4-1 NEWS

A Decorah seventh grader has won the Iowa State Geography Bee. Simon Kutz (Cuts) won the contest which was held last Thursday. Kutz will now compete in the National Geography Bee, which will be held May 22nd in Washington, DC.

The Decorah city council will discuss an amendment to the city’s flag display policy at its meeting tonight. City manager Chad Bird says the city is recommending the reducing the number of days the United States flags are put up on water street from 17 to 12 and to restrict special interest and community flags to two temporary poles in front of city hall, at the discretion of the city council. The council will also be asked to set a public hearing on a development agreement for the former Quillins Locations. The meeting will begin at five-15 at city hall.

The street committee of the Decorah city council will meet following the regular council meeting tonight. The committee will discuss the city’s sidewalk improvement project special assessment options. The committee will also discuss the Locust Road project scope and timeline.

The Winneshiek county supervisors will deal with a variety of issues at its meeting today. A public hearing will be held regarding a right-of-way maintenance ordinance. County emergency management coordinator Sean Snyder will meet with the board to discuss a the E-911 system. The board will also discuss the county’s compensation plan and will be asked to approve a proclamation for sexual assault awareness month. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

The Iowa Utilities Board has extended the annual winter ban on shutting off utilities for those customers enrolled in the energy assistance program from Monday to May 13th due to the flooding in some counties. I-U-B spokesperson, Don Tormey (tore-me), says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance, or LIHEAP (Leye-heap) program gives some help in dealing with the bigger bills during the cold winter months. He says those enrolled should be paying what they can on their bill.

Tormey

Tormey says they utilities can begin disconnecting service when the moratorium ends if the customer has not made arrangements to pay outstanding balances on their utility bill.

The Decorah city council’s sustainability planning committee will meet this afternoon. Items on the agenda include a review of timeline and plan, discussion of community input/vision sessions and discussion of community involvement strategies. The meeting will begin at one-30 at the city clerk’s conference room at city hall.

A Friday night search warrant lead to the arrest of a Waukon woman. The Waukon police says 31 year old Hannah Flores was charged with possession of controlled substance, controlled substance violation: possession with intent to deliver marijuana under 50 kilograms, a class D felony, possession on certain property, gathering where marijuana is used, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

3-31 NEWS

The Winneshiek county board of supervisors will hold a public hearing on a right-of-way maintenance ordinance at its meeting tomorrow. The board will also discuss adjustments to the compensation plan. County emergency management coordinator Sean Snyder will meet with the board to discuss the county’s E-911 system and the supervisors will also sign a proclamation for sexual assault awareness month. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah

The Decorah city council’s Sustainability Planning Committee will meet tomorrow afternoon. The committee will review the timeline and plan, discuss the community input and visioning session and will discuss community involvement strategies at one-30 Monday afternoon at the city hall conference room.

The Decorah Board of Adjustment will elect a chair and vice-chair at its meeting this week. The board will also review the rules and regulations of the board and welcome new member Kraig Tweed. The board will also hear a request from Luther College for a special exception to place fill in the F-1 floodplain district. The meeting will be held Wednesday night at five-15 at city hall.

The Winneshiek county dairy banquet will be held Saturday night. The banquet will be held Saturday night at the Ossian DeSales School Gym. The meal will served from seven until eight p.m. with the banquet will begin at eight p.m.

3-30 NEWS

The Decorah city council will be asked to set a public hearing related to the re-development of the former Quillins property Monday night. Decorah city manager Chad Bird.

Bird

On April 15th, the council will hold a public hearing to accept public comments to amend the southwest Decorah urban renewal district to allow for the development to move forward. The council meeting will begin at five-15 Monday night at city hall.

The Winneshiek County Historical Society and the Winneshiek county historic preservation commission will host a presentation (Saturday) at the Decorah Public Library. Elizabeth Lorentzen with the Winneshiek County Historical Society says the featured speaker will be Cornell University research scientist Dr.Brita Lorentzen.

Lorentzen

The program will begin at one p.m. in the public meeting room of the Decorah Public Library.

The Winneshiek Solar Fair will be held (Saturday). Kristin Eggen is one of the event organizers.

Eggen

The event will be held from nine a.m. until noon at the Danan Lansing Building on the Winneshiek county fairgrounds.

A Cresco man was arrested late Thursday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 44 year old Ronald Still Junior was taken into custody on a warrant for violating his probation.

3-29 NEWS

Decorah city manager Chad Bird says there’s nothing new to report regarding extending a franchise agreement with Alliant Energy.

