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Sarah Gomez
sgomez@midwestpartnership.com

 

Keep a close eye on that mail and listen to that telemarketer. The region is again gathering workforce data and needs cooperation from businesses and citizens alike for a successful project.

Western Iowa Advantage (WIAD), the region's eight-county economic development marketing consortium, has signed a contract to work with the Iowa Workforce Development's (IWD) Regional Research Bureau to complete a Laborshed employment study for the WIAD region. This study will identify the potential labor force from which WIAD employers and potential employers may draw their employees based upon commuting patterns into the region. The study will assist existing and potential new businesses in better understanding the region's labor force and characteristics regardless of political boundaries.

The Laborshed boundary is based on the place of residence of individuals working in the study area. For the success of this study, IWD has asked employers in the Laborshed area to provide aggregate counts of their employees by ZIP code by place of residence. This reporting will give IWD a good understanding of where each community's workforce resides.

Once that Laborshed area is determines, a confidential household telephone survey will be conducted in those areas. The questions will cover topics such as employment status, wages, benefits, education, and occupation. Survey results were then applied to demographic data to develop a total potential labor force of the Laborshed area as well as estimates for various labor force characteristics.

Laborshed studies have been conducted over the past two decades. Information received through the survey is critical to WIAD's ability to compete for business expansion or relocation. "Cooperation from businesses and individuals in the past provided Western Iowa Advantage with information businesses need, and answering the survey, should you be contacted, is critical," said Rick Hunsaker, a partner in the effort and Executive Director at Region XII COG. "Accurate information is our gateway to more projects, and more projects means more jobs."

Previous results for each county and the entire regional analysis may be found at www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/labsur/index.html, where the 2013 study will be located once it is complete. Those with questions about the Laborshed employment study project may contact IWD's Ryan Murphy at 515-281-7505 or Greene, Guthrie, Adair and Audubon Counties- Chad Schreck at 515-523-1262. -The News Gazette Read more »

 

Tuesday evening the Guthrie County Arts Council signed a check to commission Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, Greenfield, to paint a Freedom Rock in Guthrie County in 2014.

Bubba has pledged to paint a Freedom Rock in each of Iowa's 99 counties with an annual Freedom Tour schedules to promote tourism.

"This is an extremely worthwhile project to honor our vets and promote the arts at the same time," commented GCAC Freedom Rock coordinator Phyllis Wakefield.

However, she added, GCAC does not at this time have the funds available to complete the project.

"We are hopeful organizations and individuals in the county will partner with us to complete the project."

The GCAC gave $1,000 to Sorensen for the commissioning, and will need an additional $4,000 in final payment at completion of the painting.

However, that is not the only expense.

"We need to acquire a large rock fitting for this project," continued Wakefield. "We hope someone will step forward and donate it."

"There will also be significant costs transporting the rock if needed," commented Wakefield.

The GCAC is still open to suggestions for a location of the monument.

Groups or individuals wishing to donate to this project are asked to contact Wakefield at 641-332-2299. -Guthrie County Times Read more »

 

An Arizona man, Patrick J. Peters, is the new CEO at Guthrie County Hospital in Guthrie Center.

The announcement was made by Rodney Carr, acting board chair for the Guthrie County Hospital Board of Trustees. Carr told hospital employees Peters' appointment will be effective July 1.

Carr said "Pat is a seasoned and knowledgeable healthcare professional. We look forward to the experience he will bring to Guthrie County Hospital to assist us in moving out organization to a higher level of performance."

Peters is currently the President/Chief Executive Officer of Mount Graham Medical Center, a 49 bed hospital in Stafford, AZ, a position he has held since 2007. Previously he was CEO at Keokuk County Health Center, a 25 bed critical access hospital in Sigourney, Iowa. His educational background includes a law degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN, a master's degree in Healthcare Administration from Saint Louis University, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Ambrose University in Davenport. He is originally from Solon, Iowa.

Peters and his wife May have one daughter, Maiti, 16.

GCH has been run by committee since the resignation of Gerald Neal in December 2012. -Guthrie Center Times Read more »

 

Flint Hills Resources announced Todd Benton has joined the company's Menlo ethanol facility as plant manager. Benton, who comes to Flint Hills with more than 20 years of industry experience, will oversee plant operations and manage personnel.

