8-1 NEWS

So far, two people have expressed interest in serving on the Decorah city council in ward two. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says Daniel Kirkeby and Emily Neal have filed applications to be appointed to the seat. Dan Bellrichard is moving out of ward two forcing him to resign his seat. The council decided at its July 15th meeting to appoint a representative to the position. The council will look to fill the vacancy at its meeting Monday night. The deadline to apply to be appointed to the position is this afternoon at five p.m.

City of Decorah officials will find out within two weeks if their application to be a part of the Main Street Iowa program will be approved. Members of Decorah’s Main Street Task Force presented to representatives of the Iowa Department of Economic Development in Des Moines Tuesday. The program’s website says 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.

A Brownsville, Minnesota man was seriously injured when his motorcycle was struck by a deer on Highway 52 Tuesday morning. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 37 year old Dustin Heiler was transported by ambulance to Winneshiek Medical Center. The accident occurred around four-30 Tuesday morning.

Iowa First District Congresswoman Abby Finkenhauer made a stop in Decorah Wednesday morning. She was asked what has surprised her the most in her seven months on the job.
Finkenhauer
Finkenhauer met with individuals at the Decorah area chamber of commerce office and took a tour of the downtown Decorah area.

7-31 NEWS

(Wednesday) is the deadline for interested ward two residents to express their interest in serving on the Decorah city council. Ward two representative Dan Bellrichard has stepped down from his position because he is moving out of the ward. Interested persons can contact city hall. The council will discuss the filling the vacancy at its meeting next Monday night. Whoever is appointed to the position will serve until the November election.

Iowa first district congresswoman Abby Finkenhauer will be in Decorah (Wednesday) morning. The Dubuque Democrat will be at the Decorah area chamber of commerce office beginning at ten-30 a.m. After that, Finkenhauer will travel down Water Street and meet with local business owners.

A Lawler man has entered a not guilty plea to second degree theft and identity theft charges. Court records say 36 year old Justin Hoehn is accused of making unauthorized charges to a Cresco women’s checking account of the course of three years. His trial is scheduled for October 30th.

The Fayette county sheriff’s department made executed two arrest warrants last Friday. Authorities say 27 year old Reggie Rema of Clermont was arrested on an Allamakee county warrant for third degree theft and forgery. The sheriff’s department says 35 year old David Gyorko of Clermont was arrested on a Clayton county warrant for the violation of a no-contact order.

A Decorah man was arrested on a Winneshiek county arrest warrant Monday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 29 year old Blake Breitsprecher was wanted for third degree burglary and possession of burglar tools.

7-30 NEWS

A Harpers Ferry man was killed Sunday when he was attacked by a bull. Allamakee County sheriff Clark Mellick says 59 year old John Conway died of injuries in the attack when occurred in a wooded pasture area near Harpers Ferry. Authorities say the bull was disposed of due to its extremely aggressive behavior. The incident remains under investigation.

The city of Decorah has announced the five finalists for its Police Chief position. Bill Nixon retired from the position earlier this month. The list of finalist includes Decorah assistant chief David Smutzler and Decorah police captain Scott Hermann. The other three finalists are Eric How from Knoxville, Iowa, Barry Kauther from Itasca, Illinois and Michael Mrachek from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Decorah city manager Chad Bird says testing and physical agility protocol will be conducted on Friday following by a community reception for all five candidates from four until six p.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Winneshiek. The interviews for the position will be held on Saturday. The police chief position is recommended by the mayor to be approved by the city council. The city has given no timeline on when the council could potentially act on a new police chief.

A Decorah man was arrested Sunday night after police investigated the theft of two cell phones. Police say 20 year old Douglas Usgaard was charged with second degree theft and interference with official acts.

A Decorah man was arrested Saturday morning after an incident in Springfield township. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 29 year old Blake Breitsprecher was charged with trespassing.

A Cresco woman was arrested in Bluffton Saturday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 63 year old Pamela Pierce was charged with assault causing bodily injury.

