Coffee and conversation

Members of the Chamber of Commerce gathered Thursday morning for the quarterly coffee meeting held at Southfield Independent and Assisted Living Apartments.

Marilyn Middleton, marketing director with Southfield Wellness Community, welcomed the large crowd of Chamber members and shared a little bit about the independent and assisted living apartments.

Andrew Wotherspoon and Katie Short, both members of the cast of Webster City Community Theatre’s production of “Guys and Dolls,” opened the program with a selection from the musical. The musical opens at WCCT on July 10. Director Wil Groves talked about the production and also gave an update on the expansion at the theater.

Members attending the chamber coffee were given an opportunity to update the group on new awards, new employees and other information of interest.

The group also heard from Mayor Doug Getter who noted a decline in Hamilton County’s unemployment rate.

“We’re no longer leading the state in unemployment,” he said. “That’s created some challenges for our employers. I think that’s something we’ll work with the chamber on.”

Getter also said the council had held two work sessions on the proposed animal ordinance. He said the matter would likely be on the agenda for the next council session, July 16.

Hamilton County Public Health Director Shelby Kroona reported on the progress by the Healthy Hamilton Coalition. She said that Van Diest Medical Center will be doing a community health needs assessment. She said the coalition will be using the local data collected.

“Then we can regroup, refocus and really build a healthy county,” she said.

John Van Diest of Van Diest Supply Company, gave an update on the expansion occurring at the company’s home facility west of Webster City.

“We’re adding some manufacturing dedicated to Dow AgriSciences,” he said. He said the construction is expected to be completed in September and should add between 50 to 60 people to their staff.

Webster City Postmaster Harley Tapper talked to the group about the possibility of centralized mail delivery units in the downtown area, and Connie Gilbert talked about her trip to Washington, D.C. concerning online sales tax.

Awards and honors

Lynn McKinney of Town and Country Insurance, introduced Katie Olson, a Sunset Heights teacher who was the recipient of the Golden Apple Award from Allied Insurance. Sherri Hotzler, CEO of Vantec Inc., talked about her role on the National Association of Manufacturers board of directors.

Lisa Shimkat discussed the 2014 Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award received by the North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center.

“We were very honored to receive this award,” she said. “The really cool thing about this award is that it is not something awarded every year. We couldn’t have done this without our partnerships.”

Jo Abens of Abens Realty presented awards to two people from her agency. Luanne Tanner received the Silver Award for selling and listing $2.5 to $5 million. Tyler Abens received the Gold Award for $5 to $7.5 million in sales and listings.

Jo Abens also announced that on July 1, Tyler Abens will become the owner of Abens Realty. She said she and husband Keith Abens will continue to work at the agency for three more years.

Info of interest

Other updates included Mary Orhtman of Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. who talked about the need for more items at the food pantry and donations are still needed for the pool pass program. Dawn Trujillo of Hamilton County Public Health announced that business to business flu shots would be available to local firms in the fall.

Service club representatives talked about fundraisers and projects under way. Tom McLaughlin from the Main Street Kiwanis discussed the Kids Against Hunger program, Mark Dohms talked about Rotary Club projects and Teri Boman reviewed the Lions Club vision and hearing projects.

Tiffany Larson reported on the new Healthy Living Youth Program which is starting this summer. The program offers three different options for elementary age through high school age youths.

Janet Toering of All Cultures Equal talked about the Family Garden Space at Ace and programs offered this summer. She said there is one garden space still available for rent by the public.

Others offering updates included Joel Peterson who talked about the Hamilton County Fair and Angie Martin-Schwarze of Kendall Young Library who encouraged the public to take advantage of the ebooks and audiobooks available. Maureen Seamonds discussed upcoming programs at the Legacy Learning Center Boone River Valley and Chad Halbach of the Church of Christ invited any interested to take part in the motorcycle rides Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m.

New members

New Chamber members introduced included Central Iowa Dirt and Demo, Community and Family Resources, Discover Your Pursonality, Draegers, FabUlous Glam 4 Divaz Paparazzi Accessories, First American Bank, The Healing Room, HERO, Iglasia de dios Pentacostal, Mendenhall Companies, Neighbors Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Geothermal, Promotions Plus, Seamonds Insurance, Shay’s Country Creations, Webster City Links Golf Course, Webster City Lions Club and Whoop-Ti-Doos.

The next quarterly Chamber meeting is scheduled for Sept. 4 at All Cultures Equal.