Be Informed. Get Involved. Stay Connected.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Plant-Up Montezuma This Weekend!

Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to Noon

Bring your work gloves, watering cans and gardening tools to the north side of the courthouse.  We will work together to plant our streetscape and areas around the square.  Hanging baskets and banners will arrive early next week to complete this phase of community beautification.  This project has been made possible through private contributions and in-kind support, the City of Montezuma and a grant through Keep Iowa Beautiful.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Customer Love...

Reflections Salon on Main Street features a variety of salon services so you can look your best all summer long!  Now through the end of June, $18 Set of OPI Gel Nails and $20 Spray Tan Specials.  Drop by or give the gals a call at 641-623-4247.

Father's Day stock up sale at Monte Motor Parts includes many practical gift ideas like your choice on car wash supplies all starting at $4.99.  Get a FREE 5-Gal. NAPA wash bucket with a $25 purchase.  You do the washing for your Dad!  Highway 63 in Montezuma.

Mmmm...Taste of Summer!  Dairy King is offering English Toffee frozen yogurt and with more new flavors on the way.  Be sure to tell Randi your favorites.  If you walk or bike to the DK it's almost guilt-free.  Highway 63 in Montezuma.

Bootcamp Madness is coming to Main Street in Montezuma.  Owner Carlos Frias would like to invite you to a FREE demo workout on Saturday, June 9th at 8:00 a.m.  Look for Bootcamp Madness on facebook to see what people are saying! 


Friday, May 25, 2012

City Council Advises Re-Group of Housing Committee

The city council moved this week to seek recommendations of the housing committee before moving forward with the south housing development. The council made their determination after viewing the plan presented by MMS Consulting of Iowa City.

The housing committee has been dormant since providing feedback to the city on "covenant" recommendations for the housing development and after the Montezuma Housing Study was presented in April 2011. While Montezuma's population has remained steady for several years, the in-commute of the area's workforce has continued to climb. Some of our local industries report that approximately 50-70% of their workforce commute from other communities. Many who are part of this workforce are wage earners and next generation (25-44 y.o) folks who are looking for a great place to live that offers affordable housing, services and amenities that are attractive to the lifestyle that is important to them. "Live first, work second has become the defining ethic of the next generation," (Rebecca Ryan on getting inside the head of the the new Creative Class). More rural counties and communities like Montezuma should be taking notes from our state's urban centers who are doing a good job attracting the next generation. Affordable housing is just one area that needs to be addressed as the housing committee returns to the table.

The summary from the Region 6 Housing Study states:

"Poor housing can affect the health of residents and the property values of surrounding homes. Well kept and well planned housing invites families to settle in an area, makes the community attractive, and keeps families healthy and in tact. Adequate housing options support business development and community growth. The number of people commuting to Montezuma for work is higher than other Iowa communities. Capturing some of these commuters will be beneficial to the community. Retaining these workers requires an adequate, attractive and affordable housing stock. Having an adequate supply of housing will support the community's school."

The study ends with 7 Recommendations, which have not been given any serious consideration. The housing committee will present alternative recommendations to the city council on Monday, July 2. Montezuma Community Development will work with the housing committee to encourage the creation of a 5-Year accountability plan for local housing improvements.

Poweshiek County Historical Museum Making Music

The Poweshiek County Historical Museum is beginning to take shape so the doors can be opened to the public in the near future. One of the most notable features in the museum is an Eastlake Story & Clark Pump Organ from the late 1800's. The reed organ (pipes are made of wood) has a number of stops that are pulled to create a variety of sounds. Three of the stops of this parlor organ function and produce a nice sound, with nine stops that need attention. Although the instrument may need a significant amount of restoration work, a good cleaning might just do the trick. Museum volunteers have been approached about offering a guest program and community sing-a-long to feature the historic organ. 

Director's Quill

I hear happy birds chirping out my window this morning, singing joyfully about the much needed rain that our thirsty ground enjoyed last night.  And I hear more rain is on the way for the upcoming holiday weekend.  I'm sure many of you have outdoor plans, but few of you will not let the rain spoil your cookouts and fishing expeditions.  Don't forget to spend some time remembering our Veterans and those that have gone before.  Veterans Graves will be decorated at Jackson Cemetery Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m., and the Community Memorial Day Observance will occur on Monday at 10:00 a.m. 

