5-15 NEWS

A Cresco man, accused of trying to kill law enforcement officers during a high-speed chase in March, has entered a not guilty plea. Court records say 29 year old Richard Dale Ogle the second was charged with attempted murder, eluding, going armed with intent, two counts of control of a firearm by felon, domestic abuse assault, carrying weapons, OWI and possession of dangerous weapons while under the influence. Authorities say the incident occurred March 16th and the chase hit speeds of 100 miles per hour where Ogle alledgedly shot an pursuing officers. He was arrested three miles east of Ridgeway and after the chase began in Cresco. A trial for Ogle is scheduled for June 26th.

A Cresco man has been arrested and charged after a Sunday incident. Authorities say 35 year old Michael Koch was charged with felony domestic abuse assault and disoderly conduct.

The executive director of the Decorah area chamber of commerce was recently recognized by a regional organization. Kristina Wiltgen was one of three finalists for the Mid-American Chamber Executives Executive of the year. The award recognized a chamber executive who has demonstrated a vision, commitment and passion of the advancement of their chamber and community as a whole. The Mid-American Chamber Executives is an organization consisting of chamber executives from Iowa. Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

A return to cool, wet weather put the brakes on planting in most areas of the state. Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig (Like egg) says the weekly U-S-D-A crop report showed less than two suitable days for field work last week. Naig says less than half the projected corn acres are planted.

Naig

The U-S-D-A report says this is the smallest percent of corn planted by May 12 since 2013 when just 15 percent of the expected crop had been planted. It is the fifth time in 40 years that less than half the expected crop has been planted by May 12. The soybean planting is six days behind both last year and the five-year average.

The Decorah Education Association and the Decorah school district have reached an agreement on a master contract for next school year. The agreement includes a total package increase of 3.08 percent taking into account salary and insurance increases. This was the first contract negotiation since the state changes in collective bargaining laws in 2017. D-E-A negotiator Steve Peterson said the agreement shows what good will and respect can accomplish. Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska says the D-E-A was able to rise above the political pettiness and put together a sound plan representing the best interests of all.

Two people suffered minor injuries in a single vehicle accident which occurred (Tuesday) morning. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says around quarter after nine, 83 year old Frances Frana of Decorah lost control of her vehicle on 245th avenue, the vehicle entered the ditch and rolled over once landing on its wheels. Frana and a passenger, Peter Frana, were transported by ambulance to Winneshiek medical center.

5-14 NEWS

A public hearing on the rezoning of a property which Menards was considering for a Decorah store will be held next month. The Decorah planning and zoning commission set a public hearing for June 10th on a request from Allan Dahlen to rezone a property at 1780 Old Stage Road. Dahlen has requested the property be rezoned to C-4 commercial shopping center.

The North Winneshiek school facility needs a new septic system. The question is, should the current North Winneshiek board or the Decorah-North Winneshiek interim school board review the bids for the project. Greg Schaller, who is in charge of buildings and grounds in both districts, said the bids will be opended May 29th. Schaller said the project will likely be started in July and completed by September. Decorah board member Brian Petersburg said in his mind its inappropriate for the North Winneshiek board to accept the bids, when their board will not exist by the time the project starts. Decorah superintendent Mike Haluska says he will look into the matter. Schaller says the estimated cost of the project is 130-thousand dollars.

Scientists have found signs of disease-causing bacteria and parasites in private well sites, streams and springs in Winneshiek County. Levels were high enough in some areas that drinking a cup of water could cause gastrointestinal disease. Luther College biologist Jodi Enos-Berlage (EE-nus BURR-log) says the findings can help visitors decide when to kayak or swim.
Enos-Berlage
At the team’s testing sites, disease-causing E. coli and the parasite cryptosporidium (KRIP-to-spor-IH-dee-um) were the most common. Luther College scientists also found widespread evidence of cow and human feces in surface waters, according to biology professor Eric Baack (BOCK).
Baack
Symptoms of gastrointestinal disease generally go away in a few days, but it can be fatal for children, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems. Recreation is a growing industry in Winneshiek County, where tourism spending amounts to 30-million dollars a year.

Two people were injured in a two-vehicle accident on the Locust Road Saturday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says around quarter after five, 56 year old Dawn Larson of New Hampton lost control of the vehicle she was operating and the vehicle rolled landing on its top in a ditch. Larson and a passenger, 51 year old Richard Larson, suffered injuries and were transported via ambulance to Winneshiek Medical Center.