Prior to joining Flint Hills Resources, Benton spent 20 years at Aventine Renewable Energy, Inc., in Pekin, IL. in a variety of operations and ethanol production roles.

"Todd is a great addition to Flint Hills Resources," said Sheryl Corrigan, Senior Vice President of Renewables Operations for Flint Hills Resources. "We expect our Menlo operations will continue to excel under Todd's leadership."

Benton holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Eastern Illinois University, and he completed graduate studies in business administration at Bradley University.

Flint Hill Resources, LLC, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining, biofuels and chemicals company. Flint Hill operates ethanol plants in Fairbank, Iowa Falls, Menlo and Shell Rock, Iowa, and Fairmount, Nebraska. - Guthrie County Vedette Read more »

 

Audubon County Memorial Hospital in Audubon, Iowa was recently named one of the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) on the Patient Perspective Index in the country.

The Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals, including Audubon County Memorial Hospital, scored best among critical access hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics' Hospital Strength Index for Patient Perspective Index. The rankings were recently announced by the National Rural Health Association (NHRA). An awards ceremony will beheld during NHRA's Critical Access Hospital Conference in October in Austin, Texas. The Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals have achieved success in one of three key areas of performance:

Quality index: A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank across the five categories of Hospital Compare Process of Care measure.

Patient Perspective Index: A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank on two Hospital Compare HCAHPS measures ("Overall Rating" and "Highly Recommended")

Financial stability index: a rating of hospital performance based on a percentile rank on a set of balance sheet and income statement financial ratios.

"Audubon County Memorial Hospital is proud of the efforts of its physicians and staff who have contributed to our hospital achieving this designation," said Tom Smith, hospital administrator. "Our second straight years as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital means our patients can count on us to deliver the services they need now and in the future."

The National Rural Health Association (NHRA) is a non profit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NHRA membership is made up of 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health. For more information, visit www.RuralHealthWeb.org

iVantage Health Analytics is a privately held healthcare business intelligence and technology company. The company is a leading provider of information products serving an expansive healthcare industry. iVantage Health Analytics integrates divers information with innovative delivery platforms to ensure customers' timely, concise and relevant strategic action. For more information, visit www.iVantagehealth.com. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey visited West Central Cooperative in Hamlin last week to tour the facility and learn more about the operation

West Central Hamlin is a "truck only" asset, driven by truck and rail traffic. The facility was built in 2010 and sits on a 53 acre site.

Roger Fray, Executive Vice President of West Central led the tour. Fray stated "We felt there was a need for investment in this area and the Hamlin location fit the bill. We like how the location relates to the market and we have a lot of opportunity to grow and serve farmers to the west of Hamlin and into Shelby County."

The facility is the first "green field" construction project done by the company since 1956 and has room for expansion. It sits in the center of an 18-mile trainload radius and has a storage capacity of 4.9 million bushels of grain.

Northey asked a number of questions about the facility itself and how business had been for the location, especially coming off a drought year.

Gerald McAfee, location manager, noted that even with last year's bleak harvest, they took in 12-15% more grain than the previous year and are expecting a lot out of the 2013 crop.

"If we have a good non-drought year, it will be fun to see what we can do here," he said.

Members of the West Central Board of Directors and local farmers were invited to join Northey on the tour and had the opportunity to ask the Secretary question. Much of the conversation centered on the grain indemnity fund, the regulatory regimens of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and last year's drought. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

In 2012 Flint Hills Resources Renewables, LLC, directly employed 280 full time employees throughout Iowa and Nebraska and support an additional 661 full time jobs in the region, according to a recent study by Harrah Analytics, an independent subsidiary of Wichita-based Koch Industries, Inc.

Koch companies directly employed more than 47,000 people throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, paying direct compensation and benefits totaling more than $4 billion. Summing direct, indirect and induced jobs, compensation and benefits, the companies support nearly 200,000 American jobs and pay about $411 billion in compensation and benefits.

