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 -- The role of an emergency management director often centers on the response to weather-related events -- from tornadoes to flooding to winter storms -- but the response needed depends on who or what is affected. For instance, weather-related destruction to a farm site requires different response tactics be activated than damage to a home in town. Following the floods in southeast Minnesota in August 2007, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture realized response plans really hadn't addressed the agricultural sector.
WORTHINGTON -- The quick action of a pair of truck drivers on a South Dakota highway a year ago saved Abby Bern of Worthington from an almost certain fate of drowning. As a result of their heroism, Richard Filiczkowski was recognized March 27 as the recipient of the 2007 Highway Hero award at the Mid-American Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.
LUVERNE -- Less than a year after Minnesota West Community and Technical College opened the Luverne Educational Center for Health Careers in the former Luverne hospital building, plans have been announced to expand programming at the facility. Beginning this fall, medical laboratory technician (MLT) and medical assistant (MA) programs will be offered to students.
LUVERNE -- A pair of area bicycling enthusiasts is hoping to get more people off their couch on a Sunday afternoon and enjoying the scenery around Rock County. Kraig Rust of Kenneth and Preston VerMeer of Luverne are organizing Bike Around Rock County (BARC), an event to bring people together to learn more about the sport and to bike different routes around the county. BARC's inaugural ride is slated to begin at 1 p.m.
WORTHINGTON -- With several inches of snow on the ground, most people aren't thinking about storm water pollution and algae growth on Lake Okabena. But with spring yard work and summer mowing just around the corner (we hope), city and watershed district leaders encourage local residents to take steps to protect their great resource in the lake. In 2007, municipalities with more than 10,000 residents were required to develop a municipal storm water pollution prevention plan.
SIBLEY, Iowa -- The Sibley-Ocheyedan FFA Chapter presented six Star Chapter awards during the annual FFA banquet Friday night at the SO High School in Sibley. Ashley Kohn was named the Chapter Star Farmer in production, while Brian Alexander received the Chapter Star Farmer in placement. Chapters Stars in Agribusiness were awarded to Max Eddy and Brady Hoekstra; and Chapter Stars in Agricultural Placement went to Cassandra Gradert and Jared Onken.
LUVERNE -- When Jane Wildung decided to close her business in early 2007, she had no idea what she would do once the doors were officially closed. The Luverne Style Shop had been a part of the family for three generations -- opened in 1938 by her paternal grandmother, operated by her father for a time after that and, for 35 years, shared by Jane and her mother, Audrey. But it seems when one door closes, another one opens.
WORTHINGTON -- Born in Slayton and raised near Edgerton, First State Bank Southwest president Alvin Kooiman has to laugh a bit when asked what attracted him to the banking business. "You know, this is going to sound crazy, but part of what intrigued me was being able to wear a suit every day," he said. "People are going to think I'm foolish for saying that." Certainly more than wearing a suit has kept Kooiman interested in the banking industry. This year he celebrates his 41st year in the business.
BIGELOW -- Have you ever wondered when you pour milk over your cereal in the morning or enjoy a tall glass of moo juice for dinner just where that milk is coming from? Well, chances are if your jug of milk has a Land O'Lakes or Dean Foods label, it could be from a herd of cows raised on a family farm near Bigelow. There, Michael and Clay Weg own and operate Weg's Blue & White Dairy, working alongside their brother, Gene. The three men grew up milking cows, feeding calves and crop farming with their parents, Gerald and Anita.
ADRIAN -- Diane Thier was just 7 years old when her mother died, leaving her dad to raise three daughters on a grocer's salary in Sisseton, S.D. By the time she became a teenager, her dad had been transferred from his post at a store in Huron, S.D., to the National Foods store in Adrian. Culture shock set in for the girls, who were accustomed to living in, what seemed to them, a much larger community in Huron. Yet, like the many moves they had made before, the girls learned to adapt. For Diane, it meant settling into the eighth grade at St. Adrian School.