George Mirras is honored with bench on the fourth hole behind the 296-yard par-four teebox.

Posted 09/13/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A new granite bench was installed at the Panorama West golf course Aug. 25. It’s in memory of George Mirras of Urbandale, who passed away Feb. 14, 2023. The bench is on the fourth hole behind the 296-yard par-four teebox. It offers views of both the Panorama West pond and the fourth fairway.
Tom Gratias and his wife, LaDonna, have owned a secondary home at Lake Panorama since 1990. With help from Greater Des Moines Home Builders Association, Gratias led the effort to raise money for the memorial bench and worked with Friends of Lake Panorama to order and arrange installation of the bench.
He founded Gratias Construction in 1972. “I became friends with George Mirras when he worked as a salesman for Midwest Gas. He called on builders to promote installing gas furnaces and appliances until he was 70 years old,” Gratias says. “When he retired in 1993, he took up golf.”
Gratias says Mirras came to Lake Panorama most weekends to play with him at the Panorama West golf course. “Often, Joe Scheiring joined us. George wasn’t a low handicap golfer, but he did his best,” he says. “Especially as he got older, if he didn’t hit a good shot, another ball would pop out of his pants pocket like a slot machine, and he would say ‘That wasn’t a golf shot...I better try another one.’ ”
That’s the back story to the words engraved on the bench: “In Memory of George Mirras, with pants pockets full of golf balls, was always prepared for another swing.”
Mirras was born in Fargo, North Dakota, on Oct. 18, 1922. He enlisted in the Army during World War II and saw combat in France, Holland and Germany. He was promoted to Artillery First Lieutenant in the Korean War where he trained troops in Japan.
After completing his journalism studies at the University of Missouri, he worked in marketing for the Junction City Kansas Daily Union, Omaha World Herald, WOW Radio & TV in Omaha, Des Moines Register & Tribune, Business & Industry Magazine in Des Moines, Iowa Power & Light Company, and the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines.
“George simply was fun to be around, with a competitive spirit to want to hit a better shot. He played golf with me at Panorama West for more than 20 years, all the way up into his 90s,” Gratias says.
The Mirras bench is the eighth gray granite bench installed at the Panorama West golf course by Des Moines-Winterset Memorials.
Water ski shot brady lpt sept 2023 (cropped)


Posted 09/13/2023

Brady Lorenz hits an early-morning ski run on Labor Day. Have skiing or boating photos to share for a future issue of Lake Panorama Times? Send to


Shane june 2022
Posted 08/09/2023

If your Lake Panorama home is your permanent residence, you received a copy of our newest publication, Panora Times, in your mailbox a few weeks ago. This new free monthly publication is mailed to all residential and business addresses in the Panorama School District, which includes Panora, Linden, Yale, Jamaica and Bagley. As such, some of you are receiving Panora Times and Lake Panorama Times in the mail, and you will continue to. All of you can access either for free online at or You can even sign up for a free email notification when new issues come out at
The two publications look and sound a lot alike, and that is by design. We want our publications to look and feel similar but to have content unique to their readership. Some months, we will share stories in both publications, as we did in July with Panorama Days. Each publication will have its own unique content as well.
We look forward to continuing to provide you with information about the people, places and events of the area in print, online, in your email, on social media and wherever else you look for news.

Golf course or wild prairie
Some of you have lawns that look like golf courses. Others of you have lawns that look like wild prairie. I am in the second group with a desire to be in the first. A new septic system two years ago forced my lawn to the “do-over” stage. A new irrigation system last year had it looking quite good. A broken irrigation system and only one round of fertilizer this year has my lawn a bit weedy right now. The good news is that the sprinklers are working again, and Mother Nature’s tears have done wonders on the lawn.
Those from other countries often ask why we Americans care so much about our lawns. I have a successful friend who mows his own lawn with incredible detail, so much so that his neighbors mock him for it. He once told me that he believes if you are going to do something, you should do it to the best of your ability. That’s how he handles most everything in his life, including his lawn care. It’s difficult to argue with that.

Extreme heat and air pollution
I noticed the leaves on my oak tree were turning brown. Maybe you have, too. This seemed odd to me for the middle of summer, so I did a little research and learned that extreme heat and air pollution can cause oak tree leaves to change colors. Maybe that explains my graying hair, too? Maybe not.

More lake humor
Yes, I do actually have a few more boating jokes, although my list is running short. If you have a favorite or two, send them my way. In the meantime, here are a few chuckles:
When the bottom of the boat was punctured, it had one hull of a problem.
Did you hear what happened when a boat carrying blue paint collided with a boat carrying red paint? The crew is missing and believed to be marooned.
A first-time boating passenger said to the boat driver, “Do boats like this sink very often?” The driver replied, “Not too often. Usually, it’s only once.”

Have a great August, and thanks for reading. 

Shane Goodman
Editor and Publisher
Lake Panorama Times
515-953-4822, ext. 305

Project started with three pieces of mahogany plywood and one 3-inch by 8-inch by 16-foot plank of solid mahogany.

Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

John and Jennifer Dilley are no strangers to boats. They bought a lot at Lake Panorama in 1984 and built a house in 1989. Over the years, they’ve owned various boats and enjoyed spending time on the water relaxing, fishing and sharing their love of the lake with family and friends.
A small workshop adjacent to their home has been the site for most of John’s woodworking projects. This past February, he took on a bigger project — building a wooden boat.
“When our two grandkids, with our son, Joe, and daughter-in-law, Carrie, moved from southern California to San Antonio in August 2022, we were excited,” Jennifer says. “We took a scouting trip to southern Texas. As water lovers, we ended up heading east to the Gulf Coast and purchasing a little sliver of sand on Mustang Island, which would provide a getaway for the family to enjoy throughout the year.”
One day, John read an article in the Port Aransas newspaper about a boat works factory that was no longer in operation.
“Farley Boat Works was established in 1915 and built boats primarily for tarpon fishing, for which that area of the Gulf Coast was world-renowned,” John says. “After it went out of business in 1973, the Preservation and Historical Association eventually purchased the Boat Works operation. By 2011, it was resurrected as a living and working museum where locals could tour, watch others build a boat, or even build a Farley for themselves.
“After a visit there, and knowing I’d miss my own woodworking shop over the winter, I decided to build a boat,” John says. “This project started with three pieces of mahogany plywood and one 3-inch by 8-inch by 16-foot plank of solid mahogany. The wood is harvested in Africa, sent to France to be made into plywood, and then to Houston for distribution to Port Aransas.”
John is a clinical psychologist who does teletherapy with his patients three days a week. That left Mondays and Fridays to work on his boat. A few men from his Texas coffee group sometimes showed up to help with the build, as did other volunteers. John had everyone who helped him sign their names on a board, which he later incorporated into the boat.
He started the project Feb. 13, and it was far enough along to transport back to Iowa April 1, where he finished the detailing in his garage. A used kayak trailer was purchased to bring the boat home to Lake Panorama.
“It was a long, slow 1,200-mile trek, all on back roads because we had to stay under 50 mph so the bearings on the small trailer didn’t overheat,” Jennifer says.
On July 8, the couple hosted a boat christening party with about 50 guests. John and Jennifer took turns explaining how the boat project evolved. The guests then were treated to a musical slideshow of the build, produced by their filmmaker son, Jake Dilley.
Also present at the gathering were three other psychologists and their wives who have been visiting the Dilley home for a retreat weekend every July since 2002. These visitors from Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois shared information on the tradition of boat christening, offered a blessing of the boat once the tarp cover was removed, and poured champagne for a final toast.
Jennifer said John’s original plan was to name his boat Jenny.
“I thanked him for the sweet thought, then offered another option. I suggested he might name the boat Farley, or better yet, My Farley, since he created her from scratch. He settled on My Farley,” she says.
After the boat was unveiled, blessed and christened, attendees lifted glasses of champagne to John Dilley’s toast — “To fish, to fun, to family, to friends, to joy on the water that never ends.”
Because Lake Panorama generally is choppy on Saturday evenings, My Farley wasn’t launched during the party. Instead, the Dilleys and their out-of-state guests launched it the next morning onto quiet Sunday-morning waters.
John plans to use the boat on calm-water days at Lake Panorama. It has a small trolling motor so he can putter around, do some fishing, and take his two grandchildren on rides when they visit.
And whenever hanging out on Mustang Island, John will volunteer at the Farley Boat Works, sharpening his skills by helping others make their own dream of building a boat come true.


John rutledge
Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

About 50 LPA members attended the July 7 GM Coffee to hear updates from John Rutledge, Lake Panorama Association (LPA) general manager. Rutledge started with a report on the Lake Panorama National Resort. Nick and Lynn Kuhn continue to manage food and beverage at LPN and Spikes under the name The Links Lounge + Events.
“The Kuhns have a one-year lease, which we’ll be reviewing with them this fall,” Rutledge said. “We get questions from time to time about why the Kuhns are doing something a certain way. They have a great deal of latitude in the lease regarding menu, ordering, billing. We know change is difficult, but one thing we hear consistently is that the food is good, and I encourage everyone to give them a chance.”
Rutledge said initially there was talk about a one-dollar lease.
“I can assure the membership the lease is more than one dollar, and both the Kuhns and LPA are working toward a win-win arrangement. We do value hearing your comments or concerns, and I strongly encourage you to email to share those with us,” he said.
White clover has popped up at the Panorama West golf course.
“We sprayed in the fall of 2021 but lost track of this in 2022, and spraying didn’t get done. It will happen this fall, and an annual plan to spray for clover in the fall will be implemented,” Rutledge said. “We know from experience, spraying midsummer would create a lot of dead spots on the course, so we appreciate your patience.”
The Lake Panorama National 18-hole course is getting some new turf equipment.
“I am pleased to report the course is in good shape, plus we are making sure our equipment is being replaced on scheduled intervals rather than waiting until something has broken down beyond repair,” Rutledge said. “Supply chain delays have caused all of our LPA and LPN departments to be more proactive with regard to equipment.”
Turning to the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone (RIZ), the 2023-24 RIZ fiscal year began July 1. Projected tax increment financing revenues for this fiscal year are $2.94 million.
Rutledge said the south shore rip rap project is complete with the final cost around $850,000. RIZ funded this, with legal agreements in place with the LPA that the area would be maintained as a green space and not a developed area.
Rutledge said two privately funded projects followed the RIZ work. First, Fin and Feather invested $20,000 in rock piles along the shoreline for fish structure.
“This will help fish spawning and will be a good place for fishing,” Rutledge said. “This also should alleviate some pressure from the marina, which has been a challenging issue. I’ve received some questions about whether these represent a safety concern. The short answer is these rock piles are very close to shore. Boaters should not be traveling that close to shore or skiing, wakeboarding or surfing that close to shore.”
The second privately funded project is being led by Friends of Lake Panorama.
“They are working to finalize their vision for low impact recreational amenities on the south shore,” Rutledge said. “The rip rap project required trails be cut for machine and equipment access, and Friends wants to make use of that. Work is underway on plans for walking trails and signage, and hopefully this work can be completed this summer.”
Expansion of the old CIPCO basin, which has been renamed the 180th Trail Basin, continues. Spring Lake Construction was awarded a $3.2 million contract in August 2021, and RIZ expects the project to exceed $4 million in total cost once completed. Rutledge said the project is progressing but is somewhat slower than originally expected.
“All parties are working together cooperatively on the adjusted timeline,” he said.
Rutledge said the three wetlands that help protect water quality in Lake Panorama are adjusted as needed to ensure good vegetation growth, while also retaining enough water to catch sediment from rain flows.
“These sites are good for reducing nitrogen but also have a positive impact on sediment and phosphorous, which fuels the blue green algae blooms,” he said.
RIZ operated a pilot program for cover crop incentives in 2022, working with two neighboring landowners in the Lake Panorama watershed.
“We plan to expand this effort with other local producers this fall,” Rutledge said. “This is a good program for them and for us. Cover crops help reduce soil and nutrient runoff between fall harvest and spring planting.”
Dredging is ongoing this summer above the debris trap. After Labor Day, the dredge will return below the debris trap and work in the upper basin and narrows.
“I know there are some small cove questions out there, but we do not have any plans to go into small coves this fall,” Rutledge said. “We most likely are looking at least another year but will be working with the RIZ board to map that out this fall.”
Rutledge said RIZ continues to work on mid-term and long-term plans.
“Replacement of the dredge soon will be a topic for the budget. Although the physical equipment itself has a long lifespan, the technology does not,” he said. “The lifespan of all vehicles and equipment are starting to be reflective of both the hardware and the software, where in the past we were mostly concerned about the hardware.”
Water quality is an issue of interest for both LPA and RIZ.
“We continue to be in a drought cycle, which causes very low flows in the Middle Raccoon River,” Rutledge said. “The recent rains have helped some, but members need to watch for boating hazards. Buoys don’t mark an exact area but rather a general area of caution.”
Sticking with the water quality theme, Rutledge said blue green algae is beginning to show up in Lake Panorama. The LPA began testing in areas of concern the second week in July and sends results via email.
“Blue green algae correspond with low flows and clear water in the spring. There’s very little we can do with flows that are this low. The water is simply stagnant,” he said.
The LPA water safety committee will meet sometime this fall. Buoy placement and wake boats are expected to be on the agenda. Members with issues they would like to see discussed can email
Rutledge said invasive species continues to be an educational priority for LPA.
“Remember to adhere to our rules if you take your boat to another body of water or purchase used lifts or docks that were on another body of water,” he said. “We’ve made our rules extremely user friendly so members can comply without a great deal of inconvenience.”
Rutledge shared a reminder about LPA’s rules regarding home rentals.
“Members are able to rent their home once every four weeks. This can be for the entire four-week period or just a couple of days,” he said. “The rules try to balance what is best for the neighborhood with the desire of members to rent their home for some occasional income.”
The annual deer hunting program will remain the same as the past several years.
“It works well to manage the herd population,” Rutledge said. “We are not trying to eliminate deer but instead to prevent overpopulation, disease and the negative impact an overpopulated herd would have on LPA and member properties.”
Rutledge addressed concerns from some that Coulter Marine was rationing gas the evening of Sunday, July 2, and the morning of Monday, July 3. During this time, boats were limited to 20 gallons of gas and jet skis to five gallons.
“The marina sold 17,000 gallons of gas between July 1 and July 4. Some rationing was required, as we only have 12,000 gallons of storage and a transport was required on Monday morning,” Rutledge said. “We can’t justify adding gas storage for one weekend a year. Thanks to our members for their patience.”
LPA Security used to tow disabled boats, when possible. Now, because of workman’s comp and liability issues, a new policy is in place that officers will not tow boats unless there is an immediate health emergency or a life-or-death situation. Rutledge said members who need a boat towed should call Coulter Marine. Their rates are Main Basin to Shady Beach, $100; Shady Beach to Burchfield Cove, $150; and Burchfield Cove to North Basin, $200.
Rutledge said LPA is working on strategic planning this summer to help the association navigate a number of issues, such as the rapidly growing level of investment at LPA, staffing retention and succession, and budgeting for the next 20 years.
“I will have more to share as this unfolds,” he said. “Please know we take this responsibility very seriously and are focused on the long-term viability of Lake Panorama rather than just looking at the next six to 18 months.”