Iowa gas prices have fallen 6.2 cents per gallon in the past week, to an average of $2.55 a gallon. GasBuddy reports Iowa prices are 1.6 cents a gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has fallen 3.0 cents per gallon in the past week, to an average of $2.72 per gallon. GasBuddy’s weekly report says the national average is up 1.8 cents per gallon from one month ago.

7-24 NEWS

The Decorah school board discussed potential incentives for contracted bus drivers at its meeting Monday night. District officials say the board discussed three options, including paying for all or part of the 14 hour training time required to be a bus drivers or providing a sign-on bonus. The board took no action on the issue and said they would revisit it if necessary. District officials say they are presently short one and a half bus route drivers heading into the fall.

Two Decorah couples will be honored at this weekend’s Nordic Fest.
Courtney
Nordic Fest President Cory Courtney says the grand marshalls are honored for their contributions to the community and the flag recipients are recognized for long-time contributions to the fest.

Interested Ward two residents have until a week from (Wednesday) to express their interest in serving on the Decorah city council. Dan Bellrichard announced at the last council meeting he is resigining from his seat since he’s moving out of ward two. The council decided to fill the position by appointment. Interested persons can contact city hall. The council is expected to rill the seat at its August fifth meeting. Whoever is appointed will serve until the November election.

The US House passed a measure last week to increase the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. Iowa Senator Charles Grassley says increasing the minimum wage is a discussion worth having, but.
Grassley 1
Grassley says such a measure will result in a net jobs loss.
Grassley 2
Grassley says he doesn’t see the bill even getting brought up in the senate.

7-23 NEWS

The weather has been unpredictable from hot to cold in the last year — but that’s not the case for the unemployment rate. Iowa Workforce Development’s Donna Burkett (Bur-kett) says June keep the run intact.
Burkett 1
Burkett says the rate stayed the same despite some job growth.
Burkett 2
The U-S unemployment rate increased slightly to tthree-point-seven (3.7) percent in June.

The schedule for the Winneshiek Farmers Market will be ammended this week due to Nordic Fest. The mid-week Farmers Market will be held Tuesday afternoon, instead of Wednesday, across from the Post Office from three until six p.m. There will also be no farmer’s market on Saturday.

12 items will go before the Decorah school board for its July meeting tonight. The board will review beginning of the year matters. The board will also discuss bus driver incentives and a contract matter with the Decorah Education Association. The meeting will begin at six at the central administration office.

The Winneshiek county board of supervisors have been asked to support a grass roots effort to overturn a 2010 supreme court decision. Local resident Carl Homstad met with the board Monday morning to ask for a resolution of support of overturn the Citizens United decision. The decision gave corporations the same rights as people when it came to campaign contributions. Homstad stated the decision has had a negative effect on governance down to the state level and fears the local governments will be next. Supervisor John Beard said the influence of money is running over the rights of everyone else. Beard, who served one term in the Iowa legislature, said leadership was resistant to the issue getting brought up and he was told not to discuss it. Homstad admitted his effort is a long short, but said at some point government needs to answer to the people. Supervisors chair John Logsdon applauded the effort, but said the challenge is the ones who need to change the law are the ones benefiting from the current structure. Logsdon put no specific timeline on a potential action on the issue, but guaranteed one constiuent who was at the meeting, quote “We won’t table it.”

A Saturday night traffic stop in Clermont led to the arrest of an Elgin man. The Fayette county sheriff’s department says 49 year old Richard Hanson was charged with second offense operating while intoxicated, operating a non-registered vehicle and failure to obey a stop sign and failure to yield the right of way.

7-22 NEWS

Progress is being made on the new fire training facility in Freeport. Decorah fire chief Mike Ashbacher.
Ashbacher
The facility is being funded largely with private funds.

Incentives to bus drivers will be discussed at tonight’s meeting of the Decorah school board. The board will consider paying drivers for seven of the 14 hours of training necessary to become a driver. The board will also discuss a memorandum of understanding with the Decorah Education Association. Under the agreement, teachers at one of the statewide voluntary four-year old preschool collaborative programs and or the Crossroads Academy will be given credit for years of service for this year’s new hires under the district’s collective bargaining agreement. The meeting will begin at six at the central administration office.

The Decorah Parks and Recreation Board has given its formal support to a proposal for a new park on East Water Street, with a condition attached. At its meeting last week, the board passed a resolution to support the proposed park, as long as all of the funds for it are privately raised. The park would be located adjacent to the Chriopratic offices of Dr. Kelly Reagan.

A 110 acre park south of highway nine which was donated to the city has a new name. The Decorah Parks and Recreation board approved naming the area Carlson Park at its meeting last week. The land was donated to the city by the Carlson Family. Parks and Recreation director Andy Nimrod says they’re still working to develop a master plan for the parkland donated by the Carlson family.

A variety of issues will go before the Winneshiek county board of supervisors for its meeting today. Carl Homstad will meet with the board to discuss a potential resolution regarding Citizens United. A public hearing will be held on a transfer of property near Kendallville shop. The board will also meet with county engineer Lee Bjerke and county attorney Andy Van Der Maaten. The meeting will begin at nine-30 at the courthouse in Decorah.

7-19 NEWS

Decorah fire chief Mike Ashbacher says progress is being made on the new fire training facility in Freeport.
Ashbacher
Ashbacher says they still hope to open the facility this fall.

Another hot, muggy day is ahead with most of Iowa under an excessive heat warning, as temperatures will climb into the 90s and heat index values could be as high as 110 degrees. Meteorologist Paul Fajman (FAY-min), at the National Weather Service, says Iowa is seeing several consecutive steamy days because we’re stuck in a pattern.
Fajman
The excessive heat warning is posted through Saturday night for all but 16 counties on Iowa’s northern border. Fajman says Sunday may be the first day of relief, as temperatures may dip below 90.

State health officials report a rise in the number of foodborne illnesses involving a bacteria called campylobacter (CAM-pee-loh-bak-tur). Cases topped one-thousand statewide for the first time in 2016 with more than 600 cases reported in the first half of this year. Barb Fuller, a human sciences specialist with the Iowa State University Extension, says it’s usually associated with chicken.
Fuller
The campylobacter bacteria is present in the intestines, liver and giblets of poultry and can be transferred to other parts of the animal when it’s slaughtered. Fuller says the bacteria is common, but it can be eliminated with proper cooking.

We’re a week away for the 2019 Nordic Fest. Kory Kourtney is the Nordic Fest President.
Kourtney
The fest will run July 25th through the 27th in Decorah.

7-18 NEWS

A study from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition finds Iowa does well compared to the rest of the country when it comes to housing affordability. The coalition’s “Out of Reach Report” details how much it costs to rent a two-bedroom apartment in each state at a fair market rate. Abbie Gaffey, a program specialist with the I-S-U Extension, says the study shows Iowa has some of the most affordable rental rates in the United States.

Gaffey

Hawaii has the highest rental rates in the country, with a two-bedroom apartment averaging over $1,900 per month, while Arkansas checks in at the lowest rate at $742 per month.

A to-be Decorah high school senior has been awarded first place in the 19th annual Iowa Composers Forum Student Composition Competition. Jesus Pena won a cash award for earning first place in the contest. Selected compositions will be performred at an Iowa composers forum festival of new music this fall.

The career of Bill Nixon as Decorah’s Police chief is now over. Nixon was asked what’s next for him.

Nixon

Nixon served for nine years as police chief and a total of 22 years on the police force.

A group of nurses working at Iowa prisons and other state-run facilities who have not been paid overtime for two years have sued the state and Gov. Kim Reynolds. The five women filing suit say the state is violating federal and state laws. They are seeking class-action status on behalf of as many as 700 registered nurses working for state agencies. The state court lawsuit filed June 28 seeks an order requiring the state to pay overtime going forward, past unpaid compensation and other damages and costs. The women said Monday the state refuses to pay registered nurses for overtime even though their jobs require them to work beyond 40 hours a week and other nurses working with them are paid overtime. A spokesman says the governor declines to comment.

7-17 NEWS

Decorah schools superintendent Mark Lane says he’s doing a lot of a listening in his few weeks on the jobs. Lane says facilities are towards the top of his early goals.

Lane

Lane says he hopes to finalize a plan for both an elementary school and bus garage within a year.

A Lawler man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a Howard County woman. Authorities say 36 year old Justin Thomas Hoehn is charged with one count of 2nd degree theft. Law enforcement says a Cresco woman contacted them on June 19 about unauthorized charges made to her checking account over the past three years. The charges began in May 2016 and ended in June 2019, totaling just over three thousand dollars . Hoehn was previously convicted of victimizing the same woman. He was found guilty of unauthorized use of a credit card and sentenced to two years of probation in 2016. Court documents say he got a credit card number belonging to the Cresco woman and made unauthorized charges. Investigators say they now believe he obtained her checking account number at the same time.

A trial for a Decorah man accused with first degree murder will begin (Wednesday). Brian Fullhart was charged in connection to the death of his wife, Zoanne Fullhart, in Cresco in March of 2018. The trial will be held in Howard County district court.

The Winneshiek county historic preservation commission has given its backing to the city of Decorah Main Street Iowa application. Council member Steve Luse announced the support at the council meeting Monday. The application received the support of the Downtown Decorah betterment association, the SSMID board and the Decorah historic preservation commission. The Decorah area chamber of commerce, Winneshiek county development board and Winneshiek county supervisors did not support the application. Decorah mayor Lorraine Borowski vetoed the application, but her veto was overturned by the council. A group of Decorah residents will make a presentation to the Iowa Department of Economic development board later this month.

The city of Decorah received seven applications for its Police chief position. City manager Chad Bird gave the Decorah city council an update on the search at its meeting Monday night. Bird says mayor Lorraine Borowski and the consultant the city hired to assist in the process are working to determine finalists for the position. Bird says the testing and interviews are tentatively scheduled for August second and third and they hope to name a candidate the week after. Current chief Bill Nixon is retiring after serving in the position for nine years.

7-16 NEWS

The Decorah city council will appoint a representative to fill the second ward seat on the council. Dan Bellrichard announced at last night’s meeting he is moving out of ward two and will step down from the council. Any ward two resident who is interested in serving on the council can contact city hall. The council will appoint a ward two representative at its August fifth meeting. Whoever is appointed will serve until the November election.

Luther College student and professors will be hold a community meeting regarding flooding in Freeport tonight. Representatives from the college will discuss their research on the 2016 Upper Iowa River flood and Northeast Iowa R-C and D will be on hand to discuss their watershed plan to enhance flood resilience. Residents will also have opportunities to share ideas and engage in discussion about ways to prepare for future floods. The meeting will begin at six p.m. at the Freeport Park.

A butterburgers and badges event will be helda tonight at Culvers in Decorah. Winneshiek county sheriff’s deputies will be on hand to serve customers and all tips will be donated to the Special Olympics Iowa. Also, one dollar from every Regular concrete mixer will be donated to the Special Olympics. The event will be held from four until eight p.m.

Winneshiek county public health is encouraging those who were in the goat and sheep barn during last week’s Winneshiek county fair to be on the look out for ORF, or sore more infection.

Sacquitne

Nancy Sacquitne with Winneshiek county public health says the symptoms usually appear within three to seven days. She says anyone developing those symptoms should contact their local health care provider.

A Cresco man was arrested after an early Saturday morning accident in Decorah. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 35 year old Brandon Henry was charged with second offense operating while intoxicated, speeding and failure to maintain to control. Authorities say around one a.m, Henry was traveling at an excessive speed on College Drive in Decorah when he lost control of his vehicle, the vehicle jumped the curb, drove over a tree, and broke through a fence striking a swing set and shrubs in the backyard of a residence. The sheriff’s department says the Henry vehicle then crossed Sunset Drive and struck a large tree in the front yard of another residence and rolled onto its top.

An Ossian man was arrested after a Friday night incident in the Frankville township. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 35 year old Jeffrey Johnson was charged with serious assault causing bodily injury.

A Decorah woman was arrested following an incident at the Winneshiek county fair Thursday night. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 20 year old Lacey McPeak was charged with assault.

An early Sunday morning incident lead to the arrest of a Northfield, Minnesota man. The Winneshiek county sheriff’s department says 21 year old Luther Prestemon was charged in an incident in Decorah township.