FAA Art Installation "2020 in 2021 - A Better View" Opens Downtown
The Fairfield Art Association announces the annual summer downtown art installation is opening for public viewing on Friday June 4th, coinciding with a First Friday event downtown. Eighteen art works consisting of "Eye Glasses" representing a "Better View in 2021" will be on display outdoors in the garden nodes around the Fairfield Square and up Main Street to the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.
Area artists were invited to participate in 2020, but the exhibit was put on hold until this year, with a twist on the theme. Artists were enthusiastic about the project and there are more entries this year than usual. FAA is seeing works in mosaic stained glass, painting, fun assemblages of materials from old tools, yard items to clever items representing each state in the USA and more. "It is always amazing to see how creative the art works are as they come in. FAA provided the large wooden eyeglasses in four shapes - cat eye, octagon, round and rectangle, along with some guidelines and said 'Get Creative'. The art works will be offered for sale in a silent auction beginning in August going through the September First Friday, when the exhibit ends" says Suzan Kessel Volunteer Director.
Artists participating include: Mike Pech, Rolf Erickson, Kathy Tollenaere, Josie Hannes, Collen Matson, Curt Swarm, Cindy Ballou, Wendy Stegall, Brett & Bonnie Hendericks, Axis Vision, FACC - Mendy & Lindsay, Pamela Landers, Freya Gilrain, JoAnn Katz, Meghann Kurth, Jewell McDonald and Suzan Kessel.
Art Work by Mike Pech
Traveling Across the USA
7th Annual JCTC Scavenger Hunt
Jefferson County Trails Council
Put on your detective caps and come out to the Jefferson County Trails system for the 2021 Jefferson County Trails Council Scavenger Hunt. The Jefferson County Trails system will play host to this all-ages event from May 29 to July 2, 2021.
Participants will collect clues at 10 locations along the trail to be entered in a drawing for prizes including: The Ride: Bike Sales and Service bicycle light kit and tee-shirt, Cider House 1949 gift certificate, and the At Home Store gift certificate. Drawings for prizes will take place via Facebook Live the evening of July 2 during Fairfield First Fridays (or live during the event depending on current virus status).
This year marks the 7th Annual Scavenger Hunt on the Jefferson County Trails system. This year’s theme is “history”. Clues include a nod to years gone by, with the intent of spurring participant’s curiosity. This event is a great way to get out and see all the trails Fairfield and Jefferson County have to offer.
This year’s hunt returns to the traditional format with orange punches hidden in various locations around the Fairfield trail and park system. The Jefferson County Trails Council asks participants to maintain social distancing recommendations when hunting.
Participants can pick up scavenger hunt punch cards at The Ride: Bike Sales and Service (123 North Court Street), trailhead kiosks, Fairfield Recreation Center, and MUM Recreation Center. Completed punch cards should be returned to The Ride: Bike Sales and Service or mailed to the Jefferson County Trails Council (P.O. Box 2375 Fairfield, IA 52556).
For more information visit our website: http://www.jeffersoncountytrails.org
Stephen Pedrick, Chairman, Jefferson County Trails Council
Temp Associates Celebrated 35th Anniversary
Temp Associates and West Briggs Business Suites held a Business After Hours event on Thursday, May 20th, to celebrate Temp Associates' 35th anniversary. Many attended on Thursday for a Ball Park themed Business After Hours where hot dogs, chips, peanuts and cold beer were enjoyed! Attendees of the event had a chance to win a set of locally made cornhole boards by entering a Cornhole Bag Toss Competition. To learn more about Temp Associates' history, please read the article below.
The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to Iowa's rich heritage. Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers to opportunities for Iowans to succeed.
Here are some resources and upcoming events/ways to celebrate and learn about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:
Older Americans Month: Communities of Strength
The Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month in the month of May. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.
When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents
share experiences—through action, story, or service—we help build strong communities.
In the fall of 2020, the Iowa Department of Human Rights collaborated with the Iowa Attorney General's Office and other partners to participate in webinars that addressed aging in the communities of Latinos, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and persons with disabilities.
