Tag Archives: Iowa

Feeling Blessed and Welcomed this Christmas Season

My family just celebrated our first anniversary as DeWitt residents on Sept 18th.  That was a special day to be finally living in the community where we planted Cornerstone Baptist Church DeWitt three years previously.

It has been a great year.  We are very thankful for the transition our two youngest children have experienced from North Scott to Central DeWitt schools.  Teachers, administration, parents and students went out of their way to welcome our kids and help them to get connected.  That “outreach” has helped our family feel even more accepted and welcome.  We all know that when people bless our kids they are also blessing the parents.   

Going out of our way to welcome new people is really one of the most important things we all can do, whether it be to guests coming to your church for the first time or customers walking into your business or new families moving into the community.  Being good at welcoming others translates into new church members or returning customers or families that will choose to raise their kids and grand-kids here.

My family’s transition wasn’t as difficult as others that move into our community.  Some are coming from out of state.  Some are coming from different socioeconomic situations.  Some are coming from more dangerous environments where it wasn’t safe walking down main street. For some it will take time for them to lower their guard and feel comfortable in this safer environment.  May we continue to excel at welcoming new people into our wonderful community so they can experience all that DeWitt has to offer.  

May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed 2018.

Mark Zevenbergen- Campus Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church Dewitt

It was Meant To Be!

In January of 2014, my husband Kevin and I purchased the established business of Meant To Be in downtown DeWitt.  At that time we added fresh flowers to the store, which was the reason for the name change to Meant To Be With Flowers.  I completed Floral Design Schooling in West Palm Beach from South Florida Center for Floral studies in 2013.  It had always been a passion for me to become a floral designer and I truly enjoy decorating and searching for new, unique ideas!

I grew up in a small town in Northeastern Iowa on a dairy farm, and I have always had a passion to work hard, play hard, be kind and pray!  I feel very fortunate to own a small business in DeWitt and to be a part of this thriving community!  I realize that owning a small business takes lots of hard work, commitment, and a dedication to make every customer that comes in the door feel like they are special.  Our main focus at Meant To Be With Flowers is for people to feel welcome and regardless if they purchase anything or not, that they feel at home! I enjoy hearing our customers call this their “happy place”, or when they say they would like to “bottle our smell up and take home”!  We have a special candle always burning, butter maple syrup is our signature scent.  One of our hometown customer service details is every customer that comes in the door is greeted with a delicious chocolate mint.

DeWitt is becoming a “destination small town” and I am honored to be part of the retail businesses.  I feel we do our best to direct people to other shops in town if they are looking for something that we do not offer.  When customers realize that the retail businesses are working together it makes their shopping experience even more rewarding.  As a businesses owners I really enjoy the DCDC’s Look Local First Campaign we have lots of customers, local and visitors to the community, talking about the program and the Chamber Bucks drawings.  It is exciting to hear customers for miles away talking so highly of DeWitt!

My husband Kevin and I are blessed with four wonderful children, Jenna 25, Krista 23, Colin 20, and Kara 16.  I enjoy golfing, exercising, spending time with family and the long hours of being a small business owner.  I feel my reward for the long hours and commitment to the business is helping people find those unique gift items, decorating for hours for each holiday, which our entire store is now Christmas!  And of course I love to visit with customer and listen to their likes in home décor! Have a Happy Holiday Season and stop by to view our decorated LIVE Window during the upcoming Hometown Christmas Window Walk, on December 2nd!

Lisa Duffy – Owner of Meant to Be With Flowers

Community Gallery is a Labor of Love

The DeWitt Operahouse Theatre was built in 1876 and underwent a renovation/restoration in 1979-1982.  The DeWitt Theater Company bought the building next door and began the second renovation and expansion that included a larger lobby, handicapped accessibility, main floor restrooms along with gallery space for display of artist’s work.  The project had been a labor of love for the DeWitt Theater Company, many of whose members had been involved in the first renovation.  After 3 years of planning, fundraising, and finally construction, the Operahouse Theater was ready to reopen! Interest in building a gallery based on the John Bloom legacy, the Grant Wood byway corridor, and nationally known DeWitt artist, Ellen Wagner, became a reality.  With the generous contributions and the major sponsor, First Central State Bank, the new First Central Art Gallery resulted.

As former art teachers and members of the DeWitt Area Fine Arts Foundation Gallery Committee, we arrange for area artists to exhibit their work in the gallery.  The goal is to enrich the quality of life in our community by encouraging, supporting and promoting the fine arts.  Our mission is to provide and coordinate fine art exhibits for the community.  The committee acquires lists of artists by attending area art events, visiting specific artist’s exhibits or by recommendations of other artists.  We also communicate with Central DeWitt art teachers to schedule displays of student’s work.  Each exhibit has a 2 month slot in our bi-yearly schedule. Photos and information about the artist is also published in The Observer to help promote the works.

We have been fortunate to show a variety of mediums (watercolor, acrylic/oil on canvas, pastels, pencil drawings, graphics, collages, photographs) and genres (nature, abstract, wildlife, portraits, cityscapes, landscapes, whimsical, and calligraphy).  This year we are including the old American art form of quilting, running between July 3rd and August 1st in the gallery.

We are privileged to use time and talent to serve on the Gallery Committee and encourage everyone to enjoy and support this cultural and educational addition to our great community!

Carol Beck and Elaina Lomsdalen – DeWitt Area Fine Arts Foundation Gallery Committee Members

Salute to Volunteers

Each year, thousands of volunteers in Iowa donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. Thirty-three percent (33%) of Iowans volunteer, ranking Iowa tenth among the 50 states (Source Corporation for National Community Service). These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017.

Clinton County and DeWitt volunteers pay it forward by dedicating their time and talents to the next generation – an investment that cycles back into our community while building relationships that nourish future generations.  Look around and you’ll see the impact our volunteers make – through the smiles and successes of our youth.  They are rewarded by sharing their experiences, learning new things, and building partnerships, not to mention the fun and fulfillment that volunteering brings to their life.

One group that relies heavily on volunteer support is the 4-H Youth Development Program. Last year in Clinton County, 112 volunteers serve in many roles including 4-H and Clover Kids club leaders, project leaders, and committee members for the 4-H Youth Development Program. 4-H volunteers serve as caring adults who help young people develop communication, citizenship, and leadership skills through 4-H projects and community service opportunities. Volunteers create safe environments for youth to learn, thrive, and grow.

I am truly impressed by the work of the 4-H Club Leaders, many who have been volunteering for over ten years, some over 40 years!  They meet individually with youth to help them with projects, in addition to providing guidance at monthly club meetings.  It is a requirement that 4-H volunteers who work directly with youth attend annual trainings, to network and learn new skills in positive youth development and risk management.

The 4-H program has helped many youth in Clinton County to achieve goals outside of the classroom, while working with a caring adult.  Volunteers in the 4-H program help youth to become engaged in their community, make new friends, and accomplish their goals, which ultimately can deter at-risk youth from making a bad decision.

With an ever-changing world, the 4-H Youth Development program is adapting and offering more opportunities for youth and volunteers in areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; Communications and the Arts; Citizenship and Leadership; and Healthy Living. The expanding programming reflects new opportunities for youth and volunteers alike.

The Clinton County Club Show at the fair is a showcase of what projects youth have completed throughout the year  and you will see many animals being showcased during the fair.  Animals are just one of over 150 project areas that youth may participate in.  In every 4-H project you see exhibited at the fair, there is most often an adult volunteer that has mentored the youth along the way with the project — paying it forward to the next generation!

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with us and I encourage you to explore more about Clinton County 4-H Program and volunteer opportunities!

Brianne Johnson – Clinton County 4-H Program Manager with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach –Clinton County

Much to Gain When We Lose

With the turn of the calendar, the majority of us have high hopes and goals for the new year. The top of that list is usually a goal to lose weight, get fit, eat healthier, etc.  Unfortunately these goals are usually short lived.  Fortunately, the DeWitt Fitness Center is offering a solution to the usual fading resolution.  Get Fit DeWitt, part of the Live Healthy Iowa initiative, is a team (consisting of two to ten people) motivated competition of weight loss and activity minutes. Get Fit DeWitt will run from January 23rd – March 31st, 2017.

Get Fit DeWitt can be a great motivator, not only does a team atmosphere encourage accountability, but a little healthy competition can go a long way. Each year for this annual event, I captain a team where many different personalities coming together to reach common goals: to gain health, lose weight and support each other.  I would be lying if I said the competition did not fuel me, I am sort of a competition junkie (for this I blame my dad, Dennis). In all seriousness, this type of atmosphere can really be of benefit when there is a goal to get healthy.

Get Fit DeWitt offers it all, an obtainable timetable, supportive team atmosphere, individual accolades and incentives.  We all have much to gain when we lose!  When we lose weight or get more active the natural result is to gain health.  Blood panel numbers get better, our bodies get leaner and stronger, we have more energy and our moods can even be more positive, it truly is a win-win for everyone.

Taking the first step can be scary; I encourage you to take it any way!  Find a buddy and jump on board.  What do you have to “lose”, not as much as you will gain.  I challenge you all to be part of the 2017 Get Fit DeWitt initiative, let’s make this the biggest and best one yet.  Find out more about the program and register here!

Amy Besst, Certified Personal Trainer

Our Community, Our Home

I love to volunteer for activities that allow me to interact with kids in my community.  Whether it is at my church, or our community library, it’s rewarding to provide an activity that teach or entertain our community’s youth.  Volunteering at DeWitt’s Autumn Fest is a great opportunity to see the children I may already know from other community events and to meet the rest of their families.  But more importantly, it is an opportunity to build bridges with the next generation.  Someday, they will be the leaders of our community, and if I can help nurture them in some way, I feel that it is time well spent.

DeWitt is a lovely community and a great place to live and to raise children.  I want the children to be exposed to the many great aspects of the community and maybe raise their family here. Hopefully, some of them will become the leaders that help our community stay strong, safe and thriving.

It is important as adults, as parents, as churches, as business owners and as community leaders; to do everything we can to help our children have positive things to do with their time and energy.  Autumn Fest is an event that provides an opportunity to be involved in kid’s lives and to help our community stay strong.  Events like Autumn Fest connect people with their hometown and help them build relationships with one another.  “Home” is a very special place, we should do everything we can to continue to make DeWitt “home” for our kids and their families.

Cindy Nees, Director of Children’s Ministries, DeWitt Evangelical Free Church

Get Lost in DeWitt…

P1120961webA clear, brisk night and Lincoln Park is donned with pumpkins, hay bales, and all things autumn.  You can grab a sweet or savory crepe, barbeque pork chop, or pulled pork sandwich while listening to the band Soul Storm playing in the band shell.  My daughter and all her friends dash for the bounce houses, games, pedal tractor pull, or the “green park” where they run into their school friends and convene their playtime and socializing.  The first weekend in October was Autumn Fest in DeWitt and because autumn is the “most wonderful time of the year” for me, I was glad it had been rescheduled from the cold and rainy date weeks earlier.  The yearly event is just one of the many ways to “get lost” in the happiness of the community and the laughter with friends and family.

October in DeWitt is also a perfect time to get out and enjoy the colors.  If you’re an outdoor person, I know you can appreciate DeWitt as much as I do.  From Springbrook Country Club to Westbrook and Lincoln Park, to all the little streets in between…the trees are just beginning their transformations !

In wanting to find the perfect tree for this post I pulled into Westbrook early one morning planning to jump out and take a quick photo of a tree near the beginning of the Paul Skeffington Trail.  It was beautiful…but wait, what’s that around the corner?  And over the bridge, and down the trail…I found myself walking the entire length of Westbrook taking pictures around every turn.  It was dewy and foggy but the sun was just beginning to shine through in hidden spots.  I hadn’t grabbed my phone or car keys, all I had were my walking shoes and camera and it was glorious.  Of course I met familiar facesP1120907web along the way, as this is DeWitt, and most greeted me with a friendly “Whatcha up to?” in seeing the camera on my shoulder, and then in turn, discussing what a gorgeous morning it was.  And that, my friends, is what I love about DeWitt.  By the time I got back to my car I had missed two calls from work and had forgotten about a repairman that was on his way to the house to fix our garage door.  But I was happy I had gotten “lost in DeWitt” for just an hour.  I hope you’ll notice the autumn beauty on your way to work, school or maybe on your morning run or evening walk.  Here was my favorite photo from my Westbrook morning!

Lisa LeConte, DeWitt Resident and Mother

 

