12-2 NEWS

Decorah high school students recently turned spare change into charity. The Decorah F-F-A and high school community club held a friendly competition among homerooms and had students donate spare change towards the Decorah community food pantry. Through the efforts, a record one thousand five hundred dollars was collected to give to the food pantry. F-F-A and community club representatives decided to go this route when they learned every dollar donated to the food pantry equals the buying power of up to ten dollars.

Decorah middle school mock trial students had a successful trip to Des Moines last week. The students returned with a sixth place trophy and three individual awards. Three teams of middle school students attended the competition after Decorah middle school finished in the top four positions at the regional mock trial competition held in early November in Dubuque.

The Decorah high school band will host its winter band concert tomorrow night. The event will begin at seven-30 at the high school auditorium.

The Madison Lutheran Church in rural Decorah will host its annual Community Christmas Concert this afternoon. The concert will begin at four p.m. featuring local talent and refreshments will be served. A free will donation will be accepted with the money being donated to local food pantries.

The Holiday Lights, Magical Lights Fundraiser is continuing at the Pulpit Rock Campground in Decorah. The display of holiday lights are free, but a free-will offering will be accepted to support Helping Services for Youth and Family. Ben Crouse-Gagney (GAHN-yay) is with helping services.

Crouse-Gagney

The event is open from five until nine p.m. every night from now until Christmas.

A Luther college English professor was recently honored for a literary prize. Amy Weldon was nominated by the Literary magazine “The Hopper” for a Puschart Prize for her story “The Serpent”.The Puscart Prize began in 1976 and is intended to honor the best of the many small presses and journals in the current literary landscape.

12-1 NEWS

A trial date has been set for the mother of the child found dead in a baby swing, while the father is asking for a new trial. 21 year old Cheyanne Harris is now scheduled to stand trial on 1st degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death in Plymouth County on January 29, 2019. Court documents say the trial is expected to last six or seven days. Harris and Zachary Paul Koehn were arrested for the death of their four-month-old son, Sterling Koehn. The baby was found dead in a swing in an Alta Vista Apartment on August 30, 2017. An autopsy found the baby died of malnutrition, dehydration, and an E. coli infection caused by being left in a maggot-infested diaper for up to two weeks. Koehn was found guilty of 1st degree murder and child endangerment causing death on November 6, 2018. His trial was moved to Henry County because of publicity around this case. Koehn is due to be sentenced on December 4 in Chickasaw County. No hearing date has been set on his motion for a new trial.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City concludes something many Iowa farmers already know — the farm economy has yet to rebound. Fed economist Nathan Kauffman says farm income and credit conditions continue to deteriorate across the region.

Kaufman

The report says the agricultural economy continues to suffer from high yields and and lower demand, which Kauffman says is primarily due to the trade war with China.

Vestherheim’s Norwegian Christmas celebration will be held (Saturday). Chris Johnson is the executive director of Vestherheim.

Johnson

The event will run from ten a.m. until four p.m.

The Decorah-North Winneshiek interim school board will meet again next week. The board will discuss an early retirement incentive, new director districts and will also meet in closed session to discuss a potential purchase of property. The meeting will begin at six at the central administration office.

11-30 NEWS

Legal action has been taken in the house district 55 race regarding Winneshiek county ballots that were received in the mail after election day without postmarks and were not included in the total. Democratic challenger Kayla Koether, who ended up with nine fewer votes than Republican Incumbent Mike Bergan, filed a petition in Polk County district court Thursday. The peittion is asking the Winneshiek county auditor and the Iowa Secretary of State use the United States barcode information on the ballots to determine when the ballots were placed in the mail and to count the ballots that were legally cast. Winneshiek county auditor Ben Stienes says 32 such ballots were not included in the final canvass in the house district 55 race. A hearing is set for this afternoon at one-30 p.m. in Polk County district court.

A rural Allamakee county man has been taken into custody related to a phone threat made against Winneshiek Medical Center last Saturday. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 58 year old William Harrison Junior was taken into custody without incident after authorities executed a search warrant at Harrison’s residence. He is charged with threat of terrorism and two counts of harassment. The sheriff’s department says additional charges are pending.

A state law requiring clear postmarks to be on mailed in absentee ballots has been a point of contention in the house district 55 race. Winneshiek county supervisor John Beard says their board is going to send a letter to the legislature requesting the law be upgraded.

Beard 1

Beard says the current postmark standard creates doubt.

Beard 2

12 such ballots without postmark where counted in Fayette county. State law prohibits ballots that are counted from being uncounted. Stienes say this postmark standard is a concern that auditors throughout the state have raised to the state legislature but the law has remained unchanged.

As of right now, Mike Bergan is the winner in the house district 55 race. Bergan was asked if he would push for changes in the law requiring postmarks for mailed in absentee ballots in the upcoming legislative session.