"When Ageism Meets the Other Isms: Recognizing and Respecting the Diversity of Older People" is a five-part webinar series presented by the Iowa Law and Services Team (ILAST) — Iowa’s Abuse in Later Life and the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) Team. View the playlist.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sessions
Getting information about the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step towards ending the pandemic. In April 2021, the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa State University Extension, and the University of Iowa conducted a series of three COVID-19 vaccine information sessions. Iowans had opportunities to ask medical experts questions about vaccine testing, safety, side effects,.
You can view the recorded sessions in English, Spanish, French and Arabic translations here: https://www.iowacovidinfo.org/recordings.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Children and Teens
Children 12 years of age and older are now able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
The CDC recommends getting a COVID-19 vaccine for your child and offers tips on how to prepare for the child's vaccination visit.
Multilingual COVID-19 resources, including Pfizer fact sheets, are available on the FDA's website.
Find a vaccine provider and more resources at vaccinate.iowa.gov.
Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni
The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that they are allocating over $5 million in new funding to benefit current and former foster care youth adversely affected by COVID-19. Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni is made possible as part of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) to create a pandemic response benefiting youth in and aging out of foster care and entering adulthood.
DHS will deliver Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni primarily through contracted service providers, including YSS, which oversees the statewide Iowa Aftercare Services Network and Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP), the Iowa foster care youth council.
DHS is also directing case managers for children in foster care to ensure that older youth have the opportunity to remain in care through the end of the pandemic, or return to care if they aged out recently, in the event they do not have a safe alternative to foster care.
Major components of the Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni include:
Additional information regarding these and other features of Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni, including application information, is available on the Iowa Aftercare pandemic relief webpage: https://iowaaftercare.org/pandemic-relief
Iowa to end participation in federal unemployment benefit programs
Governor Kim Reynolds announced new measures to address the State of Iowa’s severe workforce shortage.
Effective June 12, 2021, the State of Iowa will end its participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs, citing a strong labor market and recovering economy. Iowa will continue to provide regular state unemployment insurance benefits to those eligible under the applicable state code.
The week ending June 12, 2021, will be the last week that the following federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs are available in Iowa:
Additionally, effective June 13, 2021, Iowa will no longer waive employer charges for COVID-related unemployment insurance claims.
Iowans can search for new jobs, including teleworking opportunities at https://www.iowaworks.gov/vosnet/.
Impacted unemployment insurance claimants will receive official notification from Iowa Workforce Development with more information about how these changes affect them individually. Iowa Workforce Development will also continue to update its webpage with relevant information and assistance: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/. Due to current call volumes, customers are encouraged to call Iowa Workforce Development only if they need assistance filing their claims. Additional customer questions can be answered by emailing UIClaimsHelp@Iwd.iowa.gov.
Multilingual Resources for Stimulus Checks and Tax Credit
Reminder: May 17, 2021, is the deadline to file federal individual income tax returns.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Get It Back Campaign has released a marketing toolkit to equip community-based organizations, advocates, and agencies with the tools you need to raise awareness of stimulus payment eligibility and direct eligible taxpayers to services to help families with immigrants receive vital financial assistance.
Marketing Toolkit for Immigrant Outreach – Download this toolkit which includes a media guide, graphics, flyers, and more. Materials are translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
COVID-19 Language Resources
American Sign Language Videos-CDC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Resources for Limited English Proficient Populations
Congolese Health Partnership Videos
Coronavirus, State Website
Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language
EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center
Hawaii Office of Language Access-Youtube
Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access
Iowa Department of Public Health
Iowa Spanish Helpline 515-344-3936
Multi-Lingual Hotline 1-877-558-2609
Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa
Test Iowa-Free COVID-19 Testing (Spanish available)
Pilot Grove Savings Bank Celebrates 110 Years of Trust, Loyalty & Commitment to the Region
Pilot Grove, IA — Pilot Grove Savings Bank was established on May 12, 1911 when 23 investors pooled $10,000 to meet the banking needs of the local community, paying $4 per month to rent a 20x30 foot building. Since that day, the Bank has continued to grow and prosper, serving customers in Southeast Iowa and the tri-state area as well as many other locations across the country. With customer loyalty on its side, Pilot Grove Savings Bank has prospered throughout the years despite the depression during the 1930's, countless recessions, and rapidly fluctuating farm economies. Now, with 14 offices, more than 100 employees, over $760 million in assets and some of the most technologically advanced banking systems available, Pilot Grove Savings Bank’s main goal remains as it was in 1911 – to serve the customer well.
