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Lake Lovers Unite

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Kyle Hamilton

Kyle's Okoboji history began growing up on the docks and shoreline of Sunset Beach on West Lake Okoboji.  Patrolling the sidewalks and docks with spinning rod in one hand and a homemade slingshot in the other the connection to the lake began. Having his parents Tom & Robin Hamilton to thank for giving him a love affair with the Iowa Great Lakes. Both his parents were fortunate to have also grow up with Summer cottages and the of course met at the lake like so many other couples over the ages.  I was 9 years old when my Father took a seat on the bench as a District Court Judge in Dickinson County and we moved to Okoboji year around instead of just seasonally thus certifying “ Local Status”.

Meanwhile Kyle’s mom Robin was keeping Okoboji blue in another method by putting her big blue Residential Lake Maps on the walls and businesses of the area since 1960. A tradition that Kyle eventually took over in 1990 while in college and still makes those maps today www.bluelakemaps.com

For him the Keep Okoboji Blue bug bit in 2010 with a KOB collaboration with Deidre and Scott producing some of the first custom printed lake maps for The Wine Bar customers incorporating Keep Okoboji Blue artwork of that era.  Ever since then I’ve been a supporter and just loved the message behind the logo and projects of KOB. We all have our own history and memories of why we love this place we call The Iowa Great Lakes.  When it comes down to basics it’s all about the water and activities we all share that create a “members only’ camaraderie that is the attitude and message of KOB. Doing the Maps for the last 30 years connected me closely to the people and the shoreline of the Lakes. I’ve seen things grow and change greatly and not always for the better, the lakes ecological demise are a product of it’s own success. The amount of pressure and growth of the area will inevitably affect its future. We won’t stop the growth of the area but we can work to proactively minimize the impact on water quality and ecology of the area.

“ I feel like it’s a bit destiny that I’m involved with KOB, my childhood, my family history and business relationships all have brought me to this crossroad of opportunity to be a bigger part of the lakes wellbeing for future generations to come”.

History

It began with Deidre Rosenboom’s relation to Lake Okoboji. She grew to love Okoboji as a young child, the smell of the clean lake and the feeling it gave her when she practiced her dive over and over again off the wooden dock or the back of the boat. She even felt so connected to the lake, she told her parents that she thought she could of been a reincarnated fish out of Lake Okoboji. Like a lot of us, the lake drew her back as an adult and she settles in Arnolds Park finding ways to build a future.

Keep Okoboji Blue began the spring of 2005 When Deidre was getting educated about the impact of Aquatic Invasive Species and got scared enough to wake up in the middle of the night thinking something has to be done. The fear was knowing that there can be a defeating impact on our lakes environment. She also knew if our valuable lakes resource is taken from us with the infiltration of invasive species or pollution runoff, there would be larger economic impact to the people that live here.

The area of “Okoboji” is a variety of small towns, but yet unique enough that people travel here for the natural resources – our lakes. So how can you create something that can help protect Iowa’s Great Lakes? Finding ways to protect a community asset, isn’t easy since most of those organizations are non-profitable. But she knew she had something…an idea but wasn’t sure what it was. She also knew no one else was going to do it for her. But to have enough passion to chuck it up to the game of risk? Could it even happen? But how? How can you educate the public and also raise monies for the cause of water quality awareness? How can you speak a message that is about business, environment & future generations? How can you deliver that where you can relate to all?

So I guess you start the next day… Deidre got on her computer to do what she knew best – design a logo for a sticker campaign – the first initial idea. At that time she was unsure what to call it. She had a few ideas, but none seemed right. She then went to her husband Scott Baumgard and asked for his advice. He said, “Deidre, what about Keep Okoboji Blue?” in fact in 1996, three years before they met he had secured Keep Okoboji Blue by purchasing the trademark at the local courthouse. He wanted to do something with it, but was unable to afford the graphic designer or printer. As it works out Deidre is an established free-lance graphic designer and printing broker.

In that summer it all came together. With in a month of designing the two logos she had signed up with The Chamber Showcase and T-Galaxy to sell clothing featuring these two logos. Fall came around and she signed on with Anniversary Jewelers and then went on to design a web site.

It truly is the right time for something to happen and thanks to Keep Okoboji Blue people out there are able to share the same passions by displaying the decals on their car, boat or doorway. You can also display these logos by wearing the Keep Okoboji Blue brand. It’s a great way to give back to water quality efforts.

There can’t be enough thanks for the people who helped make this idea reality. It might have started with a driven fear of, “what if?” But the belief from the people who know the value in our rare resource made Keep Okoboji Blue happen!

The Scott Baumgard Memorial Rain Garden Fund

On March 18, 2011, Scott Baumgard was tragically killed in an automobile accident near Sibley, Iowa. He was an advocate of Keep Okoboji Blue and a supportive husband to Deidre Rosenboom. Together, they formed the Keep Okoboji Blue mission.

Scott displayed acceptance and unconditional love for every living thing. In his memory, we are collecting funds for a rain garden in Arnolds Park.  A rain garden is a landscaped area allowing storm water run off to filter pollutants and sediments through before entering the lake. Rain Gardens are constructed with various sub surface materials for filtering purposes. Above ground will be grasses, prairie flowers and plants that help the water flow down into the water table or lake. The Rain Garden is expected to be constructed in Arnolds Park, near the Amusement Park with on-going discussion to be so everybody can enjoy. This will not happen immediately as designs, permits and funding will have to be accomplished first. The goal is to be completed in two to three years.

raingarden

THE LIFE OF SCOTT BAUMGARD

Scott Douglas Baumgard graduated from Spirit Lake High School in 1995. He went on to pursue his education in business and accounting from Iowa Lakes Community College. Scott’s entrepreneurial spirit was put to work to offset the cost of his education, through his hemp necklace business, Scootie’s Hemp. With foresight of the importance of a key term, Scott trademarked “Keep Okoboji Blue” in 1996, waiting for its true purpose to come through. After graduation, he owned Baumgard LLC, a landscaping company that served the Lakes area. Shortly after, he met the love of his life, Deidre Rosenboom. The two were united in marriage on September 22, 2001.

Scott’s hardworking drive continued to serve him well as he began a career with Rosenboom Machine and Tool as one of the company’s first production employees. His latest role was serving as logistics manager for Sheldon and Spirit Lake operations. Scott had admiration for the hard work, dedication and goal setting of those he supervised. Coworkers appreciated Scott’s boundless energy, and the time he took to personally learn about each individual- from their goals to the members of their family.
Throughout his marriage to Deidre, the two enjoyed many adventures and fostered great friendships, pursuing their mutual love of the Iowa Great Lakes. Soon, the two gave purpose to Keep Okoboji Blue, using the phrase to highlight the importance of environmental awareness and lakes ecology.

In 2007, Scott and Deidre were able to open the doors on a business that showcased their love of the Lakes area, creating a sense of community at the Wine Bar and Art Gallery, where they fostered long-running friendships while creating many new ones.

Scott will forever be cherished for his unapologetic sense of humor, snazzy dress shirts, his constantly evolving facial hair, and, more than anything, his limitless ability to accept others and see their true potential. Friends of Scott will forever cherish their memories of great laughter, infectious energy and boundless love they knew from having Scott in their life.

Blessed be the memory of Scott Baumgard.