News

Wed
18
Jun

Cause of Guttenberg fire, explosion remain unknown


 A June 10 explosion and fire damaged the house belonging to Susan Bartz, who was not home at the time. (Press photo by Austin Greve)

The cause of an explosion and fire last week at a Guttenberg residence remains unknown following an initial investigation, according to a news release from the Guttenberg Fire Department.

On Tuesday, June 10, at  6:23 p.m. the Guttenberg Fire Department was dispatched to 131 Garber Road in Guttenberg. The first fire personnel on the scene saw what appeared to have been an explosion in the two-story home. The fire department began an offensive fire attack in the structure to contain the fire.

Wed
18
Jun

Prepare now for fun at Stars and Stripes Celebration


Watching parades and fireworks are Independence Day traditions. This year's Stars and Stripes Celebration in Guttenberg will feature traditional events alongside new entertainment for adults, children, and the whole family. (Press photo by Shelia Tomkins)

By Molly Moser

Stars and Stripes Celebration organizers are planning a full day of entertainment on Saturday, July 5. In addition to the parade, fireworks, food, and children’s games, community members are encouraged to participate in several new activities.

- A ‘Team Game-a-thon’ for all ages will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Businesses, organizations, and individuals are invited to pair up on teams of two for a friendly competition in the park. Three games make up the event: Gunny sack races, a beanbag toss, and water balloon volleyball. 

Wed
18
Jun

A father's patriotic spirit remembered


The late Ben Krall of Charles City taught his family a love of music and a respect for their country. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

When Ben Krall graduated from high school in 1937, he was already reading everything he could find on Hitler’s conquest of Europe. Just three years later, Krall and 20 other young men from Charles City enlisted on a cold December night. When Ben passed away this spring, he was the only man of those twenty-one remaining.

Ben’s son, Tom Krall, is a staple of Clayton Ridge athletic programs and a familiar voice in the St. Mary’s church choir in Guttenberg. Tom remembers his father’s patriotism as one of the most important values he shared throughout his life. “He would never miss his yearly army reunions. He felt a pretty important tie with these guys, the 34th Red Bull Division, and he was actually the president of the national group for a couple of years,” said Tom. 

Ben spoke publicly about his experiences in World War II, visiting elementary schools, high schools, and nursing homes near his home in Charles City. He also put many of his stories down on paper. 

When he enlisted, Ben and the others from Charles City expected to be in and out in one year. It wasn’t meant to be. 

Wed
11
Jun

Stars and Stripes parade invitation

Guttenberg Development and Tourism announces an open invitation for participants in this year's Stars and Stripes Parade. The theme is “Where the rubber meets the river,” and 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 Guttenberg Dollars 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
11
Jun

Guttenberg city council moves forward on ambulance financing

By Shelia Tomkins

At the regular monthly meeting on Monday, June 2, the Guttenberg city council heard discussion on the proposed golf cart ordinance and moved forward on ambulance financing. 

Mayor Russ Loven, council members Virginia Saeugling, Fred Schaub, Dave Schlueter, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein, along with City Manager Mary Willett and City Attorney Michael Schuster were in attendance.

Golf cart ordinance

Kevin Mommer, a Guttenberg resident and Iowa State Trooper, addressed the council about the proposed golf cart ordinance. While he said that he supports such an ordinance, he expressed concern about the age restrictions. The proposed ordinance  says drivers must be 18 years of age; Iowa law allows for a drivers license at age 16. City Attorney Schuster said that cities can make laws that are more restrictive than state law. Discussion was held on the possibility of restricitng the city ordinance to age 19 and older. The local ordinance prohibits operation outside of city limits and restricts travel on Highway 52 except to cross it. The golf cart ordinance, which has passed two public readings, did not appear on the meeting agenda for a third and final reading. 

Wed
11
Jun

Pool refurbishment project continues


Since it was built in 1974, Guttenberg Municipal Swimming Pool has provided fun in the sun to the city and its visitors. A nine-member committee is currently discussing pool refurbishment options. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Members of the committee for refurbishment of the Guttenberg Municipal Swimming Pool met on Tuesday evening, June 3. Since the group began meeting in February, they have reviewed six concepts for potential site plans, working toward a plan that meets Guttenberg’s needs and budget.

Immediate concerns to be addressed include the malfunctioning wading pool, the deterioration of the main pool’s north wall, removal of trees and expansion of fenced in area to the north, and mechanical upgrades. Adding a zero-depth entry, slides, and other water features is also being discussed. 

Wed
11
Jun

The fate of the food chain rests on winged shoulders


Female bees make up 95% of all the bees in a colony. Each fall, female bees drive the male bees from the hive and cluster together to keep warm. By flexing their wing muscles, the remaining females create enough friction to keep their cluster at a minimum of 85 degrees all winter long. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

One out of every three bites you take at the dinner table has been directly touched by a certain winged, striped, hairy individual. The other two-thirds of your food has been indirectly affected by the same creature: The honeybee.

“Without bees, you could figure there’d be a food war,” says local beekeeper Bill Johnson. “We’d have a lot of people starving,” adds Louise, his wife and partner in the family honey farm. 

Honeybees are not even native to North America, having been imported from Europe, so why are they so critical in the food chain? Prior to the importation of honeybees, moths, blackflies, butterflies, and hummingbirds took care of all the pollination necessary in the U.S – but since much of the plant life we depend on for food is also imported, bees are now a critical part of the ecosystem.

The Johnsons started with one hive in 1993. “We had just bought the farm, and we had apple trees that needed bees for pollination,” said Louise. That first endeavor was a failure – the bees didn’t survive the harsh Iowa winter. The next year, the Johnsons tried again with two hives, and by the end of this week, they’ll have 300 hives with at least 60,000 bees living in each. 

Wed
04
Jun

E-waste collection this Saturday at Guttenberg hospital parking lot

An e-waste collection will take place on Saturday, June 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the parking lot at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital.

E-waste stands for electronic waste. It is important to dispose of it properly because it does not break down when thrown in a landfill.

Items will be accepted free of charge with one exception­— a $10 fee for "old school" computer monitors.

The site will NOT accept large electronics such as refrigerators, stove, air conditioners, etc.

Wed
04
Jun

River of Music kicks off this Friday with Triple Threat

Guttenberg’s River of Music, a free summer concert series for residents and guests, will feature music by Triple Threat this Friday, June 6, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the band shelter in the park along the river north of the school.

Triple Threat features vocals, acoustic and electric guitar music by Steve Moser, Scott Fischer and Jesse Moser. 

Concert goers should bring their own lawn chair or blanket and are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and coolers and enjoy dinner or snacks during the concert. Wine and beer are allowed. However, glass beer bottles are not permitted. 

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.

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