About JTB 247 & IPI

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JTB247’s inception was in June 2021. We were proud to announce the return of Iowa Prep Illustrated in November 2023, in on-line version (only). Iowa Prep Illustrated was a popular high school sports magazine in the state in the Mid-90s. We are honoring its founder Mike Stevens, with its return.

It’s focus will primarily be Northwest Iowa.

Its online editor, Jeff has had plenty trials and errors during his lifetime, along with numerous health issues since July 1, 2021, leaving him disabled since May 2022. However, he refuses to look back, and focus on the present, future, and most of all his family, especially his grandchildren.

He became a born again Christian in 2015, behind the support of friends and family.

(Photo left) Jeff pictured with his two grown children Alex and Ashley in Jeff’s home; (Photo right) Jeff pictured with his two granddaughters Arleigh and Aloni in Jeff’s home during the holidays.

Jeff has has spent more than three decades as a sports writer, sports editor, and sports photographer. He’s won numerous Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) awards during that period, winning best sports photo, best sports story, and best sports pages (2009, 2010), all multiple times. In 2012, he was selected Best Sports Columnist in Weeklies Class II.

His trails in newsprint media have taken him across the state. During his time working in Northeastern Iowa as a sports editor (Charles City Press), Jeff had the privilege of covering Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI football, in addition to four area schools (Charles City, Nashua-Plainfield, North Butler, and Rockford).

He has worked for his hometown newspapers (Cherokee Chronicle and Cherokee Daily Times). At the Cherokee Chronicle, he had the opportunity to work for one of his newspaper mentors Paul Struck. He served as sports editor for the Cherokee Daily Times until March of 2002, when the two publications became one publication owned by then Rust Communications.

He has also worked for newsprint publications based in Ida, O’Brien, Lyon, and Webster Counties.

He’s served as a voting member for the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) all-state selections in boys & girls basketball, baseball, and football for more than 20 years, and also served as a Associated Press Iowa weekly rankings voter for boys high school athletics.

Jeff is a United States Air Force veteran. He had basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX, and technical training in Texas. Jeff was stationed at Grand Forks AFB (Strategic Air Command) in North Dakota, where he served as a security specialist for alert aircraft (B-52 Bombers, KC-135 Air Refuelers).

He attended Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. There he met his former wife and began a family.

He worked in radio at Iowa Central Community College (Ft. Dodge), and for a short time as a part-time on-air person at KCHE in Cherokee.

He has also served as a middle school volleyball & basketball coach (Galva-Holstein), a volunteer high school assistant softball coach (Cherokee) under legendary coach Leo Hupke. He served as a community college assistant coach in women’s basketball and softball (Iowa Central), in addition to serving as recruitment coordinator at Iowa Central for women’s athletics (softball, basketball). He was a Ellsworth Community College statistician for football during tenure of the late head coach Mark Thomsen. He was a volunteer staff individual for the 1995-96 NJCAA National Tournament qualifier women’s basketball team coached by Annie (Stelow) Kalous. That team tied a school record 26 wins for the season, finishing 26-4. He’s very proud to have worked and mentored by some great coaches, including Dennis Pilcher (Iowa Central Community College), Jerry Malloy (Iowa Central Community College), and Tom Beneke (Iowa Central Community College).

Jeff is a father of two grown children (Ashley, Alex), the grandfather of two: Arleigh Nicole (5) & Aloni Ann (1-1/2). Jeff also has two grown sisters Jean of Cherokee and Jenni or rural Schaller.

Jeff’s parents are the late Vernon “Pete” and Connie Benson.

Jeff is the nephew of the late Kenny Bern & Olga Bern of Cherokee. Kenny never met a stranger and was considered the No. 1 Sports Fan.

Athletics are really the foundation of how kids’ attitudes are formed and shaped. And that has to work with the coach and the parents.” – Herm Edwards