Sports Courts at Boulder Beach to Open Soon

Sports courts that have been in the planning stages for nearly four years will open by mid-June. The courts complex at Boulder Beach includes one regulation tennis court, with two regulation pickleball courts adjacent. These three courts are inside the same fenced enclosure.

A separate fence surrounds a basketball court that is slightly smaller than regulation size. It features two half courts with Goalsetter MVP basketball systems and white lines.

A PowerGame two-tiered surface covers the concrete base of the court. This modular flooring features a locking system, so no glues or anchors are needed. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design also provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue.

The idea for the new sports courts came from the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors. The board held its first meeting December 3, 2013. An application for nonprofit status was filed with the IRS in January 2014, and approved in July 2014. Fundraising began in October 2014 with two priority projects – a new playground at Sunset Beach and renovated sports courts at Lake Panorama National. 

Early efforts to raise money for renovating the LPN tennis courts attracted some donors, but the project didn’t generate enough interest to be viable. So full attention turned to the Sunset Beach playground. Once the playground was complete, the Friends board made Boulder Beach sports courts the non-profit’s next priority.

Fundraising for the sports courts was a cooperative effort. Friends had about $7,500 in “seed money” from 2014. The LPA board of directors voted in October 2016 to commit at least $50,000, once Friends raised $50,000. Another benchmark was a $25,000 pledge from Mark and Karen Einck for the basketball court, once the initial $100,000 level was raised.

Donations were strong through the end of 2016 and into early 2017. The Beach Ball held in May 2017 put fundraising over $50,000. At its meeting later that month, the LPA board of directors voted to match the $75,000 raised by Friends of Lake Panorama, and proceed with construction.

It was hoped the courts could be built in fall 2017, but weather issues and other delays pushed construction to this spring. LPA staff handled ground preparation and project management, in consultation with the Friends of Lake Panorama.

Construction took place throughout the month of May 2018. This included building concrete forms, pouring concrete over several days, setting fence poles, installing the PowerGame surface, basketball systems, tennis and pickleball nets, and painting lines. The last step is installing the fence on the posts already in place. The courts will open once the fence is installed.

There is a concrete space between the two fenced court areas. Two memorial benches and a black metal trash receptacle will be installed in this patio area in the next few weeks.

If more private funds are donated, additional amenities could be added to the sports courts complex. For that reason, Friends of Lake Panorama will continue to accept donations designated for use at the sports courts.

For donations by check, mail it to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Or donations can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. All donations are welcome. Donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website.

Also, a sign listing donors of $500 or more will be erected near the sports courts. Those who would like to be recognized in this way must make their donation by July 12, 2018, so the sign can be finalized and installed this summer.

Panorama West Improvements Underway

Installation of a new irrigation system at the Panorama West golf course began in late May 2018. The system will make it possible to water all fairways, tees and greens on the course, which wasn’t possible with the existing system.

The work is possible because of a gift from Jim and Joyce McLuen, who died in 2016. The McLuens stated the bequest was to be used at the Panorama West golf course.

Landscapes Unlimited, which has its home office in Lincoln, Nebraska, was the low bidder for the irrigation project. The first materials were delivered May 21, and work began a week later. Construction is to be complete by July 30.

The course remains open during construction. Work is being done on one hole at a time, which means each hole will be closed for a few days.

Another improvement made possible by the McLuen gift is updated landscaping around the clubhouse. In early June, Wood Brothers Landscaping removed undesirable plants and trimmed shrubs that would stay.

Old pea gravel was removed from the beds on the north and west sides of the clubhouse, and replaced by river rock. New shrubs and perennials have been added to the landscaped beds on all four sides of the clubhouse, with new pea gravel added on the south and east. A flowering crab tree also was placed on the east side.

A six-foot metal bench has been ordered, and will be placed in the landscape bed near the clubhouse entrance. A bronze plaque on the bench will express appreciation to the McLuens. A second plaque with additional detail also is planned.

New signs, yardage markers, ball washers and trash receptacles have arrived, yet another improvement made possible by the McLuen gift.

Each of the 15 tee boxes now will have a sign showing distances to the green from all tee markers. Nine of the posts will have trash receptacles attached, with five of these also holding ball washers. Having the trash receptacles and ball washers mounted on these single posts will make maintenance easier.

Six additional signs will be added to the course at various locations. These signs will help direct players to the par-four tee boxes that exist on five holes, plus make it clearer where carts should park near the par-four tee boxes on the fourth hole.

Eighteen 5”x7” granite yardage markers will be installed on the nine par-three tee boxes, showing distances to the green from both the red and blue tee markers. All signs, tee markers and other new items will be installed as staff time allows, and in coordination with the irrigation construction.

Once the irrigation construction is complete, attention will turn to a cart path improvement plan. This will include adding concrete paths to most par-four tee boxes, plus a section of concrete adjacent to par-three tee boxes where none currently exists. A decision on the extent of the cart path additions will be made once bills for the irrigation work have been paid.

In fall 2018, a three-year project to improve turf conditions of fairways and tees will begin. Fifteen acres of tees and fairways will be aerified and interseeded, plus starter fertilizer applied. This project will result in better disease and drought-tolerant turf conditions.

In 2019 and 2020, funds will be added to the existing Panorama West annual operating budget for additional seed, fertilizer and weed control as turf conditions improve.

Panorama West Upgrades Moving Forward

At its November 28 meeting, the Lake Panorama Association board of directors received a task force report on using the $473,000 James and Joyce McLuen estate gift to improve the Panorama West golf course. Jan Reinicke, president of the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors, presented the report.

Reinicke started by outlining the process taken to gather input. A meeting was held September 11 for those who wanted to offer suggestions in person. Representatives of each of the three Panorama West golf leagues made presentations, sharing ideas gathered from league meetings where members discussed options. More than 40 people submitted ideas by leaving cards or survey forms in a suggestion box.

On September 27, three Iowa State University turfgrass specialists toured the golf course, reviewed the list of suggestions made, and provided feedback. Later that day, a task force made up of three representatives each from the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors and the Lake Panorama National board of managers held its first meeting. A second meeting was held November 14.

Reinicke told the LPA board recommendations by the task force were prioritized based on membership input. She reviewed the task force report, which LPA board members had received in advance.

