News and Updates

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College is not the only route to a financially rewarding career in central and western Iowa as more and more vocations will demand so-called “middle-skills” jobs, technical and craftsman and computer expertise, says Chad Schreck, a Carroll County native and economic-development leader for a cluster of eight counties in Iowa.

The growing business gives a boost to the regional economy.

What is positive youth development? Positive youth development is an approach toward all youth that builds on their assets and their potential and help counter the problems that may affect them. Growing up can be tough for everyone, but young people are far more likely to succeed if they are...

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" -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 “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, call 800.345.IOWA or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center.

Green balloons floated to the north on an Iowa breeze and there were more smiles than bubbles in the champagne served at the ground breaking ceremony for Wild Rose Jefferson Thursday afternoon. About 200 persons were present, standing on rich Iowa soil that until Monday was planted in soybeans....

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.

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, 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.

Three generations of the McLaughlin family joined Lt Governor Kim Reynolds and other dignitaries to break ground on a new 56,000 square foot addition to Scranton Manufacturing at mid-day on Wednesday. The entire Scranton Manufacturing workforce joined in celebrating the expansion and creation of 75...

Greene County Casino Passes 
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.

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 - The Stuart Herald

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

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