Bergan

If the results hold this would Bergan’s term will be his second in the Iowa House.

A task force discussing the possibility of locating a potential elementary school in the downtown Decorah area will meet again (Friday). Since the group does not include a quorom of city council or school board members the meetings are not subject to the state’s opening meeting laws. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says the closed session nature of the meetings have allowed progress to made in the discussions.
Haluska
The group has been holding regular meetings since August.

11-29 NEWS

A Lime Springs man is pleading not guilty to writing bad checks. 30 year old Tyler Scott Juveland is charged with one count of 2nd degree theft. Authorities say that between February and April, Juveland wrote seven checks for a total of $3,366.70 to buy items from a Cresco man. When the checks were sent to the bank for payment, court documents state they were all returned for “refer to maker” and Juveland has made no payments in regards to the checks. Juveland was charged in August and entered a not guilty plea on Monday. No trial date has been set.

A Greene, Iowa man is in more trouble after being booked into the Winneshiek county jail on a Howard county warrant. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says drug paraphernalia was found on 59 year old David Refshauge while he was being booked into jail. Refshauge was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

A Readstown, Wisconsin was arrested after a Sunday traffic stop in Waukon. The Waukon Police Department says 36 year old Jonathan Harold Crill was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

After Tuesday’s recount, Incumbent republican Mike Bergan ended up with nine more votes than democratic challenger Kayla Kay-ter in the house district 55 race. Bergan says he was pleased with the process.

Bergan

The Winneshiek county board of supervisors is canvassing the vote at this hour.

The Decorah-North Winneshiek interim school board will meet tonight. The board will discuss an early retirement incentive and new school board director districts. The meeting will begin at six at the central administration office.

11-28 NEWS

In the closest legislative race in the state, Incumbent republican Mike Bergan will hold onto the house district 55 seat. After recounts conducted in Winneshiek and Clayton county Tuesday, Bergan ended up with a nine vote victory over Democratic challenger Kayla Kay-ter. The recounts added five votes for Bergan and three for Kay-ter. Bergan ended up with 6924 votes. Kay-ter ended up with 6915 votes. The Winneshiek county board of supervisors will canvass the results at noon today. The secretary of state’s office will canvass all of the legislative results next Monday.

State Bank, with eight locations across northeast Iowa, is being sold to Fidelity Bank of Dubuque. State Bank president Pat Gebel (GAY-bull) says the owners decided to move their interests toward estate planning and charitable giving and Fidelity Bank is a good fit.

Gebel

State Bank has branches in: Calmar, Ossian, New Hampton, Charles City, Dike, Janesville and two locations in Waverly.

The interim Decorah-North Winneshiek school board will meet (Wednesday) night. The board will discuss an early retirement option, potential staffing for next year, discussion on director district and a stakeholder survey. The meeting will begin at six at the central administration office.

Most of the state’s corn and soybean crop have been harvested ahead of a snowstorm that blanketed much of southern and eastern Iowa. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that 96 percent of Iowa’s corn crop had been harvested as of Sunday. While the percentage is even higher in northwest, north-central and central Iowa, 13 percent of corn remained to be harvested in southwest Iowa. That statewide percentage is four days behind the five-year average. Iowa’s soybean harvest was 98 percent complete. That’s 12 days behind the five-year average.

The Winneshiek county board of supervisors will be accepting requests for funding for next fiscal year next month. County auditor Ben Stienes says organizations interested in funding should include if they’ve received county funding in the past and detailed expenses associated with that funding, if they receive funding from other government entities and what is the intended use of the county funding. Requests must be submitted to the county auditor’s office by January 14th.

United Technologies Corp. announced the completion of its acquisition of Rockwell Collins late Monday, more than a year after it declared its plans to buy the company. Rockwell will combine with Charlotte, N.C.-based UTC Aerospace Systems to form Collins Aerospace Systems. Collins Aerospace spokeswoman Pam Tvrdy-Cleary told the Cedar Rapids Gazette there are no immediate changes planned as to how many employees will be based in Cedar Rapids or Collins Aerospace’s other locations in Eastern Iowa. Rockwell employs some 8,000 in Cedar Rapids and 1,350 among its plants in Decorah, Bellevue, Coralville and Manchester.

11-27 NEWS

The recount in Iowa House district 55 will begin (Tuesday). Democratic challenger Kayla (Kay-ter) requested recounts in Winneshiek and Clayton counties. The Winneshiek county recount will begin at nine a.m. The Clayton county recount will begin at nine-30 a.m. After the canvass of votes in Winneshiek, Fayette and Clayton counties, Republican incumbent Mike Bergan held a seven-vote advantage of (Kay-ter).

