Tag Archives: City of Winona

WAPS does not meet goals; no change for this year

The Winona Area Public Schools school board met on Thursday, Nov. 21, for a hearing about the Worlds Best WorkForce and regular business after.

Maurella Cunningham, director of learning and teaching at the district office explained the results from the 2018-19 WBWA plan and described the WBWA plan for 2019-20.

In the 2018-19 school year, the district met two of their seven goals detailed in the 2018-19 WBWA plan.

Those two goals were to decrease the reading proficiency score gap between white students and students of color and American-Indian students and the district was able to raise enrollment in preschool.

The five goals not met included the four-year graduation rates from Winona Senior High School and the Winona Learning Center.

The goal for Winona Senior High School was to increase graduation rates from 93% to 94%. The rate ended up decreasing from 93% to 91.9%.

Another goal was to close the gap between white students, students of color and American-Indian students on the math proficiency part of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.

“In Math, the difference in percent proficient on the MCA assessment between white students & students of color and American Indian students will decrease from 26.7% to 20%, for all grade levels tested,” the 2018-19 WBWF plan read.

Other goals not met included kindergarten letter sounds, third-grade reading level increase, and average ACT scores increase.

Cunningham described WBWF goals for the 2019-20 school year.

The basis of most of the goals did not change from the 2018-19 WBWF plan to the 2019-20 WBWF plan.

For example, the goal to close the gap in math proficiency MCA scores between white, colored and American-Indian students stayed the same. The only part that changed was the starting point to reflect the increased gap from the previous year.

“In Math, the difference in percent proficient on the MCA assessment between white students & students of color and American Indian students will decrease from 25.3% in 2019 to 20% in 2020, for all grade levels tested,” the 2019-20 WBWF plan states as the goal.

The only goal that changed was the four-year graduation rates.

For the 2019-20 WBWF plan, the goal is to have an increase in four-year graduation rates at the Winona Senior Highschool from 93% to 94% and an increase from 13.2% to 14% at the Winona Area Learning Center.

One goal was added to the 2019-20 WBWF plan.

The new goal is to have high school juniors who take a college or career readiness assessment to have scores no lower than 85%.

The board will hear a revised version of the 2019-20 WBWF plan on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Superintendent, Annette Freiheit reads through various changes to different school policies. These changes were mostly grammatical or were not what the school was doing.

School Board Chair, Nancy Denzer said she looks forward to seeing the plan written in a meaningful way.

“I really want to see some SMART goals and things that we can achieve and I really want to see the whole Worlds Best Workforce written in a way that is meaningful,” Denzer said.

SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

In the regular meeting, the school board heard from speakers on a variety of topics.

“We want staff members to present not necessarily administrators,” Denzer said.

Teachers from each school in the district came to speak about the progress of the new Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. They reported that students and faculty and staff have been receiving the program well.

One presentation Denzer said she enjoyed was a report from staff members about the progress of a new program called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

Each school in the district has at least one teacher heading the program in that school. Each is seeing tremendous results in the beginning stages of implementation.

The school board also discussed the process of adding a student chair to the board.

School Board Clerk Michael Hanratty brought the idea to the board after attending the annual conference last year and meeting other district’s student representatives.

“He got excited about it and wanted to do it,” Denzer said. “So we are going to shepherd it in and see what happens.”

The next school board meeting will be Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Winona City Hall.

Parking causes issues for Friendship Center

The Friendship Center in Downtown Winona needs more parking as it is the number one complaint from members.  

The issue comes mostly because the Friendship Center serves the senior citizens of the area, many of whom have a harder time walking long distances or making it across the street in the time allowed. 

Roxy Kohner has been a member of the center for almost 11 years. She said sometimes she will come to the center an hour before an event to wait out a close enough parking spot. 

“I have driven by and without a place to park I had to turn around and go back because there wasn’t anything within the walking distance that I can do,” Kohner said. “I have also staked out parking. So I have come an hour ahead of time and I will park and do something in my car till I can watch and see someone pull out.” 

Malia Fox, director of the Friendship Center, said this is the most frequent complaint the center gets. 

A report from 2018 state there is adequate parking for the City of Winona. 

