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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 »

 

Rural Scranton vineyard owners Dean and Nancy Rogers of John 15 Vineyard are part of an Iowa State University exhibit on display at the Iowa State Fair, August 9 through 19.

The exhibit was first displayed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. June 27-July 1, and July 4-8. Scranton was one of 23 towns featured in the exhibit, which was titled "Transforming Communities: Design in Action." The university was one of 17 land-grant universities selected to be a part of the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The festival celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding land grants.

Teddi Baron of Iowa State University's new services said that the exhibit "uses a blend of advanced, interactive technology and old-fashioned personal conversation to demonstrate techniques and processes designers use to create, innovate, and help transform communities. Two flat screen monitors show a video about more than 50 projects in 30 towns worldwide , demonstrating how Iowa State's collaboration between design and extension impacts communities."

The Rogers were helped by the Small Business Development Center in Fort Dodge. Hosted by Iowa State University, this organization is free to small business owners looking for new ways to develop their business.

Though most Iowa vineyards concentrate on the wine industry, Dean and Nancy knew that wasn't what they wanted. The Small Business Development Center helped them to find other ways to use their grapes, from grape pies to grape candies to jams and jellies. Now, they are a regular at farmer's markets around the area as their business continues to grow and expand.

In addition to being on display at the Iowa State Fair, the exhibit will also be available for viewing at the Farm Progress Show in Boone August 28-30. -The Scranton Journal Read more »

 

AmericInn Stuart has announced its participation with other AmericInn hotels nationwide to support a new program called "Hotels for Heroes", providing free hotel stays for wounded U.S. troops and their families while they are receiving treatment.

The program, which provides AmericInn customers the option of donating their Easy Rewards guest loyalty points to "Hotels for Heroes" was announced earlier this month by government, military, and foundation leaders at a special event in Washington D.C. AmericInn Hotels is a founding partner of the program.

Donations of AmericInn Easy Rewards points, along with donated points from other participating hotel companies, will provide free accommodations to wounded, injured, or ill servicemembers and their families while undergoing treatment at medical centers.

AmericInn customers can donate their rewards points to the "Hotels for Heroes" program by logging into the account and accessing the "redeem" and "donation" tabs, according to the press release.

Focusing on the theme "AmericInn Cares" the company has launched several major initiatives including preparing and shipping thousands of care packages to military troops stationed overseas plus preparing gift items, tote bags, and bicycles for the families of military members. -Stuart Herald Read more »

 

Combining the need for convenience and providing a service to the community, Sarah Brewster plans to fill a need for groceries, home care and personal products by opening the Bell Street Market. Located at the corner of Bell and Main Streets in Yale, in a newly constructed facility, Brewster is eager to showcase the business and welcomes customers to stop in and see what she has to offer.

Brewster will staff the business seven days a week , open Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm, and on Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. The phone number is 641-439-2003.

The coffee will be hot every morning with a breakfast special available. Folks can eat at the tables in the store or they can take their order to go.

Sarah plans to offer a lunch special each day, focusing on deli sandwiches (both warm or cold). Right now she has ham, roast beef, rosemary sage turkey and smoked turkey in the meat case with several selections of cheese available.

Bread makes the sandwich so she offers white, wheat, white sub and specialty breads in addition to wraps and croissants.

Salads are popular during the summer. The menu features three standbys and a daily special.

When the weather is cooler, several varieties of soup will be hot and ready to eat.

She will feature a house blend of coffee and decaf. Coffee latte, chai latte and hot tea will be available. Or for a real treat, fruit smoothies will be served. Pepsi products are available in a fountain.

For folks with a sweet tooth, Brewster will offer a daily dessert. She loves to bake cookies, cupcakes, muffins and cinnamon rolls. Ice cream will be served in sugar or waffle cones or in a cup.

While the deli will bring in customer, Brewster has stocked the shelves with a nice selection of groceries. There are boxes of cereal, snacks, chips, dip, basic baking products, cookies, canned goods, pasta and one-dish meals. Bread and buns are available.

The large cooler has cold milk, soda and beer plus fresh vegetables and fruit. The freezer holds pizza, frozen dinners, ice cream and treats.

Just for fun there are picnic supplies including bug repellent and the makings for smores. She's also picked up a selection of school supplies. One shelf holds home cleaning products and personal care items.

Brewster stresses she has a good selection of groceries and is willing to add products that the customers desire. "We want to have something that people can shop for all their groceries here," said Brewster.

"We have some things cheaper than the local grocery store," she explained. "We're working to provide reasonable prices."

