Brown convenes final coffee

Chamber director, Robb to leave positions this month

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Anne Blankenship Pam Johnson of The Big Picture, left, presented a donation to Angie Martin-Schwarze of Kendall Young Library during the quarterly Chamber of Commerce coffee Thursday.

Webster City Area Chamber Director Deb Brown convened her final quarterly Chamber coffee Thursday morning at the Webster Theater.

Brown, who has been with the Chamber since March 2013, will be leaving her post with to continue with her own business, SaveYour.town, a venture that she and Becky McCray co-founded.

“It’s kind of tearful,” she said in opening the meeting, “this is my last coffee.”

She said she will continue to live in Webster City and would be joining the Chamber.

Brown also announced JoAnn Robb, a Chamber assistant, would be retiring at the end of the month. Robb said she is looking forward to spending time with her family and working on their new AIRBNB project.

Tyler Abens of the Help Entertain and Restore Organization welcomed the group to the Webster Theater and introduced theater manager Cory Massman.

Junquefest will be held in downtown Webster City during Memorial Day Weekend, according to Brown, pending approval for street closures from the City Council.

“We’re also looking at live music and a beer tent,” she said. “We have a local band that’s interested in playing.”

Mayor John Hawkins gave an update on behalf of the city. He said the West Second Street project was scheduled to begin in the coming months and 50 new lots are being developed in the Brewer Creek addition. He added that interviews for the youth advisory committee are under way and expects to have the committee seats filled yet this month.

Kim Peck of First State Bank introduced Staci Olthoff who will be managing the new First State Bank Jewell branch, scheduled to open March 13. Michelle Oskvig will also be working in the Jewell office. The new branch office marks the 7th location for First State Bank.

Scott Bargfrede, First American Bank, introduced Jeff Scharfenkamp of Carroll County State Bank. It was announced in December that Carroll County State Bank will be purchasing First American Bank offices in Webster City, Jewell and Roland.

“We changed our name last Friday to Availa Bank. We picked one name to unify our brand,” he said.

Sharfenkamp said the company thought the three local offices would be a perfect fit for Availa Bank.

“One thing we take a lot of pride in is giving people local market control,” he said. “Fortunately Scott (Bargfrede) has agreed to stick with us. He’s a great leader and has a great group of folks.”

Misti Whitmore of Farm Bureau announced that the five businesses celebrating 100 years in Webster City — Farm Bureau, McMurray Hatchery, Webster City Area Chamber, Hamilton County Fair and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach — along with the Daily Freeman-Journal, celebrating 160 years, would be hosting a celebration June 2 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. The event will feature the band Standing Hampton, food vendors, and kids activities.

New employees introduced included Webster City Fire Chief Charles Stansfield, Danny Baessler of the Daily Freeman-Journal, Starr Banwell and Miranda Goodpastor of Town and Country Insurance and Nicole Stinn, new Hamilton County engineer.

Maureen Seamonds of Legacy Learning Boone River Valley said that a reception for the new artist in Residence, Cord McMahon, would be held Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at a location next to Home Appliance. She said Diane Kunzler would be an artist in residence at Briggs Woods from March 13 through 19.

Janet Toering of ACE Community Center reminded chamber members of the Grand Opening at ACE on March 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Other updates were given by Mark Dohms for the Rotary Clubs, Marilyn Middleton of Southfield Wellness Community, Barb Wollan of Hamilton County Extension and Outreach on Money Smart Week April 22 to 29. Lindsay McCormick Welch talked about the upcoming bus tour for the 160th anniversary of the Spirit Lake Massacre. Christina Ryder talked about the upcoming St. Thomas Ball. Theme for the ball scheduled for May 6 is Race for Success.

Pam Johnson of The Big Picture presented a donation to Angie Martin Schwarze, director of Kendall Young Library, in the amount of $142.