Home News Friday News, March 3rd

Friday News, March 3rd


Gehlen Catholic Holds Town Hall Meeting For Long Term Strategic Plan

(Le Mars) — Gehlen Catholic held an open town hall meeting last night to focus on the development of a long range strategic plan. Gehlen Catholic school board director Anne Oloff of Le Mars moderated the forum. She says the purpose of the meeting is to gather comments from the public to give direction for Gehlen
Catholic schools.


Oloff says the long-term plan will cover the next five years, but she says some of the goals and action items may be broken down even more.

She says there are five different areas the Gehlen Catholic School Board examines when developing its long range five-year strategic plan.


More than 50 people attended the meeting, and then gathered in break-out groups relating to their interests. Oloff shares some of the ideas that were mentioned during Thursday’s town hall meeting.

In recent years, Gehlen Catholic has been fortunate to see an increase in student enrollment numbers. However, the Gehlen Catholic school official acknowledges the two main challenges for any private or parochial school is increasing and
retaining student enrollment, and generating enough funds to remain sustainable.

Oloff says school officials will compile the suggestions and comments from the town hall meeting, and present a final draft of Gehlen’s Long Range Strategic Plan within the month.


Sentencing For Grasz Set For Today

(Le Mars) — Sentencing is scheduled for this morning for a Craig man who pleaded guilty to invasion of privacy and sexual exploitation. 66 year old James Grasz could face a maximum of 41 years in prison.

Grasz, James


Legislators Scramble To Pass Policy Bills Before Funnel Deadline

(Des Moines) — Legislative leaders are scrambling this week to meet a self- imposed deadline for policy bills. The so-called funnel deadline is set for Friday. State Representative, Chuck Holz of Le Mars says legislators must be able to pass bills through the respective committee by the end of the week, in
order for it to be considered for this year’s legislation.


One of the bills that state House members are working on yet this afternoon is the worker’s compensation bill. Holz says the labor committee is still discussing the bill’s provisions.

Holz, a republican, says the worker’s compensation program has had some abuses in the past. He says it is designed to get people back to work.

Chuck Holz

Holz says, in the past, some of the settlements have not been fair to all parties.



Anti-Abortion Bill Fails To Get Passed Before Legislative Deadline

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A legislative effort by Iowa Republicans to outlaw abortion in the state has failed to advance past a legislative procedural deadline.
The so-called personhood bill was kept off the agenda of a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday. The committee needed to vote on the measure for it to survive a deadline that requires certain legislative action on policy bills.
Republican Sen. Brad Zaun, committee chairman and co-sponsor of the bill, says he didn’t have enough votes to advance the legislation. Anti-abortion rights groups had rallied around the personhood bill this session amid new GOP control
of the Legislature.
Republican lawmakers are still considering a separate bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A Senate committee was meeting Thursday to vote on that bill.


Ritzman Selected To Head Iowa State Patrol

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan is appointing her top aide to be the new chief of the Iowa State Patrol.
Ryan announced Thursday that her executive officer, Jeff Ritzman, will be the patrol’s next colonel effective immediately. He replaces Michael Van Berkum, whose retirement takes effect Friday.
Iowa State Patrol logo
Ryan says in a note to troopers that Ritzman “is the right person for the job at this point in time.” She says Ritzman’s experience makes him “uniquely qualified” to address challenges in law enforcement and lead the force during a time of tight budgets.
Ritzman joined the Department of Public Safety as a trooper in 1982 and has served in several roles, including homeland security coordinator in the intelligence-gathering Fusion Center.
Ryan also announced that she was appointing Lt. Randy Olmstead to replace Ritzman as executive officer.


No Charges To Be Filed Against Man Who Drove Through Pella Wal-mart and Killed Three People

PELLA, Iowa (AP) – A central Iowa prosecutor says no charges will be filed against a man who crashed his pickup truck into a Wal-Mart store, killing three people.
Marion County Attorney Ed Bull says that all evidence indicates 66-year-old Dennis Mockenhaupt suffered an unknown medical
condition that caused him to lose consciousness and crash.
Investigators and witnesses have said the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed when it plowed through a glass front entrance and well into the grocery section of the store in Pella on Dec. 1.
Killed were two Wal-Mart employees, 31-year-old Carrie Zugg and 29-year-old Lindsey Rietveld, and a customer, 76-year-old Ruth Jean DeJong.
Bull said Thursday that toxicology tests showed no alcohol, drugs or medications in Mockenhaupt’s system that would’ve contributed to the crash.