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The famous Iowa landmark known as The Freedom Rock may soon be making its appearance in another way: on Iowa license plates. Ray Sorensen II submitted an application to the Iowa Department of Transportation last spring and it was approved.

Before plates will actually be manufactured for distribution, Sorensen must collect 500 paid applications. Anyone who may be interested in purchasing a Freedom Rock license plate will need to submit an application along with $25. For a personalized plate, the fee is $50.

The plates may be displayed on automobiles, motor homes, multipurpose vehicles, three-, four- and five-ton trucks, travel trailers, trailers and motorcycles. The annual fee for the plates is $5, due at the time the vehicle owner pays their registration renewal fee.

When Sorensen has obtained 500 paid applications, all will be submitted to the Office of Vehicle Services. The manufacturing and distribution of the new plates will occur approximately six to eight weeks after receipt of the 500 paid applications. The fees for the plates will be deposited into the DOT's Road Use Tax Fund(RUTF). Deadline for submission is February 22. Individuals interested in applying should make checks out to The Freedom Rock and mail to The Freedom Rock, PO Box 97, Greenfield, IA 50849. - Adair County Free Press

NOTE: Applications are available at DoT locations or by contacting MWP's office at 515-523-1262 or Read more »


The Greene County Medical Center board of trustees and its affiliation partner, Iowa Health-Des Moines, announced at their January 17 meeting the hiring of a chief financial officer. Mark VanderLinden will join the medical center in mid-February.

VanderLinden comes from Pekin Memorial Hospital in Pekin, IL, where he served as controller and director of finance since 2009. Prior to his position at Pekin, VanderLinden was at Pella Regional Health Center in Pella.

His success in leading a high performing finance department at Pekin Memorial will prove to be an important asset for Greene County Medical Center as it moves forward. GCMC CEO Carl Behne said "Mark will bring a wealth of financial knowledge to the medical center in a time where we continue to deal with declining reimbursement as well as the many other financial challenges rural hospitals face."

VanderLinden and his wife Wendy have two children, Gavin and Lucy. - The Jefferson Herald Read more »


Marci Schreck of Guthrie Center was appointed as the Guthrie County Treasurer by the Board of Supervisors. She will officially take office on February 4 but is interim treasurer at this time, having served as First Deputy under Marcia Kindred who retired at the first of the year.

Schreck has been employed at the treasurers office almost 19 years, starting as a clerk, She is married to Kevin Schreck and they have two children, Kolton and Kacie. She will serve until the next general election in November 2014. -The News Gazette, Bayard Edition Read more »


Bell Tower of Fame nominations for 2013 are due by 5 pm, Friday, February 15, announces Carole Custer, chair of the selection committee. The award, presented during the annual Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson, honors people who, through their outstanding international, national or state achievements in professional or personal endeavors have brought recognition to Greene County, where they have resided at some point in their life.

Forty-four people are recipients of the Bell Tower of Fame Award. Their names are displayed on wall plaques inside the Mahanay Carillon Tower.

"Over its 33 year history, this award has honored the remarkable accomplishments of people whose lives have been impacted by the experiences of living in Greene County," said Custer. "Greene Countians should feel tremendously proud that the awardees represent many walks of life such as education, journalism, law, music, foreign service, athletics, agriculture, health and medicine, manufacturing, outer space exploration and more," she said.

Criteria for nomination: The nominee must have been a resident of Greene County during some part of his or her life. If the nominee is no longer residing in Greene County, some on-going connection with the county needs to have been maintained. The nominee must possess state, national, and/or international achievements.

Custer noted that the selection committee, made up of past festival chairs, also reviews past years' submissions so nominators are encouraged to update their previously submitted documents for their candidates.

Nomination forms are available online at and at the Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce office, 220 North Chestnut, Jefferson, Iowa.

