Palo Alto County residents had reason to celebrate Sunday night at the 2016 Grant Cycle Awards hosted by Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation.
Since 2006, Wild Rose has provided more than $15 million in gaming funds to Palo Alto County. Sunday saw an infusion of $1,735,679.20 for projects throughout Palo Alto County. Twenty-two full grants were awarded and 31 mini grants were awarded, in addition to grants to cities and schools.
CELEBRATE PALO ALTO COUNTY -- The Wild Rose ballroom was filled with Palo Alto County residents Sunday night for the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation 2016 Grant Cycle Awards. Chairman Renee Jedlicka is pictured at the podium, announcing full grants and mini grants awarded to Palo Alto County organizations. --Jane Whitmore photo
Norlyn Stowell of Emmetsburg and Lloyd Petersen and Graettinger were honored for 12 years of service on the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation board.
At the top of the evening, board chair Renee Jedlicka presented plaques to the retiring board members.
"In 2005 a license was awarded for Wild Rose, Emmetsburg. Norlyn and Lloyd were original board members. By 2006 this place was here and Lloyd and Norlyn have fabulous stories to tell about how this all went," said Jedlicka.
"Norlyn has been a great board member for us. He is our parliamentarian, he makes us look at things carefully to see the big picture, he's also a great promoter of economic devel- opment and we're going to carry that with us, even without him here," she continued. "He also talks about tourism and what you can do to help Palo Alto County to make things better."
Stowell accepted the award, noting, "Lloyd and I were part of the original six board members and we worked awfully hard. It was remembered tonight that a group of us were out putting stakes in a muddy field so that the gaming commission could see where the gaming facility would be placed."
Stowell talked about economic development and the need to continue the search for business and industry.
"What I'm asking you, as I leave this board, is for each of you to be an ambassador for Palo Alto County and for your community," he said. "When you see someone in your community with an idea, encourage them. When you hear from your sons and daughters and relatives that somebody is looking for a new location, pass that word on to your elected officials and Board of Supervisors. Some will say we don't have any labor. We export, every Spring, the best crop we grow to the universities, the colleges, the technical colleges and they never come back because we haven't created the good paying jobs that they would like to have to move back to Palo Alto County."
He gave this advise:?"If it is to be, it is up to you and me."
Renee Jedlicka spoke on behalf of Lloyd Peterson.
"Lloyd has been active in so many ways," she said "He's exuberant, he wakes up in the night and thinks of things for us, he recalculates, he goes over figures, he's very committed. I know people call him 'Mr. Graettinger,' but on our board he's been very much 'Mr. Palo Alto County,' always thinking of what he can do for Palo Alto County."
Throughout the evening, PACGDC board members presented awards and gave a bit of information to the audience.
Renee Jedlicka recognized members of the Palo Alto County Foundation: Don Miller, Greg Hoyman, Gene Englin, JR?Brown, Rosemary Clouse, Stacy Gappa, Ann Marie Nelson and Kathy Gunderson.
Board member Bill Lapczenski recognized the corporate office, and?Gary Kirke, Dr. Mike Richards, and Mr. Timmons.
"They have renewed the contract for another three years at 6-percent," Lapc-zenski said.
He encouraged people to thank Wild Rose employees for their dedication and hard work.
"Those employees are here every day," he said. "People come here to spend their entertainment dollars, so we can give this money away each year. So thank those employees when you come to the casino."
Board member Skip Wallace congratulated the grant writers for doing such a good job.
"There were 78 grants this year, compared to 105 last year," he said. "Our revenues were down a little bit, so we reduced the amount of grants from two full and two mini per organization to one full and one mini per organization. That way we could fund more grants for more organizations."
He added, "Even though our applications decreased, the amount of money requested was about the same and we had some large grants."
Wallace said it was helpful to break projects into phases. By doing that, PACGDC is able to fund more projects.
Wallace reflected on board members Norlyn Stowell and Lloyd Petersen.
"We are losing some tremendous board members," he said. "They can think outside the box. They came up with the incentive programs that the cities are now using for demolition, for housing purchases and we're working on another one. Thank you Lloyd. Thank You Norlyn."
Mary Lee Orr thanked grant writers for attending the educational meetings hosted by PACGDC each fall.
"These meetings are so important because we do make changes every year," she said. "Unfortunately, we still do find errors and unfortunately they have to be thrown out. I?encourage grant writers to have someone review your grant. We constantly try to approve and appreciate your feedback on the grant application."
Board member Norlyn Stowell pointed out, "Since the 2006 grant cycle, Wild Rose has provided more than $15 million in gaming funds to Palo Alto County. That's quite a ride to see all the wonderful projects in Palo Alto County. Things we've got to be doing are economic development and creat jobs. I?appreciate your efforts to make Palo Alto County better."
Glen Simonson of Mallard talked about the PACGDC bus tours through Palo Alto County. Board members tour the county to view the projects and meet the people
Brian Bormann of West Bend welcomed two new board members: Kim Hoffman from Graettinger and Bill Dickey from Emmetsburg.
He encouraged Palo Alto County residents to apply to serve on the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation board. The application is on the website.
Highlight of the evening was awarding grant funds. A list of grant awards is at right and a special section listing award winners will be included in next week's Emmetsburg newspaper.