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Nearly 1,000 Alums Returning to Grinnell College for 143rd Reunion Weekend


Taking place June 1-4, Reunion 2023 will be jam-packed with activities and celebrations.


May 23, 2023

Grinnell College’s 143rd Alumni Reunion Weekend is taking place June 1-June 4 throughout numerous venues on campus as well as in and around Grinnell. At last count, 1,400 guests have registered to attend (988 alums along with family members, friends of the College, and faculty and staff).

Reunion 2023 is anticipated to be the second highest attended Reunion, trailing only the 2014 version. Alumni return to the College to rekindle connections with classmates, enjoy lively conversations and events, explore the campus and city of Grinnell, and revisit their past.

This year’s Reunion classes celebrating milestone reunions are the classes of 1953, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2013. Alumni from any class are always welcome and some alums attend every Reunion as part of the GRA/EY – Grinnell Reunion Any/Every Year – contingent. This year’s registered attendees are from all 50 states, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 11 foreign nations: Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland.

“We can’t wait to welcome back about 1,000 alums spanning eight different decades,” says Jayn Bailey Chaney ’05, director of alumni and donor relations and co-interim vice president for alumni and development. “Reunion brings together alumni and friends from all over the country, and even the world, to celebrate the people, places, and principles that make us uniquely Grinnell, so it will be exhilarating to have such a substantial and lively gathering of Grinnellians on campus during these four days.”

As usual, Reunion weekend is brimming full of activities, enlightening sessions, parties, and family fun. In addition to the reuniting and reminiscing that goes on at every reunion, attendees will have a variety of event options to choose from throughout the weekend.

On opening night, Thursday, June 1, there will be a Multicultural Reception, Music in the Park with the band Marc Janssen ’97 and the Locals, and welcome events for each class or cluster.

Friday is a full day of activities. Some of the options attendees can take part in include Bike Ride Around Grinnell, a trip to Conard Environmental Research Area, the Pioneer Athletics Reception, and a Grinnell Stories TED-like talks session hosted by the classes of 1967, 1968, and 1969. There will be several open houses around campus including one at the Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC) that features guided faculty tours and a Science and the Liberal Arts Panel and Poster Session.

The Friday evening Reunion Block Party is back by popular demand after debuting last year. The party includes numerous food trucks, yard games, activities, and entertainment. Class socials, Drag Show, and a midnight bakery run complete the Friday fun.

Saturday is another chock-full day with 28 activities listed on the Reunion schedule. Highlights include a Real Talk with Grinnell Faculty panel, two events about Edith Renfrow Smith ’37, and Mac Field Chill Time.

Everyone will come together for the Alumni Assembly at 4:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel. The event will include an address by President Anne F. Harris, an alumni choir performance, and Alumni Council members will present Alumni Awards. The Council selected 14 recipients this year who have distinguished themselves by their service to their careers, their community, and/or the College.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Mary Knuth Otto ’63
  • Lorie Hill ’68
  • Susie Kaeser ’69
  • Bob Eckardt ’73
  • Irma McClaurin ’73
  • Rod Sinks ’81
  • Kristin Layng Szakos ’81
  • Rick Stuck ’82
  • Cameo Carlson ’93
  • Kartik Sheth ’93
  • Suyog Shrestha ’06
  • Emily Guenther ’07
  • Cynthia Dominguez ’12
  • Joy Sales ’13

Both the Real Talk with Grinnell Faculty panel and Alumni Assembly will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

After Assembly, an all-Reunion BBQ dinner will be held. A Grinnell College Museum of Art reception and a dance party round out Saturday’s events. A farewell brunch and interdenominational worship service Sunday morning close out the weekend.

The planning for Reunion 2023 started more than a year in advance and involved countless hours by 148 Reunion Class Committee volunteers.

“Reunion is a time to gather, reconnect, and help our alums nourish and celebrate their enduring connections to each other and the College,” Chaney says. “We could not do it without the incredible partnership of our Reunion committee volunteers, our terrific student staff, and our faculty and staff partners across campus. We are really looking forward to a meaningful and exciting weekend celebrating our diverse and incredible alumni community.”

While advanced registration for Reunion 2023 is closed, alumni still can register in person at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center (JRC) during Reunion. A late fee will be applied, and some amenities may not be available.

Alumni who have already registered also should make their first stop the JRC, 1115 8th Ave., to pick up materials. The registration and help desks will open at 8 a.m. on June 1 and be available throughout Reunion.

Save Your Brain with Poweshiek County Public Health


Unlocking Brain Fitness Course Can Reduce Risk of Dementia by Up To 70%


(GRINNELL, Iowa – May 23, 2022) Poweshiek County Public Health (PCPH) is hosting Unlocking Brain Fitness: Keys to Dementia Prevention (KEYS) program for interested individuals age 55 and older. KEYS is a 10-week course with each week addressing a modifiable risk factor in a safe and supportive environment for learning and interaction. Topics will be presented by health and wellness experts including a dietitian, pharmacist and fitness professional – all of whom will offer individual, confidential sessions at the end of weekly courses.

“The KEYS program guides participants through evidence-based lifestyle changes that can drastically reduce their risk of cognitive decline, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” says Shauna Callaway, RN, BSN, director of Poweshiek County Public Health. “Our team is excited to bring this impactful program to our community members.”

The class cost is $50 for the 10-week course which begins June 14 and will occur each Wednesday for ten weeks. Participants can reserve their spot in the KEYS course by calling (641) 236-2385, option 2.Course size is limited to 15 participants per session.

Schedule for Unlocking Brain Fitness: Keys to Dementia Prevention with Poweshiek County Public Health:

  • Wednesdays, beginning June 14, 2023, for 10 weeks
    • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • St. Francis Manor, Administration Building Conference Room, 2021 4th Ave. in Grinnell

The program’s ten KEY topics include eat well, get moving, be social, hear well, stay sharp, sleep enough, control chronic disease, build stress resilience, use right medications and promote health.

For more information or to take the Save Your Brain quiz, visit www.unlockingbrainfitness.org. To reserve your spot in Unlocking Brain Fitness: Keys to Dementia Prevention with Poweshiek County Public Health, call (641) 236-2385, option 2, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Prairie Burn 100 Gravel Bike Ride and 5K Fun Run set for June 10, 2023


The Imagine Grinnell fundraiser and annual event, Prairie Burn 100 gravel bike ride is scheduled for Saturday, June 10th, 2023 in Grinnell, IA. New this year, a 5K Fun Run. Registration is still open for both activities and is the primary fundraiser for the non-profit Imagine Grinnell, a group that supports environmental, sustainability, and health initiatives in the community. Imagine Grinnell is also looking for volunteers to help with the fun run, and other family activities at Central Park.

Community members are encouraged to join Imagine Grinnell in Central Park for all the activities. Alongside the gravel rides and run, there will be Yoga in Central Park at 9:00 AM, the Grinnell Farmer’s Market from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Storytime Art in the Park presented by the Drake Community Library and the Grinnell College Museum of Art from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM, a family bike ride taking off at 12:00 PM from the starting line in Central Park and a smoothie bike station throughout the day. Grinnell Craft Brewhouse will offer beverages and area food trucks, Dari Barn On the Mooove, Bloom, and Kulinary Khaos will serve food at the event starting at 11:00 AM.

“We launched our first Prairie Burn 100 event in 2019 and we look forward to it each year. Imagine Grinnell has been part of the local landscape since 1985 and this fundraiser goes towards our healthy initiatives such as, Marvin Giving Garden, Plate to Plant Compost, and the 1000 Trees programs,” says Tim Ellsworth, Imagine Grinnell President. “We are excited to introduce a 5K Fun Run as part of our line up this year. Realizing that not everyone wants to ride a gravel bike, but they want to participate in a healthy and fun activity.”

Individuals interested in participating in the fun run can sign up in Central Park before the 9:30am start on June 10 or they can register in advance at https://www.bikereg.com/prairie-burn. Cost to participate in the Fun Run is $10.

Cyclists riding the Prairie Burn 100 event can choose to ride 25, 50, or 100 miles along predetermined routes around Grinnell, ending back in Central Park. The map of the route can be found on the website, https://www.prairieburn100.com/event-info. Registration is $40 per cyclist with a discounted family rate. The first 100 sign-ups earn a free Prairie Burn 100 tote bag.

Volunteers are needed to assist with set up, registration of participants, route guidance for the 5K runners, and help with the family activities. “We could not have a successful and fun event without of the help of volunteers. We are so thankful to everyone that can give a few hours of time,” says Katy Wells, Imagine Grinnell board member. “It will be a fun day with the different activities, riders and runners to cheer on, and food and beverages!” To volunteer please sign up by following the link, https://bit.ly/3WlSYaH, visit the Imagine Grinnell website at https://www.imaginegrinnell.org/ or call 641-236-5518.

Community Visioning Survey Reveals Initial Findings of Shared Needs, Transitioning to Prioritization Phase


The Build a Better Grinnell 2030 Community Visioning Project has completed our “Visioning Survey” – a broad-based and open-ended survey requesting input on community perceptions of strengths and needs and will now be asking the community to rank its top needs. Future project phases will examine possible solutions to the prioritized issues and develop working groups and action plans.

If you’re looking to learn more about the data collected in Community Visioning Survey, how issues will be prioritized through community participation, or how to get involved with the project, you are invited to attend an upcoming Build a Better Grinnell Update event in May and June (dates to be announced). You can also find this information on the website.

From the Visioning Survey to Prioritization

The visioning survey – which ran from December through March – asked individuals who live or work in Grinnell, or rely on Grinnell for key resources, twelve open-ended questions concerning what they felt were the strengths and needs in the community. In total, 603 surveys were completed, and 120 additional individuals provided a response to a single question posed on Facebook or in person. Since many surveys were taken by groups (as large as 15-20 people), it is impossible to know precisely how many participated, but we feel confident that it was over 10% of the Grinnell population.

The research team has now processed three thousand plus responses from the five survey questions related specifically to community needs and organized responses by theme (e.g., healthcare) and issue (e.g., more mental healthcare services).

Any issue that was identified in more than 1% of the responses will be carried through the prioritization phase.

