Year in Review - Part I: Top local news stories from January-June 2021

Educating with Ioponics ... A pair of Waukon High School graduates will be helping to educate students across Iowa as part of the Wartburg College Ioponics program that received the Iowa STEM Scale-Up Program Grant. Pictured at right, left to right, Waukon High School 2019 graduate and current Wartburg College sophomore Michaela Dehli and 1989 Waukon High School graduate and current Assistant Professor in Science Education in Wartburg’s Biology Department Dr. Michael Bechtel are part of a team that will be helping to educate Iowa students through the Wartburg Ioponics program, part of which is pictured with the two area natives. Submitted photo.

To read the the full article, Year in Review - Part 1: Top local news stories from January-June 2021, pick up this week's print edition or subscribe to our e-edition by clicking here.

Below is a portion of that article, January through March, summarizing the top news stories that appeared in The Standard.

The New Albin City Council met in a special session Monday, December 29 to discuss a change in the office of Mayor of New Albin. Current mayor Josh Dreps has recently moved outside of the city limits of the City of New Albin, and therefore can no longer serve as Mayor of New Albin.

Discussion ensued in regard to filling the mayor position, with council member Alberto Whitlatch expressing interest in assuming the office. After considerable discussion, a nomination was made, seconded and unanimously approved to appoint Whitlatch to the office of mayor for the remaining one year of the current term of that office.

Veterans Memorial Hospital physicians and staff have announced that the First Baby of the Year born at the hospital was Alyxzandr Mikkel Runice, son of Chanda Halvorson and Cody Runice of Waukon.    He joins siblings Addysen, Karsyn, Kaydahlynn, Karvyr and Amiiyah at home. Alyxzandr was born January 3, 2021 at 11:01 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces and measuring 19-3/4 inches long.

Good Samaritan Society-Waukon welcomed a new Senior Director as of January 11. Steven Bargar assumed that administrative role at Good Samaritan Society-Waukon, filling that role previously held by Cathy (Smikle) Taylor, LNHA, who left the organization in order to move closer to her family.

Allamakee County Public Health is asking for the public’s help in refraining from calling their office about COVID-19 vaccine shots. There is no sign-up list for individuals to add their name to for vaccinations in Allamakee County at this point in time.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has issued an updated Phase 1B statement and tier categories that will include people aged 65 years and older. However, vaccine remains in short supply, and this means not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get vaccinated right away.

This past week, Allamakee County Public Health (ACPH) received 300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the State of Iowa to be administered to eligible individuals in tier 1B. These doses were divided among ACPH, The Prescription Shoppe in Postville and Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) Clinic in Waukon.

ACPH focused on vaccinating the additional tier groups in Phase 1B of school districts, law enforcement and first responders, while community partners The Prescription Shoppe and VMH Clinic administered to individuals aged 65 and older. Another 300 doses are expected be received this week - a trend anticipated to continue into early March, according to what ACPH officials have been told.

Women of today continue to smash glass ceilings, whether in business and industry, sports, politics, science, the military, and many other realms. Waukon native Andrea (Blocker) Scheving is one of those individuals who has, literally, worked her way up the ranks to the rarefied air of achievement that only a limited few experience. Making a career in the U.S. Air Force, the 2003 graduate of Waukon High School was recently honored with an achievement only one percent of all enlisted Airmen ever receive, being promoted to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.

Most of Waukon and the immediate surrounding area is familiar with the Vets Club in Waukon. Faced with some financial challenges and dwindling participation within area veteran groups, an agreement was recently reached for continued use of the Vets Club in a way it has not been used in the past but that will still carry on the foundational premise of the original Vets Club - providing honor to those who have served in the military.

As the year 2020 progressed, the Allamakee County Historical Society approached the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors with A plan to use the Vets Club facility as a military museum, moving existing historical military memorabilia from the current Courthouse Museum to the upstairs area of the Vets Club.

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors regular monthly meeting was moved to Wednesday evening, March 17 due to the snowstorm that gripped the area on the board’s usual monthly Monday meeting night of March 15. Discussion moved to the possibility of removing the requirement for students to wear masks in school. Superintendent Jay Mathis noted that this topic was being visited because the case numbers at the school have been good and the staff is receiving their second dose of the vaccine March 25.

The question was asked of staff members attending the meeting how they felt about doing away with the mask requirement. The staff members noted that the students seem to learn better in the classroom as opposed to virtual learning, so they don’t want to see a situation where students will not be able to attend school in-person because of quarantine situations or because the family isn’t comfortable with a no-mask situation.

Staff also noted that for the most part, students have adapted to wearing their masks. It was also noted that while wearing a mask may be a choice, a quarantine situation is not a choice. The motion was made to remove the mask requirement, however the vote was two “aye” votes to three “nay” votes, and the motion did not pass.

The Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) Board of Directors held its regular monthly meeting at Kee High School in Lansing Monday, March 15. Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier advised that the district will continue the wearing of masks when social distancing is not possible until the end of the scheduled 2020-2021 school year. This will apply to transportation, school hours and after-school activities. A decision regarding summer activities and masks will be made near the conclusion of the school year based upon vaccination progress, county and area positivity rates, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidance.