5-1 NEWS

At least five Decorah city council members want to advertise regionally for the Decorah police chief position. The process of hiring a new chief was discussed in a work session of the Decorah city council Monday night. Current police chief Bill Nixon will retire this summer. The council members also directed Chad Bird to receive more information from the two search firm on how and to what level they can assist the city in the process. Bird also suggested the personnel committee should meet to review the job description. Bird said the council will likely be asked to approve the formal advertising for the position at its May 20th meeting.

A property tax reform bill passed the Iowa legislature. State representative Mike Bergan of Dorchester says the concerns cities and counties presented have been alleviated. Originally the bill would have required a public referendum if local governments wanted to raise property taxes two or more perfect. The final bill changes the requirement to 2/3 of a majority of the local governing board. Bergan says the bill also allows for more transparency in the process.

Bergan

Bergan says the measure won’t have an effect on most counties since 69 of the 99 counties in the state have only three members on their county boards, meaning anything that passes has a 2/3 majority already.

A veterans nursing home seminar will be held in Decorah (Wednesday) afternoon. A representative from the Iowa City V-A hospital will share information on nursing home benefits and qualifications and a representative from the Winneshiek county veterans affairs office will provide information on county, state and federal veterans benefits. The seminar will be held from two until three p.m. at the Decorah V-F-W located at 104 State Street.

Last Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is being deemed a success. The Northeast Iowa Drug Task force says a total of 540.2 pounds of prescription medications were collected throughout their sites in Northeast Iowa. Authorities say the purpose of the event is to keep medications out of the hands of people who may misuse or abuse them, especially our youth.

State flood aid is included in a bill that cleared the Iowa legislature on Saturday — the final day of its 2019 session. Governor Kim Reynolds asked legislators to set aside the 15-million dollars for flood recovery and mitigation. Senator Michael Breitbach (BRIGHT-bawk), a Republican from Strawberry Point, says the governor has a team of experts on the ground and he trusts her judgment.

Breitbach

Legislators did commit another 10 million dollars to state tax credits for home building, hoping to help RE-building in devastated communities like Pacific Junction and Hamburg.

A Carbon footprint workshop will be held tonight at the Decorah public library. Event organizers say the workshop will include how to measure your carbon footprint and ways persons can reduce it. The event will be held from six until eight p.m. tonight. It is free and open to the public.

4-30 NEWS

A New Hampton man has entered a guilty plea to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. The US attorney’s office of Northern Iowa says 56 year old William Rolen is facing a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison. Court officials say US District court judge CJ Williams will be set after a pre sentence report is prepared.

At least three of the seven Decorah city council members do not want to see the city’s zoning code changed related to rezoning requests. The issue was discussed at a council work session Monday night. The city is proposing requiring a two-thirds majority, or five council members, to approve a rezoning if the planning and zoning commission recommends against it. Currently city code requires a three-quarters majority, or six votes, in that situation. Council members Johanna Bergan and Steve Luse called the proposed change a fix to a non-problem. Bergan called the proposed amendment a knee-jerk reaction to one situation. Council member Dan Bellrichard said he preferred keeping the six-vote requirement. Council member Kirk Johnson stated he would like to see the requirement change to four or five votes. Johnson said the current situation gives too much power to one or two council members and added since the planning and zoning commission recommended changing the code to a two-thirds majority, the council should take that recommendation seriously. Councilman Ross Hadley did not publicly state an opinion on the matter. Councilman Andy Carlson and Randy Schissel were not present at the meeting. Borowski said she place the matter on the agenda for next Monday’s city council meeting. The council will be asked to set a public hearing on the issue.

Luther college and Decorah middle school students are participating in Climate Justic Week this week.
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Pipa Wood with Luther College says Wednesday night. Dr. Jim Hansen will give the David Roselien Public Lecture entitled, “Shape Your Future: Energy, Climate and Human Rights” at seven p.m. at the Center for Faith and Life.

On the final day of the 2019 Iowa legislative session, Republican lawmakers voted to make changes in the commission that nominates Iowa judges and — after emotional debate — the Iowa Senate sent the governor a bill that expands Iowa’s medical marijuana law. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.
Henderson voicer

A Waterloo man was arrested Saturday by Fayette county authorities. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 25 year old Darryl Green was charged with the violation of a non-contact order.

A Carbon footprint workshop will be held tonight at the Decorah Public Library. Joel Zook is with the Winneshiek energy district.
Zook
The workshop will be held from six until eight p.m. It is free and open to the public.

4-29 NEWS

On the final day of the 2019 Iowa legislative session, Republican lawmakers voted to make changes in the commission that nominates Iowa judges and — after emotional debate — the Iowa Senate sent the governor a bill that expands Iowa’s medical marijuana law. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.