The top six task force recommendations included plans for new irrigation, additional concrete cart paths, new signage and tee box amenities, landscaping around the clubhouse, improving turf condition on tee boxes and fairways, and replacing sand bunkers with grass bunkers.

Reinicke closed her presentation by saying these planned improvements at Panorama West will result in a better golf course, and should lead to more memberships, more green fees and more outings to help increase revenues for the operation.

After discussion, the LPA board voted to defer a decision on bunkers, and approved all other recommendations. Friends of Lake Panorama now is moving forward to plan and finance the five priority items approved by the LPA board.

Irrigation was suggested by the membership more than any other project. It also is the most expensive project considered by the task force. The current system, which is used to water only tees and greens, is 45 years old. A new pump, irrigation lines, heads and control system are needed.

An irrigation system plan now is being developed and bids will be sought after the plan is approved. It’s anticipated the planning and bidding process will be completed by mid-February, and construction will take place in 2018.

Cart paths are the second priority, and the second most expensive project. Paths to par-4 tee boxes currently are rock or dirt. Existing concrete paths are adjacent to the par-3 tee boxes on holes #1 and #4. The task force report stated additional concrete paths would improve the appearance and condition of the course, plus reduce maintenance costs. Once the irrigation cost is established, the task force and LPN staff will decide where cart paths will be added.

New signage and tee box amenities were next on the task force’s priority list. Current wooden signs on the par-3 tee boxes list only back tee yardages, not forward tee yardages. There are no signs on the par-4 tee boxes. Signs are needed in six locations to help players find desired tee boxes. In-ground yardage markers are lacking in some locations. Existing trash cans and ball washers are old and mismatched.

The task force report stated new signs and tee box amenities would have an immediate impact on the beautification of Panorama West. Following the LPA board’s approval, new signs, yardage markers, ball washers and trash receptacles were ordered. Installation of these items will be in 2018, and based on the timing of other projects.

The clubhouse needs to be an attractive and welcoming venue, with low maintenance landscaping. Current plantings were installed 20 years ago. Landscaping around the complete perimeter of the clubhouse now is scheduled for spring.

Junipers and other undesirable plants will be removed, and some existing shrubs trimmed. Then up to 40 new shrubs and 80 perennials will be added to the landscaping beds. To recognize the generous estate gift from the McLuens, a plaque will be incorporated into the landscaped bed near the clubhouse entrance.

The fifth priority project is to use McLuen funds over the next three years to improve turf conditions of fairways and tees. Currently greens are aerified annually, and the greens turf is in excellent condition. The turf on tees and fairways is of poor quality, with a significant amount of clover and crabgrass.

Fairways and tees will be aerified, seeded and fertilized in fall 2018. Money will be set aside for additional seed, fertilizer and weed control on fairways and tees in 2019 and 2020. This will be on top of the existing Panorama West annual operating budget. This project will result in turf conditions on fairways and tees that are more drought-tolerant and disease-resistant.

The task force recommendation included two other items. There are 60 ash trees on the course. Ten of those are being treated annually in an effort to save them, but it’s expected at least 50 will die in the coming years. In addition, other trees on the course are overgrown or in poor condition. Areas where new trees are desired have been identified.

If funds from the McLuen gift remain after the five high priority projects are complete, some trees could be purchased. This is an area where individuals and golf leagues also could donate either cash or trees through Friends of Lake Panorama to help beautify the golf course.

Finally, the Panorama West Golf Course has never been rated to determine distance and slope. This information is needed before rounds played on the course can be used to establish and maintain an official handicap through the GHIN  (Golf Handicap and Information Network) program.

Once major course improvements are complete, a team from the Iowa Golf Association (IGA) can rate the course. There is no cost for this IGA service, since Panorama West operates under LPN management. This information would be incorporated when new scorecards are printed.

Since the LPA board asked the issue of sand traps be revisited, Friends of Lake Panorama has handed off this topic to the LPN. The LPN board of managers and staff reviews facility needs annually as part of its capital budget request to LPA.

Friends of Lake Panorama Having an Impact

The first meeting of the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors was held December 3, 2013. Over the past four years, the 501(c)3 nonprofit charity has made good progress towards its goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama.

“We want to thank everyone who has helped contribute to this progress by donating to Friends of Lake Panorama,” says Jan Reinicke, president of the Friends board. “It has taken private donations both large and small, plus ongoing cooperation and support from the Lake Panorama Association, to help us reach fundraising goals for sports courts at Boulder Beach and the Sunset Beach playground.”

Individual donations also have made it possible to do some smaller projects, such as a bench at Panorama West honoring Joe Scheiring, and new signage at both Panorama West and Lake Panorama National. A rain garden installed at Panorama West last spring involved some private donations, as well as cost-share funding from the Guthrie County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners.

Statistics show a high percentage of charitable contributions are made in the last few weeks of the year. “As we approach the end of 2017, we want to remind those who support our goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama to consider making a tax-deductible donation,” Reinicke says.

Friends raised $75,000 for the Boulder Beach sports courts project, which is being matched by the Lake Panorama Association. The LPA maintenance staff handled site preparation for the courts this fall. There will be a single tennis court, two pickleball courts and a single basketball court. The courts will be fenced and feature PowerGame sport surface tiles. Depending on spring weather conditions, construction is planned for April, with the courts open for play in May.

Donations for the sports courts project will be accepted until May 2018. Any final donations will be spent on additional expenses such as benches and signage. A sign listing donors of $500 or more will be installed near the project.

Besides the Boulder Beach sports courts fund, donations can be made to four other funds or a combination of funds. There is a general fund, plus funds for Shady Beach and Sunset Beach. There is a Golf Course Beautification fund, which allows donors to choose either Lake Panorama National or Panorama West. Money donated to this fund could be used for golf course landscaping, trees, sand trap improvements, pond riprap and benches.

Donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. All donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. For donations by check, clip the “coupon” from the full-page ad in the December Lake Panorama Times and mail it with a check to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Or a donation form is available on the Friends website. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora. Contact Kristen Crouthamel at kcrouthamel@ibasecurities.com.

Besides Reinicke, other volunteer members of the Friends board are Dave Furbush, Kim Lubeck, Bob McCleeary, Jody Muench, Emily Spradling and Tricia Steffen. Susan Thompson is executive director. Email questions to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Sports Courts Construction Underway

Ground preparation for the new sports courts at Boulder Beach is complete, and the concrete vendor is expected the week of October 9. Soon after, the courts will be surfaced with a combination of blue and green sport court PowerGame surface tiles, and fencing installed.

