Home News Thursday News, November 14th

Thursday News, November 14th


Supervisors Canvassed Election Results

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors began canvassing the election results from last Tuesday. The county governing board approved all the municipal results from Plymouth County, however, according to County
Auditor, Stacey Feldman, the supervisors cannot close the books on all election results. Feldman says Plymouth County is still waiting the results of the Kingsley-Pierson and the MMCRU school board elections. Feldman says because those school districts cross over into Woodbury and Cherokee Counties, the official results won’t be known for another week as Plymouth
County is waiting for the election results to be sent to Plymouth County from Woodbury and Cherokee Counties.



Sheriff Ask Supervisors To Add More Beds At Jail

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo appeared before the County board of supervisors Wednesday to inquire about expanding the number of beds for inmates at the Plymouth County Jail. Van Otterloo informed the county governing board there is a need to have additional beds.

Van Otterloo explains with the additional four female beds, it would double the female jail population, but due to room size and available space, he can only fit an additional four female beds.

Van Otterloo says the additional beds have been approved by jail inspectors, and it would not lead to over-crowding within the Plymouth County jail. The Plymouth County Sheriff believes the purchase of the additional beds and tables, the total cost would be just under $19,000.

The sheriff asked the supervisors if he could convert one cell pod by including six additional beds for the male cell population, and in addition ask a contractor to paint the jail cell. Van Otterloo told the supervisors he expects the entire project can be completed under $25,000. Van Otterloo says if the county can pick up the cost for the installation of the beds, he may be able to finance the additional furniture costs.

Van Otterloo says the proposed plan will not require any renovations to the jail facilities, and the county will still be within the guidelines established by the state. The county board of supervisors did approve the proposed plan.



Le Mars Community Middle School Holds Assembly To Honor Military and Veterans

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Community Middle School held an assembly Wednesday morning recognizing and honoring veterans. Kari Kopperud serves as the Middle School Guidance Counselor and helped organize the event. She says each month the Middle School student body gathers for an assembly program to review the yearly theme.

The assembly program featured photos of various active and retired military service personnel.

Kopperud was asked if the students have a better appreciation for the military and veterans, as a result of the assembly program?

The entire assembly program lasted for about 15 minutes.



Gabe Davis Named As Le Mars Community School District’s “Employee Of The Month”

(Le Mars) — A Middle School science teacher is the latest to be honored as the Le Mars Community School District’s “Employee of the Month.” At the start of Wednesday’s assembly program, Deb Ahlers, a member of the Le Mars Community School District’s Foundation Board presented a plaque to Gabe
Davis. Davis has been a teacher with the Le Mars Community for the last 15 years. Davis was nominated for the award by Ryan Zittritsch, Alaina Milledge, and Kari Kopperud. The nomination reads: “Gabe taught 6th Grade Science at the Middle School and currently teaches Middle School Technology.

He is a positive spirit whose presence is felt throughout the middle school. He has also started the high school Leadership Club, Lead Dogs. He has helped guide those students in numerous projects that benefit others throughout the Le Mars community such as serving with the Backpack Program,
and even starting the first Father/Daughter Dance led by club members last year. In addition to his high school group, Mr. Davis has spread his positive leadership ideas into the middle school with his one word project this year, a project where students picked one positive word that would guide their lives for this year. He has also taken on his responsibilities as a Science teacher always with a smile on his face, even as he took on the
challenge of incubating 30 chicken eggs in his OpenSciEd pilot curriculum program.

Gabe Davis is an important piece to building a positive culture at Le Mars Community Middle School. Having a positive spirit is an essential quality needed in education today, and it can spread throughout a building, impacting both staff and students. When we think of someone helping to establish a good school culture in the middle school, one of the first people that comes to mind is Gabe Davis. Our congratulations go to Gabe Davis for being honored as the Le Mars Community School District “Employee of the Month.”