The report titled “Parking Study: Downtown Winona” was created by Walker Consultants. They studied an area of 42 blocks between the Mississippi River, Winona Street, Broadway Street and Kanas Street. 

Walker Consultants found that in the study area there were about 4,030 spaces available of which about 3,205 spaces were for public use. 

Parking continues to be a problem for the Friendship Center despite the findings in the Walker report.  

Across Fifth Street from the Friendship Center is the Main Street Square Development. The construction workers and equipment take up many spots that are closest to the center, which has caused more lack of parking.

Winona Major, Mark Peterson, said parking has been an issue for the center since it started 40 years ago. 

“The complaints are very real which is why the city has been looking at a solution to solving the problem,” Peterson said. “The past couple of years the city has seriously been considering moving the center.”

There will be a meeting on Nov. 13 to discuss parking further. 

There was talk from the city about knocking down the old middle school auditorium and creating a parking lot there. 

According to Kohner, that would not fix the problem.

“That is a band-aid because many of us have limited mobility. So even if we do have parking you’re talking two blocks away,” Kohner said. “I won’t be able to go two blocks either. I can go a block if a stretch it, half a block is perfect.” 

One quasi-solution the center had was making a deal with Wesely United Methodist Church which is next door to them. The Friendship Center can use the church’s parking area as long as the church does not have an event going on. 

The parking the church said the center can use is not reserved for the Friendship Center. It is public parking. 

The center has a membership of 1,000 people with an average daily attendance of 125. They also have staff coming in and out of the building every day. 

According to Fox, the Main Street Square Development across the street has hindered their membership. 

“In the last 6-8 months that this development has been occurring, we are watching our numbers drop for the first time in 25 years,” Fox said. 

Winona Home Medical Thrives in New Location

Since its opening in 2015, medical equipment retailer Winona Home Medical has risen to occupy the void left by Bourne Medical Service, a fellow equipment retailer which closed in July 2018.

Winona Home Medical sells equipment like CPAP machines, wheelchairs, physical therapy products and more, and has the added benefit of being across the street from its parent organization, Winona Health hospital and clinic.

In an open house celebrating their six-month anniversary at their new location, Winona Home Medical demonstrates a wide variety of goods and services that are constantly adapting to their customers’ and patients’ needs.

The business’s website says its staff includes a respiratory therapist with “more than 30 years of experience in home respiratory care, along with other caring experts who will make choosing and using home health products easy and enjoyable.”

As the only home medical equipment provider in the city, director of retail services Bill Cota says the business has been increasing what it has to offer.

“Once Bourne Medical went out of business last July, we really saw the need to expand and offer more products,” Cota said.

The business’s current location was purchased two years ago by Winona Health, but Cota said the hospital didn’t have any plans for the property until the closing of Bourne Medical.

“As the home medical equipment sales had obviously risen on a very consistent basis, it made the most sense for us to take over this location and continue to expand,” Cota said.

Before taking over the location formerly used by Wells Fargo bank, Winona Home Medical was stationed in the hospital in what Cota described as an exam room.

In the six months since opening in their new location, Cota said the business has been finalizing what the product line is going to look like, as well as changing certain elements to ensure their services are the best for their patients and customers.

Cota said he expects business to keep growing and adapting to their customers’ needs.

“It’s going to continue to grow,” Cota said. “Because every month or two we’re adding new products, adding new services. Both of those have obviously continued to make us steadily grow.”

Books and coloring in brewery

The Winona Public Library brought children books to Island City Brewery for the monthly Tales on Tap event.  

On Wednesday, April 3 the Public Library hosted Tales on Tap at Island City Brewery.  

Tales on Tap occurs on the first Wednesday of every month. The library started the event in January.  

Samantha TerBeest, Winona Public Library librarian begins Tales on Tap by mentioning upcoming events and introducing volunteer reader, Leslie Albers. Terbeest also told the room of brewery patrons to enjoy the coloring sheets and a meat and cheese tray.

According to Douglas Irwin, CEO of Island City Brewing Company the library hosts the event for no cost.  

Samantha TerBeest, librarian, said the event is a fun and relaxing time for those who attend.  

“The purpose is to provide adults with, one relaxation, and second, bring them back to childhood,” said TerBeest.  

