Norma Buckingham’s retirement starts this week after a 37-year run at the Carson Country Store! Norris and Norma purchased KB Standard in 1983, but remodeled and opened as the Country Store on Feb. 10, 1984. Gas prices for ethanol were $1.12. The place had been a truck stop in the ‘70s with a café and motel. It had changed hands a few times before landing in the Buckinghams’ care. After a failed partnership, the Buckinghams had to regroup, and it was Norma who went to work in the store every day from 6am to 11pm. The Country Store also survived M-16 being built and Carson High School being consolidated. The Buckinghams added diesel and the convenience mart. At one point, the store housed a beauty shop, movie rentals, and tanning beds. (I, personally, may or may not have stopped in for a few rounds of pop and candy during the days of cruising Carson along with many of my friends!) Today, they keep that soft serve ice cream going for all their customers! A lot of things have come and gone in the more than 3 and a half decades the Buckinghams had the store. Norma said she raised 4 kids, had chickens, did canning, and ran the store in that span. They were only closed one day in those 37 years and it was for Norris’ funeral.
Unfortunately, 2 years ago, Norma broke her leg and hasn’t been able to get back to the pace she once kept. At 89, Mrs. Buckingham knew it was time to hand over the reins to the McKerns. She’s very grateful to all those that supported their business over the years and is thankful to have been part of their lives. One of her favorite parts of owning the store was watching all the kids that grew up to be parents and grandparents and continue the generations of Country Store customers. She says the world has sped up but that remained consistent.
So as Norma starts a new chapter she says she’s not sure what she will do with herself, but she did mention some TV movies along with gardening, mowing, and planting flowers in the spring! She also mentioned she feels blessed to have been able to hear the outpouring of well wishes as the final days came to a close.
Well, Norma, thank you for your part in keeping a Carson landmark just that. Your legacy will live on.
Our next Pott. Co. Couple, Johnny and Lindsy Brown, are on lucky year number 13! The couple met at the Nishna Renaissance Fair held in Hancock in October, 2002. At the time, Lindsy was still living in Des Moines and the couple made an effort to hang out some but after several months, Lindsy made the move back to Omaha. From there, Johnny took matters into his own hands with a conversation known among all their friends! Johnny simply said, “I heard you’re single?” She said she was and he replied, “Well, I’m interested” which led to their first date on March 12, 2003 and as they say in movies, the rest is history!
The couple took up residence in Johnny’s hometown of Oakland and were married on February 22, 2008 by a county court judge and had a reception at the Bohemian Café in Omaha. The Browns has since moved to Carson where Lindsy works for Fox Creek Fundraising and Johnny works at America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses in Council Bluffs. When they aren’t working, the twosome likes to listen to music, watch movies, walk around old parts of cemeteries, take long drives in the country so Lindsy can take photos of the scenery and moo at cows. I can also attest that you will see them at most area small town events, too! Needless to say, they are a fun-loving duo always up for something new! In fact, Lindsy has started painting with watercolor and acrylics while Johnny is off performing weddings as an officiant and he also loves to promote local bands online. I dare to say there are few dull moments in the Brown household!
If you’ve ever seen Mr. and Mrs. Brown out and about, you won’t be the least bit shocked by their marital advice as they are generally some of the most jovial people you’ll run into! Johnny and Lindsy’s advice to all couples is to hold hands often and say “I love you” at least twice a day. Clearly, they take their own advice! And the world is better for it!
Thanks, Johnny and Lindsy for showing us true love and for loving Pott. Co. You sure know how to put love into the world!
*Blog sponsored by Western Ventures, Inc.
People, it is a quadruple holiday weekend! We have surpassed the normal hat trick and gone straight to the big-time! Sure, it’s going to be flipping colder than snot but it’s President’s Day weekend. It’s Mardi Gras (pre-Fat Tuesday) Weekend. It’s the first weekend of NASCAR – it’s the Daytona 500! And it’s Valentine’s Day weekend! Does it get any bigger than that???? I don’t think so!
So let’s talk plans you can make for the weekend!
Friday night, you can go old-school and rollerskate at UMBA Hall in Underwood starting at 7! I also hear Minden Bowl and Henry’s Diner in Crescent will both be offering prime rib dinners both Friday and Saturday nights! Yum!
Saturday, you can get in your day of skiing at Mount Crescent! Although the temps are keeping them closed most of the weekend, they will be open 11am to 5pm (just on Saturday) for you to get your powder fix!
