Category: News

Auditions set for The Savannah Sipping Society

The Savannah Sipping Society. The very name conjures up images of genteel women meeting on the veranda of an antebellum mansion, sipping mint juleps from tall frosted glasses, and discreetly discussing the scandals of the day. In this case, those images couldn’t be further from the truth!
Playwrights Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten (collectively known as Jones Hope Wooten) created the comedy The Savannah Sipping Society to present four unique, modern-day Southern women drawn together either by a happy accident, or by fate in the guise of an impromptu happy hour. However, once they meet, they prompt each other to re-capture the enthusiasm for life they somehow lost through the years.
This play has a cast of four women ranging from age 30 on up: one lady, Randa is a workaholic/perfectionist, Dot just lost her husband, and Marlafaye comes to Savannah from Texas and is ready to establish a new life after her husband left her for a 23-year-old dental hygienist. Then there is Jinx, a life coach who offers her skills to help the group get their lives back on track. Together, they discover lasting friendships and a renewed determination to live in the moment, and most importantly, realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.
There are two opportunities for try outs: Sunday, August 4, from 2-4 PM and Monday, August 5, from 6-8 PM. All tryouts will be at the Zion Lutheran Church in Dysart, 800 South Main. Directors of this play will be Richard Arp and Cindy Steinlage. If you cannot make a tryout, please call Richard at 319-464-6214.
This fall play will be performed October 11, 12, and 13th at the Union Middle School in Dysart.

Erdahls showing at Waterloo Center for the Arts

Erdahls, featuring works by Jerry and Thaddeus Erdahl is on view at the Waterloo Center for the Arts’ Forsberg Riverside Galleries May 23 through August 25.
A Reception & Artist meet and greet is planned for July 25 at 6 PM. Sponsored by Friends of the Art Center, the Reception is free and open to the public.
This two-man exhibition, Erdahls, represents a visual conversation between the art of father and son featuring assemblage sculptures by Jerry Erdahl and ceramic sculpture and portraiture by his son Thaddeus Erdahl. The pairing of these two separate bodies of work make for a very interesting symmetry, each unique and distinct, but with strong connections. Both artists have a whimsical sensibility to their work which layers unspoken stories, personal experiences, and humor, however dry or irreverent. The over-arching themes explored throughout this exhibition were not expressly planned by the artists, but are more reflect the influences of family and shared experiences.
Born in Iowa, Jerry has worked at everything from a cement factory to carpentry, leading to the selling of antiques and doing furniture restoration, from which he has since retired. He picked up making these sculptures and wall hangings almost at the same time his son started pursing formal art training. Jerry has participated in several exhibitions throughout Iowa and has works in several private collections. This self-taught artist continues to make his wonderful creations out of his converted storefont studio and gallery in downtown La Porte City.
Thaddeus, born and raised in La Porte City, has exhibited his sculptures and presented workshops nationally throughout the United States. After a three-year enlistment in the army, Thaddeus began his career in art and education at the University of Northern Iowa, then on to graduate school at University of Florida. He has since received numerous awards, graduate fellowships and artist residencies. Thaddeus is currently living in St. Petersburg, Florida pursuing his studio art career, and is a visual art instructor at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida.
The Waterloo Center for the Arts’ galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 1 to 5 PM. For information about this exhibition or other upcoming exhibits, programs, classes and events at the Waterloo Center for the Arts, call 319.291.4490, visit and connect with us socially.

Pillowcases bring cheer to Children’s Hospital

The Bruce Boosters 4-H Club recently donated 36 hand-sewn pillowcases to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. The donation was the culmination of a combined skills workshop and service project as a part of their club activities this year.
A total of 20 members learned basic sewing skills at a sewing workshop in January. Many made two pillowcases – one to donate, and one to take home. Several members made more pillowcases at home, bringing the total to 36. Club members are grateful to Teresa Lowe, Debi Miller and Janet Wilson, who served as sewing instructors and provided equipment for the workshop.
The club donated the pillowcases in honor of children in the community who have had lengthy stays at the hospital. Sam Spore is a classmate to many Bruce Boosters members at Union Middle School. He was born with spina bifida and has endured many surgeries at the hospital. He is the son of Chad and Heidi Spore of Dysart.
Keeley and Kambry Ewoldt are cousins of Bruce Boosters member Wesley Gaston. They were born 18 weeks premature and recently came home after nearly 20 weeks in the NICU at the hospital. They are the daughters of Wesley and Jade Ewoldt of Dysart.
A committee of five Bruce Boosters members – Lauren Frush, Jillian Hanson, Hayden Hemsath, Kajsa Skram and Natalie Stocks – traveled to Iowa City to deliver the pillowcases on June 17 to make the donation. They enjoyed a tour of the hospital and learned their pillowcases would bring cheer to many patients and make them feel more comfortable during their hospital stay.
The girls also made a display about the project to exhibit at the 2019 Benton County Fair. It will be advancing to the Iowa State Fair in August.

