News

Wed
12
Dec

Former Ossian priest meets Pope Francis

 

Father Richard Kuhn holds a Seven Sorrows rosary as Pope Francis blesses it on Nov. 12. Kuhn intends to give the rosary to Our Lady of Seven Dolors Parish in Festina. (photo by The Vatican Media Services)

 

Former Ossian priest meets Pope Francis

 

 

By Father Richard Kuhn

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: This story is being republished courtesy of The Witness, the official publication for the Archdiocese of Dubuque. For more information, visit www.thewitnessonline.org.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, I flew from Dubuque to Chicago. Then it was nonstop, first class to Miami for overnight there. Father Jim McEvery, a classmate from Conception Seminary (Class of 1953) joined me. We were set to complete our celebration of 65 years of Catholic priesthood by shaking Pope Francis’ hand. Jim joined me the next day to board an Al Italia plane for an overnight ride to Rome!

Wed
12
Dec

Movement on Mill Street leaves a lot of potential for Clermont

 

Tanya Tysland has begun renovations on two buildings along Mill Street in Clermont. The building located to the southwest of T’s Brick City Spa (pictured at left), Krooked Halo’s new name, will be a drive-thru coffee shop and ice cream store, while the building (far right) to the southwest of Alesha’s Salon will be a brew pub. Chris DeBack photos

 

Movement on Mill Street leaves a lot of potential for Clermont

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Clermont is going to see some changes on Mill Street, aka Highway 18, with two new businesses and one existing business moving to downtown. 

Longtime business owner Jess Dean will be moving her chiropractic business, Dean Family Chiropractic, to 313 Mill Street. 

“Moving to Highway 18 has always been in the distant plans,” Dean said. “The space came open, it is in good shape, and it felt like it was a good fit. It was the late Bill Ashby’s apartment, and now we are turning it into an office.”

Wed
12
Dec

Movement on Mill Street leaves a lot of potential for Clermont

 

Tanya Tysland has begun renovations on two buildings along Mill Street in Clermont. The building located to the southwest of T’s Brick City Spa (pictured at left), Krooked Halo’s new name, will be a drive-thru coffee shop and ice cream store, while the building (far right) to the southwest of Alesha’s Salon will be a brew pub. Chris DeBack photos

 

Movement on Mill Street leaves a lot of potential for Clermont

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Clermont is going to see some changes on Mill Street, aka Highway 18, with two new businesses and one existing business moving to downtown. 

Longtime business owner Jess Dean will be moving her chiropractic business, Dean Family Chiropractic, to 313 Mill Street. 

“Moving to Highway 18 has always been in the distant plans,” Dean said. “The space came open, it is in good shape, and it felt like it was a good fit. It was the late Bill Ashby’s apartment, and now we are turning it into an office.”

Wed
12
Dec

Movement on Mill Street leaves a lot of potential for Clermont

 

Tanya Tysland has begun renovations on two buildings along Mill Street in Clermont. The building located to the southwest of T’s Brick City Spa (pictured at left), Krooked Halo’s new name, will be a drive-thru coffee shop and ice cream store, while the building (far right) to the southwest of Alesha’s Salon will be a brew pub. Chris DeBack photos

 

Movement on Mill Street leaves a lot of potential for Clermont

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Clermont is going to see some changes on Mill Street, aka Highway 18, with two new businesses and one existing business moving to downtown. 

Longtime business owner Jess Dean will be moving her chiropractic business, Dean Family Chiropractic, to 313 Mill Street. 

“Moving to Highway 18 has always been in the distant plans,” Dean said. “The space came open, it is in good shape, and it felt like it was a good fit. It was the late Bill Ashby’s apartment, and now we are turning it into an office.”

Wed
12
Dec

Elgin considering project to raise levee

 

The City of Elgin is considering raising its levee by two feet in order to prevent sandbagging during future flood events. The Elgin City Council will host a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, at Elgin City Hall to get public input on the plans and specifications that will be presented. (Chris DeBack photo)

 

Elgin considering project to raise levee

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

The Elgin City Council is currently considering a project that would raise and narrow the levee in Elgin.

Currently, the levee is 10 feet wide; this proposal would narrow the levee to six-feet while also raising it two feet, which should keep the residents of Elgin from having to sandbag in the event of flooding. 

