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Sarah Gomez
sgomez@midwestpartnership.com

 

STUART, IOWA – One of the state’s top leaders for entrepreneurship and small business development will highlight the Midwest Partnership EDC Annual Dinner Meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 26th, at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center near Panora. Keith Kerkhoff, from Templeton Rye, will serve as guest speaker at the event. A social time will kick off the gathering at 5:45 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and a business meeting to follow.

Keith is the co-founder and Master Distiller at Templeton Rye. Keith's grandfather Alphonse was one of the major "entrepreneurs" in Templeton during Prohibition. Keith's father Meryl continued the family's whiskey making tradition and was the original Master Distiller of Templeton Rye prior to his death in 2010.

Keith spends his time overseeing the production of Templeton Rye and spreading the word about the "Good Stuff" in Iowa, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. He also stands in for speaking engagements for his much smarter and more handsome business partner, Scott Bush.

Keith grew up in Manning, Iowa and attended Buena Vista College, where he was an All American defensive tackle. Keith spent time with both the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears in the NFL where he learned from coaching legends Tom Landry and Mike Ditka.

Keith also farms with his son Kody and is involved in the family auctioneering business.

Another highlight of the evening will be the awarding of the Guy Powell Award, an annual recognition presented to an individual who exhibits excellence in leadership and passion for economic development in the Midwest Partnership EDC region. The award is in honor of the late Guy Powell of Greenfield, who served as president of the Midwest Partnership EDC board of directors and was an active volunteer in several other community organizations. Nominations are welcomed from any individuals, businesses, or community groups in the region. Forms may be found at www.westcentraliowausa.com. You can also contact the Midwest Partnership EDC office for more details.

The cost for the evening’s dinner and meeting is $20/person or $150 for a table of eight. Payments may be made in advance or the night of the event, however reservations are requested by January 18th to ensure a spot. For reservations or more information, contact Monica Cateron at (515) 523-1262 or email mcateron@midwestpartnership.com.

