Posted 05/07/2024
By Cheryl Temple
Lake Panorama Times

Name: Caddie
Breed: Chocolate Tabby
Age: 9-10 months old
Available for adoption at: Panora Pets

Caddie is a quiet beauty with a stunning coat. She’s a bit skittish so would do best in a quiet, experienced cat home without children. She’s available for adoption at Panora Pets for an inside only home and must keep her


16808 vid taco mac
Posted 05/07/2024
By Jolene Goodman
Lake Panorama Times

The rainy days of April provided me with an opportunity to fill my freezer with a few make-ahead items that I can use this summer like cookie dough, muffins and marinated meats. The sunny days lure me outside to attend to weeds, clean out the dead of winter and lay down new mulch. But it’s not all work and no fun. This outside time also allows me to work on my golf game, ride my bicycle and spend time boating. You may notice that cooking is not on the “fun” list, which brings me to this month’s recipe. As much I love eating most anything homemade, my family craves the box macaroni and cheese. So, I sometimes give in, with a little taco twist.
Yes, macaroni and cheese is a beloved comfort food that’s easy to make. With just a few extra ingredients and steps, you can turn boxed mac and cheese into a filling dinner.
To make this Taco Mac and Cheese, simply prepare your favorite boxed mac and cheese according to the package instructions and stir fry the meat and vegetables together. (Hint: You can even chop vegetables the night before to make cooking the next day even easier.) Then add taco seasoning and combine for a better-for-you take on a classic dish. n

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

Taco Mac and Cheese

1 box macaroni and cheese
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground turkey
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
Prepare boxed mac and cheese with milk and butter according to package instructions.
In skillet, brown ground turkey over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion. Add taco seasoning.
Stir turkey mixture with mac and cheese to combine.


Posted 05/07/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

Spring-flowering crabapples are prevalent throughout the Lake Panorama community. In mid-April, Trish Hart snapped photos of budding flowers on crabapple trees at several locations.
Crabapples are most magnificent in spring. Buds and flowers line the tree limbs and act as profile pollinators for apples and other crabapples. The fragrant blooms give way to shiny leaves through summer and usually produce tiny colorful fruit in the fall.
Crabapples are native to North America and Asia. These trees generally grow 15-20 feet tall and live 40-60 years. Crabapple trees are fairly drought tolerant and low maintenance. Like many fruit trees, crabapples may take several years after planting before they start to flower. It’s best to plant at least two crabapples so they can cross-pollinate.
With their long-lasting fruit, crabapple trees are an excellent source of food for birds and the occasional squirrel, especially in the winter.
Hart specializes in nature photography. She offers custom prints of her photos on canvas, paper, metal and glass. Learn more by visiting Nature’s Canvas Photography on Facebook.


Shane goodman headshot
Posted 04/10/2024

Walt Longmire, the lead character in the television series “Longmire,” which is available on Netflix, rarely met a piece of garbage he didn’t want to pick up. The no-nonsense sheriff of fictional Absaroka County in Wyoming uses his skills to solve murders in this incredibly entertaining modern-day Western. He also uses his hands to keep his county clean. We could all learn from Walt.
With the snow melted at Lake Panorama, the ugly pollution of the prior months is now uncovered. Plastic is the main culprit. Plastic bags. Plastic cups. Plastic bottles. There is no doubt that plastic has made our world better in some ways, but it is a serious problem in others. Unfortunately, we too often overlook it. Take a glance at our roadsides, ditches and shorelines, and the problem is obvious.
Earth Day is Monday, April 22. I have written past columns urging readers to pick up one piece of garbage on Earth Day and explained how powerful that single effort could be if we all did it. But that’s just one day. We can do better at Lake Panorama.
So, here is my challenge. Starting today, and for the next 12 days, I ask that each of the 4,000 or so readers of this publication pick up two pieces of garbage off the ground each day. That would add up to 96,000 pieces between now and Earth Day. What a great effort that would be. And if you know anything about forming habits, you realize that, if you do this for 12 days, you will likely continue to do it.
To make this effort even stronger, I ask that you recycle as many of those materials as you can to avoid simply moving the trash from one part of our planet to another.
Together, we can make quite an impact and help make Lake Panorama an even more beautiful place to be. Most all of us would certainly be proud of this. Walt Longmire would, too.
Have a great April, and thanks for reading.

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


He’s not just a skier who loves to ski; he’s a skier who almost died doing it and lived to tell about it.
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The original idea was to write a story for this publication’s semi-regular feature titled “What’s in Your Garage?” Yet, start asking questions of Matt Lukacs, and you soon learn he’s got more to share than what’s in his garage.
“I was born in east Liverpool, grew up in Brazil, went to school in Poland and lived 15 years in Mexico,” he says.
Wow, this guy has lived all over the world!
“However, that’s Mexico, Missouri. Brazil is in Indiana, and the name of the county was Poland, so I went to Poland County elementary school. East Liverpool isn’t in England, but rather in Ohio. I graduated high school in Mexico, Missouri,” Lukacs says. “Then I moved to Iowa for college.”
OK, I’m hooked. Let’s keep going.
“I received a two-year degree for auto mechanics, then immediately went on to earn my engineering degree. I met Anette, and we got married as I was finishing college. I received engineering job offers at carmakers in other states, but Anette wanted to stay in Iowa to be close to her family, so we stayed in Iowa, which turned out well. People are great here,” he says.
Anette grew up on a farm near New Virginia and graduated from Interstate 35 High School. She was a health insurance underwriter for 12 years before the couple married.
“We met at a large church in Des Moines. The college and singles class had about 250 people in it. There was a singles retreat at Hidden Acres I signed up for. The church took a bus there, and Anette was sitting by herself on the bus,” Lukacs says. “We had never met, but she had a Tupperware container full of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I love sweets, so I sat next to her and ate all the cookies before we got to our destination. So, I asked her out on a date.”
The couple doesn’t have children of their own but worked with a large high school youth group for 25 years.
“I always told their parents the reason I did that was to remind me why I don’t have kids,” Lukacs jokes.
What brought them to Lake Panorama?
“It’s a long story,” he says. “I was happy boating and skiing at Saylorville Lake and Lake of the Ozarks. In 1999, I was hit by a drunk boater. The brief times I was conscious in the water and in the ambulance, there was blood all around me and blood coming out of my mouth. The three trauma doctors who worked on me told my family there was less than a 10% chance I would live.”
Lukacs had multiple broken bones, internal bleeding, a collapsed and infected lung, and a broken spine.
“The worst was my kidney and liver. They couldn’t even find my liver on the first CAT scan and had to do a second one,” Lukacs says. “All the broken ribs had ground it to a pulp. I was on life support. I found out later that hundreds of people came to the hospital and prayed for me. For some reason, God healed me without any surgeries.”
As he healed, Lukacs had to learn to walk again. Not surprisingly, he was afraid to go into water.
“I had to force myself to get over that fear. I did not want that to control my life,” he says. “We ended up at Lake Panorama the next year due to its family-oriented nature and it not having the drunken boater problems of other lakes.”
After one year at Lake Panorama, Lukacs joined the ski team, another step toward conquering his fear of being in the water. It wasn’t long before he became a featured act in the annual ski team show with his barefoot skiing plus other tricks.
“We went to a ski show in Florida, and I thought the barefooters were amazing,” he says. “I’ve now been to barefoot ski school many times over the years in Winter Haven, Florida, and in South Carolina. When you barefoot ski, your feet get hot from the friction on the water, so you learn tricks like butt sliding, tumble turns, one foots and more to give your feet a break.”
The couple built a house at Lake Panorama in 2004 and plan on retiring here soon. Most weekends, including the winter months, they leave their Urbandale home to spend time at the lake. They also own 160 acres of farmland near New Virginia.
Time to get to the point. What’s in your garage?
“Over the years, we’ve owned more than 100 sports cars,” Lukacs says. “That includes about 79 Mustangs, nine Corvettes and 20 Camaros, Firebirds, Trans Ams and others. You can throw in seven motorcycles the last 15 years, plus 12 boats and 10 jet skis in the last 26 years.”
Lukacs’ first car was a 1967 Mustang.
“I paid $400 for it from my parents. At the time, that was all it was worth. I fixed it up, which didn’t take much. The value went up the next year, and a guy asked if he could buy it for his daughter for $1,800. That’s when I realized a great part-time job would be fixing up classic cars.”
So, about 44 years ago, Lukacs started buying and restoring mainly 1965-1968 Mustangs.
“I did all the body work, welding, painting, upholstery and mechanical work on them,” he says. “I averaged six to eight restorations annually for many years. I stopped when I got to the point that working on cars all day, then coming home to work on a car, wasn’t a hobby anymore.”
He started his current business in 1982, while he was still in college.
“At Automotive Engineering, we specialize in diagnostic and repairs of electrical, computer systems and performance problems in cars. We also do other things like brakes, suspension and general maintenance,” Lukacs says.
The business is located in Clive. Two years after Lukacs started the business, Anette joined it.
“She has been a very big part of the shop,” he says. “She does customer relations and book work. Before parts stores delivered parts fast, she was our parts runner.”
What’s in Lukacs’ garage now?
The couple has two Corvettes. Anette drives the red 2023, and Matt drives the blue 2024. They recently sold a 2022 Mustang GT convertible and added the 2024 Corvette.
“The sport and muscle cars get driven until there’s snow on the ground,” Lukacs says. “We ordered both Corvettes with the Z51 packages, so the tires are summer use only. When the temperature hits 40 degrees, the tires become like hard plastic and dangerous to drive. During warm weather, they have a sticky feel to grip the road better. These cars usually are stored three to four months. This year, February was nice, so they came out early.”
Lukacs says when the Corvettes are in storage, the couple drives “two boring SUVs. A newer Ford Explorer and a Chevy Blazer. We also need those to pull the Malibu ski boat. Our home is on B lots, so we keep the boat in the lake garage and tow it to the boat ramp every week.”
So, besides two SUVs and a ski boat, anything else in your garage?
“One motorcycle. We bought the 2023 Indian Rogue motorcycle this past fall. It’s my seventh bike,” Lukacs says. “I got into bikes when a youth group student wanted to take the motorcycle class in Ankeny, but he didn’t have his driver’s license yet, so I took the class with him. I enjoyed the class a lot, so I bought a motorcycle. The Indian bike is made here in Iowa and has been around longer than Harley-Davidson.”
Surely there’s no more room in the garage, but anything else with an engine?
“One airplane. Dr. David Dwyer and I are partners, and we keep it at the Guthrie County airport. I always wanted to fly. It wasn’t until I was older that I got my license,” Lukacs says. “I really enjoy taking people up with me. I fly in the area and like taking photos of Lake Panorama. I also fly to Missouri and Wisconsin to air shows and to southern Iowa to look at our New Virginia farm from the sky.”
Dwyer also has a home at Lake Panorama and is on the ski team. Lukacs says Dwyer uses the plane to fly to Illinois to see family.
“David is an awesome guy to be partners with. He has a great attitude. We got our pilot licenses about the same time,” he says. “This is David’s second airplane and the first one I’ve owned. Before that, I belonged to two flying clubs in the Des Moines area, which was a great experience. My favorite plane is like the one I was certified in. It was a Mooney, which are built like a Corvette — fast and aerodynamic.”
Now when people see Matt Lukacs barefoot skiing on Lake Panorama, they’ll know the rest of his story. He’s not just a skier who loves to ski; he’s a skier who almost died doing it and lived to tell about it. He’s owned a car repair business for 42 years. He loves sports cars. He loves to ride his motorcycle made in Iowa. He is part-owner of an airplane he loves to fly.
Anything else he wants to share?
“I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without Anette,” he says.
He’s also a smart husband.


Funds raised at the banquet are used to stock fish in Lake Panorama, improve fish habitat and sponsor an annual fishing derby for children.
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times
The 2024 Lake Panorama Fin and Feather fundraising banquet will be Saturday, May 11, the same day as the LPA annual meeting. The event will be held at the Lake Panorama National Resort with social hour beginning at 5 p.m. A dinner and silent/live auctions will follow at 6 p.m. All ages are welcome.
Funds raised at the banquet, plus annual memberships and direct donations, are used to stock fish in Lake Panorama. The group also helps improve fish habitat and sponsors an annual fishing derby for children during Panorama Days.
The cost for fish stocking for 2023 was more than $18,000. Species stocked included a total of 1,050 walleye, with 300 of those 12 inches or more, and 750 in the 6- to 9-inch range. There also were 1,400 smallmouth bass, 1,500 largemouth bass and 2,500 perch released last year.
Dinner tickets to the May 11 banquet are $50 each, with children 12 and younger $25. Another option is to join the Big Skipper Club at a cost of $150. This covers two dinner tickets, Big Skipper raffle ticket and an annual family membership. The cost of just an annual family membership is $50.
Supporters can either mail a check or register online with a credit card or PayPal account at the group’s website:
If payment is made by check, make it payable to Fin and Feather and mail to Doug Hemphill, Farmers State Bank, P.O. Box 110, Yale, Iowa, 50277, along with a completed membership application, which is available on the website.
Those unable to attend who want to become members or make a donation can do so on the Fin and Feather website or by mail.
Members who pay in advance for the banquet will have their tickets waiting for them upon arrival. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for walk-in attendees.


Registration is expected to be available in mid-April.
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

Friends of Lake Panorama will host its seventh Beach Ball fundraiser Friday, June 21 at Lake Panorama National. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Friends of Lake Panorama, a nonprofit charity dedicated to improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama.
Plans are being finalized for the event, and registration is expected to be available in mid-April. The Friends board is discussing how profits from the event will be used. Projects chosen will receive a percentage of pooled funds raised, plus all direct donations designated to a specific project.
Funds will be raised with both live and silent auctions plus other activities throughout the evening. Several auction items already are committed including some that have been the most popular in past live auctions.
One is a Cyclone football package for the Nov. 2 ISU vs. Texas Tech game, which includes four tickets in the ISU Athletic Director Suite with Jamie Pollard, food and soft drinks during the game, and a VIP parking pass; a piece of jewelry custom-made by Gary Youngberg, owner of Ames Silversmithing; and a six-course gourmet meal for six with wine pairings, prepared, served and donated by Bill and Karen Fitzgerald.
Anyone interested in donating auction items for the 2024 Beach Ball is asked to email
The 2023 Beach Ball had a profit of $25,000. That money has been used over the last year, in conjunction with private donations, to create low-impact recreational amenities on Lake Panorama’s south shore.
Funds raised at past Beach Balls helped improve playgrounds at all three beaches, install sports courts at both Boulder and Sunset beaches, create a dog park, enhance the Panorama West Nature Trail, add more than 20 new benches at beaches and golf courses, and several smaller projects.
Details on all past and current projects are available on the Friends website at Friends of Lake Panorama also has a Facebook page. Details will be posted on Facebook when registration begins for the 2024 Beach Ball.


