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BRIDGES Bringing People Together

All Together Now

Clinton High School alumni will gather IRUĂ€UVWDOOFODVVUHXQLRQ$XJ

Going Green

Clinton Trees Forever dedicated to beautifying city with trees, landscaping

Fall 2013



et us spoil you with fresh cookies and complimentary breakfast as well as high speed Internet access and a team who will welcome you like a family. And we’ll make you feel right at home with a special rate and other fun surprises available for a limited time. Visit and see why we’ll have you saying, “I love this Country.” Read It & Return Lending Library™ • Fitness center • Business center • Gold Point®

I Love This Country.® 2224 Lincolnway Clinton, IA 52732 800-456-4000 • 563-244-9922 2012 Presidential Award Winner

contents 5 All Together Now

Clinton High School alumni will gather for ďŹ rst all-class reunion Aug. 30

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Bluegrass Photo Page

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Fourth of July Photo Page

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Hog Rally Photo Page


Blessings for All Photo Page

NiĂąa & Pinta Photo Page Peace Be Still Sisters of St. Francis promote peacemaking, learning to live in concert with our world and the people in it

Going Green Clinton Trees Forever dedicated to beautifying city with trees, landscaping

A Place for All Fulton expanding realm of services offered at former senior center

Welcome to the fall 2013 edition of Bridges magazine! It’s been a busy time in the Gateway area, with a lot of great things happening. In this edition, we will show you the work that is being done by the Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton; the new programs that will be offered at the former senior center in Fulton, Ill.; and the history of projects completed throughout the years by Clinton Trees Forever. Also featured is the Clinton High School all-class reunion and the high school’s new Hall of Fame that honors athletes, coaches and other people important to the sports program. This edition also has photo pages featuring the Clinton Fourth of July festival, the Harley Owners Group rally that met in Clinton this summer, a visit from replica ships the Nina and Pinta and Fulton’s bluegrass festival. Enjoy! Charlene Bielema Bridges editor

Do you have an idea for future stories for Bridges? We’re always looking for good ideas of people and places to feature. If you have a suggestion, give us a call at (563)242-7142, ext. 155, or e-mail to

Fall 2013

Vol. 6 Issue 3 Editor Charlene Bielema Associate Editor Scott Levine

Contributing Writers Charlene Bielema Katie Dahlstrom Amy Kent Scott Levine Samantha Pidde Page Designer Shanelle Jackson Jeff Hake Advertising Sales Kathy Huizenga Nichole Kulas Kindra Pedersen Nick Teachout Kevin Temperly Advertising Designers

BRIDGES MAGAZINE is a FREE publication of the

Leah Boutwell Jeff Hake Anna Iverson Shanelle Jackson John Rose Sarah Thomas Laura Von Thun Brad Weltzin









849 13th Avenue North | Clinton, IA 52732 Also visit The Alverno on Facebook.


All Together Now Clinton High School alumni will gather for first all-class reunion August 30th

By Katie Dahlstrom Bridges Staff Writer CLINTON — This fall every class that has walked the halls of Clinton High School will converge on Clinton to reminisce and celebrate at the first all-class reunion.

The all-class reunion will be Friday, August 30th, in time for Clinton High alumni to watch as the first class of the CHS Hall of Fame is inducted. Reunion organizers Jeanette Petersen and Bruce Kamer toyed with the idea of a reunion in which members of all CHS classes could coalesce. It was inspired by Lyons High School, which already hosts a similar gathering. The idea didn’t come to fruition until it was announced that outstanding individuals from CHS history would be recognized this fall.  “Bruce Kamer and I had talked about an all-class reunion before, but we weren’t ready for it. When I learned about the Hall of Fame, I called him and said, ‘maybe now’s the time.’” said Petersen, who graduated in 1953.

Kamer noted the need to host the reunion as time pulls CHS graduates farther from the day they were handed their diplomas. “None of us are getting any younger,” the class of ‘58 alum said. “We all change in some manner or another; you just never know.”  The ceremony is set to take place during the first football game of the year when the new field turf also will make its debut. All classes are invited to attend that game. 

On Sunday, Sept. 1, classes will have dinner together at Vista Grande. Classes from 1940 to 1975 will meet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with dinner served at noon. The evening get together will unite the classes from 1976 to 2013 from 6 to 10 p.m. The first 600 people for each event will receive an identification pin to wear at the event. Bringing together every Clinton High School class

6 Photos: Left: Jeanette Peterson, organizer of the Clinton High School all-class reunion, contemplates a pin she designed for reunion attendees. Below: &OLQWRQ+LJK6FKRRO¶VUHQRYDWHGIRRWEDOO¿HOGZLWK¿HOGWXUIWKDWERGO\ GLVSOD\VWKHWHDP¶VFRORUDQGWRZQQDPH Photos by Katie Dahlstrom

since 1940 entails more than a mass text, e-mail or Facebook message. Petersen sent a letter to one person from every class to ask if they would notify the rest of their class of the reunion. “Most classes were around 200 until the ‘70s the classes were 400, but trying to find everybody is not easy,” Petersen said. “I’d say most classes probably sent out close to 100.”

Some CHS classmates’ lives have carried them to faraway places, including Charles Hall of the class of 1955, who is coming from Pasco, Wash,Virginia Brown Watts, a 1949 graduate, from Bellflower, Calif.; and 1946 graduate Bernie Oyaas from Hickory, N.C.. Many also will come from Clinton, such as Pat Schmitz, a 1946 Clinton High graduate.

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“I think it would be fun to see people from other classes and to reconnect with people from high school,” Schmitz said. “The older I get the more I want to catch up with people and see how they’re doing and what’s going on in their lives.” Petersen would like the all-class reunion to become an annual tradition that takes place when each new class is inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame. While many classes get together every five years, the all-class reunion

creates a time when people who might not have received diplomas together can trade stories and revel in nostalgia over their days as a CHS student. “It’s fun to see everybody from the kids who were older than you to the kids who were younger than you and just get together,” Petersen said. “It will be nice to see people who were seniors when we were freshmen. It’s just a fun time and I hope people have enough fun that they want to come back next year.” Q


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Clinton Herald staff have been busy this summer working on a book that features outstanding local athletes through the years. The book, “Decades Featuring High School Athletic Achievements of Clinton, Camanche, Fulton and Prince of Peace Students,” covers athletes and teams from Clinton, Prince of Peace, Camanche and Fulton high schools, ranging from the days of Duke Slater to today. Athletes through decades are profiled and have been split into groups – 1960s and before, 1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s. Individual athletes will be featured as well as sports teams and dynasties and interesting side notes about athletes and sports in our area throughout the century. The book costs $20 and can be purchased through the Clinton Herald.






1. Frank F. Sidney’s Western Bandit Volunteers front man Cory “Cow” Weisenberger leads a sing along at the Bluegrass Festival in Fulton in June. Other band members include Casey Robbins, Pat Parish and Nathan Anderson. 2. The crowd fills in to watch the Ryan Getz Band at the first Bluegrass Festival at Heritage Canyon in Fulton.


3. Ray Rose rehearses a song at the Bluegrass Festival in Fulton.





4.The Ryan Getz Band performs at the first Bluegrass Festival at Heritage Canyon in Fulton. From left: Riley Schultz, Ryan Getz and Scott Rische. 5. Dirt Simple plays a set with special guest Ray Rose on guitar at the first Bluegrass Festival in Fulton. From left: Forrest Rische, Kendra Swanson, Ray Rose and Marques Morel. 6. Marques Morel of Dirt Simple tunes up his guitar before performing at the first Bluegrass Festival in Fulton.

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7. Dirt Simple members Kendra Swanson and Marques Morel play a set at the first Bluegrass Festival. 8. All the bands join together to close out the first Bluegrass Festival at Heritage Canyon.

