North Iowa Times

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'Dented, but not broken'

The top level of the building that housed INKspiration Tattoo was completely obliterated, as was much of the level below it, which was INKspiration owner Crystal Scarff’s apartment. Scarff was working in the tattoo shop at the time the tornado hit, but no one was injured.

The Main Street Mall Antiques building, once the Goedert Meat Market, collapsed as a result of the EF-1 tornado that swept through McGregor on July 19.

McGregor’s Main Street was hardest hit by the tornado. Countless trees were down and many buildings and homes were severely damaged or destroyed.

This large tree toppled onto the Lamp Post Inn and Gallery.

Cannon Park (shown here) and Gazebo Park lost several trees between the two.

McGregor’s city hall had noticeable damage to its roof. One of the columns framing the front door fell atop a car next door.

The tornado left behind mangled trees and damaged homes and buildings at the corner of A and Ann Streets.

The iconic tooth from Jim Arvidson’s dental office hung precariously following the tornado.

McGregor Pharmacy owner Dennis Alcorn (right) and Larry Brummel (left, middle), the former pharmacist who still owns the building, were among those who examined the pharmacy’s iconic mortar and pestle last Thursday morning, the day after an EF-1 tornado tore through McGregor.

This graphic from the National Weather Service’s La Crosse office shows the EF-1 tornado’s path, from Highway 18, through McGregor, to the riverfront.

McGregor recovering from strong EF-1 tornado

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

It was something mayor Harold Brooks admitted he’d never seen the likes of in his 50 years of living in McGregor—something many residents said they never thought could happen. 

A tornado.

Yet, just after 6:15 p.m., on Wednesday, July 19, that’s exactly what occurred, as an upper-end EF-1 tornado, with winds of 110 miles per hour, ripped through the historic river community. No one was injured, but the twister left a path of destruction in fallen trees and damaged or destroyed homes and buildings that will forever be felt in McGregor.

— — —


Pikes Peak and Effigy Mounds now open, but some trails remain closed

Point Ann Trail, in the north part of Pikes Peak State Park, was heavily damaged July 19. Park manager Matt Tschirgi said it’s unlikely the trail will be open the rest of the year.

The Effigy Mounds visitor center, as well as some of the park’s main hiking trails, reopened to the public on Friday. Until further notice, the entire Hanging Rock trail and all trails in the South Unit are closed to public access.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Two of northeast Iowa’s most well-known natural and recreational sites—Pikes Peak State Park and Effigy Mounds National Monument—are open again after a tornado ripped through the area Wednesday, July 19, but some trails remain closed.

Pikes Peak sustained considerable tree damage from the storm, said park manager Matt Tschirgi.

“We got everyone into the shower building before the storm and there were no injuries,” he said, “but some trees fell on vehicles and lots of trees were down in the picnic areas and trails.”


Mindset training a key component in youth program

Tera Mathis works with Jacob Schellhorn, one of the kids she coaches through her 365 Strong Youth Program. Through the program, Mathis helps kids become stronger and better conditioned for sports, learn proper movement mechanics and create foundational movement patterns, develop a dynamic growth mindset and practice better nutritional habits. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Here, Abby Schellhorn works on some conditioning exercises. The program is offered three days each week, with Mondays focusing on strength, Wednesdays on conditioning and Fridays on speed, agility and hand-eye coordination. At the start of each class, participants also devote 10 minutes to mindset training and nutrition work.

Jacob Schellhorn said his time training with Tera Mathis has improved his mindset, especially in baseball, where he is a pitcher.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Everyone has encountered a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer in their life—someone whose pessimism hinders positive thinking. But what do you do when that negativity, anger or even frustration resides inside yourself, threatening to impact sports, school or other aspects of your daily life?

For the past year, Tera Mathis, a personal trainer who leads mindset, movement and nutrition coaching sessions each week in a space at the school, in Monona, has helped area kids try to figure that out.

Mathis, who predominantly coaches adults, said she’s worked with kids on and off over the years, but never formed a specific youth coaching program until last summer. The idea had always been at the back of her mind, however.


163rd annual Clayton County Fair runs Aug. 2-7 in National

The kiddie calf shows are always a highlight at the Clayton County Fair, held this year Aug. 2-7. (NIT file photo)

From live entertainment and carnival rides to livestock showing and good food, the 163rd annual Clayton County Fair, held Aug. 2-7 in National, offers something for the whole family.

Clayton County 4-H and FFA members have entered nearly 3,000 exhibits this year, according to Tammy Muller, county 4-H and youth program coordinator. Entries are up in the market beef, bucket bottle calves, clothing event and Clover Kids divisions.

The 4-H exhibit hall, featuring projects ranging from art to engineering, will be open to viewers Wednesday beginning at 4 p.m., then Thursday through Sunday starting at noon.


Business roundtable focuses on current projects, ways to promote McGregor

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Around a dozen McGregor business owners, city officials and residents gathered for a roundtable discussion at the McGregor Public Library July 13, focusing on current projects in the community, as well as ways to promote all that McGregor has to offer.

Duane Boelman, McGregor’s deputy clerk and economic development lead, spearheaded the discussion. Business owners’ input is a valuable resource, he noted.

“One of the main things is to work with existing businesses, to help them thrive, prosper and grow,” he said. “That’s the best way to attract new businesses, if they see you’re doing well.”


Playing the right way

Members of the MFL MarMac boys 10U team that were 2017 Iowa USSSA State Baseball Tournament Silver Champions included (front, left to right) Benjamin Krambeer, Jaron Wille, Jacob Schellhorn, Kyle Tilson, Brayden Gordon, Landon Miene; (middle) Quinn McGeough, Dustin Larson, Zachary Driscoll, Parker Kuehl, Aiden Schoulte, Austin Trappe, Kade Humble; (back) coaches Mike Driscoll, Paul Gordon, Monica Larson and Jeremy Schellhorn. (Submitted photo)

MFL MarMac youth baseball team wins big tournament

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

To say MFL MarMac’s 10U baseball team had a successful season is an understatement. The boys went 32-9, including 22-0 in their league, and capped off the season by becoming 2017 Iowa USSSA State Baseball Tournament Silver Champions.

The USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) tournament, which was held in Des Moines the weekend of July 8, is open to any team from around the state, said Jeremy Schellhorn, who is one of the MFL MarMac team’s coaches.

Many came from more populous areas.


Monona Council approves use of UTVs on city streets—but with restrictions

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

ATVs and UTVs can now be used on Monona’s streets—as long as riders abide by certain rules.

At its July 10 meeting, the council approved an amendment to the city’s ordinance pertaining to off-road utility vehicles, following a request by a resident to use city streets to reach a nearby county secondary road, where off-road utility vehicle usage is now permitted.

“[The ordinance] was just updated a few years ago, but now the county is doing stuff,” noted councilman Dan Havlicek at a previous meeting. “We need to catch up with the times.”


Showing off some classic cars

This 1947 Ford Coe, entered by Rick Abbott, of Waukon, was the winner in the truck category at the annual Great River Car Show and Cruise, held in McGregor on July 15. (Photos by Gary Howe)

Ken Meyer, of Castalia, shines up a 1955 Ford Crown Vic. The car, entered by Kim Meyer, took third place in the classic car category.

Randy Miller, of Elgin, shows off his 1964 Ford Falcon.

This 1956 Chevy Bel Air, entered by Ralph Livingston, of Garnavillo, placed second in the classic car category.

A total of 66 entrants participated in the car show.

Classic tunes and unique cars greeted attendees of the annual Great River Car Show and Cruise, held July 15, in McGregor.

A total of 66 entrants participated in the car show. Winners included:

Classic Car

Robert (Chopper) Thornton, McGregor, 1956 Chevy Handyman Wagon 

Ralph Livingston, Garnavillo, 1956 Chevy Bel Air 

Kim Meyer, Castalia, 1955 Ford Crown Vic

Antique Car

Erik Wedo, Waukon, 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe 



Leona Weidenbach


Leona Weidenbach, 96, of Marquette, Iowa, died Wednesday, July 12, at Solon Care Center, Solon, Iowa. 


Leona L. was born Feb. 12, 1921, in Farmersburg, Iowa, to George and Ella (Wilke) Bruehahn. She attended school through the eighth grade in Monona, Iowa.


Circus wagon restored through a group effort

The circus wagon at the corner of A and Ann Streets was recently restored with the help of community volunteers. Pictured (left to right) are Beth Regan and Maureen Wild, with the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts; circus wagon owners Shelly and Randy Weeks; and Anne Kruse, also with the art center. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

The finishing touch—the clown—was placed atop the wagon last week.

Maureen Wild, a local artist and art center board member, restored the tigers, creating lifelike interpretations of the well-known circus act.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Although the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus dazzled crowds for the final time May 21, closing the book on 146 years of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the history of the Ringling Brothers—and their circus roots—is still very much alive in McGregor.

The boys performed their first circus in the community, at what’s now the corner of A and Ann Streets, in 1871. For roughly four decades, a “circus wagon”—complete with caged tigers and a clown driver—has marked that special location. 


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