Miss Alyssa Latcham, 10, daughter of Curtis and Amanda Latcham of rural Montezuma, has been chosen to represent Poweshiek County, Iowa at the 2021 Little Miss United States Agriculture Pageant.
Alyssa will travel to Maryville, Mo. in December where she will compete on the regional level, the first step to reaching the finals in Orlando, Fla. in June 2022.
“Alyssa is beyond excited for this opportunity,” said her mom, Amanda.
“I’m looking forward to teaching people the importance of agriculture as farmers are important as they feed the world,” Alyssa said.
Alyssa started off her title run by participating in the 2021 Iowa State Fair Parade.
Thanks to a $4,800 grant from Bayer Fund, the Montezuma Food Pantry was able to purchase female period products, men’s 2 in 1 body wash and baby wipes for area families.
Food Pantry Director Darla Wilson said unless you have it experienced it, most people don’t understand the term: period poor.
“A low income family with several females in the household understands what that means,” Wilson said.
She added, funds from this grant has allowed the pantry to purchase important and necessary hygiene products for women and men, and strengthen what the Salvation Army was already doing in the county.
“For some time the Salvation Army has been supplying tampons and pads to the schools in the county to ensure teens have access to those necessary items when they are unavailable at home,” Wilson said. “Now areas families will have the opportunity to add these items to their monthly grocery sack(s) at the Montezuma Food Pantry. We are thankful for this support to our organization, but also to the communities we serve across the county.”
“Throughout the years, the grants given through Bayer Fund have helped strengthen our communities across the United States, “noted Al Mitchell, president of Bayer Fund. “We’re proud to provide support to develop programs that help combat challenges such as food insecurity, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and support services to patients and families managing an illness or disease.”
In 2020, Bayer Fund awarded more than 17 million to more than 3,400 charitable and nonprofit organizations to help address essential needs in food and nutrition, STEM education and community development. Over the last five years, nonprofit organizations across the US have received more than $80 million from the Bayer Fund.
To learn more about the Montezuma Food Pantry visit their Facebook page. They do not have a website. To learn more about the Bayer Fund visit https://www.fund.bayer.us.
The Grinnell Lions Ag Appreciation Day is slated for Thursday, Aug. 26 from 3 – 7 p.m., in and around Central Park in Grinnell.
Postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19, Ag Day will again offer food, fun, exhibits, activities for kids, hay rack rides, a guest speaker, music, tractors on display and a tractor parade, and just good fun. A farm family will be awarded the Jim Urfer Spirit of Farming Award and an agribusiness will also be recognized.
And new this year, the Grinnell Lions have partnered with the Grinnell Rotary Club to prepare and serve their famous BBQ chicken dinners. The Rotary Club will be serving Ag Day attendees as well as drive up customers. All registered tractor owners will be given a free chicken dinner ticket.
“It’s two Grinnell service organizations working together to help make Ag Day a better event and sell more chickens,” said Allan Maly, a spokesperson for the Grinnell Lions.
The Dari Barn food truck will also be on site serving Ag Day attendees.
Route 66 will provide the tunes and this year’s guest speaker is Liz Kolbe, Education and Engagement Director at Practical Farmers of Iowa. Bill Menner is the Ag Day emcee.
The event will end with the popular tractor parade, which starts rolling at 6:30 p.m.
“Please encourage any and all tractor owners to bring them to Ag Day,” noted Maly. “New, old, show quality or right from the field. The bigger the tractor parade, the better.”
• 12 – 3 p.m. – tractor registration
• 3 – 6 p.m. - exhibitor displays open
Old and antique tractors on display, Grinnell Historical Society, Farm Bureau – Free Water. Pow Mutual Insurance – free popcorn, Conservation Station Marsh Madness trailer, Iowa Corn trailer, Theisen’s – free popcorn, Cub Scouts, Poweshiek County SIDCD/NRCS, Poweshiek County Extension/4-H, Poweshiek County Public Health offering free Covid vaccinations, UnityPoint Health, diabetes awareness and free screening, Iowa Lions Eye Bank, DuraCrop Scouting services, Bayer Crop Science, Grinnell Fire Department, Alliant Energy – energy demonstration, Poweshiek County Naturalist – Archery Trailer, Hayrack rides – southwest corner of Central Park
• 4 – 6 p.m.
