News

Wed
30
Jul

Clayton County Fair under way this week

By Shelia Tomkins

The 160th annual Clayton County Fair is under way this week, featuring a line-up of family entertainment, agricultural exhibits, midway rides and delicious fair food.   The fairground are located at National, five miles north of Garnavillo. 

The event will officially open on Wednesday evening, July 30, with a 6:30 p.m. flag raising and crowning of the 2014 Fair Queen.  A free beef and pork barbecue meal, sponsored by the Clayton County Commodity Groups, will be served from 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Wed
30
Jul

It was the best finish by a dam site for RAGBRAI XLII


RAGBRAI rolls to the finish line  Under a canopy of shade on Guttenberg's South River Park Drive, RAGBRAI cyclists from Dream Team head to the finish line at the south marina for the traditional wheel dip in the Mississippi River. An estimated 10,000 cyclists enjoyed pleasant temperatures and an overcast sky for the final leg of the journey from Independence to Guttenberg. For more RAGBRAI photos, see pages 10, 11 and 20 or visit The Guttenberg Press page and the Guttenberg RAGBRAI page on Facebook. (Press photo by Shelia Tomkins)

By Shelia Tomkins

Guttenberg lived up to its RAGBRAI slogan — Best Finish By A Dam Site — when thousands of cyclists rolled into the community Saturday to finish their ride across Iowa with a front tire dip in the Mississippi River.

Volunteers stirred early Saturday morning to prepare for the expected 20,000 visitors, half of them cyclists, scheduled to arrive that day. By 7:30 a.m. a few hardy cyclists, who began the day riding in the dark, showed up at the dip site at the Guttenberg south marina.

Wed
30
Jul

As one journey ends, another begins


The Great River Rumble, a group of over 150 canoe and kayakers, will arrive at Guttenberg's south marina just one week after thousands of RAGBRAI riders dipped their tires in the same waters. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Bicycles began rolling down River Park Drive by 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, filling Guttenberg’s restaurants, streets, and parks with energy from thousands of visitors.  Those at the south marina celebrated victory and, in some cases, relief, while another group of travelers were just beginning their journey near the north docks.

The Great River Rumble, active since 1995 and headquartered in Dubuque, began a weeklong canoe and kayak trip on the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers on Sunday. Some spent Friday evening in Guttenberg, and many loaded their vessels onto trailers before heading north by automobile at noon on Saturday. The Rumblers began their river voyage in Prairie du Sac, Wis., on Sunday morning, and are expected to arrive in Guttenberg around noon this Saturday.

As if a 431-mile bike ride or a seven-day paddle down two major rivers isn’t challenge enough, some adventurers do both. “We often have a few who get on board with us after riding RAGBRAI,” said Rumble leader Rex Klein. With the bike ride ending in the same town where paddlers boarded shuttles to their start location, several cyclists went straight from pedals to oars. 

Anticipation of the journey ahead kept the paddlers calm and the north end of Guttenberg fairly quiet. Meanwhile, the mood on the city’s opposite end was one of simultaneous exuberance and reflection. Amidst live music, local food vendors, and cheerful socialization, riders were encouraged to share their stories in notebooks scattered around the community.

Wed
30
Jul

Polls open for "Best of Guttenberg"


Scenic views from local businesses are just one of the 10 categories voters can chxoose from in Best of Guttenberg, a new addition to Celebrate Guttenberg this year. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

An exciting new event is being held in conjunction with the sixth annual Celebrate Guttenberg, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9. For the first time ever, community members will be able to vote for their favorite burger, pie, and bloody Mary in Guttenberg. Organizers from the sponsoring organization, Guttenberg Development & Tourism, will award certificates – and bragging rights – to merchants who are voted “Best of Guttenberg.” 

Wed
23
Jul

Bear sighting in Clayton County

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has confirmed tracks and scat left near Clayton County beehives came from a black bear.

A DNR wildlife depredation biologist responded to a report from a beekeeper south of Wadena, near the Clayton-Fayette county line, who had found his beehives torn up. The DNR found bear scat within 25 feet of the hives. 

Wed
23
Jul

RAGBRAI committee pleased with parking weekend in Guttenberg

By Shelia Tomkins

Cyclists, cars, vans, buses, semis and their entourages arrived in Guttenberg this past weekend to park vehicles and catch buses to western Iowa to begin the week-long Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa on Sunday, July 20, at Rock Valley, a ride that will end this Saturday in Guttenberg.

The town buzzed with activity on Friday as hundreds of cars arrived to park in a designated area in south Guttenberg. Local volunteers were on hand during the day and evening to direct vehicles to parking spots, and returned with little sleep in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday to park those who were still coming in that morning.

