Foster opportunities at HSNEI


As the weather warms there are many changes occurring at the shelter and new opportunities to get involved with our foster programs. We are working hard to ensure these programs benefit the people and animals in our community, therefore we welcome any feedback you may have about your experience as a volunteer.
Our current opportunities are below:
  • Kitten litters: during the spring and summer we intake numerous litters of kittens. We will supply all necessary supplies and support you as questions arise.
  • Short term dog fosters: We are currently renovating our outdoor space and need temporary housing for some of the dogs that are sensitive to noise. We will work with you to match a dog with your household.
  • Long term dog fosters: The shelter can be a stressful place for some animals, help us find the perfect forever home for a dog in need!
If you are interested in learning more about any of these options please email or call 563-419-8948.
Thank you for being part of our volunteer community!

Taking Stock: Iowa Clean Energy Policy Mid-2023

On the Scandinavian judgement scale that runs from “could be better” to “not so bad” to “pretty good”, the status of clean energy policy in Iowa could be categorized as somewhere in the “not so bad” range, though with risks to the downside. Given the headwinds that have been building against clean energy across the Heartland, we are fortunate to have not yet slipped into “could be better” territory. Clean energy is holding ground in Iowa thanks to dedicated advocates and organizations from across the spectrum, and Iowa’s 12 clean energy districts have played no small role in this accomplishment. Thank you … and keep those sleeves rolled up!

Briefly, we’ll summarize the 2023 legislative session, then discuss key Iowa Utilities Board issues, and finally a forward-looking combination of the two. The Clean Energy Districts of Iowa (CEDI) actively advocates for a just clean energy future, with prosperity and a liveable climate for all.

Iowa’s 2023 Legislative Session

Coming into 2023, there was a great deal of worry around bills that could significantly restrict the siting of utility-scale solar and wind projects. This has been a trend at the county level around Iowa and the Midwest (as we discussed in February), and the level of statewide siting restrictions proposed in SSB1077 and SF2 would have effectively killed most new large-scale renewable energy development. These bills did not advance, thanks to opposition from utilities, the solar industry, and clean energy advocates such as many of you. Thank you, and thanks to my colleague Brian Krambeer of MiEnergy for joining me in this guest column in the Register. These bills/efforts could return next session, so we’ll need to remain vigilant … and work for better solutions in the interim.

Additional bills with significant potential downsides that did not pass include an effort to provide “innovative rates” to via community-solar-only-for-big-business but excluding all others (HF600/SSB1173), an effort to freeze Iowa’s building energy code at the 2012 standard (SF479), and an effort to change “advanced ratemaking” rules without requiring integrated resource planning (SSB1149). On the flip side, some legislation detrimental to clean energy did make it through. HF248 unfortunately guts much of the current regulatory authority of the Iowa Utilities Board over emissions from fossil fuel generation sources. SF514 – the government re-organization bill – exposes the Office of the Consumer Advocate to political interference through removing merit protection for employees, and other changes. Both of those bills represent harmful utility deregulation at the expense of Iowa ratepayers and communities, as we wrote about recently in The Electric Monopoly’s Company Store.
Good bills that didn’t make it through are worth noting too, in part because they’re worth continued
advocacy for next year. SF332 would establish a limited community solar program, allowing virtual net metering and meter aggregation. And SSB1059 would establish an integrated resource planning process for Iowa’s investor-owned electric utilities.

Iowa Utilities Board and Iowa Supreme Court

These are interesting times at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), in part because this spring brought about a significant change in composition. Board Chair Geri Huser resigned, and Sarah Martz was appointed to serve out her term until April, 2027. Board member Dick Lozier’s term ended, and Erik Helland was appointed to the seat, and named Chair. Josh Byrnes was appointed in 2020, and remains serving. There is always much happening at the IUB, and three major topics deserve special mention right now.

The five-year energy efficiency plan dockets are in full swing for each of Iowa’s investor-owned energy utilities – Alliant, MidAmerican, and Black Hills. CEDI is intervening and submitting extensive comments and testimony in all three dockets, which is a very significant undertaking.
CEDI priorities in the efficiency plans include 1) complementarity with the efficiency and electrification incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (especially heat pumps for heating/cooling), 2) the funding of high quality, in-person technical assistance to all ratepayers through qualified local providers such as energy districts, and 3) increased funding and more effective assistance for lower-income households, that face energy burdens often 3-4 times those of moderate and upper income households.

In early 2022, MidAmerican Energy filed its “Wind Prime” application for advanced ratemaking
principles (or ARP docket) on roughly 2 gigawatts of new wind and 50 megawatts of solar.
Environmental groups intervened, filing extensive testimony demonstrating that investments in much
larger quantities of solar with storage, combined with the retirement of the company’s aging coal plants, would be better for ratepayers.