To see the full list of issues, please refer to the attached document, or take the survey.

For the community prioritization process, which will run until the end of June, people will be asked to select and rank up to seven issues. The top issues identified by the community will then be examined for possible solutions. Finally, working groups – broadly open to and seeking community participation – will be organized to select among possible options, develop specific action plans, and begin implementing change.

Grinnell College Celebrates Commencement for Class of 2023


May 11, 2023

Grinnell College’s Center for Careers, Life, and Service conducts surveys approximately six months after each class graduates, revealing that 60% of graduates immediately enter the workforce, with over 90% of those landing jobs related to their career goals. Roughly 20% of grads immediately enroll in graduate or professional school, with high acceptance rates to top programs. Additionally, around 10% of recent classes pursue post-graduate service, and many receive prestigious fellowships for global research.

The ceremony will be available via livestream to allow all to join in the celebration of our graduates’ accomplishments. Learn more about Commencement and the week’s activities.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Grinnell College is honored to recognize exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields of expertise. During the 2023 Commencement ceremony, the College will bestow honorary degrees upon distinguished scholars in social studies, science, and humanities. To read more about the honorary degree recipients, please visit this link.

Ham Serunjogi

Ham Serunjogi ’16, doctor of social studies

Ham Serunjogi ’16, the co-founder and CEO of Chipper Cash, will address the graduates at the 2023 Commencement Ceremony. Serunjogi graduated from Grinnell College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and went on to co-found Chipper Cash in 2018, a software system that enables free and instant cross-border peer-to-peer money transfers, personal investments, and payment solutions for businesses and merchants. The company has raised over $300 million and is present in nine countries. Serunjogi currently serves on the Grinnell College Board of Trustees and was named to the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for 2023. For his ambitions to bring simple and streamlined options for cross-border payments in Africa, and for his vision to do so faster than many thought possible, Grinnell College is pleased to recognize Ham Serunjogi ’16 with an honorary doctor of social studies degree.

Peggy Bartlett

Peggy Barlett ’69, doctor of science

As an anthropologist at Emory who started her career focusing on farmer decision-making in Central America and the United States, Peggy Barlett ’69 had always been attuned to the specific ways humans transform their environments.  After graduating from Grinnell, Barlett earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia. Barlett has received multiple recognitions for her efforts, including the Thomas Jefferson Award from Emory in 2012, the university’s highest award for academic achievement and leadership and the Sustainability Lifetime Achievement Award; she was also the first faculty member to be honored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. For her unwavering commitment to creating a greener university, and for the path that she has created for other institutions to follow, Grinnell College is proud to honor Peggy Barlett ’69 with an honorary doctor of science degree.

will love portrait

Will Love, doctor of humane letters

Will Love, a journalism and girls basketball coach at Sandpoint High School takes a hands-off approach in his classroom, pushing students out of their comfort zones by encouraging them to experiment and explore. By emphasizing gradual growth over time rather than perfection in each project, Love has helped students discover unexpected passions, and the newspaper he leads has won multiple awards. Love also applies this approach to coaching, instilling trust in others and fostering an attitude of continual growth that has led his teams to significant success, including the Bulldogs’ first 4A state championship. Beyond specific skills and lessons, Love values building connections with his students and athletes. For creating spaces for students and athletes to explore their interests, to grow, and to achieve at the very highest levels, Grinnell College is pleased to honor Will Love with an honorary doctor of social studies degree.


Irma McClaurin ’73, doctor of social studies

A multi-talented artist, writer and leader, Irma McClaurin believes one must “change minds, change hearts and change behavior to achieve transformation.” Never content to settle, throughout her career, she has taken on numerous roles and invariably become a standout in all of them. McClaurin earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies at Grinnell, becoming one of the first members of her family to graduate from college. She made an early splash as a poet: in 1975, she won the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for poetry. She went on to earn an MFA in English and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and made her mark as an academic entrepreneur. In addition to tenured faculty roles at Grinnell College, the University of Florida, and the University of Minnesota, her accomplishments have include founding the Africana Women’s Studies Program at Bennett College for Women, launching the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center at the University of Minnesota, serving as deputy provost at Fisk University and working for the United States government.

In 2010, McClaurin was named president of Shaw University, where she became the institution’s first permanent female president and guided it through recovery from a devastating tornado. She was a program officer for Education and Scholarship at the Ford Foundation and also served as chief diversity officer at Teach for America. Throughout her career, McClaurin has been a thoughtful and recognized writer: she has authored or edited several academic books and volumes of poetry. Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis and Poetics, was selected as a 2002 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine. In 2015, she received the Emory O. Jackson National Column Writing Award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association for a column she published in Insight News, where she is culture and education editor.

Today, she continues to serve others as a busy consultant and executive coach while speaking regularly to national audiences. Recognition for her work includes the 2021 American Anthropological Association’s Engaged Anthropology Award and the Vision and Commitment Award from the National Women’s Studies Association in 2017. For her relentless pursuit of excellence in many fields, for her innovative mindset, and for her steadfast commitment to social justice in many forms and across many fields, Grinnell College is proud to recognize Irma McClaurin ’73 with an honorary doctor of social studies degree.

2023 Emeriti Faculty

Celeste Miller, Associate Professor of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Celeste Miller is a dance artist, activist, and teacher who combines movement, theatre, and performance into her solo performances and choreography. She has toured extensively with her full-length solo performance repertoire, creating over 55 original text-plus-movement works. Her work has been recognized with a Choreography Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and other prestigious awards, grants, and fellowships. Miller’s artistic practice incorporates an interdisciplinary blend of dance as a performing art, a cultural practice, a political act, and a method for the embodiment of ideas and beliefs.

2023 Senior Faculty

Eugene Gaub, Professor of Music

Pianist Eugene Gaub joined the faculty in 1995 and has taught courses in music theory as well as piano. He has given lecture-recitals around the world, including for the International Festival of Spanish Keyboard Music, the Université Laval in Québec City, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Gaub earned his bachelor’s and master’s from the Juilliard School, and a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music.

Johanna Meehan, McCay-Casady Professor of Humanities

Professor Meehan, who received her bachelor’s from Brandeis University and master’s and a doctorate in philosophy from Boston University, taught at several colleges before joining the Grinnell faculty in 1990. Meehan has worked with Juergen Habermas and has published work on critical theory and psychoanalysis, and Hannah Arendt. She serves on the College’s Advisory Board for the Center for Humanities.

commencement 2022

Grinnell Regional Medical Center Trustee Receives Recertification from Iowa Hospital Association


(GRINNELL, Iowa – May 9, 2023) UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s (GRMC) Board of Directors, also referred to as trustees, functions to provide guidance and support to the medical center and affiliated clinics. The volunteer board members are dedicated to local health care and governance at GRMC.

A group of 54 Iowa hospital trustees and 16 Iowa hospital boards were honored at the 2023 Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Governance Forum in April, an annual education conference for hospital trustees and governing boards. The IHA trustee certification program focuses on education and governance best practices.

GRMC trustee Peggy Brown was recertified at the event. Trustees meet the certification requirement after completing 12 hours of health care-specific education over a two-year period and confirming individually and as a board that recognized governance best practices are being used. Brown has been serving on the GRMC Board of Directors since 2019 and is chair of the board’s Quality Committee.

“It is such an honor and a privilege to serve as a trustee for UnityPoint Health – Grinnell,” says Brown. “Being on a hospital board during COVID was a challenge in and of itself. And now, helping the hospital weather increased challenges in workforce, supply costs and many other areas requires continued education and effort. I’m thankful that the Iowa Hospital Association and American Hospital Association recognize and empower board members to embrace education, coordination, accountability and transparency to provide quality and safe services in community settings that integrate local, state and federal programs.”

Brown and fellow certified GRMC trustees Jake Boyer; Darwin Copeman; Sally Lang; Rachael Kinnick; Allan F. Maly; Henry Morisada Rietz; and Sarah Smith, demonstrate their individual and collective commitment to governance roles and responsibilities.

“We are fortunate to have an amazing group of trustees support local health care through their dedication to GRMC,” says Jennifer Havens, RN, MHA, FACHE, chief executive officer at GRMC. “Peggy’s recertification is a great example of her commitment to following best practices in the board room. Each of our board members bring their local and professional expertise and passion to GRMC and help us carry out our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve.”

Visit unitypoint.org/grinnell for more information about leadership at GRMC and hospital and clinic care offerings.

Rotary Club Annual Chicken Barbecue June 1,


The Rotary Club of Grinnell invites the community to attend its Annual Chicken Barbecue fundraiser on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Tickets are $12.00 per meal and are available from all Rotarians and at the following local businesses: Brown’s Shoe Fit, Medicap Pharmacy, Grinnell State Bank, and Total Choice Shipping and Printing.

The chicken barbecue meal includes a charcoal grilled half-chicken, potato chips, water, and pudding.  Meals are available for curbside pick-up at the United Methodist Church on Park Street during the following time periods:  11:30 AM to 1:00 PM or 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM.

Funds raised through ticket sales are augmented by business sponsorships.  Three levels of sponsorships are available: Supreme Grill Master at $300; Grill Master at $200; and Griller at $100.  Sponsors receive a number of free tickets, recognition in a flyer inserted in every chicken meal package, and banners at the barbecue and at Rotary’s Kites Over Grinnell in Sept.

Proceeds from the Chicken Barbecue will support the Rotary’s various local community projects such as Kites Over Grinnell, the Rotary’s community garden, scholarships for graduating high school seniors, Rotary international exchange students; attendance of two high school students at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program in the summer; and numerous grants to local non-profits.

Funds raised through the Chicken Barbecue have also made it possible for Rotary to apply for matching Rotary District 6000 community service grants, thereby funding such projects as the Ahrens Park Foundation Rotary Outdoor Classroom currently being built; a high-flow oxygen machine for UnityPoint Health-Grinnell purchased during the height of the Covid pandemic; equipment and materials for the Grinnell Community Early Learning Center; a laser projector for the Public Safety Building; basketball hoops for Ahrens Park; non-fiction books for K-4 at the Grinnell School District; and two ellipticals at the Ahrens Fitness Center.

