News and Events

Former Phillips school apartments ready

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Peter Kaspari The former Phillips Middle School is nearly ready for people to move in as the building’s conversion into apartments nears completion. Since 2014, Foutch Brothers LLC, of Kansas City, Missouri, has been working on remodeling the property. Shawn Foutch, co-owner of Foutch Brothers LLC, which has developed and owned the property, answered some questions about the project and its upcoming completion date. Q: Talk about the ongoing project to convert Phillips Middle School into apartments. Foutch: The Phillips project is a historic renovation from the prior use as a school to its new use as a residential rental building. The building is placed...
Chris Janson to headline Downtown Country Jam

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Peter Kaspari Chris Janson, the most recent inductee into the Grand Ole Oprey and a nationally-known country singer, will be the headliner of the 2019 Downtown Country Jam. He will be taking the stage on Sept. 21, 2019. Ted Bodensteiner, Shellabration Inc. vice president, said Janson is a great performer on stage. “He’s made for live music,” Bodensteiner said. “The live music, stage presence, is unbelievable.” Bodensteiner, who has worked four Janson concerts in the past, called the singer “dynamic” and “unpredictable.” “He uses every bit of the stage and interacts with the crowd like very few artists do,” Bodensteiner said. “He’s a performer and he...
Evening Lions honor two FD car dealerships for their continuing contributions

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

CHAD THOMPSON The Fort Dodge Evening Lions Club honored two longstanding businesses in Fort Dodge Tuesday night at Ja-Mar Drive In Restaurant for their continuing support of the Lions organization. Shimkat Motor Co. and Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota were the recipients of the Warren Coleman award. Warren Coleman was a longtime treasurer of the Oskaloosa Lions Club. The award that bears his name is the highest honor the Lions Club bestows to people or organizations who sponsor the club. The first Warren Coleman Award was presented in 1988. The award used to be given to one person in each club for each $1,000...
Bemrich Named Citizen of the Year

Saturday, December 15, 2018

BILL SHEA   Mayor Matt Bemrich, who has led Fort Dodge through nine years of economic growth and infrastructure improvements, was honored by the Fort Dodge Noon Lions Club. Bemrich received the club’s Citizen of the Year Award Friday evening during a dinner at the Lions Den in Armstrong Park. ”I think all of us can agree that Fort Dodge is moving ahead,” said Mike Mulroney, the chairman of the club’s committee that annually selects the Citizen of the Year honoree. ”I think Mayor Bemrich is a big part of that.” Mulroney said that ”there seems to be a new excitement, a new encouragement for...
Iowa Central to offer flat rate tuition

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bill Shea Iowa Central Community College is now the first such school in the state to offer full-time students a flat tuition rate. The new tuition package, approved unanimously Tuesday by the college’s Board of Directors, could trim more than $1,000 from the cost of earning an associate degree. As part of the plan, students could also check out a Surface Go tablet device that would enable them to access textbooks and other materials electronically. The flat tuition rate will be in place for the 2019-2020 academic year. “We feel that the playing field can be leveled by going to the flat rate and Surface...
Schuur named communications specialist at Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chad Thompson Lydia Schuur wants Fort Dodge to be a place her children want to call home when they grow older. That was part of her reasoning when she ran and won a seat on the City Council last year. It’s also the reason she applied for the communications director position at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “I want my kids to want to live here when they get older,” Schuur said. “I want them to look at this place and say there is a reason for me to live here. To have a place like that you actually have to invest...
Kemna helps grow hope through giving

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CHAD THOMPSON It’s the mission of the Tree of Hope to make the holidays brighter for children in need by providing them with multiple clothing items and a toy. The Tree of Hope is a Kemna for Kids Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Each child will receive a coat, gloves/hat, pajamas, shirt/pant set, undergarments, socks, shoes and a toy. This year about 358 children are signed up. That number, according to Tanya Elliott, an accounting employee at Kemna, has gone up. “The need is definitely great,” Elliott said Monday. “Unfortunately.” Charlotte Hippen, another accounting employee, said there’s about 100 more children on the list this year. The list...
In Washington, FD group makes case for intermodal grant

Friday, November 30, 2018

Bill Shea   A small group of Fort Dodge representatives spent Thursday in Washington, D.C., making the case for a $7.63 million federal grant to help pay for a new intermodal hub that would be key to redeveloping the Warden Plaza and building a new cultural and recreation center. That hub, basically a parking ramp with additional features, would be located on First Avenue South, east of the now vacant Warden Plaza. The hoped-for grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation would pay much of the cost of the $11.5 million center. Mayor Matt Bemrich, who led the delegation to Washington, has described the Better...
There are Many Reasons to be a Member of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance is working for the betterment of our entire community. By focusing efforts around the economic growth of our region, we are actively taking steps to grow local businesses, recruit new ones, create jobs and enhance the quality of life for our residents. Your membership makes this possible. Why Local Businesses Support the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Business owners, executives, civic leaders, non-profit agencies, and community members support the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance because of its daily focus on growing our regional economy. “Being a member of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance is an investment...
Investing in Fort Dodge

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Chad Thompson Nestle Purina PetCare Co., a worldwide pet food company, continues to invest in its Fort Dodge facility, located along Fifth Avenue South — the city’s Corridor of Commerce. The company is constructing a 10,000-square-foot water treatment facility, which will increase energy efficiency of the plant, according to Mark Layton, Purina factory manager. Purina produces dog and cat food at its Fort Dodge location. Layton said the multi-million-dollar water facility will optimize water use and treatment in the making of pet food. It will also minimize waste, he said. “It’s doing our part environmentally,” Layton said. “Especially in the community we are living in,...
Iowa Central to buy Budget Host site

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Bill Shea The former Budget Host Inn property in Fort Dodge is being purchased by Iowa Central Community College, which has land right next to it. The college is buying the property at the corner of Kenyon Road and U.S. Highway 169 from Joseph D. McMahon Jr. and Tamara McMahon, of Fort Dodge, for $1,450,000. Sale documents were signed Wednesday, and the deal is expected to close on Dec. 10. “The opportunity is perfect for us,” college President Dan Kinney said. “We’re excited to be able to get that property.” He said there are no immediate plans for the site. “It could be used for anything,”...
Residents and Business Executives Can Fly Direct To and From Fort Dodge Iowa

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Fort Dodge Regional Airport has been expanding service to destinations throughout the United States. With a runway large enough to fit President Trump’s’ Boeing 757, the Fort Dodge Regional Airport is the ideal solution for companies looking to land corporate aircraft, those flying in aircraft for distribution purposes, and consumer airline Air Choice One. Businesses can benefit from utilizing the Fort Dodge Regional Airport As a rural community, Fort Dodge offers businesses a unique combination of advantages, including a lower cost of doing business and access to a regional airport with a runway that can handle the largest of corporate jets....
Cactus Family Farms committed to pork production

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Kriss Nelson After many years of producing solely beef, Cactus Family Farms began pork production in Iowa back in 2015. And four years later, a company executive said things are going well. Rod Leman, vice president of business development for Cactus Family Farms, said they purchased an existing pork company in Iowa in 2015 after purchasing another existing hog production company in 2014 in South Carolina. Cactus Family Farms is headquartered in Osceola. It has partners in Hamilton, Story, and Webster counties, among others. “We still have a base of employees that support those partners in that area,” Leman said. “In those counties we probably...
A sign for the times

Friday, November 09, 2018

Hans Madsen The members of the Fort Dodge Fire Department got a souvenir of sorts Thursday after the crew from Mid Iowa Sign finished putting up the new LED illuminated signs at the fire station downtown. That memento is the old sign that had been on the side of the building since it was constructed. It was coated with 53 years of streaked grime and no longer lit up. Fort Dodge Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter is happy to see it down. “I’m glad the ugly old sign is gone,” he said. “It had become an eyesore.” The new signs are a result of the Fort...
CJ Bio America is booming

Monday, November 05, 2018

Two major construction projects are under way at the CJ Bio America Webster County plant. Both illustrate why this major manufacturing facility is destined to play an important role in the economic future of our community and region. A $53 million addition to the huge main plant is being built with an expected completion date in the first quarter of 2019. This enhancement will enable the diversification of the product lines. An amino acid called L-Threonine, which is an additive for livestock, will be produced. This increased manufacturing capability is expected to increase the company’s Webster County work force by about...
Pederson strives for quality in all things

Monday, October 29, 2018

What is important to you? Family, service, quality. Family is always first. Nothing means more to me than my wife Jennifer, and our sons Gavin and Kyle. They influence all of my decisions. Service to my community is also very important to me. That’s why I’m a member of groups like the Noon Sertoma, Fort Dodge Young Professionals, and the First Presbyterian Church. It’s very important to give back to your community, and I want to pass that passion on to my sons. Quality is something I strive for in everything I do, quality of interactions I have with others, quality...
Into the world

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hans Madsen “So what do you want to be when you’re grown up?” A common question posed to children by adults. How about this question: “So what are you going to be now that you’re almost grown up?” For high school students that are trying to answer that, or have already decided and want to explore their chosen field a bit, the annual Iowa Central Community College Career Day Thursday gave them a chance to do just that. Grace Amos, a senior at Southeast Valley, got to try her hand at cleaning teeth during a session in the dental hygiene program. Using a model mouth with...
Fort Dodge seeks King’s help

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bill Shea A hike up eight flights of dusty, debris-covered stairs in the Warden Plaza Monday afternoon gave U.S. Rep. Steve King a firsthand look at the insides of the battered downtown edifice. The Republican from Kiron and a handful of local officials ended up on the roof of the building at 908 First Ave. S. and got a sweeping view of the city and pondered the possibility of a rooftop restaurant there someday. King got the tour Monday as Fort Dodge officials, led by Mayor Matt Bemrich, explained the plans for renovating the Warden Plaza, creating a new cultural and recreation center...
On the horizon

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bill Shea U.S. Highway 20 is now a four-lane route stretching across northern Iowa from Dubuque to Sioux City. But it wasn’t always that way. The miles and miles of concrete paving that exist today are a monument to the persistence of highway advocates, elected officials and many others who labored for 60 years to get the highway completed as a four-lane route for its entire length. Work on the project advanced slowly, starting in 1958. That year, the first four-lane segment opened near Moville in Woodbury County. “The largest quadrant of land in Iowa without a four-lane was northwest Iowa, from 35 to...
Downtown Fort Dodge to Host Three Shop Local Events

Monday, October 15, 2018

Fort Dodge’s downtown businesses are actively working with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance to prepare for what will be an exciting holiday season. “We have a great group of downtown business owners who are enthusiastic about creating fun events and a welcoming holiday experience for our community” said Kris Patrick, Executive Director for Main Street Fort Dodge. There will be three main shop-local events leading up to the 2018 holiday season – Black Wednesday, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday. During all three, shoppers will have the opportunity to win several gift baskets valued at over $150 each. Shoppers will...
National Manufacturing Day is here

Friday, October 05, 2018

Chad Thompson Students throughout the Fort Dodge region will get an inside look at the manufacturing world today as part of National Manufacturing Day. According to the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, National Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Four main purposes exist for National Manufacturing Day, according to the Growth Alliance. They are: ∫ to inspire the next generation by showing them how they can make a difference in manufacturing; ∫ provide guidance on how to take the first steps toward starting a career in modern manufacturing; ∫ make it clear that manufacturers need the next...
Supervisor candidates focus on mental health and hogs

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Joe Sutter Candidates for Webster County Supervisor focused on hog confinements, tax rates and mental health at a forum in Fort Dodge Wednesday night. Republican incumbent Merrill Leffler talked about his business background and his six-year experience on the board. An opponent, Democrat Niki Conrad, spoke of her business experience, especially in budgeting and dealing with customer complaints. Independent Eugene Melvin Newsome implored the voters to give him a chance, and talked about big ideas for the region. On the subject of the master matrix, which is set by state legislators to control the placement of large animal confinements, Leffler said the board has asked...
Off and running

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Bill Shea Republican state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink and his opponent, Democrat John O’Brien, clashed over taxes and collective bargaining rights for public employees during a forum in a crowded auditorium Wednesday night. Earlier in the evening, Republican Ann Meyer and Democrat Megan Srinivas who are seeking a seat in the Iowa House of Representatives both listed health care and mental health care in particular as a top priority. The four candidates fielded questions during a forum at Iowa central Community College attended by about 250 people. Kraayenbrink v. O’Brien Kraayenbrink, of Fort Dodge, said that during this year’s legislative session, he voted for what he...
The Messenger’s annual Bridal Spectacular is Sunday

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Joe Sutter For 10 years, The Messenger’s Bridal Spectacular has been the top spot for anyone who’s tying the knot. The 10th annual event will be held Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Career Education Building at Iowa Central Community College. Brides and grooms have a lot of vendors they need to connect with, and what better chance than when they’re all together in one room, said Regina Suhrbier, the multimedia sales manager for The Messenger. “Helping local businesses promote their goods and services is our specialty,” said Suhrbier. “Bringing this to brides seemed like a natural fit for us.” There will be...
Decades-old vision is rising out of the ground on former family farm

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bill Shea More than 40 years ago, the late Bill Scheideman envisioned turning his family’s farmland on the east side of Fort Dodge into a new neighborhood full of houses for families. An informal conversation on the floor of the Iowa Senate last year has finally led to Scheideman’s vision becoming reality. A recently dug foundation just south of 10th Avenue North not far from the eastern city limits marks the spot where the first of 70 single-family attached homes will be built in the new Gypsum Creek Crossing neighborhood on ground once farmed by Bill and Eva Scheideman. The housing area will encompass...
Forum will introduce state, Webster County candidates

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bill Shea Candidates for state and county offices will answer questions from the public during a forum Wednesday in Fort Dodge. The forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Bioscience and Health Sciences Center at Iowa Central Community College. The first candidates to field questions will be Democrat Brenda Angstrom and Republican Kate Stucky, who are seeking to become the next Webster County treasurer. They are vying to replace Treasurer Jan Messerly, who is retiring when her current term ends. At 5:50 p.m., the candidates for Webster County supervisor from District 4 will take the stage. They are Democrat Niki Conrad, Republican incumbent Merrill...
New Age Media Productions moves

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Terrence Dwyer New Age Media Productions has moved from downtown Fort Dodge to the Crossroads Mall near Riddle’s Jewelry. Joel Johnson, who co-owns the business with his wife, Alisha Johnson, said the move will improve community awareness of the multitude of specialized options the enterprise has to offer. “It will get us in front of a different demographic,” he said. “Provide a little more exposure.” He said the extensive memory-preservation services New Age Media Productions has to offer will remain the same. The Johnsons help people make sure that visual recordings and images as well as audio recordings made in the past are preserved...
Marian Home dedicated

Friday, September 28, 2018

Peter Kaspari The Marian Home and Village celebrated the completion of a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation project with a dedication and open house Thursday. Local dignitaries, as well as the bishop of the Diocese of Sioux City, spoke at the ceremony, held near the new main entrance of the facility, located at 2400 Sixth Ave. N. Bishop R. Walter Nickless said a prayer at the ceremony before speaking about the facility itself. “I can’t believe it,” he said. “It’s just so beautiful and gorgeous.” He even halfheartedly said it may be the perfect place for him to retire to. “And I already told one of the...
Growth Alliance: FD poised to grow with manufacturing

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Bill Shea Fort Dodge remains poised for growth with manufacturing as a key driver of the economy, according to leaders of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. ”I do think that Fort Dodge is extremely well-positioned,” Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Growth Alliance, told the City Council Monday. ”You are getting investments that can’t be moved,” he added. ”They’re using so many indigeneous materials. They have a reason to be here. And most importantly, these are companies that are worldwide and have access to the global markets.” Plautz, along with Kelly Halsted, the alliance’s economic development director, and Jill Nelson, its...
Red doors

