Home News Thursday Afternoon News, April 20th

Thursday Afternoon News, April 20th


Preparations Being Made For Friends of Gehlen Ball

(Le Mars) — “Generations of Excellence” is the chosen theme for this year’s Friends of Gehlen Catholic Ball scheduled for Saturday evening at the Le Mars Convention Center. Jeff Arens serves as one of the co-chairs for the annual fundraising
event, and explains the reasons behind the theme.

Generations of Excellence Ball logoArens says the purpose for the Gehlen Ball is to serve as the major fundraiser for the local Catholic school. He details the evening’s activities.

The Gehlen Ball co-chair says following the check presentation, attendees will have the choice of listening to music on two different levels.

As mentioned, the Gehlen Ball is the main fund raiser event for the Gehlen Catholic School. Arens says donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated, and account for nearly ten percent of the school’s budget.

Arens says this year there are several items of interest for the annual silent auction.

Tickets are still available for the Saturday evening Gehlen Ball. A $100 contribution will reserve two tickets for the banquet meal, program, and the entertainment. Arens says tickets can be purchased at the Gehlen school, or from members of the Gehlen Ball committee, or at the door.



Three Former Gehlen Students Organize “Then Feed Just One” Program At University of South Dakota

(Vermillion, SD) — Three former Gehlen Catholic students that are now attending the University of South Dakota at Vermillion have organized a “Then Feed Just One” meal packaging project. Krayton Schnepf, Josie Galles, and Paris Schroeder
each participated in the Mission Honduras program while attending Gehlen Catholic. They wanted to continue the efforts of focusing on the poverty stricken people of Honduras after their high school years at Gehlen. These three, along with several other University of South Dakota students have formed
an official collegiate organization along with the election of officers.
Recently, the University of South Dakota’s “Then Feed Just One” organization completed its first ever meal packaging event. The university students were able to assemble nearly 12,000 meals that consists of rice, soy protein, dried vegetables, and vitamins and minerals. Gehlen Catholic will host its annual
“Then Feed Just One” meal program on May 4th and 5th.



Le Mars Community School Alumni Association Names Renken As “Distinguished Alum”

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Community School District Alumni Association has announced its “Distinguished Alumnus” award. This year, the honor will go to Keith Renken from the class of 1953. Renken, who now resides in California, retired in 1992 from being the Managing Partner with the prestigious accounting
and consulting firm, Deloitte and Touche.

Renken, Keith


Renken served as managing partner of Los Angeles and the Southwest Region. He joined the University of Southern California as a professor in the graduate program at the University of Southern California School of Accounting in 1992 teaching until his retirement in 2006.
He remains active on many Los Angeles business and non-profit boards. He is also the Managing Partner of Renken Enterprises, a family business headquartered in Claremont, California, that deals in Real Estate and Agricultural operations as well as provides consulting for small to medium size companies. Renken was nominated by Vernon and Karen Tschampel Harrington with supporting letters from his classmates, Dr. Don Hall and Donna Nicholson Staver. Keith will be honored
at the 2017 Le Mars Community School District Foundation banquet dinner on Wednesday, April 26th along with other
District employees and students. This is a joint award of the Le Mars Community School Foundation and Alumni Association.



Holz Believes Legislature Will Continue Into Next Week

(Des Moines) — The Iowa Legislature was hoping that they may be able to finish their work by today, but Republican State Representative Chuck Holz of Le Mars doesn’t believe the gavel will sound for adjournment.

Chuck Holz

Holz says there are still several budget bills, including a water quality bill, that need to be resolved before the lawmakers can return to their homes.

The Le Mars state representative tells of what the legislature’s hopes are for the future regarding water quality.



Leopold Center Falls Short From Legislative Budget Cuts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A budget bill that would eliminate a longtime research
center at Iowa State University is headed to Gov. Terry Branstad.
The Republican-controlled Legislature approved an agriculture-related budget bill this week that eliminates the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture by July 1. Remaining activities within the 30-year-old center would be administered by the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. State Representative Chuck Holz of Le Mars says it was unfortunate, but the legislature simply ran out of money and was not able to fund the Leopold Center
any longer.

Holz says he realizes there are several people who are disappointed with the legislature’s actions, but he says the Leopold Center no longer qualifies as a high priority for the state legislature. However, Holz says he was able to secure funding for some conservation projects slated for western Iowa.

The bill redirects money for the Leopold Center – about $1.5 million – to the Nutrient Research Center at ISU, which studies the removal of nutrients in the water. A separate budget bill that cuts nearly $400,000 for the Leopold Center is also headed to governor.
GOP lawmakers have indicated the Leopold Center has completed its work. ¬†Staff for the center dispute that, arguing the center’s research is valuable to farmers.



Former Iowa Work Force Judge Lawsuit Trial Begins

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A prosecutor is denying allegations that a fraud charge filed against a former Iowa judge is retribution for her efforts to challenge Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration.
Assistant Polk County Attorney Jaki Livingston says her office was unaware of former Administrative Law Judge Susan Ackerman’s activities as a whistleblower when it charged her with felony insurance fraud last fall.
She says the prosecution is motivated by Ackerman’s “fraudulent behavior not retaliatory” for her role helping expose a hostile environment for judges who worked at Iowa Workforce Development.
Ackerman is accused of lying on insurance forms to give her adult daughter state health coverage. The state fired the 15-year judge over the same allegation two years ago, and pursued the criminal investigation.
Ackerman has asked a judge to dismiss the case, arguing the prosecution “is selective and vindictive.” A hearing’s set for next month.


13 Year Old Chained To Prevent Running Away

PEOSTA, Iowa (AP) – The parents and uncle of a 13-year-old Iowa boy and frequent runaway are accused of chaining a weight to him to keep him home.
Court records say Michael and Cynthia Kobusch, and her brother, Jeffrey Merfeld, are charged with child endangerment.
The boy told investigators that once when his parents were away, Merfeld padlocked a chain around the boy’s waist and attached a weight. The documents provide various assessments of the heft of the chain and weight, but don’t describe how much it restricted his mobility. ¬†His parents were away for at least four days and he says they left the chain on for two days after they returned to Peosta, 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines.