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TCU students give back with Student Council/Red Cross blood drive
  • Updated

For Tri-City United High School senior Jack Erickson, donating blood is simply “the right thing to do.”

Erickson donated blood for the fifth time when the TCU High School Student Council hosted a blood drive Friday, Oct. 23, but for many student donors this year, it was their first time.

To recruit donors, Erickson and other Student Council members asked each eligible donor in the school personally if they want to donate. That seemed to work, because 22 first-time donors gave blood at the drive.

Katelyn Turek (left) is checked in by Molly Closser at the Student Council Blood Drive on Friday, Oct. 23. (Photo courtesy of Wade Young/Montgomery Messenger)

“Right now the Red Cross is testing all the blood they take for COVID-19, and I think that was one of their [reasons],” Erickson said.

TCU High School Principal Alan Fitterer said the Red Cross team on site was impressed with the number of first-time donors the blood drive generated. The Student Council scheduled the drive before the football and volleyball seasons restarted in the fall, and many students who had planned to donate ran into scheduling conflicts, but the turnout still resulted in 38 units donated.

“We appreciate them,” Fitterer said of the Student Council. “It takes student volunteers to make this happen.”

A total of 45 donors attended the drive, and 36 were able to go through with the procedure. The Red Cross collected 34 units of white blood cells from 34 donors and four units of Power Red cell donations, which allows a donor to safely give two units of red blood cells during one donation.

TCU High School Student Council President Jessica Dull was unable to donate but she said, “I try to help out in any way I can, and I do that in the form of volunteering.”

As volunteers, Dull and Erickson checked in with donors and comforted them while they gave blood. Due to the pandemic, they couldn’t get as physically close to the donors as usual, and needed to arrange chairs and the donating station for social distancing.

“We have plenty of members from the community able to donate as well, but this year only faculty members, staff and students can donate,” Erickson said. “We did check their temperature, and they had to be below a certain threshold.”

Fitterer said eight to 10 adults from the community normally donate at the school’s blood drives. But since TCU is not open to the public in general this year, they likely won’t be able to donate at the school during the National Honors Society’s winter break blood drive, either. However, Fitterer and the TCU High School Student Council members encourage the community to find other blood drives where they can donate.

“I would say at this point there are very few people in this country that have not been affected in some way by COVID, so fewer people are donating because it is more difficult because of circumstances,” Fitterer said. “But accidents still happen, and people need the blood.”

Said Dull: “... I think regardless of what we’re going through, there’s always going to be a need for blood, so it’s important to get out there and donate, and I encourage people to be first-time donors.”

Said Erickson: “Because of so many people being diagnosed with COVID-19, really think about your family and friends, and if they were in need, what would you do and what would you want other people to do for them?”


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NP Power Nutrition distributor to open Lonsdale site
  • Updated

Nutrition clubs are popping up across the world to the point of outnumbering Starbucks, according to Herbalife Nutrition, and soon Lonsdale will pick up on the trend.

Krista Christenson, a distributor at NP Power Nutrition in New Prague, recently announced her official plan to start a nutrition club in Lonsdale. Christenson’s distribution service skyrocketed in recent months when she began delivering shakes to both Lonsdale and Montgomery amid the pandemic.

NP Power Nutrition distributor Krista Christenson, right, increased her deliveries during COVID-19 by offering the service to Lonsdale and Montgomery. She’s pictured here with one of her Lonsdale clients, Danielle. (Photo courtesy of Krista Christenson)

“I felt like it was a really good time to delve in and look a little harder, and I found a place,” Christenson said. “It’s a great location and I think it will work out really well.”

It’s Christenson’s hope that her Lonsdale location will be ready for her business by January 2021. She’s excited to get her business started in Lonsdale, where her husband Derek is from. The couple lived in Lonsdale earlier in their marriage, and Derek played baseball for the Lonsdale Aces. Pending Herbalife Nutrition approval, Christenson hopes to name her club Ace’s Nutrition to tie it to the community.

As Christenson described them, nutrition clubs are like “fast food for healthy people.” A wide variety of flavored shakes make up a large portion of the menu items, serving as full meal replacements.

“They’re all delicious,” Christenson said of the shakes. “If you don’t like one, don’t let that deter you from trying more because there will be one that you like. There’s so many options, and it’s really good for everybody.”

Shakes come in gluten-free options as well as options for those allergic to soy or milk. The company also offers a line of sports beverages. Clients can also purchase energy teas as well as “meals” that include a combination tea, shake and aloe shot. Christenson explained that aloe is good for the digestive system and absorbing nutrients.

Christenson started using Herbalife Nutrition products in June 2018, and by July 2019, she had lost 40 pounds. She signed up to become an Herbalife Nutrition distributor in February 2019 and began working at NP Power Nutrition in New Prague in June of that year.

The simplicity of the program and the products drew Christenson to become a distributor for Herbalife Nutrition. She also appreciates the support from her coach and everyone else in the club, and she wants to bring that experience of encouragement and positive energy to Lonsdale.

Each nutrition club team has a different way of going about the business, Christenson explained. Some advertise products solely on social media, and some operate like a shake shop. Others open up multiple nutrition clubs to grow their team.

“Right now I’m really just focusing on opening this one and kind of seeing where it takes me,” Christenson said. “Like I said with the support I received from the deliveries, I expect it to be a great experience.”

Nutrition shake distributor Krista Christenson, left, is opening a nutrition club in Lonsdale with an estimated start date of January 2021. She’s pictured here with her two active distributors, Melanie Wellnitz, middle, and Stephanie Rueger, right. (Photo courtesy of Krista Christenson)

Christenson will operate full-time in Lonsdale six days a week and wants to poll the community to find out the best hours. She expects to serve hours similar to New Prague, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., since most of her deliveries are over the lunch hour.

The New Prague location will continue operating as part of her team, and she has two active distributors who agreed to help in Lonsdale.


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One incumbent, two newcomers fill TCU School Board seats
  • Updated

This story was updated with the full results at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

One incumbent and two newcomers were elected to the Tri-City United School Board Wednesday morning, each one representing one of three Tri-City communities.

The TCU School Board had three available seats to fill this election season, but only three candidates. Incumbent Kevin Huber will again fill one seat, and the two newest board members will be Chris Vlasak of Lonsdale and Trevor Houn of Montgomery. Vlasak and Houn will replace Krista Goettl and Ashley Rosival, who did not file for re-election.

Houn led the race with 4,205 votes (33.5%), followed by Vlasak with 4,191 (33.4%) and then Huber with 4,001 (31.9%). One-hundred and forty write-in votes were cast.

Vlasak thanked his supporters, and while the results were no surprise, he said seeing the numbers was encouraging.

Aiming to be “a voice to the people for the people” as a TCU School Board member, Vlasak wants to give input not just for Lonsdale but the entire TCU community. He’d like to bring his opinions to conversations on whether students should be in school or distance learning full time during the coronavirus pandemic, but he also understands it takes more than a school board to make those decisions. Overall, he said he wants to ensure students “have the proper facilities and the proper tools to get them ready for adult life.”

As a 2005 graduate of the district formerly known as Montgomery-Lonsdale High School, Vlasak said facilities were at that point sub-par. However, since the $22.1 million voter-approved bond referendum, he said the facilities are “now where they need to be,” particularly the Performing Arts Center at TCU High School.

New Prague School Board results

There will be no changes to the New Prague School Board, as all four incumbents were re-elected. Board member Jeanne Kubes led the race with 6,539 votes (23.5% of the vote), then Kim Holden with 6,238 votes (22.4% of the vote). Board members Dennis Havlicek earned 5,972 votes (21.5%) and Matthew Goldade earned 4,685 votes (16.8%).

Daniel Call was the fifth candidate to run for the New Prague School Board election, but with 4,216 votes (15.2%), he did not earn a seat. One-hundred and seventy-three write-in votes were cast.


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