Fayette County Engineer Joel Fantz was in attendance on Monday, Dec. 3, to answer any questions the council might have had. A two-hour discussion ensued, ending with setting a public hearing date of Monday, Jan. 7, for the plans and specifications for the project. 

This project came about after two flood events in 2016. Elgin City Councilman Jim Knobloch had always been told that the levee couldn’t be touched, so he decided to find out why not. He first called the Army Corps of Engineers, which noted that the levee wasn’t certified with the federal government. The Army Corps pointed Knobloch to the Iowa DNR for answers. 

Wed
12
Dec

Preparation is key to timely snow removal

 

For Fayette Public Works director Jerry Hildebrand, snow removal starts well before the first snowflakes begin to fall, ordering sand and salt in the summer. Once the first flurries start to fly, Hildebrand puts the plow on the plow truck and leaves it on until the last snowflake has been cleared from the road this winter.

 

Preparation is key to timely snow removal

 
 
It takes countless hours for state, county and local municipal employees to keep our roads clear and safe during the winter. 

A lot of preparation work is undertaken behind-the-scenes to get the snow-removal operations ready before the first snowflakes begin to fall. It isn’t as simple as attaching a plow to a truck, gathering up the sand and salt mix, and hitting the road. 

While snow removal is the most visible aspect of the winter work done by the Fayette County Secondary Roads Department and Fayette Public Works Department, there are plenty of other tasks to complete when the snow isn’t flying. 

The newspaper recently caught up with Fayette Public Works director Jerry Hildebrand, Fayette County Engineer Joel Fantz, and Fayette County Roads Superintendent Jeff Koehn to find out what it takes to get ready for winters in northeast Iowa. 

 

Fayette

With plenty of roads to clear and just one plow to do it, the Fayette Public Works Department has its job cut out for it every time it snows. 

“Snow removal is a team effort,” Hildebrand said. 

That effort begins over the summer with estimating and ordering the necessary amount of sand and salt to get the department through the winter season. As the winter season closes in, Hildebrand is checking over his equipment and ordering any necessary repairs before the first snowflakes begin to fall.

Once the flurries start, the snow plow is attached and will remain so through the winter season. He estimates that it takes approximately eight hours to clear the city streets after it snows. Planning and consistent maintenance on the plow truck are a must so that it doesn’t break down during a snow event. The City does have a loader it can use in the event the snow plow truck isn’t available, but Hildebrand estimated that it can take upwards of 14 hours to clear the streets with it. 

“With just one plow truck, it's just drive up and hook the plow up when it's time,” he noted. “We then leave it on for the remainder of winter, and we keep it parked in the shop if we aren’t using it; that way, it is out of the elements and less likely to break down.” 

As in many other small towns, the City employees are at the office bright and early during a snow event. Hildebrand noted that he’ll get into work at 2 a.m. with the others arriving at 4 or 5 a.m. On Main Street, the crew pushes the snow into the center of the road and then uses a loader to dump snow into a dump truck to be taken away. On the other roads, the plow simply just pushes the snow off to the side. 

When snow isn’t falling, the City crew is busy with other work. After the camping season comes to an end, the crew winterizes the bathroom and shower room, puts tables underneath the shelters, and picks up trash cans at Klock’s Island Park. If need be, those trash cans will be painted over the winter as time allows. Next, it's off to the ball diamonds to winterize those bathrooms. Once that’s complete, it keeping the streets clear of snow and other miscellaneous jobs needing to be done. Hildebrand will also work on his budget for the coming fiscal year when he has some time. 

“We’ll grab the teeter-totters and repaint the ones that need it,” explained Hildebrand. “Those are the types of things we are out doing if it is too cold for cutting down trees and other outside work.”

 

Fayette County

With 16 plow trucks in its arsenal, the Fayette County Secondary Roads Department has a much bigger task at hand when it comes to preparing for the snow-removal season. 

Just as in Fayette, Fayette County Engineer Joel Fantz orders the salt and sand over the summer. However, with limited storage at the Fayette County Secondary Roads Maintenance Facility in West Union, he’ll have to take his order in multiple shipments throughout the winter. 

For Fantz, it's a guessing game when it comes to ordering salt and sand, but it's also a game of risk. If he has too many snow events close together, due to limited storage at the county shop, the County could run out of salt before the next shipment arrives. 