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hans Madsen Red doors on fire stations are an old tradition. It’s one that the Fort Dodge Fire Department can now uphold after three coats of fire engine red were applied to its truck bay doors Thursday afternoon. The paint job is the result of a fundraising project by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Image Committee. Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter was all smiles as he watched the paint being applied. “They were the ones that brought the idea to us,” he said. “It means a lot to us. It looks a lot nicer now. Our staff really appreciates it.” In addition to the repainted doors,...
Casablanca Steak House by Lomitas opens

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Terrence Dwyer Two well-known cooks with a long history of preparing tasty steaks and prime rib have reunited at Casablanca Steak House by Lomitas, 140 S. 25th St. This latest addition to Fort Dodge’s blossoming restaurant world is owned by Alfonso Galvan, who also owns Lomitas Mexican Restaurant 2223 Fifth Ave. S. Gregg Harris and Jim Nicola are the managers and lead cooks at this new enterprise. The two have worked together for nearly a quarter century, first at The Cellar and most recently at Eilers Steakhouse. Over the decades the steaks and prime rib that are their specialty have been big draws...
Main Street Fort Dodge needs you

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Chad Thompson Main Street Fort Dodge is asking community members to fill out a survey on how to improve the city’s downtown. “We want to know the shopping habits of everybody,” said Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge. “Is internet shopping more important to you? Is that how you utilize your disposable income or do you actually shop in bricks and mortar stores?” The survey is part of a market analysis of the 33-block Main Steet District, according to Patrick. It can be accessed through the following link, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FortDodge_Consumer or by visiting the Main Street Fort Dodge office, 24 N Ninth...
Townhome plan for Second Avenue South unveiled

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Bill Shea Twelve townhomes will be built near downtown Fort Dodge by the firm that’s converting the former Phillips Middle School into apartments. The first six townhomes to be built along Second Avenue South by Foutch Brothers LLC, of Kansas City, Missouri, should be finished in the fall of 2019, under a plan unveiled Tuesday. The townhomes will be two-story buildings with two or three bedrooms, according to Vickie Reeck, the city’s community and economic development director. She said they will have a selling price of about $225,000. Those new homes will be constructed on what’s now a little-used city parking lot on the...
Webster County prepares agreement with Cargill

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Joe Sutter Webster County is moving forward with plans to offset water treatment costs for Cargill Inc. at the county’s ag industrial park. The Webster County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution to prepare an agreement to pay back Cargill for expenses it incurred in preparing for future growth at the park west of Fort Dodge, known as Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation. Waste treatment equipment was oversized when it was put in, in order to be ready for more companies moving into the park, said Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Cargill has been...
MNW plans $8.8 million bond for school renovation, construction

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Joe Sutter The Manson Northwest Webster School District will ask the citizens of the district to support a general obligation bond of $8.8 million to keep up with current growth and prepare for more growth in the future. The money will be used for renovation and construction purposes at both the elementary in Barnum and junior high/high school building in Manson in response to the increased enrollment. “Our class sizes are coming up,” Superintendent Justin Daggett said. “That’s the main driver of this. “I’m going on my seventh year now. When I started in 2012 as the elementary school principal, we were 48-55 kids...
River Hops Brewing opens

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Terrence Dwyer Downtown Fort Dodge is experiencing a commercial renaissance. It is becoming the home to a diverse array of specialized small businesses. The latest arrival is River Hops Brewing at 1014 Central Ave. This new enterprise in the city’s historic center offers a unique selection of beers that have been crafted onsite by Ron Grebner, who co-owns the business with his wife, Diane Grebner. The combination brewery, taproom and entertainment venue began serving the public on July 25. The establishment welcomes customers from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Additionally, River Hops Brewing can be booked for private parties and events. What...
Driving for education

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Olivia Hanson Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota will host the Ford Drive 4 UR School event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at the dealership at 2723 Fifth Ave. S. Ford Drive 4 UR School is an event that supports education at the Fort Dodge Community School District. At the event, any community member is able to come and test drive a car. For every unique test drive, $20 will be donated to the Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation. Only one person per household is eligible and they also must be 18 or older with a valid driver’s license. The money from this...
Central Iowa Manpower Franchise Celebrates 65 Years

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

For 65 years, Manpower has conducted business with the “Doing Well by Doing Good” philosophy in mind. When asked about the company’s 65-year anniversary, David humbly says, “It’s all about the people – our employees, our associates, and our clients. Manpower wouldn’t be what it is today without the power of people. It gives me great pride seeing our company’s philosophy then still hold true today”.
Access Systems Hosts Technology Showcase

Friday, July 27, 2018

Access Systems hosted a Technology Showcase with a keynote address from cybersecurity expert, Derick Tallman. Tallman focused on explaining how cyber threats impact businesses, and the rise in small and medium sized businesses as targets of malware, who do not have the resources to protect themselves.
Bringing visitors to Fort Dodge

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Terrence Dwyer   The team at the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, 24 N. Ninth St., Suite C, works closely with the city and county governments and the private sector to market Fort Dodge and Webster County. “The CVB is tasked with bringing visitors to Fort Dodge,” said Kerrie Kuiper, the CVB’s executive director. “We use a variety of mechanisms to do that. We’re out there talking with different tourism entities in Iowa, partnering with them, especially Travel Iowa, the Iowa tourism office. We help with conferences. We help with special events. We’re out there promoting Fort Dodge to group travel.” Kuiper said...
Legacy Realty Group launches

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Terrence Dwyer   There’s another new business in downtown Fort Dodge as the city’s historic commercial heart continues its renaissance. Legacy Realty Group LLC, which was incorporated on May 16, has been launched at 1100 First Ave. N. The enterprise brings together five experienced, highly successful local real estate agents in a collaborative venture. The agency’s broker is Kati Lemberg. Her colleagues in this new undertaking are Kyle Egemo, Jamie Lara, Craig Patterson and James Schwan. The office manager is Becky Johnson. The five Realtors collectively have 53 years of real estate experience. “We wanted to unite top-selling agents to bring something new to Fort...
Fort Dodge Ford Toyota wins dual awards

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Terrence Dwyer   Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota, 2723 Fifth Ave. S., has the unique distinction of being honored for outstanding performance by two major automakers in the same year. Owned by the Johnson Family, the enterprise received a prestigious President’s Award from both Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. It’s was only dealership in the Hawkeye State to achieve this recognition from both auto companies in 2017. “It’s a daunting task to win these with all the things we have to accomplish,” said Matt Johnson, one of the dealership’s co-owners and general manager of Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota. “Less than...
Hiway Truck Equipment expands

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Terrence Dwyer   Big things are underway at Hiway Truck Equipment, 2246 First Ave. S. “We’re basically doubling our shop space,” said Brian Forsythe who has co-owned the enterprise with his wife Kathy Forsythe since 1998. “The existing shop floor was 50 feet by 75 feet. The new addition will be 65 by 85.” Hiway Truck Equipment provides assorted augmentations to trucks. “What the company does is we sell equipment that goes on trucks,” Brian Forsythe said. “We also repair trailers. We work on anything from for example a pickup truck where we would put equipment on to make it better usable for the end...
Misty Harbor Boats is booming

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Terrence Dwyer   “There are big things going on,” said John Jergens, president of Fort Dodge-based Misty Harbor Boats, headquartered at 228 Kenyon Road West. The company he co-owns with Tom Christy, vice president, and George Thomas, an Elkhart, Indiana, entrepreneur, is expanding fast and poised to continue doing so in 2018 and beyond. “It has been steady growth since 2009,” Jergens said. “The recession was hard on everybody. As an industry, it’s been steady growth since then.” Misty Harbor builds pontoon boats. It was founded in Humboldt in 1989 and was owned for many years by Dave and Lisa Wilson. The company relocated to...
Access Systems is thriving in Fort Dodge

Monday, June 04, 2018

Terrence Dwyer   The local office of Access Systems has a new home in the heart of downtown Fort Dodge. In January, a move took place to an expansive, renovated venue at 706 Central Ave. — across the street from the Webster County Courthouse and The Messenger. The office was previously at 15 N. 10th St. “Because of our growth we’re going to be adding heads down the road,” said Lindsay Baessler, Fort Dodge branch manager and account executive. “We needed a larger space. This more central location allows us to be more accessible to our current and future partners. We are excited...
Growing with FD

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Terrence Dwyer Fifteen years ago this month, Wayne Crimmins became the owner of Mark’s Auto Mart, 2100 Fifth Ave. S. As the local economy has boomed, so too has this popular vendor of pre-owned vehicles. “The last five or six years our business has gone steadily uphill,” Crimmins said. He said an excellent location on the city’s high-traffic Corridor of Commerce and the upswing in the Webster County economy have helped create an outstanding environment for this business to thrive. Crimmins said his enterprise focuses on a particular segment of the used-vehicle market. “We specialize in trucks and SUVs,” Crimmins said. “Cars are a very...
Digging In

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Peter Kaspari Ground was broken Monday morning on the future location of a new building for Peoples Credit Union. Though intermittent light rain fell during the groundbreaking, that didn’t stop dozens of representatives from the credit union, city of Fort Dodge and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance from coming to celebrate the new building’s construction. It will be located in a now-vacant lot at the intersection of Fifth Avenue South and South 17th Street. According to Peoples Credit Union, the decision to move was made after the financial institution outgrew its current location at 13 S. Third St. “We have witnessed significant growth over...
Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance recognizes FD Leadership graduates

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Chad Thompson About a year ago, Jeremy Munden, the youth and family minister at Northfield Church, had a challenge for his organization. “If our church closed our doors today, would anyone notice?” Munden said during the Leadership Fort Dodge graduation at Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites Tuesday night. “That was our challenge.” Munden was one of 24 graduates recognized by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance for taking part in a program where participants learned about Fort Dodge, leadership skills and networking. About 50 people attended the social gathering. Providing strong leadership, volunteerism and hope, were qualities he thought would ensure that people...
Ambulance service change is coming to FD

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bill Shea The Fort Dodge Fire Department will assume responsibility for the ambulance service now provided by UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center in a transition that hospital and city officials say will provide outstanding care in a financially sustainable way. The change will become effective July 1, city and hospital leaders announced Monday. “This new structure will ensure a more sustainable model for both entities while continuing the strong collaboration in delivering high-quality emergency medical service to the community,” Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter said. The Fire Department ambulances will serve Fort Dodge and all of the surrounding areas including Barnum, Coalville, Moorland...
What’s next for The Warden?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bill Shea The Missouri company that plans to convert the vacant Warden Plaza in downtown Fort Dodge into apartments and retail space has an August 2020 deadline for the project, the City Council learned Monday. The developer must meet that deadline to comply with the terms of some workforce housing tax credits it has been awarded, according to Matt Brown, president of Formation Group Inc., a Des Moines firm hired by the council to serve as its project manager. He said he hopes a development agreement can be reached with KDG LLC, of Columbia, Missouri, in June and work will begin soon after...
Trucking industry sees increase in automatic transmissions, safety features

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Chad Thompson Semi-trailer trucks with automatic transmissions are becoming more common than ever in the trucking industry, particularly at Decker Truck Line Inc. in Fort Dodge, according to Brad Baade, the company’s chief operating officer. Baade reports that more than 90 percent of the company’s fleet have automatic transmissions. Michael Erritt, vice president of operations, said that number has spiked within the last couple years. “A lot of trucking companies are going to that,” Erritt said. “At the same time, there are a lot of drivers who prefer manual.” Baade said about 50 of Decker’s trucks are manual. In 2016, Decker ordered hundreds of new Peterbilts,...
FD businessman plans to develop McGregors building downtown

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Chad Thompson A Fort Dodge businessman plans to buy the McGregors furniture building and develop it into multiple retail stores to help revitalize downtown Fort Dodge. McGregors Furniture & Mattress announced the closure of its Fort Dodge store in February. Dave Madsen told The Messenger that he has a contract in place to purchase that property, located at 712 Central Ave. Its net assessed value is $408,310, according to online records. It encompasses 16,800 square feet. Madsen anticipates closing on the property in the next couple of months, he said. Between four and six spaces could be available for rent inside the large downtown building. “My intention...
Flying local

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hans Madsen The original concrete air carrier apron in front of the terminal at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport has seen better days. It was installed in 1952 when the airport was constructed at its current location north of Fort Dodge. It’s being replaced with a brand new up-to-date apron this summer. Work is getting started. Concrete and dirt core samples are being taken this week. Rhonda Chambers, the airport’s director of aviation, said that in addition to offering a new surface that can handle the weight of a Boeing 737 in its entire area, the new apron will also be a bit larger to...
Iowa ag secretary candidates unite in opposition to more livestock rules

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bill Shea The five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa secretary of agriculture all said Wednesday evening that they’re opposed to any new regulations on the livestock industry. “I think Iowa farmers are managing livestock better than we ever have,” said Chad Ingels, a Fayette County farmer and member of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission. “We’re managing manure better than we ever have.” During a forum in Fort Dodge, Ingels and his opponents, Ray Gaesser, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, Craig Lang, and state Sen. Dan Zumbach, were also united in opposition to the concept of adding more regulatory power to the...
A logical move: Northland Travel has a new home

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The place that makes dreams come true has a new home. Northland Travel has moved from Crossroads Mall to the Friendship Haven campus, 420 Kenyon Road. The travel agency previously had a part-time satellite office at Friendship Haven. Now its headquarters is housed there. Rhonda Strutzenberg, who manages Northland Travel, said the multifaceted travel services the agency has offered in the past are all continuing. She said the decision to relocate occurred because the business relationship between the Friendship Haven community and Northland is expanding. “We handle booking all their group tours and things,” Strutzenberg said. “Our partnership has grown over the three...
Arby’s confirms it will open in Fort Dodge

Friday, May 04, 2018

Chad Thompson Premium deli-inspired sandwiches from Arby’s will soon be available to hungry customers in Fort Dodge. DRM, Inc., an Arby’s franchisee headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is planning to open the restaurant at the corner of 29th Street and Fifth Avenue South, according to Abbey Ramsey, director of marketing for DRM, Inc. “DRM is looking to expand in our existing territories and Fort Dodge came up as an area of opportunity for growth,” Ramsey said in a written statement. “We’ve been looking at Fort Dodge for several years and have been waiting for the right opportunity.” That group intends to remodel the old Fazoli’s...
Downtown Country Jam to return for year two

Friday, May 04, 2018

Chad Thompson Granger Smith, featuring Earl Dibbles Jr., will headline the second annual Downtown Country Jam, Shellabration Inc. has announced. The country star will take the stage in historic downtown Fort Dodge at the corner of Central Avenue and Ninth Street on Sept. 22. Iowa country music artist Cody Hicks and Fort Dodge’s own Salty View Acoustic Review will also perform. “The Downtown Country Jam has a different feel than our summer shows,” Craig Schlienz, Shellabration board member, said. “It brings a little different audience and energy.” More than 3,400 attended the first Downtown Country Jam in 2017. Schlienz said the atmosphere of the show is...
Annual event raises money for breast cancer research, comfort

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Peter Kaspari Members and supporters of the Fighting Angels Abreast Dragon Boat team gathered in Fort Dodge for its annual May Day luncheon Tuesday. The luncheon was held at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn and Suites, 1518 Third Ave. N.W., and featured speakers, a fashion show, door and raffle prizes, and information about both the team as well as support systems for those battling cancer and their families. Guests heard from two representatives from the cancer center at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center on the services and programming they offer. Patty Grossnickle, nurse coordinator, said the groups offer an “uplifting atmosphere...
Students get the feel of careers that happen to be on wheels

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Hans Madsen The road grader the Iowa Department of Transportation brought to the Careers on Wheels day for middle school students actually only has one seat in it — it’s for the worker driving it. While it was parked in the lot at Iowa Central Community College’s East Campus where Iowa DOT mechanic Levi Frazier showed it off, the students found a dozen more. On top of the tires, on the platform next to the cab, inside the cab and several locations on the adjustable blade. Frazier smiled as they explored the vehicle, it brought back some pleasant memories. “I grew up with it,” he...
Ag secretary forum to be in Fort Dodge

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bill Shea The five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa secretary of agriculture will answer questions during a forum in Fort Dodge on May 9. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. in Fort Frenzy, 3232 First Ave. S. Candidates Ray Gaesser, Chad Ingels, Craig Lang, Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig and Dan Zumbach have agreed to attend. Bill Horan, a Calhoun County farmer, will be the moderator for the forum. “We want to provide information to people so they can make an informed decision when they vote in the primary election,” said Jill Nelson, the community development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth...
McClure Engineering Co. acquires Kansas company

Sunday, April 29, 2018

CLIVE — McClure Engineering Co., Clive has acquired Shafer, Kline & Warren Inc., Lenexa., Kansas. Effective April 6, 2018, MEC has assumed operational control of SKW. “At MEC, our vision is to ‘Make lives better by building strong communities,’ and our mission is to ‘Build relationships to help our clients be successful,'” said Terry Lutz, chief executive officer of MEC. “The people at SKW are very much aligned with us on this, as they have done the same things for their clients for a long time. Our cultures blend very well, and pooling our resources provides even greater opportunities for us to...
TRMC on Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital list

Sunday, April 29, 2018

UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center was recently named one of the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health for the third year in a row.   “This achievement speaks to our team’s daily commitment and impact in providing the best health care possible to our community, while also sustaining an efficient and effective facility,” said Mike Dewerff, president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge.   Full article.
Welcome to Duncombe

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Peter Kaspari Parents, students and community members got a look at the newly reconstructed Duncombe Elementary School Saturday morning before its official opening in the fall. Duncombe will be reopening nearly three years after structural issues forced the Fort Dodge Community School District to close the more than 100-year-old building, which was demolished. Students were taught in the former Fair Oaks Middle School building starting in the fall of 2015. They will once again be taught inside Duncombe this fall. School staff guided groups of community members throughout the building, explaining the new features, spaces and programs Duncombe will offer. Duncombe Principal Pat Reding said...
Could downtown Fort Dodge be the next Opportunity Zone?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bill Shea Investors in downtown Fort Dodge properties may be able to benefit from a provision of the federal tax cut signed into law late last year by President Donald Trump. That law created Opportunity Zones, and downtown Fort Dodge has been nominated to become one of them. Gov. Kim Reynolds submitted downtown Fort Dodge and 61 other areas in the state to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for desigination as Opportunity Zones. State and local officials are waiting to see if the federal agency will grant that status. If the Department of the Treasury OKs the Fort Dodge designation, investors will be...
Katy Lynn Boutique keeps expanding

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Terrence Dwyer Katy Lynn Boutique is booming. Krista Albright launched a Fort Dodge location for the enterprise on Central Avenue in October 2014. The business has grown so fast that she has moved twice, most recently to 2415 Fifth Ave. S. — the city’s thriving Corridor of Commerce. Additionally, Katy Lynn Boutique has a second store in Arnolds Park and a rapidly expanding online clientele. The Okoboji store is also thriving and its busiest time of year is just ahead. “Summers are crazy,” Albright said. “Once the weather warms up it will get really busy there. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we are open...
Local lawmakers square off on taxes

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bill Shea   A pair of Republican lawmakers told a Fort Dodge audience Friday that they’re eager to reach a compromise on a massive tax cut bill so they can wrap up this year’s legislative session. However, one of their Democratic colleagues said the eventual tax cut plan probably won’t be the great deal for most Iowans that Republicans hope it will be. “You cut and cut and cut and the line is that everybody gets more money in their pocket to spend, but that money gets taken out in other places by other fees and things,” state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, said...
The goal? Help Iowa thrive

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Terrence Dwyer The overwhelming majority of businesses in the Hawkeye State are small business — those with fewer than 500 employees. According to Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, 97 percent of Iowa’s businesses fall into that category. Not only in Iowa, but also all across the United States small businesses are a vital part of our nation’s economy. Since 1981, a network of Small Business Development Centers known as America’s SBDC has helped small businesses get started and learn how to thrive. America’s SBDC Iowa is our state’s participant in that nationwide program. In this part of Iowa, a...
Building a better block

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hans Madsen There’s an empty lot in the 1100 block of Central Avenue that’s been sitting unused for years. Once the site of a bar, the building was razed after a fire heavily damaged the structure. Wednesday night, the empty lot became something else entirely A group of volunteers — using pallets, plywood, potted plants, strings of lights and a lot of elbow grease — turned it into a great space to have a party complete with seating, a bar and stage, and even lots of art. It was a demonstration of the principles promoted by the Better Block Foundation, an urban design nonprofit based...
A new era at the FDCC: Doyle returns to home turf

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Eric Pratt Eddie Doyle is ready to give back to the game he loves and the course he’s always called home. The 2014 St. Edmond graduate is beginning his first full season as the golf shop manager at the Fort Dodge Country Club. In many ways, it’s a position Doyle landed through a lot of serendipitous twists and turns. Doyle admits the timing was indeed right, but clarifies the decision to return to his roots was made consciously and with anxious anticipation. ”I’ve always had an affinity and strong passion for this golf course,” said Doyle, the 22-year-old defending city golf champion. ”I love...
Building a better block

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Peter Kaspari An internationally-known nonprofit will be coming to Fort Dodge this week to help with ideas that will be used to revitalize the downtown area. The Better Block Foundation, nonprofit specializing in innovative urban design, is based in Dallas, Texas. Main Street Fort Dodge will be hosting the Better Block Foundation Wednesday and Thursday. According to Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, Better Block Foundation founder Jason Roberts will be giving a public presentation on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Heartland Communication conference room, 1003 Central Ave. “Jason’s presentation will educate and inspire attendees through examples of revitalization projects utilizing...
Williams Bend welcomed

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Chad Thompson Fort Dodge is on the right track in tackling its infrastructure needs and attracting new people to the area, according to Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “It’s about building communities people want to live in and you have that vision here,” she said. Durham spoke briefly during an open house for the Williams Bend Development Monday afternoon. About 100 people crammed inside one of the recently completed homes at 1304 20th Ave. N. for a short ceremony and ribbon cutting. “This is a very exciting day,” Phil Gunderson, president of the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation, added. “The foundation has...
County maintenance building replaces aging structures

Monday, April 09, 2018

Joe Sutter When the roof trusses began to fail, it was clear the Webster County road department needed a new maintenance building. The problem came about in 2013 on the building at 2096 240th St., the old Otho shed. Every building at that site was either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, Webster County Engineer Randy Will said. The original plan was to replace the equipment repair and storage buildings on the same site. But Will and others quickly determined that the old site wasn’t adequate. “The utilities just weren’t there,” Will said. “It was not a big enough site, and it was not well...
Local companies, workers at the heart of Williams Bend project

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Bill Shea The group of workers busy constructing a duplex in the emerging Williams Bend neighborhood has something in common — all of them work for companies based in Fort Dodge. “Everybody is local on this project,” said Rick Wiseman, the owner of Wiseman Construction, of Fort Dodge. “Everything is local, 100 percent local.” Wiseman and his crew are building a duplex that can be seen from North 15th Street for Windstone Circle LLC, which is also a local firm. At the opposite end of the new subdivision, Tice Farm Housing LLC, another Fort Dodge company, is building duplexes at 20th Avenue North and...
MNW easily passes PPEL

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Chad Thompson Voters in the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District easily passed an extension of the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy Tuesday, with almost 90 percent of them voting yes. Unofficially, 155 voted yes. Nineteen voted no. With the passage, the PPEL will be extended until 2033. The PPEL helps ensure funding for long-term projects in the district. “The board is working to put a five-year facility plan in place,” MNW Superintendent Justin Daggett told The Messenger in a previous interview. “We’ve been working on that all year. We’re still working on that, it’s not finished, but in the process of working on that...
Rides Bar & Grill serves an award winning burger

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Kriss Nelson For the fourth time in five years, Rides Bar & Grill, of Fort Dodge, has made the top 10 best burger in the 2018 Iowa’s Best Burger contest and is now in the running for the best burger in Iowa. Each year the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association seek nominations for Iowa’s Best Burger and most recently released the top 10 list out of more than 9,000 nominated restaurants. So, what makes a top 10 burger? “Quality of beef and I use an old cast iron flat top grill and lightly season the beef,” said Corey Lombard, owner...
Salon Five One Five opens

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Terrence Dwyer McCallie Jaeschke fulfilled a longtime ambition on Jan. 30. She launched Salon Five One Five at 1903 First Ave. S. Jaeschke co-owns this new business with Michael Payne. “I’ve been in the hair industry for eight years,” Jaeschke said. “Opening my own salon has always been my dream. We had this opportunity arise and decided it was time for me to go out on my own.” She said this business venture is the culmination of her longtime fascination with hair care. “I’ve always done hair,” Jaeschke said. “I would color my own hair in high school. I’d do my friends’ hair for...
New hotel coming

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Chad Thompson A new hotel that will be connected to Fort Frenzy is being planned on the corner of First Avenue South and South 32nd Street, according to a news release from Brookstone Lodge & Suites. The Brookstone Lodge & Suites hotel will be attached to the west side of Fort Frenzy’s Cardiff Center. It will have an estimated 60 guest rooms, a large indoor pool with a splash pad area, and three meeting rooms. An exercise facility and an outdoor courtyard are other features planned for the hotel. “We are excited for the expansion of the current facility and believe it to be a...
St. Edmond Elementary holds career day

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hans Madsen “What are you going to be when you grow up?” It’s a common question adults ask children. On Tuesday morning, kindergarten to fourth-grade students at St. Edmond Elementary School got some exposure to a variety of career options that might help them answer that question with something new during Career Day. One of those talking about her career, Hummingbird Confections owner Kaitlyn Stewart, let them know that the answer to that common question can be written in cake icing instead of stone. “It’s OK to not know what you want to be when you grow up,” she said. Full article.
New owner and a new home

Monday, March 26, 2018

Terrence Dwyer Firm and has moved from its longtime home in the Snell Building to the law firm’s office at 706 First Ave. N. Snell Settlement Services was created in 2002 by Kurt T. Pittner, a Fort Dodge attorney who was part of the local legal community from 1976 until his retirement in February. He wanted to make sure that the specialized work Snell Settlement handled continued to be available in the community. “Our firm had gotten into doing some real estate closing services for some banks and some mortgage companies, the same kind of work that Snell was doing,” Mark Crimmins, a...
New area within the NCIRSWA landfill will be taking garbage by next year

Friday, March 23, 2018

Joe Sutter Garbage never goes away — and the landfill south of Fort Dodge is building once again to ensure there’s a safe place to tuck it away. A new cell to hold the region’s trash will be built after the board approved a contract at the North Central Iowa Regional Solid Waste Agency’s regular meeting this week. The five-acre specialized area will be built by Rasch Construction, of Fort Dodge, said Landfill Operations Manager Rob Anderson. The company’s bid of about $1.1 million for the project was lower than the engineer’s estimate, NCIRSWA Chief Operating Officer Jeff Feser added. “They were the lowest bid....
River plans a focal point in D.C.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Bill Shea   Future plans for the Des Moines River corridor in Fort Dodge were a frequent topic of discussion in Washington, D.C., Thursday as local leaders spent a second day lobbying in the nation’s capital. The river was a prime discussion topic during sessions with the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron. King, whose district includes Webster County, spent 45 minutes with the local group, and his staff spent another half hour with the delegation. “We’ve got a very good relationship with him and his staff,” Fort Dodge City Councilman Terry Moehnke said. “It was a very productive trip,” he added....
Local group meets Ernst, Grassley

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bill Shea Local officials visiting Washington, D.C., had what one called “good meetings” with U.S. senators Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley on Wednesday. But much of the local delegation’s agenda was scrapped the same day due to the winter storm pounding the East Coast. A group of about 17 representatives from Fort Dodge, Webster County and Iowa Central Community College traveled to the nation’s capital on Tuesday for an annual lobbying trip at which local projects and priorities are presented to members of Congress, their aides and other federal officials. The meetings with Republican senators Ernst and Grassley were the highlight of Wednesday, which...
FD, Webster County projects to be showcased in Washington

Sunday, March 18, 2018

BILL SHEA Some members of Congress and other federal officials are about to get a crash course on what’s going on in Fort Dodge and Webster County. That education will be courtesy of a 17-member local delegation that will travel to Washington, D.C., this week for an annual lobbying trip. During their time on Capitol Hill, members of the group will talk about everything from the proposed Warden Plaza development to federal funding for Iowa Central Community College. They’ll ask the federal leaders for assistance in applying for grants to help pay for various needs. Community representatives have been making similar lobbying trips for...
Hope for the future

Monday, March 12, 2018

Hans Madsen The building on the southeast corner of First Avenue North and North 11th Street — just east of the Beacon of Hope Shelter — is currently empty. It won’t be for long. A donation from a former Beacon resident has allowed them to make the down payment to purchase it. Executive Director Steve Roe said the money came from Rob Helgerson, who spent several years living at the shelter. Helgerson died in the summer of 2016. “Rob came here four years ago,” Roe said. “Rob was a vet; he had cancer. He had been going through all kinds of treatments and he went...
Holiday Inn Express and Suites Fort Dodge received the IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) 2017 Quality Excellence Award

Monday, March 12, 2018

ATLANTA (March 12, 2018) -- The Holiday Inn Express and Suites Fort Dodge received the IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) 2017 Quality Excellence Award for achieving superior levels of service excellence. “I am pleased to honor the Fort Dodge Holiday Inn Express with the Quality Excellence Award,” said Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer - the Americas, IHG. “We applaud the performance of the Holiday Inn Express Fort Dodge.  This hotel consistently puts our guests at the heart of everything they do. We’re very proud the Fort Dodge Holiday Inn Express & Suites is part of the IHG family.” The Fort Dodge Holiday Inn...
The economics of health

Monday, March 12, 2018

Terrence Dwyer UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center generates 1,159 jobs that add $72,784,155 to the local economy, according to a study just released by the Iowa Hospital Association. It is one of the area’s largest employers. However, there is much more to the story than just the jobs directly created. The presence of a state-of-the-art medical center here helps community leaders attract new corporate investment in Webster County. “I don’t think I could overstate the value of having a good regional medical center in a community,” Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said. “It is...
Using 911: If you can’t call, text

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Peter Kaspari Those who need immediate assistance of Webster County first responders now have a new way of getting ahold of emergency crews: They can text to 911. The service, which is being promoted as “911: Call if you can, text if you can’t,” has already been used by Webster County residents, according to Scott Forbes, Webster County emergency management coordinator. The process of implementing texting to 911 has been ongoing for about six years, when the state started upgrading the 911 network. “It’s coordinating between the equipment at all the answering points, which are dispatch centers, as well as wireless providers,” Forbes said. All...
Iowa Central rolls out its spending plan

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Chad Thompson   Iowa Central Community College’s $25.5 million general obligation bond, which will pay for a variety of building improvement projects, will be broken down into phases and sold with multiple bond sales, according to Angie Martin, the college’s vice president of business affairs. The Iowa Central board of directors discussed the bond during its regular meeting inside the Warren Hunt Conference Center on the college’s main campus Tuesday night. “We are working on when and how the bond sales will occur,” Martin said. “We are looking at a $10 million bond sale for the initial phase.” Martin said the bond sales will be...
Peart makes dreams reality

