News

Wed
25
Sep

West Union re-designated as an Iowa Great Place

 Amie Johansen (West Union Deputy City Clerk), Rod Marlatt (Fayette County Conservation Director), and Mallory Hanson (Fayette County Economic Development & Tourism Director) are pictured with Chris Kramer (Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director), Representative Brian Best, and members of the Iowa Great Places Citizens Advisory Board. Signs like the one in the photo will be going up in West Union.

 

West Union re-designated as an Iowa Great Place

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

Community leaders from West Union, Iowa traveled to Perry recently to attend the 2019 Iowa Great Places Annual Meeting where it was announced that West Union received re-designation as an Iowa Great Place.

 

Amie Johansen (West Union Deputy City Clerk), Rod Marlatt (Fayette County Conservation Director), and Mallory Hanson (Fayette County Economic Development & Tourism Director) met with other Great Places leaders from across the state to discuss community development, public art and parks and trail-way art. 

 

“We feel fortunate. Not every community got redesignated. We’re excited,” Johansen said.

 

The Iowa Great Places program recognizes and partners with communities “who cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of their local places, such as neighborhoods, districts or regions, to make them great places to live and work.”

 

As part of the Iowa Great Places program, West Union will receive access to funding opportunities, professional development training, and technical assistance opportunities, a be included in a network of communities and leaders, and other state and local resources.

 

“Iowa is becoming a more culturally vibrant state with communities that have world-class arts, beautiful streetscapes and a blend of well-preserved historic properties and new buildings," said Chris Kramer, Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. "This program has been a big part of that success by investing in arts, media, culture and historic preservation as a way to boost quality of life, grow economic opportunities and make our communities more attractive to visitors and residents. We're proud to partner with our Iowa Great Places and congratulate them on their success."

 

West Union’s original Iowa Great Places designation was in 2008. Through partnerships and funding from multiple sources, including the Iowa Great Places program, the City was able to implement major projects including a new downtown streetscape to include porous pavement and pavers, rain gardens and bioswales, and other innovative facilities. The City has also worked with various partners to increase walkabilitiy and bikability throughout town and was able to upgrade the Courthouse Square Plaza. 

In 2019, the community came together once again to update their Great Places Vision Plan. 

Wed
18
Sep

EF-0 tornado confirmed near Ossian

The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-0 tornado touched down near Ossian at approximately 5 p.m. Thursday evening. The tornado traveled approximately one mile on the ground, damaging buildings and knocking down trees in its path. (Amy Hendrickson Knutson photo)

 

EF-0 tornado confirmed near Ossian

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-0 tornado touched down near Ossian on Thursday evening. The tornado produced winds of 80 miles per hour (estimated) and stayed on the ground for 2.83 miles.

The tornado started south of Ossian near County Road W42 and traveled east-northeast to near 185th Avenue. The maximum width of the tornado reached 150 yards.

Wed
18
Sep

Wadena Grand Marshal helps throughout community

Randy Weber will be this year’s Parade Grand Marshal at Wadena Fun Day, Saturday, Sept. 21. He is shown here in front of the town’s Veterans’ Memorial that he helped build. (Jack Swanson photo)

 

Wadena Grand Marshal helps throughout community

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

Randy Weber has been on the Wadena City Council for the last 15 years but his service to the community goes beyond that. That dedication to his community will be recognized Saturday, Sept. 21, when he will be the Grand Marshal of the Wadena Days Parade.

Weber has been a Wadena resident since 1991. He and his wife, Annette, a teacher at Valley Elementary School, have two sons; Jordan, a junior at the University of Northern Iowa, and Ethan, a junior at North Fayette Valley High School.

Randy is self-employed doing all types of electrical work and construction. He has shared these skills with the community on several of their major projects.

Currently he’s helping with the construction of an addition to the Fire Station and serves on the Fire Department Board. He donated his labor and use of his equipment during the construction of the town’s Veterans’ Memorial. He also did the work to convert the town’s lighted cross to LED technology.

Randy is not bragging about his service and would have continued to have done it thanklessly had it not been for this latest honor.

“I don’t really know why they picked me, but they asked me and I said I’d do it,” he related humbly.

