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Sarah Gomez


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.
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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. Read more »

Success Stories


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 Read more »


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 Read more »


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 Read more »


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 Read more »

Success Stories


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 Read more »


In an effort to finish the interior of the new community building at the Guthrie County Fairgrounds in Guthrie Center, the fair board has scheduled a series of fund raisers.

Suppers called "Thursday Night Therapy" will be served from 5:30 to 8 pm at the old fairgrounds community building. Suppers are planned on the May 22nd and June 25th.

The fair board has a goal of raising over $150,000 to complete the new building which needs heating and air conditioning, insulation, electrical wiring and lights. drywall, suspended ceiling, painting and woodwork.

Local organizations, businesses, families and individuals are encouraged to Adopt-a-Project, such as a furnace for $1500. Three are needed.
To make a contribution, Adopt-a-Project, or for more information contact one of the Fair Board directors or officers. Read more »


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 Read more »


Des Moines, IA – May 2, 2014: The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) honored economic development organizations from Ames, Dubuque, the Quad Cities, Spencer and Stuart during the SMART Economic Development Conference held in Des Moines on May 1.

The PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards Program recognizes the outstanding efforts of local and regional economic development initiatives in supporting growth and expansion of existing Iowa companies. Receiving awards for their support of BRE in 2013 were:

BRE Overall Program: Greater Dubuque Development Corporation
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Ames Economic Development Commission

Single Project: Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation
– Polaris Industries Expansion Expansion
Midwest Partnership Economic Development Corporation
– Scranton Manufacturing Co., Inc.

“Supporting Iowa’s existing industry is a key priority for PDI’s membership,” stated Stacie LoVan, PDI President. “The BRE Awards are intended to increase the focus on fostering Iowa business growth by economic development organizations and spotlight BRE programs and projects that have made a significant impact on Iowa communities.”

Founded in 1973, with current membership of over 320, PDI is an organization dedicated to advancing the professionalism of its members through a wide range of programs and services. As an association, PDI provides professional training that helps its members do a better job for their community. PDI creates an atmosphere of support and offers an instant network of seasoned experts for local professionals to seek advice and support.

Learn more about PDI at, and .
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Success Stories


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 Read more »


As the weather becomes warmer, interest in the BACooN Ride June 28 is sizzling. Over 1500 riders have signed up. Commemorative stainless steel pint glasses were offered to the first 2000 riders and only 500 remain. To become a participant, visit to register.

"The ride captures everything riders are looking for," says Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. "Fun people, 71 miles of flat trails, a looped route, overnight camping in Waukee, and the sizzle of bacon specialty foods. People are hungry for a ride like this."

Riders will received a tshirt, bacon wristband, and a passPORK gaining them access to events and free food along the trail. Brooks Reynolds, Chief Bacon Officer from the Iowa Bacon Board and events organizer describes the food offerings as "everything from BLT sliders to Bacon Ice Cream treats. We like to think of this as the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival that moves."

The communities of Waukee, Adel, Redfield, Linden, Panora, Yale, Herndon, Minburn, Jamaica, Perry and Dallas Center are getting ready for the big ride. "These towns understand the impact of bicycling," says TJ Juskiewicz, director of RAGBRAI. "Riders will be coming back all summer because of this ride."

Registration is $45 per rider and will increase after May 1 to $55 and June 1 to $60 without merchandise. There will be no day of ride registration. -Guthrie County Vedette Read more »


Earth Day was celebrated near Coon Rapids with the groundbreaking ceremony for Whiterock Conservancy's $4.8 million state-of-the-art backcountry trail system.

The 35 mile trail will give visitors the opportunity to experience being surrounded by nature. Winding through the seven square miles of Whiterock Conservancy, visitors will be taken to oak savanna and prairie restoration areas, forests, ponds, stunning vistas, pastures and sustainably farmed land in the Middle Raccoon River Valley.

"We could not think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than marking the start of construction for a trail that will allow many, many more Iowans to experience the beautiful natural landscape Whiterock was created to protect," said Conrad Kramer, executive director.