There is historical value to the site so Brewster included that into the planning and decor. The facility was built on the site of the railroad hotel, known as "The Windsor Hotel" that was built around 1890. Later the large wooden building was owned by the Weidmann family and turned into a grocery store and boarding house. She has included items from the original grocery store including the wrapping paper holder and the cash register counter.

Brewster purchased the hotel in 2006. Her parents, Ron and Joyce Brewster, began a complete renovation to make it into a home and bed and breakfast for their daughter.

Neighboring business owner Tom Smith of Smith Tire and Engine located across the street, had hoped to obtain the hotel location so that he could build a tire warehouse there. However, after meeting with the new owner and becoming engaged to her, they decided to move the hotel to his farm a mile north of Yale.

They still have plans to open a bed and breakfast in the hotel building.

Smith built a large building on the hotel site but Sarah convinced him to give her a corner of the facility for a grocery store and deli. She's given up her teaching position in the Perry Schools to begin the new business.

With the installation of a bell, she invites everyone to stop in, get acquainted, enjoy a treat, buy some groceries and ring the bell.

A grand opening for the new business is planned August 17-18, To kick off the event, customers who purchase $10 worth of groceries will receive a ticket for a drawing for prizes. Further details will be available soon. -The News Gazette Read more »

 

Retired Greene County chief deputy sheriff Russ Hoffman has joined Rueters' sales team at its Grand Junction location.

Hoffman served for 28 years before retiring in April 2011. "Rueters is a great company and the opportunity to work here was one I couldn't pass up," Hoffman said.

Born in Carroll County, Russ lives with his wife Connie in rural Scranton.

Rueter's in Grand Junction recently celebrated over 60 years in the business of sales, rentals and service of agricultural and construction equipment. The company has four other Iowa locations- Carroll, Ames, Elkhart and Council Bluffs. Rueter's is an authorized dealer and offers a full line of agricultural equipment, construction equipment, and utility vehicles for Case IH, New Holland, Hyundai, JCB and Kubota. -The Bee Read more »

 

Jefferson Telecom has announced the addition of a new staff member, Mary Jo Koch. Koch has started employment and will be working as a customer service representative/cellular specialist.

Koch will work in the Jefferson Telecom showroom in customer service and also U.S. Cellular sales. Her primary duties include helping customers with all of the product lines including landline telephone, long distance, cable tv, internet, and U.S. Cellular. She will deal directly with customers by establishing accounts, reporting troubles, and finding solutions to customers' needs regarding Jefferson Telecom's products and services.

"Mary Jo's understanding of the importance of customer service was appealing to Jefferson Telecom," noted Jim Daubendieck, general manager. "Mary Jo had over eight years experience working with customers in varying customer service industries and we felt strongly that her background would not only benefit Jefferson Telecom but more importantly our customers."

Before joining Jefferson Telecom, Koch's past experience was in sales and customer service in the finance and insurance industry. She is currently working towards her bachelor's degree. Koch commented "I really enjoy working with the people of Greene County and serving my community. Jefferson Telecom is very community oriented and works hard to serve the people of Greene county." She continued "I knew before I started what a great staff I would get to work with as my husband, Ryan Koch, has been a technician with Jefferson Telecom for seven years."

Mary Jo and Ryan Koch have two girls, Abigail and Sydney. As a family they are very active in sports, either playing or watching games and enjoy camping and spending time with their extended families. -The Bee Read more »

 

Ed & Eva's first trunk show was put on by Sarah McCoy of The Permanent Collection Letterpress and Design Studio. Sarah prints her greeting cards, postcards and wall prints on antique printing presses: one Vandercook press from the 1960s, two Chandler & Prices from 1916 and 1923, and one Heidelberg Windmill from the 1940s.

Sarah grew up in Adel, Iowa, and now lives in Des Moines. She took her first printing class at as a graduate student in graphic design at the University of Iowa where she fell in love with typography. She rolled off her first print in 2001 and hasn't stopped for about a decade now. She guesses she's printed almost a million items in that time. Along with her business, The Permanent Collection, she teaches graphic design at Drake University. She taught full time for five years until 2011 when she resigned and will now be teaching part time.

Despite the age of Facebook and Twitter that we live in, Sarah says the art of letterpress is growing again. She started her business in 2007 and she is happy to report that it has exploded in the last five years. Even after ten years, she's still learning every day, especially about her different ,markets. The Permanent collection has merchandise in about 20 stores nationwide, two of which are in Iowa. She also has a booth at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market a few times in the summer. To see Sarah's products, visit www.thepermanentcollection.net, find her on Facebook or visit her work at Ed & Eva's. -Adair County Free Press Read more »

 

Since its establishment on Main Street 113 years ago, William Paton Library hasn't stopped growing. The library originally began as a one-room building in Paton. Later, the neighboring oil storage warehouse became the library's second room. Now, in 2012, the former Cafe on the Corner will become the library's third addition.

