News and Updates
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Tyson and Anne Greenwalt have built a business, Carver's Ridge, by engraving anything to make a gift personal. They engrave boulders to make memorials, landscape accents and more.
Jeff and Jamie Hanscom have moved to Fontanelle from Diagonal, and he has opened the Twin Oaks Redemption Center as of Wednesday, August 13. It is located on 5th Street behind the Twin Oaks Custom Log business of Kalvin Edwards. His hours are Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30...
Panora Nursing & Rehab Center offers private rooms and new therapy gym
Something big is coming in terms of 3D printing and there is a Greene County connection. For those unfamiliar with the term, here is a quick run down.
It all starts with a three dimensional model designed on a computer. Once created, the printer's laser molds the image in liquid plastic. The plastic is a spool of filament that gets fed into a hot melting chamber where it is molted and laid down, one layer at a time, to build the object. Since plastic is deposited only where it is needed, 3D printers create no waste and are environmentally friendly. "It can be thought of as a glorified hot glue gun that can make very precise shapes in three dimensions," remarked creator Matthew Fiedler.
Fiedler is a prominent leader in the growing industry of 3D printing. A 1994 graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School, he is the son of Richard and Lenore Fiedler, who reside on a farm south of Scranton.
Since a young age, the engineer has been intrigued in how things are made and what makes them work. The graduate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha first became interested in 3D printing in college. Years later, he and fellow co-founder Samantha Snabes became interested in developing a new way to recycle plastic and use it as a raw material to "print" new and useful products for consumption.
After discovering there was not a 3D machine available large enough to do what they needed, the pair decided to make one themselves. Together they founded re:3D, a social enterprise company focused on an industrial quality 3D printer called the Gigabot.
"We aim to essentially democratize manufacturing by giving more people access to 3D printing technology thus allowing them to have what amounts to a personal factory in their house or business," explained Fiedler.
Their machine, the Gigabot, can create objects up to 24" x 24" x 24" in size, about 30 times larger that a standard 3D printer on the consumer market. The Gigabot is made in the USA and it constructed with a rigid aluminum frame. The machine can work with a dozen different FDA approved plastics to build intricate creations. The company has sold their printer in 23 countries around the world and throughout the United States.
"It's amazing to see that 3D printers are used in all industries and segments of society," said Fiedler.
The Gigabot is used by small, medium and large businesses to create prototypes of new products before they hit the stores. A Houston public library installed a printer in their library for patrons to use. Artists, architects and inventors like the Gigabot because they can create new, unique and interesting concepts straight from their imagination.
Fiedler and his coworkers plan to continue developing the Gigabot by adding new features and capabilities this year. They are excited to focus on creating technology to recycle plastic into new feedstock material for the printer, leading to endless printing possibilities at low cost to machine owners.
"We are very thankful for all the opportunities we have been given to bring this exciting and truly wonderful and unique technology to people who could not previously afford it. We are also committed to the community we serve and will soon be announcing our give-away program where we donate one free Gigabot printer for every 100 that we sell. To sign up for the giveaway and to learn more about the Gigabot printer and re:3D, see our website www.re:3D.org." -The Scranton Journal
Tourism-related entities in Iowa have until August 4 to apply for grants available through the Iowa Tourism Grant program. Administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Tourism Office, the grants provide financial assistance with marketing initiatives, meetings, events and professional development efforts.
Complete details about the program, including its administrative rules, can be found in the Industry Information section of traveliowa.com.
“The Iowa Tourism Office is committed to providing grant programs that help our partners create and execute efforts that strengthen Iowa’s travel industry and grow the local and state economies,” said Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Tourism Office.
Eligible applicants are tourism-related entities based in Iowa. Applicants must demonstrate a 25% cash match of the grant amount. The project must be completed in fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). The minimum grant amount is $500 and the maximum grant amount is $5,000 per application.
