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Sarah Gomez


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 -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 »


The Vision Iowa Board awarded the Friends of Rippey the first CAT (Community Attraction and Tourism) grant for Greene County on Thursday, November 9. The Friends of Rippey will be receiving funding to assist in the demolition of a building to the west of the recently remodeled library. In addition the funds will allow the former Masonic Hall to be expanded to the west to establish a community room that will house up to 125 persons.

This will include additional bathrooms as well as enlargement of the kitchen to handle increased numbers of persons who may be attending wedding receptions, or other large family and community gatherings.

It is expected the building demolition will begin prior to the onset of winter and the community room plans will be finalized to allow a spring construction start. -Scranton Journal Read more »


The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced nearly $1 million in grants have been awarded to nine projects in several Iowa Great Places communities across the state.

Now in its seventh year, Iowa Great Places is a DCA program that combines state resources with local assets to help Iowans make communities, neighborhoods, districts and regions great places to live, work and raise a family.

"With the support of these grants, these communities are moving forward on the projects outlines in their agreements with the state as part of the Iowa Great Places program," DCA Director Mary Tiffany Cownie said. "These projects combine state resources with local assets to improve the quality of life in these communities and create economic opportunities."

DCA and partnering state agencies continue to work with Iowa Great Places to achieve their visions by identifying technical assistance and existing programs such as grant and financial aid programs.

Among the Iowa Great Places receiving grant funding: Danish Villages- $175,000 total; Little Mermaid Trail- $75,000 and Jensen Prairie Landscape Park- $100,000. -Coon Rapids Enterprise Read more »


The Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) announced the 2011 award winners for its two special entrepreneur awards.

Wendy Wright, Owner, Get Funky Gifts and Stuff, Sioux City, is the 2011 Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award winner. Timothy Greene, President. Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc., Audubon, is the 2011 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner.

The Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award honors an Iowa entrepreneur who has been in business a minimum of three years and has been significantly assisted by an Iowa Small Business Development Center. The award was established with a dual purpose- to honor long-time Iowa Congressman Neal Smith for his years of service to Iowa's small businesses, and to recognize Iowa's entrepreneurs, who are the driving force behind Iowa's economic growth.

Lisa Shimkat, director of the North Central iowa Small Business Development Center, Fort Dodge, nominated Greene for the Neal Smith Award, stating that this very successful entrepreneur has built o company with a positive work culture and a strong commitment to excellence. Shimkat has worked extensively with Greene, helping him restructure the company's debt, purchase additional equipment, and expand services, all in order to maintain the company's strength and ability to stay open in a tough industry during harsh economic times. Through continuous improvement, Greene and his employees have made Quality Machine of Iowa, Inc. one of the top companies in the industry and a thriving Iowa business.

The Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement award honors an Iowa woman entrepreneur who has significantly changed or improved her life and the lives of others. The award is presented in memory of Deb Dalziel, a devoted small business advocate who was the director of the Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Community College, Burlington, from 1987 until her death from cancer in 1999 at the age of 44.

Dan Wubbena, director of the Western Iowa Small Business Development Center, Sioux City, nominated Wright for the Deb Dalziel Award, stating that she is a lifelong entrepreneur who wanted to bring a gift shop to Sioux City that offered unique and eclectic items that were not available elsewhere in the community. She bootstrapped her company's startup costs and then moved her business to a new location to increase visibility and traffic, assisted by a successful guerilla marketing campaign employing social media sites. Along with running her other business, a residential appraisal service, Wright finds time to give back to both her community and other businesses by volunteering in several civic and professional fundraising activities and counseling victims.

Jim Heckmann, State Director of the Iowa Small Business Development Centers, says, "We are delighted to recognize Wendy and Tim for their hard work and entrepreneurial success with these two special awards. They, plus all small businesses in Iowa, are essential to Iowa's economy and need to be supported and recognized for their courage, dedication and excellence."

The two special entrepreneur awards will be presented to the winners in a special ceremony on February 21, 2012 at the State Capitol in Des Moines.

The Iowa Small Business Development Center program is an outreach program of Iowa State University's College of Business. Partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the organization has 16 regional business assistance centers located strategically across the state. Since program inception in 1981, the organization has provided expert, confidential business advice and affordable, practical training workshops to hundreds of thousands of Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs.

For more information on these two award programs and the Iowa Small Business Development Center programs or services, call - or visit - Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »


According to Robby Pedersen, 1875 was a very good year, if you were a furniture maker. "There were 2,013 furniture makers in Iowa in 1875," he recently told a group of Lakeside Village residents. "But by the 1900s furniture making was a dead trade, because Iowans could order factory-made furniture from a Sears catalog."

Pederson is a master furniture maker who has been building heirloom furniture exactly as it was done in 1875. "If they didn't do it in 1875, I don't do it here," he said.

That means no power tools and no nails. Pedersen chooses from his large collection of antique planes, lathes and saws to fashion the wood, and creates two types of wood joints that are stronger than nails.

"I could nail it together, but then your great-great-grandchildren would not be able to inherit it," he said.

Pedersen's showroom and shop are in Jefferson, where he was born and raised, but he has ties to Panora. His grandparents are Estel and Bernice Adair, and his mother grew up on the family farm near Bays Branch.

In the 19th century, furniture makers signed each piece they built with their initials and the year. Pedersen used that formula to name his business "RVP 1875." It's housed in the old Milligan Bros. Lumber, Grain & Coal building, one block south of Jefferson's Mahanay Bell Tower.

The space also serves as a working museum. Pedersen and his wife Angie, both dressed in clothing typical of 1875, welcome school groups, bus tours and individuals to what is one of a handful of accredited museums in Iowa.

Robby graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in education and history. He planned to be a teacher, but an internship in the furniture shop at Living History Farms changed that.

He began to research the techniques and tools used to build cabinets and furniture in the 19th century. After graduation, he worked for 10 years as the cabinetmaker at Living History Farms before opening his own business.

Pedersen told the Lakeside Village residents he likes to specialize in furniture that was popular in 1875, but is rarely found today.

"Back then pioneer homes were small and furniture had to serve several purposes," he said. He showed the group a settle table. It's a bench with a large high back and coat hooks attached along the top. The back folds down to become a table. Drawers underneath the bench provide plate storage.

Pedersen explained his pricing structure. "We want everything to be historically accurate here, so we use historical pricing," he said. "something that cost $1 in 1875 would cost $100 today."

The showroom is filled with about 100 pieces of furniture. Those pieces aren't for sale, but visitors can see what's available and choose the type of wood and finish they prefer. "Often people don't know what they need until they see it," Pedersen said.

Prices range from a $20 toolbox to a $7,000 wardrobe. He usually has a waiting list of three to six months for furniture orders.

Besides tours and demonstrations, Pedersen passes on his furniture-making knowledge by hosting up to three apprentices at a time and teaching classes. Classes are held five times each year. Students work with him to build one of four pieces from the RVP 1875 signature line- bench, bookcase, trunk, tabletop desk- that they take home at the end of the weekend.

The shop, showroom and museum are open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information, including dates for upcoming classes, is available online at Call 515-975-3083 of 515-370-4306. - Guthrie County Vedette Read more »


A busy night for the city council meeting Monday evening with construction projects, possible expansion of Panora EMS service an an electric rate hike.

Water consultant L.D. McMullen met with the council over the upcoming installation of a reverse osmosis process at the water plant. He recommended the city purchase the equipment first. Then, based on the equipment, finish the design and finally seek bids for installation.

The city has received a $500,000 state grant for the project. Monday the council set a public hearing for November 28 on seeking a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for further funding of the project.

City administrator Lisa Grossman gave the council a time table for the municipal building bidding. Bids will be sought this week and opened December 15 at the Panora Community Center at 2:30 p.m. and considered the following day at 5:00 p.m. at the library.

She also updated the council on the new water line being run to north of the city limits.

Heartland Coop site manager Jay Foster and Panora electrical superintendent Doug Long discussed the proposed additional storage space of over one million bushels at the elevator and the electrical needs. More information is needed before the city can give Heartland a cost estimate to upgrade service to the coop.

The council Monday did officially sell city land to Heartland it has encroached on for $10,000.

First reading was given to raising the electrical rates $0.012 per kilowatt hour. All-electric heat customers would be increased $0.022 and farm and commercial $0.048.

Joe Hupp, EMS director, requested Eric Reese of Panora become a full-time EMS employee and fill a vacancy. This was granted. He also informed the council Guthrie Center has requested Panora take over ambulance service in that community. Presently, Panora EMS answers Guthrie Center emergencies unless called off.

Ryan Phillips of the electrical department showed ares of increased electrical demand and why the electric substation needs upgraded.

A tie vote on setting a public hearing scuttled an application for a zoning change from Dennis and Carolyn England at 218 SE 8th Street. The property is zoned residential, but the majority of the property is farmed and they want to eliminate a storm water fee, as ag land has no such fee.

A motion by Mark Humphreys to table the item until the next council meeting died for lack of a second. Then Pat Parker moved and Humphreys seconded to set the hearing for November 28. However, Mark Vogel and Dave Beidelman voted no. Councilman Steve Post was absent.

Health insurance for city employees with Wellmark was renewed with a rate increase of 4.67 percent over the previous year. Bryton Companies of West Des Moines is the agent.

A Class C liquor license (LC), Commercial, Outdoor Service and Sunday Sales was approved for the Owl's Nest.

During open forum, Frank Teale, LeRoy Oxley and Stan Landon spoke in favor of the proposed new municipal building, citing the benefits to the community and no tax increase. Curt Thornberry expressed concern about losing storm water utility revenue through zoning changes, citing needs.

Newly elected council members Andy Carlson and Stu Firebaugh attended the meeting. - Guthrie County Vedette Read more »


During the annual meeting of Iowa Emergency Medical Services Association held at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines last week, the Stuart Rescue Unit received the IEMSA award in the volunteer ambulance service category for the year 2011 for the State of Iowa. In presenting the award, Thomas Craighton, IEMSA board member read the following nomination letter from Jeff Howard, Director of Operations for Stuart Rescue, describing their activities in the area.

"The Stuart Rescue Unit deserves to be recognized for the many hours of time given to the community in a variety of ways. On a daily basis, they enhance the quality of life in our city.

"They strive to provide public information and education through public service announcements and education the community about healthcare issues including teaching CPR, First Aid and AED. They continually teach the public about the EMS system and how it works, from early recognition of warning signs to arriving at the hospital, to all the key players within the system. They work with all ages of citizens from the very young to the elderly. They work closely with other departments within the city, providing education and back-up.

"They have coordinated the 'File of Life' program at the local Assisted Living Facility and have 100% participation.

"They have a good relationship with the local schools. Recently they held a poster contest for K -2 students, and trophies were presented for first, second and third places, in each class. In the middle school, students were given donated 'CPR Anytime' kits, and allowed interactive training with the students. All high school students are trained in CPR.

"They provide coverage for all the home soccer and football games. They teach the schoolteachers CPR and AED, There are AEDs throughout our school district.

"They teach CPR and First Aid for all city departments including the Stuart Police Department, Guthrie County Sheriff's Department, and 911 Dispatchers.

"They coordinate a surprise live drill at the local swimming pool including the pool staff, life guards, 911 dispatch, and the Stuart Police Department.

"They do fire rehab for the fire department at fire scenes and provide EMS coverage at the Stuart Speedway.

"They provide tiered response for several basic ambulance services in Guthrie and Adair counties. They do some inter-hospital transfers for the Guthrie County Hospital.

"They teach EMT-B classes at the Stuart Fire Station through Mercy College of Health Sciences for Guthrie and Surrounding counties.

"They participate in table-top exercises and functionals with Guthrie County Emergency Management. They are members of the Guthrie County EMS Association and service members with IEMSA.

"They coordinated a community project to build a new, first in the nation, WAAS certified landing zone for Mercy One.

"This hard-working and dedicated staff takes pride in their volunteer role and offer great care and compassion in the service they provide." -The Stuart Herald Read more »


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has thanked Iowa farmers and customers for making 2011 another successful year for Iowa farmers markets. Iowa's farmers market managers reported another strong year of sales and attendance at Iowa's 237 markets across the state.

"Farmers markets are a key access point for Iowans looking to get fresh fruits and vegetables grown right here in Iowa and it is great that we have continued to see growth in markets located across the state," Northey said. "It is exciting to see the continued success of these markets and I want to thank the farmers and customers for their support throughout the farmers market season."

Iowa's farmers markets have seen strong growth in recent years, and that trend appears to be continuing. In an Iowa farmers market survey completed for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, last year showed that market sales have increased an average of 18 percent per year from 2004 to 2009. It also showed that Iowa farmers markets had $38.4 million in direct sales in 2009 and a $71 million impact on Iowa's economy.

