Wednesday News, May 4
Comprehensive Planning Meeting Looks At Le Mars Future
(Le Mars) -- More than 75 people attended last evening's Comprehensive Planning Kick-off meeting that was held in the lower level of the Le Mars Convention Center. The meeting was organized by the joint city and county government agency, SIMPCO. The purpose of the meeting was to gather various thoughts, comments, and opinions from attendees regarding the future of Le Mars. Attendees were seated in small groups and were asked to discuss and write down their thoughts as to how best to describe the city of Le Mars. What are the city's opportunities and strengths, as well as its weaknesses and threats? What should the city look like in 20 years? Among the various small groups, there were similar answers to each of the questions. Many people had commented that they believe Le Mars to be a friendly town with growing industries, good schools, and provides its residents with a quality of life. SIMPCO officials will compile the comments and categorize them into separate divisions. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for June 7.
Kirk Lehmann of SIMPCO led the discussion for the Comprehensive Planning Meeting
City To Erect Signs To Assist Downtown Tourists
(Le Mars) -- In the near future, signs to assist visitors and tourists will be erected in the downtown area showing how to locate many of the town's attractions such as the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor and the Brown's Century Theater among other sites. The Le Mars City Council approved the allocation of $4,544 to have the signs created and posted. Rich Ziettlow serves as the vice president of the Le Mars Main Street organization. He appeared before the city council informing them of the reasons the signs are needed.
Ziettlow says the signs will look similar to signs already used to identify historical regions of the city. He says they will measure two feet by three feet, and he explains where the signs will be posted.
The main street official says the directional signs will be near eye level for easy viewing from a pedestrian's viewpoint.
Following Ziettlow's presentation, Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff informed the city council that the city wants to and needs to step up its efforts for tourism. Ziettlow says he hopes the signs can be in place prior to the annual Ice Cream Days celebration. In other action, the city council approved the zoning of the Dogwood Addition, and the G.A. Addition, as well as they approved the change of zoning for Nor-Am to go from a residential to general business zoning area.
Shrader Honored As Chamber "Employee Of The Month"
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce awarded its May "Employee of the Month" on Tuesday. Longtime Kingsley State Bank employee, Esther Shrader was the honoree. Esther Shrader serves as the Customer Service Representative at Kingsley State Bank. Shrader has worked with the Kingsley State Bank for over 13 years. She started at the bank when it first opened its Le Mars branch office. The staff of the Kingsley State Bank submitted the nomination. They say of Esther Shrader that she is one of the first smiling faces you see when walking into the bank. She been a wonderful asset to the Kingsley State Bank and will be greatly missed. Esther has been in the banking industry for more than 28 years and is looking forward to her retirement on May 25th. She plans to spend her time spoiling her grandchildren and spending time with her siblings. Esther will be enjoying her retirement with her husband Tom and their three children. Congratulations to Esther Schrader from all your friends and customers at Kingsley State Bank.
Bee Hive Discovered In Addaville Church
(Le Mars) -- A rural Merrill church has recently been buzzing with activity. That's because a bee hive was discovered in the choir loft. James Strickland says the congregation had known for a while about the possible hive, but they had no idea of its size. He says he first was made aware of the bee hive when visiting the Plymouth County Fair.
Strickland, who is the pastor for the Nazarene Church in Le Mars has recently become interested in bee keeping, and owns a couple of hives which he collects honey and other by-products for his family. Strickland was asked by the Adaville Methodist Church if he would assist with the removal of the hive.
Strickland says three different bee keepers, including himself, proceeded to remove the active hive from the church's choir loft. He says it took a better part of a day to completely remove the bees, the hive, and the comb and honey. Strickland says the hive had a large quantity of honey.
Strickland believes the hive may have been at the church for at least five to six years. The part-time bee keeper, and full time pastor, explains the procedure to remove the large bee hive from the Adaville Methodist Church.
The church official says there has been discussions about marketing the honey from the church hive as "Holy Honey".
Gehlen To Hold "Then Feed Just One" Meal Packaging Event
(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic will again be hosting another "Then Feed Just One" meal packaging event scheduled for Thursday evening and all-day Friday. Richard Sievert, the coordinator of the Honduran meal program talks about the organization's beginnings 11 years ago.
Following that incident, Sievert organized what was known at that time as "Kids Against Hunger". He introduced the idea to Gehlen Catholic school, and it continued for a few years under that name. Sievert then thought a name change was necessary to better reflect on the goal and mission of the meal packaging program.
The "Then Feed Just One" program is closing in on a milestone. Sievert says the program has produced nearly one million meals.
Carolyn Bickford is a co-director and assists Sievert with the "Then Feed Just One" Honduras meal program. Bickford was again in Honduras just about a month ago. She says the Honduran people are grateful for the meals.
Bickford encourages people from the entire community to participate in the packaging meal event. She says the "Then Feed Just One" will feature shifts on Thursday evening and all day Friday.
Bickford says more people from the community participate each year, but she says more are needed.
Sievert says the nearly one-pound packaged nutritious meal consist of rice, soy protein, freeze-dried vegetables, and powdered vitamins.
Anyone interested in assisting with the "Then Feed Just One" meal packaging event should contact Gehlen High School.
Plymouth County Authorities Arrest Orange City Man For Stealing A Car
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office arrested Geoffrey Dean Oolman, age 25, of Orange City, Iowa, on Saturday, for operating a motor vehicle without owners consent and driving while license barred.
At approximately 2 pm the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office was called to Merrill, , for a report of a vehicle theft. The caller also stated that another vehicle was abandoned in their driveway. Upon investigation, the vehicle abandoned in the driveway was found to be stolen out of Sioux City earlier that afternoon. That vehicle was released to the owner from Sioux City.
The vehicle from Merrill was entered as stolen. A short time later, the vehicle was located by the Orange City Police Department at 105 St. Paul Avenue in Orange City. Deputies from the Plymouth and Sioux County Sheriff's Office and the Orange City Police Department went to the residence and arrested Geoffrey Dean Oolman. Oolman was transported to the Plymouth County Jail and booked in on the charges of operating a motor vehicle without owners consent (aggravated misdemeanor) and driving while license barred (aggravated misdemeanor). Bond is set at $2,000.
Sioux City Police Department will likely have charges to follow for the incident that occurred in Sioux City.
Okoboji Teacher Resigns After Being Intoxicated While As A Chaperone To Prom
(Milford) -- A school board in northwest Iowa has accepted the resignation of a teacher, who was found to be drunk while serving as a prom chaperone.
The Okoboji School Board met in special session Tuesday and voted to accept the resignation of Royce Van Roekel. The 33-year-old Milford man will be suspended until his resignation becomes effective June 1.
Van Roekel is also required to pay substitute teacher costs for the remainder of the school year. Milford Police officers were sent to the Boji Bay Fun House and Event Center, where the Okoboji High School prom was being held Saturday night. They say Van Roekel’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit to drive.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of public intoxication on Monday.
Des Moines Sewage Plant To Eliminate Phosphorus From Waste Water
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's largest sewage treatment plant is spending $19 million on equipment that will decrease the amount of a harmful contaminant often found in the state's waterways.
Within two years, the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority will be able to extract more than 2,000 pounds of phosphorus each day from the wastewater flowing through its facility on the southeast side of the city. That's nearly 80 percent of the phosphorous that travels through the pipes from 17 communities in three central Iowa counties, and a 30 percent increase in the amount of phosphorous it currently traps.
Phosphorus doesn't pose the same risk to drinking water as nitrates, but it can lead to algae blooms that take local lakes' oxygen and hurt aquatic life.