North Iowa Times

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Tue
24
Jul

School days will be a bit longer this year

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The daily schedule at MFL MarMac will look a bit different this year. 

Instead of starting classes at 8:25 a.m., they will now begin at 8:20 a.m. The end of all regular school days will move from 3:20 to 3:25 p.m. The district has 2:20 p.m. early releases on most Wednesdays. 

“That will add 40 minutes to the week and three to four days, hour-wise, to the end of the school year,” explained high school principal Larry Meyer. 

Tue
17
Jul

One year later: Restoring McGregor after the tornado


Laura Nozal’s home at 210 Ann St. was one of the most heavily damaged by the July 19, 2017 tornado. Repairs are now completed, but Nozal said she won’t be planting trees any time soon. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Northeast Iowa Lions Club volunteers were in McGregor earlier this month to mulch newly-planted trees on private properties.

Tornado-damaged downtown buildings, like the Barron Building, have been restored sensitively, keeping historical integrity in mind.

McGregor City Administrator Lynette Sander and City Clerk Duane Boelman receive a check for the Restore McGregor 2017 Tornado Fund. The lot next to the library, where the INKspiration Tattoo building stood, was donated to the city by Fred Petrie and Melanie San Fillippo shortly after the tornado. Down the road, it may be the location of a community center/library expansion.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Thursday is July 19—a day that marks one year since an EF-1 tornado ripped through McGregor, leaving a path of destruction in fallen trees and damaged or destroyed homes and buildings that will forever be felt in the historic river community.

In the days following the tornado, residents experienced a gamut of emotions: shock, sadness, frustration. But there was also love. Love for their fellow neighbors and for the city.

Tue
17
Jul

Youth baseball team wins state tournament for second year in a row


Members of the MFL MarMac Iowa USSSA State Championship were (front, left to right) Zach Driscoll, Quinn McGeough, Parker Kuehl, Kyle Tilson, Jacob Schellhorn, Kade Humble; (second row) Jaron Wille, Dustin Larson, Austin Schaller, Brayden Gordon, Ben Krambeer and Aiden Schoulte, along with coaches Paul Gordon and Jeremy Schellhorn. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac’s 11U baseball team capped off its season in a big way, winning the Iowa USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) State Baseball Tournament, held the weekend of July 7 in Cedar Rapids.

2018 marks the second year in a row this group has won the competitive tournament. This time, however, they competed at the gold, rather than silver, level.

“It’s the same tournament,” said coach Jeremy Schellhorn, “but the competition is tougher.”

Tue
17
Jul

Marquette agrees to zoning change for railroad property

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

At its July 10 meeting, the Marquette Council approved the final readings and passage of ordinance 402, which would change the zoning district classification for a portion of railroad property in the community from A1 - limited agricultural to C1 - highway commercial.

The property is located south of the railroad tracks and north of Bloody Run, in the Canadian Pacific rail yard. CP hopes to construct a new building there next year, which would be utilized by its engineering services employees.

“We’re building this building for the people who maintain the infrastructure of the railroad,” explained Tim Carlson, senior project manager for Canadian Pacific. 

Tue
10
Jul

Marquette’s bench evacuation route opens


McGregor Hook and Ladder firemen Dan Bickel and Tyler Thornton, Mar-Mac EMS President Mike Gilman, fire chief Jerry Thornton, Marquette council members Cindy Halvorson and John Ries, Clayton County Emergency Management Director Sarah Moser and Marquette City Clerk Bonnie Basemann were among those who officially opened Marquette’s bench evacuation route for use July 5. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Nearly a mile long, the graveled route stretches from the end of Walnut Street, in Marquette, to Eagle Drive, in McGregor. The public is also welcome to use it for hiking and biking, but no motorized recreational vehicles will be allowed.

The Mar-Mac rescue squad was one of the first vehicles to maneuver the evacuation route.

The city of Marquette hopes a padlocked chain and signage will help discourage people from abusing the evacuation route with motorized recreational vehicles.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

While no one living on the Marquette bench hopes there will be an emergent need to escape their neighborhood, it’s reassuring to know a safe route will now be available.

In the planning stages for nearly two years, and under construction since last fall, the Marquette bench evacuation route officially opened for use last week. City officials, as well as representatives from McGregor Hook and Ladder and the Mar-Mac Rescue Squad, traversed the nearly mile-long, gravel route on July 5, to mark the occasion.

