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Sid Jones, president of Home State Bank in Jefferson, has announced the hiring of Bob Allen as vice president, business banker.

Allen comes to Home State Bank with over with years of banking experience, emphasizing in ag and commercial lending. A Greene county native, he is a graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School and Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in ag business. Allen is currently active in the community serving as vice president of the Greene County Fair Board, treasurer of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce, and also a member of the Greene County Development Corporation board, Kiwanis board, and Greene County Medical Center finance committee.

Jones states "We have known Bob and his family for many years and could not be more pleased than to have Bob join our Home Sate Bank team in providing financial services to Greene county and the surrounding area."

He and his wife Bridgett live near Churdan on the family farm. They are the parents of three children, Lizzy, Cody and Paisley. Allen enjoys spending time with his family and helping his dad around the farm.

Allen said "I am excited about this new opportunity and look forward to continuing to serve out community." -The Bee Read more »

 

The Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region is pleased to announce the Burger Appliance and Repair in Audubon is approved and accepted for BBB Accreditation. BBB Accreditation is voluntary and businesses must meet and maintain BBB standards. The reliability report for Burger Appliance can be found at www.iowabbb.org. Terrill Burger is the owner of the company. The business offers appliance sales, plumbing, heating, cooling, water conditioning, trenching and backhoe services. The business is located at 411 Market St. in Audubon. The telephone number is 563-2770. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

The 26th annual Main Street Iowa awards celebration was held Friday, May 4, at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veterans' Auditorium in downtown Des Moines. The event was attended by approximately 500 individuals representing communities across the state.

Governor Terry Branstad and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) presented the honors. Main Street Volunteer of the Year awards were presented to 48 individuals, couples and groups who were selected by their community for outstanding dedication and volunteer service benefiting the local Main Street program. The five founding members of Jefferson Matters: Main Street, Chris Henning, Nancy Teusch, Reagan Osborne, Jamie Daubendiek and mayor Craig Berry were recipients of this award for their vision and tenacity in seeing Jefferson Matters: Main Street's application through to its successful acceptance.

In its 26-year history, over two million hours of volunteer time has been logged collectively by local Main Street organizations.

For more information about each Main Street Iowa community and how all Iowa communities can access commercial revitalization assistance through the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, visit www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/community, email mainstreet@iowa.gov or call 515-725-3058. - The Jefferson Herald Read more »

 

A group of local independent business owners and entrepreneurs have selected a new name, Expanding Entrepreneurs (E2). The purpose of E2 is to collaborate on issues important to owners of home-based and other independent one and two-person operations and support each other to enhance business performance.

Regular meetings will be held the second Monday of each month, usually at the Greene County Extension office.

A brainstorming session at an early organizational meeting helped participants define the following areas of interest for Expanding Entrepreneurs: promotion and marketing focusing on effective advertising and cross promotion, networking and relationship building, and creating connections with young entrepreneurs; business start-up, growth and sustainability exploring such areas as identification of foundational needs, mentoring opportunities, and the development of business succession plans; and technical assistance gaining knowledge in increasing business presence, customers and foot traffic, using market studies to identify community needs and fill niche markets, and sources of funding such as grants and loans.

According to Chad Schreck, director of Midwest Partnership EDC "Expanding Entrepreneurs is the first group of its kind in the counties of Adair, Audubon, Greene and Guthrie served by Midwest Partnership EDC organized to meet the unique needs of entrepreneurial businesses by collaboration among themselves in a grass roots effort to raise the levels of expertise of the area's small businesses. Midwest Partnership expects to bring @2's organizational model to independent businesses in these other counties as a means to fuel additional economic development and create jobs."

Lisa Jaskey, a CPA starting an accounting business in Jefferson, said "There are no dues or membership fees to join, and any business owner or entrepreneur is welcome to participate as much or as little as they like. We want this group to be open to any entrepreneur or independent business owner regardless of location. Of course, like any group, the more one puts in, the more one gets out of participating.

Persons who would like more information about E2 can contact the Greene County Extension office at 515-386-2138 or email mcooley@iastate.edu. On Facebook, find "Expanding Entrepreneurs." -The Bee Read more »

 

Renew Energy Maintenance LLC, based in Sioux Falls, SD, has opened an operation in Jefferson to maintain the turbines at the Junction Hilltop wind farm and other turbines across northwest Iowa.

The company was founded in 2009 by Jim Mikel, who has over 25 years experience in the wind and aircraft industry. The company now employs 58 persons, a number Mikel said may grow considerably yet this year, depending on federal tax credits for wind energy production.

The local operations center is located at 610 N. Elm, formerly Jack's Auto Sales. There are three permanent employees, including site manager Ben Holms. Mikel said there will be 10 employees in Jefferson by the end of the year.

Renew Energy Maintenance did the construction at the new Junction Hilltop wind farm. The company does construction, maintenance and gearbox repairs and remanufacturing.

Mikel explained that turbines typically have only a three year manufacturer's warranty. "We step in when the warranties are done. We look to keep turbines going for 20 years," he said. -The Bee Read more »

 

Work continues on the Rippey Wind Energy's 50 MW project covering 3,489 acres in Junction and Washington Townships of Greene County. The project includes 20 2.5 MW Nordex turbines with a height of 100 meters to the hub and a 100 meter blade diameter generating a swept area of almost 2 acres. With blades extended skyward, the total height is 492 feet.

Basically, the higher and longer the blades, the greater the generating capacity. Including Rippey, and two other projects, the parent company, RPM Access LLC, is developing in Iowa in 2012, the combined electrical output should serve the electrical requirements of almost 70,000 homes. RPM Access LLC is headquartered in West Des Moines. The Rippey project will have an approximate cost of $80 million.

The Rippey project construction is well underway, with road construction, laydown areas and substation grading completed in late 2011. In early April 2012, turbine locations were excavated and foundation construction commenced. It is expected that turbine foundation work will be finished in late May to coincide with deliveries of tubular tower sections, blades and nacelles. By the end of July, the wind generators should be erected and then will be subjected to rigorous testing with a substantial completion date of mid September, 2012.

Jim Dimond, Site Developer for Rippey Wind Energy, LLC stated that their principal goals were zero recordable injuries, good landowner relationships, adherence to easement agreements, and on-time completion.

RPMA has worked with Mortenson Construction, the general contractor, and Nordex before and has a close working relationship and knowledge of the critical requirements for a successful build.

Power from the Rippey project has been sold under a long term power purchase arrangement with Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO)for use within its network of 13 rural electric cooperatives serving 58 of Iowa's 99 counties. Wind energy is a unique opportunity for Iowa to source its electrical requirements locally in a way that benefits landowners, counties and the state. Further, this energy is clean and serves to advance our desire for energy independence. Iowa has the highest percentage of its electrical power from wind (18.8 percent in 2011) at the same time it has very competitive consumer electric rates.

Dimond pointed out the extraordinary cooperation of all 38 landowners and the county in bringing this project to fruition. The company identified Tim Healey, County Zoning Administrator; Jane Huen, County Auditor; Wade Weiss, County Engineer; Don Van Gilder, Deputy County Engineer; the Board of Supervisors and Board of Adjustment as being of major assistance in the long four-year lead-up to construction.

For those wishing to track the progress of construction, go to the website http://rpmaccess.com/projects.html. You will need Google Earth. If you point the cursor at the turbine or road entrance, you will see weekly sequential progress photos for each turbine and entrance. - Mary Weaver, Scranton Journal

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Adair County is updating and upgrading its county comprehensive plan this year, according to Matt Wedemeyer, chairman of the county board of supervisors. The current plan, completed in 1998, is to be brought up to date.

Next week on Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, 12 students from the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Iowa State University are presenting a semester's worth of work related to Adair County's plan update process. They will be accompanied by instructor Carlton Basmajian.

The group's presentation exhibit is open to the public at the Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield starting at 3:30 pm on Friday until 8 pm, and on Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. It is to highlight research and analyses of the county's past and present, and showcase ideas for the future.

A dialogue session at the exhibit site is set for 3:30 to 4:45 pm Friday for county and city government officials and for others interested in community development.