The Decorah public library board has approved a six-month extension to a lease agreement with the Toys-go-round lending library. Library director Kristin Torresdahl told the city council last week the board took the action at its most recent meeting. The library says they need the space in which the toys go round library currently uses for additional children’s programming. The lease agreement now runs through June of next year.

The South Winneshiek school board will hold a work session tonight. The board will discuss district financials and a potential early retirement incentive at seven p.m in the board room of the high school in Calmar.

The Decorah city council will hold a work session tonight. The Decorah Community Visioning committee will present their project to the council. The presentation will be followed by a review, questions and answers pertaining to the design boards. The council will also hold general discussion regarding Locust Road Improvement Project. The meeting will begin at five-15 at city hall.

Extending the one cent infrastructure is the top priority for the next Iowa legislative session from the Iowa Association of School board. Currently the one-cent tax expires in 2029. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says under the current set-up, financing a facility project would be difficult.

Haluska

A task force, consisting of city and school district officials, will meet again this week to discuss the possibility of locating a new elementary school in the downtown Decorah area.

Three teams from Decorah middle school will head to Des Moines (Tuesday) for the State Mock Trial Tournament. Decorah teams placed first, second, third and fourth at the Regional competition held in Duuque. The top three teams qualified for state. The State mock trial tournament runs through Thursday.

A Waterloo woman was arrested last week and is facing multiple charges. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 37 year old Kristina Broszeit was charged with failure to appear, violation of pre-trial supervision and third offense operating while under the influence while license denied or revoked. She was transported from the Black Hawk to the Winneshiek county jail.

A New Hampton man was arrested last week on a warrant for a parole violation. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 39 year old Dennis Evanson was arrested by the New Hampton police department.

A Fulton, Illinois man, facing charges in Fayette county, was arrested by Illinois State authorities last week. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 40 year old Jason Kyle Devries was wanted for forgery.

A Hawkeye woman was taken into custody on a Fayette county warrant last week. Authorities say 23 year old Mary Monroe was wanted for domestic abuse and driving while suspended.

A Dubuque man was arrested early Sunday morning after a traffic stop in Fayette county. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 24 year old Joshua Weeber was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving while suspended.

11-26 NEWS

A Decorah man who authorities say stabbed himself after holding a knife at a woman’s throat is pleading not guilty. 30 year old Joshua Ryan Draves is charged with going armed with intent, 3rd degree criminal mischief, and domestic abuse assault. He’s accused of slashing the tires on a vehicle, then entering the home and jumping on his female victim while she was sleeping. Law enforcement says Draves threatened to kill the woman before putting the knife to his own throat and eventually stabbing himself. This incident is alleged to have happened November 3rd at a residence in Freeport. Draves’ trial is due to start on January 24th.

The only challenger to defeat a statewide elected official this year says it’s a rare situation and there are no guidelines for this transition period before he takes his new post. Thirty-six-year-old Decorah native Rob Sand will be sworn in as State Auditor in early January.

Sand

Sand, a Democrat, defeated Republican State Auditor Mary Mosiman (MOZE-man, rhymes with “Boseman” — the city in Montana). Sand hopes to be briefed on office operations and meet with the auditor’s staff before the end of the year.

A potential early retirement incentive will be discussed again by the South Winneshiek school board this evening. The board will hold a work session to discuss financial information, early retirement incentives and other topics related to school business at seven p.m. at the board room of the high school in Calmar.

There are currently seven spots open on city of Decorah boards and commissions. Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski (Burr-rau-ski) told the city council last week she wanted to review the gender equity of the boards and commissions before moving forward on a few of the appointments. City officials say there are two spots open on the planning and zoning commission, one on the airport commission, one on the board of adjustment, one of the low rent housing commission and five seats on the tree board. Persons interested in serving on city boards and commissions can contact city hall. Borowski says she hopes to return to the council with recommendations in a timely fashion.

Winneshiek county emergency management coordinator Sean Snyder will meet with the Winneshiek county board of supervisors today. Snyder will discuss the county’s hazard mitigation plan and the Emergency management budget. The board will also discuss a lease agreement with the Decorah fire department for a training facility and will discuss road matters with county engineer Lee Bjerke (Beer-key). The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building.

A Community visioning group will make a presentation to the Decorah city council in a work session tonight. The group will make a presentation to the council and will hold a question and answer session pertaining to the project. The city council will also hold general discussion on the Locust Road Improvement Project. The work session will begin at five-15 at city hall.

11-25 NEWS

The Toys Go ‘Round lending library will hold a fundraising garage sale Friday and Saturday. The garage sale will be held Friday from noon until four p.m. and Saturday from ten a.m. until two p.m. in the lower level of the Decorah Public Library. Donations of used toys and children’s books may be dropped off Thursday from five until seven at the library. Money raised from the garage sale will be put towards finding a new location for the lending library.

