NTSB Issues Report On Fatal Airplane Crash
(Des Moines) — The National Safety Transportation Board has completed its investigation into the fatal airplane crash last month that killed four people from Le Mars and Merrill. According to the accident investigation report, the NTSB says examination of the plane wreckage at the accident site in a pasture near Guthrie Center, revealed a two-inch long crack in the
engines aft exhaust muffler. The inner surface of the muffler heat shroud was coated in sooty tan and grey colored deposits. Similar deposits were also present on the inner surface of the cabin heat hose that ducted air from the shroud to the cabin heat distributor box assembly. Toxicology testing performed by the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s office revealed elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the blood of all four occupants.
Killed in that plane crash were 49-year old Ed Anderson, of Le Mars, the pilot. 36-year old Patrick Kellen of Le Mars, 15-year old Samantha Clark of Le Mars, and 28-year old Tyler Douvia of Merrill.
Christian Activist Faces Criminal Mischief Charges For Burning Books
(Orange City) — A Christian activist that burned homosexual-themed books after checking them out from the Orange City Public Library has been charged with a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. Paul Dorr, 62, of Orange City, had checked out five books on October 6th, and burned them in protest of the
Orange City Pride festival held October 19th. Dorr had produced a video which was posted on the social media platform, showing him burning the books in a burn barrel. Dorr is scheduled for a January 22nd appearance at the Sioux County Courthouse in Orange City.
Le Mars Ambulance Service Issues Quarterly Report
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Ambulance Service has released its quarterly report for the time period between September 1st through November 30th. The local ambulance had 301 calls during the three-month quarter, which was an increase of 37 calls from the same period one year ago. The additional 37
calls represents a 14 percent increase from last year. Since January 1st of 2018, through November 30th, the Le Mars Ambulance has responded to 997 calls, which is an increase of 112 calls, or a 13 percent increase. Le Mars Ambulance Service has hired two individuals, had one individual switch from
a basic provider to an advanced provider as well as one member retire during this period. In September we hired a driver for the service Daniel Bohlken.
A crew member (Chris Eckstaine) has just completed his Bachelor of Science in Nursing and transitioned from an EMT to an RN-Paramedic in November. The Le Mars Ambulance Service had one EMT provider, Jody Ohm resign as of November 15, 2018 after 28 years of service. In December, the Le Mars Ambulance Service hired Erik Baccera as an EMT level
provider. One individual from Le Mars has finished taking EMS classes and will be joining the crew after they pass the test within the next 90 days.
Also, another crew member (Pat Rosacker) will complete the Paramedic Program within the next 4 months and will transition from a basic provider to an advanced provider.
Le Mars Little League Receives Grant From MRHD
(Sioux City) — The Missouri River Historical Development, or MRHD the non-profit agency that acts as the agent to distribute funds generated from casino and gaming entities in Sioux City announced this week the various charities and organizations that received grants. One of those organizations to benefit was the Le Mars Little League. After last September’s flooding
that destroyed equipment and uniforms, the Le Mars Little League has been trying to raise enough funds to get the program back before the spring baseball and softball season begins in April. MRHD gave the Le Mars Little League a grant amounting to $25,000.
Floyd Valley Healthcare Auxiliary Goodie Sale Scheduled For Today
(Le Mars) — Last weekend’s winter snow storm caused several events and activities to be postponed, including the Floyd Valley Healthcare Auxiliary Goodie Sale. Ruth Farley serves as the chairperson of the hospital’s annual goodie sale. She says the popular event will now be held on Friday,
Farley says those people that ordered pre-cut Christmas cookies can stop by the hospital conference center Friday afternoon to pick up their orders.
The Floyd Valley Healthcare Auxiliary Goodie Sale is scheduled for Friday between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Baked good donations for the sale need to be brought to the hospital’s conference center between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Unity Point To Remain With Iowa’s Medicaid Program
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – After a major provider agreed to stay in Iowa’s troubled Medicaid program, state officials quietly let its hospitals and clinics keep $2.4 million in mistaken over payments.
UnityPoint Health threatened to quit Iowa’s Medicaid program a year ago, saying that it had reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the managed care organization AmeriGroup.
Its departure would have disrupted health care for 54,000 Medicaid recipients beginning April 1. But UnityPoint and AmeriGroup reached a last-minute agreement to keep its provider network in the program, a victory for
Gov. Kim Reynolds.
In April, Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven signed a settlement that allowed UnityPoint to keep $2.4 million in over payments for electronic health records incentives that had been identified by auditors. The Associated Press obtained a copy under the open records law.
Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City says the deal “looks fishy” and that lawmakers were never informed about it.
UnityPoint says the agreement was unrelated to its continued
participation in Medicaid.
Farm Bureau’s Research Director Says Mexico Could Have Retaliated Trade Tariffs With Band On U-S Food Products
(Des Moines) — A top Iowa Farm Bureau official says he’s thankful Mexico didn’t start a food fight during the renegotiation of NAFTA. David Miller, the IFB’s director of research, notes – unlike other countries – Mexican trade officials did not target agricultural products when retaliating to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.
Speaking this week at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Des Moines, Miller said he wishes that would’ve been the model for other countries involved in trade disputes with the U.S.
Miller was quick to point out China did retaliate on U.S. food and ag products and that Mexico has done so in the past. He added it’s “refreshing” that, for the most part, the U.S., Canada and Mexico have kept food out of the tariff dispute.
Sioux County Farmer Elected To Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors
(Des Moines) –– A Sioux Center farmer has been elected to serve on the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s board of directors. Matt Schuiteman of Sioux County was elected as District 3 director.
