Hellos and goodbyes: Top 10 stories of 2010

(Editor’s note: This is the second of two stories looking back at some of 2010’s local top news stories.)

5. Movies, meat and more

There was plenty of good news for Le Mars in 2010.

In June, ICON Ag Solutions broke ground for its new corporate headquarters along Key Avenue — which was paved in relation to the Wells’ Dairy corporate center in hopes of creating a business corridor. The $2.5 million ICON Ag Solutions center may add as many as 10 new jobs.

In October, North American Co-Pack’s chief financial officer confirmed the company’s decision to open a new plant in Le Mars, employing as many as 100 people long term. The plant produces and packages ready-to-eat sandwiches and other products and began operations in early December.

In November, a man involved in restoring several movie theaters came forward with an offer to purchase the Royal III movie theater in Le Mars, which had been closed for one year. Renovation is underway on the building, anticipated to be reopened in spring 2011.

4. Ice cream parlor moving

The announcement came in February. Wells’ Dairy’s Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor and the Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor’s Center would move from their 10-year location at the corner of Highway 3 and Business Highway 75 to downtown Le Mars. The new site is a two-story 1900s brick building that has served as many things, including a two-floor car dealership. as renovation work began on the building, part of a brick wall collapsed on the top floor, bringing down new wooden roof trusses and necessitating an emergency rescue for workers. The building’s renovation plan was revised and work continues on the new parlor, which will feature a vintage ice cream parlor look, a grand staircase and two floors of seating. many of the ice cream museum pieces will be incorporated into the parlor. After the construction setback, the grand opening date was moved to June 2011 — just in time for the 25th annual Ice Cream Days celebration in Le Mars.

3. Troops deploy to Afghanistan

It was a hard goodbye for many Aug. 6, seeing brothers, sons, husbands, fathers and friends board a bus to leave Le Mars in preparation for a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. about 80 National Guard soldiers from C-Troop, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry, based in Le Mars, deployed with nearly 3,000 Iowa National Guard troops with a mission ranging from security to supporting the Afghan National Army to humanitarian relief. The soldiers spent many days prior to the deployment training for their mission. Now the soldiers are in Afghanistan. More than 2,000 people attended the Le Mars sendoff for the soldiers, and many community members and organizations have packed and sent care packages for the soldiers while they serve overseas.

2. Rain, rain, rain

Tiny droplets of water added up to a record-breaking summer for Le Mars. according to data from the Midwest Regional Climate Center, the summer of 2010 broke a 115-year-old record to be the wettest summer in the books. Rainfall from June to mid-August came in at 19.11 inches. Le Mars’ 30-year average of summer rainfall from June to mid-August is only 8.38 inches. Rivers stayed full all summer and tomatoes and other plants grew taller than usual in some gardens. The rainy summer came after an extreme winter with several feet of snow, preventing farmers from harvesting some of the previous year’s crops until spring.

1. Kissinger Elementary closes doors

Talks began in earnest early in 2010 about the real possibility of closing one of the Le Mars Community Schools’ four elementary buildings — namely Kissinger Elementary in Merrill, the only one outside of Le Mars. The decision came in February as part of a $1 million budget cut, and the last day of classes was held there this past spring. The first portion of the building was constructed in 1959 and the second part in 1969. The school was named after Joe. F. Kissinger, the last Merrill superintendent before the 1959 consolidation with Le Mars Community Schools. The students were shifted to Le Mars elementary buildings for the 2010-11 school year. however, the Kissinger building will not be empty for long. The LCS School Board voted to sell it to the City of Merrill for $1. it will likely be used for a community center including a library, city offices and a senior citizen’s meeting room.

Hellos and goodbyes: Top 10 stories of 2010

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