INSIDE THIS ISSUE
• Mike Donahey: It’s a beautiful day.
• Pictures: Spring scenes.
• Plus: Runner Larry Walden and
timesrepublican.com Times-Republican | MarshallTimes | April 2008 | 2
Publisher ..............................Mike Schlesinger
Managing Editor.............................Ken Larson
Marshalltimes Writer ..................Mike Donahey
Marshalltimes Columnists...........Debra Oetker,
Kileen Rezac, Lon Walker, Phyllis Mazour
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offices located at 135 W. Main St.,
Marshalltown, Iowa 50158. Marshalltimes is
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Spring scenes from Marshalltown High
School’s tennis courts, Leonard Cole field
for a soccer match and the Linn Creek
Recreational Trail are displayed. • 4
Staff writer Mike Donahey, who also writes
a column for Marshall Times and Past
Times, recalls the talents and skills of former
Des Moines Register columnist Chuck
Offenburger and one of his memorable
columns. • 3
Staff writer Mike Donahey sat down with
Marshalltown athlete Veronica Demmel
recently and talked about her training for
the 2009 Boston Marathon, family and the
strong friendships she has developed with
other area athletes and runners. • 6-8
COVER PHOTO: Demmel is pictured competing in the
Chateau St. Michael one-half marathon held in Bothell, Washington.
Got a hot
T H E
P U L S E
MARSHALLTIMES STAFF WRITER
I was out taking pictures on April 14
around Marshalltown High School and
the Linn Creek Recreational Trail for
the April, Marshall Times “In Picture”
segment. The weather was warm,
highlighted by extended sunshine,
something we have not seen much of
this spring. The sky was a light blue,
again, somewhat of a rarity this spring.
But it was all to be enjoyed and taken
The beautiful day brought to mind
former Des Moines Register columnist
Chuck Offenburger’s “it was a Chamber
of Commerce day” line or something
similar that he used in describing
such a day. It also made me think back
to his writing talents.
A Shenandoah native, Offenburger
authored a Register column called
“Iowa Boy.” It had a prominent place in
the newspaper and was popular with
readers. He left the Register some time
ago and last I heard he was working
for The Iowan magazine.
I read his column often. Offenburger’s
beat was the state of Iowa and he
did good job writing about the Iowa
people and places he encountered in
his travels. His subjects were usually
the everyday, mundane things that
people easily could relate too. For
example, he developed a reputation for
writing about our state’s best tasting
cinnamon rolls and then annually
awarded prizes based on their taste,
size, amount of frosting, or other
notable features. Or he might have
written about his encounter with the
long-time owners of a neighborhood
grocery store in their challenges
against a corporate grocery store down
the block, or a farm couple that had
been married for 75 years. It was
folksy material and Offenburger wrote
in conversational style that was easy to
read. Not only could he write about
those things and make them interesting
column after column, he had in my
opinion a talent for observation. He
could see details in his subjects that
were noteworthy. Additionally, he had
a good sense of humor to mix in as
One of his best efforts was a column
he wrote describing the day he and his
siblings had to move his mother out of
her house into a nursing home. It was
the same house he had grown up in
and that the family had resided in for
years. He described how hard it was to
help her mom move somewhere else
and leave the home empty, presumably
to be sold. Offenburger made you
feel like you were there witnessing the
sad event. He wrote that column many
years ago but I remember it well.
His "it was a Chamber of Commerce”
day in describing an ideal day
weather-wise is also something I
remember. Offenburger's criteria for
such a day were: sunny, blue skies,
warm temps with low, or no humidity.
Chamber of Commerce, of course,
referred to the local Chamber of Commerce
office in the town his latest story
was based in being fortunate in showcasing
their in that kind of ideal weather.
Offenburger might have used April
14 as a “Chamber of Commerce day"
and if he would not, I would firmly ask
him to reconsider.