Wed
12
Dec

Comp Board makes wage increase recommendations

Comp Board makes wage increase recommendation

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Emotions ran high at the annual meeting of the Fayette County Compensation Board on Monday, Dec. 3, at the Fayette County Courthouse. 

The board meets once a year to discuss raises for elected County officials. With the elected official appointing them in parentheses, the board is comprised of Dave Moore of Oelwein (County Attorney), Steve Story of Hawkeye (Auditor), David Katsumes of Elgin (County Recorder). Al Burkhart of Hawkeye (County Sheriff), Gary Grimm of Westgate (Board of Supervisors), Bob Kalb of Aurora (Board of Supervisors) and Tobin Britt of West Union (County Treasurer). Everyone but Steve Story was in attendance for the meeting. 

After a lengthy discussion, the board recommended a 3 percent raise for the Fayette County Supervisors, Treasurer, Recorder, and Auditor and a 4 percent raise for the County Attorney and Sheriff. The recommendation was passed by a 3-2 margin with Kalb and Grimm dissenting. It should be noted that the board only makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, who then have the final say over any increase in compensation. However, the Supervisors can only approve recommendation as presented or reduce the increase equally for all officials across-the-board. 

Wed
12
Dec

Skate into West Union's newest winter attraction

 

 West Union Parks and Rec recently purchased an approximately $11,000 ice-skating rink from EZ ICE in Boston. The rink is able to be set up and taken down each ice-skating season. The rink is located in the parking lot of Rotary Park in West Union. A grand opening event at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, will officially open the rink to ice skaters. Chris DeBack photos

 

Skate into West Union's newest winter attraction

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Sharpen your skates and prepare your hockey sticks as West Union’s new ice-skating rink will open this weekend. 

Located in the parking lot of Rotary Park, the 80- by 120-foot rink will feature plenty of family-friendly fun this winter. West Union Parks and Rec will host a grand opening starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. The rink won’t be open to skaters until the event.

“I had been thinking about an ice rink for several years, but that was Hawkeye’s niche; I didn’t want to step on their toes because Hawkeye had a good thing going,” said Kathy Guyer, West Union Parks and Rec director. “When [Keith] Kovarik decided not to do the ice-skating rink [in Hawkeye] this year, it seemed like the right time to bring one to West Union.”

Wed
05
Dec

Jewell represents 'Logan's Hope'

 

The relationship between St. Lucas’ Logan Manderfield and former Iowa Hawkeye and current Denver Bronco football player Josey Jewell goes back several years. Manderfield, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of 1, started an organization called Logan’s Hope to promote awareness for his disease. As part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” week, Jewell wore a pair of cleats featuring Logan’s Hope during his most recent game. (submitted photo)

 

Jewell represents 'Logan's Hope'

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

 

As part of the National Football League’s (NFL) “My Cause, My Cleats” Week, Denver Bronco linebacker Josey Jewell chose to support Logan’s Hope, which is an organization started by St. Lucas teen Logan Manderfield to help promote awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The Turkey Valley freshman was first diagnosed with the disease at the age of 1.

“I met Logan while I was at [University of] Iowa and was inspired by him and his courage,” said Jewell. “I supported him with his 4K run and can’t wait to support him and raise awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy this season.”

Wed
05
Dec

Ag Farm Toys ships over 2,000 packages during holiday season

 

The holiday shopping season is the busiest time of year for local business owner Tracy Johnson of Clermont. Her brick-and-mortar store and online business Ag Farm Toys will ship over 2,000 packages from its rural Clermont location during this Christmas shopping season, making for some long nights for the small-business owner.  Chris DeBack photo

 

Ag Farm Toys ships over 2,000 packages during holiday season

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

The holiday shopping season is the busiest time of year for retail businesses, big and small.

One small-business owner burning the midnight oil in northeast Iowa is Tracy Johnson of Farm Ag Toys/Iowa Diecast Toys in rural Clermont. With half her business’ sales coming in the fourth quarter, she doesn’t have a lot of time to herself if she wants to keep her business running smoothly. 

“I wake up early because my brain starts thinking about what I have to do for the day,” Johnson said. “I also stay up late because the phone isn’t ringing at midnight, so I can get more stuff done.” 

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