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North Iowa jazz students take center stage at festival (with photos)

MASON CITY — The North Iowa Area Community College hosted its annual jazz festival on Thursday and Friday. 

The festival, in its 22nd year, was founded by NIACC Band Director John Klemas. 

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

The Osage High School Jazz Band performs during the 22nd Annual NIACC Jazz Festival in Mason City Friday. 

The two-day festival gives students the opportunity to perform and receive private critique from educators outside of their programs without the stress of being in a judged competition. 

Serving as adjudicators for the this year's event were Dr. Tony Guzman, director of the jazz program and professor of music at Luther College, and Steve Citta, a retired Waterloo Community Schools band director. 

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Steve Citta, a retired Waterloo Community Schools band director and adjudicator of the annual NIACC Jazz Festival, listens as Dr. Tony Guzman leads his portion of the clinic for the Osage High School Jazz Band on Friday.

Guzman and Citta both listened and took notes as each band performed three pieces and then took the stage to give feedback and led the bands through song passages that needed work. 

Participating schools on Thursday were Clear Lake bands I and II, West Delaware, Crestwood, Algona's standard and expanded bands, and the NIACC Jazz Ensemble. Belmond-Klemme, Waverly-Shell Rock bands I and II, Central Springs, Osage and Mason City performed on Friday. 

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette 

Dr. Tony Guzman, director of the jazz program and professor of music at Luther College, leads a clinic for the Osage High School Jazz Band during the 22nd Annual NIACC Jazz Festival in Mason City Friday. 

Anonymous donation pushes Cheer Fund past 2017 goal of $125K

MASON CITY | The Christmas Cheer Fund has surpassed its 2017 campaign goal thanks to an anonymous $4,000 donation delivered to the Globe Gazette Friday.

The donation was received the day after the Cheer Fund announced it hadn’t met or surpassed its goal for the first time in its 90-year history.

The fund was established by Globe Gazette Publisher Lee Loomis in 1927 so every child could have a present on Christmas morning, and in the years since, it has come to mean a little help during the holidays for people of all ages.

Before the donation was delivered, the Cheer Fund was more than $3,600 shy of its $125,000 goal for 2017. With the anonymous donation, the fund raised $125,346.29 to help North Iowans in need.

In 2017, more than 2,600 applications were received by the Cheer Fund from individuals and families who were struggling with homelessness, family hardships, unexpected disasters and more.

Since the Cheer Fund began, more than $3 million has been raised to help thousands of North Iowans.

Contributions to the Christmas Cheer Fund can be made at any time throughout the year by dropping them off or mailing them to the Globe Gazette's office, 300 N. Washington Ave., Mason City, IA 50402-0271.

Wintry mix in Northern Iowa could make travel difficult Sunday, Monday

MASON CITY | A potential for freezing rain and drizzle could lead to dangerous road conditions in North Iowa Sunday into Monday.

The National Weather Service warns that the freezing rain may lead to ice accumulations across much of Iowa, specifically North Iowa. The wintry mix may lead to adverse travel conditions Sunday through Monday.

In Mason City, there is a chance of snow and freezing drizzle before 8 a.m. Sunday, then the drizzle is expected to continue through the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to reach 34 degrees with a low around 29.

Early Monday morning is expected to bring freezing rain possibly mixed with sleet before 11 a.m., then snow continuing though the afternoon.

Strong winds are possible on Monday which could make roads slippery and reduce visibility. Strong winds may also be dangerous for trees and power lines.

Temperatures will hover around 32 degrees Monday. Freezing rain is expected after 4 p.m. through early evening Monday. The rain is expected to turn to snow after 7 p.m. Monday. The forecasted low temperature is 15 degrees. 

Northwestern Iowa could see several inches of snow Sunday evening through Monday.

A winter storm watch is in effect from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon for Kossuth, Winnebago and Worth counties as well as Emmet and Palo Alto.

Heavy mixed precipitation and difficult travel conditions are possible for the area. Total snow accumulations could be between 3 to 5 inches with localized higher amounts of 6 inches toward Emmet County. Ice accumulations could reach one tenth of an inch.

Wind gusts of up to 45 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow. Freezing drizzle or rain is also possible earlier on Sunday that may create a glaze of ice in those counties listed in the watch area.