News and Updates
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Save the date! Midwest Partnership's 18th Annual Golf Outing will be Thursday, June 27th at Lake Panorama National Resort and Conference Center.
Retired Jefferson-Scranton teacher Jim North was honored with the 2013 Friend of Education award by the Jefferson-Scranton Education Association and the Iowa State Education Association.
The presentation was made at a dinner May 8 at the Carrollton Inn in Carroll. Tammy Mohr presented the award.
North taught seventh and eighth grade English and literature in Jefferson for 38 years before his retirement a year ago. He has been a driving force in the Webb House, which provides a positive and safe place for young teenagers. He has spent nearly every Friday night for the past 15 years at the Webb House. He also opens it Wednesday afternoons to provide a place for 40-50 youngster when school dismisses early for teacher professional development.
North received the Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce's ABC Award in 2001 in recognition of his efforts with the Webb House.
He is also a Golden Apple Award recipient.
In his retirement he volunteers as a group discussion leader at Greene County Middle School.
For many years North has provided students with their first paid employment with his lawn mowing business. Some students have worked several summers, indicating the respect and fun they share.
North earned a bachelors degree from the University of Northern Iowa and then served in the Air Force for four years. He earned a masters degree from Truman State College in Kirksville, MO.
Jim and his wife Karen have three daughters and five grandchildren. -The Jefferson Herald
Participants in a community-wide visioning meeting held see a downtown Jefferson in five years as a "colorful and modernized historic district brimming with art, shopping, dining and activities that people can't wait to get to and can't stop talking about because it's a great space that's part of a great place."
Picturing downtown in the future involved 35 participants who gathered at Jefferson City Hall on Tuesday, May 7, for a Visioning process conducted by Main Street Iowa and Jefferson Matters: Main Street.
Participants were divided into small groups and asked by Main Street Iowa facilitators Michael Wagler, state coordinator, and Terry Poe Buschkamp, a Main Street district specialist, to answer a series of questions about downtown Jefferson and the Jefferson Matters: Main Street program.
The first three questions asked about the assets, challenges and opportunities of downtown Jefferson and the fourth question asked participants to list reasons why downtown Jefferson is important to the community.
The next series of questions asked about the top three issues facing each of the four points of the local Main Street program: organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring.
Each small group provided responses to the questions, which were copied on to flip chart paper by the facilitators.
The final exercise for the evening asked the groups to provide a one-sentence description of how they envisioned downtown Jefferson in five years.
All of the responses to the eight questions and the five-year outlook were posted around the room. Each participant was given three votes in each of the eight question categories and one vote from among six five year outlook statements.
Based on votes received, the clearest consensus pertained to issues about the design, economic restructuring, and organization components of Jefferson Matters: Main Street. Funding sources for projects got 16 votes (design), new businesses had 15 votes (economic restructuring), and keeping volunteers engaged (organization) tallied 13 votes.
The group had solid consensus that the downtown "square is compact and established" (19 votes) as an asset of downtown, and 12 participants said developing a Welcome Center downtown was the greatest opportunity. Eleven listed "potential to be a destination town" and "bike trail" as other great opportunities. -The Jefferson Herald
Are you interested in housing issues facing west central Iowa, in particular those facing moderate and low income persons ? Region XII COG is seeking representatives from these sectors to serve on the board of the new Region XII Housing Corporation (RHC). The RHC is being founded to serve as a Comprehensive Housing Development Organization (CHDO) for west central Iowa. CHDOs work work to improve and/or develop housing for low and moderate income individuals and families by accessing, in part, federal funds set aside specifically for their operations.
As a board member for the RHC, individuals will help to form and direct policy related to moderate and low income housing in the region. Meetings are expected to be no more than quarterly and will primarily occur in Carroll. While the position is volunteer, mileage will be covered for board members so that attending the meetings does not impose a hardship. The RHC is staffed by Region XII COG, an agency with 20+ years' experience in the maintenance and production of housing.
Persons eligible to be appointed on the vacant RHC board slots must be of low or moderate income and will need to certify this status. Generally, this means that a household of 4 cannot have an annual income exceeding $52,000, but this limit varies by county of residence and number of household members. Individuals interested in being appointed are encouraged Rick Hunsaker at 712-775-7800 or email@example.com.