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Terrence Dwyer For many families, moving into a new, custom-built home is at — or near — the top of their dream list. Helping people in north central Iowa turn that important life goal into a reality is part of the mission of the team at Don Peart Custom Homes Inc. Undertaking assorted remodeling and renovation projects for homeowner is also a significant component of the company’s business. “The primary business is building new homes,” said Don Peart Jr., who founded the business and is its president and owner. “We also do additions, remodels. Anything that has to do with a new...
Taets is Catalyst winner

Friday, March 02, 2018

Hans Madsen John Taets, chief executive officer of Northwest Bank in Fort Dodge, was honored Thursday night with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance’s annual Catalyst Award for his diverse efforts to improve the community. It was presented during the alliance’s annual dinner at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites. The award celebrates inspiration, charity, wisdom, leadership, volunteerism and commitment to the community and region. Taets credits his community and his family. “I’m humbled by it all,” he said. “I’m fortunate to be part of this community. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. I can look around this community and see...
Air Choice One adds St. Louis flight, one flight to Twin Cities to be dropped

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Bill Shea Area travelers will have more flights between Fort Dodge and St. Louis, Missouri, available to them beginning today. However, they will have fewer flights between Fort Dodge and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota. Air Choice One, the carrier that serves Fort Dodge Regional Airport, announced Wednesday that is adding one more daily flight to Lambert -St. Louis International Airport while dropping one daily flight to the Twin Cities. The schedule of flights between Fort Dodge and Chicago O’Hare International Airport in Illinois will remain unchanged. The leader of the St. Louis-based airline attributed the changes to increased passenger demand. “We always look out...
MNW seeks PPEL renewal

Sunday, February 25, 2018

  Joe Sutter Manson Northwest Webster is planning ahead. The board is looking at what long-term projects will need to be done five or even 10 years down the road, said Superintendent Justin Daggett. To ensure funding for projects will be available, MNW will ask voters to extend the current Physical Plant and Equipment Levy 10 more years, although the current one won’t run out for five years. The voters approved an 83-cent PPEL for 10 years back in 2013. “It stands to run out in 2023. We are going to vote on April 3 to extend it another 10 years, to 2033,” said Superintendent Justin...
Main Street Fort Dodge wins grants

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Bill Shea The New Main Street Fort Dodge program has won a pair of grants. A $7,000 award from the Texas-based Build a Better Block program will help pay for sprucing up a small section of Central Avenue, Kris Patrick, the executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, told the City Council Monday. A $15,000 technical assistance grant from the statewide Main Street program will pay for a future survey of market needs. The Build a Better Block grant will be used to address the south side of the 1100 block of Central Avenue. There is a vacant lot in the middle of the...
CJ Bio America expands

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Joe Sutter As CJ Bio America enters its fifth year in Webster County, the company is preparing for a $51 million expansion project to begin producing a new product. CJ Bio America will begin producing L-Threonine, which is an amino acid used as an additive in livestock feed, the company announced in January. The plant in the industrial park west of Fort Dodge called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation already makes the amino acid lysine, which is used in feed for poultry and swine. The plant also makes liquid fertilizer. The news was celebrated by area economic development leaders when plans were first announced...
Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance: Targeted economic strategy, making the best of collaboration

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Bill Shea Leaders of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance have statistical evidence that their work in economic development is paying off. Those figures show that wages have increased by 15.5 percent in Fort Dodge and Webster County over the last five years, according to Kelly Halsted, the alliance’s economic development director. “We’re creating wealth and the ability of people to spend more money on food, housing and recreation,” she said. It’s not just the work of the Growth Alliance that’s causing that increase, according to Dennis Plautz, the group’s chief executive officer. He said the secret to that success is enhanced collaboration between...
Shellabration lands on top

Friday, February 09, 2018

Chad Thompson ZZ TOP, the bearded blues rock band with the longest active streak of having its original members intact, will be in Fort Dodge to headline Shellabration this summer. “It’s the first time for Shellabration that we will have an artist comprised of all the original members,” Jim Reed, president of Shellabration Inc., said. “This is going to be huge. To say it’s going to be huge is probably an understatement for Fort Dodge.” The three-piece band from Houston, Texas, will perform June 30 at the Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex, 1628 Nelson Ave., on the Fort Dodge Soccer Association fields. “This...
Voters say yes

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Bill Shea Area voters easily approved a $25.5 million general obligation bond issue for Iowa Central Community College Tuesday, with 67.5 percent of them voting yes. To pass, the bond issue had to be approved by at least 60 percent of those who cast ballots. “This really sets Iowa Central apart and moves us forward,” college President Dan Kinney said Tuesday night. The bond issue money will pay for a variety of building improvements and new construction at the college’s campuses in Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge, Storm Lake and Webster City. But from the time the proposed bond issue was announced in November 2017,...
Iowa Central is a key part of the region’s economy, study shows

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bill Shea The impact that Iowa Central Community College has on the region extends far beyond the degrees and certificates it awards to students each year. It has an economic impact of about $217 million a year, according to a study by Ernie Goss, the MacAllister Chair and professor of economics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. And the job training that the college provides is a “huge component to economic development,” according to Kelly Halsted, the economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Former state Sen. Daryl Beall, a Fort Dodge Democrat, has witnessed the importance of the college since...
Catalyst Award nominations being accepted

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Peter Kaspari Nominations are open for an award that honors a Fort Dodge business leader who has contributed to the growth of the community. The Catalyst Award, which is given out annually by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, will be presented at the Growth Alliance’s annual dinner March 1 at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites. Jill Nelson, community development director for the Growth Alliance, said the Catalyst Award recognizes a community member “that has been very active and involved and has excelled both in the community and in their place of business.” The Catalyst Award has been given out every...
Gov. Reynolds touts Future Ready Iowa in Fort Dodge visit

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bill Shea Growing Iowa by getting the state’s residents ready for the jobs of the future is the primary goal of Gov. Kim Reynolds some nine months after becoming the state’s chief executive in a transition she describes as seamless. “Workforce is my No. 1 priority,” Reynolds said Thursday during an interview with The Messenger. “As I travel the state, without fail I hear from employer after employer about how optimistic they are about the future, but they just can’t find the workforce that they need,” she added. To create that workforce, Reynolds is pushing ahead with an initiative called Future Ready Iowa, which...
Main Street lessons

Friday, January 19, 2018

Chad Thompson Terry Poe Buschkamp was the Main Street executive director for Waterloo in the early 2000s when that city’s downtown was struggling. When she left that position in 2008, dozens of new businesses had opened and Waterloo’s main street had taken on a better vibe, she said. “We brought people to our downtown in Waterloo,” Buschkamp said. “They thought it was a fun, clean, safe place to be.” She added, “They are now thriving.” Buschkamp and Tim Reinders, both specialists from Main Street Iowa, led two separate Main Street visioning sessions Thursday inside the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance offices. About 25 people attended. Fort...
Manson Main Street to be revamped

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chad Thompson Two blocks of Main Street in Manson will be reconstructed and redesigned this summer, according to Mayor Dave George. “This has been something we have talked about for 10 to 12 years,” George said. “But we had to wait until the funding was right.” Representatives from Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc., of Johnston, presented a conceptual plan of the Manson Downtown Streetscape project Tuesday night. About 30 people attended the meeting inside the MAC Center, 1227 16th St. SEH was hired by the city as the consulting firm for the project. The firm is working with McClure Engineering Co., of Fort Dodge. The project components...
CJ to add another amino acid to production

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bill Shea An expanded CJ Bio America plant in Webster County will begin producing 20,000 metric tons of another amino acid beginning next year, company leaders announced Wednesday. The new initiative will lead to about 18 additional jobs being created in production and production support, according to Luke Palmer, the company’s general affairs manager. The company had announced a $51 million expansion project in November. On Wednesday, it unveiled details of the project. CJ Bio America will begin producing L-Threonine, which is an amino acid used as an additive in livestock feed. The plant in the industrial park west of Fort Dodge called Iowa’s Crossroads...
Move brings a new concept to Corridor of Commerce

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Terrence Dwyer The city’s Corridor of Commerce has welcomed a new incarnation of one of the booming thoroughfare’s longtime businesses. Pizza Hut has moved from 2940 Fifth Ave. S. to a new home at 2516 Fifth Ave. S., a short distance west of its former location. The popular restaurant began operations at the new site on Dec. 20, 2017. The store will celebrate its relaunch with a grand opening on Jan. 18. There will also be a Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance ribbon cutting that day. The franchise for the Fort Dodge Pizza Hut is owned by Overland, Kansas-based NPC International. Pam Seuferling, a...
City inauguration

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Bill Shea The newest member of the Fort Dodge City Council joined the re-elected mayor and councilmembers in taking the oath of office in a Tuesday morning ceremony that formally installed the city’s leaders. The new councilmember, Lydia Schuur, stood with re-elected councilmen Kim Alstott, Dave Flattery, Dean Hill and Terry Moehnke as Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady, a Fort Dodge resident, led them in reciting the oath of office in a Municipal Building ceremony. Minutes later, Cady administered the oath of office to Mayor Matt Bemrich, who was re-elected to a third term in November. About 50 people were in the...
Fundraiser is underway to improve the Fort Dodge Fire Department building’s appearance

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Peter Kaspari Organizers hope to improve the appearance of the Fort Dodge Fire Department’s station with an ongoing fundraising effort to pay for the upgrade. The project, which is being headed by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance’s Image Committee, aims to spruce up the station at 1515 Central Ave. Rhonda Chambers, director of aviation at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport and a member of the Image Committee, came up with the idea when driving past the fire station on her way to work every day. She noticed how uneven parts of the station’s exterior look. “The doors are different colors,” she said. “The signage,...
MidAmerican touts new facility being built in Decker Development Park

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Peter Kaspari   -Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Workers put up scaffolding Tuesday afternoon at the new MidAmerican Energy site. A new MidAmerican Energy facility that is under construction in Fort Dodge was celebrated Tuesday with a presentation and beam signing. The presentation was held at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, 24 N. Ninth St. It marked the construction of a new 72,000-square-foot customer office and service center, which is being built in the city’s new Decker Development Park. The space will consolidate various facilities already in Fort Dodge into a single location. Speaking to a crowd that included city, county and state officials, Kathryn Kunert, MidAmerican’s...
Hubbell touts economic development

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Joe Sutter Fort Dodge is growing, and it couldn’t be done without the economic development tools available to it, Fort Dodge area leaders told candidate-for-governor Fred Hubbell Tuesday afternoon. Keeping those tools and tax credits in place, as well as the importance of working collaboratively, was a top topic at the meeting at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. The Democratic candidate from Des Moines said very little, asking questions and listening on a stop along what he calls his “Get Income Rising” tour across Iowa. Hubbell was on the third day of his four-day trip across Iowa to meet with business and...
Rosedale Water Store to open in Fort Dodge

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Peter Kaspari A new water company is coming to Fort Dodge and will take up occupancy in a historic building in downtown Fort Dodge. The Rosedale Water Store, 311 First Ave. N., is set to open in mid-January. The building once housed the Rosedale Creamery, and according to John Miles who handles operations for Rosedale Water Store, much of the equipment in the building will be useful to them. “The Rosedale Building has a well in it that they used to make ice cream with,” Miles said. “And it’s a very pristine well. So they’re going to take that water, purify it, ozonate it,...
Earl May remodel expands selection

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Peter Kaspari   -Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari Kim Bloomquist, left, manager of Earl May Nursery & Garden Center, and associate manager Chelsea Brueschke look over the house plant section of the store. Earl May recently remodeled the store, allowing more room for its landscaping and furniture section. A recent remodel has allowed a local gardening and landscaping store to provide more options for its customers. Earl May Nursery & Garden Center, 168 S. 25th St., remodeled its store over the course of three days in July and added a number of products and improved services for its customers. “We wanted to better serve the...
Main Street director named in FD

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bill Shea   Nov 30, 2017 Bill Shea City Editor bshea@messengernews.net         The new Main Street Fort Dodge program will be managed by an experienced director of a similar program in Chariton who will start on the job next week. Kris Patrick will begin working as the executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge on Monday. She most recently served as both the coordinator of Main Street Chariton and executive director of the Chariton Area Chamber of Commerce. “I think Fort Dodge is doing some really cool things to generate buzz,” Patrick said Wednesday afternoon. “Also, you have a gorgeous downtown.” She described herself as “very, very excited” about...
Webster County to save on natural gas with WoodRiver Energy

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Joe Sutter Webster County taxpayers are on track to save 5 percent on natural gas provided to county buildings, according to Webster County Supervisor Bob Thode. The county signed a sales agreement Tuesday with WoodRiver Energy to provide gas for six county buildings. “They did the figures,” Thode said. “If we had done this two years ago we would have saved the taxpayers about $4,500.” WoodRiver Energy is based in Denver, Colorado. It supplies natural gas in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It entered the Webster County marketplace about one year and a half ago. The company provides the gas which...
Holiday on Central: Let the season commence

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Joe Sutter Christmas treats, and, of course, Santa Claus, brought out hundreds of kids and their families for the annual Holiday on Central Monday night. Santa himself made his usual dramatic entrance coming down Central Avenue in a horse-drawn carriage. To the delight of — most — children. “Those aren’t reindeer!” Kennedy Eastwood, 5, declared. Once Santa joined Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich at the gazebo next to the Fort Dodge Public Library, the Jolly Old Elf explained that he’d left his flying reindeer at the airport. son with a choir, crafts at FD Public Library Local News Nov 28, 2017 Joe Sutter Reporter jsutter@messengernews.net           -Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Abel James...
Iowa Central to seek $25.5M in bonds

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bill Shea Voters in nine area counties will be asked early next year to approve a $25.5 million general obligation bond issue to finance numerous building upgrades at Iowa Central Community College. Voters in nine area counties will be asked early next year to approve a $25.5 million general obligation bond issue to finance numerous building upgrades at Iowa Central Community College. The college’s Board of Directors voted Tuesday evening to schedule a Feb. 6 referendum on the bonds. The money would pay for security and electrical upgrades, changes needed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a new biofuels testing lab. The...
Three FD buildings a century old

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chad Thompson The Fort Dodge Historic Preservation Commission paid tribute to three of Fort Dodge’s 100-year-old buildings Tuesday night inside one of them — Heartland Senior Living, formerly Prusia Hardware, 610 Central Ave. About 25 people attended the third annual Downtown Centennial Building Celebration, which included a ribbon cutting and short presentation. The Prusia Hardware building, Wahkonsa Annex, and Rehder Cadillac, which is now E&R Properties, were recognized. “It’s always great when you can celebrate a building that is 100 years old and still standing,” Rick Carle, president of the commission said. Carle praised Fort Dodge for being able to preserve many of its historic...
Millions in improvements unveiled to the public at open house

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chad Thompson   -Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Don Miller, former Fort Dodge wrestling coach and athletic director, left, visits with John McBride, of Fort Dodge, Monday night in the learning commons, an area that is part of the new Freshman Academy at Fort Dodge Senior High. Each of the remodeled spaces at Fort Dodge Senior High, including the Freshman Academy, auxiliary gym, wrestling room, and locker room spaces are complete. Administration with the Fort Dodge Community School District hosted guided tours of the new facilities Monday night. The projects were all part of the $27 million general obligation bond, which passed almost two years ago. ments...
Mikos and Matt reopens

