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The Daily Nonpareil

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A gem of a career

■ Killpack has one sweet plan page 2F

HAILEY KONNATH Staff Writer hailey.konnath@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5764

■ Two strive to help others in stressful times page 2F ■ Clark helps feed other people’s hobbies page 4F ■ Fahmy flies solo in new practice page 5F ■ Hough aims for home sweet home page 5F ■ Rowe shows compassion on the job page 6F

When Brandy Brooks was in junior high school, she was so shy she couldn’t deliver a speech to her classmates. Today, Brooks is a successful sales associate at Lynch’s Jewelry. She thrives on interactions with customers who may or may not be complete strangers, something she would’ve struggled with in the past. In fact, engaging with customers is her favorite part of the job. “It’s probably been the most rewarding thing,” she said. “I’ve met some incredible people doing this.” Brooks’ success as a sales associate at the jewelry store is not only a tale of corporate success but of personal growth. An only child, Brooks spent much of her youth moving around South Dakota and Iowa. Her father was a carman for the railroad, a job that required frequent relocation. After attending two third grades, three fourth grades and two fifth grades, Brooks found she had somewhat retreated into herself. “You get tired of being the new kid constantly,” she said. Brooks and her family moved back to Council Bluffs in 1984, at the tail end of her fifth-grade year. She eventually reached a point where she was tired of being “that shy, mousy, little girl” in the classroom, she said. Before she started high school, Brooks signed up for drama classes, intending to combat her extreme shyness. Being enrolled in this class was intimidating, but she stuck with it for the semester, and then tacked on seven more . Drama classes had became her fondest memories of high school. “I loved it,” she said. Brooks is still in touch with her drama instructor, Steve Brockway. But overcoming being so introverted wasn’t easy. “When you see yourself that way, you have to force yourself to see something different,” she said. In February 1998, Brooks began her work for Lynch’s. She came from a job at a jewelry store in the Mall of the Bluffs that went out of business. Brooks had no intentions of working in the jewelry industry. After graduating high school, she worked at a clothing store for a few years. She thought some time at the jewelry store would be good office experience. But that soon changed. “I ended up falling in love with it,” Brooks said. At Lynch’s, she works with owner Dave Lynch and his wife, Marti. Brooks sets up the store every day, does office work and helps customers. She also has three certificates through the Gemological Institute of America. Studying for the classes was very difficult, but fun, she said. The opportunity to learn is another reason she enjoys her job. “It’s constant education and there’s always something new to learn,” Brooks said. “It never gets boring.” Now a jewelry expert, she can also do minor physical work like battery changes and pearl stringing. The most challenging part of her job is dealing with the economy paired with the high cost of gold. It’s difficult to meet people’s needs while wrestling with such prices, she said. Outside of work, Brooks is very much a patron of the arts. She likes to write fiction and poetry and loves music. She has a concert book of ticket stubs and reviews from concerts she’s attended, many of which were at Omaha’s Ranch Bowl, before it was torn down and replaced with a Walmart.

Staff photo/Cindy Christensen

Lynch’s Jewelry sales associate Brandy Brooks, who has worked at the local jewelry store for 13 years, specializes in colored stones. In fact, Brooks’ original career plan was to be a writer or musician. “I still want to be those things,” she said. For Brooks, creativity is an inherited trait. Her grandmother was a seamstress and baker and many of her uncles were musicians. She recently took up painting. She is refraining from taking classes right away, saying getting caught up in the “proper” way to paint something could hold you back. At some point you’ve got to just mix the colors up and go for it, she said, which she feels applies to all areas of life. At Lynch’s, Brooks feeds her creative side by helping with design work.

Hanger

Brooks lives in Council Bluffs with her husband, four cats and one dog. “They’re our own little family,” she said. Brooks met her husband through a dating service in a newspaper. His ad caught her eye and they’ve now been married seven years. Brooks said dating services felt more taboo back then. Now, such services online are commonplace. “At the time, it was a little embarrassing,” she said. Brooks did not plan on ending up where she is today. Her life in retail is a far cry from the artistic ambitions of her youth. “I didn’t intend to doing what I do,” she said. “But I don’t regret it.”