For more information about the Chicken Barbecue and sponsorships, or to learn about becoming a member of the Rotary Club of Grinnell, please visit the Rotary’s Facebook page or call the Club’s secretary Bruce Blankenfeld at 641-990-1152.

Grinnell United Way Invites Local Organizations to Apply for Funding


Grinnell United Way invites local organizations that serve Grinnell residents to apply to receive funding for 2024.

The Grinnell United Way is helping build a stronger and more supportive community by partnering with local organizations that share our common goal of developing solutions for dealing with education, financial stability, and health for residents in the Grinnell area.

Ashley Grundler, secretary of the board, indicates the organization focuses on the community’s toughest challenges and strives to partner with organizations that are actively developing solutions to provide a better quality of life. “Grinnell United Way wants to advance the common good in Grinnell by providing a coordinated fundraising effort to support a number of non-profits in our community,” says Grundler. “We currently support the efforts of 11 organizations that serve more than 3,500 Grinnell residents. We are always interested in seeing applications from new or different partners, so we encourage you to apply.”

Any organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c)(3) as tax exempt and provides services to individuals in the greater Grinnell area is eligible to receive funding from Grinnell United Way. Applications are due Friday, June 16, 2023. To submit an application, please visit https://www.grinnellunitedway.org/for-non-profits.

Grinnell United Way is managed by a volunteer board committed to advancing its mission, with 97% of all funds raised going directly to its partner agencies. Last year the organization granted more than $110,000 to 11 different local agencies serving more than 3,500 residents of Grinnell.

For more information about Grinnell United Way or to make a donation, please visit www.grinnellunitedway.org.

Grinnell To Welcome RAGBRAI Riders on Thursday, July 27


GRINNELL, IA – The Grinnell RAGBRAI Committee is excited to announce the theme of the Grinnell RAGBRAI stop. Jubilee at the Jewel will take place on Thursday, July 27 as part of Day 5 of the 2023 RAGBRAI route. Grinnell is the final pass-through community on Day 5 before riders head to Tama/Toledo for their overnight stay. As of April 1, RAGBRAI has registered over 24,000 riders for the week-long event. Over 60% of riders come from outside the state of Iowa, giving Grinnell the opportunity to showcase the community to the country and the world!

Jubilee at the Jewel will feature live music, activities, food, a beverage garden and more as part of a great party on the last official stop of Day 5. All activities will be hubbed out of Grinnell’s beautiful Central Park and downtown Grinnell will be a highlight of the ride that day. The official route through Grinnell will be announced in the coming weeks, once final approval has been granted via City Council.

“We are so excited to host the 50th Anniversary ride through Grinnell,” says Jennifer Cogley, co-chair of the Grinnell RAGBRAI committee. “This event provides such a unique way to showcase our beautiful community to thousands of people from across the State and beyond.”

The Grinnell RAGBRAI Committee is seeking businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring this jubilee. Businesses and organizations will have the opportunity to get their brand in front of 24,000+ riders and volunteers. Interested parties should visit www.ragbraigrinnell.com to learn more, or reach out to a committee member.

As part of the planning for this jubilee, the Grinnell RAGBRAI Committee is seeking businesses and organizations interested in being food vendors in Grinnell that day. Interested parties should fill out the contact form on the official RAGBRAI Grinnell website: www.ragbraigrinnell.com. Vendor packets will be emailed upon submission. A food vendor meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 17th at 5:30 PM in the Community Room at Drake Community Library. All food vendors are required to submit permit applications to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. A food safety course will be held for vendors on Thursday, June 1 at 6 PM in the Community Room at Drake Community Library.

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“We have a dedicated committee of individuals who are donating their time and energy to help plan this anniversary event,” states Rachael Kinnick, event co-chair. “Our committee is composed of individuals who ride the event every year and folks who have never ridden a day on RAGBRAI! This balance is helping ensure we have a great event that the riders will enjoy but one that will also take into consideration the best ways to showcase our community.”

Stay up to date on all of the announcements and plans for RAGBRAI Grinnell by following on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ragbraigrinnell or on Instagram @ragbraigrinnell. More announcements will be made as plans and details are finalized. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the official RAGBRAI Grinnell website and complete a sign up form. Riders can register to participate in RAGBRAI L though May 15th by signing up onlinewww.ragbrai.com.

The Grinnell RAGBRAI Committee is co-chaired by Jennifer Cogley, Katy Wells and Rachael Kinnick. Committee members include: Ashley Rozendaal, Austin Jones, Brian Paul, Carl Eggermont, Craig Cooper, Hannah O’Polka, Hannah Warnell, Heather Cox, James Kaup, Jen Adams, Jess Dawson, John Cox, Jordan Allsup, Kendra Vincent, Laura Ferguson, Laura Manatt, Marissa Pronschinske, Matt Karjahlati, Matt Moyer, Michael McClelland, Mollie O’Dell, Monica St. Angelo, Patrick Duffey, Rachel Hansen, Sarah Smith, Steve Langerud, Susie Pickhardt, Tammy Jones, Tim Ellsworth, and Trent Arment. Grinnellians are encouraged to reach out to any committee member to learn more and get involved.

Drake Community Library Awarded 2023 Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant


CHICAGO — The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has awarded the 2023 ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant to Drake Community Library in Grinnell, Iowa.

This grant is designed to encourage outstanding summer reading programs by providing financial assistance, while recognizing ALSC members for outstanding program development. The program must be open to all children from birth to age 14. The grant encourages summer programming that provides for inclusion of children with physical and mental disabilities. This $3,000 grant is made possible by Baker & Taylor, a leading distributor of books, videos, and music products to libraries, institutions and retailers.

Drake Community Library serves a community of more than 9,000 residents. Nearly 34% of school age children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Many of the children who rely on these meals at school face food insecurity challenges over the summer months. Funding from the Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant will allow Drake Community Library to bring comprehensive literacy opportunities to children and families through their inclusive summer reading program format and outreach programs like Storytime Art in the Park, In Your Neighborhood, and visits to the Grinnell Area Summer Camp and other organizations. Grant funding will also be used to increase food access for families.

“The committee was impressed by the number and variety of community partners,” said Stephie Luyt and Maren Ostergard, 2022-2023 Programs and Services Recognition committee co-chairs. “Funding from this grant will allow the library to bring innovative programs that combine literacy and art to a wider audience and to fight food insecurity by providing fresh food to area families.”

“We’re so pleased that this grant can go to support the initiatives of the librarians at Drake Community Library,” said Bobbie Bensur, director of Children’s and Teen Services (CATS) at Baker & Taylor. “It was clear from their summer reading programs proposal that they are not only passionate about building a love for reading and art, but also ways to make direct impact in the lives of their patrons. These type of community outcomes are exactly what we value at Baker & Taylor and CATS, and we are excited to see their programming unfold this summer.”

ALSC, a division of the American Library Association, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more, visit ALSC’s website at www.ala.org/alsc.

Grinnell Farmers Market begins it’s 2023 season on May 11th



GRINNELL, IA – The Grinnell Farmers Market will begin the 2023 season on Thursday, May 13th from 3-6 PM and Saturday, May 13th from 10 AM – Noon. The market is excited to welcome back many long time vendors with the addition of a number of new vendors for the 2023 season. Grinnell Farmers Market is organized by the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and is presented by the Claude and Dolly Ahrens Foundation with additional partnerships from UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell College, Total Choice Printing & Shipping and Restore Chiropractic & Acupuncture.

Market Set Up

Market will again be held at the corner of 4th Avenue and Broad Street. Community members are asked to avoid parking in those parking spaces after 1 PM on Thursdays and after 6:30 AM on Saturdays to allow vendors adequate time to set up for market.

Market will continue to have a card reader available for those wishing to purchase tokens to use at the market. Debit/Credit tokens can be purchased to use as cash with all vendors at market. SNAP benefit tokens can be purchased with SNAP cards to use for qualifying products. The market will again be participating in the Double Up Food Bucks program for the 2023 season. Customers are able to earn DUFB when purchasing SNAP tokens or can bring the DUFB earned at Fareway and spend them on qualifying products. The card reader stand will be located in front of the Veteran’s Memorial Building. Please stop by the stand or call the chamber office with questions.

Participating Vendors

Below is a current list of participating vendors for the 2023 season. Application for Thursday and Saturday full and part time vendors are still being accepted. The Grinnell Farmers Market is a 100% producer grown or made market, meaning that all items for sale must be entirely grown or made by the vendor or immediate family members in Iowa. To stay up to date on vendors, please visitwww.grinnellfarmersmarket.com *denotes new vendor in 2023

Thursday Full Time Vendors:

  • ●  Artish*: paintings, jewelry, button jars
  • ●  B&J Vegetables: fruits, vegetables, black walnuts, freeze dried items
  • ●  Beez Blooming Garden & Beez Kettle Corn: cut flowers, build your own bouquet, fresh poppedkettle corn
  • ●  Bodie’s Bake Shop: breads, cookies, cakes, dish towels, wash rags pottery
  • ●  Bunny Traxx Creations: finished painted or glazed ceramics, scrubbies and kitchen items
  • ●  Circle W Acres: produce, baked goods (breads, pies, kolaches)
  • ●  Compass Plant CSA: produce, fresh baked bread, heritage pork and chicken products, eggs
  • ●  Dolezal’s Honey Bees: Honey, flavored honey, beeswax, candles, body products made frombeeswax/honey (soap, lip balm, lotion) some crocheted critters
  • ●  Gary Weyrauch: Plants, concrete yard ornaments
  • ●  Herman’s Home Grown*: produce
  • ●  Katie’s Mini Donuts*: fresh mini donuts & shaved ice
  • ●  Little Bud Farm: fresh cut flowers
  • ●  Mark Lageveen*: plants and vegetables

