Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, July 15th

Wednesday Afternoon News, July 15th


City Officials To Close Two Railroad Crossings For Repairs

(Le Mars) — City officials have announced they will be closing 1st Street Northeast at the railroad crossing between Fareway grocery store and the can redemption center. Street Department crews along with railroad crews from the CN Railroad will be replacing the east/west rail crossing. The street will be closed starting on Monday, July 20th and is expected to remain closed
until the evening of Friday, July 24th. In addition to the 1st Street northeast rail crossing to be closed, city officials will also be closing 21st Street southwest on both sides of the railroad crossing on Thursday, July 23rd. Crews will be removing the existing asphalt on both sides of the track. The railroad crossing is located near the southwest corner of Nor-Am Cold Storage. 21st Street southwest serves as a major east-west passage to
the Industrial Park area.




Remsen Again Issues Water Ban

(Remsen) — The City of Remsen has again issued a water ban. Currently the water tower is being cleaned and repainted. In order to complete this work, the tower needs to be empty. In an effort to conserve water for drinking and bathing, a water restriction has been issued. Residents will not be allowed
to water their lawns while the work is being completed.



Conley Honored By Wet Nose Animal Rescue Organization

(Le Mars) — Long-time Le Mars Veterinarian Dr. John Conley was honored Wednesday morning by members of the Wet Nose Rescue Organization. Conley was presented with the “Friend of the Year” Wet Nose Rescue certificate. The local animal rescue organization is celebrating its one year anniversary and wanted to acknowledge the many contributions of Dr. Conley. Conley says he is humbled for the recognition, but credits others for their hard work and dedication to saving pets. Conley, along with his staff, say through the years they have helped match stray cats and dogs with local residents to be adopted.



Vonk And Collins Honored With Distinguished Alumni Awards

(Le Mars) — The joint LCSD Foundation and Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award – Ms. Gayle Albert Vonk and Dr. Steve Collins.

Gayle is a lifelong Le Mars resident and graduated in 1973. Steve also grew up in Le Mars and graduated in 1969.

Lorraine DeJong nominated Gayle Vonk for her dedication to Le Mars Community School and founding the educational funding group, LEEP (Le Mars Community Education Enhancement Project) in 2009.

Lorraine wrote, “During that year (2009) continued budget cuts were causing programs, educational items and even teachers to be cut from the school district. Gayle’s compassion and concern for students and teachers caused her to get a group together to discuss what could be done about it. As a result, LEEP was founded to enhance the value and meaning of education for our students, families, teachers and communities in Le Mars Community School.”

Her vision has led to the success of the organization in additional funds to cover expenditures that were above and beyond those provided in the school budget. LEEP’s first fundraiser in 2010, Taverns for Textbooks, brought in $4,166 and a check was presented to the school board. A new unique men’s cook-off fundraiser called MENuMasters began in 2012 and continued for the next eight years. Since LEEP’s inception the group has raised and given over $214,474.50 back to the students and classrooms at Le Mars Community.

Gayle is also involved in the community of Le Mars, the Plymouth County Fair, is an owner and operator of her own business, Wall Elements, is a Big Sister to a “Little” at Clark Elementary School. Her love of the community and school has been a driving force to work and improve the educational quality of life in Le Mars.

Dr. Steve Collins was nominated by Barbara Wernli Collins. She nominated him for his career as a senior research scientist and engineer at Raytheon, the third largest U.S. aerospace and defense contractor in the world. During his 35 years at Raytheon his work entailed solving difficult technical problems in areas of defense, sensors and imaging, cyber, mission support and innovation. He was awarded six U.S. patents in a variety of technical fields and in 2000, was promoted to Engineering Fellow, the highest elite level of Raytheon engineers. His project team received the Raytheon President’s Award for Excellence.

While living in Lexington, Mass., he played in the Lexington community band for 15 years and served on the board of directors and as secretary.

After retiring in 2014, he returned to Le Mars and was involved in various community projects. He has used the technical and people skills he developed at Raytheon, and his hobby skills in audio/visual arts to enrich the efforts of fundraising for the Westmar Eagle Sculpture, the Historic Preservation Commission, writing grants for Main Street/Chamber of Commerce, helping organize the LCS Noteables Jazz Band get-togethers and co-authoring of the Sesquicentennial History book.




School Officials Discuss Available Options Due To COVID-19

(Le Mars) — School officials across the state, including here at Le Mars, are wondering what is the best method to follow in order to begin school this coming fall? Le Mars Community School District superintendent, Dr. Steve Webner says each option has its pros and cons. Webner met with school board
directors Monday evening to begin discussions regarding the start of school.
One particular challenge is having the space for social distancing. Webner says with any decision that will be made will be in conjunction with health officials recommendations.

He says it may not be possible to have classrooms with enough space for social distancing.

Although Le Mars Community school officials are concerned about the health and safety of the nearly 2000 students, they are equally concerned about the faculty and staff’s health. Dr. Webner worries about having enough substitutes available if any members of the faculty and staff should be infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Check back for additional comments by Dr. Steve Webner regarding the topic of starting school with COVID-19.




Lawsuit Filed to Block Iowa’s New Absentee Ballot Law

(Des Moines, IA)  – – The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and a group called “Majority Forward” filed a lawsuit that seeks to block a new state law on how county election officials handle absentee ballots requests.  Under current practice, county auditors may use voter registration records to correct or fill in the voter registration numbers on absentee ballot request forms from an eligible voter.  The new law says county officials must call, email or write the voter a letter to get the correct information.  Republicans who support the change say it ensures the right person gets a ballot in the mail.  The groups filing the lawsuit argue it increases the risk a voter won’t get a ballot back in time for the election.






Amber Alert Issued For Abducted Davenport Girl

(Davenport, IA)  —  A statewide Amber Alert was issued early today for a Davenport girl who was reportedly abducted last Friday.  Davenport police say 10-year-old Breasia (BREE’- asia) Terrell is still missing and is in danger.  She’s black, four-foot-five and weighs 75 pounds.  The alert says she was last seen wearing an oversized white t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops.  The suspect, 47-year old Henry Dinkins of Davenport, is in custody on a separate charge for violating the state’s sex offender registry law.  The missing girl’s mother reportedly had a son with Dinkins and both children were visiting him together over the weekend.  Dinkins is considered a person of interest in Breasia’s disappearance.






Two Anamosa State Prison Workers Injured During Inmate Attack

(Anamosa, IA)  —  The Iowa Department of Corrections is investigating an assault at the Anamosa State prison that left two workers injured.  Officials say an inmate approached a correctional captain from behind Tuesday morning and struck him several times with a pointed piece of aluminum.  Other staff members came to the captain’s assistance and were able to restrain the inmate.  A female counselor suffered an ankle injury in the scuffle.  The captain was treated and released from the hospital.  The inmate accused in the attack wasn’t hurt.






Man Wanted For Fatal Dubuque Shooting Apprehended in Michigan

(Kalamazoo, MI)  —  A man wanted for a deadly shooting in Dubuque is under arrest in the state of Michigan.  U-S Marshals arrested 25-year-old Deonte Ellison Tuesday in Kalamazoo on a warrant for first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a weapon.  Ellison is accused in the July 2nd shooting death of Curtis Smothers.  Police say traffic camera video shows Ellison pull a gun from his waistband and shoot Smothers following an argument.  Ellison is awaiting extradition to northeast Iowa.