Local News

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Tue
05
Jun

Larsons take immense pride in Iowa’s first American Idol winner


The Larsons show their love for cousin Maddie Poppe during her hometown visit parade in May. (Submitted photo)

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

On May 21, American Idol viewers decided on the next winner, who would be given the opportunity to start a career that most can only dream of. That winner was a 20-year-old woman, the first to achieve such an accomplishment from Iowa—Maddie Poppe. 

Todd and Nick Larson, of McGregor, could not be more thrilled to hear the news, as they are proud to claim Maddie as family. Maddie is the cousin of Todd and his son Nick, with her grandfather being siblings with Nick’s grandfather.

“We were kind of expecting it,” Todd stated about hearing his cousin would be taking the American Idol stage. He told the story of how Maddie, who is a native of Clarksville, auditioned for The Voice in 2015, but was rejected. 

Tue
05
Jun

Marquette railroad depot torn down to make way for new one


The Canadian Pacific Railway depot in downtown Marquette was torn down last week, making way for a new building that will serve train crews. Construction is expected to begin this month and wrap up by the end of September. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

CP also plans to construct new building in Marquette rail yard

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Canadian Pacific Railway depot in downtown Marquette was torn down last week, making way for a new building.

Construction will begin this month, said Marquette Trainmaster Tim Bivens at the May 8 Marquette council meeting. It is expected to be completed by the end of September.

According to Canadian Pacific Media Relations Manager Andy Cummings, the building will serve CP’s train crews.

Tue
05
Jun

All trails lead to Monona Hay Days June 8-9


Tractors will be an integral part of this year’s Monona Hay Days celebration, held June 8-9. There will be a kiddie tractor pull (shown here), as well as a tractor show and, new this year, a tractor pull open to three classes. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

All trails will lead to Hay Days, Monona’s annual summertime celebration, this Friday and Saturday, June 8-9.

Held a week earlier this year to avoid conflicts with other area events, organizers hope even more people will be able to attend, said Monona Chamber and Economic Development Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson.

“We’re looking forward to seeing new people and seeing people enjoying themselves,” she said.

Tue
29
May

Photo murals reflect McGregor’s unique history


These four sepia-toned photo murals went up on the side of Steve’s Silver Dollar, in McGregor, on May 25. The project, developed by the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts, highlights the history of McGregor’s downtown. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

With help from Zip Regan (below), Roddy Dull, from American Signs and Designs of Boscobel, Wis., installs one of the photo enlargement wraps in a specially designed 8-foot-by-16-foot aluminum frame.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts’ (MMCA) plan to install four historic photo murals on the west side of Steve’s Silver Dollar, in McGregor, has finally been fulfilled. 

Four unique images—one depicting a paddle wheel steamboat on the riverfront, the second the old passenger train depot, the third Main Street with the Alexander Hotel and Bickel clock prominently featured, and the fourth a parade down Main Street—were unveiled by Roddy Dull, with American Signs and Designs, on May 25.

Tue
29
May

MFL MarMac again offering free summer lunches

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Area kids will once again have access to free lunches during the summer through MFL MarMac’s participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be offered Monday through Friday, beginning Monday, June 4, in Monona, Farmersburg, Luana and McGregor.

This is the third year MFL MarMac has participated in the program, said food service director Pat Echard. Between the four locations, she estimated around 100 kids utilized the service last year.

“This year,” she shared, “we’re excited to have it right here in our lunch room in Monona.”

Tue
29
May

Contract awarded for Monona recreational trail extension

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

At its May 21 regular meeting, the Monona Council approved the final plans, specifications, form of contract and estimate of cost for the recreational trail extension that will connect the city’s Butterfly Garden and Trail with Gateway Park. The project contract was awarded to Bacon Concrete, of Postville, at a cost of $164,000, well below the engineer’s estimated cost.

After some discussion, the council opted to go with hot mix asphalt paving for most of the project rather than concrete, which would have increased the cost by around $15,000. The cost for grading and the trail’s stone base would have been the same for either option, noted engineer Jon Biederman, from Fehr Graham.

Tue
22
May

Vavras take over Marquette marina


Robert Vavra, with dog Willow, in front of the Marquette marina, which he and wife Deb recently purchased. It will also be home to his Maiden Voyage tour boat. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Robert Vavra was hard at work on the Marquette marina last week, readying he and wife Deb’s latest business venture for the summer season. The purchase of the marina became official in early May, as the Vavras took ownership from Casino Queen Marquette.

One of Robert’s first orders of business was improving the ramp, making it easier for people to access his Maiden Voyage tour boat, which will now call the community home.

“It’s nice to have a home I can put my time and energy into,” he remarked. “To bring this together with the tour boat will really help me and the area.”

Tue
22
May

McGregor Council approves new signage


An entry sign like this will be placed at both the north and south entrances to McGregor. If the Iowa DOT does not approve placement at the north entrance, near the Riverview Inn, the sign will instead go on the side of the public restrooms next to Kwik Star.

The city hall sign will feature this wording on one side, while a bulletin board will be included on the other.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The McGregor Council, at its May 16 regular meeting, approved the purchase of new entry signs for the community, as well as a new sign for city hall.

Two new entry signs will be erected, one at the south entrance closest to Pikes Peak State Park and the other at the north entrance, by the Riverview Inn. 

Tue
22
May

School board reviews Iowa Assessment data

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac third grade teacher Jennifer Wilwert presented the district’s latest Iowa Assessment data to the school board at its May 14 meeting.

In reading, grades two through 11 met the district’s goal of being at least 75 percent proficient, with the exception of seventh grade, at 70.2 percent. The highest percentages came at sixth (90 percent) and 10th grades (90.9 percent). At nearly every level, MFL MarMac either matched or surpassed the state average.

Tue
22
May

Monona, Marquette proud homes to farmers markets this season


Local residents can find a variety of goods at farmers markets in Marquette (shown here) and Monona this summer and fall. The Marquette market will begin Friday, May 25, at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre, and continue every Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m., through mid-October. Monona’s market will kick off Wednesday, May 30, at Gateway Park. It will run each Wednesday, from 3 to 6 p.m. (NIT file photo)

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times

As spring comes to a conclusion and summer begins to make its way, farmers market season is commencing. The area is proud to have two markets open that will be offering a variety of locally grown and created goods, located in Marquette and Monona. 

Anna Herzmann, an employee and vendor at Kyle and Mari Holthaus’ Kymar Acres, gained interest in farmers markets 10 years ago, after having watched her sister’s market stand blossom into a successful business. 

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