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Wed
02
Sep

Waukon resident coordinating first-ever Spring Grove Film Festival; Actor Ed Asner will be the featured guest


Shining among the stars ... Pictured above is Katie O’Regan (right) of Waukon with award-winning actor Ed Asner (left). The two met during a film screening evening in Los Angeles and that initial meeting has turned into Asner being the special guest throughout the inaugural Spring Grove International Film Festival coordinated by O’Regan and scheduled for September 11-13. Submitted photo.

The efforts of Waukon resident Katie O’Regan have resulted in one of the most awarded and beloved actors in primetime television coming to the tri-state area for a weekend celebration in Spring Grove, MN September 11-13. The inaugural Spring Grove International Film Festival scheduled for that second weekend in September will feature acclaimed actor Ed Asner as a special guest in a variety of events presented this first year by Giants of the Earth Heritage Center in Spring Grove, MN and Sacred Noise Society, Inc.

O’Regan is the daughter of Francis and the late Leona O’Regan of Waukon and recently moved back to the area and was hired as the development director at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. Accomplished in the arts as an actress, dancer, producer, director and writer, O’Regan established many connections throughout her career - one of which ultimately led to her getting to meet Asner.

Wed
02
Sep

First national placewinning for Waukon FBLA since 2003 ...

For the first time in nearly two decades the Waukon High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter recorded a national placewinning at the organization’s annual Leadership Conference. Eight FBLA students from Waukon High School participated in the FBLA Virtual National Leadership Experience held online June 29-July 2 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students sent in projects and completed objective tests prior to the conference and then had the opportunity to sit in on keynote speakers and leadership seminars. Pictured at left, left to right, Waukon High School FBLA members Bridget Duncklee, Alexis Hogan and Ashley Liddiard were awarded fifth place in the nation for their video and presentation on 3D Animation during the conference. Their video and conference presentation can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTJaBs9bNvU&feature=emb_logo.

Wed
26
Aug

Painting of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock gets underway


Ready to (paint the Freedom) Rock ... The large white tent (pictured below) that many have noticed on the east edge of the Waukon City Park is currently sheltering the transformation of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock being painted by Iowa artist Ray “Bubba” Sorenson, who is pictured above as he begins his creation honoring veterans. Standard photos by Joe Moses.

Allamakee County home to 92nd Freedom Rock

by Joe Moses

With the arrival of artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, painting of the Allamakee County Freedom Rock has begun in the Waukon City Park as of Thursday, August 20. Upon completion, the Freedom Rock in Waukon will be part of the 99-County Freedom Rock Tour, a statewide tourism attraction honoring military veterans.

The large white tent noticeable on the east edge of Waukon City Park serves as a temporary shelter for the rock and the painting process from weather elements. It also allows Sorenson to work on his creation without interruption.

Wed
26
Aug

New wastewater treatment plant in Waukon continues to make progress


Oxidation ditch ... Pictured above is the oxidation ditch, where the biological process will take place within the City of Waukon’s new wastewater treatment facility currently under construction. Living organisms will eat the waste here as one of the initial steps in treating the wastewater. Photo by Lissa Blake.

Final clarifier ... Pictured at right in the above photo is the portion of the new wastewater treatment plant called the final clarifier. Within a final clarifier structure, a settling action will occur and the clear water at the top will then advance to the ultraviolet (UV) disinfection phase of the treatment project. Photo by Lissa Blake.

Administration building ... City of Waukon Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper said the City’s $12.3 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade is going well. The administration building, the beginnings of which are pictured at left in the photo above, is where Cooper’s office will be located and all of the lab work will be done. It is also the site of the final stage of treatment, ultraviolet disinfection. Photo by Lissa Blake.

by Lissa Blake

Despite a two-month delay in the start of the project, the Waukon wastewater treatment plant upgrade in Waukon is moving right along. That’s according to City of Waukon Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper, who said the $12.3 million project, which started in April of 2019, is “progressing well.”

HISTORY
Waukon’s current wastewater treatment plant originally was built in 1965 and has not seen any renovations since 1986. A typical upgrade can usually keep a city in compliance with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for about 20 years.

In 2015, following a review by the Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Waukon was issued a compliance order from the EPA, indicating it needed to bring its water treatment capabilities up to Agency standards, “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”

Wed
19
Aug

Veterans Memorial Hospital introduces new CEO


New CEO at VMH ... Michael Coyle, the new CEO of Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, pictured in his office at the hospital. Coyle brings years of experience to the position and began his duties August 3 following the retirement of Mike Myers, who served Veterans Memorial Hospital in that CEO role for 22 years. Submitted photo.

Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon recently welcomed Michael Coyle as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital following the retirement of CEO Mike Myers after 22 years of service to the hospital. Myers retired July 31 of this year.

Coyle brings many years of CEO experience in Critical Access Hospitals to the position including Ely-Bloomenson  Community Hospital in Ely, MN, Coteau des Prairies Healthcare System in Sisseton, SD, and West Holt Medical Services in Atkinson, NE.

Coyle said he chose to further his career at Veterans Memorial Hospital because of the hospital’s reputation for quality, full spectrum of services, beautiful location and the opportunity to make a difference in a wonderful community.

Wed
19
Aug

Northeast Iowa RC&D receives Governor’s Arts Award for Art Initiative that includes pair of Allamakee County art pieces


Award winning art project ... Mallory Hanson, Regional Tourism and Economic Development Coordinator for Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), holds the Governor’s Art Award presented to Northeast Iowa RC&D for its “Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative” created throughout the past five years. The Initiative involved 17 public art installations along Iowa’s Byways, including two in Allamakee County that are pictured in the surrounding photos: “Crossroads” (photo at center) placed in Waukon and “Hometown to the World” (bottom photo) placed in Postville.

At the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA) 2020 Virtual Iowa Arts Summit held August 7, Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) was honored with the Governor’s Arts Award for their “Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative”.

The RC&D was one of three recipients selected by a panel of Iowa Arts and Culture professionals from around the state for this bi-annual award. The City of Malvern and Mary Ellen Kimball were also 2020 Iowa Arts Award recipients for their contributions to forward arts and culture in the State.

Each recipient was recognized for their efforts to enrich Iowa communities with creative projects. The RC&D was congratulated by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds who shared her thoughts via video on the importance of the arts, especially during the pandemic.

Wed
19
Aug

City of Waukon working with Aveka to help prevent, mitigate impact of future incidents

by Joe Moses

Nearly a month ago, the morning of July 20, a couple of contributing factors led to an unplanned discharge and fish kill in a tributary of Paint Creek south of Waukon. That morning, a spill of 76,000 pounds of yeast originating from Aveka Nutra Processing in Waukon followed by a lagoon pump failure at Waukon’s water treatment facility resulted in a discharge into that local stream causing a minor fish kill. In response, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued an advisory to not allow pets or livestock to drink from this creek for a three-day period or until that water cleared up.

Since that incident, officials for both Aveka Nutra Processing and the City of Waukon have been meeting and communicating in regard to trying to prevent and certainly lessen the impact of any such incidents in the future.

Wed
12
Aug

Allamakee Community School District releases plan details for starting the new school year with in-person learning

Following an initial announcement in mid-July of planning to return to in-person learning to start the 2020-2021 school year, the Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors and administration met in a July 29 work session to discuss details and scenarios of the district’s approach to the new school year. That discussion included reviewing such materials as reopening survey results from schools within the Keystone Area Education Agency (AEA) and legal guidance from the district’s law firm of Ahlers & Cooney out of Des Moines in helping formulate the district’s plan to bring students back to the classroom.

The ACSD Learning Plan details were announced early last week, with the complete learning plan for the new school year now being made available to student households and also available on the school district website at www.allamakee.k12.ia.us.

Wed
12
Aug

Four more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Allamakee County

Another single-digit increase in confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 for Allamakee County this past week bounced back and forth on the State of Iowa daily updated website a bit before settling in at four additional confirmed cases over the past seven days. That increase brings the Allamakee County case total to 155, with 137 of those listed as being recovered as of Monday, August 10.

After two consecutive days of no new cases early last week, the State of Iowa website listed back-to-back days for Allamakee County of two new cases each Thursday and Friday, August 6 and 7, but one of those new cases was removed from the Allamakee County total by Saturday, August 8. However, an additional case was added right back in Sunday, August 9, with no new confirmed cases reported Monday, August 10 to leave Allamakee County at its 155 total cases.

Wed
05
Aug

Eastern Allamakee Community School District shares its Return to Learn Plan, will begin school year August 24 with hybrid learning

Monday, July 27 the Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) released its Return to Learn plan to the public for the 2020-2021 school year. The overall plan released to the public includes a basic overview of the EACSD plan, a general outline of what that plan will entail and a final overview of the purpose and process of putting the plan together. It is available for viewing in its entirety at www.e-allamakee.k12.ia.us, along with a bullet-pointed quick facts document and a video featuring EACSD Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier offering further insight and explanation.

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