The Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce Christina Moffatt will be the guest speaker at this year’s Annual Celebration on Wednesday, March 6 beginning at 5:15 p.m. The event will be hosted at the Grinnell College Golf Course. This year’s event is sponsored by Grinnell College, Grinnell Mutual, UnityPoint Health - Grinnell Regional Medical Center and GreenState Credit Union.
As part of fundraising efforts this year, the Chamber will host a seated dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. with special guest speaker Christina Moffatt, a certified business advisor and entrepreneur and growth strategist. Moffatt is passionate about helping small businesses thrive and is able to dive into her previous business ownership to share personal experiences. From turning difficult moments into transformational experiences, balancing personal and professional opportunities, and using change for good - Christina's session 'The Sweet Life' will give each of our attendees things to consider in their own situations.
“We are excited to welcome Christina as this year’s event speaker. Having spent many years owning her own business, while simultaneously serving as a sounding board for other businesses and organizations, she brings a wealth of small business knowledge and experience,” notd Rachael Kinnick, President & CEO of the Chamber.
Dinner for the evening will be catered by Grinnell College Catering and will feature a Frisee Carrot Salad, Montmorency Chicken Dinner with Vegetable Mélange and Rice Caviar Blend and followed by assorted desserts. Full event tickets are $60 and include dinner, a drink ticket and registration for the Awards Celebration; a limited number of full event tickets are available.
Following dinner, the Awards Celebration will take place at 7:30 p.m. Highlights of the Chamber’s work in 2023 and goals for the upcoming year will be shared, followed by recognizing the achievements of the community and business members. Award winners will be recognized in the following categories; Business of the Year, Restaurant/Retailer of the Year, Service Business of the Year, GRINNtogether awards. Tickets for the Awards Celebration only are $20 and include complimentary dessert. A cash bar will be available for the duration of the event.
Ticket are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting the Chamber’s website at
Jessie Lacaeyse, a board member of Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands, left, hands a customer a fresh cup of hot coffee at the Brooklyn Ruritan Breakfast on Sunday, Feb. 18. Funds raised at the breakfast are given to the Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands organization, who helps families across the county with children in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Since its founding in 2012, the organization has helped 90 families and 99 babies who have spent 3,726 days in the NICU
By J.O. Parker
At times, the line stretched outside the Brooklyn Ruritan Building on the north edge of town as local and area residents enjoyed a tasty breakfast of pancakes, omelets and other foods while helping an important county-wide organization further its mission.
Held on Sunday, Feb. 18, the menu included made-to-order omelets, sausages, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, fruit cups, milk, juice and coffee, all for a free will donation.
Proceeds from the breakfast were directed to Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands, an outreach that raises funds to help local families with babies in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).
In 2023, the organization helped eight families and eight babies who spent 448 days in the NICU. Since its founding in 2012, the organization has helped 90 families and 99 babies who have spent 3,726 days in the NICU.
The nonprofit organization, under the leadership of an eight-member board, provides a daily stipend to the families who have a child or children in the NICU. The funds, which are in the form of gift cards, are used to offset housing, food and gas. The only requirement is that the family has a connection to Poweshiek County either through work, family or reside in the county.
The organization was started because there was a need for an outreach to families with prematurely born babies who spend time in the NICU or term babies with complications. Some children can spend two or more months in the NICU.
Current board members are: Brenda Day, Jenny Bos, Jess Renaud, Julie Meyer, Julie Hendricks, Katie Osborn, Katy Calkins and Jessie Lacaeyse.
All the board members have either had a child in the NICU or a niece or nephew or have helped other families with children in the NICU.
According to information provided by the University of Iowa children’s medical services, one out of nine mothers do not carry to full term (37 or more weeks) and roughly 100,000 babies end up in the NICU each year.
