Club Information
Welcome to our club!

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM
West Side Family Restaurant
229 West Sixth Avenue
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States of America
RE/MAX Partners
The Grinnell Rotary Club held its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Following the opening of the meeting and the sharing of members’ good news, Club President Keir Johnson reported on the Grinnell Rotary Club Board meeting which preceded the regular meeting.  He shared that the board reviewed and approved the club’s budget and discussed the club’s strategic plan.  He also indicated the club will start preparing at the next meeting for its annual chicken BBQ dinner which will be held on June 9th.
Matt Karjalahti, broker and owner of RE/MAX Partners, was introduced as the guest speaker.  He shared information about real estate trends, his recent trip to Las Vegas for a RE/MAX agents convention, and how he came to Grinnell and started out in real estate.
Matt stated that currently there is very limited inventory, with houses often selling before they hit the market.  Prices do seem to be plateauing, though, but the prices are high enough to price-out many buyers from homes they might have been able to purchase a few years ago.  The higher the values climb, the more the market will stagnate.  He stated that interest rates are not expected to impact the real estate market in any significant way for the near future.  Regarding new construction, much is stalled due to rising costs of supplies.
At the convention in Las Vegas, 17,000 RE/MAX agents attended several classes focused on changes to the real estate profession, such as shifts in technology with more cloud-based data storage, virtual tours of properties, and the use of DocuSign for agreements.  He commented that currently buyers don’t always need to physically see an agent to buy a home.  Virtual tours have become more sophisticated, using 3-D technology to provide a more immersive experience and allow the view to zoom in to see details.  Matt was pleased to share that Grinnell RE/MAX was already well-prepared with up-to-date technology when COVID began to impact the process.
Matt has been in Grinnell since 2004, moving to Iowa from Minneapolis.  He worked for a time in Altoona at Ziegler Caterpillar before his wife talked him into getting his real estate license in 2010.  He opened RE/MAX in Grinnell in 2013.  In 2019, he opened an office in Marshalltown, and currently has two resident agents who work in Des Moines.  He proudly announced the opening of a new RE/MAX Partners office in Brooklyn in early April of 2022.
The Rotary Club thanks Matt Karjalahti for sharing information about the current real estate market in Grinnell and central 
GRINNELL, IA (March 23) - Chad Nath, president and CEO of the Ahrens Park Foundation, took fellow Rotarians on a tour of the Ahrens Park and the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center during the Club’s meeting held Tues., Mar. 22.  
Nath said that the Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park is named after Claude and Dolly’s son, the late Paul W. Ahrens, who passed away in 1989 at the age of 50, and a friend of Paul’s, Jim Paschall, who also passed away at a fairly young age.  After 50 acres of land was acquired in 1993, the first building to be built at the site was the Ahrens Family Center that houses the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center.
In time Claude’s vision of a recreational park was realized. Today, Ahrens/Paschall Memorial Park has eight youth sports fields, soccer fields, outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, a golf driving range, playground areas, a walking path, Giving Gardens, green spaces, and picnic shelters.
The idea started the sports complex trend in Iowa, according to Nath.
            Today the facilities are 28 years old. Thus, the Ahrens Park Foundation has been focused on updating the facilities. “All of these cost money,” says Nath. For example, he said that “replacing the lights on the sports fields will cost more than what individuals would think.”
            He cited that Ahrens Park Foundation, which funds the Ahrens Park, is self-funded by interest on its endowment, grants, and fees paid for rental and services.
            Nath is heavily involved in grant-writing.  For example, he cited that he had just submitted a grant to improve the park’s edible landscape, Giving Gardens, and native plantings by providing appropriate access surfaces.
            The Grinnell Community Early Learning Center rents space from Ahrens Park Foundation.  The Center currently enrolls 117 children between the ages of six weeks and 10 years.
The Grinnell Rotary Club is a donor to the Center, having given numerous cribs eight years ago. Most recently, a Rotary community service grant replenished much needed supplies that included eight cot carriers, 72 cot sheets, 100 name clips, and four tricycles. In addition to the Grinnell Rotary Club, the grant was also funded by Rotary District 6000 and The Rotary Foundation.
The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at West Side Family Restaurant.