The courts will include one regulation tennis court with white lines. Two regulation pickleball courts will be adjacent, also with white lines. These three courts will be inside the same fenced enclosure.

A separate fence will surround a basketball court that is slightly smaller than regulation size. It will feature two half courts with Goalsetter MVP basketball systems and white lines. There will be some space between the two fenced court areas, with plans to install at least two benches between the courts.

The $150,000 project is being financed by $75,000 in private donations raised by Friends of Lake Panorama, plus a $75,000 match from the Lake Panorama Association.

LPA staff is managing the project in consultation with Friends of Lake Panorama. The location is south of the road leading into Boulder Beach, and east of the restrooms.

Friends of Lake Panorama will continue to solicit donations for this project until March 2018, which will be used to help pay for additional expenses such as benches and signage. While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be installed next spring near the courts.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity that is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. All contributions are tax deductible, and donors receive a receipt for tax preparation purposes. Email questions or comments to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Process Underway to Determine Use of Estate Gift

The process of determining how the McLuen estate gift to Friends of Lake Panorama will be used is underway. Friends, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, is dedicated to improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. The McLuen will states the $473,700 gift is for the “upkeep, beautification or expansion” of the Panorama West golf course.

A meeting was held at Panorama West September 11, where those who wanted to offer suggestions in person had a chance to speak. Representatives of each of the three Panorama West golf leagues made presentations, sharing ideas gathered from earlier meetings where league members discussed options.

Prior to the September 11 input meeting, more than 40 people submitted ideas by leaving cards or completed survey forms in a suggestion box in the Panorama West pro shop.

A task force made up of three representatives each from the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors and the Lake Panorama National board of managers will hold its first meeting in late September. Task force members will review all input, prioritize potential projects, and work with staff to gather project cost estimates and discuss feasibility.

The next step will be the development of a formal report to present to the Lake Panorama Association board of directors sometime this fall. Since the Panorama West golf course is owned by the LPA, formal action on the task force recommendations rests with the LPA board.

LPA members who have not yet submitted their suggestions are welcome to do so. This can be done by sending an email to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

The McLuens were some of the first homesteaders at Lake Panorama. Their home was located near Sunset Beach, and they enjoyed boating, fishing and golfing.

Estate Gifts From Former Lake Panorama Couple Distributed

A couple who wintered in Florida and spent their summers at Lake Panorama left behind a legacy that will have a lasting impact on six Panora groups, plus some students attending Drake University.

James and Joyce McLuen both died in 2016. The McLuens were some of the first homesteaders at Lake Panorama. Their home was located near Sunset Beach, and they enjoyed boating, fishing and golfing.

In April, it was announced seven groups would receive bequests from the McLuen estate. Those bequests were received August 23, as checks were presented at the Bump & Bump law office in Panora. William Bump was the McLuen estate executor.

On hand to help present the estate gifts were Dru McLuen of Indianola, Jim’s sister-in-law, and her two sons, Steve and Eric. They shook hands and chatted with check recipients, asking about plans for the gifts and saying they were pleased Jim and Joyce could be so generous.

Also assisting with the check presentations was Dave Grove, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Panora, who helped managed the McLuen estate.

The largest gift, 30 percent of the estate, went to the Drake University College of Pharmacy for student scholarships. John Smith, Drake University’s vice president of university advancement, traveled to Panora to receive a check for $710,550.

“I was overwhelmed by the demonstration of philanthropy from the McLuens,” Smith said. “To see so many beneficiaries of their generosity is a true testament of a life well lived.”

Twenty percent of the estate was directed to Friends of Lake Panorama, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity dedicated to improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. Members of the Friends board were presented a check for $473,700. The gift will be used as stated in the McLuen will, for the “upkeep, beautification or expansion” of the Panorama West golf course.

Both the Panora Library Foundation and the Panora United Methodist Church received 15 percent of the estate, and were presented checks in the amount of $355,275.

Ten percent of the estate, which was more than $236,000, went to Panora P.E.T.S.

The Panora Volunteer Fire Department and Panora EMS each received five percent of the McLuen estate, and accepted checks in the amount of $118,425.

Joyce McLuen attended Drake University in the early 1950s, then worked for the Department of Natural Resources in the state fish hatchery.

Jim McLuen was a graduate of Drake University College of Pharmacy. He served in the United States Army and in 1958 went to work for Burkey Drug in Indianola. He purchased the business in 1966 and renamed it McLuen Drug. He retired when he sold the business to his brother Ed.

Joyce passed away April 19, 2016, in Sarasota, Florida. Following her death, Jim returned to Indianola and passed away November 21, 2016. Inurnment of their cremains was May 16 at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter.

Sports Courts Construction to Begin this Fall

After a year of successful fundraising, the construction of new sports courts at Boulder Beach is expected to get underway this September.

In September 2016, the Friends of Lake Panorama board voted to raise funds for new sports courts, if the Lake Panorama Association board would commit matching funds in advance. At its October 2016 meeting, the LPA board voted to commit $50,000, contingent upon Friends raising $50,000.

The total cost of the planned project has always been $150,000, but the Friends board had set its initial goal at $100,000. The thinking was it could take two years to raise the full amount, but perhaps the tennis and pickleball courts could be built first, with the basketball court at a later time.

The fundraising campaign kicked off in November 2016. The Friends’ mailbox was filled with good news throughout December and the first two weeks of 2017. During that six-week period, $17,000 was received. That money added to the $8,000 donated in 2014 for an earlier sports courts proposal put the charity halfway to its first fundraising goal.

Donations continued to come in during the spring, and totaled $32,000 by the time the Friends of Lake Panorama Beach Ball was held May 6. The Beach Ball raised nearly $20,000, and pushed fundraising past its initial $50,000 goal.

That triggered a donation that was pledged last December. A $1,000 check was accompanied by a note from donors who at the time asked to remain anonymous. It read: “Since basketball has been a big part of our family over the years, if you hit your $100,000 goal, we’ll donate the $25,000 for the basketball court. Good luck!”