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  • ●  Olive Branch Woodwork*: custom cutting boards, charcuterie boards, outdoor flower pots, squirrel benches, trellis
  • ●  Olson Garden Market: produce & spices
  • ●  Prairie Produce: produce, jams/jellies, pickled goods, salsa
  • ●  Rose’s Art Stand: hand painted rocks, and various other items
  • ●  Tangled Roots Farm: jams/jellies, pickled goods, eggs, produce, seedlings, baked goods
  • ●  VFW/American Legion: information about registration, flag drop offSaturday Full Time Vendors:
  • ●  B&J Vegetables: fruits, vegetables, black walnuts, freeze dried items
  • ●  Bunny Traxx Creations: finished painted or glazed ceramics, scrubbies and kitchen items
  • ●  Circle W Acres: produce, baked goods (breads, pies, kolaches)
  • ●  Compass Plant CSA: produce, fresh baked bread, heritage pork and chicken products, eggs
  • ●  Gary Weyrauch: plants, concrete yard ornaments
  • ●  Ginger Werner: produce, baked goods and eggs
  • ●  Herman’s Home Grown*: produce
  • ●  MarkLageveen*: plants and vegetables
  • ●  Olive Branch Woodwork*: custom cutting boards, charcuterie boards, outdoor flower pots,squirrel benches, trellis
  • ●  Olson Garden Market: produce & spices
  • ●  Prairie Produce: produce, jams/jellies, pickled goods, salsa
  • ●  Scenery Changes: earrings, bookmarks, knitted product, book page art, and self-publishedbooks (fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, speculative fiction)
  • ●  Stew Makerspace: handmade ceramics, acrylic laser cut earrings, handmade jewelry
  • ●  Tangled Roots Farm: jams/jellies, pickled goods, eggs, produce, seedlings, baked goods
  • ●  VFW/American Legion: information about registration, flag drop offPart TIme Vendors:
  • ●  Bittersweet Designs: polymer clay earrings
  • ●  Willard Family*: cross stitch, plants, sewed items
  • ●  Slane’s Soaps: homemade soap and bath products
  • ●  Reese’s Slime Boutique*: homemade slime
  • ●  Mike Nippe: gemstones, jewelryThose interested in applying to be a vendor or any area musicians or local artists interested in performing at the Grinnell Farmers Market can find more information at www.grinnellfarmersmarket.com or are encouraged to contact the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, marissa@getintogrinnell.com or 641-236-6555. For the latest market information, make sure to follow the market on Facebook and Instagram at @grinnellfarmersmarket.About the Grinnell Farmers MarketThe Grinnell Farmers Market is a 100% producer grown or made market, meaning that all items for sale must be entirely grown or made by the vendor or immediate family members. All items must be made or grown in Iowa. For non-food items, inputs may be purchased but the final product must be the vendor’s own creation; for example, a vendor may sell a knitted sweater if they purchase the yarn and then knit the sweater themselves. Vendors are responsible for filing state sales tax permits where applicable.

UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Represents Rural Health Care on National Stage


GRMC Featured at American Hospital Association Annual Meeting


(GRINNELL, Iowa – May 1, 2023) In recent months, UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) has been at the forefront of the healthcare conversation, representing rural hospitals and advocating for the needs of UnityPoint Health – Grinnell’s team members, patients and communities. Rural health care faces unique challenges, a combination of geography, staffing and varying patient volumes. In the United States, 180 rural hospitals have closed since 2005.1

GRMC has been featured on the national stage multiple times this year, most recently in the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) 2023 Annual Membership Meeting with a leading role in AHA’s We Are Hospitals video, and with Jennifer Havens, RN, MHA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of GRMC, as a featured panelist during the Evolving Systems of Care for the Future discussion session of the annual meeting.

“It was an honor to represent GRMC and rural health care at the Annual Meeting,” says Jennifer Havens, CEO of GRMC. “The meeting offers the opportunity to meet with federal representatives and advocate for hospital issues. I had the privilege to share in front of other rural and urban health care leaders, hospital associations from across the country, members of Congress, former White House executives and representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as well as Veterans Affairs and tell them what is going on at GRMC, what struggles rural health care is facing and what successes we’re celebrating.”

In the AHA’s video, UnityPoint Health – Grinnell was showcased as the rural healthcare voice, featuring three exceptional healthcare professionals representing maternal health, physical therapy and emergency medical services (EMS): Cherish Hansen, BSN, RNC-MNN; Thomas Lair, DPT, OCS; and a partner in our rural health region, Traci Smith, Paramedic, Director of East Poweshiek Ambulance Service, GRMC trustee.

In rural health care, the roles above are often different in practice than a role of the same name in an urban setting. Obstetrics (OB) nurses at GRMC provide the full spectrum of labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care for both the mom and newborn. The UnityPoint Health – Grinnell occupational and physical therapists work together to provide inpatient care, recovery and education, outpatient therapy services, in-home patient therapy and community partnerships which include sideline coverage at area athletic events. The majority of EMS in rural Iowa are largely staffed by volunteers. In the state of Iowa, 14 EMS departments have closed from 2020-2023 due to lack of personnel.2

Havens also appeared in an AHA Leadership Dialogue Series in February, speaking to attendees about the distinct challenges facing rural hospitals and access to critical services, like maternal healthcare.

“Some hospitals are choosing to close maternal health units,” Havens shared during the interview. “There are a multitude of factors including recruitment of the specialized providers, 24/7 staffing challenges, low delivery numbers and overall financial challenges contributing to the closure decision. Specifically in Iowa, out of 117 hospitals, only 56 continue to deliver babies. GRMC is proud to be one of those hospitals delivering babies, and we sit in a four-county area where we are the only hospital providing this critical service.”

GRMC was awarded the Center of Excellence Grant by the Iowa Department of Public Health in 2022, with funds directed toward establishing Iowa’s framework to sustain access to high-quality OB services for rural populations. UnityPoint Health – Grinnell leaders attended Iowa’s annual Condition of the State in January in recognition of the vital work being done across UnityPoint Health – Grinnell hospital, clinics, public health and community partnerships to better meet the rural maternal health needs in the GRMC service area.

“The communities we serve and the people we care for is why we are in health care,” says Havens. “The team members at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell put their hearts into living our mission, to improve the health of the people and communities we serve. I’m proud that GRMC is representing and advocating for our communities as a voice of rural health care.”

Visit unitypoint.org/grinnell to learn more about GRMC’s hospital, clinics and public health services.


1Ramedani S, George D, Leslie D, Kraschnewski J, et al. The bystander effect: Impact of rural hospital closures on the operations and financial well-being of surrounding healthcare institutions. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2022. DOI:10.1002/jhm.12961.

2Stratton, J, et al. Essential: Iowa’s EMS emergency. KCCI Des Moines. 2023.


 Jennifer Havens, CEO of GRMC, attends American Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting as a panelist for rural health care.

Photo 1, left to right: Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Corewell Health; Jennifer Havens, CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center; and Joshua H. Soven, panel facilitator.

Photo 2, left to right: Joshua H. Soven, panel facilitator; Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Corewell Health; and Jennifer Havens, CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

Photo 3: Jennifer Havens, CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center, at American Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting.

100+ People Who Care–Grinnell Funds Directed to Local Foods Connection


100+ People Who Care–Grinnell Funds Directed to Local Foods Connection

At the April 25 meeting of 100 + People Who Care–Grinnell, members voted to support a request from Local Foods Connection. The donations will help the organization expand and grow, which will enable more food access in the Grinnell community.

The funding decision was made by vote of the members in attendance at the meeting, held Tuesday evening at Grinnell Mutual. New members were welcomed, bringing the total membership to 139. This means that, as each member pledges to support the project with a donation of $100, a total of $ 13,900 or more should be available to benefit the Local Foods Connection.

100 + People Who Care – Grinnell began its mission of pooled philanthropy in January, 2017. Since that date, the group has grown through 23 quarterly funding cycles, with now over $300,000 being given or pledged to area causes. The premise of membership is very simple. Each member pledges to support a selected cause with a check for $100, four times each year.  The members meet quarterly, hear three request presentations, and then vote. They then write checks directly to the organization receiving the plurality of votes.

Membership remains open to all. For further information regarding 100 + People Who Care – Grinnell, please contact any of the current board members:  Ashley and Chris Grundler (641-236-7227), Marta Miller (mjo_miller@yahoo.com), John McCleery (mccleery_john@yahoo.com), Lance and Megan Veldboom (veldboom@iowatelecom.net).

Grinnell Chamber Ambassadors Welcome Lily Lou Company

Ambassadors officially welcomed new business Lily Lou Company to the Chamber. Owners Mollie & Ryan O’Dell opened their business just a few weeks before Christmas and it has been full steam ahead since then.
What started with balloon arches and decorations for their family and friends game nights progressed to a full-fledged event decor, planning, and retail gift shop. They currently offer balloon decor, shimmer and tinsel walls or backdrops, pipe and drape rentals, sleepover party set ups and more. Coming in June, Luxury Picnics and Outdoor Movie Night rentals will also be available! They also hope to be offering helium in the coming weeks. Balloon decorations should last 4-8 weeks if they are temperature controlled and kept away from sunlight. Mollie asks for a minimum of 2 weeks notice when possible. She’s currently books out all of May and much of June for events so if you have something coming up, don’t delay!
The retail shop features gift and party items that you can’t find in town and some of the latest trending items. She also specialises in having decor and gifts for major holidays throughout the year.
If you haven’t visited the shop at 827 4th Avenue, make sure to stop by. You can also find more information on her Facebook page and her website will be launching soon!
Pictured L-R: Marissa Pronschinske – Grinnell Chamber, Monica St. Angelo – Grinnell Area Arts Council, Kent Reed – American Brawn Charity, Rachel Arseneault – Timm Agency, LLC-American Family Insurance, Donna Fischer – UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center Foundation, Bill O’Dell – JELD-WEN Windows & Doors, Lisa Cirks – Cirks Financial Services, Keith Jay – Advantage Seamless Gutters Iowa, Jess Dawson – REMAX Partners Realty- Grinnell, Fran Conn, Andy Schwandt – OnMedia, Mollie O’Dell, Shane Hart – Grinnell College Golf Course, Ryan O’Dell, Trent Arment – MCG – Mahaska Communication Group, Kathy O’Dell, Ashley Symbol – First State Bank Grinnell, Bri Gaunt – Community 1st Credit Union, Jeff Finch – Wes Finch Auto Plaza, Rachael Kinnick – Grinnell Chamber, Charlie Isaacs – Theisen’s, Donnette Ellis – Grinnell College Community Connections, Matt Moyer – Bayer Crop Science, Christy Kaisand – The Mayflower Community

Sustainability Takes Root: Earth Week Highlights Green Initiatives and Mobilizes the Community



April 21, 2023

From energy-efficient buildings to thriving prairies, sustainable touches are present across every acre of Grinnell’s campus. This Earth Week, April 22-29, sustainability staff at the College are spotlighting these green initiatives while also prompting members of the community to consider their own environmental footprints.

