Category Archives: News

Autobiography Tells the Life Story of Oren Hoyt


Oren Hoyt was among the group of veterans aboard the April 16, 2013 Honor Flight originating from Waterloo. Photo by Jane Whittlesey.

“In the summer of 1925, my parents began a major building project which included a new double corn crib. When the wrecking crew tore down the old corn crib, the final job was to remove the old concrete foundations which extended only a few inches below grade. These made great places for rats and mice to burrow in and nest. I was the kind of kid that had to be where the action was. When the foundations were tipped over, there were rats and mice running in all directions. WELL! I had no fear of them, and with the urging of some of the crew, I put a young rat and some baby mice in my little overall pockets to take to my mother. I don’t need to tell you what her reaction was, but my little animals were quickly gotten rid of and the men were promptly given a strong lecture.”

So begins A Greatest Generation Autobiography by Oren C. Hoyt. The 170 page book begins with Hoyt’s earliest recollections, which pre-date the Great Depression. Following his graduation from high school in 1939, Hoyt enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps a year later, the branch of service that would ultimately become the United States Air Force.

Hoyt devotes several chapters to the time spent serving his country, including his deployment to Europe during World War II. He also shares the story of the courtship of his wife Gwen, and reveals an interesting fact about the wedding party that gathered on May 26, 1945:

“…the subject quickly became setting our wedding date plus all the details connected with it. One problem was to find someone to be “best man” plus 3 groomsmen. There was an acute shortage of men. As a result, neither Gwen nor I knew the young man chosen as the best man, and I didn’t know any of the 3 groomsmen.”

The Hoyts were blessed with three children and Oren writes about many of the family’s camping adventures that have taken them to nearly every state in the contiguous 48 states. Reflecting on a life well-lived, Oren concludes his autobiography with the following thoughts:

“I feel that Gwen and I have shared an unusually long life together filled with happiness and adventures. I must add that our richest blessings are our daughter, two sons, five grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.”

A Greatest Generation Autobiography is an entertaining read that offers a very personal look at what life was like for a young man growing up in the 1930s and serving his country in World War II before returning to his Iowa roots to raise a family. The book is available for sale in a softcover with spiral coil binding for $35, which includes shipping and handling. To order, send a check to:

David Hoyt
360 Dix Creek Road 1, Unit 2
Leicester, NC 28748

Webinar to Feature Strip-Till/No-Till Practices


The Miller Creek Watershed consists of 42,461 acres that lay between Hudson and La Porte City. Map courtesy of Black Hawk Soil and Water Conservation District.

It’s been a busy first year for Shane Wulf, project coordinator for the Miller Creek Watershed. Working for the Black Hawk Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Waterloo, Wulf was brought on board in 2014 to oversee the Miller Creek Project, a watershed consisting of more than 42,000 acres located between Hudson and La Porte City.

The project supports the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which strives to improve overall water quality by reducing the amount of nutrients in surface water. It is the presence of these nutrients in the Gulf of Mexico that lead to algae growth and a condition known as hypoxia, which results in a large area of water unable to support marine life due to low oxygen levels. In 2008, the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Task Force issued an action plan that called upon the 12 states along the Mississippi River to develop their own nutrient reduction strategy plans.

During the past year, Wulf has been active in the field, meeting producers and sharing conservation practices that help soil retain valuable nutrients. Through the use of conservation practices such as cover crops, buffer strips and nitrification inhibitors, producers can make a significant impact on the amount of nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, for example, their fields retain.

Working with other agencies like the Iowa Soybean Association, Wulf is eager to review data that continues to be collected regarding the impact conservation efforts are having on overall soil health. One such measure is the Haney Soil Health Test, which is designed to help answer three basic questions: What is the soil’s condition? Is the soil in balance and what can be done to help the soil? Acknowledging that significant changes in soil health typically take a long period of time to register, Wulf is encouraged by the number of producers who have expressed interest in learning more about the various programs available to support their operations.

The numbers related to soil conservation cost share programs throughout the state confirm the commitment individual producers have made in 2014. In addition to $9.5 million contributed by the state, 2,382 Iowa farmers invested $13 million in cost share to incorporate conservation practices into their operations.

As Wulf continues to extend outreach efforts designed to educate producers in the Miller Creek Watershed about the practices and programs available to them, he expressed his appreciation for the area farmers he’s met and worked with in 2014.

“The producers I’ve met are good stewards of the land, willing to listen and take a look at their operations,” he said.

The next outreach event for area producers is a Strip-Till/No-Till Webinar hosted by the Black Hawk SWCD and Iowa State Extension and Outreach on Tuesday, December 16th at 9 AM. Participants may view the webinar online by logging on to Audio for the webinar is provided via telephone at 866-809-4014. When prompted, enter the passcode 2947801#. The webinar can also be viewed at the Waterloo USDA Service Center, 2950 Southland Drive, where light refreshments will be served. If planning to attend at that location, please RSVP to Shane Wulf at 319-296-3262.

Community Christmas Tea Set at Sacred Heart

The annual Community Christmas Tea will be held at Sacred Heart Church, 1021 Poplar Street, La Porte City on Sunday, December 14. Join community members at 6 PM and enjoy Victorian traditions to be shared by the Union  Carolers. Refreshments will be served following the program. All are invited to participate in this holiday celebration.

Home for the Holidays


SHOPPING LOCAL – With a Holiday Boutique filling two shops with local merchants, shoppers had  Adding to the festivities were the beautiful voices of the Union Carolers (top) and activities for the youngsters at Hawkins Memorial Library, including a variety of crafts (lower left). Santa Claus even took time from his busy schedule to visit with the good boys and girls of La Porte City. Photos by Mike Whittlesey.

Share the Holiday Spirit: Adopt a Book

Share the spirit of the season at Hawkins Memorial Library. Help purchase new books for children in this community to read and enjoy. You choose a book to donate, pay for it, and when your title arrives a name plate will be placed inside that book as a special thank you for your kindness.
Wish list tags for easy and juvenile books can be selected from the Christmas tree in the library entry – each showing the book cover and cost. Book prices range between $6.95 and $18.99 for these sturdy hardcover reading treasures that will be used by many children over the years. During December, please take a moment to dash into Hawkins Memorial Library and generously adopt a book.