Based in Carroll, Region XII COG serves the counties of Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie and Sac, as well as the cities of Adel, Minburn, Perry, Redfield and Linden in Dallas County. Region XII COG provides a variety of governmental services and management programs on a regional basis, including local government assistance, housing, the Western Iowa Transit, economic development and workforce development. The COG is a partner in Western Iowa Advantage, west central Iowa's regional marketing consortium. -Audubon County Advocate Journal
Keep a close eye on that mail and listen to that telemarketer. The region is again gathering workforce data and needs cooperation from businesses and citizens alike for a successful project.
Western Iowa Advantage (WIAD), the region's eight-county economic development marketing consortium, has signed a contract to work with the Iowa Workforce Development's (IWD) Regional Research Bureau to complete a Laborshed employment study for the WIAD region. This study will identify the potential labor force from which WIAD employers and potential employers may draw their employees based upon commuting patterns into the region. The study will assist existing and potential new businesses in better understanding the region's labor force and characteristics regardless of political boundaries.
The Laborshed boundary is based on the place of residence of individuals working in the study area. For the success of this study, IWD has asked employers in the Laborshed area to provide aggregate counts of their employees by ZIP code by place of residence. This reporting will give IWD a good understanding of where each community's workforce resides.
Once that Laborshed area is determines, a confidential household telephone survey will be conducted in those areas. The questions will cover topics such as employment status, wages, benefits, education, and occupation. Survey results were then applied to demographic data to develop a total potential labor force of the Laborshed area as well as estimates for various labor force characteristics.
Laborshed studies have been conducted over the past two decades. Information received through the survey is critical to WIAD's ability to compete for business expansion or relocation. "Cooperation from businesses and individuals in the past provided Western Iowa Advantage with information businesses need, and answering the survey, should you be contacted, is critical," said Rick Hunsaker, a partner in the effort and Executive Director at Region XII COG. "Accurate information is our gateway to more projects, and more projects means more jobs."
Previous results for each county and the entire regional analysis may be found at www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/labsur/index.html, where the 2013 study will be located once it is complete. Those with questions about the Laborshed employment study project may contact IWD's Ryan Murphy at 515-281-7505 or Greene, Guthrie, Adair and Audubon Counties- Chad Schreck at 515-523-1262. -The News Gazette
Tuesday evening the Guthrie County Arts Council signed a check to commission Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, Greenfield, to paint a Freedom Rock in Guthrie County in 2014.
Bubba has pledged to paint a Freedom Rock in each of Iowa's 99 counties with an annual Freedom Tour schedules to promote tourism.
"This is an extremely worthwhile project to honor our vets and promote the arts at the same time," commented GCAC Freedom Rock coordinator Phyllis Wakefield.
However, she added, GCAC does not at this time have the funds available to complete the project.
"We are hopeful organizations and individuals in the county will partner with us to complete the project."
The GCAC gave $1,000 to Sorensen for the commissioning, and will need an additional $4,000 in final payment at completion of the painting.
However, that is not the only expense.
"We need to acquire a large rock fitting for this project," continued Wakefield. "We hope someone will step forward and donate it."
"There will also be significant costs transporting the rock if needed," commented Wakefield.
The GCAC is still open to suggestions for a location of the monument.
Groups or individuals wishing to donate to this project are asked to contact Wakefield at 641-332-2299. -Guthrie County Times
An Arizona man, Patrick J. Peters, is the new CEO at Guthrie County Hospital in Guthrie Center.
The announcement was made by Rodney Carr, acting board chair for the Guthrie County Hospital Board of Trustees. Carr told hospital employees Peters' appointment will be effective July 1.
Carr said "Pat is a seasoned and knowledgeable healthcare professional. We look forward to the experience he will bring to Guthrie County Hospital to assist us in moving out organization to a higher level of performance."
Peters is currently the President/Chief Executive Officer of Mount Graham Medical Center, a 49 bed hospital in Stafford, AZ, a position he has held since 2007. Previously he was CEO at Keokuk County Health Center, a 25 bed critical access hospital in Sigourney, Iowa. His educational background includes a law degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN, a master's degree in Healthcare Administration from Saint Louis University, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Ambrose University in Davenport. He is originally from Solon, Iowa.