Pedal Tractor Pull southwest of playground - (BGM FFA), Petting Zoo (Grinnell-Newburg FFA), Music by Route 66, Food - Grinnell Rotary Club BBQ Chicken Dinner and Dari Barn Food Trailer
• 5:55 - 6:15 p.m. – Featured speaker – Liz Kolbe, Practical Farmers of Iowa
• 6:15 - 6:25 p.m. – Spirit of Farming and Ag Business Awards – Lyle Roudabush, President of Grinnell Lions will preside
• 6:30 – Tractor parade announced
• 6:35 – Tractor parade starts lead by Merle Doty and the 2021 featured tractor, a 1954 Farmall Super MTA. The parade starts on 4th Avenue west to Broad Street, north on Broad Street, west on 5th Avenue, south on Main Street, east on 4th Avenue, south on Broad Street, finish at 1st Street.
Education and Engagement Director Liz Kolb
Liz Kolbe joined Practical Farmers of Iowa staff in the summer of 2013. Liz oversees strategy and operations for PFI’s educational events, outreach, and community and farmer engagement
A native of Grinnell, Liz received her B.A. in Environmental Science at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Following graduation, she worked as the program coordinator for the State of the Rockies Project, eventually shifting her academic focus to agriculture and landscape. Liz earned her M.S. in Environmental Science with a specialization in Agroecosystem Science at Ohio State University. While at OSU and based in Wooster, Ohio, Liz worked with the Agroecosystems Management Program and was a “super-volunteer” at Local Roots Market. Prior to her current position, Liz managed the horticulture and habitat programs at PFI.
Liz enjoys playing sports, scouring garage sales, building and fixing, reading on the front porch, and exploring plains, mountain and desert landscapes. She also serves on the board of directors for Wheatsfield Co-op in Ames.
For more info, contact Practical Farmers of Iowa at 515-232-5661 or email@example.com.
Featured tractor – a 1954 Farmall Super MTA owned by Merle Doty
Merle Doty’s tractor was purchased new in 1954 from Richerson Implement Store in Brooklyn by his father, Melvin Doty. The Super MTA was the main tractor on the Doty farm for about 25 years before being sold to a neighbor.
Merle purchased it from the neighbor some years later and restored it with the help of Eldon VanWyk. Merle has ridden on the Super MTA on several tractor rides and in several parades. Plans are to pass the tractor on to Merle’s son, Mark, and his family when the the time comes.
Free Diabetes Screening Clinic
The Grinnell Lions Club, in partnership with Unity Point Health-Grinnell, and the Montezuma, Kellogg, and Victor Lions Clubs, will offer a free diabetes screening clinic at the annual Ag Day Celebration on Aug. 26.
Screenings will be funded by a grant from the Lions Club International Foundation, as well as follow-up care for those identified as pre-diabetic or diabetic. The project is designed to increase awareness of prediabetes by identifying higher risk individuals, increasing the availability of, and enrollment in, a diabetes prevention program and developing a referral process to a comprehensive follow-up care program for those identified as prediabetic or diabetic.
Look for U.P.H. close to the Gazebo in Central Park on Aug. 26 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Three college-bound Iowans will receive the Governor Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship for 2021-22, Iowa College Aid announced today. The scholarship, named for the longtime Iowa governor and former U.S. ambassador to China, recognizes outstanding Iowa high school seniors who have actively participated in the fair. This year’s winners will each receive $2,000. They are:
The winners will be honored at the fair on Saturday, August 14, on the Bill Riley Stage, just before the crowning of the Iowa State Fair Queen.
Sharon Ford of Brooklyn was named the 2021 Poweshiek County 4-H Hall of Fame inductee at the Poweshiek County Fair on Thursday, July 15. Gavin Tindle, right, holds the 4-H Hall of Fame plaque being presented to Sharon, who is joined by her husband, Loren. The Poweshiek Pioneers 4-H Club nominated Sharon for the hall of fame honor. Representing the club at the announcement was William Manatt and Sam Johnson, both at left.
By J.O. Parker
Giving to others is something Sharon Ford takes to heart.
She is a past 4-H leader, a retired school teacher, volunteer and community partner in Brooklyn. Her work in helping youth through the years and her involvement in the Brooklyn Community, schools and churches has led to the Poweshiek County 4-H Program naming her the 2021 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductee.
The announcement of her receiving the hall of fame honor came at the Poweshiek County Fair on Thursday, July 15.
Sharon will receive her honor at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 22 in the 4-H Building.
