Sages Over 70, Leety Delights, Events On Tap
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September 8, 2020  |  VIEW AS WEBPAGE
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Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College, is one of the six Sages Over 70 in the 2020 class.


September is shaping up to a be a fun one here at dsm magazine, as we've got a couple of notable events and deadlines.

Our Sages Over 70 virtual ceremony takes place in just a couple of weeks at 12 p.m. on Sept. 23. As always, the class consists of role models who have lived with wisdom, grace and dedication to community leadership. Without a doubt, Greater Des Moines is a better place because of their tireless work and mentorship.

  • Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College.
  • Allison Fleming, community volunteer and philanthropist.
  • Robert Pulver, retired founder, president and CEO of All-State Industries.
  • John Ruan III, chairman of Ruan Transportation and the Bankers Trust board of directors.
  • Robert Shaw, M.D., retired neonatologist, Blank Children’s Hospital.
  • Pam Williams, co-founder and director of the Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps.

Read their stories in these profiles from the September issue. Register for the event here.

Friday, Sept. 18, is the deadline for nominations for our inaugural dsm Home Design Awards. We want to recognize the area’s top interior designers, architects, landscape architects, craftspeople and builders. Submit your most impressive home projects, and you could be recognized. Find out more here.
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Tyonda Boagard-King (front) and Elisha King (back) are the minds behind LeeTy Delights, a local bakery with an ambition to be the "Baskin-Robbins of cinnamon rolls."


Writer: Karla Walsh

Each week in dsmWeekly, we’ll introduce you to a local food company owned by a person of color. Catch up on the previous editions: Street Eats DSM, G.G.’s Chicken & Waffles, Palm’s Caribbean Cuisine, Artis T’s Catering, Your Mom’s Bakery, Jazz It Up, Chellie’s Sugar Shack Bakery, Bess Kitchen, Curly Girl Cakes and Cookies, Kiana’s Cookie Creations and the Goodie Bowl.

As the old trope goes: When one door closes, another opens. Five months ago, when Tyondra Boagard-King —an ardent cinnamon roll lover—noticed the Southridge Mall Cinnabon had closed, she took matters into her own hands. Boagard-King went home and created her own. She loved the results so much, she woke her wife, Elisha King, in the middle of the night saying, “You HAVE to taste this!” King raved as well after trying.

Boagard-King started sharing with family, and eventually invested in a limited liability corporation and an official inspection to get their home kitchen certified to run LeeTy Delights. “Our goal is to be the Baskin-Robbins of cinnamon rolls,” says Boagard-King, who co-owns the brand with King. “I want to develop 31 flavors, and eventually perhaps open a small store here locally—and maybe more beyond that."

While Boagard-King learned her baking skills from her grandmother as a child, King admits she knew nothing about cinnamon rolls until they teamed up. “Tyondra taught me how to make the recipes," she says. "I’m a quick learner when I can watch. It’s not that difficult, it’s just remembering the ingredients, getting active yeast and preparing the dough just right."

The duo, who also co-own an in-home day care, make their rolls with love—and with crazy-good flavor combos made with high-quality ingredients. The peach cinnamon rolls are filled with fresh peaches and frosted with a peach extract-infused icing, while the cherry cobbler cinnamon rolls are jampacked full of cherries. So far, the cookies and cream and peanut-butter cup cinnamon rolls are the bestsellers.

LeeTy Delights recently added crispy rice cereal treats in snickerdoodle, cookies and cream, and strawberry varieties to the menu per customer request, but cinnamon rolls will always be their bread and butter, if you will.

To view the menu and place an order, check out
Sean Jones and his quartet will kick off the postponed Civic Music Association season in January.
Photo: Civic Music Association


A few arts, culture and philanthropic organizations have announced new virtual events and postponements. Here's the latest.

Jazz, Jewels and Jeans: Jazz, Jewels & Jeans, An Evening at Noce, will combine jazz with fundraising for a good cause, the Oakridge Neighborhood, at 7 p.m. Friday. Featuring the Max Wellman Quartet, the virtual-only event will be streamed live on YouTube and Facebook. Donations to benefit Oakridge Neighborhood are accepted here.

Passport to Prosperity Week: The Iowa International Center's Passport to Prosperity Week will take place Sept. 21-27, when they will also showcase their Passport to Prosperity honorees. The program recognizes immigrants and refugees for their significant economic, cultural or social contributions to our communities and Iowa. The activities will include free virtual international trivia, a free webinar, a drive-through event called the Avenue of Flags, and a virtual Passport to Prosperity Program to conclude the week. The list of honorees can be found here, and a schedule of this year’s events can be found at this link.

Civic Music Association: The Civic Music Association has postponed its first three concerts of the 2020-21 season. Performances are now slated to start in January, with the Sean Jones Quartet on Jan. 15. Tickets go on sale Oct. 26.