That donation now has been received, and the donors have agreed to be identified. They are Mark and Karen Einck of Perry, who also own a home on Lake Panorama’s main basin.

With $75,000 now in hand, the final funding piece occurred when the LPA board voted in May to match what Friends had raised, and proceed this year with the full $150,000 project.

At its June meeting, the LPA board voted to accept a recommendation from the Friends board to modify the original project. Instead of two tennis courts marked with pickleball lines, there will be a single tennis court with two adjacent pickleball courts. The result is three courts on a concrete slab that is smaller than the original layout with just two courts. This cost savings makes it possible to install the PowerGame sports surface on all courts, including the separate basketball court, plus fence all the courts.

For now, pickleball lines won’t be painted on the tennis court, so it can be used exclusively for tennis. If demand is strong in the future for an additional pickleball area, and the tennis court is open much of the time, lines can be added.  

LPA staff is managing the project in consultation with Friends of Lake Panorama. The location will be just south of the road leading into Boulder Beach, and east of the restrooms. A concrete vendor has been chosen, and will notify the LPA as soon as its know when workers will be onsite. Then some site preparation work will be done by LPA staff.

Friends of Lake Panorama continues to solicit donations to help pay for additional expenses such as benches and signage. While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be installed near the courts.

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity that is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. All contributions are tax deductible.

Sports Courts Project Gets Green Light

The success of a May 6 Friends of Lake Panorama fundraiser set the wheels in motion to proceed with new sports courts at Boulder Beach. The Friends board had set a $20,000 goal for the Beach Ball, and came within $600 of making that happen. Direct donations in advance of the event stood at $32,150, so Beach Ball proceeds pushed fundraising past its initial $50,000 goal. An anonymous donor had earlier pledged another $25,000 for a basketball court.

The LPA had earlier committed $50,000 to the project, if Friends raised $50,000. At the LPA board meeting May 23, members voted to now match the $75,000 Friends has raised, and proceed this summer with the full $150,000 project.

There will be two separate structures. One will feature two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickleball lines painted. The basketball court will be slightly smaller than regulation size, and marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed. Both courts will be fenced.

LPA staff will manage the project. It is hoped construction can get underway this summer, with completion by fall.

Friends of Lake Panorama continues to solicit donations for the sports courts to help pay for additional expenses such as benches and signage. While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the courts.

Rain Garden Installed at Panorama West

A rain garden is a perennial flower garden strategically located to capture runoff from rain that falls on parking lots, roofs, driveways and yards. A rain garden was installed along the east side of the Panorama West clubhouse parking lot June 10.

The idea of installing a demonstration rain garden was discussed at a Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors meeting a year ago. Derek Namanny, an urban conservationist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, began working with the group last fall. He visited Lake Panorama to look for possible rain garden locations, and found a good spot at Panorama West.

“A rain garden is a shallow bowl made in the landscape that is level from side to side and end to end,” Namanny said. “Rain gardens help reduce surface runoff and protect water quality. Runoff that travels to a rain garden is temporarily ponded, but it doesn’t stay ponded for long. Plants in the garden use the water, pollutants are filtered out, and the water percolates down through the soil, rather than running into streets and storm drains.”

An existing water drain on the east side of the Panorama West parking lot receives rainfall runoff. Namanny designed a garden that covers 500 square feet surrounding this drain.

The Lake Panorama Association provided site preparation assistance. Excavation was done before layers of rock, sand and soil were covered with a hardwood mulch. An erosion blanket was placed over the mulch to keep it from washing away. The blanket will biodegrade over the next three years, as the rain garden becomes established. 

Holes were cut in the erosion blanket and the names of the 170 native plants, featuring a dozen different varieties, were marked on flags placed near the holes. The plants were placed around the garden area, and 15 volunteers, including several members of the Panora Garden Club, did the planting and watering.

Namanny was on hand to assist with the planting, and answer questions. "I see this as a pilot project to show how rain gardens work, and hopefully spur interest among others," he said. "Rain gardens can help solve rainfall runoff issues in lots of locations, since the water slows and absorbs into the ground, rather than just running off into the lake and nearby streams and rivers."

The cost of this rain garden project was estimated at $2,500. Last December, the Guthrie County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners approved an application from Friends for cost-share funding for the rain garden.

Friends of Lake Panorama collected some private funds for this project, but additional donations are welcome to help pay the cost of an informational sign, which has been ordered and will be installed sometime in July. Donations, with a note the funds are to be used for the rain garden, can be mailed to Friends at Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216.

Limited Tickets Available for The Beach Ball May 6

Ticket sales and table sponsorships have been strong for the 2nd annual Friends of Lake Panorama Beach Ball, which will be held Saturday, May 6. About 40 tickets remain for this fun evening at Lake Panorama National, with all proceeds supporting new sports courts at Boulder Beach.

So far, 29 tables have attracted sponsors, but not all are filled. So there are limited opportunities for groups of eight, six or four to be seated together at a sponsored table. There also is space for one additional sponsored table.

Tickets are $40 each. Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so the $100 table sponsorships and $20 per ticket are tax-deductible contributions. The other half of each ticket purchase goes to the LPN. The value of items donated for the auctions and raffle also could be tax deductible.

In keeping with The Beach Ball concept, casual attire is encouraged. All tables will be decorated with a different theme. The fundraiser will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour and time to view decorated tables, purchase raffle tickets, and place bids on silent auction items. There will be a buffet dinner at 6 p.m., featuring roast pork loin with mushroom gravy, cheesy au gratin potatoes, sautéed green beans, dinner salad and bread.

Desserts donated by volunteers will be available on a silent auction table. Bidding for the desserts will end as the buffet begins, so winning bidders can pick up their desserts to share at their table. 

Dinner will be followed by a live auction. Some live auction items are a four-ticket package to the Iowa Speedway June 24 NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250; basketball signed by Steve Prohm, Iowa State men’s basketball coach; Iowa and Iowa State bags board games; a custom-made bags game of choice; handmade wooden bench; Iowa and Iowa State cast iron skillets; Lake Panorama National stay-and-play package; and an LPN pool party.

A wide variety of gift baskets and gift certificates will be on the silent auction and raffle tables. Some other items up for grabs will be a pickleball set and book on pickleball fundamentals; a monthly box of fresh garden produce through the summer; framed prints; two wren houses; potted plants; a two-hour pontoon boat ride; youth skiing lessons; two coin sets; handmade quilt; golf lessons; vintage pottery; and much more.

