2019 Year in Review: A look back at January through June

A look at the past as its future draws to a close ... Pictured above is an aerial photo of Calhoun Creamery in the 1970s. On the left side of the photo are some of the can trucks that would travel to farms to pick up milk in cans. The creamery stopped taking cans in 1978 and required all farmers to install bulk milk tanks. As of January 1 of this year, Calhoun Creamery members joined the Foremost Farms cooperative. The cheese store currently remains open for the time being at the Churchtown location, with plans in progress for disposition of the property and an auction to be held in March of this year. Submitted photo.

Tracking more Hawk history ... Members of the Kee girls track team who qualified for this year’s State Track and Field Meet display all the pageantry that goes along with winning the Class 1A team State Championship at the season grand finale. The first-ever team State Championship in Kee girls track history was actually shared with Alburnett after each team scored 36 points at the season-ending event, with Kee also winning a further historical three relay State Championships to fuel that team championship fire. Pictured above, left to right, are: Front row - Freshman Reagan Mudderman, seniors Katie Brennan and Makayla Walleser, and junior Rachel Walleser; Back row - Coach Chad Winters, freshman Haley Meyer, sophomore Alexis Johnson, junior Makayla Peters and sophomore Jada Mitchell. View and find out how to purchase this photo and many more by clicking on the Photo Galleries link on this website.

To read the the full article, 2019 Year in Review: A Look Back at January through June, 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 February, summarizing the top news stories that appeared in The Standard.

Veterans Memorial Hospital physicians and staff are pleased to announce that the First Baby of the Year Contest was won by Harrison Dean Sandry, son of Emily and Kevin Sandry of Cresco.  
Harrison was born January 3, 2019 at 4:09 a.m., weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce and measuring 20 inches long. Dr. Dave Schwartz assisted with the delivery.

Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) recently released the results of a laborshed study completed in a number of northeast Iowa communities, including Waukon. Val Reinke, executive director for Allamakee County Economic Development, explained the study will assist local employers in understanding what it is that motivates individuals to take certain types of employment.

Workforce characteristics reported in the study include: employment status, a person’s likeliness to change or to accept other employment, occupation and industry, resources used during a job search, current and desired wages and benefits, age, education and distance the person is willing to travel for work, among others.

The study showed 87.4 percent of workforce-age individuals are employed outside the home, while 4.2 percent are homemakers, 4.7 percent are retired and 3.7 percent are unemployed. Of these groups, 22.9 percent of those already employed are likely to change employment, 41.2 percent of homemakers are likely to accept employment, 26.3 percent of retired individuals are likely to accept employment and 60 percent of unemployed people are likely to accept employment.

With regards to employee benefits being supplied locally, the study reveals that 83.9 percent of those employed have medical insurance, 82.4 percent provide a pension or 401K, 73.6 percent have paid vacation, 71.1 percent have paid holidays, 69.6 percent have paid time off, 69.2 percent have disability insurance, 68.5 percent have dental coverage, 67.4 percent have paid sick leave, 65.9 percent have life insurance and 59.3 percent have prescription drug coverage.

The study shows that there are 1,046 people who live in Waukon and work elsewhere, primarily Decorah or Lansing. Sixty-one percent of those commuting out earn an hourly wage, with the median wage being $19 per hour. There are 31.7 percent who earn an annual salary, and the median salary is $48,000 a year.

According to IWD Director Beth Townsend, “This data provides critical insights on the available workforce in communities and will help them and businesses develop and implement solutions to meet their workforce needs. This will also help the state have the most future-ready workforce in the nation.”

To view the complete report, including a breakdown of different employment sectors, visit iowalmi.gov/laborshed-studies and type in Waukon in the search field.

The annual Harvest Celebration/Appreciation Dinner was held in November of last year for the Corner of Hope local growing project, a program focused on combating world hunger through local growing efforts. This year’s celebration included presentations by leaders of the local growing project’s partnering organization Growing Hope Globally (formerly Foods Resource Bank), a Christian-based non-profit organization focused on improving agricultural food security programs in some of the world’s poorest nations.

It was reported at this year’s harvest celebration that $27,000 was contributed to the Growing Hope Globally efforts through the crops planted, harvested and sold from right here in Allamakee County through efforts and contributions of many.

For information about local growing efforts through Corner of Hope or to assist those local efforts, contact Dennis Byrnes at 563-568-2867. For additional information about Growing Hope Globally, visit GrowingHopeGlobally.org.