Entrance to the exhibit is free. Refreshments will be served and a raffle for prizes is offered for all exhibit visitors. -The Adair News Read more »

 

The Audubon Lions Club and the Audubon Masons have both made donations earmarked for the September 30th Simon Estes Concert celebrating Audubon County Memorial Hospital's 60th Anniversary. In addition, the Exodus Lodge #342 (Exira Masons) is holding an all-you-can-eat breakfast on April 29th at the Elk Horn Town Hall from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm with all the profits being donated towards this event. The Audubon County Hospital Foundation is extremely pleased to partner with these organizations on this endeavor and is very grateful for their support. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor for this event is encouraged to contact Julie Olson at the Foundation office, 563-5295, or Linda Blomme, 563-2545, for more information. General admission tickets will go on sale July 4th with ticket outlets in Audubon, Elk Horn, Exira and Kimballton. -Adair County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

Despite signs of economic recovery, record numbers of Iowa families and across America are currently relying on food assistance. It has been reported that one in eight Americans will receive help in 2012 from local food banks, and among the most needed items are sources of high quality protein.

Rose Acre Farms of Stuart donated more that 51,840 eggs to the Food Bank of Iowa on Thursday, April 12 to help families struggling with food insecurity.

"I appreciate the continued support and generosity of the United Egg Producers and Rose Acre Farms," said Carey Miller, executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa. "We are grateful for this donation of nutritious and protein-rich eggs at a time when the need for food assistance continues to increase."

Rose Acre Farms' efforts are part of a national effort, organized by the United Egg Producers and Feeding America. For the fifth consecutive spring, America's egg farmers are giving families in need a helping hand by donating nearly 10 million fresh eggs. That brings the number of eggs farmers have contributed since 2008 to 60 million- equaling nearly five million dozen.

"Rose Acre Farms is proud to be partnering with the Food Bank of Iowa to provide much-needed protein to the most needy in our community, especially during the Easter holiday season," says Bob Niewedde of Rose Acre Farms.

For food banks across America, high quality sources of protein, such as eggs, are especially need and valued. According to the USDA, one large egg delivers six grams of protein, along with 13 other essential ingredients including choline, folate, iron and zinc. After a review of the nutrient composition of standard large eggs last year, the USDA concluded that the average amount of cholesterol was 14 percent lower, and vitamins D content was 64 percent higher than previously measured.

According to the Food Bank of Iowa, one in eight Iowans are food insecure and over 382,000 Iowans live at or below the poverty level. -Stuart Herald Read more »

 

Threatened with the closing of Jefferson's only movie theater, perhaps as soon as late summer, the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce has plans to "Save the Sierra".

"The Sierra is an important local asset," said Chamber executive director Ken Paxton. "It's a treasure. If it were to close, it would impact the city's longterm plans for more activity in our historic courthouse square area."

The 252-seat theater, one of about 25 in Iowa owned by the Des Moines-based Fridley chain, is located one-half block east of the square, at 212 E. State Street.

Three factors are impacting the Fridley chain's decision about whether to keep the theater open: ticket sales, expensive upgrades in projection and sound equipment and necessary repairs to the Sierra building.

"Fridley has kept ticket prices low here in Jefferson, and we all appreciate that," said Paxton. "Adult tickets are $4, and children 12 and under and senior citizens 60 and older pay $3. Ticket prices at mutliplex Des Moines theaters run $9 for adults and almost $7 for kids and seniors."

"To help the Sierra increase ticket sales, Greene COunty Development Corporation is buying movie tickets in bulk, and distributing them to local merchants, who can pass on the tickets as they choose," said Paxton. "Tickets also will be distributed to local schools to be used as awards for good grades and perfect attendance. Local clubs and churches could consider buying tickets at a bulk discount as well," he said. "They could be handing out the tickets as prizes or awards."

"Americans love movies," Paxton added, "and I think Jeffersonians love the Sierra. Let's keep our theater open. As often as we can, let's all go to the movies!"

In addition to going to the movies more often, local citizens can contribute directly to upgrading the Sierra's equipment by making donations via the Chamber, said Paxton. "Checks made out to the Chamber for the "Save the Sierra" fund are tax-deductible," he said.

"Our goal is to keep the Sierra open," said Alison Meyer, a Fridley regional manager. "Campaigns to keep their theaters open have been successful in other Iowa communities. Theater ticket sales through local Chambers of Commerce have been popular in Ankeny, Pleasant Hill and Grinnell."

The Sierra's summer lineup of films should be a big draw, according to Meyer. The schedule includes "Marvel's The Avengers", which opens May 5; "The Amazing Spider Man", opening July 4; and "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises" opening in mid-July.

Although income from tickets is not significant in paying for theater operations, income from concessions makes up for that, said Sierra manager Dustin Gustoff. "If we sell more tickets, we can sell more popcorn, pop and candy. That income is important to our bottom line."

Increased income would influence whether the chain decides to upgrade analog equipment to digital, a move that must be made because film companies will be making fewer 35mm film prints. "All new movies will be in digital format," said Gustoff. "Only a few will also be prints, and the Sierra would be at the end of the line for obtaining prints."

Converting the Sierra's projection equipment to digital would cost almost $80,000, according to Meyer. That equipment would include a digital projector and the computer console that services it, a digital sound system that could provide surround sound and a new and larger screen.

The new equipment would provide clearer images and better sound, plus 3-D capability, said Gustoff.

The Sierra's building, constructed in 1884, needs $25,000 worth of tuckpointing on its north facade, said Meyer.

The Fridley chain purchased Jefferson's former Iowa Theatre in 1971. A video rental store was constructed in the lower level in 1985 and renovations in the early 2000s included new seats and a larger concession stand.

Movie rentals (now in DVD format) have subsidized the theater's operations, but that business is fading, said Gustoff, thanks to options like cable on-demand films and Netflix, which offers movies streamed over the internet, and Redbox, whose outdoor locations make rentals available 24/7. -Jefferson Herald.

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On the last Saturday of this month, April 28th, there will be the fifth "Happy Birthday" party for John James Audubon in the city park and the Memorial Building. This event offers guests the opportunity to join the whole town in welcoming spring.

Start the day of fun-filled activities with breakfast at the Memorial Building, followed by lunch at the Old Park Hotel, dinner at the Memorial Building, and in between, there will be art displays at Our Savior's Lutheran Church and food and craft vendors in the park. The John James Audubon Cultural Center will hold demonstrations, exhibits and story time for children. Not to be missed is the variety of entertainment on the park stage. You WILL have a great time!

Additionally, sample some of our Iowa hand-crafted wines and beer. This year at the wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverage tasting, we will be having two breweries, the Depot Deli and Lounge, a microbrewery from Shenandoah, and the Norseman Brewing Company which will soon open at the Thirsty Mermaid Brew Cafe in Elk Horn. The Depot Deli will feature "Bill's Bock" popular in Munich, a beautifully thick, dark and smooth beer, and "Whistle Stop Wheat", an American wheat beer, with a clean natural finish. The Norseman Brewing Company was started by Mike Howard and Steve Rold. It will be located up the street from the Danish Windmill and will be bringing a variety of samples to try.

Colleen Oliver will be here again serving Iowa wines from many wineries for you to sample. Her store is called "Iowa Wines and More" located in Harlan. They were a big hit last year. Audubon Foods will be serving wines from Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery in Carroll. A very popular wine, Rhuby Dooby will be featured along with other varieties.

Pink lemonade, pink hot chocolate and homemade root beer will be available at the non-alcoholic tables. This event will be Saturday afternoon from 3 to 5 pm. at the Memorial Building. There will be light hors d'oeuvres including a chocolate fountain with strawberries from Audubon Foods, bagels from our new bakery, Division Street Bakers, meats from Two Palms and Hometown Cafe and more, including door prizes.

Tickets can be obtained in advance from committee members, at the Hometown Cafe or at the door. Children under 7 are free.

The climax to what we anticipate to be a fun-filled day will be a sit-down dinner at the Memorial Building catered by Jan's Catering.

Included in the price of the dinner ticket will be "A Musical Adaptation of Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac". Sand County Songs is a lively hour of music based on Aldo Leopold's famous book, A Sand County Almanac. Songwriter Tim Southwick Johnson gives voice to the chapters of the book using a variety of acoustic instruments including mandolin, guitar, national steel tenor guitar and harmonica.

From thoughtful ballads and beautiful instrumentals to spirited bluegrass and finger style blues, the songs are performed with honesty and a respect for Leopold's vision of a land community. The CD, Sand County Songs was released in January 2012 with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisc.