The Beauty Bar at Blossoms in Oakland is also having a Galentine's Pampering Day with scalp facials, blowouts, hot alcoholic beverage bar, and treats along with product specials! You must call for a reservation. She says she might be able to squeeze a couple more in! Plus, while you're there, you can see Turquoise Tractor's selection of hot items! And Deb at Blossoms is hosting a wine tasting 10am to 2pm along with having 20% off!
Saturday night, you can do the Carson Valentine Party Cruise from 6 to 7pm on Broadway in Carson! It’s free and the first 25 cars get a swag bag! This is Carson’s little way of letting you know that they have a Main Street Coordinator now and they are ready to bring you added entertainment!
Plus, The Bar’N and Grill in Carson is serving up Dinners for 2 before and after the cruise! Whether you’re in the mood for steak, prime rib, or fettucine alfredo, they are doing 3-course meals just for you!
You might also want to check out the I-80 Lounge in Underwood. They are having a prime rib meal for 2 that includes shrimp and a bottle of wine, as well. Dine in or carry out. Reservations are required though so be sure to call ahead.
Sunday brings more chances to avoid cooking! You can still get tickets till noon on Friday for the Sweethearts Night Out event that’s happening at The Palace Event Center outside Treynor starting at 6. The evening will be dinner and a comedian show!
So yes, it’s going to be freaking cold, but we live in Iowa and if we can handle COVID, we can handle the cold! We are Pott. County! We can do anything!
Have a great quad-acious weekend!
After 48 years of marriage, the Pitts think they may have it figured out! Bob and Virginia Pitt of Oakland actually met 49 years ago when Virginia was working at the Dairy Queen. The two of them went to school at Oakland High School, and Bob proposed one night at a high school football game. The couple got married at the First Congregational Church in Oakland on November 24, 1973, had two daughters Kristin and Heather, and have been together since. Of course, nowdays they try to find time to spend a little of the Iowa winter visiting their grandkids in Arizona!
Bob and Gin enjoy watching sports together, especially Iowa football, although Virginia mentioned that Bob loves to rewind and rewatch a play more than she’d prefer! Lol. And Bob says she worries too much, but that’s why they agree being able to laugh together is super important in a marriage. They say it’s the secret to a good marriage actually. In fact, they admitted that marriage takes a lot of work. “You have to pick your battles and know that marriage is never perfect, but if the ups outweigh the downs, you are doing something right.” Great advice, you two! Couldn’t agree more!
What’s next for the couple? Well, they hope to someday take their whole family to Hawaii! Sounds like a great idea to me! I’m sure the family won’t be opposed! Until then, keep loving on those grandkids and thanks for being a long-time Pott. County Couple!
*Blog sponsored by the Oakland Industrial Foundation.
*Photos courtesy of the Pitts
When you picture a happy Pott. Co. Couple, you can’t help but think of Brian and Jody Shea! The duo is pretty well-known in these parts as Brian is a newly-elected member of the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors (formerly mayor of Crescent) and Jody is the main voice of the Crescent Connection newsletter!
The couple actually met on June 1, 1996 in Atlantic, ran into each other again at Menards a month later, then Brian proposed on New Year’s Eve, and on June 1, 1997, they were married next to their front yard pond in Crescent with catered Mexican food and the Brewski’s Beer Wagon! According to Jody, “It was the perfect day!”
Jody is originally from Avoca where her mom still lives, and Brian started out in CB but ended up in Crescent by 1969 so the lifelong Pott. Co. couple set up their home in Crescent on the property Brian was raised on. The Sheas have a daughter and son-in-law that also live in Crescent and have a 3-year-old daughter that makes one grandpa and grandma very happy!
Besides spoiling their granddaughter, the couple shares hobbies like spending time with family and friends, landscaping and beautifying their yard (Brian owns a landscaping business), and riding motorcycles. Brian and Jody have taken trips to both coasts, a lot of states in between and even up into Canada and Alaska. They are excited to take more trips and just simply enjoy life in the coming years.
One of the things they are most proud of in their 24 years together (besides their family, of course) was forming the Veteran’s Monument Committee in Crescent. The Sheas were part of a great group of volunteers who designed, fundraised, and organized the construction of the park which I have to say is a stand-out piece of beauty in Crescent!
Brian and Jody are both self-proclaimed impatient people but seem to do just fine together! In fact, when I asked what the secret to marriage was, they told me that trusting each other is everything, as well as enjoying each other’s company, surrounding yourself with good couple friends, and in the case of the Sheas, making each other laugh. Jody says that having a sense of humor is the best advice she can give to a couple looking to get married, and Brian, kidding chimed in that they better be ready to say, “Yes, Dear” a lot!
If you’ve met the Sheas, you’ve probably seen the look they give each other! As we celebrate love this week, there’s no doubt that Brian and Jody are an example of getting it right!
Thanks for showing us how it’s done, Mr. and Mrs. Shea!
*Photo courtesy of the Sheas.
Cole and Emily Weitzel have been married a sum total of 2 whole months! They are officially our newlywed couple! However, they’ve actually been together for 10.5 years! A middle school romance turned into something a whole lot bigger for this Treynor duo. The Weitzels are both currently at Iowa State finishing their degrees, but they have spent their summers in Treynor and recently got married at St. Patrick’s in CB and held their reception at The Palace outside Treynor, as well.
Although both are focused on their careers, the couple makes plenty of time for each other. When together, Mr. and Mrs. Weitzel binge-watch marathons of their favorite shows, cook together, walk around town, and hike. Not only do the Weitzels share hobbies, but they believe the secret to marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is choosing to be with each other through both the ups and the downs, as well as communicating. After 10 plus years, they seem to have that down!
Emily says, “It is important to work through difficulties and not just give up when the going gets tough. If you communicate, then getting through the hard times becomes a little easier and you will come out the other side as a stronger couple.” Needless to say, their secret fits perfectly with the two pieces of advice they’d give a newly-engaged couple:
1. Know each other's love languages. When you are conscious of your significant other’s love language, you can make an effort to communicate in that way, making them feel even more special.
2. Never treat a problem as “you against me” but as “us against the problem”.
Wow! It’s hard to believe they’ve only been married 2 months with that kind of advice!
That being said, they have already embraced the imperfections of marriage as Cole says Emily has too many pillows and blankets and Emily says Cole cracks his knuckles and it drives her crazy but they love each other anyway!
Now, truth be told, Emily and Cole just happen to be our niece and nephew-in-law so we’re got the inside scoop and not only do we love them dearly, but we’re pretty sure this Pott. Co. couple will be together forever!
Happy Marriage! Happy Life, you two!
This blog sponsored by Western Ventures, Inc.
Pott. County’s Kevin Ross has his hand in lots of operations including having served as the President of the National Corn Growers Association last year! Kevin just completed his term as the President and will go off of the Board in October, but the board is only a piece of all that Kevin does. He and his wife Sara, own and operate a 120-head cow-calf business outside Minden (and one in Nebraska), raise their own corn, soybeans, and alfalfa, custom harvest, and sell insurance through The Home Agency in McClelland. Plus, if that weren’t enough, they have four sons, Hudson (5th), Axen (2nd), Carver & Hollis (preschool) and they ,along with The Pott. County Corn and Soybean Growers, run Underwood’s Annual 4th of July parade every year! Add in that Kevin is getting his MBA at Iowa State and serves on the Western Iowa Energy – Biodiesel Board, and I can’t even fathom how they (the whole family chips in) manage everything!
That being said, it all started when Kevin’s cousin, Iowa Representative David Sieck, encouraged him to join the Iowa Corn Growers as a member and put him on the membership committee. Little did he know it would take him to the Commodity Classic in California where he’d meet his wife, Sara, and corn, ethanol, and the biodiesel field would become his calling.
With a need to communicate information to farmers and be an expert on the agricultural industry when dealing with the U.S. Congress, the US Meat Export Federation, or the US Grains Council, Mr. Ross’ broad knowledge base has been of utmost importance. Kevin spoke about the amount of “behind the scenes” work that has to take place and the policy that has to be developed and written in order for the organization to succeed. He hopes that people realize their check-off dollars go into research, promotion, and education all geared towards advancing the agricultural industry. His role on the National Corn Growers means he must work with all political parties, global organizations, and industry partners. Ross mentioned that he had to develop the ability to think broadly on behalf of an entire industry in order to fulfill his duties. Kevin said it was a great honor to put all of his hats into play as he represented his home area, corn, ethanol, and biodiesel at the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) plant presentation with President Trump in June of 2019. In fact, as we go to press, it was just announced that Ross will serve as a new director on the SIRE Ethanol Plant Board of Directors, a 140M gallon-per-year plant located just south of Council Bluffs.
As Kevin looks back on his time as President of a national organization, he’s proud of the advancement and continued elevation of the US corn industry and NCGA. He also said he truly hopes he made a difference for the US corn producer.
At the end of the day though, Ross says he is a farmer first.
Well, Kevin, Pott. Co. is glad to call you one of its own, and we may not know what the next chapter will bring, but I bet it will be big!
With all the talk about the Carson and Macedonia façade projects starting in March, you can’t help but also be excited to learn that Amy Spiering is the new Main Street Coordinator for Carson!
