HSI Kick-off: Walk on Waukon

To the Editor:


Seven years ago the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative launched the “start somewhere” walk as an opportunity to engage Iowans to join us in making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands of Iowans have walked on the first Wednesday of October and we’ve seen a growing increase in making Iowa communities more walkable. Communities are adopting complete street policies, hiring staff dedicated to incorporating walking, biking and transit in transportation plans and launching walking school buses so kids can walk or bike safely to school. Continue reading

Youth Leaders Address the Issues of Poverty, Hunger and Food Insecurity

4-H Food and Fitness members gathered from 9 school districts around NE Iowa for the Regional Youth Leadership Team winter gathering on the Luther College campus this month. These youth and adults from area schools meet quarterly to learn about wellness issues in their communities, identify projects to help their school or community, and network by sharing experiences of their club projects and build ideas for future ones. Continue reading

New Learning Environments in Waukon Schools

Recently, some exciting new items appeared in different places around the Allamakee Community School District. What were these, you might ask? Here’s a hint: these new additions show how school libraries and classrooms are changing to create more student-centered learning environments. Give up? OK. The answer is . . .  flexible seating! Continue reading

New crosswalk signs in Waukon

crosswalk-signageNew pedestrian crosswalk signage (such as pictured at right) has recently been placed in the middle of streets in four different locations in Waukon, but in addition to creating awareness of safety for pedestrians and motorists has also created some confusion for each as well. Waukon Police Chief Phil Young advises that the new crosswalk signs have been placed to help raise more awareness of a State of Iowa law that has been in place but has not necessarily been adhered to. Section 321.327 of the Iowa Code, entitled “Pedestrians’ Right-Of-Way,” states, “Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”
Although that law has been in place and is explained in the Iowa Driver’s Manual for driver’s license testing, Chief Young says that many motorists still don’t seem to realize they are required to stop for any pedestrian in a marked crosswalk or any pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Thus, the implementation of the new signage currently in place at locations where Chief Young said his department received the highest number of complaints about safety concerns crossing the street. Continue reading

Food and Fitness: Round 2

Hello! My name is Andrew Blair, and I’m excited to be returning for my second service term with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. I learned a lot during last year while serving as an Americorps member in the Allamakee Community School District, and because of that I feel like I have a strong foundation to start from as I jump into this school year. I’m also excited to be serving with FoodCorps this year! Continue reading

Breaking Ground

This past Saturday, I spent a beautiful morning with a few volunteers building raised beds for a new garden at East Elementary in Waukon. We were a small group, but the two students who were there got to do a lot of the building, and it was awesome to see them excitedly working together on the project! A few days later, the kids in the Garden Club helped finish the beds, and started filling them with soil. I came back once more to shovel the remaining soil into them. Finally, a project that I’d been envisioning since October was complete!

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The Complicated Side of Local

I got the call on Monday. Tom Weighner was on the other end. “I think we finally got everything figured out to do the local milk taste-test at the middle school. Just wanted you to know,” he said.


He was calling about an idea that we had been kicking around for some time. Most colleges and institutional food service use bulk milk dispensers in their cafeterias. It seems natural to ask the question about their use in public schools.


Especially in Waukon. If there is a dairy processing plant in town, shouldn’t it be easy to serve their milk in school?

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