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Arian Schuessler / Damian Dovarganes 

Andrew Lloyd Webber appears during an interview at Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 3, 2018. The Oscar and Tony winning composer was in town for the Los Angeles premiere of his hit musical, "School of Rock The Musical." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)


CHRIS ZOELLER The Globe Gazette 

Chad Leer of Mason City purchased the former Wise Guys building at 125 First St. SE in March and converted it into Stampede's Sports Bar & Grill.


Local
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'Too good an opportunity to pass up': Mason City bar and grill open for business (with photos)

MASON CITY | Chad Leer had been a customer of the OP and Wise Guys at 125 First St. S.E. in Mason City before those bars had closed.

So when he passed by the location earlier this year and realized the same building was for sale — and Jason Wise had left almost everything needed to run a sports bar — Leer jumped at the chance. Start-up costs to open totaled about $25,000 to $30,000. 

"It was too good an opportunity to pass up," Leer, 43, said inside his new business, Stampede's Sports Bar and Grill. "We looked at it on March 4, made the offer on March 5 ... I don't do anything slow, I go into it full bore."

Stampede's offers a food special every day, and the kitchen is open until about 10 p.m. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Leer said the name Stampede's stemmed from when he and his girlfriend—co-owner Jinny Rae—were sitting in their backyard, trying to think of names for the bar. Then they saw a group of deer, and the name Stampede's came to mind.

True to its name, there has seemingly been a stampede of support for the new business. Nearly all of the bar's Facebook reviews are five out of five stars, and people have commented on social media that Stampede's has the best pizza and burgers in town.

Leer said there was a soft opening on April 28. He's grateful for his cooks and wait staff, who have run the place smoothly and effectively since he opened.

"I'm kind of the Donald Trump of the bar business," Leer said. "I just hire the right people. I'm not necessarily a smart guy ... I just hire the right people to do it."

"Teamwork makes the dream work," he added. "It's kind of like the NFL Draft. If you don't draft the right ones, your team's probably not gonna win, or win big."

Leer said his bar has a "down home" atmosphere, noting there are multiple TVs throughout the building to show sports games. There also is a pool table on both the first and second floors, and an event space is available for rent. The space holds up to 48 people, Leer said.

CHRIS ZOELLER The Globe Gazette 

Chad Leer of Mason City purchased the former Wise Guys building at 125 First St. SE in March and converted it into Stampede's Sports Bar & Grill.

He also thanked the community for its support, but continues to be focused on his main priority: serving his customers well.

"I guess it feels to me, like I'm doing my job," Leer said. "It makes you feel good that you're doing what you're supposed to be doing."

He's also made a point to work with other community businesses. Vinyl Addictionz, the design shop on South Federal Avenue, supplied Leer with his logo and design needs for opening.

"I try to find businesses that are starting up, just like me," he said. "I can't say enough about the guy (Shane Wells). He and his wife (Naomi) both, they're just amazing."

Leer said he plans to host a DJ every month, and to rent a mechanical bull every quarter-year. He also wants to hold bean bag tournaments and events for local charities, starting this summer.

His staff have been thankful for the business' quick start, including server Jesse Martinez.

"It's awesome ... it's like another home for me," Martinez, 26, said about Stampede's. "The food's great and we've been busy ... it feels good, especially when you hear someone giving good feedback, because you know you're doing a good job."

Leer wants his business' quick start to continue — and true to the homey feel of Stampede's, he wants customers to feel comfortable.

"I don't want to be here today and gone tomorrow," he said. "You can only grow so much ... but when people want to be here, they want to be here."

Photos: First Look - Stampede's Sports Bar & Grill in Mason City

Editor's note: A earlier version of this article omitted the fact that Jinny Rae, Leer's girlfriend, is a co-owner of Stampede's. The Globe Gazette apologizes for the omission. 


CHRIS ZOELLER The Globe Gazette 

Stampede's Sports Bar & Grill staffers, from left, server Jesse Martinez, cook Bradley Heinold, kitchen manager Travis Abernathey, owner Chad Leer and floor manager Jennifer Johnson.


Clarksville's Maddie Poppe voted to 'American Idol's' top 5 (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

CLARKSVILLE — Maddie Poppe has done it again, this time with performances of songs written by the legendary Prince and pop/rock star Sheryl Crow.

The Clarksville native has made it to “American Idol’s” top five.

Cheered on by a watch party at the high school in her hometown, 20-year-old Poppe, this time at the piano, wowed the judges and live audience with a moving rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

“I just love it when you take and remind us of all the versatility that you have in your wheelhouse. ... It was amazing,” said judge Lionel Richie.

“Whether you win ‘American Idol’ or not ... , I’m still buying tickets to your show,” added judge Katy Perry.

Poppe put a little gravel in her voice for Crow’s 1996 hit “If It Makes You Happy,” again to the delight of the judges.

“We get redundant in telling you how wonderful you are,” Luke Bryan said.

Poppe joins Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett and Michael J. Woodard in the top five. They’ll perform again at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC.


Crime-and-courts
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Police: Former Charles City teacher accused of 'sexual conduct' with student at his home

CRESCO – A teacher at Howard-Winneshiek Schools formerly employed at Charles City Schools has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a male student.

Tiffany Marie Ranweiler-Oblander, 29, of Decorah, was arrested Friday for felony sexual exploitation by a school employee. She has been placed on administrative leave, but is no longer listed in the school district's staff list online. 

Court documents said that according to video interviews, “the student and Tiffany engaged in sexual conduct at the student’s residence.” Police said the four incidents happened between March and April at the student's home in Lime Springs, according to court records.

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office took on a case as a referral from the Cresco Police Department May 3, court documents said. A deputy received a cell phone belonging to the student as evidence, as well as a USB with recorded interviews, a report by Cresco police and a signed statement from the student.

Ranweiler-Oblander's bond was set at $5,000, which she posted May 4. According to an "emergency motion to modify and reduce bond," she is married and has "significant ties" to the community.

Her attorneys asked the court for her to be released on her own recognizance -- or, without paying bond -- or reduce the bond amount to 10 percent of $5,000, saying "the evidence is based solely on hearsay at this point," according to court documents. 

A judge denied that motion, keeping bond at $5,000. 

Prosecution resisted the bond reduction, claiming that Ranweiler-Oblander is a flight risk, has no substantial ties to Howard County and would be a risk to the community if released. “The evidence of this case is not based on hearsay,” prosecutors noted in court documents. 

Ranweiler-Oblander was ordered to have no contact with the student, and to contact the Department of Correctional Services 72 hours after being released from jail. 

She has entered a written plea of not guilty and is scheduled to appear in Howard County District Court May 14. 

Ranweiler-Oblander was previously employed as a eighth-grade English teacher at Charles City Middle School, according to the school district's website. At that time, her name was Tiffany Ranweiler.

According to a blog she set up while teaching in Charles City, Ranweiler-Oblander grew up in Minnesota and finished undergraduate and graduate work at Minnesota State University in Mankato.