Midwest Partnership EDC is the non-profit, collaborative economic development organization formed to strengthen the economic vitality of the communities of Adair, Audubon, Greene, and Guthrie counties in west central Iowa.
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The Guthrie Center city council approved spending up to $1,400 toward the cost of an appraisal of the Alliant Energy service building which the company has said it will abandon in the future.
City officials were informed earlier Alliant considered the building to be worth about $290,000. However, that was not based on an appraisal.
When the city recently learned of Alliant's future plans to abandon the facility, it asked the company to consider doing that sooner than later. That's because it's believed the building, just north of the existing fire hall, could satisfy the city's needs for a new home for the fire department. Speculation about a new fire hall has been in the wind for several years and land was acquired west of the existing building for future expansion.
Hearings
Two public hearings were held Monday evening. No written or oral objections were received at either.
The council voted to dispose of a rehabilitated home at 905 North 13th Street.
Also approved was a grant application to the Iowa Economic Department Authority. If awarded, the grant would provide funds for owner occupied rehabilitation assistance for a minimum of 10 qualifying low income homeowners within a targeted area within the city limits.
Truck parking
Truck parking at the city shop was discussed and it was decided all reefer trucks be parked facing west. Also, it was further decided that any trucker not complying with the rules and regulations of the city be sent a letter, approved by the city attorney, informing the trucker and the company for which they haul that non-compliance will result in them being asked to leave. Such truck and truckers then will be considered trespassing and the vehicle will be towed at the owner/driver's expense.
December 12 was set as the date for a sealed bid opening for removal of trees in the parking and/or on city property at 803 North 5th, 302 South 3rd and 301 South 4th.
No action was taken on a transport agreement with Panora EMS until an insurance opinion is received.
Employee compensation
Prior to its regular meeting, the council and utility board met in joint session to discuss employee salaries.
Duane Norgart made the motion for a five percent increase in wages for city employees, but it died for lack of a second.
Dennis Patrick moved and Norgart seconded a motion for a four percent increase beginning with the first pay period of 2012. It passed unanimously. No action was taken by the utility board. -Guthrie Center Times
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Dr Mark Peters was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Jefferson-Scranton Board of Education at the meeting held on November 9. He will represent the old Scranton district by replacing Mike Holden of Scranton who resigned from the position.
Holden served 14 years, three months on the J-S Board and cited a desire to devote more time to his family, farming and business. He thanked the community, staff, administration and his family for the privilege of serving as a J-S Board member.
Holden challenged the board and the community to gather information, analyze it and make decisions in a timely manner; always be sensitive to all sides of issues and to dare to move from good to great as a district.
Superintendent Tim Christensen presented Holden with a plaque in recognition of his service. He also received a lifetime activity pass.
Dr Peters has some experience already on the Board. He was appointed earlier this year to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Kevin Neal. However, it was discovered late this summer that his residence was not in the proper director district but it is on the eastern side of the Scranton director district.
The Board split vote on the admission of Saydel to the Heart of Iowa Conference. J-S administrators recommended the school but the board voted four-to-one in favor. Sam Harding cast the dissenting vote.
Doug Whipple was offered a contract as seventh grade boys basketball and track coach. Board Member Celli Whipple abstained from the vote. Stephanie Hall was hired as an elementary special ed associate.
The early graduation request of Britani Richards was approved pending successful completion of graduation requirements.
Supt Christensen recommended and the Board approved calendar changes by adding 11:45 a.m. early dismissals on January 25 and March 21 for joint professional development with the East Greene staff. Plans are being made for a joint meeting with the Paton-Churdan Board in the near future.
The Principals of each building continued their reports on how their building is striving to meet the characteristics of a successful J-S graduate. They reported on how they are helping students to become responsible citizens and information processors.
The first reading of the board policy dealing with employee voluntary retirement was approved. The incentives will be the same as those offered last year.
The Board planned to attend the Iowa Association of School Boards convention in Des Moines on November 16-17 in lieu of its monthly work session. The next meeting is scheduled in December. - Bayard News Gazette/Scranton Journal Read more »

 

The Audubon Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2011 Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year. Tom Nielsen was awarded the 2010 Citizen of the Year with Brandon Mennenoh receiving the inaugural Junior Citizen award.

The Citizen of the Year award is selected by the Audubon Chamber of Commerce Board, and is awarded to a person who has a tremendous impact on the city of Audubon, and who always strives to promote Audubon. The Junior Citizen of the Year award is given to any youth currently attending school in the Audubon School District and who is active in community service roles, a contributing member of the community or who has performed acts of heroism. The nominee must be 19 years or younger.

Nominations for both awards are due to the Audubon Chamber of Commerce by December 9. Letters of nomination with complete resume or qualifications can be mailed to the Chamber office at P.O. Box 66, Audubon, Iowa, 50025 or may be hand delivered to the office. No nominations will be accepted at the selection meeting. Multiple nominations from one person will not be accepted, this applies to one individual nominating several people in one letter or one person nominating several people individually.

Winners will be announced at the Audubon Community Banquet and Auction, Saturday, January 7, 2012 at the St. Patrick's Parish Center in Audubon. Tickets for the banquet will be for sale soon. - Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

After five years of discussing possible wind energy farms in Audubon County, construction on the towers has finally begun.

According to Audubon County Engineer Mitch Rydl, work has begun on the Eclipse Wind Energy Project in Audubon Township, in the southeast corner of Audubon County. Rydl reported that the contractors are currently working on field entrances and roads around the proposed tower sites. "Larry )Sorensen, Audubon County Roads Foreman) has been out and looked at all of he sites that are currently being worked on and we do have permits for all of them," said Rydl.

The county actually has more permits than towers proposed. "We have more building permits than tower sites," he said. Originally 17 permits were filed for the project, with an additional 10 permits filed later. Rydl expects around 23 towers will be erected at this time. "We don't have field entrance permits on several, so I would imagine those will not be going up, at this time," said Rydl.