Survival rates of premature child are as follows:
• Babies born at 23 weeks have a 17 percent chance of survival
• Babies born at 24 weeks have a 39 percent chance of survival
• Babies born at 25 weeks have a 50 percent chance of survival
• From 32 weeks onwards, most babies are able to survive with the help of medical technology
Don and Diane Lastovka and Jim and Elsie Foels with the Brooklyn Ruritans co-chair the annual breakfast.
Jim said several years ago he stopped at the Farm Bureau insurance office of Jenny Bos, a board member of the organization, in Grinnell to look at an insurance policy.
“I saw a brochure on Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands and picked it up,” said Jim. “I brought the brochure to the a Ruritan meeting and we decided to host a benefit for the them. They receive the profits from the breakfast.”
This is the fifth year the Brooklyn Ruritans have held a breakfast for the Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands organization.
Jim said this year, the Ruritans were given a donation of eggs from the Pleasant Grove Homestead in rural Montezuma and a monetary donation from Fremont Farms in Malcom.
“It’s great to see all the support we have for families with babies in the NICU,” said Jessie Lacaeyse, a Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands board member. “Our donors are the reason we are able to do what we do and we couldn’t do it without them.”
“The support our communities of Poweshiek County gives Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands always surprises me,” said board member Jenny Bos. “Over the years, they have showed up to our breakfast, gave generously and helped us in any way possible. It is very heartwarming to witness such support. We also appreciate the Brooklyn Ruritans for choosing our cause to give to.”
If you were unable to attend the event but would like to donate to the Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands foundation, please send your tax-deductible donation to: Big Hearts 4 Tiny Hands, P.O. Box 177, Brooklyn, IA 52211.
The late George Drake and the namesake of Grinnell's Drake Community Library, will be honored on Sunday, March 10 at the Drake Community Library by the Ladies Education Society. Submitted photo.
The Ladies Education Society (LES), Grinnell College's campus organization founded in 1862, invites the community to commemorate the cherished memory of the late George Drake. Please join us on Sunday, March 10, from 2 - 3:30 p.m., as we gather to celebrate the remarkable life and contributions of George Drake at the Drake Community Library.
George Drake, a beloved figure in Grinnell and former President of Grinnell College, epitomized dedication and service. His indelible mark on the community resonates through his multifaceted roles as a leader, educator, volunteer, baseball enthusiast, father, husband, and grandfather.
The dedication ceremony will unveil a memorial space within the Drake Community Library, showcasing a display case and bookcase generously donated by the Ladies Education Society. These artifacts assembled by the family will illuminate George's diverse accomplishments and myriad interests, underscoring his profound impact both professionally and personally.
In partnership with his spouse, Sue Drake, he played a pivotal role in securing funding for the Drake Community Library in 2007, transforming it into a beacon of knowledge and community engagement. The library stands today as a testament to their visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to enhancing Grinnell's cultural landscape.
Sue Drake, herself a trailblazer and former President of the Ladies Education Society, will be honored for her dedicated service and leadership. Sue's stewardship exemplified the LES tradition of excellence, marked by innovation and inclusivity. Her contributions, including hosting the Annual LES Tea at the President’s home and serving as Archivist, have left an indelible imprint on the organization's legacy.
Sue Drake and other family members will be present at the reception and recognition ceremony. Join us as we honor the memory of George Drake and celebrate his enduring legacy of service, generosity, and community spirit.
Kevin Hosbond, Grinnell High School Speech instructor, left, is shown with the Group Mime cast and winners of the Critic's Choice banner for their production of "The Spider-Woman" at the Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group All-State Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Ames. Pictured are, from left are: Hosbond, Peyton Stevenson, Cora Miller, Chloe Alger, Kiran Elfenbein, Sarah Ashing. This banner represents the 13th banner won by the Grinnell Speech program and a third year in a row that the speech program has earned the Critic's Choice honor. Submitted photo.
A group of 36 out of 61 Grinnell High School Large Group Speech Team students traveled to Ames on Saturday, Feb. 17 for the Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group All-State Festival. Of all the attendees, 19 were designated All-State performers and gave their final performances of the season in front of professional critics. And by the end of the day, a group of six of those performers would be Critic’s Choice winners.
