7-1 NEWS

It’s the first Monday of the month, but there will not be a Decorah city council meeting this evening. City manager Chad Bird says less than four members of the council were available for tonight’s meeting, meaning a quorum could not be reached. The council’s next regular meeting will be held July 15th.

Matters related to the Winneshiek county veterans affairs commission will be discussed at today’s meeting of the Winneshiek county board of supervisors. Last members, representatives from the VFW and American Legion met with the board to express some concerns about the commission. The also presented a petition with 50 signatures asking the commission to be three members instead of the current five. The board will hear from commission members and consider two appointments to the commission. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

A Cresco man has entered a not guilty plea to felony domestic abuse charges. Court records say 35 year old Michael Levi Koch was arrested after a May 12th incident. His trial is set to begin August seventh.

It’s been a week of catching up on the growing front after a wet spring put corn planting about two weeks behind. I-S-U Extension field specialist Rebecca Vittetoe (Vitt-uh-tow) the heat will help — but not all the corn will hit the mark in the old adage: “knee-high by the Fourth of July.” She says some of the earlier planted corn will make it — but the later planted corn will be lucky to be knee-high. The corn is normally ready to start the tasseling phase around mid-July, but she says that could be the end of July or early August this year. Vittetoe has talked with her colleagues and is hearing there’s a large variance across the state in corn development.

Vittoetoe

The last U-S-D-A crop report listed 62 percent of the corn crop in good to excellent condition. Sixty-three percent of the beans were rated in good to excellent condition.

Later this month, representatives from the city of Decorah will make a presentation to apply to be part of the Main Street Iowa Program. The Decorah city council over-rode a veto of the application by mayor Lorraine Borowski. Borowski cited financial concerns as one of her reasons for the veto saying the city has other priorities, such as infrastructure improvements. City manager Chad Bird says the city’s contribution will come from hotel/motel tax dollars, which is traditionally not used for road projects.

Bird

The council over-rode the veto at a meeting last Thursday morning.

6-30 NEWS

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst will hold a town hall meeting in Decorah this week. Ernst will be at the Valders Hall of Science Room 206 on the Luther College campus at seven-30 Tuesday morning.

Another STEP-or special traffic enforcement program-will begin this week, coiniciding with the Fourth of July Holiday. The Governor’s Traffic safety bureau and local law enforcement entities will participate in the effort focused on impaired driving. The STEP program will be in effect from July third through the seventh.

Minnesota safety officials are redoubling their efforts to make drivers aware of a state law that takes effect Aug 1 requiring that motorists use hands-free devices while phoning on the road. Department of Public Safety officials told reporters Thursday they want to make sure every Minnesotan knows what they can and can’t do before the requirement takes effect in just over a month. Over 1.5 million people have visited a special website so far to learn about how to comply. And the department is conducting a statewide awareness campaign. Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol says drivers can use their phones as long as it’s in hands-free mode. But he cautions that hands-free doesn’t mean distraction-free, and drivers should devote 100% of their attention to driving.

The Winneshiek county supervisors will look to appoint two members to the county’s veterans affairs commission at its meeting tomorrow. The board will also hold three public hearings on rezoning requests and will look to adopt the employee handbook. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

6-29 NEWS

Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s this weekend with high humidity. Krista Vandebrink with Winneshiek county public health provides some ways to beat the heat.
Vandebrink
Vandebrink says if at all possible staying in the air condition is a person’s best bet.

The Decorah city council will not have a meeting Monday night. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says there is not a quorom of council members available for the meeting so the regularly scheduled council meeting has been cancelled.

The tropical temperatures are hard on people — but they are good for the corn crop. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.
Danielson voicer

This week was the final week on the job for Decorah schools superintendent Mike Haluska. Haluska was asked what the biggest achievement of his tenure was.
Haluska
Haluska is retiring after nine years on the job. Urbandale associate superintendent Mark Lane will take over the position Monday.