Photo 1 – Chad Nath (left) gives Rotarians an overview of the Ahrens Park.
Photo 2 – Rotarians Gary Larsson (left) and Doug Cameron (right) look over cribs and cot carriers that have been donated by the Rotary Club.
Photo 3 – Rotarian Bruce Blankenfeld inspects one of the four tricycles recently donated by the Grinnell Rotary Club to the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center.
(MEDICAP Pharmacy Medication Packaging Program)
Jennifer Stallman, co-owner of the Grinnell MEDICAP Pharmacy spoke at the Rotary Club of Grinnell regular meeting held Tuesday March , 2022, regarding the launching of their Medication Packaging Program. 
This program is designed to help you or a loved one take the right medications at the right time.  Whether you take medications once a day or four times a day, a separate package is prepared for each medication time schedule.   Each package will contain the following information: Patients name, date, medications name and dosages contained in the package, along with time of day to administer the medication, e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime.  Non-prescription medications, such as, vitamins, herbs, minerals can  be included in the Medication Package for your convenience . 
When you sign up for the program, a licensed board certified Pharmacist will evaluate all of your prescription and non-prescription medications, consult regularly with your physicians for medication changes and refills, as well as bill your insurance as required.
By signing up, your first month of medication packaging will be at a no cost, with a minimum packaging cost of $10 a month thereafter. All that is required for receiving this low packaging fee is that refills are requests 5 days prior to running out.  This is especially critical for those individuals who receive medication through Medicare Part D supplement.
Other customer service amenities in which MEDICAP Pharmacy offers are as follows, but not limited to; free prescription mailing; free in town delivery; searching other wholesale vendors to ensure individuals are obtaining their medication at a reasonable price; obtaining products that are not currently available locally.   Additional healthcare items can be found throughout the store.
Jennifer concluded with encouraging club members, friends or family to stop by and talk with her or staff.  She also can be reached at 641-236-3663 or
Author: Karla Sandell
GRINNELL, Iowa (Feb. 23) – Now is a good time to review your insurance coverage's, said Brent Nickel, owner of a State Farm Insurance agency in Grinnell who spoke at the Rotary Club regular meeting held Tues., Feb. 22. 
“Be sure you are happy with your insurance, that it covers what you want it to cover,” he advised. “Always look at the details to make sure there are no surprises.”
He warned that insurance premiums will increase in 2022 due mainly to inflation.  According to Nickel, many insurance companies gave back some money to customers and/or reduced auto premiums in 2020 because many people were not driving as Covid-19 spread across the US.  However, with more people hitting the road in 2021, premiums will need to readjust to properly match exposure.
With regards to home insurance, Nickel advised that homeowners should make sure that their insurance covers the home the way they intend and understand the policy limits and how these limits may affect any potential claims payments.  “Always look at the replacement cost of a home,” he said. “A home that that might have cost $100,000 to rebuild a 2-3 years ago may very well exceed that amount substantially today.” He added most insurance companies and/or your agent should be able to assist in determining an estimated cost to rebuild your home.
Another advice to homeowners is to ask if the insurance on their home is adjusting to inflation.
Finally, he advised that everyone should consider a personal liability umbrella policy.  Generally, these policies are offered beginning at $1,000,000 liability coverage and can be tailored for your specific needs.  This includes even younger adults who may not have much by way of current assets but do have the potential for substantial future earnings that could be subject to garnishment in some states and circumstances. One never knows what might happen for which a person could be found liable, he added.
Nickel is a member of the Grinnell Rotary Club and served as president in 2020-21.
 The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at West Side Dining on 6th Ave., Grinnell.
On Tuesday, February 15th, 2022, the Grinnell Rotary Club gathered for their annual Valentine’s Party.  Members were encouraged to bring their significant other, family member, or friend to join them. Being this was a special event, there was no regular business to be discussed.
A wonderful meal was enjoyed by all, prepared by the staff of the West Side Family Restaurant. Following introduction of all guests, Shults & Company presented a series of vocal numbers with a Valentine’s theme.
Keir Johnson, Club President, thanked everyone for attending.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is on February 22nd, 2022 at 6pm.
