Home News Thursday Afternoon News, February 28th

Thursday Afternoon News, February 28th


Le Mars Police Now Equipped With Body Cameras

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police officers are now carrying a new piece of equipment while on patrol duty. Body cameras are now being used in Le Mars.
Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says the police department has acquired three cameras, and will add another three after July to spread the cost over a couple of fiscal years. Vande Vegte says the cameras were added because of the cameras already equipped in patrol vehicles were aging.

Vande Vegte says the new body cameras operate in conjunction and are in sync with the vehicle cameras.

The total cost for the new body cameras was listed at around $60,000. The cameras will be operated by the patrol officer with the opportunity to manually record events. Vande Vegte says since the police department, at present time, have only three cameras, the officers currently share the new equipment.

Assistant Police Chief Justin Daale displays the new body camera.

Vande Vegte believes the cameras are important for accountability.

The body cameras are similar in size to a pager. They are able to be clipped on to the officer’s uniform. The new body cameras record in high definition with color, along with a wide panoramic view. They are equipped with a small microphone to also record audio comments. The Le Mars Police Chief says his officers have been instructed to respect others privacy when using the new body cameras.

Le Mars police officers began using the new body cameras on Monday of this week. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office is currently using one body camera on a trial basis. Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says he hopes to be able to purchase cameras for each of his deputies within the next year.



Le Mars Man Found Guilty Of Forgery Of Insurance Claim

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) – A northwest Iowa man accused of insurance fraud has been given two years of probation.
Plymouth County District Court records say 41-year-old Scott Leininger, of Le Mars, pleaded guilty to forgery after prosecutors dismissed the fraud charge. He also was sentenced Monday to five years in prison, suspended, and fined $750.
The judge ordered that Leininger’s sentence be served at the same time as any punishment meted out to Leininger in a Clay County case. He’s pleaded not guilty there to a charge of ongoing criminal conduct and is scheduled to go on trial April 2.
Plymouth County authorities say Leininger submitted false paperwork to back his claim to Homesite Insurance for damage he said his disability equipment sustained during a lightning storm. Court documents say the company discovered the paperwork was bogus and didn’t pay the claim.



Floyd Valley Healthcare Officials Lobby State Legislators

(Le Mars) — Officials from Floyd Valley Healthcare were in Des Moines this week visiting with state legislators about issues of concern for small and mid-size hospitals. Floyd Valley’s CEO and Administrator Dustin Wright and Floyd Valley Healthcare Trustee and former House Representative Ralph Klemme of Le Mars lobbied state legislators about medical reimbursements.

Floyd Valley Healthcare CEO, Dustin Wright (left) and Floyd Valley Healthcare Trustee, Ralph Klemme (seated) met with State Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary during a recent trip to Des Moines at the state capitol building.

The two hospital officials met with State Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary, who represents House District 5 which comprises of most of Plymouth County and the northern tier of Woodbury County. Wright says Representative Jeneary is supportive of Floyd Valley Healthcare.

Wright says one topic that was brought up for discussion is the
classification of emergency ambulance services for rural areas as a state-wide public essential service.

The Floyd Valley officials were in Des Moines as part of the Iowa Hospitals Association’s Day at the Capital.

(photo contributed.)



Floyd Valley Healthcare Listed As A Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

(Le Mars) — Floyd Valley Healthcare was recently recognized as a Top 100 Critical Access Rural Hospital from a nationwide survey. Dustin Wright, Floyd Valley’s C-E-O says the honor is flattering, and he shares the praise with the local hospital’s staff.

Wright talks about the criteria that was used in the survey to determine Floyd Valley’s ranking.

In recent years, Floyd Valley Healthcare of Le Mars has been listed on many national hospital surveys as being a top hospital.



Daycare Provider Given Probation Following The Death Of Infant Baby

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa City woman who told police she drank several cans of beer before providing day care to an infant who died later that day has been given two years of probation.
Johnson County District Court records say 49-year-old Wendy Young also was sentenced Monday to two years in prison and fined $625, but both were suspended. She’d entered an Alford plea to a reduced charge of child endangerment, no injury. In an Alford plea, a person doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a likely conviction.
Officers called to Young’s home on Oct. 18, 2017, found the child
unresponsive . The infant was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
The records say Young acknowledged drinking 10 to 12 cans of beer before the child arrived.
Authorities haven’t provided more information about the child.



Northern Iowa Man Sentenced For Stealing Pigs

FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) – One of two men accused of stealing around 150 pigs in northern Iowa has been sentenced.
Winnebago County District Court records say 21-year-old Robert Morales, of Thompson, Iowa, on Tuesday was given 10 years in prison, suspended, and five years of probation and fined $1,000. He also was ordered to make restitution of nearly $22,000.
The pigs were reported stolen Nov. 4, 2017, from a Christensen Farms operation near Lake Mills.
The other man charged, 35-year-old David Cortez Jr., has pleaded not guilty to theft and burglary. His trial is scheduled to begin April 10.



Cedar Rapids Fire Injures Five People

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say at least four occupants and one firefighter were injured in a fire at an apartment building in central Cedar Rapids.
Firetrucks were dispatched to Hawthorne Hills Apartments around 8:30 a.m. Thursday with reports that several occupants were trapped on the second floor of a 16-unit building. Firefighters used ladders to reach the second
floor, encountering flames and heavy smoke as they entered.
A city news release says firefighters carried one man out of the
complex. Three other adults also were taken to hospitals. The release says one firefighter suffered a non-life-threatening injuring while battling the blaze.
The fire cause is being investigated. The names of the injured haven’t been released.



Des Moines Woman Accused Of Causing Fatal Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines police have charged a driver who investigators say may have caused another driver to swerve his car and plunge over a concrete wall to his death in a parking lot below.
The Jan. 27 crash killed 32-year-old Grant Stokka and injured his 8-year-old son. Police say another vehicle entering traffic may have caused Stokka to abruptly change his direction of travel and go over the wall.
The charges announced Thursday indicate that investigators suspect 26-year-old Des Moines resident Tessa Mullen was driving the other vehicle.
She’s charged with failure to yield, reckless driving and with committing a driving violation that resulted in death. Polk County court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for her.



Farmers Struggling To Pay Back Loans

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – The nation’s farmers are struggling to pay back their loans after years of low crop prices, with nearly one out of five loans in a government farm program now delinquent for the worst January default rate in
at least nine years.
The bulk of the nation’s agricultural loans typically come due
around Jan. 1 for seasonal and tax planning purposes.
Figures recently compiled show an overall jump nationwide in
delinquencies for producers with direct loans from the Agriculture
Department’s Farm Service Agency.
David Schemm, executive director of the Kansas Farm Service Agency, says 19.4 percent of FSA direct loans nationwide were delinquent in January, compared to 16.5 percent the same month a year ago.