Another option for donors will be a “Build-A-Court” board where various items needed for the sports courts will be posted, along with the price. Donors will pluck a card from the board and pay for the items that evening. These will include such things as nets, anchor posts, basketball hoops, benches, fencing, or perhaps half of a bench or net.

Those who donate via the “Build-A-Court” opportunity won’t actually be buying the item they choose. This money will simply be additional financial support for the sports courts, and is a good way to show the various components needed to complete this project. It also will give those who aren’t winning bidders the opportunity to help. All donors of $500 or more will be recognized on a permanent sign near the sports courts.

A new system for tracking sales and donations will be implemented at this year’s Beach Ball. Ticket holders will receive a number specific to them at registration, and can use that number throughout the evening to purchase raffle tickets, place auction bids, buy Beach Ball bottomless beer cups, and purchase items from the “Build-A-Court” board. This will allow patrons to pay for everything with one transaction at the end of the evening. Only cash and checks can be accepted, no credit cards.

Donations still are needed for the dessert table, raffle and auctions. Anyone interested in sponsoring the final table, purchasing tickets, or donating an item can email staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call Susan Thompson at 641-755-4382 or 515-240-6536.

RAIN GARDEN INSTALLATION JUNE 10

While new sports courts at Boulder Beach is the current priority project for Friends of Lake Panorama, the charity also is working on a smaller project related to water quality.

On Saturday, June 10, a rain garden will be installed along the east side of the Panorama West clubhouse parking lot. Historically, the prairies and savannas of Iowa held and infiltrated most rainfall, and surface runoff was rare. Rainfall was absorbed and moved down through the soil to become groundwater flow.

Installing a rain garden helps reduce surface runoff and protect water quality. These landscaped depressions capture rainwater runoff, where it is temporarily ponded. Plants in the garden use the water, pollutants are filtered out, and the water percolates down through the soil.

Derek Namanny, an urban conservationist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, has been working with Friends of Lake Panorama since last fall. He visited Lake Panorama to look for possible rain garden locations, and found the perfect spot at Panorama West.

There is an existing water drain that receives rainfall runoff from the Panorama West parking lot. Namanny designed a garden that will cover 500 square feet surrounding this drain. Some excavation will be done before layers of rock, sand and soil are covered with a hardwood mulch and erosion blanket. Volunteers then will install about 170 native plants, featuring eight to 10 varieties.

Namanny will be at the site June 10 beginning at 9 a.m. to assist with the planting, and provide additional information on how a rain garden functions and suitable locations.

The cost of this rain garden project is estimated at $2,500. In December, the Guthrie County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners approved an application from Friends for cost-share funding for the rain garden. The Lake Panorama Association will provide excavation and other site preparation assistance.

Friends already has some funds available for this project, but additional donations are being sought, with a goal of raising $500. The Panorama West women’s golf league has donated $50. Donations, with a note the funds are to be used for the rain garden, can be mailed to Friends of Lake Panorama, Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216.

Volunteers are needed to help with the garden installation June 10. To volunteer, or for more information, send an email to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call 515-240-6536.

TABLE SPONSORS, TICKET HOLDERS AND DONATED ITEMS SOUGHT FOR BEACH BALL

The 2nd annual Beach Ball, sponsored by Friends of Lake Panorama, will be Saturday, May 6, at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center. All proceeds will go to the charity’s current priority project — new sports courts at Boulder Beach.

The first Beach Ball in May 2016 raised nearly $24,000, which helped Friends reach its $80,000 goal for a new playground at Sunset Beach.

Now Friends of Lake Panorama has a goal of raising at least $50,000 for the sports courts. So far, $27,000 has been donated for this project. Once Friends raises $50,000, the LPA has committed $50,000. An anonymous donor has pledged another $25,000 for a dedicated basketball court. 

Another successful Beach Ball should make installation of new sports courts possible this year.

Organizers are in the process of contacting 2016 table sponsors, ticket holders and item donors to see if they are interested in helping again in 2017. So far, about 20 of the 30 tables available have been spoken for, but additional table sponsors are needed. 

Table sponsorships cost $100. Sponsors will be recognized in a printed program and with a table sign. Each table of eight will be individually decorated with a different theme. Sponsors can do their own decorating, or a volunteer decorator will be assigned.

Table sponsors are encouraged to recruit up to eight guests at $40 each for their table. Seats not filled by sponsors will be available for purchase by others interested in attending the event.

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so the $100 table sponsorships and $20 per ticket are tax-deductible contributions. The other half of each ticket purchase goes to the LPN. The value of items donated for the auctions and raffle also could be tax deductible.

The Beach Ball will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour that features special drink prices, plus time to view the decorated tables, purchase raffle tickets, and place bids on silent auction items. Patrons also will have the chance to place silent bids on 30 tempting desserts, each at least eight servings, to share with their tablemates. There will be a buffet dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a live auction.

Another option for donors will be a board where various items needed for the sports courts will be posted, along with the price. Donors will pluck a card from the board and pay for the items that evening. These will include such things as nets, anchor posts, basketball hoops, benches, and the fence gate, or perhaps half of a bench or net.   

Donated items are needed for the raffle, auctions and dessert table. Anyone interested in sponsoring a table, purchasing tickets or donating an item for The Beach Ball can email staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call Susan Thompson at 515-240-6536.

The main sports court structure will be a concrete slab featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickle ball lines. These courts will be surrounded by a 10’ tall chain link, black vinyl fence. The basketball court will be slightly smaller than regulation size. The concrete will be marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed.

While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the courts.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. A donation form is available on the Friends website, which can be completed and sent with the check. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. All contributions are tax deductible.

SECOND BEACH BALL TO RAISE MONEY FOR SPORTS COURTS

Plans are underway for the 2nd annual Beach Ball, sponsored by Friends of Lake Panorama. The event will be Saturday, May 6, at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center. All proceeds will go to the charity’s current priority project — new sports courts at Boulder Beach.

The first Beach Ball in May 2016 raised nearly $24,000, which helped Friends reach its $80,000 goal for a new playground at Sunset Beach. The Lake Panorama Association provided an additional $50,000, and the playground was completed last July.