Officials with the American Red Cross say they’re facing a “severe blood shortage” in Iowa and they’re urgently asking for blood donors to come forward. Spokeswoman Laura McGuire says they’re also looking for people to step forward and host blood drives to help prevent the shortage from worsening as winter approaches.

McGuire

The Decorah Blood Drive will be held Friday from noon until six p.m. at the Stone Ridge Community Church. For an appointment persons can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or log onto red-cross-blood-dot-org.

The Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center is having its first annual Silent Auction Fundraiser this week. It will be held Friday night at seven p.m. at the Elks Club in Decorah. The Peace and Justice Center is a non-profit organization

Decorah Middle School’s First Lego League Teams will give a presentation this week. It will be held at six-45 Tuesday night in the middle school cafeteria. The event is free and open to the public.

Decorah bank and trust and the Lynch family foundation have recently donated two-thousand five hundred dollar donation to Winneshiek county food pantries. Both organizations will be offering the donations as a match grant. At a recent event, Decorah Bank and trust purchased a giant piggy bank crafted from a used Templetion Rye whiskey barrel which was placed in the bank lobby. From October first to November 20th, Decorah bank customers contributed over six thousand dollars in monetary donations.

11-24 NEWS

The Christmas shopping season is here. The Decorah area chamber of commerce is offering an incentive to shop locally.

Wiltgen

Decorah area chamber of commerce executive director Kristina Wiltgen says the first basket will be given away December seventh.

(Saturday) is being touted as Small Business Saturday but the director of the Iowa office of the U-S Small Business Administration suggests don’t limit yourself to that one day. Jayne Armstrong says small businesses comprise 97-to-98-percent of all businesses in the state, so she’s encouraging all Iowans to “shop small.”

Armstrong

“Shop Small” is a nationwide movement that celebrates small businesses every day and helps communities thrive and stay vibrant.

Holiday Lights, Magical Nights is underway at the Decorah campground. The event is an annual fundraiser for Helping Services for Youth and Family. Ben Crouse-Gagney (GAHN-yey) with Helping Services says a fireworks display will be held (Saturday) night.

Crouse-Gagney

The display is open every night from now until Christmas Night.

A task force, consisting of city of Decorah and Decorah school district officials, will meet again next week. The task force is discussing if locating a potential new elementary school in the downtown area is feasible. The group has been meeting on a regular basis since August. Since the group does not include a qurom of city council or school board members it is not subject to open meetings laws.

The recount in the house district 55 race will be held in both Winneshiek and Clayton counties Tuesday. After the votes were canvassed, Incumbent republican Mike Bergan held a seven-vote advantage over democratic challenger Kayla (Kay-ter). (Kay-ter) requested recounts in Winneshiek and Clayton counties but did not request a recount in Fayette county. The Winneshiek county recount will begin Tuesday morning at nine a.m. The Clayton county recount will begin Tuesday morning at nine-30. The Iowa Secretary of State’s office will canvass the legislative races on December third.

The South Winneshiek school board will continue its discussion regarding an early retirement incentive Monday night. The board will discuss the matter in a work session at seven p.m. at the board room of the high school in Calmar.

11-23 NEWS

(Friday) is the traditional start of Christmas shopping season. Decorah area chamber of commerce executive director Kristina Wiltgen is encouraging people to shop locally.

Wiltgen

The Chamber’s annual lighted holiday parade will be held next Thursday, November 29th beginning at six p.m. For more information persons can contact the chamber office.

The U-S Centers for Disease Control is recommending that you not eat any romaine (Row-main) lettuce. Iowa Deputy State Epidemiologist Ann Garvey says the warning comes after an e-coli outbreak.

Garvey

Garvey says you can find out more about the romaine lettuce problem on the C-D-C’s website.

The Decorah city council approved a site plan for the former Cho Sun Restuarant property at its meeting this week. City manager Chad Bird says Jeff Allison is planning on building on the existing foundation of the structure. Bird says he doesn’t believe Allison has reserved a tenant for the building yet.

The Decorah city council approved the rezoning of a piece of land near the Decorah business park at its meeting this week. Echo Development is planning to construct an apartment complex on the property. The council approved the third reading of the ordinance. The property is being rezoned from C-5 commercial to R-3 multiple family residential. The ordinance passed on a 6-1 vote. Councilman Randy Schissell oppossed the rezoning.

The director of the Iowa Department of Revenue says she’s living through a thrilling, “once in a lifetime” experience. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.

Henderson

Decorah city hall and the Winneshiek county courthouse will be closed (Friday). The government offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday. EARL public transit will also be closed (Friday). All entities will return to normal hours Monday.