The Decorah city council will discuss two matters in a work session this evening. The council will discuss the search for a new police chief. City manager Chad Bird

Bird

The council will also discuss potential changes to rezoning applications in the city. The work session will begin at five-15 at city hall.

Routine matters will go before the Winneshiek county board of supervisors for its meeting today. The board will deal with a resolution for historic preservation month. The board will also discuss paid time off and will meet with county engineer Lee Bjerke and county attorney Andy Van Der Maaten. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building.

Nine area high school students were honored Sunday at the Governor’s Scholar Recognition program in Des Moines. The seniors that were recognized were selected by their schools as the highest academic achievers. Area students that attended the ceremony included Brayden Krivachek of Decorah, Allanda Kriener of South Winneshiek, Shayla Kuennen of Turkey Valley, Nathan Helgerson of Waukon, Zackary Lane of Crestwood, Cassidy Bohr of North Fayette Valley, Drew Lubka of Postville, Kaitlyn Berns of MFL-Mar-Mac and Michelle Walleser of Kee High.

the winter driving season has been over for more than a month and gasoline prices statewide are on the rise as more of us take longer trips. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says when the demand increases, so does the pump price.

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Gas stations in Iowa’s larger cities often charge significantly less for fuel than rural locations, though it’s not a big revelation to residents who live in the country.

White 2

White says Some oil producers in the Middle East are vowing to cut back on production this spring and it’s pushing up the price of crude oil.

A Postville man was arrested on a Fayette county warrant late last week. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 25 year old Micheal Blake Irvin was wanted for a probation violation.

This in from the Winneshiek county engineer’s office. County engineer Lee Bjerke says crews are replacing a culvert on 275th street just east on highway nine. Bjerke says that portion of the roadway will be closed until June.

4-26 NEWS

The Decorah city council will hold its second special meeting of the week (Friday) morning. The council a 28-E agreement between Winneshiek county, the Decorah Volunteer Fire Department and the city for a fire training facility. The council will also be asked to approve a five-day class B beer permit for a Big Hearts and Barrels Corporation event at the Winneshiek county fairgrounds. City manager Chad Bird says the beer permit request was the reason the meeting was called. Bird said the applicant will pay the cost of the meeting since they needed to get the permit approved prior to the council’s next regular meeting. The meeting will begin at seven-30 a.m. (Friday) morning at city hall.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Luther College Black Student Union. The organization is hosting an alumni event this weekend on campus. Luther professor Guy Nave says persons can learn more about the history of the movement in a flim that will be shown Saturday night.

Nave

A variety of events will be held throughout the weekend. The schedule of events is available at the Luther College alumni relations website.

A group of Decorah middle school teachers has been recognized by the Iowa Association of Naturalists and the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition. The seventh grade “one well” unit has received the excellence in environmental education award. The honor is awarded annually to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of environmental literacy in the state. The One Well programs weaves science, geography and English together for the interdisciplinary unit. The teachers recognized include Sarah Casterton, Brigit Storhoff, Carrie Reed, Jesse Lyon, Amy Pipho, Jonathan Carlson, Steve Larson and Zach Fromm.

Two Iowa Democratic State Senators will host a legislative forum in Decorah (Friday) afternoon. Pam Jochum from Dubuque and Bill Dotzler from Waterloo will be at Java Johns from four-30 until six p.m. Both serve as assistant minority leaders in Iowa Senate.

A two-month long investigation has led to the arrest of a Wadena man. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 36 year old Shawn Elliott Kuhse was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, a class D felony and possession of drug paraphernalia, after a search warrant was executed on Wednesday. Authorities say this is an on-going investigation and further charges could be filed at a later date.

A West Union man was arrested early Thursday morning. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 49 year old Scott Dilley was taken into custody on warrant for violation the sex offender registration for the second or subsequent offense.

4-25 NEWS

A property tax reform measure is continuing to be debated at the statehouse. State senator Mike Breitbach of Strawberry Point feels local governments will be more comfortable with the revised version rather than the original version.

Breitbach

Earlier this week, the Decorah city council unanimously approved a resolution
opposing the property tax reform measure. Breitbach says the bill has changed drastically since he received the Decorah city council resolution.

A Waukon man was arrested following a Tuesday traffic stop. The Waukon police department says Carl Kern Johnson was charged with possession of marijuana, driving on a revoked license, fraudulent use of registration plates and failure to maintain or use a safety belt.

Alliant energy has requested a 24 to 26 percent increase in its base utility rates to the Iowa Utilities Board. A public hearing on the rate increase will be held next week in Decorah. Alliant energy spokesperson Justin Foss says the base rate doesn’t tell the whole story.

