Crowdfunding for a New Green Iowa AmeriCorps Van

The Green Iowa AmeriCorps team is based out of the Winneshiek Energy District and can be found doing home energy assessments and environmental education throughout northeast Iowa. We are raising $9,000 to replace our aging van, a vehicle that transports us all over northeast Iowa to do home energy audits and environmental outreach and education.

Our Story

We serve six counties in northeast Iowa. Our home energy efficiency services are FREE to the disabled, folks 65+, veterans, and low-moderate income clients*. (*sometimes we charge small travel fee). We’re fast, we’re efficient, and we do it all with a smile.

Currently we drive around in our old van, Bertha. She is a 2002 Ford Windstar with over 168,000 miles on her.  She’s not a complainer, but she does have some ailments:

  • Left rear door won’t open
  • Back windshield wiper is frozen
  • In and out of the shop five times last year!
  • Faulty heating system
  • Faulty emergency brake
  • Faulty clock
  • 3 lights are always lit up on the dash (clearly this is the least of our problems!)

Bertha has hauled us (and former teams) all over northeast Iowa so we could help folks. While we don’t want to put Bertha out to pasture, we do need a vehicle that won’t break down while we’re miles away driving down a desolate dirt road…

So we’re raising money to buy a reliable vehicle.

Nothing fancy – It doesn’t need to be new, just new to us. We’d like all-wheel drive for when we’re driving on icy roads in the winter. And fuel efficiency. A little younger than 17 years old (no offense, Bertha…).

Your generous contribution to the Replace Our Ride fund will help us serve northeast Iowans for years to come!

We’re ready to thank you and to pay your kindness forward to those who need it most! Can you help by sharing this campaign with your friends and neighbors?

Giving Levels

A gift at any level is just what we need! Here are a few ideas of where to start:


$25 Spark Plug

Every little bit helps! In addition to our heartfelt gratitude, we’ll mail you a special vehicle-inspired postcard!


$50 All Wheel Drive

Your generous gift is just what’s needed for this effort to gain traction! In addition to our heartfelt gratitude, we’ll mail you a custom vehicle-inspired thank-you and your name will be printed on the vehicle’s back window.


$100 VROOOM!

Thank you for helping us pick up speed to meet our fundraising goal! Your name will be put on the new vehicle’s back decal, will receive a vehicle-art postcard, and are invited to a naming party for the new vehicle once it is purchased.


$500 Full Speed Ahead!

Wow, what a gift! Because you’re making it a piece of cake to meet our fundraising goal, you’ll receive a custom-made-and-delivered* cake from local cake legend and WED board member, Wendy Stevens, in addition to other perks. (*In the 6 county region)

Thank you for helping us help others and for sharing this cause with your friends and family!

It’s Walking and Biking Season!

Upper Exlporerland Regional Planning Commission’s Safe Routes to School Program is offering several Walking and Biking School Bus opportunities for Decorah students this spring.  Please contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator April Bril at or visit our Facebook Page to learn about volunteer opportunities or how to register your child!



National Library Week at Decorah Public Library


The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Libraries = Strong Communities.” This theme certainly rings true here in Decorah.

In April, we have 23 programs scheduled for all ages (and this doesn’t even include Tech Help!) and we’re partnering with 11 different organizations and businesses (most of them local) including (in order of appearance): Luther College, the Oneota Questers, RUBAIYATIowa Legal AidFriends of Decorah Public Library, the Winneshiek Energy DistrictGreen Iowa AmeriCorps, members of the Upper Iowa Training ClubReefuelWinneshiek County Conservation, and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium!

The Decorah Public Library is celebrating National Library Week at DPL with a wide variety of programs for people of all ages and fine amnesty all week long. Anyone with overdue library materials may take advantage of fine amnesty: simply bring overdue items to the front desk of the library, let a staff member know that they are overdue, and all fines for those items will be removed.

Summer School at Nisse Preschool

Summer school at Nisse Preschool starts 6/10-6/14, 6/17-6/21, and 6/24-28. Early bird registration is due 4/30.  All the weeks include outdoors, arts, crafts, movement and field trips. It is for kids ages 3 through those who have just finished Kindergarten. The hours are 8-1 with no additional charge for extended care until 5pm. For more information you can contact Michelle Brinks at 563-382-4794 or

Registration due April 1 for Decorah Park-Rec. Easter Egg Hunt

The Hunt will take place at Phelps Park on Sunday, April 7, 3:00 pm, in Phelps Park.  Children find plastic eggs filled with candy or prizes and all egg hunters receive participation gifts at the close of the Hunt. The Easter Bunny will also be there so bring your cameras! The $3 per child registration fee is to be paid in person at the Park-Rec. Office by April 1.   There is a signup sheet/waiver for this event at our office and each child who registers receives an official Easter Basket which is their ticket into the hunt.  