I knew we were on to something
that day, when in walking to my car at
11:30 a.m., I sensed that I did not need
my heavily lined trench coat (which
also serves as a raincoat) for what
must have been the first time in
months! The long, cold winter followed
by this spring’s many cold, blustery
and wet days had made its use seem
almost second-nature, like hair on a
cat or a dog. Just the day before, I had
been chilled just stepping into our
unheated garage, as the north wind
had found every crack under the
garaged doors to make for a cold car
seat. The week before the Marshalltown
area had experienced strong,
cold and blustery winds from the north
mixed with rain that was more typical
of November than April.
Memories of that recent weather
made it even more fun to ditch the coat
in the backseat to take pictures of people
using the Linn Creek Recreational
Trail and then up to the MHS courts to
watch my youngest daughter and her
teammates play tennis against longtime
rival Ames. All in warm sunshine.
It's too bad Offenburger wasn't there to
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5 | April 2008 | MarshallTimes | Times-Republican timesrepublican.com
timesrepublican.com Times-Republican | MarshallTimes | April 2008 | 6
By MIKE DONAHEY
April 20, 2009 is exactly one year
away. Veronica Demmel of Marshalltown
knows she will be in Boston making
ready to run in the 113th annual
Boston Marathon. Larry Walden, also
of Marshalltown, wants to join Demmel
and run too.
While the marathon’s Web site lists
April 20, 2009 as the tentative date,
there is nothing tentative about Demmel’s
interest in running the event or
her passion for running. Demmel qualified
for the event last October at the
Des Moines Marathon.
Her passion for running and the
need to train for competitive events,
such as marathons and triathlon,
results in Demmel accumulating many
miles in a year. In 2007 Demmel estimates
she ran about 1,400 miles.
She has run in events including Marshalltown’s
Grimes Farm Fun Run,
several Drake Relays events, the
Super Jock N' Jill Half Marathon in
Washington state and the Vancouver
International Marathon. However, the
Boston Marathon will be the most prestigious
marathon she will compete in. It
is the world’s oldest annually contested
Deservedly, the race receives international
media attention, extensive
national media coverage and substantially
more national sports-related coverage.
As to be expected, track and
field media along with runner’s publications
thoroughly cover the event. For
years the marathon has attracted world
class athletes who are induced to participate
by the competition, the
marathon’s legendary status and also
because of the prize money awarded.
Over $10 million dollars in prize and
bonus money has been awarded since
1986 according to the marathon’s Web
The Boston Marathon is also selec-
tive. Not just any athlete, casual runner,
or marathoner can compete.
According to Walden, a three time
Boston Marathon participant, the
Boston Marathon is unique because
athletes must post a certified, qualifying
time standard that corresponds to their
age group simply to enter. For example,
a male between the ages of 45 to 49
must run a qualifying time of three
hours, 30 minutes or less. A female of
the same age must post a qualifying
time of four hours or less.
This is not required for other wellknown
marathons like those held in
Chicago, New York and Los Angeles,
“Anyone can enter, say, the Los
Angeles Marathon, walk in it and then
say they ‘ran’ in the marathon,” Walden
“Boston is a well-organized
marathon, you are assigned chutes to
enter the race based on your qualifying
time. The people ahead of you have run
faster than you.”
Conversely, many entrants in the
2007 Chicago Marathon were simply
called to the starting line. Elite, world
class marathoners were given front row
the race began, a
huge swell of runners
Marathon also differs
itself from other
marathons by limiting
the number of
2008 event, to be
run tomorrow, was
limited to 25,000
posted on its Web
site. The Chicago
45,000 people register
of which 9,133
did not run according
to a marathon
press release provided
the event. According
to the October 8, 2007 Chicago
Tribune, 35,867 runners showed
up at the starting line.
Additionally, 10,934 runners
started but did not finish of which
a number were impacted by the
severe heat and humidity. It was
the hottest Chicago Marathon on
record, but 24,933 entrants finished
When asked why she is running
in the 2009 event and not
the 2008 event, Demmel responded
quickly. She wants to run the 2009
event with her good friend Walden. But
before the two can look forward to a
joint effort, Walden must finish his training,
then compete in the 2008 Grandma’s
Marathon this June in Duluth,
Minn. To compete in Boston he must
complete the Grandma’s course in four
hours or less.