Peters and his wife May have one daughter, Maiti, 16.
GCH has been run by committee since the resignation of Gerald Neal in December 2012. -Guthrie Center Times
Flint Hills Resources announced Todd Benton has joined the company's Menlo ethanol facility as plant manager. Benton, who comes to Flint Hills with more than 20 years of industry experience, will oversee plant operations and manage personnel.
Prior to joining Flint Hills Resources, Benton spent 20 years at Aventine Renewable Energy, Inc., in Pekin, IL. in a variety of operations and ethanol production roles.
"Todd is a great addition to Flint Hills Resources," said Sheryl Corrigan, Senior Vice President of Renewables Operations for Flint Hills Resources. "We expect our Menlo operations will continue to excel under Todd's leadership."
Benton holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Eastern Illinois University, and he completed graduate studies in business administration at Bradley University.
Flint Hill Resources, LLC, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining, biofuels and chemicals company. Flint Hill operates ethanol plants in Fairbank, Iowa Falls, Menlo and Shell Rock, Iowa, and Fairmount, Nebraska. - Guthrie County Vedette
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey visited West Central Cooperative in Hamlin last week to tour the facility and learn more about the operation
West Central Hamlin is a "truck only" asset, driven by truck and rail traffic. The facility was built in 2010 and sits on a 53 acre site.
Roger Fray, Executive Vice President of West Central led the tour. Fray stated "We felt there was a need for investment in this area and the Hamlin location fit the bill. We like how the location relates to the market and we have a lot of opportunity to grow and serve farmers to the west of Hamlin and into Shelby County."
The facility is the first "green field" construction project done by the company since 1956 and has room for expansion. It sits in the center of an 18-mile trainload radius and has a storage capacity of 4.9 million bushels of grain.
Northey asked a number of questions about the facility itself and how business had been for the location, especially coming off a drought year.
Gerald McAfee, location manager, noted that even with last year's bleak harvest, they took in 12-15% more grain than the previous year and are expecting a lot out of the 2013 crop.
"If we have a good non-drought year, it will be fun to see what we can do here," he said.
Members of the West Central Board of Directors and local farmers were invited to join Northey on the tour and had the opportunity to ask the Secretary question. Much of the conversation centered on the grain indemnity fund, the regulatory regimens of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and last year's drought. -Audubon County Advocate Journal
Audubon County Memorial Hospital in Audubon, Iowa was recently named one of the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) on the Patient Perspective Index in the country.
The Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals, including Audubon County Memorial Hospital, scored best among critical access hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics' Hospital Strength Index for Patient Perspective Index. The rankings were recently announced by the National Rural Health Association (NHRA). An awards ceremony will beheld during NHRA's Critical Access Hospital Conference in October in Austin, Texas. The Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals have achieved success in one of three key areas of performance:
Quality index: A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank across the five categories of Hospital Compare Process of Care measure.
Patient Perspective Index: A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank on two Hospital Compare HCAHPS measures ("Overall Rating" and "Highly Recommended")
Financial stability index: a rating of hospital performance based on a percentile rank on a set of balance sheet and income statement financial ratios.
"Audubon County Memorial Hospital is proud of the efforts of its physicians and staff who have contributed to our hospital achieving this designation," said Tom Smith, hospital administrator. "Our second straight years as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital means our patients can count on us to deliver the services they need now and in the future."
The National Rural Health Association (NHRA) is a non profit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NHRA membership is made up of 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health. For more information, visit www.RuralHealthWeb.org
iVantage Health Analytics is a privately held healthcare business intelligence and technology company. The company is a leading provider of information products serving an expansive healthcare industry. iVantage Health Analytics integrates divers information with innovative delivery platforms to ensure customers' timely, concise and relevant strategic action. For more information, visit www.iVantagehealth.com. -Audubon County Advocate Journal
In 2012 Flint Hills Resources Renewables, LLC, directly employed 280 full time employees throughout Iowa and Nebraska and support an additional 661 full time jobs in the region, according to a recent study by Harrah Analytics, an independent subsidiary of Wichita-based Koch Industries, Inc.