Submitted by Gregg Hawkins
Read 2 Lead
Rotary Club of Grinnell seeks Rotary International District 6000's grant funding to partner with the Grinnell Community "Read 2 Lead" Program was the main topic during the Tuesday February 9th meeting.   It is the desire of Rotary Club of Grinnell to match grant funds that are received.
What is the "Read 2 Lead Program"?  Megan Farrell, Executive Director and Jill Harris, Board member of the program provided Rotarians with a brief overview. 
The Read 2 Lead Program  is a not-for-profit located in Poweshiek County, which is focused on getting developmentally appropriate, and high interest books in the hands of children ages 0-5. In June 2019, several separate literacy projects within the community came together to form this organizational body, which received it's official 501.(c)3 status.  Since inception, 100% of every dollar received has gone directly to supporting Read 2 Lead Projects.  There are 5 active projects that are currently sustainable for calendar year 2022: Books for MICA, Literacy Care Project, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Raising a Reader, and Kindergarten Kick-off.  All Read 2 Lead projects center around the growing body of evidence-based research that the building blocks of literacy begin at an early age with access to a child's "home" library.   Reading aloud to children has been called the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading.
At the end of 2021, Kindergarten Kick-off  Reading Bags  were gifted to 110, pre-school children.  Literacy Care Reading Bags were gifted to all children starting pre-school and/or a current attendees throughout the Grinnell-Newberg School District.  In addition, a third Literacy Bag was provided to MICA for the purpose of distribution to families, who have been identified as being "at risk".  Seventy-five literacy care packages were provided during fiscal year 2022.  Quilts are provided within these literacy packages, which are made by Grinnell Newburg School District students in a class taught by Amy Skouson.  The various quilt themes are matched with  age-appropriate books with child interests in mind. 
When asked, "What are the current needs of the Read 2 Lead Program?"  The top four priorities were: 1) financial; 2)volunteers; 3)brick and mortar supply storage; 4) Webb site development/sustainment.   If you are interested in learning more about how you or your business can support the mission of the Read 2 Lead, sponsor a child(ren) or in having a representative of Read 2 Lead speak to your organization, please contact or face book
District 6000 is sponsoring a pre-K literacy summit on February 19th.  Rotary Club of Grinnell will be sending two members for participation.
Author: Karla Sandell
TT Cranny Renovation Campaign
The Grinnell Rotary Club held its regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Following the opening of the meeting, guests were introduced, including the guest speaker, Mark Kolpin, present an overview of the  TT Cranny Renovation Campaign.
The TT Cranny Renovation Campaign is seeking community support to put field turf on the football field at the Grinnell High School.  The entire project, which also includes a new ticket area, donor appreciation area, and enhancements to the scoreboard, press box and concessions, is expected to cost between $1.8 million to $2.2 million.  The project is being partially funded by the school district and partially funded by private donations from the community.  The community fundraising goal is $1.2 million, and they have successfully raised more than $650,000 to date.  All donations are directed through the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation and are tax deductible. 
In addition to the benefits to the football team, the new turf will also benefit the marching band, soccer team, track and field team, and the physical education department. The turf is expected to have a life expectancy of 7 to 12 years, and the school has plans to cover the replacement costs.  The turf will require significantly less maintenance and will be better for concussion protocols for our athletes.
 Additionally, it is expected that this renovation will open up Grinnell Parks and Recreation programs at the high school, plus provide opportunities for partnership with Grinnell College.
This project has been approved by the school board, with contractor sealed-bids due NLT the close of business Thursday, February 3.  If all goes well, project completion to be accomplished the fall of 2022. 
The Rotary Club thanks Mark Kolpin for sharing information about the TT Cranny Renovation Campaign.
Donna Fisher, Author
Established in 2008, Criswell Propane is a customer service focused small business, says owner Charlie Criswell to the Grinnell Rotary Club on Tues., Jan 11.   
Building a relationship with your customer is important to Criswell Propane.  Charlie communicates with all his customers on a first name basis and is available to meet their needs  24/7 via his personal cell phone.  He utilizes a computerized algorithm that statically calculates if a customer is going to be out of propane at a given point in time.  It has proven to be effective tool in predicting fuel consumptions. 
Criswell Propane specializes in Residential, Agricultural and Commercial Propane Services.  Services cover home heating, forklift cylinder exchanges, crop drying, small grill cylinder exchanges,  along with leases and filling of 250, 500, and 1,000 gallon propane tanks.  Himself and one other employee are fully trained and certified in all government and state regulatory requirements for handling and delivery of propane gases, in addition to ensuring all tanks/regulators are appropriately inspected for leaks/damages.  Taking note also of the dates stamped on the cylinders, addressing those which have expirations beyond regulatory requirements.
When asked, "What are some of the issues that the business faces in today's market?", Charlie replied by saying, much like many other business's, not enough trained employees, and supply shortages, specifically propane gas in my business.   Criswell Propane on an average gets several truck loads of propane a week in order to keep his 30 thousand gallon propane storage tank full.  You need trained truck drivers in order to meet the propane gas transportation needs.   As cold weather moves into our southern states demand increases which results in decrease of availability for Iowa propane requirements thus driving up prices.   During the Texas freeze that occurred last year had a direct affect on Iowa Propane Gas availability is just one example.
 Criswell Propane offers fixed contract pricing at the beginning of the summer for the next calendar year, which variables in weather throughout the country can have a drastic affect on Criswell Propane available gas.  Increase gas prices does not always mean increase profit margins.  You need trained truck drivers in order to meet the propane gas transportation needs also.   There has been a shortage of qualified employees in throughout the logistic communities.
Charlie was able to field numerous questions that Rotarians presented.   He proved to be extremely knowledgeable of the Propane Market and sincerely has passion for his business.   Charlie is available to field questions or concerns that you might have related to the Propane Industry.  He can be reached by calling work number 641-236-3363 or  He encourages you to drop by and meet him in person at Criswell Propane 322 Ewart Rd. Grinnell, Iowa 50112.  Suggests to call first, he might be out delivering propane and does not want to miss meeting you.   
Editor: Karla Sandell
(The Power of Giving)
            GRINNELL, IA (Sept. 28) – By happenstance the theme of the Grinnell Rotary Club’s meeting on Tues., Sept. 28, centered on the power of giving.
            Keir Johnson, president, thanked members for a successful Kites Over Grinnell held last Sat., Sept. 25. Run by all volunteers, the entire event, including venue, kites, supplies, lunch, games, and music, was free. The professional kite fliers donated their time to entertain the crowd with their spectacular kites. The prizes for the hourly drawing and the games were donated by businesses.  Thus, volunteers pooled their time and effort to give families, especially young children, a perfect September day to fly a kite.
            The Club presented Valerie Steinbach, the director of the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center with a check for $2250, representing a Community Service Grant, a matching grant of both the Grinnell Rotary Club and Rotary’s District 6000. The gift will purchase much needed supplies for the day care center, including cot carriers, cot clips, cot sheets, and tricycles.  
            Finally, the guest speakers were Julie Gosselink, president of the Claude W. & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, and Nicole Brua-Behrens, executive director of the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF). The duo traced the growth of their foundations’ partnership that began in 2006 and has led to a dynamic synergy.
Sharing office space and a staff of ten has saved on administrative cost and has given both entities flexibility and ability to respond to community needs in a timely manner.
            A case in point is the Grinnell Food Coalition created to respond to food insecurity brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its inception the fund has raised $350,000 that continues to be distributed through food vouchers for those in need.
            Since 2006, the assets of GPCF have grown from $500,000 to $11 million – a growth that signifies the increase in the number of donor funds now managed by GPCF and that support numerous community projects and causes.
            When asked what pressing need must still be funded in Poweshiek County, both Gosselink and Brua-Behrens said, “mental health services.”
The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at West Side Dining on 6th Ave., Grinnell.
Kites, Prizes, food at Sept. 25 Rotary kite festival
The Grinnell Rotary Club will honor the memory of Rev. Dr. Duane Arthur "Dewey" Meyer at the fourth annual "Kites Over Grinnell" festival to be held on Sept. 25, from 10a.m to 4p.m. in Ahrens Park on Penrose.  Kites of all sizes, shapes and colors will fill the skies, with a free picnic lunch sponsored by the Rotary Club, consisting of hotdogs, chips and water to be served while they last.
A highlight of the event will be the colorful kites that 28 professional kite flyers will bring to Grinnell and fly all day.  These professional kite flyers, all members of the American Kite Fliers Association (AKA), are coming in from states throughout the Midwest. 
Kites Over Grinnell is a community-wide event that encourages young people to fly kites.  To this end a total of 850 kite kits have been distributed to middle school and all three elementary schools. Students will decorate their kites over the next two weeks during their art classes.  Keir Johnson, Rotary President is extremely grateful to art teachers, Farren Johnson and Josh Wardenburg for leading this effort. Various Rotarians are set up to assist students with kit assembly.  Kier encourages kids to bring their decorated kites to Ahrens Park to fly during the kite festival.   In addition, the public is invited to bring their own kites and participate in the fun.
During the festival a limited number of kite kits will be available for those wanting to participate in the flying activity.  A kite clinic (hospital) operated by Rotarians and Grinnell College Swim Team will assist in the assemble of new kites, along with minor repair of existing kites when necessary.
Dave Crawford will provide music throughout the event with Jolene Jorgenson singing  the "Stars Spangle Banner" during the American Flag raising ceremony.  Various games will be going on simultaneously with the Kite Flying event.   Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets.
Rotary President Johnson will be handing out prizes for the following 8 judged kite contest categories: Biggest Smile, Smallest Kit, Rotary Presidents Choice, Best Colored; Funniest, Highest Flying, Most Unusual, Best Homemade. 
Whether you come to the September 25th, "Kites Over Grinnell" festival to watch kids, friends, and professionals fly their kites throughout the skies or just want to enjoy the outdoors, Rotary Club of Grinnell wants all to have fun.
For more information about Kites Over Grinnell, call Bruce Blankenfeld (641)236-5939.
Dewey was born in 1930 in Ackley, Iowa.  He  graduated from  Elmhurst College and then on to Eden to finish seminary. Some years later, he received his Doctorate of Divinity at Eden Seminary. 
Dewey was a long-time Rotarian, first in California where he joined Rotary in 1989,and immediately developed a passion to serve in whatever capacity benefited the greater good. He became a faithful giver to the Rotary International Paul Harris Foundation.   He was often heard telling individuals, along with various groups "Rotary does as much for Good in the World as the Church Missions do", said his wife Jo. 
On his 65th birthday, Dewey retired from the ministry and became an employee of his wife Jo who had started a software company and immediately made him Business Manager.  Dewey believed in women's rights within the professional world thus continually sought ways to build them up.  The beauty in Dewey was while he had his opinions – he valued and respected other people's opinions. His love was strong, his faith was even stronger.  He  recognized the  differences in Rotary Clubs, along with people in general, thus you never ever heard him criticize one or the other.  His love for people was genuine.  
Dewey with his wife Jo moved back to Grinnell in 2006 at which time he became a member of the Grinnell Rotary, and held several positions which included Presidency.   He loved people, parties and conversations. Dewey will always be known by his fellow Rotarians, friends and family for his gregarious nature, variety of opinions, sparkly eyes, powerful voice and heartfelt laugh.   Dewey passed away in October 2015 serving over 26 years in Rotary and prided himself of never missing a meeting.  
Rotarian Scholarships
Rotary Club of Grinnell invests in our future leaders by funding $500 scholarships to Six Grinnell High School Seniors to put towards their undergraduate study.   At the beginning of school year 2020-21, Dr. Stutz, Rotarian Scholarship Chair, met with 12 students who expressed an interest in learning more about Rotary.  Throughout the year they have attended a minimum of three club meetings and have had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with various Rotarians. Each one of our members has a unique perspective shaped by their experiences, skills, interests, and culture. This is what personalizes their Rotary experience and with time crafts their personnel Rotary story in which they were able to share.
Dr. Stutz serving as their Rotarian Mentor, has met with them on a regular basis.   During this time, the students were introduced to Rotary’s core values which are: Service Above Self; Developing leadership skills and using those skills to do good in the world; Fellowship brings together people who are inspired by their desire to give back and make a difference. In doing so, they form lasting friendships.  