Other topics covered:
• Sta-Bilt has completed 3.6 miles of seal coated roads on the west side. LPA staff now will prep 3.5 miles of roads on the east side for seal coat application later this summer.
• LPA is replacing a water main on Chimra. This is a planned project with work done as staff schedules allow. Restoration work will be done in the spring.
• The old railroad ties wall at Sunset Beach has been replaced with a poured concrete wall.
• The new bathrooms at Sunset and Shady beaches continue to receive compliments.
• Thanks to Friends of Lake Panorama for recreational enhancements at all three beaches and to the Panora Garden Club for landscaping and flowers.
• Guthrie County Public Health inspects septic systems at Lake Panorama every four years. In the past, an $80 invoice was sent to property owners the year of inspection. Now $20 invoices will be sent annually, with inspections continuing every four years.
• The next GM Coffee is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 1, 10:30 a.m. at the Lake Panorama National Resort events center.

Event offered family-friendly activities and games for all ages including face painting, giant bubble wands and several outdoor games.

Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A special event celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Lutheran Church of Hope Local Panora church drew up to 400 people to Boulder Beach July 2.
Taste of Hope was an awesome day and a tremendous success,” says Galen Redshaw, who came up with the idea for the free Taste of Hope event. “I’m humbled by the response, and it went incredibly smoothly. God’s presence was evident throughout the day and especially during the worship service. The backdrop of the lake during worship was incredible.”
The event offered family-friendly activities and games for all ages from 3-5 p.m., which included face painting, giant bubble wands and several outdoor games. A worship service was 5-6 p.m. with an estimated 300 people in attendance. Sandwiches, chips, cookies and bottled water were served at 6 p.m. A free concert by RetroGold wrapped up the event.
Emily and Billy Donovan, who have lived at Lake Panorama for 16 years, first had the idea to pursue a Lutheran Church of Hope Local Panora site. The local Panora site streams the 9:30 a.m. service from Hope Lutheran Church in West Des Moines live each Sunday at The Port. The Donovans are the local site leaders, and Emily was the games and activities coordinator for Taste of Hope.
“There were many hours that went into planning so the day of the event we could just get out of God’s way,” Emily Donovan says. “Our goal was to make sure everyone who came to Taste of Hope felt seen, known and loved. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect, the volunteers were joy-filled, the worship service was uplifting, and the kids went through nine gallons of giant bubble mix. What else could we ask for?”
Besides Donovan and Redshaw, members of the Taste of Hope planning team were Allison Stanley, Gary Geels, Laura Tofteland and Anna Roeth.

Company offers underground utility installation services nationwide that include guided auger boring, rock boring, pilot tube boring, microtunneling, pipe ramming, pipe jacking, pipe bursting, railroad crossing, and bore bit design.

Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
and Rich Wicks

Lake Panorama Times

Iowa Trenchless is a full-service boring and tunneling company that has been located on the southeast edge of Panora since 2004. From their first job in 2002, owners Jason and Shari Clark have grown the company into a respected nationwide leader in the boring and tunneling industry.
They met at Iowa State University with him majoring in business and her in forestry. Shari grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. Jason grew up in small towns in central Iowa, from Earlham to Creston to Adel.
His grandparents, Don and Mickie Stephen, owned a home in Hughes Cove beginning in 1981 and operated Stephens Cleaners, a dry cleaning business in Adel, for many years.
“I spent a lot of time at Lake Panorama,” Clark says. “I loved to fish, and I learned how to water ski there.”
Clark got his start in the industry as an 18-year-old student at Iowa State. A company named Westcon Microtunneling was doing a sewer project in Ames, and he got a job working as a laborer on the project. The next summer, he worked for the same company in Chicago, doing 48-inch diameter bores.
“I decided then I wanted to be a tunneling contractor when I grew up,” Clark says. “I spent the rest of my college summers working in this industry.”
After graduating from Iowa State in 1999, Jason took a job with Midwest Mole in Indianapolis. He and Shari married in 2000. Jason’s trenchless career took him all over the country, and the couple moved several times.
“We were living in Wisconsin and decided we wanted to move back to Iowa,” Clark says. “In 2002, I quit my job, we rented a house north of Ames and started Iowa Trenchless. We bought just enough equipment to complete the first contract. We had to park the equipment at a family friend’s construction yard outside of Earlham.
“In the company’s early years, it was just me and a couple of guys on the road running projects, while Shari managed the office, accounting and contracting paperwork,” Clark says. “This was more than 20 years ago, in a time where no one emailed job proposals and bids. Everything was done by fax. Shari has been there every step of the way, sending bills, collecting bills, booking hotel rooms for out-of-town jobs.”
As Iowa Trenchless grew, the Clarks started looking for a home base somewhere in west-central Iowa.
“We were looking for a landing spot,” Clark says. “My sister was in Waukee, my parents in Adel, my grandparents at Lake Panorama, our equipment was in a friend’s pasture in Earlham. We settled on a house in Panora.”
In 2004, Iowa Trenchless became the first business in the Panora Fiber business park on the southeast side of Panora. The Clarks now live next to their business and have continued to grow, purchasing additional land and buildings when Brokers International closed.
“We’re constantly expanding,” Clark says. “After outgrowing our first office, we built our second office with 2,000 square feet of space on each of two floors, and that has already been added onto once. We’re just about out of room and need to add on again. We also just finished building out our third shop.”
Besides the buildings, the Iowa Trenchless property includes an impressive array of equipment used for tunneling and excavating.
“We have a lot of equipment,” Clark says. “We have nearly every size of tunneling machine Akkerman Manufacturing makes. We’ve got rock machines. We probably have 15 excavators, and 20 semi-trucks. We take pride in using the newest technology and equipment to get the job done right the first time.
“But we’re more about people. Anybody can buy equipment. I’d put one of my crews with a 1992 boring machine up against some other guy’s crew with a 2022 boring machine anytime,” he says. “We have a lot of good people at Iowa Trenchless, more than 40 employees. We consistently run five crews that work on the various jobs we get, plus eight people in the office, and numerous others in our shop who handle equipment preparation and maintenance.”
Jason oversees the operation, and Shari manages the office.
“I get out on some of the jobs, mostly when there are problems,” Clark says. “I also get out sometimes in advance of big jobs.”
“In the early days of the trenchless industry, it was mostly installing utility pipes underground without having to dig a trench,” Clark says. “Now there is a lot more to the underground industry. We can do any size of pipe from 2 feet to 20 feet in diameter.”
The company offers underground utility installation services nationwide that include guided auger boring, rock boring, pilot tube boring, microtunneling, pipe ramming, pipe jacking, pipe bursting, railroad crossing and bore bit design. Some of the more visible projects done by Iowa Trenchless include railroad culverts and bike trail or pedestrian tunnels.
Clark says there are about 100 companies in the United States that do the same work as Iowa Trenchless. He’s constantly bidding on jobs anywhere in the country, and sending crews to work on jobs that can last two to three days, two to three months, or even a year. Iowa Trenchless operates year-round, seeing only a slight slowdown in winter due to weather conditions. When things do slow down, crews spend more time in southern states.
Family is important to the Clarks. Their two children, Ashley and Wyatt, both are students at Iowa State University’s College of Business. Ashley is in a pre-law program, while Wyatt has a double major and works summers for Iowa Trenchless.
The Clarks also consider their employees family.
“We want the guys and gals who work here to be paid well, to have a full benefit package and to work with good equipment,” Clark says. “I like the fact so many of our guys grew up in this area and have been able to stay here with their wives and kids. We’ve also brought quite a few people here from other places, even other states. They like it here and like raising their kids in a small town.”
“We take pride in getting things done when other contractors may not. We’ve finished lots of jobs other contractors were supposed to do, but no one ever had to finish one of ours. The most important thing for me is our people,” Clark says. “At the end of the day, that’s where the credit needs to go. We want our employees to be as proud of Iowa Trenchless as we are.”
Clark also gives credit to his parents, Randy and Linda, who he says taught him to work hard and who invested in the business to help get it started. Randy passed away in 2010, and Jason honored him in a eulogy.
“Who would sign everything over to a kid who just turned 26, so we could get a loan to get into the boring and tunneling business?” Clark asks. “There was a lot of risk involved, and, yet, they believed in Shari and me. Since then, we’ve been able to buy out a lot of other businesses.”
Iowa Trenchless supports the local community in every way they can. Clark said he deals with local companies as much as possible for the goods and services to keep his business running. He also coaches football and supports local sports and activities.
The Clarks say they have no plans to leave Panora.
“This community is a good one,” Clark says. “We like being in a small town where people support each other. That’s what I grew up in, small towns. Things are going well. We continue to have growth, and we like what we’re doing.”


Finishline (cropped)
Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

For the sixth year in a row, the Lake Panorama National women’s league rallied in support of the Tori’s Angels Foundation. The fundraising event was July 20, in place of league play, with $6,600 raised.
Fifteen teams competed in a four-person best-shot tournament. “That’s Amore” and a trip across Italy was the theme.
After golf, the group gathered at Boulder Beach where Lake Panorama Pizzeria and Crafty’s Coffee catered a meal featuring Italian foods. Jackie Wicks, a member of the Tori’s Angels Council, talked about the children and families helped by the foundation, which recently accepted its 127th child.
Wicks introduced her granddaughter, Tori Heckman, for whom the foundation is named. A community breakfast fundraiser was held in July 2010, hosted by the Panora United Methodist Church, to assist with the medical expenses of then-5-year-old Tori, who has had multiple heart surgeries since birth. The fundraiser was so successful the idea of a foundation to help other children with life-threatening medical conditions was born.
Julie Tibbles, event committee chair, presented a $2,000 check from the LPN women’s league to Wicks. The remaining $4,600 came from money raised on the golf course that evening, direct donations, and raffle ticket sales. Raffle items were donated by women’s league members, Lake Panorama Association, Lake Panorama National, Scheels and others.
Committee members were Julie Tibbles, Jillian Ortner, Lorrie Motsick, Mare Langel, Nancy Clawson, Dee Eckley, Sherri Miller and Becky Rolfes. Several of their husbands helped with special events on the course.
Tori’s Angels Foundation helps Iowa families who have children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Foundation pays for all medical expenses not covered by insurance. Tori’s Angels is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, with all overhead and benefit expenses paid by the foundation board members and friends. n

The plaque on the bench honors Tom and Conni Jeschke.

Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A black metal bench has been added to the seventh tee box at Lake Panorama National. Funds for the bench were donated to Friends of Lake Panorama in memory of Tom Jeschke, who died in March after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
The plaque on the bench honors both Tom and his widow, Conni, with this inscription: In recognition of Tom and Conni Jeschke’s contributions to the LPA and LPN community.
Donations for the bench came from more than 20 people who were friends with Tom because of various activities they participated in with him, including golf, wood carving and fishing.
Tom started The Raccoon River Carving Club, which meets weekly at the LPN event center, and also gave wood carving classes there. He enjoyed golfing and played in men’s leagues at both Lake Panorama National and Panorama West. He was active in the Fin & Feather organization, helping to improve fishing on Lake Panorama.
Tom worked in education beginning in 1965 until he retired in 2004; then he and Conni purchased a retirement home at Lake Panorama and became involved in the community. Tom served 12 years on the LPA board of directors and was president of the board four of those years.
The bench honoring the Jeschkes is in a mulched area under a shade tree behind the back tees on the LPN seventh hole.


Img 5538
Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

I’ve taken a lot of photos in my 25 years living at Lake Panorama. Of all the photos I’ve taken, lake sunrises and sunsets are my favorites. In mid-July I sitting on a swinging bench at Boulder Beach with a friend, and couldn’t resist snapping photos as the sun was setting. So many different colors emerged, in the sky and clouds, and on the calm water. What a lovely way to end a day. Kimmie Conner, a travel blogger, has this to say about sunsets. “You have to travel far and wide to see a lot of the world’s wonders, but sunsets can be appreciated in every corner of the earth.” And I say, especially at Lake Panorama.
Have a photo you’d like to submit? Send it to

More than 8,000 in attendance for country music festival.

River ruckus15 16 07 30 (edit)
Posted 08/09/2023
By Rich Wicks
ForLake Panorama Times

Three days of temperatures well into the 90s only heated up the excitement for this year’s Guthrie’s River Ruckus as performers, audience and event staff dealt with the sweltering conditions.
“It was a warm one, but it was a good weekend,” said organizer Grant Sheeder. “It was probably the hottest Ruckus to date. It sounds like most people kept their wits about them and stayed hydrated on Friday, so that was good.”
Sheeder said they hired a number of off-duty law enforcement officers to provide security for the event this year as well.
“Security-wise was way better than what we’ve had in the past,” he said. “So, we were very happy with the safety and security they brought to our event this year, along with the State Troopers and local Guthrie County Sheriff’s office.”
Sheeder said attendance was more than 8,000, and although that was not a sellout, it was still a strong showing.
“A lot of people came and stayed,” he said. “No major issues so far. As far as I know, there’s been nothing too crazy or out of the norm.”
Sheeder said, all in all, they were very happy.
“We appreciate Guthrie County for letting us host it here for 15 years so far. Not many festivals can say they could do that, let alone in a town or county our size. So, we’re very blessed to be able to keep doing it.”


16397 vid 5 steps toward heart healthy eating
Posted 08/09/2023
By Jolene Goodman
Lake Panorama Times

This month I am sharing a recent article and recipe from one of our other publications.
(Family Features) As the leading cause of death among Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease often results from uncontrolled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. However, a heart-healthy eating plan can help lower or control these risk factors and put you and your family on a path toward better heart health. Consider these tips from The Heart Truth program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI):
• One way to get started on a path toward heart-healthy eating is to change your way of thinking about how and what you eat. For example, use smaller plates to help limit portion sizes. Chew food slowly and consider the textures and flavors of different food as you eat.
• Put together an eating plan that offers a balance of calories and nutrients including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Consider make-at-home favorites like Heart-Healthy Pita Pizzas, which include grilled chicken as a better-for-you alternative to methods such as frying.
• Swap out sugary or salty snacks and instead enjoy lower-calorie treats. Try options like a cup of seedless grapes, small banana, cup of cherry tomatoes, handful of unsalted nuts or half cup of low-fat or fat- free yogurt.
• It is possible to eat healthy foods in restaurants. To control portion sizes, try tactics like eating half your entree and taking leftovers home for another meal. Choose foods that are broiled, baked or roasted to limit calories. Ask for low-sodium menu options and request butter, gravy, sauces and salad dressings on the side or leave them off completely.

Jolene Goodman is the advertising director for Lake Panorama Times and vice president of Big Green Umbrella Media.

Heart-healthy pita pizzas
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4

• 4 whole-wheat pitas (6 1/2 inches each)
• 1 cup chunky tomato sauce
• 1 cup grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced (about 2 small breasts)
• 1 cup broccoli, rinsed, chopped and cooked
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon fresh basil, rinsed, dried and chopped (or

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 450 F.
On each pita, spread 1/4 cup tomato sauce and top with 1/4 cup chicken, 1/4 cup broccoli, 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and 1/4 tablespoon chopped basil.
Place pitas on nonstick baking sheet and bake 5-8 minutes until pitas are golden brown and chicken is heated through.

Course allows hikers, walkers and runners to be alongside the lake shore for slightly more than a mile with spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding shores. 

Posted 08/09/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The seeds for low-impact recreational amenities on Lake Panorama’s south shore were planted in April 2019 when Friends of Lake Panorama surveyed LPA members for input on projects to consider. Walking trails and disc golf were projects of interest with the south shore considered a good location. At the LPA board of directors June 2021 meeting, Friends received permission to develop a recreational concept for the south shore.
At its August 2022 meeting, the board agreed Friends could work on improvements to existing trails on the south shore. Permission also was given to work with the Panorama Community Schools to incorporate a cross country course into the Lake Panorama trails system.

Progress is being made
While some preliminary planning took place in fall 2022, most of the effort was put on hold until the rip rap construction was completed this spring, which led to new trail opportunities. People have been walking trails on the south shore for years, but only a few were aware of the existence and availability of the trails.
Now a fenced parking lot is being planned that will allow people to walk through a gate near where the LPA trail system will begin and end. There will be a trailhead sign that includes general details about the south shore, rules, a donor list, and specific information about the trail options and trail markers, including a map. Visitors will be encouraged to snap a photo of the map to help them stay on the trail.
Those who do the full loop down to the shoreline and back up through the meadow area to return to the parking lot will have walked two miles. In addition, four places where the rip rap contractor widened existing trails to get to the shoreline will be offered as trail options.
People who start at the trailhead and choose the first option will walk sixth-tenths of a mile. The other three options offer distances of 1.1 mile, 1.6 miles and 2 miles. This final loop results in walking the same distance as the original loop, but the terrain and views provide a different experience.
Fiberglass trail markers, similar to the blue 911 address markers used in Guthrie County, will be purchased in a brown color. Plans are to put these at each “junction” of the trail system along with arrows and distances back to the trailhead.

Cross country trails
The cross country trails will begin and end on school property with all bus and spectator parking and bathroom facilities on school property. For the middle school, a distance of two miles has been mapped. For the high school, the trail is 3.1 miles.
Access to the south shore is near the northeast corner of the school property. The school hired a contractor to clear trees to make that entrance possible. The school also purchased a roller and a landscape rake to pull behind a small utility tractor to smooth out rough areas of the trail; has committed to adding rock and mulch in a few marshy areas; and has committed to keeping the trails mowed and cleared throughout the year.
Greg Randel is director of transportation and oversees grounds at Panorama Community School District.
“We have been mowing a trail on school grounds for a long time for the cross country team to practice, and it has been a dream to one day have the entire course here. When LPA started the south shoreline project, I contacted John Rutledge to see if having a portion of our trails on LPA property could be an option. It has taken off since then with a lot of help from LPA, Friends of Lake Panorama, and Panorama schools,” Randel says.

A coach’s perspective
Greg Thompson is beginning his 30th year at Panorama Schools this fall. Over the years, he has taught many math courses and coached many sports. Since 1998, he has been the head girls track and field coach and, since fall of 1999, the head cross country coach. He and his wife, Kelly, have had a home at Lake Panorama since February 2000.
“It became clear to me about three years ago that using the Panorama West Golf Course area was becoming more difficult each year to manage the cross country course,” Thompson says. “Plus, the traffic associated with hosting races was becoming too large for the area. We received many compliments on the west course, so it was a difficult decision to begin looking for a new course.”
Yet, Thompson says the benefits of moving the cross country trail to an area that incorporates both school and LPA property are many.
“It will be easier for spectators to view the race. On the west course, most spectators only had easy access to the start and finish of the race,” he says. “On this new course, there should be many areas of a race that are easily accessible to spectators. Parking also will be easier since we can use the school parking facilities for team vehicles and for spectators.”
Thompson says it will be much more efficient to set up and manage cross country meets with the proximity to the school and maintenance equipment, and timers and meet managers will have accessibility to the press box, electricity, a sound system and use of the scoreboard and video board.
The starting line for all races will be near the elementary school just behind Little Panther Daycare. From there, the runners will use the Panorama School Elementary Outdoor Classroom area to access the south shore.
“Starting here will allow teams to set up and have a home base near the starting line and in an area that doesn’t damage the race trails or a golf course,” Thompson says.
Runners will return to school grounds and run south alongside the baseball complex and finish on the home side straight away of the track.
“Finishing on the track will allow easy access to the bleachers and bathrooms for both athletes and spectators,” Thompson says. “High school runners will run along the shore and around the prairie space. Junior high runners will run around the prairie space. Only existing trails will be used, and existing wooded areas and natural prairie spaces will be preserved.”
The first official practice for the cross country teams was scheduled for Aug. 7. Teams will practice on the course once or twice a week, usually 3:30-5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. Two races are scheduled. The first race Sept. 14 will have more than 20 schools participating. The second will be the conference tournament Oct. 12. A third meet might happen Oct. 19 and include 20 schools, if the state athletic associations allow Panorama to be a host site for a state-qualifying meet.
Thompson says the cooperation between the school, Friends of Lake Panorama and the LPA has been wonderful.
“I have been asked many times why I haven’t moved to a bigger school,” he says. “The main reason is I love the family atmosphere of a small-town community. This experience has been another piece of evidence that living and working in a small town like Panora and Lake Panorama creates a sense of pride and community.”
Thompson says he thinks in the next two to three years, this will be one of the better true cross country courses in the state.
“Many of our current races are on golf courses, not through wooded areas and prairies,” he says. “This course allows hikers, walkers and runners to be alongside the lake shore for slightly more than a mile with spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding shores. We will continue to improve the trail system and keep it maintained for everyone to enjoy.”


Gov reynolds lake panorama press release photo
Posted 08/09/2023
Special to Lake Panorama Times

Gov. Kim Reynolds and her staff joined local officials on July 28 for a boat tour of Lake Panorama. Hosting the event were State Representative Carter Nordman and Lake Panorama Association General Manager John Rutledge. Guests of the tour included Guthrie County Supervisors Maggie Armstrong and Brian Johnson; RIZ Board of Trustees President Doug Hemphill; Lake Panorama Association board member Sue Thompson; and PolicyWorks CEO Justin Hupfer.
The group’s discussion focused on the importance of continued economic development in rural Iowa, including the critical role the Rural Improvement Zone legislation has played in the success of Lake Panorama. Rutledge expressed his gratitude on behalf of the community.
“It was our privilege to show Gov. Reynolds the beauty of Lake Panorama and to thank her for her continued support of programs that invest in the future of rural Iowa,” Rutledge said.
“Lake Panorama plays a major economic role for Guthrie County,” Rep. Carter Nordman stated. “The Lake Panorama Association has created a vibrant community that will continue to flourish for generations to come. I greatly appreciate Gov. Reynolds taking the time to visit Guthrie County and discuss issues that are important to all its residents.”
“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit Lake Panorama and see firsthand the economic benefits it brings to Guthrie County and the surrounding areas,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The lake brings an influx of visitors while generating revenue for local businesses and communities. With the forward thinking of the Lake Panorama Association, I know Lake Panorama will remain a vital part of the region’s economy for years to come.”
The event was part of the governor’s commitment to visit all 99 counties each year.

Ruben-hein Churr represented his home country 
of South Africa while competing in two international golf tournaments in the U.S.

Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

The last two weekends in July were busy ones for Ruben-hein Churr. That’s because he represented his home country of South Africa while competing in two international golf tournaments in the United States.
Ruben-hein is the 14-year-old grandson of Hans van Leeuwen, who has a home with his wife, Marina, in Lake Panorama’s Horseshoe Cove. Ruben-hein’s mother, Nanja, is his daughter. Nanja and her husband, Rudi, also have a daughter, Anje, age 11. The family visited Iowa for a few days in mid-July before heading to the southeast U.S. for the tournaments.
While Nanja had been to Iowa in the past, this was the first time Rudi, Ruben-hein and Anje had been to the United States, let alone Iowa. Ruben-hein’s success in golf tournaments in South Africa, which qualified him for two U.S. golf tournaments, is what got the entire family to Iowa and to Lake Panorama.
Hans and Marina co-own their Lake Panorama home with daughter and son-in-law, Lelahni and Tim. While at Lake Panorama, Ruben-hein played several rounds at the Panorama West golf course. He and his father also played one round at Lake Panorama National, where Ruben-hein scored a 71, one stroke under par.
“I really loved the course and the attention to detail around the course,” Ruben-hein says. “The tee boxes look amazing, and the greens were good. The course can definitely rate among the best courses in South Africa. The Panorama West course is a real challenge and tests your short game. I also loved the fact the course was open to all level of golfers and families.”
The Churr family lives in a golf community in South Africa that includes a nine-hole, par-3 golf course. Ruben-hein says he started playing golf when he started walking. Rudi Churr confirms that, saying “He literally took his first few steps on the putting green at our course, while I was practicing. He loved being on the course with me and soon was using plastic golf clubs to do what I was doing. He especially liked playing in the sand; today he’s a good bunker player.”
Ruben-hein plays golf left-handed, although he throws balls, plays cricket and writes with his right hand. To get him started, Rudi Churr purchased a right-handed set of golf clubs. But perhaps because he was mirroring his father’s golf swing, the right-handed clubs didn’t work well and soon were replaced with left-handed clubs. 
What does he like about golf?
“Everything,” Ruben-hein says. “I like being out in nature. I like playing my own game; it’s just me, no outside influences.”
Ruben-hein began working with a golf coach when he was 5 and was competing in golf tournaments by the time he was 10 years old. He admits to having some “butterflies” on the first tee, but, once he’s playing, that fades away. Sometimes either Rudi or Nanja caddy for him, while some tournaments have strict rules about parents keeping their distance and not offering advice during a golf round.
Nanja doesn’t play golf but is thinking about taking up the sport so she can play with Rudi and Ruben-hein. Rudi describes his golf handicap as being in the single-digit range, and the father and son duo enjoy playing the sport together. Sister Anje enjoys walking with her brother on the course but not more than 18 holes. Her parents say she prefers saddle back outrides.
On June 27, Ruben-hein won the under-15 South African Championship at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa; he had a final score of four-under par and was the only player under par in the tournament. Due to his U.S. Kids Golf ranking, he received an invitation to play in the Under Armour 2023 World Championship July 22-23 at the Reunion Resort and Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.
At the Orlando tournament, Churr competed against 62 other boys in the 13-14 age group. He was two over par the first day of competition with a 74. On the second day, he shot a 69, three under par, for a final two-day total of 143. He finished in ninth place.
To qualify for his second U.S. tournament, the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation World Teen Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Ruben-hein had to play two tournaments in South Africa under par. He won one tournament with a 69, three under par. Later, he won the 13-14 age group of the US Kids Gauteng Local Tour Junior Golf Championship, with a score of 66, six under par.
Each year, the U.S. Kids Golf World Teen Championship welcomes golfers ages 13-18 to seven championship courses in the Pinehurst area. This year’s three-day tournament was July 27-29. Ruben-hein competed against 150 other 14-year-olds and finished in the middle of the pack.
“The result was not what he was looking for, but he learned a lot,” Rudi Churr says. “It was a great experience for him, meeting people from around the world, and playing golf in the U.S.”
The Churr family flew back to South Africa Aug. 1.
“We loved Iowa and especially enjoyed the beauty of Lake Panorama,” Rudi Churr says. “In Orlando, we went to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, and both were amazing. We really had lots of fun, and it is something we will never forget. We agree with a T-shirt we saw at Disney, ‘most expensive day ever,’ but it was worth every cent.”
Churr says their home country is growing junior golf, but the U.S. has more opportunities for junior golfers.
“It’s awesome what groups in the United States are doing to get kids involved in golf. It was a great opportunity for Ruben-hein to be able to play in two tournaments in the U.S.,” he says.
Ruben-hein is planning a future for himself that would include playing a lot more golf in the United States. After high school graduation, he wants to attend a university in the southern part of the United States so he can continue to improve his game year-round. The University of Texas and Arizona State University are places of interest, but he is open to any Division I school with a strong men’s golf program.
“I want to play professional golf someday,” Ruben-hein says. “But wherever I go to college to play golf, I also will focus on academics and get a degree in case becoming a pro golfer doesn’t work out. Other South Africans have had success as professional golfers, and I believe I can, too. Dad has always said I should dream big, work hard and have fun. That’s what I plan to do.” 


Fundraiser will be in Vets Auditorium in Panora with a fun and light-hearted theme sure to draw an enthusiastic and generous crowd.

Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

Since 2010, the Tori’s Angels Foundation has been raising funds to help the families of its supported children with life-threatening medical conditions. The foundation’s primary fundraising season is spring through late fall. On June 18, 500 people were served and more than $25,000 was raised in freewill donations and a silent auction at the Tori’s Angels 13th annual breakfast benefit.
This annual event celebrates the foundation’s first breakfast in 2010 for then-5-year-old Tori Heckman who desperately needed heart surgery in Boston. The subsequent foundation was named for the 800 attendees who generously donated money for Tori’s surgery and proved themselves to be one of Tori’s Angels.
The next major fundraiser is Saturday, Oct. 14 when the Tori’s Angels Foundation will host the fourth annual Gala, using the theme “Angels in Denim.” This fundraiser will be in Vets Auditorium in Panora with a fun and light-hearted theme sure to draw an enthusiastic and generous crowd.
The event will feature a dinner catered by Lidderdale Country Store with special Gala cupcakes provided by the Sweet Shoppe of Ames. Attendees will be entertained by local auctioneer Joe Bair, as he calls a host of high-end, privately donated items. New this year will be a silent auction, which will take place throughout the evening.
Some live auction items that are expected to be the most popular are a shed donated by Sunrise Sheds, which can be customized for the winning bidder; Kansas City Royals package with hotel; Pit Boss outdoor griddle and $50 grocery gift card from the Jefferson Fareway; one-of-a-kind carved duck; custom created logo for farm, family or business; and a pendant necklace donated by Ames Silversmith and the Youngberg family.
Attendees also will have the chance to bid on homemade pies, local gift baskets and golf packages, autographed sports memorabilia and game tickets, a gourmet dinner, whole hog and more.
A limited number of tables are available and, as in past years, are expected to sell out quickly. A table sponsorship costs $1,000 and includes dinner for eight, bottles of wine and special desserts on the table, plus recognition on the table, during the program and on Tori’s Angels’ Facebook page and website. To purchase a table for the event, contact JoAnn Alumbaugh at 641-431-0257 or M.J. Brown at 515-240-3692.
Proceeds from Gala ticket sales, as well as the live and silent auctions, go toward Tori’s Angels’ mission of supporting families with children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. To date, the foundation has accepted more than 125 children with life-threatening illnesses and currently supports more than 95 children across Iowa.
Tori’s Angels pays medical expenses not covered by insurance from the date of sponsorship until the child’s 19th birthday. This includes travel expenses to treatment (airfare, mileage, hotel, meals), as well as prescriptions, medical co-pays and deductibles.
Anyone wishing to help Tori’s Angels children can send monetary donations to Tori’s Angels at P.O. Box 186, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Online donation options are located on the foundation’s website and on its Facebook page, www.facebook/torisangels. The organization also welcomes those interested in becoming a volunteer.
For more information about Tori’s Angels, check the foundation’s website at To request an application for support, contact the foundation through the website or call 641-755-2011.


The original Granite Club members that renewed for 2023 are now in their 15th year supporting LPN.

Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

In 2008, 12 businesses made monetary or in-kind contributions to Lake Panorama National to support the construction of Spikes, the snack and restroom facility located near the first tee. In exchange, the businesses received a sponsorship sign on an LPN tee box. Five of these businesses have maintained their sponsorship since.
The original Granite Club members that renewed for 2023 are now in their 15th year supporting LPN. These are Panora Fiber on the third hole; Guthrie County State Bank & GCSB Investment Center on hole five; Exterior Sheet Metal on the eighth hole; Bryton Insurance on the ninth hole; and Total Financial Solutions on the 15th hole.
Other Granite Club members include R&K Bristle Farms, first hole; Kluster Klub, second hole; Iowa Trust, fourth hole; Hawley Insurance, sixth hole; Lake Panorama Barge Service, seventh hole; Lake Panorama Realty, 11th hole; Jensen Sanitation, 13th hole; The Trash Man - Neil Wright, 14th hole; Robert Carr Insurance Agency - State Farm, 16th hole; Tometich Engineering, 17th hole; and Minnesota Cabinets, 18th hole.
Two holes remain available for sponsorship — 10 and 12. Annual sponsorships are $500. New sponsors also are asked to pay the cost of the sign. Granite Club members receive a free round of golf for a foursome, including carts, when they purchase or renew their annual membership. Club members also are recognized on the LPN website and in the LPN Resort Weekly newsletter.
Details of the Granite Club, along with a request form for more information, can be found on the LPN website at Or call Royce Shaffer, LPN operations manager, at 641-755-2080.


More than six million Americans are living with the disease.

Start (cropped)
Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

For the third year in a row, Panora will host an Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. These fundraising events are held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide and constitute the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
The walk in Panora is Saturday, Sept. 16 and is titled the Raccoon River Valley Walk. There are 19 walks scheduled in Iowa this fall with the Panora walk being the smallest town to host one. Others are in cities such as Ames, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sioux City, Dubuque and more.
Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. More than six million Americans are living with the disease. In 2023, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the United States $345 billion, a number that is projected to rise to more than $1 trillion in 2050.
The Raccoon River Valley Walk begins at the Michael Mills Memorial Park at Southeast Fifth Street in Panora. Registration starts at 8 a.m. A special ceremony at 9 a.m. will be emceed by Tom Reil, former owner of Bob and Jo’s RV in Guthrie Center. The opening ceremony will immediately be followed by the two-mile walk that involves walking on a portion of the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
Edward Jones is a national presenting sponsor of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Dave Grove, an Edward Jones financial advisor based in Panora, and Melissa Loest, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Guthrie Center, are instrumental in organizing this local walk.
“We have asked several individuals from the surrounding communities such as Perry, Adel, Jefferson and Stuart to join our committee and rally support and get businesses and individuals to participate,” Grove says. “Creating some community-based teams to ‘battle’ to raise the most funds should make for some fun competition and, hopefully, help raise awareness and participation.”
In 2022, 95 participants on 15 teams raised more than $23,000.
“We have yet to crack 100 walkers and would like to change that this year,” Grove says.
Grove is the captain for Team Panora and invites those looking for a team to join him for the 2023 walk. Those interested in supporting this cause, by walking, donating or volunteering, can contact him at
In addition to Edward Jones, the Lakeside Village in Panora is a key supporter.
“Lakeside Village and Joel Hester from Karl Chevrolet hosted a car show in June that raised $1,500 for the walk, and they had a great turnout for their first year,” Grove says.
Grove says Mel Borgeson, manager of the New Homestead in Guthrie Center, has volunteered countless hours to prepare and organize the event. Other committee members are Mary Jane Carothers, Bob Grove, Andrew Brommer and Sarah Wurr.
Several local businesses, including Hometown Foods and Local Liquor, have agreed to help with a “round-up” campaign to raise funds. This will give customers the chance to contribute to the Raccoon River Valley Alzheimer’s Walk by increasing what they pay at the counter by a few cents or dollars with the extra money donated to the walk.
While there is no fee to register for the walk, all participants are encouraged to raise funds that allow the Alzheimer’s Association to provide 24/7 care and support and advance research toward methods of prevention, treatment and, ultimately, a cure. The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Every registered participant who achieves the fundraising minimum of $100 receives an official Walk to End Alzheimer’s T-shirt.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the Sept. 16 walk, or who would like to start a team, join an existing team, or make a donation, can get more information and register online at Under “Find a Walk,” enter the Panora zip code of 50216.
Blu 1


Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

Name: Blu
Breed: Airedale Terrier
Owners: Les and Cindy Tripp
Blu loves to cruise around the lake in the side-by-side Tracker. He has “friends” he barks at as we go by their house. He enjoys rides on the boat and morning walks around the neighborhood.
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Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

Name: Miller
Age: 1.5 years old
Breed: Domestic Shorthair - Black and White
Available for adoption at: Panora Pets
Miller came in as a young kitten with all his siblings being adopted. He can be a bit shy at first but is very sweet and loving and gets along well with other kitties.  He likes to be carried around, gives hugs, and loves canned food.


Posted 08/09/2023
Lake Panorama Times

Summer at Lake Panorama is in full bloom, and so are the flowers featured by homeowners in landscaped beds. Nature photographer Trish Hart lives full-time at Lake Panorama with her husband, Scott, and has been snapping pictures of some of these beautiful flowers on their property and elsewhere.
This month’s photos feature various shades of orange, pink and yellow, with backgrounds of green foliage and blue skies. Hart offers custom prints of her photos on canvas, paper, metal and glass. Learn more by visiting Nature’s Canvas Photography on Facebook.
Img 1065


Posted 08/09/2023

A ribbon cutting was held on Thursday, July 27 by the Panora Chamber of Commerce for the Panora Times publication that was launched in July by Big Green Umbrella Media. This new publication is mailed to all households and businesses in Panora, Linden, Yale, Jamaica and Bagley the third Thursday of each month. Cutting the ceremonial ribbon is publisher Shane Goodman. View Panora Times online for free at


Shane june 2022
Posted 07/12/2023

I was at a publishing conference a few months back and learned about a home improvement guide in northwest Iowa called “Sweet Home Okoboji,” which immediately had me singing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Not too long after, I realized that Panorama fit even better into the parody title than Okoboji, as it should. And for the next couple days, I couldn’t get the song and the revised title out of my head. A few weeks later, I shared this with Kristen Crouthamel as an idea for the theme for this year’s Panorama Days. I assumed this had to have been used before, but, to my surprise, I was told it had not. Panora Chamber President Dale Hochreiter and the Panorama Days committee apparently liked it, too, as they chose it as the theme this year. And we may even get the Charm School Dropouts to play it Friday night at the street dance. Sweet.

Thank you for the feedback
I appreciate your ongoing feedback to the changes we made to the Lake Panorama Times. “I love the new look!” “It’s much easier to read!” “It feels more modern and with the times!” Those are all comments we were hoping to hear about the changes, and the results have been promising as this issue brings even more news, information and advertising. We truly appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to improve this publication.

A new member to the Big Green Umbrella Media family
Those of you who are permanent residents at Lake Panorama will soon be receiving our newest publication, Panora Times. This free monthly publication will be mailed to all residential and business addresses in the Panorama School District, which includes Panora, Linden, Yale, Jamaica and Bagley. It will have a similar look and feel to this publication but will have news and information about the people, places and events of the five communities with a primary focus on Panora. If you are not a permanent resident at the lake, you can still view the publication for free online at (in a few weeks once it is posted) or pick up a copy on newsstands around the area. Those of you who have Lake Panorama as your permanent residence will find it in your mailbox soon. As always, I appreciate your feedback and comments.

Yes, more lake humor
I haven’t run out of these cheesy jokes yet. Try this one.
An old man was fishing at Lake Panorama when a frog appeared and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful woman and fall in love with you.” The man was amazed. He picked up the frog, stuffed it in his pocket and headed for home. On the drive, the frog started squirming and making a fuss, so the man took the frog out of his pocket. The frog said, “Hey, did you not hear what I said? Just kiss me already and you’ll have the woman of your dreams!” The old man replied, “I’m 80 years old. I’d much rather have a talking frog.”
And one more…
A couple of outdoorsmen were kayaking on Lake Panorama when they started getting cold. They lit a fire in the kayak, and it immediately began to sink, proving once and for all that... you can’t have your kayak and heat it, too.
Have a great July, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
Editor and Publisher
Lake Panorama Times
515-953-4822, ext. 305

Annual Panorama Days celebration to be held Aug. 4-6.

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Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

The three-day Panorama Days celebration that covers Panora and Lake Panorama begins Friday, Aug. 4 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 6. The theme for 2023 is “Sweet Home Panorama.”
“Shane Goodman, owner of the Lake Panorama Times and Guthrie County Times Vedette, suggested the theme,” says April Imming, Panora Chamber coordinator. “We asked the community to create logos to go with the theme, and we had some very creative ideas submitted. The Panorama Days planning committee chose Brittany Arganbright as the winner of the logo contest. She received $100 in Panora Chamber bucks. The logo Brittany submitted incorporated both the town of Panora and Lake Panorama, which we loved.”
Dale Hochreiter, Panora Chamber president, says Panorama Days is a great time for the Panora and Lake Panorama communities to come together.
“There are a lot of events going on in town and at the lake,” he says. “All the kids’ events, the band on Friday night, the fireworks on Saturday night and many other things are free. This is only possible because of the many sponsors we have, both businesses and individuals. A special thank you to all our sponsors and participants for helping make the 2023 Panorama Days a success.”

Friday events include cribbage tournament, Little Miss and Mister contest, Cruise the Loop, live music and more
The opening day of Panorama Days will include an afternoon cribbage tournament sponsored by Stine Seed, with registration beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the community center. Signup for the Little Miss and Mister contest will be at the Chamber booth Friday afternoon. Winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m. Friday night at the stage in the Town Square Park. The cakewalk for kids also will be Friday 7-7:30 p.m. at Vet’s Auditorium, sponsored by Women For Panora’s Future (WFPF).
The Mainstreet Dance Studio performance and the Bill Riley Talent Show will be that evening, beginning at 7 p.m., both from a stage in the town square. There also will be various vendors in the town square, beginning at 4 p.m. and running until 8 p.m. on Friday, and again on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in showcasing their art, crafts or business can apply for a spot.
Food vendors also are welcome, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and running through 7 p.m. Saturday. Application forms and more details for both food and booth vendors are on the Panora Chamber website at
A “Cruise the Loop” event is being organized for Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Panora Auto Parts, which also is the sponsor. The day will wrap up with music from the “Charm School Dropouts,” a cover band that plays all sorts of music from the 1980s to the present. This will begin at 8:30 p.m. and be on the street in front of the gazebo. This is a free event, just BYOB and lawn chairs.

Fishing tournament, pancakes, 5K run, parade and ski team show highlight Saturday activities
Saturday starts early with a bass fishing tournament on Lake Panorama beginning at 5:30 a.m. and running to 1:30 p.m. Registration will be at the marina at 5 a.m. for this event sponsored by Lake Panorama Fin and Feather.
The traditional pancake breakfast will be available in the Community Center from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Panorama Days 5K Run, sponsored by Reshape Fitness Studio, begins in front of the library at 8 a.m. The early bird fee is $35, with the entry fee increasing to $40 after July 22. Register online by Friday, Aug. 4 at Registration the day of the race must be done by 7:30 a.m.
Parade registration starts at 9 a.m. at the Panorama Elementary School, with the parade at 10 a.m. The Panora Citizen of the Year and parade category winners will be announced in the gazebo following the parade. The Panora Chamber has recognized an outstanding member of the Panora/Lake Panorama community since 1989. Nominations for the Panora Citizen of the Year must be received by July 14. A nomination form is available on the Panora Chamber website.
A kid’s zone will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the town square. This will include inflatables, face painting, Toby the Balloon Dude and caricatures. The cost is free as the Panora Chamber is sponsoring this event. The cutest baby contest will begin at 12:30 p.m. with registration at the gazebo. The winner will receive $150 in Panora Chamber bucks.
The annual beef burger meal will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Christian Church. A classic car show will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pedal-In.
Bingo will be in the community center from 1-3 p.m., hosted and sponsored by Guthrie County State Bank. The Panorama alumni banquet for those who graduated from Panora, Linden, Panora-Linden and Panorama will be in the community center beginning at 5 p.m.
The Lake Panorama ski team show will begin at 2:30 p.m. with a viewing area on the hillside of the lake’s south shore.
“New this year is a golf cart/UTV parade on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. at Boulder Beach,” Imming says. “We would love anyone interested to come participate and get creative decorating their golf cart or UTV.”
The Port will offer live music beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday, and the Lake Panorama Association will present its annual fireworks display from the south shore at dusk.