A Burnsville, Minnesota resident was arrested after a traffic stop early Sunday morning. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 19 year old Peyton McLagan was charged with the operating while under the influence, drug impaired and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A Missouri man entered a guilty plea to selling non-organic grain as organic grain out of an Ossian business. 52 year old John Burton entered his plea Friday in US District court in Cedar Rapids. Burton’s plea is releated to a guilty plea of Randy Constant in December. Constant pled guilty to a an organic fraud scheme involving at least 142 million dollars in grain sales with the vast majority of those sales being fraudulent. Court officials say Constant made many of those sales through a brokerage he owned and operated out of Ossian known as Jerico Solutions. Three Nebraska farmers have also pled guilty in the case. Sentencing for the five is scheduled for August 16th.

5-13 NEWS

Both the regular Decorah school board and the Decorah/North Winneshiek interim school board will meet tonight. The regular Decorah board will meet at six p.m. The main topic of discussion is approving the roster of seniors eligible for graduation. The interim board will meet at six-30 p.m. The interim board will look to approve the master contract between the district and the district’s education association and will discuss the North Winneshiek septic/lagoon project. Both meetings will be held at the central administration office.

The monthly meeting of the Decorah planning and zoning commission will be held tonight. The commission will be asked to set a public hearing to rezone a property at 1780 Old Stage Road, owned by Allan Dahlen. Dahlen is requesting the property be zoned C-4, shopping center commercial district. The commission will also consider appointing a chair and vice-chair and will receive an update on proposed annexations. The meeting will begin at seven p.m. at city hall.

A variety of issues will go before the Winneshiek county board of supervisors for its meeting today. The board will discuss Marcy’s Law, a pledge letter to the Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund amd road and legal matters. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

Despite international trade tariffs and a series of other challenges, Iowa livestock producers are seeing hog prices rise in recent weeks, which comes as a welcome surprise to many. Lee Schultz, an ag economist with the Iowa State University Extension, explains the roller coastering of pork prices on the commodities market.

Schultz

Schultz says profitability levels are higher for the pork producer than what has been seen for the last few years and he remains optimistic for the remaining months of 2019 and into 2020.

As of last Friday, May 3rd, state tax collections were running 350-MILLION dollars ahead of the previous year. That’s a more than six percent increase in tax payments to the state over the past 10 months. It’s ALSO one-and-a-half percent ABOVE the prediction a panel of experts made in March. Jeff Robinson of the Legislative Services Agency says his analysis intentionally included the first few days in May.

Robinson 1

That’s mostly because April 30th is the deadline for quarterly income tax withholding payments to the state, as well as quarterly payments of sales taxes. April 30th is also the final day for submitting individual income tax returns to the state. Based on last year’s data, Robinson expects most income tax REFUNDS to be paid out by the end of May.

Robinson 2

There are two other major factors at work in the final seven weeks of the state fiscal year. The state income tax CUTS the Republican lawmakers approved in 2018 didn’t go into effect until January of THIS YEAR, so there’s likely a reduction in state income tax withholding payments. At the same time, it appears there’s been an uptick in SALES tax payments to the state. That’s because G-O-P lawmakers voted to apply the sales tax to more online transactions, like Netflix subscriptions and Uber rides.

5-12 NEWS

Phase one of a new tourism branding effort for Winneshiek county will begin this week. The Hotel/Motel Marketing Committee recently selected Cubic Creative out of Tulsa, Oklahoma to create a brand for tourism in the Decorah area. Phase one will be held Tuesday and Wednesday of this week with onsite branding discussion groups. Decorah area chamber of commerce and Winneshiek county development officials say over the next several months they will be working to develop a brand, a performance-driven marketing plan and a conceptual campaign to attract visitors, increase destination awareness and elevate the area’s market position.

Registration is open for the Decorah Parks and Recreation summer programs. Summer brochures are available at the Parks and Recreation office at city hall, the Decorah public library, the Decorah area chamber of commerce office and area banks. Persons can also register on-line at the city of Decorah’s website. Registration continues through May 23rd.

A special mother’s day concert will be held tonight at the Decorah Lutheran Church. The concert will feature the Luren Singing Society, the Luther College Norseman and the Decorah high school men and the Viking voices from the Decorah school district. The concert will begin at seven p.m. A free-will offering will be accepted. Proceeds will benefit the Decorah Music Boosters’ Pit Cover and Lighting Project.