Of the approximately $250,000 in funds available, $100,000 will be dedicated to marketing Vision Iowa projects. All Vision Iowa, Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) and River Enhancement Community Attraction and Tourism (RECAT) recipients are eligible to apply for funds to support marketing activities.
Tourism in Iowa generates more than $7.6 billion in expenditures, employs 64,400 people statewide and generates $328 million in state taxes. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information about Iowa tourism, visit www.traveliowa.com, call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center.
A new resource packed with information about where to go and who to ask in Greene County about many different needs was rolled out last week. The Greene County Community Resource Directory 2014 is now available in hard copy at county libraries, the Greene County Extension office, and New Opportunities. It will soon be available for downloading at the Greene County Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu/greene.
The directory was the work of a subcommittee formed as part of Extension’s Midlife and Beyond program two years ago. One of that project’s goals was to determine how to let people know that they can live in Greene County, regardless of their age, and have what they need.
The 32-page directory has agency names and contact information for providers of services organized behind a table of contents that lists children and family services; child daycare; churches; counseling and substance abuse; disabilities and mental health; education/schools; employment; emergency and crisis numbers; financial; food; county and city offices; housing and transportation; libraries; medical and health; park and recreation; senior services; utilities; veteran services and organizations; and toll free help lines.
Resource directory 1Committee member Pam Olerich (pictured) called the directory “a dynamite resource.” “It’s not intended to be competition to a Yellow Pages directory, but it’s meant to be a companion, something to have at your fingertips,” she said.
Teresa Lansman of New Opportunities was a driving force on the project. Her job makes her a resource person frequently, and she offered input and detailed reviews of the work in progress to make it as usable as possible.
The directory is intended to be updated every two years. To that end, information that changes often, like church schedules, is not included. However, contact information for every church in the county is provided to make it easy to get something like a schedule. The online version has already been updated since the hard copies were printed.
The committee obtained a $500 grant from Community Partnership for Protecting Children to pay for printing of 1,250 copies. It will be provided to newcomers to the county and copies will be available for general use as needed. It is the committee’s hope that the hard copies will be a well-used resource for clergy, caregivers and service providers.
All information in the directory has also been provide to Iowa 2-1-1, a telephone database for health and human services information. Click here to visit the 2-1-1 website to learn more: Iowa 2-1-1
Committee members who compiled the Greene County Community Resource Directory are Olerich, Lansman, Judy Brinker, Ellie Menz, Mollie Scott, Sue Richardson and Michael Cooley.
The Greene County board of supervisors will have as an agenda item next Monday approval of $10,000 funneled through the Greene County Development Corporation (GCDC) for the Scranton Manufacturing expansion project.
Chad Schreck of Midwest Partnership spoke with the supervisors on Monday, reminding them they had previously agreed to help with matching funds for a grant application to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Watershed Protection program for work at Scranton Manufacturing. That grant was not obtained, but the current expansion project did receive funding via a USDA loan and a $250,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). GCDC in applying for the IEDA grant pledged $60,000 in matching funds. Schreck questioned the supervisors’ commitment to assist GCDC with those matching funds.
Ground was broken on the project in late June. The expansion is expected to create 75 new manufacturing jobs.
Supervisor Guy Richardson serves ex officio on the GCDC board. He said that years ago the county had reduced funding to GCDC, and he remembered the board telling GCDC “if a special project comes along, come see us and we’ll talk about it and see what we can come up with. This is exactly that happening.”
The supervisors expect to provide GCDC with $5,000 in additional funding for each of the next two years. The expenditure must be posted on the agenda before it can be approved. The regular annual allocation to GCDC is $47,500.
The money will come from the supervisors’ Dreyfus fund. Louis Dreyfus Commodities LLC at the time it built its Grand Junction ethanol plant pledged to the county $50,000 a year for 18 years in lieu of paying property taxes on the improvements to the property. (Dreyfus pays property taxes only on the land, not the structures.)
According to auditor Jane Heun, the supervisors use about half of the fund each year to support Elderbridge, Habitat for Humanity, congregate meal sites, the Bell Tower Festival, Central Iowa Tourism, ACCESS, libraries, and the like.