Breakfast, golf and kid’s fishing derby wrap things up Sunday
On Sunday, a breakfast at the Panora Community Center will be served 8 a.m. to noon, sponsored by the Panorama Junior Class. A golf tournament to raise money for the annual alumni banquet will be held that afternoon at the Panorama West golf course. Contact Dave Beidelman to register in advance.
The 10th annual kid’s fishing derby, sponsored by Lake Panorama Fin and Feather, will be Sunday, 9-11 a.m. at the Lake Panorama marina, with registration at 8:15 a.m. There are four age brackets, 3 to 5 years; 6 to 8 years; 9 to 11 years; and 12 to 14 years of age. Trophies will be given for biggest and smallest fish caught in all age groups, excluding carp. In addition, trophies and cash prizes will be given to the top three overall big fish. Bait will be supplied, but will be limited in quantity. Participants should bring their own fishing poles and tackle.

Share your photos and win Panora Chamber bucks
Those who attend any portion of the Panorama Days celebration are invited to snap photos and participate in a contest by posting the photos on Facebook and Instagram using #panoramadays. Multiple photos can be in one post. Security settings must be set to public so the Panorama Days planning committee can see them. Photos must be posted and tagged by 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6. Each photo posted will give the photographer one entry into a drawing for $25 in Panora Chamber bucks. Three winners will be drawn. Photos entered will be used to help market future Panorama Days.

Volunteers, sponsorships and donations are welcomed
Hochreiter says because Panorama Days is such a large event, the Panora Chamber and the planning committee welcome volunteers for any amount of time they can give throughout the weekend.
“Anyone interested in volunteering can email for a list of activities where we need some help,” Hochreiter says. “We also have a list of sponsorship opportunities if there is a business or individual who would like to contribute a service or monetary donation toward prizes given out during the weekend.”
The Panora Chamber relies on fundraising throughout the year, as well as public donations to make Panorama Days possible.
“Contributions from our local businesses make it possible to have all these great events,” Hochreiter says. “The annual golf tournament this past May was a great help to our fundraising, as we try to grow each year to bring new and interesting activities to the Panorama Days celebration.”
Hochreiter says donations are always welcome and can be sent by check to P.O. Box 73, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Include “Panorama Days donation” in the memo to make sure the money gets to the correct fund. Donations also can be made electronically using Venmo@panora-chamber.
Since Panorama Days is a chamber-managed event, Hochreiter says anyone interested is welcome to participate in the planning process as well as the three-day celebration.
“Just like our other committees, you may sign up to volunteer at any of our Panora Chamber meetings, which are open to the public the third Monday of each month,” he says.
Look for more information and updates on the 2023 Panorama Days activities on the Panora Chamber website, plus the chamber’s Facebook page @panorachamber.


Emilyspradlingjimspradling (cropped)
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

About 30 people explored the Panorama West Nature Trail on Sunday, June 4 as part of a special event held to introduce more people to the trail. Refreshments were available in the Panorama West golf clubhouse, and photos were taken at the trailhead. The trail project was led by Friends of Lake Panorama and donor-funded.
The trail features a trailhead sign, seven posts with directional signage and two benches. Parking is in a cul-de-sac at the end of Nicholl Drive, which intersects with Panorama Road just south of the Panorama West clubhouse.
The trailhead sign at the end of Nicholl Drive features a drawing of the trail. At the three-quarter-mile mark, there is an optional three-quarters of a mile loop. Those who use the official trail, plus the optional loop, will complete 2.25 miles. Trail users may include hikers, runners, cross-country skiers and dogwalkers, but no motorized vehicles.
Dick koberg (cropped)



Posted 07/12/2023

Richard “Dick” Lee Koberg, 82, son of Clarence and Luetta (Friederichs) Koberg, was born Feb. 25, 1941, in Durant. He passed away June 27, 2023, at the Guthrie County Hospital in Guthrie Center.
Dick graduated from Durant High School in 1959 and attended the Iowa Teachers College for a year. He enlisted in the United States Army, serving from 1961 to 1964 as a cryptologic repairman. On Nov. 8, 1968, he married Carolyn Sundene in Durant. To this union, four children were born, Kris, Kevin, Kerry and Katie.
In 1968, Dick was employed by Northern Mutual Insurance Company. In 1969, Dick left Northwestern to pursue an opportunity with his Uncle Leo Levien at Levien Chevrolet in Fort Dodge. In the spring of 1977, with the encouragement of his uncle, Dick began looking for a dealership to purchase. Koberg Chevrolet was established in Carroll in the summer of that year. Dick later sold the dealership in 1984.
Later that year, Dick began working at Bowie Manufacturing, a company that manufactured fiberglass mobile truck-mounted veterinary units. Dick helped expand the business into the electric utility industry, and, during that time, a utility fleet manager asked, “Can you build me a better outrigger pad?” Dick took up the challenge and created a hybrid fiberglass and wood outrigger pad that was stronger, longer lasting and easier to handle than the common wood-only pads of the day.
In 1987, inspired by his lifelong love for equipment, Dick left Bowie and, with his wife, Carolyn, founded DICA (using the first two letters of their first names) in 1988 to see what he could do with this new outrigger pad. In 1989, DICA was registered as a corporation in the State of Iowa.
Dick worked tirelessly to establish and grow the identity of DICA, and through research and testing, he kept improving his outrigger pad until it became the product DICA is known for today. His No. 1 concern was always for the safety of the equipment being supported and for the people using the product.
Today, DICA is a worldwide leader in outrigger pads, crane pads, cribbing, ground protection and jack pad products. The business is headquartered in a 35,000-square-foot facility in Urbandale, with additional manufacturing in Minnesota and Ohio, and has customers in more than 50 countries and on all seven continents. DICA remains a proud Koberg family-owned-and-operated business. The company has many valued employees whom Dick took a personal interest in and treated like family.
Dick enjoyed playing golf and card games, especially with his family. He also loved captaining boat rides at Lake Panorama, where he and his wife, Carolyn, made their home in later life. He cherished his grandchildren and loved taking them on golf cart rides and sharing ice cream together. He was also well known to enjoy a Boulevard wheat beer and frequently raised his glass in a heartfelt salute to say, “Thank you to all of our wonderful customers.”
Dick is survived by his wife, Carolyn Koberg of Panora; sons, Kris (Laura) Koberg of Cedar Rapids; Kevin (Joy) Koberg of College Grove, Tennessee, and Kerry (Kelly) Koberg of Earlham; and daughter, Katie Koberg of Dallas, Texas; grandchildren, Conner, Cade, Kelsey, Presley, Piper, Jackson, Ava and Andrew; siblings, Duane (Jan) Koberg of Sammamish, Washington; Chuck (Patty) Koberg of Folsom, California; and Marcia (David) Schuett of Durant. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law, Ruth Marie Holmquist.
Celebration of Life services will be 11 a.m., Thursday, July 13, 2023, at the Lutheran Church of Hope Chapel, West Des Moines. The service will be live-streamed ( Burial of his cremains will be at Maysville Cemetery at a later date in Maysville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left to Tori’s Angels, Guthrie County Hospital Foundation, or Hospice of the Midwest.
Larry bergemann



Posted 07/12/2023

Larry Alan Bergemann, 81, son of Lawrence and Sadie (Een) Bergemann, was born March 26, 1942, in Fairmont, Minnesota. He passed away June 5, 2023, in Panora.
Larry graduated from high school in Welcome, Minnesota. He went on to the University of Minnesota from 1960-1962 and to Iowa State University from 1973-1974.  He married Betty Jean Kluver on April 20, 1963. To this union, three children were born, Curtis, Sarah and Lance. Larry went into banking, and they lived in various communities in Minnesota and Iowa. They moved to Jefferson in 1971, and Larry worked at the Jefferson State Bank, which later became Brenton Bank, as vice president for the next 12 years. Larry then went to work in Des Moines at the Valley Bank and United Central Bank. Larry and Betty divorced in 1982. In the mid 1980s, he went to be the president of the bank in Greenfield. He then held various investment positions in Des Moines and in Phoenix, Arizona, for five years. In 2002, he started up the Investment Center at the Guthrie County State Bank, retiring on Dec. 31, 2012.
Larry enjoyed golfing, woodworking and helping with Fin and Feather. He served as the farm manager on the family farm back in Minnesota throughout his life and was still active up until his death. He was former member of the Lutheran Church in Jefferson, the Rotary Club, Lions Club, Jaycees, and helped get Genesis Development going in Jefferson.
Larry is survived by his partner of 45 years, Kathleen DeLucca of Panora; son, Curtis (Diane) Bergemann of Jefferson and daughter, Sarah Bergemann of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; sister, Shirley Amland of St. Paul, Minnesota; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Lance Bergemann; two brothers; and a sister.
A Celebration of Life will be Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Port with a catered lunch at noon.


Ruppeike (cropped)
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

In February of 2002, Ron Eike purchased 11 acres of land along Highway 4 near Yale. His plan was to plant, grow and sell trees as something to do in his retirement years. That modest tree farm now has spawned two family-owned businesses and a new partnership.
Ron and his wife, Shirley, purchased a home at Lake Panorama in 1999. At the time, he was a corporate executive with Omaha Steaks.
“We were looking for a vacation property where we could enjoy family vacations and also looking ahead to retirement,” Eike says. “When we looked at Lake Panorama, we realized we had found Iowa’s best kept secret.”
Soon after settling in their vacation home, the couple’s oldest son, Josh, suggested Ron purchase some property and plant trees.
“I’ve always done my own landscaping, and Josh knew I love trees,” Eike says. “And I was starting to think about what I’d do once I retired.”
Eike says the 11 acres of land that includes a two-story house was pretty rundown.
“We removed brush and fence lines, got 5 acres cleared, and planted 2,000 trees that year,” he says. “Each year we cleared more land and added trees until we had planted 12,000 trees.”
It took four years for the property to be fully planted with trees and for the first trees to be harvested and marketed. Customers throughout Iowa were buying from the Wood Duck Tree Farm. Soon there was customer demand for more than just trees, and, in 2015, Wood Duck Landscapes was formed.
Now Josh Eike, who first suggested the idea of growing and selling trees, is the principal partner and functions as the CEO of Wood Duck Landscapes. When asked if Ron still is involved in the business, Josh laughs. “Oh yes, he’s still around. He likes to keep tabs on what we’re doing almost every day,” he says.
The third generation in the Eike family business is Josh’s son, Jack. As a teenager, he worked for his father and grandfather each summer. Now 22 years of age, he has his own business that works in tandem with Wood Duck Landscapes.
In early 2021, Jack Eike’s BluGrade Earthworks, Inc., was formed. The primary focus of BluGrade is grading, shorelines, large structural retaining walls, dirt work, trucking and hauling.
“He grew up in the business,” Josh says. “He’s been in a skid loader by himself since he was 6 years old.” Jack now lives in the house at the original tree farm and runs his business from there. He also is president of Wood Duck Landscapes.
Late last year, the Eikes formed a partnership with Tyler and Aubrey Rupp, owners of Deluxe Docks and Lifts. This legal partnership now owns Deluxe Docks and Lifts Barge Service.
“Josh did some work at our home a few years ago, getting our shoreline in shape so we could install the dock and lift we wanted,” Tyler Rupp says. “We’ve talked about a possible partnership the last couple of years and spent time researching how we could coordinate all the pieces customers want for their outdoor spaces.
“We decided there is a demand for tying together the things our companies can provide, a new dock and lift, a new shoreline, retaining walls, hardscape and more,” Rupp says. “This year, we’ve gone full bore on several projects, coordinating all the logistics to make this a one-stop shop. The lake membership has been extremely responsive.”
Josh Eike says the partnership is a natural fit.
“Tyler and Aubrey sell the docks, lifts and related products. Wood Duck Landscapes and BluGrade Earthworks does all the work up to the dock. This streamlines things for new homeowners or new lake residents because they can contact any one of our businesses and get the resources and coordination of all three,” he says.
“With the three companies working together, we’re able to offer members more opportunities,” Rupp says. “Lake property owners often are unsure of what is possible. In the past, sometimes we’ve had to say they can’t put a dock in a particular location because of the shoreline. Now we’re able to say yes more often than we could in the past. We’ve been able to take on new projects, and we’ve opened people’s eyes.”
Rupp says the additional projects he’s been involved in this year have led to three additional full-time people being added to the Deluxe Docks and Lifts Barge Service partnership.
There was a time when Wood Duck Landscapes had so much business, they were booking projects out one to two years in advance.
“We addressed that this past winter,” Josh Eike says. “We have two sides of the business, one at Lake Panorama and one in the Des Moines metro. We had 15 fulltime team members in Des Moines, but this summer we shifted five of those to the lake to get caught up. Now we have 15 fulltime team members at the lake, plus another 10 with BluGrade. That means we’re able to plan a project with someone, then do the work in the same year.”
Another change is the addition of a crew that works specifically on smaller projects.
“If Deluxe Docks sells a dock, but the shoreline needs steps installed to get to it, this crew can get that work done in one day,” Eike says. “That tees us up to do more, if the owners want more. Small jobs almost always lead to bigger ones, eventually.”
In the winter months, all staff from all the three businesses move snow and do ice control in the Des Moines area, while continuing to work on projects as the weather allows.
“We’ve worked our way through the last five winters on hardscape projects and retaining walls,” Eike says. “Winter also is the time for us to take on the task of overhauling and maintaining all our equipment, while the barge team assembles lifts and docks.”
When potential customers contact Wood Duck Landscapes, Eike meets with them to discuss what they’d like, then follows up with a proposed layout and budget.
“We’re pretty unique because we rarely use design,” he says. “We start with a basic concept, a detailed budget and scope of work. But there are numerous challenges with dirt, trees and structures, and it’s hard to foresee it all. Projects often morph throughout the construction phase, so we use more of a hands-on approach.”
What is Eike’s favorite part of his business?
“Taking someone’s dream of a beautiful outdoor area from concept to finished product is really satisfying,” he says. “Plus, I’ve made a lot of friends at the lake over the years. I’ve built a lot of patios where I’ve later been invited for beers.”
More information about Wood Duck Landscapes is online at The website for BluGrade Earthworks, Inc. is Deluxe Docks & Lifts is online at

Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors confirmed their intent to fund plans now underway to complete a trail system on the south shore.

Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

More than 160 people attended the Friends of Lake Panorama 2023 Beach Ball on June 16 at the Lake Panorama National event center. After expenses, the event had a profit of $25,000.
For the third year in a row, individuals and businesses became Friends Beach Club members to support this event. Those who joined at one of these levels paid a little extra to get a little extra, while also making a direct donation to Friends of Lake Panorama. Friends Beach Club members were listed in the program.
There were 12 businesses and groups of individuals that spent $700 to join the Premier level of the Beach Club. Twenty-three couples spent $250 to be in the Couples Beach Club with nine businesses or individuals donating $150 to sponsor a table.
There were 70 items donated for the silent auction, which brought in $6,700. The live auction of 12 items raised $11,450. Proceeds from tickets sold for a 50/50 raffle netted $1,150.
Publicity in advance of the Beach Ball said profits would be used to enhance existing trails on Lake Panorama’s south shore of the main basin. At a meeting June 26, the Friends board of directors confirmed their intent to fund plans now underway to complete a trail system on the south shore. This project is being done in cooperation with Panorama Community Schools, as some portions of the trail system will be used for cross country team practices and meets.
Over the last 18 months, Friends has received private donations of nearly $11,000 designated for use on the south shore. Friends board representatives will present a proposal in the near future to the LPA board of directors regarding additional low-impact recreational amenities, which would be funded by these private donations, plus 2023 Beach Ball funds.
Donations to Friends of Lake Panorama are accepted at any time and can be designated for the south shore, a bench at one of the three beaches or two golf courses, or for the general fund to be allocated by the Friends board. Checks can be made payable to Friends of Lake Panorama and mailed to P.O. Box 488, Panora, IA 50216.
Direct donations also can be sent via Venmo @Panorama-Friends. Credit cards are accepted on the Friends website, although Friends is charged a 2.9% processing fee on these donations. Donors are asked to consider increasing their donation to help cover this additional cost.
All donations are tax-deductible. Donors of $500 or more are recognized on signs erected near specific projects they designate and on the donor page of the Friends website. More information is available at


John rutledge
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

This month’s Q&A gives John Rutledge, Lake Panorama Association general manager, the chance to share ways the LPA is striving to maintain quality customer service for its membership.

Q:  How would you describe LPA’s philosophy regarding customer service?
A:  LPA strives to provide consistent, top-notch customer service to our membership. This has been a key to LPA’s success for more than 50 years, and it remains a guiding principle for our organization. But let’s be honest… every organization claims customer service to be one of its top goals.
LPA recently has focused our efforts to understand HOW we can provide and sustain top-notch customer service. This is a complex question that requires LPA to balance several considerations.
One component of LPA’s customer service philosophy is to be accessible to the membership and to provide a timely response to member inquiries. This timeliness and accessibility must be balanced against the need for consistent, accurate and well-documented responses. The questions LPA receives frequently are complex and require careful study of property history, LPA’s governing documents and Iowa Law.
The resulting customer service approach is one that places a higher value on accuracy than it does on immediacy, while ensuring honest and informative communication is provided throughout.

Q: Is it OK for a member to drop by the office without an appointment?
A:  Members always are welcome to stop by the LPA office for routine business. Payment of LPA invoices or the purchase of a hunting or fishing license are examples of items that LPA routinely handles without an appointment.
Yet members who want to come to the LPA office with more complex questions are encouraged to schedule an appointment by calling ahead or emailing LPA at Scheduling an appointment ensures the appropriate staff member will be available and prepared to discuss your question.
Building permits are a great example of a topic that should be scheduled in advance. LPA staff can help members avoid repeat trips to the office by reviewing all necessary steps required to obtain the permit(s) for your project. This makes efficient use of not only the member’s time but also of LPA staff time.

Q:  There is a lot of information available online or in coffee shop conversations about Lake Panorama’s rules, regulations, policies and history. How can members differentiate official sources from unofficial sources?
A:  One of our LPA board members recently captured this concept very effectively. He noted one of our continuing priorities should be to overcome “legend and folklore” by consistently providing the membership with accurate and easily accessible information.
LPA pursues good communication through a few select mediums. First, all LPA members are encouraged to create a sign-in on LPA’s website, The website contains useful information and forms related to a diverse set of LPA-related topics.
Once a website sign-in is created, the member will be added to LPA’s weekly email list. This email is sent every Thursday with an occasional scheduling adjustment due to holidays or time-sensitive news. LPA’s weekly email is called the “Panorama Prompt” and is the association’s official means of communicating LPA business, rule changes and important information.
In addition to the website and weekly email, members have the opportunity to attend a handful of in-person functions. The LPA board meetings are held every month at 5 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday, with open forum being available to the membership. Also on the calendar are periodic GM Coffee events, where I update members on a variety of topics and field questions from the audience. The next GM Coffee will be Friday, Sept. 1, at 10:30 a.m. at The Links Lounge + Events.
LPA sincerely appreciates our relationship with the Lake Panorama Times. The Lake Panorama Times frequently features articles from our LPA staff (such as this article), as well as other educational features about the lake community and lake history. The minutes of the monthly LPA board meetings, held each month except for January and February, also are published in the Lake Panorama Times.
Other sources, such as social media or online forums, can serve as effective platforms for social and community connections, but LPA does not endorse these platforms as providing accurate, consistent or official information. These are a great way to meet people and stay connected, but members are advised to use the LPA website and weekly email for official information.

Q:  What parting thoughts do you have?
A:  Lake Panorama has a rich history of growth and progress. And when we use those terms, we think of the experience as being entirely positive. But with growth and progress comes change, and change isn’t always viewed as being easy. Unfortunately, we can’t experience growth and progress without also experiencing change.
LPA is growing and progressing and changing. In my 16 years as LPA general manager, we’ve been forced to evolve our business model and deal with increased volume, complexity and demands on our resources. One of our great challenges in this process is ensuring we continue to provide top-notch customer service, even though the customer experience has evolved into a more formal and structured experience than it was during the lake’s earlier eras. Please know we will continue to refine this approach to ensure customer service remains one of Lake Panorama’s best attributes.


Boattour (cropped)
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

Perfect weather was one of the highlights of the June 21 Panora Garden Club’s boat tour along Lake Panorama’s shoreline. This was the second year for the tour, which club members say will be an annual event. Pontoon boats loaded and unloaded passengers from the Boulder Beach docks.
Some changes were made for this year compared to last year. First, the number of people on each pontoon was reduced to make the ride more comfortable. Each tour lasted at least 90 minutes, with some going longer, compared to a one-hour ride in 2022. A member of the Panora Garden Club was on board each pontoon to narrate, pointing out the homes and gardens of 16 members of the club. Each participant received a lake map, with the names of coves shown, plus the location of garden club members.
Food and beverages were available at Boulder Beach for purchase from Casey Creamery and Zipp’s Pizza. Additional vendors offered a variety of items, including garden art, handmade towels, birdhouses and more.
Funds raised will be used to continue the many projects club members conduct to beautify the Panora and Lake Panorama community.

The family of Sam Conti donated $5,000 as a memorial gift, and the library foundation added another $3,000 from other donors to purchase the table. 

Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

It was 2018 when the Panora Library added several outdoor musical instruments to an area south of the building. On June 29, another new play thing was added nearby, but it isn’t a musical instrument — it’s a ping pong table.
Dave Grove has been a member of the Panora Library board of directors for 10 years and currently serves as vice president. He promoted the idea of the music park more than five years ago and also presented the idea of the ping pong table this spring.
“Sara and I took our children to San Antonio this winter and played outdoor ping pong at Hemisfair Park,” Grove says. “I did a little research after we returned, and once I knew it was cold-weather friendly, I presented the idea to our library board and then the Panora city council.”
The table is made of concrete. A heavy metal “net” has the words Panora Public Library cut into the metal.
“I find ping pong to be a sport for all ages,” Grove says. “Much like the music park, it can be enjoyed by all. It expands our mission of providing educational and family-friendly services at no cost to the public.”
The family of Sam Conti donated $5,000 as a memorial gift, and the library foundation added another $3,000 from other donors to purchase the table.
“The paver pad to place the table on was a joint community effort,” says Grove. “A big thank you to Josh Arganbright for donating his time, resources and labor, and another big thanks to Lake Lumber for donating the pavers. Then the Gerth and Grove families, along with Chris Hastings, finished up the pad.”
Ping pong paddles and balls are stored on a rack under the table or can be borrowed from inside the library during open hours.
“I think this project highlights what makes our community so great,” Grove says. “First, the generosity of individuals to give back to the community. Second, the open minded and progressive mindset of our library board and director Kim Finnegan. And finally, the spirit of volunteerism that makes people stop what they are doing and say, ‘Sure I can help.’ Projects like this are so rewarding to see the teamwork in action.” 


16685 vid brunch board with a twist
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

(Family Features) Few things go together like the weekend and brunch. Whether that means gathering with family, friends or a combination of both, it’s the perfect time to slow down and bring your loved ones together for a lighthearted meal.
Catering to a variety of different palates requires a diverse menu of dishes ranging from fresh fruit and baked goods to proteins and more. A key ingredient to bring any spread together: Envy apples, which are a natural cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala apples.
With their beautifully balanced sweetness, uplifting fresh aroma, delightfully satisfying crunch and bright red skin that sometimes features a golden blush, they can be served fresh or paired with other brunch favorites in shareable dishes like the Brunch Board with a Twist. Plus, their naturally white flesh doesn’t brown as quickly as other apples, making them easy to savor while enjoying time with loved ones.

Jolene Goodman is the advertising director for Lake Panorama Times and vice president of Big Green Umbrella Media.

• 2 Envy Apples, sliced
• boiled eggs, halved
• cooked bacon
• bananas, sliced berries
• miniature pancakes
• edible flowers, for garnish
• 2-3 Envy Apples, for garnish

On breakfast platter, artfully arrange sliced apple, halved boiled eggs, bacon, bananas, berries and pancakes.
Garnish with edible flowers and whole apples.

Young people ages 5 to 17 are eligible to attend the annual school, held on three Wednesdays each session.

Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

There were 22 young golfers who participated in the June session of the 2023 Lake Panorama National Junior Golf School. Another 24 are participating this month. Young people ages 5 to 17 are eligible to attend the annual school, held on three Wednesdays each session.
The juniors learn full swing, pitching, chipping and putting fundamentals along with golf etiquette and rules of golf. Participants are divided into age groups and rotate between the putting green, chipping area and driving range. At the end of the hour-and-a-half sessions, the juniors head to Spikes to choose a free drink. A final event is held at Panorama West with the juniors playing a few holes before a pizza party and receiving a gift bag.
Rob Riggins, LPN head golf professional, and Michael Kleinwolterink, LPN pro shop manager, led the golf school. Assisting were Dylan Douglass, Kolby Shackelford, Maddox Hammerstrom, Austin Block, Zander Hammerstrom and Kaden Thompson.
Two sponsors have supported the school for many years — Lake Panorama Association and Guthrie County State Bank. Sponsor funds make it possible to give the junior golfers a gift bag on the final day of each session filled with two free rounds of golf at Panorama West, three sleeves of golf balls and a bag of golf tees. Sponsor funds also were used to purchase chipping and driving targets, plus emoji golf balls given to the kids for contests and prizes.

Volunteers plant, weed and water throughout the golf season to provide additional beauty to the fairways, greens and trees.

Shanellbill (cropped)
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

The two golf courses owned by the Lake Panorama Association — Lake Panorama National and Panorama West — have colorful landscaped areas each summer because of a league of volunteers. These volunteers plant, weed and water throughout the golf season to provide additional beauty to the fairways, greens and trees.
At Panorama West, there are raised brick planters on each tee box. Volunteers for 2023 are Virgil and Barb Hoehne, first hole; Bill and Karen Eby, second hole; Lyle and Paula Hansen, third hole; Chan Rivera, fourth hole; Trent and Sheryl Crawmer, fifth hole; Dick Ellis, sixth hole; John and Sue Crawmer, seventh hole; Jim and Emily Spradling, eighth hole; and Jay and Sue Merryman, ninth hole.
Bob White cares for the par 4 tee box on the second hole. The Panora Garden Club did a general spring cleanup around the clubhouse. Paul McCool manages the bluebird houses on the course. Those interested in helping in 2024 can contact Maureen Lubeck, Panorama West clubhouse manager, at, or call the pro shop at 641-755-2250.
At Lake Panorama National, five ornamental trees purchased by Friends of Lake Panorama have been planted this year.
Near Spikes, volunteers Shanell Wagler and Bill Winkleblack removed much of the vegetation surrounding the building, leaving some perennial flowers. In late June, they planted three Cleveland pear trees — one south of Spikes, one north of the scoreboard, and a third between the putting green and the first hole.
In early May, two redbud trees and perennial flowers were planted near the east entrance to the LPN event center by Wagler, Sue Merryman and Chris Cox, LPN maintenance.
Many more volunteers are involved in planting and maintaining other areas near the event center and around the LPN course.
On the first tee, Deb McDermott and Danielle Navarro manage the landscaped areas around the flagpole and near the back tee box. Trish Steffen handles the area on the back tees on the second hole. Doug and Dee Eckley manage the tee box on the third hole. This year, they put a new coat of paint on the two trellises, where clematis plants are growing.
Sherri Miller keeps annual and perennial flowers growing on both tee boxes on the fourth hole. Bill Winkleblack manages the flower bed that runs along the rail fence behind the back tees on the fifth hole. Darwin and Janet Luing care for the forward tees on that hole. Dave and Nancy Clawson manage perennial plantings along the pond.
The Kluster Klub has taken on the forward tee box on the sixth hole this year. Darwin and Janet Luing oversee the back tee box on the seventh hole, and Kathy Moline handles the front tee box on that hole. Sue Greiner plants annuals each year on tee boxes on the eighth hole. New this year is Chris Duree planting and tending a large area of annuals next to the ninth tee box. Duree also has pots of pink petunias both at Spikes and the east side of the event center.
Moving to the back nine, Ann Appleseth is managing the forward tee box on the 10th hole. Shanell Wagler has both tee boxes on the 11th hole, and Kim Kent has tee boxes on the 12th hole. Barb Wollner plants flowers behind the forward tee on the 13th hole. Jolene Wright adopted the 14th hole in 2022. Rod and Pam Robson have adopted the back tee on the 15th hole, and Carla Fitzgerald has the forward tee on that hole. Matt and Marilyn Schultes have the 16th tee, and Dee Tometich and Deb McDermott manage the 17th tees.
Near the event center, the landscaped area on the east side of building is handled by Sue Merryman, who also tends to the Irv Gerlich Memorial area north of the building. Mare and Rick Langel manage the area under the LPN sign on the east side, plus two landscaped areas on the west side of the building near the pro shop.
Bill Winkleblack cares for landscaped beds around the swimming pool, and Shanell Wagler cares for areas along the sidewalk to the pro shop.
One area up for adoption on the LPN golf course is around the restroom between the 12th and 13th holes. Those interested in volunteering at Lake Panorama National can contact Shanell Wagler at or 515-371-0505. 


