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Saturday News, December 4th


Fire and Rescue Department Respond To Natural Gas Leak

(Le Mars) — Le Mars fire and rescue were called to the 200 block of 4th Street southwest last evening at about 9:00 p.m. for a report of a natural gas leak.  When they arrived at the scene, the strong smell of natural gas was present.  They were told a car had struck the gas meter next to the home, breaking off the gas line, but the car had fled the scene, and was no longer within the immediate area.  Neighbors say they heard a bang, but when they looked outside, they didn’t notice anything.  It was only after the natural gas smell became more present that neighbors realized what had happened, and called for the fire and rescue department.  Fire and rescue personnel were able to shut off the gas.  MidAmerican Energy officials were notified and arrived at the scene to make the necessary repairs.




Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland Begins This Saturday Evening

(Le Mars) — A traditional holiday favorite event makes a return this year.  The Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland is in its 29th year.  Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 virus, the event was cancelled last year.  However, folks can come back to the Plymouth County Fairgrounds during the next two weekends, December 4th & 5th, and again December 11th and 12th to view all the activities, lights, and entertainment connected to the Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland.  Bonita Davison is organizing the annual festival.  She says this year the event will be similar to past years and following tradition.  Inside Century Hall will be more than 70 decorated Christmas trees by various local organizations and businesses.

Davison says visitors will want to stop at the famous round barn and see the many Christmas decorations that fill the barn on both levels.

Davison says attendees to the Winter Wonderland event will be able to enjoy plenty of refreshments provided by different organizations.

This year’s Winter Wonderland will also feature entertainment all four days inside the Century Hall

Bill and Janice Renken tells us more about the featured entertainment for this weekend. Bill highlights the entertainment scheduled for this Saturday evening.

Janice Renken tells us of the entertainment lined up for Sunday evening.

Davison says there will be horse-drawn wagon rides, along with photo opportunities, and as she mentioned the resident of the North Pole will be available all four days to visit with children.

Davison says children can go to the toy club and select a stuffed animal that they may keep.  The Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will remain open until 8:30 p.m.  Davison says the event is free of charge, however free will donations are always welcomed.





Kiwanis And Aktion Clubs Prepare Popcorn Balls For Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Kiwanis Club along with the Aktion Club spent last Tuesday evening inside the American Legion Hall making more than 1,500 popcorn balls to be distributed to the attendees visiting  the upcoming Pioneer Village Winter Wonderland festivities, scheduled for Saturday, December 4th and Sunday December 5th, and the following weekend, December 11th and 12th. Officials indicate It took two hours to create the popcorn balls.

(photos contributed.)




St. John’s Lutheran Church To Hold “Blue Christmas” Worship Service

(Le Mars) — Christmas is a time for renewed hope, but unfortunately, it is not always filled with joy for everyone.  For many, the holidays for one reason or another can be a depressing time.  To counter those feelings, St. John’s Lutheran Church of Le Mars will again be hosting their annual “Blue Christmas” Worship Services.  The special service is scheduled for this coming Sunday, December 5th beginning at 3:00 p.m.  Mike Rathke serves as the church’s musical director and explains the purpose of the “Blue Christmas” worship services.

Rathke says the Blue Christmas service has been around for a few years.

Rathke talks more about the special service aimed at those people feeling depressed.

The St. John’s Lutheran Church musical director explains how the “Blue Christmas” worship service is different from other holiday-themed worship services.

Rathke says everyone is welcome to attend the “Blue Christmas” service beginning at 3:00 p.m. at the St. John’s Lutheran Church.




New Extension Director Hired

Le Mars, IA – Plymouth County Extension and Outreach now has a new Extension Director.  Darby Young began with ISU Extension and Outreach – Plymouth County on Monday, November 29 as the County Director. He will oversee programming needs of the county, specifically coordinating ag programs and community development programs from Iowa State University. Young comes to Extension with a background in higher education with experience as an educational coordinator and educational advisor working at institutions including Morningside College and WITCC. He holds three degrees from Iowa State University including a Masters and PhD in education.




Le Mars Christmas Lighted Parade Scheduled For Tonight

(Le Mars) — Tonight will be the Le Mars Christmas Lighted Parade which will begin from the 8th Street Blvd and head north on Central Avenue.  Entries are asked to be in line by 5:00 p.m. with the parade scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.  Joel Johnson is assisting with the organization of the annual parade.  He says the parade will feature some new entries, as well as many of the long-time traditional favorites.  Johnson says there are some new rules that he hopes all parade entrants will follow.

The Sons of the American Legion asked that we announce that because of the parade scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.  their monthly pork loin dinner will begin at 5:00 p.m.  Mark Hentges tells us more.

Hentges says the meal will consist of a cut of pork loin, baked potato, cole slaw, and a dinner roll.  Hentges says the funds from the dinner are then distributed back to the community as the Sons of the Legion will identify various charity organizations and will make contributions.




