By J.O. Parker
Six area prep football players were named to the 2021 Iowa Print Sports Writers Association all-state teams. The players were selected by sportswriters across the state, with input from coaches.
OL - Gene Blalock, Junior, Grinnell
LB - Eddie Burgess, Senior, Montezuma
K - Owen Cook, Junior, Montezuma
Utility - Jacob Maurer, Junior, BGM
WR/TE - Jacob Moel, Senior, BGM
DB - Connor Van Zee, Senior, Montezuma
The annual Grinnell Arts Center Empty Bowls Fundraiser for MICA (Mid Iowa Community Action) Food Bank is currently underway. Pictured, from left, Jane Mertenz, Rita Mertenz and Cecilia Knight with the Grinnell Area Arts Council Open Studio showcase some of the ceramic items they and other local artists created at the Stew Markerspace during the Jingle Bell Holiday on Nov. 19. Ceramic bowls are being sold for $20 each with the proceeds going to the food bank. The bowls are available at the Grinnell Arts Center, 926 Broad St., through Dec. 18. Days and hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, noon – 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information visit www.grinnellarts.org
By J.O. Parker
Efforts are currently underway to raise funds to renovate and upgrade the Grinnell High School T.T. Cranny football field.
Plans are to turn the stadium, which was built in 1961, into an expanded use facility with the addition of artificial turf and, pending the amount raised, other improvements in and around the stadium, noted information on the proposed project.
These possible other improvements include a donor walk to showcase the support of the project, a new entrance and ticket booth with restrooms, a new video scoreboard and repurposing the maintenance building for storage, officials room and other possibilities. Plans also call for new fencing around the track and to replace and expand sidewalks to meet ADA requirements.
In addition, the district has had discussions through the years about the need for more parking north of the school. This would allow for one entry into the school for inside athletic and fine arts events.
“These upgrades will allow for additional usage of the facility, including marching band, soccer, physical education and track and field events as well as allowing for more community involvement from parks and recreation and other community organizations,” noted members of the Tiger Football Club, organizers of the renovation project.
The most recent updates to the stadium were the installation of new visitor bleachers in 2019 and new stadium lighting in 2020.
The first phase of the project is to install the turf field. Organizers are looking to raise $1.2 million for this phase. The Grinnell-Newburg CSD has agreed to pay for half of the turf cost, $600,000, with the remaining cost to come from donations.
“The plan is to do the artificial turf and work our way out,” noted Chris Coffman, athletic director at the high school. “Our plan is to begin the turf installation in the spring/summer of 2022, so it can be finished by the first game.”
Coffman said bids for the projects will go out in the upcoming month and timeframes will be determined.
“The other projects will most likely need to be done in phases,” Coffman said.
To make the project possible, organizers are offering the following levels of recognition.
Levels of Recognition:
$250 – Small Brick
$500 – Large Brick
$1,000 – $7,500 – Brick and Donor Board
$10,000 – Brick, Donor Board and 5 Naming Opportunities
$25,000 – Brick, Donor Board and 1 Naming Opportunity
$50,000 – Brick, Donor Board and 1 Naming Opportunity
$100,000 – Brick Donor Board and 3 Naming Opportunities
$250,000 – Brick, Donor Board and 2 Naming Opportunities
$500,000 – Brick, Donor Board and Stadium Naming Opportunity (Field would still be named TT Cranny Field)… (ie TT Cranny Field at Company XYZ Stadium)
Donations are being handled through the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation. For more information on making a donation, visit: https://www.ttcrannyrenovation.com/.
The Mason Sieck Memorial Tree featured at the Drake Community Library Festival of Trees.
The annual Festival of Trees event sponsored by the Friends of Drake Community Library is currently underway. This year’s event features 16 trees decorated by individuals, clubs and businesses. The decorated trees fill the main and children’s areas of the library, and visitors can vote on their favorite trees with donations. The tree that earns the highest dollar amount, wins.
To make the voting more pandemic friendly, visitors can pick up an envelope near the entrance, check the tree they wish to vote for, place their donation in the envelope, and turn it in at the front desk. Voting for trees will continue through Friday, Dec. 10. The Festival of Trees is a fun, family event to bring the Grinnell community together with all proceeds going to the library. The trees will be on display through Christmas.
