Top Stories

Wed
06
Dec

Friday implosion brings down final large structure ...

Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond.
Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond.

The largest remaining structure at the decommissioned Alliant Energy generating station at Lansing was brought to the ground by a final implosion process that took place just before 8 a.m. Friday, December 1, as depicted in the photo at left. Additional photos and information regarding the implosion event can be found in the Wednesday, December 6, 2023 edition of The Standard.

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Wed
29
Nov

“Liver of the river”: Aquatic biologists, scientific divers finish relocating endangered mussels in preparation for new bridge construction project


Mussel movement ... “The density and the diversity of the mussel bed on the Iowa bank was remarkable,” says Ron Kegerries, Technical Lead Acquatic Biologist on the relocation project. The unexpected density was one of the variables causing the team to finish the project later than anticipated. Other variables that caused delays were weather conditions and barge traffic. Submitted photo.

Well-suited for this line of work ... Dive Supervisor Ben Dunn helps a fellow diver put on his 26-pound helmet. Divers could work as long as the water temperature was above 40-degrees F. The team attempted to keep the divers warm with hot water that is run through portable, tankless, camping showers that run down through hoses the divers can put into their wetsuits. The divers completed their relocation efforts on November 18. Submitted photo.

Along the shore ... Divers worked from along the shoreline to approximately 80 meters riverward from the shoreline. The deepest they dove was approximately 26 feet; the average depth was approximately 12 feet. In 2018 and then again in 2020, surveys were conducted of the area to see where mussels were present. On this relocation project, the team was pleased to collect many more mussels and nearly twice the number of Higgins’ Eye than they expected - which is a sign the population is doing better. Submitted photo.

Efforts on the water ... After the divers collected mussels from each section of the relocation area, aquatic biologists on the boat identified each mussel and gave it a special marking, so it could be identified during monitoring efforts to track the success of the relocation and recolonization. The endangered mussels were given special treatment and received a unique number. Divers relocated a little over 29,500 freshwater mussels of which nearly 400 were the endangered Lampsilis higginsii, commonly known as Higgins’ Eye. “The number of mussels might sound small in comparison to the total,” Aquatic Biologist Kelly Love says. “But they are called endangered species because there are less of them, and they are a struggling and sensitive species.” Submitted photo.

Diving right in for some mussel work ... Left to right: Benjamin Dunn, of Kansas City, MO, dive supervisor; Kelly Love, of Cleveland, OH, aquatic biologist; and Ronald Kegerries, of Missouri, director of aquatic sciences. All three work out of the Missouri Office with EcoAnalysts, Inc., a provider of ecological field sampling, laboratory, and consulting services in terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond.

“Look closely at nature. Every species is a masterpiece, exquisitely adapted to the particular environment in which it has survived.”

- Edward O. Wilson,
biologist and multiple
Pulitzer Prize winner

by Julie Berg-Raymond

The next few years are going to see a lot of activity on the Mississippi River at Lansing - while, in a state-of-the-art, multi-agency project involving some of the top specialists in several fields, a new bridge is built across the river there for the first time in almost 100 years.

The past few months have already seen some activity near the shore at Lansing. From August 15 until November 18, teams of scientific divers and aquatic biologists worked on both the Wisconsin and Iowa sides of the river to collect, identify and relocate approximately 29,500 mussels - nearly 400 of which were the endangered Higgins Eye Pearly Mussel (Lampsilis higginsii).

Wed
29
Nov

WHS Choir Tour of Churches this Sunday

The Waukon High School Choir, under the direction of Sarah Bieber, will be sharing its music with the area church community during its 28th Annual Christmas Church Tour this Sunday morning, December 3, according to the following schedule:

St. John's Lutheran 8:30-8:45 a.m.
Old West Paint Creek Lutheran 9:00-9:15 a.m.
Zion United Church of Christ 9:30-9:45 a.m.
First Presbyterian 10:00-10:15 a.m.
First Baptist 10:30-10:45 a.m.
St. Patrick Catholic 11:00-11:15 a.m.
St. Paul’s United Methodist 11:30-11:45 a.m.

The choir sings at seven churches each year. Those churches are selected based on a number of factors, including church proximity to the high school, accessibility for school buses, the physical size of the church, the membership size of the congregation, and whether the worship service is broadcast.