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chad Thompson   -Messenger photo by Chad Thompson John Mikos, owner of Mikos and Matt Furniture, left, stands with his son, Justin Mikos, store manager, inside the remodeled building recently. Mikos and Matt Furniture has reopened its store after the roof was partially ripped off the building during a devastating storm that struck Fort Dodge about six months ago. The storm swept through the area on May 16. It caused significant damage to the interior of the family operated store, located at 3336 Fifth Ave. S. “It was those straight line winds that got us,” John Mikos, owner of the store, said. “I think aside...
National Gypsum is digging new quarry

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Joe Sutter In a few more years, the rock in National Gypsum’s quarry northeast of Fort Dodge will be gone. Today the company is hard at work digging a new pit, just across the road, where it will continue mining one of the area’s most important natural resources for years to come. The old quarry is a flurry of activity every day, as big machines drill into the rock, break the rock up, load it and haul it off to be crushed. But the area has grown even busier recently as contractors dig out and haul away dirt at the new quarry, to...
New authority planned to build cultural, recreation center

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bill Shea A cultural and recreation center planned for downtown Fort Dodge would be owned by an authority to be created by the city and Webster County under a plan to be considered by the City Council and the Board of Supervisors this week. Both governing bodies are expected to act on the establishment of the Webster County Wellness and Cultural Authority. That authority, led by a three-member board, would finance the construction of the new center proposed for First Avenue South near the Warden Plaza. Once the center and an accompanying parking garage are completed, the authority would lease it to a...
CJ Bio proposes $51M expansion

Friday, November 10, 2017

Joe Sutter CJ Bio America may be bringing a $51 million expansion project to its Fort Dodge location to build a new manufacturing facility. This major expansion would be great news for the county and for the ag park where CJ is located, known as Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation, said Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “This is very good news to reinforce the attractiveness of what the city and county have built out there,” Plautz said. “This is exactly what we were looking for, and are continuing to look for.” The expansion isn’t certain yet. CJ...
Ady talks workforce, growth at reception

Friday, November 10, 2017

Chad Thompson Fort Dodge is not alone in trying to address its workforce issues, according to Janet Ady, president and CEO of Ady Advantage, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. “You may feel here in the greater Fort Dodge area that you are really up against the world here because there’s so many great opportunities for jobs and yet there’s not enough people to fill them,” Ady said during a Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance fall membership appreciation reception. About 30 people attended the event Thursday night at Willow Ridge Golf Course and Restaurant, 1788 Madison Ave. “Virtually everywhere I go in this country, they have...
2017 Farm News Ag Show planned

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Farm News is hosting its 16th annual Ag Show from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Iowa Central Community College East Campus, 2031 Quail Ave., Fort Dodge. This location formerly housed Smithway Motor Xpress on the east side of Fort Dodge. More than 30,000 square feet of exhibitor space and exhibitors from Iowa and surrounding states will showcase their latest state-of-the-art technology in grain products, equipment, ag services, seed varieties and toy farm buildings. Parking is free, and there is no admission charge to the show. Those attending the show can...
Resources for meeting the need

Sunday, October 29, 2017

  Kelly Halsted Editor’s note: This is the final of a Sunday series focusing on manufacturing and the employment in the region. When it comes to finding a good job — or finding qualified workers — both job seekers and businesses have someone to turn to in Fort Dodge. Between Iowa Central Community College, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance and their partners, there are dozens of tools available to meet the need. “Employee retention and recruitment is truly the largest challenge in every organization,” according to Kelly Halsted, economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “One third of new hires quit...
Plautz, Lutz stand firm for FD, Iowa at forum

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chad Thompson During a forum aimed at discussing ways to revitalize rural Iowa communities, Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said Fort Dodge is a prime example of growth taking place in the region. “In the last four years retail sales are up 35 percent,” he said. “Eighteen hundred new jobs have been added and now close to 1,500 more will be coming to the area with Prestage.” He added, “One size does not fit all and I think Fort Dodge is a good example of that.” Plautz spoke during a revitalize main street forum at the...
Growth highlights workforce needs

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Joe Sutter It’s a time of growth in the Fort Dodge region. But according to the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, as companies keep growing here, they’re challenged to find skilled workers to do the jobs they need. That’s why, especially during this national Manufacturing Month, the region’s workforce is of such interest to manufacturers and industry leaders, according to Kelly Halsted, GFDGA economic development director. “Workforce is one of the biggest challenges and obstacles to growth for manufacturers,” Halsted said. Facing that challenge means finding enough workers with the right skills. “There’s a middle-skills gap,” said Sara Messerly, operations manager for IowaWORKS. “There are a...
For Manufacturing Day, students learn the world of bird and animal feed, for one, has gone high tech

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Hans Madsen Karen Alstott, president and co-founder of C&S Products Co. Inc., had some good news for several groups of Iowa Central Community College and Fort Dodge Senior High students who toured the company’s Fort Dodge North Plant Wednesday morning during a Manufacturing Day educational event. A plant such as that — which makes a variety of bird and animal feed products — has gotten pretty high tech. “We want people to use their brains,” she said. “We want them for their brain, not their back.” Before embarking on their tour, the students were soon to discover a lot of familiar technology. “Everything we do...
Williams Bend project is part of an effort to create new housing

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Bill Shea When representatives of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance recently met with executives from a major company with a facility in the city, they heard something disappointing. The executives said that they had eight people transferred into the local site in the 60 days preceding the meeting and all of them settled in Ames, nearly 70 miles away, because they couldn’t find a home in Fort Dodge. That was disappointing, but not entirely surprising, according to Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. He said the executives of the company, which he declined to name, weren’t...
Workshop to help employers support family caregivers in workplace

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Peter Kaspari Employers in Fort Dodge will have the opportunity to learn how to support their workers who are also caregivers for loved ones at an event on Oct. 11. The presentation, ”Return on Investment: How Employers Can Benefit from Supporting Family Caregivers in the Workplace,” is a collaborative effort between AARP Iowa, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, the Employers’ Council of Iowa and others. Former Fort Dodge City Councilman John Hale and his wife, Terri Hale, who serve as caregiver advisors with AARP Iowa, will be giving the presentation. John Hale said one in six American workers also serves as a caregiver. “Employers...
FD team to use Super Crewzer in Fireball Run

Monday, September 25, 2017

Hans Madsen Those who come to downtown Fort Dodge Wednesday afternoon to welcome the participants in the Fireball Run Adventurally race shouldn’t have any trouble picking out the vehicle the Fort Dodge team is in. It’s huge. Matt Johnson, general manager of Fort Dodge Ford Toyota, and Matt Bemrich, Fort Dodge mayor, will be driving the behemoth from the race’s start in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to the finish line in Rapid City, South Dakota. “It’s a Ford F650 Super Crewzer,” Johnson said. “It’s a custom build.” Some of the other vehicles might be able to fit under their rig. It takes a 6-foot step ladder...
Air Choice One adds to its fleet

Friday, September 15, 2017

Chad Thompson Air Choice One, the airline that provides commercial flights to the Fort Dodge Regional Airport, has added to its fleet with the addition of its first twin engine turbine powered Beechcraft 1900 aircraft, the company announced in a press release. The aircraft is anticipated to be in service by the end of 2017, according to Shane Storz, Air Choice One chief executive officer. “The Beechcraft 1900 is a perfect fit for the markets we serve and for the markets we hope to reach by offering supplemental flights to continue to enhance passenger growth for our current markets and future markets,” Storz...
Gowrie hears results of downtown assessment

Friday, September 08, 2017

Joe Sutter With the hope of doing some revitalization work in the future, the second-largest town in Webster County invited experts from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to do a three-day assessment of the downtown. The visitors were impressed with the number of people who loved their town and want to work on bettering it, said Terry Poe Buschkamp, promotion specialist for the Iowa Downtown Resource Center. “Everybody we talked to loved Gowrie,” Buschkamp said. “We talked to the GDC, and we know that group is very committed to improving the downtown. “You’re all passionate and committed to this community.” The group also found problems...
Leadership Fort Dodge begins a new year

Friday, September 08, 2017

Chad Thompson By CHAD THOMPSON cthompson@messengernews.net Leadership Fort Dodge is one of the best programs developed by the Chamber of Commerce before it merged with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, according to Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Growth Alliance. The program, now in its 13th year, is sponsored by the Growth Alliance. It was created to develop future leaders in Fort Dodge. More than 30 members of the community gathered at Willow Ridge Golf Course & Restaurant Thursday morning to begin a new year of Leadership Fort Dodge. “This has become a very valuable program,” Plautz said. One of the things that has made the...
Elanco to shift work to FD plant

Friday, September 08, 2017

Bill Shea Elanco U.S. Inc. will move more of its animal vaccine production to its Fort Dodge plant, company officials announced Thursday. The company plans to close its facility in Larchwood and shift the manufacturing of cattle and swine vaccines from there to Fort Dodge by the end of 2019. If that move will yield more jobs in Fort Dodge or more investment in the local plant remains unknown, however. “At this point, I can’t specifically say if there will be more jobs created,” company spokeswoman Betsy Vilwock Bowman said Thursday afternoon. “At this point, further investment is still being evaluated,” she added. Even without an...
First American Bank has installed a new interactive system

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Terrence Dwyer First American Bank has served Fort Dodge for more than eight decades. During that long history the banking world has undergone numerous changes. According to Susan Ahlers Leman, market president in Fort Dodge and senior trust officer, the bank has long taken pride in bringing the latest banking innovations to the community so it could better respond to the evolving needs of its customers. “We have a rich history of being an innovator in delivering financial services to the community,” she said. “We offered the first free drive-up teller service in 1953. In 1962, we had the first motor bank...
The Messenger announces new publisher

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jane Curtis Larry Bushman, the publisher of The Messenger, has announced that he will retire on Sept. 30. Bushman, 75, has been in the newspaper business for nearly 60 years. Terry Christensen, general manager of the Daily Freeman-Journal, will become publisher of The Messenger and the Daily-Freeman Journal. Christensen began his newspaper career at the Daily Times Herald, in Carroll, prior to becoming general manager of the Daily Freeman-Journal in 2010. His career has included work for the Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln, Nebraska; and the Omaha World Herald. He was advertising director of The Messenger from 2004 to 2007. He also worked in the...
UnityPoint at Home is moving

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Terrence Dwyer   -Messenger photo by Hans Madsen UnityPoint at Home executive director Jennifer Crimmins, at right, along with Jensen Builders project manager Taylor Pedersen, look over plans for the new retail store in the former HyVee Drugstore building. Homecare clinical manager Julie Samuelson, at left, Homecare clinical supervisor Jen Kirchhoff, warehouse supervisor Doris McBurney, regional store manager Angie Tracy and store unit supervisor Mike Hanrahn, at right, look over the cite behind them. UnityPoint at Home in Fort Dodge, which is gaining a national reputation as one of the state’s top home care agencies, is on the move both physically and as...
Now entering Main Street Iowa: State coordinator welcomes Fort Dodge to the program

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Hans Madsen Michael Wagler, the state coordinator for Main Street Iowa, brought along a couple of special guests to an announcement party Tuesday morning held at First American Bank on the east end of downtown Fort Dodge. Neither guest said much. However they did, quite willingly, pose with community leaders for photos. So who were these special guests? Not so much who as what. They’re the new signs that the city of Fort Dodge can post to notify visitors that yes indeed, they’ve arrived in a Main Street Iowa community. “The community rallied around to say this is something we’re committed to,” Wagler said. “Main...
Main Street Iowa is a go

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Chad Thompson Fort Dodge has been designated as a Main Street Iowa community, Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, announced Wednesday. Main Street Iowa is a program led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Its goal is to improve the downtown area of the cities that are part of the program. The announcement was made during the opening session of the Iowa Downtown Conference in downtown Sioux City. The designation will help Fort Dodge revitalize its downtown, according to Steve Pederson, president of the local Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District. “I personally am very excited about this collaboration with Main Street because it...
MidAmerican is moving to Decker Industrial Park

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Joe Sutter   -Submitted graphic This artist’s rendering submitted to the Fort Dodge Board of Adjustment shows the proposed MidAmerican Energy Fort Dodge Service Center, to be located at 4000 First Ave. N. This is the first facility planned for the new Crosstown Industrial Park north of Decker Trucking. A new MidAmerican Energy Co. facility will be one of the first buildings moving into the Decker Industrial Park on the east side of town. Construction is imminent on the new customer office and service center at 4000 First Ave. N., said Adam Jacobi, public relations representative for the power company. Targeted completion date is the...
Laborshed Project - Residential Telephone Survey

Friday, July 14, 2017

Laborshed Project Residential Telephone Survey   The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance is continuing to work with Iowa Workforce Development to complete a Laborshed employment study in our area. The study is currently in its second phase, the household telephone survey. This confidential telephone survey is currently being conducted in Webster County. The survey call originates out of Cedar Rapids, IA, therefore, the incoming number will have a 319 area code. If you miss the call, a toll-free number will be left in a message to you. If you would like to participate in the study, please feel free to do so by calling...
Plans for the Warden, cultural and rec center advance

Sunday, June 11, 2017

BILL SHEA It’s dark, dusty and vacant now, but someday the Warden Plaza in downtown Fort Dodge may be home to hundreds of people. Those residents might be able to leave their upstairs apartments to go shopping in stores on the building’s first floor. Or they could go right next door to see a play or take a swim in a new cultural and recreation center. All that would be possible under an ambitious plan gradually taking shape. That plan may include closing part of South 10th Street. And it may include building a parking ramp nearby. But even as they begin to show off...
Program honors people who are helping FD thrive

Sunday, June 11, 2017

TERRENCE DWYER People of all ages help a community thrive. A community’s long-term success, however, requires that there be an ample supply of young leaders moving into key leadership positions. With that in mind, the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, the Fort Dodge Young Professionals and The Messenger partnered in 2016 to create an awards program to honor the top 10 community achievers each year who were under the age of 40. The project is called Fort Dodge Region Top 10 Under 40. “We have a lot of great young professionals in the Fort Dodge area that are just doing a lot of...
Market on Central returns

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

PETER KASPARI Market on Central will kick off its season Thursday with its inaugural event, which, for the first time, is being held at night. It will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The market, which has been around since 2011, is usually held the second and fourth Saturday each month from June through September. But this year, Market Manager Laura Bunda said organizers decided to try something new and have two markets held at night this season. The purpose of the night markets is to encourage people to come out that might not be available during Saturday mornings when the market is normally...
Internship+ Program kicks off in FD

Sunday, June 04, 2017

HANS MADSEN The group of 24 interns that will be spending the next few months learning the ins and outs at Fort Dodge and Webster County companies were given an introduction to the community Wednesday morning by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, which is hosting the Internship+ Program. Kelly Halsted, economic development director for the Growth Alliance, said the interns will be filling positions at a number of businesses, including Cargill, Elanco US Inc., Snyder and Associates, McClure Engineering Co., Decker Truck Line Inc., and even the city of Fort Dodge. While the interns are in the program, they will get to...
Local businesses can reduce natural gas bills

Sunday, May 28, 2017

TERRENCE DWYER WoodRiver Energy LLC has partnered with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance to give local businesses the opportunity to save money on their natural gas bills. “The WoodRiver Member Benefit Program that we have with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance is a guaranteed member savings on a monthly basis,” said Craig Gertsch, who represents WoodRiver in this part of the Hawkeye State. “We at WoodRiver are a supplier or marketer of natural gas. All of our natural gas is produced by Shell Energy North America (US) LLC. Here in Iowa the three major utilities that we work with are MidAmerican Energy,...
Warden planning continues

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BILL SHEA The vacant Warden Plaza in downtown Fort Dodge could be filled with 120 new apartments by the end of 2019, City Council members learned Monday. The also vacant Wahkonsa Annex next to the Warden Plaza may be replaced with a new 113,000-square-foot recreation center featuring two gyms and two pools. A parking ramp may be built nearby. All those facts were included in a presentation to the council by Matt Brown, the president of Formation Group Inc., a Des Moines firm hired by the City Council to serve as project manager for the effort. In response to a question from Councilman Terry Moehnke,...
New leaders ‘graduate’ in Fort Dodge

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

HANS MADSEN The 25 graduates of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Leadership Fort Dodge program were spared one tradition Tuesday evening during their graduation at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites. No caps or gowns. However two of the graduates, did get to speak to their classmates. Amy Pingel, with Iowa Central Community College, spoke first. “I came back here after college,” she said. “I knew Fort Dodge would be what I made of it. I have an extreme passion about the community.” Jill Nelson, Economic Development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Area Growth Alliance, said the goal of the program, besides introducing the...
The Game of Life: FDSH freshmen learn lessons that will pay off when they become adults

Thursday, May 11, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON Freshmen at Fort Dodge Senior High got a reality check Wednesday as they navigated their way through various real-life scenarios. About 270 students participated in The Game of Life Financial Literacy Fair held at FDSH. Students began the game by selecting a career of their choice. Each career had a salary associated with it, which was the median salary in Iowa for that particular job. Once the students had their careers picked out, they checked in at 12 different stations to determine how much money they would need to spend at each. Housing, utilities, insurance, food and cell phone were among the stations...
Rejoining Main Street Iowa makes sense

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

For 35 years, Main Street America has helped historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts address the challenges of successful evolution in a rapidly changing society. It is a network of programs with the purpose of assisting local communities preserve their unique architectural and cultural heritage while at the same time thriving economically. Main Street Iowa is the Hawkeye State’s affiliate of this innovative and highly successful effort. Main Street Iowa works with a select group of Iowa communities “capitalize on the unique identity, assets and character of their historic commercial districts.” The program provides an array technical assistance that can include training workshops,...
Webster County employment study is progressing

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

JOE SUTTER The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance will be working with Iowa Workforce Development’s Regional Research Bureau to complete a laborshed employment study for Webster County. This study will define the areas from which Webster County employers draw their employees and will further examine that labor force. The study is done every other year, said Kelly Halsted, Growth Alliance economic development director. “It helps the businesses understand where their employment is coming from, and wages that are being paid in the region,” Halsted said. “It’s important to complete that information so we have the most accurate information that we can share with our existing industry,” she...
FD will host Market on Central’s evening debut

Thursday, May 04, 2017

PETER KASPARI A change to Market on Central will expand the annual summer attraction to evenings as organizers look to reach more people. The market, which provides food, entertainment and shopping every other Saturday from June through September in downtown Fort Dodge, will kick off on June 8 with its first evening event from 4 to 8 p.m. Laura Bunda, market manager, said families and those who are getting off work can visit the evening market “to have some supper, enjoy our vendors, just the nice atmosphere.” The market will then be held every other Saturday from June 24 through Sept. 9, and will last...
Webster Co. supervisors show support for Main Street Iowa

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

JOE SUTTER The Webster County Board of Supervisors gave its approval Tuesday to an effort to get Fort Dodge back into the Main Street Iowa program. The city and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance have been partnering to explore joining this program for the last six to eight months, said Jill Nelson, community development director for the Growth Alliance. Fort Dodge was in the program before in the 1980s and ’90s, Nelson said. “We are now a much different community than we were at that time,” Nelson said. “We’ve gotten quite a bit of support to move through the application process, in hopes that we’ll...
Cleanup effort enhances Fort Dodge

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

EDITORIAL This week Fort Dodgers have the opportunity to help improve the appearance of their hometown. The 12th annual FOD walk, where participants spend an hour cleaning up parts of Fort Dodge, will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday –rain or shine. FOD stands for foreign object debris. Historically, the focus for the cleanup has been fields and ditches near 32nd Street and Second Avenue North. This year, however, a large group will be assigned to remove unsightly trash and other debris from downtown Fort Dodge Rhonda Chambers, who chairs the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Image Committee and who also launched FOD Walk...
SSMID board says yes to Main Street program

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

BILL SHEA An effort to get Fort Dodge back into the Main Street Iowa program was endorsed Tuesday by a group that represents downtown property owners. The Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District board approved a resolution of support for the Main Street program application being filed by the city staff and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Getting into the program would provide expert guidance on historic preservation, free architectural services and training for city staffers. “I just think the time is right,” said Steve Pederson, the president of the district’s board. “The downtown is starting to show some retail growth. This will spur and support that.” The...
Main Street Iowa

Thursday, April 13, 2017

JOE SUTTER Business leaders and the city of Fort Dodge are looking into joining the Main Street Iowa program again. Carissa Harvey, Fort Dodge senior city planner, and Jill Nelson, community development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, are now working on filling out an application for the program. But it can’t go forward unless it has community and business support. “In order to apply for Main Street, we would have to submit our application by May 18,” Harvey said. “In order to do so we have to build public support, and also outline our financials.” Business owners, building owners and others interested in...
Prestage’s pork processing plant means dollars, jobs; Fort Dodge expected to see highest population increase

Friday, March 31, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON Prestage Foods of Iowa’s incoming multi-million-dollar pork processing plant could fuel a resurgence in north central Iowa communities, which have lagged behind the rest of Iowa and the United States in terms of growth, according to a study by Goss & Associates Economic Solutions, of Omaha and Denver, Colorado, that was unveiled Thursday morning. Webster County, and more specifically Fort Dodge, may see the largest increase in population after one year of operations at the Prestage plant, which will be located five miles south of Eagle Grove, according to the study. The study, based on economic databases and U.S. Census figures,...
Crew, city leaders tout series that will stop — and be filmed — in FD

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PETER KASPAR A 2,000-mile trivia game that will stop in Fort Dodge this fall was officially announced to the public Monday. “The Fireball Run,” described as an “adventurally” series, will be filmed in Fort Dodge on Sept. 27 and 28. The online streaming video series is available on Amazon.com. J. Sanchez, the series’ executive producer, said “The Fireball Run” will feature 40 teams traveling to eight cities over the course of eight days, including Fort Dodge. He described “The Fireball Run” as a combination of the TV series “The Amazing Race,” “Dirty Jobs” and “How It’s Made,” as well as travel and history-themed series. “The very big difference we have is we’re not a reality show,” Sanchez said. What makes “The...
Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance event draws record crowd

Sunday, March 05, 2017

A record 425 community leaders and civic-minded area residents gathered Thursday evening at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites for food and camaraderie at the annual meeting of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. The event, however, was a good deal more than just a social occasion. The vigorous economic growth that is taking place locally as a result of the collaboration of a wide array of private and public sector groups was celebrated by both speakers and those in attendance. The common goal is to build a strong economic future for Fort Dodge and the surrounding communities. The Greater...
At Growth Alliance annual dinner, Shimkat wins Catalyst Award

Friday, March 03, 2017

BILL SHEA A co-owner of Shimkat Motor Co. was honored Thursday evening for his decades of devotion to the Fort Dodge community in a wide range of roles. Bruce Shimkat received the Catalyst Award from the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance during its annual dinner at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites, 1518 Third Ave. N.W. The Catalyst Award, given to one person every year, is the highest honor bestowed by the alliance. Shimkat described himself as “truly humbled.” “I’m almost speechless and I don’t say a lot to start with,” he said after being presented with the award by its 2016 winner, Scott McQueen. Full...
Growth Alliance annual dinner speaker: Disruptive change must be embraced

Friday, March 03, 2017

BILL SHEA Change, as the old saying goes, is the only thing that is constant. But now, change driven by technology is happening so fast that it is really disruption, according to a man who’s studying the evolving trend. “The digital and the physical worlds are blending like never before,” said John McElligott, the chief executive officer of York Exponential and president of The Fortress of York. McElligott, of York, Pennsylvania, told those at Thursday’s annual dinner of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance that the ongoing changes or disruptions cannot be stopped and must be embraced. “There is no standing on the sidelines,” he said. “There is...
Outdoor scene tops photo contest

Friday, March 03, 2017

BILL SHEA An image of a snowy scene along a tree-lined road captured top honors Thursday in a photography contest conducted by the Image Committee of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. The photo was taken by Hope Thier, the art educator and assistant director of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum. Full article.
Pederson named GFDGA Volunteer of the year

Friday, March 03, 2017

A man who regularly gives tours of Fort Dodge to potential new residents was named the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Volunteer of the Year Thursday night. Steve Pederson was named the winner of that honor during the alliance’s annual dinner. Dennis Plautz, the alliance’s chief executive officer, said Pederson is always positive and has given more community tours than anyone else.
Fort Dodge gears up to take part in Fireball Run

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

JOE SUTTER This fall, 40 teams will stop in Fort Dodge on a 2,000-mile trivia game across the Midwest. More details will be available next month, but a sneak peak at the Fireball Run “adventurally” series that’s coming to town was given by Kerrie Kuiper, executive director of the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, to Noon Rotary on Monday. Officials from the online streaming video series will be in town March 21 for an official press event to announce more details, Kuiper said. While the series has some obvious similarities to a popular TV show on CBS, there are big differences as well. “It is kind...
Greater FD Growth Alliance: Growing the area

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BILL SHEA   The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance exists to pursue economic development and quality of life efforts to improve the entire region. Dennis Plautz, the alliance’s chief executive officer, said it was created in 2011 to ”marry up” the twin causes of economic development and quality of life. During 2016, it has pursued that mission by carefully targeting its efforts to recruit employers to the area. And in an effort to make the Fort Dodge community more attractive as a place to live and work, the alliance has also tackled issues related to retail sales, housing, and education. In all of those diverse efforts,...
Catalyst Award nominees sought

Monday, January 23, 2017

PETER KASPARI Nominations are now being accepted for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance’s annual Catalyst Award. The award is presented at the Growth Alliance’s annual dinner, which will be held on March 2 at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites. Nominations will be due Feb. 13 at noon. Jill Nelson, community development director for the Growth Alliance, said there are a number of criteria for the award. One of them is that they must be a member of the Growth Alliance. Nelson said they can either be an individual member or be employed by a member. They also must be an active and...
Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance has new mobile friendly website

Saturday, January 21, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance has a new mobile friendly website up and running. The website, which can be accessed at greaterfortdodge.com, was launched Jan. 1, according to Kate Stucky, office manager. Stucky said having a website that is easily accessed on all devices is a necessity. “Back in 2012 when our original website launched, mobile responsiveness was not as big of a deal as it is now,” Stucky said. “More people are using their phones and we want to change with the times.” According to Amy Pingel, communications specialist, 70 percent of visitors to the website were found to be using mobile devices...
‘All About Greater Fort Dodge’ debuts

Sunday, January 15, 2017

TERRENCE DWYER, Editorial Page Editor Ensuring that there is a prosperous future for Fort Dodge and Webster County is at the heart of the mission of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Convincing companies that locating in the Fort Dodge area is the right option is a key part of that effort. Also part of the Grwoth Alliance’s agenda is motivating the owners of enterprises already established locally that when the time comes to expand growing here is an attractive choice. The Growth Alliance and The Messenger have partnered to produce the sixth edition of a resource book that is viewed by...
Artistic endeavors

Saturday, January 14, 2017

HANS MADSEN After going over 16 design proposals for a mural to be painted on a long abandoned grain elevator sitting along Hawkeye Avenue near Loomis Park, the City of Fort Dodge Public Art Committee — with help from the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Image Committee — has selected five finalists for the project. Carissa Harvey, senior planner, said that narrowing it down to that was difficult. “The committee met twice,” she said. “We could not agree on four, but we could on five.” The artists were notified Friday — both those selected, and those not. Harvey said the...
FD council hands off the Warden Plaza

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BILL SHEA   The Warden Plaza in downtown Fort Dodge has a new owner that’s ready to get busy renovating the vacant landmark. “We’re really excited about the project,” Kevin Kearns, managing member of KDG LLC of Columbia, Missouri, said after the City Council voted unanimously to hand the building over to his firm. “We’re lining up the players right now,” Kearns added. His firm entered a preliminary memorandum of understanding with the city government in August under which it will invest $30 million into the former hotel and apartment building at 908 First Ave. S. The deal was amended Monday by the measure that the council...
On a cold day, Fort Dodge gives a formal warm welcome to the new Decker Development Park

Friday, December 16, 2016

HANS MADSEN After cutting the ribbon to open the new Decker Development Park on the east side of Fort Dodge Thursday morning, Don Decker, chairman of the board of Decker Truck Line Inc., walked a little way down First Avenue South with former Mayor Terry Lutz. He was looking for something buried under the snow along the curb that will be there for a long time. “While they were pouring the concrete,” Decker said, “I took the two grandkids out there and let them put their hand and foot prints in there.” Donnie Decker, 2, and Drew Decker, 6 months, were both happy to leave their...
Fort Dodge inks agreement with Gjakova, Kosovo, that participants hope will lead to opportunity on both sides of the Atlantic

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

HANS MADSEN With the stroke of two pens, one held by Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich, the other by Gjakova Mayor Mimoza Kusari-Lila, the two towns, separated by thousands of miles, officially became sister cities Tuesday morning during a luncheon at the Willow Ridge Restaurant. “This is a very special day in Fort Dodge as we meet new friends,” Bemrich said. He expects the agreement will give both the people of Kosovo and Gjakova new opportunities but also the people of Fort Dodge and greater Iowa. He said the willpower to make the arrangement a success is there. “We may be signing pieces of paper,” Bemrich...
Dr. Maria Drzycimski joins team at Rolling Hills Dental Clinic

Sunday, November 27, 2016

jsutter@messengernews.net Dr. Maria Drzycimski always knew she wanted to give back in some way, and to help others. She didn’t realize she would do this by providing smiles. Last month Drzycimski joined her father Dr. Nicholas Drzycimski at Rolling Hills Dental Clinic, 2727 N. 15th. St., as a dentist. Nicholas Drzycimski has been at that office for 22 years, and said having his daughter work for him is a great way to keep up with increasing demand. “I didn’t believe her at first,” Nicholas Drzycimski said about Maria following his career. “At 19 years old she comes home and says that, and I just wondered ‘Where...
Iowa Central looks back to its beginning

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

By JANE CURTIS (jcurtis@messengernews.net) , Messenger News Way back in 1966 there were only two employees of what was then the Area V Community College-Vocational School: Donald Klucking, of Webster City, and Edwin Barbour, of Eagle Grove. Klucking was the school's secretary and business manager. Barbour, who at that time had been Eagle Grove's superintendent of schools for more than a decade, became the first superintendent of what is now known as Iowa Central Community College.Fifty years later, he has been named to Iowa Central's Hall of Fame as humanitarian, perhaps the greatest honor that could be bestowed on a man whose professional life was...
Lomita’s opens at a new location

Sunday, October 02, 2016

By CHAD THOMPSON (cthompson@messengernews.net) , Messenger News Fans of Lomita's Mexican Restaurant have a new venue to enjoy classic and specialty dishes such as fajitas and chimichangas. Lomita's, as it is commonly referred to, has moved its operations from its previous location at 140 S 25th St. to 2223 Fifth Ave S., the site that formerly housed Zebb's Burgers and More and before that the Fort Dodge Maid-Rite. The restaurant opened at its new location Sept. 15. The new location is less than a half-mile from the old one. The move was done to create more space inside and out, according to Alfonso Galvan, owner of the...
Governor, Lt. Gov speak at PDI conference

Friday, September 30, 2016

By PETER KASPARI (pkaspari@messengernews.net) , Messenger News The governor and lieutenant governor had praise for Fort Dodge Thursday during a lunchtime speech at the 2016 Fall Conference of the Professional Developers of Iowa. Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke to about 200 economic development officials at the conference, which is being held at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites. Since taking office in 2011, Branstad said it's been his goal to make Iowa attractive to businesses. "We made it our mission to restore Iowa's reputation as a state that is open for business and aggressively seeking and encouraging existing businesses to...
A progressive and proud Fort Dodge plays host as Iowa developers converge for Fall Conference