The day began with opening ceremonies at CY Stephens Auditorium where Kiran Elfenbein served as the Banner Page for Grinnell. She carried the Group Mime banner on stage as a representative of last year’s banner-winning mime team “The Heist.”
Grinnell’s first performance was the One-Act Play “Reflex Action”, directed by Jennie Flinspach. The ensemble performed to a full house at Fisher Theatre. Upon the conclusion of the performance, guest critic Connor Wang of Broadway applauded the group’s heightened sense of humor and how they brought the script to life because of their commitment to the scene. “You made your school proud,” he told them. The cast and crew includes Forrest Behrens, Diane Boyd, Eli Boyd, Tobias Crandall, Elisabeth Kelley-Chown, Mackenzie Kohl, Reece Madren, Myles Manley, Ellie Mintle, Charlie Nicklas, Natalie Nieuwsma, Owen Shepardson, Cameron Thompson, and Lucy Turley.
Grinnell’s next performance was the Group Mime “The Spider-Woman,” written and directed by Kevin Hosbond along with the cast. Critic Jane Hawley, a dance artist from Luther College, commented on the group’s hard work and unique innovation. “That is a lot of discipline that you’ve just shown us,” she said of their performance. She added that their work was bordering on the epic work of an evening-length performance like the many she has created in her career.
The day concluded with the closing ceremonies taking place at a fully packed CY Stephens Auditorium with overflow audience members watching online and from the Scheman Building. Senior Reece Madren served as the medals page for GHS, carrying out the role of collecting the team’s 27 All-State medals. These included the special recognition medals for the Readers Theatre “Ray and Milo”, directed by Flinspach and featuring Tobias Crandall, Roman Mackenzie, Reece Madren, Charlie Nicklas, Moby Ostby, Anna Schubert, Peyton Stensrud, and Jeslyn Voogd.
Each critic then gave their choice for the "Critic's Choice" award--represented by a traveling banner that goes on display in each school for the year before returning the next season. Critic Jane Hawley told the packed auditorium that it was “a great day for mime in Iowa.” She soon after announced “The Spider-Woman” was the Critic’s Choice for Group Mime, marking the third year in a row that this honor has been bestowed upon Grinnell.
According to the IHSSA, "135 Iowa high schools had groups selected as ‘Outstanding All-Staters’ at the 49th Annual IHSSA All-State Large Group Festival held on Feb. 17 at The Iowa State Center in Ames. Approximately 24,000 students started at the district level from 484 school memberships. Approximately 1,870 students earned the right to be named as Outstanding All State Nominees.
[The] Critic's Choice is selected by a professional in the specific field as a top performer in the State of Iowa in that performance area for 2024, much like winning a banner at a state championship.
Of his third Group Mime banner, Hosbond states, “It felt surprising and unreal, but I truly appreciate thcritic’s perspective and the way she honored the hard work of these performers. I’m extremely happy for the students who were part of our previous banner groups and were honored yet again, and I’m grateful we added some new performers to the team who got to share in this journey. I also continue to believe the banner represents the legacies of every GHS mime student that came before. They have all played a role in building this team.”
This banner represents the 13th Critic's Choice banner received by Grinnell. It will be on display this year in front of the auditorium. The GHS Speech Team extends gratitude to the Ramsey Family Foundation who continues to fulfill their standing promise of purchasing a replica to hang on the auditorium wall for years to come.
Grinnell’s One-Act Play “Reflex Action," directed by Jennie Flinspach featured from left, front row: Reece Madren, Diane Boyd, Elisabeth Kelley-Chown, Tobias Crandall. Back row: Cameron Thompson, Owen Shepardson, Eli Boyd, Natalie Nieuwsma, Charlie Nicklas, Ellie Mintle, Myles Manley, Mackenzie Kohl, Forrest Behrens and Lucy Turley. The group performed at the Iowa High School Speech Association All-State Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Ames. Submitted photo.