Wed
18
Sep

Montauk Fall Festival to celebrate the apple

Montauk Historic Site Coordinator Hannah Frederick stands in front of the orchard at the historic mansion near Clermont. She is inviting all visitors to come to the site on Saturday, Sept. 21, and sample the apples and join in the activities at the Fall Fesitval.

 

Montauk Fall Festival to celebrate the apple

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

Montauk Historic Site Coordinator Hannah Frederick

said things could become fruity at the site’s annual Fall Festival, Saturday, Sept. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m.

This year an extra emphasis will be put on apples and fruit trees. 

Wed
18
Sep

Chosen Homecoming Parade Grand Marshals

Janann and Alan Seabrooke of Elgin are being honored this year as the Upper Iowa University Homecoming Parade Grand Marshals. Their Peacock pride is evident by their team apparel and home decoratives. (Jack Swanson photo)

 

Chosen Homecoming Parade Grand Marshals

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

You could say the life events of Alan and Janann Seabrooke of Elgin have almost gone hand in hand with Upper Iowa University in Fayette. That connection is soon to be recognized when they serve as the Grand Marshals of the Upper Iowa Homecoming Day parade.

“Tie Dye and Tailfeathers” is the 2019 theme as the University hosts its annual Homecoming celebration Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 3-5. The traditional UIU Homecoming parade will begin in downtown Fayette at noon Saturday, Oct. 5.

“I almost cried. It’s a great honor,” Janann said when she heard the news that she and her husband were going to be honored in this year’s parade.

“It’s humbling. I’m very pleased,” was Alan’s reaction to the news.

The Seabrookes have been going to UIU homecomings for as long as they can remember. They both graduated from the university, as well as their son and two of their grandsons. Janann’s sister and husband, Nona and Wayne Sawyer, also are UIU grads. The Seabrookes’ daughter, Jill, was also a UIU student for a year. They contribute financially to the school on a regular basis and to call them “supporters” is probably putting it mildly.

Wed
18
Sep

Cruise taking off Saturday from Echo Valley

Fayette County Economic Development and Tourism Director Mallory Hanson (right) and Conservation Director Rod Marlatt check out a 1966 Ford Mustang owned by Mike Boleyn of Elgin that will be part of the cruise Saturday, Sept. 21. They are at the location where the cruise will start, Echo Valley State Park, east of West Union. The cruise kicks off the centennial of the State Park system in Iowa.

 

Cruise taking off Saturday from Echo Valley

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

As many as 100 or more vintage cars could be descending on Echo Valley State Park near West Union to begin the first ever Iowa State Park Centennial Celebration car cruise, Saturday, Sept. 21.

The centennial year actually starts in 2020, recognizing Backbone State Park near Strawberry Point becoming the first State Park in 1920.

Wed
18
Sep

Tap't Out coming full circle with addition of family

This summer, Tap’t Out Stein-N-Dine in West Union re-opened its doors under the management of previous owners Troy (right) and Amie (left) Johansen. However, the bar and restaurant has some new blood this time around as Troy’s son, Chris Graham (center) and his mother, Melissa Thompson (not pictured), are also part of the team. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

Tap't Out coming full circle with addition of family

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

It’s a bit of a blast from the past on Main Street, West Union as longtime downtown bar and restaurant Tap’t Out Stein-N-Dine is back open for business.

After closing in 2013 and operating under different ownership for a brief time, the original Tap’t Out is back – but with a bit of a twist this time.

“At the beginning of this year, we first started talking about possible opening it back up,” said Troy Johansen. “My son, Chris (Graham) was living in Fort Collins, Colorado, and was debating moving back to the area to help run the restaurant. I showed him a few pictures of Tap’t Out back when it was open and I think that helped convince him.”

As many in the area may already know, Chris has a very unique story. Graham is the son of Johansen and Melissa Thompson, who gave birth to him in 1988. Because they were so young at the time, they decided to put Chris up for adoption. They spent the majority of their lives not knowing  where Chris was or how he was doing.

Recently, in 2017, Troy, wife Amie, and Melissa reconnected with Chris in Colorado and the family began a new chapter that included Chris returning home to Iowa.

