Mason Sieck, 7, center, is shown with his family, from left, Shanna, Izabella, Colton and dad, Curtis, at the Crescent Cove Pediatric Respite and Hospice Home for Kids in Brooklyn Park, Minn., where he spent the last week of his life. Mason passed away on March 22, 2021 of Gardner Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that caused noncancerous and cancerous growths known as desmoid tumors to develop throughout his body. Curtis and Shanna, along with a four-member board, are currently raising money and are planning to build a pediatric respite and hospice home in the Iowa City area that will provide loving care and give peace to children and their families in Mason’s honor.
By J.O. Parker
Seven-year-old Mason Sieck, who most knew as Mighty Mason, fought the good fight of faith. He believed in Jesus, loved those around him, carried a big smile and spent the short years he had on this earth giving to others.
He loved spending time with his dad, Curtis, and grandfather, Scott, at the Grinnell Fire Station and was an honorary member of the department. He even had his own turnout gear and loved going on fire calls.
“When the pager went off, he would have his full set of gear on before I could get my shoes on,” said Curtis, who volunteers with the GFD. “It didn’t matter what the page was for, he wanted to help people.”
At age 2, Mason was diagnosed with Gardner Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that caused noncancerous and cancerous growths known as desmoid tumors to develop throughout his body.
Mason passed away on March 22, 2021 at the Crescent Cove Pediatric Respite and Hospice Home for Kids in Brooklyn Park, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis.
Mason was a first grader at Fairview Elementary in Grinnell at the time.
Even though his life was short on this earth, Mason’s memory of helping others will live on for many years, thanks to his parents, Curtis and Shanna (Elliott) Sieck, and a four-member board who are currently laying out plans to build a pediatric respite and hospice home that will provide loving care and give peace to children and their families in Mason’s honor. It will be located in the Iowa City area.
Shanna said there are many respite and hospice homes that will take children, but only three in the country that are specifically designed for children. They are in Arizona, California and in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. It could be for a few hours or a longer period of time. Hospice care focuses on giving quality of life for terminal patients.
Shanna said Mason loved his short time at Crescent Cove.
“Every day we were there, Mason would wake up say he loved it there,” recalled Shanna. “The only thing he missed was A&E milk.”
On our way home on the day Mason passed, Curtis said, “Every state needs a hospice house for children.”
That set wheels into motion and since that time an official name, Mason’s Light House, and logo for the facility has been established. The facility will feature two hospice rooms, four respite rooms and two family suites. It will also feature a craft room, music room, kitchen and laundry.
“It will be at no cost to families,” said Shanna.
“Once you have experienced using a hospice house for children, you know how much this is needed,” added Shanna.
An estimated cost of the project was not available at this time, but plans are to raise enough money to purchase land, construct the building, purchase all needed equipment and to have operational funds to keep the facility in operation for the first two years.
“We want to do this to help other children and their families who are going through this,” Shanna said. “That is what Mason would have wanted.”
The goal is to open the facility in about two years.
Shanna said the group is currently establishing 501(c)(3) status. Once all the paperwork is completed with the IRS, fundraising efforts will be underway.
“We are going to hit the road running,” said Curtis. “Luckily, we have a lot of people ready to go out and get donations.”
If you would like make a donation to Mason’s Light House, checks may be sent to Mason’s Light House, 1830 4th Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112.
Mason Sieck, 7, of Grinnell
Mason's Light House logo.
Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) in partnership with the Poweshiek County Alliance (PCA) Grants Committee is pleased to announce that grant applications are now being accepted for the 2022 PCA grant cycle. Nonprofit (501(c)3) organizations and public entities serving members of Poweshiek County are eligible to apply for support for new or ongoing projects. The PCA grants seek to build relationships and address community needs to foster vibrant, sustainable communities throughout Poweshiek County.
Grant proposals should provide cultural, educational, recreational, or wellness opportunities or provide community enhancement or support for physical or mental health for community members. After a uniquely challenging year, the PCA Committee is particularly interested in projects focusing on the most pressing identified needs in the county such as those addressing transportation barriers, mental health services, quality childcare, in-home elder care safety, affordable housing, and food insecurity. Grant requests should not exceed $10,000.
