Home News Wednesday News, January 13

Wednesday News, January 13


Le Mars Community Schools To Remodel And Update Science Rooms

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Community School Board has given preliminary approval to renovate the science laboratory rooms within the high school.  Architect Courtney Koch of the Cannon, Moss, and Brygger firm shared the cost estimates and plan to the school board.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Todd Wendt says the estimates for the renovation project will be slightly above $900 thousand dollars.

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Wendt discusses what the plan involves and why school officials feel a need to update the science facilities.

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Wendt says the new science rooms will also be equipped with new fixtures and science laboratory equipment.

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The school superintendent says he hopes construction for the project will be completed in time when students return back to school next autumn.

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Wendt says the school hopes to open contractor bids on February 22nd, and if the board gives final approval for the project, they would be able to immediately order construction supplies, and get started without further delay.






Sheriff Requests $90,785 Increase For Law Enforcement Center Budgets

(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are beginning work on the next fiscal year’s budget.  During their weekly meeting held Tuesday, Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo appeared before the county supervisors to propose the Law Enforcement Center’s budgets.  In the sheriff’s department, Van Otterloo is requesting a total of $1,068,336 or a 3.1 percent increase over last year’s budget.  Van Otterloo says most of the increase is to cover wage increases and an increase in insurance premiums. Rural services proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 is listed at $382,223 or what represents as a 3.5 percent increase over this year’s budget.  Van Ottlerloo suggested to the supervisors the Communications Center should increase the budget by 3.7 percent to $425,137.  Again, the Plymouth County Sheriff says the proposed increases would cover salaries and insurance costs.  As for the jail’s budget, Van Otterloo is asking for a total of $1,183,666. That figure represents a 2.65 percent increase.  Besides salaries and insurance, Van Otterloo says the jail’s budget is asking for a one-time expense of $2500 to convert one of the jail cells to a padded cell.





Goodchild Delivers County Recorder Quarterly Report

(Le Mars) — In other action by the supervisors they approved the county recorder’s quarterly report as submitted by JoLynn Goodchild.  The Plymouth County Recorder says the county took in a total of $142,238.42 between October and December of 2015.  She says of the amount, the state of Iowa will receive $86,163.56.  Goodchild informed the supervisors that most of the collected fees, about $20,000 worth, are from mortgage fees.  Transfer taxes, when one company sells its business to a second company, was another high revenue category for the county. That amounted to nearly $13,000.  Goodchild says her office processed 1325 documents for the reporting quarter.




County Zoning Commission Submits Annual Report

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Zoning Board Administrator Alan Lukin presented his annual report to the county board of supervisors during their weekly meeting.  Lukin says building permits were higher this past year, thanks to several hog confinement facilities that were constructed.

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Lukin talks about some of the other zoning construction projects within the county from this past year.

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The county zoning administrator says other projects from this past year included one zoning change from agriculture to commercial, and a Hinton family had built a winery building.  Lukin says P-M-S Midwest had a large expansion project in 2015.

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The supervisors also discussed the fees that the county charges for building permits, and determined to leave the fees the same.  They were informed that compared to other counties, Plymouth County has one of the lower rates for building permits.




Authorities Investigate Highway 75 Accident

(Merrill) — Authorities are investigating a three-vehicle accident that happened Tuesday evening on Highway 75 near Merrill and Hinton.  The accident had occurred at about 7:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes.  Little information regarding the accident are known at this time.






Breda Man Identified From Deadly House Fire

BREDA, Iowa (AP) – Authorities have identified the man whose remains were found last week in a burned house in Sac County, north of Breda. 
The Sac County Sheriff’s Office says the man has been identified as 48-year-old Daniel Robert Mielk, who lived in the home alone. The State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the identity using dental records. 
On Jan. 8 deputies and firefighters from Auburn responded to a rural home and found that it had been burned to the ground.  Authorities later found human remains inside the house. 
The cause of death has been listed as smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. No foul play has been suspected.  
The State Fire Marshal’s office is still investigating the cause of the fire.





Federal Judge Says State Supreme Court Should Rule On Drainage District Dispute

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A federal judge says the Iowa Supreme Court should settle legal questions about whether farmland drainage districts can be held liable for water pollution downstream before a lawsuit filed by a Des Moines water utility can proceed.
Questions such as immunity for drainage districts and which constitutional protections might apply to parties challenging drainage systems have not been decided by state or federal courts in Iowa. The drainage districts have been around since the late 1800s.
Judge Mark Bennett said the novel legal issues deserve the attention of the state’s highest court.
The decision comes in the lawsuit that Des Moines Water filed last year against three northwest Iowa counties that oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts.
Farm drainage district attorneys say Iowa’s constitution has long protected them from legal liability.





Legislative Committee Wants To Investigate Jackpot Scandal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A legislative committee in Iowa plans to look into the jackpot-fixing scandal that started in the state and has spread to several other state lotteries. 
Rep. Bobby Kaufmann says the Iowa House government oversight committee will investigate how it was possible for an employee at the Multi-State Lottery Association to allegedly fix jackpots. He says lawmakers want to prevent it from happening again.
Kaufmann said lawmakers may seek documents and testimony from the Urbandale, Iowa-based lottery association, which runs the popular Powerball game and is governed by 37 lotteries in U.S. states and territories.
The alleged scheme didn’t affect Powerball, which uses balls instead of computers to draw numbers. That game is expected to set a world jackpot record in Wednesday’s drawing of $1.5 billion.





Iowa Farmers Produce Record Corn And Soybean Crops

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – It is a record year for Iowa and Nebraska crop farmers.
The final harvest report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa farmers brought in 2.5 billion bushels of corn, 4 percent higher than the 2009 record. Iowa has led the nation in corn production for 22 consecutive years. The average per-acre yield of 192 bushels also is a new record.
Soybean farmers did very well too producing a record crop and the nation’s largest soybean bounty, beating out Illinois for the first time since 2012. At 554 million bushels, this year’s Iowa soybean harvest exceeds the 2005 record by 5 percent. The per-acre yield also beat the 2005 record.
Nebraska also produced records with 1.69 billion bushels of corn and a 306 million bushel of soybeans.