Winners (cropped)
Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

The Panorama West women’s golf league hosted a 2-gal best-shot tournament Tuesday, June 13. A total of 36 teams participated with players from Panora, Guthrie Center, Jefferson, Audubon and surrounding communities. The tournament theme was “Golfing with the Stars.”
The theme was highlighted with trivia questions about Hollywood stars posted on each hole on the golf course and shiny disco balls hanging from the ceiling in the community room. Eighteen potted plants were given away as raffle prizes, as were many items donated by area businesses and tournament supporters.
Jolene Wright won one of the special events, which was longest putt on the fourth hole. Jenny Wills won the other special event, which was closest to the pin on the eighth hole.
Cash prizes were awarded to the top three teams in five flights. Winners of the championship flight were Sharon Wedemeyer and Kathy DeLucca with a score of two-over-par 29. The team of Carla Fitzgerald and Susan Thompson also scored a 29 and took second place after losing the scorecard playoff. The team of Connie Hamilton and Nancy Scheffers took third place with a score of 30.
The tournament was followed by a buffet lunch at the Panorama West Clubhouse, catered by Paul Wendl. Tournament committee members were Emily Spradling, Nini Von Bon, Beth Muenzenberger, Rhoda Williams and Linda Wendl.


Dji fly 20230704 125636 175 1688506132611 photo
Posted 07/12/2023
Special to the Lake Panorama Times

Lyle Hansen, Chip Hansen and Graydon Schmidt painted the U.S. flag on the yard of the Hansen residence at 6312 Panorama Drive. This meticulous project has become a tradition, and the flag can be seen by boats passing by at Lake Panorama.

Trish Hart’s nature photos of the month

Posted 07/12/2023
Lake Panorama Times

It was May 31 when nature photographer Trish Hart went outside to fill the bird feeders on her deck and discovered four baby Eastern Bluebirds and their parents on a feeder and in a nearby tree.
“Dad was busy feeding the hungry new fledglings their breakfast as Mom watched from the corner of the deck,” Trish says. “I’m convinced they’re from the same families we feed year-round, because they weren’t afraid of me at all. It was so adorable to witness.”
Trish and her husband, Scott, live full-time at Lake Panorama and have several different types of bird feeders on their deck.
“The bluebirds love dried mealworms,” Trish says. “We keep their feeder full through Iowa winters so they can count on a consistent food source. Besides mealworms, they enjoy berries and seeds.”
The Eastern Bluebird is found in all North American states east of the Rockies. Many in northern states migrate south in the winter, but some remain near their nesting areas, if they can find a reliable food supply, which they do at the Hart house.
Male Eastern Bluebirds are vivid, deep blue above and rusty or brick-red on the throat and breast. Females are grayish above with bluish wings and tail and a subdued orange-brown breast.
Hart offers custom prints of her photos on canvas, paper, metal and glass. Learn more by visiting Nature’s Canvas Photography on Facebook.
Corn kings


Posted 07/12/2023

Yale held its Fourth of July celebration on July 3-4 with many events including a street dance, 5K Fun Run/Walk, pickle ball tournament, softball tournament, car show, bathtub races, fireworks and a festive parade that included the return of the popular American Legion Post 687 Corn Kings. Look for more photos in the July 13 issue of the Guthrie County Times Vedette.
Lpt july 2023


Posted 07/12/2023

Lake Panorama Times

Name: Gilligan
Owners: Chad and Shannon Tope
Gilligan is an English Bulldog that turned 6 this spring. Chad said since high school that he was going to have an English bulldog and name it Gilligan. Thirty years later, this sweet girl made it into their lives, and they say they have laughed every day since. Gilligan will come running to many names: Gilligan, Gilly, Nugget or her rapper’s name, G-wiggle (given to her by the Topes’ son). Gilligan hasn’t met a stick it didn’t like. Everyone seems surprised at how much Gilligan loves the water and can even swim. Gilly never misses a golf cart ride or a boat ride. On a warm day, you will find Gilligan at one of four places: laying in a plastic pool, playing at the neighbor’s beach, or sitting on a rock in the water down by the boat. Gilligan never wants to miss the action, so just look for the bulldog with a bright orange life-vest jumping off the back of a boat.

Name: Miss Penny
Age: 10
Owner: Erica Matthies
Miss Penny is a rescue that loves being an indoor/outdoor cat. Soaking up the sunshine is a favorite activity. Miss Penny recently decided to try going for a boat ride and even driving with Darrell. Penny is known to rule the house over her two dog brothers, Russell and Wilson, and gets lots of love from her human twin sisters, Knox and Lenox.

A sunken boat, an appreciation of nature, the ski team and some more lake humor

Shane june 2022
Posted 06/07/2023

Boats don’t sink at Lake Panorama very often, and thank goodness. When they do, the rumors fly, especially on social media. We covered the story of the boat that sank on May 20 on Lake Panorama first in the May 25 edition of the Guthrie County Times Vedette and are republishing it here in the Lake Panorama Times. We were able to interview the boat owner, Gary (Scott) Sams, and he was kind enough to share his thoughts about the incident.
The vessel was removed on May 21 by a recovery team from Okoboji, as well as Danny Cunningham, owner of Lake Panorama Barge Service, who assisted with the company’s telehandler unit. In our story, LPA General Manager John Rutledge addressed concerns from members regarding a vessel from Okoboji being used for the recovery of the sunken boat, as Okoboji is known to have zebra mussels. He explained the LPA’s role and assured the membership that no special exceptions to the invasive species rules were given.
We appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight and squash the rumors and inaccuracies that circulated so quickly on social media sites. And meanwhile, I think of this unfortunate incident each time I get in our boat, as it is a good reminder for all of us to have a checklist and work through it before each ride.

An appreciation of nature — and Trish Hart
East side or west side? It’s a common debate among Lake Panorama residents on which is the best area to live. In my experience, the east-siders prefer the golfing and dining amenities more, while the west-siders appreciate nature. I am in the latter group, as I would rather go to the dentist than golf. Meanwhile, I do enjoy the wildlife and am especially thankful to Trish Hart for providing wonderful images for the pages of Lake Panorama Times. Spring and early summer bring a flurry of younglings to the area, and we share some of the wonderful images that Trish captured in this issue.

Ski team
Be sure to read this month’s cover story on the Lake Panorama Ski Team. Susan Thompson shares the history of the group along with its recent organizational changes. I continue to be impressed with the skills and dedication that these skiers show, especially at the Panorama Days ski show. If you haven’t seen it in person, make time to do so this year.

Lake humor
Here is some boating humor that will hopefully bring a chuckle: A very nervous first-time boater says to the skipper, “Do boats like this sink very often?” “Not too often,” replied the skipper. “Usually only once.”
Too soon? Maybe.
OK, here’s a more subtle joke more of you may appreciate: Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
If your wife thinks that one is funny, tell her this one: I got a boat for my wife. Best trade I’ve ever made.

Have a great June, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
Editor and Publisher
Lake Panorama Times
515-953-4822, ext. 305


Posted 06/07/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

In the early 1980s, a ski team from Waterloo performed a couple of times at Panorama Days. In 1985, a newly formed Lake Panorama ski team presented its first show, and the annual tradition has continued since then. The 2023 ski show will be Saturday, Aug. 5, at 2:30 p.m.
In 2019, Dan and Kathy York participated in their 35th annual Panorama Days ski team show, meaning they’ve been a part of it since the beginning. Dale Hallberg managed the team the first few years, with the help of the Yorks and other early team members. Over time, the Yorks began to handle most of the organizational details.
In 2023, the Yorks continue to be involved. But now other ski team enthusiasts have stepped up to lighten the load they carried for so many years. A board of directors has been formed, officers elected, bylaws established, and 501(c)3 nonprofit status obtained.
Heather Isom is the board vice president. She handles communications for the team and organizes team practices.
“In 2020, there was no ski show because of COVID restrictions,” Isom says. “We started to realize there were no backups for anything. Our ski team was shrinking, and volunteers were becoming scarce.”
Isom said after the 2022 show, a group of ski team members got together to discuss a number of things, including the team’s future.
“We started talking about ‘what-ifs’ with ski team practice, and talked about what other ski teams do,” she says. “It led to a discussion about becoming a nonprofit and legal business so we would have better insurance coverage, we would be legally established for the future, and so on. The more everyone talked about it, the more we decided it was time.”
Mark Woods is board president. He joined the team in 2017. Also on the team are his wife, Penny, son, Nate, and daughter, Julia. Woods says his favorite thing about ski team is performing with his family and meeting new people. He handled the bulk of the work to get the ski team nonprofit status, and all legal and insurance documents in order.
As board treasurer, David Dwyer handles the financial aspects of the ski team. He also worked closely with Woods to make sure all necessary waivers were signed, and the team’s bylaws are in order. Terry Huerter is the board secretary. He is in charge of all the ski team’s notes, paperwork and contacts.
Amy Post is director of activities. She leads a small group of volunteers who deal with the team’s show order, acts, skits, music, dates and times. She also makes sure everyone knows water safety and helps teach the acts.
Isom says the new, more formal structure, already is paying dividends.
“Now past ski team members are coming back, and we have more help than ever before,” she says. “We have back up boat drivers, plus additional help with acts and skiing development.”
The team’s home base moved around over the years. It started at Shady Beach but also was at Boulder Beach, Sunset Beach and the marina before moving to the south shore in 2008. The LPA mows the hillside area throughout the summer season. LPA Lake Security helps keep boaters away during practices and the ski show.
The team practices each Thursday, with the first practice of 2023 held May 18. During the last two weeks of July, the team also practices on Tuesday, as they put the finishing touches on the Panorama Days ski show. Practices begin at 6 p.m. and usually run about two hours.
Each show also lasts about two hours and has a theme. The theme this year is Willy Wonka, and Kathy York is creating the costumes. Music tied to the theme is broadcast with each performance. There is barefoot skiing, skiers on stools and round disks, and acts specially designed for the youngest team members. Several acts involve pyramids. Each show includes a series of skits performed on land, giving the water time to calm down.
Freewill donations collected during a 10-minute intermission at the annual show help cover gas in the boats, team insurance, equipment and equipment maintenance, costumes and props. Because of the ski team’s new nonprofit status, donations collected at the ski show, plus made directly in other ways, now are tax deductible.
The ski team currently has around 80 members, with about 50 who actually ski.
“Others, like me, are boat drivers, some run the skier pickup boat, some help with costumes and other things needed on land,” Isom says. “In the summer, you often can find most ski team members tied up together by the dam for some quality socializing. We are like a family, and get together often.”
Isom says almost half of the skiers are youth, and that’s how her family got involved. In 2014, her husband, Larry Isom, wanted to have a family activity with their 5-year-old daughter, Danica.
“Our neighbors were heavily involved in ski team and thought we should join. Larry took Danica to ski team practice one night, and they both loved it,” Heather Isom says. “Our neighbors worked with Danica, teaching her how to ski, and also worked with Larry. It’s quite different doing a dock start versus traditional water start with skiing.”
Now their 10-year-old son, Clint, is skiing.
“It’s really a fun family activity for all of us,” Heather says. “I don’t know how to ski and am very happy on shore helping in other ways. Larry can be found on the dock helping get skiers organized and coiling ropes after acts. The ski team group feels like a unique extended family. We are all so different and have fun together. Each person brings something different to the group, and they all jump in to help.”
The Lake Panorama ski team also is a family affair for Laura (Lefkow) Eslinger, who has been on the team since 2005. Her parents and three siblings also are on the team, as are her two children, Evelyn, age 7, and Ella, age 4. Her mom, Liz, does ropes in the ski boat and her dad, Bruce, helps on the dock. Eslinger says her favorite thing about being a part of the ski team is making new friends and spending time on the lake.
New members of all ages are welcome to join the ski team. The only requirement is membership in the Lake Panorama Association. If someone is interested in learning more about being a ski team member, they can go to the south shore at 6 p.m. any Thursday between now and Aug. 5 to check it out.
Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation can send a check, payable to Lake Panorama Ski Team, to P.O. Box 384, Panora, Iowa, 50216.  n

Boat sinks at Lake Panorama

Img 20230520 184414
Posted 06/07/2023
By Shane Goodman
and Cyote Williams

Lake Panorama Times

A 2006 Rinker boat gathered water and submerged on May 20 at Lake Panorama. The boat is registered to Gary (Scott) Sams, a Lake Panorama Association member. The vessel was removed on May 21 by a recovery team from Okoboji, as well as Danny Cunningham, owner of Lake Panorama Barge Service, who assisted with the company’s telehandler unit.
“It went quick,” said Sams. “From the time I noticed to when it was down was about five to six minutes, there was no time to do anything differently. Just a freak deal.”
Sams said he assumes the boat is totaled.
“When a boat is submerged for that long, that’s what’s most likely,” he said. “All of the most expensive components on the boat are electrical. It’s kind of the same deal as when a car floods. Even if you do get it running again, it’ll have electrical problems for the rest of its life.”
Sams said, regardless of the outcome, he doesn’t want the boat again after this ordeal. Meanwhile, he is still puzzled on the cause.
“I’m not 100% sure on what the issue was,” said Sams. “If I had to guess, it would be that it blew off the water return line in an engine compartment, but I’d say it was a mechanical failure.”
There were no personal injuries involved with the incident.
“LPA is grateful no one was injured when the vessel became submerged,” said John Rutledge, LPA general manager. “Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence at Panorama.”
Rutledge said in events of this nature, the  LPA’s role is twofold. First, to ensure the submerged vessel is marked with a lighted hazard buoy. And second, to ensure any equipment involved in the recovery of the submerged vessel has been thoroughly inspected for invasive species.
“We are pleased to report both of those roles were successfully fulfilled,” Rutledge said.
 Lake Panorama Association management sent a notice to its members via email on Saturday, stating, “The equipment used for the recovery will be carefully inspected before launch by LPA security to ensure no invasive species,” referencing the ongoing efforts to keep the invasive Zebra mussels out of Lake Panorama.
A handful of LPA members did express concern on social media sites regarding a vessel from Okoboji being used for the recovery, as Okoboji is known to have Zebra mussels.
“The LPA completes over 250 boat inspections annually to verify compliance with horsepower, length and invasive species regulations,” said Rutledge. “We take this responsibility very seriously and can assure the membership no special exceptions to our invasive species rules were given.”
 Sams has some advice for all boat operators to avoid a scenario like his.
“Go through your checklist,” he said. “Check on the drain plug and the battery, etc. I will never launch a boat again without having that door/latch open for those first couple feet of water so I can be sure everything is going well at the start.”

Fin & Feather annual banquet and fundraiser

Img 5118
Posted 06/07/2023
Lake Panorama Times

The Fin & Feather annual banquet and fundraiser was held Saturday, May 13 at Lake Panorama National Resort. More than 160 people attended the event that will net more than $18,000, all of which will be spent on stocking fish in the lake this fall.
Fin & Feather was formed in 1984 by a group of people who wanted to improve fishing at Lake Panorama. The dam was completed in 1970, and the lake filled from the flow of the Middle Raccoon River. At that time, the naturally occurring species of fish in the Middle Raccoon were largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and carp. Members wanted to expand fishing options to include walleye.
The group has continued ever since and experimented with various fish stocking strategies, which has led to stocking roughly 270,000 fish in the lake. Walleye do not naturally reproduce in Lake Panorama, which is why annual stocking is undertaken. Fin & Feather continues to look at ways to increase the fishery, such as completing an electrofishing audit to determine the health and numbers of different species of fish.
The formation of this independent group has provided a significant boost to fishing conditions at Lake Panorama. Fin & Feather’s efforts extend not only to Lake Panorama but also to the section of the Middle Raccoon River that lies below the LPA dam. This area represents some of the best river fishing that can be found in central Iowa.
The chair of the 2023 Fin & Feather Committee is Damon Cradall, and Scott Stanley serves as co-chair. Doug Hemphill is the treasurer, and John Rutledge is the secretary. Other members include John Muenzenberger, Steve Brannan, Mark Buster, Ted Reeve, Ben Hayes, Bill Eby, Galen Johnson, Galen Redshaw, Jacob Bendickson, Rich Schumacher, Lane Rumelhart, Corey Larsen and Brad Bendickson.
Lake Panorama Fin & Feather Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity, operated by volunteers, dedicated to maintaining and improving recreational fishing at Lake Panorama. All donations are tax-deductible. If you are interested in joining Fin & Feather, or have any questions, speak with any committee member listed above.

Store has a wide selection of liquors, wines and whiskeys from around the world and about 500 different cigars to choose from in the only walk-in humidor in Guthrie County. 

Posted 06/07/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A ribbon cutting and open house took place in mid-May for the first and only stand-alone liquor store in Guthrie County. A group of local investors opened Local Liquor, which is located at 603 East Main St. in Panora, in September 2022. The owners are Rob and Pam Robson, Steve and Christina Ahrendsen, and Ted and Katie Hawley.
“Last summer our group noticed it was hard to find certain items in Panora,” says Steve Ahrendsen. “And during busy summer weekends, a lot of the places in town were out of stock. We thought there was a need for something like Local Liquor.”
Local Liquor has three employees who have been on board since the business opened. Tristan Monaghan is the store manager.
“Tristan handles most everything from ordering to inventory and new marketing material,” Ahrendsen says. “Gary Babcock is the team leader, and Milo Merical is his assistant.”
Ahrendsen says the business has something for everyone.
“Considering the small space we have, we still have a wide selection of liquors, wines and whiskeys from around the world,” he says. “We offer Hyve vape products and have a walk-in cooler filled with seltzers and a wide variety of beers. If we don’t have a particular item in stock, customers should ask if we can get it. It only takes us a week to get an order in with something a customer wants.”
The store also has a wide selection of cigars.
“Rod Robson was able to build us a beautiful cedar humidor for cigars,” Ahrendsen says. “We have about 500 different cigars to choose from. Customers can buy individual cigars or buy a box to share. We have the only walk-in humidor in Guthrie County.” 
Ahrendsen says Panora is a great community that supports its local businesses.
“At Local Liquor, we try to get local vendors on our shelves, from Iowa-made beers, wine and spirits to chocolates made in Perry and honey made in Boone. We plan to continue to add local products as we grow,” he says.  
The grand opening for Local Liquor was May 13.
“It was a huge success,” Ahrendsen says. “We had almost 125 people through the door from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for our lunch and grill spatula giveaway. Tristan, Gary and Milo worked very hard to get prepared for the event.” 
Ahrendsen says feedback to owners and employees has been positive.
Business has been great,” he says. “The entire community has welcomed us and thanked us for bringing something new to town. We look forward to our first summer in Panora, with all that is going on in this community.”  
All wines are 10% off on Wednesdays. Other promotions and special offers will be announced as the 2023 summer season continues. 
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 


Posted 06/07/2023

Submit your questions at or email

Q: I heard that the LPA has cameras posted around the lake, specifically by the dam. Is that true?
A: LPA General Manager John Rutledge says the LPA utilizes cameras “for security purposes at various locations, including the marina boat ramp, LPA’s yard waste facilities, and key LPA and LPN facilities.” He says these cameras “help us to ensure compliance with LPA rules and to protect association-owned facilities.” In addition, LPA security officers utilize body cameras and dash cameras.
Rutledge adds, “The number of cameras at Lake Panorama is staggering, with a large percentage of homes utilizing doorbell and security cameras for their residences. These cameras have been helpful to ensure our community remains safe for members, their guests and their property.”

Q: Can a permanent resident of Lake Panorama run for city council or mayor in Panora?
A: According to Panora City Administrator Lisa Grossman, the answer is no. Elected officials in Panora must be residents within the city limits.

Q: How many jet skis are registered on Lake Panorama, and how does that compare to boats?
A: In 2022, there were a total of 415 jet skis registered. The total of all vessels registered at Lake Panorama was 2,988 in 2022.  So, jet skis represent about 14%.

Q: It seems like we have had a lot of new construction in the last few years on the lake. How many new homes have been built?
A: According to building code data from the LPA, 80 building permits were issued in 2022 including 13 new homes, 21 decks, 10 additions, two docks, two fences, 15 storage sheds, two demolitions, five detached garages, four pools and six gazebo/sun shelters.


Posted 06/07/2023
Special to the Lake Panorama Times

The Friends of Lake Panorama’s sixth Beach Ball fundraiser is Friday, June 16 at the Lake Panorama National event center. Those interested in attending are encouraged to finalize their plans by June 9. No meal tickets will be available after that date.
Registration is 4:30-5:30 p.m. with a buffet dinner beginning at 6 p.m. The event will include a 50/50 raffle, and both live and silent auctions. Funds raised will support enhancements to a trail system on Lake Panorama’s south shore, which will be completed this year.
Additional items for both the live and silent auction are welcomed with a deadline of June 14 for these donations. Those interested in becoming a Friends Beach Club member, purchasing dinner tickets, or donating items for the live and silent auctions can contact Susan Thompson,, 515-240-6536.
Those who are unable to attend this year’s Beach Ball, yet want to support this event with a donation, can make a check payable to Friends of Lake Panorama, and send it to P.O. Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Donations also are accepted through Venmo @Panorama-Friends.


Posted 06/07/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The Panora Garden Club is hosting a garden tour by boat along Lake Panorama’s shoreline on Wednesday, June 21. The club hosted this fundraiser for the first time in 2022 and now plans to make it an annual event. 
Tickets are $25. Boats will load from the Boulder Beach docks, and the tour will last 90 minutes. A member of the Panora Garden Club will be on board each pontoon to answer questions and point out highlights throughout the tour. Time slots are available from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Food and beverages will be available at Boulder Beach for purchase from Casey Creamery and Zipp’s Pizza. Additional vendors also will be present.
A rain date of Wednesday, June 28 has been set. If the tour needs to be moved to that day, tour times will remain as originally set. If weather prevents this event, money paid for tickets will be a tax-exempt charitable donation to the Panora Garden Club.
Funds raised will be used to continue the many projects club members conduct to beautify the Panora and Lake Panorama community. To make ticket arrangements, send a text to JoAnn at 515-210-9445.


Posted 06/07/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A new beach wall has been constructed at Sunset Beach. It replaced the old wall made of railroad ties that has been deteriorating for several years. The new poured concrete wall has a brick face with the concrete dyed dark tan. Using a poured concrete wall with a footing under it should eliminate any maintenance to this wall for decades to come. Pictured above, the new wall at Sunset Beach was completed just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. Dirt was backfilled behind the wall, and grass seed spread, which then was covered by straw to help hold it in place. In 2024, once the dirt behind the wall has settled, concrete pads will be poured to support some large pots to fill with annual flowers.


Posted 06/07/2023
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

It was May 16, 2021, when the first official Lutheran Church of Hope Local Panora church service was held in the basement of The Port. More than 80 people attended that first Sunday morning service. On July 4, 2021, an outdoor service at Boulder Beach was attended by 200 people. Today, about 60 people attend the weekly Sunday morning service, with that number increasing in the summer months.
To celebrate the church’s second anniversary, a free Taste of Hope Local Panora event will be at Boulder Beach Sunday, July 2.
First on the agenda will be family-friendly activities and games for all ages, from 3-5 p.m. This will include face painting, temporary tattoos, giant bubble wands, and several outdoor games such as corn hole, Jenga and Connect 4. Basketballs and pickleball paddles and balls for use at the sports courts will be available, or people are welcome to bring their own. Beach volleyball also will be an option.
A worship service will be 5-6 p.m., with a live band. Sandwiches, chips, cookies and bottled water will be served at 6 p.m. A free concert by RetroGold will begin at 6:45 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or anchor their boat offshore.
Most members of RetroGold play, and several are on staff, at the Lutheran Church of Hope campuses in the Des Moines area, in addition to playing in this band for special events. 
Formed in 2020, the Des Moines band has made a name for itself by delivering unforgettable performances at weddings, corporate events, festivals and private concerts. Their repertoire of Top 40 hits ranges from the 1990s to present day. From the classics of Coldplay and Rascal Flatts to current chart-toppers Justin Beiber, Billie Eilish and Bruno Mars, RetroGold plays with an infectious energy that keeps the party going.
Emily and Billy Donovan, who have lived at Lake Panorama for 16 years, first had the idea to pursue a Lutheran Church of Hope Local Panora site. They started attending Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines nearly 11 years ago.
“We loved that Lutheran Church of Hope was available to stream live, so even when we were out of town visiting family and friends, we could still listen to the service,” Emily Donovan says. “One Sunday I was driving back home from Minnesota. Pastor Mike Housholder was discussing their 10 for 10 vision...starting 10 new sites and reaching 10 million people over the next 10 years. I felt a strong nudge to see if Panora could be one of those sites.”
The Donovans contacted outreach minister Mark Brandt to discuss what it would take to start a local site, then developed a list of people who might be interested in helping. A meeting was held Jan. 9, 2020, at the Panora Public library.
“We discussed the steps of looking for a location, budget for weekly rent, storage for equipment, good Wi-Fi and more,” Emily Donovan says. “We planned to launch Memorial Day of 2020, but that was before we knew about the global pandemic. We looked at several locations and decided The Port was the best option. We started meeting there the first weekend in October 2020 and met for five weeks until a second wave of COVID-19 came, and we had to go back to online worship.”
The local Panora site streams the 9:30 a.m. service live each week.
“So we are getting the same message and pastor as the members in West Des Moines,” Donovan says. “We offer communion the first Sunday of each month.”
Each week also includes local announcements, a greeter at the front door of The Port, fresh cinnamon rolls baked by volunteers, and a pot of hot coffee provided by The Port.
The Donovans are the local site leaders. They meet monthly with outreach minister Mark Brandt, Hope staff, and leaders from the other seven local sites, which are in Forest City, Clear Lake, Bondurant, Newton, Iowa City, Kansas City and Omaha.
“What’s cool about a local site is that we get to have community and fellowship with a smaller group and still have the support and resources of the larger Lutheran Church of Hope,” says Emily Donovan. “The other great thing about having a local site is our ability to participate in local missions and support local businesses.”
The idea for the free Taste of Hope event July 2 came from Galen Redshaw.
“My wife, Carol, and I have been attending worship and then getting involved as part of the leadership team since June 2021,” he says. “We were longtime members of a church in Johnston before moving to Lake Panorama in the spring of 2019. We’ve enjoyed being a part of what God is doing through this and the bond of community that has formed. Taste of Hope is a continuation of wanting to reach out to the community with the message of the everlasting love of Jesus Christ, and to have fun and celebrate.
“We want to provide a family-friendly and fun event for people to enjoy and also provide something with a Christian-based focus for those seeking something different at the lake during the holiday weekend,” Redshaw says. “We also thought it was time to celebrate after two years as a local site, and what better way than to throw a party at the beach on beautiful Lake Panorama.”

The Lutheran Church of Hope Local Panora meets each Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the basement of The Port. Other opportunities include:
  • Two women’s Bible studies. One group meets weekly; Lori Van Kirk is the contact:
  • A monthly Bible study group called “Women in the Middle” meets the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Contacts are Emily Donovan,, or Allison Stanley,
  • Vacation Bible School will be held July 24-28 at Vet’s Auditorium in Panora 6-8 p.m. for children 4 years old through sixth grade.
  • Powerlife is confirmation for students who will be in sixth through eighth grades next year; the group will meet weekly in the fall at the Reshape/Restyle/Restore building. Contact Allison Stanley,
  • Hope Kids is an afterschool program held at Panorama Elementary once a month during the school year. Children start with a snack, then rotate stations of a Bible lesson, games and crafts.
  • For more information, Facebook:; or Emily Donovan,