North Iowa Times

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Tue
10
Jul

Creating the unexpected


Bird Skemp’s favorite way to create jewelry: sitting cross-legged on her living room floor, while the afternoon sun filters through the windows of her rural McGregor home. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Bird Skemp creates primarily earrings, but some necklaces and bracelets, as well. Her “Baubles by Bird” are available locally at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, in McGregor, and The Planted Tree and the Huckleberry’s Restaurant gift shop, in Prairie du Chien.

No, these earrings aren’t made of metal, but rather paper, enhanced by beads, paint and unique textures.

“I don’t look at what the styles are. I’m selling to people who don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing,” said Bird. “My jewelry is going to be unique, artsy, handmade.”

Jewelry making a life-changing experience for Skemp

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Jewelry maker Bird Skemp does her best work sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, a cat nestled in her lap, as the afternoon sun filters through the windows of her rural McGregor home and Judge Judy drones on the TV.

“I put something on just for the noise,” she quipped.

She can work for hours this way, in her makeshift studio, surrounded by baskets and containers bursting with beads, tools, paints and paper scraps.

Tue
10
Jul

Genies learn about McGregor history during recent visit to library

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Clayton County Genealogical Society held its June meeting in McGregor, where members enjoyed a local history lesson from McGregor Public Library Director Michelle Pettit.

Pettit began the presentation by sharing some history about the community’s libraries. The first, she noted, was created in 1867 and operated out of a law office before closing 10 years later. The city didn’t have its next library until 1920.

“It was a subscription library,” Pettit said. “So people had to pay to be part of it.”

Tue
10
Jul

McGregor Historical Museum proves itself a treasure of Clayton County


The McGregor Historical Museum is located at 256 Main St. (Photos by Rachel Mergen)

The museum contains many exhibits that explain and tell the stories of McGregor’s extensive history.

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

According to McGregor Historical Museum Director Diane Malcom, at one point in time, Iowa was preparing to have McGregor be as large and well-known as Chicago. Standing at a population of less than a thousand, this former dream may not have occurred due to great flooding and fires, but the city is still able to claim a unique history, full of many stories that are now protected within the walls of its local museum. 

Exhibits in the McGregor Historical Museum include historical photographs of the city, Native American history, Mississippi River history, a military display, an authentic pipe from the local Catholic church and local deaf artist Andrew Clemens’ sand bottles from the 1800s, along with much more. 

Tue
03
Jul

Harlan Hass honored as Brewers’ ‘Hero of the Game’


Harlan Hass, a 93-year-old World War II veteran from McGregor, was recognized as the “Hero of the Game” at the June 16 Milwaukee Brewers game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Submitted photos)

Along with being honored, Harlan received free tickets to the game, a parking pass and a T-shirt.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

It was Saturday, June 16, a sunny afternoon game at Miller Park—home of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers. Cheers and applause filled the stadium, as fans trained their eyes on the big screen scoreboard. However, it wasn’t a player on the field, but an individual in the stands, who attracted so much attention.

Harlan Hass, a 93-year-old World War II veteran from McGregor, was being recognized as the Brewers’ “Hero of the Game,” an honor bestowed on a military service member during each of the team’s home games.

“There were 40,000 people there that day who stood and clapped. They were looking right at me on the big screen,” Harlan recalled. “At first, I didn’t do anything. Then I waved and said ‘thank you.’”

Tue
03
Jul

McGregor Council plans to appoint mayor

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The McGregor Council will opt to fill its mayoral vacancy by appointment rather than special election.

The decision came at a special meeting June 27—a week after mayor Harold Brooks announced his resignation, which was effective June 22. Brooks was re-elected in November, so a year and a half of his two-year term remains.

“We have 60 days to appoint someone,” said councilman and mayor pro-tem Joe Muehlbauer, “so it’s not something we have to do right away.”

The council hopes to move more quickly, however, and approved publishing a notice in this week’s North Iowa Times stating its intent to fill the vacancy at the Wednesday, July 18 regular meeting.

Tue
03
Jul

Epic new Monona location for Epic Wear customized clothing store


Pictured are Tyler and Mandy Halverson in front of their printing press, located within the Waukon Epic Wear store. (Photo by Rachel Mergen)

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

In 2012, Tyler and Mandy Halverson wanted to take control of their lives and work schedules. Instead of staying with their jobs as the average person would do, they began to examine their home community of Waukon’s needs. They noticed many local towns had success with a screen printing and embroidery business, which made them realize what they were truly meant to be: entrepreneurs. They brought to Waukon their work ethic and turned it into Epic Wear, which they are now looking to add onto in Monona. 

Tue
03
Jul

Think tanks wrap up with good discussion

By Audrey Posten and Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

The final two in a series of four “think tanks” meant to gather public input for updating Clayton County’s comprehensive plan were held last week in Elkader. At the meetings, attendees were asked to share their thoughts on goals, strategies and actions in areas like economic development, housing, transportation, public facilities, agriculture, natural resources and more.

Some of the goals are based on the county’s current plan, which dates back to 2002, said Michelle Barness, a regional planner with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission who’s facilitated the process. Other goals are new, created with current county needs and values in mind.

Tue
26
Jun

Murals class makes its illustrative mark


Pictured with their mural handiwork are art teacher Mrs. Natalie Campbell (right) and Mrs. Jennelle Schroeder with summer session artists Maria Stavroplus, Mariah Moser, Ruby Koeller and Breanna Allison. (Photos by Correne Martin)

Maria, Mariah, Ruby and Breanna trace the Sharpie-stenciled graphics with pencil, a technique that works on regular paper to simply transfer a design onto the wall.

The mural follows the theme “Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.” This portion shows the diverse aspects and drawing styles incorporated into the artwork.

This traced hand print is one example of those created by art club and summer mural session students. Each “hand” will be added to the completed mural.

By Correne Martin

MFL MarMac Middle School has hosted a special summer art program including two clay sessions and one murals class. 

In one of the school’s hallways, students and their teachers placed a paper mural sketch that they started during art club in May. The stenciled graphics were created in Sharpie marker. During the summer session last week, the girls drew over the lines with pencil, causing the designs to transfer onto the wall. 

Tue
26
Jun

McGregor mayor resigns

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

On June 20, McGregor City Council met to discuss their agenda for the June month, which featured big decisions that would affect the community greatly. The meeting did not truly become surprising, though, until mayor Harold Brooks announced his unexpected resignation at its conclusion. 

Sullivan Opera House

The public hearing about the Sullivan Opera House was welcomed by a full room. No comments were made though, with councilwoman Rogeta Halvorson representing the entire community with her statement that “this town is 100 percent behind [the new owner.]”

Tue
26
Jun

Elliott, Becker receive Quilts of Valor


Local vets John Elliott and Richard Becker were honored with Quilts of Valor at a ceremony in Marquette June 23. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Local veterans John Elliott and Richard Becker were honored with Quilts of Valor at a ceremony held at the city park on the Marquette Bench June 23. 

Elliott, a helicopter pilot, served two tours of duty in the United States Army during the Vietnam era. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal (V), Air Medal (23), Good Conduct Medal (Award to Believe), Broken Wing Award and all of the “I Was There” medals.

Becker served in the United States Army National Guard from 1962 to 1968. He was stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Area Quilts of Valor volunteers Diana Parker and Sheryl Mielke presented the quilts, which Mielke pieced and Parker quilted.

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