Home News Friday News, February 1st

Friday News, February 1st


Fugitives Arrested After Chase In Le Mars

(Le Mars) — Authorities were able to arrest three suspects Thursday afternoon at approximately 5:00 p.m. following a high speed pursuit that began at Sergeant Bluffs and ended in Le Mars. The Le Mars Police Department says the pursuit of a black Ford Ranger pickup truck with Minnesota license plates, carrying a man wanted by the U-S Marshall’s Office occurred in Sioux City. The pickup truck lost authorities in southern Plymouth County. Information was obtained that the pickup truck was heading to Le Mars. A Le Mars Police officer clocked the pickup coming into Le Mars on 7th Avenue S.E. at speeds of excess of 100 mph. Fugitives Gabriel Verbeski and Chase Riessen, both identified as “Siouxland’s Most Wanted” have both been arrested following an hour long pursuit with Police on Thursday afternoon. Also arrested was a woman identified as Holly Vandehoef.
The pursuit began when a Sergeant Bluff Police Officer attempted to pull over a Black Ford Ranger driven by Verbeski. Verbeski took off at a high rate of speed with police giving chase. Sergeant Bluff and Sioux City Police pursued the vehicle through multiple areas of Sioux City before terminating the pursuit due to safety reasons.
A short time later the vehicle was spotted by police in Le Mars still traveling at a high rate of speed. Police attempted to stop the vehicle when Verbeski led police on another pursuit, this time through the City of Le Mars. The high speed pursuit in Le Mars lasted nearly six minutes, when the vehicle stopped in the 600 block of Grandview Avenue southeast. A pursuit
ensued of the pickup throughout the southeast portion of Le Mars on city streets.  The pickup drove recklessly almost striking cars and drove across several residential yards to evade capture.  After several minutes the pickup stopped on Grandview Avenue. Verbeski and Riessen eventually abandoned the vehicle in a yard and took off running on foot. The female, identified as Holly Vandehoef remained with the vehicle. All occupants were
captured by authorities.  Three were arrested.  They face drug charges and two had warrants. Both men were quickly captured by Officers with the Le Mars Police Department and Deputies with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. Both men were booked into the Plymouth County jail on their previous state warrants. Gabriel Verbeski is wanted on a felony warrant for
running away from the Sioux City Residential Treatment Facility for a 3rd time. Chase Riessen is also wanted on felony warrants for running away from Sioux City’s Residential Treatment Facility after assaulting two staff members there. The woman, Vandehoef, was charged on several drug related charges including the possession of, and intent to deliver methamphetamine.
Both men will likely face additional charges relating to the pursuit.

Gabriel Verbeski

Chase Riessen

Holly Vandehoef



KLEM Expo Begins Today

(Le Mars) — Today and tomorrow, February 1st and 2nd are the dates for the annual KLEM Expo to be held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center. Sue Brandenburg and Brian Westra of KLEM radio help supervise the annual event. Brandenburg says there’s plenty to see at this year’s KLEM

Westra says the KLEM Expo will take on the theme of the “Big Game” to be played on Sunday. He talks about the hours of the show, and what attendees can expect.

Brandenburg says the KLEM Expo will also feature an array of “home-based” business exhibitors.

Westra says the KLEM Expo will feature several new exhibitors.

A list of the KLEM Expo exhibitors can be located on the KLEM website.



