By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Kaffee Klatsch, an up to one hour meeting the first Wednesday of each month, gathered in room 15/16 at the Indian Hills Community College Centerville campus.
The Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce president Marcia Bratz kicked off the Klatsch Wednesday morning by welcoming the more than 30 who attended. She would go on to introduce each speaker.
First up was Joe Starcevich, IHCC Centerville campus dean, who talked about enrollment and the many different programs the college offers.
"We've got a lot of different programs these days," Starcevich said.
One program in particular, building trades, is finishing a project for the Bentley Group and is about to collaborate with Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund to build a house on South 15th Street.
Starcevich talked about online learning, the sustainable agricultural program, baseball team and nursing program.
Bratz then introduced Centerville Mayor Jim Senior.
Senior said he was impressed with IHCC and called it one of the most important assets not only for Centerville but for Appanoose County.
Bratz next introduced Dean Kaster, chairman of the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors, who talked about the lawsuit brought by The Coves of Sundown Lake homeowners association against the county to establish a Rural Improvement Zone at the lake.
After the board of supervisors voted to deny the RIZ petition, the homeowners association then filed a lawsuit challenging their decision.
In January, a district court judge ruled the supervisors were wrong to deny the RIZ and ordered them to consider the request.
The board has since filed an appeal of the district court judge's ruling.
Kaster said he has been spending a lot of time in Des Moines meeting with their attorney in relation to the RIZ lawsuit.
Kaster said Rep. Larry Sheets, R-Moulton, in District 80, proposed legislation to change the language of the law that covers RIZ. Specifically, Sheets proposed to do away with the provision that once established, the RIZ has no sunset to one where the RIZ would expire at some point in time.
Kaster said the goal through legislation is to get the bill's language governing RIZ's changed.
Kaster said he was in Des Moines last week at the statehouse to lobby for the 10 cent per gallon tax increase on gasoline which would generate $500,000 per year for the Appanoose County Secondary Roads fund. Kaster said a good share of the money raised would come from drivers not from Appanoose County.
Bratz next introduced Joyce Bieber, chamber executive director, who talked about their new web site and its capabilities for members.
"We love it. We love the features of it," Bieber said. "We love the enhanced capabilities of it."
Bieber talked about the Leadership program through the Appanoose County Sustainable Economies program where 25 participated in the first session. The second session was Thursday.
Bieber asked of those in attendance, and by extension anyone else in the community, if they wanted to serve on committees for chamber events, to volunteer.
During Bieber's time, Larry Bettis, not a scheduled speaker, brought up the need to replace the American flags on the Square. Specifically, with donations brought to the chamber, Bettis made a request for enough donations to replace the 56 flags at $30 each.
Bettis said ever since 9/11 American flags have flown from every street light except during winter months.
"Centerville is known for many things but when people see the flags they think it's a really neat thing," Bettis said, noting residents don't want to see old and ragged flags flying on the street light poles.
The goal is to have the new flags in place by Flag Day, Bieber said.
Bratz next introduced Tod Faris, Appanoose Economic Development Corporation executive director, who talked about Shark Fin Shears, which will locate in the Industrial Park and the up to 15 jobs they will create in the next three years and the 2013 AEDC banquet at Honey Creek Resort State Park March 28 with guest speaker Debi Durham.
"I think it's going to be a great evening," Faris said. "It always is."
This event is open to the public and AEDC members and reservations can be made by contacting Marsha Whisler at Honey Creek Resort by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (641) 724-1406.
Faris announced the four Appanoose COunty Sustainable Economies program committees formed from the CIRAS ISU effort will come together at 9 a.m. March 20 for a collective meeting at Chariton Valley Planning & Development office.
Bratz next introduced Phil Brown, United States Army Corps of Engineers project manager at Rathbun Lake.
Brown said the lake was approximately one foot below the normal pool level of 904 feet, nothing to worry about.
Brown said something to worry about is the effect the sequester will have on services and amenities the Corps now offers at the lake.
The federal sequester, Brown said, will likely result in furloughs and campground closings at Rathbun Lake.
"We are going to feel the pain, too," Brown said.
Marsha Whisler talked about events at Honey Creek Resort State Park, including the Quilt Show they are hosting this weekend and an IHCC representative talked about IHCC foundation’s 2012 annual report that highlights fundraisng for scholarships.
Pastor Brad Dittmer announced a make up Financial Peace University class today at Game On from 6:30-8 p.m. Dittmer said his church will have an Easter egg hunt March 30 at Game On.
The next Kaffee Klatsch starts at 10 a.m. April 3 at the Appanoose County Historical and Coal Mining Museum.