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Tue
16
Oct

Four-way race for two Board of Supervisors seats

Dick Dinan (D)
Steve Doeppke (R)
Joleen Jansen (D)
Sharon Keehner (R)

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

The upcoming retirements of Clayton County Supervisors Gary Bowden and Ron McCartney leave two open seats on that board. Four candidates are vying for the vacancies, Democrats Dick Dinan and Joleen Jansen, and Republicans Steve Doeppke and Sharon Keehner.

The two candidates with the most votes following the November 6 election will win, regardless of political affiliation. In other words, two people from the same party or one person from each party can fill the positions. Again, it all depends the final number of votes.

The Register recently contacted all four candidates with a list of questions. Their responses appear below.
Briefly tell readers about yourself (for example, where you live, family, education, career, and previous government or volunteer experience, leadership qualities including budget management and supervision of employees, and so on.)

Tue
09
Oct

Meet Utoni Ruff Feeding Clayton County for 30 years

Utoni Ruff
Utoni Ruff, supervisor at the Clayton County Food Shelf, was recently honored for her service by the members of St. John’s Ministry, Luana and Farmersburg.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Utoni Ruff sits behind a well-worn desk that most days she’s too busy to use and surveys her modest office. Located in the basement of a church that ceased holding worship services decades ago, the rented space is clean and cluttered, cozy and cramped. The office extends into a larger room with a scarred meeting table covered with stacks of mandated paperwork. The area also has a new in-floor scale (more on that later).
Behind the office are two equally crowded rooms, the largest of which is lined with shelves where like items stacked together for ease of gathering and distributing. A few carts and piles of large grocery bags complete the décor.

Tue
02
Oct

Warriors are state-ranked

Girls Volleyball
Central’s Lizzie Gifford hits the ball over the net in a volleyball match against North Fayette Valley. A stellar season has led to a state ranking for the team. They are 13th in Class 1A. See story and another photo on page 7.

By Pat McTaggart
Freelance Writer

On September 25, the Central volleyball team defeated South Winn by 3 games to1.
“We knew that it would be a tough night playing against SW for the third time,” Coach Derek Bergan said. “We had played them twice in tournaments and we knew they would be hungry to try and take one from us. The first two sets we felt that we had full control as we won 25-14 25-18. In the third set, however, we really struggled to keep that momentum as we spotted SW a lead and couldn’t climb back into it. In the fourth set we kept SW at bay enough to win 25-23.” 

Tue
02
Oct

Forumin Volga Candidates introduce platforms

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor
    
Some of the most intriguing information presented Tuesday night at a political forum in Volga came from a candidate running unopposed for re-election.
Clayton County Attorney Alan Heavens (R) talked about his aggressive prosecution of methamphetamines cases. He has 50 successful felony prosecutions, which he feels has contributed to decreases in usage and the number of labs in Clayton County.

“We’re making a difference but it’s still out there,” Heavens told the crowd. He also briefly touched on his prosecution of vehicular homicide cases, community outreach efforts, and a fines collection system that has returned almost $100,000 to the community.

Tue
25
Sep

Mary Poppins in Elkader First-ever audition results in big role

Mary Poppins in Elkader
Meghan Birdnow will make her Elkader Opera House debut as Mrs. Banks in the production, Mary Poppins.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

From date night to opening night—that sums up Meghan Birdnow’s history with the Elkader Opera House.
The Monona wife and mother discovered the Opera House two years ago on a date with her husband, Justin.  When the curtain goes up on the fall production, Mary Poppins, you’ll find Meghan not in the seats but on the stage masterfully filling the role of Mrs. Banks.

“I started by following their (Facebook) page and it sparked an old flame, which I had laid aside for many, many years to raise my family and make a living,” Meghan said. “I decided the time had come to share my love for music and acting with my three growing daughters.”

Tue
18
Sep

Northeast Iowa Farm Crawl Diversity of area farms showcased

Natasha Hegmann
Natasha Hegmann, pictured with just a few of the beets she harvested this season, is co-owner with her husband. Peter Kerns, of Turkey River Farm.

By Audrey Posten
North Iowa Times Editor

See how a variety of local foods are grown and produced during the Northeast Iowa Farm Crawl, held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30. Twenty-nine northeast Iowa “farms”—including 11 based in Clayton County—are slated to participate in the event.

The farm crawl was launched by the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative four years ago, said Clayton County Development Group Executive Director Darla Kelchen, but members of the seven-county northeast Iowa tourism group she is part of took over for the first time this year.

“We all came together and tried to pick out different things throughout the counties,” Kelchen said. “We’re excited. There are neat people doing some great things.”
Participants range from produce farms, orchards and wineries to shrimp farms, dairies and agricultural education centers and museums.
In Clayton County, the stops are just as unique.

Tue
11
Sep

Cutting Edge Archery Bow hunter opens new business

Dave Fulks
Dave Fulks, St. Olaf, stands at the end of his indoor archery range showing were he hit a deer decoy. Fulks recently opened his business in Elkader.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

A St. Olaf man is one of the few lucky people who’ve been able to turn a passion into a promising business.

Dave Fulks recently opened Cutting Edge Archery in Elkader, a move that came after health issues including the need for a pacemaker made it impossible to continue his work with heavy equipment and industrial magnets.
“I started bow hunting in 2009, and I really like the exercise and solitude that go with it,” Fulks said. “And now that I live in the mecca for bow hunting, an indoor archery range plus retail space seemed liked a good idea.”
If the numbers at his grand opening are any indication, Fulks has tapped into an underserved market.

Tue
04
Sep

Geisert book to launch in Elkader

Geisert
Children’s book author Arthur Geisert is growing pumpkins at the entrance to his Main Street studio-residence to commemorate the October launch of his newest book, Pumpkin Island, which is set in Elkader.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

Tue
28
Aug

Sons & Daughters Jansen continues his crusade

Jacob Jansen
Central graduate Jacob Jansen, who was one of several students who launched the school’s composting efforts, remains an activist for the environment. He now attends Loras College in Dubuque.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

A 2016 Central graduate credits a high school class with sparking an interest in sustainability that he now plans to make his life’s work.

“Ms. Gritzner’s global science class really inspired me,” said Jacob Jansen. “In fact, I took the class twice; I loved it so much.”
The class exposed Jansen to a variety of environmental issues ranging from invasive species management to overpopulation to recycling. He worked on numerous projects including implementation of a composting system. Jansen and others involved in that effort received a Governor’s Environmental Excellence award for their work on the project, which was a first-of-its-kind in the state.

Tue
21
Aug

Time for a change Yelden shifting gears at VNA

Nancy Yelden
Nancy Yelden recently stepped down as director at Clayton County Visiting Nurses Association. She will continue working at the VNA where she has been employed for 41 years.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

With genuine humility, Nancy Yelden dismisses accolades about her work preferring instead to give credit to her colleagues.

“I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I have in this position without great staff and without the tremendous support of our Board of Supervisors,” she says, referring to her position at the Clayton County Visiting Nurses Association (VNA).
Her colleagues disagree: It’s Nancy’s compassion, empathy and genuine concern for her clients and their families that has set the tone for the entire office.

“She’s so good to people who come in here with all kinds of medical issues,” said Lisa Peterman, who works at the VNA front desk. “We see that every day. She’s a calming, caring presence, and she’s just so sincere.”
Celeste Strong, a dental hygienist hired by Nancy more than 11 years ago, echoes the sentiment.

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