Staff photos/Erin Duerr
Groups enjoy Bayliss Park in downtown Council Bluffs on a pleasant Saturday afternoon.
Recreation options expanded over the years Property additions, renovations abound TIM ROHWER TROHWER@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
A neighborhood park, a tall bluff, green space along the Missouri River. Those are just some of additional property the Council Bluffs Parks, Recreation and Public Property Department has acquired in the last 10 years to expand the recreational options for
the growing community. “Currently, the number of acres that fall within the department’s responsibility is 1,345,” said Director Larry Foster. Overall, his department maintains 27 traditional parks, not to mention some 40 miles of walking/biking trails, streetscape areas and public properties. “In the past five years, we’ve added a neighborhood park, we’re expanding a community park and have acquired a regional park,” Foster said. The neighborhood park he was referring to is Trolley Park, covering 2.5 acres at North 28th Street and
Avenue B. It offers a basketball court, picnic area, playgrounds and a small skateboard area in a heavily residential part of the community that longed for such a place for years. It was named for an old trolley barn that served the community for decades, but was also long vacant after that. Valley View Park, 1598 Franklin Ave., has been increased by nearly 35 acres becoming a community park and featuring baseball and softball diamonds, playgrounds, picnic tables, soccer and tennis areas, and more. The top project of the last five years, however, has been
the renovation of some 100 acres of underused riverfront land into a regional park. River’s Edge Park along the Missouri River across from downtown Omaha is under construction and will feature a Great Lawn offering some 6 acres of relaxation and concert performances. Rows of trees are being planted on both sides of this area to add even more beauty. The south grove of trees will feature honey locust trees that offer a nice combination of both shade and sunlight, Foster said. About 99 trees will be planted on this grove. Meanwhile, the north grove will have 120 trees of different
varieties like maples, oaks, yellowwoods and sycamores. “The north grove is about color,” Foster said. “And, every tree was individually selected.” Around the entire park, 342 trees native to this area will be planted, along with smaller trees totaling between 1,000 and 1,200, he said. Prior to these acquisitions, going back 10 years, the city acquired 5 acres of land for trails to the Valley View Park and 37 acres to create the Vincent Bluff Nature Preserve, Foster said. But, it’s more than just acquiring underused land for new uses.
In recent years, there’s been renovation in what is now called Bahnsen Park, 1720 Ave. L, named after local resident and former baseball player Stan Bahnsen. And, of course, there has been the major renovation in Bayliss Park, including a new fountain and stage area. So what’s ahead? According to Foster, the city plans to review and possibly update a 10-year-old parks master plan in the next few months in conjunction with a study by the Iowa West Foundation on park needs for all of Pottawattamie County, including Council Bluffs.
Left, famililes and wildlife enjoy Big Lake on a spring afternoon in May. Right, a family of geese feed around Big Lake. Big Lake is one of 27 traditional parks maintained by the Council Bluffs Parks, Recreation and Public Property Department.
PERSPECTIVES OF SERVICE
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The Daily Nonpareil
Community benefits from Impact CB TIM ROHWER TROHWER@NONPAREILONLIINE.COM
They’re making a positive impact in Council Bluffs. Some of the city’s younger leaders have gathered together to participate in functions that benefit the community. The functions also serve as a way for them to meet like-minded people and create long-lasting friendships. Impact CB targets influential people ages 20 to 40 offering social networking and a way to partner with nonprofits to make positive changes in the community, according to Jay Kathol, a member. “We partner up with, for example, the Fire Department, the Bluffs Arts Council and Jennie Edmundson,” he said. Formed in 2006, there are about125 members who come from all kinds of careers, white-collar executives to blue collar tradesmen. A 10-member board oversees the group. Two City Council members, Nate Watson and Melissa Head, are on the board. The list of activities the group has participated in over these years is impressive. Last November, Impact CB sponsored a concert fundraiser for the local YMCA. Their positive efforts have been felt at the annual Jennie Edmundson Foundation Spirit of Courage celebration that not only honors those winning the battle File photos
Above, Impact CB helps organize events like Savor the Flavor, which showcases craft beer, gourmet food, and local artists and musicians. Treynor photographer Michael D. Sherer, right, looks on as people look at displays during the January Savor the Flavor. The next Savor the Flavor is right around the corner – Saturday, June 2. Left, board members for Impact CB don pink shirts as they gather for their annual fundraiser to help fight breast cancer at Barley’s last year. Impact CB targets influential people ages 20 to 40 offering social networking and a way to partner with nonprofits to make positive changes in the community, according to Jay Kathol, a member. against cancer, but also raises funds to help patients deal with cancer treatment costs. The members also helped organized Savor the Flavor that showcases craft beer, gourmet food, and local artists and musicians. The next Savor the Flavor is Saturday, June, 2, from 4 to 8 p.m. on the 100 block of West Broadway.
A frequent event is Eggs ‘N Issues that encourages the public to a breakfast speech dealing with current issues. Fundraising efforts for a larger YMCA were introduced at such a meeting. Last October, the members sponsored a meetand-greet breakfast for City Council candidates. It’s not all work and no play,
Nun like thee, Sister Mary TIM JOHNSON TJOHNSON@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
A lot of people begin careers as volunteers after they retire. Sister Mary Rosalima Wilkinson graduated from education to retail sales. The retired Sister of Mercy teacher volunteers at the Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Gift Shop. She opens the shop every Friday morning and minds the store until noon, when another volunteer arrives. Wilkinson also helps out during sales and other busy times, keeping track of the money and, of course, taking care of the customers. She enjoys the experience. “I love it,” she said. She has a lot of memories from Mercy, she said. Wilkinson has volunteered in the shop for almost 15 years.
“Every department (in the hospital) could use a volunteer, but I’ve stuck with the gift shop,” she said. Wilkinson is a good volunteer, said Stacey Goodman, representative for the Alegent Health Foundation. “She’s fantastic,” she said. “We know we’re lucky to have her here every Friday. And she puts a face on our heritage with the Sisters of Mercy.” Wilkinson, who had one brother and one sister, was born in Omaha, and she and her siblings were taken to St. James Orphanage at a young age because their parents could no longer care for them, according to an article in The Catholic Voice. She and her sister both chose the religious life. She attended Cathedral High School, then earned a degree in education at the College of St. Mary. She did graduate work in math at Kansas State University and received a master’s degree in religious studies from Seattle Uni-
versity. She taught for 50 years, she said. She started her teaching career at Council Bluffs’ former St. Patrick’s School, which is now part of Pizza King. She also taught at Queen of Apostles before St. Albert Catholic Schools were opened. “I’ve taught every grade from grade 3 through college,” she said. “I taught in California, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa.” Schools varied from small facilities in rural Nebraska to larger Catholic systems in Omaha, as well as the College of St. Mary, Wilkinson said. “You went where there was a need, and you filled the need,” she said. She taught all the subjects in elementary school, math and religion in high school and math at the college level. “I used to live over here with the sisters that ran the hospitals, when I taught at St. Mary’s,” Wilkinson said. In 1997, the Sisters of Mercy moved to Omaha, but she retired and continued living in Council Bluffs until four years ago, she said.
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Active teens volunteer for community DENNIS FRIEND
A lot of Council Bluffs area high school students spend some of their free time helping others. The most-active volunteers include: St. Albert Catholic High School senior Mary Faurot has been an active volunteer within her church, school and community for years. “I have volunteered for nine years as an altar server at my church, for four years as a lector at my church, for four years as a Eucharistic minister at my church, for four years as a tutor at my school and for two years as a child care assistant at the Phoenix House.” Community service has been a very important part of her high school career, she said. “My community service at my church has helped me to grow closer to the other members of my parish and to gain a better understanding of the time and effort it takes to have Mass every weekend,” Mary said. “I have developed many life skills during my time volunteering at my church, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to volunteer there.” Volunteering at the Phoenix House opened the teen’s eyes. “The kids there are so energetic and fun, and I have loved being able to spend time with them and experience their joy as they play together,” Mary said. “Many of those children don’t have the best life circumstances, but I am inspired by their resilience. I like being able to talk to them and hear what they are doing and what is exciting in their lives.” Mary is No. 1 in her class with a 4.08 grade point average and she scored 35 on her ACT exam. She has been accepted into the University of Notre Dame’s elite Engineering Scholars Program. The program selects and admits only 20 students each year. She also has been accepted at Northwestern University in Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, St. Louis University, Case Western Reserve University and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she was accepted into its elite Bio-Medical program. Abraham Lincoln High
School freshman Kaitlyn Murphy has been selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans by the Omaha Jaycees. The 14-year-old freshman was selected as an outstanding teen who is making a difference in the Omaha area through volunteerism and community action. “I volunteer at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and try to go on Saturdays for about four to five hours,” Kaitlyn said. “My favorite thing about volunteering is the people you get to meet. You never see the same face twice. Unless, of course, they come back to the zoo.” She has also volunteered at the Risen Son Christian Village retirement community, and she has made blankets for an organization that gives them to children. “What I really like is meeting people,” Kaitlyn said, and she has “always” been involved. Her current activities include participation in the Thomas Jefferson “All In” social-norming group, in which “we try to bring kids together,” she said. Thomas Jefferson High School senior Nyachan Pal, 18, said she has always loved volunteering. “I love being involved in the community,” she said. “I love people. I love giving back to the community.” Last year, Nyachan was in the school’s environmental club. “We cleaned up the campus about once a week and helped the janitors,” she said. She also got involved in Habitat for Humanity, pitching in to help other volunteers who were building houses. Her priority, however, is her volunteer efforts for her church. “I work at my church every Wednesday, and I’m involved in my church a lot, three days a week,” Nyachan said. She is involved with Campus Connect, an effort to get other students to go to church,” she said. Her school activities include dance, show choir and student council as well as track and cross country. She looks forward to graduation because “I’m excited to move on and grow, and to see what I can give to life,”
Kaitlyn Murphy with her mother, Kelly Murphy
Nyachan said. She will spend a year after graduation in an internship with her church, and after that she plans to go to either the University of Nebraska at Omaha or to Bellevue University, where she will take psychology courses. Lewis Central High School junior Ronette Bruner said her goal is to make the world a better place. The daughter of Suzie and Joe Bruner said she loves helping others in any way she can. “The organizations that I mostly work with are Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, Crescent Fire Barn, Eastside Christian Church and the Red Cross and the military,” she said. She added, “Even though I
am in Girl Scouts I take on programs, I help mentor others and I am on the Board of Directors so that I can come up with ideas for camps and fundraisers to help others who are on scholarship money. Recently, I was helping set up and execute an overnight camp for younger girls to learn basic camping skills to cooking to arts and crafts. I helped by fundraising for supplies, putting classes together and working with the girls at the camp.” Ronette said the Crescent Fire Barn in Crescent is the fire auxiliary and volunteer fire department. “They go completely with trained volunteers to help with fire and rescue missions. So to keep the department going and
to be able to purchase new and used equipment they put on a pancake feed every third Sunday of the month,” said Ronette. “I help by getting the food prepared, serving or cleaning. I like to help this group of people out because they are volunteers themselves just trying to help their community too. Also I feel that if I help the firefighters then I am helping the victims too.” Ronette helps her church, Eastside Christian Church, every Thursday by cleaning the church be it vacuuming, washing things and picking up trash. “I like to help out there not just because it is my church, but because other people in the community use that church for help and important functions,” she said. “I help at other friends’ churches as well.”
The Red Cross puts on blood drives and book-bag drives, and Ronette’s there, too. “They help underprivileged children so that they have supplies for the upcoming school year. I like to help this group because they impact many lives and save lives with the blood donations.” Ronette has started a reading program called Build the Library Book Club to get younger children interested in reading by letting them be the first person to read the book and then donate the book. “I fundraised for this program and volunteered my time by also reading to the children,” she said. “I love this because that is the future generation.” Ronette also finds time to babysit for the children of military personnel during their meetings and during drill weekends. “Because children need to have fun and that way the military people don’t have to worry about paying a babysitter and they are able to focus on things they need to worry about.” Ronette recommended volunteering to everyone. “It makes me feel really good to know that I made an impact in my community or in a person’s life. I know that the rest of my life I will be volunteering. There is no greater reward than the smile of a person you helped.”
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Boy Scouts gives boys the chance to serve, grow CHAD NATION CNATION@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
What do former President Gerald Ford, director Steven Spielberg and homerun king Hank Aaron all have in common? They were Eagle Scouts. In fact, Aaron has said the greatest positive influence in his life was from his involvement in Scouting. Spielberg shot a movie of his troop to earn a photography merit badge and helped to design the requirements for the cinematography merit badge. Ford was the first Eagle Scout to become president, and since then, there have been other Scout presidents, including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush. Scouting is America. Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has instilled timeless values of character, citizenship and leadership in each young man who has entered the Scouting program. Locally, Scouting dates back to 1918. The first recorded Scouting movement in the
area was the Omaha Council. The Mid-America Council was formed from a merger of the Covered Wagon Council and the Southwest Iowa Council in 1965. In 2000, the council merged with the Prairie Gold Council in the Sioux City area. The Mid-America Council now covers 58 counties in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. The Mid-America Council has a strong tradition as one of the nationâ€™s premier Scout Councils, and continues to instill values through educational based skills and activities. Currently, there are more than 33,700 Scouts and nearly 10,000 volunteer leaders in the Mid-America Council. One of those volunteers is Jay Heiman, committee chair for Troop 520, which is based out of St. Albert Catholic Schools. Heiman served as Scoutmaster of the troop for seven years before his sons became Eagle Scouts. â€œEven though my boys are done with scouts, I still enjoy volunteering my time to help
Jay Heiman, right, has devoted a number of years to the Boy Scouts. His two sons, Zach and Ian, pictured between their mother, Marita, and Jay, have both attained Eagle Scout rank. out the troop and Scouting,â€? he said. â€œItâ€™s offered me an opportunity to be a better person and give back to our community.â€? Boy Scouts, which is for boys ages 11-17 or who have completed fifth grade, gives boys the chance to camp, canoe and swim while learning about
leadership and character. This time-tested set of activities has produced fine citizens, dedicated family members and strong community leaders for more than 100 years. Heiman said Troop 520 tries to get out at least once a month for one or two nights of camping.