During the next three weeks, the remaining nine seniors will present their Rotary Club Story.  Specifically, what have they learned about the Rotary Club of Grinnell, what service means to them, what are their plans in the future?    
Karla Sandell Author
GRINNELL, IA (March 24) – Marilyn Kennett, director of the Drake Community Library, said that the library will resume browsing by appointment on April 5th.  If all goes well, she hopes that the library will fully open on May 1st, observing summer hours.
Kennett spoke at the weekly Grinnell Rotary Club meeting on Tues., March 23.
Among the library’s new programs will be Book Connection that will pair at least two people who want to discuss a book but do not want to participate in a book discussion.  
Bookin’ It, a book discussion group that met virtually during the pandemic, will continue to meet the 2nd Thurs. every other month.
She anticipates that the library will continue to host the Bucket Course. Kennett says the staff will have to come up with a new adult program to replace the Seed program likely not to be resumed by Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
A new online service that she highly recommends is Weiss Financial, a financial literacy tool.  The pandemic has been challenging for Kennett and her staff but it taught them flexibility.  “It has been interesting. It freed us up to think of new ways to reach out to new people,” she said. While normal circulation decreased by 60 percent during the pandemic, electronic downloading was up 40 percent. Likewise, the usage of the genealogy service Ancestry Library Edition increased.
Read2, a virtual summer reading program for young people, was highly successful.  Other services they offered were the use of the computers by appt., extending wireless capability just outside of the library, and making available five hotspots that people could borrow overnight.
The library auctioned off donated quilts that raised $2000 for the Powesheik Housing Authority. Another service was to help Central Iowa Community Services count how many homeless there are in the county.  She said that a tabulation came up with about 20-25 people.
Finally, during the pandemic the library served as venue for distribution of Farm-to-Table produce, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, and Powesheik County Extension Babysitter program.
Effie Hall, Editor
Mayor Dan Agnew Presents Program to Grinnell Rotarians
     Grinnell Rotary met for their weekly meeting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.  The guest speaker for the evening was Grinnell Mayor Dan Agnew.  Agnew, formerly President of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance, now serves the city of Grinnell as its mayor.  He stated that prior to work beginning on city projects, the funding for the work needs to be determined.  There will be a lot of changes in different streets, but Reed Street between 5th and 6th will need repairs in the near future.  An upgrade is planned for the city water plant.  On 11th Avenue, Hubbell Construction will tear down the old General Telephone Company building, and then convert a portion of the property to new apartment buildings.  Grinnell has a new police chief, Mike McClelland.  He became chief at the beginning of 2021.  They are in the process of hiring three new police officers, who will bring diversity to the Grinnell police force.  The topic that closed out Agnew’s presentation was a discussion about the repair of city sidewalks.  Members noted that city officials address a variety of issues, as well as a large number of issues.  Thank you, Mayor Agnew for your informative program.
Dennis Conway
On Tuesday March 2, 2021 the Grinnell Rotary Club gathered via zoom for their weekly meeting.   The Rotary Club's guest speaker was Dr. Christopher Peters, Iowa State Volunteer Coordinator for Braver Angles.   This organization was started shortly after the presidential election in 2016.  Their goal is to bring people together from both the red/blue political parties with the goal of depolarizing of our country.   
Dr. Peters shared that this organization works to depolarize groups through workshops that create opportunities for dialogue that will aide in the healing of the political divide.  He shared the history of political polarization in our country since 1879.  This organization works with community groups to re-build public trust in government.  Dr. Peters explained that the organization is a grassroots effort to afford opportunities from both sides of politics to get to know each other and try to understand each other points of view even if there is no agreement.   “It is a lesson in civility and they hope to assist in the healing of our country”.  Activities for group participation include workshops, book reviews, and discussions in local community settings.   The gathering is purposeful.  A trained mediator facilitates the workshops and events that may entail difficult conversations about various views with the hope of bridging the political divide through discussions, active listening and understanding.  For more information on how you can participate in an event or learn more you can go to  
Janet M. Stutz