Bird 1

Bird says there are some pending projects that will require some sort of an agreement with Alliant Energy.

Bird 2

The franchise agreement ended last year. The agreement deals with a utility’s use of a city right of way. Bird says the Iowa Utilities Board regulates service areas for investor owned utilites.

A Decorah man was arrested Wednesday afternoon. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 49 year old Jason Schwarz was taken into custody for failure to appear.

Efforts to make Emergency Medical Services an essential service in the state of Iowa has fallen short again at the statehouse. Supporters of the idea would like to see E-M-S receive the same designation as fire and police service. Winneshiek county emergency management coordinator Sean Snyder.

Snyder 1

Snyder says while it’s not an issue now in Winneshiek county, that isn’t the case in other parts of the state.

Snyder 2

Snyder says persons interested in a career in emergency medical services should contact Steve Vandenbrink at Winneshiek medical center.

Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says discussions on a new elementary school haven’t taken place in a while.

Haluska

Haluska says with the hiring of a new superintendent, budget discussions and negotiations on a master contract for next year, something had to be placed on the back burner. School district and city officials have met to discuss the possibility of housing a new elementary school in the downtown Decorah area.

3-28 NEWS

Three people were injured in a car vs semi accident Wednesday morning south of Calmar. The Iowa State Patrol says around seven-30, a vehicle driven by 62 year old Mary Hegg of Decorah crossed the center line of Highway 24 and collided with a semi driven by 61 year old David Fadness of Decorah. Hegg and two passengers in her vehicle, 63 year old John Hegg of Decorah and an unnamed minor, were injured in the accident. Mary was air-lifted to Gundersen Health Services in La Crosse and John was transported by ambulance to Winneshiek Medical Center. The accident remains under investigation.

A Waterloo man, wanted in Black Hawk County, was arrested in West Union Wednesday. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 61 year old Micheal David Rhoads was arrested on Black Hawk county warrants for drug possession with intent to deliver, driving while revoked and first offense operating while intoxicated. Authorities say further investigation led to Fayette county charges being filed against Rhoads, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

As temperatures gradually rise in Iowa during in springtime, so do gasoline prices. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says motorists across the state are shelling out more to fill the tank than they did a month ago.

White

The statewide average of two-56 a gallon is five cents cheaper than the national average. Triple-A says the nation’s least expensive markets are Utah and Alabama at $2.34, while the highest state average is in California where motorists are paying $3.43 a gallon.

With spring flood damage approaching three-billion dollars in Iowa and Nebraska combined, concerns are growing that waterways will again rise beyond their banks with even moderate rainshowers. Iowa State University Extension agronomist Joel DeJong (dee-YUNG) says the soil remains saturated across much of the state and spring planting will certainly be delayed for many growers.

DeJong

DeJong advises producers not to get too concerned over the wet weather as conditions can change quickly. He says it’s a good idea to get everything ready to go for planting, so it can get done quickly when things do dry out.

Decorah high school music students excelled at the Iowa high school music association’s solo and ensemble contest last Saturday in Independence. 62 solo and 67 ensemble performances received Division 1 superior ratings. 41 solo and 21 ensemble received Division 2 excellent ratings. Judges also have Decorah performances four outstanding performance awards and five perfect scores.

Earlier this week, the Winneshiek county supervisors passed a resolution opposing a senate bill which would allow heavier loads of wood and timber on Iowa county roads. State senator Mike Breitbach of Strawberry Point supports the legislation.

Breitbach

Breitbach says the legislation came from a DOT recommendation.

Winnehsiek county development has announced its winners of its Biz Booster Challenge. W-C-D-I director Stephanie Fromm says over 20-thousand total in grant funds were awarded to Impact Coffee Bar and Roasters, Big Driftless, the Fireman’s Inn, Sunflower Child Development Center and Reed Backes Custom Woodworking. The Challenge was open to anyone who starts a new business or significantly expands an existing business. WCDI representatives say the main consideration in selecting the winners was the amount of economic impact the new or expanding business will have in Winneshiek County.

3-27 NEWS

A Decorah man who was being held in the Houston county jail has waived extradition and is now being held in the Winneshiek county jail. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 54 year old Patrick Curran was transferred on Monday. Authorities say he was arrested after an incident in Hesper Saturday night and charged with first degree burglary, being a felon in possession of a firearm and stalking with a dangerous weapon. Bond for Curran has been set at 50-thousand dollars.

The Iowa House passed legislation last week with the goal of improving children’s mental health services in the state. State representative Mike Bergan of Dorchester was a member of task force which studied the issue in the interim between last and this year’s legislative sessions. He says the measure is in response to a need in the state.

Bergan

Bergan says the programs will be funded through an increase in medicaid funding. The bill is now eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.

Two teams from Decorah high school have qualified for the state envirothon competition. The teams finished second and fourth place out of 15 teams in the regional envirothon competition held recently on the Kirkwood Community College campus in Iowa City. The envirothon is a team competition which tests students’ knowledge of natural resources. The state competition will be held on April eighth at Jester State Park in Polk County.

The personnel committee of the Decorah city council will meet (Wednesday) afternoon. The committee, consisting of all seven council members, will meet in a closed session to discuss collective bargaining negotiations at two p.m. in the city hall conference room.

This week is severe weather awareness week. A statewide tornado drill will be held in the 10 a.m. hour (Wednesday) morning. Sean Snyder is the emergency management coordinator for Winneshiek County.

Snyder

A test tornado watch will be issued at 10 a.m. followed by a test warning at 10:15 a.m. Snyder at 10:15 the law enforcement will sound the storm sirens. The test will be completed by 10:30 a.m.

The Decorah school district is offering a 2.54 percent total package increase to the Decorah Education Association. The district made its initial offer on a master contract to the D-E-A Monday afternoon. The district says the average settlement of the 19 districts that have deals to this point is a 2.48 percent total package. The two sides will continue their negotiation next week.

3-26 NEWS

A Hawkeye woman died in a single-vehicle accident in Decorah Saturday morning. The Decorah police department says around ten-30, a vehicle driven by 38 year old Andrea Rose was traveling on Montgomery Street, left the roadway and struck a sign in front of the Bruening Rock Products offices. Authorities say Rose was transported to Winneshiek Medical Center where she died a short time later. Police say the cause of the accident is under investigation.

A Decorah man is facing multiple charges after a Saturday night incident. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 54 year old Patrick Curran was arrested and charged with first degree burglary, being a felon in possession of a firearm and stalking with a dangerous weapon. Authorities say they were called to a Hesper residence around six p.m. on a report of an incident involving a firearm. The sheriff’s department says Curran fled the scene before a deputy arrived. Authorities say Curran was found at a rural Houston county residence later that evening and was taken into custody without incident. Curran is being held in the Houston county jail on 50-thousand dollars bond. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says the case remains under investigation and further charges are pending.

The Decorah school board and the Decorah-North Winneshiek Interim school board will now meet on the same nights. The Interim school board made the decision at its meeting last week. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says the agendas for the Decorah board are getting smaller and the Interim board are getting bigger, thus the reason for the decision. On April eighth, the Decorah school board will meet at six p.m. and the Interim board will meet at six-30 p.m. The Interim board will become the Decorah board in July.

The Decorah-North Winneshiek Interim school board approved several new hires at its meeting last week. The board approved five additional education hires. District officials say they’re the hires will respond to educational needs and will shuffle some positions around to fill spots being left vacant by retiring positions. The board also approved an assistant transportation director, an additional school nurse for the district and a new custodian who will take care of the soon to be former North Winneshiek school building.

56 counties in Iowa have been declared Presidential disaster areas related to spring flooding. Is there ever a concern there won’t be enough money to cover the cost of disasters? The question was asked for County emergency management coordinator Sean Snyder.

Snyder

The federal declaration opened up individual assistance to five area counties and opened up public and non-profit assistance to the other 51.

A new Gundersen helicopter is now at the Decorah airport. Gundersen officials debuted the new helicopter last week. Gundersen says the new air craft will feature the latest technology to increase patient and crew safety. The La Crosse-based health care provider has a rented space at the Decorah airport since June of 2016. A new permanent hangar for the helicopter opened earlier this month.

A Waukon man has been arrested on a warrant. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 59 year old Ronald Meyer was taken into custody for the violation of pre-trial supervision.

3-25 NEWS

A Decorah man has been arrested on a warrant with the original charge of invasion of privacy. Decorah police say 30 year old Travis Huinker was taken into custody in connection to an investigation into a video camera that was discovered concealed in a uni-sex bathroom in the student union at Luther College last October. The charge is an aggravated misdemeanor.

A Decorah teenager was charged in a traffic incident which occurred early Saturday morning. Decorah police say 16 year old Gunnar John Grinna was charged with first offense operating while intoxicated, the violation of a graduated license condition and reckless driving. Authorities say around three-30 a.m, a vehicle driven by Grinna intentionally rammed a vehicle driven by 18 year old Dominic Jenkins of Lanesboro twice while traveling on Highway 9 and highway 52. No one was injured in the incident.

Four area school districts will return to normal bus routes today. Decorah, North Winneshiek, MFL-Mar-Mac and Postville buses will return to gravel roads today after traveling on hard surfaced roads only for the last week and a half

Howard county has been added to a list of counties included in a state disaster declaration related to the spring flooding. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made the announcement Friday. Winneshiek, Fayette and Clayton counties were a part of previous disaster declaration. The action allows state resources to be activated to assist in the recovery efforts. The declaration also allows low income residents to be eligible for assistance. Over the weekend, President Trump declared Iowa a Presidential disaster area, The declaration makes available FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which puts into motion long-term federal recovery programs to help public entities and select nonprofit organizations.

The Decorah city council will hold a work session tonight. The council will review and discuss the Upper Iowa Watershed Management Authority survey and will discuss history and uses for economic development. The work sessions begins at five-15 at city hall.

A variety of issues will go before the Winneshiek county board of supervisors for its meeting today. County engineer Lee Bjerke will discuss a resolution to oppose a piece of legislation at the statehouse. The board will discuss conservation updates and will review the fiscal year 2018 audit. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse in Decorah.

The negotiation process between the Decorah education association and the Decorah school district on a master contract for next school year will continue this afternoon. The district will give its counter-offer to the D-E-A beginning at three-30 this afternoon. Both sides agreed in the initial public meeting last week the changes to the state’s collective bargaining laws will make this year’s negotiations different than in previous years. Under legislation passed last year, wages are the only thing required to be negotiated between the district and the education association.

25 students from seven area high schools will be in Cedar Falls today to participate in the Iowa State Individual Speech All-State Festival. The students earned all-state recognition from their performances on March ninth at the Northeast State Individual Speech Contest held in Forest City. Students from Decorah, Waukon, Crestwood, North Fayette Valley, Postville, MFL-Mar-Mac and Kee High will be represented at the festival.

3-24 NEWS

Winneshiek county engineer Lee Bjerke (Beer-key) will discuss a resolution oppossing a piece of legislation at tomorrow meeting of the Winneshiek county supervisors. The legislation would permit transportation of certain types of loads by motor vehicles exceeding certain weight limitations. Conservation director Barb Schroeder will provide updates to the board and the fiscal year 2018 annual audit will be presented. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse in Decorah.

25 area students will attend the Iowa Individual Speech All-State Festival in Cedar Falls tomorrow. The students earned the all-state recognition from their performances on March ninth at the Northeast State Individual Speech contest held in Forest City. The all-state students include six from MFL Mar Mac, four from Crestwood, four from Kee, three from Decorah, Waukon and NFV and two from Postville

National forecasts see the potential for continued flooding across the country as we move further into spring. D-N-R Hydrologist Tim Hall says it is hard to believe we had some extreme areas of drought in the state back in September. The wet fall washed any dry conditions in a trend that’s been seen across the country. Hall says the abundance of groundwater is usually welcomed in Iowa.
Hall
Hall says we can only hope there are enough dry days to make some room in the waterways to handle any of the spring rains.

There are four openings on city of Decorah commissions. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says there are two seats open on the Tree Board and Human Rights Commission and one seat open on the airport commission and the civil service commission. Bird says anyone interested in any of the positions can contact city hall.

3-23 NEWS

The Winneshiek county community foundation recently awarded grants to the Decorah Parks and Recreation Department and the Decorah Public Library. Parks and Recreation director Andy Nimrod says the five thousand dollar grant will be put towards playground equipment in the Venneheim Park. Library director Kristin Torresdahl (Tors-dahl) says the one thousand nine hundred fifty dollar grant will be put towards upgrading the library’s classroom areas.

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley says his finance committee is trying to lower prescription drug prices. But Grassley says he’s been frustrated by some of the hearings.
Grassley
Grassley is the chair of the senate finance committee.

Southwest Iowa has been dealing with major flooding for over a week. State Senator Mike Breitbach of Strawberry Point says the flooding could have an effect on the current year’s budget.
Breitbach
Winneshiek county emergency management director Sean Snyder says last week’s flooding caused 250-thousand dollars worth of damage in the county.

The Turkey Valley Education Foundation Gala will be held Saturday night. Dave Anderson is with the Turkey Valley Education Foundation.
Anderson
The event will be held at the Waucoma Events Center.

A Calmar man was arrested Thursday morning. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 45 year old Jason Fairchild was charged with public intoxication and interference with official acts.

A West Union man was arrested Thursday after a traffic stop on Echo Valley Road. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 55 year old Mark Allen Fridley was charged with driving with a revoked license and O-W-I test failure.