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
By KELLY GERLACH
Kyle Simmons loves Master Aurora, the Skylander video game character who represents the speed of light.
So when Kyle peeled off the shiny wrapping paper on a gift and uncovered an Aurora figurine, the 8-year-old Delmar boy was ecstatic. He held the figurine 2 inches from his eyes to look at it, a huge smile on his face.
But Kyle’s excitement wasn’t enough to stir the 10-week-old black Labrador at his feet. The puppy slept deeply, even snored a bit.
The puppy’s name? Aurora – after Kyle’s favorite character.
“I always wanted to name a dog Aurora. I just did,” Kyle said.
And that figurine? It was a gift from Superstar Service Dogs’ Jackie Galvin, a Mount Vernon nurse and dog trainer who, only hours later, took home puppy Aurora to start her 18-month training as a service and therapy dog.
By TOM PANTERA
Jack Willey wants to see two changes at the Jackson County Senior Center: a full-time manager and better food.
But with a new executive director of the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging, which operates the center, and the impending retirement of current manager Gay Storlie, it’s uncertain how soon – or even whether – either will happen.
The county Board of Supervisors last week spoke by phone with NEI3A Executive Director Donna Harvey, who has been in that position about five weeks.
During the phone conversation, Willey told Harvey that Storlie “has really taken that senior center and made it a positive thing.
“What level of commitment are we going to find in our next go-around?” Willey asked. “Right now, I am extremely frustrated with what is going to happen.”
Harvey told supervisors that she considered it important to find someone who has an enthusiastic personality to run the center. But whether the manager works full time is a budgetary issue, and “the numbers [using the center] would not warrant a full-time position at this point,” she said. She said she was continuing to study the issue.
By KELLY GERLACH
Which to pick … which to pick. It was a key decision Saturday afternoon at Hurstville Interpretive Center.
The smell of melting coconut oil permeated the room as mother Katie Schnoor, son Quinn, and daughter Avery peeked inside coffee cups filled with ground oatmeal, paprika, coffee grounds, and tea leaves – all exfoliants.
“Can I put this one in?” Quinn asked, holding the cup of paprika.
“No, it might react with your skin,” his mother said, stirring other exfoliants into each child’s cup of cooling, freshly made soap.
More than a dozen people spent about 90 minutes Saturday morning in a natural soap-making class at the center.
Making soap requires the perfect combination of lye and the right amount of oils, according to instructor Jessica Wagner, education coordinator for Jackson County Conservation. She has been making her own natural soap for about three years and decided to teach a class
By KELLY GERLACH
Maintenance. Buildings, streets and equipment in good repair.
It has infiltrated the minds of Maquoketa City Council members as the downtown streetscape project draws to a close.
They discussed the topic at some length Monday night during a two-hour, 30-minute goal-setting session.
Other topics garnering much discussion were a new building for some city departments, an outdoor swimming pool, more housing, safer parks, and library funding, among others.
The mayor and council members are to select their top six long-term and six short-term goals and submit them at the Nov. 21 council meeting. They will then vote on the top two goals in each category.
Council members sat down with representatives from the city’s water, public works, library, police, fire and other departments to prioritize their goals for 2017 and beyond.
The group talked most about the need for comprehensive improvement plans for each department as well as the city’s streets. Those plans would develop some type of rotational maintenance and upkeep of the city’s buildings, parking lots, streets and equipment.
The plans ranged from simple – new carpet and paint at Maquoketa City Hall – to a new building for Public Works.
Police Chief Brad Koranda had parking lot sealant in mind.
“As department heads, I think we need to look at tackling at least one fix-up per year,” he said