Thursday, September 29, 2016

By CHAD THOMPSON cthompson@messengernews.net , Messenger News Fort Dodge has become an impressive example of growth for other areas around the state of Iowa to model, according to Maureen Elbert, executive director of the Kossuth and Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation. "I am very impressed with all of the changes that have been taking place here," she said. "In fact, this is growing and becoming a showplace of growth, new ideas and new infrastructure that we are all looking at." Elbert is one of about 200 economic development officials from across Iowa attending the 2016 Fall Conference of the Professional Developers of Iowa. Many...
Reed, Carlson take positions on issues facing county in supervisor contest

Thursday, September 29, 2016

By JOE SUTTER (jsutter@messengernews.net) , Messenger News Candidates for Webster County Supervisor weighed in on hog confinements, water quality lawsuits, and economic development at a forum Wednesday night. Democratic candidate Nick Carlson and Republican Jim Reed each answered questions at the event put on by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. The candidates are running to replace Republican Supervisor Clark Fletcher in District 5, which includes the west part of Fort Dodge and northwest Webster County. The process of determining where hog confinements can be built was one of the topics of the night, coming two weeks after the Board of Supervisors disapproved of a proposed...
Air Choice One releases flight schedule

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By CHAD THOMPSON (cthompson@messengernews.net) , Messenger News Air Choice One has released a new flight schedule following an announcement that the Fort Dodge Regional Airport will once again be linked with the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "It's an amazing, unprecedented event that we now have three airports that we are flying to," said Rhonda Chambers, director of aviation. Through Air Choice One, the Fort Dodge Regional Airport will be connected to St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota. Full article.
Commission recommends approval of changes needed for new shopping center

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By BILL SHEA (bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News A proposed new shopping center to be built where the vacant Sears store at Crossroads Mall now stands received a key endorsement Tuesday. The Fort Dodge Plan and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the zoning of the site be changed to allow the construction of the center. Commission members also voted unanimously to recommend vacating and eventually selling a city-owned driveway into the mall area to Hutton Growth LLC, of Chattanooga, Tennessee. That company is planning the new shopping center. Both matters now go to the City Council. The council has already set public hearings on both...
Branstad, Reynolds, Durham to address PDI at conference

Friday, September 23, 2016

By BILL SHEA(bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News Economic development officials from across Iowa will gather in Fort Dodge next week for three days of educational sessions and tours. The 2016 Fall Conference of the Professional Developers of Iowa will begin Wednesday and conclude Friday. About 200 people are expected to attend. Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, will address the group members. "This is an opportunity to showcase Fort Dodge, Webster County and our region and the positive things that are happening," said Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Kelly...
Twin Cities flights to start Nov. 7

Friday, September 23, 2016

By BILL SHEA (bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News Fort Dodge and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul will be linked by commercial flights once again beginning on Nov. 7, airport and airline officials announced Thursday. With the addition of those Air Choice One flights, Fort Dodge Regional Airport will be connected to three major destinations - St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota - for the first time. Rhonda Chambers, the local airport's director of aviation, said having flights to three destinations is "an unprecedented event for air service from the Fort Dodge Regional Airport." Full article.
Holy hopes

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

By JOE SUTTER (jsutter@messengernews.net) , Messenger News A public fundraising campaign is now underway for one large church that would serve all Catholics in Webster County. Initial drawings have been released for the nearly $10 million planned structure, which would be built just east of St. Edmond Catholic School, thus creating one unified campus for Holy Trinity Parish, which covers the whole county. The 1,000-seat church would replace the two remaining Catholic churches in the county - Sacred Heart and Corpus Christi - which are both in Fort Dodge. The move to a single church for all of the parish's 2,700 Catholic households has been in...
Hanson Asset Strategies is changing

Sunday, September 18, 2016

By TERRENCE DWYER (tdwyer@messengernews.net) , Messenger News William Hanson, who has provided financial advice and services in Fort Dodge for more than 50 years, is selling Hansen Asset Strategies, 1329 First Ave. S., to Troy Thompson. He said, however, he will still be part of the company well into the future. "I decided that it's going to be time for me to be doing less," Hanson said. "Troy Thompson will be buying the business over a period of years. The wonderful thing with the arrangement is that it's going to be a gradual transition. For the next year, both of us will be working...
Gunderson’s pays tribute to FD

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

By HANS MADSEN (hmadsen@messengernews.net), Messenger News   When Phil Gunderson, owner of Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation       Services, was looking for a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the         local business, he decided to forgo many of the usual ways to mark the         milestone and instead do something for the community. Working in concert with the Pride In Community Appearance group, it was decided to donate 50 trees. "We were looking for a new and unique way to mark our 50 years," Gunderson said. "It's a way to show our gratitude to...
MidAmerican Energy may move to new industrial park

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

By BILL SHEA (bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News MidAmerican Energy Co. may be the first business to move into the new Crosstown Connector Industrial Park in Fort Dodge, city officials announced Monday. The utility company would build a new service center there, and the city government would construct a new road that will link that center and the rest of the industrial park to Fifth Avenue South. The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the company that would lead to the creation of the new service center and the new road. ''Nothing is finalized yet,'' Debora Blume, a MidAmerican Energy spokeswoman,...
Celebrating 35 years

Friday, September 09, 2016

By JOE SUTTER (jsutter@messengernews.net), Messenger News When Larry Jessen started out as general manager at the Crossroads Mall, the mall had only been enclosed for a few years. "The common area from here to Sears was all open air," said Jessen, standing in the staff room just next to JCPenny. Jessen was honored by his staff with a surprise party celebrating his 35 years at the mall Thursday noon. "Melissa said this would be a small luncheon just for the staff," he said. Instead, Marketing Director Melissa Verschoor invited business owners from inside and outside the mall, members from the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, and Jessen's...
CJ parent company buys lab firm

Friday, September 02, 2016

By BILL SHEA (bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News The parent company of CJ Bio America has purchased a research firm, but the deal will not impact its Webster County plant. Nothing will be relocated to Webster County as a result of the purchase of Massachusetts-based Metalbolix Inc., according to Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. He said reports that the Metabolix Inc. lab now located in Boston will be coming to Webster County are wrong. Full article.
Prestage to share economic benefits, Null says

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

By CHAD THOMPSON (cthompson@messengernews.net), Messenger News Jere Null, chief operating officer of Prestage Foods of Iowa, said the new $240 million Prestage pork processing plant will have a positive impact on the north central Iowa region and will provide opportunities for local businesses and industries. "I will make a prediction," Null said. "Five years from now Eagle Grove will be a more robust, much, much nicer town than it is today. And I hope the folks over here in Fort Dodge will also come away with that opinion." Null, who was named the company's COO in January, discussed Prestage's plans at the Willow Ridge...
Desiring the Arts Festival coming to Fort Dodge

Sunday, August 21, 2016

AUGUST 21, 2016 by HAILEY BRUESCHKE (hbrueschke@messengernews.net) , Messenger News A celebration of the arts will be held from Thursday through Saturday at the McSweeny School of Performing Arts, 1633 N. 29th St. There will be something different to offer every night during the Desiring the Arts Festival, a showcase of artists from all backgrounds and talents. "Desiring the Arts Festival is an arts festival that showcases a vast array of the arts, and it brings artists from all over the world into Fort Dodge," said Sean Buhr, the coordinator of the event. The Desiring the Arts Festival brings in many talented vocalists and instrumental musicians, as...
Family Bowling Center has changed

Sunday, August 21, 2016

By TERRENCE DWYER (tdwyer@messengernews.net), Messenger News There have been big changes this month at Family Bowling Center, 3599 Fifth Ave. S., as owner Rick Harrington has transformed his establishment to make it fully state-of-the-art. "Almost all of your modern bowling centers today have synthetic lane overlays," Harrington said. "Family Bowling Center is trying to bring local bowling into the 21st century with some innovative remodeling and installation of new synthetic lanes." He said the conversion of wood lanes to synthetic will make his bowling alley the first one in Fort Dodge to offer that enhancement. Additionally, the number of lanes has been reduced from 24...
McClure Engineering Co. recognized by Inc. Magazine

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Messenger News NEW YORK - Inc. magazine has ranked McClure Engineering Co. No. 4,620 on its 35th annual Inc. 5000, a ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a look at the most successful companies within the American economy's most dynamic segment- its independent small businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino's Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000. Terry Lutz, former Fort Dodge mayor, is president and chief executive officer of McClure Engineering Co., which was founded in 1956. MEC's area of expertise...
Warden Plaza project wins Ripple Effect grant

Saturday, August 20, 2016

By BILL SHEA (bshea@messengernews.net) , Messenger News A $5,000 grant has been awarded to help pay for the architectural work needed to revitalize the Warden Plaza in downtown Fort Dodge. Aureon, a business solutions company, and the Iowa Area Development Group awarded the Ripple Effect grant to the Fort Dodge Community Foundation. ''The Ripple Effect grant and other local grants will help develop a plan to restore a centerpiece of the Fort Dodge community that has the potential to be a culture changer for downtown Fort Dodge,'' said Randy Kuhlman the chief executive officer of the foundation. Kuhlman said the money will help pay for developing...
Kesterson Realty and Appraisal moves

Sunday, August 14, 2016

By TERRENCE DWYER (tdwyer@messengernews.net) , Messenger News James Kesterson has been a major figure in real estate world locally for four decades. This summer, however, the company he heads - Kesterson Realty and Appraisal - has quite literally been on the move. On June 15, it relocated its offices to 1926 First Ave. S. The building that is the firm's new headquarters underwent a massive renovation prior to the move. "The interior was gutted completely and rebuilt," Kesterson said. "It took about two months. It's a better location and a more convenient layout." He said the new office sets the stage for expanding the business. "We plan...
Ready for business

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Joe Sutter With a land purchase approved Tuesday morning, Webster County will now own all the land between Harvest and Grain avenues in the ag/industrial park west of Fort Dodge. The Webster County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of about 40.4 acres for $23,500 per acre, or about $949,400 total, for what’s called parcel No.2. Three such parcels have been purchased this year. “With this purchase we own the whole thing between both roads,” Supervisor Keith Dencklau said. Cargill Inc. plans to purchase the eastern portion of the area between the roads, Supervisor Merrill Leffler said. “This will be over three payments; 10 percent...
Greehey digs in

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bill Shea When Bill Greehey graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High decades ago with dreams of going to college, today’s Iowa Central Community College didn’t exist. But now his name will always be tied to the college. Greehey, from Texas, joined about 150 people, including members of his family, college leaders and local officials for a Wednesday afternoon event to formally launch the construction of the Greehey Family Student Success Center on the Fort Dodge campus. A $3 million donation from the Greehey Family Foundation is helping to pay for the roughly $6 million center. “You’re not really a success until you share that success,...
Access Systems Named One of Iowa's Top 5 Workplaces 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Access Systems was named second in the mid-sized company category for Top Workplaces in Iowa for 2018 by the Des Moines Register. This year marks the fourth year in a row Access Systems has been named an Iowa Top Workplace, but it is their first time in the mid-sized category. In addition, Access System’s president and CEO, Shane Sloan, was awarded as Top Leader for the mid-sized group.
Iowa Central to break ground for new student success center

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Bill Shea A new student success center, to be paid for with a large donation and bond issue money, will be built on the Fort Dodge campus of Iowa Central Community College. The construction will get a ceremonial start with a groundbreaking on Oct. 15, college President Dan Kinney announced Tuesday. Bill Greehey, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate who was the chief executive officer of Valero Energy Corp., donated $3 million for the center’s construction. He is expected to be at the groundbreaking ceremony, according to Kinney. Greehey’s donation will cover about half the cost of the $6 million center. The other $3...
Austin Hanks will open for ZZ Top

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hans Madsen When ZZ Top takes the stage June 30 for the annual Shellabration concert, the legendary rockers will be playing to an audience warmed up into the red zone by direct support act Austin Hanks. Shellabration Inc. President Jim Reed announced his appearance this week. Hanks and ZZ Top have a strong connection. “There’s a kinship there,” Reed said. “Especially with Billy Gibbons.” Hanks has played at scores of tour dates with ZZ Top during its 2017 tour. “That was one of the things that attracted us to Austin,” Reed said. ZZ Top’s lead vocalist Gibbons produced Hanks’ latest album ,“Alabastard,” and also played guitar on...
Career Day focuses on social media behavior

Friday, October 20, 2017

Chad Thompson Samantha Harms, work-based learning coordinator at Iowa Central Community College, is advising both high school and college students to be selective about what they post on social media. Harms was on hand for Career Day on the main campus of Iowa Central Community College Thursday. About 1,400 high school students from about a dozen area schools took part in the all-day event. Those schools included Webster City, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, South Central Calhoun, Manson Northwest Webster, South Hamilton and Pocahontas Area high schools. The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance has partnered with Iowa Central for four years to expose students to a wide range...
FD council gives go-ahead to Theiss farm housing

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bill Shea Deals that lay the groundwork for hundreds of new homes in the form of houses, duplexes and apartments on the former Theiss farm property were approved by the Fort Dodge City Council Monday. Some of the elected officials defended the inclusion of multifamily housing, which has attracted the most criticism, in the plans. Councilman Terry Moehnke said that already one out of four houses in the city is a rental property. And Councilman Kim Alstott said the proposed rental units would be “high-end apartments” with rents in the $1,000 to $1,200 a month range. Full article.
Main Street

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chad Thompson Downtowns are a place where people generally like to feel enclosed, according to Tim Reinders, design specialist for Main Street Iowa. Reinders was on hand for an architecture walk Wednesday night that included a tour of the historic Snell Building and a stroll down Central Avenue. Fort Dodge was designated as a Main Street Iowa community in August. Main Street Iowa is a program led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Its goal is to improve the downtown area of the cities that are part of the program. The architecture tour was a chance for Reinders, city officials and guests to get an...
Recreational area is a huge asset to Webster County and our state

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park is a major local recreational asset. The park opened to the public in July 2006 and has been growing and evolving ever since. It serves all-terrain-vehicle, dirt bike and snowmobile enthusiasts. The park is well on its way to becoming one of the most significant venues of its type in the entire Midwest. It has become a destination that is drawing more and more visitors to Webster County each year. This summer a full-service campground began welcoming patrons. This latest enhancement is making the already popular attraction even more appealing. According to Webster County Conservation Director Matt...
Community Health Center expansion promises brighter, bigger space

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Joe Sutter After about a year of work, a $1.6 million expansion project is complete at the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge. The clinic at 126 N 10th St. has doubled its number of dental labs and nearly doubled the number of medical exam rooms, to better serve an increasing need. “We had about 10,000 square feet of undeveloped space in the old Joselyn (Printing) building that was basically just used for storage,” said Colleen Koester, chief operating officer for the center. Thanks to that new space, there are now eight dental ops, instead of four; and the center has gone from 11...
Fit This hosts monthly walk

Friday, July 28, 2017

Peter Kaspari A new Fort Dodge business is providing an opportunity for people to get fit with a monthly run/walk. Fit This, which opened in April at 1208 First Ave. S., hosts the free run/walk on the first Saturday of the month. The second walk will be held on Aug. 5. Amanda Bush, owner of Fit This, got the idea to start the walk after participating in the Third Thursday Fit Night, which is another monthly walk sponsored by Brown’s Shoe Fit, 210 S. 25th St. Fit This sells workout clothes and encourages people to stay active and healthy, Bush said Craig Jarrard, owner of Brown’s...
Australian artist selected for FD silo

