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Tue
03
Jan

NaNoWriMo continues to engage eighth graders


Scotlyn Coenen and Ella Hanson

Braden Landt

Tyler Trappe

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Every November since 1999, hundreds of thousands of writing enthusiasts around the world have participated in the online creative writing project NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which challenges writers to complete a 50,000-word novel in only 30 days.

The project opened up to students in 2005, with the creation of the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. For six years now, MFL MarMac eighth graders in Scott Boylen’s language arts class have taken part, just on a smaller scale. They’re challenged to write a 10,000-word novel in that time span.

Tue
27
Dec

The little bar with a big heart


Pocket City Pub owners Bart and Linda Knight sit with Sally Schneider (center) among the roughly 50 presents collected through the giving tree. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Great River Care Center residents were thrilled to receive their gifts from Santa on Friday, Dec. 23. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The Christmas season was a bit brighter for residents at McGregor’s Great River Care Center this year thanks to the patrons of Pocket City Pub.

This year, “the little bar with a big heart,” located in downtown McGregor, established a giving tree. Instead of hanging ornaments on it, however, the tree was covered with tags, each noting gifts residents at the care center would like for Christmas. 

Tue
27
Dec

Alpine bringing fiber optic to McGregor

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Alpine Communications is bringing fiber optic internet service to the city of McGregor. Construction will begin this spring, noted Alpine’s chief operating officer, Chris Hopp, who shared details at the city council’s Dec. 21 meeting.

Fiber optic service means the typical copper wires used for carrying internet and cable service to homes and businesses will be replaced by fiber optic cables. According to Alpine’s website, these cables are made up of hundreds or thousands of fiber optics, which are long thin strands of pure glass about the diameter of a human hair.

Tue
20
Dec

Assessment sheds light on housing needs of county, its communities

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Over the last few weeks, communities throughout Clayton County have hosted public open houses to evaluate and discuss their housing needs, as determined by a recently-completed Clayton County Housing Needs Assessment.

The assessment, prepared by Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, has been in the works for over a year. It’s the first of its kind in the county.

“We’ve never done a study before because we’ve always had adequate housing,” shared Darla Kelchen, executive director of the Clayton County Development Group, which commissioned the study. “Now, millennials are coming in who want to rent, not own. That’s changing our process.”

Tue
20
Dec

McGregor searching for economic development lead

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The McGregor City Council gave the go-ahead, at a special meeting last week, to begin searching for an economic development lead for the city.

McGregor City Administrator Lynette Sander said the city’s acting deputy clerk, Sue Dolan, has tentatively stated her desire to retire in the coming spring, opening the door to create the economic development position.

“We’d like to start looking as soon as possible,” Sander said.

Tue
20
Dec

Marquette moving forward with bench evacuation route

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At its Dec. 13 regular meeting, the Marquette City Council selected Delta 3 Engineering, of Platteville, to complete plans and oversee bidding and construction for an emergency evacuation route off the bench, at a cost of $24,950.

The council received proposals for the project several months ago, but chose to take more time to consider researching and planning a route. It also needed to wait until the leaves were off the trees, so a survey could more easily be performed.

“I’d like to have that [the survey] done before spring, before the leaves, so we can start the route,” said councilwoman Cindy Halvorson.

Tue
20
Dec

Prairie Farms Dairy, Swiss Valley Farms announce merger agreement

Prairie Farms Dairy and Swiss Valley Farms announced last week that the two companies have entered into a merger agreement. Both companies are farmer-owned dairy cooperatives and recognized leaders within the dairy industry. The combined entity will bring together two well-known brands and will expand sales opportunities for both cooperatives.

Tue
13
Dec

Hour of Code: Raising student awareness of computer science


MFL MarMac seniors JP Murphy (left) and Shane Hexom participate in Hour of Code. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Tyler Trappe (center), dressed in an Angry Birds costume, helps Emme Schroeder and Blake Lamborn during Hour of Code.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Last week, MFL MarMac students in grades K-12 joined millions of other students around the world to participate in a technology learning event called Hour of Code.

Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science that takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. Organized by the non-profit organization Code.org, which works to expand student access to computer science, it began as a way to demystify coding and show students that anyone can learn the basics.

“It’s also meant to build awareness for computer science, because so many schools don’t teach it,” explained MFL MarMac’s teacher librarian, Melissa Haberichter, who helped organize the district’s Hour of Code event.

Tue
13
Dec

Sharing a vision for Clayton County


John Nikolai and Ellen Collins were among the over two dozen people who shared their visions for Clayton County at a public meeting Dec. 8. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Roughly 30 people from around the county—representing agriculture, industry, conservation, tourism and economic development, and more—shared their visions for the future of Clayton County at a public meeting in Elkader Dec. 8. The meeting was the second held in the last two months to gather resident input for creation of an updated county comprehensive plan. 

The county’s existing comprehensive plan was created in 2002, said Michelle Barness, a community planner with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, which the county has engaged to update the plan. It was short, she noted, and not as detailed as those formed today. An update will be handy for a variety of reasons. 

Tue
13
Dec

Local conservation efforts recognized


Jerome and Kris Sass (middle) received the 2016 Owner-Operator Award for the Clayton SWCD. They are pictured with Gerry Ommen (left) from the Clayton SWCD, and Nick Westhoff, from Farm Bureau.

Nick Donlon (left) was selected as the 2016 Outstanding New Cooperator for the Clayton SWCD. He’s pictured with commissioner Gerry Ommen.

Derek Larson (right) received the 2016 Bernard Hanson award as the top individual soil judge. He’s pictured with Owen Sylvester, from the Clayton SWCD.

Caleb Stuckman (right) received the 2016 Bernard Hanson award as the top pacer for 2016. He’s pictured with SWCD chairman Owen Sylvester.

This year’s top soil judging team was from MFL MarMac. Pictured are Clayton SWCD commissioner Owen Sylvester (left) with students Beau Benzing, Chloe Hubanks, Skylar Moser and Derek Larson.

The Clayton Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) honored the outstanding conservation efforts of local farm families during the annual awards banquet Dec. 7, at Freedom Bank in Elkader. This year’s award winners showcase a variety of conservation efforts, and each recipient provides an outstanding example of what people can do to protect the natural resources that everyone enjoys in northeast Iowa. The local awards program is co-sponsored by the Clayton County Farm Bureau. 

Jerome Sass received the 2016 Owner-Operator Award for the Clayton SWCD. Jerome owns and/or operates 300 acres in Monona Township, in northwest Clayton County. Over the last six years, he has implemented a combination of structural and management practices that reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss from his farm.  

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