Most of Iowa was spared from any late spring freezes which got the growing season off to an early start. Heavy rains slowed fruit and vegetable development, and delayed a number of crops including strawberries and sweet corn.

After a slow start, sweet corn sales picked up quickly and remained vigorous throughout an extended season from July through October.

An exceptionally mild fall kept both customer attendance and vendor offerings at high levels all the way through the end of October. Peaches and apples were both reported as excellent crops this year and after a meager crop last year, pumpkins were large and plentiful in 2011.

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program continues to serve low-income seniors, women and children in Iowa with vouchers so they can take advantage of the nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables found at Iowa markets. This year vouchers were provided to more than 51,000 Iowans so they could enjoy the farmers market experience. -The Stuart Herald. Read more »


As part of fire prevention month the Grand Junction fire and rescue department paid a visit to the kindergarten class at East Greene community school in Rippey. Fire fighters discussed general fire safety with topics such as not playing with matches, candle safety, smoke detectors and other basic safety concerns. Students were also shown the protective clothing and equipment firefighters wear so they might not be afraid if they need to be rescued from a smoky room or building. One of the children's favorites is always to practice the stop, drop and roll safety procedure if clothing catches on fire.

The program concluded with an examination and ride on the fire truck. Fire prevention and safety education is just one of the ways the department tries to make the fire district safer. "We would prefer to prevent a fire than to have to put one out," a spokesperson said. - Jefferson Herald Read more »


Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told a group of about 100 persons that "people are more worried about the future of this country than at any time since the depths of the Great Depression," and called his campaign for the Republican nomination for President "a message of hope and opportunity."

Gingrich spoke November 14 at the Greene County Community Center. He made prepared remarks for about 30 minutes and opened the floor for questions for 10 minutes.

Gingrich, 68, of Georgia, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978. He was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. He resigned his seat in the House following the 1998 mid-term elections.

He said in Jefferson that he is the only Republican candidate with leadership experience at the national level. As Speaker of the House he worked closely with Democratic President Bill Clinton and passed the first balanced budget since 1969. There were four balanced budgets while he was Speaker.

Gingrich said there are three strategic possibilities in leadership. He said that the Obama administration is following a "fantasy and collapse" route not founded in reality, and that the "Washington establishment" uses a mindset of "pain and austerity." He prefers a style reminiscent of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Abraham Lincoln, one of "innovation and growth."

He has called the Super Committee, the bipartisan committee formed after last summer's gridlock over the federal budget, a "stupid" idea, and said that the committee could find enough money to balance the federal budget simply by reducing waste and fraud. He said that Medicare/Medicaid fraud is $70-$120 billion annually, and compared that to an 0.3 percent fraud rate at American Express. He said he would reform or replace the Congressional Budget Office because it is not interested in reducing waste and fraud. "The Congressional Budget Office is a major problem for us in trying to solve problems because it refuses to work in the real world. There is the world that works and the world that fails, and federal government is in the world that fails."

Gingrich said that increasing taxes is not necessary to balance the budget. He said added revenues would follow a decrease in unemployment, and that developing federal lands for on-shore and off-shore drilling would provide revenues through royalties paid by private companies for rights.

He promoted improvements in the health care system as a Representative and was honored by both the American Diabetes Association and the March of Dimes. He still promotes advances in medical science as a way to save Medicare dollars. He said the cost of Alzheimer's disease is projected at $20 million by 2050, and that research on Alzheimer's disease should be a priority. According to Gingrich, research leading only to postponing the onset of Alzheimer's disease by five years, not curing it, would save $6-8 trillion. He said that currently the Food and Drug Administration cripples medical advancements, and said the agency's mission should be research that would accelerate medical breakthroughs. He promotes abolishing all capital gains taxes to make available "an abundance of capital for medical research." He points to advances in diseases such as cholera, malaria, and diphtheria and suggests that diseases related to aging need the same focused research.

Gingrich promotes and energy policy that relies on renewable energies and small "next generation" nuclear plants. He said that the Environmental Protection Agency has "run amok", and that he would replace it with an Environmental Solution Agency charged with collaboration and innovation rather than policy enforcement.

If he wins the Republican nomination, he anticipates his campaign theme to be food stamps vs. paychecks. "I will build a majority precinct by precinct by asking the American people if they want more food stamps or more paychecks. President Obama has been a successful food stamp president," he said.