Leslie Albers, volunteer reader, read three children’s book that went along with the theme of coloring.  

The books were The Day the Crayons Quit, The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Red: A Crayon’s Story. 

Along with the readings, the library provided coloring pages, coloring utensils and a plate of meat and cheese.  

There was also a chance to win an adult coloring book and coloring utensils.  

Albers has been reading since she was a child. In college, she and her roommates would read English detective books aloud to each other.  

This was Leslie Albers’s first time reading at a Tales on Tab event. The event however started in January 2019. The event occurs on the first Wednesday of every month. There is also a different theme each month.

Now she reads to her grand children 

“I have been gifted with the gift to gab,” said Albers.  

Because of that gift, Albers said she loves to be in front of a microphone. Especially, if she is reading something.  

She saw a poster in the library asking for volunteers to read.  

Albers said she did not even think before she volunteered to read at the event.  

There is not always an audience at Tales on Tab.  

On Wednesday there were three tables full of people. After the first book was read there were only a few people sitting at the bar. None of these people took the coloring sheets or participated in the drawing for a coloring book.  

TerBeest said some people find themselves at the brewery the same day the event is happening, and others mean to be there. 

“I was telling (Albers), people are not going to listen to you,” TerBeest said. “They are going to do their own thing. Like these guys over there and the guy behind us, they will listen sometimes.”  

Irwin said his staff has said the event is not very big.  

From what my staff is telling me, it seems like there wasn’t a big turn out for that event,” Irwin said.  

TerBeest said in February the library had a pajama contest at the Tales on Tab event that she believed to have a good turnout. The prize was a $10 Target gift card.  

As of now, the library is not planning on doing the Tales for Tab event over the summer months, according to TerBeest.  

TerBeest said those who play Book Bingo want to have Wednesday nights back for that event.  

TerBeest said the library may bring Tales on Tab back in the fall.  

Winona Ice Park brings climbers from across the midwest

For a region plagued by negative temperatures for nearly half the year, rock climbers in the Minnesota area needed to find some way to scratch the adrenaline-filled itch.

After multiple years on the west side of Winona, the ice park relocated next to Sugarloaf on the east side of town.

After multiple years on the west end of town, the Winona Ice Park begins its first year off the Sugarloaf Trailhead on the east end of town.

About 1.5 miles up the Sugarloaf Trailhead is a man-made wall of solid ice, spanning nearly 70 feet high and three times as wide.

Caleb Hammel, a recent Winona State University Mass Communication graduate, first climbed his way into the world of ice climbing two years ago.

Having been a rock climber for the past four years, when the city created their ice park during its first year, Hammel decided it might be fun to try.

Hammel heard of the ice wall through his work with Winona State’s Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (OERC) while he was still a student. With help from Eric Barnard, director of OERC, Hammel was introduced to the ice wall.

Though Barnard is not employed by the city, Hammel said Barnard has tried to promote things through the city.

“With him being an expert in the past, he wanted to bring students up (to the ice park),” Hammel said. “Winona State was starting to run trips up there to use a sweet resource of the city, so, as an employee, I was able to go up a lot with students and with (Barnard).”

The wall is free and open to the public for use, but visitors are on their own as far as gear needed. People scaling the wall can be seen wearing everything from the bare minimum of a belay device, helmet, ice picks and crampons (shoe spikes to dig into the ice), all the way to assorted pick cleaning gear, ice stakes and extra rope.

One climber begins his way up the ice at the Winona Ice Park.

Though the ice park may be newer to the Winona area, it is getting recognition throughout the region.

Hammel, who moved to Aspen, Colorado, after graduation, said he has heard people talking about the Winona Ice Park in his new hometown.

“All the way out here people are talking about it,” Hammel said. “People from Chicago who have heard about it travel to climb it, I can only imagine it will bring more people to town. There’s not a lot of places you can go and safely climb; it will put Winona on the map.”

Michael Sullivan, who has spent his free time for the last four years traveling across the region to different ice parks, is one of many who has made the near 3-hour drive from Madison, Wisconsin, to climb at the Winona Ice Park.

Sullivan first heard of the Winona Ice Park through a rock climbing podcast titled, “The Enormocast,” where Barnard was a guest on the show speaking about the park. As word of the park got around, a group of fellow climbers decided to make the trek to Winona.

“This park has a lot of potential,” Sullivan said. “It’s definitely taller and wider as a single ice wall than anything in Wisconsin that I’ve seen.”

Sullivan said the design of the wall was one of the main drawing points of the Winona Ice Park.

“Usually you’ll see an overhanging sandstone cliff and then a frozen waterfall will come off, so it’s mostly just big columns,” Sullivan said. “They’re really cool and fun to climb on, but it’s just the one so people have to compete for it, where this is just a big sheet where people can go wherever.”

Michael Sullivan, Madison, Wisconsin, nears the top of the ice as he climbs his way up the Winona Ice Wall.

For those that have enjoyed rock climbing in the past, Hammel said it’s a great activity to try, but is not exactly like the warm-weather alternative.

“The similarities between rock and ice climbing end at belay devices, harnesses and helmets,” Hammel said. “The ice is always changing. Rock climbing routes are similar, the rock won’t fall or melt, but with ice climbing it’s different every day. Conditions change, weather makes muscles more stiff and not able to do things.”

Though it is different than the more well-known sport of rock climbing, Hammel said he would recommend ice climbing to anyone that might be interested.

“It’s a great way to both mentally and physically push yourself,” Hammel said. “If you calm down and focus its unlike any other activity out there.”

Winona brewing continues almost 200 years

Winona had a brewery before the town had its own flour mill. The history of Winona breweries can be traced back 170 years.

That first brewery in the area was Gilmore Valley Brewing which started in the 1850s shortly after Winona was settled by immigrants. Later Gilmore Valley Brewing became C.C. Beck.

The Rochester Post Bulletin reported the first breweries had a few things in common.

One was that all of them changed owners and names a few times before they closed.

The other was that most of them were founded by a German immigrant.

Bub’s Brewing Company, which exists today but in the form of a bar restaurant, was started after the Gilmore Valley Brewing Company. The company does not make beer anymore.

Originally the brewery was named Weisbrod Brewing Company and was run by Jacob Weisbord.

Bub’s Brewing company was one of the original brewing companies in Winona. The company stopped brewing beer eventually. Today Bub’s is a bar restaurant.

Peter Bub, who would eventually own the company started as a brew master and foreman.

When Weisbrod died of Typhoid fever in 1870, Bub became the manager of the brewery.

Bub later married Weisbrod’s widow and became owner of the brewery, changing the name to Bub’s Brewing.

This was the only brewing company that was able to survive during the prohibition because they sold soft drinks and near-beer, which had an alcohol content of less than one percent, according to the Post Bulletin.

The brewery eventually closed because of lack of an advertising budget and struggle to find cans and bottles to fit the volume discount, according to the Post Bulletin.

The most recent brewery to open in Winona is Island City Brewing Company. The taproom and brewery opened in 2017 on St. Patrick’s Day.

There were some issues for partners ,Colton Altobell and Tommy Rodengen, when renovating their section of the building they share with Jefferson’s Pub and Grill.

Renovations started in May of 2016, according to the Island City Brewing Company’s blog.

Altobell and Rodengen started the process hoping for a fall opening date. The partners were caught in the licensing process for longer than they hoped.

In a video on the company’s blog, the two owners stated they wanted to be a part of the community and  by 2021 they wanted to be selling their beer regionally.

“As a member of the community of Winona we hope to exist as a landmark and destination in town. A place where families, friends and neighbors can gather to enjoy good conversation and enjoy fresh local made beers and house made sodas,” Altobell said in the video. “We hope to give back to the community too and be a part of Winona in every way we can.”

The brewery now hosts events like “The Battle of the Brushes” and a drag show with Winona State Full Spectrum, a LGBT club on the Winona State campus.

Altobell and Rodengen do not run the brewery. As of March of 2018, Douglas Irwin became the Chief Effective Officer (CEO) of Island City Brewing Company.

Irwin said in an email that his favorite part about running a taproom and brewery is the people who love it.

“I get to share my passion with many more people, and I get to do it as my job,” Irwin said. “The long days are worth it when you have strangers tell you that they love your beer and really enjoy your taproom experience.”