Home News Saturday News, January 12th

Saturday News, January 12th



(Le Mars) — Two prominent Le Mars businesses were recognized Friday evening during the Le Mars Community girls’ basketball game for their major donations to the new football stadium.

Premier Communications and Total Motors have pledged $100,000 and $150,000 respectfully.  Premier Communications will have the naming rights to the Stadium Court Yard Plaza.

Kent Westphal explains why Premier Communications wanted to contribute to the new football stadium complex.

Premier Communications’ Angie Erdmann along with Westphal  explains the features of the Premier Communications Court Yard Plaza.

Total Motors of Le Mars is contributing $150,000 which will be used for the Tailgate Area.  Mitch Christoffel says Total Motors wants to take an active role in the community.

Speaking on behalf of the Le Mars Community School District, Todd Lancaster, president of the Le Mars Community Board of Education says the school board is grateful for the contributions.

About a month ago, the Le Mars Community School District acknowledged the donations of Wells Enterprises for $2 Million, and Perspective Insurance along with American Bank for a donation of $100,000.

Primebank also has contributed $100,000 for the new football stadium project.  The total cost for the new football stadium is projected to cost nearly $5 Million.


(Orange City) — A former teacher with the Sioux Center Christian School has been sentenced to 60 years in prison. 37-year old Curtis Van Dam was given his sentence Friday by Judge Steven Andreasen in Sioux County District Court.

This case arose in October of 2017 after authorities began receiving reports that Van Dam, a former teacher and coach, had been orchestrating sexual conduct with multiple students.


On September 12, 2018, Van Dam received a 15 year federal prison term, which includes an 85% (12.75 year) mandatory minimum, for Sexual Exploitation of a Child for a video he created capturing boys showering.

On November 30, 2018, Van Dam pled guilty to the following crimes in Iowa District Court: five counts of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, Class C Felonies, one count of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree, Class B Felony, and one count of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee, a Class D Felony. There were a total of 15 minor victims.

On Friday, the Court sentenced Van Dam to a 60-year prison term that includes a 17.5 year mandatory minimum before he is eligible for parole or work release. The Court further ordered that Van Dam’s 60-year prison term be served consecutive to the federal sentence.

Van Dam will return to federal custody to serve his 15-year federal prison term, and then be returned to Iowa to serve his 60-year prison term.


(Le Mars) — The man accused of robbing the Iowa State Bank in Le Mars has pleaded not guilty. 32-year old Phillip White submitted a written plea in Plymouth County District Court on Friday.

White is charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit theft.  A trial date has not been set.  White, along with 35-year old Karen Merrick were charged with robbing the Le Mars bank on December 12th.  Merrick pleaded not guilty to the accused crimes last week.

The couple used a U-Haul van as their get-away vehicle.  Several law enforcement officials were in pursuit of the U-Haul van following the bank robbery.

The van was stopped as a result of officers using stop sticks that deflated the tires on the van.  Police officers were able to retrieve all the money in the van from the bank robbery.


(Le Mars) — The Friends of the Le Mars Public Library held its annual meeting earlier this week.  Among some people, there is some confusion as to the difference of responsibilities between the Le Mars Public Library and the Friends of the Library.

Friends of the Library president Shawn Brooks explains how the entities are separate, but dependent upon each other.

Brooks further explains the separate responsibilities between the public library, which is subsidized through tax revenue, and the Friends of the Library which is a non-profit organization.

Shirley Taylor, the Director of Services for the Le Mars Public Library says the Friends of the Library consists of more than 60 members, but there is a core group of people that step up to help when ever needed.

Taylor says one of the major fund raising activities that the Friends of the Library sponsors is a book sale.

The Friends of the Library president tells of some the activities, including reading programs, that are being planned for this year involving the organization.

Anyone having an interest in joining the Friends of the Library organization can simply sign-up at the Le Mars Public Library.  For more information, you can speak to Library Services Director, Shirley Taylor.