Flint Hills Resources Renewables buys corn and other goods and services from local farmers and businesses, sells distiller's grains to area livestock operations, and its employees live and work in the community. This combined spending translates to a total of 941 jobs and compensation and benefits paid to employees of nearly $43 million in Iowa and Nebraska, it was determines in the Harrah Analytics study.

Flint Hills Resources, LLC, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining, biofuels and chemicals company. Its subsidiaries market products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, biodiesel, olefins, polymers and intermediate chemicals, as well as base oils and asphalt. Flint Hills Resources operates ethanol plants in Menlo, Fairbank, Iowa Falls and Shell Rock in Iowa, and Fairmont, Nebraska. They maintain a regional office in Ames. The plants have a combines annual capacity of 550 million gallons of ethanol.

Individual facility impacts include: Menlo (51 direct; 181 total), Fairbank (51 direct; 184 total), Iowa Falls (51 direct; 181 total), Shell Rock (50 direct; 177 total), Ames (31 direct; 63 total), and Fairmont, Nebraska (45 direct; 155 total).

Flint Hill Resources is a leading producer of transportation fuels in the upper Midwest and is the largest purchaser of ethanol in Minnesota. Since the mid-90s, it has utilized ethanol and other biofuels in its fuel distribution system. The company has also made equity investments in bioenergy companies, and operates a biodiesel plant near Fort Worth, Texas.

The refining business operates refineries in Alaska (North Pole), Minnesota (Rosemount), and Texas (Corpus Christi), with a combined crude oil processing capacity of nearly 670,000 barrels a day. The petrochemical business includes production facilities in Illinois, Michigan and Texas. The asphalt business produces and markets products in the Midwest and Alaska. A subsidiary owns an interest in a lubricants base oil facility in Louisiana. -The Stuart Herald Read more »

 

Grand Junction Horizons and the Grand Junction municipal pool will now be able to better serve the community, hanks to the support of local farmer Jenny Wessling and America's Farmers Grow Communities.

Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, Grow Communities provides farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. To further support counties declared natural disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to the drought this year, winning farmers in these counties are able to direct double donations, a total of $5,000.

Greene County was declared a disaster area by the USDA, giving Wessling the opportunity to choose two organizations to receive $2,500 donations. She selected Grand Junction Horizons and the Grand Junction municipal pool.

Grand Junction Horizons is a community involvement group with an emphasis on improving the quality of life for its residents. The final decision on how to best use the donation is still being determined. Currently there is a "wish list" of numerous items that may be appropriate to fund using these donations. Some of these include new street signage, repairing of the sidewalks, welcome banners, or to help continue with current projects.

"I am part of Grand Junction Horizons," said Wessling. "The organization means so much to me and I'm glad I can give back."

This year the Monsanto Fund will invest nearly $6 million in rural America through Grow Communities, which includes double donations for counties impacted by the historic drought.

In Iowa $495,000 is being given across 99 counties.

America's Farmers Grow Communities is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to partner with farmers in helping them positively impact their communities. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to strengthen rural America.

For a complete list of Grow Communities winners and more program information please visit growcommunities.com. - Jefferson Herald Read more »

 

An association of nearly 30 years ends when Cargill Kitchens Solutions closes its plant in Panora.

The firm announced last October 29 it would be closing its hard-cooked egg facility in Panora and shifting and consolidating production in Big Lake, MN, affecting 55 employees.

One production line at the plant was shut down in February, leaving 20 workers jobless and 35 employed. Plant manager Kirby Klinge said that as of the first week of April the second line was still at full production leaving the plant at 50 percent capacity.

About half of the employees have found new employment, said Klinge, including some who will remain with Cargill elsewhere. Some workers have already left for new employment. Klinge, who has been here since the plant opened in early 1985, will remain with the company in a sales capacity and continue to reside in Panora.

Since the plant closing was announced, Iowa WorkForce Personnel have counseled employees and the firm held a job fair with 12 businesses represented. Workers will receive a severance package.

Equipment and materials will be moved to Minnesota. The plant here also served as a distribution center with products shipped in and out by up to 12 Cargill trucks plus independent truckers.

Kevin Baldwin, maintenance supervisor who's been here since the plant's beginning, will remain on to close down the facility.

