News

Wed
10
Apr

Final bake sale is April 20

 

Final bake sale is April 20

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

For 20 years, Glenda Koehn has helped raise awareness of autism in northeast Iowa through her annual bake sale the day before Easter. 

She’ll hang up the apron for a final time after her bake sale starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at Valley Elementary in Elgin. 

“Twenty years ago I decided that I needed to do something to raise awareness about autism in our little corner of the state,” Koehn said. “After 20 years, I am kind of tired, and I am think I am burning out my good helpers. I thought 20 is a good number, as my boys are 27 and 23 now. I hope that in the last 20 years that I have raised some kind of awareness and hopefully acceptance of people with autism in Iowa. That was my main goal, and I hope I have accomplished that.”

Accomplished that she has with her bake sales raising well over $50,000 for the Autism Society of Iowa over the last 20 years. 

“The money I raise from my bake sales goes toward giving scholarships to people who can’t afford to go to the annual [Autism Society of Iowa] conference,” Koehn explained. “It is mostly for parents who can’t afford or, if they can afford it, they have to get someone to watch their children with autism and that costs money if they don’t have waivers through the state. My money also went to sending parents a packet to help them understand and get resources to help their child who was recently diagnosed with autism.”

It all started after Koehn’s eldest son, Sam, was diagnosed with autism. 

Wed
10
Apr

Sniffin's writing talent shines in award-winning journalism career

 

A young William “Bill” Sniffin with his first Iowa Newspaper Association award that he received for best news photo while working at the Harlan Tribune less than a year after he graduated from high school. 

 

Sniffin's writing talent shines in award-winning journalism career

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

It was clear to many who knew him that William “Bill” Sniffin had a talent for writing. 

Writing was something that came naturally to Sniffin, and his talent was quickly noticed by his teacher’s including the Valley school newspaper’s advisor Catherine Grove. After a concussion his sophomore year of high school ended Sniffin’s football career, Grove approached the talented writer about reporting on the games for Tiger Talk.

Since that fateful conversation, Sniffin’s journalism career has taken him on quite a journey that includes moving to Wyoming, ownership of a number of newspapers, starting his own marketing company, and earning a master’s degree from a prestigious institution in Europe. 

 

Becoming a writer

Sniffin was born on March 21, 1946, the second eldest of 10 children to Tom and Betty Sniffin of Wadena. 

“I consider myself the oldest baby boomer in America because if you count back ninth months from my birthday you’ll be at the end of World War II,” Sniffin said with a chuckle. “I was part of a big catholic family with eight brothers and one sister, and I enjoyed growing up in Wadena.”

Some of the Wadena native’s favorite memories were just socializing with friends as the small northeast Iowa town came alive on the weekend as those in the rural parts came to town to socialize. Sniffin’s freshman year of high school Wadena consolidated with Valley, and the kid from the big catholic family had a whole bunch of new classmates to get acquainted with. 

“It was a great school to go to, and I felt I got a very good education,” said Sniffin. “The most positive thing about it, even though I was from another town and a stranger, the other students were very welcoming. I made an awful lot of good friends.”

At 16 years old, Sniffin began writing for Tiger Talk, which was published monthly in the Elgin Echo. This is where his love for journalism really started. He would be named editor of the section for a short while before it was taken away when he wrote an article critical of a coach. Looking back, he doesn’t remember the coach he wrote about, mentioning it might have been football, but it set the stage for quite a career as an award winning investigative journalist and publisher. 

After high school, Sniffin attended a two-month crash course in journalism at Iowa State University. It was here that he learned the particulars of his trade before receiving a job as a reporter at the Harlan Tribune in Harlan. 

Wed
10
Apr

Turkey Valley FFA lends a hand to flood victims

 

Turkey Valley FFA has organized a drive to help deliver hay and supplies to a family affected by extreme flooding in Nebraska. Leading organizers for the drive, which will head west on Friday, include (l-r) Sam Kout, Megan Kueker, Harley Baumler, and Isaac Franzen. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

Turkey Valley FFA lends a hand to flood victims

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

 

In times of need, Midwesterners and farmers tend to stick together. A perfect example for that can be found right here in northeast Iowa as the Turkey Valley FFA has stepped up and is making an effort to aid flood victims across the state line in Nebraska.