Memorial Day is always the start of what I call "Flag Season".  The American Flag, a symbol of our freedoms, will be flown throughout the weekend with many other observances in the coming weeks.  June 14 is National Flag Day.  I always remember Flag Day because it just happens to be my parent's wedding anniversary too, and thankfully serves as a secondary reminder that I should send a card or make a phone call.  The tradition of Flag Day was inspired by several decades of state and local celebrations and the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, and established by a proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.  Later, on May 30, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.

June 30 this year kicks off the Let Freedom Ring Celebration in Montezuma.  Many terrific events throughout the community will be a part of the celebration, including the Saturday morning parade.  The MCD office is coordinating this year's parade which offers the theme "Stars and Stripes Forever".  Registration forms are available at Ron's, The Lady Bug, Vannoys, Simone's and the City Office.  We are honored to have our parade led this year by our own Veteran, Dale Watts!

The Stars and Stripes Forever theme has been selected as another adoration of the American Flag.  By another Act of Congress, the well-known John Phillip Sousa march became National March of the United States of America.  We all know the tune, which is classified by a march followed by a trio (when the piccolo begins to sing).  The lyrics are less familiar than the strains of America the Beautiful or the Star Spangled Banner: 

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend!


Upcoming Events

Plant Up! Montezuma Beautification Event on the Square
Friday, June 1 from 4-7 p.m. & Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to Noon
Bring your work gloves and community pride!

Downtown Revitalization Public Forum
Tuesday, June 5 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Short meeting, your input is important!

MHS Alumni Football Game at Badger-Gabriel Field
Friday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Half of all pre-sold tickets goes back to the school.

Summer Nights on the Square - Music, Food, Games & More
Tuesday, June 12 from 6-8 p.m.
FREE Event sponsored by the Montezuma Ministerial Association

For a complete listing of all community events, please visit the Community Calendar at

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Customer Love...

Mainstreet Hardware is offering landscape mulch for $3.99 a bag, plus many other great gardening supplies and tools.  Northside of the square in Montezuma.

$3.00 Memorial Day flags, patriotic gifts, Father's Day gifts and cards, and a new line of bakeware are now available at Remedy Drug Store. Northside of the square in Montezuma.

Mention this ad Thursday and Friday only at Just4U Gifts & Consignments for 50% off flat wallets with the purchase of a purse at regular price.  Also order Avon men's products in time for Father's Day.  403 E. Main in Montezuma.

Family Photo Special through June 30th.  FREE 8x10, ask for details.  Jo Jones Photogrpahy Montezuma.

Margarita Night and glow bowling on Friday nights at Star Lanes.  Drink and game specials starting at 5:30 p.m.  413 E. Main in Montezuma.  BEST BOWLING ALLEY IN POWESHIEK COUNTY!

If you missed it this week, don't worry, double coupon day at Montezuma Supervalu is EVERY Wednesday.  Don't forget to recylce your plastic shopping bags on your next trip. 

Want to be featured in Customer Love?  Just ask, it's free.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quote of the Week

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists. 

- Japanese Proverb

Monday, May 21, 2012

The State of Iowa has just announced that Montezuma has been awarded a $2500 grant to help Keep Iowa Beautiful!  The grant funds will cover the cost of trees, shrubs and flowers for our local community beautification efforts. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Invitation from the Mayor

Many efforts are beginning to take shape in the Montezuma community, having the potential to propel us towards a brighter future.  The work to bring community beautification to our downtown corridor to help Keep Iowa Beautiful is just a start, and offers much-needed life back to the core of Montezuma.  Other downtown revitalization discussions are also taking place through the efforts of Montezuma Community Development. 

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy our downtown and to be a part of the special events and activities that many of our community volunteers work so hard to deliver.  June begins our Summer Nights series, followed by our annual Let Freedom Ring Celebration, and moving through to August, which has been designated as Downtown Month in the State of Iowa.  This is also a great time to get acquainted with our small business community and welcome many new faces to our downtown landscape.

I invite you to be involved and to participate in the good things coming our way.  Enjoy the sounds of the carillon, admire the architecture of our historic buildings, shop in our stores, and appreciate what we have to offer in Montezuma.