"Our county should be proud of the number of accomplished people across the nation and world who have Greene County roots," Custer said. -The Scranton Journal Read more »


Agri Drain Corp Heralded as Leader in Water Management Industry
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – January 23, 2013 – Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) says the Guthrie County Agri Drain Corporation has played a vital role in helping generations of farmers manage water and reduce erosion; it is why the Adair company has been named the Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award winner for February.
Agri Drain, founded in 1976, operates an 80,000 square foot manufacturing company and provides jobs for more than 50 people, many of them, longtime employees. The company’s farm tile innovations, erosion control products and drainage systems make them a leader in the industry. “Some of our product lines we can’t keep in stock and because business has been good, we’re shipping products across the nation and even exporting into Canada,” said Kim Wedemeyer, Agri Drain vice president.
Charlie Schafer, President of Agri Drain Corp., says the company is successful because they’ve embraced innovation and evolved to meet farmers’ needs. “Initially, they wanted to get water off their land. Now, we look at fluctuations in rainfall and how to conserve water, so we developed a ‘smart drainage system,’ which allows us to not only remove water off a landscape, but also to hold water in that soil profile when needed, to provide subsurface irrigation on your crops,” said Schafer.
“Today’s responsible Iowa farmers are always looking for new ways to help them maintain the integrity and sustainability of their land, so Agri Drain’s role is an important one for Iowans and farmers. Their work and their contributions to the local business community make them a vital force in Iowa’s manufacturing industry,” said Sandy Ehrig, IFBF economic development administrator.
Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. The next Renew Rural Iowa Business Success Seminar takes place March 5 at Iowa Central Community College in Ft. Dodge. For more information, go to
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About Iowa Farm Bureau
The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life. More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities. For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at
Read more »


Denise Promes, RN, BSN, and clinical nursing supervisor for Greene County Medical Center's Diabetes Education Center, achieved Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) status by successfully completing the Certification Examination for Diabetes Educators.

According to the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, candidates must met rigorous eligibility requirements to be able to take the examination. Achieving the certification status demonstrates to diabetics and employers that the health care professional possesses distinct and specialized knowledge, thereby promoting quality of care for people with diabetes. Promes is one of 17,400 diabetes educators in the US who hold he CDE certification.

Greene County Medical Center's Diabetes Education Center offers both outpatient and inpatient programs and services for those with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Promes has been an RN at the medical Center for 24 years. - Scranton Journal Read more »


Pat Gerhardt has joined the Jefferson Police Department as an officer effective December 28.

Gerhardt grew up in Algona and graduated from Algona High School in 2008. He graduated from Simpson College last May with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and sociology.

His course of study included a month-long internship with the Kossuth County sheriff's department and a semester as an intern with the Iowa State Patrol Post 1 in Des Moines,

He said that serving in law enforcement has been his chosen career since he was a young boy. "I'm thankful for the opportunity to get started in law enforcement. I think I've found a good place to start and maybe even stay," Gerhard said. -The Bee Read more »


Kramer Cafe opened last Friday, using rented chairs and with no plates, due to shipping problems. They have rented tables and are open for business anyway. For now hey have limited hours and a limited menu of lunches, and Friday and Saturday night supers. They are planning to have breakfast, Sunday brunches, and plate lunch specials in the future. They have a beer and wine bar, and all food can be prepared to go.

Becky Kramer said they saw a need, so built the building and are now in business. She and husband Brad Kramer operate the cafe and have hired Julie Breda of Macksburg to help out.

"Everyone loves the onion rings." Becky said, explaining that they are homemade, and customers are asking for them. The cafe is located on East First Street in Orient. -Adair County Free Press Read more »


The Iowa Egg Council is looking for the best, most delicious recipes from cooks across the state as they kick of their "Incredibly Good Eggs" cooking contest. Three divisions make up the contest: adults age 18 and up; culinary students enrolled in a formal culinary arts program and students in grades 6-12. One winner from each division will be awarded an iPad Mini for first prize, a KitchenAid Mixer for second prize or a $250 Kitchen COllage gift card for third.

Contestants may enter two recipes which can include party foods or drinks, breakfast entrees, main dishes, side dishes, snacks or desserts. All recipes must be original and contain at least four eggs (in the form of whole eggs, yolks or whites: and no more than 12 ingredients total.