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9. The Wise Apple Riders play a set at the first Bluegrass Festival at Heritage Canyon in Fulton. From left: Tim Mussman, Mark Mussman, Chris Mussman and Bob Whitten. 10. Frank F. Sidney’s Western Bandit Volunteers performs a set at the first Bluegrass Festival in Fulton. From left: Neal Minella, Casey Robbins, Pat Parish, Cory “Cow” Weisenberger, Nathan Anderson and Lacey Rosenberry.

Photos by Amy Kent

A D A Y 1. The Columbus replica ship the Pinta docks at the Clinton Marina, offering self-guided tours on the “Sailing Museum.�

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2. Nikolas Kodros, on board the Nina, prepares to tie the ship off on the dock at the Clinton Marina. 3. A crowd gathers in the Candlelight parking lot to watch as the Nina docks at the Clinton Marina for a three day stay in port.




4. A life-preserver on the Pinta is one of few modern features the ship offers. It is said to be one of the most accurate replica ships in the world. 5. Crews load supplies onto the Pinta during their three-day stop-over at the Clinton Marina.


6. The large mast of the Pinta displays the intricacies involved with sailing the replica ship the length of the Mississippi. 7. Large ropes on the Pinta are used to secure the ship to the dock while in port at the Clinton Marina.

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8. The tiller connected to the rudder, seen here on the Pinta, was once used by early explorers to help steer the ship during long journeys out to sea.

Photos by Amy Kent



Peace Be Still Sisters of St. Francis promote peacemaking, learning to live in concert with our world and the people in it By Katie Dahlstrom Bridges Staff Writer CLINTON — Practicing non-violence doesn’t mean being passive. In fact, it’s quite the opposite for the Sisters of St. Francis, who make a concerted effort to bring change and inspire others to positively impact their world. The Sisters of St. Francis spread their message of change and compassion through the Center for Active Non-violence and Peacemaking, which was first conceived in the 1980s. “The sisters have since that time been developing our own understanding of active non-violence and peace-making. Active non-violence is an old term that peacemakers have used. Martin Luther King, Gandhi,” Sister Anne Martin Phelan said. “The ideas developed and became part of our spirit, our charisma, since that time.”  In 2000, they decided to have a center. It wasn’t until 2008 that the leadership created the center as a means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with

the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the earth. This year the center chose to focus on immigration reform, care for creation and human trafficking, sexual assault and domestic violence. “There are so many problems in the world that need to be fixed. So instead of try to do everything poorly, we’re going to try to concentrate on a few issues and try to do them the best we can,” Laura Anderson said. “We decided to focus on things that are urgent in the world right now.” The center has been run by three co-coordinators: Laura Anderson, Lori Freudenburg and formerly Sallyann McCarthy, who had to step out of her role for personal reasons, and died in August. Freudenberg was hired this summer after serving with the Clinton YWCA for more than 13 years, most recently as the executive director.

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We Clinton Franciscans, in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, are called to contemplation and continuous conversion and are sent as instruments of God’s peace. We promote active nonviolence and peacemaking, seek justice for those marginalized and care for all creation. “I’m very excited for the possibilities,� Freudenberg said. “I’m excited to be a part of a strong group of women who aren’t afraid to speak out against the injustices of the world.� Sister Nancy J. Miller started this month as the new coordinator of Franciscan Spirituality. Sister Nancy is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque. She holds a Master’s degree in Franciscan Spirituality from St. Bonaventure University. Most recently she has served as the Director of Adult Faith Formation for St. Anthony’s Parish in Dubuque. While a majority of the Clinton Franciscans are in Clinton, they also live in places across the United States such as Indiana and Missouri. “Although we are mostly located here, there are sisters and associates located in many parts of the country. They are also part of the center. Wherever they are living, they all are a part of the

center,� Anderson said. “All Clinton Franciscans are advocating for the same work wherever they are.� To spread their message, they have shown films,