He is working with the contractors who are putting up the towers, to secure hauling routes and road maintenance. "They have been putting calcium on the roads for dust control and we have had some phone calls from people noticing increased traffic," Rydl noted, adding "Verbally, we have a commitment that whatever road maintenance needs done, they will take care of it at this point. However, I am going to check with Guthrie County to see what they are doing so we can be consistent." (Part of the Eclipse Project is in Guthrie County)

Supervisor Todd Nelsen was pleased with Rydl's report. "At least they are proceeding, we've been talking about towers in Audubon County for five years," he said.

The Eclipse Wind Farm is a project of Mid American Energy. Originally the towers were proposed and were going to be built by Clipper Wind Energy. Mid American purchased the Clipper project this past summer.

The financial impact to the county could be significant, as the estimated property tax for the county on each tower is 30%. According to Supervisor Vernon Venteicher, the Audubon County Assessor's office is attending meetings to get a better understanding of just how much of an increase the county will see. "We are thinking 30% of the total cost to build each tower. But we're not positive what those numbers will look like yet," said Venteicher. - Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

Today, the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association released the Corn Caucus Project Presidential Report Card, a reference guide to presidential candidates' positions on agricultural policies.

"The Corn Caucus Project is an initiative to help Iowa's corn growers compare the candidates on agricultural issues," said Kevin Ross a farmer from Minden and ICGA President. "We do not make any recommendations or endorsements; we just let the candidates speak for themselves."

The Corn Caucus Project Presidential Report Card provides information on the eight major candidates' responses to questions on legislative priorities for corn. Topics on the survey included: ethanol, farm programs, Environmental Protection Agency regulations, trade and transportation.

Based on survey responses submitted by presidential candidates, media and official records, each candidate was scored and graded. If a candidate failed to complete the survey, the committee used published statements, official records or information from the candidate's website to complete the voter guide. Answers to the survey and issue tracking are available online at www.iowacorn.org/corncaucus.

"If there is a question affecting the corn industry, we want every presidential candidate to know an Iowa corn grower who is ready and willing to provide answers and we want Iowans to know how the candidates stand on issues that are important to Iowa's corn growers," said Ross.

The Corn Caucus Project works on two levels, surveying the candidates to provide better information to caucus goers and encouraging ICGA members to participate with campaigns to serve as a liaison and resource for the candidates and their staff.

"Iowa is in a unique political position because of our first in the nation status. This gives corn growers the opportunity to have real input in the development of the Presidential Candidates' positions on agricultural policy," said Ross.

The Corn Caucus Presidential Report Card will be mailed to all ICGA members and is available online at www.iowacorn.org/corncaucus.
ICGA would like to extend a special thank you to the National Corn Growers Association, and the Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois and Kentucky Corn Growers Association for making this project possible.

For more information please visit www.iowacorn.org/corncaucus.

The ICGA is a membership organization, lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of it's over 6,700 members. For more information about the ICGA and its programs, visit www.iowacorn.org. - Adair News Read more »

 

Few things in this world are as strong as the bond between parent and child. This is often shown in the sacrifices parents make to provide a safe and healthy home for their children.

For Mike and Angela Hofbauer of Jefferson, righting their financial ship, completing well over 300 hours of sweat equity and attending homeownership classes was just a small part of providing this opportunity for their young children, Dyson, Destiny and Bentley.

The Hofbauers were sharing one small bedroom in Angela's father's house when the city of Jefferson made a foreclosed home available to the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. With encouragement and support from their pastor, the Rev. Debbie Griffin of Central Church, the path towards a home of their very own began for the Hofbauers.

The property was in need of extensive renovation, including demolishing down to the bare framing and controlled removal of lead paint and asbestos. A new addition was built on to accommodate the growing family of five. Energy efficiency was engineered throughout the home to ensure comfort and minimize utility bills. After several months and countless hours of volunteer labor, the house is now attractive, efficient and ready for move-in.