New book tells tale of growing up in LPC during World War II

“Summer 1945, Wolf Creek, Iowa: Eleven year old Jen has a dream to play a trumpet but times are hard. It is wartime. Everyone is doing something for the war, everyone except her. Trying to understand a war a world away yet holding to her dream she finds herself in a tangle of friendships, and unexpected prejudice. Dad says “no” to the trumpet. Mom say “maybe.” But when Danny teases, “Girls can’t play the trumpet,” meek and mild Jen turns downright spunky. Walk with Jen and her friends through her war torn troubles. When a Wolf Creek soldier is killed in the war, Jen finally has an idea of how to help in the war effort. But will it work? Who will help her? It is a summer Jen will never forget. And that is what she wants to tell you about.”
Janice Abel, author and La Porte City native, has written a new book that may sound a familiar tune for local residents. Brass Notes Over Wolf Creek tells the fictionalized tale of how Abel felt growing up in La Porte City during World War II, a book she wrote as a salute to her childhood and community life in rural America.
Brass Notes Over Wold Creek is a book written for youth and adults alike. It is available on in paperback for $7.99 and can also be downloaded free in eBook format until July 21. Subscribers to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited or Lending Library programs also have free access to the book at anytime.

Farmland leasing, management workshop offered

The Iowa State University Extension & Outreach of Black Hawk County office has scheduled a Farmland Leasing and Management workshop for Tuesday, August 13th at 1 PM at Hawkeye Community College.
More than half of Iowa farmland is rented. In some Iowa locations, as much as 70 percent of the land is farmed by farmers who don’t own the land.
In Northeast Iowa, the result is many conversations and negotiations between farmland owners and producer-tenants to determine what makes sense for farmland leases and cash rental rates – both fixed rent and flexible arrangements. Strong landlord/tenant relationships are important for the long-term viability of Iowa’s farming communities.
These are just a few reasons why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers workshops designed to answer questions that land owners and tenants have about farmland leasing and land management issues.
Workshops will be held across northeast Iowa counties starting July 29 through August 15.
Melissa O’Rourke, ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist will present a wide range of topics related to farmland leasing and management. O’Rourke is a licensed attorney with extensive experience in working with farm, ranch and agribusiness interests.
“Year after year, I receive numerous contacts from persons who have questions about farmland values and rental rates,” says O’Rourke.
“The interest in and conversations about farm leasing arrangements continues to grow, and 2019 is no different,” O’Rourke noted. “We always have good attendance and discussion at these meetings.”
“Due to the volatility of commodity and land markets, we have seen had increased inquiries regarding both fixed and flexible cash lease methodologies,” says O’Rourke. “There are dozens of methods for putting together flexible cash lease arrangements, and we will work through several examples.”
O’Rourke also noted that ISU research indicates that on average, cash rent values across the state have declined for several years. The most recent ISU cash rent survey showed steady rents to slight declines in Iowa.
O’Rourke has also seen that farmland owners and producer-tenants need to have more conversation about the cost of inputs to put in the crop and reasonable expectations on profit margins.
“ISU Extension and Outreach has good resources for people to use to gain an understanding of how crop input costs can be considered in setting cash lease rates, and I’ll show how those can be used.”
O’Rourke also noted the increasing age of farmland owners. “ISU Extension research indicates that the average age of farmland owners continues to rise,” stated O’Rourke. “Fifty-five percent of Iowa’s farmland is owned by people over the age of 65, while 28 percent of the land is owned by individuals over age 75. We find that children and surviving spouses may be less likely to continue operating the farm themselves. That’s a major reason why farmland leasing continues to increase.”
O’Rourke encourages anyone with an interest in farmland rental rates to attend these meetings. “Both farmland owners and producer-tenants should attend. In fact, the ideal situation is for these folks to attend together and then sit down at the kitchen table to discuss their farm lease arrangements for the coming year.”
Workshop attendees will receive a comprehensive workbook packed with information about land values, leasing and different types of farm lease arrangements. “Everyone should leave with a heightened understanding of farmland leasing and land management issues.”
A registration fee of $20 per person is charged to cover costs including a 100 page workbook. Pre-registration is preferred by calling the ISU Extension & Outreach Black Hawk County office at 319-234-6811. Walk-ins may attend for a $25.00 fee at the door.
For more information please contact, Sheila Walitshek (Office Assistant) at 319-234-6811, at the local Black Hawk County Extension and Outreach office in Waterloo.


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