"Whiterock works every day to protect and improve this special land, but being able to have students from Coon Rapids-Bayard School and volunteers help plant trees the same day was the perfect complement to the groundbreaking."

Adding to packed aggregate trails already at Whiterock, this sustainable designed dirt trail will bring the total number of miles available to walkers and runners to 40.

For the first time, 16 miles of single track trails specially designed for mountain bikers will be added. An additional 7 miles and an open pasture ride will be constructed to specifically serve equestrians. The remaining miles will be double track trail offering some of the best vistas in Iowa and will be open to all trail users including those with mobility restrictions who can use rented low power vehicles to venture deep into the wilderness.

Other improvements being made as part of the trail system are a new horse RV campground, new hike/bike in wilderness campsites, new interpretive signs and nature viewing blinds, and the renovation of the Burr Oak Visitor Center to provide additional meeting and event space. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

Success Stories


Plans for the 2014 Bell Tower Festival and this year’s logo were unveiled by Greene County Chamber and Development Monday. The 2014 festival, June 13-14, is being promoted as a celebration for and of the entire county.

“Welcome to Iowa’s Emerald County” plays off the festival’s 35th anniversary. As a 25th anniversary is a silver anniversary and a 50th anniversary is a golden anniversary, a 35th anniversary is a jade or emerald anniversary, Chamber executive director for tourism and events Chris Henning explained. Emerald is a word play with green, making Greene County Iowa’s “Emerald County.”

Incorporating the phrase “There’s no place like home,” as a nod to Greene County’s designation as the first Home Base Iowa community, the festival will have a Wizard of Oz flavor. The logo includes a yellow brick road leading to the bell tower.

The logo was designed by 2004 Jefferson-Scranton graduate Krystal Berger. It includes the Scranton water tower, a church, houses, barns, grain bins and wind turbines. The color version of the logo features the bell tower in green, and Henning hinted that the tower may be seen as green during the festival.

Many festival favorites will return this year including a pork barbecue Friday night, a parade Saturday morning, and the Bill Riley Talent Search Saturday evening. The Beverage Garden will feature music by Burnin’ Sensations Friday evening and Big Time Grain Co. Saturday evening.

BTF committeeSeveral Bell Tower Festival steering committee members were on hand for the unveiling of the logo. Present were (from left) Chris Henning, Ces Brunow, Angie Pedersen, Michael Cooley, Chamber administrative assistant Brandon Gustoff, Adam Pedersen and Harry Ahrenholtz. Dorothy Gale of Kansas made a surprise visit as well.

As a new theme-based treat, the Sierra Community Theatre has arranged for matinees of the digitally re-mastered 75th anniversary release of “The Wizard of Oz” on the big screen June 13, 14 and 15.

Updates on Bell Tower Festival planning and events are available by clicking on the ad/line on GreeneCountyNewsOnline (, at, on Facebook pages Greene County Chamber & Development and All Greene, and by calling the Chamber at 515-386-2436.
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Mark Lane, vice president of Operations at American Athletic Inc in Jefferson, was one of three featured speakers at the annual meeting of Western Iowa Advantage in Carroll Tuesday evening.

AAI is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and Lane gave information about the organization of the company. “All 60 years have been in Jefferson, and we’re very proud of that,” Lane said.

AAI was purchased by Russell Athletic in 2004. Russell Athletic was purchased by Fruit of the Loom in 2006. Fruit of the Loom is now a subsidiary of Berkshire-Hathaway. Lane explained that AAI makes and sells gymnastics and cheerleading equipment and some gymnasium equipment under the AAI brand.

AAI has provided equipment for more than 240 major gymnastics championships including two Olympics, every Olympics trial since 1976, the National Championships since 1972, the American Cup since 1974, the NCAA championships since 1984, seven Malaysian Games and more. In 2014, AAI will provide equipment for 69 gymnastics events, including the World Championships in Nanning,China.

Under the Spalding brand, AAI manufactures institutional volleyball and basketball equipment like the backboards used at every NCAA tournament game. Spalding has been the official supplier since 2006 of nine consecutive NCAA Final Four tournaments.