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given lectures, organized visits with elected officials and collaborated with other like-minded groups such as the Clinton Peace Coalition, the Fair and Responsible Gun Ownership group, the Vince Jetter Community Center and the YWCA to name a few. “To put it simply, the work of the center is to take those rather high-sounding statements and to help ordinary people understand the world and what they can do to make the world better. To help people to feel like they have some control over those things,” Phelan said. “It  takes something to help people feel like they can do something. Otherwise, they just feel like ‘Oh, I’ll go on and raise my family and do the best I can.’” The sisters have recently partnered with Community Health Care, Inc. to bring a health clinic to Clinton that is designed to assist-low income individuals. Clinton’s community garden also was born of the sisters’ mission to show people a way to care for the Earth and to understand how interconnected human life is with the Earth. They have spearheaded “Sustainable Clinton” as a way for residents to learn about and work on issues relating to care for creation. Through this initiative they have presented a number of program on topics such as local foods, greening

your wardrobe and urban sprawl. “We want to show people that humans and the Earth are interconnected. When trees hurt, we hurt,” Phelan said. The Center also celebrates the International Day of Peace, the UN Flag Day, Feast of St. Francis and several other peace-boosting events. They disseminate information through a weekly e-mail blast called the “Action Alert Digest.” This e-mail informs hundreds of subscribers of issues relating to the Clinton Fransiscan focus. Center officials hope all of their work will culminate in change. “We all have choices to make in our day-to-day living and it’s our hope that we can educate people to make choices that are for example, less harmful to the Earth and will help promote a non-violent way of communicating with each other,” Anderson said. “We hope we can help residents understand and appreciate the diversity in our society so that they are more welcoming to our brothers and sisters everywhere, including immigrants who have come here seeking a better life.” Q


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The town of Clinton gathered at Riverview Park on Thursday, July 4th for the Fourth of July Festival. IN THESE PHOTOS: 1. The trophy for the firefighter water wars event at the Clinton Fourth of July Festival stands strong on the hot summer day. 2. Olivia Veenstra waits patiently for walkers at the Fourth of July Parade to throw candy her way. 3. Employees of the Clinton Fire Department lead the parade at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 4. Emma Near paints the face of Shayna Nettles at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 5. Laurae Near paints the face of Callina Manning at the Clinton Fourth of July Festival. 6. Mike Pickney (left), Bruce Bowman, and Mitch Evans sing the National Anthem at the Clinton Lumberkings game on the fourth of July. 7. Jayden Rector enjoys his snow cone at the hot Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 8. Members of the Clinton High School Drumline play a beat for patrons at the Clinton Fourth of July parade. 9. John Clausen raises his trophy after defeating Jacob Judd (left), Clark Rutledge and Braxtin Chesmore in the hot dog eating contest at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton.

Photos by Amy Kent

10. Shocko the Clown shows off his skills during the Fourth of July parade in Clinton. 11. Quad Cities Skydiver Keith Paulsen soars into Ashford University Field wielding the American Flag during the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 12. Louie the Lumberking and his buddy Shocko the Clown get ready for skydivers to drop in to Ashford University Field during the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton.


13. Adam Usmanov enjoys a turn on a giant inflatable slide at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 14. Dianna Ryner forms a flower made of balloons for Maddison Burman at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 15. A Low Moor Lions club member hands out candy to a group of kids at the Clinton Fourth of July Parade.


16. The Slough Buoys play some tunes for guests at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 17. Rebecca Ream of the LeClaire Fire Department leads the hose during the firefighters water fight at the Fourth of July Festival in Clinton. 18. A float from The Painted Rooster leads the float portion of the Fourth of July Parade in Clinton.

