KLEM Features


Gehlen Catholic and Le Mars Community

Compete at Starfest 2015



Gehlen Catholic and Le Mars Commnity High School competed at Starfest 2015 in Sioux City on Saturday, September 26, 2015.  Le Mars Comunity’s Big Red Band placed 6th in competition.


New sport introduced to Le Mars


(Le Mars) — A new sport is being introduced to Le Mars.  It is a combination of tennis, bad mitten, and ping pong, and it is called Pickle Ball.  A couple of weeks ago, the city council approved the action to paint additional lines on some of the city tennis courts to accommodate those wanting to start the game in Le Mars.  Greg Mitchell heads up a group of enthusiasts calling for Pickle Ball to be played in Le Mars.  He talks about the new game that is catching on in popularity.

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Mitchell says for those still wanting to play tennis, they should not have any problems with the lines that have been painted for Pickle Ball on the tennis courts.

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Mitchell says the game originated in the state of Washington.

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Introductory classes will be offered on Monday and again on Wednesday for those interested in learning more about the game.

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Mitchell says the game can be played with singles or doubles.

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Instructions will take place at the Le Mars Municipal Park tennis courts between 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Monday evening and on Wednesday morning between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.


Le Mars boy places 2nd at Nationals

(Le Mars) — Last week you may recall KLEM news told you about a local 13 year old boy, named Blaise Coffee, who was going to Cleveland, Ohio to compete in the National Soap Box Derby Racing.  Coffee actually did very well at the national competition by finishing second in his age group and category.

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The trophy awarded to the young soap box racer stands taller than Coffee, and he says it was a bit difficult getting the trophy home.

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The young soap box car racer says the championship rounds placed all racers a ranking seating.

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Coffee says he lost only one race while competing for the soap box derby championships.

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The 13 year old says he realizes every other soap box car racer will be trying to beat him, now that he placed second in the national championships, but Coffee is confident about his racing abilities.

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Jim De Boer, of Orange City, Iowa

submitted by Kiley Allan, Le Mars Community Middle School student

Jim De Boer, of Orange City, Iowa, has a collection of handmade tractors and trucks, which he displays at the Plymouth County Fair.

Mr. De Boer hand-carves his collection of models out of wood and paints them.  He also adds many other accessories, like people, tool boxes with tools inside, things for the people to carry and moving parts—such as doors and hoods that open, trucks with springs, gears that shift, working breaks and swinging drawbars.

He said, he started making them when he was 12-14 years of age, but he really became interested in the mid. 1970s.

His moving models are all John Deere.  He said, he really liked John Deere when he was young and bought his first John Deere in 1944.

It takes him 80-100 hours to make a two-cylinder model — while anything with a cab takes 120-150 hours.

He mostly uses pinewood.  But the wooden-carved tires are recycled from used window and doorframes. He uses plastic or Plexiglas for glass parts, such as windows.

When painting, he applies one coat spray paint and two to three coats with a brush.

On average, he makes two or three models a year.  He uses a John Deere #7500 forage harvester as an example.  That model took him a half-year to complete.

To make the models as accurate as possible, he takes pictures and measurements at fairs and tractor shows.  De Boer says, when he gets home from gathering information for his next model, he draws it to scale and makes preparations for his next model.

A fair board member, Tony Schroeder, contacted him about bringing his collection to the Plymouth County Fair, in Le Mars, Iowa.  To his advantage, the fair board gives him a free fair pass, so he can be near his display and educate people about his collection, which has been housed in the fair’s round barn.

Mr. De Boer used to work as a farmer, and after that, at a gas station.  He still makes models, but not as much as he used to, because his wife, Bernice, is in the nursing home.

De Boer said, “She is proud of him, and says, he spends too much time in the basement,’’ to which he laughed.  I think that we all very much appreciate the time he spends in the basement.