Thanks to a discussion held a few years ago between city clerk, Brianne Duede, and the Pottawattamie County Planning and Zoning Commission, Carson is piloting a program in which Amy will oversee the façade project and help market Carson to new businesses. Amy envisions that “every store front will have a business and the Carson Business District will offer a fun atmosphere.” She truly believes that Carson is packed with potential and we couldn’t agree more! As new studies come out, it points to more metro area citizens moving to rural Pottawattamie with the ability to work remotely supported by the promise of fiber and broadband.
For those of you who don’t know Amy, she and her late husband actually moved here approximately 10 years ago to raise their son, Trent, who is now a 7th grader. They needed to be within 30 minutes of Union Pacific for her husband’s job but wanted Trent to grow up in a small community and school district. Amy has a Business Management degree from Bellevue University and is the owner of Amy’s Attic on Broadway in Carson, a cute little shop where she does custom painting of furniture, as well as offer décor, candles, and furniture pieces for sale. Because of that, Amy has a vested interest in the success of Carson’s Business District. Not only will it benefit her shop, but she says Carson is her home and she wants the best for it.
Mrs. Spiering’s job as the Main Street Coordinator will be approximately 20 hours a week and she will work out of her office at the Carson Fire Department on Monday-Wednesday from 8 to 3pm except when attending training/meetings. She looks forward to checking out a few of the successful town models she’s heard about in Southwest Iowa with the ultimate goal of getting Carson in the Main Street Iowa Program. Amy’s job will entail being a point of contact for Carson businesses. She will build relationships with all the businesses in Carson as well as be the voice of said businesses. Furthermore, she will be expected to market Carson and draw on resources to help Carson prosper.
Amy mentioned her motto for Carson is “new perspective, new objective.” Amy, we can’t wait to see what it produces!
At a time when many 20-somethings are looking to step out into the unknown, Josie Cable knew she was meant to be back home in Walnut! After leaving her hometown to attend Ellsworth for Equine Management and being a jack-of-all trades along the way with jobs like a 911-dispatcher and a postal worker, Josie knew she wanted to be home. She wanted to move back to her family, her way-of-life, and a permanent home. She ended up getting a vet tech degree from Iowa Western and in August, 2019, Josie took a leap of faith and started Josie’s Riding Experience. In January, 2020, she made it official by becoming an LLC.
All of it started a long time ago when Josie got her first horse at age 5 from her grandpa. She grew up in Walnut and spent her time in the world of agriculture. Although some may know her for her postal job that takes her on the Avoca, Shelby, and Walnut routes, she is most well-known for her training skills with horses and kids. Josie had always been an outdoorsy type and horse-riding was her happy place. She’d been giving lessons, training horses, and even driving horses since she was a kid, but in August, 2019, she decided to go big. She put it out on Facebook that she was starting lessons and was shocked at the response. Her Facebook page blew up!
A little over a year in and Ms. Cable has 30 weekly riders and 60 regulars with a wait list to get in! She’s also very excited to be offering a Little Buckaroos summer program this year in June and July hoping to reach a few more kids. Plus, she trains and boards horses, too! Needless to say, Josie Cable is full of energy! And personality, too! So it was no surprise to me why she was chosen to be part of the Farm Bureau Grow your Future Award Pitch-off!
I asked Josie how she got involved in the Farm Bureau contest and she told me an ad for it kept popping up for it when she was on Facebook. It seemed like it was just meant to be! She submitted her video and not long after that she got a call that she’d made it to the voting round. So Josie rallied friends, family, and clients. Thanks to a loyal fan-base, she made it into the top 6 which means she will present “at” the 2021 Farm Bureau Young Farmers Convention! She even got to have practice sessions with the FB farm business development manager, Amanda Van Steenwyk, to prep for the big event. Basically, the conference goers will see a 5-minute presentation done by Cable, have a 5-minute Q&A session with her, and then the judges will have 80% of the say with the other 20% going to the conference viewers. So if you are a Farm Bureau member between 18 and 35 attending the conference via Zoom, Josie is counting on you! If she wins, she can receive up to $7500!
I asked Josie if she won, what would be next on the agenda and she told me she’d like to convert her tack room into an office and build a new shed for tack and kids. Yes, part of Josie’s dream is to offer a place for kids to meet up with other kids and have her place be one big barn family. COVID sure hasn’t helped in that capacity, but ultimately, Josie (and boyfriend, Kevin) want it to be a farm with goats, hogs, chickens, cattle, and of course, horses that can be a home-away-from-home for younger versions of horse-loving Josies!
