Supervisors To Meet Today
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will meet this morning for their weekly session. The county governing board will hear a report from Plymouth County Recorder, JoLynn Goodchild as she delivers the quarterly report.
The county supervisors will also hear from Alan Lucken, the county zoning administrator, as he will discuss with the supervisors an issue regarding the Justin Harms property. Possible action may be taken. Surveyor, Dave Wilberding
will appear before the supervisors seeking approval of Galles Farms first addition in Washington township, and Galles Farms second addition in Fredonia Township. County Engineer, Tom Rohe will also appear before the county board of supervisors. Rohe will seek approval of a paving contract with Knife River, as
well as review and approve project plans for three culvert projects.
Former Le Mars Resident Charged With Insurance Fraud
(Spencer) — A former Le Mars and Spencer, Iowa resident has been charged in Clay County with Ongoing Criminal Conduct, a Class B Felony, for his alleged role in committing fraud against Homesite Insurance Company.
40-year-old Scott D. Leininger was charged following an insurance fraud investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The charges against Leininger stem from an investigation that began in April of 2017.
Court documents state that Leininger allegedly engaged in providing fictitious documents to his insurer in support of fraudulent insurance claims.
He had pleaded not guilty to similar charges in a separate Plymouth County case involving the same insurance company in January and has an April 17th trial date set in Le Mars.
Leininger had also previously been charged with felony forgery in Clay County back in 2008 for falsifying a signature on a government check.
He pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor fraud charge and paid a $100 fine.
Highway 20 Four-lane Paving Among Construction Projects Announced By the Iowa Department of Transportation
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa transportation officials plan to make a near record $779 million of statewide road improvements for the upcoming construction
The Des Moines Register reports that the largest project involves widening a 40-mile, two-lane section of U.S. Highway 20 in northwest Iowa to four lanes. The $286 million project is expected to be completed this fall.
The Des Moines area, Ames, Council Bluffs, the Quad Cities and Waterloo are among the areas that will also see road work.
Stuart Anderson is the director of the state Department of Transportation’s Planning, Programming and Modal Division. He says a dime-per-gallon state tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel that took effect in 2015 has generated an additional $200 million annually for Iowa road projects.
Study Shows Immigrant Labor Force Is Dwindling
(Des Moines) — Immigrant populations are starting to fall in rural labor markets, according to an Iowa State University study commissioned by the National Pork Producers Council. I-S-U economist Chris Boessen (BESS-en), one of the study’s authors, says the pork industry is making gradual yet major shifts.
Boessen says the study shows the labor market has changed in Iowa and across the region.
The change in U-S immigration policy has contributed to a shortage of foreign ag workers, but Boessen says it’s more than just that.
As conditions improve elsewhere, he says immigrants have less motivation to come to the U-S. N-P-P-C officials say in addition to this study, data compiled by U- S-D-A’s Economic Research Service shows a reduction in the foreign-born workforce
prompted by a change in immigration policy would not be offset by native born workers and permanent residents. The council is backing Congressional legislation calling for an H-2-C visa to allow non-seasonal foreign ag workers to stay in the U-S for up to three years.
Inmate Threatens Judge Through Letter
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Ottumwa man in prison for robbery and burglary who once threatened to kill former President Barack Obama and a judge has now
been indicted again on charges of mailing a death threat to a federal judge.
Matthew James Howard, who is serving 13 years in prison, received an additional three years in September 2013 for writing letters threatening to kill Obama and a judge earlier that year.
Howard, who is 31, has been indicted again for threatening U.S. Judge Linda Reade in a letter sent from prison in Anamosa in November. If convicted he faces up to 20 years more.
In the 2013 case the federal prosecutor said Howard has an extensive mental health history.
There was no attorney yet listed to represent him.
Legislators Pass School Lunch Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Lawmakers signed off on a bill Monday that will prevent Iowa students from being treated unfairly by school officials if their parents owe lunch money.
Under the bill, Iowa schools would be prohibited from so-called “lunch shaming” tactics, including publicly identifying students whose parents owe money or throwing away meals that were already served. Schools would be allowed to accept private donations to pay off individual students’ debts.
Many students receive free meals through the federal school lunch program. However, Iowa schools aren’t required to serve meals to other students whose parents don’t qualify for free meals. School policies vary on whether those students still receive meals.
The bill passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously and now goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds for her signature.
Clerk For Iowa Republican State Senator Fired For Sexual Harassment
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A clerk for an Iowa Republican senator has been fired after a “sexual harassment” complaint was lodged against him.
Secretary of the Senate Charlie Smithson confirmed Monday that Jake Dagel was fired April 3 as Sen. Waylon Brown’s clerk after a “credible complaint of sexual harassment” was made against Dagel on the same day. Smithson says Dagel acknowledged “the conduct in question.” Smithson didn’t provide additional information, only noting the behavior was against chamber policy.
No public phone number is listed for Dagel.
The website Iowa Starting Line first reported about the firing on Friday.
A former staffer for Senate Republicans was awarded $1.75 million last year after she said in a lawsuit she was fired in 2013 after reporting sexual misconduct in the office. The case drew attention to workplace misconduct at the statehouse. Last month, former Sen. Bill Dix resigned after video showed him
kissing a Statehouse lobbyist.
Mitchellville Residents Question The Quality Of Their Water
MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa (AP) – Some residents of the central Iowa city of Mitchellville are complaining their water smells and has a reddish tinge, but a state official says the water isn’t harmful to drink.
The Des Moines Register reports resident Trisha Doorenbos Richey posted a picture on Facebook of reddish-yellow water in her sink. She described the water as “the worst that I’ve ever seen it.”
Ted Petersen, a supervisor at the Department of Natural Resources, says the water’s color and odor “isn’t always an indicator that it’s got something bad.” Petersen says the water is safe to drink.
Petersen blamed the recent problems on a malfunction that caused a surge in water, which caused build-up in pipes to get stirred into the water.