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Wednesday Afternoon News, March 6

Mainstreet Organization Wants To Make Alleys Attractive

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization hopes to make Le Mars alleys attractive by having artists create paintings on the alley walls.  Mary Reynolds, director of Le Mars Mainstreet appeared before the city council on Tuesday to share the idea.
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Reynolds informed the council that Mainstreet hopes to qualify for a grant which would pay for the paint to be used for the paintings. Previously, the city council assisted the Mainstreet organization with the various ice cream cones on display throughout the community.  Reynolds says the city's contribution would be minimal.
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Reynolds told the council that the building behind Claussen's Mens Wear would be the first to under go the transformation.


Hirschman Selected As "School Employee of the Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District is honoring Pam Hirschman as their "School employee of the Month."  Hirschman is a special educator in the high school.  Dorene Schimek submitted the nomination for Hirschman and says she has had the pleasure of working with Pam Hirschman for the past 11 years.  During this time, she has observed her observed her thoughtfulness, leadership skills, collaborative abilities, mentoring, and genuine compassion for students and their development.  Pam has a wonderful rapport with individuals of all ages particularly students.  Pam's ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly superior.  She is extremely organized, reliable, and technology literate.  Pam works on numerous projects for the classroom and is able to follow through to ensure that the job gets done.  She spends countless hours preparing lessons for the students, even if it requires numerous hours before and after school.  Many times, you will find Pam working in her classroom  on the weekends just to ensure that her students get the best education possible.  She spends countless hours scanning curriculum material from various courses into a computerized program so her students have the option of listening to the curriculum textbooks.  She accomplishes these tasks with great initiative and with a very positive attitude.


Gehlen Catholic Forced To Change Mission Destinations

(Le Mars) -- For the past twelve years, students of Gehlen Catholic Hgh school have traveled to the Central American nation of Honduras as part of a mission trip.  However, due to an escalated amount of violence reported in the region, Gehlen officials made the decision to cancel this year's trip to Honduras.  Mission coordinator Dick Sievers explains about two  tragic incidents that occurred.

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Sievers says another tragic event took place about a week and a half ago involving a gang shooting which occurred in the same area that Gehlen students would have been working.  Sievers says he offered full disclosure about the events to the participating schools, administration officials, parents, and students.
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Gehlen officials were obviously disappointed they wouldn't be able to go to Honduras, but due to quick action by several people, including Carolyn Bickford, a Gehlen high school teacher, Gehlen was able to savage the mission trip only to a different location.
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Bickford says the region in Mississippi is a low-income region that still is recovering from Hurricane Katrina.  Bickford says the Gehlen students will have plenty of work ready for them in Mississippi.
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Both Sievers and Bickford say students learn about the world outside of Le Mars and they learn a lot about themselves on the mission tours.  At last count, 14 students from Gehlen Catholic High School will be participating on the Mississippi mission project.  The students are scheduled to leave on March 20th and return two days before Easter Sunday.

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