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Remembrances Of 44 Years -Thank You, Jane!

June 29, 2017
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

Over the span of 44 years, a person can see a considerable amount of change in a community and in a profession. For Jane Whitmore, a career of 44 years as Editor of The Reporter and The Democrat newspapers in Emmetsburg comes to a close Friday afternoon, June 30.

Whitmore is a native of West Bend, where she grew up with her parents, Harold and Iantha Mikes, and her sister Sue and brother Joe. The family business, Mikes Meat Market, was a fixture in the community for years as Jane grew up.

Being a native Palo Alto County resident played into her favor back in 1973, when Jane moved back to Emmetsburg with young son, Jeremy. A visit to the offices of The Reporter and The Democrat and publisher Jerry Hofstad resulted in a job offer as the society page writer for the publications.

Article Photos

AWARD?WINNER - Jane Whitmore, left, is presented with The Silver Plate Award in 2004 from the Main Street Community Theatre by MSCT?Board member LouAnn Huberty. Whitmore was twice honored by MSCT, in 2004 and 1987 and also served as secretary for the MSCT?Board during her tenure as Editor At Emmetsburg Publishing.

Just a few short years later, Whitmore was asked by Hofstad to "fill in temporarily" as editor until a new editor was hired.

"Temporarily" would end up lasting through this month, however.

In those years, Jane led a newsroom staff in coverage of the events in Palo Alto County and the stories of its people in two publications a week.

Along the way, Jane became very involved in her community, which is not a surprise for those who know her. As the editor of a community newspaper, Jane found herself covering events and being asked to participate on numerous boards and groups during her tenure. She has embraced those opportunities with enthusiasm and earned the gratitude of the community along the way.

As the editor of The Reporter and The Democrat, Jane received numerous awards from organizations, including being named an Honorary Chapter Farmer by the Emmetsburg FFA, receiving an Appreciation Award from the Palo Alto County Conservation Board and being presented with a Citation of Recognition by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2295.

Jane was honored by former U.S. Congressman Fred Grandy by being named to Grandy's Service Academy Selection Committee, considering applicants for appointments to the various U.S. Service Academys, and served as the Committee Chair for a year.

In 1980, Jane received the Iowa Media Award, which was presented by the Iowa Health Care Council. Her expertise in writing is evidenced by her award in 1985 from the Iowa Newspaper Association for First Place in the Best Editorial category in the organization's annual contest, as well as First Place honors for Best Editorial from the Iowa Press Womens' organization and First Place from the National Federation of Press Women.

Jane would be a member of the Iowa Press Womens' organization for over 25 years, serving as the Northwest Iowa Contest Director, Chair of the High School Writing Contest, First Vice President for Programming, Parlimentarian and was installed as the President of the organization for a two-year term from 1991 through 1993.

Additionally, Jane was named as the recipient of the Iowa Press Womens' Communicator of Achievement Award in 2002, and represented Iowa at the National Federation of Press Women at the group's annual conference in North Dakota.

In 2009, Jane was honored with the First Place award for Best Special Section from the Iowa Newspaper Association.

Over the years, Jane received numerous awards for her Editorial writing, news stories, editing, special articles, special editions and photography in sports, spot news and feature photos from the Iowa Newspaper Association, Iowa Press Women and National Federation of Press Women.

One such an award-winning feature photo essay, titled "The Swan Song Of Summer", published in The Reporter September 1, 1999, earned Jane first place in the National Federation of Press Womens' photo contest for Rotating Subject: Mother Nature's Way. Whitmore took photos of swans at the Grotto of the Redemption pond in West Bend that appeared to be posing in classical ballet poses that Whitmore equated to "Swan Lake."

Even with the normal duties of twice-weekly newspapers and her involvement in the community and her son, Whitmore also found time to reach out to youth through a cooperative program called "Newspapers In Education", which brought newspapers to classrooms to help teach students about newspapers and what it comprised in producing a newspaper.

Working with Emmetsburg Community School teacher Martha Wells, Jane helped to launch a statewide Newspaper in Education program. Jane continued to work with the Emmetsburg schools, giving presentations to various elementary classes during Newspaper In Education week.

Working with Emmetsburg Middle School teacher Jennifer Thayer, Jane also participated in a School to Work program for several years, and also helped to present a Junior Achievement program with Third Graders at West Elementary for several years as well.

Staying active in the community along with newspaper duties is something Jane has never shied away from. As a member of the Main Street Community Theatre, Jane served on the MSCT?Board of Directors for several years, including a stint as Board Secretary. She has also designed publicity posters and show programs for productions at the theatre over the years, and has twice been honored by MSCT with the Silver Plate Award in 1987 and Patron Award in 2004.

Jane also served on the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for several years in the 1990's.

For a whim, in 2000, Jane volunteered to serve the United States as a Census Worker, helping in the 2000 Census, an experience she called, "really very interesting."

Jane has also served on the Emmetsburg Country Club Board of Directors, in various capacities including Board President and President of the Womens' Golf Association.

A highlight of her community involvement was to serve as the co-chair of the Emmetsburg Sign Committee with Kay Kibbie. The two were instrumental in researching welcome signs for the major thoroughfares coming into Emmetsburg. The pair wrote grant applications and oversaw the placement of the three welcome signs on the east and west entrances to the city on U.S. Highway 18 and the south edge of town on Iowa Highway Four.

Currently, Jane is serving as a member of the Board of Directors on the Five Island Lake Restoration Board, and also holds the esteemed position of Queen Mum of the Scarlett O'Hatta Chapter of the Red Hat Society!

A public reception to honor Jane Whitmore is planned for this Friday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the offices of The Reporter and The Democrat, 1122 Broadway, Suite B.

The public is invited to stop in and congratulate Jane on her retirement and thank her for her years of unselfish service.

It is only fitting that Jane closes out her Editorial career on the date that is the time-honored notation for the end of a story - 30.



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