Klinge said the building has been shown twice to potential buyers.

"It's been a great relationship," Klinge said, referring to how they've been treated by the city and community.

Cargill Kitchen Solutions is a subsidy of Cargill, Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The plant here opened in 1985 as Heying Foods and later became Heying Foods, a division of Sunnytime, Inc., Cargill acquired the firm in July of 1989 and it became known as Sunny Fresh Foods. The name was changed to Cargill Kitchen Solutions in September, 2007. - Guthrie County Vedette Read more »

 

New Way Trucks, a subsidiary of Scranton Manufacturing, and a premier manufacturer of refuse truck bodies in the U.S., has joined forces with DHAPSA Corporation, one of Mexico's foremost manufacturers of commercial vehicle superstructures. The joint venture will produce New Way brand Cobra, Viper and Diamondback refuse bodies to Mexico, Central America, and South American markets and will continue New Way's growth into new markets around the globe.

DHAPSA is a leading manufacturer of superstructures for many types of industries in Mexico including truck-mounted cranes, ambulances, and armored vehicles of all types and sizes. They have alliances with several USA-based companies including Altec and Navistar Defense. DHAPSA is a market leader in all of their chosen markets.

"Currently, manufacturers or refuse truck bodies in Mexico have maintained a poor standard and customers need better products at better prices. This is what we intend to accomplish with this joint venture for Mexico and other export markets," says Xavier Merino, DHAPSA CEO.

"All of us at Scranton Manufacturing are excited about our joint venture with DHAPSA. The joint venture will open doors to business throughout Mexico, Central America, South America, and beyond," says Phil Allen, VP of Sales and Marketing. "The joint venture will not affect New Way's USA workforce and New Way will continue to service our main USA customers from our main facilities in Scranton and Carroll, Iowa, as always."

"The purpose of the joint venture is to enable New Way to increase our export base by having access to high sulfur chassis engines manufactured in Mexico. Mexico and Latin America do not use the same engines that are used in the USA due to environmental emission control requirements," says Mike Dryden, Director of International Sales.

"Many Latin American countries have trade agreements with Mexico and enjoy lower duties than offered to American manufacturers. This will reduce freight costs and lower duties, providing our customers a more cost effective product."

For more information, visit www.newwaytrucks.com. - The Scranton Journal Read more »

 

Vickie and Tim Robbins or rural Scranton have been chosen as the recipients of the Greene County Community "Impact" Award. The award was established to recognize as individual or individuals whose activities have an easily recognized impact upon Greene County residents.

This is the fourth year the award has been presented. The award was created in 2010 and those honored include Lawrence Geisler, The Town and Country Band, and Carson Griffith.

Jan Christian, a spokesperson for the "Impact" Award committee, said "Vickie and Tim have been leaders in Greene County for years, and it is only fitting that they have been selected for this award. They have served the school children, 4-H, and agriculture community for years and it is time to honor them for their tireless efforts."

The Robbins have hosted fourth graders from all Greene County schools at their farm north of Scranton for the yearly "Ag in the Classroom" day.

Over more than 15 years it is estimated that 1700 youngsters have participated. Actually the Robbins aren't sure just how many years it's been, but it is between 16 and 19.

At the Robbins farm the fourth graders learn about animal care, farm safety, crop production, horticulture and even ag business loans. History of Iowa agriculture and fun trivia are also a part of the trip.

The Robbins nomination concluded with this statement: "Their hard work and dedication that every fourth grade child in Greene County has an opportunity to spend a day on a working farm and to learn the importance of agriculture in his or her life, particularly the source of food, is a wonderful educational project."