Koch companies directly employed more than 47,000 people throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, paying direct compensation and benefits totaling more than $4 billion. Summing direct, indirect and induced jobs, compensation and benefits, the companies support nearly 200,000 American jobs and pay about $411 billion in compensation and benefits.
Flint Hills Resources Renewables buys corn and other goods and services from local farmers and businesses, sells distiller's grains to area livestock operations, and its employees live and work in the community. This combined spending translates to a total of 941 jobs and compensation and benefits paid to employees of nearly $43 million in Iowa and Nebraska, it was determines in the Harrah Analytics study.
Flint Hills Resources, LLC, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining, biofuels and chemicals company. Its subsidiaries market products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, biodiesel, olefins, polymers and intermediate chemicals, as well as base oils and asphalt. Flint Hills Resources operates ethanol plants in Menlo, Fairbank, Iowa Falls and Shell Rock in Iowa, and Fairmont, Nebraska. They maintain a regional office in Ames. The plants have a combines annual capacity of 550 million gallons of ethanol.
Individual facility impacts include: Menlo (51 direct; 181 total), Fairbank (51 direct; 184 total), Iowa Falls (51 direct; 181 total), Shell Rock (50 direct; 177 total), Ames (31 direct; 63 total), and Fairmont, Nebraska (45 direct; 155 total).
Flint Hill Resources is a leading producer of transportation fuels in the upper Midwest and is the largest purchaser of ethanol in Minnesota. Since the mid-90s, it has utilized ethanol and other biofuels in its fuel distribution system. The company has also made equity investments in bioenergy companies, and operates a biodiesel plant near Fort Worth, Texas.
The refining business operates refineries in Alaska (North Pole), Minnesota (Rosemount), and Texas (Corpus Christi), with a combined crude oil processing capacity of nearly 670,000 barrels a day. The petrochemical business includes production facilities in Illinois, Michigan and Texas. The asphalt business produces and markets products in the Midwest and Alaska. A subsidiary owns an interest in a lubricants base oil facility in Louisiana. -The Stuart Herald
Grand Junction Horizons and the Grand Junction municipal pool will now be able to better serve the community, hanks to the support of local farmer Jenny Wessling and America's Farmers Grow Communities.
Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, Grow Communities provides farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. To further support counties declared natural disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to the drought this year, winning farmers in these counties are able to direct double donations, a total of $5,000.
Greene County was declared a disaster area by the USDA, giving Wessling the opportunity to choose two organizations to receive $2,500 donations. She selected Grand Junction Horizons and the Grand Junction municipal pool.
Grand Junction Horizons is a community involvement group with an emphasis on improving the quality of life for its residents. The final decision on how to best use the donation is still being determined. Currently there is a "wish list" of numerous items that may be appropriate to fund using these donations. Some of these include new street signage, repairing of the sidewalks, welcome banners, or to help continue with current projects.
"I am part of Grand Junction Horizons," said Wessling. "The organization means so much to me and I'm glad I can give back."
This year the Monsanto Fund will invest nearly $6 million in rural America through Grow Communities, which includes double donations for counties impacted by the historic drought.
In Iowa $495,000 is being given across 99 counties.
America's Farmers Grow Communities is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to partner with farmers in helping them positively impact their communities. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to strengthen rural America.
For a complete list of Grow Communities winners and more program information please visit growcommunities.com. - Jefferson Herald
Vickie and Tim Robbins or rural Scranton have been chosen as the recipients of the Greene County Community "Impact" Award. The award was established to recognize as individual or individuals whose activities have an easily recognized impact upon Greene County residents.
This is the fourth year the award has been presented. The award was created in 2010 and those honored include Lawrence Geisler, The Town and Country Band, and Carson Griffith.
Jan Christian, a spokesperson for the "Impact" Award committee, said "Vickie and Tim have been leaders in Greene County for years, and it is only fitting that they have been selected for this award. They have served the school children, 4-H, and agriculture community for years and it is time to honor them for their tireless efforts."
The Robbins have hosted fourth graders from all Greene County schools at their farm north of Scranton for the yearly "Ag in the Classroom" day.