“It all started a few weeks ago at our (Turkey Valley Education Foundation) Gala when our FFA advisor, Mr. (Steve) Pfaffle told the community about his idea to bring hay and supplies out to the flood victims in Nebraska,” explained Isaac Franzen, a junior and FFA member at Turkey Valley. “Once I heard his idea, I knew that I wanted to do my part to get involved and help lead the drive. When I seen all of the devastation and everything that has washed away, I knew that I wanted to find a way to help these people out.”

Franzen and Pfaffle were able to find a specific family near Kennard, Neb., to donate to through local Farm Bureau agent and Isaac’s mom, Nancy Franzen.

“I was able to meet an agent from the area while I was at a training conference,” explained Nancy. “As soon as we heard of the drive, I got in touch with him and he was able to set us up with a family that was in dire need of assistance.”

The family of Ann Emery, who has a 44-head herd of cattle, is the family that will be on the receiving end of the hay and items. Her family lost its house as well as all 200 acres of its farm ground to the flood, including all of its hay supply.

Wed
10
Apr

First responders among the most vulnerable for getting PTSD

First responders among the most vulnerable for getting PTSD

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) doesn’t just affect military personnel; it can affect anyone who has experienced a trauma in their life. 

However, some, like first responders, are more susceptible to PTSD than others due to their line of work. When an emergency occurs and a first responder leaps into action, we don’t think about how that person is going to deal with the tragedy once a fire has been put out or a homicide investigation has wrapped up. 

“PTSD affects all of us, I don’t care who you are,” said Lisa Roberts, Fayette County Emergency Management coordinator. “In 2017, the suicide rate among first responders was up 116 percent across the country. What really brings it close to home for us here was the firefighter from Dubuque that took his own life about a month ago.”

That is why Fayette County EMA is hosting PTSD Awareness Training from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Fayette Public Library. It is open to first responders and their significant others, as well as the general public. 

Wed
10
Apr

Lape leaving for Oelwein

Lape leaving for Oelwein

 

 

By Jerry Wadian
jwadian@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

Monday, April 8, the NFV School Board officially accepted the resignation of head football and softball coach Bob Lape. 

A Pennsylvania native and UIU graduate, Lape leaves NFV after 29 years of teaching and coaching.

In his 11 years as head football coach, Lape amassed an enviable record of 93-32. He coached eight playoff teams, five of which made the semifinals and the 2014 squad won the Class 2A state title.

Wed
10
Apr

A gift beyond measure; Martin sees the benefits of organ donation

 

Karen Martin was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease when she was a young adult.  As a result of her condition, Martin was facing potential blindness.  Thanks to organ donation, Martin was able to regain her sight when she received  corneal transplants, three total to date.  

 

A gift beyond measure; Martin sees the benefits of organ donation

 

 

 

By Meagan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

In 2018, organ donation saved the lives of over 36,500 people including the 6,900 organ and tissue donations from living donors. 

“Organ and tissue donation is a gift that saves and heals thousands of lives each year,” Natalie Oakes, Professional Outreach Coordinator at the Iowa Donor Network.  

“It offers a second chance at life, a chance to move forward for the recipient as well as provides comfort and solace to the families of donors as their loved ones leave a lasting legacy of healing,” Oakes explained.  “Every 10 minutes, a new person is added to the national organ transplant waiting list and an average of 20 people die each day while waiting for a donor.  It is a gift beyond measure.” 

While one of the greatest accomplishments of modern medicine and saving lives around the world, the need for organs and tissue is vastly greater than the number available for transplant. 

There are currently over 113 thousand people on the national organ waiting list, 605 in Iowa.  