All contest entries must be received by Friday, March 1 at 5 pm. To enter, visit for a downloadable entry form and complete list of rules, or call 877- IOWAEGG for mailed contest information. Contact Lois White, director of consumer affairs, 515-727-4701, ext 11, or email Read more »


New Committee Members needed for the 2013 Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson, including: Plaza Stage entertainment chair and co-chair; Beverage Gardens chair; Logistics chair and co-chair; and anyone who wants to volunteer in a non-leadership role.

Contact the Greene County Chamber and Development event and tourism director Barb Walker at 515-386-2155 or Read more »


The Audubon County Loan Closet, a resource for those needing medical products to help with recovery from an illness or injury, has moved to 413 Market Street in Audubon, across from the Audubon State Bank Drive-Thru.

The Loan Closet, once affiliated with the American Cancer society, now stands alone and is available to any Audubon County resident in need.

Staffed primarily by Sue Barnes and Anna Elmquist, the Loan Closet has commodes, walkers, wheels chairs, canes, grabbers, shower chairs, and the like, which are available for loan for as long as a personal need exists for them.

The closet operates by volunteer hours and donations. Barnes said that "good, used equipment" can be donated and monetary donations are welcome.

Elmquist added that returning the pieces is also an important part of keeping the Loan Closet open. "Most of our products have a sticker or a label on them saying they are from the Loan Closet," she said. "So if you have an elderly relative who has passed, or if they have a commode or walker or wheelchair that they no longer use, check to see if it has one of our stickers. We see alot of our items end up on auctions and such."

To volunteer at the Loan Closet, to make a donation, or if you are in need of medical supplied available at the closet, contact Barnes at 563-4472. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »


Region XII COG has been awarded $607,050.97 from the Economic Development Administration to provide loans to businesses in its service area that create jobs. This award is the third that EDA has made to the COG since 1995.

"An injection of additional funds means that we can expand our program and assist even more businesses with their financial need," said Joe Behrens, Local Assistance Director of the COG. "Whether you are an entrepreneur or established company, we now have adequate funds to help you with your expansion or upgrading plans."

Typically coupled with loans from a conventional lenders, the COG's niche is providing funds to good projects when other lenders are unable to do so. Businesses with projects physically in the counties of Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Green, Guthrie and Sac are eligible to apply for a loan from the COG.

Companies that plan on hiring new employees in the next 2-4 years and need capital are encouraged to apply. Firms may apply for up to $20,000 in loan for each new job created, to a maximum of $300,000. Loan rates are constant throughout the term of the loan but vary at time of closing depending on the prime lending rate. Rates are currently below 4%.

Past projects assisted include a value-added agriculture processing facility, metal fabrication and manufacturing, sports training equipment manufacturing, personal services and specialty retail.

Aside from creating jobs in one of the COG's 6 counties, projects must also meet the following:

* Loans cannot exceed 90% of the total project cost and documented that a bank or private lender is otherwise unable to provide the amount loaned

* Business owners must contribute at least 10% in equity.

* The business must be unique to the service area or demonstrate a market niche (i.e. little or no competition with existing businesses and industries)

* Be sponsored by a local economic development group.

Loan applications and information can be received from one of the county economic development offices or by contacting Joe Behrens at Region XII COG, 712-775-7810 or

Since 1995 the COG has made 77 loans totaling over $5.6 million. These loans have leveraged $26.5 million in private investment and have led to the creation of over 750 jobs. -Guthrie Center Times Read more »


Relay teams racing approximately 75 miles will run from downtown Jefferson to downtown Des Moines in what is being billed as the largest event ever held on the Raccoon River Valley Trail in west central Iowa.

The May 11 route will use the full length of the RRVT, as well as the Clive Greenbelt Trail and the trails in the western half of Des Moines. Participation is being limited to 250 relay teams of seven members each, meaning the event will involve about 2,000 runners, and many of them run in crazy costumes. It will also require about 300 volunteers staffing the 17 relay exchange stations between Jefferson and Des Moines, and serving the runners in other ways.