Now Friends of Lake Panorama has a goal of raising at least $50,000 for the sports courts. So far, $25,000 has been donated to the project. Once Friends raises $50,000, the LPA has committed another $50,000. An anonymous donor has pledged $25,000 for a dedicated basketball court, once the $100,000 level is reached.

The goal of the Friends board is to have the new sports courts installed in 2017, which another successful Beach Ball should make possible.

As was done in 2016, sponsors will be sought for 30 tables of eight. Table sponsorships cost $100. Sponsors will be recognized in a printed program and with a table sign. Each table of eight will be individually decorated with a different theme. Sponsors can do their own decorating, or a volunteer decorator will be assigned.

Table sponsors are encouraged to recruit up to eight guests at $40 each for their table. Seats not filled by sponsors will be available for purchase by others interested in attending the event.

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so the $100 table sponsorships and $20 per ticket will be tax-deductible contributions. The other half of each ticket purchase will go to the LPN. The value of items donated for the auctions and raffle also could be tax deductible.

The Beach Ball will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour that features special drink prices, plus time to view the decorated tables, purchase raffle tickets, and place bids on silent action items. A committee is discussing other fun, fundraising ideas to incorporate into the event. There will be a buffet dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a live auction.

Donated items are being sought for the raffle and auctions. Those interested in sponsoring a table, purchasing tickets or donating an item for The Beach Ball can email staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call Susan Thompson at 515-240-6536.

The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. All contributions are tax deductible, and all donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt.

The main sports court structure will be a concrete slab featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickle ball lines. A PowerGame two-tiered surface will be placed over the concrete base.

This modular flooring features a locking system. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue.

These courts will be surrounded by a 10’ tall chain link, black vinyl fence. There will be one gate, two nets and support poles. This project is estimated at $125,000.

The basketball court will be slightly smaller than regulation size at 50’ 5” x 78’ 8”. The concrete will be marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed. The $25,000 estimated price tag does not include fencing or the PowerGame surface.

While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the courts.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. A donation form is available on the Friends website, which can be completed and sent with the check. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

While the Friends board has made fundraising for the sports courts its current priority, donations can be made to five other funds or a combination of funds. There is a general fund, plus funds for Boulder Beach, Shady Beach and Sunset Beach. There also is a Golf Course Beautification fund, which allows donors to choose either Lake Panorama National or Panorama West.

FRIENDS BOARD HOLDS 2017 ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING

Friends of Lake Panorama is governed by a volunteer seven-member board of directors. The board held its 2017 organizational meeting December 12, 2016. The meeting was the last one for Kirk Fischer, who was completing a three-year term. He was the Friends board president the last two years.

Kim Lubeck was appointed to replace Fischer, and will serve a three-year term on the beginning January 1, 2017. Lubeck has a bachelor’s degree in business from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake. He recently retired after 42 years as the owner/operator of Panora Oil Company.

Jan Reinicke and Bob McCleeary were reappointed to the board for their second three-year terms. Other Friends board members are Dave Furbush, Jody Muench, Emily Spradling and Tricia Steffen. Susan Thompson is the non-profit’s executive director.

In May, the charity completed a successful $130,000 fundraising campaign that led to the construction of a new playground at Sunset Beach. At its December meeting, the board discussed final work to be completed at the playground this spring, including installation of a donor recognition sign and three benches.

Fundraising plans for the sports courts project were discussed, and it was agreed a 2nd annual Beach Ball will be held Saturday, May 6, with all proceeds going to the sports courts. Board members and a committee of other volunteers will finalize details for the event, with more information to be released in March.

Two smaller projects also were discussed. One is the construction of a rain garden along the east side of the Panorama West clubhouse parking lot. A rain garden is a landscaped depression that captures rainwater runoff. This runoff is temporarily ponded before infiltrating and percolating down through the natural soils.

The Guthrie County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners has approved an application from Friends for cost-share assistance for the rain garden. It will be installed in early June.

The other project is to work with the Panorama Community Schools to improve the cross-country trail near Panorama West. A tour of the trail will be held in the spring with representatives of Panorama Schools, Friends of Lake Panorama and the LPA to discuss options, including improved signage and a course map.

It was reported Friends of Lake Panorama now has a Facebook page. Those interested in keeping up-to-date about Friends fundraising and activities are asked to “like” and “share” the Friends Facebook page.

Officer elections were held at the end of the organizational meeting. Reinicke will serve as president during 2017. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. She retired in 2008 after 28 years with the Iowa State Education Association.

Furbush will serve as vice president during 2017. Furbush has a bachelor’s degree from Principia College, and an MBA from Washington University. In 2000, he founded Midwest Project Partners, Inc., a financial services industry project management consulting firm.

Spradling will serve as secretary-treasurer. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Iowa State University. She retired in 2013 after 25 years as a commercial interiors consultant. Prior to that, she was a middle school language arts teacher.

McCleeary earned both bachelor’s and MD degrees from the University of Iowa. He was a practicing radiologist with Iowa Radiology his entire career, before retiring in 2016.

Muench worked in the McFarland Clinic business office for 27 years before retiring. Prior to that, she was a secretary at Rueter’s Equipment for 11 years.

Steffen earned a bachelor’s degree and Pharm.D degree from the University of Iowa. Since 1999, she has been office manager for the Perry Family Dentistry.

Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University. She retired in 2010 after 15 years in communications for the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Thompson can be reached at 515-240-6536, or staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

SPORTS COURTS FUNDRAISING HALFWAY TO FIRST GOAL

The Friends of Lake Panorama’s mailbox was filled with good news throughout December and the first two weeks of 2017. During that six-week period, $17,000 was received to help build new sports courts at Boulder Beach.

That $17,000, added to $8,000 donated in 2014 for an earlier sports courts proposal, means the nonprofit charity is halfway to its first fundraising goal of $50,000. Once Friends raises $50,000, the LPA has committed another $50,000.

Another piece of good news came in the form of a note from an anonymous donor. Once the $100,000 level is reached, this anonymous donor will contribute $25,000 for a dedicated basketball court.

The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. It received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in July 2014. All contributions are tax deductible, and all donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt.

The main structure will be a concrete slab featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickle ball lines. A PowerGame two-tiered surface will be placed over the concrete base.

This modular flooring features a locking system, so no glues or anchors are needed. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue.

