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By KELLY GERLACH
Fierce looks of concentration reflected from 42 silver poms clutched in the hands of 21 girls.
Then one girl’s hand twitched, waving her pom as she discreetly worked out a nervous kink in her hand.
All eyes were on the girls.
Then smiles spread across their faces as the music started and they – and their poms – danced for the first time.
The group is the first Maquoketa Middle School Dance Team, and the performance was the girls’ first in front of a sizable crowd – at halftime of a Maquoketa Cardinals boys varsity basketball game last week.
The new team formed from interest and need, according to coaches Ashley Wing and Mandi Lemke of Tempo Dance Studio in Maquoketa.
“We started because when you get to high school, you start fresh” with no experience to get on the dance team, Wing said. “With those who dance, they have a number of years of experience on them. It’s not like other sports where you’ve played since you were little.”
By KELLY GERLACH
Mayor Don Schwenker praised the city’s 2016 accomplishments and painted an optimistic picture of the year to come.
He delivered his state of the city address Monday night during the Maquoketa City Council meeting.
“The citizens and businesses have endured a lot of inconveniences and hardship due to the numerous construction projects around our town,” he said, reading from a prepared speech.
However, “Each challenge has been met with an optimistic outlook of what is to come, not the immediate obstacle that lies before them,” he said.
He named some of the projects on which the city worked in 2016:
By KELLY GERLACH
They broke her femur.
She cannot put weight on her left leg, relegating her to crutches.
She is in pain.
But Christine Snell could not be happier.
After undergoing multiple surgeries and living with chronic pain for most of her 45 years, Snell believes she found relief in a relatively new limb-lengthening surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“After all the surgeries just to deal with the long-term effects of my leg discrepancy, this is all very surreal to me,” she said, sitting behind the conference table in her principal’s office at Maquoketa Middle School last week – about one week after the surgery.
The surgery is working. As of Dec. 31, her left femur had grown 11 millimeters (about half an inch).
It doesn’t sound like much, but every millimeter counts when one leg is 47 mm – nearly 2 inches – longer than the other.
Snell and her family never noticed her limb-length discrepancy. She walked, ran and played like her sisters.
Hindsight is 20/20, however, as she examined four childhood photographs in her hand.
“I looked like I was standing with my body tilted all the time,” she said, pointing to a Christmas photo taken when she was about 4. In the photo, her two older sisters are standing upright in front of the tree, but Snell looked as if the left side of her body was weighted down, gravity pulling her toward the ground.
By LARRY LOUGH
DeWITT – Battle lines are being drawn over the state’s public schools for what could be a war that will break out in the Iowa General Assembly in 2017.
An early skirmish played out last week in the monthly meeting of the Central DeWitt School Board.
Superintendent Dan Peterson had invited state Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, and Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, to discuss education issues in the coming legislative session.
“I’m really looking forward to this year,” Mommsen said in his opening comments.
That’s because the Nov. 8 election stripped Democrats of control of the state Senate, which in recent years has thwarted the agenda
By TOM PANTERA
Jackson County might take ownership of the historic Andrew Jail.
Supervisors met Tuesday with Don Wentworth and Lee Karabin of the Jackson County Historic Preservation Commission, who told them the building was in danger of being razed.
“I certainly don’t want to see it destroyed,” Supervisor Jack Willey said, even though required work on the building could cost up to $150,000 – money the city of Andrew doesn’t have.
“It’s too much of a historical piece of Jackson County to let it be torn down,” Supervisor Larry “Buck” Koos said.
Wentworth said the building itself is solid, so none of the work on it would have to be done immediately. That will provide time to find a solution o
By KELLY GERLACH
It didn’t matter that 27 men and one woman paid $50 plus a new, unwrapped toy just to play.
They were OK braving snowy roads to get to Schueller Auction House Saturday night.
They did not mind the trash talk that goes hand-in-hand with a Texas hold’em tournament.
Losing didn’t matter.
Well, truthfully, it mattered a little.
But it stung less because all of the money and most all toys were going to charity, to make some Jackson County children smile on Christmas morning.
“It’s all going to a good cause,” said Larry Even of Maquoketa, who decided to forgo Texas hold’em for an evening of blackjack with dealer Tom Devine. Devine is a member of Maquoketa Lions Club, which hosted the annual Las Vegas Night to raise money and collect toys for Jackson County Toys for Tots.
Even was later joined at the blackjack table by players who lost their stake in the official tournament.
Participants paid $50 plus a toy to enter the Texas hold’em tournament. They drew table