The Board’s final order approved Wind Prime ratemaking principles but with severe limitations,
consumer protections, and significant requirements for resource planning, that together bode well for
future cases. CEDI applauds the work of intervenors, and the courage of the Board in the face of
extreme levels of corporate and political pressure.

Another docket related to MidAmerican’s failure to consider coal plant retirements reached the Iowa
Supreme Court recently. When company filed their required emission plan and budget in 2020, both the Office of Consumer Advocate and environmental groups criticized the company’s plan for failing to consider the coal plant retirement, and presented evidence demonstrating at least two plants were
uneconomical for ratepayers, and should be retired.

The Utilities Board rejected the intervenor’s evidence and approved the company’s plan, the
environmental groups appealed, and the Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled that the Board must
consider the evidence on coal plant economics provided by intervenors. This is a landmark ruling that could support the relevance of poor coal plant economics (relative to renewable energy and storage) in multiple future Board dockets.

The Study Docket … and Looking Ahead

A study docket, sounds pretty dry doesn’t it? Maybe only clean energy nerds get excited over a study, but thankfully, there are a great many such folks in the energy districts and our clean energy colleagues across the state.

Faced with a flurry of energy related bills, the Legislature wisely punted on some, in favor of a common tactic – directing the relevant regulatory agency to study the issues and report back. HF617 states

The utilities board shall initiate and coordinate an independent review of current Iowa Code
provisions and ratemaking procedures. The review shall take into account the policy objectives of
ensuring safe, adequate, reliable, and affordable utility services provided at rates that are
nondiscriminatory, just, reasonable, and based on the utility’s cost of providing service to
customers within the state.

We anticipate that the Board will soon open a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) docket, and likely issue an RFP for a consulting firm to coordinate the study. All stakeholders will have the opportunity to submit
comments and testimony on a broad range of topics related to energy rates in the state.
We anticipate the investor-owned utilities will vigorously promote policy changes that further the
interests of their investors, and their largest customers. Conversely, clean energy and localism advocates have an opportunity to build the case for a broad set of policies that would achieve a just, affordable, reliable, and resilient clean energy future that generates local prosperity and climate stewardship for generations.

CEDI (and we expect numerous member districts) will be fully engaged in this process, always working hard to move from “not so bad” to “pretty good” Iowa energy policy and reality.

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: Rhymes With… The Getup – Lisa Lantz


Lisa Lantz is the owner of The Getup in Downtown Decorah, a “carefully curated secondhand clothing boutique with gear for the whole family”. She is also an Iowa boomerang, who set out on a track in theater and costume design, followed her passion teaching in higher education to the East Coast before circling back to Decorah with her husband (and business partner) Scott Bassford. Two boys, a career shift, and two business locations later, The Getup shines bright at 212 West Water Street in Downtown Decorah, offering “Community Powered Sustainable Styles” for the whole family.


What does “Sustainable Style” mean though? And what sets The Getup apart from a thrift store? Dive in to this show to hear Lisa talk about all this and more – but we can tell you Lisa & Scott set out from the beginning to create a beautiful, well curated, fun, family friend, affordable experience. In fact, it was the closing of Decorah’s legacy JC Penney Store in 2017 that was one of Lisa’s “Ah-Ha!” moments of seeing the right timing and opportunity to launch their store. Originally, they thought perhaps The Getup would be just for young people, but they quickly figured out that there is a fantastic market for gently worn second hand clothing for all ages, body types, and styles.


Since launching their store, Lisa & Scott have since outgrown one downtown space, purchased and renovated a building (and apartment!) at 212 W Water Street, embraced and created technology that has helped them move their business forward, and also become even more woven into the fabric Downtown Decorah (Lisa even serves on the Decorah Chamber of Commerce board!). Lisa is also a recent graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10ksb Iowa program, which you can hear more about in our podcast here.

Check out The Getup’s Instagram Feed!

Jump into this conversation – and then go check out the ever-changing inventory at The Getup – or better yet, clean out those high quality gently worn clothing items that you don’t wear anymore and sell them at The Getup! We are so grateful to have this amazing community resource on Water Street.


— Community Powered Sustainable Styles —


Find The Getup at 212 W Water Street – Downtown Decorah



“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram, Patreon, TikTok and more @indicative_of_drumming


Really, you should click this reel!


Winneshiek Medical Center continues to expand services in southeast Minnesota

Winneshiek Medical Center’s Mabel Clinic has expanded once again to offer three health care providers to patients weekly. 

Sarah Kach, PA-C is now seeing patients in the Mabel Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She joins Kirsten Wyffels, DNP, who has provided daily family medicine care in Mabel since 2013, and Dr. Anna Mark, Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician, who started seeing patients each Wednesday in Mabel in March.