Earth Day Celebrations on Campus

Grinnell’s sustainability coordinators play a primary role in maintaining and publicizing the College’s sustainable efforts. During Earth Week, student coordinators will be tabling daily in the Joe Rosenfield Center to provide information about their respective areas of focus. Topics will include energy, compost/recycling, water and land, and tables will offer an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to provide suggestions to the College.

Sam Drake-Flam ’25 has been a member of the sustainability committee since her first year, working as a land steward to support native planting. In anticipation of Earth Week, she would like to remind students about the breadth of prairie land in and around Grinnell.

“Simply interacting with the prairies and enjoying them is a huge support,” she said. “They are on campus for students and community members to enjoy – read, sit, breathe them in, and show them love!”

In addition to appreciating Iowa’s native landscape, Drake-Flam cited volunteering as one way students can support local sustainability this Earth Week.

“There is always endless weeding for us to do, and volunteers are so helpful with that,” Drake-Flam said. “If we know there is interest and time within the student body, then we know to organize a structured event.”

Students, staff, and community members can enjoy a breadth of Earth Week programming alongside the offerings of the sustainability committee. Film Club’s Earth Week Film Series and a concert by the EcoMadres Ensemble are among events open to the public. For a full list of Earth Week events, see the Earth Week Poster.

Earth Week Events Poster

Sustainable Solutions: E-Cycle Event Saturday, April 29

Alongside programming spearheaded by students, Grinnell College, Mahaska Communication Group (MCG), Imagine Grinnell, and Bayer Crop Science will host an E-Cycle Event on April 29 at the Bayer location (2021 6th Ave.) just east of the Facilities Management office. At the event, students, staff, faculty, and community members can drop off unwanted electronics to be safely disposed of, free of charge. Accepted items include PCs, printers, VCRs, cell phones, TVs, and laptops.

Chris Bair, Environmental and Safety Coordinator, stresses the importance of safely disposing electronics.

“For environmental reasons, anytime you can recycle something and not add it to the landfill, that’s great,” he said. “There are certain heavy metals in electronics that are especially bad to send to the landfill.”

Aside from the environmental benefits of safe electronics disposal, dropping off waste at the E-Cycle event is more convenient than a trip to the landfill. Drop-offs can be completed at the Bayer entrance (2021 6th Ave.), just east of the Facilities Management office from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 29th.

Going Green: Grinnell College’s New Solar Plants and Sustainable Buildings Set to Boost Renewable Energy

Beyond sharing with the Grinnell community about individual climate responsibility, an additional Earth Week goal of Bair and the sustainability committee is highlighting the College’s upcoming environmental efforts.

One such development is in the solar department, where two solar plants are anticipated to contribute significant renewable energy to the College’s current systems. The first plant located on 16th Avenue, is “mechanically complete” and generates approximately one-third of the campus’ electricity consumption. On the west side of town, an additional two-megawatt plant location is being explored in partnership with the City of Grinnell and Alliant Energy.

“If both plants are developed, our campus will be 50% renewable. That’s really, really exciting,” Bair said. “The grid in general is getting greener and greener. Potentially we will be 75% renewable here in another couple three years.”

Another way Grinnell’s campus continues to get greener is through its buildings.Older buildings, like the Joe Rosenfield Center, feature energy-efficient components like reflective roofs and thermal energy wheels. Newly completed buildings, such as the Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC), are constructed entirely with sustainability in mind. Features like geothermal heating, climate control and rainwater irrigation systems are among what make the HSSC the “greenest building on campus.”

“It’s important to not lose [sustainability] opportunities on the front end of building a building,” Bair said. “I think we’re doing a really good job of that. All of our new buildings are crazy efficient, and the HSSC especially is just a marvel at how little energy it consumes.”

While it is important for students to be conscious of their own resource usage, Bair reports that students are not the primary source of energy usage on campus.

“When almost everyone went home for COVID, electricity should have been at its lowest, right? But total campus electricity only went down by about 18%, so we learned that student behavior isn’t going to save a whole lot of electricity on campus,” Bair said.

Nonetheless, there are steps students can take to support the College’s sustainable initiatives. Taking note of recycling guidelines and monitoring water usage – particularly in the shower – are two simple ways to limit one’s environmental impact. For students and community members seeking further ways to take sustainable action, attending this year’s Earth Week programming or utilizing the E-Cycle event on April 29th to dispose of unwanted electronics will be a helpful place to begin.

For more information about sustainability on Grinnell’s campus, visit the sustainability page.

outside burling yellow tulips

Grinnell College Grant O. Gale Observatory to hold open house April 27

The setting sun illuminates clouds as they roll in over the baseball field and the Grant O. Gale Observatory July 7, 2014. (Photo by Justin Hayworth)

GRINNELL, Iowa — The moon and the Orion Nebula will be the featured celestial objects at an open house at Grinnell College’s Grant O. Gale Observatory on Thursday, April 27 at 8:30 PM.  Robert Cadmus, professor emeritus of physics, will lead the free, public observation.  If the weather is cloudy, the program will consist of computer imaging demonstrations and recorded views through the telescope.

The Grant O. Gale observatory is located on the north perimeter of the Grinnell College campus, north of 10th Ave. and adjacent to Les Duke Track. To receive notification of future observatory open houses, contact Robert Cadmus at cadmus@grinnell.edu.


Thursday, April 27, 2023, at 8:30 PM


1203 10th Ave, Grinnell, IA 50112


This event is free and open to the public.


Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. For information, contact Conference Operations at 641-269-3178.

Important: Minors under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.


Photo: The setting sun illuminates clouds as they roll in over the Grinnell College baseball field and the Grant O. Gale Observatory. Photo by Justin Hayworth.

Final Bucket Course of the Season | Todd Armstrong and “Food Culture”


In the final session of the spring series of Bucket Courses, Grinnell College Professor of Russian Todd Armstrong will talk about how he has integrated experiential learning in a kitchen lab into his teaching of literature and culture. The presentation, entitled “Food Stories,” will take place May 3 in the Caulkins Room at Drake Community Library from 10:00-11:30 a.m. Bucket Courses are open to everyone in the community; no preregistration or fee required. Donations toward refreshments are welcome.

Describing the focus of his talk, Armstrong says, “I will describe the evolution of ‘Comrades in the Kitchen,’ a course in which my students and I use the methodologies of literary and cultural analysis, and the evolving field of food studies, to research, write, and speak about how food reflects the human experience during the Soviet era. I’ll also describe how cooking with students in Grinnell College’s Marcus Family Global Kitchen brings a new and exciting dimension to the traditional classroom—how we ‘cook to learn.’”

Armstrong notes that he came to his recent understanding about the importance both culturally and politically of food from personal experience: “I plan to discuss one of my own food stories, which involves soup, and a recipe I learned in Moscow in 1983. The soup–borscht—was something I had always thought of as Russian, and I’ve been making it for students for years, calling my version Moscow-style borscht. However, that name is now called into question, not only by the UNESCO designation of Ukrainian borshch as ‘an item of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding,’ but even more so by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine—a war that has caused the entire field of Russian studies to confront the unpleasant reality that our discipline is in dire need of rethinking and decolonization.”

He adds that food stories include stories of hunger, starvation, famine—globally and locally. He asks, “If we are cooking for each other, shouldn’t we also think how we might cook for those who are hungry? In that context, I will discuss howmy students and I respond to food insecurity in the Grinnell community.”

Members of the sponsoring Community Education Cooperative include Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Mayflower Community, Grinnell Education Partnership, Read to Lead, and Iowa Valley Community College. Videos of previous Bucket Courses are available on the YouTube channel Grinnell Community Education Cooperative.

For more information, contact Judy Hunter judy586@gmail.com.

Poweshiek County Alliance Grants Announcement


April 21, 2023:  Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation (GPCF) is pleased to announce the 2023 Poweshiek County Alliance grant recipients.  $161,109 will be distributed to support 37 community projects across Poweshiek County, reaching residents and organizations in nine communities.

A total of 46 complete applications were reviewed and evaluated by 11 committee members representing different perspectives and communities throughout the county.  The total amount requested among the applications exceeded $318,000.

“We commend the committee members for their efforts this year.  They had great discussion about each application and were very prepared for the challenge to stretch the funding as best they could according to the proposals submitted,” said Amy Blanchard, program manager of GPCF.  “We saw proposals from six organizations that have never applied before, five of which received funding.  We are happy the grant program is getting known by more organizations, and we’re also excited to see how these projects will impact our community.”

PCA seeks to fund new initiatives as well as support continuation or expansion of existing programs in Poweshiek County, helping to fill critical funding gaps of many local organizations. Among the 37 projects, 16 projects were funded at 100% of the requested amount, 11 were funded over 50% of the requested amount, and the remaining 10 projects received less than 50% of the amount requested.  Two projects were funded at $10,000, the maximum amount allowed from the PCA grant program.

This year, PCA grants were supported by four funds administered by GPCF.  The Poweshiek County Alliance Fund is an endowed fund designated by the Iowa Legislature to receive an annual portion of gambling revenues.  The endowment distribution paired with the disbursement from the State of Iowa totaled $133,648.  The Carl and Joann Orr Fund, established in 2017, immortalizes the generosity of the late Grinnell community member, Joann Orr.  With the intent of empowering and aiding women, children, and other at-risk community members within the Grinnell area, the Orr Fund awarded $23,703.49 across five projects.  Montezuma and Brooklyn each have a designated community fund which yielded $1,147 and $2,610 respectively.

