Safe room a reality for SALC

Some committee members Front: Carla Moser, Jill Tibbals and H-W Superintendent Dianne Anderson. Back: Duane Johnson, LS-C Elementary Principal Rob Hughes, Jerry Johnson, Libby Schwade, Interim Coordinator Denise Krauskopf, Upper Explorerland Developer Bill Ziegler and James Kitchen.

It started with small steps—getting a committee together, forming a plan and meeting, meeting, meeting. Then bigger steps—applying for grants, thinking a new learning center may be a reality. Now—the dancing starts!

The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District received word on October 11 it was given a nearly half-million dollar grant for a tornado safe room at the proposed Spring Ahead Learning Center (SALC).

The tornado safe room was the biggest item on the “wish list” for the facility, that will be adjacent to the Lime Springs-Chester Elementary School. Because of the safe room, up to 268 locals (youth and adults) will have a safe place to go during a tornado. The grant is also a huge chunk of change going toward the construction of the learning center, which triples as a day care center, preschool and safe area.

The SALC will allow parents a one-stop-drop for their children. Birth through age 12 youth can be dropped off in the morning without worry of how to get them to school—they’re already there. When school is out, they return to the learning center, for a controlled and safe after-school setting until parents can pick them up in the afternoon.

The $488,750 grant ($431,250 from FEMA and $57,500 from the State of Iowa’s Homeland Security Emergency Management Division), added to:
~ $200,000 grant from USDA Rural Development~ $250,000 from How-Winn.

~ $300,000 from a CDBG grant makes the total in grants  a whopping $1.2 million plus so far. The entire project is estimated at $1.3 million, leaving a $100,000 deficit.

The SALC Committee has done their job so far and are asking for only $100,000 in local funds—over $50,000 of which has already been raised.When LS-C Elementary School Principal Robert Hughes and Superintendent Dianne Anderson were given the news by Bill Ziegler, Upper Explorerland, Mr. Hughes stated, “This is a magnificent achievement for both the school district and the Lime Springs area.

The community has worked so hard for the last three years to establish a safe haven not only for the children, but also for all local citizens during severe storms. This is also a strong support for our school as it will help us grow and offer the best educational services possible for our early learners.”  A coalition of local citizens, business owners, school staff, architect and city, regional, state and federal government partners collaborated to make the safe room and early childhood learning center a reality.
SALC—A dream come true for Lime Springs community

This journey began in October of 2007 when a group of community members assessed the benefits to local families and the future development of the Lime Springs area to have a child care center at the existing elementary school location.

In the fall of 2008, a survey was conducted which determined a need for further child care, including before and after school care.  Current day care providers were filled to capacity and turned families away, showing a deep need for more child care arrangements. In addition, rural Howard County has many parents who commute to their work locations. A one-stop-drop Learning Center offers strong support to all families and the local communities and encourages community and economic development for the local area.

The Spring Ahead Learning Center welcomes and will serve children from across the northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota area. For parents who travel to work, the center will be a safe environment in the small town.The Howard-Winneshiek Community School District is committed to early childhood education and supporting young families.

This will be the third early childhood center facility established within the school district: Cresco Early Childhood Center and Elma Early Childhood Center were developed.  The Howard-Winneshiek District also acquired the State of Iowa Voluntary Four-Year-Old Preschool Grant in 2008. This program was increased from four half days to four full days. Collaborative and shared programs exist between Head Start and Spring Ahead’s private non-profit three-year-old program. The negotiated contracts and rental of school building space has allowed both entities to increase services and reduce barriers for young families.

“We are so fortunate to have supportive partners and dedicated volunteers,” states Principal Hughes.  “Lime Springs-Chester Elementary and the communities it serves will definitely benefit from the strong support. We are one of the first, and only, to receive financial commitments from a wide array of local, State of Iowa, and Federal sources. People both within our community and in the larger nation see the worth of these investments.”

• In order to fund the project, a $200,000 USDA-Rural Development Grant was successfully awarded to the HWCSD in 2009.

• Howard-Winneshiek CSD financially supported the Learning Center/Safe Room Project with a $250,000 commitment.

• In April 2010, the City of Lime Springs was one of four Iowa cities to receive a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Iowa Department of Economic Development, amounting to a $300,000 grant.

• During this process, the City of Lime Springs completed its Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning efforts and identified that severe weather and tornados were a threat to the safety of citizens and specifically the school children.

The Hazard Mitigation Plan was FEMA-approved, allowing the City of Lime Springs in collaboration with the Howard-Winneshiek CSD to compete for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Project grants. The recent FEMA grant approval includes $431,250 from FEMA, and $57,500 from the State of Iowa’s Homeland Security Emergency Management Division, totaling $488,750.  The total cost of the Spring Ahead Learning Center is $1.3 million dollars with $575,000 in costs being the tornado shelter.

Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa, says, “We are pleased to be assisting the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District in their efforts to promote strong children, families and communities.”• In addition to grant and school funding, the SALC is committed to raising $100,000 through its capital campaign. Currently, $58,200 has been raised through generous donations from local residents and businesses.

As part of the capital campaign, SALC is promoting a “Korn for Kids” program, where local grain producers can donate to the project through bushels of grain. Partnering with A&K Feed and Grain, Ostrander Farmers Co-op, and Winneshiek Co-op, this initiative has raised over $5,000 in its first week. Also, the R.J. McElroy Trust awarded Spring Ahead Learning Center a $10,000 grant towards its capital campaign, which will be given once $90,000 in donations have been received.The new SALC will provide a dual purpose, providing quality child care services and an immediately-accessible storm shelter. The design and building will be such that it looks like a normal building but a portion of it will be hardened by concrete walls to withstand an F5 Tornado with winds up to 250 miles per hour. The building will include an emergency generator and shelter for as many as 268 residents.  Access to the storm shelter will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Child care services will be provided to as many as 60 children, from birth to age 12.   The Learning Center will be attached to the existing LS-C Elementary building, offering families before and after school care, easing the frustration of safe child care and transportation to work.The Spring Ahead Learning Center will improve the quality of life for Lime Springs, Chester and Howard County. The key to the success of this community project is thorough planning, research, collaboration and partnerships.  Bill Ziegler, Community Developer from Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, who assisted the community and school district in writing the FEMA grant and will help them manage the grant, comments, “Proper planning, community involvement and support provides a powerful edge when it comes to these competitive grants.” Local partners who helped leverage funding opportunities and assist in this effort, include  USDA-Rural Development, FEMA, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, HUD (CDBG), Iowa Department of Economic Development, Northeast Iowa Community Action, HAWC Empowerment and CCR, Regional Health Services and C US Bank.Also Cresco Bank & Trust, A & K Feed & Grain, Johnson Farms, Kitchen Construction, Howard County Economic Development, Skott & Anderson Architects, Spring Ahead Preschool LLC, City of Lime Springs, Howard-Winneshiek Community School District, the SALC Advisory Committee, committed volunteers and community residents. Mr. Ziegler believes the Spring Ahead Learning Center will be “a model for many communities to follow.”

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Krauskopf go-to person for SALC

Denise Krauskopf

Denise Krauskopf of Decorah has been hired as the go-to person, or interim coordinator, for Spring Ahead Learning Center (SALC).

Now that all the major grants have been confirmed, along with the committed money from Howard-Winneshiek Community School District, the real work is ready to begin on the facility. All of the SALC committee members are volunteers and have already invested hundreds of hours. Members have had the help from Upper Explorerland to write the grants, but now it is time to have someone available to do the day-to-day paperwork.

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Community Club meets

After the hoopla of Sweet Corn Days and before the frenzied Christmas season, the October 18 meeting of the Lime Springs Community Club was pretty mild.

• It was announced the Junior Community Club was sponsoring a Scarecrow Contest. The contest had not been held for a couple years and the youth decided it was a good thing for the town. Three prizes were to be given away to winners.

• Jason Passmore of Howard County Business and Tourism introduced himself to the group. “I’ve been the director for two months now.” He went on to explain he had done a similar job in Waverly, where he had been for over 10 years.

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Partners in Progress looking for members

Current members of Partners in Progress at Chester are looking to invite new members to the club. As with any small-town organization it is the few who do for the many. Be part of the Few, the Proud, the PIPs.

At the group’s most recent meeting, an update on the Fall Festival was given with good feedback on the coloring contest and pumpkin decorating which the club sponsored.

The next big event will be Christmas in Chester on December 11. It will start with crafters and holiday shopping at the Community Center. There will be a soup and sandwich luncheon, holiday cookie decorating (which was a BIG hit with the kids and their parents), sleigh rides, prizes and of course Santa! After that, the beginning of the year plans will be started for the Old Settlers celebration.

The event always has volunteers, but volunteers and new blood are needed before the event also. That doesn’t mean you will be corralled in to be chairman of an event, but the more input there is the better the output will be in June 2011.

The next meeting will be November 10. For more information talk with Pam Wendel, Dawn Fairbanks, Alice Schroeder or Linda Warnke.

Area man lucky to be alive following accident

Rex Larson escaped serious injury when the bucket of a tractor came through his windshield.

Rex Larson, a farmer who lives on Highway 9, east of Saratoga, is counting his blessings after an accident last week. Last Wednesday night (October 13), Larson was heading southbound on Holly Avenue in a semi tractor when he stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Holly Avenue and Highway A-23. There, he encountered a tractor being driven by Marvin Ladwig of Chester. Ladwig was pulling a pair of wagons full of grain and was going northbound on Holly Ave.

Larson explained, “I planned to turn east, so I sat at the corner about 5-10 seconds to make sure he would stop before I turned.”Ladwig’s tractor was sliding, though and didn’t come to a complete stop. As Larson turned, he noticed the loader bucket on the tractor, which was about the height of Larson’s windshield, coming towards him. He ducked quickly and was able to avoid the loader bucket coming through his windshield.“If I didn’t duck, I probably would have been killed,” Larson commented. “When I looked up, the loader was at the level of my head.”Luckily, Larson was not seriously injured. He commented he had a sore neck and jaw, but said that was most likely because of clenching his jaw tightly.

Two compete for Dist. 2 Sup.

By Keri BugenhagenNews Editor
CRESCO – Two candidates are running for the Howard County Board of Supervisors, District 2 position in the General Election set for November 2, 2010.Incumbent Don Burnikel (D) faces Dale Kreitzer (R) for the chair, thus the Times Plain Dealer presented both candidates with the following questions: “What past experiences or education has prepared you to be an effective member of the Howard County Board of Supervisors,” “What challenges do you believe Howard County will be faced with in the next few years that you feel uniquely qualified to address and resolve,” “What would you like to enhance? What would you like to preserve? What would you like to resolve” and “Is there anything else that you would like the community to know about your bid to serve on the Board of Supervisors?”What follows are the candidates’ written responses to these questions. Don Burnikel1.) What past experiences or education has prepared you to be an effective member of the Howard County Board of Supervisors?I was born and raised in Howard County and care about the people who live here and the future of the county. That is why I decided to take on the position of supervisor in August of 2007 and have since decided to run again in the 2010 election. I have been married to my wife Pam for 40 years and we have four wonderful children and nine grandchildren, all are very active within Howard County.I am certified in Lean Manufacturing and International Standard of Operation (ISO). I actively farmed for 25 years, and the past 12 years our farms have been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). I successfully helped manage family partnership for 13 years. Presently, I am employed at SMI pallet division in Cresco, Iowa where I have been for the past 16 years. I have served on the Hawk Board, Howard County Economic Development, NE Iowa Mental Health, Public Safety and Emergency Management for three years and the Conservation Board for 20 years. It is so important to be a participant on these boards in order to become aware of the new and upcoming developments taking place in Howard County. With the years of experience on these boards and committees, they have greatly helped me to participate as an effective member of the Howard County Board of Supervisors.2.) What challenges do you believe Howard County will be faced with in the next few years that you feel uniquely qualified to address and resolve?Some of the challenges that we are facing right now and have faced since I have been supervisor is our economy, loss of jobs, conditions of our roads and bridges, our secondary road equipment such as trucks and road graders. We have some very old equipment that is in GREAT need of replacement. Mick, Jan and I are addressing these concerns. Of course funding is the issue, so we as a board decided to TIF (tax increment financing) our windmills in order to improve our roads and bridges and replace some of the older equipment SOONER RATHER THAN  LATER. We feel that these concerns cannot wait any longer and we will do our best to make these improvements. As far as the economy, loss of jobs, we are working closely with Howard County Business and Tourism (HCBT) to encourage new businesses and to expand existing businesses. Being on the Howard County Economic Development Board, I have the first-hand opportunity to help bring business to our county. I have also been involved in bringing new businesses to town such as the ALCO Store, County Store, Oak Creek Dental and Rockin-R Syrup Co. In addition, I have assisted in facilitating the expansion for Campsite RV, Hawkeye Sanitation and Cresco Motor Company.3.) What would you like to enhance? What would you like to preserve? What would you like to resolve?         In the upcoming years, I would like to enhance our infrastructure, which includes roads and bridges, but also our county parks, recreation areas and conservation areas. I want people to enjoy the wonderful areas we have in our county, including fishing, hunting, beautiful scenery along the Upper Iowa River, Turkey River, Wapsi River-Crane Creek area, Lake Hendricks and our extensive bike trails. There are many more areas that we have and are improving upon, with the most recent improvement being the fish structure built at Vernon Dam. When people move or visit our county, they want these opportunities and we definitely have them. With my 20 years of experience on the Conservation Board, I take great pride in what the board and staff have accomplished and we are still moving forward with further projects! And as a VERY smart man (my dad) once said, “If you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards.”4.) Is there anything else you would like the community to know about your bid to serve on the Board of Supervisors?I would also like the community to know that we have a GREAT team of supervisors. To me it’s not really about what “I” can do for Howard County, it’s what “WE” can do as a team for the county. We work very well together with the same goals in mind, and that is to IMPROVE AND ENHANCE OUR WAY OF LIFE IN HOWARD COUNTY.I am looking forward to serving Howard County in the future, and the future looks very promising. I want to see all of our hard work completed as Howard County is and will always be my home. I appreciate your vote on Nov. 2, 2010.Dale Kreitzer1.) What past experiences or education has prepared you to be an effective member of the Howard County Board of Supervisors?I believe that my combination of education and work experience qualifies me for the position of county supervisor. My present position requires me to make decisions on a daily basis concerning budgets, personnel and projects.In the past, I have served on various committees including safety, negotiations and process improvements. I will strive to make data-driven decisions supported by hard facts and not sentimental reasoning.         2.) What challenges do you believe Howard County will be faced with in the next few years that you feel uniquely qualified to address and resolve?I believe the county will face some difficult choices in the next few years. A few decisions will be unpopular, but necessary for our county to survive financially.We have to continue to support our local businesses – they are the ones who continually give back to the community through donations to church functions, youth programs and other civic projects. We also need to openly welcome new businesses and instill in them the same spirit of community pride.Our infrastructure will also be a growing concern. Our bridges and roads are in need of attention and we need to start planning now for future replacement.3.) What would you like to enhance? What would you like to preserve? What would you like to resolve?I believe it is necessary to aggressively recruit and attract industry to our county.  Business is done on a global scale in the manufacturing world, and what made sense 10 years ago does not necessarily hold true today. The way that we recruit industry needs to be reevaluated and changed to fit this new criteria.Our county has a skilled workforce and is our greatest asset in attracting industry to our communities. New economic development opportunities for Howard County means new job opportunities for the community – which makes Howard County an appealing place to live and raise a family.4.) Is there anything else you would like the community to know about your bid to serve on the Board of Supervisors?There’s a lot of political uncertainty on all levels this year – local, state and federal.  Now more than ever, we need to work with our state elected officials. If elected, I will work hard to find solutions that benefit the whole community.  Solutions that are one-sided do nothing but fracture growth opportunities. I also believe that a positive attitude is a prerequisite to success. True leadership is based on positive actions, which translates to positive results.

Boos Implement ready for snow

Boos sells equipment and all the accessories.

Every time of year is busy for Boos Implement at Davis Corners. (The main office and second location is at New Hampton.) Spring, summer, fall and winter—the John Deere dealer has something for everyone!Salesperson Kevin Bill of Lime Springs said the business sells four different types of John Deere vehicles C-CE (consumer products) and specialty products of agriculture, skid loader/compact excavators and motor sports.Most equipment needed for fall harvest has already been sold, purchased and serviced so it is time to look toward the next season—winter. Continue reading