Solar Installations Increase 35% in Decorah from 2020-2023



From the City of Decorah 

Title: Solar Installations Increase 35% in Decorah from 2020 – 2023

Contact: Jim Martin-Schramm, Chair, Decorah Sustainability Commission,

The amount of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generating capacity in Decorah increased 35.3% from 2020-2023.  The number of projects increased 32.9% from a total of 234 projects in 2020 to 311 projects in 2023.

Decorah had 4,013.01 kW-AC of installed solar PV capacity on December 31, 2020.  Three years later Decorah had 5,430.73 kW-AC of solar PV installed capacity on December 31, 2023.

Decorah also has 1,600 kW of installed wind energy capacity (Luther’s wind turbine) but that amount did not increase from 2020-2023.

In total, the City of Decorah has 7,030.73 kW-AC of renewable energy generating capacity through the end of 2023.

Alliant Energy provided this information to the City of Decorah (52101 ZIP Code) at the request of the Decorah Sustainability Commission.  One of the action items in the Decorah Sustainability Plan is “to establish a 2020 baseline of installed renewable energy generating capacity per capita (kW/per capita) within the City of Decorah limits; update every three years.”

The most recent estimate of Decorah’s population by the U.S. Census Bureau is that the city had a population of 7,581 in April 2020.  The 7,030.73 kW of solar capacity divided by the city’s population produces an average of 0.93 kW (927.4) watts of installed renewable energy generating capacity per person.

Considering solar alone, the City of Decorah had 716.4 watts of installed solar PV per capita by the end of 2023.

By way of comparison, Honolulu, Hawai’i led the nation with 1,133.48 watts per person in 2021, according to Environment America’s Shining Cities 2022 report.  Decorah’s 716.4 watts of installed solar capacity in 2023 would rank second ahead of Las Vegas, Nevada, which had 689.9 watts per capita in 2021.

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City Yard Waste Site to have Set Hours Starting May 18th


Decorah Street Department

Press Contact: Sam Hogenson, City Forester, 563-277-5153

City Yard Waste Site To Have Set Open Hours Starting May 18th


Decorah, IA (May 13, 2024) – Starting on Saturday, May 18th, the City of Decorah Yard Waste Site will have set open hours. The Yard Waste Site will be open on Wednesdays from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM, on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, and on Sundays from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. A key will not be needed to access the site during these open hours. Those wishing to access the site outside of these open hours will need to check out a key from City Hall.

As a reminder, no garbage in any capacity is allowed to be deposited at the Yard Waste Site and only yard waste that originates from within City of Decorah city limits may be deposited. However, residents and non-residents are welcome to take wood chips, compost, and/or firewood from the site.

Please call Sam Hogenson, City Forester, at 563-277-5153 with any questions.



This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.



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Press Release: National Police Week

Dear Community Members,

National Police Week runs from May 12-May 18, 2024.  National Police Week is a symbolic time for law enforcement officers across the nation.  This week is a time of thanks for the men and women in uniform that serve their communities with diligence and trust twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.  These officers serve regardless of weather and regardless of political climate-they serve when people “like” the police, as well as when they don’t.  They miss holidays and birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.  They miss the first day of school, the last day of school, and a lot of “school things” in between.  This week though, these “sacrifices” seem small.  Law enforcement officers know all too well the true sacrifice that policing can ask of its men and women.  National Police Week is also when we spend time remembering the true cost.  At the close of 2023, 136 federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty.  2023 was an anomaly and showed a 39% decrease from 2022, in which 224 officers were killed.   Thus far in 2024, a total of 58 line of duty deaths have occurred.

Over the course of her history, Iowa has lost a total of 220 police officers to a line of duty death.  Personally, since my career began in 1997, Iowa has lost 23 officers, from vehicle crashes to felonious assaults. KILD-Chrona.pdf (   In most recent years, these losses have geographically hit particularly close to home. These numbers represent people-people with families that continue to carry the sting of their loss. These numbers rest heavy on the hearts and minds of police officers, especially this week, as we pay tribute and remember those who have paid the ultimate price.  This is the sacrifice.

It is not just the officers that carry this weight of what-if, but their families as well. Moms, dads, spouses, children, and other friends and colleagues also learn to find balance in their worry and their respect.  I would be remiss to not offer my sincere thanks to the friends and families of the Decorah Police Officers, the Winneshiek County Deputies, the State Patrol officers assigned to our area, and our additional law enforcement partners that help us keep our part of Iowa safer for you.  Without their support what we do would not be possible.

Locally, our officers know they work in a community that supports them.  We are blessed to call Decorah and Winneshiek County our home and honored to serve her citizens selflessly.  As I celebrate and reflect during National Police Week 2024, I am thankful.  I am thankful for our police, sheriff’s deputies, and troopers.  I am thankful for the tactical officer, the negotiator, the investigator, the evidence technician, the crime scene processor, the motor vehicle crash reconstructionist, the K9 handler, and the patrol officer.  I am humbled to work amongst some of the best professionals in the State of Iowa.  I am thankful for the opportunity to do so.  May this week continue to be a sacred time in the hearts and minds of us all, and I selfishly ask for it to be a safe week.


Chief Tricia Thein

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Decorah Historic Preservation Commission Award

The Decorah Historic Preservation Commission will present its 2024 Preservation Award to Dean and Lois Humpal and their daughter Chanda for their efforts to preserve and renovate more than a dozen historic homes in Decorah over the past twenty years.

The public is invited to attend the award ceremony on Wednesday, May 22 from 4:00 until 5:30 p.m. at Decorah Municipal Center, 400 W. Claiborne Dr., in the City Council Chambers.  The ceremony will begin shortly after 4:00 p.m. and will include a slideshow of many of the Humpals’ renovated Decorah homes. Light refreshments will be served.