â€œI think most troops do this. Itâ€™s part of our core program,â€? he said. In addition to Scouting activities, Scouts are always participating in many events, from Scouting for Food to selling popcorn in the fall to volunteering during a number of local events. In 2011, service projects were conducted by more than 2.7 million youth members and more than 1 million volunteers across the country. Troop 250 has about 22 active boys in the troop, Heiman said, and a number of volunteer adults. â€œThis is the largest group we have had in the 10 years that I have been with the troop,â€? he said. â€œWhat I really enjoy seeing is active participation with the boysâ€™ parents. â€œWe always have at least six to eight parents joining us on meetings, campouts and fundraising activities.â€? A recent study touched on the value of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. One hundred years after Arthur Eldred of New York earned the nationâ€™s first Eagle Scout Award, new research
demonstrates the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society every day. Since it was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the Boy Scouts of Americaâ€™s highest rank. A study conducted by Baylor University, â€œMerit Beyond the Badges,â€? found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to: â– Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented and network with others. â– Be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community. â– Report having closer relationships with family and friends. â– Volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations. â– Donate money to charitable groups. â– Work with others to improve their neighborhoods. The study came as no surprise to Heiman. â€œI believe Scouting offers a great program for young boys and adults,â€? he said.
Girl Scout reaches milestone in cookie sales CHAD NATION CNATION@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
If you know any friends or family of 9-year-old Gracie Bernard, ask them if you can have a cookie, thereâ€™s a good chance they have one or two extra. Bernard sold the most Girl Scout Cookies in Council Bluffs this year with a whopping 1,121 boxes. The member of Troop 999, Bernard did what any good salesperson does to move product â€“ she hit the streets. â€œI did cookie booths and a caravan around neighborhoods,â€? she said. With the help of her fellow seven 999ers, the troop loaded up wagons and pounded the pavement; they went door-to-door in several neighborhoods. â€œWe knocked on a lot of doors,â€? she said. Bernardâ€™s mom, Colette, said there was also a lot of help from friends and family members in reaching the milestone. â€œA lot of them wait every year to buy cookies from Gracie,â€? Colette said. Gracie has been a Girl Scout for five years, and she said she always sells a lot of cookies. Last year, she reached the 800box mark, and she knew she wanted to top that this year. When Gracie told her mom she wanted to sell 1,000 boxes this year, Colette said she was skeptical. â€œWhen she said her goal was 1,000, I said,â€˜Oh, no, you only sold 800 last year,â€™â€? she said. â€œI was right,â€? Gracie said. Colette said some changes in how cookies were ordered this year may have helped push Gracie over the top. â€œWe had to preorder everything this year, so we guesstimated how many we would sell, and then when Gracie sold the cookies, she had them on hand,â€? Colette said. Having the cookies on hand, rather than the buyer having to wait for them to be shipped,
Staff photo/Chad Nation
Gracie Bernard, 9, was the top selling Girl Scouts Cookie salesperson in Council Bluffs with a whopping 1,121 boxes sold. The Troop 999 member said she had help from fellow troopers as well as friends and family in reaching the mark. seemed to please a lot of customers, both Bernards said. â€œI think that it helped overall,â€? Colette added. â€œIn Des Moines at the â€˜Super Seller Clubâ€™ recognition,there seemed to be more girls than last year.â€? Judging by the numbers, it does appear Council Bluffs customers were pleased. Megan Brown, communications manager Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, said overall there were 97,000 packages of cookies sold in Council Bluffs. Thatâ€™s oneand-a-half packages for every resident. Gracie said selling cookies is
fearful before getting up in front of such a large gathering, but it worked out in the end. â€œI was scared, but the lights were so bright you couldnâ€™t see anybody (in the crowd) anyway,â€? she said. Outside of Girl Scouts, the fourth-grader at Lewis Central said she also likes soccer, volleyball, tennis, horseback riding and 4-H Club. Colette said she got her daughter got involved in Girl Scouts to learn about responsibility, community service, respect for others and teamwork. All of which she thinks Gracie gained from her efforts selling cookies. â€œ(Troop 999) is a great group,â€? Colette said. â€œThe girls work really well together; they run their own meetings. â€œThey take ownership of what they are doing.â€?
