Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, February 7th

Wednesday Afternoon News, February 7th


City Council Heard Report On New Police Station

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars city council heard an update regarding the new police station on Tuesday. Construction project manager Ryan Wiltgen informed the city council the estimated cost to convert the former Motor Inn/Total Motors building located on the north end of Business Highway 75 to a renovated police
headquarters will be around one-point-three million dollars.

Brent Koch is the architect from Cannon, Moss, and Brygger and Associates overseeing the project. He talks about what is involved to turn a former auto dealership and service building into a police station.

Wiltgen says several area contractors placed bids on the project, and he anticipates construction may start as early as March.

Koch talks about what will be involved with the second phase of construction that so far, will be delayed.

Wiltgen says the police department may be able to move into their new headquarters by October or November.



Supervisors Approve Courthouse Renovation Project

(Le Mars) — Another renovation construction project about to begin is with the Plymouth County Courthouse. County Supervisor John Meis says the county governing board recently approved action to remodel the lower level.

Meis says the timetable for the project is to begin this spring, with the completion of the project done by autumn.

Meis says L&L Builders of Sioux City was awarded the construction contract for the courthouse renovation.

The Plymouth County Supervisor says the renovation will include work on the stairwell and also the restrooms.



Sioux County Authorities Complete Investigation of Inmate’s Death

(Orange City) — Sioux County authorities have completed their investigation into the death of an inmate that was held at the Sioux County Jail. The dead inmate was identified as 29 year old Dustin Herbst of Sioux City. Sioux County Sheriff, Dan Altena requested the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
perform the investigation due to the death occurring within the Sioux County Jail. Upon further investigation, which included an autopsy conducted at the Iowa State Crime Lab in Ankeny, the death was ruled as a suicide. Sheriff Altena says the jail facilities have numerous cameras throughout the facility, which are continually monitored by the corrections staff. The corrections
officers also perform physical checks within the entire jail, including the cells. The incident occurred inside on of the cells between the time periods the jail checks were performed by the corrections officer. There are no cameras inside the jail cells.



School Officials Say A One Percent Increase In K-12 Education Funding Is Not Enough

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Some school superintendents in Iowa say a K-12 education spending plan moving through the Legislature will not keep up with rising annual costs for their districts and will lead to budget cuts.
Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chambers scheduled floor votes Wednesday to approve $32 million in new funding. That’s a 1 percent increase to Iowa’s $3.2 billion K-12 education budget, the largest expenditure in a roughly
$7.2 billion state budget.
Officials in the Des Moines school district, the state’s largest, say it will lead to more than $11 million in cuts. In more rural school districts, superintendents warned financial obligations like putting new money toward employee retirement plans will eat up a lot of the new appropriations.
Republicans say public education is a priority at the Capitol amid budget constraints.



State Lawyers Say Lawsuit Against Governor Reynolds For Using Reserve Funds For Budget Is Unfounded

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State lawyers representing Gov. Kim Reynolds say lawmakers lack the legal standing to bring a lawsuit challenging her use of a reserve fund to plug a budget hole.
Assistant attorneys general defending Reynolds and Department of Management Director David Roederer asked a judge Monday to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges the two illegally transferred $13 million from the State Economic Emergency Fund in September. A hearing is set for next month.
Democratic representatives contend in the lawsuit that the fund is intended to cover unexpected drops in revenue and that the legal conditions weren’t met for the Republican governor to use it.
Reynolds’ lawyers argued that lawmakers lack standing because they haven’t demonstrated “a personal interest at stake or an injury that is more than abstract.”
Lawmakers’ attorney Gary Dickey says it’s disappointing that Reynolds would “attempt to hide behind procedural technicalities” after her office called the lawsuit politically motivated.