Community News


Restore Hearing Aid Center, LLC opens new office in Waukon

Jayson Fierstine

The Restore Hearing Aid Center opened an office January 15 at 16 Allamakee Street in Waukon. The proprietor, Hearing Instrument Specialist Jayson Fierstine, says that he chose the Waukon location to bring better hearing to area residents because its close to his current residence in Monona.
Fierstine says that the goal of the Restore Hearing Aid Center is to help people improve their lives through better hearing and that he achieves that by using his knowledge and expertise to make better hearing possible. "Better hearing is possible with great local service," he said. "A lot of other places sell hearing aids, but you come to see me for better hearing."
A licensed hearing aid dispenser in both South Dakota and Iowa since 2004, Fierstine grew up in Manchester and graduated from West Delaware High School. He has two children, a ten-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son, and a dog named Kinzie.


Area native Louise Keenan returns to her home area to share her time, talent and energy at The Heart Song Center

Lansing native Louise Keenan stands in the massage area of The Heart Song Center, one of the new businesses she recently opened in the Cornerstone building at the intersection of Main Street and Rossville Road in Waukon. In addition to the Heart Song Center, Keenan most recently opened Above the Rest, an artist studio and painting classroom for her Art from the Heart sessions, on the main level of that same Cornerstone building.

Lansing native Louise Keenan opened the Heart Song Center in October of 2014 in the Cornerstone Building at the corner of Rossville Road and Main Street in Waukon. Keenan is a unique individual with diverse experience, and her business reflects that.
Keenan also opened Above the Rest this month, an artist studio and painting classroom (Art From the Heart) on the main level of that same Cornerstone Building at the former Stranded Memories location on Main Street.
"We have massage, art classes, jewelry, hand-crafted items, books, clothing, purses, shoes, dishes, antiques, vases, spa parties, framed art, spa weekends with local bed and breakfasts, spiritual and metaphysical seminars," Keenan explained. "We also have a wedding center with bridal gowns and jewelry."


Previous owners return to Waukon to resume ownership of Yen Hing Dragon Chinese restaurant

Alan and Helen Lau (left to right in above photo) have returned to Waukon to resume ownership of the Chinese restaurant on Spring Avenue, renaming it Yen Hing Dragon, as it once was under their previous ownership.

Owners of the Wonderful House Chinese restaurant located on Spring Avenue in downtown Waukon returned ownership to its former owners, Alan and Helen Lau, in December of this past year. The Laus, who first took ownership of the restaurant in 2000 after buying it from Alan's cousin, have renamed the restaurant Yen Hing Dragon, as it was called under their previous ownership.
The Laus have been in the restaurant business for 15 years and come from an extended family that owns over 80 restaurants nationwide, including restaurants in Denver, CO, California, Iowa and Philadelphia, PA. Born in Hong Kong, the Laus grew up in restaurants, working and learning in many different family-owned restaurants over the years, beginning in Iowa Falls in 1999 and then working with a different family member every couple of months to learn new things. The extended family meets every couple of weeks, with 10 to 15 restaurant owners in attendance, to discuss changes in the family business.


Smed & Associates Realty transitions to Keller Williams Premier Realty

Recently, Dan Hughes, Team Leader for Keller Williams Premier Realty, was in Waukon to meet with team members. On that day, Mary Dreckman closed her first real estate transaction as a Keller Williams Premier Realty agent. Pictured above, left to right, are Dan Hughes, Barb Smed and Mary Dreckman.

Smed & Associates Realty was established five years ago in the Waukon area, with Barb Smed as owner/broker. In December, 2014, the Smed & Associates Realty team made the move to Keller Williams Premier Realty, opening a northeast Iowa office. While the entire team has transitioned to Keller Williams Realty, the staff, location, hours, phone and fax numbers all remain the same.
According to Smed, “This was a very strategic decision.  At the core of this move is my firm belief that we are better able to serve our clients through the technology and systems offered through Keller Williams Realty. I was in discussion with KW representatives for six months before making the commitment to join their agency. I wanted to make very sure that both our clients and each sales associate would benefit from the move.”


Allamakee Realty begins new year under new ownership of Daryl Hansmeier

Daryl Hansmeier

Allamakee Realty, LLC, which has been in business in Waukon since 2007, recently underwent a change in ownership. Daryl Hansmeier, who has worked in real estate for 15 years, purchased the business from Sandy Van Horn and Ann Quillin near the end of 2014 and took ownership officially January 1.
"It seemed like a great fit," Hansmeier said of the transition. Van Horn and Quillin, along with Patty Kammeyer, will continue as part of Allamakee Realty's sales team.
Hansmeier, the son of Richard and Pat Hansmeier of Waukon, is a 1991 graduate of Waukon High School and a 1995 graduate of Luther College in Decorah. In addition to having worked as a real estate sales agent and broker, Hansmeier will also draw from his years of experience gained from having purchased, repaired/remodeled and resold 57 homes throughout the United States.


Robey Memorial Library to begin "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" reading program

Starting January 2015 Robey Memorial Library will be launching the new program "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten." It is a free program that encourages parents to read 1,000 books with their child before he or she enters school. Studies show that children should hear at least 1,000 books from birth to age five to build the pre-reading skills they need to succeed in school.
The program is anticipated to work as follows: parents read to their child, keep track of the books read, and each time they read 100 books their child receives a reward. Packets are available at the library to get families started. The only deadline for this program is when a child starts kindergarten, so parents are encouraged to take their time and enjoy the experience.


VMH reports slight decrease in patient volumes for November

by Brianne Eilers
The Veterans Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees met early this month (due to the holiday schedule) for a brief meeting December 17.
During the month of November, Veterans Memorial Hospital experienced slightly lower acute patient days, which were down 10.3%, and as a result, inpatient revenue came in lower than what was budgeted for by about $150,000, or 10.2%. Outpatient physical therapy numbers were down for the month by 13.5%. The hospital ended up with a net loss of $1,736 for the month. However, year to date, the hospital has a net income of $320,486, which translates to a 4.6% profit margin. The hospital also has $1,816,000 in cash reserves, which is down.


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