Local News

Tue
29
Dec

NaNoWriMo a ‘novel’ experience for eighth graders

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Each November since 1999, hundreds of thousands of writing enthusiasts have participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an online creative writing project that encourages writers to complete a novel (50,000 words) in just 30 days.

Since 2005, NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program has offered the opportunity to students. Five years ago, MFL MarMac Middle School teacher Scott Boylen took advantage of the program, challenging his eighth grade language arts students to write a 10,000-word novel in that time span.

Each year, enthusiasm has grown.

Tue
29
Dec

Pikes Peak to celebrate the new year with a First Day Hike on Jan. 1

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Pikes Peak State Park is one of 17 Iowa state parks that will sponsor a free, guided hike on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative. 

America’s State Parks First Day Hikes give people an opportunity to begin the New Year connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on Friday, Jan. 1, at a state park close to home.

“It’s a big initiative that’s really taken off,” noted park ranger Rylan Retallick.

According to Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors, last year, hundreds of state parks across the country hosted a record-breaking 41,000 people who hiked 72,442 miles.

Tue
22
Dec

McGregor Council weighs need for special deer hunt

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Iowa DNR park ranger Rylan Retallick went before the McGregor Council at its regular meeting Dec. 16, seeking the city’s opinion on whether another special deer bow hunt is needed in Pikes Peak State Park and the McGregor city limits.

The last hunt was conducted four to five years ago, said Retallick, noting that “it got to a point where hunters weren’t seeing deer.” An outbreak of bluetongue disease also contributed to that, he said.

“Now, we’re starting to see more deer and more deer damage in Pikes Peak,” Retallick added. “It doesn’t take them long to rebound when the pressure’s off.”

Tue
22
Dec

Stevie Gene’s North Street Market offers eclectic mix of items in Marquette


Stevie Gene’s North Street Market recently opened in downtown Marquette, offering an eclectic mix of merchandise, including cigars, incense, meats, purses and tribal masks. Pictured is owner Steve Eagle with Gay Hallberg and Sherrie Hallberg, who with two other employees, Josie and Kathy, will help out at the shop. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Stevie Gene’s North Street Market is open every day but Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hours are from noon to 5:30 p.m. until New Year’s Day. The winter hours of 2 to 5:30 p.m. will then begin.

The shop offers 30 to 40 different brands or types of cigars and vaporizers, Eagle said. They’re stored in a controlled environment at 70 degrees and 70 percent humidity.

Another cigar shop Eagle frequented in Hayward, Wis., also featured incense, so he felt it was a good addition, as well.

Another interesting feature at Stevie Gene’s North Street Market is the over one dozen colorful masks covering one wall. “I find people from different cultures intriguing,” Eagle said, particularly Mexico, Central America, South America and Jamaica. The masks are in relation to that as well as the shop’s close proximity to Effigy Mounds.

Bling-bling purses are one item women will enjoy checking out at Stevie Gene's North Street Market in Marquette.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Cigars, vaporizers, incense, candles, meats, cheese, condiments, candies, purses, tribal mask wall art and peacock feathers. Those are just a few of the items sold at Stevie Gene’s North Street Market, which recently opened in downtown Marquette.

“I just wanted to have a shop that’s different, and this is different,” said owner Steve Eagle. “It’s eclectic, and it’s going to become more different and diversified.”

Eagle earned a business degree from the University of Northern Iowa when he was younger and always hoped to work with people, especially through marketing. He spent 38 years with the U.S. Postal Service, retiring as the postmaster at Cedar Falls. He also owned a gun shop in Denver, Iowa, at one point.

Tue
22
Dec

Trail connecting McGregor and Marquette is proposed

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

McGregor resident Dan Keyes went before both the Marquette and McGregor councils last week about forming a trail between the two communities, using Marquette’s planned emergency evacuation route. Beginning at the bench in Marquette and cutting through the Ohmer property over the bluff, the route ends near Eagle Drive, in McGregor.

Keyes said it would be a wilderness trail, used largely for hiking and possibly biking.

Since Marquette is now working to develop the route, Keyes said he felt it was a good time to propose the idea of connecting the communities, which has been suggested before but never come to fruition. 

Tue
22
Dec

Monona Council tables lot sale discussion

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At its Dec. 21 meeting, the Monona Council again tabled discussion regarding the purchase and sale of lot two in the Monona Commercial Park to Family Dentistry Associates of Monona for construction of a new office.

The lot, which sits between Fisk’s Farm and Home and the Monona Family Aquatic Center, is 2.14 acres. If the council approves the purchase, a 4,000-square-foot office would be constructed in the southwest corner of the lot. 

A new office will give the practice more space in terms of both treatment rooms and parking, said Dr. Mark Fohey.

Tue
22
Dec

MFL MarMac Middle School Stu Crew gives back to school, communities


The MFL MarMac Middle School Stu Crew purchased a TV announcement system for the McGregor Center this fall after several years of fundraising. Members of the Stu Crew include (front, left to right) Kaylee Bachman, Abby Schellhorn, Gabe McGeough, Kashton Mathis; (middle) Riley Whitney, Marlene Franzen, Max Havlicek, Braden Landt; (back) adviser Steph Jones, Megan Lang, Kira Reick, Max Koeller and Jesse Breuer. (Submitted photos)

Prior to the Holiday Train event, students in the McGregor Center brought in non-perishable food items to donate to the Clayton County Food Shelf. For each item donated, students were able to fill out a raffle ticket and enter a drawing for a new set of Dr. Dre Beats, iTunes gift cards and candy canes, all purchased and donated by the Stu Crew. Logan Brown (second from left) won the Beats, while Ben Miene, Annie Heins and Anabel Pagaza won the iTunes cards.

The Stu Crew sponsors a tree at McGregor’s Festival of Trees each year. This year’s theme was “Why Fit in When You Were Born to Stand Out.” Stu Crew members standing with the tree include (left to right) Marlene Franzen, Kira Reick, Riley Whitney, Jesse Breuer, Max Havlicek, Braden Landt and Max Koeller.

In mid-November, all students in the building participated in the annual Holiday Cash and Coin Drive. Homerooms were each given the goal of raising $50, and those who met the goal were able to play in a dodgeball tournament. Eleven of the 16 homerooms met the goal, and as a building, just shy of $850 was raised. The funds were divided across three different local causes: Shepherd of the Hills Holiday Shop, Angels Helping Angels and the Samson Boylen Scholarship Fund. Here, the Stu Crew shows the items they purchased for Shepherd of the Hills.

The MFL MarMac Middle School Stu Crew has had a busy holiday season already and has found many ways to bring the holiday spirit to the McGregor Center and give back to area communities at the same time.

The first exciting addition to the building was a TV announcement system in the main hallway. This TV displays a slideshow with updates, event and class information and pictures of students. For the past several years, the Stu Crew has been fundraising for this item and was finally able to purchase and install it this fall. All of the staff members are able to add their own slides to the presentation, making it a truly collaborative project.

Tue
15
Dec

McGregor Planning and Zoning Board recommends no zoning change for condos

Suggests city, Trilogy work together to develop mixed use plan

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The McGregor Planning and Zoning Board denied the request by Trilogy Partners, LLC—which owns the former Holiday Shores Motel property—to change the zoning from W1 waterfront commercial to W2 mixed use in order to construct condominiums at the location. The board also recommended that the city council, which has final say on the matter, work with Trilogy Partners to develop plans for mixed use, to include condo ownership and short-term lodging.

Tue
15
Dec

Cookie making a ‘large’ Christmas tradition


Addison Schlitter, Mattie Hallberg and Ryan Hallberg enjoy making and decorating cookies, which is a big Christmas tradition in the Hallberg family. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Making cookies is a Christmas tradition for many families, as they gather to pass along recipes and watch the next generation learn the messy joy of smearing frosting and sprinkles on freshly-baked treats. 

Janet Hallberg’s family is no different.

“It’s something my mom and I have always done, for as long as I can remember,” said Janet of holiday baking. “We lived in the country, and we’d make cookies to give to the mailman and the Schwan’s guy—people you see every week. Every year, it seems to have gotten bigger and bigger.”

Tue
15
Dec

Convention sparks school board interest

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Last month, four members of the MFL MarMac school board, along with superintendent Dale Crozier, attended the annual convention of the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB). The attendees, which included Jonathon Moser, Tonya Meyer, Collin Stubbs and Sharon Greener, went to special sessions focusing on topics like school finance, administrator evaluations and collecting school data. While helpful, several sessions regarding a project-based learning approach and a model of a “classroom of the future” sparked the most interest as attendees discussed their experiences at the Dec. 14 school board meeting.

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