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KDEC Home, Sport and Garden Show and Empty Bowls

Sunday has always been fun-day in my book, and this coming Sunday, March 7, will fit the bill perfectly. It’s supposed to be in the 40s and sunny, so don’t stay inside – take that spring fever and put it to good use.

First, head out for one of the best Northeast Iowa spring traditions: KDEC’s 27th Annual Home Sport and Garden Show at the Decorah High School. Go early for pancakes and sausage served up to benefit Sunflower Childcare (starting at 9:30), then stroll through the booths inside to learn about landscaping and gardening, architectural design, hybrid vehicles, electronics, home construction, bicycles and more. There are more than 80 vendors signed up to help you dream about an ever-approaching spring season filled with possibilities. And kids can shoot hoops for a chance to win $100.5 savings bond from Decorah Bank and Trust! The Show is open from 10 am to 3 pm.

Next, take a walk on up the hill to Luther College’s Center for the Arts and enjoy the community’s fifth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. 

Part of a nation-wide project to help stop world hunger, this event has become an extremely popular spring event. 

Local potters craft hundreds of bowls – and for just a $20 donation, attendees choose a bowl of their liking and can taste soup donated by local restaurants, businesses, and individuals. The proceeds of the event will be divided between local food pantries and world hunger assistances through Lutheran World Relief. Soup is being served from 11 am to 2 pm. The event raised $18,000 last year; let’s help them surpass that amazing mark this year! Supplemental funds are provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

We hope you get out of the house this Sunday for a great Fun Day, dream of big projects to come, and put some food in your belly that helps local and national organizations as well.

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Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC) presents “Affordable Green Building Training: West Union” beginning January 8, 2010. The free 10-session workshop series offers contractors, subcontractors, planners, architects, appraisers, city officials and other professionals a valuable opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of green building best practices. A separate 3-session homeowner series begins February 6 and gives community residents an overview of green building basics, alternative energy options and essential sustainable elements of new home construction.

“Affordable Green Building Training: West Union” is provided by COSC’s Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa training program to support Northeast Iowa’s disaster recovery efforts and Main Street West Union’s Green Pilot Community initiatives. As Iowa’s trusted educational resource for sustainable building, COSC secured a $1 million contract from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this year. The contract enables COSC to deliver its Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa curriculum to regions hardest hit by natural disasters. Fayette County is a federally declared disaster area and towns in neighboring counties received extensive damage. “This training will help build the capacity in northeast Iowa to rebuild in a more sustainable fashion resulting in homes that are more energy efficient, durable, healthy and cost effective,” says IDED Project Manager Jeff Geerts.

These priorities align with West Union’s recent designation as a Green Pilot Community by IDED. The pilot project will create best practices and allow the city to serve as a model for other communities to become more environmentally friendly. While the Green Pilot Community efforts focus on the Main Street District and West Union’s infrastructure, COSC’s “Affordable Green Building Training: West Union” will help the community diversify the benefits of its sustainability efforts by including the residential sector.

“In leading a collaborative effort with multiple partners,” COSC Executive Director Lynnae Hentzen explains, “our goal with the Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa program is to build a platform for consistent, comprehensive, sustainable building trainings; using local expertise to implement national standards.” For “Affordable Green Building Training: West Union,” COSC is partnering with the City of West Union, Main Street West Union, Fayette County Economic Development, and the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation. COSC has contracted instructor and green building expert Jacob Kvinlaug to conduct each workshop in the series. Sustainable building experts from Innovative Kinetics, Cenergy, Fishaus: Craftsman Builders, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will provide additional instruction at specific sessions.

Both the professional and homeowner sessions of “Affordable Green Building Training: West Union” will take place at Tap’t Out Stein & Dine, located at 122 S. Vine Street, West Union, Iowa. The series will feature on-site training aspects focusing on three affordable green demonstration homes that are currently being built in the cities of West Union, Tripoli and Volga. The first professional series workshop on January 8, 2010 will be an introduction to green building basics, addressing planning and design, building science theory and the house-as-a-system approach. Registration is required and seating is limited. To register, contact Leslie Berckes at COSC by calling 515-707-2787 or emailing her at leslie@icosc.com . Complete information on the “Affordable Green Build ing Training: West Union” workshop series schedule and COSC can be found at www.icosc.com and www.facebook.com/icosc

About COSC and Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa

Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC) is an independent non-profit and serves as Iowa’s trusted educational resource for sustainable building. COSC empowers individuals and communities to make everyday decisions that promote sustainability, resulting in higher standards of living. More information is at www.icosc.com.