Grinnell High School Speech Group Mime category performed "The Spider-Woman" at the Iowa Speech Association All-State Festival, earning Critic's Choice honors. Pictured are, from left: Peyton Stevenson, Sarah Ashing, Kiran Elfenbein, Cora Miller, Forrest Behrens and Chloe Alger. The All-State Festival was held on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Ames. Submitted photo.
Grinnell FFA Chapter Conduct of Meetings Team earned a gold rating and will be advancing to districts following sub-district competition on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus. Districts will be held on Saturday, March 2 in Des Moines. Pictured are, from left: Lauren Louden, Maggie Dayton, Alyssa Peterson, Owen Kaltsas, Jacob Thilges, Easton Edelen and Zane Iverson.
The Grinnell FFA Chapter Greenhand Quiz Team earned a silver rating at sub-districts on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Pictured are, from left: Trenton Huls, eighth; Will Slagle, fifth; Kyrie Chapman, sixth; and Eddie Harseim, seventh.
The Grinnell FFA Chapter Quiz Team participated in sub-district competition on Feb. 13 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus. Pictured are, from left: Peyton Davenport, twelfth; Tristan Graff, third; Carter Hansen, fourth; and Sophia Louden, seventh. Graff, Hansen and Louden earned gold ratings while Davenport earned a silver rating.
Aiden Wolfe, with the Grinnell FFA Chapter, earned a gold rating in the Creed Speaking category at sub-district competition on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus. Wolfe advances to compete in district competition on Saturday, March 2 in Des Moines.
Isaac Hill with the Grinnell High School FFA Chapter participated in the Ag Radio competition at sub-districts on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus, bringing home a Bronze rating.
Wyatt Eaton participated in the Extemporaneous Speaking category earned a Bronze rating at sub-district competition on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus.
Abagail Hatcher with the Grinnell FFA Chapter participated in the Public Speaking competition, earning a Silver rating at sub-district competition on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC campus.
Grinnell High School FFA students participate in National FFA Week, Feb. 17-24 activities. Pictured are, from left, front row: Ashley Wolfe, advisor; Maggie Dayton, Lauren Loudon, Sophia, Loudon, Wyatt Eaton, Andrew Peterson, Carter Hanson, Tristan Graff. Second row: Abagail Hatcher, Peyton Davenport, Alyssa Peterson, Breyen Innis, Will Slagle, Kolton Kline, Dasha LaRue, Matt Turley. Third row: Trenten Huls, Dominic Peart, Mikeal Miller, Jacob Thilges, Jamison Hidlebaugh, Dylan Heater, Isaac Hill. Fourth row: Eddie Harseim, Aden Wolfe, Easton, Edelen, Tyson Garber, Brenton Hefflefinger, Maddie Eddins, Abby Spriggs, Mason Schwarck. Back row: Caleb Criswell, Rio Romo, Zane Iverson, Bryson Horras, Owen Kaltsas, Jace Koester and William Schalmo.
The Grinnell-Newburg Community School District Board of Education announced recently that a search for the district’s next superintendent would continue.
A round of finalist interviews was conducted Wednesday, Jan. 31. Included were two mixed interview teams and the board, as well as a tour of the community. For personal reasons, finalists declined accepting the position.
“While we were impressed with the qualifications and experiences of our preferred candidates, they ultimately did not feel they were the right fit for our district at this time,” noted Chris Starrett, G-N Board President. “Although this is disappointing, the key to successfully moving forward as a district is to find the right fit as superintendent, for us as a district, our communities, and the successful candidate. We are dedicated to finding the right leader who will build on our district's strengths and guide us toward our vision for the future.”
Due to confidentiality requirements for candidates, the board will convene in a closed session following the regular board meeting Wednesday, February 7, to discuss next steps.
“We appreciate our community’s patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this extremely important process,” Starrett said. “We fully understand and embrace the need for openness and transparency. The board will share additional information on next steps as soon as possible.”