New Grinnell church-based ministry helping people in need across Poweshiek County with home furnishings
Members of the Renewed Hope Home Furnishings ministry are, from left, front row: Lynn Van De Krol, Joan Van De Krol, Angie Radcliffe, Barb Briggs. Back row: Pastor Anthony Nieuwsma, Jim Kessler, Rick Ethington and Pastor Ron Bryan.
By J.O. Parker
A new Grinnell-based home furnishings ministry is already making an impact in the lives of Poweshiek County families with needs.
Renewed Hope Home Furnishings, an outreach of the Friends Church in Grinnell, began reaching out to families in September and has already accepted donations and provided furnishings to two families in recent weeks. According to founder, Angie Radcliffe, there are several families waiting to be served.
Radcliffe, a school counselor who attends the church with her husband, Rick, came up with the furnishing ministry idea after seeing a need to help families moving into the area or who are starting over.
“I was helping a family relocate to Grinnell two years ago,” said Radcliffe. “I got in contact with Sue Hiner, executive director of Grinnell Housing Authority, so she could help the family get an apartment in Grinnell. Throughout that process, I realized there are no resources in Poweshiek County that help families with home furnishings.”
Radcliffe said she and Sue have met several times in recent years and discussed this idea of how to help people who are in need of home furnishings.
“God has kept this idea in my mind for over a year now and has given me a strong desire to help fulfill this need for families who can benefit from this,” said Racdliffe. “I believe this is God’s will.”
The desire to help others led Radcliffe to reach out to the church family and it just grew from there. Even though the church has been helping families since September, the ministry officially opened on Nov. 7.
“We saw a need to help people get furnishings,” said Friends Church Pastor Anthony Nieuwsma. “Our target is people coming out of homeliness or trying to get back on their feet.”
How it works
The Givers - When a giver has an item they are gifting to our organization, we will:
• Take a picture of the item and get the dimensions. The item will be posted on the website (https://renewedhope.grinnellfriends.org) as being available for two weeks.
• Once it’s been claimed, volunteers will pick up the item and deliver it to the receiver.
• Givers will be offered information about the program.
• Givers will be given the opportunity to become volunteers, if desired.
The Receivers – When a receiver has chosen an item they need, our organization will:
• Arrange a time and place with them for delivery of the item.
• Volunteers will deliver the item to their home.
• Receivers have the opportunity to occasionally hear from the volunteer to continue to build the relationship and hear the Word of God.
• Receiver will be given the opportunity to become a volunteer to help others.
Once the item or items is/are delivered, the volunteers will be available to talk with the receiver about needs and concerns they may have. Volunteers will also check on families after the donation.
“Volunteers may offer to pray with them about those needs,” noted information on the outreach.
The ministry is operated by a committee of eight people, who not only help keep the outreach going, they volunteer to help pickup and deliver home furnishings as well.
The ministry is currently accepting good, used furnishings including tables and chairs, couches and living room chairs, stools, bedroom furniture, microwaves and small appliances.
They are not accepting washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators and mattresses at this time.
The group is also currently looking for a storage building in Grinnell. Should you have a useable building, please contact the ministry via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to donate to the ministry, checks may be sent to: Renewed Hope Home Furnishings, Grinnell Friends Church, P.O. Box 507, Grinnell, IA 50112. Please write RHHF on the memo line. Those who wish to donate using a credit card, please visit the website to make a contribution.
There is a need for volunteers to help pick up and deliver home furnishings and complete other tasks as needed.
“If you know someone in need or have items to donate or would like to volunteer, reach out through our website (https://renewedhope.grinnellfriends.org),” noted Pastor Nieuwsma.
McKinley Moore, left, and Lauren Kivi enjoy having their photo taken with Santa during Jingle Bell Holiday in Grinnell on Friday, Nov. 19.
By J.O. Parker
Stepping into Beckman Gallery on Main Street in Grinnell during the Jingle Bell Holiday Friday night, the welcome mat encouraged those entering to shop local.
That’s actually what they were doing as the long-time Grinnell business was filled with shoppers milling about checking out the home décor and Christmas items while enjoy a holiday treat and good company.
