Home News Wednesday News, April 4th

Wednesday News, April 4th


City Council Approves Harris Construction To Perform Central Avenue Overlay Paving Project

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars City Council awarded the Steve Harris Construction Company of Homer, Nebraska, the contract for the paving overlay project for Central Avenue. According to Pat Bickett with Schlofeldt Engineering, Harris Construction is the same contractor that performed the paving overlay on Business
Highway 75 last summer. The Central Avenue project is to be started by May 1st.

The contract bid by Harris was at $786,649. Bickett says the project will be conducted in four different phases between 3rd Street North to 3rd Street South.

Bickett informed the city council that vibration monitors will be installed in 18 downtown businesses during the construction period to determine if the equipment may cause excessive vibrations.

The engineer doesn’t anticipate any problems will occur with vibrations during the construction time frame. However, he says if any vibration does occur, he says it would happen during the milling or grinding of the top layer of the existing asphalt, or with the use of a jack hammer. City officials and downtown
businesses hope the paving project will be completed before Ice Cream Days.
Bickett says the city has approved a bonus incentive clause as part of the contract.

Bickett says its still too early to determine whether the project will be completed before Ice Cream Days.



Campbell’s Electric To Upgrade Electrical Improvements At Municipal Park

(Le Mars) — The city council also awarded Campbell Electric of Le Mars the contract for the electrical upgrade for the Municipal Park camp grounds.
Campbell’s Electric submitted the low bid of $79,850. The start date for the electrical upgrade is scheduled for May 1st with a completion deadline of July 3rd.



Sioux City Man Found Guilty Of Fatal Stabbing

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Sioux City man has been sentenced to 250 days in jail over the fatal stabbing of another man.
44-year-old Jeremy Lillich pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter Friday and was credited with 250 days already
served in custody. He was on parole from a 10-year prison sentence for drugs when the stabbing occurred. His parole has been revoked and he’s been returned to prison.
A grand jury indicted Lillich in November for the June 3 slaying of 21- year-old James Purcell, of Sioux City. Police have said they think the stabbing started as a fight over a theft.



Hawarden Man and Wife Sentenced For Child Endangerment

(Orange City) — A Hawarden man has been sentenced to prison, while his wife was given probation for charges of child endangerment. Matthew Spaans, age 36, and Nina Spaans, age 34, of Hawarden, Iowa, were sentenced on April 2nd in Sioux
County District Court for multiple counts of child endangerment. This case arose in February 2017, when the couple’s children began telling authorities various injuries received over the last two and a half years were inflicted by Matthew Spaans. All children were removed from the couple’s home. The physical abuse included Matthew hitting a child with a metal sword, hitting a child on the head with a plastic shovel breaking the shovel, pushing a child under a recliner and repeatedly slamming the footrest shut, pushing a child inside a dryer, and attempting to break a child’s arm. Before February 2017, the children were
claiming their injuries were caused by accidental means, though some were, according to medical authorities, clearly inflicted. The children were fearful to tell the truth as their mother, Nina, threatened they would never see each other again. Nina further directed them to share false explanations for their injuries
when questioned by school officials.

Matthew and Nina Spaans pled guilty to four counts of child endangerment. The State recommended both Mathew and Nina be sentenced to indeterminate prison terms not to exceed four (4) years. The Court sentenced Matthew to such a prison
term, while suspending Nina’s sentence allowing her to serve a period of probation with the possibility that she resides at the residential treatment facility in Sioux City, as determined by her probation officer.



Congressman Steve King Comments On Tariffs

(Le Mars) — President Trump’s actions to impose trade tariffs on China, is starting to have some consequences on Iowa agriculture. China is a major trading partner with U-S farmers with such products like soybeans and pork. Although
soybeans have so far been spared by the retaliatory actions of the Chinese, pork exports have not, and the price of hogs dropped substantially Monday as the Chinese named U-S pork as a product they would impose their own tariff.
Republican U-S Congressman Steve King says he believes in free trade, and he recently spoke with President Trump about the impact the tariff would have on Iowa’s economy.

King says he wishes that Trump would not have imposed the trade tariffs, and fears we have entered an all-out trade war with one of our better trading partners.

The Iowa Republican Congressman believes the effects of the trade war will have a long reach and memory for agricultural goods. But he says there may be some irony to the trade war with China.

King says the actions may also hurt young farmers trying to get a start in the farming business.

King says he will watch the situation closely.



Iowa House Approves Bill To Eliminate “Sanctuary Cities”

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa House has approved an expansive immigration enforcement bill that would withhold state funding from local governments that don’t comply with immigration laws.
The Republican-controlled chamber voted 55-45 Tuesday for the
legislation, following several hours of debate. One Democrat voted for the bill and five Republicans opposed it.
The legislation is framed as a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, a
catch-all label for jurisdictions that limit local involvement in federal immigration enforcement. Iowa has no sanctuary cities.
The bill would also prohibit policies that discourage enforcing
immigration laws. That could allow federal agents to conduct enforcement activities at jails.
The measure heads to the GOP-controlled Senate, which already passed the bill but must OK final changes. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who highlighted the bill to raise money for her gubernatorial campaign, is expected to sign it.
President Donald Trump has used Twitter in recent days to criticize immigration enforcement in the country.



Corbett Asks Judge To Rule Him Eligible As Candidate For Governor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A state court judge will rule soon on the fate of former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett’s campaign for governor.
Corbett asked a Polk County judge Tuesday to allow signatures crossed out in his ballot petition to be counted after a state elections panel refused to consider them.
The panel voted 2-1 last week to reject Corbett’s petition. He fell eight names short of the 4,005 required.
Attorneys representing Corbett said his campaign was attempting to follow guidelines from the secretary of state’s office when striking names, but some valid signatures were “mistakenly” crossed through.
An attorney representing the panel said “rules are rules” and that drawing a bold line through a signature clearly indicates it shouldn’t be counted.
Corbett is seeking to challenge Gov. Kim Reynolds in the Republican primary.



Des Moines Man Charged With Training Roosters For Cock Fighting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines man has been charged with training roosters to cockfight more than a month after police and animal rescue workers seized scores of chickens from his property.
Officials say 50-year-old Jose Barrios was booked Monday evening in the Polk County Jail. He’s charged with being a trainer for an animal contest, a felony.
More than 100 roosters and hens were taken from Barrios’ home on March 8.
Officials say Barrios told officers he was training the roosters to
prepare them for a derby in Mexico.
If convicted, Barrios faces up to five years in prison.
No attorney was listed Tuesday for Barrios in online court records.



Des Moines Man Found Guilty Of Shooting Death

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A jury has found a Des Moines man guilty of first- degree murder in the shooting death of another man last year in the city’s River Bend neighborhood.
The Des Moines Register reports that 19-year-old Miguel Lorenzo-Baltazar was found guilty Monday of the July 28 death of 23-year-old Jeffrey Mercado, of Des Moines.
Police say that Lorenzo-Baltazar jumped out of a vehicle and fired multiple shots at Mercado with a semi-automatic handgun, hitting Mercado in the chest. Mercado was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Lorenzo-Baltazar faces life in prison without parole when he’s sentenced May 10.
Another Des Moines man, 22-year-old Anthony Garcia, also faces a first- degree murder count when he’s tried on May 7. Police say Garcia was driving the vehicle.



Des Moines Man Charged With Animal Neglect

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines man has been charged with 15 counts of animal neglect after police removed nearly 50 cats – many of them dead – from his home last month.
The Des Moines Register reports that 55-year-old Leland Anthony Moffitt is charged with five counts of animal neglect resulting in injury or death and 10 counts of animal neglect resulting in no death or serious injury.
Animal control officers spent several days removing 32 alive and 17 dead cats from his home after initially being called on March 14.
Authorities say the home had several inches of animal feces and garbage on the floor. At least 10 other cats were found hiding in air ducts and in the home’s walls.
Des Moines allows six cats and dogs per household.



Police Identify Body Found On Des Moines River Bank

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Police have identified the remains of a body found on a riverbank in southern Des Moines.
Police said Tuesday that the body was that of 61-year-old Thomas Francis Hoye III, of Des Moines.
Police say the Polk County Medical Examiners Office is continuing its investigation into the cause of Hoye’s death.
A pedestrian reported around noon Sunday that he’d spotted the body below a bridge over the Raccoon River. Police had said the body appeared to have been at the spot for some time and showed no obvious signs of injury.