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2F Sunday, June 19, 2011

SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

The Daily Nonpareil

One woman’s sweet plan Killpack continues to grow Sweet Gatherings MIKE BROWNLEE Staff Writer mike.brownlee@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5732

NEOLA – Now Anna Killpack can focus on the candy. And the cakes, cupcakes and other baked goods. Killpack, owner of Sweet Gatherings candy shop in Neola, has scrapped her everyday lunch menu to concentrate on making candy. “At first, we wanted to be everything and do everything,” she said. “It was too much. I felt I didn’t have enough time to focus on candy.” Killpack opened Sweet Gatherings on Nov. 10, 2009, and the owner said she’s expanded the candy line lately, along with adding more pies. Killpack grew up in the equally small town of Spring Hill, Kan. She moved to Neola after marrying her husband, Dean, 17 years ago. The couple lives there still, with 13-yearold son Matthew. After eight years as a computer programmer for Union Pacific in Omaha, Killpack focused on the family from 2007 until 2009, when she decided to go back to work. But not at a desk. Though Sweet Gatherings doesn’t serve lunch daily, Anna and her team – including mother Carol St. Pierre, sister Tina Seely and her children Michael, 19, and Hannah, 17 – host private events such as wedding rehearsal dinners, company luncheons and more. “We’re able to arrange it around our candy-making schedule,” Killpack said. “And it’s nice to utilize the space we have here.” Killpack sells the candies under the business name Gosh

Staff photo/Cindy Christensen

As the owner of Sweet Gatherings in Neola, Anna Killpack whips up tasty homemade goodies every day. Darn Goodies, which includes gourmet sweets, like nut-clusters – “four kinds,” Killpack said – turtles with homemade caramel, peanut butter cups and more, produced every day. Her mom makes gift baskets for the business. A website, www.goshdarngoodies.com, is currently under construction. The candies are sold at the Hy-Vee on Madison Avenue, along with a gift shops in Glen-

wood, Griswold, Avoca and Harlan, Killpack said. “We’ve really been concentrating on wholesale selling,” she said. “We’re also expanding on the bakery side.” A new item popular with locals and out-of-towners alike are wine bottles dipped in chocolate. Strings around the bottle allow the consumer to pull off a piece of chocolate. “Have your chocolate and

your wine,” Killpack said. “This is our biggest seller. We’ve had people come from all over to get these.” Seely and her family moved to Neola from Cincinnati to be with Killpack and St. Pierre and help out at Sweet Gatherings. “We grew up cooking and baking, we love it,” Tina Seely said. “This is truly something I can do where it doesn’t feel like

work. I can be creative here.” Michael said the experience helps him in his culinary arts coursework at Iowa Western Community College, especially on the business side. “It’s great to be back in a small town,” Tina said. “Our people are great.” Killpack said devotion to those people led her to get involved as Neola business leaders try to create a chamber

of commerce-type organization to promote businesses new and old and work toward Neola beautification. “I’ve lived here 18 years but didn’t feel like a part of the community until I opened up,” she said. “And since I’ve opened, people have shown me so much support and love. Being involved with the business group is my way to give back to the community.”

Two professionals strive to help others CHAD NATION

loved one, physical or sexual abuse or even attachment struggles with parents being involved in the military. “Kids need a place where their own language can be used,” she said. While both Maas and Andersen-Burgher often meet people when they are battling a tough time in their life, it is seeing people grow that makes their jobs worthwhile. “In this field, you realize how strong and resilient people are, and we work hard still to combat the stigmas of mental illness,” Andersen-Burgher

News Editor cnation@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5738

The economy has been in the tank for the better part of five years. Throw in fears of losing a home to historic flooding, and it’s easy to see that environmental stressors are building. As these aspects of day-today life continue to build up, more and more people turn to professionals to help them to find ways to cope with an everchanging world. Carolyn Andersen-Burgher and Brigette Maas have witnessed this firsthand at Kanesville Therapy LLC, 35 Main Place, Suite 100. “There are more societal and economic stressors for couples and their families today,” Andersen-Burgher said. Andersen-Burgher and Maas started Kanesville Therapy three years ago after working at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital together. Andersen-Burgher – a licensed independent mental health provider, a licensed mental health practitioner and a licensed mental health counselor – specializes in working with young adults, couples and families. Maas, who is a licensed independent social worker, a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed mental health provider and a registered play therapist, works with children and teens. On the adult side, Andersen-Burgher, who has been in the field for 20 years, said there has been a rise in people seeking help with coping with their difficulties. “In the last year or two, there have been a lot of anxieties with men and women who have been out of work,” she said. “They are trying to make the mortgage payment

said. “I love that people trust us enough to open up (to us),” Maas added. “I love my job.” As a native of Council Bluffs, Andersen-Burgher said it is a privilege and an honor to practice in the community she grew up in. “I love what I do. I learn so much every day; my motto is: The more I know the more I don’t know,” she said. “It takes courage to call us, set up an appointment and walk through that door. It is an honor to get to be part of these people’s lives.”

Staff photo/Chad Nation

Carolyn Andersen-Burgher, left, and Brigette Maas operate Kanesville Therapy, 35 Main Place, Suite 100. Andersen-Burgher specializes in working with young adults, couples and families, while Maas is a registered play therapist and works with children and teens. and not lose their homes.” In the last two weeks, Andersen-Burgher said she started receiving patient calls about the rising floodwaters. “It’s not only coping with the flood itself, but they need support moving in with other family members and coping with living together,” she said. Maas said children today are facing more stressors than ever with the rise of social media and the potential for cyber-bullying. “There are lots of boundary issues,” she said. “Intentions that don’t get read correctly and feelings of rejection go hand-in-hand with underlying depression that I see.” While technology has put more stress on teens, old societal woes continue to plague them as well, such as sex. Maas said there a still a lot

of teens struggling with intimacy. “There is pressure, a lot of pressure, to have sex before they are ready,” she said. “And parents struggle with this as well,” AndersenBurgher added. “They want their children to have some freedom, but they have no idea how to talk about sex.” Maas also works with

younger children who have had a traumatic event in their life through play therapy. Play therapy involves allowing a child to express themselves, and find a way to cope, through playing with toys or doing art. Since play is fun, it makes it easier for children to confront what is bothering them, whether it is the death of a

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Profiles of Southwest Iowa Women

Brandy Mary Marti Alisha Adria Richelle Brooks Littleton Lynch Meinke Robertson Wiechelman

LYNCH’S JEWELRY 126 E. Broadway, Suite 3 Council Bluffs, IA 712-325-0414

HANGER PROSTHETICS & ORTHOTICS 1920 Rue Street, Suite 1 Council Bluffs, IA 712-329-3355 Hanger

LYNCH’S JEWELRY

TRACY HOUGH STATE FARM

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126 E. Broadway, Suite 3 Council Bluffs, IA 712-325-0414

103 North Avenue, Suite 6 Council Bluffs, IA 712-325-1916

103 North Avenue, Suite 6 Council Bluffs, IA 712-325-1916

103 North Avenue, Suite 6 Council Bluffs, IA 712-325-1916

Title: Co-Owner, Sales, Jeweler

Title: Client Relations Specialist/Customer Service

Title: Life/Health Specialist

Title: Property and Casualty Representative

PROSTHETICS & ORTHOTICS

Title: Associate Family: Todd (Husband), 4 cats and 1 dog Hometown: Council Bluffs (Spent my earliest years in Sioux Falls, SD.) What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? Be passionate about it. Have fun learning as much as you can. Remember that the industry is always evolving. There will always be new techniques, new cuts, new names, even new stones to explore. Keep up with fashion trends and style icons; your customers certainly do! What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Share the story! It may not be the most interesting but one of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years - never prejudge your customers. You don’t know anyone’s story, or his/her potential as a client. Each customer is as important as the next whether she’s in for a simple watch battery or pursuing the diamond counter. (That said, it’s important to listen to your instincts as well. They’ll usually steer you in the right direction.) In your opinion, what are the most important issues in the workplace (or in the U.S./world today?) Finances and benefits, etc., are always going to be an issue, especially in today’s economy. But, I feel true customer service is one way to make up a lot of ground. We all need to remember to genuinely appreciate our clientele - to remember that we do, essentially, work for them. Give what you would want to receive. Your customers will come back where they feel most welcomed. How are you personally handling the current economic situation at home, work or school? Are there tips you’d like to share? I’m trying to cut back on unnecessary purchases, becoming more self reliant. Expanding my horizons a bit by learning to make more of my own basic products (cleaners, etc.) - which is better for the environment as well as the pocketbook. I will have a much larger garden this year - so hopefully that will result in less trips to the grocery store. As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? No secret, really - but work is work, and I try to leave it at “the office” at the end of the day and focus on my home and family when I’m there. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? Writer, craftswoman, designer, painter, gourmet baker, landscaper - you name it. I dabble in everything. How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? I believe in positive thinking. Like attracts like, and to dwell on negativity just invites it to camp-out in your life. I’m no Pollyanna - but I do believe in optimism; I believe in seeking out the good - the silver lining - in everyone and everything. It’s amazing how much good can come just from keeping one’s head up. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? My customers are my best mentors. I learn as much from them everyday as I hope they do from me. Patience, compassion, empathy, tolerance - and some really good vacation tips! What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? I used to be extremely shy. I found it incredibly difficult to talk in front of people. I was also very fearful of a lot of things. I’m proud that I’ve been able to face and conquer many of those fears. I’m more willing to put myself out there. After all, you can’t really succeed in this business as a wall flower. And my life is so much nicer for the change. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “Live the life you have imagined.” - Thoreau

INC.

moving lives

>>> forward

Title: Certified Orthotic/Mastectomy Fitter Family: Molly, Brandon, Jamie & 2 grandchildren Gavin & Cade. Son-in-Law Matthew Ross.

