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Local
Movie filmed in Waterloo holds theater premiere

WATERLOO — It’s not Hollywood, but it sure looked like it Wednesday night for the premiere of the independent film “Bros.” at Marcus Theatres at Crossroads.

Cast and crew were dressed to the nines as they welcomed about 250 people to the sold-out show.

A red carpet backdrop was draped in the waiting area for everyone to take photos with the two stars of the movie, Tanner Bollinger and Matt Lee Ingebritson.

“I want everybody to have an experience of what one of these is like,” writer and director Don Tjernagel said of the “red carpet” event. “It adds to the fun of it. The whole town is the star of the movie, and that’s everybody.”

Including Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, who attended the screening along with former Mayor John Rooff. Both appear in the film.

“This is kind of a bigger thing than I thought,” Rooff said as he scanned the crowd. “They’re doing it up right.”

Brandon Pollock / BRANDON POLLOCK photos, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER  

Mayor Quentin Hart, center, and former mayor John Rooff get their picture taken on the red carpet with “Bros.” stars Tanner Bollinger, left, and Matt Lee Ingebritson, right, and director Don Tjernagel, second from right, before the movie premiere at Marcus Crossroads Theatres in Waterloo on Wednesday.

Ingebritson already had a chance to see himself on the big screen during the previews for the movie “It.” He had no idea the trailer already was in theaters.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “I was a little upset most people didn’t recognize me,” he joked. “It was fun. I got to meet a lot of really cool people.”

Courtney Aber, a local stand-up comedian and singer-songwriter, was handing out her newly released single, “A Little Bit Dirty,” which also is featured in the movie.

She describes her musical style as “very inappropriate, raunchy acoustic comedy music.”

“It’s everything you thought would never come out of my mouth,” she said with a grin. “I have to give a little warning before I give these out so people know what they’re getting themselves into.”

Also in line for the movie were Tjernagel’s parents, Susi and Wayne Tjernagel of Fairbank. Susi Tjernagel was beaming with pride as she greeted her son on the way to their reserved front-row seats.

“We’re so proud,” she said.

“He was a UNLV film graduate, so now he finally gets to do that,” his father said.

Even though Tjernagel’s investor offered him four times the amount of money to do the film elsewhere, Tjernagel chose Waterloo.

“I swallowed my pride when I saw the shots. That’s my town, that’s my home,” he said. “I wanted people to see Iowa the way I see it — always a big glass of scotch, lots to eat, plenty of characters. I love a night out in Waterloo."

Cast and crew members spent the summer months shooting scenes for the R-rated comedy in Waterloo establishments, including the Brown Bottle, Spicoli’s Rockade and Bryan’s on Fourth.

Tjernagel said he accomplished his goal of making the movie with only $5,000. His success led another investor to offer funding to make a sequel using the same main cast and crew. Filming will begin for “Bros. 2” in the spring.

BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER  

Don Tjernagel gets everyone positioned for a scene during a movie shoot Aug. 8 at the Russell Lamson building in Waterloo.

“We’re about as independent as you get,” he said. “We’re way out on the fringe.”

Tjernagel credits the digital mass media program at Hawkeye Community College for much of his crew’s talent.

“If we didn’t have that college with that program, this wouldn’t have happened. The whole crew, producers, everybody except one film photographer (is a graduate of the program) ... and has hit the ground running so fast because they know so much.”

It was a big night for Tjernagel’s two-year-old son as well. He had his first theater experience with a pre-show screening of his favorite program, “The Berenstain Bears.”

“I teared up a little,” he said. “I couldn’t believe they let us do that. It was really special.”

Brandon Pollock / BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER 

“Bros.” director Don Tjernagel and his son take in Banner’s first movie.

“Bros.” also will be shown at 7 p.m. tonight at Wehrenberg Galaxy 16 Cinema in Cedar Rapids; 7 p.m. Monday at Marcus College Square Cinema, Cedar Falls; at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mayan Theater, Denver, Colo.; and 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Fleur Cinema, Des Moines.


Govt-and-politics
GOP stars visit Iowa

DES MOINES — Republicans have complete lawmaking control in the nation’s capital, and they want to keep it that way.

So there’s no letting up, the party’s national chairwoman said Wednesday night.

“This is not a time to rest,” Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said at the Iowa GOP’s annual fall fundraiser. “There’s no saying, ‘Hey, we won, now we can sit back.’ We’ve got to keep driving forward if we’re going to protect our majorities.”

McDaniel and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer were the main speakers at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Reagan Dinner. About 550 party faithful gathered at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election as president.

Spicer happily noted that anniversary to Iowa Republicans, who played a critical role in the outcome. Iowa went for Trump by 9 percentage points after twice supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.

Spicer drew laughter when he said he would not stand behind the podium after being parodied on television during his stint in the White House. He mirrored McDaniel’s message that Republicans have to fight to keep their majorities from unraveling in the 2018 mid-term elections.

“We cannot let our success get to us,” Spicer said. “It is our party that has the better ideas. There is a stark difference between the worst Republican and the best Democrat.”

McDaniel noted historically a political party suffers losses in the first non-presidential election after taking power.

But she does not think the results of gubernatorial and statehouse elections Tuesday in Virginia, New Jersey and Washington — which featured strong Democratic performances — foreshadow what is to come in 2018.

She cited previous special elections this year in congressional districts that stayed in Republican hands and said Virginia has been trending Democratic. The New Jersey gubernatorial election was no a surprise given the unpopularity of Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Democrats are framing those victories as a repudiation of Trump. McDaniel said Republicans should embrace the president despite his low approval numbers — just 38.2 percent on average in polls tracked by Real Clear Politics. She said the national GOP has experienced record fundraising this year, surpassing $100 million for the first time in a nonpresidential year.

“That’s enthusiasm for the president,” McDaniel said. “There’s no problem running as the party of Donald Trump.”

State party chairman Jeff Kaufmann said Iowa Republicans are not shying away from the president.

“We are staunchly for Donald Trump,” Kaufmann said. “We don’t bend here, and we’re not going to bend here.”

McDaniel said she expects Iowa’s presidential caucuses to remain first in the nation.

“I don’t see anything changing,” McDaniel said, recalling the time she spent in Iowa during the 2012 caucuses with her uncle, Mitt Romney. “I saw firsthand how seriously the voters took it here when I came in for the straw poll. I think it’s an important state that takes that role very seriously, and I don’t see any changes happening.”


Govt-and-politics
Sketchy warning siren to be replaced

WATERLOO — The city is hoping to replace a malfunctioning outdoor warning siren that caused a neighbor to sound off this week.

Clover Lane resident Bob Frost chastised city officials Monday for failing to address the siren in Prairie Grove Park, on the corner of West Fourth Street and Shaulis Road, which has not worked properly for 18 months.

“We piss away money, out-of-state travel out the wazoo, (and) we can’t find money to fix a siren,” Frost said. “It is a small deal, and you botched it.”

Interim Public Works Director Sandie Greco said Frost was correct about the siren issues, but she said the city hasn’t ignored the situation.

“Everytime somebody calls we go out,” Greco said. “We have done repairs to it. We have had RC Systems (the siren vendor) come in and work on it.

“At this point it just seems to be beyond repair,” she added. “We’ll have to replace the whole siren.”

Greco said she is updating the specifications from when the sirens were ordered and believes her budget has enough general obligation bond funding available to purchase a new siren.

“I’m hopeful that if we can get it ordered this winter we can have it up by spring,” she said.

The city owns and maintains 19 outdoor early warning sirens, which are used to signal approaching dangerous weather, including tornadoes, extreme winds and large hail.

The Black Hawk County Emergency Management Agency, which operates the siren system, advises the sirens are meant to alert those outdoors about threats.

While some residents may be able to hear the sirens indoors, depending on the location of their homes, EMA officials encourage residents to pay attention to forecasts, purchase weather radios or sign up for alert systems, such as Alert Iowa, that sent weather warnings to their phones.