PCA grants blend funding from several sources to grant more than $160,000 per year to organizations throughout the county. Approximately $103,000 is available this year from the County Endowment Fund. These funds from the State of Iowa are paired with funds from the Community Fund for Poweshiek County to support initiatives county-wide. Funds distributed from the Brooklyn Community Fund and the Montezuma Community Fund are designated for grants supporting services in those communities. The Carl and Joann Orr Fund, established in 2019, may only support requests in the Grinnell area with the intent of supporting people in need of legal assistance, food and other essentials, and physical and mental health assistance.
Projects which fall into these mission categories should complete a grant application by 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. All grant requests must be submitted through the online grant portal. A copy of the 2022 PCA grant application and instructions for submitting an application can be found on the GPCF website at https://greaterpcf.org/grants/. Any questions may be directed to Amy Blanchard at 641-236-5518 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Successful grants will be notified of the award by March 31, 2022.
The PCA has distributed almost $1.5 million since its inception in 2005 to 464 grants. PCA Grant Committee members represent communities across Poweshiek County and include: Bev Arthur, Randy Johnson, Brenda Strong, Liesl Roorda, Scott Steffen, Alicia Blankenfeld, Janice Albrecht, Tim Douglas, Tina Elfenbein, Derek Kriegel, Jill Allen, Nicole Brua-Behrens and Amy Blanchard. Poweshiek County Alliance is an organization of the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists donors in efficiently and effectively supporting charitable organizations that make life better for people in the area. GPCF partners with the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation through the Community Support Services (CSS) program.
BGM Elementary students enjoy performing music and dance during the annual Christmas holiday program on Thursday, Dec. 9. The program opened with the lower elementary students and wrapped up with the upper elementary students. The program was under the direction of Emily Chatfield.
By J.O. Parker
It was a heartwarming evening of music and dance at the BGM Elementary School Christmas Concert on Thursday, Dec. 9 in the school auditorium.
Elementary music teacher Emily Chatfield brought lots of energy and passion and it showed as the students performed a number of dances and songs using drum sticks, cups and five-gallon buckets.
First up were students in Begindergarten, Kindergarten, first and second grades. They performed such holiday favorites as, “Jingle Bells,” “Mittens and Gloves,” “The Mitten Song,” “Kindergarten Reel,” “Great Big Star,” “Do You Hear? (stick percussion),” “Parachute: Trepack (Nutcracker Ballet)” “Away in the Manager,” “Jubilee Rag,” “Les Saluts,” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”
The second half of the evening centered around students in third, fourth, fifth, sixth grades and fifth/sixth grade choir.
They performed and danced to a variety of Christmas favorites such as, “Joy to the World Bucket Percussion,” “What Child is This?” “La Bastringue,” “Sing We Now of Christmas,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time Cup Percussion,” “Longways Sweet Potato,” “Joy to the World,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Galopede,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Percussion,” “Jingle Bells Dance,” “Rise Up, Shepard,” “Stille Nacht/Silent Night,” and “Deck the Hall.”
Members of the Grinnell Tigers Hip Hop Dance Team are, from left, front row: Jenna Mintle, Jenna Davenport, Sophia Tyler, Jaedyn Arment, Daria Kline. Back Row: Olivia Blankenfeld, Brielle Sherman, Bela Hoffman, Lily Schmidt, Josie Smith, Ellie Mintle and Sarah Ashing. The Hip Hop Dance Team earned a second place finish and division 1 rating at the competition.
By J.O. Parker
The Grinnell Tigers Dance Teams and Soloists recently participated in the 46th Annual Iowa State Dance Team (ISDTA) State Championships, bringing home Division 1 ratings and top state honors in four different classes including 6th place in Novelty, 5th place in Pom, and 2nd place in both Coed and Hip-Hop.
“This year's 2nd place in hip-hop marks its highest placing to date,” noted dance instructor Molly Loftin.