Vickie and Tim will be honored Sunday, May 5, at the Greene County Courthouse rotunda with a public reception at 3 pm. A presentation of the award will be made after a short program. All friends and family are invited to attend. -The Scranton Journal Read more »

 

The Greene County Cattlemen’s Association enjoyed another successful banquet and trophy auction held on March 2 at the Jefferson Elks Lodge. A large crowd enjoyed the delicious steak dinner prepared by the Does before bidding on the trophies in the annual fund raising event.
Mick Towers serves as president of the Cattlemen. Tom Lawton is vice president and Roger Rowles, treasurer. Directors are Pat Fields, Tom Heun, Mike Holden, Steve Kennedy, Doug Lawton, Nick Crouse, Mike Ostendorf and Dave Tipton.
Doug Lawton was honored with the presentation of a jacket in commemoration of 30 years of service to the Cattlemen. His expertise is essential in the planning and staging of the annual banquet.
Special mention was given to the 2013 scholarship winners: Trevor Lawton, Lucas Bravard, Adam Hoskins, Jacob Rasmussen, Chris Rasmussen and Kristen Klockseim. It was noted all of the recipients showed cattle at the 2012 Greene County Fair.
Auctioneers Terry Laughery, Gary Rupiper and Jon Schaben cried the sale of the almost 50 trophies, prints, pies and baskets. Dick St Clair hawked for bids.
Hamilton Redi Mix purchased the Grand Champion 4-H Market Beef trophy for $600. They added $200 for a berry pie baked by Brenda Thorpe to retain the traveling trophy for another year. Peoples Trust and Savings Bank was runner up with $650 spent on items.
Most of the trophies brought $200 - $250.
The Cattlemen shared these highlights for 2012: worked at Beef Quarters at the Iowa State Fair; supported Iowa 4-H Foundation; donated to Paton-Churdan, Jeferson-Scranton and East Greene’s Post Prom parties; helped with 4-H Beef Show, Sale and Weigh-ins; donated to the 4-H foodstand; grilled ribeye steak sandwiches at the Bell Tower Festival; donated to Greene County Extension meetings; donated and grilled hamburgers at the Greene County Fair; donated and grilled hamburgers for students in all three county school systems; cooked for several local bank functions; participated in the Fort Dodge Messenger “Newspapers in Education” program for area schools; provided six $250 scholarships to seniors; donated and cooked for Greene County Medical Center and donated for Iowa Cubs “RBI’s for Ribeyes” promotion.

Read more »

 

Fifty years of community ownership ended March 1 when The New Homestead and Homestead Acres, Guthrie Center, were acquired by a new, non-profit ownership, The Capstone Group. It will partner with Pivotal Health Care which will oversee the day to day management of the operations along with the same local staff the community has come to know over the many years.
Capstone officials said the organization was pleased it was selected to take ownership of The New Homestead and is aware of its outstanding reputation in Guthrie County and beyond. With the strong financial position Capstone brings, and with the operational expertise available from Pivotal, the strong tradition of quality should not only continue, but grow, officials stated. While various transitional changes are anticipated, few if any noticeable changes from the perspectives of residents and their families and friends are expected.
The New Homestead was chartered in 1961 by Dr. Herbert Neff and the original facility was constructed in 1964. Additions later increased capacity to 66 beds. In 2000, Homestead Acres, eight one bedroom assisted living apartments were built. A new $8 million-plus 56,000 sq. ft. nursing and assisted living facility was completed in 2009.
Capstone has a heritage of owning facilities in rural midwestern communities and its focus is local. Mike Michaud, President of Capstone, said, "Our single objective is to be the facility of choice. This drives everything we do. In fact," he continued, "We understand that as a nonprofit, Capstone is not so much the 'owner' of The New Homestead, as it is the steward responsible for operating the property to best meet the public good. Capstone, of course, has to keep an eye on the bottom line to stay in business and to grow, but also stays in tune with the way in which our services and products fulfill our purpose to provide for appropriate care in our market area. This means we'll operate The New Homestead in a manner best for the residents of Guthrie Center and surrounding areas who have need for access to the care and services provided by the facility."
The management company, Pivotal Health Care, brings long-term experience in the senior living industry, managing communities in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri along with other States in the Midwest. Its understanding of senior care is based on many years of working with large and small, single and multi-purpose, nonprofit and for-profit senior health care facilities. Closer to home, Pivotal is the manager of Kennybrook Village - a new continuum of care retirement community in Grimes. Scott Gulledge, CEO of Pivotal Health Care, is excited to work with The New Homestead and has worked with Michaud on many nonprofit facilities. "Mike is a person that I know the staff and community of Guthrie Center will enjoy meeting and working with."
The dedicated New Homestead staff, with an average tenure of 10 years, strives to continually improve the quality of care and the quality of life for the individuals they serve. The New Homestead community offers independent living, assisted living, short-term and long-term health care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and memory care, all in a home-like atmosphere. The New Homestead's professional physical, occupational, and speech therapists work with residents and their families to develop individualized therapy programs as needed on an individual basis. Maradith Janssen continues as administrator. Read more »