The event is being organized by "Market to Market Relay" company, based in Omaha, in partnership with the RRVT Association. "Market to Market Relay" has organized similar races over a 78-mile course from Omaha to Lincoln in October each of the last five years, with the one earlier this month involving nearly 400 teams and more than 3,000 runners. -Guthrie County Vedette Read more »


With about 60 bird mosaics, part of a group of 435 that are included in the Streetscape Project, ordered but not completed, and additional recent sales, the Audubon City Council talked about what could be done to speed up the process of finishing orders, and whether the final number of mosaics expected to be completed should be lowered during their meeting last Monday. They had hoped that a member of the Streetscape Committee would be on hand at their October 22 meeting to talk about the issue.

The original agreement with artist Clint Hansen, was for the mosaics to be created as ordered and paid for, but Hansen has fallen behind and there are a number of mosaics now paid for, some as memorials, that haven't been completed.

During the October 8 city council meeting, council members discussed the fact that some additional mosaics being sold but no known deadline to get the orders caught up. Councilman John Whetzal said he has spoken with Hansen and said hat he was told that each mosaic took about 40 hours to complete, and that the price of materials used for them had risen. Whetzal indicated part of the delay was the fact that Hansen was working another full time job as well.

Whetzal said he could try asking Hansen what his plans were to catch up the ordered mosaics. The bird mosaics are copies of John James Audubon prints from his book "Birds of America". Some have been installed along the sidewalks of downtown and in the city park, but many spots along the sidewalk remain with brick filler in place, waiting for mosaics to be installed. _Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »


Great things continue to happen in Greene County thanks, in part, to support from the Rotary Club of Jefferson and the proceeds from it's annual Charity Auction and dinner.

Funds from the event have recently benefited the Jefferson Matters: Main Street (JM:MS)program. The club presented $1,500 of the proceeds from the November 2011 fundraiser to JM:MS to help with the program's development as it builds momentum.

The charity auction is another example of the Greene county community working together to the benefit of many. Members of the Rotary Club contact individuals and businesses seeking donations of goods and services for the auction. The donations are put together with other items purchased by the club with cash donations to create a variety of auction packages appealing to families, sports enthusiasts, couples, golfers, etc.

"It wouldn't be impossible to get this all done without the support and assistance of the county," said auction chair Chris Durlam. "They are truly the partners of the Rotary Club in the success of this event. We are happy about that and we hope the donors are too. Each year we've been able to give over $20,000 to worthy projects."

The 2012 Rotary Club charity auction and dinner will be held Friday, November 9. Tickets are now available for the event from Andy Harland at Ace Hardware in Jefferson, phone 515-386-3215 or 515-681-6562. - The Jefferson Herald Read more »


Moments after entering Caleris, a high-tech support firm in Jefferson, Christie Vilsack attached her iPad to a portable keyboard and started asking questions, taking notes about what made the company successful, why the corporate leadership selected Greene and Carroll counties, what can be done to attract more business to the area.

"I'm running for one reason, and that's to make sure that people can continue to live in small towns" said Vilsack, the former Iowa First Lady who is seeking the 4th District Congressional seat of 39 counties, including Greene and Carroll.

Caleris started operations in Manning in 2004, expanded to Jefferson in 2005, Newton in 2007, and has plans to continue workforce growth in Iowa. The company has about 300 employees total, including 50 in Manning and 90 in Jefferson. "Instead of taking the jobs to India, we keep them here," Sheldon Ohringer, Caleris CEO told Vilsack.

Caleris has contracts with a number of tech and internet companies. With rural Iowa employees, the firm can reduce call times and provide much greater customer satisfaction than foreign companies in the field, Ohringer said. "We put up the workforce of rural Iowa to anyone in the country," he said.

He said the company expects to grown by about 150 to 200 people annually, a target expected specifically for 2012.

The starting salary for Caleris employees is $21,000 to $28,000. The education of employees ranges from high school graduate to post-secondary degrees. "These are good jobs," Ohringer said.

Rick Grewell, president of Caleris, said the company's decision to use a former Fareway store in downtown Jefferson has had a major spillover effect for the economy of Jefferson.