Three Winneshiek county organizations have received grants from the MiEnergy cooperative Operation Round Up. Quilters for Veterans, based in Castalia, has received five hundred dollars for long-arm quilting of quilts to honor veterans. The Horse and Soul Ranch has received 450 dollars to help provide assistance to those in need and Thunder Rode Incorporated has received 450 dollars to help purchase a weatherproof, portable mounting block that helps wheelchair bound veterans get on to horses. Operation Round Up is funded by donations made by members of MiEnergy Cooperative who voluntarily have their electric bill round up to the next dollars.

A wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is encouraging landowners to plant some food plots this spring to help out pheasants and other bird. Todd Bogenschutz (Boh-en-shutz) says the severe winter weather this year showed a need for more food plots.

Bogenschutz

Bogenschutz says the D-N-R will conduct its annual roadside survey of pheasants in August.

A graduating class of 141 will participate in commencement exercises from Northeast Iowa Community College’s Calmar campus next week. The ceremony will be held Thursday night at the Luther College Regents Center in Decorah beginning at seven p.m. The keynote address will be given by J.Scott Thompson, president of C-U-S-B Bank in Cresco.

5-11 NOON NEWSCAST

An all-school reunion for the North Winneshiek school district is being held this weekend. Nancy Sojka, one of the event organizers, says it will be a busy rest of the day.

Sojka 2

The final event of the weekend will be a brunch at the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery (Sunday) from ten a.m. until one p.m.

The second annual Decorah Pride festival will be held (Saturday). Events include a parade at two p.m. followed by a Party in the Park in the lower co-op parking lot at two-30. The evening festivities include Pride Trivia at the Courtyard and Cellar at six p.m. and a pride after party with DJ Smiley at the Pulpit Rock Brewing Company at eight p.m.

This spring has been cooler and wetter than usual in Iowa and that combination may be sticking around for a while. Meteorologist Dennis Todey (TODD-ee), director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says the El Nino weather pattern was slow to develop in recent months but it’s definitely in place now and it’s likely the impact will be felt for several more months to come.

Todey

An El Nino occurs when Pacific Ocean temperatures rise and cause weather impacts all across North America. Typically, an El Nino also brings a winter that is -warmer- than normal.

The Postville school district was one of eight school districts in the state presented with an award for their commitment to safe working environment. The awards were presented by E-M-C insurance, the Iowa Association of School Boards and Jester Insurance Services. The districts are participants of the I-A-S-B Safety Group Insurance Program, which provides more than 320 Iowa schools, area education agencies and community colleges with a comprehensive and competitive insurance program.

The 19th annual Trout Stream Conservation Banquet will be held (Saturday) night. The event was originally scheduled for two weeks but was postponed due to weather. The banquet will be held at the Danan Lansing Building on the Winneshiek county fairgrounds. The reception begins at five p.m. followed by a U2 B-B-Q catered buffet dinner beginning at six p.m. Raffle buckets, silent and live auctions will also be a part of the banquet. Tickets are 30 dollars and are available at the door. Proceeds from the event will support trout fishing in Northeast Iowa.

5-11 MORNING NEWS

The final roundup, a celebration of the 55 year history of the North Winneshiek school district, will be held this weekend. Event organizer Nancy Sojka says two events are scheduled for (Saturday) morning.

Sojka 1

The North Winneshiek district will merge with the Decorah district on July first of this year.

(Saturday) will be day two of the city of Decorah’s free compost and wood chips giveaway at the City’s Yard Waste Disposal Site, located on Trout Run Road. The giveaway, open to residents and non-residents, will be held from eight a.m. until noon.

The second annual Decorah Pride festival will be held (Saturday). Events include a parade at two p.m. followed by a Party in the Park in the lower co-op parking lot at two-30. The evening festivities include Pride Trivia at the Courtyard and Cellar at six p.m. and a pride after party with DJ Smiley at the Pulpit Rock Brewing Company at eight p.m.

This spring has been cooler and wetter than usual in Iowa and that combination may be sticking around for a while. Meteorologist Dennis Todey (TODD-ee), director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says the El Nino weather pattern was slow to develop in recent months but it’s definitely in place now and it’s likely the impact will be felt for several more months to come.

Todey

An El Nino occurs when Pacific Ocean temperatures rise and cause weather impacts all across North America. Typically, an El Nino also brings a winter that is -warmer- than normal.

