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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Linn-Mar High School - Marion, Iowa

Verdict in Linn-Mar case could be soon

There was growing speculation Wednesday that a verdict in the Linn-Mar football investigation could be announced soon, perhaps as early as Thursday now that the school year has ended.

Linn-Mar superintendent Quintin Shepherd, Linn-Mar principal Jeff Gustason and Linn-Mar football coach Bob Forsyth could not be reached for comment this week and Linn-Mar athletic director Scott Mahmens said Wednesday he has no information on the situation.

Linn-Mar families have charged assistant football coach Matt Casebolt and Forsyth with verbal abuse, taunting, bullying and harassment of their sons and have accused Casebolt of physical abuse as well. In addition, the families have accused Forsyth, Mahmens and Gustason of not taking effective action to stop the abuse.

The Linn-Mar school district conducted an in-house investigation this winter and dismissed all charges in February due to insufficient evidence, but the families felt the investigation was tainted because Gustason and Mahmens were allowed to lead the investigation even though they were accused of being part of the problem.

The families then filed their complaints with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, which launched its own investigation in March.

The situation has been a hot topic of conversation in recent days at Linn-Mar graduation parties and other activities, with mounting speculation that a resolution would be revealed shortly.

"From what I understand, tomorrow is the final resolution," Mark Henrichs, the spokesman for the families, said Wednesday. "Nobody knows what the resolution is going to be.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 19:35



BoEE launches probe of Linn-Mar complaints

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners has decided to investigate a series of complaints that five Linn-Mar families have filed against the Linn-Mar football program, coaches and administrators.

The families received confirmation letters from the BoEE on Monday.

The families have filed complaints against assistant football coach Matt Casebolt, head football coach Bob Forsyth, athletic director Scott Mahmens and principal Jeff Gustason.

The five families who have filed the official complaints with the BoEE arethe Jordan family, the Henrichs family, the Jones family, the Martenson family and the Rstom family. Their allegations include verbal abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse, including allegations of taunting, bullying, harassment and physical injury. They also claim that Linn-Mar administrators failed to stop the abuse and did not investigate their claims in a proper manner.

Linn-Mar administrators conducted an in-house investigation and dismissed all of the allegations, citing insufficient evidence. The Linn-Mar Board of Education has issued a blanket endorsement of the Linn-Mar administration and their investigation.



Mahmens will retire as L-M athletic director

Scott Mahmens plans to retire as the athletic director at Linn-Mar High School at the end of the 2015-16 school year, he told the Metro Sports Report Thursday afternoon.

"Yes, I have made the decision to retire at the end of this school year," he said in an e-mail. "My last day on the job will be June 29.

"I have been in the education field for 32 years and just feel like it is time for me to make this difficult decision."

Mahmens has been the director for one of the most successful athletic departments in Iowa. He came to Linn-Mar from Clinton High School in 2005 and has overseen a program that consistently ranks near the top in prep sports for boys and girls.

The Linn-Mar school district has built some of the most impressive athletic facilities in the state during Mahmens' term, including a new football stadium and track, a new aquatics center and a new baseball/softball complex.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2016 15:05



7 Metro girls make all-state hoops

If you'd like to assemble an all-star girls basketball team from the Metro area for the 2015-16 campaign, look no further than the all-state squads that were announced Tuesday by the Iowa Newspaper Association.

You could win a lot of games with the seven Metro girls who were honored by the INA.

Amanda Ollinger of Linn-Mar, Lela Sellers of Kennedy and Chloe Rice of Marion were named first-team selections for their outstanding performances this season. Kennedy Dighton of Jefferson, Joniqua Clark of Washington, Kamryn Finley of Linn-Mar and Mia Laube of Marion garnered third-team laurels on the all-state squad.

Makenzie Meyer, who led Mason City to the Class 4A state title, was named Miss Basketball. She scored 1,590 points during her career and has signed with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Ollinger and Finley helped Linn-Mar reach the semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament. Ollinger, a senior who has signed with Iowa, averaged 17.8 points and led Class 5A in rebounding at 10.9 per game. Finley, a sophomore, contributed 12.2 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Lions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 00:03



Wensel shines at Dickinson Relays

CEDAR FALLS - Linn-Mar sophomore Payton Wensel is obsessed with breaking the Class 4A state record in the 400 meter dash this spring.

In fact, she's got that record time imprinted on her brain.

"55.41," she said Monday, rapidly ticking off the numbers. "It's the password on my computer."

She's definitely headed in the right direction.

Wensel captured the 400 meter dash in 56.73 seconds at the annual Dickinson Relays Monday in the UNI-Dome, an unusually swift time for an indoor meet on a flat 200-meter track in March.

She'll be aiming for that 55.41 sometime this spring, perhaps at the Class 4A state meet on the famed Blue Oval at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Ellen Dougherty of Sioux City East set that meet record in 2009 and Wensel types those numbers by memory every time she logs onto her personal computer. "It's definitely in my sights," she said.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 March 2016 22:11



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