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The Top 10 Local News Stories of 2019: #6 and #5

Posted: Mon, Dec 30, 2019 8:09 AM
New Luther College President Dr. Jenifer K. Ward

('s review of the top ten local news stories of 2019 continues):

#6: 2019 was a year of transitions, as many years are.  In January, Decorah native Rob Sand was sworn in as the new Iowa State Auditor ( and Mark Lane from Urbandale was named the new Decorah School Superintendent (

In August. Emily Neal was named to the Decorah City Council, setting off a series of elections that would see her run for re-election twice in three months (  Also in August, David Smutzler was named the new Decorah Police Chief, replacing Bill Nixon, who retired ( 

In October, Elliott Christen was the public address announcer for a Decorah Viking football game for the final time--ending 50 years of service to the school district. (

But the biggest transition of 2019 was the closing of the North Winneshiek School in May, with the students joining the Decorah School District.  The occasion was marked with a quiet event mainly involving students, teachers and parents. (

#5:  The inauguration of Jenifer K. Ward as Luther College's 11th President came at an important time for the college.  The school, which had surpassed 2,500 students earlier in the decade, sank below 2,000 students as classes began in the fall.  Ward's hiring got good marks from many people in the community and she also stressed that "we are your college and you are our town."  Ceremonies were held in October ( to make official Ward's appointment, which had been made in March.