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Going Green Clinton Trees Forever dedicated to beautifying city with trees, landscaping

By Samantha Pidde Bridges Staff Writer CLINTON - When you drive or walk around Clinton, you can see a variety of trees standing tall. In a large percentage of these areas, Clinton Trees Forever had a hand in the planting of those trees. Since its creation in 1990, the organization has completed 72 projects and planted thousands of trees. The group originally was named Clinton Partners in Planting, but in 1991 it was changed to Clinton Trees Forever and became affiliated with Trees Forever, based in Marion. Each year groups of people can be seen at area schools, Clinton’s Pocket Park and along the city’s streets and  avenues, planting and maintaining trees and other vegetation. Vice President

Sister Mary Ann Phelan pointed out that only a fraction of these workers are typically Trees Forever members. “If we’re planting at a school, we involve the students. If we are planting at a church, we involve the parishioners. If we are planting at a park we involve the neighbors. If we are planting near an industry, we involve the workers,” Phelan said. President John Mulholland agreed with Phelan that these projects really are a community effort and a great deal of volunteers come out of the community to help. One recent instance of community involvement Photo: Above: Member of Trees forever stand along Fifth Avenue South where they have planted a large quantity of elms. Pictured are: Front: Sister Mary Ann Phelan (left), John Mulholland, Carolyn Tallett, Anita Abbott, Wayne Kubert and Carol Carlson. Back: Randy Pennock (left), Greg Dickenson, Lee McClure, Terry Vicks, Jim Haring and Nora Knight. Photo by Samantha Pidde

Photos: Left: )UHHWUHHVDUHJLYHQWRDUHD third-grade students as part of the DQQXDO7UHHV)RUHYHUWKLUGJUDGH SURMHFW6WXGHQWVOLQHXSWRSRWWKHLU trees and learn about caring for them. Submitted Photo

Below: Clinton third-graders learn about tree planting and maintenance WKURXJKWKH7UHHV)RUHYHUSURMHFW (DFKVWXGHQWLVJLYHQDWUHHWRSODQW Submitted Photo

was an April project at the fourth Arch house. Clinton Trees Forever planted 35 different shrubs and trees and landscaped the yard of the house, instructing the residents on maintenance. Clinton Trees Forever became involved in the project through Phelan, a nun with the Sisters of St. Francis. The sisterhood has been involved with the Arch for years, with Sister Maria Zeimen serving as interim director for the organization. “So Maria, when she needed help with trees, came to me saying, ‘Can I talk to your group about trees in our new home, in Arch four,’” Phelan said. The residents watched the group during the planting, rolling up their own sleeves and helping where they could. “The residents were extremely pleased and proud of the work that they had helped do,” Mulholland said. While Clinton Trees Forever will start a new project now and again, most of its projects have continued

for years, Phelan said. Some of these programs have continued for five, 10 or almost 20 years. “There’s one project that stands out above the rest and that is our thirdgrade project,” Phelan said. Since 1994, Clinton Trees Forever has visited third-grade classrooms in both the Clinton School District and Prince of Peace schools. Each student receives a seedling to plant. “They can take that tree home and plant it at home or give it to their grandparents...or they can give it to anybody else and see that it is planted and cared for,” Phelan said. An instructor comes into the class to discuss the planting and care of trees and helps them pot their seedlings. Each student receives a tree book as well. “And the whole goal is to educate them about trees, the importance of trees, how to maintain the trees and to discourage any vandalism,” Clinton Trees Forever Member Randy Pennock said. “They figure it’s their project and they’re proud of it,” Mulholland




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added. Member Wayne Kubert’s favorite project the group took part in was planting elms along Fifth Avenue South. During the late 1800s, this avenue was known as the avenue of the elms, until disease killed most of them in that area. In celebration of Clinton’s sesquicentennial in 2005, the group planted 150 elms on the avenue. This canopy extends from South Fourth Street to Bluff

