Business, Free News Articles, Government, Manufacturing

South Central Iowa Community Steps Up to Support Senior Care Center

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Since the WHO announced the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic status in early March, long-term care facilities have been on the front lines of the health and safety battle, notes the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC). With senior citizens being some of the most "at risk" from the virus, the need for protective gear - from essential N95 hospital-grade face-masks to personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves and gowns - have been in high demand and access has been limited. That's where the manufacturing community in Clarke County and Osceola, Iowa stepped up.

Earlier in the week, the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) started working with the staff at Southern Hills Specialty Care facility in Osceola to procure additional essential supplies to help with the safety and protection of their 89 senior residents. Asking for donations or additional support from the manufacturing industry, Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC and Destiny Boeve, Administrator for Southern Hills were able to collect a generous supply of masks as well as some other essential items.

Altec's Osceola body plant was instrumental in donations, providing 3,000 latex gloves for the facility. And SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc, donated a surplus of high-grade masks and gloves as soon as the call was made.

"Having been part of the Osceola and Clarke County community for decades, we simply wanted to help wherever we could," said Darren Swolley, General Manager at SIMCO. "These are the times when community means more than ever."

Other local businesses, including Cathy's Auto Body and Cactus Farms, were also quick to join in the roundup of supplies. The team at Boyt Harness donated thousands of masks from their Missouri plant to hospitals and facilities in need there.

"This is what makes my job such a pleasure," said Trickey. "When the community is in need, our business network knows how to deliver."

Southern Hills staff members, residents, family members and friends alike have joined together to help with the cause, sewing from mask templates for residents and staffers to use while other donation efforts are in the works. Boeve's own grandmother, Kathy Klein sewed 100 masks for the staff and is working on washable gowns for the program. Southern Hills staffer and CNA, Amy Allen brought her seamstress talents back in her off hours just to help with the production as well.

With the influx of masks and gloves, the need for other safety materials has become a priority. Materials for sewing additional masks as well as gowns and other PPEs are still needed to help the staff properly care for the residents.

"We couldn't be more blessed," said Boeve. "Our community really knows how to come together in a time of crisis."

Boeve went on to stress the need for basic sewing materials like needles and thread for additional masks for mending gowns. And the donation of more N95 masks, gowns, or PPEs remains on the priority list for the foreseeable future.

If you have access to the items needed for the care of the residents at Southern Hills or have items you can donate, please reach out to Destiny Boeve at Southern Hills Care Center, 444 N W View Drive, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-6061.

Learn more about the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC): https://osceolaclarkedev.com/

Related link: https://osceolaclarkedev.com/

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Business, Free News Articles, Government, Water and Wastes

Osceola City Council Green Lights Contractor Bidding On New Wastewater Plant

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- The Osceola City Council has approved a schedule for taking bids on construction of the updated wastewater treatment facility. A recent pre-bid meeting brought in a handful of interest, but with design and budgeting finalized, the City is now able to open the call for bids to contractors interested in undertaking the project.

As far back as 2010, new EPA regulations as well as the continued growth of Osceola itself made the need for modernizing and updating the wastewater treatment unavoidable. According to the EPA, the acceptable limits of certain water constituents were lowered, making the current water treatment plant incapable of meet the new regulations. After many years of research, studies, plans and financial estimates, the project is ready to move forward by beginning the contractor selection process.

The projected timeline for the new wastewater treatment plant's construction is scheduled roughly to take two years, then the repurposing of the current facility is slated to take another two years. All of this will be done before the project is finalized or costs are realized. At this time, total projected costs for the new plant is estimated to be just under $30 million dollars.

A large portion of that cost - roughly 47% - is being covered through a partnership with Osceola's major industrial contributors. The balance will be financed through the State Revolving Fund Loan via the Iowa Finance Authority. Utility payers will pay their proportionate share through minor updates, not expected to exceed the standard cost of living rate over the next several years.

