Candidates for LS City Council

November 8 is election day for the cities of Lime Springs and Chester. This week, those running for office in Lime Springs are answering questions. Next week, those running in Chester will answer questions.

In Lime Springs, current mayor, Barb Robinson is running unopposed, but the two positions for council have four residents running.

The questions included family names, how many years they have served on Council, groups the candidate is involved in and how that experience will help on the council, why is he/she running, what is the biggest issue in Lime Springs and any other information.

Barb Robinson


Barb Robinson is married to Jerry. Their children are David and Leanna adn they have five grandchidlren and one great-grandchild.

Years on council: Mayor for the past two years.

Groups: As a small town Mayor you are automatically put on County Boards the day you are elected such as: Assessors Board, Emergency Management Board, Howard County Economic Development etc. Some of these only meet twice a year to approve budgets and others are monthly informative meetings.

I am also a member of the Community Center Board, and try to help out anyway I can with the Pool, Parks, Library and Fire Dept Boards. I teach third and fourth grade Sunday School at the Methodist Church

Why running: Good question, because some days I wonder what the [heck] I was thinking.

I grew up here and over the years I have seen many people volunteering and serving their community, and doing a fantastic job of it.

I just hope I can somehow make a difference here, whether it be fixing problems, inspiring someone to volunteer some time or to run for office.

Biggest issue: This is an easy and a very difficult question. The biggest issue facing this community is financial.

The City has no Reserve Fund, unlike other small towns who have been able to continually put money aside for a “rainy day.” Our infrastructure is very antiquated, and some things are a heartbeat away from failure. There has been very little maintenance done to the lagoon and water tower/pump house since they were installed 20-30 years ago. Our water lines and sewer lines are aging, our streets are breaking up, in general we have problems that only money can fix. We have limited funding coming in and prices keep going up.

When I took over as Mayor in January of 2010, I could see by the end of the month we weren’t even going to be able to meet payroll in February. We made it through September of 2010 with the help of a line of credit from the bank and even managed to pay that off by October 2010.

In 2011 we cut everyone’s budget to the bone and thought we could break even, but the water tower had to be sandblasted and painted. We think we are gaining and something else breaks down. This is not going be a quick fix, it’s taken many years to get this bad and it will take a long time to get us built up again.

Do I have all the answers? No, probably not. Being broke gets old really quick. I’d love to be able to call contractors to come in and completely repair everything within city limits, but that is just not going to happen.

We are going to have to figure out how we can cut spending, cut budgets, find cheaper sources, account for every penny, fund-raise, write grants and network with other towns our size.

We are not the only small town out here with these problems and issues but at times it sure feels like we are.


Gordon Dornink


Gordon R. Dornink and wife Linda have seven children—two girls are married and our oldest son is in college at Wartburg. We have four children still at home. Our youngest three children are all juniors at Crestwood High School. We have one grandson who is just two months old.

Years on council: I have never served on city council/mayor before.

Groups: I am not involved in any groups right now, but was on the board for the former Youth for Christ in Cresco years ago. I was also on the Board at our former church that we attended. Being part of those boards gives me some experience working with others together for a common goal.

Why running: I want to get more involved with our town and get to know people more as well. I am interested in helping keep our town doing well.

Biggest issue: I think the biggest issue facing our town is finances. I want to help bring interest to Lime Springs….get people to love our town as much as we do and want to stay or visit more. Not only will others get to know and love Lime Springs, but it will also bring revenue in.

Other info: We moved to Lime Springs last October, have lived here one year and love it. I grew up in Greenleafton and have been a dairyman/herdsman all my life, except for the years I went to college.

We really feel at home here and settled in. My wife and I look forward to getting more and more involved. This is our home…Lime Springs…a real home to be proud of.


Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is married to Sandra. The couple have two children, Shawn and Dawn, and six grandchildren.

Years on council: I was on council before for six years and am now filling in for a replacement term.

Groups: Right now, I am not in any groups.

Why running: I want to help improve things in the city and see how it all runs.

Biggest issue: Right now there is no big issue. We just have to see if we can improve so the city can run more cost efficient.

Other info: I am a new business owner in the city trying to help improve things and take care of people’s needs.


‘Roger’ Lepa


James “Roger” Lepa is married to Patricia and the couple’s children are David, Sharon, Leann and Franci.

Years on council: 16 years

Groups: My experience as city water superintendent, city wastewater superintendent, street superintendent and also city marshal for several years gives me a lot of knowledge of how cities are run.

Why running: To try and keep senior citizens from having money spent from their income. To see the city spend only for critical items on budget.