Family: David Michael Lynch (Husband), Chad Michael, Travis Lee, Jesse Scott, Brock Michael (Sons), Angela (Step Daughter), 6 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild

Hometown: Wall Lake, IA

Hometown: Council Bluffs, IA

What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? I would first recommend talking with a certified mastectomy fitter to get an idea of how they got started and what work experiences she has.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? Go to school.

What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Share the story! Being compassionate and listening to each patient; may not be the most interesting lesson I have learned, but surely the most important lesson. In your opinion, what are the most important issues in the workplace (or in the U.S./world today?) In the health care field, reasonable reimbursement for the services we provide. How are you personally handling the current economic situation at home, work or school? Are there tips you’d like to share? Our current economic situation surely provides a challenging and interesting situation. Budgeting and watching expenses are very important. Our current economic situations surely provides us with our “ups and downs” along the way. Being able to adapt to these changes is important and provides challenges in itself. As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? Budgeting! You have to learn to budget your time between the two (work & home) and be organized. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? I wouldn’t trade my job - yes, at times it can be very stressful - but it is also very rewarding! How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? Knowing that I am helping someone. Working closely with each patient to find the right size and style breast prosthesis and bra that will restore a natural look and project a positive body image. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? My husband, Jim. We have worked together many years and have a lot of respect for each other & what we do. He has taught me a lot about the orthotics/prosthetics field. Learn as much as you can. Never stop learning. What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? Raising our children to be responsible and caring young adults. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “I think I began learning long ago that those who are the happiest are those who do the most for others.” -Booker T. Washington “You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” -Franklin P. Jones

What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Share the story! Treat everybody the same. Try and help everyone no matter what it is they want. What ever a person can think up, it probably has been done already in some shape or another. The jewelry industry is good! We can spend time and help design a unique piece in any of the metals. In your opinion, what are the most important issues in the workplace (or in the U.S./world today?) Spend money wisely. Invest in gold, platinum, silver, precious metals. They have been around since the beginning of time. They are precious and a good investment along with diamonds. How are you personally handling the current economic situation at home, work or school? Are there tips you’d like to share? Praying. Trying to stay optimistic. Balance work and fun. Life has to be balanced. Eat heatlthy and exercise. As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? Some things have to give. Yard doesn’t always have to be perfect - laundry doesn’t always have to be done. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? Activist - for women in the workforce. How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? Survival. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? I had an old RN that I worked for who drilled it into my head, what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger. What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? Grateful I’m still alive and healthy. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “In all things give thanks in all situations.” -God

Family: Adria (Mom), Rhianna & Korey

Family: Alisha, 17; Rhianna, 13; Korey, 6 Hometown: Neola, IA

Hometown: Neola, IA What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? If you enjoy working with people and helping others this is a rewarding career for you. What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Share the story! Everyday is something new. You have to be flexible. You go to work with an expectation of getting your agenda done but other things sometimes seem to get in the way. In your opinion, what are the most important issues in the workplace (or in the U.S./world today?) The current flooding. Not knowing the outcome. How are you personally handling the current economic situation at home, work or school? Are there tips you’d like to share? Saving for my future! As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? Honestly, sometimes it’s a struggle. It’s hard to keep up with school work and things that need to be done at home but I manage to get it all done and still stay on the honor roll. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? Psychologist. I love helping others and making differences in peoples’ lives. As of now, I plan on attending the University of Iowa to major in psychology after high school. How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? By remembering I am helping others and making a difference. It is rewarding to hear a client tell you how much they appreciate your help. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? My mom. She’s always been there for me. She’s the one that tells me to fulfill my dreams and not to settle for anything less than I deserve! What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? High school is almost over. Plus working a job to make my own money and learn responsibilities. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “One day your whole life is going to flash in front of your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”