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Chad Thompson An Australian artist was selected by the Fort Dodge Public Art Committee to design and paint an unused grain elevator along Hawkeye Avenue, Maggie Carlin, associate city planner, announced Wednesday. Artwork by Guido van Helten, of Brisbane, Australia, was chosen by the Public Art Committee. The Public Art Committee was formed in 2016 to oversee the Fort Dodge Grain Silo Mural Project. The committee is comprised of city planning staff, Blanden Memorial Art Museum staff, the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association board, and the Image Committee of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. Van Helten’s artwork will show people from the...
Heartland Bank in Gowrie moves

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Terrence Dwyer Heartland Bank has a new home in Gowrie. On June 26, customers were welcomed to the bank’s brand-new building at 1201 Market St. This location is about a block and a half from its longtime previous venue. The new facility has been under construction since groundbreaking took place in June 2016. “It was totally new construction,” Kevin Black, bank president and chief executive officer, said. “The building we came out of was built in 1910. We felt it was time to do an upgrade. We wanted to upgrade the facility to have better surroundings and more room, of course. It also...
At Friendship Haven, a new Memory Center is ready for residents

Friday, June 16, 2017

HANS MADSEN -Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Kennedy Irwing, 4, doesn't know quite what to make of all the activity around her Thursday afternoon as she stands with her mom, caregiver Jessica Irwing, during the ribbon cutting for the Journeys at Friendship Haven. Unit director Allison Zuspan, cuts the ribbon as Friendship Haven President/CEO Julie Thorson, holds onto the end at right. The first residents of the memory care center will move in Tuesday. The nails have all been pounded in, all the paint applied, the furniture moved in and the beds made up and ready for residents at the Journeys at...
New playscape at Kennedy Park is ready for action

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON The natural playscape at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park is ready for action. Friends of Webster County Conservation were putting the finishing touches on the new playground Monday afternoon as about 30 people gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The ribbon-cutting signaled the beginning of a new opportunity for kids to connect with nature, according to Matt Cosgrove, Webster County Conservation director. “The playscape concept comes from the nature deficit disorder,” Cosgrove said. “Kids are not playing outside as much as when we were younger.” The playscape is located west of the Heun Shelter where the road bends south, just north of the existing, traditional playground....
O’Brien offers insight into implementation of Internship+

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Internship+ Program was created to add value to internships with an educational lunch series designed especially for area interns. The Growth Alliance has several goals for this program. First and foremost, the main priority is that all interns have a positive experience during their time in Fort Dodge, with the ultimate goal to return to the region for full employment. Through this program, they hope to add value to the companies offering the internship and create awareness of the industries in the region. Along with that, if the intern has a positive experience, the Growth Alliance is hoping...
PICA honored for keeping FD beautiful

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

PETER KASPARI A local group dedicated to keeping up Fort Dodge’s appearance was honored Tuesday with an award from a statewide organization. Pride in Community Appearance, known as PICA, received the Organization Award for Excellence from Keep Iowa Beautiful. Gerry Schnepf, executive director of Keep Iowa Beautiful, touted PICA and its successes at the presentation ceremony, which was held at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village where PICA was doing some work Tuesday morning. “If every community in the state of this size had a group like this, imagine what that would do to the appearance of the community,” Schnepf said. “This is a good model.” He...
Inside Friendship Haven’s new Memory Center

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON A memory center designed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will require more than 50 new employees at Friendship Haven when the facility opens, according to Julie Thorson, president and chief executive officer of Friendship Haven. “We are increasing the number of people we serve, so we need to increase the number of employees,” Thorson said. “That’s a big push for us.” Direct care, certified nursing assistants, kitchen, and housekeeping workers are among the positions that will need to be filled. According to Thorson, Friendship Haven offers to pay for nursing certification. “Even if people aren’t certified nurses, they can come and apply...
Careers on Wheels puts middle school students in the driver’s seat and headed for their future

Friday, April 28, 2017

HANS MADSEN As a few snow flurries fell from the sky Thursday morning, a group of Fort Dodge Middle School students huddled in front of the blade of an Iowa Department of Transportation plow truck at the annual Careers on Wheels Day held on the Iowa Central Community College East Campus. Craig Davis, a highway technician associate with the Iowa Department of Transportation, was hoping that a few light flurries was all it would be. “I’m ready for the season to be over,” he said. While lining up for a photo in front of the plow blade was popular with the students, the vibrating device...
Thiess farm duplex proposal advances

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BILL SHEA A series of duplex homes on the north side of Fort Dodge inched closer to reality Monday when the City Council approved the second reading of a needed zoning change on a 6-1 vote. Council members who support the plan for the homes at 20th Avenue North and Williams Drive cited the need for housing in the city. “We do have an urgent need presently for affordable single-family housing,” said Councilman Dave Flattery. “Right now, this is the only development that’s out there.” The proposal has encountered enough opposition from neighboring property owners that a supermajority vote of six of the seven council members...
Health care benefits: UnityPoint’s Trinity pumps more than $70M into FD economy, study says

Sunday, March 26, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center is proving to be a valuable commodity in not only stimulating the local economy, but also attracting new businesses to the Fort Dodge region. According to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association, Trinity generates 1,156 jobs that add more than $70 million to Fort Dodge’s economy, an increase of about $10 million from 2015. The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector. The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey...
Hometown Heroes

Thursday, March 23, 2017

HANS MADSEN Dr. Matt Maggio might not have been able to attend the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way and Serving Our Servants Heroes Luncheon Wednesday were it not for two of the individuals recognized. Amy McCollum, a dental hygienist at Maggio’s Fort Dodge practice, and John Bair, a patient who’s not only a service technician for Shimkat Motor Co. in Fort Dodge but also a Moorland Fire Department first responder, stepped in when the dentist collapsed from a heart attack at the end of the day. The pair worked together to perform CPR until EMTs arrived. The Rev. Al Henderson, who presented...
Ready to grow

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

JOE SUTTER Kevin Black sees a lot of potential at the corner of Webster Street and Riddle Street in Gowrie. Three empty lots sit there, platted and ready for builders to put up the town’s next new housing. To encourage growth here and throughout the town, the city of Gowrie is now offering grants of up to $40,000 for new construction, with help from the Gowrie Development Commission and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “We want to bring families in,” said Black, the president and chief executive officer of Heartland Bank who serves on the Gowrie Development Commission. “We want to bring taxpayers in, we...
UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center boosts local economy

Monday, March 06, 2017

UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center is a good example of something that is so vital a part of our immediate environment it is easy to take for granted. Its excellence is enormously important to our community and region. Having a first-rate medical center close at hand is essential to the quality of life of every Fort Dodger. Trinity has become a major regional referral center for specialty care. That benefits not only those who call Fort Dodge or Webster County home, but also many others who live in the nearby counties. The presence in our community of a superb medical...
New scan technology in use at FD airport

Sunday, March 05, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON The latest checkpoint screening technology is in use at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport, according to the Transportation Security Administration. AIT-2 next-generation technology screens passengers for metallic and nonmetallic threats, including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing. AIT stands for Advanced Imaging Technology. The screening is done without physical contact. The TSA began using the technology in Fort Dodge about a week ago. Fort Dodge was the first of the other six Iowa commercial service airports to have the new smaller AIT-2 units installed. The Des Moines International Airport and the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids have the larger AIT-1...
United Way honors businesses

Friday, March 03, 2017

BILL SHEA The Messenger and three other businesses were honored Thursday night for their contributions to the United Way of Greater Fort Dodge. Randy Kuhlman, the chief executive officer of the group, said the newspaper “does a fantastic job of getting our message out.” He added that The Messenger donates warehouse space for Bridging the Gap, a program that provides beds and mattresses for children that do not have them. Kuhlman recognized the employees of the local Cargill plant for raising more than $49,000 for the organization. He recognized Valero Renewables, which has an ethanol plant in Webster County, for having a high number of it...
CSBank is now Availa Bank

Saturday, February 25, 2017

  BILL SHEA A Fort Dodge bank adopted a new name on Friday. The former CSBank is now Availa Bank, leaders of the financial institution announced Friday. ”We are proud to be a part of this community and we are excited to elevate our presence to provide our customers easier access to a larger network of financial institutions in communities across Iowa,” said Dave Flattery, the bank’s Fort Dodge market president and trust officer. ”We are still a community bank with local decision makers, and we are excited to develop new relationships in the communities we serve,” he added. In Fort Dodge, Availa Bank is located...
Decker names Grand Champion Driver of the Year

Saturday, February 25, 2017

JOE SUTTER Decker Truck Line Inc., has a new way of showing appreciation to its drivers. The organization held a companywide celebration Friday, awarding a brand-new Harley-Davidson motorcycle to its Grand Champion Driver of the Year. Arthur Clubb, of Missoula, Montana, was selected for the honor. It’s the first time the Fort Dodge company has awarded this title. The program is one of the ways Decker emphasizes the importance of the driver, according to Chief Operating Officer Todd Smith. And according to Clubb, the company is doing a good job of that. Full article.
New housing ahead

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

BILL SHEA Five duplexes may be the first new homes built on the former Theiss farm property in Fort Dodge. Those duplexes would be located at the intersection of Williams Drive and 20th Avenue North. Two of them would face 20th Avenue North and three would face Williams Drive. Construction could begin this spring. The city’s Plan and Zoning Commission advanced the project Tuesday by recommending approval of a rezoning request and a preliminary plat showing where the duplexes and related infrastructure would be located. Mike McCarville, the developer who proposed the duplexes, said each unit will have 1,600 square feet of living space and...
AML Riverside exceeds jobs goal

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BILL SHEA   The local community’s global presence in the animal pharmaceutical market grew in early 2016 with the arrival of a new company. AML Riverside LLC, a part of New Zealand based Argenta, took over the site commonly called the Riverside plant in January 2016. The company committed itself to creating 30 jobs there over three years. It exceeded that goal in a major way by hiring 56 people by the end of 2016. Those workers started by making products for cattle, and plans called for adding other product lines. Pet owners will not be seeing pill bottles bearing the AML Riverside name in their...
Decker Development Park: 2016 debut

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BILL SHEA A few years ago, Fort Dodge officials and local economic development leaders were facing a dilemma. They were getting more and more inquiries from industrial companies interested in coming to Fort Dodge, but there was almost no place where those companies could build. The solution was found in 195 acres on the east side of town that became the Decker Development Park, also known as the Crosstown Connector Industrial Park. Officials have said the park could someday be the site of 800 jobs and $63 million worth of new tax value. ”We need this kind of economic development opportunity,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said. Plans...
Downtown Fort Dodge Renaissance

Sunday, February 12, 2017

TERRENCE DWYER Fort Dodge’s downtown business district was once the heart of commerce in the community. After decades in the doldrums, Central Avenue and nearby venues are experiencing a significant renaissance. This retail revival features an array of small shops, many of which are unique, heartfelt expressions of the specialized interests or talents of their owners. There is more to the story, however, than just a retail rebirth. The array of new business ventures located in the city center is quite diverse. Kingsgate Insurance Center In late 2015, Kingsgate Insurance Center moved to a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of downtown Fort Dodge...
Elanco joins FD community

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BILL SHEA Another major player in the animal medicine industry arrived in Fort Dodge in January. Elanco U.S. Inc. purchased the manufacturing and research complex at 800 Fifth St. N.W. and the product lines made there from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. for $885 million. The new owner, which is a part of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., took over the site on Jan. 27. “As a result of the acquisition, Elanco will bring greater value to customers by providing a suite of options for preventing common diseases in companion animals,” John C. Lechleiter, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and...
FD Regional Airport: Third destination

Sunday, February 12, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON   The Fort Dodge Regional Airport is flying high with Air Choice One as its carrier. Since taking over Feb. 23, 2015, Air Choice one has doubled the amount of passengers that Great Lakes Airlines were able to produce in 2013, according to Rhonda Chambers, director of aviation. Great Lakes preceded Air Choice One as the Fort Dodge Regional Airport’s carrier. It suspended its service to Fort Dodge in 2014. Air Choice one accomplished the feat of increasing passengers with half the number of seats, Chambers said. “It just shows that people are using the service and that this is the direction we want...
The face of downtown changes

Sunday, February 12, 2017

TERRENCE DWYER   New businesses are just one indicator that at community — or a commercial district — is vibrant. Positive changes in existing enterprises also demonstrate positive change. Downtown Fort Dodge has seen a major influx of new commercial ventures in the last several years. During 2016, however, positive developments also occurred regarding several businesses that were already part of the Central Avenue world. The Fort Dodge law office headed by Mark Crimmins underwent three major changes in 2016. In April, the name was changed from Bennett, Crimmins & Livingstone to the Crimmins Law Firm. Simultaneously, it moved from 704 Central Ave., which had...
Messenger earns Mark Twain Award

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Messenger was given the Mark Twain Award Friday, bestowed by The Associated Press for being the Iowa Associated Press Member of the Year 2016. Jane Curtis, Messenger editor, accepted the award during the Iowa Newspaper Association’s annual convention in Des Moines. The plaque, given by Kia Breaux, AP regional director for the Midwest, bears this Mark Twain sentiment: “There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe … the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here.” Hans Madsen of The Messenger won first place for a news photo, which is pictured above. Full article.
AFES is growing into its gym

Sunday, January 29, 2017

HANS MADSEN With a new gym building completed in November of 2015, the Athletics For Education and Success program has been expanding and growing its service to the Fort Dodge community during the last year. Executive Director Charles Clayton said the new facility has given the program space for adding and expanding athletic programs. “We’ve been able to expand our basketball program,” he said. “Our first- to fourth-grade program, we weren’t able to offer that before, and our fifth through eight program has grown. We have 80 boys in that.” It also allowed AFES to offer the basketball program to the ladies. “We were able to restart...
Friendship Haven continuing to expand

Sunday, January 29, 2017

CHAD THOMPSON Friendship Haven, which encompasses 60 acres of residences, community and health venues, continues to expand its services in Fort Dodge. In 2016, Friendship Haven, 420 Kenyon Road, broke ground on a new memory center aimed at supporting those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. That facility, which will ultimately contain two households of 15 apartments each, is slated for completion in June. Friendship Haven has raised about $1.8 million towards the project. The goal is $2.1 million, according to Julie Thorson, Friendship Haven president and chief executive officer. Breaking ground on the facility was a bright spot in 2016, Thorson said. Full article.
Planned Parenthood issue heats up Eggs and Issues

Sunday, January 29, 2017

BILL SHEA JAN 29, 2017 BILL SHEA City Editor bshea@messengernews.net Legislators serving Webster County were alternately cheered and jeered as they tackled hot button issues such as funding for Planned Parenthood and public employee bargaining rights during a lively Eggs and Issues forum Saturday morning. State Rep. Helen Miller, of Fort Dodge, was the lone Democrat among the lawmakers and found herself at odds with the Republicans on many issues. The Republican lawmakers present were state Sen. Jerry Behn, of Boone; state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, of Fort Dodge; state Rep. Rob Bacon, of Slater; and state Rep. Mike Sexton, of Rockwell City. About 110 people attended the forum...
Trombino becomes McClure Engineering president

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Paul Trombino, the former director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, is now the president of McClure Engineering Co. Trombino replaces former Fort Dodge Mayor Terry Lutz, who will remain with the company as chief executive officer and chairman of the board. The new president will work from the company’s office in Clive. McClure Engineering Co. has a Fort Dodge office at 705 First Ave. N. “This is an exciting time for our company,” Lutz said in a written statement. “Paul has brought a vision to our state focused on economic development by leveraging freight movement, specifically leading the development of freight commodity data. His...