COSC’s Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa free statewide training program covers residential, commercial and energy-specific sectors of the green building industry. The program aids Iowa’s disaster recovery efforts and is designed to utilize local expertise to implement national standards. In leading a collaborative effort with multiple partners, COSC’s Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa program improves the state’s ability to construct homes and commercial buildings that are energy efficient, cost effective, healthy and structurally sound. Re-Building a Sustainable Iowa is supported by the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) through funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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It’s already time for the November First Friday! Get a head start on your holiday shopping and visit Downtown Decorah to enjoy a night where select stores stay open late, extra events are planned, and there is a load of fun to be had. See what’s happening here! And don’t forget to stop by The Perfect Edge to check out Carl Homstad’s latest work, but before you go click on over to www.theinspiredmedia.com to read a story about him by Benji Nichols.



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Don’t miss all the great Downtown Decorah fun at the September First Friday. Check out the events here:


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Dear Readers, Friends, Fans, and passers-by,


Hi! You’ve reached our blog. We use this space to post about upcoming events we think are particularly cool or silly things we just want to share. Our website has lots and lots of great feature stories, multimedia like video and audio, an events calendar and more. Visit us over there too! We think you’ll like it!

Looking forward!


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This weekend, August 21-23 is the 1st Annual DigIN Festival in Decorah, IA. The Decorah Iowa Green Initiative (DigIN) is a chance for you to visit our awesome little corner of Northeast Iowa and see what’s happening with progressive green and sustainable technologies. Check out the full schedule at www.digindecorah.com – and come to Decorah this weekend. Registration & maps will be available throughout Saturday for the sustainable farm & home tours, and the KDEC Green Expo on Sunday, August 23 will provide a chance for everyone to check out the latest and greatest in green technology.

Check out these great events throughout the weekend:fresh_poster_small

Friday August 21 – 8pm – Street Dance with the Foot-Notes. Washington St. near Water Street (across from the Hotel Winneshiek). Rain location at the Elks Lodge in Decorah – corner of River & Main near Viking State Bank.

Saturday August 22 – all day! Sustainable Farm & Home Tours. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION. Special tours of homes and farms featuring sustainable technologies – also great efvents annd tours at the Seed Savers Exchange in rural Decorah both Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday Night August 22 – Screening of ‘FRESH’ the movie – 8pm, Decorah High School auditorium – free for registered DigIN members, $5 for non-registrants. ALSO Saturday evening – A Garden Party with Maritza at the home & gardens of David Cavagnaro- 7pm. Click Here for more details!

Sunday August 23 - The KDEC Green Expo at the Winneshiek Co. Fair Grounds 11am-4pm. Green businesses will show off their products and services and two informational seminar tents will have programs throughout the day! FREE for all – don’t miss this great chance to speak to professionals from across the spectrum and learn more about cutting edge green technology and sustainability.

SEE YOU at the first annual DigIN Festival this weekend in Decorah!

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First Friday TODAY!

Have you gone to First Fridays in Decorah yet? You should! It’s a fun and fabulous way to celebrate the end of the work week and get out for some great deals and entertainment. Here’s what is happening tonight and next month.


So what IS First Fridays?

Many cities from coast-to-coast have taken on a new series of events dedicated to the end of the workweek, the favorite day of all days: Friday. First Fridays, held quite simply on the first Friday of each month, are downtown events dedicated to creating fun, festive activities and stimulating local economy.

Participating businesses or organizations within the First Fridays district will stay open late and host special events in their different locations. Food and drink specials, sales, live music, art openings or special gallery showings – all could take place on one First Friday. Current participating First Friday businesses are: Ace Kitchen Place, Agora Arts, Albert’s in the Hotel Winneshiek, Amundson’s Clothing, ArtHaus, Fancy Pants, KD Rae, and Rubaiyat. Businesses interesting in participating in future First Friday events in Decorah should contact Gail Bolson-Magnuson of Agora Arts at gail@agoraarts.com.

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