2019 Year in Review: A look back at July through December

WHS graduate to conduct D-Day 75th anniversary Choral Festival. ... Waukon High School 1970 graduate Gary Schwartzhoff (at left) shakes hands with a World War II veteran during the 60th anniversary observance of the D-Day invasion commemorated in 2004 in France. Schwartzhoff directed the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Concert Choir in a concert performance at both the 50th and 60th anniversary D-Day observances in Paris, France and will now lead the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Choir in commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the Paris Choral Festival scheduled for Monday, July 8. Submitted photo.

Future plans for the Black Hawk Bridge ... Approximately 135 area residents attended the July 9 public meeting hosted by the Iowa and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation at Kee High School in Lansing to present the latest options for the future of the Black Hawk Bridge in Lansing. Those attending found out plans are to have the bridge replacement underway by 2024, with three different nearby location options, as well as bridge and pier design options, still needing to be decided on as planning continues. Photo by Susan Cantine-Maxson.

To read the the full article, 2019 Year in Review: A Look Back at July through December, pick up this week's print edition or subscribe to our e-edition by clicking here.

Below is a portion of that article, July through August, summarizing the top news stories that appeared in The Standard.

Recently, Jack Meggers, an Iowa Arts Council Fellow, debuted his independent short film “The Burial” in Lansing and Des Moines. The film, shot entirely in northeast Iowa in and around the Lansing area, is a psychological, supernatural thriller. Meggers hopes to show this 20-minute film to film production companies on the East and West coasts and in Canada in the hope that one of them will agree to finance a feature length film of the entire story.

Working on this concept since 2014, Meggers wrote  the screen play and worked tirelessly to get this film concept to the big screen, while also supporting himself as a substitute teacher. Meggers, a Mason City native, grew to love the Lansing area when he spent many summers with his dad in northeast Iowa along the Mississippi River.

It wasn’t a typical call to the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department (ACSD). But when dispatch received a call of an individual or individuals seen boarding a cargo train, the ACSD took measures to end the illegal activity and make sure nothing greater - or worse - became of it, using some creative tactics along the way.

According to Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick, about mid-morning Tuesday, July 2, his department received a call stating that at least one individual had been seen jumping onto a train in Marquette that was heading north. A call to the Canadian Pacific Railroad helped officials get the train stopped just north of Harpers Ferry, but no riders were seen during that initial search.

In addition to searching the entire train on foot in the somewhat wooded area, officials utilized the Sheriff Department’s drone, which flew the length of the entire train, approximately 160 cars. According to Mellick, the train was hauling coal in open cars.

“What happened was when the train stopped, the two individuals went into the nearby woods to cool off. It can get really hot on top of that coal,” said Mellick.

The two men, 57-year-old Mark T. Rinderer of San Francisco, CA and 22-year-old Richard C. Strobel of Sugar Grove, IL, were charged with Stowing Away, a simple misdemeanor offense punishable by payment of a fine. They were released and left the Public Safety Center on foot.

The two had apparently hopped the train in Dubuque and were headed to La Crosse, WI. Further background checks revealed they were not otherwise wanted by the law and were breaking no other laws, other than riding the train, so were released.

When asked what type of condition the two men were in when they disembarked the train, Mellick said, “They were pretty hot.”

Mellick agreed the episode was a little different from the average call his department receives, but he was glad no one was hurt and the situation came to a successful conclusion.

This week, July 17-21,  the 166th Allamakee County Fair will be held for all to enjoy at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds in Waukon. A wide variety of entertainment is in place to headline this year’s fair at the grandstand, along with a great deal of other activities for everyone to enjoy each and every day throughout the five-day event.

With their name paying tribute to the town where the band started, Parmele, NC, Parmalee will headline Friday’s grandstand performance. First forming in 2001, the band not only finally broke through on to the Billboard Country Top 40 but soared all the way to its pinnacle with its 2013 release, “Carolina,” which reached Platinum-certified status. Two more songs from their debut album also made their way into the Billboard Top 10, including “Close Your Eyes” and “Already Callin’ You Mine”. Their second album also produced Billboard Top 40 hits more recently, including “Roots” and “Sunday Morning”.

The new Irish Hollow Creek Bridge along Iowa River Drive (County Road A26) and located approximately 3.5 miles southwest of New Albin adjacent to the Upper Iowa River is in its final stages of having the finishing touches put on the project and has been opened to all traffic as of mid-July. Signage for the gravel road detour around the replacement project is scheduled to be removed this week. The bridge has been closed since late March of this year for a replacement project of the entire structure that was first constructed in 1946. Allamakee County Engineer Brian Ridenour said the 73-year-old bridge had

some deck deficiencies which would have required posting the bridge for weight restrictions, so the decision was made to replace the structure along the well-utilized Iowa River Drive route. The former bridge also had to be designated and signed as “narrow” due to its width being narrower than the approach pavement width through the nearby curve, a problem rectified with the bridge replacement.

Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) officials have advised that the street paving portion of this summer’s Iowa 9/76 improvement project is anticipated to begin prior to the final week of August, depending, of course, upon the weather. Iowa DOT District 2 Field Services Coordinator Pete Hjelmstad says, depending upon the condition of the roadway, some areas will require milling down to a depth of as much as four inches while other areas will not receive any milling at all. Motorists may have already encountered some street patching on areas of Allamakee Street north of the Allamakee County Courthouse on through the north edge of town by the City Airport, and DOT officials say no further paving will be required on that section of roadway due to that being the most recently paved area of the Iowa 9/76 network through the town of Waukon and, thus, still being “in good condition”. Although not requiring overlay this year, that portion may be included in an anticipated overlay project between Waukon and Lansing next year. Officials say all paving for this year’s project will be done with single-lane intervals using pilot cars and/or flaggers to guide traffic during the paving process.

Work continues on the renovations at the East Elementary school building in Waukon. The building is now sporting new windows, doors, flooring, LED lighting, new ceilings and also has a new VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) heating and cooling system.

Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Superintendent Jay Mathis explained that when considering this project the district had to focus on the overall scope and what could realistically be completed during the summer break from the school year. East and West Elementary Schools Principal Joe Griffith noted that “we are where we thought we would be in this process,” as far as the timing.

The East Elementary library has been completed and the majority of the school’s windows have been installed. Several of the classrooms are also finished and staff has been moving things back into the completed rooms to get ready for the first day of school this Friday, August 23.

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