“It’s a great thing for our small businesses in Grinnell,” said owner Jim Beckman of opening for the annual Jingle Bell Holiday event held the Friday before Thanksgiving.
This year’s event, which was organized by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by a host of businesses, was held on Friday, Nov. 19 from 5 – 8 p.m.
Down the street to the north, folks stopped for sweet treats at the Grin City Bakery and across the street at Brown Shoe Fit, shoppers stopped to check out the selection of shoes while warming their hands and their hearts to the music of Wind River, a bluegrass band featuring musicians from six states.
“I’m enjoying the music and festivities,” said Nicole Kiefer, while listening to the music.
“It’s a fun event that brings people together and to downtown Grinnell,” said Brown Shoe Fit owner and manager, Kyle Stock. “It’s a good thing we can get together as a whole community.”
The evening activities opened at 5 p.m. at the Central Park stage. Many in attendance were bundled in hats and coats to fight off the evening chill while watching performances by the Grinnell Children’s Choir followed by dancers from Michelle’s Dance Academy performing their holiday dance routine.
The holiday lights around the park were then turned on with a new voice activated command system by Grinnell Mayor Dan Agnew and Grinnell Chamber Director Rachael Kinnick as the large gathering counted down from 10.
This year’s decorating team was led by Jennifer and Kevin McAlexander and a host of volunteers including Michelle Butler, Kerri and Brian Olson, Esther Ware, Gailanne and Tim Dill, Bill Gruman, Bayer Crop Science team and more. Decorations will remain in the park through Dec. 31.
Just down the street from the park at Grinnell State Bank, Santa flew in on his sleigh with a jolly ho, ho, ho. Cory Hall Photography was on hand to take photos of youngsters posing with Santa.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Hall said of photographing Santa with area youngsters.
Thanks to the Dostal family of Toledo, horse-drawn carriage rides around the Grinnell business district were available throughout the evening with the pickup and drop off at the southeast corner of Central Park. Youngsters and adults were then able to pet the large horses after each ride.
At Hotel Grinnell, vendors filled the ballroom for the winter farmers’ market, selling everything from festive holiday decorative pieces to mittens, pies, spices, jewelry, kettle corn, books and much more.
“It’s wonderful seeing people getting out and welcoming the Jingle Bell Holiday season,” said vendor Sheryl Anderson.
“What a nice turnout,” added Shelly Hannah, who came to the farmers market for the first time with friend, Cindy Cloyed.
And across the ballroom, Cecilia Knight, Rita Mertenz and Jane Martenz, all representing the Grinnell Area Arts Council ceramic program, were selling handmade ceramic bowls for $20 during the program’s third annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for MICA (Mid Iowa Community Action).
“It’s going well,” said Jane Martenz. “We’ve had a lot of traffic and have sold a lot of empty bowls to help MICA.”
The Empty Bowls fundraiser is an outreach of the Stew Markerspace, a collaboration between the Grinnell Area Arts Council and the Wilson Center for Innovations and Leadership at Grinnell College. Stew Markerspace, which is located on Broad Street, houses spaces for ceramics, woodworking, 3D printing, metal working and more.
“I figured we would come check it out,” said Darrell Freeman of Grinnell, who attend the holiday event with his wife, Joy, both dressed in Renaissance period clothing.
"This is the first time to be at the winter farmers’ market,” said Beckey Anderson, who was selling Beez Kettle Corn and items from Beez Blooming Garden with her husband, Terry. “We are surprised at the turnout and the vendors here. There are some really nice things.”
“I’m pleased and excited to see good crowds tonight and happy to be here,” said Brian Olson, who owns the Grinnell-based Olson Garden Market with his wife, Kerri.
At Jensen Optometrists on Broad Street, area youngsters and adults had their photo taken with the Grinch at Whoville while enjoying sweet treats. Many other business offered holiday fare, sweet treats and hot cocoa to warm guests hearts all while supporting local businesses.
“We are having fun,” said Trae Butler, who was dressed as an elf with his girlfriend, Ella McAlexander, in a window display at Hawkeye Lock and Key. “The kids love it.”