His campaign platform would be to lower taxes, have less federal regulation, have more American energy, and more "praise for the people who create jobs." He said that he would sign executive orders on Inauguration Day that would eliminate 40 percent of "Obama's projects."

He said that along with legislative proposals and First Day executive orders, he would train a transition team that would lead the country "back to a Constitutional limited government," and that he would develop a grassroots effort for eight years of citizen involvement. "We would work to grow citizenship," he said. -Jefferson Herald Read more »


The Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers (RVSC) snowmobile club has been named the Iowa State Snowmobile Association's 2011 "Club of the Year." The award was presented at the ISSA's annual convention held in Waterloo on November 12.

Accepting the award was RVSC founder and president Eric Chrystal of Jefferson. "I accept this award on behalf of all the hard work done by our club members," said Chrystal. "From posting trail signs, to operating and maintaining our trail groomers, to working at our races and other special events, to soliciting new members and commercial sponsorship of our club, this recognition by the ISSA was due to a team effort."

The RVSC is just over two years old and has become one of the largest and most progressive snowmobile clubs in Iowa. The club not only maintains a 200 plus mile snowmobile trail system in the Raccoon River valley, but also holds special events such as races and social gatherings in which the public is invited.

In July the RVSC hosted the ISSA annual "Summer Campout" at Springbrook State Park. The club also donates to charity and has a close working relationship with local officials and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

More information about the RVSC can be found on its website at and on Facebook. _The News Gazette/Bayard Read more »


Guthrie Center, Casey and Glidden are among the more than 100 rural Iowa fire departments to share $240,000 in grants to help protect Iowans and their property from wildfires.

The grants offer valuable funding assistance for wildfire suppression equipment, personal protective equipment and communications equipment.

The grants were awarded by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau, in cooperation with US Forest Service- State and Private Forestry. -Stuart Herald Read more »


Jeff Labarge of Greenfield has received the "Iowa Lions Foundation Warren Coleman Honorary Award in recognition for his commitment to serving Lionism."

The award is named for longtime Executive Secretary-Treasurer Warren Coleman, who has given freely of his time and dedication to the Iowa Lions Foundation and the programs for which it supports. This award is conferred on persons who demonstrate community service, and can only be made possible by a contribution of $1,000 to the Iowa Lions Foundation. Jeff Labarge is a member of the Greenfield Lions Club. He recently received an appropriately designed plaque and a lapel pin acknowledging his humanitarian service.

The Iowa Lions are part of the world's largest service organization numbering more than 1.3 million members in over 206 countries and geographic areas. As a charitable arm of the association in Iowa, the Iowa Lions Foundation acts as a steward for many sight and hearing impaired programs across the state. - Adair County Free Press Read more »


Livestock production continues to provide important support to Iowa's economy. According to the recently-released Iowa Agricultural Statistics booklet, Iowa's cattle, hog and sheep producers' receipts grew by 20 percent last year, growing to $8.32 billion.

Information in the 136-page book is compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) Iowa Field Office, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The book consists of five sections: general information, county information, crops, livestock and farm economics. It also lists several agriculture-related websites on the back cover.

Iowa's farm sector dominance carries across several commodities, from livestock to crops. According to the booklet, the state continues to rank number one in hogs in the United States, raising 29 percent of the nation's hogs. Iowa also leads the nation in raising layer hens (and eggs) and is in the top ten for raising cattle and calves (seventh) and sheep and lambs (tenth).

"The livestock and poultry industries are positive economic factors that contribute to job growth in Iowa's rural communities. Our farmers continue to be more efficient and productive in the face of rising feed and energy costs," said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Lang. "They are poised to move forward, grow their businesses and continue to be national agricultural leaders."

Despite the cold and wet temperatures that led to planting and harvest delays last year, Iowa farmers continue to lead the nation in the production of corn and soybeans. May began with heavy rains, cold temperatures and widespread frost that caused soil erosion and planting delays. But, after dealing with the wettest June on record and snow during the second week of November, Iowa farmers raised the fourth-largest corn crop and the second-largest corn crop on record.

The combination of strong livestock and crop sectors helped boost Iowa's overall ag economy, with Iowa farmers selling farm commodities worth $23.2 billion in 2010, up 6 percent from the previous year. The number of Iowa farmers dropped just slightly to 92,400.