Sarah joined Winneshiek Medical Center in 2007, providing family medicine and urgent care services in Decorah and Ossian.  A native of Winneshiek County and a graduate of Luther College, Sarah completed her physician assistant degree from the University of Iowa.  Sarah treats patients of all ages for acute, chronic and preventive health care. 

Patients can schedule with Sarah in either location by calling the main WMC line at 563-382-2911, or by calling the Mabel Clinic directly at 507-493-5115.

Source link

Building Electrification: The Devil’s in the Details

Browsing Rewiring America’s website, it’s easy to get excited about the potential benefits of home electrification. Heat pumps, induction stoves, ventless heat pump clothes dryers, breaker boxes, rooftop solar, EVs, etc. All relatively straightforward, and most–with Inflation Reduction Act incentives–cheap and easy. Right? In reality, not so fast.  I was recently contacted by a Decorah couple to provide some recommendations for home electrification. The couple had the money and were

Read More

2023 Winneshiek Energy District Home Tour, June 10th

Tour area homes and learn about solar installations, heat pumps, energy efficiency, and sustainable building practices! Winneshiek Energy District is excited to partner with six Decorah area homeowners for self-guided tours, Saturday, June 10th from 1-4pm. Visit as many as you can in an afternoon (or perhaps all!) and come away inspired to implement these practices at your own home. Participants are free to come and go as they please, and homeowners will be on-site to share their experiences.


Dan and Linda Canton, 2746 West Ridge Rd, Waukon (roughly 13 miles east of Decorah)

Off-grid, 6.0kW solar, 5.0kW lithium iron-phosphate battery backup, backup LP generator, air source heat pump for AC and supplemental heating, in-floor heat, electric riding lawn mower, electric chainsaws, timber frame, energy efficiency, and much more!

Built with efficiency in mind, this timber frame, off-grid home features 6.0kW of solar connected to 5.0kW of lithium iron phosphate battery storage, a wood stove for heating and cooking, and mini split and in-floor radiant heat for backup. The Cantons have developed several creative solutions to combat the challenges of living off grid, like “banking” solar production through preheating and precooling, utilizing an electric riding lawn mower and electric chainsaws for harvesting wood.


Chris Frantsvog, 504 Jefferson Street, Decorah 

4.0kW solar, ductless cold climate air source heat pump, hybrid heat pump water heater, newly constructed energy efficient addition

This modest 19th century brick home coupled with a newly constructed SIP panel and brick veneered addition features rooftop solar on both the house and garage, a multi-zone Mitsubishi cold climate ductless heat pump, and a hybrid heat pump water heater. Old and new held in balance!

Rolf and Laura Peterson, 109 Crescent Ave, Decorah

Ducted cold climate heat pump, 6kW rooftop solar, wood stove, soon-to-be installed hybrid heat pump water heater

This home typifies what whole-home electrification might look like for those of us living in existing mid 20th century homes. The Petersons are in the final stages of converting all systems to electric and they plan to cap the gas line once the new heat pump water heater is installed. Two years ago the Petersons installed 6kW of rooftop solar and swapped their gas furnace with an LG ducted air source heat pump. Come learn from the Petersons and be inspired to do the same at your house!

Porter House Museum, 401 West Broadway St, Decorah

4.5kW rooftop solar, four ductless heat pumps for climate control

Lack of climate control is the death of any museum collection. Come see how the Porter House Museum solved this vexing problem without adding financial strain to the organization’s bottom line. 4.5kW of rooftop solar paired with ductless heat pumps for air conditioning and shoulder season heating were designed and installed to complement this 19th century Italianate home, all while reducing the museum’s electric use. 

Kevin and Leslie Sand, 2597 Quarry Hill Rd, Decorah

14kW pole-mounted solar, two ductless heat pumps

Concerned with the amount of propane required to heat their home (and to say nothing of its ever increasing cost!) the Sands installed 14kW of pole-mounted solar and coupled it with two ductless cold climate Mitsubishi heat pumps. The Sand’s home is a great model for those trying to implement electric heating without existing ductwork.

Perry-O and David Sliwa, 2918 Middle Sattre Rd, Decorah (roughly 5 miles north of Decorah)

4.5kW solar, 1.5kW wind generator, plug-in hybrid vehicle, double wall construction, triple pane windows, passive house principles, in-floor electric heat, ductless heat pump for supplemental heating and AC, and much more!

Incorporating the lessons from living off the grid for forty years, the Sliwas built their retirement home in 2016 with efficiency as the guiding principle. The thoughtfully designed home features numerous passive house concepts like superior levels of insulation, winter solar gain through plentiful south-facing windows and summer shading through extended roof overhangs, and optimal site orientation. Requiring minimal energy to heat and cool, all systems are electric and are offset through on-site solar and wind production.