Demmel is not just spectating, she is
helping Walden train for the Grandma’s
Marathon by running with him. On a
recent cold and windy Saturday, seemingly
too cold and windy for mid-April,
both set out from Marshalltown’s Community
Y at 7 a.m. and ran 18 miles.
Nor is the early morning run unusual.
On some week-day mornings Demmel,
Walden and others can be seen leaving
the Community Y building at 5:30 a.m.
Demmel and Walden run year around
and are joined by a number of other
men and women that share Demmel’s
and Walden’s passion for running.
Walden said he got “goose bumps”
from the excitement of running the three
Boston Marathons and those that train
year around might be expected to get
Demmel, far right, is seen running next to pacer Wade Stewart, near right, at the Des Moines
Marathon last October as friend and fellow runner Nova Ebersole, far left, yells encouragement.
goose bumps from some of the frigid
temperatures Central Iowa experienced
this past winter. However, Demmel and
Walden said they and others were not
Walden said he sold a lot of ice-gripping
shoe clamps, called “ice joggers” to
his fellow runners and they worked well.
Equally important as the ice joggers
in winter is the support runners receive
from family members and fellow runners.
Demmel can count on husband Jim
and her children, Celeste and Luke for
support or companionship in some
events. Pam Walden, Larry’s wife, supports
Sitting at a table in Demmel’s home,
both Demmel and Walden stated that
there were several Marshalltown men
and women that they consider as talented,
competitive runners that have
helped them succeed.
Not only are the talents of other runners
respected, the camaraderie developed
over time has developed into
friendships and race day support they
said. For example, Wade Stewart of
LeGrand, ran with Demmel during the
Des Moines Marathon.
“Wade wanted me to qualify for
Boston so he ran with me as a “pacer”
in Des Moines,” Demmel said.
Other runners from the Community Y
were there to cheer her and other Marshalltown
Walden, in his 2005 Boston
Marathon remembrance book, credits
runner Lindsey Wade for helping him
Demmel, a native of Chile, started
running for exercise and has been a
competitive runner for a number of
years. She stopped when her two children,
Luke, now a Marshalltown High
School senior and member of the MHS
boy’s track team and Celeste, who was
an MHS runner and swimmer, were
young, but resumed five years ago. She
met Jim while running at college. Himself
an active runner, he has run with
Veronica in several events. Jim’s father
was an active runner for years too.
Demmel has also competed in Gladbrook’s
Cornman triathlon, which
require participants to swim, bike and
run in that order.
“Biking is not my forte,” Demmel said
candidly. “Biking is the hardest part of
the triathlon for me.”
Dave Vajgrt and Lisa Gassman of
Marshalltown, who also periodically run
with Demmel, also bike during the summer
and Demmel has joined them as
part of her training.
Demmel devotes much of her time to
running but has family, employment and
community obligations too. She makes
time to watch Luke compete and she
works for McFarland Clinic’s Marshalltown
office as an interpreter. She is a
member of Marshalltown’s Assistance
League, where she recently helped that
organization with its annual thrift sale
which helps fund a number of charitable
initiatives in the Marshalltown area.
From now until April 20, 2009 Demmel
will have run approximately 1,400
miles. No doubt Demmel will relish the
opportunity to run the 26 miles, 385
yards at Boston.
Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@
7 | April 2008 | MarshallTimes | Times-Republican timesrepublican.com
timesrepublican.com Times-Republican | MarshallTimes | April 2008 | 8
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26 S. 1st Ave • Marshalltown
Area runner says
By MIKE DONAHEY
It was about 25 years ago that Marshalltown
runner Larry Walden said he
experienced a life-changing event. He
signed up for an evening fitness class
at the Community Y. Walden was then
employed as an assembly worker at
Fisher Controls. He said he had done
little, if any, exercising up to that point.
Years later, Walden has run in
three Boston Marathons and is training
to qualify for his fourth. He estimates
that he now runs about 30 to 50 miles
per week. He does not suffer from
high blood pressure or other ailments
usually associated with semi-retired
individuals like himself.
When he needs to see a medical
professional, he says he does not
need to see a physician, it is a staff
person at Marshalltown’s Sports Plus
Medicine and Physical Therapy Center
for running related concerns.
Walden retired from Fisher Controls
in 2003 after 36 years of service and
now drives a school bus part-time for
the Marshalltown Community School
“Anybody can run,” Walden said. “If
you can run one-half a block, that is a
good start. The following week you will
be running a block. Soon it will be up
to two blocks and in a matter of time
you will be running a 5K (kilometer)
Walden knows that running is good
for him physically, mentally and socially.
Important to Walden and to Veronica
Demmel, one of his friends and current
training partner, are the friendships
developed with other runners.
“Most of my friends are runners
from the Community Y,” he said.
Walden, Demmel and other runners
can be seen several mornings a week
leaving the Y around 5:30 a.m. and
then returning later to enjoy a cup of
the Y’s complimentary coffee. Before
they head to the showers or home,
they sit down at the Y for a time of fellowship.
There is much laughter. It is
obvious that they respect and like
The respect does not begin or end
at the Y doors. They have run together
at events in Des Moines or served as
“pacers” for other runners. If not running
in the event, they are their to
cheer on their comrades at the contest.
Such was the case last October
when a group of them went to Des
Moines for that city’s marathon. Demmel
qualified for the Boston Marathon
at that event.
Walden knows the Boston
Marathon well and it is evident from
his training regimen that he hopes to
compete in it again.
He has a memento book from the
2005 Boston Marathon full of pictures
which details a chronology leading up
to the race. In the beginning he pictures
and credits runner Lindsey Wade
who helped him train for the 2004 Des
Moines Marathon. His time of 3 hours
36 minutes in turn, qualified him to run
According to the book, 20,000 runners
were registered to run in what
was the 109th Boston on April 18,
2005. The start time was the traditional
12 noon in Hopkington, Mass.
Walden completed the event in four
hours 23 minutes.
In the back, are pictures of
Walden’s grandchildren, holding pictures
that read “Way to Go Gramps”
and “Great Job Gramps!!”
Walden flipped to a page in the
book that was captioned Team Hoyt.
Walden explained that a dad and his
RUNNER | 10
Q U E S T I O N
A U T H O R I T Y
MARSHALLTOWN POLICE CHIEF
QUESTION: Shouldn’t we prohibit
teen age drivers from using cell
phones while driving?
ANSWER: The January/February
issue of AAA Living has a very good
article regarding this issue written by
It’s about the hobbies
I enjoy on the weekends.
TR . MY
910 E. Olive Street, Marshalltown, IA
Q: What is Respite Care?
A: Grandview Heights will admit a person for a “short
period of time” into our Dementia Unit or our care facility to
relieve full time care givers for 2 days or more as desired.
Timothy C. Smith. According to Mr.
Smith, nearly 50% of all teen age
drivers have admitted to either talking
on a cell phone or text messaging
while driving. When you couple that
with the statistic that over 50% of all
teen drivers are involved in a police
reported crash in their first year of
driving, it presents a very scary situation
for parents. I know, my son now
drives to school. So, what can we
do? The answer is, and I agree with
Mr. Smith’s article, is to educate
teens and take away distractions like
passengers, alcohol, tobacco, iPods,
and food. We also need to educate
the teens that the use of cell phones
is not allowed while driving. We also
need to set the example by the way
we drive and eliminate the distractions
as much as possible. I feel this
is the better route than trying to create
unenforceable ordinances that
restrict the use of cell phones.
On another note, the question
keeps coming up as to what to do at
a four-way stop intersection. The
basic rule of thumb is to yield to the
car to your right and take turns, one
car at a time per direction, passing
through the intersection.
