Talk Of The Town

jb016Photos by Jondro Studios in Breese

Children of all ages, who receive services through Community Link’s Early Childhood Program, enjoyed a fun day of fishing and boating at Carlyle Lake’s Dam West Recreation Area on Friday. The day was hosted by the Jared Burke Foundation with assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake, West Access Marina and the local community.
    Smiling faces were plentiful at Carlyle Lake’s Dam West boat ramp and the West Access Marina last Friday as children of all ages enjoyed a fun day of boat riding and fishing made possible by the Jared Burke Foundation (JBF).
    In keeping with its mission to turn outdoor adventures into lasting lifetime memories, JBF partnered with Community Link to offer a day of outdoor fun for participants of Community Link’s Early Childhood Program and their families.   
    JBF committee member Shannon (Burke) Kluemke commented, “We rented five boats  — pontoons and tritoons — from Dam West Pontoon Rentals, along with their Galley Room to serve dinner to all the participants.”  
    Activities included boat rides, fishing off the docks, a water safety presentation by Doug Wasmuth and Hannah Kampwerth of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake and track chair demonstrations.  
    Nick and Cayce from Jondro Studios were on hand to snap pictures and video the entire event.
    “We had lots of volunteers from Jared Burke Foundation and Community Link who came to help, and everyone had a great time,” Kluemke said. “A huge thanks goes out to Community Link, Dam West Pontoon Rentals, the Corps of Engineers, Jondro Studios and all of our volunteers who came out to help.  Without you guys, the event wouldn’t have been possible.”  
    JBF is named in honor of Jared Burke who was killed in a hunting accident at the age of 16 during the November 1999 deer season. Jared loved to hunt, fish and be outdoors. His family and friends established the foundation as a means of promoting hunter safety and enabling disadvantaged individuals to turn their outdoor adventures into lasting lifetime memories.

    All proceeds of the Jared Burke Foundation benefit physically challenged individuals of all ages, enabling them to go on hunts and adventures that may otherwise be impossible. 
    The foundation is always seeking individuals or families who would be interested in taking one of these adventures. For more information about the Jared Burke Foundation, call John Burke at 618-204- 9669, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit the website or follow the group on Facebook at Jared Burke Foundation.

696David and Judy Stepp, owners of Iron Gate Antiques in Albers, celebrated the grand opening of their new store with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday. The Stepps were joined by Albers Village President Steve Schomaker and other village officials, state Rep. Charlie Meier, area auctioneers and other honored guests.    For David Stepp of Trenton, the antique business is in his blood. But he’ll take that one step further.
    ‘It’s a disease,” he admits.
    A well-known collector and self-proclaimed “facilitator” of unusual and hard to find treasurers from days gone by, Stepp was just 11 years old when he started collecting antiques with his parents. He’s been at it ever since.
    On Saturday, he was joined by local officials, area auctioneers, employees and fellow antique enthusiasts to celebrate the grand opening of his new shop, Iron Gate Antiques, located at the corner of state Route 161 and Commercial Street in Albers.
    Now 67, Stepp said his family wasn’t thrilled with the idea of him opening a new antique business. But they’re adjusting to the idea.
    “I can’t sit still; I won’t sit still,” said Stepp, a retired teacher. “I’ve got to have something to do.” 
    With two other antique stores operating in Pocahontas and Nashville, Stepp can often be found searching for new inventory, whether it’s bidding at area auctions or perusing church rummage sales. 
    He admits that walking space is limited in his own home in Trenton, but he considers himself more of a “facilitator” of antiques than a collector.
    “I just pass it on,” he said. “I like it when someone comes into the store and finds something they used to have or something they remember from their childhood.”
    At the new Iron Gate Antiques location in Albers, customers can find shelves filled with vintage treasures — everything from a Howdy Doody cookie jar to vintage quilts and clothing. And, the building itself has a rich history as well.
    According to information from the Albers Centennial book, the store building was built in 1893 by Henry G. Tonnies. From 1926-1931, Joseph B. Lager rented the building for use as a general store until he built his own general store across the street. Bill Huegen then took over the general store in the Tonnies building, calling it Huegen Store. It was owned and operated for many years by Huegen’s daughter Dorothy Isert and her husband Vincent. Both have since passed away.
    Stepp purchased the building at 101 South Commercial Street in December.
    “It took a little to convince my wife (Judy), but she knew I was going to buy the building before she even stepped inside,” he said.
    Some renovation work followed, but Stepp said nothing was “remodeled.” The walls remain the original paint color, the old tin ceiling and floors are intact.
    “We like the old ceiling, the old look, the old crickety floor. If you don’t like the old, you might not want to come in here,” Stepp said. 
    He’s also convinced that the building is haunted.
    “There’s definitely a ghost that lives here, and I’m assuming it may be the woman who ran the store,” Stepp said. “I’ve come in here different times and there’s been a dress on the floor, handkerchiefs on the floor, or a purse on the floor. I’ve come in and the drawer will be open to the filing cabinet that she used.  I don’t use that filing cabinet, there’s nothing in it.”
    Supernatural sidekick or not, Stepp is thrilled with his new adventure in Albers.
    “I’m having fun,” he said. “I’m just glad to be here. When I moved into this building I got a letter from the mayor saying that he was glad I chose Albers for my business. That meant more to me than anything. I’ve been all over the place with businesses, and I’ve never received anything like that before.”
    Iron Gate Antiques is open seven days a week from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call Stepp at (618) 606-5630. 


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