The Healthiest State Initiative is accepting nominations to recognize Iowa workplaces, educational institutions, communities and individuals for advancing efforts to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of Iowans.

The award categories include: Workplace, Education, Community, and Individual Leadership.

Finalists will be announced in early 2019, with one winner in each category to be recognized at the annual Healthiest State Awards event Feb. 7, 2019, in West Des Moines.

Winners will receive a monetary gift to continue health and wellness efforts for their employees, students or citizens. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. Nov. 5.

To learn more or to submit a nomination, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com/awards.

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WEST BURLINGTON — Haley Cullen, Social Work, has been named an EXCEL Service Hero at Great River Health System.

The health system recognizes employees who demonstrate actions that extend beyond routine, expected employee behavior.

Criteria for the service hero award are based on the health system’s philosophy of care.

EXCEL stands for Enthusiastically friendly, X-ceeding expectations, Caring and compassionate, Energetic teamwork, and Leadership and professionalism.

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FORT MADISON — Fort Madison Community Hospital Foundation has announced the new members to its board of directors are Derek Breder, FMCH Orthopedics and Sports Medicine physician; community representatives Marcia Kruse and Joe Rashid, who is a business owner; and Chris Hutson, a hospital employee.

The four will start their terms Oct. 1, filling the positions of 10-year members Becky Fullenkamp, Kevin Rink and Eric Boeding, and six-year member Sharon Scholl-Nabulsi, whose terms expire Sept. 30.

The FMCH Foundation Board of Directors is made up of 13 community members who volunteer their time to guide and assist the foundation in raising endowment funds for future FMCH projects.

The remaining board members include Chuck Osmanski, president, and Rachel Benda, Marilyn Holmes, Lynn Hoyer, Bob Huffman Jr., JoAnn Lampe, Ann Menke and Jenny Steffensmeier.

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FORT MADISON — Fort Madison Community Hospital recognized Ashley Hasek as their July Employee of the Month.

Hasek is a nurse in the Surgical Services Department. She has been with FMCH for three and a half years spending the first two years as a nurse in the FMCH Clinics. Hasek was recognized with this nomination including:

“Her outgoing personality and commitment to co-workers was evident at the start. Always helps her co-workers without being asked. She receives multiple compliments form her patients for her compassion and soothing demeanor. Detail oriented, always looking for a better way to accomplish a task.”

Hasek enjoys spending time riding horses, roping and being active outside with her family when not at work.  

The Employee of the Month is an initiative developed by the Reward & Recognition team.  

Each month a FMCH employee is honored for going above and beyond for the good of the patient, their co-workers and the organization.

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Holly Shutt was recently hired by Pheasants Forever as the organization's newest farm bill biologist in Southeast Iowa.

Shutt lives in Wapello with her husband, Matt. Her position covers Des Moines, Lee, Louisa and Van Buren counties.

A native of Fruitland and graduate of Iowa State University, she spent the last seven years working as a private lands conservationist for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Northeast Kansas. While there, she worked with landowners and producers to enhance wildlife habitat around the counties she covered.

She is an avid fan of the outdoors, and enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outside.

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Andrew Mahoney will be joining the law firm of Crowley and Prill in October as an associate attorney.

Mahoney attended undergraduate and law school at Creighton University in Omaha, obtaining his juris doctor degree in 2014. He has since practiced in the Burlington area.

Crowley and Prill, 3012 Division St., is primarily a litigation firm handling personal injury and worker’s compensation cases in Iowa and Illinois.

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WEST BURLINGTON — Hy-Vee, Inc. on Friday presented a check for $12,080  to the Homestead 1839 community garden project as part of its Hy-Vee One Step program.

The grants, used for seeds, plants, garden tools and food preservation equipment, “are given to community gardens that provide fresh, healthy food for their communities, and teach those in need about health and nutrition through the process of planting, tending and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables,” said Brent Heinz, store director of Hy-Vee on Agency Street. “We’re so pleased to present this grant to the Homestead 1839 garden project to help with the great work they do.”

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Roquette, a global leader in innovative plant-based food ingredients, has signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Sethness Products Company, a worldwide leader in caramel color production for food and beverage markets, the company announced recently in a press release.

Roquette America Inc. operates a corn processing facility in Keokuk.

Sethness has four manufacturing centers in the USA, including a plant and research center in Clinton.

Final closing is set for the conclusion of this year's third quarter ending Sept. 30, subject to certain undisclosed conditions.

“This acquisition will help accelerate Roquette’s growth plan in the food and beverage market, and further drive value for our customers, “ said Jean-Marc Gilson, CEO of Roquette.  

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DES MOINES — A record number of Iowa farmers again signed up to install nutrient reduction practices on their farm through the statewide Iowa Water Quality Initiative cost share program, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said Sept. 5.

More than 2,800 farmers from all 99 Iowa counties signed up to try cover crops, no-till/strip-till or nitrification inhibitor on more than 300,000 acres. 

The state will provide more than $5 million in cost share funds to match the estimated $9.1 million investment by Iowa farmers.

While signup for this program has closed, the state is encouraging farmers to still reach out to their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as there may be other programs available to help them implement water quality practices on their farm.

More information about the initiative is available at www.CleanWaterIowa.org.

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Certified commercial pesticide applicators can now receive email notifications of upcoming Continuing Instructional Courses and other pesticide safety education opportunities through the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP).

“Applicators can select the categories for notification and can make update if it changes, or opt-out at any time,” said Kristine Schaefer, PSEP program manager at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Safety education programs are offered in the spring and fall.

For information about the service, call Teresa Friedel at the Des Moines County ISU Extension and Outreach office, at (319) 671-7165.