Lane spoke of the 2014 men’s tournament, the first time Spalding has been used in all rounds of the tournament. “It’s been a great tournament. The slam dunks, the 3-point shooting, the buzzer beaters in this tournament, the close games, the huge upsets. The one thing that hopefully went unnoticed is that we were there for the whole thing, and that’s according to plan. We don’t want you to notice us. If you noticed us, we probably did something wrong. And when we do something wrong, the athlete’s game suffers. Our goal is to have every athlete play to the best of their ability… Athletes should be limited by their ability, not by the equipment. That’s why we do what we do.”

Spalding has also been a supplier to the NBA D-League since 2008, the NBA since 2009, including six consecutive All-Star games, and the WNBA since 2010. Spalding equipment has been used at more than 22,000 NBA, NBA D-League and WNBA games.

Athletes like the Darth Vader look of the Carbontek pads, Lane said.
Athletes like the Darth Vader look of the Carbontek pads, Lane said.

Lane also introduced the company’s newest product, Carbontek® shoulder pads under the Russell Athletic brand. He said they’re more than shoulder pads, but are “upper body protection system.” “The materials are unlike anything that’s ever been used before for shoulder pads before,” Lane said.

He said a protection vest is the core of the product. It uses an automotive foam that disperses 30 percent more energy than what is used in other shoulder pads. The foam is covered by a compression fabric that holds the vest tightly to the athlete’s upper body. Over that is an aerospace carbon fiber exoskeleton that disperses energy even more. “It’s unlike any product that anybody has ever tried,” he said.

The Carbontek shoulder pads are less than half the weight of other shoulder pads and have increased ventilation and moisture management. The pads do not absorb perspiration, so they’re the same light weight at the end of the game as at the beginning. “It may not sound like a lot, but you go out and play a game of football, and it makes a big difference,” Lane said.

The Carbontek pads are more odor and bacteria resistant than other pads, and have better impact dispersion. Lane explained that because the vest fits an athlete tightly, he has better range of motion and doesn’t feel a need to adjust his pads after every play. A final bonus is that by removing the exoskeleton, the pads are machine washable and dryable.

Lane said the Carbontek pads are in production in Jefferson. Russell is now taking orders and AAI is ramping up production. Last week 80 sets were constructed, and the company is looking for good growth. Five new employees have already been added to build the pads. “We’re excited about it…. We’re fired up that out of 33,000 employees (Fruit of the Loom, worldwide), they picked the 107 in Jefferson.”

“We’re fiercely proud of our brands and we’re proud of the fact that we’re making them. But the thing that we’re most proud about is that they’re made in Small Town, Iowa. That’s what we’re most proud of… We want you to be proud of these brands, too. These are your brands, too. They’re not just ours. They belong to Iowa,” Lane said.

Other speakers at the event were Keith Kerkhoff of Templeton Rye and Allan Petersen of Danish Countryside Vines and Wines.

Western Iowa Advantage is a collaborative effort of economic development officials in Greene, Adair, Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Guthrie, Ida and Sac Counties. The consortium’s mission is to work cooperatively in an effort to effectively market the many viable economic assets of this region to help build a stronger local, regional and statewide economy. Read more »


The Guthrie County Arts Council (GCAC) recently announced details for its third annual Art in the Village festival, to be held 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 14 at the Guthrie County Historical Village in Panora.

"Art in the Village is a fantastic venue for people of all ages to come out and enjoy the handmade art and music on local artisans, all in the beautiful setting of one of the state's best small town historical museums," commented GCAC president Dale Menning.

Along with dozens of artists' booths, the event also features coffee and rolls for breakfast, grilled sandwiches and root beer floats for lunch, and wine tasting and sales all day long by Dale Valley Vineyard, the area's local winery.

