It all began in 1995 with the first Shults & Co. show.  It was a perfect time to launch a collaborative effort. Frank Shults was president of the Grinnell Rotary Club.  He and wife Sherry had a love for music that they had already been sharing with the community through various programs.  Frank presented the idea to Rotary – let’s have a fundraiser. He and Sherry will create a musical show and through ticket sales and ads sold by Rotarians for the program, they could raise funds for various community causes.

Twelve shows later this collaborative effort reached a milestone.  This year’s musical revue, “As Time Goes By and Other Great Movie Songs,” presented in April, raised a net of $11,500. This sum was augmented with a Community Service Grant of $1,500 from Rotary District 6000.  Adding these to past proceeds of $87,000, the long-standing collaboration of Shults & Co. and Grinnell Rotary has raised a total of $100,000 that have been donated to various local organizations through the years.

This milestone was celebrated at Rotary’s weekly meeting on Tues., May 15, at West Side Dining with a presentation of this year’s net proceeds to UnityPoint Health-Grinnell Regional Medical Center Paul W. Ahrens Fitness Center, represented by its director of wellness/fitness and integrated health,  Chad Nath. The occasion was marked as well with the presence of members of Shults & Co.

Members of Shults & Co. celebrated reaching $100,000 fund-raising milestone. (From left) seated : Rick Young; Anthony Nieuwsma; Debby Pohlson; Sherry Shults, and  Gailanne Dill; standing: Bill Hammen; Austin Jones; Keith Briggs; Chad Nath of UPH-GRMC; George Drake; Tim Dill, and Frank Shults. (Not present: JoAnn Britton; Mary Fopma; Kent Kastendick; and Adam McFee)


Shults, in his remarks, noted that past beneficiaries have been Drake Community Library; GRMC’s Medical Lab and Chemo Unit; the music department and middle school music lab of the Grinnell-Newburg School District; Grinnell Area Arts Council; Grinnell Recreation Dept.; Grinnell Senior Center; and the former Grinnell Productions.  He likewise thanked Effie Hall, current Grinnell Rotary Club president, Bruce Blankenfeld, chair of the ad sales committee, and the many Rotarians who sold ads and provided vital behind-the-scene support.

        The rest of the meeting featured guest speaker Marilyn Kennett, director of Drake Community Library.  She gave an update on what is happening at the library. Kennett stated that the library has been in its current location for nine years.    A new sign, designed by Ryan McGuire, and built by ASI Sign Systems, Inc., is now placed outside of the entrance to the library. Kennett said that there are approximately 7000 visits to the library monthly, tracked by a laser counter.  The library recently added the capability of tracking usage of its wireless Internet service. One unusual service provided recently was to give out eclipse glasses to enable visitors to view safely the August 2017 solar eclipse.

Other services provided are online research tools, a database of local obituaries, and a wide variety of programming.  Additional services are E-books, print materials, assistance in using public internet stations, and a Code Club for students in 3rd through 8th grades.  The services listed do not include the standard services, which many visitors still stop at the library to use.  

Coming to Drake Community Library in the near future is Michelle Gutlove, an artist from Massachusetts, who will construct artwork that will be suspended from the ceiling in the center of the library.



The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at West Side Dining. - Dennis Conway.