Archive for  June 14th 2018

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FORT ATKINSON, Iowa- The Fort Atkinson State Preserve got a visit from the members of the Iowa Natural Resources Commission, as well as a number of staff members from the Department of Natural Resources. The Commission often visits DNR- run facilities while heading to a monthly meeting. In June the Commission meets at Luther College in nearby Decorah.

The Fort was built in 1840 six years before Iowa became a state.

“This is the only Fort remaining in Iowa that was built before statehood,” said Jeff Hildebrand, who runs the Volga Recreation Area, along with Ft. Atkinson. “The original structures, the canon house, in the south west corner, and the magazine bunker over there and the North Barricks are all origninal structures.”

The Fort was built by the US Government to help calm tensions among indian tribes in the region.

“The treaty of 1825 established a neutral line just to keep the Sioux, and Sauk and Fox, from battling because there was an on-going feud between them,” said Hildebrand. “Just the history of the Fort is amazing, not so much because there were no battles fought here, there were no skirmishes. but just what was going on with in the country the time that this is operating.”

“I am very very impressed with the Fort Atkinson area and with the Fort, and the amount of wonderful community support that we see here,” said Margo Underwood, of Clear Lake, who serves as Chair of the Natural Resources Commission. “We try to take four tours a year and really get out and see some of the different areas where we have projects and different activities going on.”

The Fort gates are open 6am to 10:30 at night. There is a museum located in the barracks building. It contains artifacts used at the Fort. It also has maps showing the Iowa Territory. The Museum is only open by appointment.

If you would like more information on the Fort Atkinson State Preserve, click here.


DES MOINES, Iowa — Seeing people live unsheltered in the cold conditions of Winter broke the heart of Melissa O’Neil, CEO of Central Iowa Shelter & Services. O’Neil expressed that sentiment to local leaders at the time. The desire to do better inspired a plan for what is being called phase 2 housing for the chronically homeless.

“The number of chronically homeless individuals at that time was around a 107 people,” said O’Neil. “We now, as of last Tuesday, had roughly 56 individuals who are chronically homeless and 26 of those individuals are residing here at CISS.”

The plan that’s been devised by community leaders is to build 24 housing units out of shipping containers near the shelter.

“That model was based off of the railroad and the shipping containers that were used on the railroad,” said O’Neil.

O’neil explained how it will work.

“They`ll be a bridge that comes from our parking lot, out to a platform,” said O’Neil. “The same security pieces will be in place, and process will be in place, that we have in our existing facility to this platform and then residents will check in and they`ll be able to walk out.”

During the Winter season, Ako Abdul-Samad fed the homeless population living near the shelter, and he hopes that the plan to build 24 new housing units in that area is only the beginning of things to come.

“I think this has to be the beginning,” said Abdul-Samad. “I think let Iowa take the leadership, to actually create a village, you know? I mean, we build what housing complexes and everything in a matter of time. We could take these units, actually build a city for temporary housing to help individuals to get on their feet, to relocate, to be able to provide the services that are necessary.”