The Hofbauers will now begin a 25 year zero interest mortgage, with payments being used by the local Habitat affiliate to help additional low-income families experience safe, comfortable and affordable housing.

In addition to the city of Jefferson, local donors to the project include the Alice Andrew estate, Greene County Community Foundation, Durlam Electric, First Presbyterian Church, Paton Presbyterian Church, Jefferson Kiwanis Club, Jefferson Rotary Club, Mike and Margaret Mumma, Boone Rental, Mahoney and Jordan Law Office (Boone) and Boone Bank & Trust.

A house dedication ceremony will be held Sunday, December 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the home, 408 North Cedar Street, in Jefferson. The public is invited and encouraged to attend, showing support for the Hofbauer family's new venture down the road to safe and secure housing.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating sub-standard and poverty housing and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat for Humanity welcomes all persons as partner families and volunteers regardless of religious beliefs or affiliations. - Jefferson Herald.

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The Jefferson Main Street Steering Committee received a vote of support from the Greene County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning when the board voted unanimously to approve $5,000 for each of the next three years, contingent on the application to become an Iowa Main Street Community being approved by the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Steering committees co-chair Nancy Teusch requested the funds as part of the application process which calls for a three year pledge to the project. The $5,000 or Dreyfus funds were approved following Teusch request in which she presented letter of support from groups and individuals throughout the county. -Coon Rapids Enterprise Read more »

 

Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) is pleased to announce the winners of the 1st Keep Iowa Beautiful Photography Contest aimed at raising awareness of Iowa's natural and environmental beauty. KIB wants to learn what resonates with Iowans based on the photographs they share through this semi-annual photography contest.

FIRST PLACE: David Heusinkveld from Amana. Photo: East Amana Cow Call
SECOND PLACE: Eric Dorondo from Glidden. Photo: Fall Colors Stuart
HONORABLE MENTION: Colette Wassom Scott from Sheldon. Photo: Scott Prairie

Cash awards were presented to the first and second place winners and their photos will be featured on the KIB website: www.keepiowabeautiful.com

"This is a great way for Iowans to share what they like about our state," said Kevin Techau, Chairman of KIB's Board of Directors. "This photo contest offers both amateur and experienced photographers an opportunity to tell Iowa's story in a fun, engaging way."

The next deadline is May 1, 2012, and entries must be submitted electronically. The entry fee is $5 per entry and all entry fees will go toward contest cash awards and to support KIB's programs & services to Iowa communities. Entry guidelines and rules are available at www.keepiowabeautiful.com/kib-photography-contest.cfm

Keep Iowa Beautiful mission is to empower Iowans to make Iowa the cleanest and most attractive state in the nation. By working directly with Iowa communities, corporations and private citizens, KIB is building new citizen pride in caring for Iowa.

FIRST PLACE: David Heusinkveld from Amana.
Photo: East Amana Cow Call

SECOND PLACE: Eric Dorondo from Glidden.
Photo: Fall Colors Stuart

HONORABLE MENTION: Colette Wassom Scott from Sheldon.
Photo: Scott Prairie
-Adair News Read more »

 

A proposed garden adjacent to the courthouse square will not only memorialize Thomas Jefferson, for whom the city of Jefferson was named, but will also celebrate rural Iowa.

The Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County Foundation is drafting plans for a garden setting that will include a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. The gardens will be located katty-corner to the southeast corner of the courthouse square. The demolition of three dilapidated buildings on the east side of the 100 block of S. Chestnut St. will begin soon, and negotiations have begun with the owner of the building in which Advantage Insurance is located. The Jefferson Gardens Foundation board hopes to have the first phase of the project completed some time next summer.

The Foundation was formed after Wallace Teagarden of Ames made a sizeable gift a year ago for the purpose of developing a site in Jefferson honoring Thomas Jefferson. Teagarden's inquiry to the county board of supervisors led him to local attorney Tom Polking, who has become an expert on Thomas Jefferson. According to Polking, it was the coincidence of he and the third president sharing birthdays and professions that piqued his curiosity. Jefferson owned a large plantation and had a great respect for farmers. "The town of Jefferson wasn't named after Jefferson because he was the third president of the United States, but because he was known as the 'patron saint' of rural America," said Polking.