Foss 1

Foss says the increase will increase the company’s investment in wind energy, which will lead to significant savings in fuel costs.

Foss 2

The public hearing will be held May second beginning at six p.m. at the Hotel Winneshiek.

Additional charges have been filed against a man that was already serving time in the Winneshiek county jail. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 36 year old Damien Reinsvold of La Crescent, Minnesota was served with a warrant for felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

4-24 NEWS

An Elgin woman has entered a plea in the 2018 death of her infant daughter and will spend the rest of her life in prison. 29-year-old Alicia Marie Rios entered an Alford plea to first-degree murder during a hearing Monday morning in Fayette County District court in West Union. Rios didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged the plea was in her best interest. A charge of child endangerment causing death was dismissed. Rios was arrested in the death of her 5-month-old daughter, Lydia, who was injured Aug. 21 and died later at a hospital. An autopsy found a skull fracture and Rios acknowledge striking the infant with a coffee table. The murder charge carries a mandatory prison sentence of life without parole.

A Ramsey, Minnesota man has pled guilty to assault causing injury in an April 2018 incident in Howard county. Court records say 21 year old Ty Manley Sobolik was accused of punching, kicking and body slamming a male victim after the victim used a drug and passed out. Sentencing for Sobolik is scheduled for July 15th.

State representative Mike Bergan of Dorchester was one of 67 house members to support a measure to legalize sports wagering in Iowa. Bergan says wagering has been happening in the state for years.

Bergan

Bergan says the measure also increases state funding for gambling addiction
programs. Governor Reynolds has not publicly indicated whether or not she will sign the bill.

The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department, Helping services for youth and families and Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health are teaming up for an event Wednesday afternoon in Decorah. Winneshiek county sheriff Dan Marx.

Marx

The event will be held from four-30 until seven-30 on the Winneshiek county fairgrounds. Marx says the What you don’t see trailer will also be in Calmar at City Hall from ten a.m. until two p.m. on Saturday.

A Postville man, arrested last June, was sentenced this week in Fayette county district court. Authorities say 20 year old Wilmer Elias Soy was convicted of third degree sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child. Soy was sentenced to two ten year jail terms to be served concurrently.

4-23 NEWS

On a 5-2 vote, the Decorah city council approved a resolution to formally oppose an Alliant Energy rate increase at a special meeting Monday morning. The resolution will also ask a city representative to present said resolution at an Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on the rate increase which will be held in Decorah on May 2nd. Alliant is requesting a 24-26 percent base rate increase. Council member Ross Hadley said such an increase could have a troubling effect on the city budget. Council member Andy Carlson says since customers will have to pay more and the city could potentially pay 80-thousand dollars a year for power, it’s like Decorah residents are paying for the increase twice. Council member Kirk Johnson referred to last year’s municipal electric utility vote in Decorah, saying Alliant presented dishonest and disingenuous propaganda
saying their rates would remain lower than an M-E-U. Council member Steve Luse said Alliant recorded 457 million dollars in profits last year and he didn’t like that “our money” is being used to make their investors more wealthy. Johnson, Hadley, Carlson, Luse and Johanna Bergan supported the resolution. Council members Dan Bellrichard and Randy Schissell opposed the resolution. Bellrichard said he doesn’t have the knowledge to say whether or not this rate increase is necessary. He compared it to when the city raises rates and said some of the push-back the city receives is from individuals who don’t fully understand the reasons why. Schissel said he had a problem with the city telling a private business how to conduct their operations. Schissel reminded the council the last time Alliant requested a rate increase, the Iowa Utilites Board did not approve as much of an increase as they requested.

At the same meeting, the council unanimously passed another resolution opposing a property tax reform bill at the statehouse. The legislature is considered a measure that would require a public referendum if local governments want to increase property two or more percent. City manager Chad Bird said the bill could have a negative impact on the city’s general fund.

A trial for a Decorah man accused of murdering his wife in February of 2018 has been delayed again. 34 year old Brian Fullhart was charged with first degree murder and going armed with intent in the death of Zoanne Fullhart. The incident occurred in Cresco on February 28th, 2018. Court records now say the pre-trial conference is set for July first and the trial is scheduled for July 17th.

Up to 48 students in the current North Winneshiek students could be attending classes at Mabel-Canton next year through open enrollment. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says while that’s not an ideal situation financially, it’s not as much as a challenge as it appears.

Haluska 1

Haluska says other revenue that comes into the district has no effect on open enrollment out.

Haluska 2

Open enrollment across state lines is allowed if the residents live closer to a school out of state than the school in their district.

