The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Breaking News

Features

August 7, 2012

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: JoElla O’Connell

CLINTON — When JoElla O’Connell, 53, of DeWitt, was laid off from her job as director of the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce she was already planning how to continue directing tourism to the Clinton County area. Instead of looking for a new job, she decided to create one: Clinton County Tourism Director. For the past few months she’s been seeking city and county government support to create and award her the position.

“I want people to come to Clinton County. There’s just so much it has to offer,” she said.

O’Connell started at the Chamber nearly 19 years ago as an office assistant performing clerical work. She became captivated by the tourism aspect of the organization she worked for.

“I fell in love with it. It became my life,” she said.

She served as the director of the Chamber for the last eight years. Last fall she looked into what communities in the county had websites, what they had to offer and if it was promoted.  O’Connell saw an opportunity for improvement and collaboration.

“We need to expand. We need to work as one,” she said.

On May 1, O’Connell was informed her position would be eliminated as the Chamber was combined with the Economic Development arm in DeWitt.  On May 31, she hit the ground running.

She said she’s spent countless hours researching responsibilities of a tourism director. After compiling a detailed job description to strengthen her case, O’Connell focused on finding more support, including monetary.

O’Connell collaborated with Clinton County Conservation to apply for a grant through the Clinton County Development Association. If awarded the grant, the money would go towards starting an office for the position, she said.  She hopes to find a match for the grant to fund the salary.

Since she started pursuing the position, she and her husband, Joe, have spent weekends discovering all of the tourist attractions the county has to offer, many of which, O’Connell said, are not being fully promoted. As the County Tourism Director she would work to promote attractions and events throughout the county, region and state, she said. Weekly e-mail blasts, brochures and glossy booklets would be among the tools O’Connell plans to  utilize.

“This is an exciting thing to get the county working on as a whole. Tourism is economic development,” she said.

When she’s not researching, O’Connell enjoys baking and decorating cakes, sewing, cross stitching and gardening.

She and her husband  have two grown children, a son and a daughter.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Miss Clinton County 2014 Wiebers crowned 2014 Miss Clinton County

    For nearly all of her life, Taylor Wiebers has dreamed of winning the title of Miss Clinton County.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet Your Neighbor: JR Kuch takes the reins at Clinton High School

    Working as a high school helper during his senior year at North Scott High School, JohnRyan "JR" Kuch first stepped onto the path of teaching and administration.

    July 26, 2014

  • Evergreen job fair in the works

    The Clinton Regional Development Corp. and the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce are lining up companies to participate in a job fair exclusively for the soon-to-be displaced employees of Evergreen Packaging.

    July 26, 2014

  • Zeiser photo 85 years a nun By Brenden WestAssistant EditorCLINTON — There are things you outlive over a lifetime.Sister Bertha Zeiser, 103, grew up in a Clinton County town that no longer exists (formerly known as Browns); the house she was born in is now a cornfield somewhere

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (with VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Stewart McCaskill photo McCaskill settles into new role at shoe store CLINTON — An Oklahoma boy at heart, Stewart McCaskill is settling into Clinton and Brown’s Shoe Fit.The 35-year-old has worked with the Brown’s Shoe Fit company for seven years. His brother-in-law, who manages a Brown’s in Colorado, brought Stewart i

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darryl Hogue mugshot Hogue will lead River Bend schools FULTON, Ill. — Nearly eight months after opening the search, the River Bend School Board has found a replacement for the retiring district superintendent Robert “Chuck” Holliday.Darryl Hogue, principal of Morrison Junior High School, in Morrison, Ill

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-22-14 water 2 Rotary Club donation gets water to Haitians CLINTON — Nine Haitian communities now have the blessing of clean water due to the work of local Iowa Rotary clubs, including Clinton’s, and the charity Water for Life.Water for Life Directors Joy and Leon Miller have been drilling wells for years as

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook