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“My mother IS La Prensa. She’s an institution all by herself.”

Arguello attributes the success of La Prensa as much to his mother’s engagement in the community as to her skill as a reporter, editor, and marketer.

She volunteers as a translator for the police departments and local courts in Carroll and Denison on civil and misdemeanor cases, sometimes receiving middle-of-the night phone calls.

She’s a fund-raiser for St. Rose of Lima Church in Denison as well as for scholarship programs for the children of immigrants. She’s become an ambassador of sorts, helping bridge cultures and strengthen community.

“Latinos have to adapt to the American culture,” says Lopez, “but I want the rest of the community to understand and appreciate what the Latino culture can contribute.”

Father Paul Kelly, the bilingual pastor of St. Rose, has witnessed her impact. “She’s a role model for the immigrant community. It’s been wonderful to see how many Latino immigrants are now working as bank tellers, police officers, and tradesmen.”

“She’s filled a real need,” says Eric Skoog, owner of Cronk’s Cafe and vice chair of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors.

According to Skoog, Lopez has inspired a number of Latinos to open their own businesses.

And she’s encouraged Latinos to patronize Anglo businesses (75 percent of La Prensa’s advertising revenue comes from non-Latino business owners).

“She helps out everybody,” says Ramon Patino (above), the owner of Tienda el Mexicano, the first Latino business in Denison.

Iowa continues to evolve with the arrival of new residents. Community leaders are finding ways to overcome cultural barriers and build dynamic, inclusive futures.

Lorena Lopez, says Arguello, is leading the charge in north central Iowa.

“She’s totally committed to helping immigrants — regardless of where they come from — adapt to their new culture.”

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