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Winter celebrations continue with S’mores and Blazing Pines

Spencer residents continued to celebrate the winter season post holidays with the annual S’mores and Blazing Pines event hosted by the Love Where You Live group. Friends and family gathered at East and West Leach Park Saturday to enjoy various winter activities. (Direction) Ice skating was a popular choice, with homemade walkers provided for the less-experienced skaters. Eventgoers also enjoyed snowshoeing through the fallen snow at East Leach.

Local experts prepare for online safety forum

Clay County residents will have the chance to learn about online safety from a panel of experts this week. On Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., a public forum will be held in the Spencer City Council Chambers, “Online Safety and Social Media: Sexting and Sextortion.”

Ag Secretary Naig sworn-in for 2nd full term

DES MOINES — Mike Naig was sworn-in for his second full term as Iowa secretary of agriculture during a formal public ceremony at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen administered the oath of office to Naig. (Photo submitted)

Heading home

Experiencing different cultures and a way of life drew Miriam Vadala and Merle Dewald to pursue the opportunity which allowed them to spend a semester as a member of the Spencer High School student body. The two concluded their stay with a slumber party with classmates at their host family home.

“My sister did an exchange when she was my age,” Vadala said. “She went to California. She had a good experience overall. I saw her change and mature in a very special way.

Corridor welcomes new board members

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation recently welcomed four new board members for 2023: Matt Beaver, owner at KILR Radio; Mike Koenecke, owner/farm manager at Cotton Grave Farm Management; Michelle Nicoson, human resource manager at moveero Inc.; and Ebony Rahe, president and managing partner at Williams & Company.

Clay County Cattlemen hold annual banquet

Members of the Clay County Cattlemen Association gathered at the Great Hall of Royal Saturday for its annual meeting and banquet. The group spent the eventing catching up with friends, enjoying a steak dinner and celebrating the 2022 year. Rossie Feed & Grain of Royal and owner Jon Black received this year’s Friend of the Industry award. Additionally, Paul Salton was honored with the Cattlemen of the Year award alongside his wife, Sheila.

Master Gardener training offered

The application window opened for this year’s winter Master Gardener training in Clay, Dickinson, Emmet and Palo Alto counties.

Iowans wishing to complete Master Gardener training choose a county to complete training through, participate in online learning modules, and attend at least four in-person training sessions organized by the county office. Then after completing the 10-week training, trainees put their knowledge to work with a 40-hour internship in their training county.

Research and Demonstration Farms held nearly 70 field days in 2022

AMES — The research and demonstration farms operated by Iowa State University continued to be a popular place for educational events and field days in 2022.

More than 14,000 people, including school-age youth, visited the 15 farms throughout the year. Nearly 70 field days were held across the state, with topics that pertained to corn rootworm, forage management, tar spot, nitrogen management, turfgrass management, specialty crops and livestock production.

Parsons will lead Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES — Jeremy Parsons, manager and secretary of the Clay County Fair in Spencer, will officially be named CEO and manager of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Gary Slater, who has held the top position since 2001, announced his retirement in October of 2022. Parsons' appointment will be effective in early March.

Local JFK dancers kick-it-up at ReliaQuest Bowl

A group of Spencer Just For Kix dancers recently joined fellow dancers from around the country, performing in the pre-game and halftime shows at the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Jan. 2. The game featured the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Illinois Fighting Illini.

A subject unspoken

Although an unpleasant topic, sexting, sextortion and other associated crimes area real and present danger to children and teens nationwide. Thursday, Jan. 19, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Spencer City Council chambers will host a public forum, “Online Safety and Social Media: Sexting and Extortion.”

Presenters will include Kim Smith, from Shared Hope International; Travis Johnson, Clay County attorney; plus representatives from CAASA and the Family Crisis Center.

Parks director gives project updates

Improvements to the tennis courts at Fairview may be underway soon, with the courts potentially moving to the Spencer Middle School property. Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fullhart reported the Spencer School Board will discuss the court’s possible new location at its next meeting on Jan. 24.

Expert's warning for Iowa households over rat invasion

Pest control experts at The Pest Dude have predicted that rodent activity in homes across Iowa is due to pick up following freezing temperatures over the past month, and as the second half of January is typically the coldest in the year. The increase in rat invasions is caused by the animals seeking warmer sheltered spaces, such as attics and basements, to escape the harsh temperatures of winter.

Gabhart wins big in Dec. 30 drawing

CLIVE — A Clay County man has won a $10,000 Mega Millions prize. Robert Gabhart, of Spencer, matched four of five white balls and the Mega Ball in the Dec. 30 Mega Millions drawing. He was one number away from winning that night’s $685 million jackpot. Gabhart purchased his winning ticket at Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh, in Spencer. He claimed his prize Thursday at the lottery’s Storm Lake regional office. The winning numbers in the Dec. 30 drawing were 1-3-6-44-51 and Mega Ball 7.

County supervisors receive update on carbon pipeline

Clay County received an update on one of the proposed carbon pipelines set to cross through the county on Tuesday. Summit Carbon Solutions, one of two companies planning a carbon capture project spanning across several Midwest states, gave a progress report during the Clay County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Traditional to unique baby names chosen in 2022

The year 2022 represented another fun year in Spencer Hospital’s Birth Center with around 250 new babies welcomed into the world.

“Our birth center team enjoys getting to know each family and being a part of each birth experience,” said Ann Polaschek, birth center director. “Each baby is special and often we see their personalities emerging from day one, so it’s fun learning what names parents have chosen to go with each child.”

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