Delta 3 Engineering, of Platteville, Wis., engineered the project, while Bacon Concrete, of Postville, completed the route at a cost of $218,815.

Tue
10
Jul

Creating the unexpected


Bird Skemp’s favorite way to create jewelry: sitting cross-legged on her living room floor, while the afternoon sun filters through the windows of her rural McGregor home. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Bird Skemp creates primarily earrings, but some necklaces and bracelets, as well. Her “Baubles by Bird” are available locally at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, in McGregor, and The Planted Tree and the Huckleberry’s Restaurant gift shop, in Prairie du Chien.

No, these earrings aren’t made of metal, but rather paper, enhanced by beads, paint and unique textures.

“I don’t look at what the styles are. I’m selling to people who don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing,” said Bird. “My jewelry is going to be unique, artsy, handmade.”

Jewelry making a life-changing experience for Skemp

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Jewelry maker Bird Skemp does her best work sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, a cat nestled in her lap, as the afternoon sun filters through the windows of her rural McGregor home and Judge Judy drones on the TV.

“I put something on just for the noise,” she quipped.

She can work for hours this way, in her makeshift studio, surrounded by baskets and containers bursting with beads, tools, paints and paper scraps.

Tue
10
Jul

Genies learn about McGregor history during recent visit to library

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Clayton County Genealogical Society held its June meeting in McGregor, where members enjoyed a local history lesson from McGregor Public Library Director Michelle Pettit.

Pettit began the presentation by sharing some history about the community’s libraries. The first, she noted, was created in 1867 and operated out of a law office before closing 10 years later. The city didn’t have its next library until 1920.

“It was a subscription library,” Pettit said. “So people had to pay to be part of it.”

Tue
10
Jul

McGregor Historical Museum proves itself a treasure of Clayton County


The McGregor Historical Museum is located at 256 Main St. (Photos by Rachel Mergen)

The museum contains many exhibits that explain and tell the stories of McGregor’s extensive history.

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

According to McGregor Historical Museum Director Diane Malcom, at one point in time, Iowa was preparing to have McGregor be as large and well-known as Chicago. Standing at a population of less than a thousand, this former dream may not have occurred due to great flooding and fires, but the city is still able to claim a unique history, full of many stories that are now protected within the walls of its local museum. 

Exhibits in the McGregor Historical Museum include historical photographs of the city, Native American history, Mississippi River history, a military display, an authentic pipe from the local Catholic church and local deaf artist Andrew Clemens’ sand bottles from the 1800s, along with much more. 

Tue
03
Jul

Harlan Hass honored as Brewers’ ‘Hero of the Game’


Harlan Hass, a 93-year-old World War II veteran from McGregor, was recognized as the “Hero of the Game” at the June 16 Milwaukee Brewers game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Submitted photos)

Along with being honored, Harlan received free tickets to the game, a parking pass and a T-shirt.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

It was Saturday, June 16, a sunny afternoon game at Miller Park—home of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers. Cheers and applause filled the stadium, as fans trained their eyes on the big screen scoreboard. However, it wasn’t a player on the field, but an individual in the stands, who attracted so much attention.

Harlan Hass, a 93-year-old World War II veteran from McGregor, was being recognized as the Brewers’ “Hero of the Game,” an honor bestowed on a military service member during each of the team’s home games.

“There were 40,000 people there that day who stood and clapped. They were looking right at me on the big screen,” Harlan recalled. “At first, I didn’t do anything. Then I waved and said ‘thank you.’”

Tue
03
Jul

McGregor Council plans to appoint mayor

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The McGregor Council will opt to fill its mayoral vacancy by appointment rather than special election.

The decision came at a special meeting June 27—a week after mayor Harold Brooks announced his resignation, which was effective June 22. Brooks was re-elected in November, so a year and a half of his two-year term remains.

“We have 60 days to appoint someone,” said councilman and mayor pro-tem Joe Muehlbauer, “so it’s not something we have to do right away.”

The council hopes to move more quickly, however, and approved publishing a notice in this week’s North Iowa Times stating its intent to fill the vacancy at the Wednesday, July 18 regular meeting.

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