02/23/23: Area Happenings & Accomplishments


February 23, 2023


Bill Bumgarner will call it a career at the end of 2023.

Area NCC students awarded scholarships

The Community Memorial Health Center in Hartley awards $1,000 scholarships annually to deserving students attending Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. Students are selected due to their academic achievement and potential for success in a health-related field.

This year's CMHC scholarship recipients are Taya Mason and Dalen Peters, both of Hartley. They are Nursing students at NCC.

Wyatt Borden, of Sanborn, is this year's recipient of the Marilyn Menning Accounting Scholarship. Borden is currently an Accounting student at NCC.

The scholarship is worth $500 and was established by the staff and directors at Citizens State Bank to honor Menning, who was a member of the first graduating class of Northwest Iowa Vocational School.

The Sanford Sheldon Medical Center Scholarship was established to encourage area individuals to pursue health-related careers. The $1,250 scholarship is awarded twice a year by the NCC Foundation and is funded by the Sanford Sheldon Medical Center. Recipients are chosen because of their academic achievement and potential for success in a health-related field.

This year's recipients are Elizabeth Carney, of Sanborn, a Nursing student, and Julia Veldman, of Rock Valley, a Radiologic Technology student.

Event reels in $15K for Camp Autumn scholarships

Seasons Center for Behavioral Health and Camp Autumn hosted their annual ice fishing tournament and fundraiser at Camp Autumn on Saturday, Feb. 11. One-hundred and eighty-four anglers participated in the event along with 28 sponsors.

In total, $15,022 was raised for Camp Autumn's scholarship program and $6,715 worth of in-kind donations were handed out as tournament prizes and kids' giveaways, and to help feed all participants.

In addition to the regular tournament categories for bass, crappie and other panfish, this year's tournament also included seven challenge holes and events.

"We couldn't have asked for better weather this year," said Dan Ries, CEO and President of Seasons Center in a news release. "It was a perfect day to be on the ice and we truly appreciate all those who participated in and donated to this event. It's wonderful to see so many anglers and sponsors continue to support this event year after year. The generosity that's shown helps make a difference in the lives of so many kids in northwest Iowa."

The event continues to be supported by the Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club which coordinates and judges the tournament, as well as provides ice shacks, poles, and gear for individuals or families who do not have ice fishing equipment. Several area sponsors also supported the event.

Gov's volunteer award accepting nominations

Volunteer Iowa is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Governor's Volunteer Awards. The entry deadline is April 17 at 6 p.m.

The Governor's Volunteer Awards program, established in 1982, provides an easy way for organizations to honor their volunteers with a prestigious, state-level recognition award. Three award categories are available: Individual, Group and Length of Service.

Award recipient information can be submitted using one of the following methods:

All organizations (including state government agencies) submit information, and the handling fee ($15 per nomination) directly through Volunteer Iowa in an online nomination form. Organizations will be able to submit the handling fee online.

State agencies will submit nominations through the same online form. Invoicing will be handled separately. Staff of state government agencies must submit nominations through their agency's coordinator.

Nominations are accepted from: City governments, community colleges, county governments, federal government units operating in Iowa, Iowa MENTOR-certified programs, K-12 schools (public and parochial), national service programs operating in Iowa (AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Seniors), nonprofit and charitable organizations, private colleges and universities, non-state government organizations.

To learn more, visit volunteeriowa.org.

Ice remains thick across NWI lakes

Most lakes have 18-plus inches of ice. Recent warm temperatures and rain have slightly degraded some access areas, but the cold forecast should quickly improve any ice. The forecast calls for colder temperatures and snow.

The walleye season on the Iowa Great Lakes is closed until May 6. Permanent and non-permanent ice shacks must be removed from the ice when not in use after Feb. 20.

East Okoboji Lake: Ice thickness is around 20-plus inches in most areas. The walleye season is closed.

Black crappie, good. Try small jigs tipped with a minnow or tube jig and bobber. Bluegill, good. Use tube jigs, plastics, or other small jigs. Northern pike, good. Tip-ups are working well. Yellow perch, fair. Minnows are working well; some sorting may be needed.

Five Island Lake: Use caution; the lake aerator has been started up in Town Bay.

Yellow bass, good.

Ingham Lake: Ice thickness is 19-plus inches. Use caution; there is an open hole in the lake with the aerator in use.

Walleye, fair.

Lost Island Lake: Ice thickness is around 20-plus inches in most places.

Black crappie, good. Walleye, good.

Minnewashta Lake: Ice thickness is 20-plus inches.

Black crappie, good. Bluegill, good.

Silver Lake (Dickinson): Ice thickness is around 19-plus inches. Use caution; the lake aerator is in use. This creates an open hole on the east side of the lake.

Walleye, good. Best bite is at dusk.

Spirit Lake: The lake is entirely iced over with 20-plus inches in most places. The best ice is on the south end and Anglers Bay. Most accesses are clear of heaves and snow. The walleye season is closed.

Black crappie, good. Yellow perch, good. Use small jigs tipped with a minnow. Sorting may be needed.

West Okoboji Lake: Ice thickness is 20-plus inches at Emerson Bay and Haywards Bay, and 18-plus inches at Triboji. West Okoboji is relatively free of any major heaves or hazards. The bluegill bite in Little Emerson Bay and out from Triboji has been good. The walleye season is closed.

Black crappie, fair. Try small jigs tipped with a minnow. Bluegill, good. Use tube jigs, plastics, or other small jigs. Yellow perch, fair. Try small jigs tipped with a minnow. Sorting may be needed.

Spencer Hospital president announces retirement plans

Spencer Hospital President Bill Bumgarner announced on Thursday that he will be retiring on Dec. 29 of this year.

"I'll be celebrating my 65th birthday in October and will have served 41 years in hospital leadership and over 14 years as Spencer Hospital's president," Bumgarner said in a news release. "My wife Karen and I have agreed the time has come to enjoy the next phase of our life together."

Hospital board chair Julie Christensen expressed appreciation for Bumgarner's service and leadership as hospital president.

"Through Bill's tenure as president of Spencer Hospital, services, technology and facilities have been enhanced to meet the wide-ranging healthcare needs of the communities the hospital serves," she said. "In addition, the Spencer medical community has worked collaboratively to advance both its service models and business arrangements to adapt to a changing healthcare industry."

To promote a smooth transition to a new hospital president, Bumgarner advised board leadership of his retirement plans in the summer of 2022. Christensen said the advanced notice has provided an opportunity to plan for an efficient recruitment process.

An initial search committee has been formed to include hospital trustees Bruce Nystrom and Christiansen; as well as board advisory members Neal Conover, John Cotton and Larry Harden. As the recruitment and selection process moves forward, medical staff and community members will be added to the committee.

The search committee has retained the executive search firm Witt Kieffer to provide professional guidance to the recruitment and selection process. This is the same firm that was used when Bumgarner was hired in 2009

The hospital president search will be conducted on a national basis. The next step in the process will entail Witt Kieffer representatives visiting Spencer. According to Christensen, they will meet with a range of stakeholders and compile the information needed to develop a candidate profile on which to focus the search process.

"Final candidates – who will formally interview for the hospital president position – will be announced publicly in keeping with the Board of Trustees' responsibility to the community as a public hospital," Christensen said. "It's our intent to have a new hospital president in place in close proximity to Bill's retirement at the end of the calendar year. We'll continue to provide updates to the public as significant events in the process occur."


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