I wanted to share a few recent stories, including this one about a local resident named Michelle Flattery. I was assigned to write about a fundraiser she’s participating in but ended up focusing more on her journey as a cancer survivor, there’s so much not many of us could imagine. I was so struck by her energy and zest for life (when I showed up to interview her around noon she had already instructed three exercise classes). So, I tried to capture that.

PHOTO2Michelle Flattery is among cancer survivors participating in The Million Dollar Marathon, a coast-to-coast fundraising campaign. The relay kicked off Friday, with dozens of cancer survivors and supporters embarking on a 4,000-mile run across the United States, marathon by marathon. Flattery’s team will run from Adel to Des Moines on July 16. Photo by Jessie L. Bonner/Ames Tribune

You can read the rest of Michelle’s story here

The federal government recently announced new guidelines for school snacks as part of efforts nationwide to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. It could have been a boring policy story, but I got lucky and found a local principal who made for a great interview.


Several years ago, John Ronca recalls the vending machines at Ballard High School could have rivaled any candy store, with rows of Snicker bars, boxes of Lemonheads and countless other varieties of junk food.

“I couldn’t keep them full,” said Ronca, then an assistant principal whose duties included stocking the snack machines. “We’d fill it, you know why? Because it raised a bunch of money.”

Oh, how times have changed.

“We haven’t had snack vending machines in our schools for about four years,” said Ronca, now the principal at Ballard High School. “The only drinks that we have are Vitamin Water, and water. That’s it.”

Ronca is among local school officials predicting that with healthy changes they’ve implemented in recent years, they won’t have any trouble complying with the new school snack rules handed down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read the rest of the story here.

I had so much fun with this next story, which was about how much 4-H programs have changed over the years as they try to engage young people and slow a decline in membership. I went to Iowa’s 4-H Youth Conference to check out some of the various things they’re doing to keep kids engaged.

4-HPHOTO-4Iowa teens work on ideas for iPad apps during a workshop at the state’s 4-H Youth Conference on Tuesday. The iPad workshop was one of several at the conference designed to engage members of the youth development organization. Photo by Jessie L. Bonner/Ames Tribune

You can read this story here


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