In addition to the four teams, Grinnell took eight soloists to state solo competition. Soloists were: Jenna Davenport, Sophia Tyler, Daria Kline, Jenna Mintle, Sarah Ashing, Bela Hoffman, Brielle Sherman, and Lily Schmidt. Jenna, Sophia, Daria, Jenna, Sarah, Bela, and Brielle all received division I ratings.
The Iowa State Dance & Drill Team Association’s Iowa High School and College State Dance Team Championship was held Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at the Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. Grinnell performed all routines on the second day of the competition.
Teams are divided into classes based on school enrollment. They are evaluated and judged by industry professionals from all corners of the United States.
Grinnell Soloists - Bela Hoffman
Grinnell Soloist - Brielle Sherman
Grinnell Soloist - Daria Kline
Grinnell Soloist - Jenna Davenport
Grinnell Soloist - Jenna Mintle
Grinnell Soloist - Lily Schmidt
Grinnell Soloist - Sarah Ashing
Grinnell Soloist - Sophia Tyler
Members of the Grinnell Tigers Coed Dance Team are, from left, front row: Jenna Mintle, Jenna Davenport, Sophia Tyler, Daria Kline, Jaedyn Arment. Middle Row: Olivia Blankenfeld, Brielle Sherman, Lily Schmidt, Sarah Ashing, Ellie Mintle, Bela Hoffman, Josie Smith. Back row: Will Dahlby-Albright, Gene Blalock, Oliver Louden, Julio Parmley, Alex Smith, Joshua Osbourne, Sam Simon, Cole Johnson, Calvin Jaworski, Will Doty and Brady Steward. The Coed Dance Team earned a second place finish and division 1 rating at the competition.
Members of the Grinnell Tigers Novelty Dance Team are, from left, front row: Jaedyn Arment, Jenna Mintle, Jenna Davenport, Sophia Tyler, Daria Kline. Back row: Olivia Blankenfeld, Brielle Sherman, Josie Smith, Lily Schmidt, Sarah Ashing, Bela Hoffman and Ellie Mintle. The Novelty Dance Team placed sixth, earning a Division 1 rating at the competition.
Pictured are members of the BGM Bears Show Production Dance Team, from left, front row: Megan Hanlon, Olivia DeGeeter, Jeryn Kalinay, Ava Secora, Alison Hildebrand, Lily Kriegel, Karissa Heishman, Bryanna Timm, Abby Slater, Mashayla Doty, Carli Kriegel, Sophie Puls and Hailey Heishman. The team finished third at the ISDTA State Championships, Dec. 1.
By J.O. Parker
The BGM Bears Dance Teams and Soloists recently participated in the 2022 Iowa State Dance Team (ISDTA) State Championships (46th annual), bringing home Division 1 ratings in each class, including a third place finish in the Show Production Class.
The Bears performed in four team categories: Hip Hop, Jazz, Novelty and Show Production classes. In addition to the four teams, BGM took five soloists to state solo competition.
The Iowa State Dance & Drill Team Association’s Iowa High School and College State Dance Team Championship was held Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at the Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. BGM performed all routines on the first day of the competition.
Teams are divided into classes based on school enrollment. They are evaluated and judged by industry professionals from all corners of the United States.
Photos provided by Amber Heishman.
BGM Bears Dance Soloists competing at the ISDTA State Championships are, from left: Megan Hanlon, Olivia DeGeeter, Bryanna Timm, Sophia Puls and Hailey Heishman.
Members of the BGM Bears Hip Hop Class Dance Team are, from left, front row: Bryanna Timm, Megan Hanlon, Mashayla Doty. Back row: Hailey Heishman, Sophia Puls, Olivia DeGeeter, Abby Slater, Jeryn Kalinay, Ava Secora and Lily Kriegel.
Members of the BGM Bears, Jazz Class Dance Team are, from left, front row: Bryanna Timm, Megan Hanlon, Mashayla Doty. Back row: Hailey Heishman, Sophia Puls, Olivia DeGeeter, Allison Hildebrand, Jeryn Kalinay, Ava Secora and Lily Kriegel.