Art in the Village also features two of western Iowa's finest bands: Bob Fields and Swing Time, and the King of the Tramps. A mainstay in Omaha, Swing Time, as their name suggests, features some of the finest music from the swing era. Their repertoire of Frank Sinatra and other swing era stars simply must be heard to be appreciated. Their big band sound is second to none. King of the Tramps (KOTT) features leader Todd Partridge, an Auburn native, who has spent the last 15 years on the road honing his chops. KOTT, inspired by the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, and Black Crowes, currently has two original albums, Good People and Wicked Mountain. They play throughout the Midwest, traveling Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado and Iowa.Swing Time will take the stage from 10 am to 1 pm, followed by King of the Tramps from 1 to 4 pm. -Guthrie County Vedette
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Brokers International, Ltd., of Panora recently donated $4,590 to Tori's Angels Foundation. The company's employee charitable giving committee chose Tori's Angels as their focus for the first quarter of 2014 and raised money from fellow employees. Committee fundraisers included a Build Your Own Burrito breakfast, Valentine's Day bake sale, March Madness brackets and tailgate party, and special jeans days. Company employees enjoyed these events while raising money to help children in need.

At receiving the generous check from Brokers International, Tori's Angels' Chairman Bill Ridgley said "All the kids and families we support say thank you in the deepest way possible." The foundation is currently supporting six children with life-threatening illnesses.

Tori's Angels was founded in 2011 after a very successful fundraiser for Tori Heckman of Panora and was named for all the generous community "angels" who supported Tori. The foundation has accepted 11 children to date and pays travel expenses to treatment, as well as medical co-pays and deductibles.

Donations to the foundation can be made at Panora State Bank or Guthrie County state Bank in Panora, MidStates Bank in Harlan, any US Bank, or by credit card on the Tori's Angels Facebook page. Supporters can "like" the Facebook page to receive regular updates on the children. The page has more than 1,500 follower to date.

For more information about Tori's Angels or to request an application for assistance, contact the foundation's chairman, Bill Ridgley, at or 712-249-6423. -The News Gazette Read more »


Save the date for Midwest Partnership's 19th Annual Golf Outing- lots of great new prizes this year including a Hole In One Challenge!

Get your teams together and sign up!

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Bike Trail Tourism – Getting More Out of Your Trail is a conference set for Thursday, April 10 at the Hotel Pattee in Perry. How to capture more economic benefit from our trails is the focus of this conference, said Jim Miller of Waukee, board member of the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) and one of the conference organizers.
“We’re really fortunate to have the RRVT and the High Trestle trail go through our communities here in central Iowa, said Miller. This conference was developed to help towns on the trail get more out of this valuable new community asset. Our primary audience is local leaders of towns on the trail, trying to give them ideas and strategies to get more economic benefit from bike trails.”
The conference begins at 9:00 am with an opening presentation from Michael Gould of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and avid biker, with thoughts on development in each community on the trail and creating more opportunity for bikers to spend money in your town.
Four panels of local and area speakers with expertise in each area have been assembled and will make presentations on the following topics;
(1) Best practices for businesses on the trail, including food, beverage, bike shops, etc, and starting and growing businesses that can capture sales to bike trail users.
(2) Local way-finding; improve local signage to help direct bike users off a trail into a town to local restaurants, bars, bike shops, and other local destinations. Also, how to create loops into your town from the main trail, along with signage, to get more trail users into your town.

(3) Public art on the bike trail, creating more reasons for trail users to visit your town and stop in your town; consider your local assets and how to market them as a bundle of assets.
(4) Best practices using technology – social media, web sites, mobile devices and popular apps, code readers, etc, to announce local events and market your town and the trail.
“We’re really excited to host this conference”, said Jay Hartz, owner and general manager of the Hotel Pattee. “One of our strategies to grow our business is to focus on bike trail users and do all we can to give them a great experience when they eat a meal here or stay overnight with us.”

Conference sponsors are the Center for Towncraft in Perry, a collaboration between Iowa State University Extension & Outreach and the City of Perry, and Common Thread, a consortium of towns on the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail.
Conference registration is $20 per person which includes lunch and all conference materials.
Pre-registration is required by April 7. Please make checks payable to City of Perry

Send your pre-registration to:
City of Perry
Attn: Bike Conf.
PO Box 545, Perry, IA 50220.
For more information contact, Alan Vandehaar, ISU Extension 515-231-6513, or Butch Niebuhr, City of Perry 515-465-2481,
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