News

Wed
26
Feb

WMC receives top honors for high quality care

WMC receives top honors for high quality care

Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah received a four star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Overall Hospital Quality. The national average is achieving three of the five stars.

The star rating provides patients with information about multiple dimensions of quality in a single score. Star ratings are assigned based on a hospital's composite score of 51 quality metrics from Inpatient and Outpatient Quality Reporting programs. Those include: mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, and efficient use of medical imaging. 

Wed
26
Feb

Palmer's first leap year baby will turn 60, or 15

Clayton County Recorder Sue Ellen (Krieg) Meyer is a leap-day baby born on Feb. 29. She resides with her husband, Jeff, on Highway 13 outside of Elkader.

 

Palmer's first leap year baby will turn 60, or 15

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

Sue Ellen (Krieg) Meyer will be 60 on Feb. 29, or 15, depending on how you look at it.

“Just think, four years from now I can get my driver's license,” Meyer said, going along with another joke that those born on leap year will continue to hear and share when their birthday comes along every four years.

Meyer’s extra distinction happens to be that she was the first leap year baby, born Feb. 29, 1960, at West Union’s Palmer Memorial Hospital, which had recently been built in 1951.

So from 1960 to age 60, but only having 15 actual birthdays.

“Well my family always had a celebration for me as a little girl, I do remember finding when I got to school that most people (kids) had a day to call their own each year.  I had to wait four years to have a special day on the calendar. At first I didn't really like it much, but as years passed I figured out it was a benefit,” said Meyer who is the Clayton County Recorder.

This year I will be celebrating my 15th birthday, see the benefit, and yes I am having a party since it's my "15th" birthday,” she said jokingly.

Wed
26
Feb

Using Yoga for Classroom Relaxation

North Fayette Valley Language Arts Teacher Kelli Kovarik wanted to implement the relaxation of yoga into some of her classes.  After receiving a grant to purchase yoga gear, Kovarik invited Andrea Scott from Yoga Genesis in Fayette to come in and teach a session to her Public Speaking students.  

 

Using Yoga for Classroom Relaxation

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

            It was a few years ago when North Fayette Valley Language Arts teacher, Kelli Kovarik was at the annual Keystone Premier Education Conference (KPEC) that the idea of introducing yoga into her classroom first crossed her mind.

            “It started with meeting Molly Schreiber,” she remembered.  

“She runs the Challenge to Change program, and had everyone in the room relaxed and ready to go with yoga and meditation,” continued Kovarik. “There were hundreds of people at the session!  I was shocked to see so many there for ‘just’ yoga.” 

Challenge to Change was developed with the mission to teach lifelong wellness skills for the overall growth and support of the mind, body and spirit of all ages through the practices of fitness, yoga, mediation, and daily mindfulness.  

Through the program, the founders believe that in giving children the gift of yoga, mindfulness and meditation enables them to have choices and resources to self-regulate through movement and breath work.

“This is so our smart minds are connected to our kind hearts and our calm bodies,” Schreiber has said of the program.  

After her sessions with Schreiber at the KPEC conference, Kovarik started taking time out of her busy schedule as a high school teacher, a mother, and a wife to take a few breaths at our own local yoga studio, Yoga Genesis in Fayette with Andrea Scott.

Wed
26
Feb

Auto Launch program in Fayette County could save lives

The Gundersen helicopter is based in Decorah and can get to Fayette County in about 15 minutes. With the Auto Launch program, the initial calls for the aircrew get the helicopter in the sky faster to treat patients.  (Megan Molseed photo) 

 

AutoLaunch program in Fayette County could save lives

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

Last month, Fayette County introduced a new program that has already started saving lives.  

“This gives us an advantage and allows us to focus on what we need to in a call,” said Samantha Rumph one of the Fayette County Dispatchers.  

“With the old system we would have to take time away from the call to find the help that was needed,” she continued.  “This new program lets us save time in that process.” 

This new program, Auto Launch, the dispatchers are able to get a medical helicopter to a scene with one simple phone call.

“Before the Auto Launch program, the ground crews would arrive on the scene and determine whether a medical helicopter was needed,” explained Fayette County sheriff Marty Fisher.  

The Gundersen helicopter is based in Decorah. It can get to Fayette County in about 15 minutes. The initial calls get the helicopter in the sky faster to treat patients, even when it's not needed.

Wed
26
Feb

Clubhouse demolished at former West Union Country Club

There’s not much left to see of the old West Union Country Club building. The club house was razed recently. Currently there are no future plans for the site. (Jack Swanson photos)

 

Clubhouse demolished at former West Union Country Club

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

Memories of holes in one, golf cart runs through the hills, business deals being made, first prom dates, wedding receptions and more, got a little hazier recently, with the demolition of the Club House at the former West Union Country Club.

The two-story building that once held a kitchen, bar area, meeting room, and locker area, met its demise last week when it was completely demolished.

“It was going to cost more to renovate it than it would be to build a whole new building. It was really pretty far-gone. It needed to be fixed years ago,” said Adam Keller, who manages the property for owners Nor Ag.

Wed
19
Feb

Igloo building 101 with the Phillips family

Isaac Phillips (right) and sons Zachary and Samuel (l-r) enjoy the completed igloo at their rural Calmar home. The process involved plenty of planning and preparation and the team of igloo builders is already taking notes on how to make the design better for next winter. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

IIgloo building 101 with the Phillips family

 

Zakary Kriener

 

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

Sure, building a snowman can be a fun winter activity for some people – but for the Phillips family of rural Calmar was looking for something new. This winter, Isaac and sons Zachary, age 10, and Samuel, age 6, embarked on a new fun and educational project as they built an igloo in their own backyard.

“The idea came up last year when I had bought a new jungle gym for the kids and was trying to think of how we could use it in the winter as well,” explained Phillips, referring to the dome-shaped structure. “There are only so many winter activities that you can do and I wanted to come up with something different than building a snowman or a sledding hill. Because of the shape of the jungle gym, I saw the perfect opportunity to try to build an igloo.”

Phillips began to research the process of building an igloo, but since authentic igloos are built differently, there was not much information available to him.

“Traditional igloos are freestanding and built with bricks of snow,” explained the father of two. “I cheated a little bit, so I came up with most of the design plan on my own.”

The project began in Nov. 2019 when Isaac started the preparation process in order to be ready for the first snowfall.

Wed
19
Feb

Aeschliman leads the TigerHawks

North Fayette Valley sophomore, Chase Aeschliman played his very first game with the Tigerhawks junior varsity team last week.  Chase wowed the crowd as he sunk a three-pointer against the Oelwein Huskies.  (Photo courtesy of Kris Freitag) 

 

Aeschliman leads the TigerHawks

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

For many, it seemed like any other Monday night junior varsity basketball game as the Tigerhawk boys took on the Oelwein Huskies at home on Monday, February 12.   But, to 15 year-old Chase Aeschliman, this was no ordinary game as the six foot three North Fayette Valley sophomore prepared for something big - his first run onto the court since joining the team last year. 

“I was very nervous,” Chase said of that evening.  “I kept practicing my shots, but I didn’t know how I would actually do in that moment.” 

When Chase was 11 years old, he suffered a stroke stemming from a detached artery.  The stroke paralyzed the right side of Chase’s body.

Wed
19
Feb

Job Fair at Maple Crest February 26

The current staff at Maple Crest in Fayette will be welcoming candidates to the Job Fair on Feb. 26. A jungle theme for the event has been chosen to center around the care facility’s monkey mascot. (Jack Swanson photo)

 

Job Fair at Maple Crest February 26

 

Maple Crest Manor, 98 Bolger Drive in Fayette, is hosting it’s first every Job Fair, Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

They are looking to hire people in every department, including Dietary, Nursing and Housekeeping. There will be open interviews and applicants will be able to tour the facilities. Childcare will be available and refreshments will be served.

“We’re just hoping to get people in the door,” said Assisted Living Director and Director of Community Relations Angie Vagts.

Wed
19
Feb

On the road to recovery, DeBack's open-heart valve surgery goes well

Chris Deback holds up his heart pillow, showing where his heart was operated on during his open-heart surgery in January.  DeBack was born with Shones Syndrome,  a rare congenital heart disease consisting of multiple left heart obstructive defects.  (Megan Molseed photo) 

 

On the road to recovery, DeBack's open-heart valve surgery goes well

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

“The support and well wishes from the community have been amazing,” smiled Chris DeBack of the many messages he received before, during, and after his January open-heart surgery.

“All of the thoughts and prayers made the healing go quicker,” continued the West Union man. “I could really feel the support.”

DeBack was diagnosed with Shone’s Syndrome, a rare congenital heart disease, shortly after birth.

With this syndrome, the patient experiences a variety of left-sided heart obstructions and lesions.

“There is the coarctation of the aorta, where a portion of the artery is narrow,” explained DeBack. “My mitrovalve just didn’t open very well.”

At six-weeks old, the New York State native had his first open-heart operation to repair the coarctation.

“There was a fifty-fifty chance that this surgery would last my lifetime,” said DeBack. “It was also just as likely that it would, overtime, become narrow again.”

Over the years, DeBack had multiple small surgeries to help with the symptoms including a stent put in his aorta

when he was 16.

“I met with a cardiologist once a year to monitor everything,” he explained.

“The surgery I had when I was 6 weeks old was to correct the coarctation, but I still had a bicuspid aortic valve and mitral valve stenosis. A ballooning surgery helped by temporarily widening the narrow portion of my aorta after it recoarced,” said DeBack, noting that this portion of Shone’s Syndrome didn’t create too big of a deal if monitored regularly.

“When I was that little, it really didn’t create any problems,” he explained. “As I got older, though, it became something I did have to watch.”

Wed
19
Feb

County-wide goal is safety

Representatives from the Ohio based company Optotraffic met with Fayette County Law Enforcement members as well as area council members to discuss the possible installation of LiDAR equipment throughout Fayette County.  (Megan Molseed photo)

 

County-wide goal is safety

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

“When all is said and done, this simply comes down to safety,” said Optotraffic representative, Cory Kuzyk during a meeting with Fayette County law enforcement and council members last week.  “The goal is to get drivers to slow down.” 

“This is part of a county-wide safety initiative,” added West Union Police Chief, Paul Becthold.  “The goal is to reduce the number of accidents, accident related injuries, fatalities, and damages.” 

Founded in 2005 as a division of an aerospace engineering company, Optotraffic offers LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology with its patented “above the road” systems.

“The goal we are aiming for is creating a county-wide effort to monitor drivers to increase safety,” noted Becthold.  “We want to be as transparent as possible.  The goal is to get drivers, throughout the county, to watch their speed and focus on safety.” 

During last week’s Tuesday evening meeting, members of the West Union, Fayette, Clermont, Oelwein, and Arlington city councils, as well as members of the local and county law enforcement met with Kuzyk and David Mostofi of Optotraffic to discuss options in installing the LiDAR technology throughout the county.

“We have talked about something like this in the past, but we don’t want to be the first to do it,” said one Oelwein council member.  “If we do this county-wide it will have a greater impact and will be much more effective.” 

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