What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? If you like working with people and helping people, this career is a very rewarding one. If you like challenges this career has many and you need to be able to “wear many hats.” What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Share the story! They might tell you “no” today to a certain product, etc., but that doesn’t mean “no” forever. I find people everyday more concerned with today’s situations and not looking at the what-ifs until something drastic happens to them or one of their loved ones. Every person should have a life insurance program. You just never know. In your opinion, what are the most important issues in the workplace (or in the U.S./world today?) The flooding. My heart goes out to every single person affected by the flooding. It’s heartwrenching watching people move out of their homes not knowing whether they will have a home to go back to and some not having any coverage for their belongings or home. How are you personally handling the current economic situation at home, work or school? Are there tips you’d like to share? Setting a budget. Putting our needs before our wants. As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? I have great family support. Parents and children who are very helpful and help me as much as possible. It is hard sometimes prioritizing because they both are important. I have kids who need me and clients who do too. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? Social Worker. As a child I was inspired by people helping others and thought that would be a very rewarding career in helping people in current crisis. Social work is similar to my current job of helping others, just now I’m helping families prevent financial crisis. How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? Great family support. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? My parents. My entire life my parents have always been there for me. Always encouraging me to be the best and never give up. God never gives you more than you can handle. What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? I have three wonderful children, a beautiful home for my children and I. I have a good job, which I love. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “To the world, you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.” -Taylor Hanson

Family: Son, Brandon, who is 7 and will be attending 2nd grade at College View Elementary. Husband, Dan, works at Dermatologic Lab and Supply. Hometown: Carson, IA What advice would you give to someone interested in your specific career? Being a property and casualty representative requires the ability to be dedicated to your career and love what you do because you have to work hard to become successful in the insurance field. You also have to maintain a positive attitude at all times. What is the most interesting lesson you have learned in your career? Share the story! Every day and every client is different. In your opinion, what are the most important issues in the workplace (or in the U.S./world today?) Most important issue in the United States today is poverty and unemployment. Cost of living expenses over the last few years have increased but many employers have been unable to provide raises and many have had to eliminate jobs and have put many hard working people in difficult financial situations. As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? This can be very difficult at times. I know that I have taken time away from my family to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends but my husband is very supportive of me and around the house to make sure that when I am home I am able to spend it with them. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? Stay-at-homeMom. My father worked very hard when I was a child to enable my Mom to be home raising me. I wish I could do the same for my Son but with the change in economic times and cost of living it’s not feasible. How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? I have the priviledge of meeting and helping people with protecting two of the largest financial investments in their lives - their home and car. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? I would have to point my finger at my Dad. While growing up, I remember him working extremely hard to provide for my Mother and I. He has instilled a very strong work ethic in me. What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? My proudest accomplishment was the birth of our son, Brandon. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “There are only two things in life you have control over - your effort and your attitude.”


SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

4F Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Daily Nonpareil

Feeding other people’s hobbies Clark helps keep store stocked for area enthusiasts, pet owners

Clark. “I think everybody is trying to create a sanctuary in their backyard.” Needless to say, Clark loves what she does. “It’s enjoyable to help people get the most for their money.” Even her hobby involves the great outdoors. “I like to photograph nature and wildlife.” So much so that Clark is in the process of creating a line of greeting cards and birthday cards featuring photographs she has taken, both in her backyard and elsewhere. Acorn Feed and Supply is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays with plenty of free parking. It’s conveniently located near the South Expressway or from Harry Langdon Boulevard and situated just west of Sherbondy’s Flowers.

TIM ROHWER Staff Writer timothy.rohwer@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5752

Most people have heard of carrier pigeons, but racing pigeons? “It’s a big hobby,” said Karyl Clark. She should know because her business sells a lot of racing pigeon feed. Clark and her husband, Scott, are owners of Acorn Feed and Supply Co., 329 16th Ave. And yes, there are area clubs that race pigeons and come to her business for their food. There’s even a $1 million racing pigeon event in Australia, according to Clark. But, that is just one item her store sells. Clark began her career of caring for pets and the outdoors in a similar store in west Omaha in 1996. Over the years, she noticed many customers were from the Iowa side of the Missouri River. Realizing the need for a store of that nature here, Clark and her husband bought the business in 2004 and began expanding popular items. “When I bought the store, there was one bird feeder. Today, there are close to 100,” said Clark. “Bird feeders are a big part of my business.” When patrons walk through the door, they are greeted by several members of her family – two small dogs, who want to be petted, and several cats. Acorn offers a wide variety of dog and cat foods, including the Diamond brand that provides highly digestible premium foods at reasonable prices, as well as a Taste of the Wild that’s grain free, according to Clark. But, dogs and cats need more than food. Shoppers can also find toys, traditional or heated beds, kennels and crates, flea and tick prevention products, shampoos, grooming and wormer products, and yummy treats like biscuits, bones and chews. A large area is devoted to bird feeding and wildlife products, including nearly a dozen different models of bird feeders. There are also birdbaths and water features, bird seed, birdhouses, squirrel feeders, bat houses, lawn ornaments and wildlife gifts and cards. Besides racing pigeon feed, Clark sells feed for chickens and game birds, plus rabbit feed. Agriculture products include straw, alfalfa and grass bales, salt and trace mineral blocks, horse oats, alfalfa pellets, goat feed, plus pine, cedar, aspen and corncob bedding, backyard deck accessories and so many more kinds of pet-related items. It’s important to have such a wide variety, because there are other bigger-name stores to compete with, Clark said. “A feed store in the middle of town has to find its niche to be successful,” she said. But, Clark does more than sell items. She offers her many years of experience discussing the right nutrition for pets and proper placement of feeders. Upon request, Clark will talk to organizations on such topics as proper bird feeding. For example, many people feed birds only in winter because of the snow covering food on the ground. While that is important, spring is actually the most important time to feed birds because that’s when they are most active and most stressed, what with finding a mate and building nests, she said. Maybe the love of birds or perhaps it’s the economy causing more people to find activities closer to home, but bird feeding is more popular than ever, according to Clark. “Bird feeding is the second highest in sales as far as a hobby behind gardening,” said