Grow Greene County and Wild Rose Entertainment got the green light for a casino and its companion convention facility from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at the Commission’s regular meeting this morning in Burlington. The vote went to the finish, with a 2-2 vote before Commission chair Jeff Lamberti cast the final vote, a “yes.”
WR Casino stacked logo2The Commission voted 3-2 to approve the gaming license for the proposed $40 million facility. About 25 Greene County residents, including almost all the Grow Greene County group, was present. All the Commissioners spoke very highly of the participation of residents in the process. “I feel very pleased and proud of the way you approached it,” Commissioner Carl Heinrich said in his comments, aimed at both supporters and opponents of the application.
Heinrich cast the first vote, a “no” vote. He said he had looked carefully at the data from casino market studies done for the Commission, and that with the negative impact named in the studies, and no advantage to the state (the studies showed little new gaming revenues were likely), he did not support the application.
Dolores Mertz voted second. She said that as an Iowa legislator, she had learned that the political divide in the state is not as much Democrat vs. Republican, but urban vs. rural. “Competition is good for you. It makes you more alert, a better observer of what’s going on,” she said, and then praised Prairie Meadows for improvements already underway. After talking about the benefits of the proposed casino, she added, “Rural Iowa is missing something. Sometimes, can’t rural Iowa have a little piece of the action?”
Mertz said her gut feeling is that a casino in Greene County would be a good thing and she noted the 75 percent approval of the August referendum. She voted “yes.”
Kris Kramer cast the third vote, a “no.” Her comments were brief as she explained that her vote was based on the market studies. She said now is not the time for another casino in Iowa.
Commission member Rich Arnold tied the vote with his “yes” vote. He also made only brief comments, but said that he found the projected negative impact on existing casinos to be minimal.
The approximately 125 persons in the room were silent and alert as Lamberti began his comments. He echoed what other Commission members had said about the quality of the effort and the difficulty of the decision. “We all studied the criteria set forth in Code and in our administrative rules, but we’re also all entitled to judge those criteria and how much weight we put on those, which ones really make a difference for us in making our final decision,” he said. “That’s what’s unique about the system we have in Iowa. There are no magic guidelines that tell us when we should issue a license and when we should deny, and that makes it very difficult on us as individual commissioners. But we all do that. We all study and we all listen. We weigh this against those criteria with one idea in mind, and that is to arrive at the best decision we can, one that we can support, one that we believe is in the best interest of the state of Iowa.”
Lamberti also talked about a “gut feeling.” “I can go back and forth almost day by day in coming to my decision. Quite frankly, as Dolores mentioned, a lot of it comes down to your gut, to what you believe, and in the end if it’s the right decision for the state of Iowa.”
He said he sees a positive economic benefit of a casino in Greene County. He also sees an impact on existing facilities. He said he lives in Ankeny, and he based his decision on optimism about the future of Polk County. ”We’ve had lots of advantages in Polk County, and we have lots of advantages that are going to come in the future. We’ve got significant population growth amongst all of our suburbs. We’ve got some things that are in the works that are quite historic by Iowa standards. Quite frankly we have advantages that other parts of the state don’t have, and quite frankly, I think we’re going to be just fine.”
“I also, being from Polk County, have an interest in making sure that the rural folks get a part of this as well,” he said before saying he wouldn’t draw the decision out any longer.
“I feel confident that the decision we’re going to make is the right decision, though I respect everybody’s decision on this because it is that close of a decision. I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong call on this. We all have to go with what we believe and we’ll make our decision and we’ll move on,” Lamberti said. At that point he cast his “yes” vote. Only about 10 seconds of applause followed, and the Commissioners approved the formal motion with specific criteria Wild Rose Entertainment must meet along the way.
It's a fitting first business venture for the Greenfield Industrial Park. Rasmussen Agricultural Solutions, with a freshly inked land-acquisition agreement with the Community Development Corporation of Greenfield, plans to groom 2.2 acres of the 10 acre park into an 8.400 square feet facility.