Three practices that are not compliant with Iowa law will need to be adjusted in the coming boating season.
Boatingbillsigned (cropped)
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

On Feb. 28, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the first piece of legislation passed by both the Iowa House and Senate during the 2024 Iowa legislative session. That bill was narrowly crafted to impact only the Lake Panorama Association and allows the LPA to continue to enforce rules and regulations regarding boating on Lake Panorama.
The need for this legislation was the result of two court rulings, one in January 2020, the other in October 2023. What follows is a summary of those court rulings and why LPA officials worked to find a legislative solution.
On Jan. 31, 2020, the Supreme Court of Iowa issued a ruling that confirmed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has the authority to enforce Iowa boating laws on Lake Panorama.
On July 7, 2018, DNR officers patrolled Lake Panorama and made a number of stops, one of which was the focus of the case that reached the Iowa Supreme Court. It involved an LPA member whose boat displayed blue lights. Iowa Law states only emergency vessels may display blue lights on public water. DNR pulled over this member and subsequently cited him for boating while intoxicated.
The member’s attorney argued DNR had no probable cause to stop the member for blue lights, because Lake Panorama waters are not subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Iowa. The attorney argued all charges should be dismissed.
The court ruled Lake Panorama waters are technically under the jurisdiction of the State of Iowa, as Lake Panorama is accessible from the upstream portion of the Middle Raccoon River by kayaks and canoes. Thus, DNR had the authority to stop the member for displaying a blue light, and all charges stemming from that stop were upheld.
“Historically, Lake Panorama was marketed as a private lake based on the fact non-members cannot legally access the lake with vessels of substantial size,” says John Rutledge, LPA general manager. “Since the Supreme Court ruling, Lake Panorama has occupied a unique status in which we are technically public water, yet nearly all of our lake users are LPA members. The key result of the court ruling was confirmation DNR can cite boaters for Iowa boating law infractions.”
Rutledge says, for decades, LPA has cooperated with DNR for the enforcement of common sense, safety-based boating rules.
“This status quo has worked well with DNR handling enforcement of the most serious boating violations. LPA then supplements DNR’s efforts by implementing additional safety-based rules and restrictions,” he says.
That status quo of cooperative enforcement was disrupted by the Iowa District Court for Ringgold County ruling this past October in the case of “Sun Valley Iowa Lake Association vs Joe Romare.” The Sun Valley Lake Association had asked the court for a temporary injunction against Romare pending final resolution of their claims for breach of contract and trespass. The association claims Romare is a member of the association because he owns property in the Sun Valley Lake development. And that, as a member, he must pay dues and be subject to association rules and regulations.
Although the court affirmed Sun Valley’s authority to impose rules and assess fees upon their membership, they did not award the injunction based upon a question of authority over the lake itself. The court ruled that authority to govern a body of water was not a joint effort between DNR and the property owner association but rather a mutually exclusive authority; either the Sun Valley Iowa Lake Association could have authority on the lake or DNR, but not both. Because Sun Valley did not sufficiently prove Sun Valley Lake was a private body of water, the injunction was denied.
“We disagreed with this district court ruling that authority is mutually exclusive, but don’t have standing in this case to appeal. We determined our best course of action was to pursue legislative repair,” Rutledge says. “We contacted Rep. Carter Nordman, who is a lake resident and understands the situation well.”
Work on a legislative solution began in late October. Getting House File 2485 approved by both the Iowa House and Senate and to the Governor’s desk for her signature wasn’t easy.
“We worked through various versions of the bill and met some substantial resistance along the way,” Rutledge says. “The Legislature did not want to interfere with ongoing litigation between Sun Valley and Joe Romare.”
Rutledge says, once the new law went into effect, the status quo for Lake Panorama was preserved.
“Thankfully, the Sun Valley vs Romare ruling was issued in October rather than in the spring or summer. This gave us time to work on a solution. Had the district court ruling been the governing authority for our 2024 boating season, LPA would not have been able to implement any boating rules, regulations or buoys,” he says.
“LPA rules represent decades of research and hard work by countless committee members, staff members and board members. Included in the rules are the number of vessels per membership, the length of vessels, the horsepower of vessels, operator requirements of vessels, such as age of operator, invasive species requirements and over 80 governing buoys,” Rutledge says.
“LPA’s ability to maintain the right-hand rule for travel along the main channel is one critical element that would have disappeared had we not been granted authority to govern. Also in this category would be LPA’s ability to establish reduced speed areas, such as at the back of coves and in the marina,” he says. “LPA patrol would not have been possible, meaning the lake’s only governance would have been DNR patrols.”
Rutledge gave this example of how dangerous not being able to enforce LPA boating rules might have been. Under LPA’s rules, the youngest unsupervised operator of a vessel over 10 hp could be a 16-year-old who has passed Iowa’s boating certification course. That operator could be driving a 24’ wake boat and would be required to adhere to the right-hand rule in the main channel and reduced speed regulations in the coves and in the marina.
“Had this law not passed, a 12-year-old who had passed Iowa’s boating certification course could drive a 38’ boat with no requirement to adhere to the right-hand rule in the main channel, nor be required to observe reduced speed in the coves or the marina,” Rutledge says. “LPA believed this represented an imminent safety threat, and we appreciate the Legislature and Gov. Reynolds recognizing the urgency of this situation.”
Rutledge says there are many people to thank for getting this proposed legislation passed into law.
“Rep. Carter Nordman took the lead, helping get a draft started and working through proposed amendments throughout the process. He also managed the bill on the House floor. Carter was our champion throughout this process, and we couldn’t have accomplished this without his leadership. Other support came from Sen. Jesse Green, who is our senator, and Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink of Fort Dodge, who also owns a home at Lake Panorama,” he says. “And thanks to Gov. Reynolds for her visit to Lake Panorama last summer, which provided her with context for this bill.”
As part of this legislative effort, LPA and DNR reviewed Lake Panorama’s practices to ensure the legislation didn’t miss any key elements along the way. Rutledge says this review brought to light three practices that are not compliant with Iowa law that will need to be adjusted in the coming boating season.
“First is LPA’s use of blue lights for LPA water patrol. This is in conflict with Iowa Law, and we will be correcting this by changing from blue lights to red and white lights,” he says. “Second are slalom courses on Lake Panorama. These courses represent an obstruction on public water that is inconsistent with what is allowed on other lakes in Iowa. These courses will be removed this spring.”
Rutledge says the third item is members deploying a private marker buoy, or marker ball, by their dock.
“Although LPA has allowed one of these per membership, DNR officials have determined these are in violation of Iowa law. LPA rules regarding marker buoys will be updated this spring to ensure these are not in conflict with Iowa law, and members are advised to no longer deploy them,” he says.
Rutledge offered two key “take aways” for the LPA. “One is that legislators placed a lot of trust in us not to overreach,” he says. “Safety-based, common-sense regulation is supported.
“Two, this has been a lesson in working cooperatively with the LPA membership and not letting our disagreements lead to legal action. I am grateful our membership is respectful and reasonable, and our board believes LPA security’s primary role is to educate and correct dangerous behavior,” Rutledge says. “Our role is to communicate and enforce rules developed by the water safety committee, staff and board that are in the best interest of lake safety and property values.”


Key staff positions were filled with people who have worked at The Port and now have expanded roles.
Portstaff (cropped)
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The Port restaurant on the eastern edge of Lake Panorama’s main basin has a long history. In 1972, some lake property owners began discussions about a restaurant and lounge. A company was formed, and construction began in 1975. The restaurant opened in 1976 but closed at the end of the season because of steep losses.
David Garst took over the operation. Paul and Linda Wendl purchased The Port from Garst in 1982 and operated it for 12 years before selling it in 1994. The restaurant moved through several hands over the next 10 years before being purchased in 2004 by Dr. Mark Menadue.
In late 2023, it was announced The Port would be closing following a New Year’s Eve party Dec. 31. That led to rumors The Port had been sold.
“The Port has not been sold,” says Hannah Menadue Johnson, president of Menadue Development. “This is the 20th year of ownership by our family. During the winter, it’s difficult to anticipate how many guests will come out, which makes staffing and food orders difficult. Closing for a few weeks helps us manage costs, clean, make menu updates, and look at event scheduling, staffing and training before the busy season.”
Menadue Johnson says all staff were laid off during the closure but are eligible to apply for re-hire.
“Some chose to pursue different opportunities during that time,” she says. “We wish them nothing but the best.”
The Port restaurant doors reopened March 14 in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Menadue Johnson says key staff positions were filled with people who have worked at The Port and now have expanded roles.
Kayla Valentine is The Port’s new general manager.
“I started working at The Port in early 2015 as a front desk clerk. From there, I learned everything I could at both the hotel and restaurant. I began working as the event coordinator and soon took on the hotel manager position, too,” Valentine says. “As the general manager, I oversee the hotel and restaurant and will continue to run events. I’m very excited to begin this role. I have always loved The Port and the people we get to serve.”
Tory Thompson has worked in The Port’s kitchen for several years and returns in 2024 as the head chef.
“Tory is an excellent chef with extensive experience,” says Valentine.
Amanda Hemann is the front-of-house manager, and Amanda Rambo is the bar manager.
“Amanda Hemann worked with us as the lead bartender about 10 years ago and came back last year to help in the kitchen,” Valentine says. “She is a jack of all trades and loves the community. Amanda Rambo has worked with us for a few years and is an experienced bartender. She is very creative, and our patrons have really grown fond of her.”
A new menu for the 2024 season includes many of the dishes customers enjoyed last season, although Valentine says it will continue to be tweaked as the staff receives customer input this spring. The new menu offers six appetizers, nine entrees, six sandwiches, three salads and eight side dishes.
“We brought back some old favorites like Broccoli Alfredo, The Port Asian Stir Fry and the Atlantic Salmon,” she says. “We are excited about some new additions like our classic Caesar Salad, Tory’s Creamy Cheddar Penne and the pulled pork sandwich. All indoor seating, including the bar, will be served the full dinner menu. In addition, Amanda Rambo will be working on some fun drink specials and possibly a happy hour, but that is still in the works this spring.”
The popular tiki bar is set to open Memorial Day weekend. As was the case last year, a simple grill menu will be available during busy hours to take pressure off the kitchen. Entertainment will include one band each weekend. Bands that were booked prior to the winter closing are being considered for the upcoming season and will be announced on The Port’s Facebook page as dates approach.
A fire in October 2018 had the restaurant closed until the following summer. Reconstruction of the building resulted in a new layout, equipment and furniture. Menadue Johnson says this year will bring new paint for the tiki bar, and updates are in the works for the boat docks and parking lot.
On a side note, The Port hotel has had some recent upgrades.
“We got new paint in all rooms and hallways, new tile in the lobby and beautiful stone work on our fireplaces and hot tubs,” Valentine says.
Current restaurant hours are Thursday, 5-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-9 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon. Hours will expand in May.
“We look forward to serving old and new customers with great food, drinks and the best view this year,” Menadue Johnson says. “We hope locals and visitors to the lake feel welcome to join us for live music, drinks at the tiki bar, and casual, upscale dining inside.”
Valentine says The Port staff members are happy to be serving patrons again.
“Our goal is to be more family oriented and locally involved in the community, while still maintaining our fun and vacation-like atmosphere,” she says. “We are looking into more ways to connect and support our community. We hope to bring new activities to The Port, including during our off season. Stay tuned to our Facebook page to keep updated on our hours, plans and upcoming events.”
The Facebook page is “The Port on Lake Panorama.” The business website is and offers contact information, hours of operation, menus and online ordering. Event, wedding and other inquiries can be emailed to Kayla Valentine at The hotel and restaurant phone number is 844-888-7678.


Owner Kandi Meinecke opened her business March 11.
Bbemployees (cropped)
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

For 26 years, Kandi Meinecke operated Britches ‘N’ Bows Country Store at her farm home on Willow Avenue northeast of Panora. In early March, that business morphed into B&B Marketplace, now housed at 106 E. Main in Panora. The building had been home to Quinnebago Outdoors and, before that, Ben’s Five and Dime.
“I never dreamed of moving my business to town; it didn’t appeal to me,” Meinecke says. “I was happy in my own space and doing what I wanted in the country. But when the Quinnebago auction sign appeared in the window, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I figured, now or never, go for it and expand your business.”
Meinecke grew up on a farm near Yale and attended YJB High School, followed by retail management at DMACC in Ankeny. She married Tom Meinecke 33 years ago, and they moved to their farm on Willow Avenue 32 years ago. The couple has two daughters and one son, plus two grandchildren.
Britches ‘N’ Bows began as a partnership with her mother.
“We started with a small business loan of only $5,000. We started by crafting most of our inventory but accented with florals, candles and other home items,” Meinecke says. “As years went by, we started ordering more goods from vendors, including things like rugs, clocks and picture frames. Next, we added jewelry and, finally, boutique clothing, which was a huge hit.”
Meinecke says they even were involved in the Beanie Baby craze, which lasted almost four years. The store was located in an old granary, which was attached to their house. A garage was used for storage. Now B&B Marketplace is located in a building that offers 10,000 square feet over two floors.
The business opened March 11.
“My goal is to provide the community with a trendy marketplace shopping experience that includes a coffee, espresso and dessert bar; a fresh floral counter; boutique clothing; and home décor,” Meinecke says. “This also gives me space to display and promote my event décor and rental services.”
The business logo lists floral, coffee, décor.
“I have dreamed of having a flower shop forever, but my country location wasn’t big enough,” Meinecke says. “I had been offering fresh flowers for weddings the past several years and managed to do that from my garage. Now I can have a full flower shop and offer flowers for every occasion.”
Cash-and-carry fresh floral premade arrangements are in a cooler. In person, online and phone orders can be picked up or delivered.
“We have Brew & Bloom baskets that include a two-cup coffee carrier with a mixed vase of flowers and choice of brew, wrapped in a cellophane gift bag and a greeting card that can be picked up or delivered. We did a Valentine special with these, and I think it will become a staple item for us.”
Meinecke says the coffee and espresso bar is something new for her.
“I wanted to bring this to my customers for a more pleasurable shopping experience,” she says. “We offer daily baked goods, like brownies, cookies and mini bundt cakes. Our seating is limited to eight window seats. Our goal is for people to come in and order, then browse while enjoying their drink, or order takeout. Customers also can order online.”
Meinecke says she’s been asked if tables and chairs will be added near the coffee bar.
“I like the open concept we have there, so we won’t add more seating. I think the stools along the window provide what shoppers need,” she says. “However, if groups want to meet in the building after business hours, I will have some tables and chairs that can be set up.”
Those who shopped at Meinecke’s Britches ‘N’ Bows location can expect to find the same types of merchandise at B&B Marketplace, just more of it with a modern twist.
Near the coffee bar is a special section for infants and children that offers clothing, shoes, books, stuffed animals and more. Next is a display of accessories.
“Jewelry has always been a great item for us,” Meinecke says. “We also have hats, hair clips, sunglasses and many other fun accessories.”
Women’s clothing and shoes fill the southwest corner of the store.
“We’ve always tended toward casual clothing, with lots of jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts,” she says. “We have a wide range of sizes, from teeny tiny through extended. At my other shop, I didn’t have room to offer extended sizes, but now I can. The same is true for shoes. I used to have shoes occasionally, but now I have space to offer more shoes and more sizes.”
Another section of the store is dedicated to home décor.
“We have added more décor, because we now have the space to display more,” she says. “In addition to our fresh flowers, we have green houseplants and artificial flowers. Seasonal decor is our favorite, so customers can plan on seeing plenty of that.”
For seven years, Meinecke has been decorating for weddings and other special events.
“All of our retail operation is on the first floor. Later in the spring, we’ll move our special event rental décor into the basement to display. Customers will be welcome to browse that area, but if someone wants to discuss plans for an event, it will be best if they make an appointment,” she says.
The basement also will be used for special events. For instance, Meinecke plans to hold a “maker’s market” three or four times each year.
“We’ll invite local artisans to rent a table for the day to share and sell their creations,” she says.
During regular business hours, only the north entrance on Main Street will be open. The south door that leads into the basement will be locked, except for special events.
Meinecke says she didn’t make many changes to the building before moving in.
“The ceilings, walls and floors all were here. We did change all the light fixtures and had the coffee bar and window seating built,” she says. “Right now, the back part of the main floor is curtained off and used for storage. But as we grow, I hope to turn at least part of that into retail space and part of it into a work area.”
B&B Marketplace is open six days a week, with Tuesday as the one day it’s closed. Hours are Monday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Meinecke plans to be at the business most of the time when the doors are open. She’ll be assisted by three women who worked at her former location — daughters Kaylinn Smith and Jentry Meinecke, and daughter-in-law Miranda Meinecke — plus several part-time employees.
B&B Marketplace has a Facebook page. The business phone number is 641-755-4188, and email is Online shopping is available for clothing, shoes, jewelry, home décor, fresh flowers and coffee bar items. The website for online shopping and in-store updates is


Starting in May, customers will have options of ordering with a staff member or by using the QR code.
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

April marks the beginning of the second year for Nick and Lynn Kuhn to operate The Links Lounge + Events at Lake Panorama National. The couple’s lease with the LPN was renewed for another year over the winter.
The 2024 lease agreement calls for increased days and hours of operation for The Links Lounge with Sundays and Mondays added to the schedule and lunch offered Friday through Sunday.
Beginning May 1 and running through September, The Links will be open each Monday from 3-10 p.m.; Wednesday, 3-10 p.m.; Thursday, 3-9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m., except on Wednesdays.
Starting May 5, The Links also will be open Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering a limited menu.
Between now and April 30, hours are 3-10 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the kitchen open until 9 p.m.
Another change for 2024 is customers will have two options to order.
“Customers will have the option of placing their order with a staff member or by using the QR code. We plan to start offering this in May,” says Lynn Kuhn.
Kuhn says customers also can expect some changes to The Links menu and specials in the coming months.
“In addition to the great pub fare, we’re adding regular entrées to the menu,” she says. “Look for the new menu in mid-to-late April as the season ramps up.”
Another new offering for 2024 is custom dinners for groups of 8-16 people. No reservation fee will be charged, and Kuhn will work with group organizers to plan the menu and seating.
Kuhn coordinates all special events scheduled at Lake Panorama National.
“We have several options available for room spaces,” she says. “We invite more dinners, receptions and corporate events. We can accommodate groups of any size and offer some great food and beverage choices to make the occasion memorable.”
To discuss a custom dinner for a group of 8-16, or something much larger, email
Spikes and the beverage carts are included in the LPN lease agreement with the Kuhns. Deb Douglass again will manage the snack shop and beverage cart operation for 2024.
During April, Spikes is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with adjustments made for weather and tee times. Beginning May 1, Spikes will be open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended evening hours Wednesdays and Thursdays to accommodate league play. Beverage cart service will be expanded to both men’s and women’s golf leagues and all scheduled golf events of at least 24 players.
The Links Lounge + Events Facebook page and the LPN Resort Weekly newsletter provide updates on hours, new offerings and special events.


Coreylarsen (cropped)
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

It won’t be long before Lake Panorama is filled with boats, jet skis and other watercraft. Again this year, the LPA security team is emphasizing the importance of water safety. Corey Larsen has been the LPA Security Chief since March 2021. In this month’s Q&A, Larsen talks about boating on Lake Panorama.

Q. What are some things boat owners should know or do before they take to the water this season?

A. A good place to start is to watch the LPA water safety video that outlines specific rules related to Lake Panorama. Go to the LPA website at and click on the Helpful Links tab to access this video. Also, information about Iowa boating laws is on the DNR’s boating website at
Water safety needs to begin before a boat is launched for the first time each year. Members must have their Iowa DNR registration up to date and their current LPA stickers on the vessel before it goes in the water.
Since both fire extinguishers and floatation devices are key safety items, these are priorities for the Iowa DNR and LPA. Boats with greater than 10 horsepower are required by Iowa law to have at least one Type B-I fire extinguisher onboard the vessel. Some larger boats are required to have one B-II fire extinguisher, or two B-I fire extinguishers. Boat owners also need to check their extinguishers periodically to make sure these are ready if needed.
All vessels are required to have at least one United States Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board. In addition, vessels more than 16 feet in length must have a throwable floatation device, excluding kayaks and canoes. Also, Iowa law requires children younger than 13 years of age to wear their life jacket while the vessel is underway.
Boat operators often misunderstand boat capacity rules. Most boats are rated for a maximum number of persons and a maximum total weight. Boaters must remember they are not allowed to exceed either of these numbers. This is especially relevant with young people who weigh less than adults. Regardless of how small the passenger is, everyone counts as one passenger in the boat capacity limit.

Q. Once LPA members have their boats on the lake, what are some things they need to know?

A. When a watercraft is anchored, at least one person must be on board the water vessel at all times. This goes for personal watercraft as well as boats. This is important when boaters decide to anchor and take a swim or tie together with another boat.
Also, it’s critical for boaters to understand the various types of buoys deployed by the LPA staff each spring and obey rules related to these buoys. Centerline buoys mark the channel of the lake, with boaters travelling on the right-hand side of the buoys. These buoys are marked with a flashing or steady white light to be visible at night. Hazard buoys are placed in areas that are known to be shallow or hazardous. These buoys are not a guarantee of exact hazard location but are a warning to steer clear of that general area. Hazard buoys are marked with a flashing or steady amber lights to ensure boaters steer clear of these areas. Remember, when boating at night, avoid amber lights and stay immediately to the right of white lights.
In 2018, a map showing the type and location of all buoys was proposed by the water safety committee and approved by the LPA board. The buoy map is available on the LPA website. Go to the Documents tab, then the Boating Items tab to access the buoy map.
It is important for LPA members to make sure their guests are familiar with the different types of buoys, plus Iowa DNR and LPA rules and requirements, before they are allowed to operate the member’s vessels.
Boaters who don’t obey the rules related to buoys risk being stopped by a security officer and being given either a warning or a ticket. Also in place is a rule adopted by the LPA board concerning the moving of buoys by members. Intentional vandalism or relocation of buoys will result in an automatic third offense, which, under LPA rules, is a $500 fine and loss of boating privileges for the season.

Q. Review for us rules related to prevention of invasive species in Lake Panorama.

A. Any vessel leaving any other lake must be cleaned, all compartments drained, and the vessel should dry at least five days before re-entering Lake Panorama. The vessel owner must contact LPA Security to schedule an inspection. They must be able to show they have not been on an infested lake, have no water in compartments, no plant debris or mud, or any other sign of potential contamination. This is an Iowa law and is enforceable with a $500 fine. The LPA also has set fines for violators and for falsified information on questionnaires.
Another LPA rule related to invasive species prevention requires members who want to bring in used pieces of equipment like docks or lifts to have the equipment inspected by LPA security. From the date of inspection and pending the equipment has been cleaned, members must find an offshore location to store the equipment for a minimum of 30 days. This allows any potential invasives to perish before the equipment enters the lake. Members should always call the LPA office ahead of time if they are considering purchasing a used dock or lift.

Q. What is the rule regarding towing in the Narrows, and why was this implemented?

A. The Narrows is limited to no towing (tubes, skiers or any other towed devices) and wake surfing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If boat traffic is especially heavy at other times, security officers have the authority to put flags on the markers to show no towing is allowed.
Two new buoys will be installed soon with one on each end of the Narrows. These are 19 inches in diameter and 33 inches tall with a collar that is 38 inches in diameter and 13 inches in height. These buoys state the 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. towing restrictions for weekends and holidays and when flags are displayed. As with other buoys on the lake, these new buoys are white and orange yet significantly larger. This change should make it easier for boaters to know and understand the towing restrictions.
Safety is the reason towing is not allowed in the Narrows at certain times. This is the narrowest part of the lake. During times of high boat traffic, we need to keep people safe. If security officers see you towing in the Narrows during the regular hours, or other times when it is deemed unsafe, they can issue a warning or a citation.

Q. What fines are in place to help enforce the LPA rules that promote water safety?

A. First and foremost, it is important to emphasize LPA Security’s primary goal is to educate members, promote safety and ensure unsafe behavior is corrected. LPA will issue fines, if needed, to accomplish our goals for safe boating, but our hope is that members conduct themselves appropriately and our need to issue fines is minimal.
The LPA schedule of fines includes $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 plus loss of lake privileges for third offense. LPA has a special section in our rules that provides for increased fines and penalties for any member who threatens or harasses an LPA officer. It is a violation of LPA rules to threaten or try to intimidate a security officer or to verbally abuse an officer in a profane manner. Members have the right to appeal any LPA fines to the LPA appeals committee, which is comprised of five LPA members appointed for this specific purpose.
LPA Security has the right to stop a boat at any time if a rule violation is suspected or to make sure all required equipment is aboard. The Security Department uses body cameras to help us monitor interactions between officers and people they come in contact with. It is our goal to ensure every officer interaction is professional and respectful for all parties involved.
While it may seem like the LPA has a lot of rules related to boating, much of it is just common sense and safety. All boaters should practice safe boating. Stay far enough away from other boats and people being towed or wake surfing. Have a plan for the boating party, which includes having a sober person operate the vessel.
I will make it a priority to get security boats out on the water again this year. We will do our best to make sure the water patrol security officers are keeping people safe by enforcing the rules.
LPA Security’s phone number is 641-757-9035. I encourage members to get this number in their cell phones and contact LPA Security with questions or concerns. In the case of a fire, medical or police emergency, call 911.


Ted erickson
Posted 04/10/2024

Theodore Eric Erickson, 86, son of Eric and Dorothy (Morlan) Erickson, was born April 21, 1937, in Des Moines. He passed away Saturday, March 16, 2024, at Lakeside Village, Panora.
Ted graduated from Des Moines Lincoln High School in 1955, where he played baseball, basketball and football. He married his high school sweetheart, Elaine, and three children were born to this union. They later divorced. Ted worked as a barber for more than 30 years on the south side of Des Moines. He also was a high school basketball and football official for more than 20 years. On Aug. 15, 1970, he married Janet Lee Dorsett (Monroe) in Des Moines. They made their home in Des Moines before moving to Lake Panorama in 1973.
Ted served six years on the Lake Panorama Association Board where he was a vice president, served on the Guthrie County Hospital Board, Lake Panorama Water Board, was a Lake Panorama Chairman, and volunteered at Timber Creek Charities in rural Guthrie Center. In July of 1999, Ted started working for Brokers International as a corporate driver for many years.
Ted enjoyed traveling, golfing and was an avid Hawkeye fan.
Ted is survived by his children, Ted (Cindy) Erickson, Kim (Lynn) Clayton, and Kathy (Mike) Woods, all of Des Moines; step-sons, Bill (Denise) Dorsett and Brian (Beth) Dorsett, both of Panora; along with many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and step-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Janet; and sister, Jean Porner.
Per his wishes, cremation will take place and no services will be held. Burial of his cremains will be in the Brethren Cemetery, Panora.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left to Timber Creek Charities, Panora EMS, or the Panora Fire Department.
The family would like to thank the staff at Lakeside Village and the nurses with UnityPoint Hospice for the wonderful care they provided to Ted.
Twigg Funeral Home, Panora, is entrusted with his services.


Orville leinen 0002
Posted 04/10/2024

Orville Joseph Lawrence Leinen, son of Zeno and Viola (Schwery) Leinen, was born on Aug. 13, 1934, on a farm near Panama, Iowa. He died on March 21, 2024, surrounded by family in his home in Panora at the age of 89 years.
Orville was baptized in Panama on Aug. 19, 1934, and attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Portsmouth, Iowa, for 12 years. He received First Communion and Confirmation at St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Orville grew to adulthood on his family’s farm (Peter M. Leinen Homestead).
In 1957, Orville was drafted into the Army and stationed with Btry A, 485th AAA Msl Bn (NIKE) Montrose Beach Park, Chicago 13, I11. Orv was advised from the beginning to never volunteer. Almost immediately, the drill sergeant asked for soldiers who knew how to drive. Trying to follow the advice, he decided to not raise his hand while the other recruits around him did. Anyone who could drive was assigned to drive wheelbarrows. Then the sergeant asked for volunteers who were able to change the oil. The recruits were now hesitant to raise their hands because they did not know what the assignment would be. With a deep breath and a prayer, Orv raised his hand. The sergeant tossed the keys to Orv and from then on, his job was to drive and “keep it filled.” During his military career, he attained expert marksman with the M1 Carbine and 2nd class anti-aircraft artillery.
On Oct 3, 1959, Orville was united in marriage to Kathleen Schmitz at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church in Panama. The wedding was a double ring ceremony with Jerome Nabity and Marleen Schmitz (twin to Kathleen). The Leinen family began farming on land near Portsmouth. The following spring, they moved and eventually purchased the Msgr. Peter Schmitz farm. To this union, four children were born: Karla Ann in 1960, Cheryl Rose in 1961, Peter Joseph in 1963, and Jeffry Dean in 1964.
Orville was a hard worker. He grew crops and raised hogs and cattle. Along with farming, he worked on the Milwaukee Railroad and started custom disc sharpening, grinding and combining. He continually supported his wife in nursing and her custom-fitted bra company. Through this venture, they earned trips that allowed them to travel extensively and gain many friends. Additionally, Orville, Kathleen and sons developed the Harlan Country Club Estates.
Orville was a member of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church and was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a lifetime member of the National Farmers Union. Orv enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing (even caught a marlin!). He also enjoyed playing cards, especially pinochle and pitch. Arguably, his favorite past time was making jokes and teasing loved ones. When younger, he loved to play baseball and was a lifelong New York Yankees fan. Orville enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren play sports.
Orville was preceded in death by his mother, Viola, and father, Zeno; his brother, Harvey Leinen; sisters, Ursula Bruck, Eunice Blum, Verlee Leinen and Linda Daoust; and brothers-in-law Michael Bruck, Ralph Blum and Gilbert Loeffler.
He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Kathleen Leinen; his children, Karla (Thomas) Dougherty of Barboursville, West Virginia; Cheryl (Tim) Schwery of Underwood; Pete (Pam) Leinen of Harlan; Jeff (Janell) Leinen of Panama.
His 18 grandchildren: Joshua (Jessica) Dougherty, Rachel (Aaron) Thomas, Sarah Mitchell, Zachary Dougherty, Abigail (Matt) Cornelison, Elizabeth (Ryan) Richardson, Annabelle (Chase) Wells, Benjamin Schwery, Alicia (Josh) Yoder, Courtney (Perry) Krager, Brittany Leinen, Brandon Leinen, Jenna Miller, Camden Leinen, Joshua Cheek, Jonathan Cheek, Jocelyn Cheek and Jonas Reynolds.
His 17 great grandchildren, plus a few on the way: Caitlin Dougherty, Bryson Dougherty, Eve Thomas, Callie Thomas, Elijah Thomas, Joel Mitchell, Emma Mitchell, Bailey Cornelison, Jemi Cornelison, Jaxton Cornelison, Gentry Cornelison, Quinn Cornelison, Elias Richardson, Audrey Richardson, Leo Richardson, Tate Richardson and Ryder Yoder.
His brother and sisters: James (Dorothy) Leinen of Denison; Mildred (Jerry) Brus and Zita (Gaylen) Smith of Portsmouth; sister-in-law, Charlotte Leinen of Harlan; brother-in-law, Mark Doust of Dunbar, Nebraska; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
He will be dearly missed but we celebrate knowing he is with our Heavenly Savior.
As Orv would say, “Now it is time to get to work.”
Funeral services were March 27, 2024, at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Panora. Burial was March 27, at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Panama, with military honors. Visitation was March 26, with a Rosary Service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to: Panora Volunteer Fire Department (P.O. Box 42 Panora, Iowa 50216) or Mary’s Meals ( 


Effort ties into a learning project science teacher Mark Dorhout has conducted with his students for three years.
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A cooperative effort involving Panorama Schools, an LPA member and Friends of Lake Panorama led to the recent installation of 16 bluebird houses on Lake Panorama’s south shore.
Plans for low-impact recreational amenities on the south shore were developed over a two-year period by Friends of Lake Panorama and approved by the LPA board last summer. By the end of 2023, a disc golf course and trail system were ready for visitors. A small shelter and picnic table with a view of the main basin now are in place.
The plan also called for birdhouses throughout the recreation area. Steven Brannan, who has a home at Lake Panorama with his wife, Rita, volunteered to build and donate bluebird houses for the south shore. Josh Arganbright gave Brannan the material.
“The birdhouses all are made of a composite material, so they are low maintenance. It makes for cheap, affordable housing, and I hope the birds like them,” Brannan says.
Mark Dorhout, Panorama middle school science teacher, offered to choose suitable birdhouse locations. Last fall, he enlisted the help of all 146 of his sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.
“We looked at prominent places on the trail, if there was some short grass nearby, the amount of tree cover, and proximity to an additional perch. The males like to have a spot near the nest so they can keep an eye on things,” Dorhout says.
Funds donated to Friends of Lake Panorama for the south shore were used to purchase 7-foot metal posts. On a sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-March, Dorhout enlisted the help of Brannan and three eighth-grade students to install 16 posts and attach 16 birdhouses.
Dorhout says bluebird pairs usually produce three to six pale blue colored eggs.
“They start nesting around the first week of April, and it can continue until late June and into July,” he says. “The female is involved in the nest building and 18 days of incubation. They both are involved in feeding the young. They usually have more than one brood each year. Two is normal, but pairs can have three.”
This bluebird house effort ties into a learning project Dorhout has conducted with his students for three years. The first year, all middle school students were involved in building 20 birdhouses, which were installed on school grounds.
In the last two years, Dorhout’s seventh-grade students built a total of 105 birdhouses. These were sent home with students for installation along with a guide to help them choose good locations and how to do follow-up monitoring.
“It’s a citizen science project,” Dorhout says. “Using these birdhouses, the students learn about invasive species, such as house sparrows and European starlings, that will try to take over bluebird houses. They also learn about the biology of cavity nesters, do quality research and enjoy being outdoors.”
In March, Dorhout built three birdhouses himself and installed those on posts in front of three elementary classrooms. These are located on the nearby prairie he and his students helped establish over the past few years.
Students who take home birdhouses are given a check sheet to complete every two weeks through the spring and early summer. The students make notes about whether the house is occupied, number of eggs, chicks hatched and evidence of predators or unwanted birds and pests.
Dorhout and a couple of students will do those same regular checks for the 16 new birdhouses on the south shore and the three recently added to the school prairie. He and his students also will clean out the houses annually.
Prior to the birdhouse project, Dorhout introduced his middle school students to Lake Panorama’s south shore as part of his outdoor education efforts.
“We have done some longer walks there, looked at lake species, birdwatched and gathered water samples to do some rudimentary water analysis,” he says. “It’s been awesome to be able to incorporate outdoor education into our regular curriculum. Kids of this generation sometimes find it difficult to connect to the out-of-doors. With this program, they gain the benefits of, and appreciation for, the outdoors.”
Another part of the south shore recreation area plan is adding benches. Five benches are ready to be installed when conditions allow with two along the shoreline portion of the trail and two along the meadow portion. Another bench, donated by Lana Leander and Ryan Gruhn, will be located near the fifth tee box on the disc golf course.
To get into the recreation area, there is a fenced driveway that begins at 5501 Chimra Road and leads to a parking lot with walk-through access. Beyond the shelter are two brown markers. One points right to the first hole of the disc golf course, and the other points left to the beginning of the trail system.
The recreation area is open during daylight hours. Wheeled vehicles are prohibited. There are no trash receptacles, restrooms or running water; visitors should plan accordingly. 


Plant these instead.
Posted 04/10/2024
By Lynn Kuhn
Lake Panorama Times

As a recovering plantaholic, I’ve spent way too much on plants every spring, which is often followed by regret for not buying the right plant for the right spot, especially when I know rabbits and deer will frolic and feast on my garden additions. I should have known better, and now I do. I keep a list of deer resistant plants that survive in my own garden, my clients’ gardens, and other pros in the horticulture industry, and compare it to other lists from trusted sources. (My favorite list can be found at the recently renamed Yard and Garden page of Iowa State University Extension. Some lists are almost too extensive, making it seem like there is a plethora of deer-resistant plants. While the listed plants may rarely get eaten by deer, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good performers and look great.
Here are a few plants that check all the boxes, and you can feel good about spending your money on them without regret.

Marigold - Did you know marigolds are the hottest trend in annuals? The color marigold is trending for interiors, too, according to Better Homes and Gardens (
Dusty Miller - I recall my grandmother and mother using this plant alongside geraniums and marigolds. It’s been around forever, and for good reason; deer hate fuzzy scented plants. Plus, the silvery foliage goes with everything.
Also try lantana, verbena and salvia.

Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) - This Iowa native will tolerate full shade and looks like a carpet of green hearts.
Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) - I recommend a cultivar named “Black Scallop.” The foliage looks like chocolate lettuce, and, when planted in a mass, it functions as weed prevention around other plants due to its tight growth habit.
Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium spp.) - This plant is so versatile due to the many colorful cultivars, such as “Golden Anniversary” and “Beacon Silver.”
Barrenwort (Epimedium spp.) - This is my go-to groundcover for dry shade. Plant it 12 inches on center for best coverage, since its growth rate is medium to slow.
Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) – A fabulous early perennial with sweet gold blooms that easily transitions from sun to shade and discourages weeds at the same time.
Bevan’s Bigroot Geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety) – Not all hardy geraniums are deer resistant, however, I attest this one is. I love the way it pops up early spring, providing effective weed control around other plants. You’ll love the pink blooms, handsome fuzzy scented foliage, fall interest, drought tolerance, disease resistance, and tolerates sun to shade. What’s not to love about this plant?

Daffodils - Tired of the deer eating your daylilies? Try planting late-blooming yellow daffodils all around and throughout the daylilies.
Ornamental Onion (Allium spp.) - Try mixing white and purple cultivars such as “Mount Everest,” “White Giant,” “Gigantum,” “Purple Sensation” and “Ambassador.” Plant 1-3 bulbs/square foot for best results.

Good news… almost every ornamental grass will be unpalatable to the deer. However, certain grasses will reseed freely and become a nuisance. Avoid Fountain Grass and others with this tendency.

This list can get quite long, so I’ve limited to these hard-working unpalatable beauties:
Ornamental Onion (Allium spp.) – Allium “Millennium” was the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year. Other great cultivars are “Big Beauty” and “Peek-a-Boo.”
Lamb’s Ear (Stachys spp.) – Due to velvety leaves, deer will leave this drought tolerant plant alone. My favorite cultivar is “Big Ears” a.k.a. “Helen Von Stein.” This plant is happy in hot, dry weather and just wants to be left alone.
Sage (Salvia spp.) - Another example of an unpalatable fuzzy scented plant. Look for cultivars like “Caradonna,” “Wesuwe” and “Marcus.”
Russian Sage (Perovskia spp.)
Catmint (Nepeta spp.) – So many fantastic cultivars to choose from! If you want big and billowy, look for “Junior Walker.” If you prefer a ground hugger, look for “Cat’s Meow,” “Early Bird” or “Blue Wonder.”
Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) – As the 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year, calamintha does not disappoint. Look for the straight species or a cultivar called “Montrose White.”
Fern - Almost every fern is deer resistant. Look for these cultivars: “Lady in Red,” “Ghost,” “Pictum,” Brilliance Autumn, Cinnamon and Christmas.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) – The perfect substitute to hosta is lungwort. Look for these two cultivars and play with combining them for more colorful shade garden display: “Raspberry Splash” and “Trevi Fountain.”

Slender Deutzia (Deutzia gracilus) – This small arching shade lover is perfect for dry shade, and the deer don’t seem to like it one bit. “Nikko” is a long-standing cultivar that is especially graceful and has the best form. “Chardonnay Pearls” will add perky brightness to the shade garden with its chartreuse foliage, while Yuki Cherry Blossom and Yuki Snowflake have shown to be prolific bloomers and tolerant of a little more sun. Here’s the best part… there is no need to prune this compact plant, unless you want to tidy it up a bit.
Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) – This Iowa native is a true workhorse. If you need a good-looking shrub that attracts birds, this is it. My favorite cultivar is “Blue Muffin” because it is more compact at 5-7’ tall by 4-6’ spread. Other great cultivars are “Autumn Jazz” and “Northern Burgundy.”
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) – There are so many wonderful witch hazels to choose from that the Chicago Botanic Garden decided to embark on a six-year trial studying 36 cultivars. The trial won’t conclude for another four years, but don’t wait that long to experience this beautiful shrub. Look for these tried-and-true cultivars: “Diane,” “Jelena” and “Arnold’s Promise.”

Boxwood (Buxus) – When deer started to find yew shrubs tasty, the whole world switched to boxwood, making it the go-to foundation evergreen. However, boxwood blight, which made its way to the United States in 2011, has been spreading rapidly ever since. This fungal disease is exacerbated by moisture and lack of air flow. For this reason, keep an eye on this dutiful landscape workhorse and don’t prune it into tight green meatballs. That said, I still recommend this plant. Look for blight resistant cultivars such as “Green Velvet,” “Green Mountain” and shrubs from the new NewGen series of blight resistant boxwoods, although availability may be limited in 2024.
Threadleaf False Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) – Gold-colored cultivars that will add a bright deer resistant focal point to the landscape include “Golden Mop,” “Aurea Nana,” “Sungold” and “King’s Gold.” This conifer will tolerate partial shade and will be slightly greener in the shade.
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) – This reliable conifer tree was featured in the January issue and is worth mentioning as one of the most deer resistant conifer trees I’ve observed. As a bonus, it’s also shade-tolerant.

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) – This amazingly adaptable deciduous conifer tolerates flooding, dryness and a variety of soils. The soft texture might be the reason deer leave it alone. The light green needles turn to a rusty cinnamon color in the fall before dropping. A lovely narrow cultivar is “Shawnee rave.”
Black Gum a.k.a. Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) – This underused and under-appreciated native tree is a slow grower but is absolutely stunning with dark green glossy leaves in summer turning to brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow and a bit of purple, at times. Look for mature specimens at Brenton Arboretum south of Dallas Center and ask your local nursery if they can get you one of these beautiful cultivars: “Firestarter,” “Wildfire” and “Tupelo Tower.”
Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) – This stately tree is worth planting if you’ve got the space. It’s known as the tallest hardwood species in eastern North American forests. The current champion lives in North Carolina and boasts 191 feet, 10 inches. Here in Iowa, plan on a mature size of 60 to 90 feet tall.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) – This tough yet gorgeous tree tolerates drought, heat, salt, pollution and deer. The unique fan-shaped foliage turns a pure gold color in the fall. What more could you ask for? (Reminder to only plant males as the female fruit has a horrific odor that develops upon maturity at about 20 years.)
Fun Fact: Ginko is considered a “living fossil” as one of the oldest plants on our planet and has remained basically the same for the past 180 million years. In China, Japan and Korea, there are trees that exceed 100 feet and are more than 1,000 years old. (Source:
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it starts to show you that a beautiful deer-resistant garden is possible. As you plan your next landscaping project, avoid paying “deerly” for plants that will be devoured by these creatures that have such a presence in our community. Perhaps we can learn to live alongside and enjoy these magnificent creatures. 


Two candidates running for two seats on the LPA board of directors.
2 candidates
Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The 55th annual meeting of the Lake Panorama Association is Saturday, May 11 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Lake Panorama National Resort event center. Each year, the LPA annual meeting provides a formal statement of the association’s financial position plus reports on activities during the past year and plans for the coming year.
Reports will be given by Emily Donovan, LPA board president; Dennis Flanery, LPA board treasurer; and John Rutledge, LPA general manager.
An official announcement of the meeting will be sent to all LPA members in mid-April. Included in this mailing will be a ballot plus a numbered envelope in which to return the ballot. Ballots must be returned in the numbered envelopes to ensure ballot authenticity. If an envelope is lost, contact the LPA office for a replacement.
On the ballot this year are two candidates running for two seats on the LPA board of directors. Emily Donovan and Rich Schumacher are completing their second three-year terms on the board and are ineligible to run this year. Rachel Waldo and Jackson Whiton are running for their first terms on the LPA board of directors.
Members are asked to deliver or mail their completed ballot in the numbered envelope to the LPA office before Friday, May 10. This allows the majority of the ballots to be counted in advance of the annual meeting. Ballots also can be brought to the annual meeting.
LPA bylaws require each board candidate to provide a 100-word statement. This year’s candidate statements are printed here in alphabetical order. In mid-April, additional information provided by each candidate will be distributed via email to those who are signed up to receive official LPA emails.

Rachel Waldo
“I chose to make Lake Panorama my home and raise my family here over 15 years ago. I graduated with a master’s in business administration from Drake University in 2008 and have worked in finance and leadership at Principal Financial Group for the past 20 years. I am mom of two amazing and talented girls who keep me busy. I want to give back to our community to grow it and to ensure it remains a great place to raise a family or retire for generations to come. I look forward to applying my skills and experience to this important role.”

Jackson Whiton
“My name is Jackson Whiton. I have lived on Lake Panorama my entire life, except for a short few years after college. I live on the lake with my wife, Jessica, and our two kids — Sadie and Luke. I am a litigation claims adjuster and have been in the insurance industry for the past 10 years. I believe my lifelong experience of the lake and my professional experience will serve well on the LPA Board. I intend to help navigate the complex financial and social aspects of serving and maintaining Lake Panorama.”


Posted 04/10/2024
Submit your questions at or email

Q: My neighbors have an enclosed utility trailer that is kept on their A-lot nearly all the time. I know this is not allowable on an undeveloped lot, but is it OK on an A-lot with a home on it? If so, what’s the difference?

A: Lane Rumelhart, projects manager for LPA, tells us LPA members may keep an enclosed trailer on a lot with a home whether it is an A, B or C lot. Undeveloped lots are only allowed boats, boat trailers, or non-enclosed utility trailers that are empty and less than 14’ in length. LPA restricts enclosed trailers on members’ undeveloped lots to comply with the covenants. The covenants ensure no camping/tiny home development takes place before a home is erected. The exact language reads as follows: “No motor homes, tents, or other similar structures shall be erected, moved onto, or placed upon said premises, except in specific areas designated for such use, prior to a home being erected on the lot.”

Q: Why don’t you charge a subscription fee for Lake Panorama Times? Just curious. I think people would pay for it.

A: Lake Panorama residents can get their news for free in many places today including radio, TV and on the internet, and we think you should be able to get your news for free in print, too. There was a day when it may have made sense to charge for subscriptions, but it no longer does — at least not to us.

Q: For the sake of the love of the lake, could someone please repaint the exterior of the LPA office? I’d sponsor the paint!

A: The LPA may take you up on that. What color do you think it should be? Maybe a nice shade of lavender or peach? Or maybe parfait pink?

Q: Can an airplane take off or land on the lake?

A: Section 9.2(d) of the LPA Rules and Regulations addresses this topic, stating that aircraft is prohibited. “No aircraft will be allowed to take off or descend upon the Lake in any manner except in an emergency.”

Q: How much stacked firewood is too much stacked firewood?

A: “Firewood beauty” may be in the eye of the beholder — and may depend on where it is stacked.
Section 8.02 of the LPA Rules and Regulations 8.02 states, “Upon designation by the General Manager, property owners will be required to remediate problems with plants on their lot including tree death, tree disease, poison ivy, thorned and hazardous plants or natural fire hazards where this situation can be shown to endanger person or property in the immediate area or otherwise be declared a nuisance.”
It also states, “Natural materials such as firewood may be stored on properties with homes if stacked and located outside of the front lot setbacks.”


Img 3315 (cropped)
Posted 04/10/2024
By Cheryl Temple
Lake Panorama Times

Name: Bogey
Age: 1
Breed: Golden Retriever
Owners: Ryan and Abby Manning

Bogey enjoys going to the dog park for his lunch breaks and runs his heart out up and down the fence line with other dogs. Bogey is a chill dog that loves retrieving golf balls, eating sticks and swimming. The lake is his slice of heaven.


Fullsizeoutput 31ce
Posted 04/10/2024
By Cheryl Temple
Lake Panorama Times

Name: Kiwi (Has waited more than a year to be adopted)
Age: 2 years old
Breed: Tuxedo/Black and White
Available for adoption at: Panora Pets, 114 W. Main St.

Kiwi is a darling, little Tuxedo kitty. He’s on the shy side, but once you start petting him, he loves it. He is playful and especially loves to play with his siblings. Since he is shy, Kiwi would do best in a home that has older children and also has kitties. All cats and kittens have been altered (spayed/neutered), vaccinated (age-appropriate) rabies and distemper combo, microchipped, tested for FeLV (negative unless previously noted), and treated for fleas, ear mites and worms.


Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The Women’s Service Organization (WSO) annual fundraising home tour for 2024 is Friday, June 7. Five Lake Panorama homes will be featured with four on the east side of the lake and one on the west side.
Tickets are $30 and include both the home tour and lunch at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center. Tickets will be available beginning May 6 and can be reserved by contacting Mary Beidelman at 641-757-0425. There will be a maximum of 260 tickets available, and organizers say they expect to sell out quickly.
WSO was formed in 1972 when women who worked together to help pass a school bond issue decided they could benefit the local community as a formal organization.
The first WSO home tour was in 1974, so this could be considered its 50th anniversary. However, the tour was “rained out” in 1975 and was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The home tour is the WSO’s major fundraiser. The first tour group leaves the LPN event center at 9 a.m. with three additional groups leaving on the half-hour through 10:30 a.m. Each group tours three homes before returning to the LPN for lunch, followed by tours of the remaining two homes.
Participants are asked to arrive at the LPN conference center 20 minutes ahead of their tour time in order to join the vehicle lineup and receive instructions and description sheets. Several vendors will be at the event center so tour guests can browse and shop during their lunch break.
WSO committees work in advance to gather information for a one-page description sheet and to determine the best order and route. The route isn’t always the most direct but is designed for safety and to accommodate the parking of many vehicles at each home.
Money raised by this home tour funds a renewable scholarship awarded to a graduating Panorama student each year, making four scholarships paid annually. Additional WSO donations go to the Panora Library, Food Pantry, Panora Garden Club, Guthrie County Historical Village, Heritage Park, Tori’s Angels, Relay for Life, Panorama prom and yearbook. Other contributions are considered as projects become apparent. 


Posted 04/10/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

This is the time of year when red fox babies, known as kits, start to venture out of their dens. Trish Hart is a local photographer who specializes in Lake Panorama wildlife. This month, she shares four photos she snapped last spring of red fox kits at the lake.
Mating season for foxes usually starts in January. Red foxes have a short gestation period with kits born at the end of February or early March. There usually are five to eight kits per litter. Baby foxes are blind when they are born. They also cannot regulate their temperature by panting, so the mother stays nearby.
The colors of red fox kits vary and can include black, silver, red, gold and tan. In about three weeks, their fur starts to transition to their primary colors. This also is when they start to be able to see.
By their second month, usually April, the kits venture to the den opening. They are extremely curious and begin to lay outside. They love to play and will growl, make noises and pile on top of each other. Both parents take care of their offspring until the next fall when the young foxes set out on their own.
Hart offers custom prints of her photos on canvas, paper, metal and glass. Learn more by visiting Nature’s Canvas Photography on Facebook.


Shane goodman headshot
Posted 03/13/2024

Are you getting the summer itch? By the looks of what I am seeing around Lake Panorama right now, I am guessing you are. The unusually warm weather has most all of us thinking of swimsuits and flip flops as we debate whether or not to put the winter wear away for the season.
Meanwhile, boat lifts are starting to be installed now, which is always a sure sign of spring. Seeing the barges on the water puts a smile on my face.
Boats are being pulled out of storage and are getting polished up and ready to hit the water. Get out the wax.
Lawnmowers are being serviced so we can start cutting grass. All we need is for the grass to grow, which it will soon enough.
Outdoor furniture is being cleaned up and placed back on the decks and patios. Or, if you left them out in the recent wind, you may need to retrieve them from your neighbor’s lawn.
Yes, spring is close, and that means one thing — summer is getting closer, too.
In the meantime, you might want to keep a sweater handy.

Our cover story
Speaking of boats, we are pleased to bring you a story about the new owners of Panorama Marine, Phil and Cindy Watson. Be sure to read the story and learn about what they have in store. We should also thank Lyn Coulter for his years of dedication to the lake community and all he and his staff did to ensure we had the services we needed and wanted.

75 years of marriage
If you read our February issues of Panora Times and Guthrie Center Times, you learned about local couples who have been married for 50 years or more. They were heartwarming stories of love and understanding and patience. In this issue of Lake Panorama Times, we share the story of lake residents Bob and Betty White, who have been marred for 75 years. They offer advice for the rest of us who hope to make it to the 75-year mark.

Some Irish humor
With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I feel the need to share some Irish humor. And since I am Irish, I might be able to get away with these jokes a bit more than most. Just exchange the word “Irishman” with “Shane.”
Here we go. An Irishman checks into a hotel for the first time in his life and goes up to his room. Five minutes later, he calls to the front desk and says, “You have given me a room with no exit. How do I leave?” The desk clerk says, “Sir, that’s absurd. Have you looked for the door?” The Irishman replies, “Well, there’s one door that leads to the bathroom. There’s a second door that goes into the closet. And there’s a door I haven’t tried, but it has a ‘do not disturb’ sign on it.”
Here’s another one. A bartender says to his Irish customer, “Your glass is empty. Would you like another one?” Looking puzzled, the Irishman says, “Why would I be needing two empty glasses?”
And finally, a woman asks an Irishman, “If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you like most to be with you?” The Irishman says, “My uncle Mick.” The woman replies, “What’s so special about him?” The Irishman says, “He’s got a boat.”
Have a great March, and thanks for reading.

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


Phil and Cindy Watson are working to ensure a smooth transition.
Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The Lake Panorama Association (LPA) began operating a small marina in 1970. Over the next few years, it was leased to four different operators, but none lasted. That changed in the summer of 1982 when Lyn Coulter and his brother, John, leased the gas dock from the LPA for $1. The agreement called for the pair to stock the dock with some basic marine accessories and keep consistent business hours.
Coulter Panorama Marine was founded in 1983 with the $7,000 profit from that first year running the gas dock.
“When it came time to pay the $10,500 rent in December 1983, we didn’t have the funds to do it,” Lyn Coulter said in a 2022 interview. “The LPA board decided to forgive the rent that year but made it clear they would never forgive it again. Luckily, the business took off in 1984, and we never missed, or ever were late, on a lease payment.”
For the next 40 years, the LPA leased its marina facilities to Coulter Panorama Marine.
“Lyn Coulter and the entire Coulter team have been a critical part of Lake Panorama’s success,” says John Rutledge, LPA general manager. “In many ways, Lake Panorama and Coulter Panorama Marine grew up together. I am grateful for the trusted relationship that existed between the Coulter team and our LPA staff.”
The 2024 season brings new marine owners and a new lease. Phil Watson Jr. and his wife, Cindy, purchased Panorama Marine from Lyn Coulter last fall. On Sept. 26, the LPA board of directors approved a 2024-2028 lease between LPA and Watson for operation of the LPA-owned marina.
“I think it’s essential for the LPA membership to know Lyn Coulter and Phil Watson worked hard to ensure a smooth transition for the LPA membership and the marina staff,” Rutledge says. “Transitions like this are complex and have the potential to be a bumpy ride. Thanks to Lyn and Phil for all their work to provide a seamless transition. LPA is very grateful.”
Phil Watson Jr. has a lifelong connection with Lake Panorama. His parents, Phil and Judy Watson, purchased a house at Lake Panorama in 1972, the year he was born. The couple still owns that home in Hughes Cove. While the family’s fulltime home is in Indianola, Watson has many fond memories of his time growing up on the water. Some summers, he even worked at the marina gas dock.
Cindy Watson grew up in Early in northwest Iowa and is a trained dental hygienist. In 2006, Phil was working at a boat show when one of the sales reps asked if he’d be interested in going on a blind date with Cindy. Two years later, he proposed to her on Lake Panorama in his parents’ 1985 Century Resorter boat. They soon married and now live in Polk City. They have three daughters, ages 14, 12 and 9, who attend North Polk Community Schools.
After high school graduation in Indianola, Phil Watson attended Southwest Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri. Springfield is also the location of the first Bass Pro Shop and where Watson got his start selling boats to customers. Next came a boat sales job in Kansas City.
In 1999, Watson took a sales job with Water’s Edge Marine, which was located in Johnston. He was the company’s sales manager for two years before purchasing the business and moving it to Polk City in 2011. Cindy Watson joined the business in 2017, helping with bookkeeping, benefits and other human resources duties. She now does the same at Panorama Marine.
In December 2022, the Watsons sold Water’s Edge to Hicklin Power Sports.
“My dream has always been to have a boat shop at Lake Panorama,” Phil says. “Last March, I started looking for property here and purchased 10 acres north of Lakeside Village along Highway 4.”
Construction began on the site last fall with three buildings partially completed before work was halted. Because of some technical and structural issues, those buildings were removed in late February, and reconstruction is underway.
The main L-shaped building will be 17,000 square feet and include both sales and service. The climate-controlled showroom will be large enough to have about 30 boats on display. A dock system will allow customers to browse among the boats without climbing up and down. There will be six service bays. Two boat storage buildings will be built this year, with additional storage buildings possible in the future.
Once the new buildings are complete, a service road will be built on Watson’s property that will lead to the marina. This will make it possible to move boats between the lake and the service and storage buildings without using Highway 4.
Watson thinks the 2024 boating season will be winding down before Panorama Marine can move into the new buildings. In the meantime, the Watsons have a month-to-month lease with the LPA for the current sales and service building near the gas dock.
No decisions have been made on the future of the existing sales and service building.
“LPA will review that with the Watsons once they have moved to their new location,” says Rutledge. “Any changes to the building will include plans to ensure boaters are provided a modern, indoor bathroom for their use while visiting the gas dock or slips.”
Boat lines carried by Coulter’s will continue to be carried by Watson and include Mastercraft, Four Winns, Godfrey pontoons and Kawasaki jet skis. A new line of pontoons, Barletta, will be added. Honda and Volvo motors will continue to be serviced, plus Mercury motors will be added to the service list.
Panorama Marine will continue to offer VW brand docks and Shore Station lifts.
“We’ll also offer all the same sorts of boating accessories Lake Panorama customers are used to, plus we’ll bring in new options as we get fully stocked,” Watson says.
All employees who worked for Lyn Coulter had the opportunity to join Watson’s organization.
“Everyone stayed, which is great and will help this be a seamless transition,” Watson says. “These guys have years of hands-on knowledge and experience here at Lake Panorama.”
Scott Kemble is the Panorama Marine sales manager. Brian Dorsett is the service manager. Mike Webb, Mike Mobley and Justin Boettcher continue as service techs. One new hire, Ethan Hawkins, will attend training to work on Mercury motors.
Nate Sheesley, who worked for the Watsons as service manager at Water’s Edge, has joined Panorama Marine as the service writer/parts manager. His wife’s parents, Dave and Ruth McNamara, have owned a home on Christmas Tree Point since the 1990s.
The sales and service building now is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed Sunday.
The Panorama Marine gas dock will be staffed Memorial Day to Labor Day with the same hours as past years. Watson plans to add a “pay at the pump” option that will make it more convenient for boaters to get gas during off hours or early spring and late fall.
Watson says those who had Coulter’s service and stored their boats last fall can count on Panorama Marine to get their boats out of storage and connect with their owners just as the case has been for many years. The same is true for customers who routinely have the marina staff remove lift canopies in the fall and reinstall those in the spring.
“We think communication is key,” Watson says. “We’ve increased the number of phone lines coming into the main office and have voice mail so, if someone calls after hours, they can leave a message and we’ll call them back.”
The phone number for Panorama Marine remains the same — 641-755-2920. A new website includes photos and information on all new and pre-owned boats, pontoons and personal watercraft. The website is
“I’ve been in the marine business for 27 years,” Watson says. “We’re excited to be here, and we look forward to taking care of our customers. This is going to be a lot of fun.”


Friends of Lake Panorama will host its seventh annual fundraiser.
Beach ball
Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Friends of Lake Panorama, a nonprofit charity dedicated to improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. To celebrate this anniversary, while raising money for additional projects, Friends will host its seventh Beach Ball fundraiser Friday, June 21, at Lake Panorama National.
Event registration will begin in mid-April. Funds will be raised with both live and silent auctions, plus other activities throughout the evening. Items for the auctions are being accepted now. Anyone interested in donating auction items for the 2024 Beach Ball is asked to email
The Friends of Lake Panorama seven-member volunteer board will meet April 8 to finalize plans for the 2024 Beach Ball. They also will discuss how profits from the event will be used. Projects chosen by the Friends board to promote at the Beach Ball will receive a percentage of pooled funds raised, plus all direct donations designated to a specific project.
The 2023 Beach Ball had a profit of $25,000. That money has been used over the last year, in conjunction with private donations, to create low-impact recreational amenities on Lake Panorama’s south shore.
The Lake Panorama trails system, with a cross country trail for the Panorama Community Schools incorporated, is complete, and the nine-hole Lake Panorama disc golf course is open. A fenced driveway begins at 5501 Chimra Road and leads to a parking lot that allows walk-through access. A small shelter with picnic table is near the parking lot. Finishing touches such as bluebird houses, additional signage and five benches will be added this spring.
Funds raised at past Beach Balls helped improve playgrounds at all three beaches, install sports courts at both Boulder and Sunset beaches, create a dog park, enhance the Panorama West Nature Trail, add 20 new benches at beaches and golf courses, and several smaller projects.
A current priority project is raising money for trees to be planted on the west side of the lake along the main entrance and at Sunset Beach and on the east side of the lake at Boulder Beach. These new trees will go in areas where older trees had to be removed because of storm damage or disease.
Details on all past and current projects are available on the Friends website. Friends of Lake Panorama also has a Facebook page.
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.
Tax-deductible donations can be made at any time by check payable to Friends of Lake Panorama and mailed to Friends of Lake Panorama, P.O. Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Donations also can be made using VENMO @Panorama-Friends, or by credit card on the Friends website at


Best of guthrie county (black)
Posted 03/13/2024

Best pizza. Best pastor. Best park. And 79 other categories. Those are the basis of the Best of Guthrie County poll that was recently launched by Big Green Umbrella Media, the publisher of Lake Panorama Times.
“Many central Iowans are familiar with the Best of Des Moines poll that readers of CITYVIEW magazine have participated in for more than a quarter of a century,” said Shane Goodman, editor and publisher of CITYVIEW and the president of Big Green Umbrella Media. “CITYVIEW’s Best of Des Moines certificates are proudly displayed in stores, restaurants, bars and offices, and the recognition provides an incredibly positive impact for the people, places, businesses and events that are deemed the winners.”
The CITYVIEW Best of Des Moines poll consisted of 271 questions with a whopping 22,969 votes — the most ever in the history of the poll.
“I have learned a lot in administering this poll and the related event that we have now hosted for 16 years,” said Goodman, who also serves as the editor and publisher of Panora Times.
A few years ago, Goodman implemented a similar effort with his 14 Iowa Living magazines called Residents’ Choice polls.
“The bottom line is that people want to know who local residents feel are the ‘best’ in a variety of categories,” Goodman said. “It is a fun competition.”
Goodman noted that whenever they do these types of reader polls, he stresses that the results are not his opinions or opinions of his staff but are the results of the votes from readers.
“That is a very important distinction,” he said.
With readers’ polls working in Des Moines and in the suburbs and nearby communities, Goodman decided to launch a similar effort in Guthrie County with the Best of Guthrie County poll.
“This is our inaugural effort, and the poll will certainly change in future years,” Goodman said.
Readers simply fill in the blanks in one category or all 82. The poll is being promoted in the company’s publications, emails, social media and mailers to encourage widespread participation.
“I hope everyone takes the time to vote and to also share the link with their family, neighbors, co-workers and anyone in Guthrie County and encourage them to do the same,” he said.
The poll results will show if any readers try to beat the system and vote multiple times.
“We catch the cheaters who try to vote more than once and throw those votes out, so don’t even try,” Goodman said.
Goodman says they make voting “incredibly easy.”
“You can choose to vote in just one category, or you can vote in all 82,” he said. “But, just like the political elections, once you submit your choices, you can’t go back.”
The poll rules and the link to vote can be found at


Posted 03/13/2024
By Lynn Kuhn
Special to Lake Panorama Times

I often talk with other designers from Iowa and around the country about what clients are asking for in the design of their outdoor spaces, and the same themes keep coming up. They seem to reflect a shift in our values in a post-pandemic world.
  • Connecting with people outdoors, rather than indoors, and doing it at home
  • More emphasis on health, both physical and mental
  • Getting away in the backyard instead of going on vacation-staycation
  • Connecting with nature/biophilia as a way to manage stress and improve mental health
  • Functional outdoor spaces for recreation, entertainment, playing games, plus working and learning from home
  • More new gardeners, especially interested in growing edibles and pollinator-friendly plants
  • More emphasis on front-yard curb appeal and functionality
How these specific requests and overall themes are expressed in the landscape varies based on the client’s values, budget and overall desired outdoor living experiences. I am sharing the top three outdoor living trends for 2024 that might inspire your next landscape project.

This isn’t exactly a new trend, however, the reasons we seek to get away have shifted a bit. Clients want more than a beautiful garden to gaze upon out the window or while sitting on the deck. They want to feel like they are “getting away from it all” in their own backyard. For some, that means having activities to stay busy and entertained, such as vegetable gardening, outdoor checkers, movies, playing video games, swimming, ping pong, etc. For others, it means more relaxing activities such as outdoor cooking and dining, lounging by a fire, or stargazing. For garden enthusiasts, it may mean tending to garden plants, pulling weeds and pondering what you’ll plant next season, which takes us to trend No. 2.

The days of wrapping foundation plantings around the house and calling it “done” are over. In a post-pandemic world, the role of the garden has exploded in the most wonderful ways.
Edibles. People want to grow their own fresh herbs and veggies. It’s less expensive, more flavorful, healthier organic, which means fewer trips to the store plus the added benefits of getting fresh air and reducing stress.
Designer’s Tip: Rather than creating a dedicated veggie garden, tuck attractive edibles such as lettuce, onion, and peppers amongst ornamental plants in the planting border or in pots on the deck or patio.
Next Level Front Yard Gardens. During the pandemic, the front yard became a safe place to connect with neighbors and friends. This prompted larger and more beautiful planting beds and places to sit and socialize. Personally, I am thrilled to see a return to the social side of the front yard garden.
Designer’s Tip: Some front yard plantings look like they are pushed up tightly against the house. Instead, stretch the planting beds toward the street, along the driveway or out into the yard around a tree.
Biophilic Landscape Design. As humans, we have a biologically driven need to connect with nature and other living things. This is biophilia, which means “love of life.” Biophilic design principles are increasingly showing up in architecture, interior design and landscape design. One example is vertical gardening, which may be a planted green wall, vines climbing up a column, or using tree stumps and large stones as furniture. When we incorporate natural elements of all kinds in interesting ways, the space becomes more inviting, allowing us to immerse ourselves in nature. This is a broader way to think of the garden and outdoor living in general and is driving people toward growing houseplants and taking up gardening.

Many people desire spending more time outdoors but don’t due to conditions such as too hot/cold, too windy, too sunny, too dark or too buggy. There are ways to mitigate these natural conditions. Here are a few ways to remove barriers to spending time outdoors. These features can add functionality and beauty to outdoor spaces.
Too hot: ceiling fan misters, tree canopies, water feature
Too cold: fencing/hedging to block wind, fire feature
Too buggy: ceiling fan, emitters
Too dark: fire feature, outdoor lamp
Too sunny: tree canopy, pergola with vines, shade sails, umbrella
Too windy: fencing/hedging
It’s fun to stay on top of outdoor living and gardening trends and see how they vary from region to region, especially here in the Midwest. What trends are you seeing here in central Iowa? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Written by Lynn Kuhn, author of “Conversation Gardens: Where Conversations Flow and Relationships Grow.” She is a landscape architect, speaker and owner of Conversation Gardens (formerly Outdoor Transformations). You can reach Lynn at or


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Rich Wicks
Lake Panorama Times

Once each month, Faith Bible Church in Panora offers a community meal. Senior Pastor Trevor Nunn said, although donations are accepted, it’s not a fundraiser but rather an opportunity to welcome everyone for food and fellowship.
The meals are regularly scheduled on the third Wednesday of each month, serving from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The next meal will be March 20 and will include baked potato bar and toppings, tossed salad, carrots, celery and cookie bars. On April 17, the meal will be sliced ham, cheesy potatoes, smothered green beans and cupcakes. Pictured are Jonetta Long, Ellen Betzer and Sharon Neel.


Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

Spring cleaning time is upon us. Once the April 15 federal tax filing deadline passes, most people are ready to clean out files and discard previous year’s tax returns, along with other papers that accumulate in their home office. Again this year, Panora Public Library to the rescue.
“We like the shredding truck to come after tax time, so people can safely dispose of old documents and tax-related forms,” says Kim Finnegan, director of the Panora Public Library. “This is a service we like to provide to the Lake Panorama, Panora and surrounding communities, because they support us throughout the year.”
There is no cost to individuals to drop off paper documents to be shredded. The Panora Public Library uses donated funds to cover the cost of this community service.
The “Shred-It” truck will be at the Panora Public Library Saturday, May 4 from 9-11 a.m. Those who plan to drop off paper to be shredded are asked to pull into the driveway north of the library.


Mitch Johnk co-founded Panorama Benefits Company with Ellen Betzer.
Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

Mitch Johnk has spent 38 years working in the financial services industry with more than 20 of those in Panora. He and his wife, Kim, moved their family to Lake Panorama when he joined Frank Teale in his financial services company in Panora.
Johnk partnered with Teale until Teale’s retirement in 2004. That same year, Johnk established Total Financial Solutions with partner Jeff Dvorak. This past October, Johnk sold a portion of his practice to Dvorak.
At the same time, Johnk co-founded Panorama Benefits Company with Ellen Betzer. Betzer and her husband, Scott, moved to Lake Panorama more than 20 years ago. She has 36 years of experience as an executive assistant and in customer service, including 17 years working with Johnk. Now she is operations manager for the new company.
Johnk is the company president. In 1986, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Simpson College in business, management and marketing. He followed that with a 1991 master’s degree in business administration at Drake University.
“I’ve been thinking about this change for a couple of years,” Johnk says. “We had built a good-sized practice with a lot of individual clients and some businesses. I turn 60 in April, and for the last few years of my career, I want to make a bigger impact. I decided a good way to do that is to bring in more business clients.”
Johnk describes Panorama Benefits as a consulting company that specializes in retention strategies for businesses, plus has a passion for workplace financial literacy.
“The employment landscape has changed,” Johnk says. “To attract and retain quality talent, businesses need to adapt to this new environment. Also, the level of financial literacy needs to be raised. Traditional education doesn’t address it. The workplace is a good place to address this, because it’s where employees get their income and their benefits.”
Johnk says too often employees leave for a different job because they can earn more money, but the benefits package may not be as good.
“The main entrée offered by employers is health insurance,” he says. “The rest of the benefits are just checking boxes. But employees need to understand what they have. Is there life insurance, disability insurance, what’s the maximum the employee can contribute toward their retirement? All of these things are just as important as health insurance.”
Johnk says effective compensation and benefits programs should not only attract and retain talent but also reward and facilitate retirement. He says this can be done by providing competitive salaries and benefits within a nurturing work environment, emphasizing additional benefits tied to productivity rather than just participation, and viewing these programs as investments in employees’ financial stability, rather than as expenses.
Right now, Johnk is doing a lot of networking, looking for referrals and making cold calls, just as he did when he started in the financial services industry. He’s attended a couple of association conferences, and he and Betzer have participated in one association trade show.
“We can provide the product-based solutions and assessment services needed and become an extension of their human resources department,” he says. “We would review their employees’ needs and their current benefits. There is a good chance we would suggest some adjustments to help with employee retention. We would help owners, executives and rank-and-file workers understand their benefits and develop programs to help improve their financial wellness.”
Johnk says he chose the name Panorama Benefits to boost interest in Lake Panorama and Panora.
“I see us hosting company culture-building events at Lake Panorama and people from the companies we serve becoming familiar with what Panora has to offer,” he says. “We are excited about where this goes and the positive impact it could have on our community.”
The Panorama Benefits Co. offices are at 110 East Main, the same building where Johnk has been serving his clients for more than 20 years. Additional information, including contact details for Johnk and Betzer, is on the firm’s website,


Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

Donations have reached $7,375 to plant new trees where old ones were removed at Lake Panorama. The original goal of $4,500 will cover the cost of planting 11 trees on the west side of the lake along Panorama Road north of the guard shack and two at Sunset Beach. The extra funds will make it possible to add more trees than planned to those two locations.
Boulder Beach also needs new trees to replace several lost to disease, so Friends of Lake Panorama is accepting donations for Boulder Beach trees. Enough money has been raised to date to plant three new trees at Boulder, but additional ones are needed to fill in gaps.
Isom Tree Farm will plant trees in mid-April with the final number and locations dependent on donations received by late March. The plan includes several sugar maple trees that will be planted with a tree spade. Larry and Heather Isom, who live on Burchfield Cove and own Isom Tree Farm, plan to donate one sugar maple.
Nursery trees also will be planted by hand in all locations and include red maples, London planetrees and autumn blaze maples.
Donors of $500 or more can make their contribution in honor or memory of someone and are recognized on the Friends website. Larger and smaller donations also are welcome.
Donations to Friends of Lake Panorama are tax-deductible. Donations can be made by check payable to Friends of Lake Panorama and mailed to Friends, P.O. Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Donations also can be made through Venmo @Panorama-Friends or by credit card at


Easter 13646 640
Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

The Panora Chamber of Commerce will be holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 20 at the Guthrie County Historical Village, 206 W. South St. in Panora. More details to come at
The Chamber is asking for Easter candy donations to be delivered no later than March 18 to Iowa Trust, Guthrie County State Bank or Panora Fiber. The candy is to be bite-sized and individually wrapped. Volunteers are also being sought. Email and you will be connected with a committee member.


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Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

Guthrie County Hospital (GCH) welcomes Dr. Austin Bancroft, who is providing ear, nose and throat (ENT) services.
Dr. Bancroft completed his otolaryngology (ENT) residency at Michigan State University and his doctorate of osteopathic medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He provides services for pediatrics and adults, including examination, diagnosis and treatment of issues with the ears, nose and throat.
Bancroft will be consulting with patients and performing surgeries. He is accepting new patients. For more information on this service or to schedule an appointment, contact the GCH Specialty Clinic at 641-332-3900.


Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

Jeremy Cooper, deputy coordinator with Adair and Guthrie County EMA, working with the fire departments in Adair and Guthrie counties, requested the State Fire Marshal prohibit open burning due to potential hazards to life and property. The State Fire Marshal’s Office granted the request; therefore, no person is allowed to engage in open burning in Adair and Guthrie counties until conditions improve. This order became effective on Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. Violators of this order could be charged with a misdemeanor.
“Adair and Guthrie county fire departments have seen the effects of fires in extreme conditions, and they want to do everything they can to help mitigate life-threatening incidents from occurring,” Cooper said. “These fire departments are volunteer departments that respond to calls that pull them from their everyday life and work and become very taxing on those volunteers. We have been in a drought for over four years, and conditions have not improved much. We have experienced an abnormal winter with only one major snow event that didn’t help with the overall moisture levels. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, things will improve and start greening up.”
Updates on burn bans can be found at the State Fire Marshal’s website at


Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

Guthrie County Hospital has launched Patients Like Me Support Group. This has been established for people in the community affected by neurological/movement challenges to provide support while also providing education on a wide variety of resources. Care partners, family members and friends are all welcome to attend. A short exercise session, led by a licensed therapist, will start each group meeting that will be modifiable to all activity levels. Education and discussion will take place after. These meetings are held the second Thursday of the month (March - October) at 2 p.m. at the GCH Fitness Center (710 N. 12th St., Guthrie Center).


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Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

Brian Johnson announced his bid for reelection for Guthrie County Supervisor, District 2. Johnson, a Republican, was elected as District 2 Supervisor in 2022. As a result of reapportionment, Johnson is serving a two-year term and is now seeking re-election for a full four-year term in the 2024 election. Johnson’s district includes Yale, Jamaica, Bagley, the Victory Township portion of Lake Panorama, rural areas in northeast Guthrie County, and select rural areas north and northwest of Guthrie Center.
“Representing District 2 has been a humbling and rewarding experience,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent the proud communities and rural areas of this district. It was an honor serving as board chair my first year, and I’m excited to continue the important work of Guthrie County. As we begin our budget process, I will advocate for a balance between providing top-notch county services and ensuring the responsible management of property tax dollars. Voters can count on me to advocate for transparency, professionalism, and efficiency in county government.”
Johnson highlighted the designation of EMS as an essential service as a top priority for the coming year.
“The issue of EMS is both important and challenging,” he said. “I believe it is our duty to submit a proposal to the voters of Guthrie County, so we can come together and implement cooperative solutions for the good of everyone. I will do my part to help ensure county government provides trusted leadership on this topic.”
Johnson said he has a great deal of pride and confidence in Guthrie County.
“Our county has great potential to not only navigate the challenges we face, but also to grow, prosper and thrive,” he said. “I will continue to be a supporter of economic development initiatives and strategic partnerships that position our communities and rural areas for future success.”
Johnson spent 12 years in education before switching careers and representing a variety of entities at the Iowa Capitol. He and his wife, JoAnn, live at Lake Panorama and are active in the Panora community. They enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, all who live in the area.
In addition to finishing a two-year term on the county supervisors board, Johnson serves on the board of Midwest Partnership; the Policy Committee of Region XII; is a member of Guthrie County 10 Squared Men; a board member of Panora Retirement Homes; member of the Sons of the American Legion; a volunteer and supporter of a number of community projects; and has long relationships with a number of associations, including the Iowa Taxpayers Association and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.
“I sincerely appreciate all the support these past two years and respectfully ask District 2 voters for their support in the upcoming 2024 elections,” he said. “I appreciate the opportunity to represent not only District 2 but to also serve for the good of Guthrie County as a whole.”


Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is an economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines. The partnership also represents 11 counties, including Guthrie County.
Tiffany Tauscheck is president and CEO of the organization. For eight years, she has led various areas of work at The Partnership, including strategic planning, operations, investor relations, economic development and regional initiatives.
Tauscheck and her husband, Mark, have two children and spend significant time at Lake Panorama. In this month’s Q&A, she answers questions about the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Guthrie County development initiatives, and the time she and her family spend at Lake Panorama.

Q. Let’s start with an overview of the work of The Partnership, as it relates to the Des Moines metro area.
A. The Partnership is an economic development and community development organization serving an 11-county region. Our organization is unique in its structure and emphasis on regional collaboration. We have more than 400 investors who invest in The Partnership because they want to make the Greater Des Moines region a top place for businesses and people. We have 23 affiliate chambers of commerce that are part of our overall network. Through our affiliate chamber network, we have more than 6,500 members, which makes us the fourth-largest regional chamber of commerce in the country.
We often have peers across the country who look to emulate our model. Our focus is on economic development and talent development with public policy as a supporting strategy. In 2023, we assisted with more than 30 economic development projects in the region and reached hundreds of thousands of people from across the country and world through our “Do Something Greater” economic development and talent attraction marketing campaign. We will build on our economic and talent development success in 2024 by taking innovative, data-driven approaches to securing business relocation and expansion projects, and expanding the talent pipeline.

Q. Now expand beyond the metro area, and explain the role The Partnership plays in the 10 counties beyond Polk County.
A. The Partnership’s footprint is 11-counties strong, which includes Guthrie County. We work with partners across the 11 counties to secure economic development projects, attract and develop talent, and enhance the quality of life throughout the region. At its core, The Partnership is a convener. We bring leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors together to address challenges and create ways to make our region stand out. We believe our region is stronger because we work as one region and one partnership. One example of the impact we can have as a region is our annual trip to Washington, D.C. We bring more than 180 leaders from across the region to advocate for our federal policy priorities, and our voice is noticed by Iowa’s congressional delegation. This year’s trip is May 8-10, and we encourage leaders in Guthrie County to consider attending.

Q. Let’s talk about Guthrie County in particular. What work gets done in Guthrie County as a result of being represented by The Partnership?
A. I began my role as president and CEO of The Partnership in July of 2023 after eight years in the organization leading different areas of work. One of my first priorities in this new position was to work with our team to conduct an 11-County Listening Tour. It was important to me to meet face to face with our stakeholders to listen and learn. We asked the same questions in each meeting with the goal of hearing from them in their own words what we do well and what we can do better.
We met with more than 375 people, including investors, chamber leaders, city and county leaders, economic development leaders, small business owners, educators and policymakers from across our 11 counties. In Guthrie County, specifically, we met with several city leaders, economic development practitioners and local businesspeople in Panora and Stuart. One theme we heard over and over throughout the tour was an eagerness to strengthen connections between rural, suburban and urban communities. That led to us launching a Regional Community Integration strategy in early 2024. Now we have an intentional focus on getting our team members into each of our 11 counties on a consistent basis. Our goal is help facilitate cross-county connections and discover success stories that we can help amplify. We also plan to host a new Regionalism Summit in 2024 to bring together leaders from rural, suburban and urban communities.
Our work with Guthrie County expands beyond the 11-County Listening Tour. In economic development, we work closely with the Midwest Partnership that serves Guthrie and Adair counties, and we recently consulted with them as they reestablished their business retention and expansion program. In January, we hosted our In-District Congressional Event with Representative Zach Nunn in Casey. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Guthrie County leaders on more projects in 2024 and beyond.

Q. When and how did you become interested in the business of economic and community development?
A. I started off my career working as a television journalist, so storytelling has always been core to what I do. I believe there is great power through storytelling to inform and inspire. Through different roles in television and post-television, I discovered my passion for community development through regional collaboration and finding common ground with various leaders on a shared vision of making our region even better. That is what led me to The Partnership. No matter what role I have had, I am passionate about teamwork, serving our investors, affiliates and members, and shaping this community for future generations.

Q. Can you share statistics that demonstrate growth within the Greater Des Moines region?
A. From 2012 to 2022, which is the latest data available, Greater Des Moines has been the fastest growing region in the Midwest in terms of percentage of population growth, gross domestic product growth and employment growth. We believe our region’s momentum is due in large part to our ability to collaborate as public, private and nonprofit partners across jurisdictional boundaries. We do this with a shared vision. One example of this is Capital Crossroads, which has celebrated hundreds of successes since 2011 and is now in its latest iteration as the Capital Crossroads Roadmap to Opportunity and Prosperity for All. Our momentum as a community is no accident; it is intentional.

Q. What do you enjoy about the time you spend in the lake community at Lake Panorama?
A. My husband, our two children and I love to spend time outdoors, and one of our favorite places is Lake Panorama. We especially enjoy boating and fishing at the lake.

Q. Any final thoughts about what the future holds for economic and community development in the Greater Des Moines area, including the 11 counties represented?
A. The future is bright, and we are stronger together. We invite the leaders in Guthrie County to reach out to us any time to let us know how we can help them or share story ideas that we can amplify on our communications channels.


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Cyote Williams
Lake Panorama Times

After an incredible regular season and a thrilling playoff run, the No. 2 Panorama Panthers (25-2) lost in the IGHSAU 2A state championship game against the Dike-New Hartford Wolverines on March 2 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Panorama’s two losses on the season were by a combined 3 points.
Dike-New Hartford star and one of the best players in the state overall, Payton Petersen, was the main factor in Panorama’s loss. Petersen finished her final game with 27 points and 14 rebounds.
On the Panthers’ side, the team’s key players spread the wealth on offense and defense. Jaidyn Sellers led Panorama in scoring with 20 points and nearly had an unconventional triple-double, adding 9 rebounds and 9 steals. Tyme Boettcher added 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Mia Waddle nearly hit double figures in points with 8, while adding 3 assists.
Panorama endured some hard-fought battles during the post-season run, pulling out close victories in all three games before the state championship game. They defeated Denver (16-8) in the Class 2A region 2 substate final to qualify for state by 4 in overtime, pulled away late after being down double digits early against Grundy Center (21-3) in the quarterfinals of the state tournament, and survived a late rally from (previously) undefeated Westwood (22-1) in the semifinal to advance to the championship game.
While this dominant Panorama team was no Cinderella story, the past few weeks were not for the faint of heart and made for a post-season run that Panther players, coaches and fans won’t forget.