"Putting 90 jobs on the square supports every business in the area," Grewell said.

Vilsack says she sees the job of a member of Congress as promoting business development, serving as a "public relations director" for the district. "The role of congressperson is to be talking to somebody like you," she told Ohringer.

Ohringer and Grewell said they support Vilsack in her race with U.S. Rep. Stev King, R- Kiron.

"We're both on your side and poster children for rural America, specifically rural Iowa," Ohringer said. - The Jefferson Herald. Read more »


Dr. Jodie Pettit of Audubon was sworn in as President of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) at its annual meeting in Ames in September.

Dr. Pettit received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine on 2000.

Dr. Pettit is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Society for Theriogenology, Association of Rural Veterinarians, Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association Equine Committee, the Timber Creek Charities Board and the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Advisory Board. Her hobbies include horseback riding, hunting, reading, traveling and enjoying the outdoors.

Dr. Pettit is a partner in the Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic in Audubon.

The IMVA is comprised of 1,500 veterinarians. Its membership includes 83% of the veterinarians in Iowa and from all surrounding states. The mission of the IMVA is to provide a vision and voice through continuing education, publications, legislation and social activities to enhance the veterinary profession, improve animal well-being and defend public health. - Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »


After more than two decades (23 years) of ownership of Morrisson Chevrolet in Stuart, and following the sale of the dealership to Jason Simpson of Waukee, Jerry and Connie Vitzthum's family and friends stopped in to express appreciation to the couple for their years of service in the community on Wednesday, October 10. An unofficial estimate indicated over 100 people attended the impromptu open house. -The Stuart Herald Read more »


Greene County Chamber and Development and Greene County High School are jointly sponsoring a county-wide job fair and business/community awareness event on Monday, October 22. The event will be held at Greene County High School for high school students as well as all members of the community. Many county businesses, groups/organizations, and government entities will have booths throughout the high school.

The event has three primary purposes: to provide students and community members information on our local businesses; civic groups/organizations and government entities; to show the assets local businesses and organizations offer that make Greene County such a positive place to work and live; and to offer available job openings to our local community. Businesses with job openings will speak with students and local residents about those opportunities.

The businesses and organizations will be at booths throughout the high school and distribute promotional and informational materials. The fair will be available only to high school students from 3 to 4 pm and from 4 to 7 pm to all community members.

The Greene County Chamber will have an information booth located just inside the front door of the high school to provide a map of booth locations, businesses offering job openings, and a bag to carry information provided by the businesses and organizations. "This event is an excellent chance to get to know the wide range of businesses available in Greene County and also learn about our civic and community organizations and government entities plus view current job openings," said Ken Paxton, executive director of the Greene County Chamber and Development.

Businesses and organizations that would like to have a free booth at the event can contact the Chamber at 515-386-2155. by October 17. -The Jefferson Herald Read more »


After 23 years of being the owners of Morrison Chevrolet in Stuart, Connie and Jerry Vitzthum have sold the dealership. Effective October 15, 2012, Morrison Chevrolet will be under new management. Connie and Jerry are hoping everyone will stop in and meet the new owner.

For a temporary time, the dealership will continue to operate under the name of Morrison Chevrolet and remain in the current location. However, some time in the future, the name will change and it will be in a new location as soon as construction of the new building is completed.

Owner Jason Simpson is excited about meeting everyone and providing Stuart and the surrounding areas with the same high quality of sales and services Morrison Chevrolet has provided for the past 83 years. He is maintaining Morrison's current staff, and in the future will be staffing additional personnel to help meet the needs of the patrons.

Connie and Jerry will miss seeing the loyal customers that have not only been customers, but friends. They thank everyone that has been in the dealership and a part of their lives. They hope everyone continues to support Jason and the dealership, as owning and operating a business in a small town is not always easy, but very important to the town's survival.

Everyone is encouraged to stop by and give Jerry their farewells, meet the new owner, and show Jason the support that has been given to Jerry and Connie over the years. -The Stuart Herald. Read more »

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