2017: A look at the year ahead

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The U.S. Mint will launch the Effigy Mounds quarter Feb. 6-7.

In February, MFL MarMac choir members James Slama (left), Micah Decker, Spencer Rose and Chris Wright will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

An Effigy Mounds quarter, a choir performance at Carnegie Hall, a veterans motorcycle ride, a public art mural and continued fundraising efforts for big community projects—they’re all some of the local stories on tap for 2017.

Effigy Mounds to be commemorated on U.S. quarter

On Feb. 6-7, the U.S. Mint will launch its first national park quarter of 2017. Started in 2010, the program unveils five new quarters per year, each commemorating a national park or monument in each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and each of the five U.S. territories.

Effigy Mounds National Monument, located north of Marquette, will be featured on the Iowa quarter, which is the 36th of 56 coins.

The official launch ceremony for the quarter will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m., at the Allamakee Community School District high school gym in Waukon. Philadelphia Mint plant manager J. Marc Landry, as well as local representatives, are expected to speak. A coin exchange will follow.

On Monday, Feb. 6, the Effigy Mounds visitor center will host a coin forum from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., during which Mint representatives will speak with collectors and share information about coin programs.

The Effigy Mounds quarter, which depicts an aerial view of mounds in the Marching Bear Group, will be released into circulation Feb. 6.

MFL MarMac choir members to perform at Carnegie Hall

On Sunday, Feb. 19, MFL MarMac choir students James Slama, Micah Decker, Spencer Rose and Chris Wright, accompanied by choral director Jaydeane Berns, will perform at New York City’s famous Carnegie Hall in Randall Thompson’s “Testament of Freedom.” The performance will be part of the Distinguished Concerts Singers International New York City (DCINY) concert series.

The MFL MarMac singers, who will be joined by other men’s choir groups from around the country, will spend five days and four nights in New York City in preparation for the concert. 

Guest conductor Lee Nelson will conduct “The Testament of Freedom,” which was first performed at Carnegie Hall 71 years ago, following president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death. It was written to celebrate the bicentennial of president and founding father Thomas Jefferson’s birth.

The young men were selected for the quality and high level of musicianship they demonstrated in audition recordings.

Fundraising efforts for the trip are currently underway.

Monona to welcome motorcycle ride

Monona will be a stop on a Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 39-3 ride, which will take place Friday and Saturday, July 7-8. 

The ride, announced by Monona councilman John Elledge at a meeting in December, will include 750 to 800 motorcycles. The group, he noted, will stay for a couple hours. Funds raised will go directly toward helping veterans in Northeast Iowa.

Art center planning to create mural

The McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts is currently  working on plans for a public art mural. 

“The mural will be painted on the panels over the overhang,” on the art center building in downtown McGregor, explained art center treasurer Bonnie Pruett, who spoke at a McGregor council meeting in December.

Local artist Andrew Wroble, who lives near Harpers Ferry and exhibits at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery, will paint the mural, she said.

The art center is currently seeking funding from organizations and individuals in order to complete the project.

“We want to start small,” Pruett shared. “If it’s successful, we might tackle other buildings.”

Community projects continue

Groups throughout local cities are currently fundraising for some big community projects.

In McGregor, fundraising will continue for a splash pad, which is phase four of the Turner Park: Fitness for All Ages improvement project.

Efforts will also continue to “stage a comeback” of the Sullivan Opera House/old hardware store. Last month, the city received a $6,200 certified local government (CLG) grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, to go toward hiring an engineer to design a stabilization plan for future rehabilitation of the building.

In Luana, around $105,000 has been raised to go toward construction of a new fire station, but more is needed.

In Monona, a group has been formed to help plan and fundraise for renovations to the historic Monona bandstand, located in the city park. 

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