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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
News
Simonsen approved for $300K Iowa EDA loan (12/19/14)
DES MOINES -- The Iowa Economic Development Authority board Friday awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to eight companies for job creation and expansion projects. The awards will assist in the creation of 84 jobs, retain 171 jobs and will result in almost $227 million in new capital investment for the state...
Still ticking ... and where it belongs (12/19/14)
"What are the chances?" That's the question Tom Nelson, owner of Nelson's Jewelry in downtown Spencer, asked rhetorically when discussing the newest addition to the landscape of his store. Nelson recently located a clock, owned by his great-great-grandfather N.P. Nelson, which had been a centerpiece of the original Nelson Jewelry location in Forest City...
Spencer Birthright celebrates 30 years of helping women (12/19/14)
Since 1984, Birthright in Spencer has offered free services to support pregnant women in the area. Birthright is an international nonprofit interdenominational emergency pregnancy service that offers positive alternatives to abortion. For Birthright's 30th anniversary in Spencer, Bernice Gardner, director of Birthright, said the organization wants to remind women what Birthright can do for them...
One semester in, LPS doing well (12/19/14)
Four months into the school year at Lakes Partnership School, Wendy Parker, director of special education at the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, said things are "going great." "Certainly there are bumps in the road," Parker said. "But they are not as big of bumps as I think we expected."...
Experienced farmer sought for Labor4Learning program (12/19/14)
Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking for experienced farmers to serve as trainers for its Labor4Learning program and will accept applications through Dec. 31. For the past three years, the program has helped beginning farmers receive paid, on-the-job training while helping experienced farmers...
Top Feature Stories of 2014 No. 4 (12/19/14)
As the demolition efforts continued at Reynolds School in Spencer, in July, Knox Campbell watched. He found himself compelled to reach into a pile of the rubble and retrieve a keepsake. "I've got mixed feelings about it," Campbell said, regarding the destruction of the historical school. "When I heard they were taking it down, I said to myself, 'I'd really like to get a brick out of it.' I went over and did that."...
Fire department responds to report of 'strange odor' (12/19/14)
The Spencer Fire Department concluded the "strange odor" reported at the DOT maintenance shed Thursday morning was the result of a new treatment spray. The fire department received the call of the strange odor and the report of an employee feeling unwell as a result of the odor at approximately 11 a.m. The Spencer Police Department and Spencer Ambulance also responded to the DOT maintenance shed located west of the Southpark Mall at 1107 11th Ave. SW...
Top News Stories of 2014 - No. 4 (12/19/14)
Former Spencer High School Assistant Principal Elli Wiemers was approved as the principal by the school board in February. Wiemers, who began with the district in 1990, taught math and was the instructional coach at Spencer High School before becoming assistant principal at the beginning of this school year, a position that was "precipitated by Assistant Principal Jade Beehler's deployment through the South Dakota National Guard."...
White Christmas Forecast (12/19/14)
AccuWeather reports while many dream of a white Christmas setting to fall during the winter celebrations, conditions do not always align to bring the picture-perfect snowy scene. This year's conditions bring the highest chance of a white Christmas for those across the Midwest, the Ohio Valley, the Rockies and portions of New England, according to AccuWeather.com Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok...
Oral surgeon moving to Grand (12/19/14)
When the property on Grand Avenue, next to Walgreens, became available for purchase, Dr. Karen Potaczek took the opportunity to become more visible in Spencer. Potaczek, who bought Spencer and Lakes Regional Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in January, said she "realized early on (the practice) was a good fit for me."...
Turkeys & Trimmings (12/19/14)
Rev. Kevin Grimes and volunteers at the Spencer Dream Center passed out 325 turkeys to people in need during the Turkey and Trimmings Giveaway Thursday. The event is designed to provide those who sign up with all the makings necessary for a Christmas meal. Grimes said the center purchased "several thousand pounds" of food with donations from the community for the event. The giveaway is one of four events that make up the Dream Center's "Season of Giving." (Photo by Hanna Russmann)
SMU assists families in need (12/19/14)
Cold winter temperatures can reek havoc on a home's heating bill. For low-income households, paying utility bills in the winter can be a challenge. In order to combat this problem, Spencer Municipal Utilities works in partnership with Upper Des Moines Outreach to identify families in need of assistance. Last year, SMU was able to assist six families with their heating bills with money collected through SMU's Project Share program...
Tickets on sale for inaugural Rock'n Bac'n Brew'n (12/19/14)
The Clay County Regional Events Center will be hosting the inaugural Rock'n Bac'n Brew'n from noon to midnight Saturday March 28, 2015. Those attending will enjoy a variety of live music from The Pork Tornadoes, Good For Gary, Maiden Dixie, Planet Rock, The Nadas, and Kat Perkins from The Voice! There will be two entertainment stages, with no lapse in music...
Top Feature Stories of 2014 - No. 5 (12/19/14)
Courtney and Josh Rook are taking life one day at a time. On Jan. 17, the Rooks lost their second child -- 15-month-old Jaren -- who passed away after being taken from the family home to the Spencer Hospital emergency room. His death followed that of 9-month-old Jadin, who died on Feb. 10, 2010, in Nebraska...
Top News Stories of 2014 - No. 5 (12/19/14)
Northwest Iowa kicked off 2014 with a National Weather Service warning to bundle for the first weekend of the new year as wind chills were expected to range from 25 to 40 below zero Sunday afternoon to 40 to 55 below zero overnight from Sunday into Monday. The cold air temperatures, which dropped to a low of minus 20 Sunday night with a high of minus 13 Monday, took a toll on vehicles -- although the wind chill did not mean a thing...
Accident slows Grand Avenue traffic (12/19/14)
An accident between a green Dodge Dakota and black Oldsmobile Alero caused a bit of traffic congestion at the intersection of Fourth Street and Grand Avenue Thursday. Emergency responders were called to the scene at approximately 3:30 p.m. According to Spencer Police Chief Mark Warburton, who was at the scene, the Alero was in the process of completing a left turn of northbound Grand Avenue onto West Fourth Street at the time of the accident. ...
Christensen appointed as advisor to hospital board (12/19/14)
At a Spencer Hospital board meeting Thursday morning, Julie Christensen was appointed as an advisor to the Quality and Planning Committee. "We felt Julie was a great fit to the committee," said Susan Zulk, vice president of marketing and fund development at Spencer Hospital. "She's a registered nurse, and quite involved in other areas of the community."...
Board puts livestock plan near Superior on hold (12/19/14)
DICKINSON COUNTY -- The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors Tuesday delayed action on a confinement feeding permit application in the northeast part of the county. New Fashion Pork, LLP, wants to construct a single 328-by-101-foot single barn to house 4,400 head of finished market hogs. The count equals 1,760 animal units and makes the expansion eligible for review through the master matrix process...
Local vets collect for UDMO (12/19/14)
The local American Legion and VFW chapters donated items collected from the November Thanksgiving dinner and the Veterans Appreciation Dinner, and the Legion Christmas Party. The cash donation was received from donations at the Veterans Appreciation Dinner. (Above) Anita Jorgensen, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and Steve DePauw, commander, American Legion Glen Pedersen Post No. 1. (Photo submitted)
Could later school starts be a $1M decision? (12/19/14)
A decision made in Des Moines could mean big changes for educators and the area's vacation industry. Gov. Terry Branstad on Friday asked Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck to no longer automatically grant waivers to districts that request an early start to the school year...
Charges dropped in Mrs. Lady's cash seizure case (12/19/14)
ARNOLDS PARK -- Attorneys from Arlington, Virginia, say "the most contentious civil forfeiture fight in the nation" is nearing an end. Federal prosecutors are dropping an effort to seize nearly $33,000 from Carole Hinders, who operated Mrs. Lady's Mexican Food restaurant in Arnolds Park for 38 years...
Merrill named Rotary Student of the Month (12/19/14)
Morgan Merrill was honored as the Spencer Rotary Club's Student of the Month. Morgan is the daughter of Darrin and Veronica Merrill. Presenting the plaque were Spencer High School Principal Eli Wiemers and Tracey Koenig, Spencer Rotary Club president. (Photo submitted)
November CC-E Students of the Month (12/19/14)
(Students left to right) Jorgan Rustad, English/social studies departments; Ryan Van Westen, fine arts/physical education/Spanish departments; Renee Nehring, agriculture/technology/vocational departments; Brooke Kathman, business/math/science departments; Skyler Tessum, reading department. (Photo submitted)
Get outside with nature center events (12/19/14)
DICKINSON COUNTY -- Jack Frost is active this time of year, but just bundle up and you can still have plenty of fun outdoors. The Dickinson County Conservation Board is planning two upcoming outdoor activities. See just where "the Great Outdoors" got its name...
American Legion, VFW support fire department (12/19/14)
American Legion Glen Pedersen Post No. 1 and VFW Post No. 3159, Spencer presented donations to the Spencer Fire Department. (Left to right) Vice Commander Frank Zech, American Legion; Ben Grimmus, Spencer Fire Department; and VFW Commander Frank Lehman. (Photo submitted)
Sirens (12/19/14)
--- Dec. 12 -- Michael Delbert Turner, 34, Spencer Excessive speed, two counts Open container Driving without license OWI first offense --- Dec. 12 -- Jennifer Lee Kleinsasser, 37, Walthill, Nebraska Contempt of court, five counts --- Dec. 12 -- Joseph Ross Burks, 33, Spencer...
'Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Radio Play' (12/19/14)
It's Christmas in the '40s, and an old man who calls himself Kris Kringle is hired as the Macy's department store Santa. But he claims to be the real Santa Claus ... and it doesn't sit well with certain adults. Don't miss The SchoolHouse Company's Christmas classic, presented tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Northwestern College DeWitt Theatre in Orange City. Tickets are available at the door at $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, free for ages 5 and under. For more information, visit facebook.com/SHCTheater or orangecityarts.net.
"Detainee" intense and especially relevant (12/19/14)
The Iowa premiere of the play "Detainee" took the audience to places we didn't want to go and made us think ...and think ... and think again. Written by Sam Graber, the play centers around a mom and college professor who is the mother of a teenaged girl. The former CIA interrogator's husband and daughter don't know about her undercover profession, only that she had been gone overseas for several months quite a long time ago...
New sheriff tackles an array of challenges (12/19/14)
BUENA VISTA COUNTY -- Kory Elston was ready for the law enforcement workload that goes with being the newly-elected Buena Vista County sheriff. What he wasn't quite ready for is the public relations that goes with it. "I didn't quite realize how many civic groups and meetings would be involved. ...
Connecting with music (12/17/14)
When winter comes and she unpacks the holiday decorations, Amber Norgaard also "takes out" the song she wrote for winter, a holiday-inspired piece she titled "Light to the World." "It's a traditional Christmas story in a different sense," Norgaard said. "It's more of a perspective of 'we're all in charge of bringing light to the world.'"...
Iowa's 2015 economy will continue to grow (12/17/14)
Attention to state spending and job growth are two factors that have allowed Iowa's economy to do well post recession. According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa's economy will continue to "move forward" in 2015. "In what we're seeing so far as projects, such as the pipeline, we will continue to see job growth in 2015," Debi Durham, Iowa Economic Development Authority director, said. ...
Police: No foul play discovered in death of Spencer woman (12/17/14)
According to Spencer Police Chief Mark Warburton, despite social media rumors no foul play was discovered in the death of the 23-year-old Spencer woman, who was found by police Monday night. After investigation, the State Medical Examiners Office in Ankeny, in conjunction with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Spencer Police Department has concluded the death of the woman in Spencer was the result of self-inflicted injuries. ...
SCS receives bids for upcoming fine arts center (12/17/14)
The Spencer Community Schools school board received bids from six contractors at the bid opening for the upcoming fine arts center Tuesday. According to Terry Hemann, Spencer Schools superintendent, the low bid came in at $10,997,000. "The estimate from the architects was approximately $10,300,000. So, the low bid was above that estimate," Hemann said. "This wasn't a complete surprise; we've been hearing that bids in the area have been coming in higher than estimated costs."...
Sprucing up Grand (12/17/14)
Trevor Kunzmann and Brandon Rossow were just two among the team of workers from Del's Garden Center placing spruce tips in the metal planters along Grand Avenue in downtown Spencer Tuesday morning. Traditionally, the spruce tips are put into place much earlier in the season, but snow and frigid temps in November froze the dirt in the planters making the job impossible. Warmer temps during the past week thawed the planters enough for crews to spruce up Grand Avenue.The spruce tips were donated to the city for the winter season by Del's Garden Center. (Photo by Hanna Russmann)
Graettinger man injured in collision with semi (12/17/14)
High winds and icy road conditions were cited in an accident involving a 2013 Freightliner and 2005 Ford F150 at 8:17 p.m. Monday in the 3300-mile of U.S. Highway 18. Norman Reed, 39, of Detroit, Michigan, was westbound on Highway 18 in the Freightliner with a trailer, which high winds, icy roads and speed allegedly caused him to lose control of the vehicle and cross the center line...
Clay County Fair brings home eight awards (12/17/14)
The Clay County Fair lived up to its billing as "The World's Greatest County Fair" by receiving eight awards at the 124th Annual International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) Convention held last week in Las Vegas. "Eight awards are the most we have received during my tenure," said CCF Manager Jeremy Parsons. "We are truly honored to receive this recognition from our peers."...
Ambassadors visit new Farmers Insurance location (12/17/14)
The Spencer Chamber Ambassadors visited the new Grand Avenue location of Farmers Insurance, and its agent, Lezlie Boetel-Pohlman. Boetel-Pohlman began in Spencer this past June, and chose the new location at 417 N. Grand Ave. to increase visibility for the company. She also operates a Farmers Insurance location in Spirit Lake. (Photo by Paula Buenger)
Technology reviewed by Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees (12/17/14)
ESTHERVILLE -- The Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees spent time reviewing the latest in technology at the college during their December meeting in Estherville Tuesday afternoon. Bob L'Heureux, vice president of administration, introduced Jerimiah DePyper, the director of the technology department...
ADA poster contest winners announced (12/17/14)
The Spencer Americans With Disabilities Act Council judged the posters for our 2014 edition of the Disability Month Poster Contest. They are currently on display at the Spencer Public Library. The winners include: Lincoln -- Kim Phelps class Lincoln -- Diana Koppen class...
Police investigate woman's death (12/16/14)
Police responding to a call Monday night in Spencer discovered a 23-year-old woman, who was deceased. According to preliminary police reports, at approximately 8:10 p.m. Monday, the Spencer Communication Center received numerous calls in reference to a male yelling for help at 13 W. ...
Council approves SMU loan (12/15/14)
Members of the Spencer City Council passed a resolution approving a $360,000 loan from Spencer Municipal Utilities in a 6-0 vote Monday night. Ward 4 Councilman Randy Swanson was absent from the proceedings. The loan secured by SMU was a zero-percent interest Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLEG loan), which will be used to pay for the new communication center. The resolution also provided for the levying of taxes to pay the loan back...
We shine when we're kind (12/15/14)
Each year the student council at Spencer High School organizes special projects for the student body to participate in. In addition to homecoming, dances and blood drives, the holiday family adoption within the Spencer Schools community is coordinated this time of year. This year, four families within the three elementary schools and Sacred Heart were gifted with clothes, toys and other items purchased by students and staff at the high school...
Christmas with the Beach Boys (12/15/14)
More than 1,500 people attended the Beach Boys Christmas Show at the Clay County Regional Events Center Saturday evening. The band performed 43 of their classic hits and Christmas songs for the crowd. The Beach Boys dedicated one of their songs to Okoboji, where the band played at The Gardens in the '60s. Lead vocalist Mike Love set the mood during "Surfer Girl" with the light of his smartphone. The crowd followed along during the song "for the ladies." (Photos by Hanna Russmann)
Spencer teen faces felony drug charges (12/15/14)
A Friday evening search warrant conducted by Spencer Police resulted in the location of multiple varieties of drugs and one arrest on felony drug charges. At approximately 6:35 p.m. Friday, the Spencer Police Department executed a search warrant at the residence of 2204 W. ...
Giving Santa a hand (12/15/14)
Spencer firefighters and UPS drivers; along with other volunteers, teamed up on Sunday to deliver gifts to 80 area families as part of the Holiday Family Adoption Program. A Clay County tradition for decades, the program is coordinated by the Daily Reporter and Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. Families, businesses and other groups "adopt" a family in need and purchase gifts for them. The items are delivered to The Depot at the Clay County Fairgrounds and on Sunday were delivered to the families. UPS donates use of its trucks and UPS drivers volunteer to drive. Spencer firefighters ride behind them and deliver gifts to Spencer families, while volunteers take presents to those out of town in Clay County. (Photos by Paula Buenger)
Buzzing about geography (12/15/14)
Dale Waggoner awarded first prize to seventh-grade student Logan O'Neill, son of Mark and Becky O'Neil, in the 2014 National Geographic Society's National Geography Bee at the Spencer Middle School Saturday morning. O'Neill now has the opportunity to take the state qualifying test. If O'Neill scores in the top 100, he will be eligible to participate in the state geography bee competition...
SCT alters production plan (12/15/14)
As the production of "Our Town" wraps, and SCT begins auditions this week for its next performance scheduled to begin its run in mid-February, the local theater company learned it will be changing shows. Originally planning to perform "Same Time, Next Year" on two consecutive weekends in February, auditions this week will now be for a new title...
ILCC wins 2 Mid-America Economic Development Council Awards (12/15/14)
Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation captured two awards at the Mid-American Economic Development Council Conference & Site Selector Forum earlier this month. Iowa Lakes Corridor took first place for Best Workforce Development program and Best Annual Report in the small organization category, which included economic development groups with annual marketing budgets of less than $100,000...
Winter kick-off (12/15/14)
Thirteen different Just For Kix classes, ranging from preschool to high school dancers, showed off their moves and kicks during its Winter Show at the Spencer High School Field House Sunday afternoon. Dancers performed routines set to both Christmas classics and hit songs. At the finale, dancers from second to 12th grade joined together to perform a large group routine set to the song "I Believe." (Photos by Hanna Russmann)
Jones appointed Environmental Protection Committee chair (12/15/14)
DES MOINES -- House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) recently announced that Rep. Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids) will serve as the chairwoman of the House Environmental Protection committee. "Rep. Jones is a capable leader who will work to protect and preserve Iowa's greatest resources in a responsible and rational way," Paulsen said...

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