"Continued improvements in the general economy during 2010, in both the United States and the world, supported higher commodity prices for Iowa farmers and improvements in net farm income," explained Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services. "Higher commodity prices helped farmers overcome higher input prices and poor growing conditions across a significant portion of the state in 2010."

Greg Thessen, director of the NASS Iowa office, said the booklet is an important resource for many different audiences, including farmers, bankers, insurance agents, agribusinesses and more.

"This book wouldn't be possible if farmers didn't participate in our surveys that gather this information. The data not only offers historical perspective, but helps them as they plan for the next season and the future," said Thessen.

Iowa Farm Bureau publishes the book for Iowa Agricultural Statistics. -Guthrie County Vedette Read more »


Only two weeks after its kickoff, a local pledge drive to support "Jefferson Matters," a proposed economic development program for Jefferson's courthouse square business district, has garnered promises of funding from businesses and individuals.

"The initial response has been great. We're about halfway to our goal of funding our proposed three year budget," said Chris Henning, co-chair of the committee spearheading Jefferson's application to be named an Iowa "Main Street" community.

Jefferson's application to the state program, which provides assistance in economic development, but no funding, is due in early December. The application must include a projected three-year budget, which Henning expects will run to $42,000 annually.

The pledge drive is an important piece of the application process, said Henning. "The number of pledges indicates community support, which is a huge factor in being named a Main Street town."

Pledges won't come due until Jefferson receives the Main Street designation, which should come in February, and may be paid in a single lump-sum or in one-year installments.

"The long term benefits of becoming a Main Street community will accrue to all of Greene County, not only to Jefferson," said Henning. "To meet our goals and realize the economic potential of our area, we need pledges now- large ones and smaller ones- from businesses and individuals from throughout the county."

For information on making a pledge, call 515-386-3585. - Jefferson Herald Read more »


A proposal to rename a street after fallen soldier SPC Shawn Muhr sparked a lengthy discussion at Monday's city council meeting.

Local resident Tom Lee introduced the proposal to the council.

"I think we are all aware of Shawn Muhr and his sacrifice," Lee began. He then laid out his plan to rename a street after Muhr, who died while serving in active duty in Afghanistan last January.

Muhr was a 2003 graduate of Coon Rapids-Bayard. His father, Dave Muhr, was in attendance at the meeting.

"This is an idea I came up with, with no prompting by anyone present here," said Lee.

In a written proposal presented to the council, Lee suggested one of four city streets could be renamed "Shawn Muhr Street". Lee's top choices were Main Street, 5th Avenue, North Street or Sumpter Avenue.

"My interest is in something happening soon, while people that know Shawn are still around. With Shawn's sacrifice, I think it would be worth it," Lee said.

Mayor Keith Dorpinghaus, while lauding Shawn's service to the nation, noted that he had many concerns with renaming a street. His main concern was changing all of the addresses of homes located on that street.

Council member Josh Smouse said "I think it's a good idea. I need to do some more research."

Council member Jon Esdohr suggested a different approach. He said putting up a memorial telling Shawn's story near the WWII memorial at the Coon Rapids Cemetery would be a more fitting tribute to a fallen soldier.

"I appreciate Shawn's sacrifice, but I can't say I'm in favor of renaming a street," Esdohr said. HE also noted that Muhr was not the first Conn Rapids resident to make the ultimate sacrifice.

"I agree that something positive should be done, whether that is a street renaming or some other type of memorial," council member Janelle Kracht said.

The discussion was tabled, pending research by council members into the possibilities.

In other business, the city will explore the option of collaborating with the county to resurface E63 or the old Bayard road, from the Middle Raccoon River Bridge to the Greene County line. The estimated cost of resurfacing the portion laying within the city limits was estimated to be $15,000 by Carroll County Engineer Dave Paulsen.

Fire chief Jeff Hachmeister said the department may raffle off a shotgun or rifle at this year's New Year's celebration event. In the past, the big prize has been an HD television but this year they are exploring the option of a gun in addition to the tv.

The city is also moving forward with plans to purchase land for the new fire and ambulance hall by turning over negotiations for the land to the fire and ambulance hall building committee. Final action on any new bid will return to the city council's attention at next month's meeting.