6-28 NEWS

Despite a veto from Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski, the Decorah city council will apply to be part of the Main Street Iowa program. At a special meeting Thursday morning, the council on a 6-0 vote over-rode Borowski’s veto. Borowski raised financial and lack of community support concerns. But the council decided the positives of the application outweighed the negatives. The Main Street Iowa program’s website says the program works with a select group of communities committed to exceptionally high standards for downtown economic development. The Main Street Approach consists of tightly integrated components making up a common-sense, strategy-driven framework that guides community-based downtown revitalization efforts. Locally developed strategies are implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the Four Points: Economic Vitality, Organization, Promotion and Design. Assistance from the Main Street Iowa team includes training workshops, architectural and design assistance, business assistance, and a number of other technical assistance opportunities.

The Main Street Iowa application from Decorah has advanced to the next round. Decorah city manager Chad Bird.

Bird

Main Street has invited representatives from Nevada, Monticello and Coon Rapids to present that day as well.

The Decorah area chamber of commerce board of directors was one of three entities who expressed non-support for Decorah’s application to become a Main Street Iowa community. Chamber executive director Kristina Wiltgen says their concerns were many of the same expressed by Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski.

Wiltgen

Wiltgen says the chamber fully supports the downtown business community but they wanted more information before entering a new program.

Winneshiek county sheriff Dan Marx says while they are encouraging people to utilize the county’s natural resources, persons need to ensure safety for themselves and others on the river.

Marx

Winneshiek county authorities were called to the sixth river rescue of the year on Wednesday.

Governor Kim Reynolds announced the appointment of a new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.

Danielson

Lyon becomes the third person with Decorah connections to serve as the head of the Iowa DNR. Paul Johnson and Chuck Gipp also served in the position.

6-27 NEWS

The Decorah city council has voted to override a veto by mayor Lorraine Borowski. The council voted 6-0 to override Borowski’s veto to apply to be a part of the Main Street Iowa program. Borowski stated she vetoed the measure due to financial concerns and the lack of broad based community support. The mayor said the city has more pressing financial needs and she cited the Winneshiek county supervisors, chamber board and county development board’s opposition to the application. Council member Dan Bellrichard said if the city can give over eight hundred thousand dollars in tax abatement funds to two private entities, Fairfield Inn and Hy-Vee, they can certainly give a fraction of that to participate in this program. Council member Steve Luse says participating in the Main Street Program will enhance the city’s coffers. Council member Ross Hadley said the Downtown Decorah betterment association, the SSMID district board and the Decorah historic preservation commission all unanimously supported the application. City manager Chad Bird says for the first year of the program, the Main Street budget will be 105-thousand dollars. Bird says 40-to-45 thousand dollars will be for a full time director, nine thousand dollars will be put towards rent with the rest being put towards programming. Bird says the city will commit 20-thousand dollars in hotel/motel marketing funds towards the budget and the rest will be raised privately. Main Street local steering committee chair Llew Jenkins said they raised over the half the necessary funds through private sources.

Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski has vetoed an action taken by the Decorah city council at its last meeting. The council, on a 5-2 vote, approved an application to join the Main Street Iowa program. Borowski says the city’s interest in the program does not meet the requirements stated by Main Street Iowa.

Borowski 1

The Winneshiek county board of supervisors, the Decorah area chamber of commerce board and the Winneshiek county development board all opposed the city’s application. Borowski says there are potential negative financial ramifications as well. She says the constituents of the city have told her to focus on other priorities.

Borowski 2

On June 15th, council members Dan Bellrichard, Andy Carlson, Steve Luse, Johanna Bergan and Ross Hadley supported the application. Randy Schissell and Kirk Johnson opposed it. It takes five council votes to override a mayoral veto. The Decorah city council will meet in a special session (Thursday) morning at seven a.m. to discuss potentially overriding Borowksi’s veto.

The first Monday of the month will not have a Decorah city council meeting next week. City manager Chad Bird says there not be enough council members for a quorum so the meeting has been cancelled.

An Eagle Grove man was taken Tuesday afternoon. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 35 year old Johanthan Lynn Nelson was arrested on a warrant for unversed jail time.