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Flood prompted community effort Government agencies, relief organizations, churches and individuals pitched in TIM JOHNSON TJOHNSON@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
It took a community effort to keep the Missouri River at bay during the Flood of 2011 and it took the whole community to respond to areas that were affected by the disaster. Government agencies, relief organizations, churches and individuals pitched in to help in whatever way they could. The Iowa National Guard provided manpower for what may have been the most important task of all: Continuously monitoring the levee system, looking for weaknesses and staying in communication with local officials and the Army Corps of Engineers so arrangements could be made to promptly address any potential problems. Many city employees worked overtime to repair damaged lift stations, sewer pipes and other infrastructure and keep the disaster operation running smoothly – including 16 on salary who put in days of extra work without additional pay. Thousands of citizens turned out to fill sandbags to protect areas endangered by the rising floodwaters and keep on hand in case a larger threat emerged. First Christian Church served as a volunteer center and helped recruit and coordinate volunteers for sandbagging and other projects. The American Red CrossLoess Hills Chapter launched a relief operation after the flooding began. Red Cross volunteers spent 13,536 hours assisting 4,500 unique sandbag volunteers, said Jill Orton, executive director of the Loess Hills Chapter. “We helped and assisted with feeding all those and providing first aid,” she said. The Salvation Army also provided food and water, she said. During four months of flooding, the Red Cross opened 11 shelters and one emergency aid station, providing 280 overnight stays, Orton said. The Red Cross served nearly 23,500 meals and snacks, distributed 13,300 clean-up kits and other items. At least 45 volunteers came from other chapters to help with flood relief. The Iowa Department of Human Services deployed counselors to help residents affected by flooding with the emotional stress brought on by actual flood damage and the anxiety of wondering whether the levee system would hold. Counselors
referred them to providers of mental health services, if needed. AmeriCorps workers helped canvass West-end neighborhoods to check on residents’ concerns and distribute information on how to prepare for an evacuation. Local United Methodist churches collected empty boxes and offered them to people displaced by the flood. Miraculously, the levee system – with the help of those who made emergency repairs and installed back-up walls, seepage blankets and thousands of truckloads of fill dirt – managed to protect most of Council Bluffs. Low-lying areas on the outskirts of the city and in rural areas didn’t fare as well. The Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors has fought doggedly to gain release of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds needed to purchase damaged homes and repair
Left, volunteers from AmeriCorps canvassed neighborhoods along Ninth Avenue last June, distributing information on how to evacuate safely if residents felt it was necessary to do so. Below left, Zoe Maxwell, 10, and Ethan Maxwell, 5, enjoy snacks furnished by the Red Cross during a sandbagging session June 11, 2011, at the Mid-America Center. File photos
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CHRONOLOGICAL When it all began...
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PERSPECTIVES When it all began...
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8C Saturday, May 26, 2012
PERSPECTIVES OF SERVICE
The Daily Nonpareil
Teaching the young to think of community DENNIS FRIEND
Students in the Council Bluffs area are generally encouraged to give back to their community before they graduate from high school. “We don’t require it for graduation, but we have a few service learning projects at Kanesville: The garden with flowers, veggies, and now a
new green house and a food and clothing pantry,” said Jenny Barnett, principal at the Kanesville Alternative Leaning Center. A good example might be the school-wide Pennies for Pets drive held at Hoover Elementary School in March and April. “Our goal was to raise $100 in pennies, but we beat that in
Seventh graders Eric Shoemaker, left, and Ryan Clark laugh while they create handmade cards during a group service project with St. Peter’s Catholic Church at St. Albert High School in February. About 30 religion students and a handful of adults made roughly 360 cards for birthdays and holidays to be sent to families with parents deployed overseas in the military.
