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Grace Bradley (Lori Nelson) discusses the annual Christmas pageant with her kids, Charlie (Jericho Grimmett) and Beth (Grace Mudd), while Dad (C.A.Clark) tries to concentrate on reading the paper in a scene from BHCT’s “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

Denver assisted living complex about to open doors

DENVER — “Wind in the Willows” is a classic English children’s fantasy novel that sprung out of bedtime stories author Kenneth Grahame told his son.

Dave Larson, a former Denver City Council member, came up with a similarly named project, Willow Wind. But it’s no fantasy. It came out of a different dream — that seniors in Denver should have a place to stay in the same town they lived their entire lives — and not be isolated at home alone.

The dream is about to come true.

Willow Wind is a 24-unit assisted living community on the south end of Denver, adjacent to Brothers Market. The $4 million facility will be open and ready for occupancy in January.

It fills a community need, Larson said, and he has a proven track record. He runs the Walnut Court and Colonial Manor senior housing complexes in Waterloo. And he has a partner to make it work — Western Home Communities. Larson owns Willow Wind; Western Home will manage it.

Larson and Western Home worked together before on Walnut Court.

“They do a great job,” Larson said. “Great brand, good people that work there. Outstanding. No need to re-invent the wheel. They pretty much have it figured out.” In fact, the building is similar in appearance to many of the Western Home buildings on the South Main campus in Cedar Falls.

Amy Terrill, who grew up in Denver, will manage the facility. She previously worked 20 years at UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital on the north side of Waterloo, which serves many Denver residents.

Willow Wind has 17 one-bedroom units and seven two-bedroom units. It will have a marketing and activities coordinator, a beauty shop, community living room, transportation and other features. It also has a private dining area for family gatherings.

“The big thing I like about it is the social” aspects, Larson said. “It gives people an opportunity to be social with people in their own age group. They’re not homebound.”

The facility also provides three meals a day and laundry services. Residents also may have priority for higher level of care at other Western Home facilities if and when the need arises. The rooms feature wide doorways, walk-in closets and handicap accessible bathrooms.

The facility is almost done except for finishings and furnishings. “We started a year ago last September with dirt moving,” Larson said. But the project had been contemplated for a long time.

“My grandparents lived in Harmony, Minn., and they went to assisted living,” he said, and decided, “I had the senior housing with Colonial Manor and Walnut Court, and said, ‘This is something Denver should have.’

He said he talked to Western Home and moved ahead with the project. “And I would only go ahead and do it if the Western Home would manage it. There’s no way I would do it otherwise. Having that brand in our community, the Western Home brand, is priceless. Very fortunate they’re willing to manage this, and it works on their mission,” Larson said.

Western Home manages several other similar facilities around the area, Terrill said, including Cresco, Grundy Center and Jesup. “This will be modeled pretty closely to the one in Jesup,” she said, which is about 4 years old, with updates based on suggestions from that facility’s staff.

More information about Willow Wind may be obtained at (319) 984-5867.

Medical marijuana cream, suppositories and inhalers expected in Iowa

ANKENY — The Des Moines company selected to grow marijuana and manufacture medical cannabis products would like to produce tinctures, creams, soft gels, suppositories and even inhalers that allow patients with a variety of ailments to get customized therapies.

“We want to create efficacious doses within the parameters established by the law,” Lucas Nelson, an attorney for Kemin Industries and a consultant with MedPharm Iowa, told the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board on Friday morning.

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Tuesday released a notice of intent to give MedPharm Iowa a cannabidiol manufacturing license. The company, affiliated with Kemin, a Des Moines ingredient firm, would be charged with supplying medical cannabis products by Dec. 1, 2018.

The state will issue up to five licenses for medical cannabis dispensaries by April.

Tom Swegle, chief executive officer of MedCara Pharmaceuticals, of Conrad, demonstrated a transdermal cream applicator that would dispense 2.25 milliliters of prescription cannabis cream per click to be applied topically for joint pain, for example. A penlike oil dispenser also could be adapted to release one drop per click.

All products would be in child-resistant containers, like traditional medications.

MedPharm Iowa was the only company to apply for a manufacturer’s license, possibly because of the tight turnaround to develop products and an annual fee of $150,000 to $200,000, said Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the public health department.

The relatively low cap for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, allowed in the products may restrict the market so manufacturers would have a hard time making it profitable.

“People are concerned about the sustainability of the program,” Reisetter said.

Iowa’s new medical marijuana law expands beyond chronic epilepsy the illnesses patients with a doctor’s prescription could treat with medical cannabis to include cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV and others. But Nelson and others who spoke at the meeting Friday would like more conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder or ulcerative colitis.

“We see this bill as a great start,” Nelson said. “The state and this board, we really do want to make this a collaborative effort to bring this treatment to the people of Iowa.”

Dr. Bob Shreck, a Des Moines oncologist and board member, expressed concern about the lack of research findings on the effectiveness of medical cannabis. The federal government has tightly controlled studies of medical marijuana, which advocates argue has hamstrung efforts to use these therapies legally.

“We, as doctors, are stuck,” Shreck said. “We live in an evidence-based world. I would be reluctant to open this wide open to every single use everyone wants this to be open to.”

At this time, the board does not plan to ask the Iowa Legislature to raise the THC limit or add more medical conditions, but will lobby for removing a prohibition on some felons getting medical cannabis. The state health department will request permission to retain fees to pay for the cost of the program.


Cedar Falls runoff candidates neck and neck in fundraising

CEDAR FALLS — The two candidates in Tuesday’s Cedar Falls City Council runoff election each raised nearly an equal amount of money for their campaigns — though each took different paths.

Candidate Rob Green raised $2,560 through the state reporting period ending Nov. 25 and spent $947. He says he raised more than $915 since then, for a total of $3,485 raised, from more than 40 individual contributors.

Candidate LeaAnn Saul raised $3,550 through Nov. 25, $3,000 of which was a personal loan from herself.

For the Nov. 7 municipal election, Saul raised more than $5,400 and loaned her campaign $2,000 for a total of more than $7,400, with $6,800 in expenditures. At-large candidate Rob Green raised $2,100 and spent almost $1,900. She spent $2,620 for the same period.

Saul said she received possibly an additional $50 since reporting period ending Nov. 25. She said she received additional offers of donations but declined most of them.

“This one’s on me,” she said.

Green, meanwhile raised more prior to the runoff election than the Nov. 7 vote. He also listed a $1,000 in-kind contribution from himself for advertising, web development and graphic design.

“I’m concerned about just how much info these (disclosure statements) are leaving out, since the reporting period ends 10 days before the elections,” Green said. “I’m trying to see if this is worth discussing as a legislative change” with the state. “The e-filing system would certainly make that possible, and would result in a more accurate filing for all candidates.”

Contributors of $100 or more to each campaign for the reporting period ending Nov. 25 are as follows. The indivlduals listed contributed $100 except where noted in parentheses.

Rob Green for Cedar Falls: Michael Dargan, Alexsandra Lehman, Gary Froyen, Christopher Martin ($200), Jeffrey Danielson, Ronald Green, Jeff Brich, Brent Johnson, Amy Mohr, Eashann Vajpeyi, Gary and Tiffany Norte ($200).

Saul for Council: Carolyn Hamrock ($150); Sid Morris, Mark Rolinger, Fred Rose ($200).