Jefferson was quoted in 1785 as saying "Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds."

Polking is chairman of the Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County Foundation. Other members of the board are: Teagarden, Andy Krieger, Donna DeShaw, Denise O'Brien Van, Mary Weaver, Chris Lohr, Don Orris, Jeanne Burk and John Turpin.

The Foundation has already received a bid from a nationally-known sculptor for a sculpture of Jefferson seated on a garden bench. The site will also include a wood replica created by Robby Pedersen of RVP-1875 of a plow designed by Jefferson. The Foundation has already hired a professional landscape architect. Plantings will be from cuttings and seeds from Jefferson's Virginia plantation Monticello, some of which were brought back to Virginia by Lewis and Clark after their western exploration. There will also be native Iowa plantings. The statue, plow, plantings and a pavilion, surrounded by a wrought iron fence, will complete Phase One of the project.

The future of the insurance building at that location is insure at this time, but it may be turned into an information center highlighting Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Floyd Mahanay and Doreen Wilbur, all of whom are immortalized nearby.

The Foundation hopes the Thomas Jefferson Gardens become a regional attraction, not just a local resting place. "In designing the gardens, we're promoting that rural America is a good place to be. We're looking at developing something attractive and meaningful," Polking said.

The Foundation will seek funding from many different sources, including support from individuals, organizations, business and corporations. Grant sources will also be pursued.

More information will be available as the Foundation continues its planning. Any member of the board can answer questions about the project. -Jefferson Herald. Read more »

 

In a special tribute to American military troops, AmericInn of Stuart shipped care packages to soldiers serving overseas during a recent event at the hotel coinciding with Veterans Day. The event was part of a nationwide Veterans Day initiative by AmericInn hotels resulting in the preparation and shipping of several thousand care packages to troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and other bases worldwide.

"The participants in this initiative gave generously of their time, demonstrating inspiring and heartwarming support for members of America's military," said Angel Rowan, general manager of AmericInn of Stuart. "We are proud to be part of this nationwide program by AmericInn expressing gratitude for the service of military members deployed overseas."

The care packages prepared by AmericInn included such items as food treats, personal care items, clothing, games and donated gift merchandise.

AmericInn also offers a national discount to active duty and retired members of the military and their dependents. Military families can receive this discount by requesting the AmericInn Military Rate (rate code: MIL) when they mak their reservations at a hotel, AmericInn.com or by calling the toll-free telephone number 1-800-634-3444. A military ID is also required at check-in. - Guthrie Center Times Read more »

 

A local philanthropist, inspired by the article "Reinventing Rural Iowa" in the Des Moines Register has challenged the Casey Historical Society to raise $10,000 in pledges by April 1, 2012 and he will match that amount. The money is to be used for the restoration of the stained glass windows in the Casey Visitor Center.

The Casey Visitor Center (formerly a Catholic church) was built in 1908. The stained glass windows are believed to have been manufactured by the "Ford Brothers" out of Chicago in the early 1900s. The windows are works of art and a beauty to behold but are in desperate need of restoration.

Donors can make their donations or pledges at Rolling Hills Bank and Trust, 101 E. Logan Street or Casey Historical Society, P.O. Box 251, Casey, IA 50048. -Guthrie Center Times Read more »

 

The Patriotic Employer Award was created to publicly recognize individuals and companies who provide outstanding support and cooperation to employees who have answered the Nation's call to serve. Joan Overby and Karen Bossard were recognized for their critical support to maintaining the strength and readiness of the Nation's military.