the first week,” fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Kolln said. “We raised the goal to $500 and we beat that the second week.” The students eventually brought in $700 to be donated to the Council Bluffs Animal Shelter. The effort had its own rewards for the students, too. Mary Jones, the president and founder of Support Our Local Animal Shelter, or SOLAS, showed up at the school on May 8 to collect the money, but she also brought in a 7-week old kitten for the Kolln’s fourth-graders to name. With the black-and-white kitten’s meows as accompaniment, the students suggested names like “Mittens,” “Mazda” and “Midnight,” and eventually voted on “Oreo.” Kolln said student participation in community projects helps them realize they are part of a community. The efforts this year included sending cards and letters to American troops for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Another example would be the Courage Concert held April 28 in Bayliss Park. The concert was organized by Abraham Lincoln High School senior Kelcie Huebner, 17, who originally tackled the
project because she has been involved in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s High School Alliance, a program intended to introduce the students to the field of health care. “I was shadowing at the Village Pointe Cancer Center,” she said. “I noticed more than half the patients were young people, and some were my age.” She hoped the concert would encourage cancer patients with upbeat and inspirational music while showcasing the musical talents of students from Abraham Lincoln High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, Lewis Central High School and St. Albert Catholic High School. All proceeds went to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Breast Cancer Association. Kay Durfey also does a service project with students from Kanesville and Franklin. “They go every Tuesday for ‘Tuesdays Together’ and work with fourth or fifth graders after school on different projects,” Barnett said. “It is a really neat program.” Lewis Central also asks students to get involved in service projects, as does St.
Staff photo/Dennis Friend
Above, Hoover fourth-graders conducted a fundraiser and raised $700 for the Council Bluffs Animal Shelter. When Mary Jones of SOLAS picked up the donation, she also brought in a 7-week-old kitten for the children to name. They voted to name the black-and-white kitty Oreo, although Jones suggested the kitten looked like “a double-stuffed Oreo.” Albert Catholic School. At St. Albert, an annual tradition is to organize a competition in which students compete to raise the most money for Christmas. Campus minister Brenda Moran said the competition has been an annual tradition at St. Albert for at least 19 years, and community service programs are part of the stu-
dent culture. Last year, the school raised $4,978. The two grade levels who bring in the most money are chosen to shop for games, clothing or other items to be given to families who cannot afford Christmas. Most of the 340 St. Albert students donated cash, but they also contributed clothing for the Phoenix House.
Service clubs offer a community connection ‘I gain a better understanding of the community in which we live’ DENNIS FRIEND
Community service clubs play an important role in Council Bluffs area schools. Perhaps the most wellknown school organization is the National Honor Society. In the Council Bluffs Community Schools District, the biggest NHS service project for the year is clearing the trail at Hitchcock Nature Center and collecting seeds that are used to help the prairie grass grow back at the park. According to Deb Goodman, Thomas Jefferson High School marketing and business teacher as well as the DECA club advisor, “We have been doing this for the last seven years and because of Thomas Jefferson NHS, we have widened the trail.” That means park rangers now can take their vehicles down the paths to work and to use them to help hikers. “We went to Hitchcock Nature Center where we cleared the trails and helped keep things pretty for the upcoming season,” Sarah Ingwersen, a junior at Thomas Jefferson, said. Sarah also participated in Youth Frontiers to help youth realize what they could do with courage in an untraditional and fun-filled setting. Because of her experiences in service organizations, Sarah said, “I gain a better understanding of the community in which we live.” Thomas Jefferson senior Gary Blackford agreed. “The Hitchcock Nature Center was an important community service project we had as part of our NHS experience at Thomas Jefferson,” Gary said. “We learned about the plants that can be reused to build trails and the wild life that is unique to this region. We also learned about the tools and techniques used on the trails, as well as the training necessary to be a part of their team. For two years I have gone there and helped clear the trails as well as harvest seeds. This service experience and the life skills I have learned from this will be with me forever.” Brian Moritz, a teacher who sponsors NHS at Abraham Lincoln High School, offered another example of NHS service. NHS held a voluntary cleanup of Valley View Park in early May, which the teacher said demonstrated
how NHS contributes to the Council Bluffs community. Kanesville students have been involved in a food and clothing pantry. Kanesville senior Sarina Kirkland is involved in the effort. “Knowing I actually help people, it gives me a good feeling,” said Sarina. Teacher Johanna Ross said the project this year has helped more than 30 students and community members with clothes. “Next year I hope to find a grant to extend the opportunities our students have of making this project more available to our student body and eventually the surrounding community,” said Ross.
Kanesville teacher Kay Durfey said students at her school also are involved in the Tuesday’s Together service project which takes Kanesville students to Franklin to work with fourth and fifth grade students on projects. Durfey said students have told her it has helped them learn to follow on commitments, to make a positive impact. At St. Albert Catholic High School, students are required to participate in individual service. Freshmen complete 12 hours, sophomores 14 hours, juniors 16 and seniors 18. Each level has different categories they must com-
plete these hours within. Those required hours are in addition to those service hours required by the National Honor Society for its members, confirmation or other classes and any required by sports teams. These also do not include the class or school service projects. Campus minister Brenda Moran said St. Albert students were involved in significant service work for the 2011-12 school year, from collecting 10,000 cans of food for food pantries to projects like the Community Christmas Basket Project, which raised more than $6,000. The freshman class also provided a day of service as the family members selected food and gifts for their families. Other classes came
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Thomas Jefferson High School students work to clear the trail at Hitchcock Nature Area and collect seeds to help prairie grass grow back at the park. The club has been involved in the effort for the last seven years.
