The corn and soybean crops in Iowa are significantly ahead of schedule and looking very good for a plentiful harvest this fall.The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its weekly crop progress report Monday says Iowa corn is 79 percent good or excellence and 76 percent of soybeans in the state are good or excellent. Corn silking is more than a week ahead of schedule in Iowa with 88 percent silked. 81 percent of soybeans have bloomed in Iowa, 15 percent ahead of the five year average.

7-24 NEWS

Authorities have now identified the person who drowned in the Upper Iowa River near Decorah Sunday afternoon. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 65 year old Susan Ann Fechhelm of Saint Petersburg, Florida drowned around two-45 Sunday afternoon. No other details are being released at this time. The Iowa DNR is still investigating the incident.

A Dorchester man was arrested over the weekend on a Fayette County warrant. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 33 year old Kenneth Taylor was charged with conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. Taylor is being held in the Fayette County Jail without bond.

According to GasBuddy’s weekly report, gas prices in Iowa haven’t changed in the past week. Prices in the state are averaging $2.74 a gallon. The national average has fallen 4.4 cents per gallon to an average of $2.82 a gallon. GasBuddy reports the national average has dropped 1.6 cents a gallon during the last month, and is 55.4 cents a gallon higher than one year ago.

The Nordic Fest will begin this week and programs have now available.


Decorah area chamber of commerce executive director Kristina Wiltgen says more information about the fest is available at nordic-fest-dot-com.

A proposed anti-idling ordinance will go before a Decorah city council committee tonight. Steve Luse chairs the council’s public safety committee.


Other matters that will go before the council include deer depredation and the fire department driveway. The committee will also review matters of mutual concern with the 28-E rural fire trustees. The meeting will begin at five at city hall.

The South Winneshiek school board will meet in a special session tonight. The board will look to hire a librarian and approve a project at the district bus barn. The meeting will begin at six p.m. at the district office in Calmar.

7-23 NEWS

A busy agenda is on the docket for today’s Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors meeting. The board will discuss USDA Rural Development funding for the Burr Oak Sewer Project and proposed amendments to the the five year road program. Other items on the agenda include discussion on the resurfacing of Festina Road, Decorah volunteer fire department training and discussion on courthouse tower repairs. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

A 16 and a 17 year old were referred to juvenile court services after multiple incidents reported to law enforcement early Friday morning. The Decorah police say the two unidenified individuals have been charged with third degree burglary after they received multiple reports of two people going through vehicles. Police say of the individuals was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and interference with official acts.

A spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol is reminding motorists that the state’s year-old law against texting and driving doesn’t just apply to vehicles that are in motion. Sergeant Nate Ludwig (LUD-wig) says it’s also illegal for a driver to text when they’re waiting at a stop sign. Ludwig says it can be frustrating for other drivers who are playing by the rules.


The Iowa State Patrol recently reported, over the first year of the stricter texting-while-driving law, Troopers issued 1,131 citations to motorists. The violation can cost a person over $100.

Authorities are reporting a drowning on the Upper Iowa River Sunday afternoon. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says the incident occurred Northwest of Decorah but have to release any details about the incident or the name of the victim. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating.