Public Opinion Year in Review

Last year marked a year of milestones for Decorah . . . 

Last year marked a year of milestones for Decorah, including the groundbreaking for the Winneshiek County Veterans Memorial, fundraising efforts to build the Sunflower Child Development and Discovery Center, and chilling winter tornados with high winds that left the city powerless for 19 hours.
The community came together in many instances, as well, to raise funds or aid those in need. The annual Lynch Family Foundation fundraiser raised over $360,000 toward charity; and over 800 citizens gathered to search for missing Decorah High School student Brandon Quam later found safe. These are just a few examples of the community uniting in support last year, here are more 2021 headlines of note:

January:
• Decorah Historic Preservation Commission installs 11 new signs marking the downtown Commercial Historic District 
• Decorah Municipal Electric Utility Task Force holds first meetings

February:
• Decorah High School sends every event in speech and drama to state; 27 out of 27 events received division 1 ratings 
• Greg Swanson steps in to become new Code Compliance Officer for the City of Decorah

March:
• Luther College is named to the National Register of Historic Places
• Deco Products acquires Mumford Metal Casting of South Carolina

April: 
• Decorah City Manager Chad Bird resigns
• Noah Lovelace and Celia Neuzil were recognized for academic excellence by Governor Reynolds at a Scholar Recognition Ceremony

May:
• Community raises $16,000 in two days for Luther Wrestling Coach Billy Huebner to aid in medical expenses
• Decorah Rocks hosts the first annual Hero Hike to benefit Winneshiek County Emergency Responder Services

June:
• Decorah High School Math Teacher Stephanie Steines was named one of six finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) in the state of Iowa
Lynch Family Foundation raised over $360,000 for charity at 25th Anniversary fundraiser

July:
• Floyd Ashbacher vacated his County Supervisor position, Gary Rustad later won special election
• Alliant Energy cut the ribbon on the Decorah battery project which stores solar energy, located at Vennehjem Park.

August:
• Community bands together to search for missing student high school student Brandon Quam, who disappeared on the first day of school
• Sunflower Childcare Center secured $500,000 in funding from Winneshiek County to fund a new facility

September:
• Local legend Verne Koenig turns 100
• Winneshiek County Veterans Memorial groundbreaking was held at Mary Christopher Park
• Skyline Lanes announced new ownership

October:
• Decorah Lutheran bell tower was again lit after several years of darkness
• Tom Murray wins Hagie Heritage Award

November:
• Decorah High School musical Tarzan marks the first with fly wire system
• Upper Iowa Speedway was purchased by Winneshiek County Fair Board
 • Town & Country Garden Club wins National Garden Club Central Region “Celebrate our Gardens” Award for annual Nordic Fest Garden Tours  

December:
• Walden Pond land donation marks the largest made to Winneshiek County Conservation
• Serial derecho slams through the region, leaving Decorah without power for 19 hours; winter tornados and high winds cause major damage

Notable retirements: 
Nancy Sacquitne from Winneshiek County Public Health; Wanda Hemesath from City of Decorah; Judy Syverson from Decorah Parks and Recreation; Don Dilaura from Ossian Public Works; and Winneshiek County Deputy Chuck Ihde.

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