Wed
29
Nov

CPKC Holiday Train to return to Lansing and New Albin ...

The Canadian Pacific Kansas City Limited (CPKC) Holiday Train is scheduled to make its return to the Lansing and New Albin areas again this year as part of its 2023 trek to help raise money, food and awareness for local food banks in communities along the CPKC network. The festive railway celebration is scheduled to make its way through northeast Iowa Friday, December 8 with stops in Ossian, Marquette, Lansing and New Albin before a final stop that day in La Crescent, MN.

Wed
22
Nov

Run-off election scheduled for December 5 to determine winner of Waukon City Council At-Large seat


Pictured above, left to right: Nicholas Engrav and Andrew Sires

Absentee voting underway; County Courthouse will be lone polling site

Vote totals from the Tuesday, November 7 City/School Election have resulted in a run-off election being required to determine a winner of the At-Large seat on the Waukon City Council listed on this year’s ballot. With Waukon City Code requiring that the winning candidate in such an election receive at least a 50%-plus one vote majority, the three candidates vying for that single At-Large seat each received in the neighborhood of just one-third of the vote total cast in the November 7 balloting for that race.

Incumbent candidate Andrew Sires received 225 votes (33.73%). Challenger Nicholas Engrav garnered 245 votes (36.73%), and challenger Jean Brink collected 196 votes (29.39%).

Wed
22
Nov

CPKC Holiday Train to return to Lansing, New Albin December 8

The Canadian Pacific Kansas City Limited (CPKC) Holiday Train is scheduled to make its way to the Lansing and New Albin areas again this year as part of its 2023 trek to help raise money, food and awareness for local food banks in communities along the CPKC network. The festive railway celebration is scheduled to make its way through northeast Iowa Friday, December 8 with stops in Ossian, Marquette, Lansing and New Albin before a final stop that day in La Crescent, MN.

Highlighting the return of the Holiday Train will be a pair of concert performers, Tenille Townes and BRELAND, who will present about a half-hour show at each location. Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Tenille Townes hails from Grande Prairie, Alberta in Canada. Her acclaimed debut album was named Country Album of the Year at the 50th JUNO Awards and Album of the Year at the 2021 Canadian Country Music Awards. Townes also earned her third consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year trophy.

Wed
22
Nov

Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society celebrates 10th anniversary, continues work toward new museum project


Harpers Ferry area history ... A number of historical items, such as those pictured above, were on display at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society held Saturday, November 4 at the Ethel Robinson Meehan Community Center in Harpers Ferry. In an effort to preserve that past, the Society continues to work toward the future with plans for a new museum to be built. Submitted photo.

Historical progress ... Pictured above is the area known as Martelle Heritage Park in Harpers Ferry, the site where many of the projects undertaken by the Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society have become, and will continue to become, a reality. The former Oil Springs School and accompanying outhouse pictured at right in the photo have been in place on the site since being moved from their original location just north of Harpers Ferry in 2016, and plans have been in place for the property to also house a new museum (as indicated by the sign in the photo at left) that will house many artifacts, documents and other historic items from the Harpers Ferry area, with plans for breaking ground on that project in 2024 and completion of the project currently planned for sometime in 2026. Photos by Brianne Grimstad.

Displaying her heritage ... Pictured above is Marlys Martelle standing next to the sign identifying Martelle Heritage Park in Harpers Ferry. The Martelle family donated property in Harpers Ferry where the Harpers Ferry Area Historical Society has moved the Oil Springs School and where a new museum housing much more history from the Harpers Ferry area is being planned to be constructed within the next couple years. Submitted photo.

by Brianne Grimstad

The Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society (HFAHS) celebrated its 10th anniversary Saturday, November 4 with an event held at the Ethel Robinson Meehan Community Center in Harpers Ferry. Guests at the celebration heard from two speakers, Effigy Mounds National Monument Superintendent Susan Snow and Maiden Voyage Tours, LLC Captain and Harpers Ferry resident Robert Vavra.

“Preserving this history is preserving my history,” Vavra noted. His riverboat tours cover many topics and he is well-versed in Mississippi River history, as he has relied on the river to make a living, including spending time as a clammer and a diver for mussels to be used in the cultured pearl industry.