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Staff photos/Cindy Christensen

Top, Karyl Clark fills bags of peanuts, a routine she does almost everyday, to sell in her shop. Clark, above, and her husband have owned Acorn Feed and Supply Co., 329 16th Ave., since 2004.

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Special moments you want to share are in The Daily Nonpareil’s

Life Events

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(712) 325-5700


SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

The Daily Nonpareil

Sunday, June 19, 2011

5F

Hough aims for home sweet home Agent’s goal is for clients to be at ease at her office DENNIS FRIEND Staff Writer dennis.friend@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5746

Staff photos/Cindy Christensen

Dr. Lylia Fahmy practices in both Council Bluffs and Omaha at Heartland OBGYN. Below, Fahmy discusses some paperwork with medical receptionist Abby Byrd.

Fahmy flies solo in her new practice TIM JOHNSON Staff Writer tjohnson@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5750

“With a pregnancy, it’s an important time in their life – and it’s a happy time, for the most part. We like to keep it that way.” That’s why Dr. Lylia Fahmy, M.D., likes being a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist. Formerly with Metro OBGYN, she founded her own practice, Heartland OB/GYN, about six months ago and has offices in both Council Bluffs and Omaha. Fahmy wants to promote good health practices among women. She wants to encourage women to take preventive measures, like getting regular pap smears, doing breast selfexams, getting prenatal care during pregnancy, etc. She wants to build relationships with teenage girls and make sure they understand different kinds of contraceptives. “It would be nice if I can help educate them,” she said. Not surprisingly, Fahmy especially likes helping women through their pregnancies and delivery. Fahmy has always been interested in medicine, she said. “My father was a physician,” she said. “Seeing him do what he did – that kind of got me interested in it.” Fahmy saw obstetrics/gynecology as a natural choice for a specialty. She likes the fact that it combines clinical care, patient education and surgery. “It had that continuity with primary care,” she said. “You can be present in all stages of their life.” While many patients do not have a preference as far as the gender of their OB/GYN, some do prefer a woman, Fahmy said. “I find there are those patients who are looking for a female provider who has gone through the same thing they have gone through …” Some patients are more likely to confide in a female OB/GYN, she said. With a male provider, women might not bring up concerns that seem minor at the time. Fahmy is an advocate of minimally invasive surgery and employs minimally invasive techniques whenever possible when performing hysterectomies and removing cysts or tumors, she said. The most common for hysterectomy are vaginal and laparoscopic. She likes practicing minimally invasive surgery so people can get back to their normal activities as quickly as possible. A full abdominal hysterectomy requires a 5- to 7-inch incision and leaves a long scar, Fahmy said.

“Some people still need that, but most people don’t anymore,” she said. And some women still need Caesarean sections, but they are primarily first-time mothers, Fahmy said. If the surgery is performed because a baby is breached, for example, that is unlikely to happen again. Fahmy was born in Egypt and grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She earned a medical degree in Egypt and completed a residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After a six-month research position at Wayne State University, she practiced with Metro OBGYN. She and her husband, Joseph El Refaie, live in Omaha with their daughter, 9; and son, 5. He works in quality

assurance at ConAgra. “I love to travel in the Caribbean, Dubai and Egypt,” Fahmy said. “I would like to see a lot more in Europe, Australia and the Far East.” Fahmy and her husband met with help from their families, she said. “We had family that knew each other,” she said. At the time, Refaie was already living in the United States, she said. They corresponded via Internet for a while. Then they met and got married. Fahmy’s Council Bluffs office is at 801 Harmony St., Suite 402. She is generally in Council Bluffs on Wednesdays. To reach her office, call (402) 933-7247.