    The Italian beef sandwich (left) and the veggie sub (right) are headliners on Indianola's Funaro's Deli menu.


    Writer: Wini Moranville

    No doubt about it: September and October offer some of the year’s best picnic weather, as long as it warms up and stays dry! On one of those days when, in the words of Albert Camus, “every leaf’s a flower,” consider a getaway to Lake Ahquabi State Park to take in the changing tree-scape. And as temperatures head lower, warm sandwiches from a deli in nearby Indianola will especially hit the spot.

    Lake Ahquabi State Park: Two things I love most about this park: The historic stone shelters and lodge—built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s—offer a compelling sense of history. Plus, the grassy outcroppings of land jutting into the man-made lake let you spread a blanket atop your own little mini-peninsula for a picnic. Even if you don’t score one of these prime spots, there are plenty of well-placed tables all over the 770-acre park, which lies just half an hour’s drive from Des Moines.

    The 6 1/2 miles of mostly gravel trails include one 4-mile loop around the lake, plus 2 1/2 miles that wind through the woods.

    Funaro’s Deli: Located on the northwest corner of downtown Indianola’s square and now in its second generation of family ownership, this deli serves 20 specialty sandwiches, plus all kinds of build-your-own options. Especially of note are sandwiches served on the hoagie rolls that are freshly baked in-house every morning. To wit: the thoroughly satisfying Italian beef sandwich, with fried sweet peppers, onions and melted provolone cheese. The foil-wrapped sandwich stayed plenty warm during the 10-minute drive to the lake. We equally enjoyed those fried sweet peppers (and the super-fresh bread) with our veggie sub. Be sure to nab some fresh homemade cookies, too. 

    Funaro’s Deli is 201 N. Buxton St., Indianola, 515-961-7627.
    Yona, a third-grader, was one of the many refugee children who participated in the My Art, My Story community event in July. Find his profile here. Photo: Parker Johnson


    Writer: Allaire Nuss

    Parker Johnson believes everyone has a story. That’s why the Valley High School senior launched My Art, My Story, a community event and online gallery providing a platform for Iowa’s child refugees to tell their stories through art.

    “There are lots of unique experiences the refugees have, particularly young refugees,” Johnson says. "Allowing them the chance to tell their stories, or even just simply to get the chance to have access to art (which isn’t an opportunity they always have) is just something I’m really keen on pursuing.”

    The initial event took place at Evelyn K. Davis Park in July. Each child received a sheet of paper with an outline of Iowa to draw on however they pleased. As they colored, volunteers helped children draw inspiration from their backgrounds. Bubbles and other outdoor activities were also available for the children to play with.

    “I think art as a whole is really universal,” Johnson says. “Anybody can see it or understand it. ... [The children] were grinning from ear to ear.”

    The result can be seen on There, you'll find pictures of children holding their creations and little profiles about their lives and interests. You can buy a book with all of the artwork for $25 as well, benefiting Des Moines Refugee Support.

    Johnson’s interest in helping refugees began when his family helped another family from Myanmar adjust to life in Iowa. Only 5 at the time, Johnson’s most prominent memory was playing with the family’s young son.

    “I didn’t really understand that anything was out of the ordinary,” Johnson says. “I think that’s kind of what has compelled me to help refugees today. Kids don’t really know the difference between kids who they’re familiar with and kids from other countries. All kids just seem to be kids.”

    My Art, My Story is also meant to spread a message to Des Moines.

    “These kids live in the same community we do,” Johnson says. “I think [the project] gave lots of kids a chance to be able to broadcast their art and their talents to the larger community.”

      One of the many food vendors at a past World Food and Music Festival, which is moving online this year.
      Photo: Greater Des Moines Partnership


      Writer: Allaire Nuss

      The 16th Annual World Food and Music Festival is returning for a socially distanced celebration of the area's cultures and heritages. The festival, hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, will be held Sept. 12-20 via online programming and safe in-person events.

      Downtown Events Director Colleen Murphy says she and many others have been working to preserve the spirit of the festival despite the challenges of COVID-19. The festival attracts about 90,000 every year, making it one of the largest gatherings in Des Moines. “We knew that we couldn’t do what we’d done in the past,” she says. “It’s really not feasible to have a traditional festival this year.”

      While the numbers will be different this year, there will be some normalcy. The same multicultural flags will line the East Village, just as they have the past 15 years. Organizers will send out 1,000 free culture activity kits to individuals to enjoy at home. And, of course, there’s the food. This year’s Community Cookout will be virtual, with participants creating their own recipes at home and sharing on social media.

      But the festival isn’t the only time or way to experience multiculturalism, Murphy notes. It’s only a showcase for what Des Moines already has to offer for restaurants and cultural organizations.

      “I think a lot of people are always surprised at what is here, at what is a part of our community,” she says. “It’s such a joy to be a part of.”

      Find out more about the World Music Festival here.

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