Bob and Betty White share advice for young married couples who hope to make it to the 75-year mark.
Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

Bob and Betty White have lived on Lake Panorama’s Christmas Tree Point for 37 years. Their first house on Andrews Terrace was purchased in 1987, and they split time between there and Urbandale. Since 1992, they have lived fulltime in a waterfront home they built near that first house.
The couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary Sept. 10, 2023. This year, each will turn 95 years old, first Bob on April 21 and Betty on Oct. 16.
Bob was born in Guthrie Center, and his family moved to Winterset a year later. Betty was born on a farm near Pitzer, which is northwest of Winterset. They were both juniors at Winterset High School when they started dating. Neither had a car. Both could sometimes borrow their parents’ cars, and their dates often centered around the local movie theater.
They graduated from high school in 1947 and married in 1948. Betty had three bridesmaids, and Bob had three groomsmen. The ceremony was held in the Christian Church in Winterset, where Bob’s family attended. Betty’s family attended the Lutheran Church, but that building was too small to accommodate the event. Pastors from both churches had a role in the ceremony.
A reception at the church was planned for after the ceremony. In between, friends of each of the couple kidnapped them and took them for car rides around the area before returning them to the church.
“I remember neither of us got back for a while, and I was nervous about that,” Betty says.
The couple honeymooned in Omaha, where they stayed two nights.
“It was all we could afford,” Bob says. “Plus, we had to get back home to move into our apartment in Des Moines.”
Betty remembers the address of that first apartment, 1538 18th St. Later they moved to a basement apartment in a home north of Roosevelt High School. While in Des Moines, Bob worked for a grain processing plant, and Betty worked for Bankers Life.
In 1952, Bob was drafted into the Army. Betty worked for the Army Reserve and was assigned the task of typing up Bob’s intake papers. After basic training, he was stationed in California.
“Bob’s mother drove me and another girl to California to be with our husbands. It wasn’t long before Bob was shipped out to Germany. I tried to stay, but I was so lonely. I came back to Iowa and moved back in with my parents. I went back to work at Bankers Life, driving to Des Moines from my parents’ farm each day,” Betty says.
Bob was in Germany for a year-and-a-half, assigned to a mail train. He was discharged in 1954.
Beginning in the late 1920s, Bob’s father was a partner in the Winterset Monument company. Bob had worked summers during high school in the family-owned granite finishing plant. Once out of the Army, the couple found an apartment in Winterset, and he returned to the family business.
The couple’s first child, Dennis, was born in 1955. Their family now includes son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Debbie White, who live in Colorado; son and daughter-in-law, Noel and Patty White, Arkansas; and son-in-law and daughter, Joel and Michele Van Vark, who live in Johnston. They have eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
In 1958, the couple moved to Des Moines and Bob became president of Des Moines-Winterset Memorials. Over the next 30 years, the couple purchased controlling interest in the company. In 1992, the couple sold the company and Bob retired.
During Bob’s time with the company, he designed and placed more than 200,000 granite and bronze memorials and other granite pieces such as church altars and war memorials. Two of the most well-known are the Korean and VFW memorials at the Iowa Capitol.
When the three children were old enough, a fold-down camper was purchased, and the family started to travel. Favorite destinations were Canada for fishing, plus all along the West Coast. The family liked it well enough they eventually upgraded to a larger travel trailer for their vacations.
The couple owned a small boat and wanted to use it more. In 1987, they made the drive from Des Moines to Panora to look at boats and check out Lake Panorama.
“We decided to drive around,” Betty says. “We saw a house on Christmas Tree Point for sale and bought it.”
Bob has long been an avid golfer and soon was playing regularly at the Panorama West golf course. He was instrumental in helping create par 4 tees on some holes at the course. On the second hole, he mowed, cleared trees and bushes, then planted new shrubs. Since then, the couple has maintained the shrubs and sometimes flowers near the par-4 tee box.
Bob and Betty’s children surprised them in 2021 with a granite bench from Des Moines-Winterset Memorials on that tee box. The bench is inscribed with the couple’s names and states it is “in recognition of their many contributions to Lake Panorama and the Panorama West golf course.”
In May 1995, Bob was elected to a three-year term on the LPA board of directors and served as board president his final year. He played a role in getting board approval to build the Panorama West clubhouse, which was completed in 1997.
For more than 25 years, the Whites kept the Panorama Road entrance to Lake Panorama looking good by trimming bushes, painting signs and planting flowers near the old guard shack. In 2021, they passed the baton for that volunteer job to Jim and Emily Spradling. The couple says they’ve enjoyed the many years they’ve lived and volunteered at Lake Panorama.
The couple’s daughter, Michele Van Vark, talks about the childhood she and her two brothers experienced.
“We were raised in a peaceful, supportive environment,” she says. “There was always humor. Mom and Dad had mutual respect for each other and worked as a team. If there was something needed, they worked together to make it happen. They were phenomenal role models for us. I didn’t realize how idyllic my childhood was until I became an adult.”
Van Vark knows why her parents’ marriage is different than many others.
“They legitimately always put the other person first,” she says. “It’s like when slices of cake are being offered. Most people want the biggest piece for themselves. But for my parents, each wants the other person to have the biggest and best.”
On Valentine’s Day this February, the Whites reflected on the question of what advice they might offer young married couples who hope to make it to the 75-year mark.
“I think we both have always just tried to take care of each other,” Betty says. “He always helped with the kids, and I helped him when I could. I think we’ve been fortunate neither of us has a bad temper.”
“I can’t remember us ever having a serious argument,” Bob says. “We usually just work things out, and we have a good time. One thing that helps is that I learned a long time ago she’s usually right.”
Betty smiles and agrees. “I am usually right,” she says. n


Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

Holy Week weeknight services will be held March 25-29 at Panora churches with a light meal served at 6:30 p.m. and services beginning at 7 p.m. Dates and locations are as follows:
Monday, March 25: St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 220 N. First St., Panora
Tuesday, March 26: Calvary Chapel of the Raccoon River Valley, 604 E. Main St., Panora
Wednesday, March 27: Panora United Methodist Church, 119 E. Main St., Panora
Thursday, March 28: First Christian Church (with the help of the Panora Church of the Brethren), 102 E. Church St., Panora
Friday, March 29: Faith Bible Church (no meal), 2096 Highway 4, Panora


Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

The Lake Panorama Association road embargo lasted just two weeks this year. The five-ton vehicle weight limit began Monday, Feb. 12, and ended at 7 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 26. Past road embargoes have occurred anytime between early February and early April. Once set, the embargo is in place until conditions stabilize and road surfaces can bear significant loads without damage.
Each spring, warm temperatures and thawing conditions weaken the roadbed under the Lake Panorama Association’s seal coated roads, which means heavy loads can cause severe road damage.
That’s the reason for the annual spring road embargo, which prohibits loaded vehicles that weigh more than five tons on most LPA roads during the spring thaw, while the frost is coming out of the ground and the roadbed is soft.
Dry weather this year allowed LPA to implement the embargo earlier than often is the case and end the embargo sooner than usual.
In 2023, it cost more than $30,000 to seal coat one mile of LPA roads, and early indicators are the cost this year may be significantly higher. That’s why this annual embargo is vital to help avoid road damage. The LPA appreciates everyone’s cooperation.


Posted 03/13/2024
Special to Lake Panorama Times

The Guthrie Center Association of Churches announces the worship schedule for Holy Week Services, which will be at 7 a.m. Everyone is welcome.
Monday, March 25: First Presbyterian Church, 701 State St. Guthrie Center
Tuesday, March 26: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 603 Main St. Guthrie Center
Wednesday, March 27: Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1305 North St., Guthrie Center
Thursday, March 28: United Methodist Church, 405 Prairie St, Guthrie Center
Friday, March 29: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 713 N. 12th St., Guthrie Center.


Posted 03/13/2024
By Susan Thompson
Lake Panorama Times

A special brunch will be served Easter Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Links at Lake Panorama National.
Brunch offerings include a variety of breakfast items, including a made-to-order egg station, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, assorted fresh fruit and an array of pastries. Entrée offerings feature fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, jalapeno creamed corn, seasonal vegetables, and a carving station showcasing prime rib, pork tenderloin and ham. For the kids, there will be mac and cheese, chicken tenders and fries.
Bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys will be available at an additional cost.
Brunch-only tickets are priced at $41. Kids ages 6-12 are $15, and those 5 and younger are free. All tickets include tax and gratuity. To purchase tickets online, go to More event details can be found on this Eventbrite page in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
Tickets also can be requested by calling or stopping by The Links during open hours, which currently are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 4-10 p.m. Questions can be emailed to


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Rich Wicks
Lake Panorama Times

Sheri Anthofer was hired as the community relations coordinator at Lakeside Village in Panora. She shared information on her experience, as well as how she views her role at Lake Village.
“I have a very diverse background,” said Anthofer, “I’ve done hotel management, office administration, I was the director of The Gardens Assisted Living facility in Jefferson. I’ve done human resources up at Lake Okoboji for the park marina. I worked in the physical rehab department as their admin person for 15 years at Greene County Medical Center. I’ve also done event management. So, every job for me has really been a stepping stone, but the one thing that all of those jobs revolve around is people.”
Lakeside Village offers three basic types of care: independent living, assisted living and memory care.
In Anthofer’s free time, she enjoys swimming, cycling and travel. She shared information about her family as well.
“My husband farms on the side, and he’s an electrician for Baker Electric out of Des Moines,” said Anthofer. “I’ve been married for 29 years and have three grown children.
“I am really the sales and marketing coordinator,” said Anthofer. “My job is to fill those rooms, basically, making people aware of what we do out here.”


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Shane Goodman
Lake Panorama Times

The Panora St. Cecilia Knights of Columbus Council No. 11242 held a fish dinner on March 1 from 5-7 p.m. in the basement of St. Cecilia Catholic Church at 220 N. First St. in Panora. Attendees enjoyed hand-breaded fish, baked potato or tater tots, coleslaw, lemonade, tea, water and dessert. Pictured are Rick Langel, Paul Wendl and Joe Weisz.


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Cheryl Temple
Lake Panorama Times

Names and ages: Gonzo, 4, and Fozzie Bear, 6
Breed: Labradoodles
Owners: John and Shelly Booth

The Booths have a large lot at the lake where Gonzo and Fozzie Bear enjoy running up and down the lake shore. They both love riding on the bow of the boat while cruising through Party Cove with the feeling of the wind in their furry, fluffy faces.


Cove cats
Posted 03/13/2024
By Cheryl Temple
Lake Panorama Times

Names and ages: Sedona, 6, and Little Bit, 5
Breed: Torties
Owners: Deb and Rich Grunsted

Sedona is a long-haired kitty that loves to hunt critters at the lake and enjoys cuddling in her bed while resting in the sun. Little Bit is full of personality and sometimes thinks she’s a dog. All the Grunsteds do is whistle, and she suddenly appears.


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Shane Goodman
Lake Panorama Times

Farmers State Bank held “an open house for everyone,” serving Dad’s Belgian Waffles at the Yale Community Club on March 2. Pictured are Dave Deardorff, Scott Stanley, Jordan Carstens and Cole Carstens.


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Posted 03/13/2024
By Jolene Goodman
Lake Panorama Times

I like to cook, but it does take time. And as the weather starts warming up, I am drawn to the outdoors, working on yard projects, taking the dog for walks, hitting the golf course, practicing a new hobby of disc golf, hopefully jumping on my bike more and, soon, gliding across the water in a boat. As such, I spend less time in the kitchen. During April and May, I prepare meals for the upcoming summer months. Organizing my freezer full of marinated meats, chopped vegetables, baked muffins, mixed cookie dough and egg dishes makes summer meals a breeze. I make three to four batches each time and enjoy these meals once a month, having plenty if others drop by. This month’s recipe is a hit with my family and guests. Some even comment that kabobs are fancy. The fact is, when the prep work is done in advance, this summer meal is easy. Get planning now so you have more time to enjoy doing the things you love this summer.

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

Chicken and vegetable kabobs
12 servings

½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white wine (or honey if you want sweet)
2/3 cup soy sauce
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
2 yellow or red onions cut in 2 inch pieces
2 green peppers cut in 2 inch pieces
1 carton of mushrooms, use whole
Skewers (if using wooden, soak in water for 10 minutes prior to skewering ingredients)
Ziploc freezer bags

In medium bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients. Place chicken in one bag and vegetables in another bag. If cooking the same day, reserve ¼ marinade for basting. Otherwise, add half marinade to chicken and the other half to the veggies. Turn the bags several times to make sure all pieces are coated. If you are cooking this today, store bags in the fridge for 4-6 hours, turning the bags several times during that time. If you are not, label the bags with contents and date, then throw in the freezer for future use. When ready, preheat grill to medium heat. As the grill is heating up, assemble the kabobs. For a great, colorful presentation, thread skewers alternating chicken and vegetables. Lightly oil the grill. Place kabobs on and cook 6-8 minutes per side. Toward the end of cooking, use the ¼ cup of reserved marinade to baste the kabobs. Enjoy!


Posted 03/13/2024

Q: I have some photos I would like to submit for Lake Panorama Times. Do you take submissions? And, if so, how do I send them?
A: We welcome and encourage your photos, especially of summertime boating and skiing. Please include names of the people in the photos. You can email them to

Q: Can children without a driver’s license operate golf carts on LPA roads?
A: According to section 4.5 of the LPA Rules and Regulations, golf cart operators shall have a valid driver’s license in their immediate possession or a valid learner’s permit. Operators using a valid learner’s permit shall be under the direct supervision of an adult who holds a valid driver’s license.

Q: How do I subscribe to your Times Vedette free email newsletter?
A: It’s easy! Just visit and click on the SUBSCRIBE button toward the top of the page. Enter your email address, and you will receive a confirmation email asking you to confirm (be sure to check your spam folder). And that’s it. You will receive a free email newsletter with Guthrie County news and information over your noon hour each Tuesday and Friday.

Q: Can the LPA impound boats of members?
A: The short answer is yes, according to section 5.1(f) of the LPA Rules and Regulations. The longer answer is that the LPA maintains the right to impound vessels under any one of the following circumstances:
Any vessel found in violation of any of the rules, regulations, covenants or restrictions of the Lake Panorama Association, any documents recorded at the Guthrie County courthouse, or any State of Iowa Boating Laws.
Any vessel found to be docked overnight at one of LPA’s community properties or docks.
Any vessel, which in the reasonable judgement of LPA, is believed to be abandoned and/or unattended and which would pose an imminent safety concern to other LPA members.

Q: How close can a water skier be to the shoreline?
A: No person shall be towed on skis or any other device within 100 feet of the shoreline, nor shall any person be towed in such a fashion on water skis so as to land or depart from the shore or dock area, according to section 5.1(n) of the LPA Rules and Regulations.