 

The Guthrie County and Adair County Emergency Management Agency will host a storm spotter training session in the Menlo Community Building on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 pm. The training session is open to all county responders including fire/EMS, law enforcement, disaster volunteers, communication, public works, and the public. The class is required every two years to be a registered storm spotter with the National Weather Service.

The session usually lasts two hours, providing basic information on the formation of severe weather storms and how they function; what to report, as well as how and where to communicate the information. Following training, individuals may register as a severe storm spotter on the National Weather Service website or at spotter training session. This would enable meteorologists to call and get real time information and to confirm severe weather activity indicated on Doppler radar images in the person's vicinity.

"One person could make the difference in the potential injuries or deaths from a severe storm or tornado," states Robert Kempf, Emergency Management coordinator for both counties. "By being aware of the possibility of severe weather or tornadoes in your area, you can react to rapidly changing weather conditions, and improve the safety of you, your family and your community in such an event. As a trained spotter serving your area and providing the National Weather Service with severe storm reports, meteorologists can correlate your real-time information of storm activity with the data they are receiving by radar," said Kempf.

With accurate ground truth reports along with radar images and other meteorological data available to weather service personnel, the decision can be made whether or not to issue a storm warning to the public.

With timely reports of severe storm activity volunteered by citizens and data from improved technology at the National Weather Service offices, the numbers of injuries and deaths in Iowa from severe weather can be minimized. -The Stuart Herald. Read more »

 

The Iowa Chapter of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (Iowa Chapter ACOFP) re-elected Timothy C. Piearson, D.O., to a two-year term as a trustee to the Board at the recent annual conference and scientific seminar held in Des Moines.

Timothy C. Piearson, D.O., is a 2002 graduate of the Des Moines University, College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. He completed his rotating internship and family practice residency at Davenport Trinity Center. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Osteopathic Family Physicians. He is in private practice at the Adair County Medical Clinic in Greenfield. -The Adair News Read more »

 

Audubon County Tourism is hosting an organizational meeting to bring "The Wall That Heals" to Audubon County Labor Day weekend of this year. Margee Shaffer, Director if the group said "Many volunteers and much planning is needed for this undertaking."

Since 1996, the Wall That Heals has visited more than 350 cities and towns throughout the United States and also has had visited Canada and Ireland, spreading its message to millions. The wall itself is a half scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. and measures approximately 250 feet in length.

The display also includes a traveling museum which is housed in the 53-foot trailer that carries the Wall replica. There is also a 20' by 20' white canvas tent that attaches to the trailer, which serves as an information center.

The display will be set up in Audubon on August 29 and will be open August 30-September 2, with tear-down on September 3. The Wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day while it is in town. The display will coincide with the annual "Audubon County Salutes Its Veterans" event, also held Labor Day weekend and sponsored by Audubon County Tourism. To volunteer or to learn more about this undertaking, Shaffer encourages calls to 712-563-2742. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

Whether it's a gourmet or down home, the hamburger is a staple of most Iowa restaurants. In this year's quest to find the best burger made in the state, the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council are encouraging people to nominate the burger they think is Iowa's Best Burger.

This is the fourth year the two groups are holding the annual contest, which officially kicked off February 15. All nominations must be in the IBIC Office by 5 pm on March 18.

"We're looking for the best burger served in an Iowa restaurant," says Scott Neiss, an Osage cattle farmer who is chairman of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. He says entries need to be 100% beef burgers. "Although burgers are often standard fare, we know from experience that the winners of this contest are well above standard, and serve outstanding burgers. Finding these great burgers depends on Iowans choosing their favorites, and nominating them."