Wed
18
Sep

Fair profits help cut loan in half

Fair profits help cut loan in half

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

You could almost feel it in the air as you walked into the Stephens Building. The general attitude of the entire Fayette County Fair Board at the monthly meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 10, was one of contentment almost to the point of being ecstatic. You thought at any moment they would be breaking out bottles of champagne, well at least cans of Busch, and begin spraying it around the room. 

Wed
11
Sep

Search warrant reveals meth lab in Ossian

Search warrant reveals meth lab in Ossian

 

Search warrant reveals meth lab in Ossian

At 11:13 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office executed a meth lab search warrant at 119 W. Main Street in Ossian. During the search of the residence, evidence indicated that Kistina Reinsvold, 35, of Ossian and Brian Brainard, 33, of Lansing had been manufacturing methamphetamine.

Due to the nature of evidence found, precautions were taken and law enforcement was required to dress in full protective geat with SCBA equipment.

Following the search warrant, the Ossian Fire Department assisted law enforcement with the decontamination process.

Reinsvold and Brainard were transported to the Winneshiek County Jail and charged with manufacturing of methamphetamine, possession of precursor ammonia nitrate with intent to manufacture, and possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) 3rd or subsequent.

Wed
11
Sep

Saying thank you the best way he knows how

LaVerne and Julie Anderson of Ossian are saying ‘thank you’ the best way they know how on Saturday, Sept. 21, when they host Andyland Fun Day at their home (1732 160th Street). The event is LaVerne’s way of thanking the community and the families of those who have supported him as he battles cancer. The day will feature dozens of kids’ games, including the pig train and much more. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

Saying thank you the best way he knows how

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

For well-known Ossian man LaVerne Anderson, the past year of his life has been a bit of a rollercoaster. After being diagnosed with cancer last November, Anderson has faced an onslaught of ups and downs over the past 10 months. Despite the challenges, he and his wife Julie are planning a day of fun this fall to thank those who have supported him.

“Everything started when I went to the dentist in November of last year for a routine checkup,” said Anderson. “My hygienist felt a lump in my neck and suggested that I get it looked at.”

Two days later, LaVerne and Julie made the trip to La Crosse, Wis., where he was diagnosed with neck cancer.

“My team of doctors put together a plan that would include radiation five days per week and one day of chemo,” explained Anderson, a longtime maintenance worker at Ossian Senior Hospice. “We felt confident with the plan and continued to treat it through the early part of this year.”

Following his radiation/chemotherapy regimen, LaVerne underwent a surgery to clean out the area of his neck affected by the cancer, which included the removal of one of his jugular veins.

“At the end of May, we went back for a PET scan,” continued Anderson. “We were excited about the day and thought that I was completely in the clear.”

However, upon receiving the results of the PET scan, LaVerne and Julie learned that there was more cancer in his body.

“They found spots on my hip, in my lungs, on my sternum, and in my arm,” said LaVerne. “They did a bone biopsy and learned that it was the same cancer that was in my neck.”

The Andersons decided to continue LaVerne’s care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he would begin a new treatment that would include chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“This all began in the middle of June,” he said. “I would get two rounds of chemotherapy and a treatment of immunotherapy once every three weeks. The initial plan is to do six rounds in hopes of slowing down the cancer.”

Through all of his challenges over the past year, one thing that the cancer has not been able to affect is LaVerne’s willingness to help others and provide entertainment for children.

“Through all of this, Julie and I have been overwhelmed by the support from the community,” said LaVerne. “From the day that we found out, we received gift cards, gas cards, food, offers for rides to treatments and other things from people to show their love and support. It has been really overwhelming.”

LaVerne and Julie went on to say that even people who no longer live in the area have reached out to offer their support.

“Through my diagnosis and all of the treatments over the last year, I have not shed one tear,” explained an emotional LaVerne. “But when I think about the support that I have gotten from everyone, that’s when I start to tear up. It’s amazing to realize the generosity of our little community.”

For LaVerne, he quickly realized that the best way to say thank you to the community is to do what he enjoys most.

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