Residents of Allamakee County in eastern Iowa might notice some low flying planes over wooded areas in the next couple of days. Iowa Department of Agriculture gypsy moth coordinator, Mike Kintner, says the planes are dropping material to try and limit the spread of the European gypsy moth.

Kinter

The treatment in Allamakee County will focus on a 691-acre rural area southeast of Dorchester.

Earlier this month, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds dismissed Jerry Foxhoven as director of the Department of Human Services. State senator Mike Breitbach of Strawberry Point says the move surprised him.

Breitbach

Breitbach says he hopes the change can be a positive since D-H-S is a huge organization in need of a lot of oversight.

This in from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is reminding residents the Army Road access to the Mississippi River in New Albin is still closed. Terry Hainfield with the DNR says excessive flood debris, erosion of road rock and stumps that have pushed up from under the road are making travel hazardous at this time. Hainfield says there are no guarantees but they hope to open the access by this weekend.

6-26 NEWS

The latest crop report shows the corn is planted across the state and beans are not far behind. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports.
Danielson voicer

A court challenge to a 2017 law that changed voting in Iowa has begun. The trial that began Monday in Polk County District Court in Des Moines is focused on portions of the law that require a voter to show an ID at the polls before voting, require an ID number on absentee ballots and allow election officials to throw out absentee ballots if election workers were to decide the voter’s signature doesn’t match those on file. A lawsuit says the law makes it too hard for some people to vote.

Winneshiek county recycling coordinator Terry Buenzow says he’s been finding plastic bags in the county’s recycling bins. Buenzow is asking county residents to stop.
Buenzow 1
Buenzow says plastic bags are different than other forms of plastic.
Buenzow 2
Buenzow says anytime other things are added to recycling bins that can’t be recycled it adds time and cost to the recycling process.

There are 200 places for Iowans to purchase fireworks this year. The number in the city of Decorah is the same as last year. City manager Chad Bird says there was one permit granted in the city this year, the same number as last year. This is the third year Iowa businesses can sell fireworks a month before the fourth of July.

6-25 NEWS

Northeast Iowa R-C and D has received a grant from the Alliant Energy foundation. The two-thousand five hundred dollar grant will be put towards a watershed guardian program.

Members of the local American Legion and V-F-W met with the Winneshiek county board of supervisors Monday morning raising concerns over the county’s veterans affairs commission. A petition with 50 signatures was presented to the board asking the commission to change its membership from five to three members. Glenn Larson, who presented the petition to the board, said a three-member board would be more efficient and save the county money. Larson says the county’s veterans affairs commission functioned well for many years with three members. Larson also expressed concerns over the commission not answering simple questions during the meetings and the need for the commission to provide information in a better way. Supervisor John Logsdon said it was disheartening to hear some veterans think they’re not getting served well by the commission. Logsdon encouraged better lines of communication and more transparency. County V-A coordinator Faith Hlubek told the board she would like to see five members remain on the commission, saying it’s important to have two more individuals advocating on behalf of veterans. The supervisors agreed to discuss the issue again next Monday.

An Elgin woman was arrested Monday. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 23 year old Paige Johanningmeier was taken into custody on warrant with the original charge being third degree theft.

A Vinton woman was arrested after authorities responsed to situation north of Clermont early Monday morning. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 34 year old Christine Woodward allegedly attempted to enter a property on Beechnut Road and take items. Authorities say Woodward was charged with aiding and abetting to a violation of an order of protection and attempted third degree burglary.

A trip to the Fayette county jail last month lead to two Cedar Rapids residents being arrested. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 44 year old Jake Hess was arrested and charged with driving while suspended. Authorities say while being booked into the jail, they found methamphetamine. The Sheriff’s department says he was charged with second offense possession of a controlled and possessing contraband in a detention facility. Authorities say 43 year old Holly Lavelle was also charged with possession of a controlled substance after she was found with meth, marijuana edibles and marijuana dab.

