News

Wed
20
Dec

A delicious tradition

 

Julie Larson (left) explains how to make the Norwegian delicacy lefse as Nolan Belden and Kara Elliot learn the process.

 

A delicious tradition

 

 

 

Vicki Rowland

Contributing Writer

 

 

Christmas is a time for tradition and family. Although I can claim some Norwegian heritage, my grandmother never made the Norwegian delicacies that our family has come to enjoy while living in Clermont. 

So when Julie Larson of rural Clermont offered a “Lefse-Making Party coupon” for sale at East Clermont Lutheran Church’s silent auction recently, I was determined to be the winning bidder.

Wed
20
Dec

Sewing for a mission

 

(L-r) Jan Pleggenkuhle, Marilyn Westpfahl, and Joanie Weidemann, members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hawkeye, have recycled hundreds of cloth bags to give to various missions. Now the ministry is expanding to other congregations. (Submitted photo)

Sewing for a mission

 

by Marcia Hahn

Coordinator for Communications and Events with the Northeastern Iowa Synod

 

 

 

A renewal of sorts is building momentum in the Northeastern Iowa Synod, where some enterprising women are giving discarded bags a new purpose in mission. 

In 2016, Marilyn Westpfahl, member of Trinity Lutheran Church of Hawkeye, learned about a supply of bags wrapped in plastic packaging that were earmarked for the landfill because a company no longer had use for them. She had a better idea for the bags – remake them to send to Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and other nonprofit organizations.

Westpfahl took a few to her congregation’s sewing groups, and they discovered the canvas bags were sturdy and easy to work with, whether cutting or sewing. Excitement quickly grew for the possibilities these bags could bring. 

Wed
20
Dec

Fair Board approves new midway for fair

Fair Board approves new midway for fair

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

For the third year in a row the Fayette County Fair Board is going to try a different midway.

In a close vote at the Fair Board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec 12, it approved, 6-5, working with Sweet Fun Carnival and Concessions from Queen City, Mo. The carnival will bring four rides, four kids’ rides, four to six bounce houses, five to six games, and two food stands. The carnival will also be at the Allamakee and Clayton county fairs. 

A lengthy discussion on whether or not to go with the carnival ensued before the vote. Andy Bilden, Fayette County Fair Board member, pushed for the organization to go with his idea of using bounce houses. He noted that he would raise funds from surrounding town organizations, church groups, and other nonprofit organizations. The Fair Board would own bounce houses but would allow other organizations to use them free of charge for local events, such as the West Union Fourth of July celebration. 

Wed
20
Dec

The gift of hope

 

Holding one of the few photos he has of the baby he and then girlfriend Melissa (Schmitt) Thompson gave up for adoption as teenagers, Troy Johansen put out a desperate plea to find the son they had never forgotten. After requesting help on social media, the parents have been reunited with the young man they had never met. A trip to Colorado to meet son Chris Graham is planned for the new year.  

 

The gift of hope

 

 

Megan Molseed

Contributing Writer

 

 

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Troy Johansen quietly reflected of his choice, along with then girlfriend, Melissa (Schmitt) Thompson, to put their newborn son up for adoption nearly 30 years ago.

“He was our baby, and his quality of life was the most important thing to us,” Troy continued, looking down at one of the very few photos he had received of the son he and Melissa had selflessly given up for adoption so many winters ago.

“It was hard to say goodbye, but we made the right choice at the time,” he said. 

It was a snowy winter evening in January 1988 when 17-year-old Troy got the call that Melissa, who was staying in Dubuque at the time, was in labor.

“There are so many things about that night that are crystal clear to me, and others that I can’t even remember,” Johansen recalled quietly. “I can tell you exactly how many inches of snow we had, but I can’t tell you how long it took me to get to them [Melissa and the baby].”

Shortly after Troy’s arrival, the young couple welcomed a healthy baby boy named Derek Lee into the world.

“He was so perfect,” Melissa remembered. “I remember thinking, ‘This is why they call babies bundles of joy!’” 

After just a few days of bonding with their son, the young parents had to face one of the hardest moments a parent could imagine – saying goodbye and letting 3-day-old Derek go.

“I knew, even then, that I wanted him to have a good life, the best life…and that was something I couldn’t give him, being so young,” Melissa said of that life-changing moment. “I said to myself that I would gladly give away a piece of my heart – the piece belonging to my son – if I could make sure he had everything he deserved.”

As time went on, Troy and Melissa finished high school and went on with their lives. All the while, little Derek remained firmly in their thoughts.

Wed
13
Dec

Warrior girls get on track with pair of wins

 

Freshman standout Ali Hoffert drives toward the lane during last week’s 48-36 win over UIC foe North Fayette Valley. Hoffert dropped 12 points and had a team-high 12 rebounds, as well as an assist, a pair of steals, and a block. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

Warrior girls get on track with pair of wins

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

After a rough 0-2 start for the South Winneshiek girls’ basketball team, the Warriors turned it around and notched a pair of wins over Upper Iowa Conference foes North Fayette Valley and Clayton Ridge.

North Fayette Valley

The Warriors hosted the NFV TigerHawks Tuesday, Dec. 5, in Calmar as they picked up their first win of the season by a score of 48-36.

“We did a better job defensively tonight,” said coach Steve Hoffert after the rivalry win. “Our rebounding was key and we took care of the basetball.”