The Postville school district was one of eight school districts in the state presented with an award for their commitment to safe working environments. The awards were presented by E-M-C insurance, the Iowa Association of School Boards and. Jester Insurance Services. The districts are participants of the I-A-S-B Safety Group Insurance Program, which provides more than 320 Iowa schools, area education agencies and community colleges with a comprehensive and competitive insurance program.

The 19th annual Trout Stream Conservation Banquet will be held (Saturday) night. The event was originally scheduled for two weeks but was postponed due to weather. The banquet will be held at the Danan Lansing Building on the Winneshiek county fairgrounds. The reception begins at five p.m. followed by a U2 B-B-Q catered buffet dinner beginning at six p.m. Raffle buckets, silent and live auctions will also be a part of the banquet. Tickets are 30 dollars and are available at the door. Proceeds from the event will support trout fishing in Northeast Iowa.

5-10 NEWS

The city of Decorah will be offering free compost and wood chips at the City’s Yard Waste Disposal Site (Friday) and (Saturday). City engineer Jeremy Bril says the giveaway will be held at the city’s yard waste disposal site on Trout Run Road. City crews will be at the site (Friday) from eight a.m. until three p.m. and (Saturday) from eight a.m. until noon. Bril says the giveaway is available to both residents and non-residents.

Two Democratic state senators will be in Decorah (Friday) afternoon for a legislative listening post. Pam Jochum of Dubuque and Bill Dotzler of Waterloo will be at Java John’s Coffee House from four-30 until six p.m.

The final roundup, an all-school reunion to celebrate 55 years of the North Winneshiek school district, will be held this weekend. Nancy Sojka is one of the event organizers. She said the first scheduled event will be held (Friday) afternoon at three-30 at the school.

Sojka

Sojka says there will be a kick-off for the weekend with classmates meeting in the school gymnasium for group photos, reminiscing, viewing the timeline and preparing for Saturday’s events.

The state’s hunters and anglers will be able to access a range of services through a new section on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ website, according to D-N-R spokesman Alex Murphy.

Murphy

The app is downloadable for free through the App Store or Google Play Store and allows users to view hunting regulations, current sunrise/sunset times and much more.

Decorah high school music students were successful last weekend at the State Large Group Speech Festival. The Decorah Wind Ensemble, Viking Chorus, Concert Choir, Philharmonia and Symphony Strings all received Division one superior ratings. The Symphonic Band and Ninth Grade choir each received a division two excellent ratings. The bands and choirs performed last Friday in Decorah and the Orchestras performed last Saturday in Cedar Falls.

5-9 NEWS

A Guatemalan man, who had been deported twice and was living in Decorah, was sentenced last week in US District court. The US attorney’s office for the Northern District of Iowa says 33 year old Cesar Solovi-Valle was arrested in January entered a guilty plea to one count of unlawful use of identification documents and one count of illegal reentry into the United States. Solovi-Valle was sentenced to eight months in a federal prison.

The Iowa legislature passed a bill requiring an intelligent mail bar code system to be enacted in all 99 counties in the state on mail-in absentee ballots. Winneshiek county auditor Ben Stienes says it was something he was going to look into anyway.

Stienes

The house district 55 race between Mike Bergan and Kayla (Kay-ter) prompted the legislation. Bergan won the race by nine votes. 29 absentee ballots arrived at the Winneshiek county auditor’s office without legible postmarks, meaning they could not be counted under state law. Those 29 ballots were determined to be sent prior to election day.

The city of Cresco is considering allow residents to have up to four laying hens on their property in the city limits. A poll asking the public their thoughts on the issue is up on the City of Cresco’s website. City officials say roosters will not be allowed in the city limits under the current proposal.

This in from the Winneshiek county engineer’s office. County crews will be doing base stabilization work on the River Road near the intersection of Drake Hill Road (Thursday) and also on Siewers Spring Road on Friday. County engineer Lee Bjerke says the roads will be closed to through traffic during the stabilization process. He says the closure is expected to take a large portion of the day and one take one day and the roads will be open at night. Bjerke says the public should find alternate routes around the work.

