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Longtime readers of this column may remember that I have repeatedly mentioned around this time of year my fondness of Christmas music. In the past, I’ve professed how I don’t mind hearing holiday tunes well before Thanksgiving and have even intentionally programmed my car and office radio to…

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Thanksgiving is upon us already and, even in these times, there is so much to be thankful for! There are so many things I am grateful for this year it’s hard to know where to begin.

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The United States and upper Midwest have entered a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are rising faster than ever before and hospitals are getting close to capacity.  Our Isanti County 14-day case rate per 10,000 people is up to 115.97 (10/25-11/7), which has led many schools to trans…

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As I was filling out my ballot on Election Day two weeks ago, I did something I rarely have done before. Before walking away from the booth, I took a good, close look at who I had voted for, trying to see if there was any sort of trend to my votes. Interestingly, but not at all surprising kn…

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COVID-19 is a constant stressor on each of our minds. The county level data continues to increase, which is of concern. Our efforts to mitigate risk are working to reduce transmission of the virus in our schools. I commend staff and students for making these critical adjustments and adhering…

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In this week’s edition of the Star, you will find an envelope for our twice-a-year Voluntary Subscription Drive. It seems like forever since I’ve written about this topic in this column, but it’s been the same seven months in between our drives as last year. In fact, the last time we made th…

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THE PANDEMIC IS taking its toll on people in America and around the world. Loss of income, loss of family members, schools and education interrupted, businesses closing, relationships and vacations interrupted.

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As most of you have hopefully heard (especially if you chose to do an absentee ballot), a Federal Appeals Court ruled that all absentee ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day in Minnesota would have to be kept separate from the other ballots. This decision opened up the possibility th…

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On October 13, I  presented my State of the City  to the Chamber.  Normally the number of miles of paved streets, number of houses, new businesses, etc are the headlines as we look back in the past.  This year I started with a photo of my very long hair due to the business closures from the …

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Preparing for North Branch Area Public Schools’ shift in learning models to levels 3 (most sites) and 4 (high school) has been a team effort and demonstrates what staff can accomplish working together! Creating the conditions necessary to make the shift required participation at every level.…

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In an effort to raise awareness, educate our community and assist families who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, this month’s article features a resource from the Alzheimer’s Association that bares reminding. In this time, where resources and support are either not available, or, hav…

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Last Wednesday, I was driving along when I passed an amusing sight at my parents’ place. There, in the driveway, was the truck for the irrigation company that does maintenance on their sprinkler system. The company was there to blow out their system for the winter, and following the early sn…

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Cambridge Fire Department, along with members of Isanti Fire District, North Branch, Dalbo, and Braham Fire Departments participated in a live burn training exercise on Saturday, Oct. 24. 

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Flexibility and choice has allowed each family to make decisions that best meet the needs of their unique situation during this pandemic. Over 500 students are attending our Distance Learning Academy. We continue to improve our program by constantly receiving and adjusting to feedback. 

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Things around a newspaper are hardly ever dull. There always seems to be something going on. Some days may be slower, while others are so busy you hardly have time to take a breath. This past week was definitely the latter, but it wasn’t exactly due to a large number of news to cover. In fac…

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CANCER IS A dreaded word for anyone alive today. Every family seems to have someone being treated or has died from the “big C.” It’s scary, but there are a lot of tests that can be done to catch it and treat it at an early stage.

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Since my last column, high school volleyball and football have returned, and some games have been played. The smacking sounds of serves, sets and spikes resound off the walls in the gym. The voice of an excited announcer accompanies the crashing of Friday night football pads as both echo thr…

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It is no secret that over the past several years, we have become an extremely divided society. Gone are the feelings following 9/11 that we are in fact the United States of America. This division has pitted friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, even family member against family member.

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Last week, North Branch Area Public Schools staff confronted circumstances we hoped to avoid. The number of lab confirmed positive results spiked at our Education Center, a spike in cases that we have not seen in any of our other buildings. We shifted to remote learning for PreK-1 students w…

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This has been a very confusing, divisional time for people, especially when it comes to COVID. The uncertainty and lack of solid data of it has caused emotions to run high. And this past week has only added a ton of fuel to the fire.

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Like many when they’re young, I was eager to move away and take on the world. “You Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” – not only a great 80’s hit, but a realization I had after I left. Following college, I lived in Minneapolis where I worked in investment management and attended grad …

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The week of October 4-10 has been proclaimed by the Chisago County Board of Commissioners as Manufacturers’ Week.  Manufacturers’ Week was created to celebrate and educate the public about the importance of manufacturing in the state of Minnesota and its local entities.  Manufacturing is a k…

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Right around Memorial Day weekend, my landlord approached me asking if I knew of a way I could temporarily move out of my apartment so he could do some much-needed remodeling. He explained that rather than just doing one room now and another one later, he wanted to do close to a full gut-job…