Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Maasdam Barns museum crawl site

By DIANE VANCE | Jun 09, 2014

Even after a break last Monday from holding weekly meetings, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors had little business to conduct today.

The board approved appointing Howard Garrison to the county’s Veterans Affairs Commission.

Supervisor chairman Dick Reed asked Don Cummings, who served many years on the veterans commission, to explain what it does.

“The commission has three members and handles everything that involves caring for military veterans in Jefferson County,” said Cummings. “That includes informing veterans where and how to get medical care, filling out forms, and entering the Veterans Home.”

The county has an office in the Jefferson County Courthouse where director Ray Chambers oversees Veterans Affairs as well as general assistance.

A woman in the audience asked about the program supporting military veterans to farm, specifically she wanted to know about any outreach to female veterans to be involved in farming. Reed told her to contact Chambers, who was not available to attend today’s board meeting.

The board also approved renewing the liquor license for Cedar Valley Winery.

Cummings was on hand to update the board about Maasdam Barns. He is the chairman of the Maasdam Barns Preservation Committee.

He said the site is at the point of wanting to host additional community events. It is open to the public anytime, but has volunteers there and the visitors center is open 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. An audio tour also is available to download at the Maasdam Barns website at www.jeffersoncountyiowa.com/barns/.

“This Saturday, we’ll be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the four-county ‘Museum Crawl.’ We’re featuring activities and demonstrations roughly from the 1930s,” said Cummings.

Youth activities will be ongoing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include egg gathering, tug of war, hay stacking, wheelbarrow races and an egg toss.

Demonstrations of putting up hay and separating milk and cream will be at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Radiance Dairy is providing the milk for the separation demonstration and we might just have some crackers on hand for folks to taste the butter made during separation,” said Cummings. “Our chickens are very friendly out there and can be petted.”

He advised bringing a lawn chair, as seating is not provided.

The Jefferson County Youth Committee will be serving hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks to raise funds to support the local 4-H program.

As for ongoing maintenance and future improvements at Maasdam Barns, Cummings said more lighting is planned to enable hosting evening events such as live music and square dances. More evergreen trees will be planted during the next 10 years.

“We always need more volunteers,” said Cummings. “Talk with Dick here, he’s easier to contact than I am.”

Reed has served on the Maasdam Barns committee for several years and helped with restoration of the buildings and barns.

“If you haven’t been to Maasdam Barns, you really ought to go,” said Reed. “I like to think of the visitors center there, right off the by-pass as the welcome center to Fairfield and Jefferson County. You enter the visitors center and walk into the past; and after your visit, you can continue into Fairfield and move into the future.”

Supervisor Lee Dimmitt said he volunteered as a chaperone for a middle school dance May 30, sponsored by the Jefferson County Alcohol Consumption Task Force.

Director of the task force, Don Sander said 196 students attended the dance at Fairfield Middle School.

“We broke into smaller groups, by grade and gender,” said Dimmitt. “I was with the eighth grade boys and we discussed alcohol use.

“I think this is where we need to be,” he said. “I believe we’ll have the most impact at the middle school ages. We discussed

friendship and loyalty versus doing the right thing to speak up when a student knows or hears about something that’s not right. We need to change the mindset and attitudes of students, as well as people my own age.”

Sander said he wanted to thank publicly Jefferson County Sheriff deputy Tracy Vance for attending the dance and interacting with the students.

“Yes, he was excellent with the kids,” said Dimmitt. “Tracy wore his uniform but was off-duty and donating his time to be there.”

Two young men in the supervisors’ meeting audience volunteered to work with the task force to speak to students and give their generation’s perspective on drugs and alcohol.

The county Alcohol Consumption Task Force meets at noon each Monday at the Jefferson County Area Fairgrounds, a meeting open to the public with a pizza lunch served.

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