Originally, no addition was planned. In early 2012 Denis and Lora Smalley, then of rural Paton and now of Jefferson, won $2,500 from Kansas City-based Monsanto Seed Company to go to any nonprofit organization of their choosing. After they chose the Paton public library, the Greene County Community Foundation matched that amount, granting the library a total of $5,000.

Paton library director Joleen Allen said that the money went towards more books and furniture for the tween and young adult section. That had previously been located in a small corner of the north building by the children's section. After buying books and furniture, the library board appealed to the city council to add on to the library. "We needed more room for all the new books and furniture," Allen said. The city council approved the addition in late winter 2012. Construction began July 26.

The former new south addition will house adult fiction and nonfiction. IN the rear of the building will be the historical section and a handicap-accessible bathroom. Half of an antique counter, originally part of the cafe, will be remodeled to become a bookshelf. The original library building will be the tween and young adult section. The far north building will be the children's section.

Volunteers have helped prepare the cafe for renovation. The new portion of the library will be outfitted with new windows, doors, floor and ceiling tiles, and drywall instead of the current concrete.

General contractor for the job is Joe McGuire of Gowrie. Total cost for the addition is projected to be about $21,000. Library consultant George Lawson was also hired to design the layout of the addition. His wages were paid for by the State Library of Iowa. -The Jefferson Herald Read more »

 

The potential for business and industry growth in the eight-county Western Iowa Advantage (WIAD) region increased in the three months ending June 30. WIAD partners are working 25 active projects, compared to 23 projects in the first quarter. Active projects are defined as those where a prospect has identified specifications for land and building size, projected employment and a timeline for a decision on a location.

Leads and prospects also increased from 116 to 131 in the second quarter. Leads and prospects are in various stages of communication with WIAD partners, from identification of specific companies to contact, through the stage where companies are exchanging project information.

"WIAD partners have been working diligently to build the list of potential projects," says Rick Hunsaker, executive director for WIAD, "from a marketing standpoint, this is as active as we have been in the five years WIAD has been in existence."

In addition to working with local existing industry to identify opportunities for growth through in-depth interviews and assisting with requests for assistance, WIAD tour the region regularly, visiting business and industry leaders to identify how they can better work together in buyer-supplier relationships.

WIAD also offers local business and community leaders detailed data on employment trends, labor force availability, workforce needs assessment and coming soon, a fringe benefits analysis for the region.

Western Iowa Advantage is an eight-county economic development marketing partnership formed in 2005 among eight counties in west-central Iowa. The primary purpose of the organization is to create awareness among decision makers of companies seeking a location for expansion or relocation. WIAD also promotes the region to potential workers, residents and visitors.

Economic development leaders from Adair, Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, Ida and Sac counties for the core of the partnership, with significant contribution of expertise by investor-owned utilities and other leaders. Region XII Council of Governments serves as the fiscal agent, as well as lead partner for Western Iowa Advantage. -The Adair News Read more »

 

Sid Jones, president of Home State Bank of Jefferson, announces that Katie Leusink is joining the bank staff as a teller.

Leusink, from Sioux Center, graduated this past May from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in animal science .

She and David Hoskins, whom she met at Iowa State University, will be married on December 1, 2012 in her hometown church in Northwest Iowa. They will live at Grand Junction.

Leusink enjoys spending time with her family and working livestock. She has always been very involved in the Sioux County Youth Fair, church activities, and singing.

"I am very proud to be making Greene County my new home and am excited to get involved throughout the community," Leusink said. -The Bee Read more »

 

Stephanie Hammond realized a longtime dream when she opened "crafted", a consignment art boutique, on the north side of the courthouse square in Jefferson in March.

The shop offers art in a variety of media by local artists Dave Popelka, Colleen Clopton, Kathy Hankel, Diane Foster and Denise O'Brien Van, along with birdhouses and walking sticks by her father Ken Bose (Skeeter Creek Fabricators) and Raku pottery by her uncle Mike Bose. Hammond hopes to add her own artwork in the future. "crafted" also has items from 42 photographers and crafters ranging from handmade jewelry to silk wrap skirts and crocheted hanging dish towels.

