News

Wed
01
Apr

Spreading the message

On Friday afternoon, Calmar fourth-grader Jenna Schissel helped spread a message along her sidewalk – ‘And the world came together as the people stayed apart.’ The message relates to social distancing and its impact on saving lives as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. (submitted photo)

 

Spreading the message

Wed
01
Apr

Saying goodbye to her second family

South Winneshiek foreign exchange student Sara Biraschi may be a transplanted Hawkeye fan like shown in the picture, but her roots lie at her home in Termoli, Molise, Italy. The young student, who is set to return to her home country this week, shared some of her experiences here in the U.S. as her own country deals with the COVID-19 outbreak on a more extreme note than much of the rest of the world. (submitted photo)

 

Saying goodbye to her second family

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

When the COVID-19 outbreak first broke news in the United States earlier this year, it was already a major concern throughout many other areas of the world. When Coronavirus first began hitting headlines in the United States, it was already a familiar term with South Winneshiek foreign exchange student Sara Biraschi.

“I am from Termoli, Molise in Italy but have been here living with the Brian and Nicole Ondrashek family for 7 ½ months,” explained the 17-year-old Italian. “I started the school year here at South Winn in the fall.”

Back in her home country, COVID-19 has already been responsible for over 10,000 deaths as the virus has spread rapidly. Birashi went on to explain how the virus has affected both her family at home and her family here in the United States.

Wed
01
Apr

Elgin residents enjoy a community-wide Bear Hunt

While staying home and being safe is an important part of the COVID-19 pandemic, some communities are starting little “hunts” to encourage children to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.  In Elgin, community members have started a “Bear Hunt,” based on the children’s book written by Helen Oxenbury.  Bears can be found greeting hunters through the windows all around the valley-area community.  (submitted photo) 

 

Elgin residents enjoy a community-wide Bear Hunt

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

“This wasn’t my idea, it was just something I saw and thought it would be a great thing to start in our own community,” smiled Cindy Torkelson of the “bear hunt” she and others have started in Elgin.  

“We all have to do the social distancing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun from a distance,” smiled Torkelson.  “It’s a great way to get people out walking, and to participate in something as a community, even while we’re following the rules of social distancing.”  

Based on the book “We're Going on a Bear Hunt” by Helen Oxenbury, anyone can join Elgin’s Bear Hunt by simply placing a bear in his or her window.

Wed
01
Apr

Outdoor outlets offered

This is one of the trails that is now open at the Gilbertson Conservation Area near Elgin. (Submitted photo)

 
 

Outdoor outlets offered

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

 

 

At this point, Fayette County Parks are open, with the exception of the Wildwood and Gilbertson Information Centers. This is in accordance with the CDC guidelines and state recommendations pertaining to COVID – 19.

“Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our visitors, volunteers and employees. During this time, we remain diligent in taking steps to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible,” said Fayette County Conservation Director Rod Marlatt.

The trails at Gilbertson Conservation Education Area (Elgin) are open. Several other trails owned, and managed by Fayette County Conservation are also available. 

Wed
01
Apr

Tornadoes leave path of destruction across Fayette County

 

This large machine shed on the Jeff Forsyth farm at 10176 M Ave., about two miles east of Maynard had about half of its roof ripped off when a tornado hit Saturday, March 28, about 6:40 p.m. (Jack Swanson photos)

 

Tornadoes leave path of destruction across Fayette County

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

While one tornado was ripping through an apartment complex leaving around a dozen families homeless, another tornado would soon hit the rural countryside leaving several farmsteads torn and broken.

The tornadoes hit the southeast corner of Fayette County, Saturday night, March 28, between 6:30 and 7 p.m. 

Wed
01
Apr

Area golf courses offer outdoor getaway in midst of self isolating

Golfers were out on the greens at Big Rock Country Club last week. Members were allowed on the course prior to this week’s opening to the general public. (Jack Swanson photo)

 

Area golf courses offer outdoor getaway in midst of self isolating

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

 

 

Some of us are looking for ways to get out of the house and still follow the guidelines for keeping ourselves safe from the spread of the coronavirus.

For some, the sport of golf may be the answer. 

