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As educators, we’ve dedicated our life’s work to children and education, so I’ve always felt schools were important to not only educate our students, but to serve our community. The past months have challenged us to do just that.

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Among the events North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS) had to cancel this spring was the Kindergarten Round Up at the end of March. Staff were looking so forward to giving families a sneak peek at the brand new facilities we are providing kindergartners starting in the fall of 2020.

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Over the years I would rag on different issues over and over like keeping the countertops clean at home. These days it’s how to stay clear of the virus and how to keep our newspapers running with this fear and businesses closed.

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In what some people are calling the final blow to the Class of 2020, last week the Minnesota Department of Education laid out some extremely strict guidelines for schools conducting graduation ceremonies. In short, the MDE is saying that no mass ceremonies may be held either in a gym, audito…

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In these times of uncertainty we are rightfully recognizing those who have risen to the occasion and are performing essential tasks that make it possible for the rest of us to isolate and protect ourselves and loved ones. We talk about teachers, custodians, support staff, and bus drivers goi…

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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz made official what everyone was predicting in keeping all schools closed and in distance learning for the remainder of the school year. While I’m not going to debate whether this was the correct action to take, I will flat-out say I am concerned how this decision …

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Our school buildings belong to the community and under normal circumstances are used by a wide variety of interests beyond the school day. We are a place to gather; a place for community. While we aren’t allowed to host groups and events during the COVID-19 response, we are doing everything …

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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 will highlight tips on coping during this challenging time of sheltering in place, while keeping ourselves, and others, safe and well. The fear and an…

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At North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS), we know how challenging the COVID-19 response period has been for many families. Chisago County experienced 2,858 unemployment insurance (UI) claims in all of 2019. In 2020, UI claims stood at 4,693 as of April 14. At this early stage of 2020, UI …

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It has been over a month since the normalcy of our lives changed with COVID-19. Since that time the team at North Branch has been working tirelessly for you. I am very proud of the work of the team and here are some of the actions they have taken to serve the residents that may have escaped …

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Every employer and employee feels the historic impact of COVID-19. Those of us in the network of state and local chambers would like to thank employers and employees throughout Minnesota for navigating this crisis to mitigate the health impacts and keep our state moving forward. And if you a…

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At the end of each season, students who participate in Activities (sports and fine arts) are invited before the school board to be recognized for the hard work and effort they put into competing and performing. As we were unable to honor those students in person last Thursday, I sent the fol…

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I am admittedly a long-time professional wrestling fan. I’m not, however, so zealous in my fandom to pay money to attend these bigger events in person or to fork over money for their monthly pay-per-view shows. In fact, I hadn’t even taken advantage of the WWE’s offer for a free month of the…

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I have noted in several communications to families our deep appreciation for our community’s patience and understanding as we navigate the COVID-19 response. I thought for this week’s column I would share a few of the positive messages school district staff have received from families over t…

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I’m writing this article on my birthday and like all our experiences at this time, it certainly has a different feel.  By the time you are reading this I will have been released from a 14 day recommended/required quarantine by the Minnesota Department of Health (on March 22 one of my adult c…

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As we prepare to celebrate Easter 2020 on Sunday, April 12, this year’s celebration will no doubt be different. With stay-at-home orders and self-isolation, there will be alternative ways to observe this holiday. They include streaming online Easter church services, hosting virtual Easter di…

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Many questions have arisen from the Governor’s stay at home order such as what is open and where can I go. We want to assure you that essential services are still being delivered by the City of Cambridge. 

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Ever since Christmas ended, I’ve almost exclusively been playing my ipod at work. Before, iHeart radio was my preference for listening to music, but I was beginning to get very bored with it. Even though you can pull up an unlimited number of stations or select music from a specific artist t…

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Starting on Monday, March 30, North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS) (along with all other school districts in the state) began serving all students using a Distance Learning model designed to protect students, staff, families, and the community at large from a local spread of COVID-19. Pr…

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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 will highlight downsizing tips and considerations. Downsizing your home may feel like you are making difficult choices. Re-framing your perspective ca…

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I was in a sour mood last Saturday (March 21). Although it was the second Saturday where everything was canceled because of COVID-19, the first Saturday I was kept plenty busy trying to keep up with all the breaking news and cancellations. But last Saturday, things had calmed down enough so …

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The state’s school district coronavirus response has been very public since last Sunday when Governor Tim Walz announced statewide school closures. To be sure, our school district, and most others, have been preparing for COVID-19’s arrival for several weeks; participating in conference call…

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During a regular news cycle, weekly newspapers always have to be cognizant of their articles becoming outdated too quickly. Case in point, I had to figure out how best to cover the Cambridge-Isanti girls basketball team’s appearance in the state tournament last Wednesday when the article of …

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COVID-19 has reached pandemic levels in the United States. It is time to live with caution and develop new and renew healthy practices at home, at work, in schools in medical centers and senior care facilities. People are frightened, herd buying is taking place at food stores primarily for b…

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In my many years of starting and running businesses, I am always looking for new ideas, new opportunities. With the latest purchase agreement in the “old” industrial park - the one east of CR 30n - all the land in that Industrial Park is sold. The same week I signed the purchase agreement fo…

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It was only a few hours after my column from this week’s edition of the Star was made public when I received a critical email from a person I have a ton of respect for. I won’t identify him outside of saying he is a doctor. A few hours later, we happened to meet up, where he told me he regre…

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Our publisher, Jeff, gave out a shout of anguish the other day. As a major James Bond fan, he just discovered that the latest installment of the movie franchise, which was set to be released in theaters the middle of April, would be delayed until late November. The reason? The Coronavirus.

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Over the past few weeks, Cambridge-Isanti Schools have celebrated School Board Appreciation Week and #PublicSchoolsProud Week. As I think about the foundation of our community and society, I believe nothing is more important than the education of our citizens for the future of our democracy …

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“Hey, it’s a new year, a new decade,” I said to my husband while we were relaxing a few weeks ago.  “You’re turning 60 this year. I think we should look at our life and think about where we want to be in the next five or 10 years while we still have our health.” 

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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 discusses the valuable resource available to families who have a family member in long-term care such as Memory Care, Assisted Living or a Skilled Car…

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With the state of Minnesota moving to a presidential primary instead of caucuses, plus the barrage of presidential campaigning, the 2020 election season has started earlier than ever before. Because of this, I feel the need to already remind our readers of a policy change here at the Star.

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Feb. 17-21 is Minnesota School Board Recognition Week – a chance for all of us represented by school boards to say “thank you” to those who volunteer and provide such a valuable service to all of our communities statewide. As our school board does not have a scheduled meeting that week, we r…

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North Branch has evolved into a proactive, business-friendly and forward-thinking city. We are prepared for commercial, industrial and residential development more than ever before!

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Last Saturday, I managed to arrange my schedule so that I would be able to help Kirsten, the editor of our sister paper the Kanabec County Times, with covering the annual Vasaloppet cross country ski race. I was happy to do this because it is a big event for the Mora area that I had not been…