Members of the BGM Bears Novelty Class Dance Team are, from left, front row: Hailey Heishman, Bryanna Timm, Megan Hanlon, Mashayla Doty, Carli Kriegel. Back row: Sophia Puls, Olivia DeGeeter, Karissa Heishman, Allison Hildebrand, Abby Slater, Jeryn Kalinay, Ava Secora and Lily Kriegel.
Andi Tribby of Brooklyn and her daughter, Willow, 2, pose for a fun photo with Santa during Brooklyn's Christmas Traditions event on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the MJM Community Center.
Sarah Smith announced on Friday, Dec. 17 plans to run for the Iowa House District 53. As a lifelong Iowan and a fourth generation resident of the district, Smith has a vested interest in its success and is eager to learn more from its residents and business owners to support its collective growth.
“I grew up in Poweshiek County and I appreciate the joys and benefits of rural Iowa,” she said. “My goal is to support rural Iowans, raising the voices and enhancing the lives of those in House District 53 first and foremost.”
As Director of Program Outreach and Events at Grinnell College, Smith coordinates key efforts to unite the community with the college campus. In the Fall, she can be found poolside coaching the Grinnell-Newburg and BGM High Schools girls swim team. But of highest priority, Smith is the mother of Josie, a freshman at Grinnell-Newburg High School, and Alex, a senior at the same school with plans to play baseball at Luther College.
Smith earned her B.A. in Psychobiology at Luther College where she met her husband, Dustin. She is also active in community service by serving on various boards including UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell-Newburg School Foundation and St. Paul's Episcopal Church vestry.
Smith has spent the last year listening to residents in the district and has created focus areas for her campaign based on comments and concerns that were expressed in those listening sessions. Those areas focus on the current struggles for working families, labor shortages, rural development, safety and security and role of Government.
Struggles for Working Families
Childcare deserts, unpaid sick leave and prenatal and maternity care are the crux of many issues facing working families. Smith will work with local community centers and daycare providers to subsidize childcare options while championing affordable healthcare options.
Small businesses are the heart of Iowa's downtowns and many are experiencing labor shortages. In addition to ensuring access to the most suitable skills training, Smith will collectively work with business owners and managers to ensure their profitability while increasing wages to benefit the worker.
Smith supports Iowa's farmers and aims to ensure fair tax rates when land is moved into conservation efforts. Rural residents deserve all the same amenities as any other citizen, which is why she will continue to work toward infrastructure improvements ensuring internet access, public school support and emergency services.
Safety and Security
Smith knows that law enforcement needs support now more than ever which is why she supports mental health crisis training. She also supports responsible gun owners and keeping the second amendment intact through required safety courses and background checks. As dangers evolve, she will continue to support laws that stop sex trafficking across Iowa and put an end to spam and identify theft.
Role of Government
As a non-politician, Smith believes the government's role to be one of support – providing assistance rather than mandates. In doing so, she will vouch for government support for healthcare access, hunters' rights, climate change and energy advancements and keeping the agricultural industry an even playing field.
To learn more about Sarah Smith’s campaign and where to see opportunities for House District 53 visit her website (www.SarahSmithforIowa.com) and be sure to follow her on social media.
According to the Department of Natural Resources and a Facebook post, deer hunters tracking a wounded deer early last week west of Brooklyn stumbled upon a mountain lion. It was found with a snare around its neck.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the nearly 120-pound mountain lion cat was found Tuesday, Dec. 7 in Poweshiek County by a group of hunters.
The hunters reported the find to the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office and the DNR. It was not known where the original trap was located or who set it.
According to the DNR, mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa, meaning the hunters could have kept the carcass. Instead, they turned it over to DNR, officials noted.
“It is not required that (mountain) lions be reported to the Iowa DNR; however, we really appreciate it when they are,” department wildlife biologist Vince Evelsizer told the Des Moines Register. “It helps us all in monitoring their whereabouts and learning more about them.”
The agency will conduct tests on the carcass to try to get more information on the mountain lion’s background, Evelsizer told the Register.
