Residents promote Guttenberg’s assets in new video

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Videographer Mark Whitmore of Twisted Pear Posts and Nathan Ripperger, freelance videographer and graphic designer, spent the day in Guttenberg gathering footage to create a promotional video clip. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Capturing all of Guttenberg's assets, organizing a schedule of events, rounding up willing participants, deciding on key areas of interest, and reducing the footage into one five-minute video is a daunting task.

On Wednesday, June 17, videographers Mark Whitmore of Twisted Pear Posts and Nathan Ripperger, freelance videographer and graphic designer, spent the day in Guttenberg gathering footage to create a promotional video. Mandy Ludovissy, Chamber of Commerce director, told The Press, "We wanted to create a nicely packaged, easy-to-watch video that embodied all that Guttenberg is. The longer clip can be used by area business owners and major employers for employee recruitment. The shorter clip will be used to promote tourism." 

The creative team of organizers included Amy Speed, Director of Marketing & Development at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics; Molly Moser, Communications Coordinator at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque; Dan Kuempel of Dan Kuempel Advertising and Mandy Ludovissy.  

The following individuals agreed to share their sentiments for the promotional piece.

Dr. Andy Smith

Dr. Andrew Smith grew up in the Quad Cities. He commented, "My first impression of Guttenberg was the beautiful scenery and the Mississippi River. As a physician, I was pleased to be part of a family-based practice that included hospital work. There is a lot going on in Guttenberg – Farmers Market, Music in the Park, and my personal favorite, GermanFest. 

"In a small town you have an opportunity to get to know people and their families through all ranges of life. It is like raising your kids in 'Mayberry.' There are wonderful opportunities for children – sports, music – my children were well prepared for college." 

M.J. Smith

M.J. Smith, Director of Affiliate Foundations, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, addressed the camera, "Guttenberg is such a welcoming community to become engaged in. Whether your passion is history, old cars or yoga, you will find sojourners that will accompany you on your journey. 

"We have a vibrant arts community. Umbrella Arts is a non-profit organization that is supportive of our creativity center and art gallery, which showcases local and regional artists. In the summer months, the group hosts River of Music in Ingleside Park, overlooking the Mississippi River.  

"Guttenberg was such a great place for our children to engage in all kinds of activities, providing many opportunities for growth.  

"Living along the river, we understand the importance of water safety and instruction. A small group of volunteers gathered and organized a group of 300 individuals to campaign for our pool project. We received many in-kind and cash gifts to build the new municipal swimming pool. 

"Our generous community is beautiful in all seasons. It provides the perfect backdrop for individuals to seek out places of sacred solitude for peaceful reflection." 

Sadie Hefel

Sadie Hefel, Licensed Massage Therapist and yoga instructor, shared, "I have been a small business owner for the past seven years. My husband was born and raised here. I fell in love with him and the town 12 years ago. 

"Guttenberg is a great place to raise a family. The classrooms are small and the community recognizes your children.

"I have great joy running my business and offering massage therapy that was not available in the past. Guttenberg residents have embraced my small business and it continues to flourish.  

"My husband and I enjoy the adult recreation we experience in town.  Our family enjoys the many outdoor recreation areas that are available despite the community's size.

"My husband enjoys hunting. We love to have our freezer stocked with large and small game. 

"I find great value in the available health care in our small community. Emergency care is always available and the walk-in clinic is priceless for children. 

"I fell in love with the relaxed atmosphere and the art community, which continues to make strides in improving all these amenities."

Tim Ahlers

Tim Ahlers, Chief Executive Officer, Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics, commented, "I spent a lot of time here as a child camping and on the river. When the CEO position opened up at the hospital it was like a dream come true. 

"I believe this community is a place where young professionals can successfully develop a business. Our strong broadband is great. You have all the data and bandwidth you need to set up a business or work from home. Our outdoor spaces are great for holding meetings. Once you get off-site employees become more creative and focused. 

"There are also many opportunities for community involvement for business leaders such as Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce activities, planning committees for events and festivals, and Umbrella Arts.

"I have young elementary children. We love utilizing the river for outdoor recreation. If we can't get out on the river, the new swimming pool is always available. You don't ever need to be inside unless the weather forces you.

  "People are surprised at how skilled and competent our medical staff is. We have all the modern technology and recruit talented medical professionals. The community is blessed to have access to our hospital and clinics. 

"People are so friendly and personable. Everybody here is like a big family. It's hard to explain the sense of belonging. I haven't experienced it in other communities. I knew I was going to enjoy living in Guttenberg; what struck me was how much I was going to love it!” 

 Ray Black

Ray Black, retiree, relocated from the Chicago area. He is president of the Heritage Society and director of the Lockmaster House Museum. He shared, “All you have to do is look around and you know you are in a secret little oasis. There is no better place to live. Guttenberg is a supportive, active community. If you want to be busy, or do nothing but relax, there is something for everyone. 

“When we first moved here we became involved in a few projects. My wife got involved in a couple of clubs. We met people and the community embraced us. There is everything from culture – to sportsmen – to history. 

“The fishing in this area is endless. The Mississippi River contains every kind of freshwater fish that is available. The trout streams in Northeast Iowa are a hidden treasure. Not to mention the Driftless area, which is a wonderful thing in itself. Fishing is paramount in this area.

“As you begin to age, local health care becomes very important. We are blessed with a pretty good staff of medical professionals. The clinic is just wonderful and there are two pharmacies in town. I can’t discount that it has been very convenient.”

Joe Tartaron 

Joe Tartaron, Head of Product Design and engineering at Fusion Products, a Division of SignX Corporation, affirmed, “I am most impressed with the livability of Guttenberg versus what my experience was growing up in Cincinnati. When I arrived in Guttenberg my first impression was it is a really pretty town. It has a nice feel about it and it has great amenities.

“Everything you need is within five minutes, which is unheard of in a large metropolis. The ease of getting around is unmatched. I enjoy golfing, kayaking and boating. It’s all right here. 

“The city of Cincinnati prides itself in being a friendly town – Guttenberg is friendlier and more. The lifestyle is relaxing and the people are easy going. You fall in love with the people and start to grow roots. It is really nice to live in this environment. You are welcomed into one community. I find that really charming. It is a new experience for me.” 

Adam Radcliffe

Adam Radcliffe is the middle and high school music and vocal teacher for Clayton Ridge School District. He commented, “I have been teaching in Guttenberg for the past ten years. Guttenberg is a very social community – restaurants, shopping, the river for boating, St. Mary’s Fall Festival, GermanFest — it’s great to be a part of it all.

“I think the school is always considered a hub of the community. The community is very supportive of the school and the school is supportive of the community.  Clayton Ridge and St. Mary’s schools offer many great opportunities for learning for every child. Both school’s excellent staff prides itself in meeting the needs of all students and their families. Being a small community, students have an opportunity to participate in all school activities. We need everybody to be involved in everything. 

“All the necessities are available in town. We have a lumberyard, hardware store, flower shop, grocery store, dollar store, and many others. If I need something else, larger shopping centers are located close by.”

Molly Moser

Molly Moser, Communications Coordinator at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, stated “I was born, raised and educated in Guttenberg. Like many  graduates I wanted to leave, but always knew I would like to come back and raise a family. 

“My husband and I like the peaceful pace of life. We  live in Guttenberg because we like the affordability. Owning a home in Guttenberg is economical, and it enables us to be able to travel with family. 

“We love the school system, hospital, pharmacies, and our families live here. We enjoy the simple things, like walking on the river walk, riding bikes, playing in the yard with our son and attending music in the park.

“We like that we can have an impact on the community. I was part of the steering committee for Umbrella Arts, the Municipal Swimming Pool, and more recently the skate park. 

“The creativity center is a huge asset to the community. I love that my son will have access to pottery wheels and stained glass when he is older. 

“I am able to work from home. The broadband services in the area make it possible for me to have Zoom calls and keep up with my e-mail. I can sit in my home, look out at the river and enjoy the view. Its all right there, and so serene no matter what my day is like.” 

Ken Davis

Ken Davis, retiree, remarked, “My wife and I were looking toward retirement, but not quite there yet. We lived in large cities all our life. We wanted a small community, clear cell phone reception and great Internet. That is what led us to Guttenberg. 

“We were looking for a community that could support our active lifestyle. Whether we enter Guttenberg from the north or south hill the view is panoramic. I always tell my wife, ‘Welcome home –  this is God’s country.’ 

“There are so many recreational areas available. We can go hiking at Pikes Peak State Park, kayaking down the Turkey River, snowshoeing at Effigy Mounds or cross country skiing at the golf course. 

“Quality health care was also in our vision of where we wanted to go in the future. Our hospital and clinics are within a stone’s throw away. Guttenberg’s fitness center is utilized everyday by area residents, and my wife and I take at least three walks around town everyday. It all helps us stay healthy as we move forward in life. 

‘I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the faith community.  As I move through life my faith is very important to me. There are six or seven different churches in Guttenberg. They all work together on a monthly basis with the hospital’s Resource Center to provide food for those in need. 

“Our downtown quaintness was a big impact for us, and we were surprised how self-sustaining the community is. You can shop, visit the local restaurants/taverns, and you can find any big box store within a short drive.”

Rabecca Hennessey

Rabecca Hennessey, resident artist, shared, “I came to Guttenberg about 25 years ago with a friend whose mother had a cabin on Esmann Island. I loved it! We continued to come back yearly for girls weekends. Guttenberg is perfect for hiking, biking and kayaking. Painting in Guttenberg is awesome! There is no better place to paint. 

“I enjoy the small-town peace and tranquility. I love that I can sit on my front porch and hear the frogs and birds chirping and singing in my garden. Guttenberg is safe. 

“My husband and I are heading toward retirement. We enjoy taking a walk on the river walk, jumping on our bikes for a ride on the wide, safe streets and wheeling our kayaks one block for a paddle on the Mississippi River.

Juanita Loven

Juanita Loven, former business owner, philanthropist and community activist, shared, “I am one of the founders of Umbrella Arts. We have a very exciting arts community. We have 15 members present at our monthly meeting. It is really exciting to see and hear what is up and coming in our town. The Guttenberg Public library and Library Foundation are wonderful assets to Guttenberg. Umbrella Arts and the Library Foundation often collaborate to bring educational programming to our area. 

“I appreciate our local hospital and clinic. I broke my femur, and in three minutes the ambulance picked me up and whisked me off to the emergency room. After my surgery I was able to rehabilitate at the Guttenberg Care Center. 

“Right across the street is the river. When you see the beautiful park you can hardly believe it. There is never a dull moment. The people are interesting and friendly and everyone has a story to tell. 

Russell Loven

Russell Loven, retired school superintendent and a former Guttenberg mayor, commented, “My job is what brought us here. Health care in this community is very important. I am a member of the Hospital Board. It is a great critical access hospital. 

“We originally lived here part-time, but decided to sell our home in Decorah, and live right here on the beautiful river. Guttenberg was named an Iowa Great Place; Iowa River Town of the Year 2019, and one of America’s Prettiest Towns by Forbes Magazine. 

“It’s a vibrant city with barges, trains, trucks  – it’s movement, and we are part of it. It is a great place to live and raise a family.”

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