Shopko (“the Company”), a leading operator of general merchandise stores throughout the Central, Western and Pacific Northwest regions of the United States, has announced that it, along with its subsidiaries, has filed voluntary petitions for a court-supervised financial restructuring under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and that its first-day motions to help facilitate continued operations while the Company operates under Chapter 11 protection were approved January 16 by Honorable Thomas L. Saladino of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nebraska.

The financial restructuring of Shopko will not result in the closing of the Waukon retail store location, according to information recently provided by Shopko Public Relations Coordinator Michelle Hansen and the list of store closings located online at info.shopko.com. However, the pharmacy location at the Waukon store will be part of the company-wide discontinuation of pharmacy services, according to information provided by Hansen.

A south central Iowa man allegedly responsible for a string of burglaries in the Lansing and New Albin area in September of last year was arrested in Polk County in Iowa Wednesday, January 16. Eric Todd Hall, age 43, of Saylor Township north of Des Moines in Polk County was taken into custody when an off-duty deputy identified him in the parking lot at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona and was aware he had several warrants outstanding for his arrest.

Wednesday, January 23 at approximately 1:39 p.m. the Waukon Police Department received a report of an active burglary at 303 Fourth Avenue SW in Waukon. According to court documents, the female reporting the incident indicated that someone was in her garage, and upon arrival, officers did find 47-year-old Ricky Lynn Arentz of De Soto, WI inside the garage at the residence.

Arentz explained to the officers that he had knocked on the house door, with footprints in the snow indicating that someone had indeed approached the house door. After no one answered the door, Arentz said he entered the garage to look at an air compressor he was considering in lieu of money he claimed the male resident of the home owed him.

After 122 years in business, Calhoun Creamery in Churchtown is closing its doors.

January 1 of this year, Calhoun Creamery member farmers joined the Foremost Farms cooperative. “The transition gives Calhoun Creamery members the assurance of a long-term, steady market for their milk,” said a press release issued by Foremost Farms in regard to that transition.
Foremost Farms and Calhoun Creamery have a long-standing history, as Foremost Farms has purchased milk from Calhoun since the late 1990s.

“Combining our milk supplies benefits Calhoun and Foremost Farms members,” said Michael Doyle, President & CEO of Foremost Farms. “Calhoun needs a market for its milk, and Foremost is addressing the need for a stronger presence in that area.”

Those who use and appreciate Yellow River State Forest (YRSF) in rural Harpers Ferry now have a way to directly support this treasure in Allamakee County.

A group of approximately ten area residents started working together late last spring to form a Friends of Yellow River State Forest organization. Now, they are ready for anyone and everyone who is interested to become involved. The new Friends of YRSF organization is holding the first public meeting of the Friends group March 3 at 2 p.m. at the Ethel Robinson Meehan Community Center in Harpers Ferry.

Friend groups are made up of dedicated volunteers who raise funds, make park improvements and otherwise give support, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Across Iowa, these citizen groups work to improve, protect and preserve natural resources.

Karen Carlton of Waukon was named Waukon’s 2019 Person of the Year at the Waukon Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet held Friday, February 22 at the Waukon Banquet Center. Nomination information for Karen Carlton centered around her volunteer efforts and service to the community through the organization and continued operation of the Waukon Community Meals program, a free dinner held the last Monday of each month at First Presbyterian Church in Waukon that feeds more than 300 people of all ages each time in an effort to address local hunger and community togetherness.

Ness Pumping Service & Porta Potty Rentals of Waukon was named 2019 Business of the Year at the Waukon Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. Nomination information for Ness Pumping Service & Porta Potty Rentals in its selection as this year’s recipient of the award focused on its organization of an annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk that benefits the cancer fighting efforts of the mammography department at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, along with the volunteering of its services to many local health-related benefit events. The family-owned business also received praise in its nomination information for taking charge when Waukon and the surrounding community was impacted by flooding so severely in 2013 and several times since to lesser degrees, pumping flood water out of basements and downtown business areas to help keep them operational.

Allie Bieber, daughter of Ed and Amy Bieber of Waukon and a sophomore at Waukon High School, was crowned the 2019 Iowa Angus Princess at the Iowa Angus Association Annual Banquet held during the Iowa Beef Expo in Des Moines Wednesday, February 13. As a fifth generation Angus producer, Bieber said she is honored to be able to represent the breed and the industry in this capacity.

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