Ingleside Park north of the school turned into a small city that evening, filled to capacity with colorful tents set up by overnight campers. The smell of burgers and brats wafted from the local Gridiron Club's food stand, and live music by Side Project provided a party atmosphere. Local volunteers in colorful t-shirts manned the beverage garden and answered questions at an information booth. Visitors had numerous choices for places to eat in Guttenberg, including a spaghetti supper at the school.

On Saturday morning, campers packed up their gear before loading onto charter buses for the trip to Rock Valley on the Missouri River. Semis, moving vans and other vehicles carrying bikes and gear joined the western caravan. Many local volunteers made positive comments on how litter-free the park was in the aftermath.

Many months of planning went into making the weekend run smoothly, and local committee members are terming it a big success. This week they will be assessing feedback to make sure next Saturday's finale goes as smoothly. The Press asked local RAGBRAI Co-Chair Nancy McClellan to summarize the challenges and successes of the past weekend, and this is her report.

Wed
23
Jul

July is prime season for seafood


Steve Hansel has over a decade of experience in the sea food industry. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

An evening walk around Guttenberg in mid-July brings all kinds of mouth-watering scents from backyard grills. Thanks to Steve Hansel of Deep Blue Seafood, located on Kestrel Avenue, premium wild caught shrimp, lobster tail, cod loins, and more are available to locals for grilling in landlocked Iowa.

Deep Blue Seafood, in business since 1998, also sells thousands of gallons of oysters each season. "We run to Texas all the time to pick up shrimp and oysters," says Hansel. He admits he went years without trying oysters, but now he enjoys them southern-style - grilled over an open fire and topped with sharp cheddar and hot sauce. 

"Everybody overcooks sea food," says Hansel with a good-natured grin. "It doesn't take very long to cook, and should be clear -to-white when finished." He cooks his own shrimp on the grill with garlic butter, a simple but delicious way to bring out its best flavors. 

Wed
23
Jul

RAGBRAI riders from coast to coast pedal across Iowa


After months of preparation by organizers and months of training by cyclists, RAGBRAI kicked off on Friday night as hundreds of riders and support crew enjoyed Guttenberg and camped alongside the Mississippi River. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Bike-hauling vehicles with plates from Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, New England, North Carolina, Vermont, Arkansas, Idaho, Alabama, and even Ontario filled RAGBRAI’s main parking lot in Guttenberg on Friday. Some joined the ride for the first time, and others have been cycling across Iowa for decades.

RAGBRAI rider Albrecht was relieved to arrive in Guttenberg after a two-day drive from Ontario. “Now my vacation starts,” he said, noting that the car ride was more daunting than the bike ride. 

Though driving from Canada to Iowa might be a greater task for some than pedaling coast-to-coast across the state, Orv Wood of Kansas City feels that RAGBRAI is more intimidating than climbing Mount Fuji. Wood was stationed in Japan while serving in the U.S. military and once climbed the mountain. As the Japanese proverb says, “A wise man will climb Mt. Fuji once, a fool will climb Mt. Fuji twice.” Some might say the same applies to RAGBRAI, but Wood returned to Iowa this year to make his fourth trek across the state. 

Wed
16
Jul

RAGBRAI begins to roll this Friday!

By Shelia Tomkins

The first wave of participants in RAGBRAI XLII, the annual bike ride across Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register, are expected to arrive in Guttenberg this week in advance of their week-long ride from Rock Valley in western Iowa to Guttenberg.

Wed
16
Jul

Iowa's first crowdfunding website for the arts launched


Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center was one of three organizations selected for promotion in Iowa's first arts specific crowdfunding website. The nonprofit exists to provide an after school art program to area students three days a week. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

On June 20, Northeast Iowa RC&D announced the launch of Iowa’s first crowdfunding website for the arts. The website, www.IowaART.org, began accepting donations for three projects on July 1. Each project is requesting $5,000 and contributions may be tax deductible as a charitable donation. 

Guttenberg’s Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center applied for and was chosen as one of the projects that will benefit from the crowdfunding campaign. Projects for the site were selected through a competitive process by the Northeast Iowa Arts Funding Council, which is a multi-county group of volunteers that includes artists and community leaders. Their goal is to encourage, support and strengthen the arts in Northeast Iowa. 

Crowdfunding is the collection of financing from backers (the ‘crowd’) to fund an initiative. Today, this is most often accomplished using a web-based platform like Indiegogo, Kickstarter, or Go Fund Me. Crowdfunding is used in limitless ways, raising funds for nonprofits, start-ups, charities, and emergency causes. 

"The Creativity Center is thrilled and honored to have been chosen for this great opportunity. Myself, and all our volunteers and supporters are very excited to see what kinds of funds this will provide us!" said Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center director Cindy Olsen, who plans to designate funds raised through the crowdfunding campaign to long-term sustainability for the organization through the opening of the Artisan Café and Courtyard.

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