U.S. Sen Joni Ernst tours the free medical clinic area at Grand Avenue Community Outreach in Spencer.

Sen. Joni Ernst makes stops at GACO, The Iowa Project

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst visited Spencer on Tuesday, making stops at Grand Avenue Community Outreach and The Iowa Project Brewing Company. During her visit, Ernst praised the outreach (GACO) for its approach to helping people in the community. “You do want to make sure you are finding solutions and an avenue for someone if they can’t find what they need here, finding it somewhere else or giving them advice on where they can go to get assistance,” Ernst said. “That’s exactly what you have developed here in your own community. It’s basically a one-stop shop for the folks that need it the most.”

Spencer Signal circle and tower logo behind text: COVID-19 Community Updates spencersignal.com/covid19

Clay County records first COVID-19 death

One person from Clay County has died due to COVID-19, according to data updated Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. This is the county’s first reported death during the pandemic. No other information about the individual is available. As of Wednesday afternoon, Clay County has 141 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH provides a breakdown of cases by age group.

Clay County Fair and Events CEO and Manager Jeremy Parsons speaks behind podium.

Parsons: A 2020 Clay County Fair would not have lived up to reputation

The Clay County Fair, now postponed until 2021, would have been at risk of not living up to its reputation as “The World’s Greatest County Fair” had it been held this year. That realization, combined with fairgoer, staff, volunteer and vendor safety issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually led fair officials to decide it was best to not hold a Clay County Fair in 2020. The decision was officially announced Thursday. At a press conference Thursday, Clay County Fair CEO and Manager Jeremy Parson said the 2020 fair, were it to happen, simply would not have been recognizable. “It just would have not been the same,” he said.

Woman on scooter at Spencer Walmart on Wednesday, July 1.

City fires employee after racist confrontation at Walmart

The City of Spencer fired an employee Thursday after investigating an altercation that occurred Wednesday evening at Walmart. The city employee hurled racist comments at another shopper and several times sent the scooter she was in toward the shopper and toward the cart holding the shopper’s 3-year-old daughter.

Lucas Kline and Nick Applegate, owners of The Iowa Brewery Project, holding glasses of beer

The Iowa Project Brewing Company ready for grand opening

Craft beer lovers will be able to enjoy a cold beverage brewed in Spencer on Saturday when The Iowa Project Brewing Company holds its grand opening. The brewery, long-awaited in Spencer, has been selling beers to-go through online ordering and curbside pickup for a couple of weeks now. Brewery co-owner Nick Applegate said they’re ready to welcome guests into the taproom. “We’ve got the taproom all set up, decorations up,” Applegate said. “The building’s finished finally.

Spencer Signal circle and tower logo behind text: COVID-19 Community Updates spencersignal.com/covid19

Clay County reaches 100-plus COVID-19 cases

Clay County has reached more than 100 cases of COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. Friday, the Iowa Department of Public Health has reported 102 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clay County. Clay County Public Health has reported 57 people have recovered. Clay County has added about five cases per day this week, continuing last week’s sharp upward trend. Officials feared the possibility of a spike.

Two Spencer police patrol cars

Suspicious person complaint leads to Peterson man’s arrest for car burglaries, vehicle thefts

A Peterson man faces charges connected to multiple car burglaries and two vehicle thefts in Spencer. On Monday, the Spencer Police Department stated in a news release that Gary Stallings II was arrested June 11 after officers responded to a suspicious person complaint near 215 12th Avenue West. Officers arrived on scene that afternoon to find several individuals running away on foot from police. Law enforcement apprehended one of the men, Stallings, in the 800 block of 14th Avenue West. During an investigation, officers determined Stallings had been involved in multiple car burglaries and two separate vehicle thefts that occurred during the overnight hours in Spencer.

Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson talks during a Facebook live broadcast on June 11 about COVID-19 in the community.

Mayor, county supervisor chair urge responsibility as COVID-19 cases increase

As Iowa begins to open up, Clay County and surrounding counties are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 59 confirmed cases in Clay County as of Friday evening. That’s an increase of 17 cases in a week. At a press conference Thursday, Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson said the community’s COVID-19 task force, which meets daily and includes city, county and public health officials, expected the early June peak in cases. “We had prepared for that,” Robinson said.

protesters march along Grand Avenue in Spencer during March for Justice for George Floyd

See photos of the March for Justice for George Floyd protest in Spencer

Featured image photo credit: TFC Photography

Hundreds of people joined in a peaceful protest Thursday evening in Spencer to speak out against racism and call for prosecution of the four Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s death. The event began as protesters gathered in East Leach Park at 5 p.m. in Spencer. They then marched north on the Grand Avenue sidewalk to the Spencer Police Department headquarters. There, they stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the amount of time a police officer kneeled on Floyd. Mayor Kevin Robinson addressed the crowd at the police headquarters.