Schuiteman and his wife, Mindy, farm with Matt’s parents just
east of Sioux Center, and he will represent 12 counties in northwest Iowa.
The Schuitemans grow corn and alfalfa and have used cover crops on the farm since 2005. The Schuitemans also farrow and finish sows, custom feed isowean pigs, and have a cow-calf herd of registered Shorthorn and Shorthorn plus cattle.
Schuiteman has served in many leadership positions within the
Sioux County Farm Bureau and IFBF including: holding county board member positions, chairman of the IFBF Young Farmer Advisory Committee, IFBF Legacy Planning Committee, IFBF Internal Study Committee, and is a graduate of the Ag Leaders Institute. Additionally, Schuiteman is a graduate of the
Leadership Iowa program, current chairman of the Sioux County 4-H Committee, and past president and current member of the Sioux Center FFA Alumni chapter. The Schuitemans have seven children.
Woman Throws Away Boss’s Mail To Stop Wage Garnishment
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a north-central Iowa woman who threw away her employer’s mail in an effort to avoid having her wages garnished has been sentenced to 90 days in prison.
Prosecutors say 55-year-old Terri Cosgrove, of Badger, was sentenced Tuesday in Cedar Rapids’ federal court. She had pleaded guilty in August to one count of obstruction of correspondence.
Officials say Cosgrove was supposed to be paying toward an order for nearly $190,000 in restitution for a 2004 bank fraud conviction. After repeated attempts to collect, the federal government sent a garnishment letter to Cosgrove’s employer. When the employer didn’t respond, police questioned Cosgrove. She told investigators she had destroyed the garnishment paperwork sent to her employer because she did not want her
Des Moines Police Make Arrest On Shooting
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Police have announced an arrest in the September shooting death of a Des Moines man.
Police Sgt. Paul Parizek says 28-year-old Tyrone Hughes Jr. was
arrested Tuesday in Chicago by Des Moines detectives and members of the Chicago Police Fugitive Apprehension Unit.
Police say he’s been charged with first-degree murder for the death of 28-year-old Aaron Ross. Ross was found Sept. 30 with gunshot wounds near a white car.
Hughes is currently awaiting extradition in Chicago.
Store Manager To Be Sentenced Following Theft
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) – A man is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 22 for stealing nearly $5,400 from a store he managed in northern Iowa’s Charles City.
Floyd County court records say 34-year-old Joseph Raveling pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft. Prosecutors say he stole the money from a Dollar General store during December 2016 and January 2017.
Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a suspended five-year prison sentence, three to five years of probation and that he pay restitution of nearly $3,800. The judge is not bound by the plea agreement, however.
Smithfield Foods To Invest $45 Million At Sioux Falls Facility
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Smithfield Foods is investing $45 million in its Sioux Falls operations.
The company says the hog barn will be updated, there will be additional room for a seasoned ground pork department and renovations will be made to increase the speed of bacon production. The expansion is expected to add 70 jobs. The updates are scheduled to be finished in 2019, with work on the hog barn set to wrap in the fall.
The Argus Leader reports the company has already invested $73 million in the former John Morrell site during the last five years.
Smithfield Foods Faces Fine
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota agency has fined Smithfield Foods more than $53,000 for wastewater violations at the company’s Sioux Falls plant.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says Virginia- based Smithfield violated its surface water discharge permit in August.
The penalty includes $26,900 for surface water quality violations
and more than $26,000 for laboratory costs incurred by the agency.
Smithfield reported in August that a problem at its Sioux Falls
wastewater plant was causing higher-than-allowed ammonia levels to be discharged into the Big Sioux River. The agency says the ammonia levels violated the permitted daily maximum limit for seven days.
The Argus Leader reports Smithfield has been operating in compliance with its permit since Aug. 20.
Smithfield says there was no risk to humans and no reports of fish or wildlife being affected.
South Dakota Universities To Allow Students From Neighboring States Same Tuition As In-state Students
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) – Students from six surrounding states will soon pay the same tuition rate as South Dakota residents at the state’s public universities.
The Rapid City Journal reports that the South Dakota Board of
Regents approved the new policy this week. Board President Kevin Schieffer says the goal is to grow enrollment, meet the state’s workforce needs and attract more financial resources to the universities and the state.
The South Dakota Advantage program allows first-year and transfer students from Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado to pay the same tuition as South Dakota residents. South Dakota already has a reciprocity agreement with Minnesota.
Some South Dakota universities also already have tuition agreements with neighboring states. The new program will be effective for the term starting summer 2019.
Postal Service Determines Absentee Ballots Did Beat The Deadline in Northeast Iowa House Seat Election
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A northeast Iowa county election official says U.S. Postal Service officials have scanned postal bar codes on 33 ballots that have not been counted in an Iowa House race and found 29 were mailed in time to be counted.
A Democratic candidate the Iowa House district 55 seat who is
trailing by nine votes won a court ruling Monday that gave her the right to determine whether the absentee ballots were mailed on time. Further court action will now take place to decide whether they will be counted.
Counting the ballots could flip the results of the race where
incumbent Republican Michael Bergan leads Democrat Kayla Koether (KAY-tuhr) by just nine votes in the three-county district.
Koether sued election officials who refused to count the ballots
because they lacked a postmark. The ballots contain a postal bar code that Koether says can prove the mailing date. State and county election officials say Iowa law doesn’t allow postal bar codes to be used to authenticate ballots but a judge ordered them scanned.
Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines says in court documents that a scan revealed 29 ballots were mailed on Nov. 5, the state-mandated deadline.
One was mailed Nov. 6 and no information was obtained for three.