Live music was performed at the November 4 celebration by John Stravers following the presentations. A sample of some of the donated artifacts with ties to the Harpers Ferry area were also on display.

Wed
15
Nov

“Let’s Talk Bridges”: Meehan Memorial Lansing Public Library is hosting monthly series focused on learning about and celebrating the new bridge project


First of monthly “Let’s Talk Bridges” discussions held in Lansing ... Travis Konda, project manager, HNTB Corporation, speaks to about two dozen attendees at the first monthly “Let’s Talk Bridges!” event, held Thursday, November 9, at Meehan Memorial Lansing Public Library. The monthly talks will be held the second Thursday of each month from 5-6 p.m. at the library. People of all ages are invited to attend the monthly talks, which will include hands-on learning activities, and question-and-answer sessions with engineers on the new bridge project at Lansing. Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond.

Building more than just bridges ... The four men pictured above are instrumental members of the personnel involved in the bridge replacement project over the Mississippi River at Lansing, and all four were in attendance to speak with community members at the first “Let’s Talk Bridges” discussion held Thursday, November 9, with others scheduled each month at the Meehan Memorial Lansing Public Library to help keep people informed about the project. Left to right: Paul Lindsey, senior field inspector; Clayton Burke, project manager, Iowa DOT; Anden Lovig, construction engineer; and Travis Konda, project manager, HNTB Corporation. Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond.

by Julie Berg-Raymond

A lot of people have been talking - and wondering - about the new bridge being built across the Mississippi River at Lansing.

Meehan Memorial Lansing Public Library and Executive Director Derva Burke, along with Clayton Burke (no relation), project manager with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and the overseeing engineer on the new bridge project, are presenting an opportunity for everyone to have their questions answered. “Let’s Talk Bridges!” - a monthly series focused on learning about and celebrating the new bridge project at Lansing - was held for the first time Thursday, November 9, from 5 to 6 p.m., at Meehan Memorial Lansing Public Library.

Wed
15
Nov

November 7 City/School Election yields mixed results for incumbents seeking to retain office

Waukon City Council At-Large race requires run-off election

Voters throughout Allamakee County were making decisions on a combination of nearly two dozen ballot items when they went to the polls Tuesday, November 7 for the biennial City/School Election. Within that list of ballot items between all Allamakee County communities, there were eight contested races for either city government or local school board positions, and half those races saw an incumbent candidate denied re-election to his or her seat - at least for the time-being, in one case.

Wed
15
Nov

Allamakee County native instrumental in passage of Lymphedema Treatment Act legislation going into effect at start of the new year


Celebrating advocacy success on Capitol Hill ... The four ladies pictured below are members of an advocacy group for the Lymphedema Treatment Act that was passed into law this year and will go into effect January 1 of the new year. Among those advocacy group members is Allamakee County native and current California resident Judith (Gallagher) Vilbrandt, standing at far left in the photo and pictured with, left to right, fellow California advocate Jennie Carpenter, Founder and Executive Director of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group Heather Ferguson, and fellow California advocate Amy Catarina. The photo was taken on the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in May of this year following the group’s celebratory meeting after passage of the legislation. Submitted photo.

A bit of home on the Hill ... Allamakee County native Judith (Gallagher) Vilbrandt stands next to the bronze statue of former Iowa Governor and U.S. Senator Samuel J. Kirkwood during a May 2023 visit to the U.S. Capitol as an advocate for the Lymphedema Treatment Act recently passed into law and scheduled to go into effect January 1 of the new year. Dedicated in 1913 and placed in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the statue is one of two commemorating historical figures from Vilbrant’s native home state of Iowa. Submitted photo.

by David M. Johnson

Lymphedema is a medical condition that is not readily known or recognized by the general public. Those who are afflicted by this condition know quite well what it is and can struggle through life trying to live with it.

The official definition of lymphedema is a condition in which swelling occurs in one or more of the extremities of a human body like arms or legs (and sometimes may occur in the chest wall, abdomen, neck and genitals) due to the impairment of the flow of the lymphatic system. The swelling is caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluids that is usually drained through the body’s lymphatic system.

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