Library Director Faye Seidl reported that Nancy Brutsche has been elected as a new Friends of the Library board member in place of Trish Jackson, who passed away in the fall of 2010. - Coon Rapids Enterprise.
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RIADA, Inc. (Residents for Industrial and Agricultural Development in Adair) held their monthly meeting Monday in the meeting room of the Adair Public Library at noon. The meal was catered.

John Fisher, president of the organization, conducted the business meeting.

Chad Schrek, executive director of Midwest Partnership EDC, was a guest. He reported that the company is interested in the Trausch building in Adair (formerly Wick building) to expand their operations. He also reported on the projects he is working on in his four-county area of Adair, Audubon, Greene and Guthrie.

Members spent considerable time discussing their Vision 2020 suggestions and picking 10 nominations as possible projects to be completed between now and the year 2020.

Other business of the organization was discussed. -Adair News Read more »


As new Foundation Director, Hollie Roberts has jumped right in with a long list of ideas to move Greene County Medical Center's Foundation forward.

At her first Foundation Board meeting, Roberts demonstrated her commitment to the medical center with a significant pledge over 5 years. And Roberts challenged board members to consider their own gifts to the Foundation.

In July Roberts attended a weeklong training course in Madison, Wisconsin. "Fundaments (sic) of Healthcare Resource Department" was offered by the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy.

The course included over a dozen sessions on topics such as Healthcare Philathropy, Family Tribute Giving, Estate Planning and Special Giving Events.

One of the most interesting and beneficial facets of the week-long session was the networking she experienced with other Foundation Directors from across the United States.

Upon her return she started right in with the Foundation Quilt Show, which takes place every other year in late August. The quilt show is organized by a committee of GCMC staff and community members, This year that group was led by Community Relations Director, Carla Offenburger. However, in the future, the show will be under the direction of Roberts with a team of GCMC staff and volunteers.

The quilt show, while a fundraiser for the Foundation, is really about building community. Roberts said "The event, which displayed over 300 quilts by mostly Greene County quilters, had over 750 visitors this year." While in Jefferson, visitors are encouraged to visit other attractions. Many downtown businesses indicated they experienced an increase in traffic during the quilt show.

Total funds raised this year was just over $4,000.

GCMC Administrator Karen Bossard said "The quilt show is really a community event, mush more than being a fundraiser. We are thrilled that we can bring this event to Greene County."

Immediately following the quilt show Roberts was finalizing plans for the annual Foundation Golf Tournament, which took place on September 16 at Raccoon River Golf Course in Jefferson. Sixteen teams participated in the tournament, and over $6,800 was raised. The golf tournament serves as good venue to bring together clients, vendors and businesses for an afternoon of fun and fellowship. The afternoon of golf was followed by a grilled pork dinner done by the Jefferson Kiwanis.

Roberts is now busy with the annual fall community Greene Backer campaign. This year the campaign will be focused on funds for a DXA Bone Densitometry unit. The Greene Backer campaign allows community members to participate in the success of the medical center through a yearly contribution.

Roberts looks forward to focusing on ways the community and the Foundation can work together on behalf of the Medical Center. - Greene County Medical Center Milestones Read more »


Jefferson-Scranton eighth graders, and adult volunteers, many of them members of the Jefferson tree committee, planted 340 shrubs and trees last Friday on Highway 30 near the intersection of Highway 4 in Jefferson. Smooth sumac and grey dogwood bushes were planted, as well as quaking aspen trees.

The planting was funded by a $15,000 grant from the Iowa Living Roadways project, a federal highway enhancement grant administered by Trees Forever. The Jefferson tree committee received $7,000 in Iowa Living Roadways funds last year.

Gerry Stein's eighth grade science classes study plants during the spring, and in the past years students have helped the tree committee with planting. This year, science classes were combined and the day's class schedule was modified so the students had a full 90 minutes to work. "Other years by the time we got to the site and did instruction in planting, the kids didn't have time to do very much. This way the students got to help with the planting. They all had the opportunity to learn the right way to plant trees and shrubs," Stein said.

Brad Riphagen of Trees Forever appreciated the students' help. "With as much as we have to plant, if we had only our adult volunteers it would be a huge chore. We're glad the students could be with us today," he said.

Riphagen said the planting is meant to reflect an oak savanna. Next spring the nearby ditches will be planted in prairie grass. - The Bee Read more »

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