The Orr Fund supported $10,000 for new pediatric care equipment for UnityPoint-Grinnell Regional Medical Center Foundation, requested in response to recent RSV outbreaks.  The Grinnell Community Early Learning Center received $5,130 for replacing old strollers to ensure safe toddler transportation. The Grinnell College Museum of Art received $2,000 for a summer art and literacy program targeted at children in Grinnell, while Ahrens Park Foundation received a total of $1,570 for outdoor musical instruments in a new natural learning environment. Lastly, $5,003.49 of the $5,280 request from Local Foods Connection was granted to support administrative costs for the expansion of the organization. The request was fully funded with additional support from the PCA fund.

Three other Grinnell-focused projects received funding this year.  The Grinnell Historical Museum Society received $5,000 to support a security system for their new museum site at the former Uhlmann’s Furniture location.  LINK Grinnell was granted $2,250 for a pilot music program and the Rotary Club of Grinnell was awarded $2,000 for insulated holding cabinets for use during their annual chicken barbecue fundraiser.

The Brooklyn Community Fund and Montezuma Community Fund are endowed, donor-supported funds. This year, the Brooklyn Community Fund supported the entirety of the $1,500 request for Bear’s Closet and $1,110 of the $3,000 grant award for BGM Bear Bags.  The BGM Bear Bags provides students in Brooklyn who are in need with food bags, which includes milk, eggs, cheese, bread, and meat.  The Bear’s Closet program supports students in need with items such as sporting apparel, seasonal clothing, and personal hygiene items. On the other hand, the Montezuma Community Fund supported $1146 of the $2,300 grant award to the Montezuma Public Library for a Beanstack mobile app to help young patrons track reading progress.

The Brooklyn community will benefit from six additional PCA grants this year.  East Poweshiek Ambulance Service will receive $7,000 for a new power cot to aid in transporting patients.  The Brooklyn Community Food Bank will receive $4,686 to support increased operational costs, the Brooklyn Fire Department will receive $4,000 to support a new washing machine to help maintain firefighter equipment, and the Brooklyn Public Library will receive $3,500 for the digitization of roll and film collections in the library.  PCA grants will support $2,500 for new flooring costs at the Manatt Community Center and $1,500 for new attractions for the annual Flag Festival event.

Seven more projects in Montezuma will be impacted by PCA funding.  The Montezuma Fire Department will receive $8,562 for new protective equipment for firefighters such as face masks, fire side lighting kits and LED lights for low light situations.  The Poweshiek County Historical and Genealogical Society will receive $6,311 for repairs and preservation efforts at the museum.  Poweshiek County Extension will receive $5,981 to maintain and expand a variety of youth outreach programs.  Roots of Home, a newly established nonprofit in Poweshiek County, was granted $5,000 to support the construction of a new transitional home to assist teens as they transition from foster care to entering college or the workplace. The Blakely-Stevens American Legion Post 169 was granted $5,000 for ADA compliant bathrooms, part of the overall construction project for a new facility.  The Poweshiek County Pioneer Cemetery Commission will receive $4,800 to replace the fence at Beason Cemetery and Montezuma Community Development will receive $4,800 for bathroom upgrades at East Park.

The Deep River community will benefit from two PCA-funded projects.  The fire department will receive $10,000 for new air packs and air tanks to replace old equipment that is no longer serviceable.  The city will receive $2,625 to repaint the exterior of the Deep River Community Center.

Guernsey was awarded $5,200 to cover the costs of grinding tree stumps in Guernsey Town Park, an ongoing effort to fully recover from the derecho.  The city of Hartwick will receive $9,063 to outfit a new multi-purpose vehicle to assist in medical, extrication, and brush fire calls as well as $5,000 to support efforts to make Hartwick City Park more accessible in accordance with ADA guidelines.

Malcom community members will benefit from a $9,000 grant to the Malcom Food Pantry to assist with increased demand, $2,500 for the Malcom Volunteer Fire Department for Community Safety Outreach which includes providing fire extinguishers and smoke detectors for families that need them, and a $2,000 grant that will support new solar streetlights.

The Searsboro Community Fire/EMS Association will receive $1,800 to replace old specialty foam firefighting equipment with upgraded systems.  The town of Victor will receive $2,500 to support renovation of Waterworks Park.

Three grants will impact multiple communities across the county. The Northeast Iowa Food Bank was awarded $5,000 to support backpack programs in multiple school districts to provide nutritious meals and snacks for students over weekends.  Poweshiek County Emergency Management was granted $2,750 to assist replacement of outdated hazmat suits.  Families Helping Families of Iowa, a new applicant this year, requested and was awarded $1,500 to support children and teens in foster care in Poweshiek County.

“Poweshiek County Alliance is committed to the sustainability and vitality of all our communities in the county.  The committee takes that very seriously and tries to ensure that all organizations in Poweshiek County can access these funds,” said Blanchard.  “I think that is reflected well in the 37 projects they were able to fund this year.”

Organizations with the 501(c)(3) designation and/or governmental entities and public schools are eligible to seek grant assistance. The 2024 grant application period will open in December 2023. Organizations may contact GPCF at 641-236-5518 for information on how to apply. A complete list of grants awarded can be found on the GPCF website at www.greaterpcf.org.

The Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that assists donors in supporting local charitable organizations to improve the lives of people in the area. Individuals who wish to support the Poweshiek County Alliance Fund, Poweshiek Community Fund, Carl and Joann Orr Fund, Brooklyn Community Fund, or Montezuma Community Fund may contact Nicole Brua-Behrens at GPCF, mail checks to GPCF, P.O. Box 344, Grinnell, Ia., 50112, or donate online at www.greaterpcf.org.

Grinnell Chapter DAR honors Edith Renfrow Smith


At their April 8, 2023, meeting the Grinnell Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution honored Edith Renfrow Smith by presenting her with the DAR’s Women in American History award.

Edith Renfrow Smith was the first Black woman to graduate from Grinnell College in 1937.  She has recently been honored with the naming of Renfrow Hall, Grinnell College’s newest building.

The DAR Women in American History award acknowledges outstanding contributions of women who have made a contribution or a difference in their communities. Awardees may be historical figures or currently living women who are, or have been, intellectual, educational, social, religious, political, scientific, or cultural innovators. Other Grinnell women who have received this honor include Cornelia Clarke, Fannie Buchanan, and Abby Williams Hill. 

A program entitled, “The Renfrow Sisters,” was given by Monique Shore who spoke about Mrs. Renfrow Smith’s life, and Barb Lease, from the Grinnell Historical Museum, who shared the stories of Mrs. Renfrow Smith’s sisters. The Women in American History certificate and medal were presented to Mrs. Renfrow Smith in absentia.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. Any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible to join. The Grinnell Chapter is named after Josiah B. Grinnell, the founder of the city of Grinnell. Members come from Grinnell, Newton, Montezuma and surrounding communities.

For information about membership in DAR, contact Nancy Bender, registrar, 641-236-7065.

BarbAndMonique.jpg:  Barb Lease and Monique Shore presented a program on the Renfrow sisters

RitaAndMonique.jpg: Rita Mertens, Vice Regent of Grinnell Chapter DAR, presents the Women in American History award to Edith Renfrow Smith in absentia. Receiving the award on behalf of Mrs. Renfrow Smith is Monique Shore

Grinnell Chamber of Commerce to Host Spring 3-Part Connecting For Women Event


GRINNELL, IA – The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce will be hosting two social networking events and one keynote speaker event this spring for their Connecting For Women series. Connecting for Women is an opportunity for women within and around the Grinnell community to come together to socialize, network and learn. Connecting for Women events are sponsored by UnityPoint Health – Grinnell in partnership with Grinnell Mutual and S.H.E. Counts.

On April 13, the Grinnell Chamber will host a Connecting For Women networking social event to be held at Canary Underground Speakeasy, in the lower level of Prairie Canary from 4-6PM. This event is open to all and is free but RSVP’s are encouraged. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

On April 27, the keynote event will be held at the Grinnell Arts Council from 4-6 PM. Keynote speakers Hannah O’Polka and Dr. Andrea Tracy will present on the topic of women’s health, wellness and nutrition. Hannah is a certified trainer, nutritionist and lifespan coach. She is co-founder of Clean Food Fix Wellness which offers 1-on-1 coaching, weekly meal plan prepping, online courses and most recently announced the launch of a gym facility. Hannah will walk participants through how to create a sustainable meal plan to save time, energy, & money in their busy lives. She hopes attendees walk away with confidence to implement these strategies, no matter the season of life they’re in.

Dr. Andrea Tracy is an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Grinnell College. Dr. Tracy’s primary research focuses on ingestive behavior – specifically, the role of learning in food choice and food motivation. She will walk participants through understanding how and why they may be making the food choices they do. The event is open regardless of membership status, but tickets are required. Tickets include an appetizer spread by G’s Catering as well as a beverage ticket. Member tickets are $25, non members $30 and a GHS/GC student discount of $15 are all available for the keynote event.

The spring series will wrap on May 11 at Lily Lou Company (827 4th Avenue) with a breakfast networking social event from 8:30-10 AM. This event is open to all and is free but RSVP’s are encouraged. Treats from Grin City Bakery and coffee will be provided.


For more information, to RSVP for the networking events or to purchase tickets for the keynote event please visit the Chamber website at www.grinnellchamber.org/en/events/connecting_for_women/ or call the Chamber office at 641-236-6555.

Grinnell College Museum of Art prepares the audience for the future

Students from the Grinnell College Preschool attend an arts outreach program led by the college in the Grinnell College Museum of Art March 16, 2023. (Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Tilly Woodward, GCMoA Curator of Academic and Community Outreach, discusses an exhibition of recent work by Grinnell College Assistant Professor Jeremy Chen with students from Grinnell College Preschool.Photo by Justin Hayworth.


GRINNELL, Iowa – If you think of art museums as a quiet place for adults, think again. Over the past 30 years, museums have been increasing their engagement of young children. Research shows that the brain grows 90% in the first 5 years of life, so this is a crucial time to provide outreach programs for preschoolers.


Museum-going habits formed in early childhood can shape how a young child views, supports, and contributes to museums in the future. According to the American Alliance of Museums, a good museum experience for a young child “starts with community, relevance, and meaningful engagement.”


Tilly Woodward, Grinnell College Museum of Art Curator of Academic and Community Outreach, has been welcoming Grinnell community preschoolers to the museum for more than a decade. Woodward engages the youngsters in lively conversations about museum exhibitions and then guides participants in an art making activity related to the art they have discussed. Woodward, who was recently recognized as a Grand Grinnellian because of her outreach programs, currently works with Grinnell College Preschool, Loving Hands Daycare, and the Grinnell UCC Community Preschool. During the past six months, she has provided 18 different opportunities for these young audiences to experience art in the museum and make related art of their own.


Museums are ideal spaces for young children to learn because participants can explore their interests through authentic objects and participatory activities. Programs such as the one Woodward leads at GCMoA can also help young audiences expand their thinking as they encounter objects that help them understand abstract ideas.


Information for visitors

Grinnell College Museum of Art, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. Information about the museum is available at: grinnell.edu/museum or call 641-269-4660. The museum is open to the public and always free. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday from 12 to 5 pm. Visitors may use the west (Park Street facing) or north (campus facing) doors to the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Minors under age 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information about parking and accessibility is available on the college’s website: grinnell.edu. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

Students from the Grinnell College Preschool attend an arts outreach program led by the college in the Grinnell College Museum of Art March 16, 2023.
(Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Tilly Woodward, GCMoA Curator of Academic and Community Outreach, discusses an exhibition of recent work by Grinnell College Assistant Professor Jeremy Chen with students from Grinnell College Preschool.Photo by Justin Hayworth.

Students from the Grinnell College Preschool attend an arts outreach program led by the college in the Grinnell College Museum of Art March 16, 2023.
(Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Students from Grinnell College Preschool participate in a tour of Devices, Tools, Objects, and Props: Recent Work by Jeremy Chen at GCMoA. Photo by Justin Haworth.


The City of Grinnell, in partnership with RDG Planning & Design, are in the process of creating a Comprehensive Plan.
A comprehensive plan is an essential feature of long-term planning for cities and counties all over the United States. Meetings with community members and the public will be had to gather feedback and will ultimately help create a broad, long-term vision for future land uses and the built environment of Grinnell, eventually leading to the creation of the future land use map which will address the physical elements of Grinnell and create a plan to reference for the next 20 years.
Grinnell’s last Comprehensive Plan update was completed in 2004, so we are right on schedule to complete this next update. It is hopeful that this update will give very specific details on issues that can be improved upon (where specifically those issues are and where any improvements could be located) as well as give guidance in terms of where potential new uses like residential subdivisions, retail spaces, and/or manufacturing facilities would be ideal locations to be developed.
We currently invite anyone interested to participate in a short survey to give feedback on a number of topics specific to Grinnell today. Please utilize the link below to access the survey:

LINK Mentoring is on a Roll


Scroll to the bottom for more pictures and indents.

The Link Mentoring Annual Bowling Event: We’re on a Roll took place on Saturday, April 1. During the bowling event, over 100 bowlers hit the lanes at the Bowladrome in Grinnell.

“This year’s event was a true celebration of mentoring,” says Ashley Grundler, mentor coordinator for LINK Mentoring. “This school year our mentoring program has more than doubled in size, and our annual bowling event was a great time to celebrate this growth.” Grundler adds, “It’s amazing to see all of the businesses, organizations, and individuals who support our program by sponsoring this event, bowling with us, or donating prizes. Seeing so many people gathered in the Bowladrome is so special. We are thankful for all of the support.”

Three bowling sessions were held over the course of the day, and prizes were awarded to the highest scoring team, as well as the highest scoring individual. The highest scoring team from the entire event was also recognized. Various prizes were also given out during the sessions for strikes and gutter balls. A separate Crazy Bowl game was held in between sessions, and winners were entered into a drawing for prizes. There were also door prizes given out during each of the sessions. Prizes were donated by various local businesses.

During the first session, the Grinnell State Bank team took the top prize for highest scoring team with a score of 136.3. The team members were Jessica Dillon, Hannah Gregory, Tammie Gregory, Niesje Licht, and Jamie Murphy. Todd Zell, bowling for the Grinnell Fire Department, received the highest score for an individual with a score of 207.5. Zell was also the overall high scoring individual of the event. There were four bowlers who bowled three strikes in a row (also called a turkey). Those bowlers were Scott Collins, Autumn Flanagan, Josh Jameson, and Todd Zell.

Team Biggest Lebowski was the highest scoring team in the second session with a score of 122.9. Team members were Scott Collings, Lisa Hart, Luke Kotz, Adam Laug, and Rachel Stensrud. Shane Hart, of the Bigger Lebowski team, was the highest scoring individual with a score of 174. Shane Hart, Angela Kennelly, and Gaige Kenoyer took home turkeys.

The winning team of the third session and the overall event was reigning champs Andy’s Auto with a score of 160. Wyatt Crawford, of the Andy’s Auto team, was the top scoring individual with a score of 202. Justin Beach, Laura Manatt, and Olivia Sandquist took home turkeys. Corey Latcham won the Crazy Bowl drawing.

Local businesses that sponsored this year’s event at the platinum level were Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust, GreenState Credit Union, and Grinnell College. Additional event sponsors include Bayer Crop Science, Claude W. & Dolly Arenas Foundation, Inc., Grinnell Herald Register, Grinnell Ministerial Association, and Total Choice Shipping and Printing. The Mayflower Community provided lunch to the bowlers.

Proceeds from the event benefit the local LINK Mentoring program, which matches elementary and middle school students with mentors in their school-based program.

For more information on LINK Mentoring, please email mentoring@linkgrinnell.org or visit www.linkgrinnell.org.

Grinnell State Bank was the top scoring team for the first session. (Pictured L to R: Tammie Gregory, Hannah Gregory, Niesje Licht holding Emma Gregory, Jamie Murphy, and Jessica Dillon)

The highest scoring team of the second session was the Biggest Lebowski. They are pictured with team Bigger Lebowski. (Pictured L to R: Jen Kotz, Luke Kotz, Molly Campe, Adam Laug, Scott Collings, Kara Collings, Shane Hart, Lisa Hart, Rachel Stensrud, and Kevin Stensrud.)

The top scoring team of the third session and overall event was reigning champs Andy’s Auto. (Pictured L to R: Wyatt Crawford, Andy Beach, Karen Moore, Josh Burns, and Justin Beach holding the tournament trophy.)

Our youngest team was a group of GMS 5th grade students. (Pictured L to R: Claire Grundler, Ariana Edsen, and Audrey Norris.)


UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Hosts Blood Drive, April 28


Donations today can save lives tomorrow.

(GRINNELL, Iowa – March 28, 2023) – UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) is partnering with LifeServe Blood Center to host a mobile blood drive on Friday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The LifeServe Bloodmobile will be parked in GRMC’s northeast employee parking lot at the corner of 4th Ave. and Reed St. in Grinnell. To schedule an appointment to donate, please visit donor.lifeservebloodcenter.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/181087.

All donors should be in overall good health and are encouraged to be rested and well-nourished at the time of donation.

  • Appointments are highly encouraged.
  • Blood donors should pre-screen themselves for fever prior to donation appointments.
  • Donors must be at least 16 years or older. If first time donors are 16 or 17 years old they must have a signed LifeServe Blood Center parent/guardian permission form.

Blood donation with LifeServe is a quick and painless process. The entire donation experience only takes about an hour. LifeServe also shares the following perks of giving blood.

  • Save lives – one pint of whole, donated blood can save up to three lives.
  • Mini physical – donors can find out their blood type, blood pressure, pulse, temperature and hemoglobin (iron) levels.
  • Oil change – the body replaces donated blood with fresh blood; consider donating an oil change for your body.

For additional information about LifeServe Blood Centers and donor eligibility, please visit www.lifeservebloodcenter.org.

Grinnell Farmers Market accepting vendors for 2023 season


GRINNELL, IA – The Grinnell Farmers Market has opened its application process for the 2023 season! Market will kick off Thursday, May 11 from 3-6 PM and Saturday, May 13 from 10 AM-Noon and will run until October 19 and 21 at the corner of Fourth Ave & Broad Street, around Central Park.

Vendors interested in participating can choose between Thursdays, Saturdays, or both, as well as full time or part time status. The market is currently seeking food and non-food vendors to participate in the 2023 season, noting that the Grinnell Farmers Market is a 100% producer market. New rules have been enacted at the State level, which will mean some changes to products you may be able to find or sell at this year’s market.

Vendors looking to sell Cottage Foods products must carry insurance, and complete required training. All vendors will be required to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement with the Chamber. All details, rules and regulations can be found at www.grinnellfarmersmarket.com. Printed copies of the application, rules and code of conduct can be picked up at the chamber offices at 833 4th Ave. Questions can be directed to Marissa at Marissa@getintogrinnell.com or 641-236-6555.

A limited number of full time applications will be accepted and applications will close once slots have been filled.Part time applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the market season, though week to week availability of spots may vary.

The 2023 Grinnell Farmers Market is sponsored by the Claude & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell College and UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Businesses interested in sponsoring the market can contact Marissa for more information. For the latest market information, make sure to follow the market on Facebook and Instagram at @grinnellfarmersmarket or sign up for our weekly email newsletter by visiting our website.

About the Grinnell Farmers Market

The Grinnell Farmers Market is a 100% producer grown or made market, meaning that all items for sale must be entirely grown or made by the vendor or immediate family members. All items must be made or grown in Iowa.Vendors are responsible for filing state sales tax permits where applicable. Grinnell Farmers Market is a program of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce.

About the Grinnell Chamber

The Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce is an independent, 501©6 non-profit organization focused on the Grinnell community. The mission of the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce is to advance the economic development, vitality, and growth of the community. For more information on how to join the Chamber or get involved, please visit grinnellchamber.org or call 641-236-6555.

LINK Grinnell Welcomes New Assistant Director and Prepares for Busy Summer

Planning is underway for summer programming that will be offered at LINK. LINK will again offer full day care for registered students over the summer. In preparation for this busy time, LINK has hired a new assistant director, Jordyn Moyes. Moyes will work closely with the executive director, Ashley Risting. Together they will develop curriculum, work one-on-one with students and staff, and continue to grow the LINK programs – Summer, Afterschool, and Mentoring.

Moyes comes to LINK with a wealth of knowledge in the childcare industry. Since 2013, Moyes has been employed by the Grinnell Area Early Learning Center. She began working with the ELC’s summer program, and eventually became a lead teacher at the center. Moyes says, “I’m excited to be able to expand my career to not only be in a classroom setting, but also to take on more of a leadership role within LINK.”

“I’m thrilled to be able to welcome Jordyn to the LINK team,” says Risting. “Jordyn brings with her extensive knowledge, and a nurturing, caring approach to childcare. Our program has seen tremendous growth over the last year, and we anticipate that growth will continue. Jordyn is joining us as we plan for a very busy summer that is quickly approaching.”

Risting is already making plans for daily activities and weekly field trips for the summer program. This year, LINK will partner with the Ahrens Park Foundation to plant and maintain giving gardens, the Drake Community Library for weekly story time, and the Grinnell College Museum of Art for weekly trips to the art gallery. LINK will also take weekly trips to the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center, Grinnell United Methodist Church for cooking lessons, Prairie Fire Gymnastics for open gym time, and so much more.

“Each week of summer will have a theme. All of the activities we do throughout the week, and even our Friday field trips will be tied to this fun and exciting theme,” says Risting. “Well explore STEAM/STEM, history, cooking, animals, art, and we’ll even have a carnival. We will be offering new activities and field trips this summer, so even if your child attended in the past, there will be something new this summer!” Risting adds, “We want to offer amazing experiences for children in our community.”

Families may register for their child to attend beginning on April 1, 2023. The LINK summer program will run Monday, June 5 through Friday, August 11, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Davis Elementary. The cost is $28 per child for full day care on non-field trip days, and $33 per child for full day care on out of town field trip days. Financial assistance is available. Lunch and snacks are provided.

To register or learn more, visit www.linkgrinnell.org or email director@linkgrinnell.org with any questions. LINK is also hiring summer program leaders. If you are interested in working with LINK, please email Risting at the address above.

Grinnell Chamber Ambassadors Visit Smithsonian Exhibit “Observing With Nasa”

Ambassadors got to check out the new Smithsonian exhibit “Observing with NASA” currently being hosted at the Grinnell Area Arts Council today. Grinnell College Director of Outreach Programming and Events and coordinator of Smithsonian exhibits, Sarah Smith, talked about the process of the college becoming an affiliate partner in 2019 (one of the few rural partners in the nation), getting exhibits pre pandemic and how that process works now.
AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member Morgan Niner explained the current exhibit – Observing with NASA. Visitors can use the kiosk to learn more about how NASA colorized photos from space, try their hand at coloring an image and even request one of three telescopes to take a photo of a specific area for you. Images can be emailed to visitors which can then be forwarded to the Office of Community Partnerships and they’ll print it for you at Total Choice, free of charge, to be picked up in May!
The exhibit will be up at the Arts Center through the end of May and is open to the public Tuesday-Friday 11 AM – 5 PM and Saturdays 10 AM – Noon. The next Smithsonian exhibit scheduled will be a brand new exhibit opening early fall and will focus on the history of the Taíno people who are a historic indigenous people of the Caribbean and the first to meet with Christopher Columbus.
Pictured L-R: Monica St. Angelo – Grinnell Area Arts Council, Trent Arment – MCG – Mahaska Communication Group, Lisa Cirks – Cirks Financial Services, Marissa Pronschinske – Grinnell Chamber, Charlie Isaacs – Theisen’s , Hannah Warnell, Iowa Realty, Jeff Finch – Wes Finch Auto Plaza, Edward Jones – Financial Advisor: Hannah Wilson, Dorothy Spriggs – Carriage House Bed & Breakfast, Rachael Kinnick – Grinnell Chamber, Fran Conn, Morgan Niner – Grinnell College, Sarah Smith – Grinnell College, Erin Bustin – Grinnell School of Music, Donnette Ellis – Grinnell College Community Connections, Chris Meyers – Servpro of Ottumwa and Grinnell, Jack Mathews – Our Grinnell, Jennifer McAlexander – JM Consulting / Hawkeye Lock & Security, Mike Olson – Lincoln Savings Bank

Norris Hall renovation project wins Master Builders of IowaMasters Award

Norris Hall lounges (Photo by Haileigh Steffen ’26/Grinnell College)

The Norris Hall renovation project, completed in the fall of 2022, has won the Masters Award at this year’s Master Builders of Iowa winter conference held Feb. 28 through Mar. 1.

The Masters Award is given annually in recognition of “exceptional efforts of a construction team in executing the process of completing a project,” according to MBI’s webpage. The award is presented in three different cost categories, with the Norris project falling in the “$10 million to $25 million” range.

The Norris Hall renovation project was a collaboration between Grinnell College, the Weitz Company, CPMI, and OPN Architects. Among the many alterations to Norris included the addition of new windows, a newly designed kitchen and lounge spaces. As well as new ADA rooms and adding an elevator to make the building accessible for all.

Rick Whitney, assistant vice president for Facilities Management, is grateful for the acknowledgement that the Norris project is receiving.

“After seeing the hard work that all of the collaborating teams put into this project last summer, it is great that everyone involved is getting well-deserved recognition,” Whitney said. “Ultimately, we are most thankful that the renovations have made Norris a more comfortable and accessible space for students.”

About Master Builders of Iowa

Master Builders of Iowa is the recognized leader of the construction industry in the state of Iowa. Founded in 1912, MBI is one of 89 chapters of the Associated General Contractors of America, the most influential and widely respected construction association in the country. MBI’s members perform the majority of the state’s commercial, industrial, and public works building projects. The association provides its members with a comprehensive array of educational, safety, environmental, labor, legal, professional development, and legislative services.

Norris Hall lounges
(Photo by Haileigh Steffen ’26/Grinnell
Norris Hall lounges
(Photo by Haileigh Steffen ’26/Grinnell

Students studying in the newly renovated Norris Hall Lounge Spaces Photos by Haileigh Steffen ’26


Prairie Canary Underground Speakeasy Celebrates Ribbon Cutting

Ambassadors visited the Canary Underground Speakeasy today. Located in the lower level of Prairie Canary, the space has hosted a number of events and concepts over the years. Owners Paul & Kalyn Durr started to develop the idea of a speakeasy during their travels pre-pandemic but held off on updating the space until the pandemic subsided. The timing was finally right to reopen the lower level and launch the new concept in December of 2022.
Kalyn discussed the blended concept of a fancy cocktail bar with the unique features of the space and felt the theme of a 1920’s speakeasy was a perfect middle ground. The space features a custom drink menu with handcrafted cocktails, mocktails and small bites you won’t find on Prairie’s regular menu. They have a large bourbon and scotch selection and a number of your favorite whiskeys, vodkas and tequilas available.
The space also hosts a separate banquet room that seats 40 people and can be reserved alone or with the speakeasy for special events. The speakeasy is open Wednesday – Saturday 6 PM til late. Wednesday night is Student Night, Thursday night is Educators’ Night, Friday has an early happy hour and Saturday has a late happy hour. Find the code to get in the door on their Facebook or Instagram page or on their website where you can also find a full menu of offerings: canaryspeakeasy.com
Pictured, Back L-R: Mike Jay – Advantage Seamless Gutters Iowa, Donna Fischer – UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Lori Vos – Loralei’s Giftshoppe & Village Decorating Studio, Trent Arment – MCG – Mahaska Communication Group, Charlie Issacs – Theisen’s, Keith Jay – Advantage Seamless Gutters, Kent Reed – American Brawn Charity, Jeff Finch – Wes Finch Auto Plaza, Nathan Beck – Community 1st Credit Union, Chris Meyers – Servpro of Ottumwa and Grinnell
Front L-R: Sarah Smith – Grinnell College, Hannah Warnell, Iowa Realty, Edward Jones – Financial Advisor: Hannah Wilson, Lisa Cirks – Cirks Financial Services, Rachael Kinnick – Grinnell Chamber, Kalyn & Paul Durr – Prairie Canary/Canary Underground, Donnette Ellis – Grinnell College Community Connections, Madilyn Smith – B3 Technology, Whitney Bair Crawford, Agent with New York Life, Briana Gaunt – Community 1st Credit Union, Shannon Redding – Prairie Canary, Marissa Pronschinske – Grinnell Chamber, Erin Bustin – Studio E Grinnell

Central Park All-Inclusive Playground Initiative


The City of Grinnell and its Parks & Recreation board are planning an extension of all-inclusive playground equipment onto the Central Park playground. Fundraising efforts have begun to build a play area to the south of the existing playground. This extension will allow all children, regardless of abilities, to play together freely. The proposed design will include sensory-rich components throughout. It will allow all children to play without the help of their parent/guardian to access the equipment. The six proposed new features will have interactive capabilities including a large arch feature that mobile app users can use to play hundreds of different games to improve motor and cognitive skills. This feature would only be the third one of its kind in the state of Iowa.  

Through our research, we have found over 11% of children locally have a disability of some kind. Although the city’s traditional playground equipment is considered accessible by ADA standards, not all children have the same opportunities to play in the same play spaces. This extension to the Central Park playground will add a space where everyone can play while enhancing the jewel park of the city’s park system. In conversations with community members who have personal experience with children that have a disability, it was conveyed that families with a child who has special needs seek out all-inclusive playgrounds. Over the last decade, as playground manufacturers have evolved their product, a focus on inclusive play equipment has popularized.

The initiative has collected $200,000 in funding and private gifts, which are either pledged or in hand, of the $300,000 estimated project budget. The goal to install the playground would be the spring of 2024. Once it is built, the Central Park all-inclusive playground will serve the youth of Grinnell and the surrounding communities and allow all children, regardless of ability, a play space to learn and play freely together.

Those interested in learning more about the Central Park All-inclusive Playground can contact Grinnell Parks & Recreation Director, Jordan Allsup at 641-236-2620 or at jallsup@grinnelliowa.gov.