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Tue
14
Feb

The thrill of the climb


Don Smalley stands atop Oregon’s Mt. Hood in June 2016. It was one stop on his quest to reach the highest point in each state.

Smalley did ice climbing to reach the top of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington. “I wanted to experience the high wind and cold temperatures,” he said.

Granite Peak, in Montana, is one of 25 high points Smalley has reached since starting his journey last year.

Smalley nears the summit of Granite Peak, in Montana, which he said was one of his most challenging climbs so far.

Smalley climbing highest points in all 50 states

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

For many years, Don Smalley was an avid runner and biker, participating in competitions that revolved around those activities. In 2008, he did an Ironman Triathlon, marking the end of his competition career.

“It was the culmination of three years of triathlons,” he said. “I enjoyed every minute of it, but I promised myself, once it was over, I would be done with competitions.”

Tue
14
Feb

Baseball field getting lights

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The MFL MarMac baseball team can anticipate some night games in the future. Lights for the baseball field are expected to be up and running in late-May or early-June, said superintendent Dale Crozier at the Feb. 13 school board meeting.

The new lights were just one of several projects discussed. Crozier said planning is also underway for some space improvements at the elementary school, including expanded bathrooms, the addition of a conference room and remodeling of the office. The latter would not only create more space, but also be more aesthetically pleasing, he said.

Fri
10
Feb

MFL MarMac McGregor Center January Students of the Month recognized


MFL MarMac McGregor Center January Students of the Month include (front, left to right) Katelyn Gerndt, Clare Grau, Carter Stoddard, Hayleigh Nickolai, Megan Meisner, Ava Goltz; (back) Victor Breuer, Lauren Heberichter, Andrew Heins, Kadence Pape and Jonah Wille. Not pictured is Riley Whitney. (Submitted photo)

Staff at the MFL MarMac McGregor Center recently announced the January Students of the Month, recognizing the outstanding positive behavior of students. Students are selected by their grade level team of teachers each month, with two students from each middle school grade and three each from fourth and fifth grades earning this distinction. Students are selected because of excellence or significant improvement academically, whether that is shown through their grades, attitude, attendance and/or classroom engagement. Another qualification is that the students of the month have shown top-notch character in how they treat others and themselves. 

Fourth Grade

Tue
07
Feb

Keeping Pleasant Grove beautiful


The interest earned on Pleasant Grove Cemetery’s perpetual care fund has decreased, lessening the amount of money the cemetery association has to put toward maintenance. They’re hoping community support, either through donations or volunteerism, could help ease the burden. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Support needed for maintenance costs

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

McGregor’s Pleasant Grove Cemetery is one of the community’s most picturesque and hallowed spots. With panoramic views of the Mississippi River valley and dozens of stately trees that offer shade and solitude in the summer heat and vibrant yellow hues in the fall, it’s a beautiful final resting place for hundreds of former residents. However, maintaining the cemetery’s beauty has become more difficult, and costly.

“The interest earned on perpetual care has decreased, so we’re not earning as much for maintenance,” explained Deborah Scott, with the Pleasant Grove Cemetery Association. Expenses have been exceeding income.

Tue
07
Feb

MFL Lions donate $1,000 toward bandstand


The MFL Lions Club last week donated $1,000 toward repairs of the 100-year-old bandstand in Monona's city park. Pictured (left to right) are Monona Deputy Clerk Barb Collins; Allan Troester, with the MFL Lions Club; Rogeta Halvorson, Monona Chamber and Economic Development Executive Director and bandstand committee member; bandstand committee member Ron Mueller and Ann Howe, with FreedomBank in Monona. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Funding for repairs to the 100-year-old bandstand in Monona's city park is now nearly half accounted for, thanks to a $1,000 donation last week from the MFL Lions Club. The project will cost an estimated $32,000, said Monona Chamber and Economic Development (MCED) Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson, who's also part of the bandstand committee.

The city of Monona recently received a $10,000 grant from Wellmark, which will go toward the project. An ice cream social event held at the park last fall also netted around $1,000. Other grant and fundraising opportunities are in the works.

Tue
07
Feb

Monona moving forward with hotel/motel feasibility study

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The city of Monona is moving forward with a hotel/motel feasibility study. The council, at its Feb. 6 meeting, unanimously approved utilizing Hotel R&D, LLC, to conduct the study.

The first phase of the study will cost $1,500, said city administrator Dan Canton. If the results seem promising, the second phase of the study could proceed, at an additional cost of $1,500. If the results are not favorable, it would not continue.

The city will bear no cost for the first phase. It will be completely covered by $500 contributions from Black Hills Energy, ITC and, most recently, Alliant Energy.

Tue
31
Jan

The circus will always be alive: Part Two


Emily Colossa, the daughter of Joe and Carmen Colossa, owners of the Al Ringling Mansion in Baraboo, Wis., was recently gifted this 3-by-4-foot enlarged photo of the Ringlings from the Ringling family, and wanted to donate it to the McGregor Historical Museum. The photo has been digitally improved from an original photo from 1895 that portrays all seven Ringling Brothers and their sister, Ida. (Photo by Diane Malcom)

This Oscar Fryklund photo shows the Ringling home at 14463 Walton Ave., around 1900. John Ringling was born there in 1866.

Ringling Bros. Circus roots run deep in McGregor

When word of the impending closure of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus broke Jan. 14, many in McGregor were saddened by the news. But what may be the end of the circus, to many in this small river community, is also a new opportunity to share McGregor’s special connection with the Ringlings, who, as boys, performed their first circus in the city. This two-part series will spotlight that connection. Part one, which ran last week, focused on the origins of that first circus, while this second part will detail the community’s plans to keep the Ringling story alive.

— — —

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Tue
31
Jan

Progressive Dinner offers unique dining experience


The McGregor Marquette Chamber of Commerce’s 15th annual Progressive Dinner will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, from 5-9 p.m.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

For the 15th year, the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce’s Progressive Dinner will welcome visitors into local B&Bs and homes for an elegant, homemade meal. This year’s annual event will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Progressive Dinner, which was modeled off similar events in other communities, was created as not only a winter fundraiser for the chamber, but also as a way to showcase Marquette’s and McGregor’s many B&Bs, noted Becky Johnson, owner of the Little Switzerland Inn and many times an event host.

Tue
31
Jan

U.S. Mint to launch Effigy Mounds quarter Feb. 6-7

The first quarter to be released in 2017 under the United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program will feature Iowa’s Effigy Mounds National Monument. The coin design showcases an aerial view of two bears and one bird effigy mound from the Marching Bear Group in the south unit of the monument. Two free events will take place to commemorate the quarter launch. 

A coin collector forum will be held for the public to hear about the United States Mint and their coin programs on Monday, Feb. 6, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., in the Effigy Mounds National Monument Visitor Center.

Tue
31
Jan

Monona Chamber shares update with city council

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Monona Chamber and Economic Development (MCED) Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson went before the Monona Council Jan. 23, recapping MCED’s 2016 accomplishments and highlighting their plans for 2017.

In 2016, explained Halvorson, MCED increased its business partnerships by 15 percent, to 56 members. The number of followers to MCED’s Facebook page, as well as the Monona Hay Days page, has also increased. Their website has also seen over 150,000 unique page visits per year. Two new highway billboards, which MCED helped design and facilitate, were installed. 

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