Home News Saturday News, February 2nd

Saturday News, February 2nd


Le Mars Police Chief Comments On Thursday’s Pursuit And Arrest of Wanted Suspects

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says the individuals arrested late Thursday afternoon following a high speed chase are “bad individuals that have no regard for the public.” Three people were arrested on Thursday at about 5:00 p.m. Fugitives Gabriel Verbeski and Chase Riessen,
both identified as “Siouxland’s Most Wanted” were arrested following a pursuit with Police on Thursday afternoon. Also arrested was a woman identified as Holly Vandehoef. Vande Vegte says the police was fortunate to apprehend the wanted individuals without having any accidents, or additional
danger to the general public.

Vande Vegte says two of the individuals were listed as the U-S Marshall’s “Most Wanted.” He says the police were informed prior to Thursday’s incident that the wanted suspects may come to Le Mars.

Vande Vegte describes the events leading up to the apprehesion and arrest of Verbeski and Riessen.

The Le Mars Police Chief says the chase went through several Le Mars streets in the southeast area of town, and the fugitives even drove in the residents yards, before leaving the pickup truck and fleeing on foot before being captured.

Verbeski was identified as the driver. Along with various traffic charges, Verbeski was also arrested for a State of Iowa mittimus and warrants from Woodbury County. Riessen was arrested for a State of Iowa mittimus and warrants from Woodbury County. Additionally, Riessen was charged with interference with official acts for his role in the incident.
Holly Vandhoef was found to be in possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to deliver and failed to have a State of Iowa drug tax stamp. All three subjects were transported to the Plymouth County Jail.
The incident remains under investigation.
The Le Mars Police Department was assisted by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Le Mars Fire Department.

Gabriel Verbeski

Chase Riessen

Holly Vandehoef



Le Mars Community School District Seeking Nominations For “Teacher of the Year”

(Le Mars) — The LeMars Community School District Foundation and Alumni Association will again jointly sponsor and select a “Teacher of the Year” to represent the many great teachers who exemplify our school district and its educational goals. The award is called the Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell Award. Its purpose is to recognize and honor teachers who demonstrate
excellence in education by meeting the needs of the students.
Anyone wishing to nominate a teacher for the Decades of Excellence CrystalBell Award may stop by the Superintendent’s Office or any of the principals’ offices or visit the school district’s website to obtain nomination materials. The application should be completed and submitted by Friday, March 29, 2019.
If any questions, please call the Superintendent’s Office at 546-4155.



Three Gehlen Catholic Students Awarded Mission Honduras Scholarships 

(Le Mars) — Gehlen Catholic celebrated the preschool-12th grade student body as part of Catholic Schools Week. Friday’s purpose was to provide enjoyable & meaningful activities to recognize the students’ accomplishments. It is also a time to reflect on the benefits of Catholic education & how the grounding in faith, knowledge & service will help students throughout their lives.
In keeping with the message of Student Appreciation Day, 3 Gehlen Catholic seniors were bestowed with the 2nd Annual Eugene & Betty Sitzmann Scholarship during the Student Blessing.

Gene & Betty were big advocates of Mission Honduras & the ideals it promoted, including leadership, service, & humility.

The Sitzmann family said the scholarship’s purpose is to help offset the cost of three student’s expenses for the 2019 Mission Honduras student trip to further the Church’s & school’s mission by serving Jesus’ people & spreading His message.

14 Gehlen Catholic students submitted either a piece of poetry, prose, reflection, art, carving, &/or video.

The Sitzmann family said, “All of the submissions were great! We felt bad leaving any of the students out. We enjoyed reading through them & were thoroughly impressed with all of their thoughts, stories & images. We are excited to hear about their experiences upon the students return.”

Three students were chosen to receive the Mission Honduras scholarship. The first recipient is Aubree Nilles, daughter of Lee & Angela Nilles of Le Mars.
Adam Berkenpas, son of Kris & the late Dave Berkenpas of Le Mars, is this year’s second recipient.

The final recipient is Jared Morris, son of Lisa Morris & Joe Morris, both of Le Mars. They chose to award Jared $500 too because of his dedication to others.

(photo contributed)

The 2019 Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras team will depart on Wednesday, March 13th. While in Honduras, the team will build 3 houses, 20 bunk beds, 5 picnic tables, & 3 vertical gardens; visit an orphanage; celebrate Masses with Father Matthew Solyntjes; and more.

The Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras team will return on Friday, March 22nd.



Gehlen Nurse Is Awarded Chamber of Commerce “Employee Of The Month”

(Le Mars) — During the student blessing ceremony acknowledging Catholic Schools Week, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce presented its January “Employee of the Month” award to Gehlen’s nurse, Mandy Weiland. Weiland was nominated by Gehlen’s faculty, staff, and students. Mandy Weilland serves
as Gehlen Catholic School’s Pre K-12 school nurse. A 2000 graduate of Gehlen Catholic, Mandy has served in this position for 10 years. Mandy’s family is a heritage family as her grandfather, parents, brothers and sisters have all attended Gehlen Catholic. Today, she is happy to serve her
alma mater where her 4 children, a niece, and nephew attend and where her mother also serves Gehlen Catholic.