Details about the contest rules and nomination procedures are on the Iowa Beef Industry Council's website, www.iabeef.org. A nomination form can also be found at the Iowa Beef Industry Council's Facebook page, Iowa Beef Council, or test BEEF to 313131 and receive information about submitting a nomination.

The more nominations a burger receives, the better are the chances it will be on the Top Ten list announced in late March. Finalists will received a certificate and be eligible for the secret taste-test of contest judges. The winner will be announced the first week of May to kick off Beef Month.

Last year 4,250 nominations for 212 restaurants were received in the contest. The final winners in the previous years are: 2012-Coon Bowl III, Coon Rapids; 2011- Rusty Duck, Dexter; and 2010- Sac County Cattle Company, Sac City. -The Stuart Herald Read more »

 

A lot of activity has been and is taking place at the former Pizza Hut building across the street from Subway. Luis Huerta and his uncle. Francisco Ayala, are two of the many working to convert the building into a new eatery to be called Los Altos Mexican Restaurant. Huerta is the manager, and said that he likes the friendly people in small towns and counts Greenfield as one of those.

The family has restaurants in Shenandoah, Glenwood, Osceola in Iowa, and Auburn and Nebraska City in Nebraska. These were known as El Portal Mexican Restaurant but now all will be known as Los Altos.

Huerta hopes to have Los Altos open on Sunday, March 3, but definitely on Monday, March 4. The menu features a large variety of authentic Mexican foods, including appetizers, salads and seafood, and will have house specials.

Mexican fare can include ground beef or chicken, and a vegetarian menu is available as well. The restaurant will also serve margaritas and other mixed drinks.

Los Altos will be open seven days a week, Monday 10 am to 9 pm, Tuesday through Thursday 11 am to 9 pm, and Friday through Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm. Carryout will be available, as well as catering services. A lunch menu will be offered from 11 am to 3 pm daily.

Huerta will be moving to town next week with his wife, daughter and son. His father, brother, sister and others will also be moving to Greenfield. They will be looking to hire some local help. His uncle will be moving his family to Greenfield after school is out in the spring. -Adair County Free Press Read more »

 

Greene County Reads, the annual county-wide book discussion, will be held Thursday, March 21. This year's selection is "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom. Copies are available to check out from any of the six public libraries in the county.

County residents are encouraged at attend one of the discussions at the place and time that is most convenient: Churdan at 9 am, Rippey at 2 pm and Scranton at 7 pm.

The discussions will be led by Jan Scharingson, retired East Greene high school English teacher. County librarians have borrowed extra copies of this book from other libraries and urge everyone to get a copy early to have time to read it before the discussion day.

Orphaned while onboard a ship from Ireland, 7 year old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation in Virginia where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, even though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house,where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk. (Source: Amazon.com)

"I think 'The Kitchen House' is a book you won't want to put down once you begin reading it. It is a heart wrenching story of a family and their joys, pains, loyalties and tough decisions. There is a character in the book that each reader will adopt as their own. I am looking forward, once again, to an interesting discussion," said Scharingson.

The annual book discussions are free and open to the public. They are a cooperative project of the Greene County libraries, made possible by funding support from the Greene County Board of Supervisors. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call your local public library. - The Bee Read more »

 

Midwest Partnership recognized Dr. Daryl Olsen, of Audubon County, with the Guy Powell Award for his contributions to the community and organizations he supports at their annual dinner meeting January 24th in Panora.

The Guy Powell Award was established in honor of the late Guy Powell of Greenfield, who served as president of Midwest Partnership EDC board of directors and was an active volunteer in several other community organizations. It is intended to recognize excellence in leadership and passion for economic development in the Midwest Partnership EDC region, taking into account vision, leadership, courage and impact.

Dr. Olsen was nominated by several individuals for his active involvement with Audubon County. He has held numerous offices over the years for local churches and community improvement organizations. Dr. Olsen is a partner of one of Audubon County's most successful and growing businesses, AMVC. He continues to spearhead community improvement projects and shows exceptional support for Audubon's schools.

The family of Guy Powell was also present that the dinner to assist in honoring Dr. Olsen. This is the fourth year the award has recognized the economic development contributions of an individual in the Midwest Partnership EDC region. -The Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

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