Home News Wednesday News, April 3rd

Wednesday News, April 3rd


Congressman Steve King To Hold Plymouth County Town Hall Meeting Scheduled For Saturday

(Washington) — Congressman Steve King has announced that he will be holding a town hall meeting on Saturday, April 6 in Plymouth County. The event is open to the public and to the media. The town hall will be held from 3:00-4:00 PM at the Plymouth County Historical Museum, located in Le Mars at 335
1st Avenue SW. Attendees are encouraged to enter the facility through the south doors of the complex. The Plymouth County town hall will be the eighth of the 39 scheduled town halls King is holding this year.



Supervisors Hear About Westfield’s Sewage Lagoon Vulnerable To Flooding

(Le Mars) — Acting under the jurisdiction of the Westfield Drainage Board, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a plan on Tuesday to make the necessary repairs to a series of levees and bunkers to help protect the
town of Westfield’s sewage lagoon from further future flooding. Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe and Plymouth County Emergency Services Manager, Duane Walhof both appeared before the county supervisors to report on the current condition of the lagoon and surrounding levees. Walhof calls the
scenario an “emergency situation.”

Supervisor Craig Anderson asked Walhof if the Federal Emergency Management Administration would provide money for the repair work. Walhof replied by saying he believes FEMA would eventually reimburse the county for the
incurred expenses to repair the levee, but he advised the county governing board that they should consider repairing the levee immediately, and not wait for FEMA’s funding or approval before work on the levee begins. Supervisor chairman Don Kass inquired how high is the water that threatens the sewage

The supervisors asked Tom Rohe if he has any available fill dirt that is accessible within close distance in order to make the repairs.

Rohe estimated the cost to make the necessary repairs at between $15,000 to $25,000. Fortunately, the drainage district in question, according to Plymouth County Auditor Stacey Feldman has reserve funds amounting to approximately $90,000 that can be utilized for the repair work. The sewage lagoons lie nearly a mile west of Westfield. Walhoff says the Big Sioux
River has the potential to flood the lagoons at a couple different locations.
Rohe reported to the supervisors that he thought it may be up to two weeks before county employees could start working on the project. He says they are still busy trying to repair all the roads that were damaged by the floods.
The supervisors approved action to hire a contractor to make the necessary repairs if the contractor is immediately available, or as soon as possible.



Recreational Trails To Open Within The Next Few Days

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars city council was given an update Tuesday on the status of the recreational trail which has been closed since the flooding.
City administrator, Jason Vacura informed the council that portions of the Le Mars recreational trail may be opened to the public within the next few days.

Vacura says the many of the pedestrian bridges have had an initial inspection, but they need to be inspected again, and given a certification before they can be open for public use.

Brian Schultz offered a report regarding the condition and status of the
Willow Creek golf course. Schultz says some of the golf holes should be open within the next few days. Several members of the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department assisted with the clean up of flood debris last Saturday to help get the golf course back to operational condition. Schultz anticipates if no further flooding occurs, he estimates all three black, red, and green courses
may be open by May.



Governors From Three States To Meet To Discuss Flooding Issues

DES MOINES – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and Missouri Governor Mike Parson will meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today to get an
updated assessment of flood damage, a look ahead on the Missouri River outflow, and identify regional solutions for flooding and levee repairs.
Following the meeting, there will be a press conference featuring all three governors.



Senator Ernst Disappointed That Democrats Blocked Flood Disaster Relief Funding

(Washington) — Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst says she is very disappointed with her Democratic Senate colleagues for voting against federal disaster relief funding for flood victims.

Ernst says several Democratic contenders running for president in 2020 criss-crossing the state of Iowa prior to the February caucuses, are the same senators that voted down the flood relief proposal. She says they are playing politics with people’s livelihood.

In a submitted news release, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa also expressed his disappointment with the Democrat Senators that voted against the federal disaster relief funding.



Stored Grain Affected By Floods Cannot Be Marketed

(Le Mars) — Farmers affected by the recent flooding are facing multiple questions of which there are no simple answers.
For many farmers that had flood waters surround their farms, and especially those farmers with stored grain that was compromised by the flood waters, they are wondering what can be done with that grain? According to Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Farm Management
Specialist, farmers with grain that was affected by flood waters have very few options.

Johnson says that grain cannot even be delivered to an ethanol plant.

The Iowa State University Farm Management Specialist says there are not a lot of options available. He says the only option is for farmers to bury the affected grain at a landfill.

Johnson says crop insurance will not cover the damage of the crop in a stored facility, only if that crop was adversely affected prior to harvest. He says hopefully, farmers had the foresight to have a blanket insurance coverage that protected their facilities and the contents.

Johnson says farmers need to think of their losses in the same manner as if a tornado had struck their farms, instead of the floods.



Suspect Arrested After Stealing Car

(Le Mars) — Last Wednesday, March 27th, at approximately 3:10 a.m., the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office received a report from Sioux County that a subject had stolen a vehicle from a convenience store in Orange City and may possibly be en-route to Sioux City. A short time later, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office witnessed the vehicle heading southbound on Highway 60 and a traffic stop was conducted. During the stop the defendant, Joseph A. Castillo, age 25 from Orange City, was found to be in possession of a handgun and drug paraphernalia. The defendant showed signs of impairment and had a revoked driver’s license.

The defendant was arrested without incident and charged with felon in possession of a firearm, driving while license revoked, possession of drug paraphernalia, OWI 1st, and theft 2nd. He is currently being held at the Plymouth County Jail on a $10,000 bond.



Senate Subcommittee Approves Plan For Felons To Restore Voting Rights

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate subcommittee has approved a resolution that seeks to amend the state constitution and restore voting rights to felons who complete their sentences, but it’s unclear if the measure will get through a full Senate committee in time to meet a legislative deadline this week.

The resolution is a key policy initiative by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Democrat Rob Hogg and Republican Dan Dawson signed the measure to move it out of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday.

Republican Jake Chapman, who declined, is among Senate Republicans who oppose blanket restoration. Some say murders, rapists and child molesters should never get their rights back and some insist on requiring restitution to be completely paid to victims before voting rights are restored. It’s unclear
whether there are enough votes to get the resolution out of full committee this week.

The House voted 95-2 last week to approve the resolution. If it’s approved by the Senate and passed again by the Legislature in 2021 or 2022, it would go to voters.



40 Jobs To Be Lost After Bank Merger

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say more than 40 Dubuque jobs will be lost after MidWestOne’s purchase of ATBancorp is completed.

The two banking companies announced the agreement last August. Dubuque-based ATBancorp operates 12 Iowa branches of American Trust & Savings Bank and five American Bank & Trust branches in Wisconsin. Iowa City-based MidWestOne has
24 branches in Iowa, 13 in Minnesota, four in Wisconsin, two branches in Florida and one branch in Colorado.

MidWestOne’s senior vice president of communications, Greg Turner, said Tuesday that the deal is expected to close May 1. The transaction was valued at around $170.3 million, based on MidWestOne’s stock price last August.

Turner says some of the 44 ATBancorp employees whose jobs will be eliminated because of duplication are retiring or already have found new positions.