"I'm extremely happy to move in and get my own place," said Ryan Rasmussen, president of the operation, which is moving from a leased facility at 521 S.E. Second Street.
Rasmussen,a Pioneer dealer, said the location on the east side of Highway 25 is ideal for shipping and provides some "curbside appeal."
"There are not many locations where you can bring in truck like that," Rasmussen said.
He said construction is already underway and that plans call for a completion date in the late summer or early fall. Rasmussen will announce and open house as the construction proceeds.
"We're using Ryan as a seed and then we're going to build the infrastructure around Ryan," said Tim Foster, president of the development group.
Rasmussen employs two people in addition to himself and hires interns from the local school systems. "In the future, we'll have more," Rasmussen said of the workforce.
He offers a wide variety of seed product.
For his part, Foster said local development officials are aggressively scouting potential neighbors for Rasmussen. "Hopefully, eventually, we will incorporate some more employment," Foster said. -Adair County Free Press
Audubon mayor Sam Kauffman signed a purchase agreement for a property at 408 Market Street, taking another step towards getting the property checked out for contamination, and cleaned up through the Iowa Leaking Underground Storage Fund, during Monday night's Audubon City Council meeting.
During Monday's meeting, when a vote on Resolution 14-03 was tabled, there was a question over whether or not Kauffman could sign the agreement, as Resolution 14-06, which dealt with specific on the purchase price and additional tasks related to closing on the property, had not been voted on. Interim Audubon City Attorney Dave Wiederstein noted that Kauffman could actually go ahead and sign the agreement, because the action would have been covered under Resolution 14-03.
On March 24 he said the council had passed Resolution 14-03, an "order authorizing the acquisition or condemnation, if necessary, of 408 Market Street," including the tasks necessary through closing, and noted a purchase price not to exceed $25,000. "That allowed the mayor and I to take care of everything through closing," he said, and the purchase price was under the maximum of $25,000. "A new Resolution wouldn't have changed anything," he said.
At this point, with a signed purchase agreement, Wiederstein said that the city and the seller would be taking care of pre-closing items, getting the abstract for the property taken care of, and would make sure the title was clean and clear so that hopefully by the end of the month a closing could be held.
The process would then allow the Iowa Underground Storage Tank Fund to assess the contamination and determine if cleanup would be needed.
Wiederstein said the process would probably include cleaning up the tanks at the site, but would not include tearing down the building. The parties who wanted to build the car wash on the site had already agreed to take care of demolishing the building if need be. Work on the site would only include what the funds from the state program will cover.
As the property was taken under a "deed in lieu of condemnation," the city didn't have to file petitions necessary for a regular condemnation, but "if the city wishes to sell the property after the clean up they would first have to offer it back to the seller for $10,000, less expenses," said Wiederstein. He said there have been some questions about the process for selling the property, and that in this case the city is obligated under the law to offer it back to the seller before it could be opened up to the public. -Audubon County Advocate Journal
The City of Menlo is in the process of raising money for new playground equipment in the city park. In the fall of 2013, the playground equipment in the Menlo City Park became damaged, and no longer passed code for safety reasons. Since the school building and playground were demolished, and the city's equipment had to be destroyed, there is no longer a safe place for children to play in Menlo.
The city council has voted to purchase new equipment if funds could be acquired. The city has applied for and received grants from Guthrie County Community Foundation, Alliant Energy Foundation and INS Community Grants. Also several local businesses and organizations have pledged funds or in-kind services to help with the cost of the playground equipment and its installation.
Donations are being accepted to help defray the cost of the playground, with the total cost being approximately $32,600. The plan is to order the equipment in May and have it installed by the end of summer.
