News

Wed
04
Jun

St. Mary's/Immaculate Conception welcomes new principal


Expanding the school garden is one of the many ambitions of new St. Mary's principal Joanne Hedemann. She planted potatoes with second graders last week, and hopes to serve some of the student-grown vegetables in school lunches. Pictured from left are Principal Hedemann, Isabella Rausch, Jennifer Rodenberg, Leah Cosley, Marilyn Morales, Koree Rausch, Luke Harwick, Nik Miller, and Tristum Earl. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

“All of my experience has been in preparation to be here at St. Mary’s,” says Joanne Hedemann. She does indeed have a variety of unique experiences to inform her role as the new principal of St. Mary’s/Immaculate Conception. After leading for three years, current principal Steve Cornelius will retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

Hedemann retired last summer after serving a decade as a principal and a dozen years as an early childhood educator throughout Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. “This is a breath of fresh air,” she says, referring to the decision to relocate as a sort of homecoming. “I feel like I’m with family.” Hedemann and her husband raised their four children on a farm at the intersection of Highways 52 and 18, and she substitute taught in Garnavillo for seven years. She is indeed with family, as two of her grandchildren attend St. Mary’s and her daughter, Erin Schmelzer, is employed as the school secretary.

“The Board of Education selected Joanne because she will bring a wealth of education and experience with her to St. Mary's. Her experience in the classroom and on the administrative level placed her above the other candidates,” said school board chair Julie Rastetter. “The board felt very strongly about the direction that she would like to take St. Mary's in many areas, such as curriculum, literacy, faith, discipline and leadership for the staff.”

Leadership is a concept Hedemann feels passionate about. With a background in professional development and nearly a decade of experience as a teacher’s union president, Hedemann is a natural leader and thus empowers those around her, both students and teachers, to take charge of their own paths.

Wed
04
Jun

Rumblers plan for river excursion to end here Aug. 2


From left are Rumblers Allen Miller of Millwaukee, Wis., Jim Mason of Onalaska, Wis., Mark Williams of St. Louis, Mo., Milan Rogers of Kansas City, Mo., Dan Ertz of Burlington, and Rex Klein of Dubuque, having just landed at Guttenberg's south marina. Not pictured are road crew members and paddlers Val Lloyd of Carver, Minn., Larry Jatho of Reedsburg, Wis., and Jim Meyer of the Quad Cities. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

A rainbow of brightly colored canoes and kayaks paddled up the flooded boat ramps at Guttenberg’s south marina on Friday afternoon. The sound of their vessels scraping bottom was accompanied by cheers of, “We did it!” and “Done, done, done!” 

After a 30-mile day of paddling on the Mississippi River, core members of the group known as Great River Rumble were delighted to complete the trial run for a weeklong canoe and kayak trip scheduled to end in Guttenberg on Saturday, Aug. 2. 

The Great River Rumble, active since 1995 and headquartered in Dubuque, will begin this year’s journey on the Wisconsin River out of Prairie du Sac.  

Wed
28
May

Train hits car at Herder Street

A Canadian Pacific train struck an SUV vehicle on Thursday morning, May 22, in Guttenberg, sending the driver to the hospital.

The accident occurred at approximately 9:00 a.m. at the Herder Street crossing just north of St. Mary's Church. According to unofficial reports, the driver  drove across the tracks as the crossing arms were descending, and then jumped out of the vehicle as the train approached.

The train remained stopped on the tracks for several hours while the accident was investigated, blocking a majority of Guttenberg's railroad crossings.

Wed
28
May

St. Mary's alumni banquet June 7

Anyone who attended St. Mary’s School in Guttenberg is invited to attend St. Mary’s/Immaculate Conception School's "Generations of Faith" alumni banquet on Saturday, June 7, at St. Mary’s Brinkmann Hall in Guttenberg. 

The Heritage Room will open at 4:00 p.m. Mass will be offered at 5:30 p.m., followed by a social hour at 6:15 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. Dinner tickets are $10.

Classes to be honored are: 1934, 1939, 1944, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. 

Wed
28
May

Veterans reunited after 40+ years


Roger Szemkus of Garber has reconnected with his fellow soldier, John Walsch, of Cedar Rapids. Szemkus visited Walsch in the hospital to see him for the first time in over four decades. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Like many young men, Yankee and Alphabet were drafted to Vietnam in 1969. It was the 15th year of a war that would last another six. They were stationed in the central highlands, between Pleiku and An Khe, with 100 men in the Charlie Company 54th Infantry. Yankee was from Boston, and Alphabet grew up in Garber. 