While the updated treatment facility will meet EPA demands, increase treatment capabilities, as well as offer expansion to support future economic growth, several other benefits to the updates will be realized. Significantly, the city of Osceola was recently awarded a $2.4 million grant designated to fund projects which improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Their eligibility to even apply was granted through the planned wastewater treatment plant updates and the use of a State Revolving Fund Loan. Using this grant, green practices such as pervious pavers and intakes designed to separate debris from stormwater runoff will be incorporated in the downtown area, further improving water quality throughout the community.

In addition to better wastewater management, compliance and water runoff quality, the City of Osceola has recently taken on ownership of the local golf course wherein new wastewater treatment facility will allow for additional money-saving strategies.

"No pun intended, but we're 'teeing ourselves up' to be able to take advantage of the new graywater system so we can irrigate the municipal golf course," said Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator. "While it's not part of the current plans for the treatment plant, we are expecting future strategies like this to save the city money and facilitate business and community growth."

Once completed, the updated treatment plant will not only increase flow capacity of the wastewater that's taken in, but will also see increased capacity in the treatment of the constituents found within that flow. Updates will ensure the city's compliance with DNR and EPA regulations for several decades to come.

"We have big plans for future growth of the City," said Wheeler. "These updates open us to increasing new businesses opportunities and more residents far into the future."

If you are interested in submitting a bid for this project, please read specifications, deadlines, and all other pertinent information on the Osceola, Iowa Web site at: https://osceolaia.net/revised-notice-to-bidders-construction-of-wastewater-treatment-facility-improvements/

For more information about the wastewater treatment plant project, contact Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator, via email, by calling 641-342-2377, or by visiting the administration offices at 115 N. Fillmore St., Osceola, IA 50213.

*IMAGE link for media: https://www.Send2Press.com/300dpi/19-1119s2p-osceola-ww-plant-expansion-300dpi.jpg
*Image caption: Expansion plans more than double the footprint of the current wastewater treatment plant.

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Alliances and Partnerships, Books and Publishing, Business, Education and Schools, Entertainment, Free News Articles, Sciences

OpenSciEd Partners with Kendall Hunt Publishing

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Kendall Hunt is excited to announce they have been chosen as the manufacturing and distribution partner for OpenSciEd, a leader in the science Open Education Resource space.

Currently, the OpenSciEd middle school units are being field tested by over 200+ teachers with over 5,000 students using the materials in 100 districts across 10 states. The first three units were released on Aug. 15, 2019, and the rest of the units will be completed three at a time with all 18 available by winter 2022.

These unit materials are readily available and free at OpenSciEd. Print materials, including student and teacher resources are available for purchase through Kendall Hunt.

Kendall Hunt publishes hands-on science, mathematics and supplemental/gifted textbooks and digital curriculum, including a virtual reality offering. Earlier this year, Kendall Hunt partnered with Illustrative Mathematics providing free access to 6-12 open educational resources digital math curriculum and offering professional development opportunities and print materials.

Kendall Hunt has worked with BSCS Science Learning for over 20 years publishing various science textbooks. BSCS is the lead institution in the OpenSciEd Developers Consortium, responsible for the overall coordination of development and field testing.

"It is a privilege to provide schools with science instructional materials that combine the expertise of a world class development consortium and the wisdom of current teachers, administrators, and state leaders," said Jim Ryan, Executive Director of OpenSciEd.

"It is OpenSciEd's objective to lower as many barriers as possible for teachers and students to engage with college and career ready science standards. For that reason, in addition to providing free digital access of OpenSciEd materials, our partnership with Kendall Hunt provides high quality print student and teacher books at extremely attractive prices," Ryan added.

"Kendall Hunt is pleased to enter this partnership with OpenSciEd," said Kendall Hunt K-12 Vice President Charley Cook. "Providing quality educational curricula and resources is of the utmost importance to Kendall Hunt. We take pride in not only developing textbooks and digital resources of this caliber, but through partnerships with non-profits and other companies offering curriculum with competitive pricing through our manufacturing and distribution channels," he adds.

About Kendall Hunt:

Celebrating 75 years of providing innovative educational solutions, Kendall Hunt publishes hands-on science, mathematics, gifted and virtual reality curricula for grades PreK-12, in addition to the only free, certified Illustrative Mathematics middle school and high school curriculum for students in grades 6-12. In conjunction with offering a variety of stand-alone PreK-12 products, ConstructEd, a division of Kendall Hunt, allows schools and/or teachers, to create made-to-order textbooks or digital products using existing products or creating their own. For more information, visit https://k12.kendallhunt.com/.

About OpenSciEd:

OpenSciEd was launched in 2018 as a nonprofit to address the need among teachers and school districts for high-quality, open-source, full-course science instructional materials, as well as to support the implementation of middle school science instructional units as a result of the adoption of the National Research Council's document, "A Framework for K-12 Science Education" and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For more information, visit https://www.openscied.org/.

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Business, Education and Schools, Free News Articles, Product Launches, Restaurant, Hotel and Hospitality

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for THE KITCHEN DSM presented by the Justice League of Food (JLF)

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Justice League of Food will welcome supporters, partners, community leaders, and the general public to a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Celebration. Guests will include Governor Kim Reynolds.

"The Justice League of Food is an incredible organization that helps Iowans struggling with homelessness find the necessary training for a successful career in the culinary industry," said Gov. Kim Reynolds. "I am honored to attend their official grand opening, and so proud of what Nick and Lynn Kuhn are doing to provide a hand up to those in need, but also give back to the community."

The Justice League of Food (JLF) works to break the cycle of poverty in Central Iowa by "Teaching a Man to Fish." We invest in individuals by providing the homeless and hungry with job training and placement in the food and beverage industry.

When:
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 3-6 p.m.
3:00-4:00 - Kitchen Tours & Refreshments
4:00-5:00 - Presentation & Comments Followed by Ribbon Cutting

Speakers:
* Nick Kuhn, JLF Founder & Chairman
* Kim Reynolds, Governor of Iowa
* Angela Connolly, Polk County Supervisor
* Steven Gaer, Mayor of West Des Moines
* Julie Stewart, Prairie Meadows
* Mike Miles, General Mgr. Microsoft Talent, Workforce, & Comm. Dev.
* Sean Wilson, JLF Board Member & Chef Owner of Proof Restaurant
* Jorgen Jensen, Rock Island Development
* Carole Chambers, President WDM Chamber of Commerce

5:00-6:00 - Social Hour at THE HALL

Where:
The Justice League of Food at The Foundry in Historic Valley Junction is located at 111 South 11th Street, Suite 300, West Des Moines, Iowa 50265.

Interviews:
* Nick Kuhn, Founder
* Lynn Kuhn, Board Member
* Sean Wilson, Board Member & Chef
* Mike Miles and Paul Englis, Microsoft

To learn more:
- https://www.justiceleagueoffood.org/
- https://www.facebook.com/justiceleagueoffood/
- https://www.justiceleagueoffood.org/white-paper-and-sponsorship

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Business, Free News Articles

Equestrian Grooming Products Maker Equi-Spa Works with Organization to Rescue Retired Race Horse – Announces Giveaway and Big Spring Sale to Kick Off 2019

WINTERSET, Iowa -- Equi-Spa(R), the leading maker of premium, all-natural horse care and equine grooming products based in Winterset, Iowa, announced today that it recently adopted a retired thoroughbred race horse in cooperation with the Neigh Savers Foundation. The plan is to provide this fabulous creature a "forever home" where she can live comfortably and with dignity for the rest of her life.

Known by her race name, MS. Olympio, (Missy) is a special horse born into a long line of successful racers. She descends from Something Royal, mother to the legendary Secretariat. Missy was born in 2003 and made eleven starts on the race track, of which she earned two wins, and finished on the podium on four occasions. Missy retired in 2011 to become a brood mare.

This past January, Neigh Savers, a non-profit organization that specializes in the rescue, care and adoption of horses that are struggling to find proper care in a suitable environment, reached out to Equi-Spa(R), looking for help finding a quality retirement home for Missy. Instead, Sherie Vermeer, owner and creator of Equi-Spa(R), decided to adopt the horse and bring her permanently to the Equi-Spa(R) ranch in Iowa.

"I am not sure why, but I was immediately struck by Missy," said Sherie. "I love older horses and have plenty of room in my own barn for her."

Missy's journey from champion to falling on hard times, is sadly a reality many working horses face as they move beyond their working life. Neigh Savers seeks to create new beginnings for these horses through retraining to allow them to successfully transition to a new career. Or, as in the case of an older horse like Missy, simply finding a caring home where they can retire in comfort. Since its inception in 2007, Neigh Savers has improved the lives of nearly 600 horses.

Equi-Spa(R) has always believed in giving back to the horse industry and helping horses in need through select rescue services and other qualified horse care providers such as Neigh Savers and the Horse and Man Foundation. We encourage anyone who has the ability and passion for horses in need to please support these worthy causes.

For the month of April 2019 we will be holding a fundraising sale for Neigh Savers. All Equi-Spa(R) products will be 20% off, and 10% of all profits for the month will be donated to the charity.

In addition, to celebrate and welcome Missy to the family, Equi-Spa(R) will hold a huge giveaway to raffle away a valuable gift to one lucky winner.

Learn more by visiting our blog at: https://www.equispa.com/news/

About Equi-Spa:

Equi-Spa(R) is a pioneer of spa quality, premium horse-care products formulated from all-natural ingredients and aromatic plant essences. The Equi-Spa grooming range combines the healing power of nature, and the principles of aromatherapy to benefit horse, rider, and the environment.

Website: https://www.equispa.com

Contact: Sherie Vermeer
Email: info@equispa.com
Phone: 1-515-770-3517
Address: 2241 152nd Street, Winterset, Iowa 50273, United States.

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Business, Construction and Building, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, Real Estate

Free Land Incentives Hope to Spur on Spring New Home Construction

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Spring is finally here and with it comes the start of the building season. Families are looking to build new homes, developers are looking for prime real estate, and contractors are itching to get back in the field after a long, hard winter. As part of an ongoing housing development initiative, Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) has been working with the city of Osceola to offer home builders and developers shovel-ready sites at no cost for residential projects.

The initiative also extends reimbursements on interest for construction loans for up to a 12-month period. The CCDC launched this Zero-Cost Land Development initiative in 2017 as an effort to capitalize on the recent growth trends and development throughout south-central Iowa. While tax abatements and other incentives are offered throughout the state, the concept of Zero-Cost Development offers builders and developers a bigger opportunity for establishing profitable programs throughout the city.

The workforce in Iowa is experiencing unprecedented low unemployment, making businesses work harder to attract the best and the brightest qualified employees. CCDC and the city of Osceola are working together to help provide a big incentive for local businesses offering executive, management, and long-term employment candidates custom housing solutions. Local affordable housing programs such as Kading Properties' Meadows Development have been a huge success and there is plenty of opportunity for developers to meet the needs of those looking for more.

"Development land in the Des Moines Metro area can set builders back $80,000 to $200,000 per lot or more," said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of Clarke County Development Corporation. "Osceola is close to metro amenities with a quality of life you can't find in larger cities. Continuously developing and improving, the city offers a sense of community and safety among neighbors, providing peace of mind for growing families."

Osceola's major benefits include over 4,600 non-farming jobs, a quality school district advanced beyond some suburban Metro schools, and several quality of life developments like an expanding trail system, improved city parks, lakes and land for hunting, fishing and limitless outdoor recreation. City officials and the CCDC hope the Zero-Cost Land Development initiative will continue to strengthen neighborhoods and encourage families to call Osceola home.

If you're a builder looking for a low-cost entry into a competitive market, contact Bill Trickey at the Clarke County Development Corporation at info@clarkecountyiowa.com or 641-342-2944 to learn more about the Zero-Cost Development initiative.

Learn more about Clarke County at: https://osceolaclarkedev.com/

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, NonProfit and Charities

CCDC Celebrates 50 Years of Community Commitment and Success

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC). In August of 1969, the development corporation that has brought Osceola and Clarke County, Iowa numerous business and economic successes including Jimmy Dean and Hormel as well as the boon of Lakeside Casino all started from the passion of a few locals ready to push the community they loved toward a brighter future.

The original founders and board members included Eddy Saylor, Fred Wood, L.P. Van Werden, Jack Jeffreys, Ross Gould, Stan Samuelson, Gerald Edwards, and Donald Ramsey.

These founders developed a plan that would form an economic development corporation focused on attracting new business, supporting existing area business, and improving the quality of live for the entire community.

Making sure to build the corporation on a not-for-profit, 501(c)(6) structure meant the corporation, with a board of directors made up of active local businesses and citizens, would work together to drive local and regional economic growth. The elected board would operate on behalf of the existing business and community members maintaining accountability to its core values, the members and the community. This structure has been at the core of its operations since its founding.

"A lot can happen over five decades," said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. "When you have a board and membership as consistently driven for success and growth as we've had with the CCDC, what transpires is economic sustainability."

Right out of the gate, the CCDC board took action to purchase and break ground for development of an 87-acre industrial business park on the south side of the city. Over the next decade, the board recruited businesses such as Osceola State Bank, Metal Craft Engineering (Now SIMCO Drilling Rigs & Equipment, Inc.), and Jimmy Dean Meat Company as the first tenants. Throughout the 70's and early 80's additional businesses moved in and the necessary infrastructure was developed made up of a water tower and another 68 acres with sewer and street construction. Today many of Clarke County's anchor employers like Altec (originally Furnas and then Astoria), Salford Manufacturing (previously Maclander), Osceola Foods (Hormel) and SIMCO do business from this park, serving customers all over the world.

Understanding the logistical blessings of Osceola, Iowa - placed at the intersection of I-35, Highway 34 and Highway 69, as well as a local stop to the BNSF Railway - made the addition of an airport and improvements to interstate access a logical next step in drawing more business and industry to the area. The CCDC board acted on those activities through the 80s and 90s, even while some of the nation's biggest cities and rural areas were struggling with hard economic times.

In the 90s, upon hearing the city council in Des Moines, Iowa was passing on the addition of a casino to the south side of its downtown, board President Eddy Saylor and other CCDC members decided to take on the recruitment of Lakeside Casino Resort for Clarke County. Through aggressive campaigning driven by a passion for development and progress, the deal was made to break ground for the riverboat on West Lake late in 2000 with The Development Corporation securing the gambling license. This would prove to be a "game changer" for the entire area.

"The casino was a big shot in the arm for the area," said Helen Kimes, CCDC Board Member and past president. "With the county and the cities of Murray and Woodburn sharing the profits made from the boat, development opportunities in the area were given an incredible boost."

Since the addition of the casino, grant opportunities through the Development Corporation have made a positive impact across Clarke County. This included updates to the Clarke County Hospital in the early 2000s, with further renovations and expansion over the last few years. Clarke County continues to benefit from the CCDC grants, allowing the hospital to provide award-winning emergency services and medical care. Community programs like Tech Prep Housing, Paint the Town Red, Safe Routes to School with miles of recreational trail expansions, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and the support for The Village Daycare continue to improve the quality of life in Clarke County.

With the addition of the E. Eddy Saylor Industrial Park for businesses like Osceola Farm and Home, Boyt Harness, Alliant Energy, and Iowa Steel, employment opportunities have increased, as have contributions to the county's tax base, keeping the vision of the original founders like Eddy Saylor moving forward.

With thousands of jobs created for the county since its inception in 1969, the Clarke County Development Corporation shows no sign of slowing. Expansions for the Saylor Business Park this year as well as closing in on the development of the Clarke County Reservoir mean even more opportunities to bring business and growth to the area can be seen on the horizon. So, join the CCDC, their board, and members in celebrating this half century milestone and wish them luck for the next 50 years.

If you have questions about the Development Corporation or would like to participate as a member, contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director at the Clarke County Development Corporation, 115 E Washington St, Osceola, IA 50213, Phone: (641) 342-2944, email: info@osceolaclarkedev.com

More information on the CCDC: https://osceolaclarkedev.com/

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Business, Construction and Building, Free News Articles

South Central Iowa Manufacturer Digs Into Storm Safety

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Osceola, Iowa's SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. took steps this week to address the risks surrounding dangerous weather - specifically tornado incidents like those seen in Pella and the Vermeer plant recently. With over two dozen employees housed in a steel-frame building, along with tons of manufacturing equipment, you can imagine what a similar incident would do to SIMCO, manufacturer of drilling rigs for water wells, geothermal drills, geotech soil sampling, and roadway pavement core drills.

"We identify whole-heartedly with the Vermeer team. The Pella tornado disaster opened my eyes to the need to address storm safety here at SIMCO," said Darren Swolley, General Manager for SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. "We want to take every precaution possible to ensure the safety of our employees."

The three cellar-style shelters were dug in and placed, side-by-side, into the SIMCO property outside the main building. Each consists of steel reinforced concrete walls, roof, and floor measuring approximately 10-feet x 7-feet x 7-feet. Each storm shelter will keep up to 18 people safe during a storm emergency. The units, manufactured by Midwest Storm Shelters, LLC near Joplin, Missouri, who has seen its own tornado troubles, were delivered to the SIMCO location in Osceola, Iowa and installed Tuesday. The SIMCO team, with help from Osceola's Andrew Construction Company, had the site prepared and completed the installation the same day.

Steve Jurshak, Chief engineer at SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. said, while preparing the site for installation, "We hope we will never have to use these storm shelters, but feel better knowing we are keeping our employees safe."

About SIMCO Drilling Equipment:

For over 45 years, SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. has manufactured drilling rigs, fabricated custom equipment and provided parts and service for water well drilling, geothermal drilling, and other drilling operations around the globe. As the company continues to grow and service an even wider range of drilling rigs, safety practices like this will ensure the well-being of their team.

For more information about the tornado shelter's installation and SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc., contact Darren Swolley, General Manager at 800-338-9925, or go to http://simcodrill.com/.

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Alliances and Partnerships, Business, Defense and Military, Free News Articles, Government, Hospitals and Nursing

Rural Iowa Veterans Gain Better Medical Access Through New Telemedicine Partnership

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Clarke County Hospital in Osceola, Iowa and the Veterans Administration in Des Moines recently partnered in a telemedicine exchange offering a rural Veteran a much-needed cardiology consultation. While telemedicine services are not unique to Clarke County Hospital nor the V.A. - both of whom have offered the services for almost a decade each - a new collaboration between the two organizations offers potentially life-saving opportunities for rural veterans needing access to V.A. consultations and diagnostics.

Through Clarke County Hospital's outpatient clinic, patients in south-central Iowa and surrounding communities now have access to V.A. telemed services that before were only available through central Iowa, metro V.A. locations. These metro-based consultations often required patients to drive or to be transported for hours each way for important, sometimes life-saving, diagnostics.

With their first co-op telemed visit in June, the V.A., Clarke County Hospital, and the ailing Veteran were able to complete a cardiology session within a fraction of the travel and time previously needed for such a visit.

Brian Evans, Clarke County Hospital's CEO said, "CCH is the first Critical Access Hospital in Iowa to partner with the VA through Telemed Services. We are very excited about this new service opportunity because it allows these patients to be able to stay closer to home for visits."

Clarke County Hospital has committed to offering Cardiology telemed visits at this time and look to add other VA providers in the future.

Telemedicine services through Clarke County Hospital are currently available Monday-Friday in their newly remodeled Outpatient Clinic at 800 S. Fillmore, Osceola, IA 50213.

For more information about the Clarke County Hospital Telemedicine services, contact Ashley Davis, RN BSN, Patient Care Coordinator / Telemedicine at 641-342-5333 or Dennis Blazek, IT Manager at 641-342-5393.

Learn more at: http://www.clarkehosp.org/

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government

Rural South-Central Iowa Sees Over $480,000 in Grant Windfall for Local Organizations

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Rural organizations throughout south-central Iowa, specifically, the city of Osceola and Clarke County Iowa look to their development corporation, the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC), for grants and other assistance to add value and benefits to the communities they serve.

Earlier this spring, with the assistance of funding from Osceola's Lakeside Casino (lakesidehotelcasino.com), a number of organizations realized over $480,000 in grants approved and distributed for various projects and causes by the CCDC board.

Some of the grants awarded include:

* Clarke County received a $25,000 grant for improvements to secondary roads and bridges throughout the county. Residents rely on the rural secondary roads for travel so the County will be purchasing maintenance equipment and will upgrade bridge safety, rebuilding where necessary, adding culverts and laying down and grading new gravel throughout the County.

* The Village Early Childhood Center in Osceola was awarded a CCDC grant of $150,000 to pay off the building's mortgage and other bills as well as $93,500 to help pay for Geothermal Heating / Cooling units at the site. The City of Osceola and Clarke County will also make contributions to The Village to help pay off the mortgage.

* The area's East Lake trail projects will continue to move forward thanks to an incredible $100,000 The CCDC grant disbursement will go toward completion of the paved trail that connects East Lake Park to the elementary school and extending the Safe Routes program. Already this summer, the park has hosted over 200 third graders a group from Murray for fishing, and spent a full day with Clarke fifth graders. Concrete should be laid in the fall, giving students easy access to the park without relying on costly bus transportation.

* The Murray School District was granted $75,000 for district-wide technology upgrades and the integration of smart tablets for all students from elementary through 12th.

* Clarke County Cattlemen's Association was approached by the Clarke County Fair Board over the winter regarding the need to make the fairgrounds handicap accessible. Since the Fair Board is already tied up with other projects, the Cattlemen's Association has been raising funds to lay concrete in the cattle barn. With a $9,000 grant from CCDC and the Association's own fundraising efforts, concrete will cover the whole cattle barn, except for the cattle stalls. The project is projected to be completed in time for the County Fair this summer.

* Clarke County Fairgrounds will be able rewire much of the infrastructure with the help of a $12,000 grant.

* Clarke Community High School's chapter of the FCCLA received $3,500 to help student finalists travel to their National Competition.

* Community Health Centers received $20,492 to help with the purchase of new equipment to be used at the new Mental Health Emergency center.

* Families First, located in Osceola, received their annual contribution of $15,000 that helps with field trips, back packs for students, swim passes and more.

* The City of Osceola was awarded a grant to cover the costs of demolition of dilapidated and dangerous abandoned structures. These houses and other buildings are eyesores and potential hazards for fires and structural collapse. CCDC has awarded a grant of $5,000 to the city's program that removes these buildings and paves the way for new homes and businesses.

"With the assistance we receive from the casino, funding community grants like these helps the CCDC board impact our community's future and improve the community's collective quality of life and, correspondingly, our business viability," said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation.

The Clarke County Development Corporation holds monthly public meetings where opportunities like those listed above as well as the actions the CCDC board will be taking each month are discussed. Organizations interested in participating in the development corporation or would like more information on grants or activities through the CCDC are encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions about the grant process or becoming a member of Clarke County Development Corporation, please contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director, at 641-342-2944, email: info@clarkecountyiowa.com or go to the CCDC Web site: http://osceolaclarkedev.com/.

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