Photographed is a glimpse of Pilot Grove Savings Bank’s original building taken by Al Stuekerjuergen on April 12, 1916. Also included is a drone shot that captures the home office as it looks today.
National Small Business Week
The Nelson Company
Marvin (Pete) Nelson bought some machining equipment and set up shop in his garage in 1968 and then incorporated his business in 1972, taking rough metal castings from the local foundry and turning them into finished parts that would often be installed on agriculture equipment.
He did pretty well at his work and soon needed to expand, so in 1969 Pete moved his business to the old artesian ice plant at 607 West Grimes, a space now currently occupied by Paint-Line. By 1993 the business outgrew that location so once again the company moved, this time to an 88,000 square foot facility on Stone Avenue, where the business runs to this day. Currently, 45 employees staff two shifts. The company buys rough aluminum, ductile iron, and grey iron castings from places like the Faircast Foundry. The company then tools the rough castings into machined castings and sells them to companies like Case-New Holland where they are then shipped all over the world.
When Pete was ready to retire in 2000, he wanted to keep the company intact so he created an ESOP; an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which allowed the employees at the time to assume ownership of the company rather than selling to a larger company that might strip the business for its machinery and close the shop.
That business strategy worked well as demonstrated by the longevity of its employees. The newest President is no exception. Bob Bowman started with The Nelson Company as a machine operator at the age of eighteen. Clint Hardin, Vice-President of Operations, recalls telling young Bob in his first few years that “You’ll make a good employee someday, just not for us”. Bob is a stubborn guy and took that to heart. Now, 27 years later, Bob can say with earned pride that he is only the fifth President in the company’s history.
Bob and Clint, who both have 26 years of service, are joined on the senior management team by Rich Foreman, the Day Shift Supervisor with 37 years of service. David Waugh, who is Head of Maintenance, can boast 31 years in the plant. Quality Manager Jason Engle is approaching 20 years of service. The office team of Mindy Ferrel with 26 years and Cindy Merrill with 13 years, round out the business team.
Much of what the company does has changed little, although some changes include becoming ISO 9001 Certified in 2011. This certification is a world-wide standard administered by an international organization based in Switzerland and is recognized as a sign of quality by over a million organizations world-wide. In April of 2013, the company invested in a vertical lathe that could machine parts up to thirty-one inches in size and weigh as much as 1,000 pounds.
Another home-grown business that is standing the test of time, The Nelson Company continues to be a critical part of the manufacturing businesses that make up the Fairfield area.
Business After Hours - Temp Associates and West Briggs Business Suites
2709 W. Briggs Avenue, Fairfield
Thursday, May 20th, 2021
4:00pm - 7:00pm
Join us for Business After Hours on Thursday, May 20th from 4pm to 7pm! Temp Associates and West Briggs Business Suites will be our hosts this month. Start off the upcoming summer season with a Ball Park themed Business After Hours and enjoy hot dogs, chips, peanuts and cracker jacks! Thirsty? Come join us for a cold soda or beer! Temp Associates is celebrating their 35th anniversary.
Temp Associates opened in 1986, as Muscatine, Iowa's first staffing service. They are the largest staffing service in the area. Since 1995, Temp Associates has opened offices in Burlington, Clinton, Marshalltown, Mt. Pleasant, Fairfield and Grinnell. Their staff combines over 100 years of experience in Human Resources to provide you with the professionalism you deserve.
West Briggs Business Suites offers rental business suites in Fairfield, Iowa. Looking for a new office space? Contact West Briggs Business Suites!
The Chamber Business After Hours is a free, monthly networking event open to Chamber Members, their guests and the general public. If you are interested in hosting a Business After Hours, please contact the Chamber at 641-472-2111 or by email at Info@FairfieldIowa.com.
National Small Business Week
Davis & Palmer Real Estate
It's a family affair! The Davis family to be clear. Debbi and Chris Davis, owners of Davis & Palmer Real Estate, have been at this occupation since before they bought the business from Chris' parents, George and Jean Davis, in 2002.