The Big Rock Country Club golf course at 9684 146th St., Fayette, opened to the public Monday, March 30, but not without some new stipulations in regards to the COVID–19 social distancing guidelines.

Big Rock Manager Joseph Horstman said they usually shoot for the week of April 1 as an opening date, dependent on the weather and that this year will not be an exception.  

“We will be limiting the number of people entering the clubhouse as well as only allowing one person to a rental cart and promptly disinfecting each cart after each use. As well as limiting golf and tee times to foursomes, which is normal practice,” Horstman pointed out.

Wed
01
Apr

Using a talent to fill a need amidst COVID-19; local quilters make masks to donate

Dorty Yauslin holds up one of the “thin blue line” facemasks she designed for the Fayette County Sheriff’s office.  (Megan Molseed photo)

 

Using a talent to fill a need amidst COVID-19; local quilters make masks to donate

 

By Megan Molseed
mmolseed@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

“We saw the need and set our other stuff aside,” smiled Dorty Yauslin. “I said Wilda, let's have a fun day and make some masks!” 

Yauslin and her friend, Wilda Bark, are among many local sewers who have decided to set their regular projects aside as they use their talent to make and donate a valuable commodity in today’s healthcare world, facemasks.  

“I had heard that some places were looking for masks, and then I found a pattern online,” said Yauslin.  “There is a need out there and this is the least I can do.” 

Wed
01
Apr

WU's Fire Departments biggest concern is health & safety of citizens

 

Fundraiser canceled: WU Fire Departments biggest concern is health & safety of citizens

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

The West Union Fire Department’s big fundraiser, the annual pancake supper, won’t be happening this year due to the self-isolating order statewide. 

The firefighters say it’s a disappointment,  but they’ll survive.

“It’s to supplement our budget from the City. We’ve used it for lots of needed equipment and projects in the past 43 years, but our biggest concern at this time is the health and safety of our citizens,” said Firefighter Tom Luhman.

He heard that some citizens have started a donation drive to supplement what was lost by not having the supper. While Luhman says he does appreciate the community’s efforts and concern, he said he doesn’t want to see a “go fund me” type situation coming about.

“We’re not asking for money. The businesses and those out of work have been hit hard enough,” Luhman pointed out. “It’s not that we won’t survive without it. We can still keep the Department the best it can possibly be.”

Wed
01
Apr

DHS building unexpectedly collapses

Just before 5 p.m. Tuesday evening (March 24), the building that houses the Department of Human Services in downtown West Union collapsed unexpectedly. No one was inside the building at the time of the incident as it was previously evacuated due to structural deficiencies that were noticed earlier in the day. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

DHS building unexpectedly collapses

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, March 24, a building unexpectedly collapsed in downtown West Union.

At approximately 4:55 p.m., the building that houses the Department of Human Services and was previously the home of the Avalon Theater collapsed into the sidewalk, street, and nearby lot.

Wed
01
Apr

Another COVID-19 case confirmed in Fayette County

This Iowa National Guard truck delivered personal protection equipment (PPE) to Elkader for Clayton County on Thursday, March 26. The Guard also delivered PPE supplies to West Union for Fayette County. (Submitted photo)

 

Another COVID-19 case confirmed in Fayette County

 

By Jack Swanson
jswanson@fayettecountynewspapers.com

 

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Fayette County Public Health have identified one additional case of COVID-19 in the county. 

That means that as of Monday, March 30, there are two positive cases within Fayette County.

“Both are under self-isolation at this time,” said Public Information Officer for Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Community Health Jamie Hoey. She would not comment on what part of the County either person was from, if they were related or any other details.

A news release from the IDPH on Saturday, March 28, said the latest person that tested positive was an adult 18-40 years old.

Hoey also reported that  Fayette County Emergency Management (FCEM) received a limited amount of supplies on Tuesday, March 24, and again on Saturday, March 28, through the Iowa Army National Guard in Des Moines and, in consultation with Fayette County Public Health, has distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) based on need to Fayette County organizations. 

“As more supplies come in, we are allocating them according to essential service workers and prioritizing based on need,” Hoey said.

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