Along with providing a retail outlet for artists and crafters, Hammond hosts workshops and discussion groups in the back of the store. Projects have included glass fusion, plate painting, cake decorating, tie dye and more. The schedule is available on Facebook.

Hammond worked in human resources for seven years prior to opening "crafted." She earned bachelors of art degrees in anthropology and sociology from the University of Northern Iowa and has done graduate coursework in public history. From the time she was 14 though, she always wanted to open an art boutique. "My family is creative. This shop is something I've always wanted to do," said Hammond.

Stephanie lives in Jefferson with her husband Chris and their daughters, Karis, Ashlyn and Stella.

Summer hours are Monday-Thursday 11 am to 5 pm, Friday 11 am to 3 pm and Saturday 11 am to 4 pm. To get on the email list contact Hammond at crafted.store@gmail.com or call 515-386-3841. -Jefferson Bee Read more »

 

Another change is in store for State Street, as the old Shutters Photography Studio/Haunted House has been purchased by Dina (Holst) Christensen, owner of D. Vision, Inc., a graphics design and visual communications firm which primarily serves the needs of the business community.

Dina, a graduate of Fairfield High School and Valparasio University, worked in graphic design in California before opening her own business, D. Vision, Inc. She previously located her business in Des Moines, Cheyenne, Wyoming and Fort Worth, Texas before she and husband Troy decided to move back to Guthrie Center to be closer to family.

Some of Dina's numerous clients include American Life and Casualty, Broker's International, First National Bank, Iowa Realty, and Wells Fargo Financial.

Her products include corporate logos, stationery, brochures, posters and website templates.

The Christensens are currently restoring the interior of the building to its original brick walls and hardwood floors. Dina hopes to open in her new location sometime after Labor Day. -Guthrie Center Times Read more »

 

Restoration of the patriotic collage mural "Thanks to our Veterans" is underway in Casey. The mural is located in Veterans Park on Antique Country Drive. The project is funded by the City of Casey, Casey Service Club, donations and a grant from Alliant Energy. Pictures in the photo is Ray "Bubba" Sorensen of Greenfield, the original artist, who is commissioned to do all of the restorative work. -Adair News Read more »

 

Esther Fister-Palmer, a member of Jefferson Does Drove No. 196, Benevolent, Patriotic Order of Does of the USA, was installed as the 90th supreme president of the organization June 21 at the national convention held in Sparks, NV.

Fister-Palmer has been a member of the Jefferson drove since 1977. She is the third member of the Jefferson drove to hold the highest office in the national Does.

She will travel extensively during the coming year to state and district meetings of the Does throughout the country. The culmination of the year will be in June 2013, when she will preside over the grand lodge convention in Orlando, FL. At each state or district meeting during the year she will supervise ritual workshops for the members and speak at banquets and public ceremonies about the charitable, benevolent and patriotic activities of the Benevolent Patriotic Order of Does of the USA. - Jefferson Herald Read more »

 

The work on the new Bell Street Market in Yale is ongoing at a feverish pace as owners, Sarah Brewster and Tom Smith, hurry to open the doors for business in early July.

A new building has been constructed on the site of the old hotel. A large portion of the building will be used for storage doe Smith Engine and Tire Service but the northeast section of the building will house a deli, coffee shop and convenience store.

Brewster invites folks to check out the firm on the Fourth of July. Although they may not be open for business folks can see the progress and appreciate the service the Bell Street Market will offer to Yale area residents and guests in the near future. -The News Gazette Read more »

 

Jim Rose, a cellular specialist with Jefferson Telecom, will retire June 29 after 32 years with the company. Rose joined Jefferson Telecom in 1980 when most of the world had not heard of cellular phone, the internet, cable tv, or all of the calling features that are offered to the customer today.

Friends and customers are welcome to stop in the Jefferson Telecom showroom to wise Rose well during his last week.

In 1991 Jefferson Telecom started offering cellular phones and Rose was there from the start, learning the phones, features and plans. He commented "I have enjoyed the challenge of fixing cellular phones when they were not working properly and solving customer problems when they came in. Working with the public and the relationships you form is truly what the business is all about."

The cellular business has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. The trends have changed from the large "brick" phones that only allowed receiving or calling others to small "smart' phones that allow messaging, texting, and surfing the web at a user's fingertips. Jim Daindaubiek, general manager commented "Jim Rose has gained tremendous knowledge in the cellular field over his tenure and will be missed by the company.

Rose plans to stay busy in his retirement with hobbies such as woodworking, furniture building, music and Coon River Records business, photography, camping, biking, rock climbing, and spending time with his wife, Jill and their three grown children, -The Bee

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