Home News Friday News, June 21st

Friday News, June 21st


Le Mars Police Department Releases 2nd Quarter Report

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Police Department has released its second quarter report for the period between March 21st and June 19th. The local police department responded to 3,654 calls for service which compares to last year’s 3,302 during the same time frame. The number of complaints that were investigated fell from last year. This year, 235 complaints were investigated, where as last year the number was at 289 complaints. The
number arrests made during the second quarter had increased by 28 additional arrests to a total of 165. Last year, the police department had 137 arrests.
Traffic accidents were close to the same number last year with 58 accidents reported this year compared to last year’s 54 accidents. Parking tickets were down from 72 in 2018 to 42 in 2019. Traffic citations had increased from 141 in 2018 to the 2019 figure of 248. Community police contacts were
nearly the same as last year. The Le Mars Police Department had 579 community contacts during the second quarter of 2019. Last year, the contacts equaled 588.



Hy Vee Holds Fundraising Event For Employees From Shooting Incident

(Le Mars) — Last evening, at least a couple hundred people from the community attended a fundraising event held at the Le Mars Hy Vee grocery store for the two women employees who were shot during an attempted robbery last month, on May 26th. Hy Vee served grilled brats and hot dogs, along with chips and a drink for a free-will donation with the proceeds to go to the two women. Both Faith Laskie and Ashley Storesund, the victims of last month’s attempted robbery and shooting incident attended last evening’s event, and greeted the many well-wishers. Both women appear to be making progress in their recovery. The suspect of that shooting incident, Oscar Gutierrez, had taken his life and was located later that same morning at South Sioux City, Nebraska.



Rock Valley Man Sentenced For Harassment

(Orange City) — A Rock Valley man has been sentenced to jail for Harassment in the third degree, a simple misdemeanor. 42 year old Joe Kats was sentenced after a case arose on February 14th at approximately 1:00 a.m. when a report of a suspicious person was looking into windows. A subsequent investigation revealed Kats had peered into an apartment unit windows at an
apartment complex in Hull. A tenant had caught Kats peering into his unit’s window, and confronted Kats, who then left the area. The tenant obtained the license plate of the vehicle, observed the vehicle drive away with its headlights off, and reported the incident to the Sioux Cunty Sheriff’s
Office. Kats, who is registered as a listed sex offender, did not have permission to be on the property, and knew no one who lived in any of the apartment units. In addition to being sentenced to jail, Kats will be required to pay a fine, and abide by a no-contact order prohibiting him from coming in contact with the victims of the crime.



Warrior Hotel Undergoing Renovation

(Sioux City) — Work on restoring Sioux City’s historic Warrior Hotel is continuing with completion now about a year away.  Alex Cherubin, Vice President of Restoration Iowa, is overseeing the $73 million dollar project.

Cherubin says efforts are being taken to restore the original look of the venerable structure which will be a 148-room Marriott Autograph Hotel

The Warrior, located at 6th and Nebraska streets, was built in 1930, but closed in 1976.  Around 100 local construction workers are working on the Warrior and the adjoining 106-year old Davidson Building, which is part of the restoration project.

Hotel managers will be hired in the coming months, and then next year, around three months before the Warrior is scheduled to open, staff will be hired and trained to run the new grand hotel.



Reynolds Appoints Kurtenbach For Director Of Administrative Services

(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds has appointed a former state legislator who once served as the Iowa G-O-P’s co-chair to lead the state agency responsible for handling personnel issues in state government.
Jim Kurtenbach (KURT-en-bawk) will begin his new duties as director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services on July 1st. Governor Reynolds says she chose Kurtenbach because of his “depth of experience” and because of his “distinguished career in public service.” Kurtenbach, a Waterloo native who lives in Nevada, served two terms in the Iowa House from January of 2003 until the beginning of 2007. Kurtenbach recently served in a variety of roles at Iowa State University. He resigned from his role as an I-S-U vice president two years ago and returned to teaching accounting. In 2014, Kurtenbach was hired by then-Iowa State University president Steven Leath (LEETH) to serve as chief information officer on campus. Kurtenbach led an effort to modernize I-T systems and reduce the workforce by about 30 full-time positions. Kurtenbach also was Leath’s flight instructor for some of the final hours of training Leath needed to earn a certificate that allowed Leath to pilot a plane by himself. The state auditor later found Leath had misused a university-owned plane for personal reasons.



Branstad Trial Moves To Another Courthouse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A civil trial alleging former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against an ex-state official because he’s gay has been moved 35 miles east to Newton.
An order entered by Judge Brad McCall on Thursday says attorneys for both sides agreed to move the trial to the Jasper County Courthouse. The trial began June 5 and is expected to last a month.
The order says the same Polk County jury will continue to hear the case.
Former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey is suing Branstad , the state and two of Branstad’s former staff members. Godfrey alleges discrimination and retaliation based on sexual preference and political affiliation.
The order to change locations doesn’t say why but Godfrey’s lawyer, Roxanne Conlin, has complained about the air quality in the historic courthouse, which is under renovation.
Her son, JB Conlin, was arrested on June 10 on charges that he resisted an officer’s request to leave the courtroom, where he was attempting to test the air quality.



Worker Dies At Wind Turbine Farm Accident

LAKOTA, Iowa (AP) – A worker at the site of a wind farm under construction in north-central Iowa has died after being run over by a semitrailer.
The Kossuth County Sheriff’s Office says it received a request Wednesday afternoon for an ambulance at the site near Lakota. Officials say 51-year-old Lee Gruver, of Daisetta, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Station KLGA in Algona reports that once officials determined a vehicle was involved in the death, the investigation was turned over to the Iowa State Patrol and the Iowa Department of Transportation.



Banker’s Survey Sees Slight Improvement In Rural Economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Bankers surveyed in parts of 10 Plains and Western states are seeing improvement in the region’s farm economy.
The Rural Mainstreet survey released Thursday shows the survey’s overall index rising from a stunted 48.5 in May to 53.2 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says higher agriculture commodity prices and rebuilding from recent floods boosted June’s index. Goss also noted that despite negative consequences from trade tensions and tariffs, nearly 7 of 10 bank CEOS surveyed support either raising or continuing the Trump administration’s current tariffs.
Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.



New Rail Car Maintenance Facility To Be Built At Shell Rock

SHELL ROCK, Iowa (AP) – Officials expect ground to be broken next month for a new rail car maintenance facility in eastern Iowa’s Butler County.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that TrinityRail plans to have the facility in full operation by the end of next year, providing more than 250 jobs on a capital investment of $60 million. It will occupy 230 acres (93 hectares) at Butler Logistics Park, 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) northwest of Shell Rock.
A company official says the community was chosen for the project because of Iowa’s pro-business climate, well-trained workforce and operational flexibility. The Iowa Economic Development Authority board awarded $3.45 million in tax credits and tax refunds to the company in May.
TrinityRail is a division of Dallas-based Trinity Industries.



Summer Begins Today – Time To Be Careful From Drowning

(Des Moines) — The summer season officially arrives later this (Friday) morning and with it, an elevated risk of serious or deadly accidents as Iowans seek to cool off in the water. Mindy Uhle (YULE), an executive officer with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says if you’ll be on or near the water for fishing, boating or swimming, whether it’s a backyard pool, a lake or river, remember these life-saving tips.

Learning how to perform C-P-R takes two or three hours, depending on the course, and it’s a skill you can use for a lifetime.

Nationally, drowning kills more children between the ages of one and four than anything else except birth defects.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control says ten people die from drowning every day nationwide, about one in every five is a child under the age of 14. Summer arrives today at 10:54 A-M Central time.