We can advocate for the environment while enjoying music and learning about the land ethic with a live performance of Sand County Songs. Tickets are now on sale for $15.00 at the Hometown Cafe. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

A new initiative geared to helping emergency responders provide better care to crash victims has been initiated in Guthrie County and across the nation. The Iowa Yellow Dot Program provides vital information about the owners of vehicles in emergency situations.

The Guthrie County Sheriff's Department, Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Management Agency is combining forces to promote the program in this area. They seek to increase awareness of the voluntary program and provide distribution centers and information for interested resident.

Pat Caslow of Panora has instigated the Yellow Dot Program in this area after learning about it in Illinois. She alerted Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright about the program and convinced him to sign on.

"The use of this yellow dot could save your life," stressed Caslow.

Because the first hour following an injury is the most crucial, the Yellow Dot program provides essential personal health information to the emergency responders in order to promptly care for a crash victim. This "Golden Hour" is critical in the treatment of crash victims, and the medical information provided through the program could be a lifesaver.

When a crash occurs, emergency medical first responders such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are immediately dispatched to the scene. These responders usually have the basic information such as the location of the crash and the number of victims. Frequently, minimal personal information is available during this early, most critical time period.

Yellow Dot participants are supplied with a simple, bright yellow decal for their car and a corresponding yellow folder. The decal is placed in a conspicuous and consistent place- in the lower left hand corner of the rear window, driver's side.

The yellow dot signifies that there is a folder in the glove compartment containing the medical information about the motorists: participant's name, close-up photo, emergency contact information, patient's physician information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies and a list of current medications.

Having access to this information allows first responders to make important decisions regarding emergency treatment and can better prepare emergency hospital staff in the receiving room.

The Guthrie County Treasurer's office has the yellow dot information available and will provide it to residents.

At this time, only 10 states have official active programs being deployed at some level: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Virginia. -News Gazette Read more »

 

Through a collaborative effort of Alliant Energy, Casey Service Club, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen and the City of Casey the "Patriotic Collage" mural on Antique Country Drive will be touched up and sealed.

Alliant Energy has awarded the city a $900 Community Grant for the project.

The mural will be restored by the original artist, Ray Sorensen, of Sorensen Studios in Greenfield.

The goal of the project is to teach and honor the struggles, sacrifice and love of country that built the U.S.A. The mural is a constant reminder of the courage needed so not only we Americans, but all of humanity, can have a better quality of life. -The Adair News Read more »

 

Rippey Main Street is looking much different. The former First National Bank, the former Galivan grocery store to the east, the Jay States Drug Store/converted to the Rippey Library, Wes Rittgers Cafe, Roy Brobst Restaurant, or the Brubaker building (depending on the age of the reader), and the former Squeak's restaurant have been torn down and removed.

This demolition is part of re-New Rippey. The next phase will begin during the summer of 2012, when the Rippey Community Room will be built to the west of the former Masonic Lodge, now the Rippey Library.

The remodeling of the lodge building and the demolition were completed through grants and fundraising, and in a cooperative effort with the Friends of Rippey, the Rippey mayor and city council and the Rippey Library board of trustees. The grand opening of the library was in December 2011.

FEH Architectural firm of Des Moines and Sioux City will be completing the draft that will be available for public review and input during May. It is expected the Friends of Rippey will host a meeting to critique the building plan. The bathrooms and kitchen of the current Rippey Library building will be expanded to accommodate up to 125 persons to attend functions within the new community room.

As a part of the Vision Iowa funding that was given to the Friends of Rippey, the building plans must be submitted to the state fire marshal and meet all safety and disability requirements. That process is now beginning.

Grants and additional fundraising may be necessary to complete the building process. Funds have been received from KCCI-TV in Des Moines for the building of a gazebo on the vacant lot where the former bank was located. It is expected that will be built in the summer of 2012 also. Additional information will be provided as the plans are completed. -The Jefferson Herald Read more »

 

To help celebrate the Grand Opening of the restored E.E. Warren Cultural Center, Newscenter 13, WHO-TV in Des Moines featured the historic venue in their newscast. Andy Fales visits with the new executive director and takes you on a great tour of the facility. Click here to see the video ! Read more »

 

Registration time is here!!! Thursday, June 28, 2012 is the date for Midwest Partnership Corporation's 17th Annual Golf Outing. Teams are forming now! Again this year the outing will be at the Lake Panorama National Resort and Conference Center. Read more »

 

West Central Cooperative has received International Year of the Cooperative (IYC) designation by the IYC Secretary of the United Nations. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on the economy, employment generation and social integration.