Stepping into Tracy Hough’s State Farm Insurance office at 103 North Ave., No. 6, is not like stepping into most other offices. A hint of incense is discernible. There’s a plate of cookies in the reception area and overstuffed couches in the waiting room. Alisha Meinke, who meets visitors as they arrive and whose official title is client relation specialists, offers coffee, water or a soft drink to customers and potential customers. A trip to Hough’s office may also result in a chance to meet Britney and Sophie, two Maltese dogs who greet visitors to the inner office. They sit nearby on the chance they might get a pat on the head. “Britney’s 12 and Sophie’s 7. They’re my dogs. If we could, we’d teach them to answer the phones,” Hough joked. The dogs and the office atmosphere are part of Hough’s approach to her business: Professional, but one meant to put visitors and customers at ease. “We want clients to feel at home,” Hough said. “I like this to feel like you’re coming home.” Hough has been a State Farm Insurance agent for 10 years, recalling that she opened her office “on April Fool’s day of 2001. We got in and got hammered.” A catastrophic hailstorm struck on April 10, followed by a May 13 Mother’s Day hailstorm. “Both were catastrophic,” Hough said. “Technically, we had six events in six months.” On the other hand, it was a quick way to meet and get to know her clientele. Perhaps not the best way, Hough conceded, but a

Staff photo/Cindy Christensen

State Farm agent Tracy Hough, left, sits with client relations specialist Alisha Meinke as they look through some paperwork at Hough’s office located at 103 North Ave., Suite 6. quick way. Hough was borne and raised in Council Bluffs, attending Lewis Central High School. She went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a goal of becoming a certified public accountant. “It turned out quite differently,” Hough said. Her first job was at an insurance company as an accountant. She moved to her next job, becoming an analyst at another insurance company. In each case, “I was working behind the scenes. Each company asked me if I wanted to be an agent,” Hough said. Twice, she said no. The third time, she changed her mind. “State Farm asked me and I thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’ It’s a good fit,” Hough said. Working as an agent at State Farm Insurance means Hough handles property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance, “but also banking, retirement planning and estate planning. That’s my passion.” She has licensed team members. “This business would not succeed without them,” she said. Hough is a member of the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce and is a Lewis Central Corporate Booster Club Sponsor. “I always wanted to be in business for myself,” Hough said. “When I worked behind the scenes, I

didn’t feel like I was making a difference in other people’s lives.” Doing the work she does now means “I can educate people in asset protection on the front end, and I can help them with recovery on the back end.” Hough’s interest in selfemployment comes naturally. “I come from a family of business owners,” she said. Her father, Steve Hough, is the drummer with The Rumbles; her grandfather owned Hough Plumbing; sister Tina Hough owns The Studio, a dance studio; and brother Troy Hough owns Breckinridge Computers in Lincoln, Neb. “I’m driven to not be limited,” Hough said. “If I fail, it’s because of myself. No one sets limits on me.” She also likes being able to extend her knowledge, but admitted she couldn’t do it all by herself. “That’s why I have good people with good ethics who can help take care of the business,” said Hough. “Their competence, their skills and talents, help me do what I do best. I don’t have to micromanage. I can empower people to do what they need to do.” As the visitor left, Meinke asked if he wanted to take a soft drink with him. As Hough said, the idea is to make visitors to State Farm Insurance at 103 North Ave., No. 6, feel at home while they are treated professionally.

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6F Sunday, June 19, 2011

SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

The Daily Nonpareil

Let them know...

Reunions. Events. Graduations. Congratulations.

why you’re celebrating!

Birthdays. And more! ...all the spec ial moments you want to share are in The Daily Nonpareil ’s

Life Events Call now to let everyone know!

325-5700

Enter the Struyk Turf Patriotic Outdoor Contest! Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil

Create a Patriotic Outdoor Display Show your pride with a Patriotic Outdoor display to celebrate our nation’s independence and to show your support for our troops abroad.

Go to NonpareilOnline.com and click on the Patriotic Outdoor Contest link. On the Patriotic Outdoor Display Contest page, once you have registered, you can submit your entry online. No computer? Send by “regular” MAIL: an original photo and your name, phone number, complete address and a brief description to The Nonpareil, Patriotic Outdoor Display Contest, PO Box 797, Council Bluffs, IA 51502-0797. Nonpareil staff will upload mailed entries to the contest site. Submission dates: “Flag Day” Tuesday, June 14, at 4 p.m. through Monday, July 11 at 4 p.m. Voting dates: Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 11, at 4 p.m. How to vote: Visit NonpareilOnline.com and click on the Patriotic Outdoor link. There is no fee to submit an entry or to vote. Questions on submissions and voting? E-mail web@nonpareilonline.com

So get started! Get creative and submit your Patriotic Outdoor Display entry by Monday, July 11!

