By LeAnn R. Ralph Van
COLFAX — Have you ever been in a situation where everything came together “just so” — and then you could hardly believe your good fortune?
Lynn Niggemann, the new administrator-clerk-treasurer for the Village of Colfax, knows the feeling.
Niggemann began her duties with the village at the end of November.
She was previously employed as the treasurer and comptroller for the City of Menomonie and worked in that position for seven and a half years.
Niggemann says she knew Sheila Riemer, the deputy clerk for Colfax, and when she saw her one Saturday, told Sheila that if the administrator-clerk-treasurer position were to ever become available to let her know.
This was on a Saturday, mind you.
September 6, 2014, to be precise.
On Monday, September 8, Jackie Ponto, the previous administrator-clerk-treasurer for Colfax, turned in her resignation, with an effective date of October 8.
Niggemann waited for the Colfax Village Board to write a job description and to post the position.
“It was one of those things that fell into my lap. The timing was perfect. When it was posted, I applied for it. I had a great job at the City of Menomonie. I loved what I did. This was a move closer to my family, my community, and doing a lot of the same things,” she said.
Working for the City of Menomonie, “you hear a lot, and you learn a lot through listening and seeing what’s going on. It was wonderful preparation. I feel like I have at least some sort of knowledge about everything I work with (at Colfax),” Niggemann said.
In addition to her experience working for the City of Menomonie, Niggemann earned two bachelor’s degrees: one in general administration from UW-Stout, and one in accounting from UW-Eau Claire.
While she was attending UW-Stout, Niggemann worked at Corey Insurance and then at UW-Stout in dining services. After that, she moved up to Stout’s administration accounts payable office and then to grant accounting. And from there, she went to the City of Menomonie.
“While I was working in grant accounting, I was taking a couple of hours off a day as vacation and commuting to Eau Claire. I started college the second time in 2004, right after I had Dustin [who just turned 11], and went back for an accounting degree. It was a challenge. Working full time, a new mom, and trying to get another degree. But I did do it. I got my degree in the summer of 2007,” Niggemann said.
“I had gotten my diploma for my accounting degree. I had found daycare. And I was offered my job at the city. All on the same day. So it was a pretty exciting day,” she said.
Niggemann and her husband, Jesse, have three children: Dustin, who is in fifth grade at Colfax Elementary; Autumn, who will be turning eight and is in second grade at Colfax; and Tucker, who is five and is enrolled in kindergarten at Colfax.
Niggemann says she appreciates being closer to where her children are attending school.
“If they forget something, it’s a quick run, six miles. I love it. My kids love it,” she said.
Jesse Niggemann originally worked with Skip Boughton in starting Lakeland Organics. Lakeland produces organic seed corn, and Jesse Niggemann also grows organic corn, soybeans, hay and oats.
“Winter is his slow time. He might be home at 5 o’clock, whereas at other times of the year, he might not get home until we are all in bed,” Lynn said.
Jesse Niggemann designed the seed corn facility, including all of the bins to store the different varieties. He grows many different varieties of seed corn.
“People who have been in the seed corn business for a long time actually come and tour (his facility),” Lynn noted, adding that Lakeland Organics employs high school students to help with husking and other tasks, such as de-tasseling the corn.
Jesse Niggemann also owns Lakeland Trucking, a company that does short and long hauling.
Besides Jesse and her three children, Lynn’s family includes a dog, Shadow, and a cat, Frisky.
“I happened to bring (the dog) home on a night when Jesse had an insurance agent coming to our house. The guy was there when I got home. I took the dog out of the car, and she decided to bee-line. We spent until 10 o’clock that night trying to find our dog. Our brand new dog. She’s not even home ten minutes and she takes off. She came home, though,” Lynn recalled.
Shadow is a black Labrador Retriever mix.
“She’s a small Lab. Sometimes people say they think she might be mixed with Boxer. She fits into the family well,” Lynn said.
“Frisky — well, someone brought her to the field when Jesse was in the field and said, ‘here’s a cat for the farm.’ My husband brought (the cat) home for the kids to see that first night. Well, she never left the house … I told him, ‘you know, the kids are not going to let it go to the farm,’” Lynn said.
And then there’s the chickens.
“My kids do chicken chores every night when they get home. We have layers. I have farm fresh eggs I take to the bowling alley on Tuesday nights … it’s fun for the kids,” Lynn said.
Niggemann bowls in a league at Viking Bowl.
The Niggemanns had a pet wild turkey last year, too, or least had it as a pet briefly.
The turkey started out at the farm. Lynn said she got a text one day with a picture from Patrick Boughton saying, “Look at my helper.”
The Niggemann children were going to the farm every day to see the turkey, and then one day, the turkey made its way to their house.
“We would feed it, and it would come and practically eat out of your hand. It was there for a week and then it took off … it must have been going around to all of the neighbors to find food,” Lynn said.
Niggemann still has pictures and videos of the turkey on her phone.
“It was the coolest thing. The kids just had a blast with it,” she said.
Niggemann believes the Colfax administrator-clerk-treasurer position is “the coolest thing” too.
“It’s been fun and exciting and busy … I am learning a lot. It’s a good job. It takes a lot of research (of state statutes) at times, but I feel like I’m getting educated,” she said.