10 Reasons Why Manufacturing Rocks in DeWitt!

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  1. Easy to “see” products. Items in your home contain products made right here in DeWitt. Your house foundation of crushed limestone, sand and gravel is produced by Wendling Quarries. Blow-molded pieces of your dishwasher are manufactured at Custom-Pak. Windows in your kitchen have Guardian Industries’ glass. Your 8-person luxury spa is manufactured and designed by QCA Spas.
  2. World-wide Impact. ITW-Fluids North America sends $30,000,000 of product out each year, frequenting Mexico, China and Japan. QCA Spas ship hot tub spas to Europe, Panama and Thailand. Expander Americas routinely ships to companies in Chile, Columbia and South Africa. Ennis Business Forms consistently ships orders to Panama. ITW-Magnaflux ship all over the world (except to banned countries).
  3. Giants of Vitality. Think jobs and a healthy local economy. Nearly 1,000 people work at a manufacturing plant in DeWitt. These employees buy goods and services, rent or buy homes, and enjoy recreational amenities right here in town. That puts hard-working dollars back into the community. The industrial and commercial property taxes that come from these companies help to fund city services such as police and fire departments, library, community center, trail systems – as well as infrastructure and street projects.
  4. Local loyalty. One of the top reasons manufacturers come to DeWitt is the loyalty of the local labor workforce. At Ennis Business Forms, the longest-standing manufacturer in DeWitt for nearly 50 years, employees have an average tenure of 27 years. Even after retirement, employees return as needed to fill in during demanding times.
  5. The Glass is half-full. Guardian Industries, DeWitt’s largest company, employees over 350 employees. The DeWitt plant produces enough float glass to make a 10 foot wide ribbon from DeWitt to Grand Mound and back, each day. That glass can be seen in the Nebraska Corn Huskers Memorial Stadium, Green Bay Packer’s Lambeau Field, and the MGM Grand in Vegas, just to name a few.
  6. Eco-friendly. Irwin, Inc. started with a guy who saw waste and found a niche in remanufacturing used wood pallets. Old pallets are repaired with new wood and nails. The old nails are melted down and recycled and the worn out wood panels are repurposed for mulch or for use in the wood burner stove heating the shop. Irwin, Inc. prides themselves on minimizing waste and cutting energy costs. To understand the scope of their salvaging efforts, on average, one person repairs 3,200 broken pallets/week. (One worker broke the company record in 2015, repairing 908 pallets in one day.)
  7. Diversity in products. At ITW-Fluids North America, from their 5 product brands, they can make over 1,000 different products. QCA Spas makes 30 different versions from their 6 spa series. At Ennis Business Forms, they make thousands of different products from their 5 different printing processes. Expander Americas can make over 60,000 designs from their one patented pivot pin. Black Cat Blades manufactures 21,000 part numbers associated with one line of road maintenance vehicles. The scope and variety of products manufactured in DeWitt are relatively limitless.
  8. Innovation. At Custom-Pak, they not only make unique blow-molded products, they are the leader in advanced blow-molding technology, which means they program and custom-build their own equipment. They also make the packaging for shipping. And being conscience of waste, any unused material gets recycled to manufacture additional products at another facility.
  9. Measures of growth. One reason Expander Americas relocated to DeWitt in 2014, was to have more access to raw material, which increased their capability by 50% and urged them to purchase additional equipment and hire more job positions. 6 months ago, QCA Spas moved their Thera Suana production to the DeWitt facility, permitting more room to expand. In September of this year, Irwin, Inc. acquired a custom pallet company which uses new wood, built to custom design. Less than a year ago, Black Cat Blades added blade production to their facility, manufacturing 21,000 different parts associated with just one line dedicated to road maintenance vehicles.
  10. Something for everyone. Operators, engineers, programmers, assemblers, technicians, mechanics, drafters, machinists, welders, managers, planners, accountants and secretaries encompass a fraction of the variety of jobs found at manufacturing companies in DeWitt.

 

DeWitt Delivers!

Kids
With its hometown values and progressive vision, DeWitt welcomes everyone, whether they are new to the community or well-known and deep-rooted in its history. Enterprising traditions and a unique heritage were just the start of this bustling town established almost 180 years ago.

Since then, DeWitt has welcomed thousands of families who have taken pride in the community and contributed to its vigorous growth. DeWitt is home to many who work in the metropolitan area, yet offers so much more that it could never be called a mere bedroom community. DeWitt is vibrant and thriving and home to more than 5,300 people who choose to live, work and play here. Community festivals, expansive recreational activities, prosperous industries, and a wide variety of local shops and restaurants provide opportunities for all ages.

DeWitt ranks 14th out of the best Iowa communities to live in, according to the 2015
Niche Rankings. At the DeWitt Chamber & Development Company (DCDC), we tend to agree. We want to spread the good news about DeWitt to those who already live here and to those who may choose to make it their home. Now is the time to celebrate all that DeWitt Delivers:

As you discover DeWitt, be encouraged to get involved, meet new people, and celebrate all that DeWitt offers. Take pride in what DeWitt Delivers!