What a relief to have grass turning green, trees starting to bud again and people's moods elevating along with the rising temperatures.
Spring is definitely in the air.
For many people, such as myself, this also means sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose as the pollen count increases and allergy season follows suit. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, about 60 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies, and their prevalence is increasing.
Rather than keeping my car windows closed and limiting my outside exposure as is recommended by the AAAAI, I intend to soak it all up, with assistance from a little over-the-counter medicinal help.
Spencer's new superintendent is supposed to be announced this morning. Reporter Gabe Licht has agreed to cover the event and post his name online when it becomes available and official. Check for Gabe's article at www.spencerdailyreporter.com.
Can't get enough of your favorite "Dancing With The Stars" partners doing the mambo or the cha cha?
The television series marking its 12th season pairs celebrities and professionals in a ballroom-dance competition, with one pair typically eliminated each week. An upcoming show will without a doubt have me watching.
The design-a-dance episode has fans crafting the performance, everything from choosing the type of dance and song to selecting the actual dancers and their costumes.
Details are still being voted on, but knowing that the Go-Go's song, "We Got The Beat" will be what they'll be dancing the jive to has me excited. Can't wait to see what routine emerges to my all-time favorite song.
The headline of an opinion piece by Walt Gardner in this week's Christian Science Monitor caught my attention. It read, "The beatings will continue until teacher morale improves."
It tells of the "precarious state of teacher morale in this country," especially since their performance is now judged in part by standardized test scores of their students.
President Barack Obama has urged Congress to revamp the federal No Child Left Behind law, which currently requires all public school students to be proficient on state assessments by the 2013-14 school year. As Obama cited that four out of five schools will be labeled as failing under the law if it is not changed, he then asked for the law to be rewritten by September.
Gardner's opinion piece, meanwhile, goes on to state, "In Finland, Singapore and South Korea, which are widely considered to have some of the best school systems in the world, teachers are held in the highest regard. That may be in part because these countries recruit their teachers from the top third of their college classes. But it's also largely the result of the culture, which reveres learning for its own sake."
Having covered the local education beat since arriving in Spencer nearly 11 years ago, I know teacher morale has dropped. NCLB and the accountability associated with it are partly to blame. However, I wouldn't connect the low morale I've witnessed over the past few months in at least two area school districts with NCLB. Instead, let's blame budget cuts and the districts' upcoming changing environments.
Cassie Galm and Kalei Roskens were crowned the 2011 Clay County Fair queen and first runner-up Sunday night. It was uplifting to see both young women, along with Lynde Harken, Ayla Sennert, Kelsey Plueger, Bradi Baschke and Jenessa Helm express their appreciation for the fair and what it offers visitors during their personal bids to reign as its royal representatives.
From what I witnessed during the Sunday night competition at the Clay County Regional Events Center, all of the seven young women would have represented the area well.