The Luther College and Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon is always a great way to welcome in a new year. 2019 marks the 30th annual collaborative event.
Guest speaker Reynolds W. Cramer ('91), President and CEO of Fareway Stores, Inc. talked about changes in the grocery industry, his family history with Fareway, and of course his memories of being a student on the Luther College campus.
The Lunchoen is a time we pause to say thanks. First, we thank to those that have served the DACC board for their commitment and leadership to the organization. This year the DACC has two outgoing board members. Brian Huinker, Group Benefit Partners, has served 6 years on the board of directors, including the role of president during the 2015 fiscal year. Dawn Muhlbauer, Decorah Bank & Trust, has also completed 6 years of service to the DACC board, including serving as board treasurer from 2013 to 2015.
The DACC also recognized Shannon Duncan, Manpower. Shannon served as the 2018 Chamber President and led the organization through a year of organizational changes, including taking over maintenance and management of the Visitor Center. The DACC also developed a new mission, vision and values under Shannon’s leadership.
We also take time to thank one of the many volunteers that make our community so special. DACC Board of Directors President, Joe Gavle recognized this 2019 Outstanding Community Service recipient, Mark Faldet. Mark was recognized for his years of dedication and service to the greater Decorah community.
Mark's nomination identified him as an unsung hero who has demonstrated exceptional and outstanding leadership through volunteerism for decades. Mark was a volunteer and board member for the Decorah Teen Center in the 1990s. He has lent his hand and expertise to countless other organizations, groups, and to our community at large - often looking to invest in ideas, and people that will continue to grow and strengthen our town and region for decades to come.
Recently, Mark worked with the Decorah Tree Board to plant hundreds of trees in Decorah. Mark has also been known for less structured volunteering, like his regular visits to nursing homes in the area. Others may have seen him volunteering during Nordic Fest with his homemade sweep pan in hand cleaning up post parade trash. You will find him hauling lumber and supplies to help build infrastructure for area events at ArtHaus, Live on Water Street, and more. Or clearing sidewalks, blocks at a time, on upper Broadway after a winter storm (where he's also lived for over 3 decades.) It is these countless gestures that add up over years of service that truly create a community.
Finally, a note on Mark’s career in Luther College admissions. Through his life's work, he has put the interest of young people first. Mark offers guidance as students navigate Luther's educational experiences. He also takes the extra time to make lifelong friends and builds connects through various networks.
The DACC commends the many leaders and volunteers that are silent contributors to the community. Today, we pay special recognition to Mark Faldet for his obvious pride and dedication to the Decorah community.
Seriously, I feel like we've been working on holiday decorations for a LONG time. And I guess if April feels like a long time ago to you my sentiment is justified!
One of my takeaways from 2017 is the community has a lot to say about holiday decorations. The DACC has been organizing and funding holiday decorations for the community for as long as I've been a part of the organization. And this may date me a bit, but that's been at least 20 years.
In the past, the holiday season was a time that I bribed my son's friends with pizza and silver cord hours if they would help me prep decorations. We pulled all the wreaths down from the shelves. Remove them from boxes. Check lights. Replace lights. Fluffed up the branches. Line them up by the door for the Street Department. We checked hundreds of light strands and replaced several bulbs. Trust me, it was a filthy, thankless job. Except for the pizza.
The beloved wreaths and garland of the past were very worn and deteriorated to a point of being unusable. I'm happy to say we were able to recycle most of the materials. Strands of lights that were still functioning have been saved for future use.
Which brings me back to April. After processing all the feedback on the 2017 tree lighting project downtown, it was time to rally people to create a new vision. We formed a committee and debated the pros and cons of owning decorations versus outsourcing the project. The lists were long. Ultimately it was decided that owning the decorations and supplies was the way to go.
Ownership also means we need to plan for all the behind the scenes stuff. We will store the decorations here at the DACC office and prep them for display each year. We will also need to continuously seek donations to properly maintain and replace when needed.
For today, the new decorations are up and I can't wait to see them lit up after dark today. Sometime right after lunch....thank you day light savings time!
A huge thank you to the local SSMID Board (Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District) and the Depot Outlet for providing generous contributions that allowed us to place an order by August 1st. And of course the Street Department crew for their time in putting the decorations up.
If you enjoy them too, consider a donation. Private funding is the only way we will be able to expand and maintain this project.
I sincerely hope the 2018 holiday season is full of family, food, laughter, and friends for all of you!
The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Decorah Police Department, announces Halloween trick-or-treating will take place on Wednesday, October 31 with suggested hours for trick-or-treating from 5–8 p.m.
While 5-8 p.m. are the encouraged hours for the night please be mindful of porch lights. Only visit homes with porch lights on at any point in the night. Alternatively, if you are not interested in greeting all the trick-or-treaters, keep your porch light off.
Readers Digest recently shared some Halloween Etiquette Rules:
If you don’t know what a costume is, don’t guess
Skip the gruesome decorations at the office
Use costumes to your advantage at work
Don’t assume everyone shares your sense of humor
Keep in mind that culture isn’t a costume
Remember that in this day and age, nothing is private
Headstone decorations shouldn’t touch a nerve
Teach your kids a lesson
Let kids talk about their costumes
Keep it quiet
Be part of your teen’s costume planning
Skip the haunted house
Be mindful of allergies
Make sure everyone is invited
The DPD and DACC remind everyone to keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters to ensure a safe and happy Halloween.
Have fun and be safe!