These courts will be surrounded by a 10’ tall chain link, black vinyl fence. There will be one gate, two nets and support poles. This project is estimated at $125,000.

The basketball court will be a bit smaller than regulation size at 50’ 5” x 78’ 8”. The concrete will be marked for two half courts, with two basketball hoop systems installed. The $25,000 estimated price tag does not include fencing or the PowerGame surface.

In 2014, Friends proposed renovating the courts at Lake Panorama National, and adding a separate basketball court. While some donors contributed to that project, it didn’t generate enough interest to be viable. Now, the $8,000 from those early donors will be used for this new sports courts project.

The goal of the Friends board is to have the new sports courts installed in 2017. While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the courts.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. Checks can be mail to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. A donation form is available on the Friends website, which can be completed and sent with the check. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

While the Friends board has made fundraising for the sports courts its current priority, donations can be made to five other funds or a combination of funds.

There is a general fund, plus funds for Boulder Beach, Shady Beach and Sunset Beach. There also is a Golf Course Beautification fund, which allows donors to choose either Lake Panorama National or Panorama West. Money donated to this fund could be used for golf course landscaping, benches and pond riprap.

Questions regarding the Friends of Lake Panorama can be sent to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

DONATIONS COMING IN FOR NEW SPORTS COURTS

Building new sports courts at Boulder Beach is the latest priority fundraising effort for Friends of Lake Panorama, and donations are starting to come in. The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama.

The sports courts project got an early boost when the LPA board voted at its October meeting to commit at least $50,000 to new sports courts, once Friends raises $50,000. 

The main focus is a new concrete base surrounded by black vinyl fencing, featuring two regulation-sized tennis courts with both tennis and pickle ball lines painted on the court surface.

PowerGame two-tiered surface will be placed over the concrete base. The modular flooring features a locking system, so no glues or anchors are needed. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue. This project is estimated at $125,000. 

It is hoped an additional $25,000 can be raised to also pour a separate concrete pad for a dedicated basketball court. If there isn’t enough financial support for a separate court, two basketball hoop systems would be added to the tennis courts. 

In 2014, Friends proposed renovating the LPN courts, and adding a separate basketball court. While some donors contributed to that project, it didn’t generate enough interest to be viable. The $7,500 from those early donors provides seed money for this new sports courts project.

The goal of the Friends board is to raise enough money to have the sports courts installed at least by 2018. A full-page ad in the December Lake Panorama Times provides details on the project and how to donate. Personal contacts also are being made. 

While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. In addition, a sign listing these larger donors will be erected near the sports courts.

Statistics show a high percentage of charitable contributions are made in the last few weeks of the year. Friends of Lake Panorama is a relatively new option for charitable giving, having just received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in July 2014. All contributions are tax deductible, and all donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt.

Current Friends board members are Kirk Fischer, Dave Furbush, Bob McCleeary, Jody Muench, Jan Reinicke, Emily Spradling and Tricia Steffen. Susan Thompson provides administrative assistance.

In May, the charity completed a successful $130,000 fundraising campaign that led to the construction of a new playground at Sunset Beach. The LPA provided $50,000 as a match for the playground.

Donations for the Sunset Beach playground will be accepted through the end of 2016. Any final donations will be spent on amenities related to the playground. Next spring, a donor recognition sign and two benches will be added.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. For donations by check, clip the “coupon” from the full-page ad in the December Lake Panorama Times and mail it with a check to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. A donation form also is available on the Friends website. Donations also can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

While Friends has made fundraising for the sports courts its current priority, donations can be made to five other funds or a combination of funds. Money donated to any of these funds will be used at the discretion of the Friends board.

There is a general fund, plus funds for Boulder Beach, Shady Beach and Sunset Beach. There also is a Golf Course Beautification fund, which allows donors to choose either Lake Panorama National or Panorama West. Money donated to this fund could be used for golf course landscaping, benches and pond riprap.

Questions regarding the Friends of Lake Panorama can be sent to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Fundraising Begins for New Sports Court Project

The Friends of Lake Panorama board has decided on its next major fundraising project. At its September meeting, the board voted to raise funds for a new sports court, if the Lake Panorama Association board would commit matching funds in advance.

At its October meeting, the LPA board voted to kickoff the sports court fundraising effort with a contribution of $50,000. LPA is providing this initial commitment as a matching contribution, contingent upon Friends raising $50,000.

The Friends of Lake Panorama is a public charity organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes, and is completely separate from the Lake Panorama Association and Lake Panorama National. All contributions to the nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity are tax deductible.

Current Friends of Lake Panorama board members are Dave Furbush, Kirk Fischer, Bob McCleeary, Jody Muench, Jan Reinicke, Emily Spradling and Tricia Steffen. Susan Thompson provides administrative assistance to the group.

In May, the charity completed a successful $80,000 fundraising campaign that led to the construction of a new playground at Sunset Beach. For that project, the LPA provided $50,000 as a match to the final $50,000 raised by Friends. The playground opened in mid-July to rave reviews from both kids and adults.

Next spring, a donor recognition sign will be erected near the playground, and at least two benches added nearby. Donations for the Sunset Beach playground will be accepted through the end of 2016. Any additional donations will be spent on amenities related to the playground.

The scope of the sports court project is yet to be determined, and will depend on how much money is raised. The main focus is a new concrete base that would feature two tennis courts, with both tennis and pickle ball lines painted on the court surface. The court would be fenced, and may also include two basketball hoops. Or if enough money is raised, a separate concrete pad could be poured for a dedicated basketball court.

Under consideration is adding a PowerGame two-tiered surface over the concrete base. The modular flooring features a locking system, so no glues or anchors are needed. The five-eighths inch high, self-draining surface stays clean by allowing water, dirt and debris to drain through. The cushioned design also provides shock absorption to help reduce joint stress and fatigue.

The location of the project hasn’t been decided, although chances are good it will be constructed at Boulder Beach. The other option is to remove the existing courts at Lake Panorama National, and place the new courts in that same location. LPA staff is gathering information on sports court options, and the topic will be discussed again at the LPA’s November board meeting.

In 2014, Friends proposed renovating the LPN courts, and adding a separate basketball court. While some donors contributed to the proposed renovation project, it didn’t generate enough interest to be viable. Those donors were contacted, and some moved their contributions to the playground project.

