Local News

Tue
24
Mar

Sweet success


Erwin Ruff shows off some of the maple syrup created at Ruff’s Sugar Bush this spring. He and his family have made maple syrup on their farm outside McGregor for the past 50 years. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Two spouts are drilled into each maple tree at Ruff’s Sugar Bush. The sap is collected each day and transferred into a tank pulled by a tractor, which takes it to the cooking shed.

Erwin said he tapped 30 to 40 trees in the beginning, but the number has now grown to 400.

The sap is then transferred into these two tanks behind the building where the cooker is located. Gravity takes the sap through a tube that goes through the wall and into the cooker.

Erwin peers into the cooker, which separates the pure syrup from the sap through a boiling process.

Erwin Ruff shows the material that is strained off the syrup before it is bottled for consumption.

Ruff’s Sugar Bush has made maple syrup for 50 years

 

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Spring is one of the sweetest times of the year for Erwin Ruff. Literally. For the past 50 years, he and his family have made maple syrup on their farm outside McGregor.

It started as a hobby, Erwin said, adding that he’d had no experience tapping trees before he and wife Eileen, who have eight kids, gave it a try soon after arriving on their farm.

“It was curiosity,” he said. “We were outdoor people.”

Tue
24
Mar

Forum raises Lyme disease awareness


Katrina Moyna (left) and Larry Gibbs share their Lyme disease experiences at a recent awareness forum held at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre in Marquette. A multisystem inflammatory disease, Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans by deer ticks that carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Moyna shows some of the medications she's taken to help combat Lyme disease.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Orangish-brown in color, a female deer tick is no bigger than a sesame seed. Her male counterpart is even smaller. But don’t let this insect’s diminutive size fool you. Their bite can pack a mighty punch. Carriers of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, infected deer ticks, sometimes referred to as blacklegged ticks, can transmit Lyme disease.

A multisystem inflammatory disease, Lyme disease was identified in the late 1970s in Lyme, Conn., after an unusual amount of people developed unexplainable arthritis-like symptoms in a tick-infested area.

Tue
24
Mar

Students chat with NBA.com blogger


Beau Benzing

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

MFL MarMac seventh graders in Scott Boylen’s literature class recently had a learning experience of a lifetime when they got the opportunity to chat, via Skype, with NBA.com blogger Sekou Smith.

The question and answer session was the brainchild of student Beau Benzing, who enjoys watching and playing basketball.

Tue
17
Mar

Young Americans has fun, family-like atmosphere for students


Members of the Young Americans show choir and band include (front, left to right) Ashley Smith, Nathan Mclaughlin, Austin Bernhard, Christopher Larson, Corbin Gardner; (middle) Rachel DeMoss, Anjela Waterman, Bailey Dunlap, Brooklyn Landt, Chrisopher Wright, William Check, Adrian Rudnitzki, Micah Decker, Logan Taylor, Chelbe Feuerhelm, Emily Hanson, Dakota Hickman, Ayla Boylen, Magdalena Young; (back) Ali Crogan, Sharlene Routt, Kaitlyn Grady, Victoria Van Wey, Chloe Landt, Ashely Heins, A.J. Van Wey, Spencer Rose, Sierra Wiebensohn, Hope Mcglaughlin, Victoria Kricke, Lizzie Miene and Lizzie Kricke. (Submitted photo)

The Wisconsin Singers from UW-Madison will perform at MFL MarMac Sunday, March 22, at 4:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium. The show will highlight over 60 songs from well-known performers like the Beatles and Madonna to Taylor Swift and One Direction. (Submitted photo)

Wisconsin Singers to perform at MFL MarMac March 22

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Ever since MFL choral director Fremont Ogle formed the Young Americans show choir 40 years ago, the group has dazzled audiences with fun and flashy song and dance numbers.

“I saw how much fun it was and I wanted to be involved,” said member Maggie Young. “We’re like a big family. We spend a lot of time together.”

Tue
17
Mar

INKspiration Tattoo opens in McGregor


Tattoo artist Crystal Scarff, owner of the newly-opened INKspiration Tattoo in McGregor, gives Rachel Parisi a circus elephant tattoo between her shoulder blades. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

For those looking to get inked, there’s a new, local option, with the opening of INKspiration Tattoo in McGregor. Owned by artist Crystal Scarff, a McGregor native, the tattoo studio is located at 330 Main Street, next to the McGregor Public Library.

“I grew up here and I love it here,” Scarff said of her choice to open up shop in McGregor. “It’s a beautiful place.”

Tue
17
Mar

Marquette moves forward with overlook and boardwalk project

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Marquette moved forward with its overlook and boardwalk project March 11, awarding a contract to Taylor Construction, Inc., of New Vienna, for $1,112,315.70.

The bid was 19 percent over the estimated construction cost of $932,286, said project manager Tim Cutsforth, of H.R. Green, Inc., of Cedar Rapids. 

Tue
17
Mar

Monona Council approves library expansion project plans

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The Monona Council approved the plans and specifications, form of contract and cost estimate for the Murphy Helwig Library expansion project Monday evening.

The latest total cost estimate, said architect Christina Monk, with FEH Associates, Inc., is $899,514, up $14,500 from the previous estimate.

Some of the new cost, she said, relates to the need for a temporary bathroom during phase I of contraction. In that time, work will be done on the front portion of the library, including the addition of the children’s and young adult sections, as well as the meeting room. As part of the roof and a wall will be removed, a temporary bathroom will be installed in the staff room.

Tue
10
Mar

Local consumers, government officials respond to gas tax increase


Drivers filling up in Iowa, like those shown here at Kwik Star in McGregor, are now paying more at the pump after a 10-cent gas tax increase took effect March 1. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Drivers filling up in Iowa are now paying more at the pump after a 10-cent gas tax increase took effect March 1.

The increase, which is the first the state has seen since 1989, will provide around $215 million annually for Iowa roads and bridges, according to Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino. Some of that funding will be distributed locally, to the cities and county.

“I think it’s long overdue in this state,” said McGregor resident John Kohlstedt.

Tue
10
Mar

McGregor sanitary sewer projects discussed

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The McGregor Council agreed to take additional time to consider awarding a bid for the city’s sanitary sewer rehabilitation project at a special meeting March 4, after learning bids came in higher than the estimated cost.

The lowest bidder for the project was A-1 Excavating, of Bloomer, Wis., at $994,882.08. At that price, the project cost would be pushed from the originally-anticipated $1,250,000 to closer to $1.3 million or $1.4 million. 

Tue
10
Mar

Grant officer position to end in May for Mar-Mac Police

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At the Mar-Mac Public Safety Commission’s March 3 meeting, it was determined the Mar-Mac Unified Law Enforcement District will complete its requirements for the grant officer position in early May, bringing the department down to a three-man force—the police chief and two officers.

The position was expected to end by March, but was pushed to May after officer Delta Stickfort took a leave of absence to train for a new job, which she eventually accepted. In October, Eric Van Horn was selected to finish out the position.

Pages

Subscribe to Local News