Some Favorite Stories From Roger Riley’s Travels Across Iowa in 2019

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Des Moines, Iowa -- Channel 13's Roger Riley was very fortunate to be able to witness the best of Iowa people and places across our state. This collection is but a sample. There are so many more stories we could share here. There are also more waiting to be told in 2020!

Combines rolled along with grain carts and a huge line of trucks near the southern Iowa town of Lucas. Everybody here took the day to help out Kendall Brammer. He’s in the hospital battling cancer in Omaha.

“Four years ago I had cancer. I had prostate cancer, got operated on in the spring of the year and there was a guy there that stepped up and kind of help me out a little bit,” said Abe Savage, a neighbor who came when he heard about the effort.

Along the Turkey River in northeast Iowa sits Motor Mill, named for the village called Motor, which is near Elkader. “Spectacular ten-story limestone building along spectacular stretch of the Turkey River,” said Larry Stone, a former Des Moines Register outdoors writer and current Motor Mill board member.

This business is about sweet toffee but it’s also about a family and three brothers and one spouse spending time with mom and dad. “And I had a quarter pound of it about I think. It was 2:06 in the morning is when I woke up,” said James Fritz of Fritz Toffee in Colo.

Near Clarksville, a family decided they want to share their farm life experience with visitors, so they’re opening a bed-and-breakfast right in the barn.

“And now we are opening the guest barn bed-and-breakfast part. We’re sitting here, we can set these wonderful loft windows,” said Dan Bolin, New Day Dairy Owner.

A barn was rolling slowly across still frozen ground southwest of Dumcombe. The 105-year-old barn had to make a tight turn past some neighbors' buildings to avoid taking down power poles.

“This is kind of what I think made Iowa: these old barns,” said Matt Mitchell, a barn owner. “The barn is 105 years old and this is what Iowa’s like. If the barn could talk of the history about it.”

It’s only a block away from the Coca-Cola plant in Atlantic. Over on Chestnut you’ll find the Coke Museum. “These are special to display that we just put up this last week and it’s things that we thought would be interesting to collectors which are in town,” said Margaret Slepsky of the Coca-Cola Museum.

“As a small independent business owner, you don’t have the funds the corporate does,” said Bonnie Ramsey of Ramsey Market. In the end, the Ramseys are helping generate a little respect for rural Iowa, making a living and even performing live music for their customers. That grocery store called Ramsey Market now serves the town of Lenox with groceries and entertainment all in one stop. Bonnie Ramsey grew up in Lenox. She returned with her husband Theo to buy the store from long-time owners, even though they had no grocery experience.

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