Others left their donations in a general sports court fund, in hopes new courts eventually would be developed. The $6,000 from those early donors provides seed money, as efforts get underway to raise at least another $44,000.

For donations by check, mail it to PO Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216. Or donations can be accepted electronically on the website at www.friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Donations of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etc.) are welcome, and will be sold once transferred, with the proceeds deposited into the Friends bank account. A securities account has been established with GCSB Investment Center in Panora.

Donations can be made in someone’s memory or in honor of someone. All donors of $500 or more are recognized on the Friends website. A sign recognizing donors of $500 or more also will be erected near the sports courts.

While Friends has made fundraising for the sports courts its current priority, donations can be made to five other funds or a combination of funds. Money donated to any of these funds will be used at the discretion of the Friends board.

There is a general fund, plus funds for Boulder Beach, Shady Beach and Sunset Beach. There also is a Golf Course Beautification fund, which allows donors to direct their contributions to either Lake Panorama National or Panorama West. Money donated to this fund could be used for golf course landscaping such as flowerbeds, shrubbery, trees, benches, and pond riprap.

Questions regarding the Friends of Lake Panorama can be sent to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Sunset Beach Playground Opens for Business

In just four days, a semi-load of playground parts and pieces was assembled into a destination playground at Sunset Beach. The equipment was delivered July 8, installation began July 11 and the playground opened for business July 14.

Donations totaling $80,000 given to the Friends of Lake Panorama nonprofit charity made up the base support for this new playground. The Lake Panorama Association provided an additional $50,000. The LPA also provided technical and construction assistance.

The playground is designed to accommodate up to 165 children at a time. The main play structure includes multiple slides, bridges and places to climb. Several smaller play structures surround the main area, including a modern take on old-fashioned merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters.

The playground colors are blue, green and tan. The Friends board of directors chose these colors to represent the blue water and sky, green grass and trees, and tan sand found at Sunset Beach and throughout the Lake Panorama community.

Those three colors led St. Thomas More counselors to develop a twist on the musical chairs game, which campers can play during daily visits to Sunset Beach. As campers move throughout the playground structure, a counselor will call out a color. Players are eliminated based on the color they are standing on at the time.

The playground has proven popular not just with St. Thomas More campers, but also neighborhood children and visitors. Postings on social media have described adults enjoying the playground along with their children and grandchildren.

The $130,000 raised by Friends of Lake Panorama covered the cost of the playground equipment and installation, plus the play surface that is a base of pea gravel topped with wood fibers. Six rubber mats are buried in the wood fibers at the base of each slide to help protect these areas from heavy traffic.

Donations also covered the cost to refurbish a large wooden bench that was moved to make way for the playground. Kurt Johnson volunteered to replace the deteriorated wooden slats with new cedar, which he stained and sealed. He also repainted the metal braces, and installed the bench in a new location just north of the playground in the shade of two trees.

Remaining funds have been set aside to pay for a donor recognition sign, which will be installed next spring near the playground. Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All contributions are tax deductible, and donors receive a letter of thanks as their receipt.

While donations of all sizes are welcome, only donors of $500 or more will be recognized on the sign, and the Friends website. Donations for the Sunset Beach playground will continue to be accepted through the end of 2016. Any additional funds designated for the playground during this time will be used for benches or other upgrades.

The Friends nonprofit is separate from the Lake Panorama Association, and has a goal of improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. The Friends board of directors will meet in September to discuss potential projects and fundraising efforts. Project suggestions or general questions can be emailed to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

Limited Tickets Still Available for The Beach Ball May 6

Ticket sales and table sponsorships have been strong for the 1st annual Friends of Lake Panorama “Fun-raiser” planned for Friday, May 6. The Beach Ball will be held at the Lake Panorama National Conference Center, with proceeds used to build a new playground at Sunset Beach.

The Friends of Lake Panorama board has set a goal of raising $20,000 with this event, which will make it possible for the playground to be built this summer. Only checks and cash can be accepted that evening for the many fundraising activities.

The Beach Ball will include dinner, live music, a wine pull, raffle, silent and live auctions, and other activities. In keeping with The Beach Ball theme, casual attire is encouraged. All tables will be decorated with a different theme, and those in attendance will vote for their favorites by putting cash into corresponding jars.

Sponsors have been secured for all 30 tables for this event. About 40 individual tickets still are available. Tickets are $40 each, with half of each ticket going to Friends.

Many items have been donated for the auctions and raffle, but more are needed. Some items so far include four tickets to the June 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol 250, located in the Newton Club, plus fan walk passes and parking; basketball signed by Bill Fennelly, Iowa State University women’s basketball coach; and a tree of choice, planted, from the Wood Duck Tree Farm.

Also, two framed limited edition Terry Redlin prints; two framed limited edition Iowa Ducks Unlimited prints; Iowa and Iowa State University bags games; Iowa Hawkeye cast iron skillet; Coca Cola collector’s items; telescope; several planters filled with summer flowers; gift baskets; two collector’s coin sets; wooden golf ball rack; gum ball machine and more.

Anyone interested in purchasing tickets or donating an item for the auctions or raffle can email staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call Susan Thompson at 641-755-4382 or 515-240-6536.

Friends of Lake Panorama is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, so the $100 table sponsorships and $20 per ticket are tax-deductible contributions. The value of items donated for the auctions and raffle also could be tax deductible.

The Beach Ball will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour that features special drink prices and time to view and vote on the decorated tables. The buffet dinner will be served beginning at 6 p.m.

Donated bottles of wine are being solicited for the wine pull, and will be wrapped so labels aren’t visible. Patrons will buy a numbered cork for $20, giving them the chance to pull a mystery bottle of wine to take home. Those with wine to donate can contact Julie Wykoff at jaallen9@aol.com or 515-778-0053.

The evening will end with live music presented by the RBJ Trio, which specializes in music from the 1950s to the ‘70s. With Rick McReynolds on vocals and guitar, Beth McReynolds on vocals, and Jack O'Leary on vocals and keyboard, the group plays along with digitally recorded drums and bass to present a full band sound.

Friends of Lake Panorama made a $30,000 down payment on the playground equipment in January. The main playground structure includes multiple slides, bridges and climbing opportunities. Several smaller structures surround the main area, including hop rocks, bongo stumps, a merry-go-round and teeter-totter.