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9 | April 2008 | MarshallTimes | Times-Republican timesrepublican.com
timesrepublican.com Times-Republican | MarshallTimes | April 2008 | 10
I N S U R A N C E
I S S U E S
STATE FARM INSURANCE AGENT
Winter brings a number of driving
hazards, but one of the most hated is
the pothole. An encounter with one
can leave damaged tires, wheels and
suspension components in its wake.
You’ve got 30 seconds
to make a case for
your product or service.
Potholes can occur in any region or
climate, but at this time of year, they’re
especially prominent in areas known
for ice, snow and below-freezing temperatures.
The freezing and thawing
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cycles allow moisture to seep into the
road surface which causes the road to
There’s not much that can be done
to prevent the deterioration of the driving
surface, but there are some things
you can do to protect yourself:
Try to limit your travel to roads you
know very well. That knowledge could
keep you from hitting a pothole and
seriously damaging your car.
When driving at night, try to drive
on well-lit roads so you can see the
Slow down and give yourself a
chance to see the pothole and avoid it.
If you hit a pothole, carefully inspect
your tires and wheels for possible
damage. Note how your car handles in
CONTINUED | FROM 8
the aftermath. If it pulls to one side or
if you feel a wobble in the steering,
you may need to have your car
checked by a mechanic.
If you must hit a pothole, do your
braking before impact. There’s less
damage when a tire is rolling than
when it is skidding over a hole during
While damage caused to a car by a
pothole may be covered under the collision
portion of the State Farm auto
policy, there are some things to
remember. If the damage to the vehicle
is to the tire only, it is not covered.
Damage to the vehicle is subject to the
For more safe driving tips, visit
disabled son made up the team. The
picture shows a lean, muscular man
pushing his son in an elongated
wheelchair with a longe tongue coming
from the wheelchair. A small bicycle
wheel is at the front, attached to
“It’s a Good Life!” reads the writing
on the vehicle wheels. According to
Walden, the boy would be responsive
to his dad while being pushed, so his
dad continued his efforts of jointly running
and pushing, culminating with an
appearance in the Boston.
Walden said he plans to keep running
as long as he is able. “I am
addicted to running,” he said.
He and Demmel spoke of a “runners
high” that is experienced after a
practice run or contest. Walden said
the feeling of utopia is dramatic after
competing in an event, because one
is really pushing.
“It is a feeling of like being on top of
the world,” he said.
Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@
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password to anyone.
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CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER,
Asset Allocation Can Help Protect
Over time, the value of stocks can
go up and down. Bond prices fluctuate
with interest rates, as do other types of
fixed-income securities such as certificates
of deposit and investments in
money-market accounts. Predicting
which investment vehicles are likely to
perform better than others at any given
point time is next to impossible. So
how do you choose investments for
The answer is to follow a riskreduction
strategy called asset allocation.
By dividing your dollars among a
variety of investments, you can
decrease the likelihood that all the
investments in your portfolio decline at
the same time. Of course, by the same
token, it’s also unlikely that every
investment in your portfolio would go
up at the same time.
Essentially, asset allocation diversifies
your portfolio among several distinct
asset classes. These include
stocks, bonds, real estate, money markets,
cash and more. Within these
general categories, these asset classes
may also be divided into several
Stocks, for example, may be broken
down into domestic stocks of small
companies (small-cap), medium-sized
companies (mid-cap), large companies
(large-cap) and real estate. International
stocks are also part of the mix,
including stocks in developed non-U.S.
countries and less-developed (emerging
market) countries outside the United
Classes of bonds may include conservative,
moderate and aggressive
(high-yield) bonds. Conservative
bonds generally include federal and
state government bonds. Moderaterisk
bonds include bonds issued by
high-credit-quality corporations. Highyield
bonds typically are issued by corporations
with lower credit ratings,
offering higher interest rates to
investors in exchange for a commensurate
level of risk.
Stocks are securities that represent
I N V E S T M E N T
ownership in a company. You might
want to invest in stocks if you believe
the price of the stock will increase and
thereby the value of your investment
will increase. Another reason to invest
in stocks would be to collect dividends.