Winneshiek County Recycling Tips

Happy Friday everyone! As we head into the weekend, I wanted to provide some tips on how you can help the team at the recycling center.

1. For the safety of the staff, please don’t bag your recyclable materials. Bagged materials are sent to the landfill because the recycling team cannot identify the items.

2. Please ensure that your plastic beverage containers are empty when you place them in the plastic bin. Any beverage container that contains liquid will be sent to the landfill.

3. Only recycle hard plastics and ensure that they are marked with a #1 or #2. We can only recycle plastics marked with a #1 or #2 in Winneshiek County.

4. Please do not place soft plastic bags in our recycling bins. We cannot recycle them in Winneshiek County.

5. Please avoid placing screws, nails, and bolts in recycling bins. They can damage equipment. Please collect these items in a small container and bring them to the recycling center during business hours to give to the staff.

Enjoy your Friday and thanks to all of you that reuse or recycle waste materials! Keep up the good work!

June Book Discussions

Decorah Public Library staff are hosting five book discussions in June. The groups are open to the public and newcomers are encouraged to attend. Anyone interested should call the library at 382-3717 to learn more or to reserve a book. Zoom links are available on the Library’s website or you can email to be added to any of the six groups’ email distribution lists. Funds for multiple copy sets were generously provided by Friends of Decorah Public Library.  

 For more information, contact Tricia Crary (Friday Book Group), Zach Row-Heyveld (Cookbook Book Group) or Kristin Torresdal (Happy Hour, History, and Speculative Fiction Book Groups) at 563-382-3717.


The Happy Hour Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. June 14 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss Alexis Schaitkin’s “Elsewhere.” Vera grows up in a small town, removed and isolated, pressed up against the mountains, cloud-covered and damp year-round. This town, fiercely protective, brutal and unforgiving in its adherence to tradition, faces a singular affliction: some mothers vanish, disappearing into the clouds. It is the exquisite pain and intrinsic beauty of their lives; it sets them apart from people elsewhere and gives them meaning. Vera, a young girl when her own mother went, is on the cusp of adulthood herself. As her peers begin to marry and become mothers, they speculate about who might be the first to go, each wondering about her own fate.  

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America

The History Book Group will meet on the 2nd floor of the library Thurs. June 15 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss Heather Cox Richardson’s How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America.” While the North prevailed in the Civil War, Heather Cox Richardson argues that democracys blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system that had sustained the defeated South moved westward and there established a foothold. Settlers from the East had for decades been pushing into the West, where the seizure of Mexican lands at the end of the Mexican-American War and treatment of Native Americans cemented racial hierarchies. The South and West equally depended on extractive industries-cotton in the former and mining, cattle, and oil in the latter-giving rise a new birth of white male oligarchy, despite the guarantees provided by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. 



The Friday Book Group will meet via Zoom Fri. June 16 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss Geraldine Brooks’ “Horse.” Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance. Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horseone studying the stallions bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success. 


The Speculative Fiction Book Group will meet via Zoom Wed. June 28 at 5:15 p.m. to discuss China Mieville’sEmbassytown.” In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak. Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. When distant politics deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak 

The Paper Menagerie”: “Good Hunting,” “The Literomancer,” and “Simulacrum.”  

Following the Speculative Fiction Book Group, the Speculative Short Fiction Group will meet at 6:15 p.m. via the same Zoom link to discuss stories 4-6 from Ken Liu’s “The Paper Menagerie”: “Good Hunting,” “The Literomancer,” and “Simulacrum.”  


Source link

Part-time Library Aide Positions

Decorah Public Library is accepting applications for one seasonal (June-August 2023) part-time Library Aide position and one (non-seasonal) part time Library Aide position.

Candidates must be at least 14 years old and available to work select daytime hours, 1-2 weekday evenings 5-7 p.m., and 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays.

10 hours/week available at $10.50/hr, no benefits.

Job description and application available below or call 563-382-3651.

Send completed application to:

Decorah Public Library, Attn: Tricia Crary
202 Winnebago St.
Decorah IA 52101


Applications accepted until position is filled. The first review of applications will be on Wednesday, May 31.

M/F disabled and Veteran EEO/AA Employer

Library Aide Job Description

Employment Application Library

*Important note regarding submitting a PDF version of your application – Download and save the Application PDF to your computer. Use Adobe or a similar PDF reader to fill out the downloaded application and save it to your computer. Attach the completed application to your email along with your resume and references. Using Chrome or other web browsers to fill out the PDF may result in a blank PDF being submitted.

Source link

1 2 3 62