2020 Remsen Bell-Enterprise Year in Review: April - June

Thursday, January 14, 2021


On Wednesday, March 25, American Bank provided a limited number of sack lunches for children to make sure students who count on their school lunch as their only meal may be fed. Lunches were available while supplies lasted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. out of the Beer City drive-thru in Remsen.

According to a press release sent by the Remsen Catholic Order of Foresters (COF), “The Remsen COF has postponed its April 19th Matching Funds Breakfast to June or July or whatever works in these difficult times. This breakfast will be to help pay on the note we have at the bank. We still owe $21,500 on the cemetery street project. We will keep you posted. Thank you.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds has added new closures and extended existing ones as part of the state’s fight against COVID-19. In her Thursday afternoon (March 26) press conference, Reynolds announced an expansion of her prior emergency proclamation that postpones non-essential surgeries and expands business closures. Effective 10 p.m., Thursday, March 26, all existing closures will be extended until April 7. This includes restaurants, bars, fitness centers, swimming pools, salons, medical spas, barbershops, tanning facilities, massage therapy establishments, tattoo establishments, theaters, casinos and gaming facilities, and adds non-essential businesses of book stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, jewelry stores, luggage stores, perfume and beauty supply stores, florists, furniture stores, home furnishing stores and other retail businesses. Mass gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited in all areas. This closure order does not affect other retail establishments, such as discount stores, grocery stores, or pharmacies that sell these goods in addition to other essential food, medical supplies, and household goods. Starting 5 p.m., Friday, March 27, all non-essential surgeries such as dental or cosmetic surgeries will be postponed. The exception to the suspension is emergency surgeries.

Making sure children who are now home from school have food to eat, the schools in Remsen have been working to make that happen, as are others in the area. St. Mary’s School in Remsen distributed perishable foods to its students last week, following the closure of all schools in Iowa due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The items were bagged up to be given away starting at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 17, and by 11 a.m., all was given away. MMCRU Superintendent Dan Barkel said the MMCRU Schools handed out food Wednesday, March 18.

On Wednesday, March 25, starting at 5:45 p.m., a Teacher Parade took place throughout the town of Remsen. While still respecting the order of social distancing created by the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and staff from MMCRU and RSM got in their vehicles and trekked up and down the streets of Remsen to wave to their students and say hello.

The Remsen VFW and American Legion will still be holding their Fish Fry at the VFW Hall in Remsen from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on the following Fridays: Apr. 3, 10. Carry out orders only.

Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond announced Ronald Vandom, 49, of Remsen, was sentenced on Monday, March 9, to 27 years in prison for delivery or possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.

A news release issued by the Iowa Department of Public Safety on Friday night, March 27, stated a Remsen resident has been arrested and charged with three counts of Purchasing/Possessing Depictions of a Minor in a Sex Act. The charges are aggravated misdemeanors. Aaron Matthew Henry, age 39, was arrested on March 26, in Plymouth County, following an investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation's (DCI) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, along with assistance from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office.

Mrs. Heeren challenged her Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and First grade Religion students from St. Mary’s Elementary to do some fun activities honoring St. Patrick (March 17) and St. Joseph (March 19).

On March 20, 2020, the Remsen Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with businesses that are members of the Remsen Chamber, rolled out a chance to win some Remsen Chamber Bucks in response to the impact from emergency changes to how restaurants and small retailers can do business at this time. A minimum of $10.00 spent at a Chamber Business you will get a chance for weekly Chamber Bucks.

Maple Lanes had four bowlers qualify for the State Pepsi Tournament. Those bowlers include: Aubrey Klein, Austin Klein, Ruthie Arens, and Ayden Miller.

According to a post on the City of Remsen’s website (http://www.remseniowa.org/), made on April 1, 2020 by City Clerk Rachel Keffeler, “Out of an abundance of caution amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the public playgrounds and parks in Remsen are closed effective immediately, until further notice. The City of Remsen does not have an effective way to fully sanitize the playground equipment to keep everyone safe. We need to discourage groups of people from congregating and with the warmer temperatures, closing the parks is a necessary precaution that needs to be taken. This is not a decision that was taken lightly, please know that it was done with the safety of the public in mind. The walking trail will remain open during this time.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday, April 2 that schools closures will be extended through April 30.

She also announced she is updating the proclamation of Disaster Emergency to extend business closures and the delay of elective surgeries and dental procedures, along with providing additional regulatory relief and continue the order of gatherings of 10 or less.

According to a press release sent out by MMCRU Schools, “As was shared in her press conference yesterday (Thursday, April 2), Governor Reynolds extended school closures and as a result the MMCRU Community Schools will remain closed until Friday, May 1. We will continue to provide meal services and voluntary learning resources for our students. Our voluntary learning opportunities will help ensure that we will not be required to make up school time during the summer. As time goes on, and our school buildings remain closed, we will gradually be making changes about the nature and delivery of the learning resources. We will continue to give you information about the details of these changes and how they impact the educational services we provide to your children.

Remsen St. Mary’s has reinvented its annual ball for 2020. The Friends of St. Mary’s Annual Ball has now become the Dance to a Different Beat No-Ball Ball. Just because the actual event has been cancelled doesn’t mean the need has. Each year, the Ball provides funds that are necessary for the continued success of St. Mary’s School. So this year, we will be asking you to participate virtually.

Reynolds said Director Ann Lebo with the Iowa Department of Education, has been working proactively with the education task force to develop a plan that defines options for continuous learning programs, including non-credit for for-credit options. Lebo said the state previously provided two options and those continue to be in place. The voluntary options encourages students to participate but cannot require them to do so. The required option requires students to participate, attendance is taken, work is graded and credit is granted. "Under new guidance, all public districts and accredited non-public schools will now be required to identify which method of continuing learning they will use from April 13 to 30. They will have until April 10 to submit their decision," Lebo said. "School districts that choose not to provide continuous learning will be required to make up the instructional time lost beyond what has been waived by the legislature," Lebo said.

At her 11 a.m., press conference Monday, April 6, Gov. Kim Reynolds said, “We need to stay home and we need to be responsible. I know that I’ve asked a lot of Iowans over the last month, and today, I’m asking more.” With that, she announced she has signed a new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration, ordering additional closures and relaxing additional regulations to support the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19.

A case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Plymouth County. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the individual is in self-isolation in their home. This individual is a male in the age range of 18-40.

“While this is Plymouth County’s first case, we know it probably will not be the last. We encourage all residents to continue to make prevention a priority and continue to follow the directives sent out of the Governor’s Office,” said Tara Geddes, Floyd Valley Community Health Manager. According to a Friday, April 3 release from Floyd Valley Community Health, IDPH has identified two additional cases of COVID-19 in Plymouth County. On Sunday, April 5 the Iowa of Public Health confirmed another case in Plymouth County as well. That brings the total cases in Plymouth County to four after the first case was confirmed on Thursday, April 2.

From March 30 – April 3, RSM students were invited to Chalk Your Walk! Students filled their driveways and sidewalks with Catholic School Pride then were asked to take a walk to look for other creations in the community. They also shared their artwork using #ChalkYourWalk.

The City of Remsen has purchased the old Farm Fresh Foodtown & Liquor grocery store building and home of previous grocery store owner, Samy Chodha. According to the March 11, 2020 Remsen City Council Meeting Minutes (published in the March 19, 2020 Remsen Bell-Enterprise), the council met in closed session and “authorized Mayor and Clerk to sign a real estate agreement with SR&K LLC. for purchase of property in the amount of $159,000 for Lots One, Two, Three, Four and Five and the West fifteen feet of Lots six, seven and eight all in block nine, second addition to the Town of Remsen, Plymouth County, Iowa and All that part of lot One in Lindemann’s First Addition (full legal description can be obtained in City Hall).” City Council members stated, “We 'the City Council' heard the community when they were expressing their desire to have a grocery store return to town and purchased both the home and the store as a package deal for $159,000. We intend to sell the house in an effort to re-coop some of the investment. The City will be working with our Economic Development Board to get an operational grocery store back at the site.”

Jammin Entertainment and Lasting Expressions teamed up for a little Easter Fun. On Saturday, April 4, the Easter Bunny traveled through the streets of Le Mars and Remsen, waving to all the kids from the back of the truck to ensure a safe distance. The Easter Bunny traveled through Le Mars from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and travelled through Remsen starting a little after 4 p.m., finishing up at 6 p.m. On Sunday, April 5, the Easter Bunny travelled to Merrill and Hinton.

Lux Fest, a celebration of Luxembourg heritage and culture, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 virus. The festival had been scheduled to be held in Alton, June 6-7, 2020.

With April 10 as the deadline for all schools across the state to let the Iowa Department of Education know their plans for proceeding with continuing learning programs, districts across Plymouth County have announced their plans moving forward throughout the remainder of April. Students in the MMCRU School District will take part in the voluntary continuous learning option. Through this option, Barkel said the teachers will be engaging students via varied platforms like Google Classroom, Google Suite, etc. with educational enrichment activities.

The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) announced Mark Brighton, the middle school athletic director for MMCRU, has been named the recipient of the 2019 NIAAA State Award of Merit. Brighton was supposed to have received the award at the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association (IHSADA) state conference on March 30, but that event was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

One former Floyd Valley Healthcare worker is doing her part to give back amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Annette Pottebaum, of Remsen, has been working to sew masks for the Le Mars-based healthcare provider, since they first made the public request in March.

Remsen-Union Foundation President Rich Van Dam and MMCRU Superintendent Dan Barkel hold the checks received from R-U's share of the land sale for the Clifford and Marjorie Perry Scholarships.

Students will not be going back to school in May. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday, April 17, that Iowa schools will not reopen for this school year.

The 29th Annual Friends of St. Mary’s Ball was reinvented this year as the “Dance to a Different Beat” No-Ball Ball, and still proved to be a success as the event has raised over $50,000.00, as of April 23. Kris Schiltz, Kris Full and Sarah Garvin, staff members at St. Mary’s School, teamed up to make sure the ball would not be cancelled. The No-Ball Ball began taking donations on April 3 and continued through April 18, which was the original date of the Friends of St. Mary’s Ball. Sarah Garvin along with Kris Schiltz and Kris Full, presented the Friends of St. Mary’s Ball Check of $48,627.00 to school leaders Fr. Bill McCarthy and Kim Phillips during a presentation held on Monday, April 20. As of April 23, the No-Ball Ball has raised $50,327.00.


A girl, June Mary Schroeder, born March 7, 2020, to Randy and Sam Schroeder of Remsen.


Gilbert Mathew Schroeder, 92, of Remsen, died April 2, 2020 at Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars.

Sandra A. Ortmann, 84 years old, of Remsen, died Saturday, April 4, 2020 at Bavarian Meadows in Remsen.


Every day new numbers are released on confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the amount of people tested. When looking through those numbers, you can think about the lab workers who are taking the test samples. Floyd Valley Healthcare lab manager Brenda Kolbeck is on the frontline of that operation and said the lab department is taking extra precautions when working with potential COVID-19 samples.

The medical community continues to work on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19. Floyd Valley Healthcare’s Dr. Andrew Geha is one of those doing his part to help attend to patients in the midst of the outbreak.

Retirement is going to be about spending time with family and attending many concerts for MMCRU PK-4 Vocal Music teacher, Joan Wilberding.

Cheryl Fischer, Transitional Kindergarten teacher at MMCRU - Remsen Elementary, has decided that after being in the teaching profession for 40 years, now seems like the right time to retire.