When asked what being named to the 4-H Hall of Fame means to her, Sharon said she is humbled and greatly appreciates this honor.
“This came as a complete surprise,” she said.
Sharon was nominated for the hall of fame honor by the Poweshiek Pioneers 4-H Club.
Sharon was a 4-H member growing up. She was a parent helper when her daughter first started 4-H and then became one of the chapter leaders of the Bear Creek Pepper Uppers, a position she held from 2005-2009.
During her time as a 4-H parent helper, Sharon assisted with getting a grant for BGM to plant trees along the newly built elementary school playground. She also helped with county fair open class judging for years. She mainly was a judge’s assistant with photography where she helped by attaching ribbons and displaying photographs.
Sharon was involved with the youth in AG program, where she helped 4-H’ers with their indoor projects.
She holds a degree from Iowa State University. She moved to Brooklyn in 1983 and started working for the AEA, serving preschoolers with special needs starting out. She then took seven years off to do in home daycare until her children began school. Sharon taught preschool at BGM for 22 years, retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
Sharon is also an active member of PEO, a philanthropic organization for women, and TTT (Time, Talents and Treasures). She has served on P.I.E. (Partners in Education) and Music Boosters at BGM in executive capacities. She has volunteered for countless school activities. She is active with First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn teaching Sunday school, and helping organize the Christmas pageants, Vacation Bible School, making banners and is a former member of session. She also is part of the Brooklyn Community Choir and donates blood whenever she can.
When asked about the importance of 4-H and youth development, Sharon said 4-H allows children the chance to learn about a variety of projects and grow in their abilities.
“Children develop 21st century skills such as building self-confidence, leadership, communication and presentation skills (through 4-H) that will help them in their future endeavors,” she said.
Sharon and her husband, Loren, have two children, Stefanie and Elliot.
By J.O. Parker
The Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association announced last month that Myron Jack, a long-time softball umpire, has been inducted into the Softball Umpire’s Hall of Fame.
Jack, who calls Victor home, learned of the honor on July 24.
“I met so many wonderful people throughout my umpiring career,” noted Jack. “The coaches, players, fans, and fellow officials I've gotten to know have made for a very rewarding career. To the umpires who mentored me along the way, thank you, this wouldn't have happened without your help. Special thanks to my wife, Rhonda, and the rest of my family, thank you for all of your support through the years. I have been truly blessed.”
Jack started umpiring in 1990. He said the HLV summer recreation program was needing umpires.
“I thought it would be an interesting way to get involved in games that I enjoy, and help kids maybe learn about the game,” he said. “Little did I know that I was the one who would be doing most of the learning.”
Jack worked youth ball for 10 years, mostly in Victor, but did umpire numerous tournaments in Marengo and Williamsburg.
In 2000, Jack said he talked with an umpiring crew at the high school game about getting started umpiring high school baseball and softball.
“They advised me to check out the Iowa City Athletic Officials Association,” recalled Jack. “I joined the ICAOA and attended pre-season meetings in Iowa City. They do a lot of assigning in the area, so that was the start of high school ball.”
Jack worked high school baseball from 2000 to 2003 and high school softball from 2000 – 2017, retiring after the 2017 season.
The Iowa Girls’ Coaches Association administers the halls of fame for coaches, administrators and umpires. They IGCA also selects the district and state coaches of the year honors. In addition, they name the all-state players after the season is over. They have a committee that takes nominations for the various awards, and then votes for the recipients.
“I was very fortunate to be one of the two umpires inducted for 2021,” Jack said.
The Softball Umpires Hall of Fame is an entity of the IGCA.
In addition to pre-season meetings and clinics, Jack said he typically umpired four, and sometimes five nights, a week.
“Many Saturdays were spent umpiring tournaments around the area,” Jack said. “I usually tried to keep my regular season games within a 75 mile radius from home, but occasionally would go further. I also refereed junior high and JV basketball for a number of years, usually working two to three nights a week.”
When asked what he enjoyed about being an umpire, Jack said meeting all the peope involved with sports in the State of Iowa.
“I have so many good memories, I just wish I would have written them down, it would make quite a book,” he said. “I always enjoyed interacting with the players and coaches. You really remember the great ones.”
Jack said he’s met many umpires from around the entire state.
“My first full-time partner was fellow Hall of Famer, Darrel Brand from Montezuma,” noted Jack. “He taught me so much about the game, and how to deal with people, especially in tough situations.”
Jack said he always enjoyed working the post-season.
“The atmosphere at those games is incredible, especially when you get deep into the tournaments,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to have umpired nine state tournaments, and two state championship games. I would encourage anyone to make the trip to Fort Dodge and see the state softball tournament in person. It is an amazing facility, and is so well run by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.”
In wrapping up this honor, Jack said there is an extreme shortage of sports officials in every sports. He said the reasons are varied, but too many newer officials quit within the first two or three years.
“If you go to some of the games and listen, it's not too hard to figure out why some very promising officials don't stick with it,” noted Jack.
Jack said due to the shortage, he is going to get registered again, and possibly work some games.
“I’ll probably just fill in as needed,” he said.
He also wants to offer to mentor any new official that may need some help getting started.
“I'm so fortunate that my wife, Rhonda, and our family supported me and allowed me to pursue this avocation that I enjoyed so much,” noted Jack.
Tim Burgess received Best Paired Duo honors showing a sheep owned by Ellen Cook with the Montezuma FFA at the Poweshiek County Fair Celebrity Livestock Show held on Friday, July 16.
Janel Burgess received Crowd Favorite honors showing a sheep owned by Olivia Latcham with the Poweshiek Pioneers 4-H Club at the Poweshiek County Fair Celebrity Livestock Show on Friday, July 16.
Sharon Boggess as Little Bo Peep received Best Dressed honors with her outfit and dressed up sheep owned by Easton Edelen with the Sheridan 4-H Club at the Poweshiek County Fair Celebrity Livestock Show held on Friday, July 16.
Edy Henning received Most Alike Duo honors with a sheep owned by Levi Stevens with the HLV FFA at the Poweshiek County Fair Celebrity Livestock Show held on Friday, July 16.
Jono Cheney received Overall Winner honors with a sheep owned by Vivian Cook with the Deep River Helping Hands 4-H Club at the Poweshiek County Fair Celebrity Show held on Friday, July 16.
Steve Plants, a long-time volunteer with the East Poweshiek Ambulance Service, enjoys visiting with a friend who stopped at the “Sundaes for Steve” event held in his honor on Sunday, June 13 in Brooklyn. Plants has volunteered with the EPAS for 45-years and says he has no plans to retire at this time. Guest attending were treated to free ice cream Sundaes and cake in Steve’s honor. “I was just amazed at how many people came,” said Plants. “A lot of them brought cards and sent texts and well wishes through Facebook. I got to see a few old members of the EPAS who attended the event.”
Doing a job for 45-years is quite a feat for anyone. Just ask Steve Plants, a life-long Brooklyn resident, BGM graduate and volunteer with the East Poweshiek Ambulance Service (EPAS).
Plants, 64, just celebrated 45-years as a volunteer with EPAS. That is four and one-half decades of volunteer service. With an average of 300-350 calls per year, Plants has gone on more than 13,500 ambulance calls during his time as a volunteer.
The EPAS honored Plants with a “Sundaes for Steve” event held on Sunday, June 13 at the Brooklyn Public Safety Building. Grinnell’s Dari Barn served ice cream sundaes in Steve’s honor. The local ambulance service also unveiled a new ambulance lift system at the event.
“I was just amazed at how many people came,” said Plants. “A lot of them brought cards and sent texts and well wishes through Facebook. I got to see a few old members of the EPAS who attended the event.”
Plants joined the EPAS on July 4, 1976, a year after graduating high school.
“My dad helped out with the ambulance service when I was in high school,” recalled Plants. “I must have gotten the bug from him.”
At the time, the EPAS was operated out of the local funeral home in Brooklyn. The service went solo on Jan. 1, 1976.
When asked what keeps him going, Plants said he likes helping people out because everyone needs a helping hand once awhile.
“We all have bad luck once in a while and need help,” Plants said. “We are here to help them get to the hospital and get into appropriate care.”
Plants is currently in charge of training staff and going on ambulance calls. He is a trained EMT.
Plants said he has no plans to retire at this time.
“I’m going to keep going for now,” he said. “For how long, I don’t know.”
When not on an ambulance call, Plants works for the family-owned J&M Roofing commercial roofing business in Brooklyn. He also helps his brother farm and raise cattle.
Plants and his wife, Pauline, have three children, Natalie, Nikki and Bryan and a host of grandchildren. The couple will celebrate 40-years of marriage in October.
“I want to thank everybody for coming and for the support of the community and the surrounding area,” Plants said.