together for projects, as well. The sophomore class spent a day volunteering at the Special Olympic Track and Field Day at Iowa Western Community College, and the junior class participated in a painting day at two Habitat for Humanity sites. They were able to complete one home and garage and almost complete a second home paint project. Senior class members traveled to the Dominican Republic to live and work with Dominican families to provide latrines and help make a small mountainous community more health-conscience. Clubs at the school also have service projects. Moran said the Student Council and Campus Ministry collected coats and outerwear for Sacred Heart Ministries to
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PERSPECTIVES OF SERVICE
The Daily Nonpareil
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Blood donations a flowing stream Blood supply reaches new high, but summer months mean likely drop in collections TIM JOHNSON TJOHNSON@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
The United States had an ample supply of blood in 2008, according to a blood bank report. In that year, the nation collected 17,159,000 units of whole and red blood, after accounting for infectious disease testing, the 2009 National Blood Collection and Utilization Survey Report stated. That was a new high and an increase of 6.9 percent from the previous survey in 2006. Most of the blood – 93.8 percent – was drawn at blood collection centers, while 6.2 percent was collected at hospitals. The biennial report is published by the AABB, an international group of blood banks, hospitals and health care professionals. Transfusions in 2008 totaled 14,855,000 units, the report stated. That left a surplus of 2,304,000, or 13 percent of collections. The surplus was up about 67 percent from 2006. However, the surplus apparently was not consistent, as 13.2 percent of hospitals reported “challenges” to their blood inventories at certain times in the year, and 62 hospitals, or 4.4 percent, reported postponing elective surgeries one or more days because of blood shortages. This affected a total of 325 patients in the U.S., which was still a dramatic decrease from the 721 similarly affected in 2006, the report stated. Blood supplies vary by region and time of year,
according to the American Red Cross. Collections tend to drop in the summer and winter, when holidays, vacations, weather conditions and illnesses can cut into the number of donors at collection centers and Bloodmobile drives. While 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent donate each year, a summary on the organization’s website states. “According to studies, the average donor is a college-educated, white male between the ages of 30 to 50 who is married and has an above-average income,” the website states. “However, a broad cross-section of the population donates every day.” The image of an average donor is blurring as increasing numbers of women and minorities roll up their sleeves. The Red Cross is urging all eligible blood donors to make donating blood and platelets part of their Memorial Day weekend plans, a press release stated. Five people who give blood from May 24 through May 30 within the Midwest Blood Services Region will win a GiftCertificates.com prize package worth $200 redeemable for items of their choosing. Winning donors can choose from restaurants, department stores, books, music, electronics and more. “With the arrival of summer, blood donations tend to decline as eligible donors fill their schedules with vacations and other summer activities, leaving little time to donate,”
Phlebotomist Tonya Wright preps Ben Johnson of Omaha as he prepares to give blood at the American Red Cross Holiday Blood Drive held Dec. 28, 2011, at the Mid-America Center. The drive was dedicated to leukemia survivor Sarah Arbogast of Council Bluffs and sponsored by Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. said Tricia Quinn, CEO of the Midwest Region. “The need for blood is constant. As donors choose how to spend their time this Memorial Day, we encourage them to make time to help give life by donating blood or platelets with the Red Cross. As part of the agency’s “Live Life. Give Life.” summer promotion, all presenting donors will also be entered to receive
a prize certificate package worth $5,000 redeemable at GiftCertificates.com. To donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other
forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years old and younger also have to meet certain height and weight
requirements. The American Red Cross supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or blog.redcross.org.
Service clubs seek young members to join the ranks TIM JOHNSON TJOHNSON@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
next year. We’ve been focusing on trying to get more younger members, and we’ve been doing a lot better at that.” Mike Maher, president of
the Noon Rotary Club, said the club has been doing pretty well at attracting younger members. “We tried to get the 35 and younger,” he said. “We’re
focusing on the younger community to come in – bring different ideas, new energy.” Club representatives go out and speak in high schools, he said.
