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Tue
02
Jul

Public art takes root Flower garden blossoms on building exterior

Upper Iowa University art student Jordyn Brennan puts the final touches an a large mural on the south side of the Fire Farm building. Her work has caught the attention of Elkader residents and visitors, many of who stopped to chat with her during the weeks-long project.
Upper Iowa University art student Jordyn Brennan puts the final touches an a large mural on the south side of the Fire Farm building. Her work has caught the attention of Elkader residents and visitors, many of who stopped to chat with her during the weeks-long project.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

In a move as innovative as the products his company designs and sells, Fire Farm owner Adam Pollock has commissioned a mural for one side of his downtown Elkader office building. Upper Iowa University art student Jordyn Brennan has spent the past few weeks transforming the concrete “canvas” into a colorful, larger-than-life flower garden. She’s even added a nod to one of the town’s special festivals: Her garden includes several giant milkweeds.

“This is my first really big project,” said Jordyn, a native of Hortonville, WI. Usually I can carry around the pieces I do but, of course, there’s no doing that with this one. I’ve been taking lots of pictures, though. My mom’s pretty excited about it.”

Tue
25
Jun

Central School update Construction project is moving along

Central Superintendent Nick Trenkamp stands in the still-to-be-completed high school media center to show the expansive view students will have from the new area.
Central Superintendent Nick Trenkamp stands in the still-to-be-completed high school media center to show the expansive view students will have from the new area.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Students and teachers might be gone but work continues at Central Schools, where a $6 million capital improvements project is ahead of schedule and right on budget.

“Hopefully, the whole project will be done by the beginning of the school year,” said Central Superintendent Nick Trenkamp. “There’s a lot of work to accomplish this summer but if it can be done it puts a three-year project done in two—and as of today, right on budget!”

Trenkamp gives all of the credit to Larson Construction, who he says has worked diligently to find cost-effective solutions to unforeseen problems like walls hidden behind other walls, which has happened more that a few times.
“With a building that has been pieced together over a long period of time, we have run into many unexpected circumstances,” Trenkamp added.

Tue
18
Jun

Elkader’s Farmers’ Market Two locations grow from disagreement

Dawn Amundson has decided to stay with the city-supported Farmers’ Market that moved this spring to Founders Park, Elkader.
Angela Keppler moved from downtown to a spot on Highway 13 at the Fast Tak gas station and convenience store.
Angela Keppler moved from downtown to a spot on Highway 13 at the Fast Tak gas station and convenience store.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Growing concern over changes to the Elkader Farmers’ Market has resulted in a second location for purchasing produce, baked goods and other items. And while it may not be ideal, vendors and customers alike say they are making the best of the situation.
“I miss being on the corner and all of the activity we had there,” said Dawn Amundson, who is selling farm fresh eggs and crafts from the new city-supported location in Founders Park. “I think people, especially visitors to town, saw us on their way to the bakery and stopped for that reason.”

Amanda Keppler, a long-time Farmers’ Market vendor, also had concerns about the new location. She decided to start a second market located north of Elkader on Highway 13 in a wide grassy patch off the Fast Trak parking lot.

Tue
11
Jun

Business Spotlight Restaurant owner nabs two top awards

Business Spotlight Restaurant owner nabs two top awards
Matt McClane, owner of the Clayton Lighthouse, received this award from the Clayton County Dairy Promotion Board as well as another top award from the Clayton County Cattlemen.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

It’s been a banner 16 months for Matt McClane. The Guttenberg man opened the Clayton Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar in March 2018. Since then he has earned top awards from two commodity groups: Last fall, he received the Golden Steak Knife Award from the Clayton County Cattlemen and in April, he was the recipient of the Dairy Best Award from the Clayton County Dairy Promotion Board.

Though the Lighthouse is McClane’s first restaurant, he’s no stranger to the hospitality business.

“My parents ran the Stadium Bar and Grill for 15 years while I was in school, and that’s what sparked the interest in opening a restaurant of my own,” McClane said. “I had been looking for an opportunity for a few years and when the Lighthouse came up for sale I knew it was the perfect project for me.”

The restaurant had been closed for a number of years so the first order of business was general clean

Tue
04
Jun

“Sew” much fun Women stitch together memories, quilts

Several members of a quilting group were on hand recently to talk about their unique projects. They are, left to right: Ellen Clinton, Debby Fischer, Jillian Miller, Sandy Phillips, Kris Sass and Donna Baumler.
Several members of a quilting group were on hand recently to talk about their unique projects. They are, left to right: Ellen Clinton, Debby Fischer, Jillian Miller, Sandy Phillips, Kris Sass and Donna Baumler.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

A Garnavillo woman has found a new use for the organizational skills that made her an exceptional nurse.

Debby Fischer, who is retired from the former Central Community Hospital, Elkader, has pulled together a group of 12 women with an interest in quilting. Their goal is to complete 13 quilts this year—one for each member and one for the hospital auxiliary to sell.

But the quilting project has a unique twist: Each woman is making one row of each quilt. By year’s end, each member will have a finished, queen-sized quilt made by 12 different people.

Tue
28
May

Mysteries at the museum Carter House focus is murder, mayhem

Mary Lammers, LaVonne Auguston and David Burns are three Carter House Board Members responsible for this year’s Mysteries at the Museum theme. Burns is holding one of the props, a fake bloody knife.
Mary Lammers, LaVonne Auguston and David Burns are three Carter House Board Members responsible for this year’s Mysteries at the Museum theme. Burns is holding one of the props, a fake bloody knife.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

If you’re in the mood for a good mystery, the Carter House Museum in Elkader is the place to be. This year’s theme is “Mysteries at the Museum,” and it covers everything from unsolved murders to UFO sightings to a Wells Fargo heist
Board members credit their colleague Marge Costigan for inspiring this year’s special exibits. “She always has the most intriguing stories about Clayton County,” said Mary Lammers. “It just sort of grew from that.”

LaVonne Auguston gives a nod to Lammers, Barb Chandler and others for doing much of the research that was used to create storyboards about each mystery. The cards and a few props are placed in rooms throughout the 18-room Greek Revival mansion. Moving through the museum is both fun and informational.

An open house to celebrate the new season and the new theme will be held Friday, May 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served; there is a $10 admission fee.

Tue
21
May

New gallery Works of Elkader native going on display

“Golden Fields” is one of many works by American artist Gene Sharp to be featured in a new gallery opening this weekend in Elkader. Sharp was raised in Elkader but later lived and worked in Chicago.
“Golden Fields” is one of many works by American artist Gene Sharp to be featured in a new gallery opening this weekend in Elkader. Sharp was raised in Elkader but later lived and worked in Chicago.
Lucy Sharp and her son, Alan Szech, have renovated a space in downtown Elkader into a gallery for the works of Gene Sharp, Lucy’s father and Alan’s grandfather.
Lucy Sharp and her son, Alan Szech, have renovated a space in downtown Elkader into a gallery for the works of Gene Sharp, Lucy’s father and Alan’s grandfather.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

The works of an artist with ties to Clayton County have found a home here.

Gene Sharp, who was raised in Elkader and later lived and worked in Chicago, was a prolific artist who created an impressive body of work, especially watercolors. His works hang in Central State Bank, the Carter House Museum, and the Elkader Opera House.

Many of Gene’s pieces have been in storage since his death at age 79 in 2002. His daughter, Lucy, and grandson, Alan Szech, felt it was time to share Gene’s talent with others and have chosen to do so with a new gallery in downtown Elkader.

“This is really my mom’s passion,” Alan explained. “I just lit the fire and pushed it into her yard.”

The catalyzing event was Alan’s discovery in August 2018 of two watercolors sitting in his mother’s basement where they were getting damaged.

Tue
14
May

Top scholar Jenna Jansen is Central’s valedictorian

Top scholar Jenna Jansen is Central’s valedictorian
Jenna Jansen is the top graduate for Central’s Class of 2019. She will speak at commencement Sunday at 2 p.m.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

The valedictorian for the Central Class of 2019 is Jenna Jansen, daughter of Jim and Joleen Jansen, rural Elkader. Jenna has attended Central since kindergarten, following in the footsteps of her two older siblings, Jessica and Jacob. Her family lives near Moto Mill on an acreage they share with their dog, Jill, and eight chickens.

It has been a Register tradition to feature Central’s top graduate. Here are answers Jenna gave to our questions.

What does it mean to you to have achieved the distinction of being named the top graduate of the Class of 2019?

It is a pretty special and rewarding feeling. My sister and brother are awesome academic role models. From them, I learned, success comes through motivation and hard work. I made it a plan to work as hard as I could throughout high school by putting the necessary work to achieve my goals.

What are your outside interests/hobbies?

Tue
07
May

New owners for Register Wisconsin group buys newspaper, shopper

New owners for Register Wisconsin group buys newspaper, shopper
John Ingebritsen, left, MNC of Wisconin Regional Publisher is pictured with Gary Howe, left, who last week sold his papers, including the Clayton County Register, to the Wisconsin Media Group.

The Clayton County Register is one of four newspapers purchased last week by the Morris Newspaper Corporation (MNC) of Wisconsin.

The group also purchased The Trader and the Register’s three sister papers, the Courier Press in Prairie du Chien, North Iowa Times in McGregor, and the Guttenberg Press in Guttenberg.

The acquisition was finalized Tuesday, April 30, with Gary Howe, longtime owner of Mississippi Valley Printers and publisher of the four papers. MNC, a division of Morris Multimedia, Inc. headquartered in Savannah, GA took over operations Wednesday, May 1. Howe will remain at the company as general manager of the five publications for one year until his retirement.

Tue
30
Apr

Open season on art Students create scavenger hunt for public

This is one of the pieces that will be included in Central’s community-wide art scavenger hunt.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Central art educator Cathy Recker has re-purposed a past event into a learning opportunity for her students that has a unique community component attached to it.

Many years ago, Recker participated in a scavenger hunt at an art museum. The event stayed with her and last fall, she started thinking about a similar experience in Elkader.

“I’m very keen on both getting my student work seen outside the school and creating business partnerships,” she said. “I pitched the idea (of a scavenger hunt) to my administrators and they loved it! The Elkader community has a strong interest in hunting, so I played off that for the theme ‘Elkader Art Hunt,’”

Hunting season is May 8 through May 19. For more on the project and how the community can participate, read on.

How are my students involved?

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