Times-Register

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Tue
05
May

Meet the Times-Register editor


Audrey Posten is the editor of the newly-merged North Iowa Times-Clayton County Register.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” This quote from science educator and TV personality Bill Nye is one that’s shaped my career as a journalist. Whether I’m speaking with someone about their hobby, asking a farmer how he raises pigs, interviewing a student athlete about the game-winning touchdown or getting a public official to explain how an ordinance change might impact residents, I know everyone has a story to tell. Each person can provide a unique perspective that spurs discussion and community action, makes people think, brings them a smile or even a tear. Whether we’ve lived in a town for two months or five decades, it shows us there’s always something left to learn—something new to discover about our home and the people around us.

Tue
05
May

Local businesses ‘optimistic but cautious’ in choosing whether to re-open


With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Clayton County on May 1, some local restaurants and retail shops (like Navy Rose and Co., pictured here) chose to allow customers inside on a limited basis, with precautions in place, while others opted to stick with carry outs and curbside pick-up.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

“Optimistic but cautious.” According to McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ashley Kishman, that’s how most local restaurants and retail shops approached the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Clayton County beginning May 1.

“This is a new way of doing things,” Kishman said, “and businesses are putting in a lot of new practices to keep people safe.”

That includes limiting occupancy to 50 percent of capacity and implementing reasonable measures to ensure social distancing of employees and patrons, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Tue
05
May

GRCC confirms positive COVID-19 case associated with the facility

In a statement released Monday, Great River Care Center in McGregor said it’s doing everything it can to stop the spread of COVID-19 following the confirmation of one positive case associated with the facility.

“We are in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps at this time,” the statement read. “Our staff and residents are following the recommended preventative actions, we have restricted visitors from entering our facility and cancelled all group activities within the building.”

Due to patient privacy laws, Great River Care Center is unable to share any further specific information about the confirmed case in the facility.

Tue
05
May

Fall level traffic at Pikes Peak


Those looking to visit Pikes Peak should avoid large groups and areas where people may congregate. Maintain the six-foot recommended distance between other visitors. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Pikes Peak State Park, south of McGregor, has been a popular destination for both locals and visitors looking to escape their homes and enjoy the great outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campground hosts’ granddaughter recently left chalk messages at the park’s popular scenic overlooks, reminding people to social distance. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Pikes Peak State Park, south of McGregor, has been a popular destination for both locals and visitors looking to escape their homes and enjoy the great outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The park has been extremely busy because our open areas—trails, overlooks, picnic areas—have remained open,” said Pikes Peak Manager Matt Tschirgi. “The number of phone calls has quadrupled probably, with people double-checking to see if our trails are open.”

When the COVID-19 spread began, Tschirgi said the park saw an influx of non-residents for camping, before it was restricted, as well as day-use from states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois that had closed their parks.

Tue
05
May

Cause of Bloody Run fish kill still eluding investigators

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

The cause of an April 18 fish kill on Bloody Run Creek, near Marquette, is still eluding Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) investigators.

Officials tallied 898 dead fish, mostly trout, along a three-mile stretch of Bloody Run from Spook Cave to Iris Avenue. DNR Environmental Specialist Brett Meyers said the culprit could range from a pollutant in the water to a rapid temperature change in the stream.

“I am still interviewing landowners near Bloody Run to try and determine a cause,” Meyers noted last week.

Tue
05
May

MFL MarMac senior earns coveted Iowa FFA Degree


MFL MarMac senior Kayleigh White was the recent recipient of the coveted Iowa FFA Degree, the highest honor the state can bestow upon a member. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

MFL MarMac senior Kayleigh White was the recent recipient of the coveted Iowa FFA Degree, the highest honor the state can bestow upon a member.

 “It’s really exciting,” she said, “looking back at all the time I put in and, as an ag kid, to know how appreciated you are.”

To earn the degree, students must meet several requirements, including active FFA membership for at least two years, as well as participation in five FFA activities above the chapter level.

Tue
28
Apr

MFL MarMac teachers continue connecting with students through school closure


Even though MFL MarMac is closed for the remainder of the school year due to COVID-19, teachers are still connecting with students and offering optional learning opportunities. Here, third grade teacher Jennifer Wilwert connects with her students through the meeting app Zoom.

Pam Havlicek shares a story with her first graders.

Middle school science teachers Dawn Colsch and Twila Converse have started a weekly video conference with students. “Our conferences have included many discussions, both general and scientific, and a couple games of Kahoot and scavenger hunts,” Colsch shared.

Middle school math teacher Lindsey Fisk asked some of her students what they missed the most during the pandemic. “The students are working very hard mentally and physically,” she said.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

“I’ve had people ask, ‘What are you doing with all your free time?’ But I don’t really have any free time.”

Like other staff members at MFL MarMac, teacher and curriculum director Eliza Philpott hasn’t taken a break since COVID-19 forced the school to close last month. Shortly after the initial closure, she and the school’s instructional coaches, Jess Peterson, Brent Pape, Heidi Meyer and Melissa Haberichter, set to work gathering optional learning opportunities for students.

Tue
28
Apr

Clayton among 77 counties where COVID-19 restrictions will ease starting May 1

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Clayton County is one of 77 Iowa counties that will see a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday, May 1. Gov. Kim Reynolds made the announcement, which includes the limited reopening of some businesses and the resumption of religious services, at her Monday press conference.

Tue
28
Apr

Staff find new ways to bring library resources to patrons


Due to COVID-19 closures, staff at local libraries are finding new ways to connect and share resources with patrons. McGregor Public Library Director Michelle Pettit has hosted several book talks, which are available on Facebook.

Murphy Helwig Library, in Monona, live streams Story Time with Sherman, the library’s popular six-foot-tall stuffed giraffe, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Pictured is library director Heidi Landt next to (a portion of) Sherman.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Local libraries are one of the major social and educational hubs of their towns, providing not just reading and reference materials, but internet access and valuable connections between community members. When the buildings were forced to close to the public last month to help limit the spread of COVID-19, that never changed. Staff simply found different ways to bring the library—and all its resources—to patrons.

“It’s hard not to be able to do what you’re used to, so we had to look for more ways we can do things,” said McGregor Public Library Director Michelle Pettit. “When you can’t be in person and close to each other, how do you connect?”

Tue
28
Apr

MCED proposes Monona hotel/motel tax

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Monona Chamber and Economic Development, Inc. (MCED) is asking the city of Monona to consider implementing a hotel/motel tax for a growing list of lodging establishments.

MCED Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson proposed the idea at the April 20 regular council meeting. She was joined virtually by Bridget Schlein, who owns the Monona Guesthouse with husband Tim, and Rachel Thurn, owner of the new Driftless Manor Getaway. Both establishments are available on the online booking sites Airbnb and VRBO.

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