6-24 NEWS

Winneshiek county habitat for humanity and the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation have each received grants from the Alliant Energy Foundation. Winneshiek county habitat for humanity received a five thousand dollar grant to be put towards construction of this year’s habitat home. Community action will receive a three-thousand dollar grant to finance a financial literacy and budget class.

The Winneshiek county veterans affairs commission will be a topic of discussion at today’s meeting of the Winneshiek county board of supervisors. The V-F-W and American Legion will meet with the board to discuss the matter. The supervisors will also discuss year end fund balances for county conservation, window replacement options at the county facilities and the county’s employee handbook. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse annex building in Decorah.

The number of vendors seeking a license to sell fireworks is down slightly this year. State Fire Marshal, Dan Wood, oversees the licensing process for the state.

Wood

This is the third year that the fireworks have been legal again in the state. Those with permanent buildings can sell fireworks between June 1st and July 8th and those with temporary structures can sell them from June 13th to July 8th.

Iowa’s unemployment rate in May was two-point-four percent — unchanged for the past 11 months. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.

Henderson

6-23 NEWS

The process of maintenance, repairing and painting city of Decorah water towers is continuing. Water Department superintendent Todd Ihde (EE-dee) told the city council last week the repairs, maintenance and painting is complete at the water tower storage tank near the Decorah business park. Ihde says city crews will now move onto the Locust Road water tower next.

The city of Decorah has received a grant from Black Hills Energy and Trees Forever. City engineer Jeremy Bril says the city’s tree board will decide how to use the three thousand dollars in grant funding.

Iowa State University researchers may have discovered a more environmentally-friendly fertilizer. While working with a type of charcoal called biochar (BY-oh-char), they realized it could basically act as a sponge to capture phosphorus from agricultural runoff. I-S-U researcher Robert Brown says the biochar “sponge” can then release phosphorus slowly, preventing it from running off.

Brown

With the biochar, farmers could have more flexibility with fertilizing, since nutrients could be released over a growing season rather than a quick shower. The researchers want to know if the biochar can also capture nitrogen, so they plan to scale up their research and test in the field in the fall of 2020.

The Winneshiek county supervisors will discuss a variety of issues at its meeting tomorrow. Among the topics of discussion will be veterans affairs, I-T, County conservation and road matters. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse in Decorah.

6-22 NEWS

Authorities rescued 20 dogs in Lime Springs Wednesday. They were living in cramped conditions in grain bins. KWWL-TV reported law enforcement says a complaint led them to the dogs. A veterinarian says the animals were in “decent” condition, but did show signs of malnutrition.Twelve of the dogs will be moved to kennels in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Of the eight dogs that remain, four are going to be removed when space can be found. The other four will stay with the owner. The owner has agreed to spay and neuter the dogs, as well as take them to the vet to get their necessary shots.

A citizens group met with the Decorah Parks and Recreation board to discuss efforts to build a new park on a water street at its meeting Thursday night. The park would be located at the intersection of East Water street and Riverside Avenue and would be similar to the water street park located adjacent to the Oneota Community Co-op. Parks and Recreation Director Andy Nimrod says the board was receptive to the idea as long as no city money needs to be allocated for the product. The group told the Parks and Recreation board they plan to privately raise funds for the project.

The summer season is officially here and with it, an elevated risk of serious or deadly accidents as Iowans seek to cool off in the water. Mindy Uhle (YULE), an executive officer with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says if you’ll be on or near the water for fishing, boating or swimming, whether it’s a backyard pool, a lake or river, remember these life-saving tips.

Yule

A report from the Centers for Disease Control says ten people die from drowning every day nationwide, about one in every five is a child under the age of 14.

An Iowa State University mosquito expert says you really can make a difference in the amount of mosquitoes around your home. Assistant professor of entomology, Ryan Smith says mosquito populations are starting to pick up some in different areas of the state.

Smith

Smith’s studies of mosquitoes show that the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are most prevalent on the western side of the state and the populations drop down as you get to central and eastern Iowa.