"Joan and Karen's words of wisdom and encouragement allowed me to accept a full time support position at Camp Dodge while my unit mobilized. It was a tremendous opportunity that allowed me to eventually join them in Afghanistan seven months later," said Specialist Aleah Delay, a member of Company C, 334th Brigade Support Battalion. "My employer has been very supportive the entire time. They even sent me a care package with a card signed by every person in each department on Memorial Day. It feels good to know that I could leave my civilian employer for 17 months and then be welcomed back with open arm."

According to Ms. Overby, "Guaranteeing Aleah employment upon her return was never an issue, I saw her as a very valuable member of my GCMC team, but I also saw her passion for her Army career. Once she was notified of her inclusion the the deployment, she grew by leaps and bounds. Aleah returned as a mature and dedicated team member. Because of her work ethic and commitment, she has been given a huge responsibility at GCMC. She holds the success or failure of our clinics' compliance with new federal electronic medical records guidelines in her hands. I know she doesn't take her new responsibilities lightly and we are a stronger team because she's a member." -Scranton Journal Read more »

 

West Central announced it again will offer $4,500 in scholarships to area students graduating from high school in 2012 and planning to pursue an education in an agricultural field.

Since 1996, West Central has awarded more than $50,000 to local students interested in pursuing an education and career in the agricultural industry. As the agricultural industry continues to become more complex and technical, the need for an increasingly skilled workforce grows. Individuals working in agriculture today are working with technologies including variable rate technology (VRT), global positioning systems (GPS), advanced genetic engineering and more.

Educational funds are awarded through West Central's Excellence in Agriculture scholarship program. Details of the 2011-2012 scholarship program have been released to area school and extension offices, and details of the program can be found online at www.west-central.com/about/communityrelations. Applications are also available at any West Central location.

Questions regarding the Excellence in Agriculture scholarship program should be directed to Sarah Dorman, communication specialist, at 712-667-3200. -Guthrie Center Times Read more »

 

Brett Irlmeier, Chair of the Audubon County Community Foundation, is pleased to announce today that $28,700 in grants was awarded to Audubon County nonprofit agencies. With these grants, the Audubon County Community Foundation has distributed $762,746 over the last eleven years.

The following nonprofit organizations, which submitted applications to the Audubon County Community Foundation by the September 1st deadline, were awarded grants by the Audubon County Board of Directors: The Audubon Chamber of Commerce-Light Up Audubon (lighting to accent architectural design of downtown structures)- $1,000, Audubon County Hospital Foundation- purchase equipment to expand patient care services- $3,000, Audubon Stage Committee- build a stage for use by numerous groups, activities and festivals- $4,400, Exira Public Library- new furnishings for the library expansion/remodel- $5,000, New Opportunities/Audubon County Mentoring Program- new skates for the Agri-Hall- $4,800, Nishna Valley trails, Inc.- erect a sign at the trail head in Audubon- $5,500, The Little Mermaid Trail Committee- Development of Phase 1 Trail Construction- $5,000.

This total includes $2,000 from the Leon and Iva Milliman Endowed Fund which went to the Exira Public Library. The Audubon Chamber of Commerce and the Audubon Stage Committee each received $1,000 from the Charles T. And Kathleen K. Manatt Endowed Fund. An amount of $500 from the Audubon State Bank/Stephen Garst Endowed Fund, $1,000 from the Audubon Masonic Association Endowed Fund, $470 from the Merle and Norma Petersen Endowed Fund, and $470 from the Fred and Evelyn Nissen Endowed Fund for Audubon was also awarded to the Audubon Stage Committee.

All grantees met the criteria as Audubon County nonprofit agencies or organizations with charitable missions in the areas of civic, cultural, health, education and social services. Only organizations providing services in Audubon County were eligible.

Audubon County agency representative received their checks on November 18th. During brief check distribution activities, Irlmeier commended the nonprofit agencies for their individual efforts to provide a better quality of life for the residents of Audubon County.

The Audubon County Community Foundation works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create permanent funds that address the changing, viral community needs and interests. Donating to a permanently endowed fund helps your neighbors today AND you help build a stronger community tomorrow. Not only that, you'll be eligible to receive a 25% Endow Iowa Tax Credit for each donation, in addition to any Federal tax benefits for which you may qualify.

The Audubon County Community Foundation invests and administers these funds and distributes grants to deserving, qualified nonprofit organizations. "This has grown from an annual event to twice a year, with one grant cycle in the spring and another in the fall," said Irlmeier.

Board members of the Audubon County Community Foundation are: Chair, Brett Irlmeier of Audubon; Vice Chair, Larry Beckendorf of Exira; Secretary/Treasurer, Thomas R. Neilsen of Audubon; Joanie Heuton of Kimballton; Jonnie Meislahn of Audubon; Jay Nelson of rural Brayton; and Daryl Olsen of Audubon.

For information about donating or establishing an individual foundation/fund, please contact any of the Board members, or call Dennis Nissen, Iowa Program Officer, at 800-794-3458. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

 

Members of the Panora Chamber of Commerce and development group PRIDE held their annual join dinner meeting at The Port.
Darcy Gliem will head the Chamber next year. Other officers are Mike Melvin and Cheryl Castile, first and second vice presidents respectively; Gayle Shackelford, secretary; and Jaime Waddle, treasurer.
Julie Zajicek is outgoing president. She reported the group has 64 members. Its main activity is sponsorship of Panorama Days.
Curt Thornberry is the incoming president of PRIDE succeeding John Rutledge. Other officers are Brandon Monaghan, Ken Baker and JoAnn Johnson, first, second and third vice presidents respectively; Jeff Bump, secretary; and Andy Randol, treasurer. Directors renamed were Dave Beidelman, Kirby Klinge, Monaghan, Rutledge and Thornberry. JoAnn Johnson is a new director. -Guthrie Center Times
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Josh Sebern, Guthrie County Engineer, has provided the following information regarding the recent work activities on White Pole Road, both east and west of Stuart.

Beginning last fall, the Guthrie County Road Department began an application process for additional outside funding. This funding source is from the state level through a program that seeks to improve the safety of secondary roadways. Guthrie County had a viable candidate in White Pole Road and sought funding for two projects.

The first project, completed recently, is what is known as rumble stripping. This is where a series of grooves is ground into the pavement down the center line and white edge line. This feature serves to physically warn a driver should they encroach in the limits of their driving lane, thereby increasing driver awareness of where they are in relation to the road. The work was completed by the bid winner, Iowa Plains Signing Inc., of Slater.

The second project, being installed by Guthrie County staff, is an upgrade to all traffic signs along the White Pole Road corridor from Adair to Dexter. The new signs will be highly reflective, and have a much greater visibility in both day and night hours. The removed signs will be utilized in other situations throughout the county, or be refaced and put back into production. The bid winner for providing the signs was Iowa Prison Industries of Anamosa.

Of the combined two projects, 75% will be paid through the state safety program, leaving 25% to be cost shared by Guthrie County. The county is appreciative of the patience of travelers of White Pole Road during this road improvement, said Sebern. - Stuart Herald Read more »

 

Karen Polking (right) of Polking Realty recently made a $1,000 donation to Jefferson's Main Street program. Jody Lang, a member of the Jefferson Matters committee, accepted the check.

The Main Street program is an economic development program through historic preservation. The program assists communities with economic development by offering access to funding opportunities, mostly grants; custom advice; and opportunities to replicate the efforts of other successful Main Street programs.

The application includes a projected three-year budget, all of which must be raised locally. Jefferson Matters co-chair Chris Henning estimated the annual budget at $42,000. The committee is seeking pledges which will be activated if Jefferson is selected for the program.

"I strongly support the Main Street project and believe it will enhance economic and social growth in Jefferson and all of Greene County," Polking said in making the donation.

"Karen's gift is especially timely, as her funds can be used for administrative expenses in 2011. Pledges and letters of support by November 30 will be included in the application and emphasize our commitment to the Jefferson Matters community effort," Lang said.

Person who would like more information can call 515-386-3585. -Jefferson Herald. Read more »

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released third quarter financial results on Nov. 22, showing Iowa's 348 banks continue to improve their financial health and their ability to fuel stronger economic growth in the future. Iowa financial institutions improved third quarter earnings by 31 percent from the prior year, to $514 million.

Ninety-four percent of Iowa banks were profitable for the quarter and nearly seventy percent experienced earnings improvement. As a result, bank capital levels improved to nearly $7 billion. Continued growth in core deposits have provided banks with ample funding for loans. Deposits increased by nearly 5 percent to $54.5 billion.

"The most effective way to deploy these funds is by providing credit to Iowa businesses and consumers," said John Sorensen, president and CEO of the Iowa Bankers Association. "This has created a competitive environment beneficial to credit-worthy borrowers. Yet, loan demand remains soft."

Total Iowa chartered bank loans and leases declined by 1.5 percent from the prior year period to $42.3 billion. The moderate decline can be attributed to a reduction in construction, land development and commercial real estate loans, as the market remains weak in the aftermath of the housing crisis and economic recession.

Agricultural loans for farm real estate and production both increased nearly 5 percent from the prior year. While loans to business and individuals generally were stagnant as both groups continue to be cautious about taking on debt during uncertain economic times.

Asset quality continued to improve as both noncurrent and non-performing loan levels declined for the third straight year, by nearly 30 percent since 2009.

"Iowa banks remain well-positioned to support Iowans despite a growing regulatory burden, only exasperated by recent passage of the Dodd-Frank Act," said Sorensen. "Overly prescriptive government regulation diverts scarce resources to navigating a bureaucratic maze rather than focusing on customer needs."

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protect Act, passed in July 2010, imposed more than 3,900 pages of proposed and final rules on the banking industry. Complying with the regulations has been especially challenging for median-size banks, where the average number of employees is 37.

About the Iowa Bankers Association

The Iowa Bankers Association (IBA) serves Iowa banks and savings institutions by providing legislative advocacy, training, regulatory compliance and services designed to enhance the ability of banks and savings institutions to serve their communities. Learn more at www.iowabankers.com. -Adair News Read more »

 

Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained 6.0 percent in October, while the number of unemployed dropped below 100,000 for the first time since November 2009. The statewide jobless rate was reported at 6.2 percent one year ago. Iowa's unemployment rate continued to compare favorably with the U.S. rate, which eased down to 9.0 percent in October from 9.1 percent in September.

"The Iowa labor market rebounded in October with a job gain of 2,300," said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. "The improved employment picture for October raises hopes for a stronger hiring pattern in fourth quarter, and also allayed fears of another recession."

The statewide estimate of unemployed workers dropped to 98,900 in October from 100,100 in September. The state's pool of unemployed workers stood at 103,000 one year ago.

The total number of working Iowans edged down to 1,558,200 in October from 1,560,800 in September. The figure stood at 1,569,500 one year ago.

Total nonfarm employment grew by 2,300 jobs in October, lifting employment to 1,484,400. The October increase reversed two consecutive months of job losses that marked a weak performance in third quarter. Job gains in October were heavily concentrated in the good-producing industries of construction and manufacturing.

Construction and manufacturing tied for the most jobs added in October, up 1,300 each. Within manufacturing, nondurable goods plants increased by 900 jobs, while durable gods plants advanced by 400 jobs. In the service-providing industries, education and health services posted a large gain of 1,100. Other services grew by 900 with much of the increase reflected in membership associations and organizations. Local government had the most adverse effect on payroll employment in October, decreasing by 1,400. Other job losses occurred in leisure and hospitality (-900), finance (-700), wholesale trade (-400), and transportation (-200).

Compared to last year, non farm employment has added 13,200 jobs. Manufacturing contributed the most jobs over the year, up 6,800. Other sectors also grew by substantial numbers from last October: trade and transportation (6,500), education and health services (4,500), leisure and hospitality (3,700) and construction (2,600). -Adair County Free Press Read more »

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