For information or to donate funds toward the playground, contact the Menlo City Clerk at 641-524-2411 or firstname.lastname@example.org. - The Stuart Herald
Jefferson Matters: Main Street received awards for reaching the $2 million benchmark in downtown revitalization and for its Play Me Pleez promotion at the 27th Annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration that was held on May 2 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (Iowa Events Center) in downtown Des Moines. Jamie and Cindi Daubendiek, Harry and Carol Ahrenholtz, Marc and Deb McGinn, Lynda Cochran, Amy Roberts, Deb Kucerak and Alan Robinson represented Jefferson Matters: Main Street at the event which was attended by approximately 500 people representing communities from across the state.
Competitive nominations were submitted for 77 projects and activities within the five categories of design, economic restructuring, organization, promotion and overall program. Nineteen were recognized with awards and two received honorable mention.
Jefferson was one of twelve communities recognized at the event for reaching significant benchmarks based on private dollar investments made in the purchase and revitalization of properties within their respective community districts. -The Scranton Journal
The historic Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield has once again taken its place as the "grand lady" of town square. Enabled by REAP funding, its expansive windows, oxidized copper accents and distinctive turret provide the architectural foundation for the three-story brick structure that serves as a landmark destination for culture, art and commerce in southwest Iowa.
The multi-purpose center occupies nearly 30,000 square feet- an entire corner of Greenfield Square. In addition to the restructured opera house auditorium and balcony that seats 240, it provides office space, conference and meeting rooms, guest rooms and a spacious lobby and gallery that showcases art and photography exhibits.
Ed & Eva's (the Warrens' first names) occupies the ground floor retail space, once home to the Warrens' dry goods store. It sells a collection of works by more than 80 Iowa artists, who receive 70 per cent commission from sales. The original dry goods store sign still resides inside Ed & Eva's, which sells pieces varying from metal sculpture and woodwork to handmade jewelry and bar ware.
Originally built in 1896 and put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, a century later and in disrepair the building was gifted to Main Street Greenfield by a private citizen in 1996.
In 2000, the E. E. Warren Opera House Association (EEWOHA) was formed as a non-profit corporation, officially taking the reins for redevelopment of the property. REAP funding was secured through an Historical Resource Development Program grant in 2010.
Iowa REAP funds were used to remove the storefront and restore its copper trim. The original double-hung windows were repaired, restored, and thermally upgraded, using preprinted metal frames that matched the original wood-profile paneling and insulated glass that facilitates higher energy efficiency and stability. The copper and mortar on the parapet was also selectively tuck-pointed and refabricated to match the existing finish, keeping the majority of the copper original on the turret.
"Most of the brick was repointed and it has to be done in a very particular was to meet the historical standards," explained director Ken Sidey.
"The removal and replacement process was carefully orchestrated among mason, copper contractors, roofers and other laborers, since each building component installation had a direct impact on the others. Because sometimes two or three lifts were in use at once, safety for pedestrians and drivers was a top priority," said EEWOHA vice-president Catherine Howe.
Howe explained the impact of REAP funding on the project's success: "As an early funding source during the capital campaign, the REAP grant demonstrated the confidence the State of Iowa had in the realization of the vision for these historic buildings. When potential supporters see evidence there is broad based support within the community in addition to county, state and federal sources, they are willing to make the investment. To know that as a contributor each dollar had the potential to be matched 2 or 3 times, their willingness to commit increased. The potential donor is also convinced of the sponsoring organization's creativity and commitment in securing project funding when the base for support reaches diverse sources."
The restoration project dollars have found their way into the local economy in several ways, Howe said. As required by grant funding, $1.3 million has gone to Greenfield contractors. Additional spending has gone to firms and workers in nearby towns. Local restaurants, lodging and stores have benefited as well.
Along with numerous local and state awards, the Warren Cultural Center was awarded the prestigious National Preservation Honor Award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2013. - The Adair News
Audubon County's Freedom Rock has been unveiled in Kimballton City Park. Ray "Bubba" Sorensen, Greenfield Native and artist, began painting patriotic scenes on a rock, north of Greenfield, a number of years ago. The boulder became known as "The Freedom Rock" and has become a western Iowa tourist attraction. It is repainted each year with a different "thank you" for our veterans to honor their service to our country.