Kris Irwin, second grade teacher at MMCRU - Marcus Elementary, has decided it’s time to retire.

Mark Brighton, MMCRU Middle School physical education teacher, did not intend to retire this year, but plans changed after a medical diagnosis back in October 2019. He explained, “The plan was not to retire this year, but the plan started to change in October when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It just got hard to keep up with the kids because of the onset of Parkinson’s.”

At her Friday, May 1, press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said there were 740 new positive cases to report, along with eight deaths. Woodbury, Black Hawk, Dallas and Polk counties account for 516, or 85 percent, of the 740 new cases. Iowa has recorded 7,885 positive COVID-19 cases. The deaths continue to be among older adults and those with underlying health conditions, she said. Reynolds said with additional testing through Test Iowa, and deployed strike teams to long-term care facilities and a veterans home, the State Hygienic Lab has been processing a large number of tests. "There is a backlog in the daily entry process, which will be addressed and caught up this weekend," Reynolds said. With May 1 being the start date of 77 counties beginning to reopen restaurants, fitness centers, retail businesses, and malls, Reynolds reminded Iowans that in all cases, the entities must ensure social distancing, hygiene and hand sanitizer and follow other guidelines. Churches, synagogues and other houses of worship may be open to services, but will still need to follow guidelines from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

St. Mary’s Naming of the Gym Auction took place on Friday, May 1, starting at 7 p.m. This year’s auction was conducted electronically by auctioneer Jim Klein. Bidders called in, and the auction was broadcast live on Facebook. At the end of the bidding, the Paula and Gib Schroeder Family came out on top with their winning bid of $5,700. The new name of the gym will take effect at the start of the 2020-2021 school year and will be “The Gib Schroeder Memorial Gym”.

MMCRU High School will hold their commencement exercises on Sun., May 17, 2020. This year’s ceremony will have a unique format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be a ‘drive-in’ graduation in the high school parking lot in Marcus, beginning at 2 p.m. Seniors will still be able to ‘walk across the stage’. The 2020 graduating class includes: Faleata Loren Ah Chong, Shana Kay Ames, Cole Dalton Anfinson, Damien Issac Baker, Miranda Jean Ball, Julia Lynn Bogges, Jacob Robert Brimm, Byron Magdaleno Carrillo, Alexis Marie Dreckman, Josh William Frederick, Taylor Marie Galles, Isaac Matthew Goeken, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Goth, Mackenna Shay Henrich, Hannah Leigh Jochims, James William Joines, Kaelee Ann Marie Letsche, Christa Nicole Lux, Joshua Jackson Lee Maass, Leilani Denise Meade, Andrew Michael Nicks, Faith Marie Olson, Cade David Owens, Rylie Nicole Poulsen, Mitchell Dean Rhodes, Ethan Richard Riedemann, Gretchen Maass Ruba, Taylor Ann Schlenger, Zachary Lee Schmid, Emilee Nell Schuetz, Haley Elizabeth Schwarz, Nicole Leigh Specht, Jayden William Spenner, Brianna Marie Tentinger, and Rian Janae Vasher.

According to Ted Nothem, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret to inform you that the annual Memorial Day program at Remsen and Oyens, sponsored by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, will NOT be held this year and is cancelled. Flags that were suppose to be dedicated at this year's program will be dedicated at next year's program. The Avenue of Flags will only be displayed on the Washington Street Boulevard this year.”

Keeping a promise to his family, Mike Sparr, Remsen Chief of Police, retired on May 11, 2020, after 30 years of service to the Remsen Police Department. Sparr stated, “I promised my family when I reached my 30 years, I would retire to spend more quality time with them.”

The 2020 Kid’s Days Event has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Remsen Chamber of Commerce came to this decision during a virtual meeting on Thursday, May 14.

“Retirement is great!” These are the words of wisdom from Bev Bacan as she embarks on a new journey in life after spending 26 years as an Administrative Assistant at Klein Realty & Auction Co.

On Wednesday, May 6, and Saturday, May 9, a group of Remsen residents cleaned and cared for the Remsen Community Cemetery and St. Mary's Cemetery. Thirty volunteers of all ages cleaned the grounds, filled grave sites where needed, seeded and fertilized, preparing the cemeteries for Memorial weekend and the years ahead. Great job, Great group, Great community. The Remsen Catholic Order of Foresters thanks all who helped out.

It is with sincere gratitude and appreciation that Therapeutic Health Services, Inc. (THS), in partnership with Floyd Valley Healthcare (FVH), announces the upcoming retirement of Floyd Valley Therapies Manager Jerry De Wit in July 2020.

Today, more than 100,000 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19 for a per capita rate of 1 in 31 Iowans tested, and that is unique tests, there is no duplications," Gov. Kim Reynolds said as she opened Monday's (May 18) press conference. A total of 7,324 persons have recovered, with a recovery rate of 49 percent. 'A couple days ago we updated the dashboard on coronavirus.iowa.gov so Iowans could have access to more of the data we are collecting and tracking. Last week, the update earned us an A-plus from the Covid Tracking Project. Iowa is one of just 10 states that earned the top grade for the quality of our COVID-19 data reporting.'

A “Drive -by” Royal Processional was held on Friday, May 15 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the MMCRU Remsen Parking Lot to honor MMCRU retirees Joan Wilberding, Cheryl Fischer, and Mark Brighton. Parents, students, friends, and family drove by to wish the retirees “Good Luck!” and “Congratulations!” on their retirement.

On Sunday, May 17, 2020, the Remsen VFW & American Legion put out flags in front of Remsen St. Mary’s Church and in front of MMCRU Middle School in Remsen to honor the high school graduating seniors. The fifteen flags in front of the church represented the RSM 2020 graduating seniors and the thirty-five flags in front of the middle school represented the MMCRU 2020 graduating seniors. The wind and rainy weather didn’t stop the VFW & American Legion from posting the flags.

Scott Allen was sworn in as the new police chief in Remsen at the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Allen takes over the reins from previous police chief Mike Sparr, who retired on May 11, 2020.

Sarah DeBoer is the new Administrative Assistant for Klein Realty & Auction Company in Remsen.

The addresses given at MMCRU’s high school commencement ceremony held Sunday evening, May 17 weren’t greeted with thunderous applause. Instead, they were met with loud honking from the 40 or so cars parked in the school’s south parking lot. The sound was a good feeling for Valedictorian Kaitlyn Goth who said looking out into the parking lot full of cars was much less nerve-wracking than trying to speak to a packed crowd. A large portable stage with a covered overhang was set up in the parking lot with vehicles staggered in front of the stage. Most families stayed in their cars on the overcast and breezy evening where temperatures hovered in the 50s, but some rolled their windows down or sat in the bed of a pickup truck. Because the guest list was limited to those who could fit inside a vehicle, the ceremony was also live streamed so that other family and friends could watch. The stage included a video screen which made things a bit bigger for those parked in the back and was also used for the senior slide show and a tribute video. The tribute video featured teachers, staff and coaches ‘passing’ a light for a sparkler while announcing each senior’s name. The video’s final message from Barkel gave the charge to the Class of 2020. The graduates lined up next to cones spaced at least six feet apart while preparing to walk across the stage to get their diploma. Once each student received their diploma, the graduates all stepped out of their cars to flip the tassels on their mortarboard caps. After the ceremony the cars with graduates paraded through Marcus with horns blaring once more to celebrate the occasion. The cars paraded through Remsen prior to the graduation ceremony. The Class of 2020 was the first to spend all four years as MMCRU through a sharing agreement between the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn and Remsen-Union school districts.

Remsen St. Mary's High School seniors were honored on Sunday, May 17, the original date of their Graduation Ceremony, with lawn signs. These signs had the seniors’ pictures and names on them and were placed at the high school. While the graduation date has moved to June 21, high school officials still wanted to honor the senior class and make sure the students knew that they haven't been forgotten.


Joe and Marilynn Vollmecke will observe their 50th anniversary on Saturday, May 23, 2020. Joe Vollmecke and Marilynn Weiler were married on May 23, 1970, at St. Catherine's Church in Oyens.

Mark and Jeanette Schroeder of Le Mars will observe their 60th Wedding Anniversary on May 19, 2020. Mark Schroeder and Jeanette Sitzmann were married May 19, 1960, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church - Neptune.


A girl, Betsy Joy Grinde, born April 28, 2020, to Anders and Jacqueline Grinde of Sioux Falls, S.D.

A girl, Holly Rose Ruhland, born April 28, 2020, to Nathan and Leah Ruhland of Remsen.

A boy, Chase Allen Hageman, and a girl, Nora Marie Hageman, born December 22, 2019, to Adam and Gina Mae Hageman of Hinton.


David E. Niggeling, 76 years old, of Torrance, Calif., and formerly of Remsen, Iowa, passed away after a short battle with cancer on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at Happy Siesta Health Care Center in Remsen.

James D. Moritz, 88, passed away on Thursday evening, May 21, 2020 at Accura Healthcare in Le Mars, where he had been a resident since December 2019.

Marvin F. Schmitt, 79, passed away on Sunday, May 24, 2020 at his home near Remsen.


After spending twenty-two years at Remsen St. Mary's Schools, Administrative Assistant and Lunch Coordinator, LeAnn Wiederholt, has decided it's time to retire.

According to the Remsen Public Library Facebook page, “Due to COVID-19, the Remsen Public Library is offering a no-contact Summer Reading Program this year for children. Please sign up by Friday, June 5.

Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is the recipient of a $10,000.00 grant from the Union Pacific Foundation. “These funds will be very helpful as we work to support families in need of emergency/crisis assistance.” Says Mid-Sioux Executive Director, Dick Sievers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Annual Memorial Day Program presented by the Remsen VFW and American Legion did not take place this year, but the members of the VFW and American Legion still made sure to honor those who have fallen by putting up the flags on the Washington St. Boulevard for Memorial Day, which was Monday, May 25.

The online dashboard at coronavirus.iowa.gov reported the first death of a Plymouth County resident from COVID-19 on Tuesday, May 26. The individual was an elderly (81-plus) male according to Tara Geddes, community health manager at Floyd Valley Healthcare. As of Monday, June 1, a total of 133 positive cases have been confirmed in Plymouth County with 90 recoveries.

A news release sent out by MMCRU School Officials on Monday, June 1, described the fate of the Royals Youth Association baseball and softball season for 2020. It stated, “All baseball and softball affiliated with the Royals Youth Association has been cancelled for the 2020 season. There will be no Tee Ball or Softball Minis per concerns of social distancing and the safety of our children. However other volunteer coaches will be in contact for optional skill work for the older grades.

MMCRU's 2020 Valedictorian & Salutatorian: Kaitlyn Elizabeth Goth, Valedictorian, is the daughter of Ann and Jeff Goth. Gretchen Ruba, Salutatorian, is the daughter of Jim and Lori Ruba.

Remsen St. Mary’s Class of 2020 Valedictorian & Salutatorian: Emma Galles, daughter of Bart and Kelly Galles, is the Valedictorian for the class of 2020. Ashley Willman, daughter of Scott Willman and Margaret Willman, is the Salutatorian for the class of 2020.

According to a post made on June 1 on the City of Remsen, Iowa Facebook page, “The City parks are now open. The equipment will not be sanitized throughout the day. Please bring your own hand sanitizer to use after your children have played on the equipment. Please practice social distancing and if you are feeling under the weather or have been around someone who is not well, do not come to the parks.”

The spring sports seasons were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving athletes and coaches disappointed for what could have been. For seniors though, it was even worse as it was their last chance to compete in those sports at the high school level, and maybe, for the rest of their lives. MMCRU had a handful of seniors who were going out for track and field. This included five girls on the roster for Head Coach Lonnie Boekhout’s squad. Julia Bogges was planning to compete for the first time while Faith Olson, Kaitlyn Goth, Haley Schwarz and Nicole Specht were returners for the Royals. While most of the boys team was young for Head Coach Colin Youde, he said that doesn’t make the loss of the season any easier as his two seniors, Jacob Brimm and Andrew Nicks, didn’t get a chance to compete. MMCRU also had some senior golfers who were unable to hit the links this spring. Those included Taylor Schlenger, who was a second team all-conference honoree last year, along with Rian Vasher and Shana Ames for the girls team. The only senior for the boys golf team was Ethan Riedemann.

A total of 4,271 ballots were cast in Plymouth County for the June 2 Primary Election. That number represents 24.01 percent of the 17,792 registered voters in the county. All 13 county precincts voted at the Le Mars Convention Center in Le Mars due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Plymouth County voters followed the trend in United States Representative District 4 by giving Republican Randy Feenstra 1,745 votes (53.61 percent) over incumbent Steve King, who received 1,181 votes (36.28 percent) in Tuesday's primary election. Feenstra will face J.D. Scholten, who was unopposed on the Democratic ticket. He received 946 votes in Plymouth County. Incumbent District 5 State Representative Thomas Jeneary received 2,844 votes in Plymouth County and was unopposed in the primary race. At the local level, four Republicans were unopposed in the primary. They include two incumbents: County Auditor Stacey Feldman, with 2,991 votes; and District 5 County Supervisor Gary Horton, 2,812 votes; and two newcomers: Jeff TeBrink, 2,956 votes for County Sheriff; and Mike Van Otterloo, 2,990 votes for District 2 County Supervisor. Other results include: Republican: U.S. Senator: Jonie Ernst, 3,041 votes; District 2 State Senator: Jeff Taylor, 112 votes (includes a few northeast townships of Plymouth County); District 3 State Representative: Dennis J. Bush, 74 votes; K. Lynn Evans, 23 votes; and Mark Mchugh, 16 votes (covers eastern townships in Plymouth County and Cherokee County). Democratic: U.S. Senator: Theresa Greenfield, 582 votes; Michael Franken, 191 votes; Kimberly Graham, 118 votes; Eddie J. Mauro, 70 votes and Cal Woods, 12 votes. There were also write-in votes on the Democratic ticket for several local seats, with the highest write-ins for sheriff at 42.

Congratulations to MMCRU's second ever Iowa Degree Recipient, Rachael Beelner!! The Iowa FFA Degree is the highest rank that can be conferred upon active members by the Iowa FFA Association.

Plymouth County has its first bioreactor and it is located on the Jim Heidesch farm northeast of Remsen. The structure was installed Tuesday, June 9, and is intended to keep nitrates from farmland going into waterways.

Remsen St. Mary’s will hold their Capping Rite and Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 21, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., outside on the west side of Remsen St. Mary’s Church. St. Mary’s Class of 2020 includes: Jacob Thomas Anderson, Mariah Sue Britt, Madison Kay Feller, Emma Jane Galles, Brady David Homan, Jesus Samuel Bazan Medina, Michaela Katherine Nelson, Seth Andrew Nelson, Brayden Lee Ricke, Samantha Rose Sauer, Spencer John Schorg, Noah John Schroeder, Wesley Paul Smart, Skyler David Waldschmitt, and Ashley Ann Willman.

he spring sports seasons were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving athletes and coaches disappointed for what could have been. For seniors though, it was even worse as it was their last chance to compete in those sports at the high school level, and maybe, for the rest of their lives. Remsen St. Mary’s didn’t have a big senior class as only 15 will get their diploma. Still, many of those were involved with athletics over the years including a group of eight who were planning to golf or compete in track and field events this spring. Unfortunately, those individuals didn’t get a final season as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools and cancelled their seasons before they could get off the ground. Scott Willman was looking forward to one of his bigger track and field teams this season which included five seniors, Ashley Willman, Samantha Sauer and Emma Galles; Sam Medina and Wesley Smart. Three members of the boys golf team also missed out on one final season: Spencer Schorg, Jake Anderson, and Seth Nelson. The girls golf team had two returning state qualifiers with Tori Galles and Sidney Tritz, but no seniors were going out for the team this spring.

Four seniors were awarded with the Remsen Youth Bowlers Scholarship this year at Maple Lanes. Brady Homan, son of Jeremy and Katrina Homan, was awarded $1,216.22. Brady bowled 10 years in the program. Mitch Rhodes, son of Dean and Kathy Rhodes, was awarded $1,505.30. Mitch bowled 10 years in the program also. Ethan Riedemann, son of Kevin and Bobbi Riedemann, was awarded $3,651.60. Ethan bowled 10 years throughout his school years. Seth Nelson, son of Mike and Ann Nelson, was awarded $649.15. Seth bowled 11 years throughout his youth years.

Iowa State Bank welcomes Kyle De Vary and Kennedy Vander Windt.

On May 15 through a Facebook Live event, Remsen St. Mary’s Schools made a special announcement through their Facebook page. Patty Lansink, Remsen St. Mary’s High School Principal, announced Kim Phillips, who serves as Remsen St. Mary’s Lead Teacher, Seventh and Eighth Grade Reading, English/Writing Teacher, and Speech Coach, is one of four recipients of the 2020 Bishop’s Excellence in Education Awards. The awards are usually presented at the Annual Bishop’s Dinner, but this year the event will be an online celebration. Phillips stated, “The new, online event, the Bishop’s Fundathon for Catholic Schools, will be held Sunday, September 13, 2020.”

Buying the business from Charlie Galles, Shelly Kunkel and her twin daughters, Karlee Ohrt and Kylee Massmann, now have co-ownership of Connor’s Lounge in Remsen. Their first official day as owners was April 17, 2020.

After lengthy discussion Thursday night, June 11, the Plymouth County Fair Board voted to postpone the 2020 Plymouth County Fair in response to the current coronavirus pandemic. “It is with deep regret that the decision has been made to postpone the 2020 fair until 2021,” said Fair Board President Loren Schnepf. “There are plans in the works to provide opportunities for youth to exhibit. The board appreciates your understanding and looks forward to seeing you July 28-Aug. 1, 2021,” he said. The motion passed on a 14-7 vote. A second motion was made and unanimously approved to lease the fairgrounds to ISU Extension Plymouth County and support a 4-H and FFA program for 2020.

School administrators in Plymouth County and across Iowa are faced with making plans for what the 2020-21 school year might look like, including where students and teachers will be. Districts need to submit their continuous earning plan by July 1. Districts are also able to submit a hybrid plan and/or on-site plan.


A boy, Alvin James Schumacher, born April 7, 2020, to Paul and Melissa Schumacher of Remsen.

A boy, Benjamin Armand Staab, born May 13, 2020, to Dave and Dr. Steph Staab of Denver, Colo.


Fern Ella Frances Smith, 97, passed away peacefully to be with our Lord Sunday June 7, 2020 at Happy Siesta Nursing Home in Remsen, Iowa.

Jeanette Ricke, 90, of Remsen, passed away on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at the Happy Siesta Health Care Center in Remsen.

Matthew Charles Schmillen, age 45, of Marcus, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at Cherokee Regional Medical Center in Cherokee.

Ronald J. Fiedler, 77 years old, of Remsen, passed away unexpectedly, Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D.