The couple’s first major project in Decorah was converting the 1910 Queen Anne style home at 305 W. Broadway from a duplex into a fully-appointed bed and breakfast with four guest rooms and a luxury suite. With the help of their children and contractors, they completed the work in just six months, opening the B&B on Broadway in time to host guests at Luther College’s 2006 graduation.

Although neither Dean nor Lois had any formal training in construction, they grew up on farms where “both of us learned how to fix things and to work hard,” Lois commented. They also learned from contractors – working alongside them in many cases. They involved Chanda and their other five children in much of the renovation work.

When renovating historic homes, the Humpals try to preserve any unique features, update basic systems, and keep changes appropriate to a home’s time period. Their modifications generally include added insulation, updated wiring and plumbing, refinished original floors, remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, fresh paint, and landscaping. Some work is done by them, some by contractors, and some with both  working side by side.

Lois, Dean and Chanda have lived in many of the homes they’ve renovated.  They currently reside in a 1938 International Style/Art Deco duplex at 608 Vernon St. that was designed by Decorah architect Charles Altfillisch. They purchased and began renovating it in 2021. They’ve also owned and renovated two other Altfillisch-designed homes at 401 E. Broadway and 302 Upper Broadway, both of which they’ve since sold.

“The Humpals seem driven by their passions for historic homes, antiques, and an admiration of the outstanding craftsmanship one finds in many older homes,” noted commissioner Judy van der Linden. “Our preservation award celebrates their impressive contribution to Decorah’s  visual streetscape since they began their first historic home renovation in 2006. I hope the public will join us on May 22 to recognize them,”  she continued.

The Decorah Historic Preservation Commission is a state-certified city board established in 2007 to promote the public’s educational and economic welfare through the recognition of historic sites. The DHPC has given an annual award since 2008. For a list of previous awards, see Award Recipients – City of Decorah Iowa (

Contact the commission by email at:

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Low-Income Energy Savings Initiative Grant



From the City of Decorah 

Title: Decorah Awarded $233,638 for Low-Income Energy Savings Initiative

Contact: Jim Martin-Schramm, Chair, Decorah Sustainability Commission,

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has awarded the City of Decorah an Iowa Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant in the amount of $233,638 for Decorah’s “Low-Income Energy Savings Initiative.”

The bulk of the funding will be used to retrofit two low-income multi-family properties with efficient air source heat pumps. Another portion of the funding will be used to provide free energy audits for low-income, owner-occupied households to identify energy efficiency opportunities.

The rest of the funding will also be used to provide coaching to Decorah homeowners about how they can access and utilize rebate programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and administered by the State Energy Office that will become available during the grant period.

The City of Decorah provided $20,000 in matching funds via electric franchise fee revenue allocated for projects related to the work of the Decorah Sustainability Plan.  Decorah Sustainability Commission members worked with Winneshiek Energy District staff to develop Decorah’s application for funding.

“This is wonderful news,” said Decorah Mayor, Lorraine Borowski.  “The low-income residents of the Woolen Mill Apartments and the seniors living in the Washington Court Apartments will be the primary beneficiaries of these funds.  I am so pleased that Decorah’s matching funds could leverage such a major grant.”

“I want to single out Michelle Barness for her yeoman’s work drafting Decorah’s application, said Jim Martin-Schramm, Chair of the Decorah Sustainability Commission.  “We also could not have submitted such a strong application without the expert guidance of Paul Cutting, the Winneshiek Energy District’s lead energy planner.”

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Embark on the Marvelous Adventures of Countyland: A Fun-filled Journey into County Government for Children!

“Marvelous Adventures of Countyland” – an exciting and educational book specially crafted for children, brought to you by NACo (National Association of Counties). This book is an interactive experience designed to make learning about county government enjoyable and accessible for children of all ages. Whether you’re exploring the responsibilities of county officials or discovering how counties serve their communities, each page is packed with wonder and excitement! Below is a pdf to the book.

Marvelous Adventures of Countyland


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Public Notice – 2024 Wastewater Treatment Facility



The proposed project was reviewed by the Iowa  Department  of  Natural  Resources (DNR} for eligibility for a categorical exclusion from NEPA review specified in the 40 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 6.204. The project meets all criteria described in the above reference, and it was determined that this project is eligible for a categorical exclusion. Consequently, a preliminary decision has been made that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI) will not be prepared.

This action is taken on the basis of a careful review of supporting information that is on file at the DNR’s Des Moines, Iowa office. The Categorical Exclusion documentation for this project is available online at The DNR will not take any administrative action on the project for at least thirty (30} calendar days from the publication of this Notice. Persons disagreeing with the above environmental decision may submit comments to during this period. For further information, please contact Jean Mayne at or 515-491-7565.

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Arbor Day Planting May 4, 2024

Please join the City of Decorah and the Decorah Tree Board on May 4, 2024, as we celebrate Arbor Day by planting 25 trees on various boulevards throughout the city.  Before we begin planting, the City Forester and Decorah Tree Board will give a planting demonstration outlining proper planting techniques and how to care for a tree after it is planted.  This planting, along with several others that will be carried out by the City of Decorah and Decorah Tree Board throughout the year, has been made possible through a grant received from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program and the Arbor Day Foundation.


What:  Arbor Day celebration – planting 25 trees

When:  May 4 at 8:30AM, May 11 at 8:30AM, May 18 at 8:30AM

Where:  Begins at City of Decorah Street Department located at 108 Railroad Avenue

For more information, please contact Sam Hogenson, City Forester, at (563)277-5153 or by email at:

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