Over more than 15 years it is estimated that 1700 youngsters have participated. Actually the Robbins aren't sure just how many years it's been, but it is between 16 and 19.
At the Robbins farm the fourth graders learn about animal care, farm safety, crop production, horticulture and even ag business loans. History of Iowa agriculture and fun trivia are also a part of the trip.
The Robbins nomination concluded with this statement: "Their hard work and dedication that every fourth grade child in Greene County has an opportunity to spend a day on a working farm and to learn the importance of agriculture in his or her life, particularly the source of food, is a wonderful educational project."
Vickie and Tim will be honored Sunday, May 5, at the Greene County Courthouse rotunda with a public reception at 3 pm. A presentation of the award will be made after a short program. All friends and family are invited to attend. -The Scranton Journal
New Way Trucks, a subsidiary of Scranton Manufacturing, and a premier manufacturer of refuse truck bodies in the U.S., has joined forces with DHAPSA Corporation, one of Mexico's foremost manufacturers of commercial vehicle superstructures. The joint venture will produce New Way brand Cobra, Viper and Diamondback refuse bodies to Mexico, Central America, and South American markets and will continue New Way's growth into new markets around the globe.
DHAPSA is a leading manufacturer of superstructures for many types of industries in Mexico including truck-mounted cranes, ambulances, and armored vehicles of all types and sizes. They have alliances with several USA-based companies including Altec and Navistar Defense. DHAPSA is a market leader in all of their chosen markets.
"Currently, manufacturers or refuse truck bodies in Mexico have maintained a poor standard and customers need better products at better prices. This is what we intend to accomplish with this joint venture for Mexico and other export markets," says Xavier Merino, DHAPSA CEO.
"All of us at Scranton Manufacturing are excited about our joint venture with DHAPSA. The joint venture will open doors to business throughout Mexico, Central America, South America, and beyond," says Phil Allen, VP of Sales and Marketing. "The joint venture will not affect New Way's USA workforce and New Way will continue to service our main USA customers from our main facilities in Scranton and Carroll, Iowa, as always."
"The purpose of the joint venture is to enable New Way to increase our export base by having access to high sulfur chassis engines manufactured in Mexico. Mexico and Latin America do not use the same engines that are used in the USA due to environmental emission control requirements," says Mike Dryden, Director of International Sales.
"Many Latin American countries have trade agreements with Mexico and enjoy lower duties than offered to American manufacturers. This will reduce freight costs and lower duties, providing our customers a more cost effective product."
For more information, visit www.newwaytrucks.com. - The Scranton Journal
An association of nearly 30 years ends when Cargill Kitchens Solutions closes its plant in Panora.
The firm announced last October 29 it would be closing its hard-cooked egg facility in Panora and shifting and consolidating production in Big Lake, MN, affecting 55 employees.
One production line at the plant was shut down in February, leaving 20 workers jobless and 35 employed. Plant manager Kirby Klinge said that as of the first week of April the second line was still at full production leaving the plant at 50 percent capacity.
About half of the employees have found new employment, said Klinge, including some who will remain with Cargill elsewhere. Some workers have already left for new employment. Klinge, who has been here since the plant opened in early 1985, will remain with the company in a sales capacity and continue to reside in Panora.
Since the plant closing was announced, Iowa WorkForce Personnel have counseled employees and the firm held a job fair with 12 businesses represented. Workers will receive a severance package.
Equipment and materials will be moved to Minnesota. The plant here also served as a distribution center with products shipped in and out by up to 12 Cargill trucks plus independent truckers.
Kevin Baldwin, maintenance supervisor who's been here since the plant's beginning, will remain on to close down the facility.
Klinge said the building has been shown twice to potential buyers.
"It's been a great relationship," Klinge said, referring to how they've been treated by the city and community.
Cargill Kitchen Solutions is a subsidy of Cargill, Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The plant here opened in 1985 as Heying Foods and later became Heying Foods, a division of Sunnytime, Inc., Cargill acquired the firm in July of 1989 and it became known as Sunny Fresh Foods. The name was changed to Cargill Kitchen Solutions in September, 2007. - Guthrie County Vedette
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