News

Wed
06
Sep

A perfect dozen to celebrate Grandparents Day

 

Grandpa Mike and Grandma Barb Heins of West Union, who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this summer, are surrounded by their children, their spouses and their 12 grandchildren.  (Front, l-r) Schuler Heins, Brittany Heins holding daughter Vera, Jill Heins holding daughter Lynston, Grandma Barb Heins holding grandson Preston, Erin (Heins) Tieskoetter holding daughter Quinn, Ashlyn Heins holding daughter Everly, and Mason Heins;  (back) Decklyn Heins, Justin Heins, Beckett Heins, Derek Heins holding son Hilton, Grandpa Mike Heins, Kyle Tieskoetter holding daughter Reese, and Chris Heins holding son Kellan.  (Photo by Nancy Lukes Photography)

 

A perfect dozen to celebrate Grandparents Day

 

 

 

 

Megan Molseed

Contributing Writer

 

There’s an old saying, “Grandparents fill the world with love,” and that becomes abundantly clear when talking to local grandparents Mike and Barb Heins of West Union about their 12 grandchildren.  

“I like to say we have a perfect dozen,” chuckled Barb of her brood. “If a week goes by and we don’t see them, it seems like forever!”  

The parents of three sons and one daughter, Barb and Mike say they feel blessed that they are able to watch their grandkids grow on a nearly daily basis.  

Wed
30
Aug

' Never give up'

 

After 17 years as principal at South Winneshiek Elementary/Middle School in Ossian, Chuck Ehler left the district in 2007 to pursue a future as a superintendent at Rushford-Peterson in Rushford, Minn. Weeks after beginning his new duties at the school, a devastating flood affected the community, including the high school. Recently, after 10 years of hard work, Ehler and the district held a ribbon-cutting event for a brand-new school. (submitted photo)

 

'Never give up'

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

 

For 17 years, Chuck Ehler proudly served as principal of South Winneshiek Elementary/Middle School. Having moved to Calmar in 1974, the Ehler family became well-known in Ossian, Calmar, and surrounding communities.

He began his role as principal of the local school in 1990 and continued until 2007, when he accepted a position as superintendent of the Rushford-Peterson school district in Rushford, Minn.

The Ehlers moved to a new community approximately 60 miles north, where he expected a smooth transition into his new job.

“We were there for about 5½ to six weeks, when we experienced 17 to 19 inches of rain in our area,” recalled Chuck. “Rush Creek, which runs through Rushford, began to flood. Debris from the flooding blocked an old railroad bridge, which caused water to overflow the dike and flood the town.”

As a result, four to six feet of water filled much of the downtown area of his new community, affecting over 300 homes and businesses.

“The Rushford-Peterson high school had a significant amount of damage, totaling over $800,000,” explained Ehler. “I was still the new kid on the block at this time, but I knew that I had to take charge and roll up my sleeves.”

Wed
30
Aug

Elgin First Baptist Church to move into new building

 

Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, marked the last Sunday that the First Baptist Church congregation gathered at 300 Main Street, Elgin. As the deacons removed the cross from the sanctuary, 155 parishioners gathered outside to commemorate their 138 year heritage that was organized in 1879 as the German Baptist Church and moved to the building on Main Street in 1898.  The congregation looks forward to the future in its newly completed church. Services will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 22526 Canoe Road, Elgin. (LeAnn Larson photo)

 

Elgin First Baptist Church to move into new building

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

The congregation of First Baptist Church in Elgin held its final worship service in its old historic church on Sunday, Aug. 27.

Since 1879, the Baptists have held Sunday worship celebrations at the corner of Clermont and Main streets in Elgin. The current building was built in 1898. Over 125 years of tradition will change on Sunday as the congregation moves into its new church on Canoe Road just outside Elgin. 

The new church was made possible by the dedicated congregation who “answered God’s call” on numerous occasions by raising money and volunteering their time to help construct the church. Pastor Lee Boleyn couldn’t even begin to describe the sweat equity his small community put in to make the dream a reality. 

 

Wed
30
Aug

WUFD to receive Governor's Award

 

The West Union Fire Department will receive the Group Governor’s Volunteer Award on Friday, Sept. 1, in Cedar Falls. Lisa Roberts, Fayette County Emergency Management coordinator, nominated the group for all its hard work and the volunteer hours to the department puts in. Members of the West Union Fire Department include (front, l-r) Mike Lauer, Eli Phillips Kennon Gumm, Tom Luhman, Kory Kuhens, Brian Dunt, Scott Johansen, Erin Yauslin, Dan Woods, Chad Helgerson; (second row) Fire Chief Roger Gamm, John Lauer, Craig Schmitt, Mike Corcoran, Kurt Baumler, Dan Winter, Troy Streif, Paul Amundson, Bart Jacobson, and LeRoy Soppe; (back) Mark Baumler, Layne Meyer, Rory Starks, Don Baumler, Matt Henderson, Lane Johansen, Ryan Wagner, Bud Johnson. Not pictured is Lonny Johansen. 

 

WUFD to receive Governor's Award

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

The West Union Fire Department will be receiving the Group Governor’s Volunteer Award at a ceremony on Friday, Sept. 1, at Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. 

Lisa Roberts, Fayette County Emergency Management coordinator, nominated the local fire department for the award because of its countless hours of community service, which included helping with the flooding that occurred in August and September 2016. Most recently, the department helped clear debris in Clermont during the storm that poured heavy rain on the community in late July. 

Wed
23
Aug

WU Eye Clinic merges with Woodland Eye Clinic

WU Eye Clinic merges with Woodland Eye Clinic

 

 

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

The West Union and Elkader Eye Clinics, which include the Guttenberg location, are merging with Woodland Eye Clinic in Dyersville on Oct. 1.  

The three locations will continue to see patients with no disruption to services. 

The merger comes as Dr. Michael Ohlson is leaving the West Union practice to take a chief of optometry position with Avera Health Systems in Marshall, Minn. Ohlson will work in West Union until the end of September. 

His partner, Dr. Bruce Landis, who works out of the Elkader Eye Clinic, was unable to find a replacement for Ohlson but feels this merger is actually a better situation for him. 

“I guess no one wants to practice in rural Iowa,” Landis noted with a chuckle. “I thought I had put together a pretty competitive package to see if someone would take the bait. I went through the Iowa and American Optometric associations. I went through four different optometry colleges. I went through a major national recruiting company that puts my information on a number of national recruiting websites, and not one phone call.

“I got hooked up with [Woodland] through someone in the area,” he added. “I think it is going to be good for West Union and Elkader. I think it is going to be good for patients, services, and things like that. I think I fell into a really good situation doing this rather than replacing Mike. I am excited.” 

Wed
16
Aug

Wenthold joining South Winn family

 

Gretchen Wenthold stands in her new classroom at South Winneshiek as she gets ready for the start of the 2017-2018 school year. The Fort Atkinson native and current Ossian resident will teach preschool. (submitted photo)

 

Wenthold joining South Winn family

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer

zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

When the 2017-2018 school year begins Thursday, Aug. 24, there will be a new teacher in the preschool classroom at South Winneshiek. Gretchen Wenthold, a native of Fort Atkinson and graduate of Turkey Valley High School, is excited about the new opportunity.

“Joining the preschool program at South Winn and meeting the kids and their families is what I am most looking forward to,” said Wenthold. “It will also be great to be able to work so close to home!”

Wed
16
Aug

College partners with local law enforcement

 

The City of Fayette and Upper Iowa University recently entered into a partnership to have the Fayette Police Department provide security for the Fayette Campus. Fayette Police Chief Richard Pisanti (left) and Jean Merkle, Dean of Students, (center) noted the positive impact the agreement will have. To handle its new responsibility, the police department recently hired two new officers, one of which was Anthony Landis (right).

 

College partners with local law enforcement

 

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

 

 

Upper Iowa University and the City of Fayette are in the infancy of an agreement for the Fayette Police Department to provide the school with security for its Fayette campus. 

The City approved a three-year contract with UIU for the police services. It will cost the university approximately $100,000 per year with 2 percent inflation of the price every year during the contract. 

Jean Merkle, dean of students at UIU, wouldn’t give specific numbers, but she noted the agreed-upon amount was approximately what the university was paying to G4S for its security services. 

“[G4S] hired locally and we had some good local folks that certainly did a great job, but they don’t come with the experience that a certified police officer does,” Merkle said. “[G4S] covered 100 hours of the 168 hours in a week, and now [with the Fayette Police Department] it will pretty much be 24/7 coverage. There were gap times when we didn't have security on campus, and that won’t be an issue anymore.” 

Wed
16
Aug

NFV welcomes six new employees

NFV welcomes six new employees

 

By Chris Deback
cdeback@thefayettecountyunion.com

 

 

Students will be seeing some new faces at the head of their classrooms in the North Fayette and Valley school districts, as the two districts welcome six new employees to the five school buildings they serve. 

New to the districts are Sarah Pisney, NFVHS art teacher; Stephanie Vagts, Valley K-5 music and eighth-grade music technology teacher; Gabby Wittenburg, Valley Elementary second- and third-grade teacher; Anastasia Lavrenko, NFVMS, Valley Elementary and Fayette Elementary Talented and Gifted teacher; Cassie Peterson, North Fayette and Valley behavior interventionist; and Jesse Waller, Valley Preschool teacher.

Thu
10
Aug

SW alum excited to join teaching staff

 

Sara (Lensing) Bernhard is looking forward to beginning her first year at South Winneshiek this fall. The 2007 SWHS graduate will be teaching first grade at the elementary/middle school in Ossian. (Zakary Kriener photo)

 

SW alum excited to join teaching staff

 

 

Zakary Kriener

News Writer
zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

 

 

SW alum excited to join teaching staff

By Zakary Kriener

With the start of the 2017-2018 school year just over two weeks away, teachers, administrators, and school staff are ramping up for another year in the South Winneshiek school district. When students return to the classroom on Aug. 24, a new but familiar face will be teaching first grade in Ossian.

Sara (Lensing) Bernhard, a 2007 graduate of South Winneshiek High School, is looking forward to beginning her career as a Warrior teacher.

“From when I first started teaching several years ago, coming home and teaching in the district I graduated high school from is something that has always been a goal of mine,” said Bernhard, who along with husband Andy and 10-month-old son Bentley, are living in Calmar. “I’m glad that goal has turned into a reality.”

Thu
10
Aug

13 train cars derail near Calmar

 

A heavily damaged portion of track near Calmar caused two Canadian Pacific Railroad locomotives and 11 cars containing corn to derail Tuesday morning, Aug. 1. (Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office photo)

 

 

 

13 train cars derail near Calmar

 

 

 

Zakary Kriener

zkriener@fayettepublishing.com

Canadian Pacific Railroad, a rail company based out of Calgary, Canada, reported a derailment of 13 cars Tuesday morning, Aug. 1, near Calmar.

The span of cars began along 175th Street, also known as the Golf Course Road. The accident forced the road to remain closed for the rest of the day while the train cars were returned to  the tracks and track repairs were made.

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