George Davis was a farmer who added realtor to his occupation when he attained his license in 1966. He then teamed up with Lyle Palmer and they bought the Mogged Realty business and renamed it Davis & Palmer Real Estate back in 1970. Davis & Palmer had offices in Washington, Mount Pleasant, and Fairfield but when George bought out Lyle in 1973, they closed all of the offices except for Fairfield.
Chris Davis originally thought he would take over the family farm someday. Instead, he got caught in the construction business with his brother Mark, where they formed Marcris Builders from 1978 to current, with Mark leaving in 1985. The next year, George hired Debbi to staff the front of the office and soon after, both she and Chris became licensed realtors in 1988. With George working well into his 80's, eventually the time came to retire; which is why Debbi and Chris bought the business in 2002. Enter the 3rd generation, daughters Terri (Davis) Kness and Christie (Davis) Kessel who, in 2005, both found their way back to Fairfield and to the family business. Both had plans to live elsewhere, but as it's often been said, "There's something about Fairfield". Rounding out the team is Sandy Fiedler, who started in 2019.
The real estate business can be challenging; there was a time when two pieces of paper would cover a home sale. A one-page Listing Agreement and a one-page Purchase Agreement. Now a minimum of twenty-one pages are required to complete the same process.
In past decades, there were often 300+ houses on the market at any given time. Back in those days, they had two books with houses listed, Book One was for homes under $100,000. Book Two was for homes over $100,000 and often there were equal amounts of listings in the two books. Things are a little different now. All listings are on websites and often times potential buyers will have researched the home thoroughly before ever stepping on the property. Buyers will call from in front of a home and want to see it immediately. In this area, homes now range from $50,000 to $1,250,000. With low interest rates, and especially during COVID, there have been twenty-eight to thirty-two homes on the market lately; many in an accepted offer status. Realtors have to work all days of the week, long hours and holidays.
One way Davis & Palmer continues to be successful is by giving back to their community. The family has collectively been involved in the Chamber of Commerce and their Christmas Committee, the ELKS (both Chris and Debbi are Past Exalted Rulers), the SE Iowa Board of Realtors, Rotary & the Rotary Auction, the Fairfield Park & Rec Board, Jefferson County Kids, Art Walk, and the Country Club Board. Especially close to the heart of this family is the Little Super Heroes non-profit which was started by Christie and Alex Kessel and has helped many families who have children with special health needs. That organization hosts the Festival of Trees every other year and is one of the ways the non-profit helps fund their mission, "To provide help & hope to children facing serious health issues through providing assistance to families facing long term medical crisis".
Family matters in this business.
State Confirms B.1.617 Virus Variant in Iowa
May 4, 2021
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed two cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 in Iowa. This variant is also referred to as the India variant because it was first detected there. We are still learning about the characteristics of this strain.
B.1.617 is not designated as a “variant of concern,” indicating that there is not currently evidence of increased transmissibility or more severe disease caused by this variant. However, we share this information as a matter of public interest given the virus impact and newly issued travel restrictions to India. The P.1 and B.1.1.7 variant strains which were previously confirmed by IDPH are considered “variants of concern.”
The cases were detected in and adult and an older adult in Jefferson County. IDPH and local public health have initiated contact with the individuals to understand exposures and initiate the public health monitoring process. The process includes notifying anyone with whom the individuals have been in close contact. As always, affected individuals are advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance.
The case was identified by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL). SHL is doing sequencing to understand what strains are circulating here in Iowa and contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 activity in the United States. Routine analysis of genetic sequence data assisted in identifying the new variant strain in Iowa.
“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent this, or any other currently circulating strain of the virus from spreading through the population. Since the vaccine is now open to all Iowans over the age of 16, we have the opportunity to use this tool to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, IDPH State Medical Director and Epidemiologist.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is tracking COVID-19 variants based on here.
Iowans who have not been vaccinated should visit https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/ to find a provider and schedule an appointment.
The emergence of new variants underscores that it remains critical for Iowans to continue the mitigation efforts that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19:
Get a COVID-19 vaccine Wear a mask or face covering
Practice social distancing with those outside your household
Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
Stay home if you feel sick Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, review CDC guidelines here