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Tue
20
Nov

MFL MarMac school board digs into Iowa Assessment data

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Data compiled from analyzing the Iowa Assessment test scores of MFL MarMac students in elementary through high school shows, as a whole, the district is 75 to 80 percent proficient in the subject areas of reading, math and science.

Teacher Jen Wilwert presented the findings, which were also broken down to compare factors like gender, race and socioeconomic status, at the school board’s Nov. 12 meeting.

“They’re definitely numbers we can be proud of,” she said.

Tue
13
Nov

Jones at the wheel for 53 years


Rowland Jones has been transporting local kids to and from school since 1966. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Rise at 4:45, do chores, eat breakfast, head to the MFL MarMac bus barn, transport kids to school. Every weekday morning, this is bus driver Rowland Jones’ routine. Each afternoon, he’s back at the wheel again, helping students safely return home.

“I started as a substitute [for the MFL School District] in the fall of 1966,” he recalled. “I lived on a small farm and wanted to make some extra income.”

At that time, a chauffeur’s license was all that was needed to drive a bus. Jones applied for his license using a farm truck.

Tue
13
Nov

Art club builds creativity, connections


Maria Stavroplus shows Ashton Phillips how to use a circle-drawing tool during a session of the middle school’s art club. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Presley Woods works on her "12 Days of Christmas" project.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Over half a dozen MFL MarMac middle school students are gathered in the art room after school. They’ve each selected a single sheet of white paper with a large number ranging from one to 12 printed on it. Now, their heads bent low, brows furrowed, pencils poised over the blank expanse, they have to illustrate the line from the classic holiday carol “12 Days of Christmas” that corresponds with their number. 

Tue
13
Nov

Taking time to unplug


MFL MarMac students have been enjoying “unplugged time” during the first 10 minutes of their daily study hall. During this time, students put away electronic devices and homework, in exchange for books, drawing or journaling. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Hailey Rosa peruses the “Board of Books” located in teacher Megan Schellhorn’s classroom.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac High School moved its daily study hall from the end of the day to second hour this year, and also extended the period another 10 minutes. So far, said principal Larry Meyer, students are using the time more productively to complete homework and study for tests. They’re also taking time out of their busy lives to reflect.

The first 10 minutes of the period are designated as “unplugged time.” Students put away their cellphones, laptop computers and course materials, instead reaching for a book to read, a blank page to draw on or notebook in which to journal their thoughts.

Tue
13
Nov

McGregor’s Festival of Trees will include a Thursday event this year


Festival of Trees will kick off even earlier this year, with a special pre-festival event, “Dessert Among the Trees,” on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. People are encouraged to get tickets now for this intimate preview of the illuminated winter wonderland of 45 decorated trees. A ticket will also get you a specialty dessert like cheesecake or angel food cake, wine or other beverage, and holiday musical entertainment.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The Festival of Trees committee has already been hard at work planning this year’s ninth annual event, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, at Backwoods Event Center, in McGregor. 

The festivities will kick off even earlier this year, however, with a special pre-festival event, “Dessert Among the Trees,” on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. People are encouraged to get tickets now for this intimate preview of the illuminated winter wonderland of 45 decorated trees. A ticket will also get you a specialty dessert like cheesecake or angel food cake, wine or other beverage, and holiday musical entertainment. 

Tue
13
Nov

Garden View purchase moving forward

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

At its Nov. 5 meeting, the Monona Council tentatively accepted a real estate offer from MALC, LLC pertaining to the purchase of Garden View Senior Living Facility. 

City administrator Dan Canton said the city will next post notice of its intent to sell Garden View and hold a public hearing at the Monday, Nov. 19, council meeting. 

“Then the council can take action to formally accept the offer,” he explained. 

Tue
06
Nov

Millin settling in as Mar-Mac police chief


Robert Millin is the new chief of the Mar-Mac Unified Police District. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Robert Millin began full-time duties as chief of the Mar-Mac Unified Law Enforcement District on Oct. 22, and is settling in well. 

“Everyone’s been really welcoming and appreciative,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get organized and figure out where everything is.” 

Millin is a native of the area, graduating from Prairie du Chien High School in 2002. He then earned a degree in criminal justice from Southwest Wisconsin Technical College. 

Tue
06
Nov

Musical ‘Annie’ takes the MFL MarMac stage Nov. 9-10


Abby Schellhorn (left) will play the lead role in MFL MarMac’s fall musical, “Annie.” Max Koeller will portray Oliver Warbucks and Riley Whitney his secretary, Grace Farrell. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Emma Ammons can be seen as the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan and Nick Stavroplus as her ne’er-do-well brother, Rooster.

“Annie” will feature many classic tunes, such as “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” Ruby Koeller, Abby Schellhorn and Maria Stavroplus perform the number here.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The MFL MarMac fine arts department will present “Annie” for this year’s fall musical. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, then at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, all in the high school auditorium, in Monona. 

Originally a Broadway musical based off the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” “Annie” has also had several film adaptations, most notably the 1982 movie starring Aileen Quinn, Carol Burnett and Albert Finney. 

Tue
06
Nov

Monona will host Clayton County Vets Day celebration Nov. 10

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Monona will host a county-wide Veterans Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 10, resurrecting a unique area tradition.

“There was always a county-wide event, but it kind of went by the wayside,” explained Rick Blietz, with Monona AmVets Post 27, which is co-sponsoring the celebration with the Northeast Iowa Vietnam Veterans Association.

“For many years, Clayton County was the only county in the state that celebrated Veterans Day as a county,” added Ed Blume, president of the Northeast Iowa Vietnam Veterans Association. “We thought it was a tradition that shouldn’t be let go.”

Tue
30
Oct

The great pumpkin grower


Bob Ruff, pictured with daughter Mackenzy, is a prolific pumpkin grower. A member of the Pumpkin Growers Hall of Fame, Ruff has grown several 800-pounders, as well as one pumpkin that tipped the scale at 1,205. Each year, the family grows two acres worth of squash and gourds on their property between McGregor and Garnavillo. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Growing a giant pumpkin is a science. 

Bob Ruff would know. Under the tutelage of his mother, Eileen, who always had a large garden, the McGregor native learned to coax the best plants from the earth. 

“We raised everything we ate,” he reflected. 

In the late-1980s, Ruff saw a large pumpkin in a seed catalog and decided to grow one of his own. One of his first efforts reached 252 pounds, earning Ruff the top prize at Anamosa’s acclaimed Ryan Norlin Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off, held every October. 

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