Boulevard. Pennock said they have really filled out in the past eight years. The group continues upkeep at the Freedom Tree site, created in observance of the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Ceremonies have been held in 2002, 2006 and 2011 in memory of those who died. Mulholland estimated that several hundred people attend these events. “I just think it’s a beautiful location and an honor to the 9/11 victims,� Mulholland said. Funding from Alliant Energy and Clinton County Development Association grants allow Trees Forever to plant trees throughout the community. Volunteers landscaped various Clinton school buildings and the Sawmill Museum location. This year, the group planted rows of trees at the new wastewater treatment plant. Each year, Clinton Trees Forever pairs with Clinton Community College, Bickelhaupt Arboretum and Clinton County Master Gardeners for the Horticulture in the Heartland event. This one-day conference offers a variety of class sessions on topics ranging from growing prize pumpkins to how plants adapt to a climate and to birds of prey in the Midwest. “Our goal is not only to plant and maintain, it’s a lot


“Serving The Community For Over 50 Years!�


about education on the importance of trees,� Pennock said. Clinton residents also have a chance to add more vegetation to their own yards through the group’s residential tree planting program. Funded by Alliant Energy, Clinton Trees Forever offers a selection of trees to residents with the individual and the organization each paying half of the tree’s cost. Clinton Trees Forever members will even offer assistance in planting for an additional fee. Clinton Trees Forever is looking ahead at new projects. The group will be landscaping at the new middle school. The group has also discussed proposals on replacing any dead or dying trees on Lincoln Way and near Liberty Square. Phelan is happy to be a part of

Clinton Trees Forever. Even growing up in a rural area, she had never been in a group where everyone talks about trees all of the time. “That’s all we talk about practically,� Phelan said. “Many of the members have been together for years and years, just talking trees.� The group meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at The Canticle. At each meeting, someone stands up and gives a report on their favorite tree. “The members are diversified and very dedicated to trees,� Phelan said. The organization is open to anyone in Clinton who has a love or interest in trees. “And we sure could use some more help,� Mulholland said. Q



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1. Scott and Lori Fuller prepare their granddaughter, Brooke Fuller, 2, for a ride in the side car of their Harley. The Clinton residents were among the hundreds of Harley owners who came to Legend’s in June for the closing ceremony of the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally. 2. Harley owners gathered at Legend’s to celebrate their weekend during the closing ceremony of the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally.



3. The first Harley owners cruise down Fourth Street sporting the American flag as part of the parade for the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally.


4. Hundreds of Harley riders landed at Legend’s for the closing ceremony of the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally. 5. Harley riders landed at Legend’s for the closing ceremony of the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally.


6. Tim Caffrey and Ashton Fuller, of Clinton, are ready to roll after the closing ceremony of the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally at Legend’s. 7. Harley owners gathered at Legend’s night to celebrate their weekend during the closing ceremony of the 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally. 8. The 2013 Iowa State Harley Owners Group Rally attendees roll down Fourth Street during the Harley parade.

Photos by Katie Dahlstrom


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Fulton expanding realm of services offered at former senior center By Amy Kent Bridges Staff Writer FULTON, Ill. — For almost five years the city of Fulton has worked to establish an activities center for its close-knit community. It would be a place where seniors can gather, have lunch and discuss life with their peers; a safe place for kids and teens to enjoy good wholesome fun; and a center the community can be proud of. Utilizing the options already available to them, the

city of Fulton is expanding the former fire department building and River Bend Senior Center into a whole new community gathering space. The Robert Fulton Community Center, taking its name from the previous RBSC and the Robert Fulton Commons, is now in the hands of a city-appointed steering committee whose members are confident about the future of the center. “We’ve done a lot more branding to say this is a place for the community, not only seniors,” City Administrator Randy Balk said. “Our goal is just to be