In 2012, Sorensen came up with the idea to paint a Freedom Rocks in each of Iowa's 99 counties and has begun that process, with the completion of Audubon County's Freedom Rock being the 13th rock completed. More than 50 other counties have commissioned Sorensen to do their rocks on a first come, first served basis.
Sorensen started painting in Kimballton on April 1. A Tent was erected around the rock, not only to protect him and the rock from the elements, but also to keep the "suspense."
Sorensen relied on Mike Jensen for information about points of interest within Audubon County, drawing on the different sights the county has available. Wanting to stay away from notable buildings, which he says are likely to change over time, Sorensen narrowed his focus to John James Audubon, Kimballton's Little Mermaid, Albert the Bull, The Tree in the Middle of the Road, The Plow in the Oak and Gray's Heritage Rose Garden. Homage was also paid to the county's law enforcement, fire and rescue departments.
Margee Shaffer, of Audubon County Tourism, said "We are thrilled to have a Freedom Rock in Audubon County. I saw it today and it looks fantastic! We are hoping to have a ceremony for the introduction of the rock very soon." - Audubon County Advocate Journal
As of May 1, a new family will appear on the masthead of the 125 year old Adair County Free Press. The Wilson/Burns family of Carroll, owners of Herald Publishing, has purchased the Free Press from owner Linda Sidey.
"It was time to sell," Sidey said. "I had an offer from an outstanding journalism-oriented family, and they will serve the Free Press readers well."
Sidey has sold the Free Press to a strong family-owned group, just as her husband, Ed Sidey had wanted her to do when the time came. Douglas Burns, vice president for news at Herald Publishing, has great respect for the reputation and history of the Adair County Free Press.
"I can remember reading Hugh Sidey's columns in Time magazine," Burns said. "I know about the Sidey family from my involvement in the Iowa Newspaper Association and from being an Iowan. It's been inspiring to me."
Burns attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and worked in Washington D.C. for four years. He also worked at the Ames Daily Tribune before joining the family business at the Carroll Daily Times Herald. "I worked for Michael Gartner at the Tribune and he spoke highly of the Sideys," Burns said. "I can remember in the mid 90s, driving through Greenfield, I had a sense of awe- this is where the Sideys practice journalism." So he considers it a privilege to now be part of the Free Press himself. "I am humbled that Linda would turn the keys over to us," he said. He will be occupying the editor's seat in Greenfield until a permanent editor can be hired.
"What we want to do is build trust, and we'll work to earn that trust," Burns said. "I'll be spending some time getting to know the community. I am an everyday reporter and columnist- I don't just delegate and oversee. I plan to be in town a lot, attending meetings, doing stories."
Provisions have been made for existing Free Press employees, who will remain largely the same throughout the transition. "Unlike a chain, we don't come in with some boilerplate plan of how a newspaper should be run," Burns said. "We go in and collaborate with the current staff, because we need to build that trust. We value people in the community on the ground. The coin of the realm in community journalism is relationships."
Burns said they plan to retain as many of the treasured elements of the Free Press as possible, including the Old English nameplate and "Years Ago" historical features. He hopes the readers of the Free Press will appreciate the community spirit of Herald Publishing papers. "We've been fierce advocates of community development," Burns said. "We see the newspaper as having a huge role in economic development." Burns is a member of economic development groups in Carroll and Greene County, and plans to bring that experience with him to the Free Press.
In addition to the Free Press, Herald Publishing will also soon be taking over the ownership of the neighboring Fontanelle Observer, which they recently purchased from owner Terry Holub. Burns said the Fontanelle Observer would be maintained as a separate paper, with its own editor and office. Jennifer Eshelman will be the summer managing editor. "We intend to run the papers as distinct operations and preserve their separate identities," Burns said. "There may be some economies of scale, but we know how important the paper is to the readers." -Adair County Free Press
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