News

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.” 

Wed
14
May

Stars and Stripes theme announced

Bicycles have inspired Guttenberg Development and Tourism, which selected “Where the rubber meets the river,” as the theme for this year’s Stars and Stripes parade. The parade will be held on Saturday, July 5, at 7:00 p.m.

Children are encouraged to decorate bicycles and enter the mini-float division. GD&T will offer prize money for winners in each category. The theme isn’t limited to bicycles, however, and participants are encouraged to think of clever ways to incorporate tires into their parade entries. One Guttenberg couple plans to ride their motorcycles in the parade. 

Wed
14
May

City moves forward on financing

By Shelia Tomkins

At its regular monthly meeting on May 5, the Guttenberg city council moved forward on issuing bonds to finance the Acre Street project, purchase a fire truck and to refinance existing debt.

Mayor Russ Loven, council members Virginia Saeugling, Fred Schaub, Dave Schlueter and Jane Parker and City Manager Mary Willett were in attendance.

No comments were received at a public hearing on the issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $1,075,000. Michael Hart from Northland Securities gave a presentation on the bond purchase agreement, and noted an approximate savings of $35,000 by refinancing existing debt.  

Ambulance

Discussion continued from last month's meeting regarding the purchase of a new ambulance for Guttenberg Municipal Hospital. Last month the council okayed financing $141,000 toward the purchase of the ambulance, which left a shortfall of $12,762 from the purchase price. The hospital board subsequently offered to fund half of the deficit from hospital funds, provided as a no-interest loan to the city. Minutes from the hospital board meeting noted that concern was expressed that the city do a better job of budgeting. "That hit a few sore spots," noted the city manager.

Councilman Schlueter said, "I think that comment is unfair." He noted that the city doesn't control the specs of the purchase, and that the funds set aside were within 7%. "If we overbudget then another service gets cut," he said. 

Discussion then turned to expanding healthcare costs, the financial pressures the city is facing, accounting methods used to determine the ambulance service's profitability, the city's contract with the hospital, the hospital's affiliation plans and the difficulty of running an ambulance department.

Wed
14
May

May is bicycle month Pedals emerge following April showers


Artist John Martinson, right, arrived in Guttenberg with three welded steel bicycle sculptures on Monday, April 28, to participate in the Umbrella Arts group's reCycle Sculpture Project. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

The young but impactful Umbrella Arts group is once again making news as their reCycle Sculpture Project gains popularity. Many business owners are gearing up for this summer’s events by channeling their inner ‘cycle-angelo,’ building bicycle sculptures or displaying decorative bikes in their storefronts. 

Shepherd Gallery and Creativity Center, the Umbrella Arts group’s backbone organization, recently installed three such sculptures created by Galena artist John Martinson. Martinson’s work embodies the idea behind the reCycle project – using imagination to repurpose bicycles or parts, and engaging the community through public art. 

“We are thrilled to have John’s sculptures,” said Shepherd Gallery director Cindy Olsen. “We’ve been looking for a skilled metal sculptor for quite some time, and we hope to carry more of his work in the future.”

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