With the theme of "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World" the IYC seeks to encourage the growth and establishment of cooperatives all over the world. It also encourages individuals, communities and governments to recognize the importance of cooperative businesses.

According to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic vitality and social responsibility." West Central CEO Jeff Stroburg echoed those thoughts, "Cooperatives play an important role in our society, in some ways more so than traditional business models. Cooperatives are stockholder-led organizations truly dedicated to successfully serving our stockholder-customers."

West Central was established as a cooperative in 1933, nearly 80 years ago. Annually members are invited to participate in an annual stockholder meeting. This year's event is scheduled for June 21 and will be held at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

West Central is a farmer owned cooperative with a national and international presence located in the very heart of America's corn and soybean region. The corporate headquarters at Ralston, Iowa, acts as the hub for the company's trade territory and markets products throughout most of North America and to several foreign destinations.

West Central operates a licensed public grain warehouse, provides grain marketing services, processes soybeans, and supplies feed, fertilizer, chemicals and other merchandise for its members. West Central is the 16th largest grain company in North America with 3,148 stockholders. -Adair News Read more »

 

Maggi Abernathy was named the Director of the Scranton Public Library by the Library Board at their February meeting. Abernathy has a great love of books and reading prompted her to join the library staff. She is enjoying meeting current library patrons and looks forward to enticing other residents to discover the many benefits available at the Scranton Public Library.

Maggi,of Scranton, retired from the Greene County Medical Center in 2009 after working nine years in Human Resources as an HR Generalist where her main emphasis was payroll and benefits. She has always enjoyed reading and was thrilled to join the staff of the Scranton Public Library.

"It was something I had never thought about doing, but I love it here," explained Abernathy. "Our patrons are the best. I get to meet new people in the community all the time. There is always something different happening in libraries. The newest thing is being able to download and read books on Nooks, Kindles or even mobile devices," explained Abernathy. "We joined WILBOR this spring to bring this service to our patrons. We lends DVDs and Wii games along with our great assortment of books. We have an active Friends of the Library group who sponsors a different event every month at the library," she added. She is currently serving as president of the Greene County Library Association.

Maggi is a graduate of the former Ayrshire Consolidated School in Ayrshire and Iowa State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business management. She and her husband, Ed, have lived in Greene County for more than 30 years. They have two grown sons, John, who works for the Union Pacific Railroad, and Alan, who along with his wife, Lori, are opening a cafe in Scranton. The Abernathys have four grandsons. - Scranton Journal Read more »

 

With a new staff and outlook, things are looking up at The Port and Lakeside Inn on Lake Panorama. Located just north of Panora on Highway 4, the restaurant and motel have been revitalized with new management and a new chef.

Ryan Ketelsen took over the management of the two Menadue Development entities in May of last year. Stacy Goodenberger joined him later as a general manager. They both have extensive experience in food service, starting at the bottom as table bussers many years ago and working their way into management. Together they have brainstormed, cleaned and redecorated the facilities, focusing on basics and stressing personal, friendly customer service.

Slowly but surely the two have transformed a struggling business into an up and coming destination in West Central Iowa.

"It feels good to see things coming back to where they should be," said Ketelsen. "We've been fortunate this year with good weather this winter and spring, but that can be detrimental as well. Folks aren't afraid to drive on the roads and go into the metro instead of eating locally."

The unseasonably warm weather has been a pleasant boost so far this spring. Boatloads of customers are pulling up at the docks already. The Port has ample dock space available with plenty of room for boats, jet skis and pontoons to tie up while they enjoy a drink and/or meal at The Port.

The management team is focused on the overall experience of the two facilities. "We want people thinking 'We had a great time here with friends' after spending an evening at The Port," explained Ketelsen.

"We're working very hard to bring the fun back," added Goodenberger. "We're definitely working on that."

"The hardest part is getting the word out. This is not The Port of years back," Ketelsen expounded. "You don't have to dress up. You're welcome to com in casual dress. Of course, you can put on your sports coat if you want to. There's room for both," Ketelson noted.

