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Vesterheim Museum Extends Temporary Closure Due to COVID-19

Becky Idstrom, Communications and Marketing Manager

bidstrom@vesterheim.org  •  563-382-9681

For Immediate Release


March 30, 2020


Vesterheim Museum Extends Temporary Closure Due to COVID-19


DECORAH, Iowa—As part of its continuing response to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, has extended its dates of closure through May 29, 2020. “We are monitoring conditions every day and will let people know if conditions change,” Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson said.

Although physical activities have been canceled and buildings closed, Vesterheim is finding ways to continue its work and stay connected.

Everyone is invited to explore the museum’s many online resources at vesterheim.org, including convenient secure shopping at the online Museum Store; the museum’s popular virtual galleries; and its engaging blog posts that feature subjects like fun activities for families. Another way to stay connected is through Vesterheim’s social media on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Everyone is welcome to join the public Vesterheim Facebook group to share favorite Scandinavian entertainment from home.

On campus, the Vesterheim staff are taking this opportunity to complete a few safe projects, like waxing the classroom floors and working on some remodeling in the lower level of the museum’s Main Building. “We are taking social distancing measures seriously and making extra precautions to stop the spread of the virus. We’ll be ready and happy to welcome you back when we are able,” Johnson continued.

As of today, the museum is answering the main phone lines, even though most staff members are working from home. The best way to communicate is by email at info@vesterheim.org.

“We are grateful to everyone on the front lines, working to save lives and keep everyone safe,” Johnson said. “We want to send a heartfelt thank you for continuing to support Vesterheim during this difficult and unprecedented time. Every day, we look forward to your words of encouragement as reminders of how much you care,” Johnson continued. Please consider a donation to keep connections strong and Vesterheim’s work continuing.

Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, in scenic Decorah, Iowa, showcases the best in historic and contemporary Norwegian folk and fine arts, and explores the American immigrant experience. This national treasure includes world-class exhibitions and 12 historic buildings. It is also a center for folk-art education, offering a wide variety of classes in authentic Norwegian folk art every year. For more information on the museum’s exhibitions, classes, events, membership opportunities, and ways to donate, check Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim, 523 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.


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Explore Decorah throughout the month of April.

DATE:  March 31, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Explore Decorah Challenge

PRESS CONTACT:  Judy Syverson, (563) 382-4158, parkrec@decorahia.org



Decorah Parks and Recreation is challenging the community to Explore Decorah throughout the month of April.

Explore Decorah is an opportunity for individuals and families to enjoy Decorah’s trails. Participants are eligible to enter a drawing to win a free individual or family season pool pass for the summer.

For more information visit https://parks.decorahia.org/





This is an official city press release.  Modifications of any kind are prohibited without express written consent of the author.  Any reprint or broadcast of this information must include this entire communication.

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CARES Act Assistance for Small Businesses

CARES Act Assistance for Small Businesses
Paycheck Protection Program – The CARES Act establishes the Paycheck Protection Program, a $350
billion loan program to help small & mid-sized businesses with cash flow during the COVID-19 crisis.
If the business maintains their payroll for 8 weeks, the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs,
interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
Who is eligible to receive the loans?
• Businesses with 500 or less employees;
• Businesses that meet current Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards;
• Self-employed individuals and “gig economy” workers;
• Certain nonprofits, including 501(c)(3) organizations and 501(c)(19) veteran organizations; and
• Tribal businesses with under 500 employees.
What is the size of the loans?
• The maximum loan size is 250% of the employer’s average monthly payroll, or $10 million
(whichever is less).
What can loans be used for?
• Payroll costs (salary, wages, and payment of cash tips up to annual rate of $100,000 per
• Continuation of health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and
insurance premiums;
• Employee salaries, commissions, or similar compensations;
• Payments of interest on mortgage obligations;
• Rent, including rent under lease agreement;
• Utilities; and
• Existing allowable uses under 7(a) program, which includes purchasing inventory, supplies, raw
materials, and working capital.
How does the loan forgiveness work?
• Borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount they spend on payroll, interest on
mortgages, rent, and utilities during the 8-week period after the origination date of the loan.
• The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained
compared to the prior year, and by any reduction in pay of employee beyond 25% of their prior
year compensation. To encourage employers to rehire any employees who have already been laid
off, borrowers that re-hire workers previously laid off will not be penalized for having a reduced
payroll at the beginning of the period.
Who makes and approves the loans?
• The loans will be 100% backed by the government, but the authority to make and approve loans
is delegated to local banks and credit unions.
• Financial institutions that are already approved 7(a) lenders would be automatically eligible to
participate. The bill also directs the Treasury Department to create a streamlined process for
becoming an approved lender so more financial institutions can participate.
• Without going through all of SBA’s channels, lenders can make determinations on a borrower’s
eligibility and creditworthiness. Instead of determining the ability for the businesses to repay,
lenders will simply determine whether a business was operational on February 15, 2020, and
whether it had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, or a paid independent
• SBA will provide lenders with a process fee for servicing the loan. The bill sets lender
compensation fees at 5% for loans of not more than $350,000; 3% percent for loans of more than
$350,000 and less than $2,000,000; and 1% for loans over $2,000,000.
What happens to the portion of loan that is not forgiven?
• The remaining balance will maintain a 100% guarantee & have a maturity of not more than 10
• Loan payments are deferred at least six months.
• The maximum interest rate is 4%.
Can businesses receive this and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan?
• Limits borrowers from receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and an SBA
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for the same purpose. However, it allows a borrower
who has an EIDL loan unrelated to COVID-19 to apply for a PPP loan, with an option to
refinance that loan into the PPP loan.
Other Resources in CARES Act:
• Employee retention credit – In lieu of the Paycheck Protection Program, employers can opt to
receive a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers to employees during
the COVID-19 crisis. Available to employers with operations that were at least partially
suspended because of a shutdown order, or employers who had gross receipts decline at least
50% relative to the same quarter last year.
• Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes – Allows employers and self-employed
individuals to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax they otherwise are
responsible for paying to the federal government with respect to their employees. Deferred tax
would be paid in the following two years.
• Emergency EIDL Grants – The bill expands eligibility for entities suffering economic harm
due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving
SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans. The bill would allow businesses
that apply for an EIDL expedited access to capital through an Emergency Grant—an advance of
$10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt
• Small Business Debt Relief – The bill requires SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all
existing SBA loan products, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan
programs, for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19.