Julie Meirick and Nashville Friends – Fundraiser Concert

Please join us on Saturday, March 23rd for a night of music and fun! The Spectrum Network welcomes Julie Meirick and Nashville Friends, featuring Jonathan Kingham and Jason Sever, along with local music favorites Josh Vorvick and Jeni Grouws, to the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, IA. This concert will help raise money to benefit the many programs at The Spectrum Network.
Doors open at 6:30 PM and the concert begins at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at The Spectrum Network, KVIK Radio Station, or at the door on the day of the event.
Tables are available for reservation. A table for 4 is a minimum donation of $75 and a table for 8 is a minimum donation of $140. Admission ticket is included with table reservation. Please contact 563-387-7538 to reserve your table today!

Luther College names Dr. Jenifer K. Ward as 11th president

Dr. Jenifer K. Ward, provost and dean of the college for Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana, has been unanimously elected Luther College’s 11th president, announced today by Luther’s Board of Regents.

In addition to her duties as provost and dean of the college, Ward served as professor of modern language and culture, and as the Caroline and Ed Crawford Eminent Scholars Chair of Liberal Arts at Centenary, the only tier-one national liberal arts college in Louisiana.

“Dr. Ward is a visionary and passionate leader who has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to effectively lead transformational change with an inclusive and collaborative style that builds relationships and inspires and motivates her colleagues across campus to achieve a shared vision,” said J. Robert Paulson, Jr., vice chair of Luther’s Board of Regents, chair of the presidential search committee and 1978 Luther alumnus.

“In today’s world where higher education and global societies are rapidly evolving, she is an authentic and servant leader who is committed to the enduring value of a Luther education. We are honored and excited to welcome Dr. Ward as the 11th president of Luther College,” said Paulson.

Ward’s appointment follows the five-year tenure of Dr. Paula J. Carlson, Luther’s 10th president. Carlson is retiring June 30, 2019.

Wendy Davidson, chair of Luther’s Board of Regents and 1992 Luther alumna, said, “On behalf of the Board of Regents, I want to thank Dr. Carlson for her leadership and passion over the past five years. She’s demonstrated a continued willingness to put Luther first and partnered with the board in courageous conversations to balance short term realities while building a strategic path to the future. We are grateful for her work with the cabinet, faculty and staff in setting a strong foundation and know she will graciously partner with Dr. Ward for a smooth leadership transition.”

Ward will begin her duties as president of Luther College July 1, 2019.

“We are at a crucial inflection point in the history of liberal arts education in our country, and in a world that needs the kind of graduates Luther College fosters,” said Ward. “Everyone I met during the search process impressed me with their tough questions, their love for Luther, and their commitment to ensuring a bright future for our students and the communities and environments they will help steward. I look forward to exploring Decorah and to joining in the work of the generations who have shaped the legacy of this great institution.”

More than 15 departments reported to Ward as provost at Centenary, including Academic Affairs, which houses all of the college’s academic departments, schools and programs; Student Development; Residence Life; Career Services; and Integrated Advising. She was responsible for overseeing roughly half of the college’s annual $25 million operating budget.

Ward’s experience in higher education is punctuated by a love of the liberal arts. Her work at Centenary as provost included integrating a liberal arts curriculum with co-curricular programming to “shape an educational experience designed to promote the intentional intellectual, creative, personal and professional growth of the whole student,” according to Ward.

Prior to her time at Centenary, Ward served as dean of the college, interim provost and associate provost at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. She was chair of the Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, where she also taught German. Ward began her academic career with faculty appointments at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

A distinguished scholar, Ward earned her Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and received her Bachelor of Arts with distinction from Hendrix College in her hometown of Conway, Arkansas. She also completed a certificate program, “The Principles and Techniques of Fundraising,” from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She is the co-editor of the book, “Reworking the German Past: Adaptation in Film, the Arts, and Popular Culture.”

President-elect Ward was elected by the Luther College Board of Regents following a unanimous recommendation from the 13-member presidential search committee. The members of the search committee included individuals representing Luther’s Board of Regents, students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and the city of Decorah. The search process was supported by Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates, who assembled a robust pool of distinguished individuals from top-tier colleges, universities and comprehensive organizations outside of academia.

As Luther’s 11th president, Ward joins the legacy of presidents Paula J. Carlson (2014-19), Richard L. Torgerson (1999-2013), Jeffrey D. Baker (1996-99), H. George Anderson (1982-95), Elwin D. Farwell (1963-81), J.W. Ylvisaker (1948-62), Ove J.H. Preus (1932-48), Oscar L. Olson (1921-32), Christian Keyser Preus (1902-21), and Peter Laurentius (Laur.) Larsen (1861-1902).