Listen, all I have to say is if you can vote, vote Josie’s Riding Experience on January 30th! And for the rest of you, well, let’s all be thankful that Ms. Josie Cable didn’t forget where she came from!
Pottawattamie is happy to welcome Josie’s Riding Experience to our county!
Possibly my favorite post of the whole year is announcing the WIDA Awards! I love celebrating our amazing businesses and recreational facilities and people! It’s also exciting because I always learn something I had no knowledge of. I could be embarrassed by that, but I think it just shows what a big, fabulous county we have! Another exciting part is that we had 7 times the number of votes this year than we had last year for our first set of awards! Thank you all for voting!
So let’s get to it!
Best New Business
This category was rich in businesses despite COVID. What a county where businesses can still make it even in a pandemic! That being said, we all need to shop local, folks! Who topped the category? It was a tough race but here were your top 3:
*Destination Coffee and Cuisine in Oakland
*Tillie’s Hair Salon and Boutique in Avoca
*Casa Mexicana in Avoca
Best Place to get Exercise in Rural Pott. County
Again, there was an enormous list of options for this category. In fact, we found out about a few we were unaware existed, but there was no question about the winners! Your top 3 were:
*Botna Bend in Hancock
*Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek/Crescent
*Walnut Community Center (Walnut)
Hidden Gem or Best Kept Secret of Rural Pott. Co.
Wow! I am in love with this category! So I found out about the Aeroplane Inn through this question and believe me, you’ll be seeing my blog about it sometime soon! And it’s always interesting to see what people come up with when this could be a roadside park, a place to eat, a landmark, or a store. So who got thought of? We had a tie for 3rd place so we have a top 4 in this category!
*Stanley’s Snack Shack in Honey Creek/Crescent
*The Dew Drop Inn in McClelland
*Dreamland Theatre in Carson
*El Sol Mexican Restaurant in Oakland
Friendliest Staff in Rural Pott. Co.
We all know that the most successful, long-time businesses are those that make customer service a priority and with employees so hard to come by these days, it’s a labor of love to make it happen! Who was recognized for doing just that?
*El Sol in Oakland
*Avoca Flower Shop (Avoca)
*Garcia’s Family Mexican Restaurant in Underwood
*Shelby Vet Clinic (Shelby)
Best Long-Time Business (25 years or older) in Rural Pott. Co.
Let me just say that we are blessed with a treasure trove of businesses that could be included in this category. It’s easy to lose track of just how long they’ve been around and each one is special. This category warms my heart. I don’t know that we did it justice with all those that could be added, but we had a lot of ties in this category, and I couldn’t leave them out! Here are your top 6:
*Gress Locker in Hancock
*Embers in Avoca
*Olesen Auto in Avoca
*Hotze Tree Service in Carson
*Rubacks Grocery Store in Oakland
*Shear Designs by Mischa in Oakland
Best Place to take the Family during COVID
What a category! I actually was quite surprised by this one. I was expecting a lot of outdoor, recreational facility answers and what showed up was an interesting combination of outdoor places and businesses that handled the hard times with the best of them. Winners included:
*Edgington Memorial Park in Avoca
*Dairy Queen in Oakland
*Botna Bend in Hancock
*Walnut Splash Pad (Walnut)
*El Sol in Oakland
Best Ambience in Rural Pott. Co.
Décor counts according to this list! Here are your top 3:
*B Restored in Walnut
*Buck Snort in Oakland and Neola
*The Bar’N and Grill in Carson
Best Pivot due to COVID by a Rural Pott. Co. Business, Person, or Organization
I have to say I learned a whole lot of things that happened through the write-in section on this category! I would have loved to have broadcast a few of them like Treynor setting up little mini food pantries like the little libraries all over town! What a great plan!
I can’t say enough about all the ones that came up in this category. 2020 was a rough year and Pott. Co. rose to the occasion! So proud of all that put their efforts into helping us get through a pandemic!
We also had a tie for 2nd place on this one, so here are the top 4:
*Vicki Palmer of Oakland sewed 5200 masks to give away to medical staff, school staff, and residents
*The Exchange in Avoca did take-out pizzas
*The Back Forty in Macedonia did Meals on Wheels for patrons in the Henderson and Riverside Area
*Silos in Treynor did Friday Night Pizza Takeout Nights with $1 donations to a nonprofit each week
It makes me so happy to see our county doing its best! These were the best of the best this year! There’s always next year! So thank you all for voting and making Pott. Co. the place to be! This year definitely make it obvious that we should shop local because they were there for us in 2020.
PS – A shout-out to Kim Wise! She is the winner of The Dew Drop Inn gift card for participating in the survey!