The BGM Bears wrestling program has three wrestlers competing at the state wrestling tournament this week in Des Moines. Pictured are, from left: Hunter Hodina, a freshman who wrestles in the 106 weight class; Mason Maschmann, a senior who wrestles in the 157 pound weight class; and Cristian Martinez, a freshman who wrestles in the 113 pound class. All three wrestlers are competing at state for the first time.
By J.O. Parker
The BGM High School Bears wrestling program has three wrestlers in Class 1A, two freshman and one senior, who are making their first trip this week to the Iowa High School Wrestling State Championship, Feb. 14 – 17, in Des Moines.
Mason Maschmann, a senior, holds a 27-5 record in the 157 pound class.
Maschmann started wrestling in the pee wee program and has participated in the sport every year outside of his junior year when he played basketball.
When asked about making the trip to state, Maschmann said it is exciting.
“All the work I’ve put into this sport is finally paying off,” he said. “I’m going there to have some fun.”
In addition to wrestling, Maschmann played football and will participate in golf and baseball this spring and summer at BGM.
Hunter Hodina, a freshman at BGM who wrestles in the 106 pound weight class, is making his first trip to state. He holds a 35-9 recording in the regular season.
“I’m excited to be able to go to state,” he said.
When asked, Hodina said he enjoys the aggression and competitiveness of the sport.
In addition to wrestling, Hodina plays football, baseball, participates in track and shooting sports.
Cristian Martinez, a freshman at BGM who started wrestling in eighth grade a year ago, holds a 17-22 record. He wrestles in the 113 pound weight class.
He got interested in the sport of wrestling while playing football at BGM and hearing about pro athletes talking about how wrestling has helped them be better players.
“I’m looking forward to giving my best,” he said of wrestling at state.
In addition to wrestling, Martinez enjoys playing soccer.
BGM Wrestling Coach Wyatt Bauman said making it to state is a big deal for these students athletes.
“It’s a goal that many try to achieve, but few attain,” said Bauman. “I’m very proud of our three qualifiers. They’ve been in the wrestling room all season working to improve on and off the mat. I wish them the best of luck and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish in Des Moines.”
IHSAA State Championships Results for BGM – Wednesday, Feb. 14
Hunter Hodina (35-10) place is unknown and scored 4.0 team points.
Cristian Martinez (17-23) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.
Mason Maschmann (27-6) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.
Grinnell's Maxwell Mintle, a senior, right, and Logan McDonald, a junior, left, both return to the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines this week. Mintle wrestles in the 157 pound class while McDonald wrestles in the 132 pound class. Furnished photo.
By J.O. Parker
Two Grinnell High School Tiger wrestlers are competing in Class 2A this week at the Iowa High School Wrestling State Championship, Feb. 14 – 17, in Des Moines.
Maxwell Mintle, a senior who is making his third trip to state wrestling, holds a 20-3 record in the 157 pound class.
Logan McDonald, a junior in the 132 pound class, is returning to Des Moines for a second straight year. McDonald holds a 39-4 regular season record.
When asked what he enjoys the most about wrestling, Mintle said the team aspect.
“I enjoy getting to hang out with a bunch of good guys,” he said.
Mintle, who has been wrestling since preschool and has yet to place at the state tournament in his last two trips, said that was his goal his senior year.
In addition to wrestling, Mintle also played football and will participate in track this spring.
McDonald, who has been wrestling since seventh grade, holds a 39-4 record heading into state. When asked, he said he enjoys the competitiveness of the sport and hanging out with his teammates on Saturdays.
“I’m having fun,” he said.
In addition to wrestling, McDonald plays football at Grinnell.
IHSAA State Championships Results for Grinnell – Wednesday, Feb. 14
Logan McDonald (40-5) place is unknown and scored 3.5 team points.
Maxwell Mintle (20-4) place is unknown and scored 0.0 team points.