The cross-country story behind Taillights Tavern

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Kathy Hughes, who with her husband, Jerry, owns and operates Taillights Tavern.

Kathy Hughes, who with her husband, Jerry, owns and operates Taillights Tavern.

By Grant Rodgers

There’s a story behind the fixtures of the Taillights Tavern; in many cases, they’ve made a cross-country journey to get here.

Indianola’s newest tavern, which sits on North First Street in the former Elks Lodge, opened in the first week of March. It’s owned and operated by Jerry and Kathy Hughes, who worked to refurbish the building for a year before opening.

In a way, the tavern is a culmination of Jerry Hughes’ lifelong passion for collecting and refinishing antiques and old building material, Kathy Hughes said in an interview last week.

“He’s always thought about doing something like this,” she said. “He just kept collecting stuff, and then one day put it all together.”

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Organizers hope new farmers market could grow to be staple event for Indianola

Natalie Metzger, a second grade teacher at Irving Elementary, is one of the organizers of the new Market at the Square. (photo by Grant Rodgers)

Natalie Metzger, a second grade teacher at Irving Elementary, is one of the organizers of the new Market at the Square. (photo by Grant Rodgers)

By Grant Rodgers

Organizers of the Market at the Square, Indianola’s new farmers market set on the square running from June through August, hope that the event could eventually grow to become a bike night-sized attraction for the city.

But right now, they’re focused on getting everything ready for the market’s kickoff on June 8, said Natalie Metzger, one of the market’s organizers. Metzger, a second grade teacher at Irving Elementary, said getting ready for the event has been a whirlwind since organizers began planning in February.

The idea for holding a farmers market on the square became a reality in early this year when Metzger connected with Erin Freeberg, owner of Adorn, by happenstance. Both share a hairdresser, and both had mentioned to her the idea of a market on the square.

Freeberg found out about Metzger’s interest and got in touch with her via email, and the planning began.

Currently, the farmer’s market will take place on Salem Street between Buxton and Howard, which will be closed to traffic on Saturdays during the event. The goal is to attract a minimum of 15 vendors per market featuring products from local farm-grown foods to art and live music. Metzger wants to create a similar atmosphere to the farmers market in Valley Junction in West Des Moines. Continue reading

Talking local business with Indianola residents

By Grant Rodgers

On Friday night, Simpson College journalist Hanna Russmann, operator of the Small Business Journal, hit the Indianola square for Girls’ Night Out.

The event was hosted by several businesses on the square. In an “Ask the Consumer” video series available on her website, Russmann talked to two Indianola women about their experiences shopping on the square and what attracts them to different local businesses.

Business owners share concerns about new Market at the Square

By Grant Rodgers

Two local business owners and a city councilman expressed concerns on Monday night about how a new summer farmers market on the Indianola square might affect business and safety.

The new Market at the Square is set to run each Saturday from June 8 through Aug. 31. At its Monday, April 1 meeting, the Indianola City Council voted to close down Salem Street between Buxton and Howard between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the Saturdays to make space for the market.

At its meeting on Monday, April 15, two business owners with stores on Salem Street came before the council to share concerns about the closure. Though the move was already approved, both said closing down the entire street would limit access and parking.

Linda Hayes, an owner of Affinity Bridals, said she’s supportive of the effort to hold the market, but believes that limiting parking spots on the square on Saturdays will have a negative effect on her business. Saturdays are typically her busiest day for sales, she said.

Shutting down an entire street also inconveniences drivers who use Salem as a normal route, Hayes said.

“This is going to be a detriment, not only to some of the merchants, but to the public at large,” she said.

Hayes said she thinks that instead of just focusing on Salem, the organizers could move the market to different sides of the square each week.

Stan Taylor, owner of Taylor Floral & Gifts, suggested to the council that one lane of traffic could be left open on the street. With the current expected size of the market, there would be more than enough room, he said.

Hayes also recommended keeping one lane open, preferably the right lane next to the courthouse so that parking could still be available in front of businesses. Councilman Eric Mathieu, however, expressed concern that leaving a lane open with vehicles traveling adjacent to the market might create a dangerous situation.

Councilman Pete Berry also said that blocking the street off would limit access for emergency vehicles that use the route.

Mathieu and other council members said again that the market would be positive for Indianola and would bring foot traffic to the square. Two of the market’s organizers, also spoke at the meeting, saying that the market would bring beneficial traffic to the square.

 “I think we need to do things like this, I think we need to be imaginative and do things out of the box like this,” said Councilman John Sirianni.

Even with concerns about parking and access, Hayes said she believes the market will bring economic benefits.

“I’m very glad and excited that we’re having the farmer’s market on the square,” she said. “I’m glad that it’s becoming a reality.”

Emerson Elementary carnival gives back

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Story and photos by Kate Hayden, IndyTowner contributor

At some point in every Midwestern child’s life, they are presented with the opportunity to win a goldfish during a school or summer fair.

At Emerson Elementary’s carnival on Friday, April 12, students and families came away with much more than a family pet.

“We plan for about 200-300 students. It used to be just Emerson students but now past students return,” said Kate Glosgowski, one of the evening’s organizers.

Students traded tickets to play games, enjoy a small art project and maybe win a prize or two. But the biggest prize from the four-year old carnival benefits the whole school.

“We used money that was raised from last year’s carnival to buy iPads for every classroom,” said Glosgowski.

When asked what Emerson hopes to gain from this year’s fundraising, the answer was simple.”

“We need more technology,” said Glosgowski.

Follow Kate on Twitter at @xkatehayden

Indianola crime and accident map, April 1 – 6

By Grant Rodgers

IndyTowner is working to present needed public safety information in new and creative ways.

Above is the site’s first interactive crime and accidents map, an interactive list marking dates and locations of crime, incidents and vehicle accidents reported to the Indianola Police Department from April 1-6.

All information in the map is available from the department’s website. It’s important to remember that the locations are marked and labeled by block and not specific addresses.

If you have comments or questions about the map, contact IndyTowner at