Mandy is an excellent employee and truly demonstrates Gehlen Catholic’s mission to “instill Catholic values in a caring challenging and prayerful environment.” Mandy cares for the medical needs of students and staff, maintains student medical records, distributes medications, teaches health and safety lessons, serves as a facilitator for the Student Wellness
Committee as well as being the local coordinator for Diocesan Wellness Program. She assists in supervising students during recess and lunchtime, distributes weekly LeMars BackPack supplies, serves as a student supporter/cheerleader for the elementary PBIS check-in/check-out program, coordinates health screenings for student/staff and maintains communications
with families. Mandy and her husband Aaron served as the chairs for the 2018 Friends of Gehlen Ball. Mandy is always willing to assist and does so without hesitation.

Mandy’s calm manner, her welcoming smile, skills as a nurse and mom, friendly personality, and caring approach to others, as well as her strong faith make her a great fit for Gehlen Catholic. She works tirelessly to assure students and staff are healthy and ready to learn. It is through the dedication of such employees as Mandy that Gehlen catholic is able to continue to serve families in Northwest Iowa with a quality education based

Congratulations Mandy for the January 2019 LeMars Area Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Month.



State Investigator Testifies In Child’s Endangerment Death Trial

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) – A state investigator has testified that a mother on trial for murder after her infant was found dead in a maggot-infested diaper questioned her maternal care during an interview.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Chris Callaway
testified Friday that 21-year-old Cheyanne Harris told him she had changed 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, given him a bottle and put him in a baby swing the day before he was found dead Aug. 30, 2017.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says Callaway also testified that Harris told him, “I should have checked on him more.”
An autopsy showed the baby died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection caused by being left in a maggot-infested diaper for up to two weeks. First responders found him lifeless in a sweltering bedroom in a baby swing.
Callaway’s testimony came in the third day of Harris’ first-degree
murder trial. The infant’s father, Zachary Koehn, already has been sentenced to life in prison in the case.



Last Defendant For Girl Starvation Trial Is Sent To Prison

ADEL, Iowa (AP) – The last of several people charged in the starvation death of a 16-year-old Iowa girl has been sentenced to prison.
Station KCCI reports that Josie Bousman was sentenced Friday to up to 14 years after she pleaded guilty to neglect and two child endangerment counts in the death of Sabrina Ray. Bousman lived in the home with the teen
and was there when the teen died in May 2017. Sabrina weighed just 56 pounds (25.4 kilograms) at the time of her death.
Sabrina’s adoptive parents pleaded guilty to charges ranging from child endangerment to kidnapping in the case . The mother, Misty Jo Bousman Ray, was sentenced a life sentence without parole and her husband, Marc Ray, got 80 years in prison. An adoptive grandmother and brother also received prison sentences.



Businesses Say Economic Prospects Improved In January

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new report says a January survey of business supply managers is signaling solid economic growth over the next three to six months for nine Midwest and Plains states.
The report issued Friday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 56.0 last month from 55.2 in December. The November figure was 54.1.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the shortages of skilled workers and international trade tensions remain an impediment to even stronger growth.
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth.
A score below that suggests decline.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.



Court Says Insurance Company Doesn’t Have To Pay For Electrical Outage Caused By Squirrel

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Supreme Court says an insurance company doesn’t have to pay for damages after a squirrel climbed onto an electrical transformer and triggered a high-voltage spark that damaged a city’s power
The court ruled Friday that the city of West Liberty held an
insurance policy from EMC Insurance that excluded damage caused by electrical arcs that aren’t related to lightning.
The city argued that a squirrel caused the damage because the animal touched a 7,000-volt clamp and a grounded metal frame, which caused an electrical arc and shorted out the equipment.
But the Supreme Court sided with lower courts that concluded the damage was caused by the electrical arc, not the squirrel.
The city filed a lawsuit in January 2016 after EMC refused to pay
the more than $213,000 in damage.
An attorney for the city did not immediately respond to a message.



Nominations Sought For “Character Awards”

(Des Moines) — Nominations are now being taken for this year’s Iowa Character Awards. They honor individuals, businesses, organizations and schools for their roles in making Iowa a better place to live. Amy Smit is spokeswoman for the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University in
Des Moines, which organizes of the annual awards.

Smit says it’s easy to nominate someone for the recognition.

The award program was founded in 2005 and has since honored more than a hundred individuals for showing good character. There are various categories in which to nominate.

The six pillars of character are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. The entry deadline is May 1st.