“A lot of the service organizations are getting older,” said Oscar Over, president of the Council Bluffs Lions Club. “It’s hard to get the younger people now, so we’re always happy to get new people in our club.” While businesses used to support employees who wanted to be involved and even pay their membership fees, many have tightened their belts and made it harder for workers to participate, Over said. “A lot of the younger people coming in that might be wanting to be involved in it are not getting the time off so they can do it,” he said. Whether it’s time away from work or time away from families, chores, hobbies or other activities, it always seems to be in short supply. The club encourages members to invite guests to attend meetings with them, Over said. “We’re always trying to Staff photo/Erin Duerr add more members,” said President Mike Maher runs the Noon Rotary Club of Council Bluffs meeting at The CenJason James of the Noon ter on May 17. “We’re focusing on the younger community to come in – bring different Rotary Club. “We’d like to ideas, new energy,” he said. get over 100 members this
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India in June, he said. “We also work with foreign exchange students, too,” he said. The club is sponsoring a student from Norway and plans to get one from Brazil next school year, Maher said.
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“When they do get out of school, they know what Rotary is and they can go right into the city clubs,” Maher said. The club sponsors a Group Study Exchange and will welcome a group from
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PERSPECTIVES OF SERVICE
10C Saturday, May 26, 2012
The Daily Nonpareil
Service clubs born to serve Many make a special effort to help youth, some offer scholarships TIM JOHNSON TJOHNSON@NONPAREILONLINE.COM
Council Bluffs is blessed with an assortment of service clubs that serve the community in various ways. Many make a special effort to help youth, and some offer scholarships. The Noon Rotary Club helps with both local and international efforts, said Jason James, a board member. The club, one of several local Rotary clubs, helps with Celebrate CB and donates to several local nonprofit organizations, including Children’s Square U.S.A., Habitat for Humanity, The Center and others, he said. The club holds a food drive every year during Super Bowl Weekend to collect items for local food pantries, said Mike Maher, president. Near the end of the school year, members hold a career fair for fifth-graders at all Council Bluffs schools – public and private. Members volunteer at the Westfair gate and for other community events, he said. This year, the club is helping the YMCA fight childhood obesity. “They’re going to be purchasing exercise equipment that’s specifically sized for children,” he said. Then there’s the global outreach, James said. “We help raise money for people around the world to have access to clean drinking water,” he said. The organization has long been involved in the international effort to eradicate polio, Maher said. The Council Bluffs Lions Club screens preschoolers’ vision and provides free eye exams and glasses to lower income individuals, the group’s president, Oscar Over, said. The organization also provides reconditioned hearing aids and pays for children with diabetes to attend an educational camp that helps them learn to manage the disease. “Vision has been for years and years a part of our Lions Club areas,” he said. “Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, so that works into our (emphasis on) sight.” The club also contributed toward flood relief in the area last year and helps support international projects sponsored by Lions, he said. On the international level, the organization helps establish eye clinics and plants trees, Over said. Lions International has planted millions of trees around the world, he said. “If you have a large organization like we have, a lot of things get done,” he said. Kiwanis Club is another club with local members whose mission is to improve the lives of children. “Kiwanis Club fulfills its mission of serving children by improving the quality of life directly through activities promoting health and education and by encouraging leadership and service among youth,” a previous Daily Nonpareil article stated. The Downtown Kiwanis Club raises money through spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts and other functions, and donates backpacks and school supplies to local students. Every year, the club gives 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to the Council Bluffs Community Schools District. This year, club offi-
cers hope to obtain a grant that will allow the group to donate 500 backpacks full of supplies, said Jim Roberts, president. The club aids Children’s Square U.S.A. and local food pantries, as well, he said. Local Optimist clubs recognize outstanding students and help youth in various ways. The Bluffs City Lodge is one of many organizations
that awards scholarships to local college-bound students. The Shriners provide medical care to children who need specialized treatment at the organization’s children’s hospitals in a few different cities. There are many other service organizations in the community. The service, awareness and resources they provide make southwest Iowa a better place to live.
Jerry Nissen, chair of Automotive Technology at Iowa Western Community College, talks to youth during the Rotary Career Fair at the Mid-America Center on May 1. Rotary Club chapters make a special effort to help youth both locally and internationally.
Gary Herman For COUNTY AUDITOR
Republican Primary June 5th Herman Supports Voter Photo ID Fraud happens in every election, but is rarely detected because nobody checks for it. File photos
Local Optimist clubs recognize outstanding students and help youth in various ways. Carter Lake Elementary School student Jenna Midkiff (center) is awarded Student of the Year for fourth grade students at the Carter Lake Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Banquet at Carter Lake Community Church on May 16.
My opponent feels that voter photo ID is unnecessary. “As Pottawattamie County Auditor, I will instruct precinct officials to request photo ID from every voter.” Paid for by Friends of Gary Herman P.O. Box 182 Council Bluffs, Iowa 51502 Elizabeth Herman, Treasurer
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