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Tue
13
Aug

Thinking outside the box


Woodworker Gerald Clymer, pictured in his Monona shop, creates intricately-crafted wooden boxes that have made him one of the most sought-after artists at McGregor’s Left Bank Shop and Gallery. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

At the beginning, there’s no indication of what the box will look like. That only forms when Clymer is well into the process. “I’m like a sculptor who chips away at the outside until he finds what he wanted inside,” he shared.

No piece is considered too small to incorporate into one of Clymer’s boxes. “Those little tiny pieces can be just what [the box] needs to make it pop,” he said.

Clymer, who started his woodworking hobby by making furniture, began creating boxes in 2006. This first one was made from a lilac bush.

Over the years, Clymer's boxes have become larger and more complex.

Clymer’s boxes are rarely assembled using metal fasteners. He prefers glue to join the pieces, occasionally reinforcing joints with dowels or splices.

Monona artist lets wood speak for itself

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

“As you can see, very little goes to waste,” said Gerald Clymer, spreading his arms wide as he steps into his Monona woodworking shop. There’s oak here, walnut there. Larger pieces of wood rest against walls and benches while smaller remnants—some cubes barely an inch wide—cover most surfaces. No piece is considered too small to incorporate into the intricately-crafted wooden boxes that have made Clymer one of the most sought-after artists at McGregor’s Left Bank Shop and Gallery.

Tue
13
Aug

Iconic symbol returns to McGregor's Main Street


For the first time since the July 19, 2017 tornado, the well-known mortar and pestle is hanging outside the McGregor Pharmacy. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Although the original was too damaged to repair, local resident Mike Sloan was able to create a replica mortar and pestle, which was hung outside the pharmacy building on Main Street Aug. 5. (Photo courtesy of Larry Brummel)

Using the original mortar and pestle as a guide, Sloan cut out large pieces of styrofoam as a template for the mortar and attached them to a tube. (Photo courtesy of Mike Sloan)

He filled that in with more styrofoam to build the shape. The structure was then plastered and coated in polyvinyl alcohol and, later, fiberglass, before being painted. (Photo courtesy of Mike Sloan)

The pestle, formed using another construction tube with a simple rubber ball on the end, was moulded as a separate piece and joined to the mortar later. (Photo courtesy of Mike Sloan)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

For the first time since the July 19, 2017 tornado, the well-known mortar and pestle is hanging outside the McGregor Pharmacy.

The move has generated quite a bit of attention. Within minutes of the mortar and pestle’s installation on Aug. 5, social media was flooded with photos, racking up hundreds of likes and shares. Larry and Maria Brummel, who own the pharmacy building at 230 Main St., said they haven’t gone anywhere the past week without hearing about it.

Tue
13
Aug

McGregor Home Tour: Part 4

Schultz Home, 15483 Jasper Ave.

The Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee is sponsoring a tour of four unique McGregor homes on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at each participating property. All proceeds will go toward adding a splash pad at Turner Park. Over the past few weeks, North Iowa Times editor Audrey Posten has been featuring each home included in the tour.

Jim and Maggie Schultz’s stately red-brick home on Jasper Avenue has a historic feel, but only dates back to 2002, when it was constructed on land outside McGregor where Jim grew up.

Tue
13
Aug

McGregor Home Tour: Part 3

Hallberg Home, 812 Walton St.

The Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee is sponsoring a tour of four unique McGregor homes on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at each participating property. All proceeds will go toward adding a splash pad at Turner Park. Over the past few weeks, North Iowa Times editor Audrey Posten has been featuring each home included in the tour.

Lynn and Gay Hallberg built their “forever home” 15 years ago at 812 Walton St., around the corner from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, after a lot of time spent searching for the perfect location.

Fri
09
Aug

Tristan Close

Tristan Levi Close, 21, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, at Gundersen Hospital in La Crosse, Wis. Tristan Levi “Flip” Close, the son of Raymond Close and Cindy (Eilers) Fritz was born Jan. 31, 1998, in Prairie du Chien, Wis. He attended school in Waukon and later graduated from NICC. 

Tue
06
Aug

McGregor Home Tour: Part 2


(Photo by Audrey Posten)

(Photo by Audrey Posten)

The Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee is sponsoring a tour of four unique McGregor homes on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at each participating property. All proceeds will go toward adding a splash pad at Turner Park. Over the next few weeks, North Iowa Times editor Audrey Posten will feature each home included in the tour.

“It’s kind of a hodge podge of ideas,” Linda Witter said of the home she and late husband Roger built nearly a decade ago on their farm outside McGregor. “As I’ve gotten older, my style has changed. It’s very eclectic.”

Tue
06
Aug

A cowboy's 'frame' of mind


“Cowboy” Jim Reneau shows off a mosaic he recently matted and framed. He brings a variety of art to life through his McGregor business, Cowboy Jim’s Art Gallery. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

When matting, Cowboy Jim explained it’s important to pull out subtle colors in the image.

Cowboy Jim enjoys re-purposing materials like barn boards, flooring, windows and old picture frames when framing customers’ pieces. “You want something that has character,” he said.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Framing is an important component to protecting any piece of art, preserving photographs, prints, paintings and mementos from both natural and human elements. But it’s also a way to enhance the art, bringing out colors, details and new perspectives.

“Sometimes, you bring it back to life,” said “Cowboy” Jim Reneau.

Tue
06
Aug

New bait shop hopes to lure in customers


Brian Kimball recently opened Muddy Minnow Bait on the dock below McGregor’s Beer and Bratz Garden. The location is accessible by foot and by boat. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Muddy Minnow offers minnows, creek chubs, bullheads, leeches, night crawlers, wax worms, red worms and spikes.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

A new bait shop on McGregor’s riverfront hopes to lure in customers with convenience and selection. Brian Kimball opened Muddy Minnow Bait on the dock below McGregor’s Beer and Bratz Garden around two weeks ago, filling a need in the community for both locals and visitors that he said hasn’t been met since Fiddler’s Bait Shop closed five years ago.

“You have to drive 20 miles to get bait anymore,” he said.

One weekend in July, he roadtripped to four places before finding what he needed.

Brian’s wife, Lisa, who’s the manager at the Beer and Bratz Garden, said she and the staff there frequently receive calls asking where people can get bait.

Tue
30
Jul

McGregor Home Tour: Part 1


The Cave Courtyard Guest Studio (left) and Old Jail and Firehouse are located on A Street, in downtown McGregor.

Old Jail and Firehouse interior

Cave Courtyard interior

Cliff-side caves located behind the Cave Courtyard Guest Studio

Old Jail & Firehouse Guest Suite, Cave Courtyard Guest Studio | 212 & 214 A St.

The Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages Committee is sponsoring a tour of four unique McGregor homes on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at each participating property. All proceeds will go toward adding a splash pad at Turner Park. Over the next few weeks, North Iowa Times editor Audrey Posten will feature each home included in the tour.

Visitors can find their home away from home in McGregor’s historic downtown at the Old Jail and Firehouse Guest Suite and Cave Courtyard Guest Studio.

Tue
30
Jul

McGregor seeks fix for wastewater discharge

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

An ongoing wastewater discharge on McGregor’s Main Street that’s eventually flowing into the Mississippi River is forcing the city to find a temporary fix to its sewer main infiltration and inflow problems.

According to Amber Sauser, environmental specialist senior at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Manchester field office, the wastewater bypass was first reported on March 14, and bypassing of the wastewater treatment plant has continued at either Main Street or other locations since then.

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