James M. Hicks, Mayor
City of Montezuma

Upcoming Dates

  • MCD Board Meeting, Wednesday, May 30th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Plant Up! Community Planting Event, Friday, June 1st from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, June 2nd from 9 a.m. to Noon, Bring work gloves & meet on the square.
  • Downtown Revitalization Meeting, Tuesday, June 5th @ 6:30 p.m.,  Montezuma City Hall, Open to the Public.
  • Downtown Revitalization Meeting, Sunday, June 17th @ 6:30 p.m., Montezuma Public Library, Open to the Public.

Please visit for a
comprehensive listing of all upcoming community events.

Community Daycare Developments

Shannon McNaul of Galaxy has been working with the city in an advisory capacity, and recently presented a financial feasibility report to indicate what is needed to cash flow a daycare program here.  As a result, the city is working with an architect to maximize the floor plan of the building that has been selected so that 44 children can be served.   Also before moving forward, the city and MCD want to be certain our local licensed home daycare providers feel the need to augment services here and have an opportunity to voice any challenges they face as daycare operators in Montezuma.  The cost of opening a community daycare facility and program, including two years of operating subsidies, could escalate in excess of $500,000.  A USDA community development loan and public-private investment are the only sources of funding under consideration at this time.  In the future, it is possible that the center may be eligible for CDBG funds.  The city council is committed, but still considering the direction of this project.  And they will need to determine their level of involvement going forward.  It is possible that an outside organization will adopt the project, but that decision is not expected until more information can be gathered. 

Director’s Quill

Several weeks ago I noted that Montezuma would be participating in a health assessment and group wellness evaluation through the Community Transformation Grant sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the CDC.  The evaluation is complete and the scores indicate a deep need for improvement in several areas of community policy and environment.  The areas scored were based on community at-large access to physical activity, better nutrition, tobacco cessation, chronic disease management, and overall leadership in the community to encourage healthier living.  Several steps in each area will be taken in the coming months to address our deficiencies and improve local access to services and programs available and paid for by the grant program.  I will briefly outline the plan and communicate better timelines once those are in place.

Physical Activity
  • Replace aging bike racks throughout the community, three per year over five years
  • Encourage bike-ability on designated road paths and shoulders with lines and signage
  • Marketing for local farmers’ market programs and locally produced foods
  • Marketing for local restaurants to participate in healthy choice menu enhancements
  • Assistance to encourage restaurants to use of trans-fat free oils for cooking 
  • Smoke-free signage available for multi-unit dwellings and public buildings
  • Local advertising to provide a referral system for tobacco cessation
Chronic Disease Management
  • Two, 6-Week Courses “Better Choices, Better Health” offered in Montezuma in 2013
Community Leadership
  • Address the city’s operating budget to make physical activity a priority
  • Finance pedestrian enhancements (sidewalks and street crossings)

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have a specific question about this grant, or a suggestion on how to utilize the available funds.  Hopefully you have all challenged yourselves this week to be more physically active.  It has been bike-to-work week in Iowa all week, just a small part of Iowa’s five-year healthiest state initiative.  If you forgot to participate, or like me your bike is still in storage – walk to work, or take a stroll along one of our beautiful recreational trails at Diamond Lake Park, or start your training now for the Firecracker 5K/10K Walk-Run on June 30th.  Take it a step further and skip the fries and replace them with a side salad, order a small instead of a large, or ask your local restaurant if they are or would consider using trans-fat free cooking oil.  The restaurant cost is around 30% more than traditional hydrogenated cooking oil, but that translates to only pennies per customer.  Have a healthier week!

                                                             Terence Blain, MCD Director

Help Wanted!! Montezuma Public Library

Volunteer position needed for each Wednesday approximately
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stop by the library for more information.

Paid temporary part-time library assistant.  1 day per week and fill in as needed.  Computer skills and people skills a plus.  Available immediately.

Paid Permanent part-time library assistant.  3 days per week and every other Saturday morning.  Also fill in as needed.  Must have excellent computer and people skills.  Position available in June.

Call Temp Associates in Grinnell
to set up an appointment for an interview:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quote of the Week

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.”