‘Leading by Example from the Heart’ – Twila Rosenow
Twila Rosenow was honored by Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation as a Spirit of Giving awardee. Twila retired from the Grinnell-Newburg School District 17-years-ago after many years serving English language learners. Her dedication to providing students a welcoming environment and needed support inspired many of her students to earn college degrees, and she committed her time and resources to helping refugee families make Grinnell their home. She was nominated for “leading by example from the heart.”
Living Out their Values – Liz and Dan Rodrigues
Liz and Dan Rodrigues of Grinnell were honored by Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation in October for their Spirit of Giving. Liz and Dan generously give of their time and expertise to numerous boards, organizations, and their faith community. They balance a busy life with three young children with their commitment to living out their values through leadership and service to their community, and they accomplish all this with patience, humility, and humor.
Magical Wonderland – Jennifer and Kevin Alexander
GPCF recognized Jennifer and Kevin Alexander for their generous Spirit of Giving that benefits the entire community. For several years, Jennifer and Kevin have spearheaded the effort to decorate Central Park in Grinnell for the holidays. Their creative planning, attention to detail, and scrupulous shopping turn a limited budget into a magical wonderland for all visitors to the park. GPCF understands projects of this scope are not possible without the efforts of volunteers like Jennifer, Kevin, and their busy team of generous elves.
Community-Minded Service – Anika Jane Beamer
GPCF also honored 4th year Grinnell College student, Anika Jane Beamer, who has for served the Community Foundation in a service-learning capacity since 2018. She joined the Foundation as an already accomplished nonprofit leader having established a nonprofit, Blessed Birthdays, in her hometown, and has continued to build connections between her experience and advocacy on the campus, in the community, and at the Foundation. Anika Jane for being insightful, kind, caring, charismatic, and optimistic in her efforts and has enhanced much of the work accomplished at the Community Foundation in lasting ways.
Growing Community through Giving Every Day – Total Choice Printing and Shipping
GPCF honored business partner, Total Choice Printing and Shipping in Grinnell, for their generous Spirit of Giving. Through volunteer leadership on local boards such as SHE Counts, Dollars for Scholars, or Poweshiek County Alliance and by generously contributing printed materials to causes such as the effort to find Xavior Harrelson, Alicia, Cory and their entire staff grow community through giving every day. Pictured are, from left: Lori Versendaal, Cory Blankenfeld, Alicia Blankenfeld, Keegan Matt and Maggie Marrs.
By J.O. Parker
The Grinnell Tigers wrapped up the 2021 football season with a 6-4 record and a first round playoff game and loss to West Delaware, 48-0.
Five Tigers received first team honors in Class 3A, District 5 while three players earned second team and three players earned honorable mention honors.
Following are the first, second and honorable mention players:
First Team – (Each team gets to pick one player for each district win)
Solon - Blake Timmons, Sean Stahle, Gage Marty, Brett White, Carson Miller, Jacob Timmons
Grinnell - Calvin Jaworski, Gene Blalock, Cole Johnson, Tryston Stark, Alex Smith
Washington - Lucas Kroll, Ethan Patterson, Jacob Miller, Ethan Zieglowsky
Fairfield – Nick Kaska, Max Weaton, Tate Allen
Keokuk – Kolbe Barnes, Liam O’Donnell
WBND – Hayden Vandenberg
Solon – Jake Quillin, Parker Pentico, Logan Sieverding
Grinnell – Brady Steward, Will Doty, Josh Osborne
Washington – Kasen Bailey, Brayden Hartman, Kole Williams
Fairfield – Evan Haines, Teddy Metcalf, Nate Smithburg
Keokuk – Aiden Derr, Diego Garcia, Josh Wills
WBND – Tyler Burch, Brady Heuvelmann, Jordan Nupp
Solon – Lucas Kampman, Cayden Knipper
Grinnell – Colin Gibson, Ethan Walker, Oliver Louden
Washington – John Prochaska, James Strabala, Kaisen Rude
Fairfield – Connor Lyons, Hunter Cecchini
Keokuk – Quinton Martin, Lucas Swainey, Khalyl Tate
WBND – Caden Schwenker, Carson Chiprez, Travain Donaldson
Coaching Staff of the Year - Solon