Changes To Be Made With Plymouth County Historical Museum Holiday Open House

(Le Mars) — The Christmas Open House will be this Sunday at the Plymouth County Historical Museum, but there have been some changes.
Due to illness, vocalists Kay Krekow and Harry Dunstan will be unable to perform at 1:30.
The music of Inez Hoogeveen’s piano students will begin at 2 p.m. in the Study Hall, as scheduled.
Several hundred Christmas nativities and villages once again fill the Study Hall of the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars. This is the 12th year for the exhibit, which will be the backdrop for this Sunday’s Christmas Open House, Dec. 5, in the Study Hall

Inez Hoogeveen’s piano students will begin their recital at 2 p.m. in the Study Hall. The piano recital has been a tradition for many years at the open house.

Following the student piano recital, all are invited for holiday refreshments.

The Floyd Valley Model Railroad Room also will be open for viewing in the basement of the Museum, with John Schneider serving as the conductor.

Included in this year’s Christmas exhibit are approximately 80 nativities donated in 2016 by Rev. Paul Eisele of Le Mars. Each year, the local priest also presents a piano concert and sing-a-long for Epiphany. This year’s date is tentatively set for Thursday, Jan. 6, the day of Epiphany.

Also featured are many nativities donated to the Museum by the late Glada Koerselman, a long-time Museum volunteer who saved the Museum building, “Old Central” school, from the wrecking ball in 1995.

This year over 100 lighted villages donated by Jim and Kay Peters and family are on display in Room 413 adjacent to the Study Hall.

Through the years, memorials to many people have become an important part of the nativity display.

Admission to the Museum’s nativities is free and open during Museum hours: 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, or by special appointment. Anyone wishing to arrange a special tour may call (712)-539-0223.

The nativity display began in 2010 when Ron and Delores Burkard brought in their collection of nativities for the newly renovated Study Hall. Ron Burkard died the following year, but Delores helped the Museum keep the tradition alive until her death in 2019.

Serving as co-chairmen of the nativity display are Jim and Mary Rohlfs, assisted by Julie Leaverton and others.

The Museum consists of five floors, all handicapped accessible. No admission is charged at the Museum, but a free will donation is always welcome for the continuing operation of the Museum.

Located at 335 First Ave. SW in Le Mars, the Museum serves all parts of the county with its exhibits and programs.







Judge Refuses to Lower Bond For Teens Charged in Fairfield Teacher’s Death

(Fairfield, IA)  —  The two southeast Iowa teenagers charged with killing a teacher in Fairfield likely will not be released on bail before trial.  A judge denied a request to lower the bonds of the teens accused in the November 2nd murder of Fairfield Spanish teacher Nohema Graber.  Sixteen-year-olds Willard Miller and Jeremy Goodale asked that their one-million-dollar bond be reduced due to their age and lack of criminal history.  Prosecutors were seeking two-million dollars bond.  The two teens pleaded not guilty to the murder of Graber.  They are scheduled to stand trial on April 19th.




Sales and Corporate Taxes Rise, Personal Income Taxes Flat in Iowa

(Des Moines, IA)  —  There’s been a nearly six-percent increase in state tax receipts in the past five months compared to the same period a year ago.  Jeff Robinson of the Legislative Services Agency says gains in sales and use tax as well as corporate income tax remain significant, while individual income tax growth for the year has been flat.  Corporate income tax payments to the state rose more than 19 percent from July through the end of November.  State sales tax collections were up two-and-a-half percent during the period.  Robinson says federal economic stimulus and direct payments continue to support consumer spending as Iowa and national employment levels remain well below pre-pandemic levels.  The Legislative Services Agency estimates nine-point-three-billion dollars in additional federal funding flowed into Iowa through enhanced unemployment benefits, loans and other pandemic-related spending.




Authorities ID Body Pulled From Big Sioux River in Sioux City

(Sioux City, IA)  —  Authorities are identifying a body pulled from the Big Sioux River in August as a Sioux City man who was reported missing.  Sioux City police say 24-year-old Franky Muritok of Sioux City was found in the water August 21st.  He was reported missing August 15th after he never returned home from a walk with his dog.  His pet was found tied up near the river.  The State Crime Lab used D-N-A testing to identify his body and the Sioux City P-D received the results Thursday.  Investigators say there’s no indication of foul play in Muritok’s death.




Hawkeyes Battle Michigan Saturday in Big Ten Championship Game

(Indianapolis, IN)  —  The number-13 Iowa football team battles second-ranked Michigan Saturday night for the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  Spencer Petras will get the start at quarterback for the Hawkeyes after missing two-plus games with a sore shoulder.  Petras replaced Alex Padilla and led the second half of Iowa’s comeback victory at Nebraska last Friday.  The Wolverines defeated then number-two Ohio State last week to win the Big Ten East title.  Michigan’s only loss this season was at in-state rival Michigan State.