GRINNELL, IA (Feb. 24, 2021) – The positivity rate for COVID-19 in Poweshiek County has been one percent over the last two weeks, one of the lowest in Iowa, according to Shauna Calloway, director of the county’s public health department, who spoke to Rotarians during their weekly meeting on Tues., Feb.23.

The county has had 1,459 positive cases since the start of the pandemic and 29 deaths.

Vaccination in the county started Christmas week and has continued weekly propelled by the number of doses it gets, currently at about 400 doses a week.  Calloway expects this allotment to increase in the next few weeks.

She likewise anticipates that some people will be vaccinated at Hy-Vee and in March, by their healthcare providers.

Since Feb. 1st, the county has been vaccinating tier 1B composed of 65 and older and those in critical frontline roles such as police officers, firefighters, child social workers, PK-12 and early childhood educators, and childcare workers.  

After one dose, people who are vaccinated have 75 percent immunity after two weeks.  This rate climbs to 95 percent two weeks after the second dose.  This immunity lasts for at least three months and may, in time, extend to six months as the country gains more medical data.

If a person who has been vaccinated contracts COVID-19, the person is likely to experience only mild symptoms.

A disappointing statistic is that about 50 to 60 percent of people who qualify for the vaccine decline to be vaccinated.

On the other hand, the good news is that there has been hardly any flu this season.

She advises people to continue “to mask up, keep social distance, and wash hands often.”

Calloway said that dealing with coronavirus has been challenging but she and her staff have learned a great deal from this experience.  “We’ve learned to be flexible, to be open, to accept both praise and criticism because everyone wants to help.”  

Grinnell Rotary Club meets via Zoom every Tuesday at 6 p.m.


