Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism.
At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family.
Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
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WORTHINGTON -- December has proved to be a busy month for land auctions throughout the area, and while not all of the sales have been recorded with county assessors as of yet, the average price of farm land has surpassed 2006 levels in all six counties in southwest Minnesota. Moreover, the trend toward higher prices doesn't seem to be slowing down. "I used to be surprised," said Rock County Assessor Tom Houselog of the prices paid per acre of farm land in the extreme southwest portion of the state.
WORTHINGTON -- The popcorn popper is installed, and the beverage equipment will be in place for a Christmas night opening of the Northland Cinema 5 in Worthington's Northland Mall. Todd Frager, who along with business partner David Fetters co-owns the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based West Mall Theaters, said a temporary lease was signed with Northland Mall on Friday, and bookings were made to get movies in for Christmas. "What this will do is give us time to work on the long-term lease," Frager said. "Leases take more than a few days to get done." Northland Cinema 5 will open at 6:30 p.m.
WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Lighting Contest has been judged, and this year's first-place winners are Arnold and Shirley Kazemba, 1976 Bay Street. The Kazembas, who moved into town eight years ago, have gradually added to their outdoor display, which includes a manger scene, carolers and the words, "O Holy Night," displayed in the front yard. "O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas songs, with Andy Williams singing it," Arnold said.
WORTHINGTON -- With the Senate's passage of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007 (the Farm Bill) Friday, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have each sent versions to conference committee to come up with compromise legislation. While the passage of a new Farm Bill is far from over, state and local leaders in two of the nation's largest agricultural organizations -- Farm Bureau and Farmer's Union -- are for the most part comfortable with the proposed legislation.
WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners approved two measures during their Tuesday morning board session that will have inmates at the Prairie Justice Center paying more out-of-pocket costs for their room and board and health-care needs while serving jail time. Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening said the county has not changed its pay-to-stay rate since state statute first allowed counties to charge inmates a daily rate for their stay in jail.
WORTHINGTON -- When you ask people what they like about living in Minnesota, the response often has to do with the people, the lakes or the four seasons. In conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Minnesota's statehood on May 11, 2008, journals are making their way around the state for residents to jot down their favorite thing about Minnesota, a Minnesota memory or thoughts on the approaching sesquicentennial celebration. This week, one of a trio of journals is on display with a sesquicentennial banner at the Nobles County Library in Worthington.
WORTHINGTON -- After nearly a week without being able to order a Big Mac or McChicken sandwich in Worthington, the much-anticipated new McDonald's restaurant opened its doors Friday. "In a small town, when you open a McDonald's, it's a huge deal," said local franchise owner Steve Jackson just days before the opening. Filled with energy and excitement, Jackson is eager for people to experience the modernized, up-scale theme of the restaurant. "The McDonald's theme nationally is forever young," he said.
SIBLEY, Iowa -- For years, the highest point in Iowa has drawn visitors from across the country and around the world -- not to scale a mountain or hike a bluff, but to casually walk up the gentle slope of the Sterler farm north of Sibley. Thousands of visitors have stopped at the site over the years, walking just beyond the feed yard to a stone that declares Hawkeye Point, at an elevation of 1,670 feet, the highest point in the state. Earlier this week, the Osceola County Board of Supervisors completed a deal with the Sterler family to ensure the highest point in Iowa remains open to the pub
WORTHINGTON -- Gene Foth is contracted to work 20 hours per week as coordinator of Manna Food Pantry at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington, but his board of directors is quick to point out his hours extend far beyond what he is paid for. In fact, most weeks, Foth puts in just as many, if not more, hours of volunteer labor for the pantry -- a donation of time board chairman LeRoy Ennenga said is much appreciated. "If we had to hire someone full-time, like the hours Gene puts in, (it would be a financial burden)," Ennenga said.
WORTHINGTON -- With remaining budget concerns and a staffing shortage, Nobles-Rock Community Health Services (NRCHS) director Brad Meyer recommended to the board Wednesday that the school nursing program offered by the agency be discontinued at the end of the current school year. The agency provides nursing services at several of the smaller school districts in the county, including Round Lake, Brewster, Ellsworth and the Worthington Area Language Academy.