AUSTIN — Two Austin residents were honored as an "Outstanding Refugee" from the Minnesota Department of Human Services at a ceremony Monday in St. Paul.

Austin resident Maylary Apolo and Austin City Council member Oballa Oballa received the honors for the work they do as community leaders in Austin.

Oballa, who was named an Outstanding Refugee in 2020, was elected president of the Riverland College student senate and later appointed to the Austin Human Rights Council before being elected to the city council in November. He also has worked to help eliminate food insecurity in Austin.

Apolo, who was named an Outstanding Refugee for 2021, works as a legal assistant at the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

Winona County asks for input on COVID relief funding

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WINONA — With $9.8 million in funding coming to Winona County through the American Rescue Plan Act, Winona County is asking residents how they think that money should be spent.

Engage Winona
Engage Winona

The funds can be used to support economic stabilization for individuals, businesses and organizations affected by the public health emergency, along with addressing public health and economic disparities. Other acceptable uses include supporting water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, and a portion of the funding will cover government revenue lost because of the pandemic. Funds cannot be used to reduce the county’s regular tax revenue.

Engage Winona has developed a Winona County Community Needs Survey in which individuals, businesses and organizations can give their input through Aug. 11. Those who complete the survey at will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card to a local business.

The survey will help county staff and board members understand the needs that have arisen in Winona County because of the pandemic.

For more information or to request the survey in another format, visit

Winona Farmers Market to feature bug, water lesson

WINONA — The Winona Farmers Market will feature a learning station with mayflies, scuds and worms beginning at 7:30 a.m. July 31.

Members of the Will Dilg chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America will have these and other indicators of the state of our streams on display until noon. The exhibit will show the partnership between good food and good water.

Hand-held lenses will help shoppers look closely at species of macro invertebrates that illustrate a spectrum of water quality found in regional streams. Volunteers from Save Our Streams – visit them at – teams will join chapter members to help visitors learn how to use a secchi tube, why water temperature is important, and what tomatoes and trout have in common.

The market is next to the Mississippi River at Levee Park, at Main and Second streets, Winona.