“One donor can save up to eight lives through donation, as well as save and heal more than 200 people through tissue donation,” said Oakes.  “So far this year, we have been able to help 27 people through organ donation and 78 through tissue donation.  That’s just the first three months of 2019.” 

“The gift you receive through donation is truly immeasurable,” said Karen Martin of Fayette who has been on the receiving end of corneal transplants three times now.  “Vision is so important, and I would be blind without the transplants.  I feel truly blessed.” 

Wed
03
Apr

Juicy IPA released at PIVO

 

Celebrating the release of PIVO Brewery’s new beer, Lavendar Fields Juicy IPA, are (l-r) Lavender Fields Inn owners Jeff and Barb Briza and PIVO Brewery owners Sara and Craig Neuzil. (Jennifer Olsen photo)

 

Juicy IPA released at PIVO

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

 

A collaborative effort between a pair of Calmar businesses resulted in the creation of a brand-new beer.

Lavendar Fields Juicy IPA, which was created by Lavender Fields Inn Bed and Breakfast owners Jeff and Barb Briza, is a citrus-forward India Pale Ale. The new brew was created by local brewers Craig and Sara Neuzil, the owners of PIVO Brewery.

The beer was officially released Friday afternoon with a special party at PIVO Brewery.

Wed
03
Apr

Gundersen debuts new helicopter in Decorah

 

Gundersen AIR staff, including (l-r) Shauna Schilling, flight nurse, and Ben Pfile, paramedic, stand next to the new medical helicopter, which is based in Decorah. The EC145 e-lite helicopter serves an area that includes a 150-mile radius of La Crosse, Wisc. (submitted photo)

 

Gundersen debuts new helicopter in Decorah

 

 

 

Gundersen Health System’s new emergency medical helicopter officially took flight last week.

The Gundersen AIR craft, which features the latest technology to increase patient and crew safety, will live in a new hangar at the Decorah Municipal Airport.

“Basing a helicopter in Decorah helps us to better serve our service area in Northeast Iowa and Southeast Minnesota by shortening response times and improving patient outcomes,” says Stephanie Hill, program director of Gundersen AIR.

Gundersen AIR has stationed a helicopter in a rented space at the Decorah Municipal Airport since June 2016. Gundersen AIR leaders partnered with the City of Decorah and Decorah Municipal Airport Commission to construct the new permanent hangar that opened March 4.

Wed
03
Apr

Kenny Staff excited for his next baseball adventure

 

 

Kenny Staff excited for his next baseball adventure

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

Play ball!

 

Kenny Staff excited for his next baseball adventure

 

Chris DeBack

 

Baseball has been Kenny Staff’s favorite sport for as long as he can remember. 

Growing up in Elgin in the 1950s, Staff recalls all the sandlot games he played with his friends. 

“I was always the last guy chosen when we played baseball in the summertime,” he said. “We would have about five or six guys on each team so we would play half the field. We made up our own rules, like if you hit the ball to right field it was a foul ball if you were a right handed hitter. Another rule would be the pitcher was like the first basemen. So, if you hit a ground ball to third and the third basemen through the ball to the pitcher before you reached first base you were out. We also used imaginary runners when we needed to.”

While he wasn’t good enough to see much action in high school, Staff enjoyed being on Valley’s varsity baseball team. The first time even ever stepped inside a major league ballpark was at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

Wed
03
Apr

Could Dotzy's have the best burger in Iowa?

 

Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon has been named a finalist in the 10th annual Best Burger Contest. Sponsored by the Iowa Beef Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Dotzy’s and owner Michael Ellison have the chance to be named the best burger in Iowa.  (Chris DeBack photo)

 

Could Dotzy's have the best burger in Iowa?

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

The people of Iowa have spoken, and Dotzy’s Restaurant and Saloon is a finalist in the 10th annual Best Burger contest.

Sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Dotzy’s is in the running to be named the best burger in Iowa.
“That’s a pretty big accomplishment and it’s part of what I set out to do,” said Michael Ellison, Dotzy’s owner. 

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