Van Otterloo Asks County Supervisors To Approve Hiring Another Deputy
(Le Mars) — During his appearance before the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors this morning, Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo requested the county board give careful consideration to adding another deputy to the county’s law enforcement. Van Otterloo informed the county supervisors it has been a challenge to cover all shifts as part-time deputies are difficult to schedule due to working other jobs. Reserves are down to one officer. A total of 2316 hours of accumulated vacation, holiday and comp time. 115 hours of overtime spent in the last calendar year. Van Otterloo pointed out that eight
different counties with similar population bases have 13.25 deputies. He indicated Plymouth County is two short of the average. Van Otterloo also gave justification for hiring another deputy due to the increase in major case activity. Van Otterloo told the county supervisors that in order to maintain current programs such as D.A.R.E., SRT, Drug Task Force, Dive Team, Reserve Program, Accident Investigator, Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau projects, Salvage Title Inspector, Firearms Instructors, Defensive Tactics Instructor, ILEA certified instructors, K-9 unit, and Honor Guard Unit. Sheriff Van
Otterloo says most importantly, there are tremendous safety concerns for the deputies on duty, and the citizens we serve.
Le Mars Community Teachers Ask For A 3.08 Percent Salary Raise
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Educational Association presented their initial bargaining position to the Le Mars Board of Education yesterday. In the proposal, the faculty members are seeking a 3.08 percent increase in pay for 2018-2019 school year. The teachers also indicated they would be in favor of a multiple year contract, providing an equitable agreement can be reached in
regards to language, benefits, and salaries. If agreed upon by the school board, the increase in pay would amount to $425,458.52. The school board will offer its initial proposal on January 18th.
Le Mars Man Charged With Insurance Fraud
LE MARS, Iowa (AP) – An April trial has been scheduled for a northwest Iowa man charged with forgery and insurance fraud.
Court records say 39-year-old Scott Leininger, of Le Mars, entered a written plea of not guilty Friday in Plymouth County District Court in Le Mars.
His trial starting date is April 17.
Authorities say Leininger submitted false paperwork to back his claim to Homesite Insurance for damage he said his disability equipment sustained during a lightning storm. Court documents say the company discovered that the paperwork was bogus and didn’t pay the claim.
Floyd Valley Board of Trustees Elect Officers
(Le Mars) — Floyd Valley Healthcare Board of Trustees elected its officers during its monthly meeting held Tuesday evening. Re-elected as the chairman for the hospital trustees is Bill Young. Ralph Klemme will assume the duties as vice chairman, Danna Schuster was elected as Secretary for the board of trustees, while Janelle Bixenman was selected as treasurer.
Floyd Valley Healthcare Board Of Trustees: Front row left to right, Danna Schuster, Administrator Mike Donlin, Janelle Bixenman. Back row left to right, Ralph Klemme, Bill Young, and Craig Bauerly.
Governor Reynolds Delivers “Condition of the State” Address
(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds began this year’s “Condition of the State” address by acknowledging she’s the first female among Iowa’s 42 governors to deliver the annual speech.
Reynolds also mentioned the “Me Too” movement, praising women who’ve “found the courage” to report sexual harassment.
Reynolds calls for “all of us in public office” to serve as models for the public and private sector.
Reynolds used her speech to hail Republican initiatives passed in the 2017 legislature, like the changes in Iowa’s collective bargaining law. Then Reynolds sketched out what she described as “unfinished business” in the GOP agenda.
Reynolds called on legislators to make passage of a plan providing more state tax dollars for water quality projects their first priority.
Next on the list: tax policy. She’s calling for an end a controversial state tax deduction for federal taxes. It makes Iowa’s top income tax rate look higher than it actually is when compared to most other states. Most other states do not
have the deduction. The governor released a proposed state spending plan for the coming year as well as cuts in the current year’s state budget. Her recommendation is that Iowa’s public K-12 schools get a 1.5 percent boost in general state aid, along with $35 million dollars to use as the schools wish.
The $35 million annual allotment had been reserved for efforts to reduce class sizes in the early grades and state law does not call for the allotment to be included in the next state budgeting year.
Here’s the end of Reynolds’ speech:
Former Legislator To Tackle Sexual Harassment Issues At State Capitol Building
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A former Republican lawmaker tasked with addressing workplace culture in the Iowa Senate following sexual misconduct allegations in the chamber has formally submitted recommendations for improvements.
Mary Kramer tells The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday she submitted a draft with recommendations to Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix and Senate President Jack Whitver. Kramer says the top Republicans in the chamber
received the document in early January.
Kramer says she’s waiting to meet with Dix and Whitver before making the recommendations public. She says she hasn’t spoken with Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, the top Democrat in the chamber. Petersen highlighted workplace harassment in a speech Monday. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds referenced the topic Tuesday in her Condition of the State address.
A recent internal report on the Senate GOP revealed office staff fear retaliation if they report harassment. The issue is tied to a discrimination lawsuit by an ex-Senate GOP staffer.
Iowa State University To Pay For Student Organization’s Legal Bills
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State University’s unconstitutional crackdown on a pro-marijuana student group’s t-shirts is expected to cost taxpayers hundreds of
thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees.
Subject to the approval by a state board Tuesday, the state has agreed to pay $150,000 in damages to two leaders of the university chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The state would also pay their lawyers $193,000 for their work defending against university appeals, and additional fees for trial work in an amount to be decided later by a judge.
The costs stem from the university’s politically-motivated attempt in 2012 under former President Steven Leath to block t-shirt designs that featured its mascot and a small cannabis leaf. Judges found that administrators violated the students’ free-speech rights.
Sports Betting May Be Introduced In Iowa Legislature
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – A new report predicts 18 states will introduce bills to regulate sports betting this year, with 11 having a good chance of passing one.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which tracks gambling legislation nationwide, says that’s just the minimum; the firm predicts more than 30 states could introduce sports betting bills.
The U.S. Supreme Court this year will decide a case brought by New Jersey that seeks to overturn a ban on sports betting in all but four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.
States listed as likely to introduce a sports betting bill are:
Massachusetts; Rhode Island; New York; New Jersey; West Virginia; South Carolina; Georgia; Florida; Illinois; Michigan; Iowa; Minnesota; Louisiana; Mississippi; Oklahoma and California. Indiana and Kentucky already have
Des Moines Reports First Homicide of 2018
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a suspect has surrendered in Des Moines’ first homicide of 2018.
Police say officers and medics sent around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a reported shooting found the body of a 39-year-old man who’d been shot in the chest.
A few minutes later the suspect contacted police and then surrendered. No charges have been filed.
Police haven’t released the name of the victim or the suspect.
Woman Found Incompetent To Stand Trial
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Chicago woman accused of killing her sister in Des Moines has been found incompetent to stand trial.
The Des Moines Register reports that a judge issued the ruling last week for 31-year-old Ieisha McDuffy. Judge Health Lauber says McDuffy suffers from a disorder that prevents her from appreciating the charges against her or aiding her lawyer. Lauber ordered McDuffy to be treated while in state custody so her mental competency for trial can be restored.
Police say Ieisha McDuffy and her sister, Lakeisha McDuffy, were visiting another relative’s home Sept. 10 when Ieisha stabbed Lakeisha.