Lisa Scott named Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Student Success at Luther College

Luther College President Paula J. Carlson has announced the appointment of Lisa M. Scott as vice president for equity, inclusion and student success. Scott has served as the inaugural dean for institutional equity and inclusion at Luther since August 2017.

“I am thrilled that Lisa Scott is assuming this new leadership role at Luther,” said President Carlson. “Over the past two years, she has served as a strong, invaluable senior leader at the college. In this new role, Lisa will continue to serve as a key leader in the community’s work together to achieve the vision for inclusive excellence and student success the college embraced in our new strategic plan, ‘Inspired. Empowered. Engaged.'”

Scott will serve as the first vice president for equity, inclusion and student success at the college, a re-visioning of the former dean for institutional equity and inclusion position. She will continue to be a member of the senior administrative leadership team and a key leader and voice on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. In this new role, Scott will also work with colleagues across campus to foster student success in every aspect of college life.

“Lisa Scott has been an integral part of the leadership team during her tenure at Luther in the development of our strategic plan and our vision of a comprehensive student experience that develops students who are inspired, empowered, and engaged to thrive, serve, and lead in an ever-changing world,” said Wendy Davidson, chair of the Luther College board of regents and 1992 Luther alumna. “We are thrilled to have her continue her work as the vice president for equity, inclusion, and student success.”

While serving as dean, Scott worked with Luther’s Council for Equity and Inclusion to reevaluate its structure and priorities in order for the council to strengthen as a campus and regional resource for training and expertise toward inclusive excellence, as outlined in Luther’s strategic plan.

Under Scott, the Luther College Diversity Center changed its name to reflect an increased focus on intercultural engagement among students. Now named the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success, the center continues to provide programming and trainings around building meaningful relationships through the sharing of cultural ways of knowing.

Scott helped to facilitate Luther’s re-engagement with College Possible, and launched the Catalyze Program in fall of 2018, connecting low-income students with “near-peer” coaches to provide support to students who are often the first in their family to attend college.

Scott has been a core member of groups within the Luther community that organized a series of events throughout the 2018-19 academic year, including commemorating the 50th anniversary of Luther’s Black Student Union. Additionally, Scott led the proposal for Luther’s participation in the Council of Independent Colleges’ second Diversity, Civility and the Liberal Arts Institute, to be held in June 2019.

“After spending the last eighteen months with Luther staff, faculty, students and members of the Decorah community making strides toward inclusive excellence, I am energized, eager and excited to build on the foundations we have set in place,” said Scott. “Student equity and success are paramount to the mission and vision of this college. I look forward to the essential work we will do together to create an enduring culture of inclusivity at Luther.”

Prior to coming to Luther, Scott served for four years as vice president of student engagement and success at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Prior to her appointment as vice president, Scott served as special assistant to the president-chief diversity officer, assistant provost for student engagement and success, and special assistant to the president-diversity and inclusion chief diversity officer at Susquehanna.

From 1999-2001, Scott served as the director of multicultural affairs at Roger Williams University in Bristol Rhode Island, and as the program director of Everywoman’s Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1993-99. She also worked as the director of recruitment and retention for Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield Massachusetts from 1991-93.

Scott holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cambridge College. She is in the final stages of completing doctoral studies at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where her research focused on the diversity of senior administrators at predominantly white institutions.

Moving forward, Scott will work closely with Luther leadership developing institutional strategies to ensure that Luther is a diverse and welcoming community, prioritizing student success in curricular and co-curricular programs across the college. She will lead programs and initiatives to increase diversity within the faculty, staff and the student body, and to assure that students thrive in their experience at Luther.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website:

New Minowa Players Seeking Directors for 2019-20 Season

New Minowa Players is seeking directors for its 2019-20 season. Applicants of all experience levels will be considered  and anyone with an interest in directing is encouraged to apply for this exciting volunteer opportunity, regardless of prior directing experience or participation in NMP productions.
A variety of performance slots are available, including the 2019 Young People’s Production (August, 2019), 2019 Children’s Show (October, 2019), 2019 Cabaret/One-Acts/Other Creative Venture (November 2019), 2020 Family Show (January, 2020), 2020 Adult Show (April, 2020), and 2020 Summer Musical (June, 2020).
Anyone interested in directing should propose a production to the New Minowa Players board of directors using the Director Proposal form, available by e-mail or at deadline for application is March 31st, 2019.
Please contact NMP board president Kathy Schwartzhoff at or corresponding secretary Aaron Kvale at for more information and/or to request a proposal form.
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