Biggest issue: Our biggest problem we have is our finances. We were put in a hole that is being taken care of, but this will take time. We have a good mayor and council who are working hard to get this accomplished. This will be done.

Other info: Lime Springs is a wonderful small city. We are all or should be thankful for living here. We have several things that we should brag about—swimming pool, fire department, community center, library, parks, water plant, sewage lagoon, tennis court and several more. Thanks Lime Springs. We love you.


Leann Thomas

Leann Thomas and hubby Jim have two children, Jacob and Abby.

Why running: I have lived in Lime Springs for 30 years. It is a great place to raise your children and call your home. I know we are facing hard economic times, and I would like to see Lime Springs stay the way it is; a safe, friendly community.

We have a lot of things to offer such as the parks, pool, library, and school. I would like to be a city council member and be involved in keeping Lime Springs the great family oriented community it is. I realize it will not be an easy task, but I hope I have something to offer.

Mensink fighting cancer

By Marcie Klomp

Breast cancer. That was the diagnosis Beth Mensink was given this past April. She lived with the news for several weeks as she had more tests; and it was confirmed.

During those two weeks, she was poked and prodded and poked some more. “For two weeks straight, 8:00-5:00 every day they did tests. I didn’t think they could test that much, but they did,” Beth said. Janssen accompanied her mother to MRIs, PET scans, blood tests, biopsies, ultrasounds and doctors appointments.

After all the testing, Beth told her family, including sons Tom and Todd, she had inflammatory breast cancer, which is more aggressive than other types her daughter said.

Since May, Beth has logged as many miles as some over-the-road truckers. First of all, she had to go to Rochester every two weeks for chemo treatments. She had three of the four initial treatments when she contracted chemo induced pneumonitis and was hospitalized for three days. She was receiving an IV to treat the pneumonitis, when a blood clot appeared where the IV was and became infected. She ended up in the hospital for another three days.

She then had to have IV antibiotics two times a day for two weeks. This was administered at the Cresco Hospital. After two weeks of the IV antibiotics, she had chemo once per week for another 12 weeks for a total of 15 rounds of chemo. She’s had a reprieve of four weeks before she had surgery for a double mastectomy on October 24.

She will wait one month to heal and then will have daily radiation treatments for six weeks at Rochester. Perhaps more chemo will follow, depending on how she responds to the radiation.

Through the doctor appointments, chemo treatments and just feeling run down from the cancer and medications, Beth has tried to stay positive and busy.

She has some help in that department. Tracey, who is a nurse, said, “There are a couple of amazing people who have stepped forward to help. [Next door neighbor] Phyllis Stevenson has been wonderful and Mayo has offered support systems for Mom.”

“The Breast Cancer Survivor Mentorship program at Mayo has helped. These women have been through it and tell you what to expect,” Beth said.

For first-hand experience, Beth can also talk to her sister, who has had breast cancer two times, several cousins and two of her mother’s sisters who have all had breast cancer.

Beth’s mother had breast cancer in the 1960s and was treated. She had one breast removed and the cancer came back nine years later in the other breast. The second cancer is what took her life.


“That’s why Mom is having a double mastectomy,” Tracey explained.

Mayo also has a wig program, which Beth has used. But, she says, she mostly uses hats that she purchases herself. “In the chemo area, they have free hats and scarves. A lot of people crochet or knit hats,” Tracey added.

Beth continues to work at Fox River Mills at Osage to keep up her insurance. First it was half-time, but it has been full-time in the last month since she has had fewer doctors appointments and treatments.

“I’ve been using my short-term disability. I only have two weeks left.” After that, she has just six months of personal time she can take. She says the company has been very flexible in letting her take time off for treatments.

So, besides the stress of trying to fight cancer, she is also trying to survive financially with her trips to the hospital and missing work. Because of that, a benefit is planned for November 19 at the Community Center in Lime Springs. A spaghetti dinner will be served from 11:00-2:00 with a silent and live auction. Items can be dropped off with Phyllis Stevenson or KCDs in Lime Springs or at Kevin Janssen’s in LeRoy. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 117, LeRoy, Minn. 55951 or can be done online at to leave a donation or message.

Beth appreciates all the support she has received and wants to remind women to have regular mammography testing. Whether there is a history in the family or not, it is best to get checked. It could save your life. This message is particularly fitting as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Former City Clerk pleads guilty to Theft in First Deg.

Howard County Attorney Joe Haskovec announced a pre-trial conference was held on October 24 and Larry Gates, former Lime Springs City Clerk, entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of Theft in the First Degree.