Staff photo/Cindy Christensen

Jana Rowe just marked her 10th year as the administrative assistant at Cutler-O’NeillMeyer-Woodring Funeral Home this past March.

Rowe: Showing compassion and dignity on the job DENNIS FRIEND Staff Writer dennis.friend@nonpareilonline.com (712) 325-5746

Jana Rowe is a private person, pleasant and friendly, somewhat reserved. She will tell you she does not like to talk about herself or her life, insisting she does not have any interesting stories to tell. “I live a quiet life,” she said. “I respect everyone’s privacy. Work is what I want to talk about.” She will say she was born and raised in Council Bluffs, attended Thomas Jefferson High School and graduated in 1979. She is married to Jim Rowe, an Abraham Lincoln High School graduate, “but we didn’t know each other until after graduation from high school.” Rowe is an administrative assistant to the funeral directors at Cutler-O’Neill-MeyerWoodring Funeral Home, 545 Willow Ave. She marked her 10th year on the job in March. Rowe originally went to work for Central National Insurance Company, but eventually decided to stay home to raise her children. “I raised children for 16 years, three daughters, Randi, Nikki and Alyx,” Rowe said. “It was one of my most cherished times.” However, she said “After the youngest daughter went to school, it was awfully quiet.” Rowe went to work at The Daily Nonpareil for a time, during which she became reacquainted with Matt and Steve O’Neill, owners of Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Funeral Home. According to the family-owned funeral home website, “Since 1906, we have committed ourselves to being there for you . . . Our reputation has been to build on trust and attention to every detail. We value the trust and confidence placed in us by families.” “They would bring in obituary photos for the Nonpareil. Back then, we didn’t scan them digitally,” she said. Then, in 2001, Rowe’s mother, Mary Kenealy, died. Cutler-O’Neill-MeyerWoodring Funeral Home handled the arrangements. “Matt and Steve made a difficult time easier,” Rowe said. “When I lost my mother, it was very hard, the most profound part of my life. They made the loss easier to deal with.” The thought that she might be able to help someone else in the same way prompted her to take the job at the funeral home.

‘The best part of the job is to be able to help families get through one of the most difficult times in their lives.’ – Jana Rowe administrative assistant at Cutler-O’Neill-MeyerWoodring Funeral Home

“The best part of the job is to be able to help families get through one of the most difficult times in their lives,” Rowe said. The bereaved will visit with funeral directors and will make decisions that will allow the funeral home to carry them out. The arrangements are consistent with the family’s beliefs and background in a way that provides the appropriate dignity and respect to provide comfort for those who are mourning. It can be difficult for family members, especially when the loss is still fresh, memories flood in and emotions are still raw. “When a family comes in the front door, seeing a familiar face helps,” Rowe said. “You can visit. You don’t have to get down to business immediately.” While the loss and the subsequent funeral arrangements are difficult for the next of kin, Rowe said she and her colleagues try to emphasize a life can be celebrated while mourning a death. “We consider every death a celebration of life,” Rowe said. Sometimes, trying to remember the celebratory aspect can become difficult. “The young ones always tug at our hearts. Infants, tragic deaths, that happens a lot,” Rowe said. Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring also offers a grief-support community service. Facilitated by the Rev. Dick Sladsky, it’s held the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at The Center, 714 S. Main St. The series is described as a chance to find people who understand grief reactions and allow people to express them openly as a way to help people through a difficult time. Rowe said she finds her work fulfilling. “I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” she said. “It’s a way to help a family get through this.” The perhaps-unexpected side benefit is that “It’s a good feeling to know your loved ones will be taken care of with compassion and in a dignified manner,” Rowe said.

THE PRIZES 1st and 2nd place vote winners and a Judges Choice selection View all of the entries online...vote for your favorites beginning Friday, July 1.

This event is brought to you by the official Patriotic Outdoor Display Contest sponsor:

Supporting Patriotic Contest Sponsors

Tom's Auto Body Echo Electric Supply ABC Electric Inc. Montang Body Shop Maher-Livingston Funeral Home

Jantiques Hawkeye/Nebraska Siding Campbell Insurance Carson Body Shop

SWI Women 2011  

SWI Women 2011

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