North Iowa Times

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Tue
13
Feb

McGregor residents share ideas for community center


Joan Burns (left), Dan Bickel, Lynette Sander and Rogeta Halvorson consider several exterior options for the community center during an input session last week. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Michael LeClere (center), with Martin Gardner Architecture, discusses several possible functions the community center could have with Jason Echard and Michelle Pettit.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Open and welcoming. Multi-functional. New, yet invoking McGregor’s history. Those are just a few of the ideas McGregor residents said they’d like to see incorporated into a community center.

They shared those thoughts last week, at an input session with Bethany Jordan and Michael LeClere, from Martin Gardner Architecture, who have been tasked with developing conceptual designs for the building. 

The conceptual designs will be created thanks to a grant the city of McGregor received from The Native Fund, a nonprofit created by football player Dallas Clark and actor Ashton Kutcher.

Tue
13
Feb

Luster Heights could be new home of Refuge’s McGregor District office

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Luster Heights might soon have a new occupant. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is currently in talks with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to purchase the 25-acre site near Harpers Ferry for re-location of the McGregor District office of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

“Right now, we’re checking all the boxes to make sure it works for us,” said Refuge Manager Sabrina Chandler.

The Iowa Department of Corrections closed Luster Heights Correctional Facility last February due to budget cuts, and later turned the property over to the Iowa DNR, which controls state forest land around the site.

Tue
13
Feb

Unique take on TV news earns students All State nomination for group speech


Chelbe Feuerhelm (left), Reagan Butikofer, Sierra Wiebensohn, Coltin Ball, Lizzie Herzmann and Keagan Smerud (not pictured) were part of the MFL MarMac TV news team that earned straight ones at the state group speech contest. The group’s performance also earned them an All State nomination. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac students Chelbe Feuerhelm, Reagan Butikofer, Sierra Wiebensohn, Coltin Ball, Lizzie Herzmann and Keagan Smerud recently earned straight ones for their TV news performance at the state group speech contest. Last week, they discovered that effort had also earned them an All State nomination, a rare honor for speech participants.

Like a typical newscast, the group’s portrayal featured several real-life news stories, the weather and even a commercial break. The big difference? It was based on an airplane, during a flight from Chicago to Colorado Springs.

Tue
13
Feb

Egan headed back to state wrestling tournament


MFL MarMac junior Michael Egan, wrestling at 138 pounds, is headed back to the state tournament for the third time. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac junior Michael Egan has advanced to the state wrestling tournament after placing second at 138 pounds at the Class 1A District 6 meet in Decorah on Feb. 10. This will be Egan’s third trip to the state tournament.

“It’s a challenge to get there,” said head coach Chet Bachman, who noted it’s rare for a wrestler to make it to state every year. “At this point, you’ve gotta go get it. You’ve gotta take guys down. He’s done a good job of that this year.”

Egan began the season wrestling at 132 pounds, but later moved up to the 138 weight class.

“We felt there was more of an opportunity there,”  Bachman said, “and it worked for him.”

Tue
06
Feb

Local organizations and neighbors ask EPA to intervene on Walz Energy project


A letter initiated by the Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network seeks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s intervention to determine whether the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ after-the-fact issuance of an NPDES permit to Walz Energy violates the Clean Water Act.

About 40 individuals and groups have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to more closely monitor the potential impacts of the Walz Energy commercial feedlot and biogas manufacturing operation being developed in the watershed of Bloody Run Creek, east of Monona. The location of the project is in an environmentally sensitive karst area, with known sinkholes nearby. Bloody Run Creek is a popular trout stream and an officially designated Outstanding Iowa Water, which merits special protection under Iowa and EPA regulations.

Tue
06
Feb

Ruff takes another shot at state free throw contest


Mackenzy Ruff has won the Knights of Columbus Council 8178 free throw contest every year since she was 10. She’s also gone on to state each year, a feat she hopes to continue in 2018, in her final year of eligibility. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times 

“I do one dribble before I shoot, then I take a moment to breathe. I’ve found that one dribble is enough for me to know what I’m doing.”

Becoming a perfect free throw shooter isn’t easy. Mackenzy Ruff is coming close, though.

The MFL MarMac freshman has won the Knights of Columbus Council 8178 local free throw contest each year since she was 10 years old. Her success hasn’t ended there.

“Every year, I’ve gone to state,” she said.

Tue
06
Feb

Monona Council moving forward with marketing the sale of Garden View

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At its Feb. 5 meeting, the Monona Council unanimously approved moving forward with marketing the sale of Garden View Senior Living Community.

Mayor Lynn Martinson broached the idea of selling the facility, which the city has owned since it was built 12 years ago, at a goal setting meeting two weeks ago.

At the time it was built, Martinson said it made sense for the city to help get Garden View up and running. However, maintaining responsibility for it is no longer economically prudent, he added.

“There are so many things going on,” said Martinson at Monday’s meeting. “There’s an issue now of getting a contractor to fix siding and windows.”

Tue
06
Feb

Landt takes the reins at Great River Care Center

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Kate Landt has joined Great River Care Center and Turner Pointe Assisted Living as its new assistant administrator.

A native of Garnavillo, Landt currently lives in Colesburg with her husband and four children. She has experience in customer service, CNA and human resources work and as an administrative assistant. Landt most recently worked at the Edgewood Convalescent Home.

“I’m passionate about what I do,” she shared. “Being in long-term care, I find it very rewarding.”

Tue
30
Jan

McGregor man now a division commander for U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Earlier this month, McGregor resident Steven Gress was promoted to division commander of the second division of the 8 Western Rivers District of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

As division commander, Gress will oversee the second division’s four flotillas: Prairie du Chien, La Crosse, Rochester and Winona.

“It’s a privilege to serve,” said Gress, who’s been a member of the Prairie du Chien flotilla since 2012. He’s held several flotilla and division positions during that time, including flotilla commander.

Gress said he was first introduced to the Coast Guard Auxiliary by a friend. Recently-retired from a 34-year career with Sysco, he decided to give it a try.

Tue
30
Jan

Reducing plastic use can strengthen health of Mississippi River and other waterways


Living Lands and Waters team member Mike Coyne-Logan recently spoke at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre, in Marquette. During the presentation, he showed off some of the materials, including this message in a bottle, that were discovered during one of the organization’s community river cleanups. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Two decades ago, after years of watching trash clutter the Mississippi River near his hometown of Hampton, Ill, a young Chad Pregracke felt he needed to do something. So, he set out in a single boat, plucking trash from the river banks and shoreline. Soon, with the help of sponsorships, media attention and volunteers, Pregracke’s venture grew.

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