Home News Friday News, March 1st

Friday News, March 1st


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.

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.



Floyd Valley Healthcare Listed As A Top 100 Critical Care 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.



Le Mars Police Department 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 are 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.

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.



More Details Are Unveiled Concerning State Sexual Harassment Settlement

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The state of Iowa’s unprecedented decision to pay $4.15 million to victims of sexual harassment by an agency director came after one of their lawyers threatened to sue before the November election and to investigate the harasser’s long association with Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Attorney Paige Fiedler backed off her plan to file the lawsuit days before the election after a state lawyer told her that he had “just gotten authority this morning” to settle from the governor’s administration.
After Reynolds won the election, her administration backed the $4.15 million payout to two subordinates of former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison, a Reynolds ally who had sexually harassed the women for years.
Fiedler says she demanded the settle agree to settle before the
election because she believed Hubbell would be less likely to do so if elected.
A spokesman for Reynolds says the deals were good for taxpayers and Jamison’s victims.



Woman Given 35 Years In Prison For Assisting With Murder

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A woman has been imprisoned for helping to kill a Des Moines man during a robbery more than two years ago.
Polk County District Court records say 28-year-old Monica Fagan was given 35 years in prison at her sentencing Tuesday. She’d pleaded guilty to robbery and willful injury. Prosecutors dropped a murder charge in exchange for her pleas.
Prosecutors say Fagan and two other people killed 31-year-old Michael Huckleberry at his apartment in January 2017. One of them, 51-year-old Ricky Hascall , died in jail Sept. 16 last year while awaiting trial. The other, Sarah Saltz, pleaded guilty to robbery and theft for her role in the slaying and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.



Husband Charged With Wife’s Murder

EARLVILLE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say the husband of a woman killed in what was initially believed to be a fatal fall at a northeastern Iowa farm has been charged with her murder.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Thursday that 42-year-old Todd Michael Mullis had been arrested on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder in the Nov. 10 death of 39-year-old Amy Lynn Mullis.
The department says an autopsy showed that Amy Mullis died after receiving injuries that included multiple stab wounds to her back with a corn rake.
Mullis was arrested without incident on Thursday and remains jailed without bail.



No One Injured During Marshalltown Police Shooting Incident

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) – Police in central Iowa say no one was hurt when officers executing a search warrant at a Marshalltown home fired their guns.
Marshalltown police say in a news release that the incident happened around 10:20 a.m. Thursday when the officers entered the home and encountered an armed man.
Neither the man nor the officers were injured, and the man was
detained. The two officers who fired their service weapons have been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy, while an investigation into the shooting is conducted.
Police say the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation will conduct
that investigation.
The officers’ names have not been released.



Business Conditions Show Improvement

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new report says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index in February hit its highest level since September, signaling solid economic growth over the next three to six months for nine Midwest and Plains states.
The report issued Friday says the index rose to 57.9 last month from 56.0 in January. The September figure was 57.5.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says even stronger growth was hampered by shortages of skilled workers and international trade tensions.
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth.
A score below that suggests decline.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.



Farmers Given Probation For Polluting Water

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa farm and its managers have been given probation in a water pollution case.
Federal prosecutors for Iowa said in a news release Thursday that Etcher Family Farms, near New London in southeastern Iowa, has agreed to five years of organizational probation and a $50,000 fine. Farm owner Scott Allen Etcher was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation. Farm manager,
29-year-old Benjamin Allen McFarland, was sentenced to two years of probation.
Etcher and McFarland pleaded guilty in October to violating the
Clean Water Act. Officials say that in July 2015 at the Etcher Family Farms facility, McFarland discharged agricultural waste that went directly into an unnamed tributary to Big Creek. Officials say the discharge was committed under the direct supervision of Etcher.



Farmers Having Difficulty In Paying Off 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.