News

Wed
27
May

Gundersen Decorah Clinic offering COVID - 19 drive-up testing

Gundersen Decorah Clinic offering COVID - 19 drive-up testing

 

A COVID-19 drive-up testing site has been set up at Gundersen Decorah Clinic.

The testing site is operational from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. All patients must first call (563) 382-3140 for a pre-screening. If they meet qualifications for testing, patients will be scheduled for the drive-up testing.

If you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms outside of these drive-up testing hours of operation, call Gundersen Telephone Nurse Advisors 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (608) 775-4454 or (800) 858-1050.

Wed
27
May

Winneshiek County Auditor seeing record absentee ballots

Winneshiek County Auditor seeing record absentee ballots

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines is expecting a low voter turnout for the primary election June 2, but regardless, he says polling places and poll workers will be prepared for greeting voters in a safe manner.

Steines said the record number of absentee ballots already turned in indicate voters are voting early. For those who still want to cast their ballot in person, sanitation measures will be in place to help stop the spread of COVID – 19.

“We have consolidated down to three voting locations.  The poll workers at those locations will be provided masks, gloves, face shields, disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, etc., to try to keep the location as clean as possible.  We are also encouraging voters to bring their own blue or black pen.  We will have pens, and will wipe them off between use, but voters could minimize this potential hazard by bringing their own.  For the safety of other voters and poll workers, voters are encouraged to practice safe social distancing while in the polling location,” Steines explained.

Wed
27
May

Brick City Bar and Grill opens its doors

Brick City owner Jeff Alber said he expects more changes coming at the bar and restaurant later this week after new restrictions are announced for bar openings. “The food part of Brick City is only a part of its personality. We have cancelled all of our live entertainment for the year. It’s definitely not a social place to go with these restrictions and that’s what we are,” Alber said. (Submitted photo)

 

Brick City Bar and Grill opens its doors

 

By Jack Swanson

jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

A shortage of customers and meat are the things that restaurant owner Jeff Alber is the most concerned about right now.

He opened the doors to Brick City Bar and Grill in Clermont last week on a limited basis after the Governor gave Iowa restaurants the okay to welcome customers back to the table. Restaurants were closed about two months ago due to concerns about the spread of COVID–19.

Friday, May 15, was opening night.

“We opened to see how it would go. We only did 25 percent dine in,” Alber related.

Wed
27
May

Elgin Library offers multiple social distancing activities

Theo Torkelson takes a peak at the Elgin Library’s new Look-and-Find Window, a kind of I-Spy game designed for social distancing.  (submitted photo)

 

Elgin Public Library offers multiple social distancing activities

 

By Megan Molseed

mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

While the Elgin Public Library is not ready to fully open up for regular business quite yet, library director Lisa Leuck, library employees, and the Elgin Public Library board are working hard to make sure materials are available to those who need them. 

“As with everyone during this time, I felt anxiety, disappointment, and sadness,” Leuck said of the day she closed the library doors in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.  “I also felt a lot of guilt for not being able to offer materials during a time when they were so needed.” 

Through this pick-up service, which was developed by the local library, area residents are able to check out almost any material they would like by first ordering the item, and then scheduling a pick up time.    

Wed
27
May

Heaven opening date not yet known

Lisa Goodwin isn’t sure yet whether she will open Heaven Boutique Winery when bars in Iowa get the okay on Thursday, May 28. The winery and gift shop is located near the entrance to the Volga River Recreation Area, north of Fayette. (Jack Swanson photo)

 

Heaven opening date not yet known

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

Heaven isn’t open.

And although it can open on Thursday, May 28, owner Lisa Goodwin doesn’t know if she’s ready.

Heaven Boutique Winery has had to have its doors closed since the end of March to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions on bars in Iowa. Located near the entrance to Volga Lake Recreation Area about four miles north of Fayette, off of Highway 150, the shop offers native Iowa wines, art and gifts by Iowa artists, and “one-of-a-kind” lodging. One of its main attractions, before the closure, was wine tastings every day, which would wet customers’ appetites to take home a bottle of their choice.