On June 27, 2011, Gates was charged in Howard County District Court with one count of Theft in the First Degree, a Class C felony; one count of Theft in the Second Degree, a Class D felony; one count of Theft in the Third Degree, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and one count of Theft in the Fourth Degree, a Serious Misdemeanor. All of the charges stemmed from Gates’ former employment as Clerk for the City of Lime Springs, Iowa.

At a November 12, 2009 Special Meeting, City Attorney Kevin Schoeberl advised the council to suspend Gates with pay. Gates was ultimately formally removed from office on August 3, 2010, when he was no longer on the payroll. He was Lime Springs City Clerk since 1997.

Hacker-Nelson was retained for the initial auditing of the books in November 2009.

The specific charges are as follows:

Count 1—Theft in the First Degree (punishable by up to 10 years in prison)—The Defendant, beginning on or about the sixth day of July 2006 and continuing through the 21st day of May 2009, in Howard County did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of utility payments; the dollar amount exceeding $10,000.

Count 2—Theft in the Second Degree (punishable by up to five years in prison)—The Defendant, beginning in January 2006 and continuing on and through December 2008, in Howard County, did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of unauthorized salary; the dollar amount exceeding $5,000.

Count 3—Theft in the Fourth Degree (punishable by up to one year in jail)—The Defendant, beginning on or about the 28th day of April 2008, in Howard County, did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of unsubstantiated reimbursement claim; the dollar amount exceeding $200.

Count 4—Theft in the Third Degree (punishable by up to two years in prison)—The Defendant, beginning on or about the first day of October 2008, in Howard County, did take possession or control of the property of another; said property being money belonging to the City of Lime Springs, Iowa in the form of unsubstantiated reimbursement claim; the dollar amount exceeding $500.

The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation, the Howard County Sheriff’s Department and the Howard County Attorney’s office participated in the investigation.

His sentencing has been set for Wednesday, January 18, 2012. At that time, Haskovec says Counts 2-4 will also be addressed and restitution will be determined.


City to hire dep. maintenance

By Marcie Klomp

At the Oct. 4 meeting, members of the Lime Springs council gave City Clerk Carla Moser their top three picks for the two deputy maintenance positions advertised in the paper. She will call the applicants and set up interview times with Brian Johnson and Corey Gates.

• In other business, the shoveling of residential sidewalks was discussed. Last year, the council tried to get residents to clear their sidewalks, but by the time it was decided, ice was already there for the winter.

Moser called other towns to see what their ordinances are and found they also found it hard to enforce the shoveling of sidewalks if there were residences without sidewalks.

Council member Gary Klomp said, “It’s impossible to implement if you let people take their sidewalks out.” That has happened in the past. There are areas in town where there is a sidewalk on either side of a residence that doesn’t have a sidewalk. It is hard to force someone without a sidewalk to shovel their grass.

There will be a notice sent with the water bills encouraging residents to shovel their sidewalks—especially for the kids walking to school.

A message will also be sent about parking on the road during snow removal. Vehicles need to be removed within 48 hours.

City maintenance manager Dennis Grabau admitted there were probably only six to eight car owners who aren’t following the rules.

• Two trees will be added to the list for Dusty Burnikel to take down. They are the one by Denise Fairbanks and Earl Walker, if the home owners agree.

• C US Bank asked if it could hire the City to spread sand on its parking lot for a fee.

Councilman Corey Gates said he was concerned since it was hiring out and wondered if it could be done. The City’s attorney will set up a contract. The bank will need to be billed enough to cover the cost of the attorney bill and materials.

• While discussing the utility bills, Robinson commented it was the same people as always who were late on their water bills.

Moser added 20-30 letters are sent out per month and most pay. Between six to 10 have letters put on their doors saying their water will be shut off if not paid. Then they nearly always pay.

Eurofins, the business at the Travel Plaza, asked if the large sewer charge could be waived since they irrigate plants. Other times of the year, the business only uses minimum water and sewer. The council agreed

In the past, the four condos at Tompkins Apartments have been charged minimal water/sewer. They have been billed for 400 units, when other meter readings show 800 units used. Moser will look into a solution.

• The council voted to have the city clerk continue to get documents notarized at the bank rather than have Moser get her own notary.

• Tank & Tummy will be charged $50 for a cleanup fee. After the cleanup, the owner charged the City with theft, but the City was in its rights to remove the debris.

• The City will purchase a two-year gambling license for $150. It will allow all city entities to have raffles, drawings and Bingo for profit.



• Julie Ann Mueller, who moved into the home formerly owned by Marc Stockman, was granted a horse variance if neighbors agreed. She was also issued a building permit for a mud room, garage and dog fence.

• After the council received more information on the rocking of Howard Street, on the far south side of town, it was decided to allow Denny Rice to purchase the rock and have it spread himself, rather than the City paying to have it spread.

• Duane Johnson suggested putting up a sign restricting the weight limit on the bridge near Cheryl Davis. Council didn’t know if that could be done since it is a Farm to Market road.

Moser will get bids on putting in a cement culvert for a bridge.

• Robinson said City boards need to be gender neutral, which can be hard. She has been trying to find a male to be on the Library Board without much luck.

Moser said, “We need to take every step possible to attempt to be gender neutral.”

An ad will be put in the paper asking for men to volunteer for the Library and Community Center Boards and women to volunteer for the Fire Board. If there are no volunteers the City can have unequal boards.

• The City was asked to write a note on City letterhead supporting Kadyn’s Law, which is asking for tougher laws on stopping for a stop arm bar in a bus.

The next council meeting will be Tuesday, November 1, at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center.

Five students charged with simple assault

According to Cresco Police Chief Mark Kissinger, on September 29, Crestwood High School Principal Tim Felderman contacted the Cresco Police Department about two possible assaults taking place in the school parking lot on Sept. 20 and 21.

After investigating, five individuals were referred to Juvenile Court Services by the department for simple assault. They are Arley Moellers, 16, or Ridgeway; Jacob Johnson, 16, of Lime Springs; Nathan Galvin, 17, of Cresco; Brett Bodensteiner, 17 of Cresco; and Quentin Kulish, 16, of Cresco.

After speaking with the school’s attorney, Howard-Winneshiek Superintendent Dianne Anderson was able to give a brief assessment of the assault.

“We are following the standard operating procedures that deal with each individual situation. We need to respect the confidentiality of our students. So there is very little I can inform you of at this time,” she stated.

There were false rumors that circulated around the district after the incident, but an assault did take place and the district wanted to reassure parents to not worry about their children’s safety.

“The administration and staff in the high school immediately took precautions for the safety for our students. There was more monitoring in the hallways, between classes, at the cafeteria, and in the parking lot,” Anderson commented.

The school has policies in place for student behavior. Those policies are on the school website. “I would encourage concerned people to read them. I am not at liberty to discuss these things at this time.”

The five students were disciplined after a special school board meeting was held. The punishments cannot be released by the district.

William ‘Bill’ Dozark, 76, LS

William Charles Dozark, 76, of Lime Springs, Iowa passed away at the Regional Health Services of Howard County in Cresco, Iowa on Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

Bill was born on September 27, 1935 in Minneapolis, Minn. to William Charles, the first, and Thelma Elizabeth Wentworth. He was raised on a farm in rural Howard County, Iowa. He attended the Saratoga #6 County School and Riceville High School.

Bill was united in marriage to Joyce Marie Patton on September 18, 1954. They bought a farm in rural Lime Springs, Iowa. To this union three children were born, William P., Randal J. and Lisa M. Continue reading

Larry Stockman, 64, Lime Springs

Larry Stockman, age 64, of Lime Springs, Iowa, died on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, at the Golden Living Center in La Crescent, Minn.

Continue reading

Getting down and dirty

Future Master Gardeners Cathy Mason, Pam Wendel and Sheryl Cray. Not pictured Carol Thompson.

By Marcie Klomp

Some find it therapeutic to sit in a garden and enjoy all the glorious colors and smells. Others are the ones who actually get down and dirty pulling weeds, adding mulch or planting new bulbs. Many times they are one in the same.

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School Board needs strategic plan

New School Board as of September 26, 2011 include Board Secretary David Gaus, Doug Berg, Superintendent Dianne Anderson, Karlos McClure, James Kitchen, Duane Bodermann and Scott Fortune.

“(A) master plan can not be created without there first being a strategic plan which is the outcome of a unified school board vision for the future of our district.”

Jim Obermann,

Facilities Committee

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Chester’s Fall Festival Fun

Kendel Schwickerath carefully paints his pumpkin in Chester.

Winners of the Coloring Contest sponsored by Partners in Progress at Chester’s Fall Festival included Braylen Weldon 0-3, Jazlyn Wel-don 4-6, Adana Warnke 7-9 and Sheyenne Hamilton 10-13.

About 38 pumpkins were also decorated during the festival. The kids were kept busy so Mom and Grandma could go shopping.

The gym area was full of vendors and lots of folks enjoyed soup and sandwiches.