4-23 BREAKING NEWS

On a 5-2 vote, the Decorah city council approved a resolution to formally oppose an Alliant Energy rate increase at a special meeting Monday morning. The resolution will also ask a city representative to present said resolution at an Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on the rate increase which will be held in Decorah on May 2nd. Alliant is requesting a 24-26 percent base rate increase. Council member Ross Hadley said such an increase could have a troubling effect on the city budget. Council member Andy Carlson says since customers will have to pay more and the city could potentially pay 80-thousand dollars a year for power, it’s like Decorah residents are paying for the increase twice. Council member Kirk Johnson referred to last year’s municipal electric utility vote in Decorah, saying Alliant presented dishonest and disingenuous propaganda saying their rates would remain lower than an M-E-U. Council member Steve Luse said Alliant recorded 457 million dollars in profits last year and he didn’t like that “our money” is being used to make their investors more wealthy. Johnson, Hadley, Carlson, Luse and Johanna Bergan supported the resolution. Council members Dan Bellrichard and Randy Schissell opposed the resolution. Bellrichard said he doesn’t have the knowledge to say whether or not this rate increase is necessary. He compared it to when the city raises rates and said some of the pushback the city receives is from individuals who don’t fully understand the reasons why. Schissel said he had a problem with the city telling a private business how to conduct their operations. Schissel reminded the council the last time Alliant requested a rate increase, the Iowa Utilites Board did not approve as much of an increase as they requested.

4-22 NEWS

A special meeting of the Decorah city council will be held this morning. The council will be asked to support a resolution to oppose a proposed rate increase from Alliant Energy. The resolution will also ask mayor Lorraine Borowski to present the official resolution at an Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on the rate increase, which will be held in Decorah on May second. The council will also be asked to support a resolution to oppose a property tax reform measure currently being debated at the statehouse. City manager Chad Bird says the meeting was called for by petition of council members Steve Luse, Andy Carlson, Johanna Bergan and Ross Hadley. The meeting will begin at seven-30 this morning at city hall.

The state unemployment rate remained unchanged once again in March, and has now been at the historically low two-point-four percent level since October. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Donna Burkett, says there were some areas that lost jobs in the month.

Burkett

She says Iowa is tied for third lowest unemployment this month. The unemployment rate was two-point-seven percent one year ago. The U-S. unemployment rate remained at three-point-eight percent in March.

The Decorah Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Training Facility will be discussed at today’s meeting of the Winneshiek county board of supervisors. The board will discuss a 28-E agreement for the facility. The agreement is necessary because the facility will be located on county property. The supervisors will also discuss short term disability insurance and board and commission appointments. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

A second case of measles in Northeast Iowa was reported last week. Nancy Sacquitne with Winneshiek county public health says it points out the importance of immunization.

Sacquitne

Sacquitne says there are individuals who are immune-compromised meaning they can’t get their immunization until they are one, if at all. If those individuals are in the contact with someone who has been exposed to measles it can create a dangerous situation.

4-21 NEWS

Two members of the minority leadership in the Iowa Senate will be in Decorah this week. Assistant minority leader Bill Dotzler of Waterloo and assistant leader Pam Jochum (Yo-cum) of Dubuque will be at Java John’s Friday from four-30 until p.m. to provide an update on the current Iowa legislative session.

There will be some new trees coming to the Decorah Pulpit Rock Campground soon. The Decorah Parks and Recreation department recently received a Trees for Kids grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Parks and Recreation representatives say the grant will sponsor 38 new trees to be planted at the campground site. A campers love trees event will be held Tuesday at the campground withthe collaboration of area students from Decorah high school, kinderhaus and the Northeast Iowa Montessori school, along with expert guidance from Iowa D-N-R and Winneshiek County Master Gardeners.

Luther College is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Luther Black Student Union. The College will be hosting a Black Student Union Reunion weekend this coming Thursday through Sunday. College officials say four days of public events will bring the entire campus and broader Decorah community together to honor the founders of organization and celebrate 50 years of its prescence at Luther.

The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department and Helping Services for Youth and Families will be an event entitled “What you don’t see” this event. The event will be held from four-30 until seven-30 Wednesday at the Winneshiek County Fair. Winneshiek county sheriff Dan Marx says its a mobile training trailer designed to simulate a typical teenager’s bedroom. The program will educate parents on the warning signs to identify potentially dangerous behaviors and lifestyle choices as well as how to intervene for a more positive outcome on behalf of those young targets before their life choices become terminal decisions.

A Canton family has started an initiative to help those affected by flooding in Nebraska. Jenny Stortz is with the Nebraska Strong Benefit Fund.
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Stortz says monetary donations are being accepted at two locations.
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Stortz says non-monetary donations can be set up by calling her at 507-450-4571