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Sarah Gomez


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:

"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 »


Ann Wilson, Carroll Daily Times Herald co-owner and general manager, and co-owner of The Bee and Herald in Jefferson was honored as Citizen of the Year by the Carroll Chamber of Commerce at their annual dinner meeting January 28.

She joins her brother, newspaper publisher James B. Wilson, and their late father, James W. Wilson, as recipients of the award. Ann Wilson is the 50th person and only the fourth woman to receive the award, which recognizes a combination of local, statewide, and national civic involvement.

The award was presented by former Carroll mayor Jim Pedelty (pictured, right), winner of the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award.

Pedelty provided a lengthy list of Wilson's accomplishments including service as Carroll-area representative on the Heartland Area Education Agency since 1985, with terms as president and vice president; serving as president of the statewide Friends of Iowa Public Television; serving as president of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation; chairing the City of Carroll's visioning committee; serving as secretary of West Central Iowa Habitat for Humanity; and serving as the first female president of the Carroll Country Club. She is also a recipient of the Iowa Newspaper Association's Master Editor-Publisher Award.

"I treasure my family and the friends I've made along the way," Wilson said in accepting the award. "I'm grateful for the challenges I've met, and the opportunities I've had to work for people and for projects rather than against them."

The Carroll Daily Times Herald, which traces its roots to 1868, received the Heritage Business Award.

Wilson, along with her brother Jim Wilson, her sons Tom and Doug Burns, and her daughter Jane Lawson, purchased the Bee and Herald from longtime publisher Rick Morain last October. -The Jefferson Herald

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Pat Curtis was named 2012 Audubon Citizen of the Year during the County Banquet. Curtis was presented the award by last year's recipient, Lyle Hansen, Jr.

Andrew Hoffman, student at Audubon High School, was named Junior Citizen of the Year. His award was presented by Kristin Foran, representing the Chamber Board of Directors.

The Audubon Community Schools were given special recognition as one of the top small employers in the State of Iowa by the Des Moines Register.

The County Banquet is sponsored by the Audubon Chamber of Commerce and Audubon County Economic Development and is a way to recognize the achievements of the community on an annual basis. Members of both Boards are recognized and the outgoing Chamber President is presented with a plaque. This year's outgoing president is Carrie Hansen, who will be succeeded by Trish Nielsen. A dinner and auction was also held. Proceeds from the event benefit the Audubon Chamber of Commerce. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »


One of the early supporters of the Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County, the Greene County Community Foundation is helping the gardens grow by facilitating investment of money donated in the gardens' current fundraising effort.

The Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County board of directors is setting aside 20 percent of the $400,000 fundraising goal for maintenance of the gardens planned for the southwest corner of Lincolnway and S. Chestnut Street.

Through the Community Foundations, the 20 percent will be invested by Greater Des Moines Foundation, which invests funds raised by many local Iowa community foundations.

"This allows us to really 'grow our money', said John Turpin, the gardens' treasurer. "By pooling funds, the Greater Des Moines Foundation maximizes the return on smaller foundations' investments. We certainly appreciate the local foundation's help in facilitating this connection, which also allows persons to donate to the gardens to maximize the deductibility of their gift."

The Greene County Community Foundation awarded the gardens a $20,000 grant in April 2012. That important funding allowed the gardens to purchase the bronze statue of a seated Thomas Jefferson reading the Declaration of Independence. A portion of the grant was also used for design of the gardens, Turpin said. -Jefferson Herald Read more »


SWCC Presents the Affordable Care Act: Impact on Business seminar, Friday, February 22 at the SWCC Technical Center from 1 to 3 pm, in Room 122. SWCC is located at 1501 West Townline in Creston. Cost is $50 per person, payable in advance. Payable to: ECI, 215 N. Elm, Creston, IA 50801 Read more »


Casey Mutual Telephone Company made donations this month to two very worthy causes. The Casey Historical Society received a check for $2,000.00, as did the Casey Library. Both donations were presented by John Breining, general manager. -Adair News Read more »


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
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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 »

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