Health and Wellness
On Tuesday February 9, 2021 the Grinnell Rotary Club’s guest speaker was Holly Pettlon who is a Health Wellness Specialist Supervisor at the Paul W Ahrens (PWA) Fitness Center.   Pettlon holds a bachelors degree in Health Wellness from Luther College, along with having a vast knowledge, skills and abilities in providing individual and group fitness training sessions.  Pettlon provided Rotarians an overview on the critical need for individuals to keep moving and changes that have been made in order to keep the Fitness Center safe and operational during COVID. 
The mandate of mask wearing was difficult at first for both staff and trainees but everyone soon adapted.  Workout equipment has a spacing distance of 6-12 ft.  Hospital Grade Wipes are available throughout the Center for wiping equipment down prior and after each use.  Deep cleaning of all areas is accomplished daily.   The Fitness Center hours were modified in order to meet cleaning protocols.  Open Hours are 5a.m -10p.m. Monday – Friday with weekend hours 6a.m-2p.m.
Wellness/Fitness Training is being provided in person or virtually through the use of a computer.  You now are able to work out while at home and still have your personal trainer coaching you.   Group training sessions are also available via computer. 
February is recognized as “Heart Health Month”.  In order to maintain a Healthy Heart it is recommended to do moderate exercise 150 minutes a day.  This can be attained by walking 30 minutes 5 times, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.   For additional information call 641-236-2999 or email,
Karla K.  Sandell
On Tuesday February 2, 2021 the Grinnell Rotary Club gathered via zoom for their weekly meeting.   The Rotary Club's guest speaker was Amy Blanchard who is the director of JUMP ECI program.  This program focuses on early childhood education programming in Jasper, Marion and Poweshiek Counties.   This organization was formed in 1998 to support children in pre-school and their parents to ensure that cost is not a barrier for attending pre-school.   The Early Childhood Initiative was born from a state-legislated initiative that seeks to achieve “healthy children that are ready to succeed in school and live in a safe and supportive communities, in secure and nurturing families, and equal access to nurturing early learning environments”.
Amy explained that “JUMP supported 64 children preschool scholarships during the FY 20 year.   They offer guidance and help for parents via a 146 home visits, assisted 777 children with dental screenings and referrals, and ensured that 30 childcare professionals received WAGE supplements in order to sustain child care services in these three counties.  They also support 22 children attending Grinnell Community Early Learning Center.  One feature that was highlighted was that the JUMP organization serves any new parent with support of a newborn.  Last year they assisted parents of 18 newborns to offer support during post-partum and nursing.   The JUMP board consists of a 9-member board from Jasper Marion and Poweshiek Counties.   We are fortunate that Amy, who shared many wonderful experiences from this energetic board, is here to serve our youngest learnings. 
GRINNELL, IA (Jan. 27, 2021) – Common Good Iowa is a newly-formed nonpartisan, non-profit organization that informs policymaking to turn Iowa values into concrete solutions that advance opportunity for all Iowans.
That was the message of Anne Discher, executive director, who spoke via Zoom to the Grinnell Rotary Club on Tues., Jan. 26.
Formed in December by merging Child and Family Policy Center of Des Moines and Iowa Policy Project of Iowa City, Common Good Iowa has 50 years of combined experience in research on policy issue, data collection and analysis about “the well-being of Iowans,” and lobbying, according to Discher.
Discher mentioned that Janet Carl of Grinnell is the vice-chair of their board of directors.
Four areas of focus for Common Good Iowa are the well-being of children and families, childcare, K-12, and public pre-school.
Among the state issues that Common Good Iowa is closely monitoring are mental health for children, broadband, and the school choice bill currently on fast track at the Iowa Legislature.
Discher said that the governor’s inclusion of $15 million in the Iowa budget for children’s mental health is promising, “given everything else that is going on.” The funds are coming from general funding, not from general sales tax, she said.  Although there are not a lot of details at the moment and while the money may not be enough to meet all the needs, it is a start, she said.
Discher cited broadband as another area with broad bi-partisan support across the state.  She said that the lack of bandwidth in rural areas hampers the delivery of many services, including affordable healthcare through telehealth.
A third issue of broad concern is the school choice bill that would allow spending public funds for private schooling.  She commented that the “bill is bad for racial equity and bad for small towns.”
Grinnell Rotary Club meets via Zoom every Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Matt Blankenfeld Presents Program to Rotary Members
     Grinnell Rotary met via ZOOM on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.  Five high school students were guests at the ZOOM meeting, and each one explained a little about his or her background, and plans for the future.
     During the short business meeting, Chairman Brent Nickle reported on information affecting the club members.
     Matt Blankenfeld was introduced as speaker for the evening.  His topic was his new storage business, adjacent to the West Side Family Restaurant.  Seventy-one units are available, with remote access twenty-four hours a day.  If you want to rent a storage unit, you can sign up on-line for one at  You can also contact Matt Blankenfeld at 641-990-6439 for information.    Different sizes of the units dictate the monthly rental amount.  Unit sizes are 5’ X 5’,   5’ X 10’, and 10’ X 10’, and are climate controlled.  There are also spaces available outside for rent.  These spaces vary in size and rental amount, and can be used to park boats, motor homes, etc.
     Grinnell Rotary meets every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.
Dennis Conway


Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Rotary Foundation and Director
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