Home News Thursday News, January 24th

Thursday News, January 24th


Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet Scheduled For Tonight

(Le Mars) — Tonight, the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual banquet and awards program. The festivities begin at 6:00 p.m. with a social hour with the dinner and program scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.
The Chamber’s annual awards program will be held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center. The Chamber will acknowledge those individuals that were honored as the “Employee of the Month”, as well as those individuals selected as the “Boss of the Quarter” for 2018. During the
Chamber program, the United Way will announce their volunteer of the year.
The Chamber of Commerce will announce this year’s “Citizen of the Year,” along with the “Business of the Year.” In addition, this year’s banquet will also have the naming of the “Miss Sesquicentennial Queen” as Le Mars begins its 150th anniversary. The grand celebration for the community’s
founding will occur during the annual “Ice Cream Days” scheduled for June 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th.



Plymouth County Pork Producer Honored At Iowa Pork Congress

(Des Moines) — A Plymouth County pork producer was honored Wednesday evening during the Iowa Pork Congress annual awards program. Fred and Donna Zenk farm between Le Mars and Akron. They were presented the prestigious
“Master Pork Producer Award.” The Zenks have been raising hogs since they moved to their farm in 1983, but Fred says it dates back to when he was in school and helped his dad on the farm.

Fred Zenk describes his pork production operation.

Fred says he enjoys working with the R-C Family Farms of Orange City as they give the Zenks an opportunity to share ownership in the marketing of hogs.
The Zenks market approximately 4,800 hogs each year. The Zenks say their pork production is a team effort with Donna also contributing.

Fred says raising hogs for nearly 40 years has had its fair share of challenges.

The Zenks are appreciative of the Plymouth County Pork Producers Association for nominating them to receive the honor of “Master Pork Producers.”

The Zenks are active within the community. Fred serves on the Le Mars Community Board of Education, and is also a director with the Plymouth County Pork Producers Association. Donna helps with the promotion of pork.
They are members of the All-Saints Parish. They have four adult children, plus they have been foster parents to 13 other children.



Northwestern College Sets Record Student Enrollment For Spring Semester

ORANGE CITY, Iowa—Northwestern College’s spring enrollment of 1,261 is its highest since 2007 and an increase of 46 from last year.

Northwestern’s graduate school has a spring-semester record of 285 students pursuing Master of Education degrees. In addition, 90 percent of Northwestern’s freshmen returned for the spring semester and 20 new transfer students were enrolled.

Mark Bloemendaal, vice president for enrollment and marketing, says “We are excited to see continued strong interest in Northwestern, as evidenced by our highest spring enrollment in 12 years, a good retention rate and a strong group of transfer students.  These numbers show that students from all walks of life are attracted to Northwestern’s high-quality programs
and integration of faith and learning, and that we are doing a good job meeting their expectations.”



Former Sioux City Waste Water Official Pleas Guilty 

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A former worker at Sioux City’s wastewater treatment plant has pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to tamper with wastewater sampling and testing.
The Sioux City Journal reports that 69-year-old Patrick Schwarte
entered the plea Wednesday in federal court. He faces up to seven years in prison when he’s sentenced at a later date for conspiracy to defraud the government and falsifying information required under the federal Clean Water Act.
Prosecutors say chlorine was added to wastewater on days that E. coli samples were taken. The samples then showed plant discharges into the Missouri River met federal limits for levels of fecal coliform and E. coli.
The chlorine was reduced after the tests, saving the city money.
The city fired Schwarte and the plant superintendent in June 2015 after the Iowa Natural Resources Department began an investigation.



Scholten Starts Up Non Profit Organization To Help Low Income Families

(Des Moines) — J.D. Scholten (SHOAL-tun) — the Democrat who gave Republican Congressman Steve King a surprisingly close race in November — was at the statehouse Wednesday to launch a new campaign.







(photo contributed)

The group’s aim is to increase the number of low-income Iowans who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit on their state and federal tax returns.

Scholten says information posted on the Iowa Department of Revenue’s website indicates Iowans are NOT claiming 140 million dollars worth of these credits that they are owed. His “Working Heroes Iowa” group will conduct public education seminars so more low income Iowans are aware of the tax credit they may claim — and more tax preparers are on the look-out for their
clients who may be eligible. Scholten says he’s leaving the door open to running for elected office again at some point.

Scholten says he got the idea for his “Working Heroes Iowa” effort from a California man who runs a similar group — and who endorsed Scholten’s 2018 congressional campaign.



More Details Regarding Senator Ernst Divorce Are Released

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) – Sen. Joni Ernst is denying allegations leveled by her ex-husband that she had an affair with a subordinate while she served in the military.
The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Republican answered questions Wednesday from reporters about that and other allegations at a town hall event on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.

In the court documents, Ernst’s ex-husband, Gail Ernst, accused her of having an affair with one of her soldiers while she was deployed as a company commander. She said Wednesday when questioned that she cares “about all of my soldiers” that the allegation was not true.
Ernst also accused her ex-husband in divorce documents of having an affair and physically assaulting her during an argument before she was elected to the Senate.



Ottumwa Pedestrian Killed By Train

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) – Police say a train struck and killed a pedestrian in Ottumwa.
Officers sent to check a report about a train accident around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday found the body of 22-year-old Duane Heifort. He lived in Ottumwa.
Officials have not yet reported on what actions led to Heifort’s death.



Estherville Students Doing Homework During Snow Days

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa (AP) – Children are still doing schoolwork during snow days at a district based in the northern Iowa community of Estherville.
The Des Moines Register reports that Estherville Lincoln Central
students are given assignments to complete at home and then connect remotely to post completed assignments or answer teacher questions. Teachers can conduct online video chats with small groups of students.
The virtual snow days are new to the district this school year, and Superintendent Tara Paul says there were complaints from students about having to work instead of play on their day off from their classrooms.
Students in kindergarten through second grade are given assignment options that can be completed without computers in case they’re not available to all students.
Students in grades three through 12 have Chromebooks provided by the school, so the snow day assignments are completed on their devices.



Animal Rescue Officials Take Animals From Southern Iowa Farm

ALBIA, Iowa (AP) – Animal rescue officials in Iowa say they’ve found one dead steer and rescued seven other ailing animals from a rural southern Iowa property.
The Animal Rescue League of Iowa says in a news release that its response team helped Monroe County officials rescue three horses, one burro, a steer and two dogs that were left in freezing weather with no food, water or shelter. One dead steer was found on the property.
The group says two of the horses were underweight and the steer was suffering pain from neglected hooves and a hind injury. The burro’s halter had been on so long it had rubbed the hair away and had to be cut off.
Charges are pending against the animals’ owner.



State Legislators Discuss Ballots From Contested House Race

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – House Republicans leading a committee that is reviewing the results of a contested northeast Iowa House district election say they plan to recommend not opening and counting 29 absentee mail ballots that could reverse the outcome of the race.
Committee Chairman Steven Holt said Wednesday since the ballots had no postmark and didn’t have a seldom-used county election official tracking barcode, they can’t be counted even though postal officials have confirmed they were mailed in time to be valid votes.
Democrat Kayla Koether now trails Republican incumbent Michael Bergan by nine votes for the Iowa House District 55 seat.
Holt says the committee on Thursday will report to the full House
its recommendation to reject the 29 ballots. The House, also led by Republicans, hasn’t set a date to vote on the issue.
Committee member Rep. Brian Meyer, a Democrat, says Republicans “have turned this election contest into a sham” for refusing to hear from voters and election officials before deciding.
Bergan was seated to represent the district but Koether contested the election results, which means the House must decide whether to count the votes.