In the meantime Goodwin has been doing online sales and curbside pickup that she described as “worthwhile.”

Bars recently got the okay to open on May 28, provided they follow a set of protocols.

Wed
27
May

2020 Hawkeye Fun Day canceled

2020 Hawkeye Fun Day canceled

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

It started as a kid’s parade nearly four decades ago, and has since grown into one of the area’s most beloved traditions, the weekend-long Hawkeye Fun Days celebration. 

From the popular 5k run, to the Saturday morning parade, to games in the park and live music around town, to the infamous tractor pull, generations of area residents plan on spending that weekend in June enjoying the festivities.  

However, this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those festivities will not be happening. 

Wed
27
May

TigerHawk Meals program returning to the district this summer

The TigerHawk meals program will be returning to the area starting June 1.  Meals will be served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until noon at Bethel Presbyterian Church in West Union and at the Fayette elementary in Fayette. (Megan Molseed photo) 

 

TigerHawk Meals program returning to the district this summer

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

“There is still a huge need for a program like this in our area,” noted Stacie Schroeder of the importance of the summer long TigerHawk Meals program.  

“Food insecurity can come from a lot of avenues, not just the inability to afford food,” she continued.  “The school lunch program has been providing meals for over 280 kids a day, so we know this is a service that families could benefit from.” 

The lunch program, which started last summer will operate Monday through Friday and is open to all children ages 17 years and under.  

“There is no sign-up, all you have to do is show up,” said Schroeder.  “It’s available to all children who wish to take part in the program.” 

Wed
27
May

Public can expect changes when coming back to the courthouse

Public can expect changes when coming back to the courthouse

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

“We will be operating under a new normal when the courthouse opens on June 1.”

That comment came from Fayette County Treasurer Kyle Jacobsen who went on to explain how his office is changing so it can greet the public again after being closed for about two months due to the COVID-19 shut down.

The one thing that will remain the same are the hours for service.  The driver's license service in West Union is on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Driver's license is closed on Tuesdays in West Union, but open in Oelwein from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Driver's license services in Oelwein recently moved to a new facility at 6 S. Frederick Ave. For vehicle titles and registrations as well as property taxes, the hours remain 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday in West Union.  

For those wanting to do business in the Treasurer’s office, you might not be able to walk right in.

“One new item being implemented is a limit of three customers in the office at one time.  We encourage only the person(s) required to complete the transaction to come into the courthouse.  Extended family or friends should remain outside.  Transactions will also take longer as we will be spending more time cleaning and disinfecting between customers.  Driving tests will remain suspended for a while longer,” Jacobsen pointed out.

Wed
27
May

GOP supervisor seat to be determined

GOP Supervisor seat to be determined

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

One thing that you could say that was positive that came out of the Corvid – 19 pandemic is renewed interest in the election process.

On Tuesday, June 2, the primary election will take place, but Fayette County Auditor Lori Moellers has reported that she already has more absentee votes cast than the totals for absentee and regular election votes for the years 2016 and 2018. 

In order to help stop the spread of the virus, voters were encouraged early to vote absentee and ballots were sent to every registered voter in the State through the Secretary of State’s office.

Absentee ballot request forms were also submitted to the Auditor’s Office.

“We’ve had 2,890 requests and 1,521 ballots have been filed to date,” said Moellers last week. 

In 2018 a total of 1,029 votes were cast, including 121 absentee votes. In 2016, 1,054 votes were cast, 147 absentee.

Wed
20
May

Fate of Winneshiek County Fair still up in the air

Fate of Winneshiek County Fair still up in the air

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

The Winneshiek County Fair Board met Monday night, May 11, for their regular monthly meeting. One of the topics was the 2020 Fair.

Fair Board member DeAnn Christopher reported there were a lot of questions and concerns “that go far beyond the scope of our usual business. We as a Board are taking these questions very serious for our community.”

Will it be held, if it is held, in what capacity, were some of the questions that came up.

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