- Pauline R. Kezer


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Customer Love...

Feel the love and take advantage of some great local deals.  Support your local economy:

John’s Watch Repair has 20% off Seiko clocks and Pulsar watches until the end of May.

Three Sisters now offers 4x6 photo printing from your own flash drives, memory and phone cards.

Aaron says $2 Tuesdays at Monte Tap are a big hit!

Friday night is Margarita Night at Star Lanes.  Get a $2 game of bowling with the purchase of a margarita. 

Kinetic Fitness offers 6 a.m. classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  $5 per class walk-in fee. 

11 Bucks gets you a great haircut from Ron the Barber.  Complimentary coffee and provocative community chit-chat.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Community Beautification Update

Community Beautification will soon move into the next phase.  More than 40 hanging baskets of colorful wave petunias have been ordered from James.  Our own Ernie Wilcox has designed and is in production with new basket hangers for our lampposts.  The new welcome banners provided by our friends at the Light Department are due to arrive today.  And a call to pick-up 12 additional sidewalk planters that are made by an eastern Iowa company is also expected anytime.  Thank you to Matt at Roorda Transport who has agreed to pick the planters up for us.  The fire department will also soon reveal the anticipated World Trade Center Monument.  The community still needs your help!
  • Volunteers needed for Plant Up! on Friday & Saturday, June 1st & 2nd
  • Volunteers needed to join the roster of helpers for daily maintenance.
  • Need four groups to adopt maintenance at city gateway signage.
  • Volunteers needed for an exterior painting project for Historic Society.
Here is what you need to know about volunteering:  Most people think someone else will probably do it.  That’s not it.  The adage, “it takes a village” is true.  Give the MCD office a call or drop and us an email to offer your service.  Thank you for your participation!

South Housing Development Corrections

There were several inaccuracies reported this week on the city council’s actions to continue moving on the south housing development.  Costs for lots have not been set at $30,000.  Costs will not be determined until the council has an opportunity to review the final plans provided by MMS Consultants of Iowa City.  Those plans will include estimates for infrastructure build-out.  The city is hopeful that lot prices will be at a competitive price point, and reports that an inquiry to purchase one lot has already come in.   The earlier report also implied that a council member said this development was the city’s response to the affordable housing need expressed in last year’s housing study.  Again, this was in accurate.  Newly constructed single-family homes at the development will not meet the criteria for affordable market rate housing.  And finally, the council did not charge MCD to re-engage the former housing committee.  The function of the housing committee was to provide input on housing trends and need. The conclusions of their study are still fresh and relevant.  The city will determine next steps on the south housing development.  MCD will continue to communicate their progress, and work towards addressing the need for affordable housing in Montezuma. 

Director’s Quill

I realize that I missed last week’s edition and I’m sorry to those who were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting.  It was a very busy week leading up to three days in Des Moines for the Iowa Economic Development SMART conference.  A part of the conference included a one-day intensive community economic analysis training and certification through Business Retention and Expansion International.  The second day was very motivating and included keynote speaker Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting.  She gave a fantastic talk on understanding our changing world and how Iowans in economic development are beginning to understand how to do it right!  I also attended workshops on industrial site development, TIF financing, downtown revitalization and economic gardening.  The final day was a meet-n-greet session “Getting to Know Iowa Economic Development Authority.”  Each department in the IDEA gave a 10-minute elevator speech to talk about their efforts and highlight key resources available to Iowa communities.  Afterwards I participated in small roundtables to discuss rural broadband development, downtown revitalization, green energy, and export.  Several personal connections were made during the roundtables which will offer peer support and helpful resources for initiatives within our community.  A representative from Connect Iowa will be able to assist us in understanding our broadband issues and advocate on our behalf in our future dealings with Windstream.  I have also reached out to the IDEA’s Downtown Resource Center to host a two-day downtown visioning encounter for Montezuma.  Last Monday night I presented a consideration for the city council to include the city’s financial participation in the $2500 cost to bring the visioning team here in the fall.  This would be another step towards applying for a downtown fa├žade improvement grant.  Overall, it was a very valuable three days.  Thank you to Montezuma Community Boosters and Brownells for their support of sending me to the conference. 
Terence Blain, MCD Director

Downtown Revitalization Group Meets

Two informational-work sessions were offered this week for community members to begin talking about downtown revitalization.  Business owners, community service providers, educators, and retirees participated in a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis of our downtown.  There was great participation and honest discussion about where members of our community see our current position and vision for the future (what could be).  For those who still wish to participate, there will be two additional and identical sessions offered in June.

Tuesday, June 5th 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Montezuma City Hall

Sunday, June 17th 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Montezuma Public Library Community Room

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quote of the Week

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today; Let us move forward with strong and active faith.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Customer Love...

Stop in and say hello to our newest entrepreneurs in Montezuma:

A Royal Treatment has opened on the west side of the square.  Mitch is now taking orders for fresh flowers for Mother’s Day, and he plans to be open that day for any last minute needs. 

Stop in for a great lunch or a cold one at Monte Tap.  New owner Aaron will take good care of you with great happy hour specials! 

Lake Ponderosa Bar & Grill is now open.  Gourmet burgers, pizza and more in a beautiful setting. 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quote of the Week

Things do not change; we change.

-Henry David Thoreau

Successful Clean-Up & Earth Day Celebration

Thank you to the 100+ hours that have been given to our community for spring clean-up efforts.  The Lions Club clean-up earlier this month, and the MCD Earth Day clean-up has really started to move the Community Beautification project forward.  Also, thanks out to Bob Albin for constructing and replacing lids on all of our trash receptacles downtown.  As a courtesy to our community and for extra sparkle, the city has been encouraged to begin providing a once a year power wash to the downtown streetscape.  So, what’s next?  Save the date for Friday & Saturday, June 1st & 2nd.  These two days have been set aside for Plant Up!  Master Gardeners, green thumbs of all ages, organizations, and families are all encouraged to come out and be a part of our next effort.  Many folks need to complete a number of volunteer hours in their communities for confirmation, scouts, 4-H, Master Gardener requirements, and more.  We are working with ISU Extension to bring a Master Gardener workshop to Montezuma to build and sustain this effort year after year.  Hope to see you there!

MCD & City Meets with Housing Development Consultants

On Tuesday, April 24th, final recommendations were given by the city and local utilities for MMS Consultants of Iowa City to bring to the table a completed plan for the south housing development.  MMS said the plan would be ready to present to the city council within the month.  If approved, the city will then need to decide how a portion of the infrastructure will be paid for.  MCD is working on behalf of the community to ensure this lengthy process does not stretch toward the fall and winter months.  We will keep you updated on progress and city council dialogue. 

Director’s Quill

The 2012 MCD Strategic Plan has been set in motion.  Our board of directors met last Monday night to preview the direction that I have suggested.  Much of the content is based on community focus groups, public forums and the Monte 2020 survey that have led us to this place.  We are grateful for all the hard work in this community, and now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  A number of public forums and opportunities for community input are planned along the way, including several over the summer.  I won’t be verbose in my column this week, but encourage you to click on the following link to view the plan: 

                                                         Terence Blain, MCD Director

Community Transformation Grant

Montezuma will begin participating in a CDC grant program facilitated by the Iowa Department of Public Health.  The program has several areas that promote health and wellness, including help with chronic disease self-management, workplace wellness initiatives, promoting localized efforts with Live Healthy Iowa, creating better community access to healthy living, preventative services, and public awareness for better health.   Montezuma will receive a Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation next month.  The scores received in several categories will assist the CTG administrator in finding resources that will positively benefit Montezuma’s overall health.  The assessment will look at demographics, access to physical activity and recreation, nutrition and healthy menu choices at restaurants and in the workplace, tobacco cessation and adherence to smoke-free policies, chronic disease management, and leadership and public (city) support for healthy living.  MCD will share the results of the evaluation with the community in the coming weeks. 

Interested in Downtown Revitalization?

Find out next steps for community participation on downtown improvements:

Tuesday, May 8th  Offered at TWO different times:
12-1 p.m. OR 6 p.m.
Montezuma Public Library Community Room 

All you need is love.  And Paint.  Paint Up Montezuma!

The Diamond Vogel paint grant through Keep Iowa Beautiful is still available.  Please contact our office to find out how you can receive free paint for your business.