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2018 Year in Review

The Estherville News looks back at the top stories of 2018: part one starts here, part two will publish Dec. 31.

December 26, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer (apeterson@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

Area students go to State

After a 27-year hiatus, the Estherville Lincoln Central High School Jazz Band went to the Iowa Jazz Championships, after placing second at the NCIBA District Jazz Contest held in Algona March 1. The jazz championships were held on the campus of Iowa State University April 5. It started with a Superior rating in Spirit Lake. January 24, the Estherville Lincoln Central Jazz Band earned the rating with special commendation for the band's use of style and interpretation for various kinds of jazz music. Several soloists particularly stood out to the judges: Emily Herum, Katherine Johnson, Joseph Sexe, and Logan Newhouse.

Five members of the ELC dance team were chosen for the All Iowa Honor Dance Team, an elite, statewide team that performs at the Iowa Girls' State Basketball tournament. Karley Hanson, Liz Reardon, Domanique Richardson, Riley Shryock, and Emma Stevens were chosen after weeks of practice leading up to auditions.

Article Photos

National History Day state champions Taylor Myers and Cora Brandt took their performance on an Iowa button factory and worker conditions to the national competition in Washington D.C. The duo placed eighth in the nation in the national competition.

Wind storm and other natural disasters

Thursday, Sept. 20 around 5 p.m., lights began to flicker and trees and poles bowed in the winds, which the Estherville Municipal Airport measured at speeds of up to 75 miles per hour, and Emmet County Emergency Management Director Travis Sheridan believed could be even higher. The storm happened in the western part of Emmet County from just east of Estherville to just over the county line shared with Dickinson County, and including the Green Plains ethanol plant in Superior. Damage around the area included the roof blowing off Imperial Bowling Lanes on 17th Street with damage estimated at approximately $50,000. The National Weather Service also traced an EF-1 tornado, which touched down briefly near Superior and had peak winds estimated at 99 mph.

Fact Box

The top stories of 2018 Part 1:

Area students go to State (and Nationals!)

Wind storm and other natural disasters

Christensen appeals conviction in murder of Thomas Bortvit

Armstrong cases dismissed

#LincolnStrong

In Part 2: our top five stories are:

Estherville Municipal Pool

Dog Park and animal ordinance

Odor issues

2018 election

Economic development

Be sure to catch the Dec. 31 issue of the Estherville News for part 2, and pick up the Dec. 27 issue for part 1.

Other stories of nature wielding its power included the flooding on the West Fork of the Des?Moines River that started after the snow melted and lasted into September.

Speaking of snow, the winter of 2018 had its last blast April 18 as spring delayed its entry into Emmet County and the surrounding areas.

The summer brought a mix of rain storms and dry heat, making it a net dry summer statewide. Late 2018 has already brought a major snowstorm as at least three more months of winter lay ahead.

Christensen appeals murder conviction

Lee Christensen, who was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced December 21, 2016 to 50 years in prison for the June 6, 2015 shooting death of Thomas Bortvit, was represented for oral arguments before the Iowa Court of Appeals in February. April 18, Christensen's conviction was reversed and remanded to district court. All of the appellate judges agreed with the reversal except Justice McDonald, who wrote a dissent. The appeals court found juror misconduct during the summer, 2016 district court trial the primary reason for awarding a new trial. Before progress for a new trial could begin, the state attorney general's office requested further review by the Iowa Supreme Court. Oral arguments from Christensen's attorney, Leon Spies, and the attorney general happened in Red Oak on Oct. 9.

Armstrong cases dismissed

The city of Armstrong faced numerous challenges from late 2016 through 2017. As the calendar turned to 2018, the citizens' petition to remove certain Armstrong council members ended in part due to Patty Thackery and Rhett Hiney's defeat in the 2017 city council elections. The five complaints brought against the city before the Iowa Public Employee Relations Board were also dismissed. Preston DeBoer, northwest Iowa representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), dismissed the complaints Jan. 18. DeBoer said, "The prohibited practice complaints filed with PERB were dismissed by me as part of an agreement between the parties, whereby the city agreed to resume/finish negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement."

#LincolnStrong

On June 25, Lincoln Coakley, a rising ELC senior and renowned wrestler, was in an auto accident. Coakley was life-flighted to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester where he spent several weeks improving after surgery for his injuries and therapies for his brain injury. In July, Coakley moved to On With Life in Ankeny, a rehab center, where his family's updates indicate he continues to improve. The Ankeny Centennial High School wrestling team allowed the ELC team to use its gym for a practice in November, and Lincoln was able to experience that practice and be with his teammates. In August, a supper and auction at the Elks Club was attended by over 400 people, and raised $48,000. Other fundraisers have raised enough money for Lincoln to continue treatment and recovery at On With Life until he's ready to be released.

 
 
 

 

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