Gehlen Catholic Receives Financial Gifts For Upgraded Technology

(Le Mars) — Gehlen Catholic acknowledged some financial gifts that were presented during the halftime of last evening’s basketball game. Premier Communications contributed $2,000 for technology. Angie Erdmann represented Premier Communications and stated, “Premier Communications Foundation is very supportive of all of the communities we are in, in particular to all the schools Premier Communications provides service too.” Gehlen Catholic parents Brad and Angie Jochum made a generous “Christmas gift” to the school
for the elementary students’ use. Prior to Christmas, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce’s Main Street presented a check to to Gehlen Catholic from their annual “Shop. Save. Give.” Promotion in November & December.
Technology Director, Lori Schuch, stated, “Chromebooks have no hard drive, which allows them to start up faster, connect to the Wifi & get moving.
Students can easily create documents, spreadsheets, power points, etc.  Students & teachers alike access their assignments & projects from any computer. The newer Chromebooks have some of the same functionality of tables & iPads with touch screen computing capabilities. Chromebooks are more affordable than laptops.”
Prior to these gifts, Schuch reported Gehlen Catholic had approximately 140 Chromebooks. Gehlen Catholic needed to replace 50 & purchase an additional 50 to meet the current economic demands. “Thanks to these individuals & organizations, Gehlen Catholic was able to upgrade the Chromebook cart used by the junior high & high school students, purchase a charging station for 3rd grade & purchase Chromebooks for both 3rd grade & kindergarten.”



Fire Department Submits Annual Report

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department recently submitted its annual report to the Le Mars city council. In that report, Fire Chief Dave Schipper indicated the local fire brigrade responded to more calls in 2018 than in 2017, but fewer calls than 2016. Back in 2016, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to 521 calls, in 2017 there were 433 calls, and this past year the total number of calls amounted to 501.

Schipper says it is always an unknown factor as to how many calls they will respond to each year. He says they are paged through the Plymouth County Communications Center, as well as they receive several direct calls.

Schipper offers a breakdown on the calls starting with the rural calls that nearly doubled from the 47 calls in 2017 to the 93 in 2018.

The complete breakdown of the fire department’s calls included 12 structure fires and 11 vehicle fires. There were 70 rescue calls with seven extractions. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a total of 14 grass and field fires. There has been a downward trend for investigations going from 117 in 2015, to the latest number of 88 investigations in 2018. Schipper estimates the total dollar loss attributed to fires was at $88,900 for city loss, and $955,300 for the rural losses.



Babysitter Testifies During Trial

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) – A woman who says she babysat an Iowa infant who was later left to die in a baby swing testified at the mother’s trial that the baby seemed underweight.
The Courier reports that Jennifer Schriever, who had been a neighbor of 21-year-old Cheyanne Harris’, testified Thursday during the second day of Harris’ murder trial that she offered to babysit for Harris in July 2017.
Schriever said the first time she babysat, Harris left then-3-month-old Sterling Koehn and a 2-year-old girl with her for 17 hours. Schriever said the baby had a raw diaper rash and seemed underweight, but ate hungrily.
Schriever said she babysat one other time before the baby was found dead Aug. 30, 2017. An autopsy shows he died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection caused by being left in a maggot-infested diaper for up to two weeks.
The boy’s father, Zachary Koehn, already has been sentenced to life in prison.



Senator Ernst Says She Is Frustrated With Congressman Steve King

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Republican Sen. Joni Ernst is expressing frustration with Iowa Congressman Steve King’s comments about immigration and white supremacy.
Ernst told Iowa reporters Thursday that she shouldn’t have to be
“spending precious time talking about white supremacy and comments by a member of our delegation.”
Ernst says “we really do need to start focusing on our speech and watching our tone.” She says everyone would be better off focusing on the issues and not on religious or ethnic differences.
King, a nine-term House member, caused an uproar after he was quoted in the New York Times stating, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?”
King, a Republican, claims his comments were taken out of context.
The House rebuked him and Republicans stripped him of committee assignments.



Lawmakers Want To Reform Abortion Bill 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A majority of legislators in the Iowa Senate, frustrated at repeated court rulings declaring anti-abortion laws unconstitutional, have introduced a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would declare it “does not secure or protect a right to abortion.”
The proposed amendment was introduced Jan. 24 by Republican Sen. Jake Chapman two days after a state court judge struck down yet another attempt by the Legislature to limit abortion. It has the backing of 29 senators.
Chapman says the court created a right that doesn’t exist in the
The House must pass a similar resolution and the Legislature must pass it again next year before it would be placed on a statewide ballot.
Voters in Alabama and West Virginia passed similar constitutional
amendments in November.