Love of Travel Takes Lake Panorama Man to Mountain Summit

Before the ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro, Gary Geels (left), is shown with his daughter Meredith Swenson, her husband Adam Swenson, and Adam’s father, Craig Swenson.

By Susan Thompson

Last September, while most Lake Panorama residents were enjoying beautiful fall weather, one resident was in Tanzania, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in single-digit temperatures.

Gary and Susan Geels moved from Johnston to a condo on Lake Panorama’s main basin in 2008. She works as a special education administrator in the Des Moines Public Schools. He is a Bankers Trust vice president who works with retirement plans.

Sports Courts Update from LPA Project Manager

By Susan Thompson

New sports courts will be constructed at Boulder Beach this spring. Friends of Lake Panorama raised $75,000 for the project, and the Lake Panorama Association is matching that amount to complete the full $150,000 project. Site preparation was done in September by the LPA staff. In this month’s Q&A, Brad Halterman, LPA project manager, provides an update, since this is one of many projects he is overseeing for the LPA in 2018.

Q: Let’s start with you telling us about the court sizes and how they will be configured.

Lake Panorama Property Assessments Coming Soon

By Susan Thompson

Lake Panorama property owners soon will receive their 2018 property assessment notices from the Guthrie County Assessor’s office. Nikki Carrick, Guthrie County Assessor, says notices will be mailed about February 14.

“These notices are intended to inform Lake Panorama property owners of the estimated market value of their property,” Carrick says. “However, the values should not be confused with taxable value or property taxes. Property taxes based on these 2018 property assessment values will be payable in the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020.”  

Coffee with the GM March 9

By Susan Thompson

A program to improve communication between the Lake Panorama Association and LPA members will continue in 2018. The first “Coffee with the GM” was held in April 2015. These events provide LPA members the opportunity to discuss topics of interest in a candid, conversational format.

Priestley Construction: More than Building Homes

Members of the Bill and Marcia Priestley family are (front row, from left) Claire Priestley, Katelyn Priestley, Brynn Coppola, Carter Coppola, (second row) Julie Priestley, Andy Priestley, Bill Priestley, Lia Coppola, Marcia Priestly, Ali Coppola, and Cary Coppola.


Bill Priestley built his first home at the young age of 19, and just months ago, he built his last. Both homes — two of more than a hundred he developed under Priestley Construction — were for his wife, Marcia.

“He told (our son) Andy he built his first house for me and his last house for me,” Marcia said as her husband of 45 years nodded and gave her knee a little squeeze while they sat inside their beautiful new custom home on the south edge of Guthrie Center.

ParadisePad Began at Lake Panorama

In 2011, Austin Hayden (left) and his father Mike Hayden created ParadisePad, a foam water pad designed for people looking for a perfect raft on the water. They have grown the business into a world-class operation with sales in 40 states. The Haydens have been enjoying Lake Panorama for over 20 years.


A father-son business making a big splash got its start at Lake Panorama. Mike Hayden and his son, Austin, created ParadisePad, a foam water raft designed for water enthusiasts in 2011. Seven years later, the company is a world-class operation with thousands of boaters choosing to float in paradise. 

“It’s been quite a ride,” said Austin, 25, a West Des Moines Valley high school graduate who earned a scholarship to play soccer at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. 

A Little About a Lot

By Susan Thompson

In this month’s Q&A, John Rutledge, LPA general manager, reviews several topics expected to get additional attention by the LPA board, staff and membership in 2018.

Q:  LPA recently conducted a member survey. Tell us a little about the response and the preliminary results.