Top 10 news stories from 2016


Howard County - In a review of the year 2016, the top 10 stories of the year have been featured here, in no particular order.
1. Cresco celebrated its 150th anniversary on July 22-24, 2016. There were many events leading up to the festival. The Times Plain Dealer had individuals write about their memories of growing up in Cresco. Some historical items were also published in the months leading up to the celebration.
On July 20, 2016, a 152-page tab was given to those who received the paper. The five-section paper gave history information, as well as lots of photos.
Cresco was fortunate to have Cresco founder, Augustus Beadle’s, great-great-grandson, Judge J.D. McKay, as a guest and speaker. He in turn loaned the family Bible to Cresco Library and Howard-Winneshiek Genealogy Society.
A great number of former students of Cresco, Crestwood and Notre Dame High Schools attended the All-School Reunion. 
Unfortunately the hot weather on Thursday and Friday and the rain on Saturday kept some folks away. But Sunday was a beautiful day for the parade, which had 222 entries and lasted one hour, 15 minutes!
2. The first-of-its-kind state-of-the-art Ag Education Center at Howard County Fairgrounds was constructed. The building replaced the old sow barn. The Reicks View Ag Education Center started as a hog barn that would be utilized five days a year, during the fair. 
Then it was mentioned to put an educational spin on the building, and it morphed from there. The east part has pens for youth to raise pigs. In 2015, three youth showed hogs at the fair, in 2016, with a place to raise their animals, 32 students participated!
The middle part is the show ring. The west part has  a milking parlor and space for sheep and goats as well.
During the 2016 Mighty Howard County Fair, three sows were moved to the barn and had 51 piglets. Four cows also gave birth at the center. All was caught on video and streamed on screens in the center. 
An open house and ribbon-cutting took place during the fair. The entire process took four years to complete . . . from plans to turn-key readiness.
Since the fair, the building was also used to show school children how a dairy farm works and how sows care for their piglets.
3. Regional Health Services of Howard County was pleased to complete its three-phase remodeling of the facility. Groundbreaking took place in March 2013. A Grand Opening was held March 2 with a large crowd touring the $16 million renovated hospital.
4. Riehles Decorating restored the Cresco Theatre/ Opera House from January-March. The project went a month over schedule due to some water damage found after they got started. The Riehle clan restored the building in 1978 and again in 1999-2000.
The original building was erected in 1914-15. It was restored, with special attention being paid to the smallest detail. The cherubs and the decorative centerpiece on the ceiling were repainted and made to pop. Gold leaf was also added to much of the molding.
5. LimeSprings Beef/Upper Iowa Beef was officially established in February 2012 with groundbreaking in August 2013. It was expected to provide over 80 jobs to the local economy. 
More downs than ups followed, but the first beef was finally slaughtered Feb. 23. On June 3, General Manager Michael Spinks stated operations halted. He blamed the plant design as a contributing factor in the closing.
In September it was announced stock holders were looking for a new business plan.
6. Shopko Hometown had its Grand Opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 25, with about 150 locals on hand for the event. Al Krivachek is the store manager. Shopko has been in business for about 50 years in small-town Midwest communities. 
The business moved into the old Alco building. That business filed bankruptcy on Oct. 12, 2014.
The community has embraced the new business, naming Shopko Hometown the Outstanding Business at the Chamber/CIDC banquet on Nov. 19.
7. The Lime Springs school building was closed at the end of the 2014-15 school year. It officially was turned over to the City by Howard-Winneshiek Community School District on Feb. 3.
The Spring Ahead Learning Center stayed with the City as grant money had been used to help build the facility. The City would have had to pay back the grant money if the SALC was sold.
An auction was held June 28 to try to get rid of some left-behind items. 
Silent bids on the property were then taken. Several lots to the north of the school, which included a ball diamond and the old Presbyterian Church site, were put on silent bid, with Randy and Carmen Assmus paying $12,000 for the property.
Jon Lieder won the bid for the parking lot area, across the road to the south, for $550.
A public meeting was held which asked Lime Springs locals what their thoughts were on the school - sell it, piece it out, tear it down or use part for a new City Hall? Many who came with the thought of saving the building, decided it might cost too much money to hold onto it. Silent bids were going to be taken in regards to the sale of the property.
The rest of the school building and property was sold by silent bid to George Duncan (DBA) Gold Nugget Properties L.L.C. of Richmond, Mo. The winning bid was $11,101.
8. The area had near-record high rainfalls several times over the summer. One of the first rains took place on June 14, when 4-5 inches fell in about an hour around the area. About six inches of rain fell on July 23. 
The ground was still saturated after all the rainfall on Aug. 24, the first day of school at Howard-Winneshiek, that school was cancelled! The area had received 5-11.5 inches overnight.
With 106 days left in the year, Cresco already set the record for precipitation on Sept. 16! At that time, the total was 48.07, beating the record for the year 1951.
9. Several fires devastated businesses in Howard County in 2016. On Feb. 9, fire destroyed the workshop of Dean’s Body Shop at 418 3rd Ave. SW.
On July 16, a fire completely destroyed Bubba’s Bar & Grill at Schley.
10. Marilyn Ott Residential Care Facility at Country Winds Manor closed June 30. Because of changing regulations, the facility could no longer care for individuals who cannot live on their own. Some conditions included brain injury, mental illness or intellectual disability. The state regulated those individuals needed smaller group homes, rather than the larger dorm-like facilities.
In November it was announced Orson Bauder of Hawkeye Care Center would also serve as administrator for Country Winds Manor starting the 14th.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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