“We were bonded together,” said Alphabet, who wouldn’t give many details about their time in Vietnam. Alphabet is Roger Szemkus, who returned stateside in 1970 and came home to work the family farm. He and his wife, Anita, have five daughters between the two of them. 

Yankee came back into Szemkus’ life this spring, after 44 years without contact. “We’ve never had any reunions. We talked about it, but all of us left in such a hurry and we all had nicknames,” Szemkus explained. He admits he wouldn’t have remembered Yankee’s last name, but his old friend remembered his. 

Wed
28
May

City council considering new golf cart ordinance


Visitors and residents of Guttenberg alike may soon be permitted to drive golf carts on city streets. Residents on the island are already allowed to travel by golf cart. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

An ordinance that would allow the operation of golf carts on city streets in Guttenberg is under consideration by city council members and is scheduled for two more readings in the coming weeks.

Jeff Friedlein, co-owner of Lakeside Ballroom, brought the issue to the council on behalf of seasonal visitors who had requested a golf cart ordinance. “Between the campers and the marina, it just makes more sense for them to use a smaller vehicle rather than driving their big gas guzzlers,” Friedlein told The Press. “I’ve heard nothing but good comments about it.”

Mayor Russ Loven is aware of concerns about children driving golf carts on city streets, but stated, “That won't happen, because they must have a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 years old.”

The ordinance does indeed address both issues, as well as prohibiting golf cart use on city streets between sunset and sunrise. Golf cart drivers would be expected to follow all the rules and regulations applicable to the driver of a car, and their speed would consistently be limited to 25 miles per hour. Golf carts must be equipped with a slow-moving vehicle sign and a bicycle safety flag.

Wed
21
May

St. Mary's alumni banquet June 7

Anyone who attended St. Mary’s School in Guttenberg is invited to attend St. Mary’s/Immaculate Conception School's "Generations of Faith" alumni banquet on Saturday, June 7, at St. Mary’s Brinkmann Hall in Guttenberg. 

The Heritage Room will open at 4:00 p.m. Mass will be offered at 5:30 p.m., followed by a social hour at 6:15 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. Dinner tickets are $10.

Classes to be honored are: 1934, 1939, 1944, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. 

Wed
21
May

Memorial Day tribute is May 26

By Shelia Tomkins

Guttenberg area residents will pay tribute to veterans both living and dead at the community's annual Memorial Day parade and program on Monday, May 26.

The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Guttenberg Municipal Building. All veterans, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and anyone else in the parade should meet there between 9:00-9:15 a.m.

Wed
21
May

School board terminates positions

The Clayton Ridge School Board of Directors met in special session on Wednesday, May 7, in the middle school library.  Due to the large number in attendance, the meeting was moved to the auditorium.

The meeting opened with a presentation by Superintendent Nelson  addressing the top four things the public should know about school finance in Iowa. He also addressed the two major factors impacting the district's budget, certified enrollment projections for the next ten years, staffing changes over the last fifteen years, and the district’s unspent balance goal. 

Adam Radcliffe, Jeremy Idler and Terri Ellerbach addressed the board with concerns on the recommendation to reduce the music staff by .5 FTE beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.  Comments regarding the reduction in staff in the music program were also heard from students Brianna Finnegan, Blake Bolsinger, Anna Berns and Hailey Peterson; from parents Candi Peterson and Jaydeane Berns; and from staff member Mindy Reimer.

A motion was made by board member Heying and seconded by Andregg to approve the recommendation to terminate the .5 FTE elementary music position. The motion carried with Hoffmann, Reimer and Finnegan opposed.

Wed
21
May

Guttenberg veteran selected for Honor Flight


The trip to Washington, D.C. with Honor Flight of Eastern Iowa on April 22 was Eugene Handke's first time visiting the nation's capital, and the first time he saw the Korean War Veterans Memorial. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Corporal Eugene Handke, a veteran of the Korean War, traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 22 with Honor Flight of Eastern Iowa. It was his first trip to D.C., and the first time he laid eyes on the Korean Memorial. Honor Flight provides WWII and Korean War veterans with the opportunity to see and experience the memorials built in their honor in Washington, D.C. at no cost.

Handke grew up on Miner’s Creek, and in his family, serving country became the standard. Three of his brothers were drafted – Clarence, who stayed stateside, Raymond to Korea near the war’s end, and Roland to Italy as a military policeman. Brother Edgar enlisted in the Army and served in Germany.

Handke was drafted in 1951 and became a member of the 12th Armored Infantry, based in Worms, Germany, near the Russian border. He drove a half-track, a cross-terrain vehicle with wheels in front and continuous tracks in back. Upon arriving in Worms, Handke recalls, “We didn’t go to the barracks like we were supposed to. We went into maneuvers right away.” 

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