One of the first changes the duo made was to hire Jay Antrim as the chef. He has combined old favorites with fresh. new entrees.

Currently the restaurant is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p. to closing. Sunday features a large brunch served from 10 am to 1:30 pm. Friday and Saturday evening feature an expansive buffet as well as menu items. A large brunch will also be served for Mother's and Father's Day.

With summer approaching, the restaurant will expand their hours to seven days a week. That is anticipated to begin in mid-April. The summer tourist season- from Memorial Day to Labor Day- is the hectic portion of the year.

The lakeside tiki bar on the exterior of The POrt is a popular meeting place for the younger generation and those young-at-heart during the summer season.

Antrim is composing a new menu for summer dining. It will include more appetizers, sandwiches and salads. He's found that during hot weather, diners prefer a lighter menu. To add to the dining experience, there are nightly specials in addition to the regular menu.

Another focus of the management team is making The Port/Lakeside Inn a destination for tourists, business meetings, class reunions, weddings and family reunions.

"We're stressing that this is one entity and we want the total experience for our customers to be a good one," explained Ketelsen.

The banquet room in the lower level will comfortably seat 165 guests. By utilizing a tent erected outside on the west lawn, up to 300 guests can be accommodated for an event.

"We're very flexible," stressed Ketelsen. "We want to provide what the customer wants and needs."

Lakeside Inn is a perfect location for family reunions according to the management team. There are 22 rooms utilizing a suite concept. With a meeting room in the lobby and interior connections to the restaurant, the facility is well suited for guests of all ages. The exterior swimming pool and close proximity to the Raccoon River Bike Trail are popular attractions.

The Port is well suited for business meetings, especially during the daytime hours. The firm is marketing the opportunities to draw businesses outside of the area, trying to draw attention to our locale.

"Part of our marketing has used 'Rediscover Iowa's Best Kept Secret at Lake Panorama'," explained Ketelsen. "So many people don't know what there is to offer here."

Goodenberger and Ketelsen are collaborating with the Lake Panorama National Golf Course and Conference Center management team to offer golf packages that include overnight lodging at the Lakeside Inn and dining at The Port.

"we're trying to collaborate with each other," stressed Ketelsen. "We want to work together to promote the area.

A new air conditioning system was added late last year and will make the dining experience at The Port more comfortable in hot, humid weather. The parking lot is slated for resurfacing this summer, making the facility more handicapped accessible.

Live music has been popular at The Port. There are three musical events scheduled on Fridays this month: Chris Ranallo and Micah Wagner on April 6; Glass House Prophet on April 13 and Eddie Bliemehl on April 20. Other musical entertainment is in the works for the summer. Ketelsen pointed out that guests are welcome to come for just the music and maybe a drink or two. The music plays from 9 pm to midnight.

Ketelsen and Goodenberger don't hide the fact that there were problems at the restaurant in the past. But they're quick to point out that they are constantly working to fix problems and repair the damage done to the reputation.

"We appreciate the people who are coming back and giving us another opportunity to serve them again," concluded Ketelsen.

Goodenberger agreed. "We're excited to get summer going and to prove that The Port/ Lakeside Inn is a great destination." -The News Gazette Read more »

 

Volunteers and community leaders in Greenfield are planting trees to provide more shade and save energy. The local effort is part of the statewide Trees Forever and Alliant Energy Branching Out community tree-planting program.

Planting trees helps lower energy costs and helps reduce peak electric demand. Trees also provide many other long term health, economic, social and environmental benefits to the community.

Trees Forever administers the Branching Out program throughout Iowa, providing technical and planning support to participating communities. Alliant Energy funds the overall program and provides project grants to the communities. The program will award more than $156,595.00 in grants to assist 49 Iowa communities and groups with tree-planting projects this spring; Greenfield will receive $1,700 for its tree-planting project.

If you would like to volunteer to help plant and care for the trees in Greenfield, please call Ginny Kuhfus or Trees Forever at 1-800-369-1269 ext 10.

Branching Out grant applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year, but are considered for funding during two grant-making cycles (spring and fall). The next application deadline is June 1 for fall 2012 projects, with award recipients being announced in August. Applications are available online at www.alliantenergy.com/branchingout or www.treeforever.org. -Adair County Free Press Read more »

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