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News from Any Kelleher, Exec Director Main St Lansing



The CARES Act expands the U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, allowing them to offer a loan advance of up to $10,000 which is available within 3 days of a successful application. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid if the money is used to maintain payroll, mortgage or lease payments, increased costs due to supply chain disruption, or the repayment of obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Note: Some sources, including internal SBA documents, have called this an “Emergency Grant”. However, this program is officially called an advance on the EIDL that doesn’t have to be repaid if spent on eligible expenses. You can apply here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/






During today’s press conference, Governor Reynolds stated that she will be sitting down with her team later today to discuss further funding opportunities, including more requests from the Iowa Economic Development Authority and steps Iowa can take to offer aid that supports provisions already established by the CARES Act. She stated that she anticipates allocating more funds to the small business relief fund. More on this as it develops.






From the U.S. Census Bureau:


“At the present time, field operations for the 2020 Census are postponed until the Coronavirus threat ends.  When it is over the Census will be needing workers to help insure that all citizens are counted so that the county receives the most funding benefits.  Several workers are still needed.


Please help us spread the word that we are still recruiting workers.  This is a great part-time temporary job with flexible hours (15-20 hours per week) and pays $17.50 per hour and 57 1/2 cents per mile travel reimbursement.  Work is in the local area.  This is a good opportunity for retired people, college students, graduating high school seniors and those who would just like some extra income.  All applications are accepted on line by going to:  www.2020census.gov/jobs.”






I have learned of a relief fund for restaurant workers, created by a partnership between two Houston, TX organizations: The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and the Southern Smoke Foundation. Though based in Texas, they state that their funding is not limited to any specific state. You can read their FAQ here: https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org/covid19faq

And you can apply here: https://form.southernsmoke.org/smoke/application/






A citizen of Lansing created a list of important American books, authors, movies, directors, and artists. If you’ve been looking for entertainment to help you get through social distancing, this list can provide plenty of great options for you! You can see the list at this link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-21FkE_9QuNE0np5wwAO_1kD0FkPjbNh

Andy KelleherExecutive Director, Main Street Lansing563-538-9229P.O. Box 307, Lansing, IA  52151

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Fillmore County Public Health Official Statement

Fillmore County Public Health Official Statement


Date:  March 31, 2020 11:00 AM

Contact:  Jessica Erickson, Director of Nursing

Phone:  Coronavirus Hotline 507-765-2642


Fillmore County COVID-19 Case Update

On March 31, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) confirmed one new positive case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Fillmore County.  This case involves a female in her 40s.

As of March 31 2020, the current coronavirus case counts for Fillmore County are below.

  Female Male
Under 10    
10-19 1  
20-29 1  
40-49 1 2
60-69 1 2
70 and Older    

*Note 3/28/2020.  MDH provided updated information to Fillmore County regarding cases.  One case among a male in his 20s has been reclassified to a male in his 40s.


Fillmore County Public Health is working with MDH and health care partners to address needs of these patients and provide guidance to others who may have had contact with them.


The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread.  It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.





Fillmore County Public Health would like to stress again the importance of continuing to do the things that can limit the spread of the coronavirus:


  • Stay home and away from others if you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or tissue
  • Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your face.


More information about coronavirus is available website at www.health.state.mn.us.  The MDH public hotline at 1-800-657-3903 is open 7AM to 7PM.  The Fillmore County COVID-19 hotline for media and the public is available Monday thru Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. This number is 507-765-2642.

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owa Small Business Relief Grant Program and Tax Deferral is tomorrow, March 31st at 12:00pm

The deadline for the State of Iowa Small Business Relief Grant Program and Tax Deferral is tomorrow, March 31st at 12:00pm. If you need state assistance to help your business through this time, make sure you complete this application. Feel free to reach out with any questions. 

 The program offers grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000, in addition to offering a deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest to eligible businesses. To be eligible, businesses must have employed between 2-25 people prior to March 17, 2020 and be experiencing disruptions due to COVID-19. The state recommends having all necessary information collected before beginning the application process. Necessary information includes:

• 3-month income statement

* Standard business ownership information, including primary address, contact information, FEIN, withholding permit number,  sales tax permit number, etc. as applicable.

• Revenues – March 2019

• Revenues – March 2020 to date

• Balance Sheet (as of application date)

• Payroll prior to March 17, 2020

• Completed Business W-9 form

• Additional fields may include:

◦ Date of business establishment

◦ Description of Economic Impact Loss (loss of sales or revenue)

◦ Number of employees on March 1

◦ Number of employees working remotely as a result of the disaster

◦ Estimated loss of revenues March 15, 2020 – April 15, 2020

◦ Description of how funds will be utilized to maintain operations or reopen after the disaster

Learn more and apply here: https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/reliefgrants

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