5-8 NEWS

The Decorah city council set a public hearing on a proposed zoning amendment at its meeting Monday night. The change would be related to rezoning requests when the planning and zoning commission recommends against a rezoning. Currently, city code requires a three-quarters majority of the council, six votes, to pass a rezoning request if the planning and zoning commission recommends against rezoning. Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski wants to change the ordinance to a two-thirds majority of the council, which is five votes. Borowski says she researched the issue after constituents raised concerns following the planning and zoning commission’s recommending against a rezoning request from Menards.

Borowski

A public hearing on the issue will be held at its May 20th meeting. The planning and zoning commission recommended the change on a 4-1 vote at its April meeting. Council members Johanna Bergan, Dan Bellrichard and Steve Luse voted against having a public hearing on the issue. Bergan said in the meeting it was an unnecessary change.

Cool, wet weather in most of the state last week has delayed planting progress. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.

Henderson voicer

The Decorah city council approved a development agreement to bring a Hy-Vee to the former Quillins locations at its meeting Monday night. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says the development agreement will be the final action needed by the city council for the project.

Bird

Developer Brian Ridge told KDEC News Monday night he still has some details to work out with Hy-Vee. Ridge says once the final details are worked out he expects Hy-Vee to move quickly on the project.

This in from the Winneshiek county engineer’s office. County crews have started work on a bridge replacement in the west central part of the county on 315th avenue. County engineer Lee Bjerke says the road will be closed from 210th street to 220th street until early July.

Anyone who missed last week’s Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on the Alliant Energy proposed rate increase which was held in Decorah can join one via the internet (Wednesday) night. Don Tormey is a spokesperson for the Iowa Utilities Board.

Tormey

(Wednesday) night’s public hearing will be held in Ottumwa. There will be two webinars available to allow for the public to give their two cents on the issue on May 22nd.

The monthly meeting of the North Winneshiek school board will be held (Wednesday) afternoon. The board will discuss the plans and contract documents for the proposed North Winneshiek wastewater treatment facility. The board will also be asked to authorize the school board official to pay fiscal year 2019 bills. The meeting will begin at four-30 at the school library.

The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department arrested a Ridgeway man on a warrant Monday night. Authorities say 55 year old Stephen Paris was wanted for second offense failure to comply with the sex offender registry. The charge is a class D felony.

5-7 NEWS

The Decorah city council has paved the way for helpful smiles in every isle to come to town. At Monday night’s meeting, the council unanimously approved a development agreement with Ridge Development Company, L-L-C to redevelop the former Quillins location into a Hy-Vee. City manager Chad Bird says the agreement includes the parties agreeing to a minimum assessed value for the property of one million dollars, a rebate-able TIF of 425 thousand dollars to be paid over a period of 15 years and Hy-Vee signing a lease agreement of at least ten years for the property. Bird says the city will accrue no debt with the agreement. Six people spoke at the public hearing and Bird said the city received two e-mails on the issue. No one publicly opposed the idea. Developer Brian Ridge told KDEC News he still needs to finalize some details with Hy-Vee and once a construction plan is finalized they plan to present it to the city. Ridge says once all the details are finalized he expects Hy-Vee to move quickly on the remodeling of the store.

A high-profile murder trial will be held in Decorah. On Monday, a Story county district court judge granted a request from Colin Richards to move his trail on first degree murder charges out of story county due to pre-trial publicity. The move to Winneshiek county district court was announced Monday. Richards is accused of stabbing Celia Barquin (Bar-keen) Arozamena (air-a-zo-me-na) at an Ames golf course last September. Arozamena was a member of the Iowa State Women’s Golf Team. Richards is scheduled to stand trail beginning September ninth.

A conversation starter. That’s how Jennifer Kimber from Helping Services for Youth and Families described her meeting Monday morning with the Winneshiek county board of supervisors. Kimber discussed the issue of zoning for medical canibus dispensaries. She says with the recent expansion of the state’s medical canibus laws, state officials hope to grow the number of state licensed dispensaries from five to 16. Kimber encouraged the board to be ready if dispensaries want to come to Winneshiek county. Board chair John Logsdon says there would be a lot of matters to consider on this particular issue. Board member Dean Thompson encouraged Kimber to discus this issue with cities in the county. Thompson said the county would only have jurisdiction over the unincorporated areas.

A Waterloo man was arrested early Saturday morning after authorities responded to a call of suspicious activity in West Union. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 29 year old Michael Dejesus Hawthorne was charged with with driving while suspended, failure to have financial liability, second offense possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A Waukon man was arrested early Saturday morning. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 22 year old Nathaniel Coleman was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication.