by J.O. Parker
The new Grinnell Police Chief, Michael A. McClelland, brings 25-years of military (U.S. Army, Guard and Reserve) and 24-years of civilian law enforcement experience to his new job.
Originally from Des Moines, Chief McClelland most recently worked for the Aurora Police Department in Aurora, Colo.
He has held numerous positions within the department including patrol, field training officer, traffic officer, patrol sergeant, police area representative sergeant, awards board chairman, traffic investigations sergeant, patrol watch commander, traffic section commander, training section commander, honor guard commander, investigative support section commander, emergency response team commander and force review board member.
When asked why he applied for the Grinnell position, Chief McClelland said he and his wife, Mindy, wanted to return home to Iowa.
Mindy is from Charles City.
Chief McClelland said his stepfather and stepbrother influenced him to enter law enforcement. Both men worked and are now retired from the Des Moines Police Department.
“I grew up around it,” Chief McClelland said of law enforcement.
He takes the reins of the Grinnell Police Department on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
When asked if he planned any changes in the department, Chief McClelland said he had no plans to bring change in the early going.
“I plan on listening and observing for first 30 days or so, gathering input from the officers, community leaders, stakeholders, faith-based groups, Grinnell College and members of the community on what they want from their police department,” he said.
He added that Chief Reilly was working with several qualified candidates to fill department vacancies and he will continue in that role.
“Once restrictions of COVID are eased, I would like to take a good look at revitalizing our Reserve Officer program, along with a volunteer program to assist our day to day operations,” he added.
When asked if he had any other thoughts, Chief McClelland said Chief Reilly did an amazing job with the department and he is very fortunate to be falling in on such a great organization with no problems.
“I’m looking forward to starting this next chapter in my law enforcement career,” said Chief McClelland.
by J.O. Parker
Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, both who were police officers, retiring Grinnell Chief Police Dennis Reilly enjoyed a 33-year career in law enforcement.
“I always looked up to my father and believed that law enforcement was a noble profession,” noted Chief Reilly. “While my father preferred that I pursue a career in federal law enforcement, I wanted to work within our community like he did.”
Chief Reilly began his law enforcement career as a patrolman with the Morris Township, N.J. Police Department in August 1987.
During his career in Morris Township, Chief Reilly was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1995, lieutenant in 2000 (patrol and investigations), and captain (operations and support services divisions) in 2007. In January 2011, he was appointed Chief of Police.
In addition, Chief Reilly has instructed in a number of law enforcement areas, including constitutional law, firearms, first aid, and RADAR operation. He has also served as a field training officer and officer in charge of detectives.
He holds a BA in Management Sciences from St. Bonaventure University and an MA in Education from Seton Hall University. He is a graduate of the 241st session of the FBI National Academy, as well as a graduate from the instructor for the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Command and Leadership Academy.
“My career has caused me to work nights, weekends, holidays, experience late night calls, witness too many tragic events and miss many a family function,” he said.
When asked what brought him to Iowa, Chief Reilly said he wife was born and raised in Ames and the couple wished to make their way back to the Hawkeye state.
After learning about Grinnell Chief of Police position in an advertisement on the International Association of Chiefs website, Chief Reilly said he reached out to a friend of his who attended the FBI National Academy in 2010 (Chief Rob Johansen – Urbandale Police Department).
“He suggested that Grinnell was a nice city and the police department had a good reputation in Iowa law enforcement.”
He served with the Grinnell Police Department since June 2012. His last day as chief is Dec. 31, 2020.
When asked for some of his accomplishments in law enforcement, Chief Reilly said he’s not looking for the spotlight, but that serving for more than 33 years and making life better for others is his biggest accomplishment.
“My career has given me a front row seat to witness acts and events that will unfortunately never leave me,” said Chief Reilly. “More importantly, though, it has provided me with many opportunities to help others and this is why I wanted to be a police officer. I experienced all of this while serving two magnificent communities, beside dedicated professionals.”
Chief Reilly said in January, that he told his wife that it was time to take on something new and that he planned to conclude his career in December.
“It was time for me to spend quality time with my family, not connected to a phone or email 24/7,” he said.
Chief Reilly informed staff in February, at the department’s annual meeting, that this would be his last year. In April, he provided his official notice to the city, wanting to provide them with adequate notice to find his replacement.”
As for retirement, Chief Reilly said he plans to take a deep breath, relax and spend some true quality time with his wife and not have to worry about one of his officers being seriously injured, or a tragic event happening to one of his community members.
“I look forward to the opportunities ahead me, whatever they may be,” he said.
He added that it has been a true honor to serve the Grinnell community.
“This has become home for my wife and I, with us making many life-long friends,” he said. “I will miss serving Grinnell, and serving beside a dedicated group of professionals at Grinnell Police Department.”
by J.O. Parker
It’s a dream come true for a new Grinnell business owner.
After more than a year of construction, Sarah Cox-Smith is pleased to announce that her business, Cox-Smith Funeral & Cremation, is opening as early as this week.
“I was looking for a change and an opportunity to grow,” said Cox-Smith of opening the new business. “I wanted to provide more options for the Grinnell Community and surrounding area.”
Located at 135 1st Avenue West, the building features a large naturally lit chapel, large hallways that are ADA compliant, restrooms, a family room, front reception area and large paved parking area.
“We wanted to make sure the hallways were wide-open for people to move about,” said Cox-Smith.
The new building also features a large gathering space with large windows and seating for up to 100 people. The room can be used for a luncheon following a service or possibly for a community event. The gathering space can be accessed from the funeral home or through a separate entry door.
The chapel features two televisions and there is also a television in the gathering space.
The funeral home offers funeral and memorial services, cremation services, caskets with numerous options, urns, vaults, monuments and jewelry.
“The jewelry could include a fingerprint, cremated remains or strands of hair from the deceased,” said Cox-Smith.
Cox-Smith, who has lived in Grinnell for 30 years, is a 1994 graduate of Grinnell High School and a graduate of Marshalltown Community College. She attended Worsham College for Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Ill., graduating in 1998.
After interning at Powel Funeral Home in Williamsburg, Cox-Smith returned to Grinnell. She joined the staff at Smith Funeral Home in 2001 and remained there until 2018.
She and her husband, Chad, purchased the home and four acres where the new funeral home sits from the Edgington Estate in April 2019.
Construction on the building began in November 2019.
The old two-story home on the estate is being converted into the family room, embalming room, casket and vault room, offices and an upstairs apartment.
There is also a coffee bar that will serve hot and cold beverages for families and their guests.
Funerals and memorial services will be available seven days a week.
Chad, who calls himself husband, secretary and handyman, designed the floor plans of the new building.
Future plans call for development of the rest of the property into themed gardens. Some of the furnishings in the building came from the former Grinnell Steak House, Spaulding Mansion and were passed down from family.
“I really wanted a funeral to be a celebration of life and provide the family a comfortable place to gather and reflect,” said Cox-Smith. “I have received a lot of support and encouragement through this process.”
“We are here to serve the community,” added Chad.
An open house is planned for Sunday, Jan. 10, from 2 – 4 p.m.
For more information, contact Cox-Smith via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at: 641-236-5580. A website will soon be in place at: www.coxsmithfuneralhome.com.
Heather Krumm, one of the Grinnell Hy-Vee cake designers, has won the Hy-Vee Extreme Cake Challenge. Her winning design was of a black wedding-style cake with red trim and bright yellow candles with red flames that looked lit. “I did a celebration design,” said Heather. “I used black to make it look like the candles are glowing.” Heather advanced to the final round after finishing in third place in the semi-final round in late November. She was going against cake designers from across Hy’Vee’s eight-state region. She received 1,798 votes in the finals on Hy-Vee’s Facebook page, making her this year’s winner. Heather has worked at Hy-Vee since 2011 and is a self-taught cake designer. She received $1,000 for her winning design.
Jim Dunne, the long-time former Grinnell Tigers Varsity Football Coach has been inducted into the IFCA (Iowa Football Coaches Association) Hall of Fame. Dunne spent 34 years coaching and teaching at Grinnell, where he won nine district titles and compiled a record of 174-67, while making the playoffs 15 times during his coaching tenure. Twice, he was a Coach of the Year finalist and was named the Class 3A Coach of the Year in 1998. He is shown with his son, Eli, who played quarterback at UNI, his wife, Sara, and daughter, Katelin Ferguson. He also has a daughter, Nicole Hart, and three grandchildren, who reside in Texas.
by J.O. Parker
Jim Dunne, the long-time former Grinnell Tigers Varsity Football Coach, has been named to the IFCA (Iowa Football Coaches Association) Hall of Fame.
Dunne was presented with the honor at the Iowa State Football Playoffs in November.
All 34 years of Dunne’s varsity football coaching career came at Grinnell, where he spent 11 seasons as an assistant under Steve Kriegel, and then 23 as an award-winning head coach.
Dunne, who played football at Coe College, said he knew that teaching and coaching was a profession he was meant to do.
“I was hired in 1981 as a recent college graduate to teach social studies and become a varsity assistant football coach at Grinnell,” he said.
Dunne won nine district titles and recorded a 174-67 record as a head coach, twice as Coach of the Year finalist and Class 3A’s Coach of the Year in 1998. Grinnell was the Class 3A runner-up in that 1998 season, tying their best finish in program history.
His Tiger teams went to the playoffs 15 times, and included 59 all-state players throughout his tenure. The long-time social studies teacher and activities director was also a Shrine Bowl coach in 1997.
When asked what he enjoyed the most about being a coach, Dunne said number one was the relationships he built with the players, assistant coaches and opposing coaches.
“The other aspects that I thoroughly enjoyed were the preparations (game planning and practices) to get ready to battle an opponent,” said Dunne. “I also love challenges and football coaching certainly provided that on a weekly basis.”
When asked for some of the highlights of his career, Dunne said the semi-final game in 1998 against number one ranked Decorah, which Grinnell won, is one his top memories.
“We defeated them on the scoreboard, but we physically wore them down,” he said. “From 1997-2001 we went five years without losing a district game.”
He added that coaching his son, Eli, was also a highlight of his coaching career.
“The opportunity to coach my own son after coaching so many other people’s son was a great memory I will have forever,” said Dunne. “Eli certainly lived up to his dad’s expectations, becoming a three-time all-stater and leading his teams to three straight playoffs.”
When asked what it means to receive the Hall of Fame honor, Dunne said, “Humbling.”
“In 1981, when I came to Grinnell as a 22-year-old right out of college, I never dreamed I would stay as long as I did at Grinnell and have the success that we were able to attain,” he said. “I had a great mentor in HOF coach Steve Kriegel. I think what makes me proud of our accomplishments at Grinnell is the fact that in the 34 years of coaching at Grinnell, we only had three losing seasons. Our toughest year was in 1995 when we went 1-8 with a squad of at times less than 20 kids. After that year, we won six straight district titles. The fact that we were consistently very competitive was very satisfying. Hopefully I had a positive impact on kids and taught them how to do things the right way, with class and dignity.”
Dunne retired from coaching and teaching in 2015.
Dunne and his wife, Sara, have three children: Nicole Hart, Katelin Ferguson and Eli Dunne. They also have three grandchildren, who live in Texas.
by J.O. Parker
Dr. Clark Jensen, O.D., a long-time Grinnell optometrist, will perform his last eye exam on Christmas Eve morning.
Dr. Clark, owner and operator of Jensen Optometrists, PLLC, is retiring after 44.5 years in the eye healthcare business.
His daughter, Dr. Whitney Jensen, O.D., is taking over the reins of the business and is the third generation Jensen to do so.
“This is the third generation,” Dr. Clark said of his daughter. “You don’t have that happen often.”
Dr. Whitney is a 2012 graduate of the University of Missouri, St. Louis College of Optometry. She spent three years working in Des Moines before joining her father in the family business in July 2015.
Dr. Whitney said her dad is not only a great optometrist, he is a caring father, husband, community leader, educator, philanthropist, and most importantly, a friend to so many people throughout his career.
“I’m honored to be his daughter, colleague, teammate, and mentee,” noted Dr. Whitney. “I hope to carry on the legacy of Jensen Optometrists for years to come with as much pride, knowledge, compassion, and integrity as my dad has. I have big shoes to fill. He will be sorely missed!”
Dr. Clark’s career has taken him from Indianola to Oregon to Grinnell to South Africa then back to Grinnell. He spent 41.5 years in Grinnell serving patients from a five-county area and beyond at the family-owned business founded by his dad, the late Dr. Earl Clark.
He spent three years (1985 – 1988) as a senior lecture and Director of Optometry Clinics at the University of the North in Sovenga, South Africa. He learned about the South Africa opportunity from an article he read in an optometry journal.
“The optometry department was new and they were coming up short on staff and having a tough time filling positions,” he said.
Dr. Clark said he had always thought he might like to teach and so he and his wife, Annie, decided to accept the opportunity and move with their children from Grinnell to South Africa.
“One of the main courses I taught to incoming students was on contact lens,” said Dr. Clark. “What they are, how they work and how to fit them.”
His main focus has been medical eye care, diagnose and treatment of eye disease, eye exams, contacts and eyewear and more.
When asked what he had enjoyed the most about his long career, Dr. Clark said, “The relationships I have built with all the patients I’ve served through the years.”
Dr. Clark estimates that he saw 2,500 patients on average each year until cutting back in recent years to two days a week. That is roughly 100,000 plus eye exams during that time frame.
Dr. Clark grew up in Grinnell and graduated from Grinnell High School in 1969. He attend Simpson College, where he played football for one year and ran track and field for two years, before enrolling in Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. It was at Pacific that he finished his undergrad studies in Health Services and went on to earn his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1976. He returned to Grinnell and joined the family business in June 1976.
Dr. Clark met his wife, Annie, who was born and raised in Diagonal, Iowa, while he was attending Simpson.
“I was playing football at Simpson and just finished two-a-day practices,” he recalled. “I needed to get out of town, so I decided to attend the Iowa State Fair.”
It was through a mutual friend that Dr. Clark met Annie at the fair that year. The couple started dating soon afterwards and were married in 1974.
Dr. Clark and Annie have been married 46 years. They have two children, Dr. Whitney and Geoff. Geoff, who is the medical sales field, and his wife, Kyndi, have four children and reside in Urbandale. Dr. Whitney is married to Heath Glienke.
Dr. Clark is a member of the Iowa Optometric Association, American Optometric Association, a Fellow of American Academy of Optometry, past President of the Heart of America Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH)/Iowa, and is the Iowa Representative on the Vision Service Plan Regional Professional Committee. Most recently has passed his examination to become Board Certified by the American Board of Optometry.
In 1997, Dr. Clark was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Pacific University College of Optometry. He was Contributing Editor of Optometry Today, a professional journal, and has published articles in Optometry Today, The Contact Lens Spectrum, and The South African Optometrist.
Founding of Jensen Optometrists
Dr. Earl Clark grew up on a farm in Audubon, Iowa. Dr. Clark said his father didn’t see a future in farming. It just happened that three of his uncles were optometrist and they encouraged him to enter the eye healthcare field.
After graduating from Audubon High School in 1939, Dr. Earl attended Iowa State University before being inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942, where he served in the military police in Europe and Japan.
He then attended South Dakota State University and Northern Illinois College in Chicago, where he graduated with a Doctor of Optometry degree in 1948.
He began his practice in Newton with his uncle, Dr. Ben Jensen, and on April 1, 1949, established the Jensen Optometric Clinic in Grinnell.
“The Grinnell area was under served for eye care,” noted Dr. Clark of his father.
Dr. Earl opened his practice one block south of the current location at 935 Broad St., Grinnell in 1949. In 1955, he built a professional office building in what is now used as the eye eyewear sales and service department at Jensen Optometrists.
In 1968, Dr. Earl expanded the business one door south in what is now the waiting room, exam room and offices. The building formerly housed a children’s clothing business.
The eye care business expand a third time in 1988 when Dr. Clark and his brother, Dr. Scott, who joined the family business in 1977, purchased a third building together. Dr. Clark was still in Africa at the time.
The building, which has several exam rooms, was formally Wellhouse Photography Studio and later the offices of Grinnell Chiropractor, Dr. Brian Brown.
Dr. Earl and his wife, Gwen, raised three sons, Clark, Scott and Tracy and one daughter, Carol.
Dr. Earl spent 40 years serving customers before passing away from cancer in July 1989.
Dr. Scott left the family business in 2008 and is currently serving as an optometrist in the Atlanta area.
New Service Coming
A new service coming to Jensen Optometrist is an eye spa. The service include facials, face waxing and eyebrow and eyelash tinting. Dr. Whitney said she will also be doing dry eye treatments and management service in the near future.
Joining Dr. Whitney in seeing patients is Dr. Joseph Jahner, O.D., a native of Knoxville and 2020 graduate of the University of Missouri, St. Louis College of Optometry. He joined the Jensen Optometrist staff in October.
Down the Road
Dr. Clark said he and Annie will continue to call Grinnell home, but plan to winter in Florida in the new year. The couple also plans to spend time with family, travel and explore new places and new things.
“I have always wanted to travel,” he said.
Dr. Clark admitted that he may stop at the office on occasion to check in and see how things are going. In fact, he is keeping his desk available just in case.
But for now, Dr. Clark said following his last eye exam, “I plan to quietly slip out of here.”
by J.O. Parker
Thanks to a donation from Team B.L.U.E., the Grinnell Police Department was able to purchase three Ballistic Vests with Level IV Front/Rear Ballistic Plates and three Level IIIA Ballistic Helmets.
Team B.L.U.E. is a non-profit organization that supports law enforcement training and equipment. The ballistic helmets and vests cost just more than $2,000.
In the funding request, Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly explained that the Grinnell Police Department has entered into an agreement with two other agencies to form a regional tactical team.
“This equipment will provide enhanced protection to team members,” said Chief Reilly. “This is an excellent example of how grant funding can be used to benefit multiple agencies.”
According to Chief Reilly, toward the end of 2019, a mutual aid agreement was signed between the Grinnell Police Department, Pella Police Department and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office to facilitate the formation of the Central Iowa Regional Tactical Team.
The purpose of the team is to provide those cities and Jasper County with officers who receive advanced tactical training for high risk events,” noted Chief Reilly. “For agencies our size, it is logistically difficult to have individual teams due to staffing limitations. Collectively, though, we are able to provide officer’s from each agency to form the team.
It’s a win, win for all the departments since they already work closely together as members of the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force – East.
“So forming this joint tactical team was the logical next step since threat assessments for narcotics enforcement search warrants often call for the use of a tactical team.”
For more on Team B.L.U.E., visit www.iowateamblue.org.
Heather Krumm, one of the Grinnell Hy-Vee cake designers, is shown with her Top 3 winning wedding cake in this year’s Hy-Vee Extreme Cake Challenge. Krumm, who was one of the 12 finalist in this year’s contest, received 2,389 public votes, which landed her in the Top 3 across the company. Krumm will be making another cake this week and voting for a final winner will began on the Hy-Vee Facebook page on Dec. 10.
by J.O. Parker
Heather Krumm, one of the Grinnell Hy-Vee cake designers, has been selected as a Top 3 finalist in this year’s Hy-Vee Extreme Cake Challenge!
Krumm, who has worked at the Grinnell Hy-Vee since 2011, entered the contest with a three-tier wedding cake celebrating the Iowa-based grocery chain’s 90th birthday.
Her design, she said, was old-style, traditional and elegant.
“I did research and was looking at what wedding cakes looked like when the company first started,” she said of her design.
Krumm’s entry was selected by corporate as one of 12 finalist from across the company. Hy-Vee has more than 200 stores in eight states. Photos of each entry were posted on Facebook and open to the public for voting through Sunday, Nov. 22.
Krumm received 2,389 votes, which landed her in the top 3 across the company. The others are Megan Childs, Lee’s Summit (Missouri) East Hy-Vee, 2,845 votes; and Arthur Melika, Omaha 180th & Pacific Hy-Vee, 2,711 votes.
Krumm said her cake decorating skills are self-taught. She said her decorating inspiration comes from her grandmother, who used to have a cake business when she was growing up.
“She has been my inspiration,” Krumm said of her grandmother.
Krumm said she has entered the contest each year since 2014 and has placed all but her first two years. Her best finish was second place regionally when the company offered the contest in house.
Krumm said due to COVID, this is the first year that Hy-Vee has hosted the cake challenge on Facebook and opened the voting to the public.
Krumm said she will decorate a second anniversary-themed cake this week and voting will open via Facebook on Dec. 10.
“I will need all the votes I can get,” she said. “I will be going against some tough competition.”
Grace Mikota, OH, Dallas Center-Grimes, Senior
Haylee Hidlebaugh, MH, Dallas Center-Grimes, Senior
Bailey Van Voorst, OH, Pella, Junior
Anna Vander Waal, S, Pella, Junior
Lauren Blake, Setter, Indianola, Junior
Noelle Sutcliffe, OH, Norwalk, Freshman
Faith DeRonde, OH, Oskaloosa, Junior
Avey Amelse, OH, Pella Christian, Junior
Kate Callaghan, S, Newton, Senior
Lexi Protzman, MH, Dallas Center-Grimes, Senior
Kenna Jackson, S, Dallas Center-Grimes, Junior
Jasmine Namminga, MH, Pella, Sophomore
Ella Corbin, MH, Pella, Junior
Lizzie Espenmiller-McGraw, OH, Indianola, Junior
Grace Sutcliffe, S, Norwalk, Senior
Maleah Walker, OH/MH, Oskaloosa, Sophomore
Olivia Gordon, S, Oskaloosa, Junior
Sarah Gritters, OH, Pella, Junior
Jillian Janssen, S, Dallas Center-Grimes, Sophomore
Sydney Anderson, L, Senior, Dallas Center-Grimes, Senior
Daysi Harris, OH, Grinnell, Senior
Makenna Smith, OH, Grinnell, Junior
Kira Matthias, L, Indianola, Senior
Kailey Peter, MH, Indianola, Sophomore
Meg Callaghan, MB, Newton, Senior
Kynnedei Terpstra, OH, Newton, Senior
Abigail Brenizer, OH, Norwalk, Junior
Camryn McKay, L, Norwalk, Junior
Abygail Thompson, MH, Oskaloosa, Junior
Macie Krier, DS, Oskaloosa, Junior
Meridith Rowe, OH, Pella, Junior
Macy Schultz, L, Pella, Senior
Trinity Vos, MB, Pella Christian, Junior
Kyah Chamberlain, S, Pella Christian, Junior