Wed
13
Dec

CFS successful in LEGO League program

 

CFS’s Lego League team, Hydro Diamonds, are off to state! Members of the team include (front, l-r) Haylee Hanson, Holly Schmitt, Katie Shimek, Izzy Kuboushek; (back) Rachel Meyer, Autumn Schmitt, Maddy Jansen, and Kalissa Schmelzer. (submitted photo)

 

CFS successful in LEGO League program

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

 

In its first year of competition at CFS Schools, the FIRST LEGO League program is off and running. The boys’ team, The Plunging Pirates, and the girls’ team, Hydro Diamonds, recently participated at the Regional competition in Cedar Falls. With a strong performance, the Hydro Diamonds were one of nine teams to advance to the Iowa FIRST LEGO League State Championship to be held on Jan. 14, 2018.

Wed
13
Dec

New water meters being installed in Ossian

 

The Ossian City maintenance crew, including Don DiLaura, is preparing to begin replacing the old residential and commercial water meters (right hand) with the newer Badger Ultrasonic meters (left hand). The new meters will be more accurate than the old meters, which are over 20 years old. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

New water meters being installed in Ossian

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

 

The City of Ossian’s maintenance department will be working vigorously over the coming weeks to install the approximately 425 new Badger E-Series Ultrasonic Water Flow Meters throughout the community. The new water meters arrived last week, and after a short test run, the meters are being installed in every Ossian residence and commercial site.

“The current water meters are outdated and were due to be replaced,” explained City maintenance worker Don DiLaura. “The old meters were recommended for 20 years and were installed in 1996, so they were due.”

Wed
13
Dec

Cookie & Candy Extravaganza at the Elgin Library

Cookie and Candy Extravaganza at the Elgin Library

 

 

Saturday, Dec. 16, the Elgin Public Library will hold its annual Cookie & Candy Extravaganza. The event will take place at the library from 9 a.m. to noon.

Whether you are donating the suggested $15.00 or providing at least four dozen of your famous goodies, please have them to the library Friday between 1p.m. and 5 p.m. or Saturday morning by 8 a.m.

We hope you can also come and fill a box with special treats made by other members of the Friends group. For $5.00 a pound, you can take home a very nice selection of holiday sweets. Or, you can take the kids with you and deliver a box of Christmas cheer to that special someone you know. You will likely receive a nice smile and a big thank you in return.

 

Wed
13
Dec

Bingo! Elgin Legion hosts popular games on Tuesdays

 

American Legion Post 352 of Elgin hosts bingo the first three Tuesdays of every month from October through May at the Elgin Tap in Elgin. Connie Pfister and Marilana Sutter (l-r) dab their bingo card after caller David Katsumes reads off a number.  

 

Elgin Legion hosts popular game on Tuesdays

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

American Legion Post 352 of Elgin has just the thing to turn that dull Tuesday evening during the winter months into a great time with family and friends. 

Don’t miss bingo at the Elgin Tap the first three Tuesdays of the month through May. In June July, August, the American Legion will host bingo one Tuesday evening per month, before bumping back up to two Tuesdays in September and then back to three Tuesdays from October through the following May. 

“We have a good following, as people come from Clermont and Wadena and even as far away as West Union and Fayette,” said bingo caller David Katsumes. “The only organizations that can host bingo are nonprofit organizations such as American Legions, Lions Clubs, and other service organizations. We got a permit from the Iowa Department of Revenue because we have to collect 7 percent sales tax on every pot and send it in quarterly. We have to write down exactly how many cards are sold.”

Bingo cards are 50 cents per card per round, and the winner receives a small pot based on the number of cards sold that round. The Legion will play 16 rounds of regular bingo each evening. A person simply needs to get five numbers in a row horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or get a number in each of the four corners. A final blackout round is played at the end of the evening. To win the blackout round, a contestant simply needs to fill in the entire bingo card.

Katsumes isn’t your run-of-the-mill, monotone bingo caller. In fact, the local attorney adds a little charm to each call with unique sayings to differentiate certain numbers. 

Wed
13
Dec

Turning Hawkeye into an Internet hub

 

Hawkeye Telephone Company is trying to turn Hawkeye into an Internet communication hub by expanding its fiber network across northeast Iowa. Alex Soderquist, Hawkeye Telephone Company general manager, holds some of the fiber optic cables it uses.  Chris DeBack photo

 

Turning Hawkeye into an Internet hub

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Hawkeye Telephone Company is expanding its fiber optic network across northeast Iowa in hopes of making Hawkeye a telecommunications hub for the area. 

Alex Soderquist, Hawkeye Telephone Company general manager, noted that in the past year the company has run fiber from West Union to Decorah, going through Eldorado, Festina, and Calmar. This allowed Soderquist to connect to Decorah’s MetroNet, which is a ring of fiber-optic cables that run around the city. He recently ran fiber-optic cables through Manchester and to Fayette, as well. The company’s headquarters in Hawkeye is the main hub for most of its services, but it also has a smaller hub in Maynard. 

“The idea behind doing this was a couple different reasons,” Soderquist said. “One, we are trying to expand our commercial services beyond the areas we have had in the past, so getting ourselves up to Decorah was a big step. We want to offer a fiber-optic option versus what other [telecommunication] providers are currently giving them.

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