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Tue
06
Mar

Highlighting Inspiring Women: She continues a manufacturing tradition


M's Machine President Casey Drahn (left) and vice president Candace Drahn

Throughout March, which is Women’s History Month, the North Iowa Times will publish a series of articles highlighting local women. Whether through their careers, hobbies, volunteer efforts or unique personalities, these women have become an inspiration to others. Here is our first article, featuring Casey and Candace Drahn, from M's Machine.


By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Monona-based M’s Machine & Mfg. Co., Inc.,  has been one of the area’s leading manufacturers since 1981, when Paul Murphy and Chet Allen opened the company to provide high-quality machining services. Today, M’s is responsible for milling and turning metal and plastic parts for some of the Midwest’s leading agricultural, automotive, industrial and medical manufacturers.

Tue
06
Mar

Fifth graders bring historical figures to life


With bus seat and all, Ava Lindner portrayed civil rights activist Rosa Parks during the “wax museum” event presented by the MFL MarMac fifth graders last week. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

The fifth graders had to stand still for as many as 10 minutes at a time. Pictured here are Harriet Tubman (Isabelle Kirby), Milton Hershey (Rylee Kugel) and Pocahontas (Avery Lamborn).

Each fifth grader also wrote a research paper, highlighting their historical figure’s early life, leadership abilities, accomplishments and legacy. These papers were displayed before each of the students in the wax museum, allowing attendees to read more about the individual as they passed by. Shown with his research paper is Cameron Duffield, who portrayed Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Some of the “wax figures” were more well-known, such as Egyptian queen Cleopatra (Karish Kluth), while others, like Native American dancer Maria Tallchief (Ava Kishman), allowed attendees to learn about someone new.

In addition to looking like their historical figures, students also had to come up with poses to reflect the individual's mannerisms. Keith Anderson wrestled with a snake to best interpret his historical figure, Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter.”

Characters spanned across different centuries, continents and backgrounds. Shown here are Queen Elizabeth (Haleigh Nickolai), Harriet Beecher Stowe (Marie Nierling) and Annie Oakley (Evelyn Ruff).

Jonah Wille, representing Henry Ford, posed with his own Model T.

Sporting a largely homemade costume, Dustin Larson took on the role of America’s first president, George Washington.

With his lantern and tricorn hat, Parker Kuehl was recognizable as Paul Revere.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Henry Ford. Amelia Earhart. Benjamin Franklin. Rosa Parks. These well-known historical figures were among those brought to life by MFL MarMac fifth graders last week, during a special “wax museum” event.

Scattered around the school’s gym, each student portrayed a different character—ranging from politicians and entertainers to inventors and athletes—mimicking their looks and mannerisms. For minutes at a time, they stood still, like wax figures, as attendees traveled around the gym viewing them. The students then came to life, sharing information and answering questions about their historical figure.

Tue
06
Mar

Students tackle big topics through documentary filmmaking


Gigi Darnell (left), Jaxton Schroeder and Dacia Schoulte are among the eighth graders in Scott Boylen’s language arts classes who are creating their own documentaries. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Kaylee Bachman (left), Riley Moreland and Carlie Jones are working on a documentary about Walz Energy.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Only a few months removed from writing their own novels, MFL MarMac eighth graders are now adding documentary filmmaking to their list of accomplishments.

The process began earlier this semester, when students in Scott Boylen’s language arts classes watched several documentaries, identifying the unique features of documentary filmmaking. They also learned about proper interviewing and filming techniques.

Now, after researching a topic of interest, the students—split into small groups—have begun interviewing multiple sources in order to further investigate their topics.

Tue
27
Feb

Sear resigns from Mar-Mac Police, but other tensions brew on police commission

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Mar-Mac Unified Police Commission accepted the resignation of officer Rodger Sear III at a special meeting Feb. 22. Sear was suspended from the department after being arrested by the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 16 for several drug-related charges, including manufacturing marijuana and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

But that wasn’t the only resignation the commission faced last week. Although he has since rescinded his letter, police chief Jason Bogdonovich considered stepping down, not due to Sear’s situation, but citing conflicts with a member of the commission.

Tue
27
Feb

Art in reverse


Over the summer, Monica Tiffany learned the art form of chainsaw carving. She’s since created over 20 carvings, including Gus the bear, who will greet patrons at McGregor Mercantile. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

“When I started, I didn’t even have a chainsaw,” Monica joked. “Now, I have six. There are so many different bars you can get. I never thought I’d be so excited to buy tools.” (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Bears are Monica’s primary focus, although she’s begun to expand into other designs. After she blocks out the bear’s head with a large chainsaw, she uses smaller chainsaws to add the details. (Submitted photo)

Painting or staining the bears is what really brings them to life, Monica said. The final step—what Monica calls the “Aha moment”—is when she adds the bear’s eyes, which are made of shiny, black marbles. (Submitted photo)

Chainsaw carving goes from hobby to business

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

To most people, a piece of wood is simply that: a piece of wood—destined for the campfire or fodder for the wood chipper. But to Monica Tiffany, it’s a blank canvas, ready to be turned into a work of art.

The McGregor native, who owns Preferred Painters and McGregor Mercantile with her husband, Paul, is a chainsaw carver. She learned the art form over the summer, while on vacation.

“I’ve always had a love for art—drawing, painting, sketching,” she shared. “This had been in the back of my mind for a long time.”

Tue
27
Feb

McGregor pursuing grant to give opera house rehab a boost


The city of McGregor is hoping to earn a grant through the state’s Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program, to help with rehabilitation of the Sullivan Opera House. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The city of McGregor has been invited to submit an application for a grant through the state’s Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program. Duane Boelman, McGregor’s deputy clerk and economic development lead, said the city’s application will seek funds for the Sullivan Opera House.

The Community Catalyst Program, which provides grants up to $100,000, assists communities with the redevelopment, rehabilitation or deconstruction of buildings to stimulate economic growth or reinvestment in the community. In order to proceed with the official grant application, the city first had to have its pre-application approved.

Tue
27
Feb

Building vulnerability assessment aids school district’s safety measures

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

It never hurts to be prepared. That’s why, earlier this school year, MFL MarMac completed a vulnerability assessment of its buildings, helping to assure the district is doing all it can to keep staff and students safe.

“We have safety systems in place. We know what we’re going to do,” said high school principal Larry Meyer, “but it’s good to revisit and check to see we’re current with all the facets of safety, that there aren’t any gaps.”

Tue
27
Feb

Have fun for a good cause at annual Friends Helping Friends Winter Triathlon and Benefit


Have some fun for a good cause at Mar-Mac Friends Helping Friends’ 14th annual Winter Triathlon and Benefit, held Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, in McGregor. (NIT file photo)

Mar-Mac Friends Helping Friends will hold its 14th annual Winter Triathlon and Benefit on Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, in McGregor. This year’s proceeds will go toward Casey (Ruff) Evanson, Andra (Prew) Meana and Denny Regal Jr.—three families with major medical needs.

Festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2, with bar bingo at Pocket City Pub.

On Saturday, March 3, the bake sale will begin at 9 a.m. at Backwoods. If you would like to donate fresh baked goods, please call Von Redemske at (563) 873-2238, or you may drop your baked goods off at Backwoods beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Tue
20
Feb

The heart of a warrior


Baby Aria Koenig turned a year old on Feb. 15.

Aria Koenig is pictured with parents, Eric and Randee, and brother, Carver.

Baby Aria’s journey raises awareness of congenital heart disease

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Looking at her infectious smile and shock of fuzzy, blonde hair, there’s no question Aria Koenig is an adorable baby. But for the Monona 1 year old, what’s most remarkable is what lies within—the heart of a warrior.

You see, Aria was one of the one in 100 babies born with congenital heart disease. She had five defects in all, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), where her heart’s left side had not developed as strongly as the right.

Tue
20
Feb

Ending the distortion


During a curricular presentation at a recent school board meeting, MFL MarMac fifth grade teacher Amy Bunting shared what she's learned about Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual processing disorder that distorts how people view printed words on pages or screens.

MFL MarMac teacher researches syndrome that affects reading

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Last year, when one of her students was struggling with reading problems, MFL MarMac fifth grade teacher Amy Bunting devoted her personalized professional development time to discovering the cause.

“He said the words were crossing,” she explained during a curricular presentation at the Feb. 12 school board meeting. “Right away, I thought it was dyslexia.”

However, the real culprit was something Bunting had never heard of: Irlen Syndrome.

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