Companies pay dividends as a way to
compensate shareholders for their
investments. Dividends can also be a
way to generate income.
Bonds represent a loan to a company
or other entity. Bonds have fixed
terms and fixed interest rates. They
typically generate a higher income
stream and are historically less volatile
Cash and cash equivalents are considered
the third basic asset class.
This class includes investments such
as short-term certificates of deposit
and money-market instruments. Holding
cash as part of your allocation can
be a way to park your money while
waiting for an appropriate investment
opportunity. It can also be used to hold
funds for emergency use.
So how do you decide which combination
of investments is right for you?
Start by asking yourself the following
· Objectives – What are your financial
goals? Do you want to retire early
or build your dream house? How much
money will you need to save to accomplish
· Risk Tolerance – Can you stomach
fluctuations in the market? Do you
want a steady return with little risk?
· Time Horizon – Will you retire in
five years? Fifteen? Are you ready to
send your child to college next year or
in 10 years?
· Cash Flow – Do you need a
steady flow of income now from your
investments, or can you continue to
put your money away for a few more
Answering these questions will
help both you and your financial consultant
decide what kind of asset allocation
will help you meet your goals
and then choose specific investments
that match your appropriate allocations.
C O R N E R
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER,
AIG FINANCIAL ADVISORS
Back in 2001, the Economic
Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation
Act triggered a gradual
increase in the dollar threshold
of estates subject to the estate
tax. In tax years 2007 and 2008,
estates valued at more than $2
million may be taxed as much as
45%, while in tax year 2009, the
threshold will increase to $3.5
million. The year after that, the
tax will be repealed for a year. In
other words if you were to die in
2010, there will be NO estate
tax. However, in 2011, unless
Congress acts, the party is over.
The estate tax will revert back to
the previous rules reflecting up
to 55% on estates at a significantly
lower threshold - $1 million.
Going backward tends to
be the legislators most common
While bills continue to swirl
around Congress and many
expect a Band-Aid of some sort
before 2011, no one seems to
believe that the so-called “death
tax” is likely to be eliminated
altogether. That makes it tough
for individuals to set a clear
course for their own estate planning.
If you suspect your estate
or the estate of relatives you
might inherit from may fall prey
to the estate tax, it makes sense
right now to enlist the help of
experts. Assets may be expected
to grow over time, and your
estate may turn out to be larger
than you may think. Here are
some things to keep in mind as
you discuss you options with
your estate and tax specialist
You may want to consider an
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
or ILIT. Whether you need it for
estate liquidity or for other purposes,
an irrevocable life insurance
trust can be created to
keep the proceeds of the insurance
out of your taxable estate.
An added benefit is that such
trusts may permit spousal
access to the cash value of the
policy. Yet note the word “irrevocable”
– meaning you can NOT
change you mind once the decision
to use the ILIT is made.
In addition or instead of, you
may consider a grantor-retained
annuity trust or GRAT. This is an
irrevocable (there’s that word
again) trust that is popular
among families with assets that
are expected to increase,
because such appreciation can
be passed on to heirs with minimal
A gifting strategy is another
good choice but limits you a bit
more than the ILIT or GRAT however,
it gives you the flexibility to
determine from year to year the
gifts you wish to make. Under
current law, unlimited amounts
can be left to a spouse or to
charity free of federal estate tax.
Other heirs can currently receive
a total of $2 million, tax-free,
when deaths occur in 2007 or
2008. If you assets are over the
estate tax limit, it might make
sense to devise a gifting strategy
that spends down your total taxable
estate while still allowing
you a comfortable lifestyle. You
may gift $12,000 annually to anyone
and as many individuals as
you wish without having to file a
gift tax return. And, if you are so
inclined, you may consider making
direct payments for someone
else’s medical bills or education
tuition. No gift tax applies in the
last scenario, so payments can
11 | April 2008 | MarshallTimes | Times-Republican timesrepublican.com
timesrepublican.com Times-Republican | MarshallTimes | April 2008 | 12
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