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available (to the community) with a myriad of services.� Those services include many that community members have come to know and love, and a variety of new ideas that could be offered at the center in the not-so-distant future. One thing that will always be available at the Robert Fulton Community Center is the community meal program prepared by Elsie Foster. Foster took the position as head cook at the center in November 2012 after retiring from Mercy South Hospital as the nutrition supervisor. Soon after, her Friday afternoon meals started to garner the attention of locals, bringing 30 to 40 people every Photos: Top-Right: 0DUJH%LHOHPD OHIW +DUU\ 6FKDYHU-XG\6FKDYHU%RE)RVWHU DQG6DQG\)RVWHUHQMR\HDFKRWKHUœV FRPSDQ\DVZHOODVDPHDOSUHSDUHGE\ 5REHUW)XOWRQ&RPPXQLW\&HQWHUFRRN (OVLH)RVWHU/XQFKHVDUHSURYLGHG ZHHNO\RQ:HGQHVGD\VDQG)ULGD\VDW WKHFRPPXQLW\FHQWHU Bottom-Right: .HQ+XL]HQJD OHIW  $OIUHG1RUPDQ5D\'\NVWUD*DU\ '\NVWUD0DUY+XL]HQJDDQG.HQ )DQGHUFODLHQMR\WKHLUDIWHUQRRQOXQFK ZLWKWKHER\VDWWKH5REHUW)XOWRQ &RPPXQLW\&HQWHU Photos by Amy Kent

week to see what she had cooking up. Now, those regular diners are happy to see Foster is continuing her work at the community center as head cook and ambassador, but hope that the name of the building is the only thing changing. “I’ve talked to quite a few of the regulars and they just hope everything continues,� Foster said. According to Balk and RFCC Interim Manager Linda Hollis, the steering committee has no intention to change or remove anything already offered at the center, but to expand and offer new services. “The community meal program is just a piece of the pie,� Balk said. “It can only go up from here.� One of the new features the steering committee is aiming toward is making the center a heating and cooling area and, if needed, a disaster relief center. In order for the RFCC to be used

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for disaster relief, the steering committee must purchase an industrial generator in case of a storm-caused power outage. “City council approved the purchase of the generator so now we can make the steps forward to becoming a heating, cooling and disaster relief center,� Hollis said. The biggest marketing effort, besides the future addition of a new LED sign, to bring attention to the center has been to get the word out that it is still open and that it is no longer just for seniors. “People just think it is a senior center but it isn’t. It is a community center and anyone is welcome,� Foster said. There will still be regular visits from the Red Cross and Whiteside HomeCare but Hollis, Balk and Foster hope to also expand programs to reach out to a younger demographic. “(We need) more programs geared toward kids and teens. We could have the center open at night and host a teen night once a week,� Foster said. Foster’s right-hand man and fellow ambassador, Denny Becker, supports all of the ideas the steering committee has brought up but feels when more people start to utilize the center, the community will need to come together in full support. “Fulton is one of the best towns to offer volunteers, but we need more to come help,� Becker said. “People

don’t realize how many volunteers we need to run this community.� Becker has been with the center since its inception four years ago through a program called Experience Works, which provides training, employment and community service opportunities to seniors. He works with Foster to serve meals, does maintenance work and cleaning for the center, trains elderly people on ITAC telephones and will soon be training other ambassadors like himself. He has seen a lot of changes in his time at the center, some good and some not as good, but continues to provide his time and effort to supporting the cause. “We’ve tried a few things that have worked and some that haven’t,� Becker said. “I hope some of those old programs would kind of come back to life.� Foster agrees that she would like to see some of the old programs come back, but feels organizing new programs would better benefit the community. “I would like to see a summer time meal program for kids. I think that would be a great program to add,� Foster said. Balk and Hollis feel confident about the future of the center because of the support they have seen from the employees and volunteers. “Just in the last two weeks I have gotten to know Denny, and


“We’ve done a lot more branding to say this is a place for the community, not only seniors�


he is the perfect example of an ambassador,� Hollis said. “We are blessed to have him involved,� added Balk. With committed employees and a strong volunteer base supporting the efforts of the RFCC, all of

those involved feel the community will soon have a center to truly be proud of. “I would like to see this be a part of the hub,� Becker said. “And I think we can have that.� Q

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Bridges Magazine - Fall 2013  

Bring People Together. A publications of the Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa.