Posts Categorized: Today

October 2017 Calendar!

October 2017! Cooler temps are back and it’s time to enjoy fall to its fullest! Start your planning now with this handy-dandy October 2017 calendar (and you can download the pdf here). Enjoy! XO, Inspire(d)

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT EVENTS ON THE CALENDARS?
Check out these great October 2017 activities!  In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

16. October 6-8: Fall Foliage Weekend, Harmony, MN – Enjoy beautiful fall colors in bluff country, tours of Niagara Cave and Amish Tours www.exploreharmony.com

17. October 13-15: Take a beautiful drive to the New Albin Quilt Show, Fri 4-7, Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4, Community Center – 137 Railroad Ave, New Albin, IA!

18. October 14: Harvest Festival at Seed Savers Exchange: Soup cook-off, pumpkin carving, garlic workshop, cider pressing, hayrides, and kids activities. www.seedsavers.org

19. October 14: Enjoy a fall adventure at the Lidtke Mill Harvest Festival – Ghost Tours of Old town, Craft Show, Soup Supper! Lime Springs, IA Community Building. 4-8 pm. Adults $5/Children $3 – Best Town By A Dam Site!

20. October 19-22: Haunted Harmony Weekend – Join us for a weekend of Halloween themed fun! Grand Parade, Monster Bash Haunted House, Costume Contests, pumpkin decorating & more! More info at www.exploreharmony.com

21. October 27: Chosen Bean Concert with Sally Barris. Live folk music up close and personal. Limited seating, $20 in advance or at the door. 7:30pmconcert. www.chatfieldarts.org

What We’re Loving: 100+ Women (and Men) Who Care

We’re Loving:
100+ Women Who Care Oneota Valley /
100+ Men Who Care Driftless

Two organizations – 100+ Men Who Care Driftless / 100+Women Who Care Oneota Valley – have sprouted from Northeast Iowa in the past year, both with a common goal: Supporting local non-profit organizations with one-time large-impact donations.

Both 100+ groups are part of the 100 Who Care Alliance, a nationwide organization that was developed by a group of people who wanted to make a big impact on their communities in the most efficient way possible. The idea is that a group of men or women get together once per quarter, listen to an informal two-minute presentation about three separate local nonprofit organizations (submitted by members), and then vote on one charity to receive the donation. Then each person writes a check for $100 to the chosen cause, and you multiply that times 100 people (or however many folks are there!) for a truly great donation to a local non-profit (that often doesn’t even know it’s being nominated)! Donations are tax deductible too, since the organizations chosen must be 501(c)(3).

We realize $100 donations aren’t something everyone can do, but the concept is a great way for a group of folks to make an impact, and we love that! And, according to the 100+ Women Who Care Oneota Valley Facebook page, if $100 is too big of a financial commitment, groups of two women can form and each donate $50 or groups of four women can be organized and each donate $25.

The next 100+Women Who Care Oneota Valley event is coming up October 2, 2017! Check out the event details here

The next100+ Men Who Care Driftless , meeting is scheduled for November 14. (keep an eye on Facebook  for more info!)

Community Builder: Mike Ashbacher

Community Builder:
Mike Ashbacher / Decorah Fire Department

By Benji Nichols • Originally published in the Fall 2017 Inspire(d)

For some, it’s the thrill of riding in a fire truck, adrenaline pumping, or feeling the intense heat that a fire gives off, but for Decorah Fire Chief Mike Ashbacher, it’s the thriving community of volunteer firefighters and the service they provide that has kept him involved.

With deep ties to Northeast Iowa, Mike’s family moved back to the region when his father was offered a full-time position in law enforcement. Mike was just about to start kindergarten, so Decorah has been home for most of his life.

After school, Mike followed in his father’s footsteps at first, in criminology and law enforcement, but it was a chance EMT class that sent him in a different direction. He now sits at the heart of what has been – and continues to be – an incredible and professional group of emergency service responders. He has been a full-time Winneshiek Medical Center paramedic since 1987, and also a flight paramedic for Gundersen Lutheran since 1994.

On top of work life, he and his wife have two grown sons, and are also new grandparents. So one could easily see the day-to-day schedule overflowing, yet Mike has been a dedicated member of the Decorah Fire Department (DFD) since 1991, and Fire Chief since late 2001.

“I’ve always felt it was important to be involved in service, and the Fire Department allows me to give back to our community,” he says.

Decorah, like many small, rural fire departments, is staffed mainly with volunteers. There are just over 30 members – a tightknit community of firefighters who give their free time for numerous hours of training to keep the region safe in case of fire or emergency.

These men and women are called out for a variety of emergencies – from fighting fires to helping folks in trouble on the Upper Iowa to, yes, even rescuing a beloved family dog from a limestone cliff’s edge at Palisades Park in Decorah.

The group works hard together, and shows pride in that work, and the camaraderie that is built through training and service is what makes the organization so worthwhile.

“It is a large time commitment, and families sacrifice all sorts of time while a member trains, serves, and is called out on a moments notice,” Mike says. “It’s the support from those families, as well as employers, that makes a volunteer organization like the DFD work.”

All of that time spent together is what makes it a real community. It also makes for some fun times within the department. The firefighter’s skills spill out in ways that serve the larger community through social events, fundraising, and community service – like the popular DFD Red Hot Bucket of Color In Your Face 5K run each spring.

In the post 9/11 world, the risks and realities of responding to emergency situations are very real. “Having a driven, and educated group of individuals who want to keep learning skills, techniques, and technology makes for a great department,” Mike says. “Our guys do the training and know what to do when we are sent on a call. It makes my job as Chief easy.”