American Legion Honors Student Essay Writers

(Le Mars) — The American Legion Wasmer Post #241 of Le Mars honored those fifth grade students that won an essay contest. Students from each of the elementary schools, Kluckholn…Clark…Franklin…and Gehlen Catholic
participated in writing an essay as to “What the American Flag Means To Me.”
The top three students from each school were honored during last evening’s ceremony, and each read their winning essay to the gathering. Jacob Jeneary from Kluckholn elementary school, and the son of Dr. Greg and Anne Jeneary wrote the over-all winning essay. Jeneary will now compete against students
from other schools in the district contest. Each of the winning students were given cash awards.

Essay Winners: Front Row left to right: Cristofer Sanchez – Clark elementary, Cooper Durr – Clark elementary, Halle Walgenbach – Gehlen Catholic, Ella Lang – Kluckholn elementary,  Ayanna Pottebaum – Kluckholn elementary, Kenadee Sitzmann – Gehlen Catholic.  Back row, left to right, Varek Gallardo – Clark elementary, Jony Sanchez – Franklin elementary, Racheal Thoms – Gehlen Catholic, Jacob Jeneary – Kluckholn elementary, Olivia Brown – Franklin elementary, and Natalie Sitzmann – Franklin elementary.  Standing in the back are Dan Plueger, Commander of the Wasmer Post #241 American Legion and Cathy Popp with the American Legion Auxiliary.



Zearing Domestic Dispute Turns Deadly

ZEARING, Iowa (AP) – Local and state authorities are investigating the death of woman during a domestic dispute in central Iowa.
The Story County Sheriff’s Office says a Zearing resident called 911 around 5 p.m. Wednesday to report that a neighbor told her he’d killed his wife.
Deputies found her body outside, and it was taken away for an autopsy.
The man was taken to Ames for medical treatment.
The couple’s names haven’t been released.



District Judge Denies Branstad’s Attorneys Request

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A district court judge has rejected a request by former Gov. Terry Branstad’s lawyers to set aside a jury verdict that concluded Branstad discriminated against a former state official because he’s gay.
The ruling by Judge Brad McCall filed Tuesday summarily rejects
dozens of arguments, including challenges to legal rulings during trial and jury instructions.
Branstad’s attorneys asked McCall to set aside the July 15 jury
verdict of $1.5 million awarded to former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey.
Jurors concluded Godfrey was the victim of discrimination and
retaliation when Branstad tried to force him to quit in 2011 and then cut his pay.
Branstad’s attorney Frank Harty asked McCall in a July 31 motion to dismiss the lawsuit or order a new trial. Harty says the verdicts are unsupported by substantial evidence and are contrary to law.
McCall concluded that substantial evidence exists to support the
jury’s conclusions.
The bill to Iowa taxpayers for the case stands now at about $8
million if the verdict isn’t reverse.



State Auditor To Investigate Sale Of Davenport School

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) – The state auditor’s office intends to investigate the Davenport school district’s sale of a former school.
The Quad-City Times reports that the office will see whether the school board followed district policy regarding bids and conflicts of interest.
The district sold the former Lincoln School for $30,000 to a nonprofit group, Together Making a Better Community, despite receiving bids of more than $700,000.
The school board president, Ralph Johanson, has acknowledged that he had an interest in the policy. The district says he never made an offer, however. The board’s vice president, Linda Hayes, works for Third Missionary Baptist Church, which operates the nonprofit group. Officials have said she
didn’t vote on the sale but did participate in closed meetings about selling the school and spoke favorably of selling to the group.



Drake University And Des Moines Schools Propose Constructing Joint Stadium

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Drake University in Des Moines has announced it’s partnering with Des Moines Public Schools to develop a new community sports stadium in the city.
The university said in a news release Wednesday that the 4,000-seat stadium will be located on the Drake campus and serve as the venue for the public school district’s high school and middle school football and soccer games. It will also serve as the home field for the Drake Bulldogs’ soccer teams.
Construction of new stadium is estimated to cost $19.5 million. It
will be funded in part by Des Moines Public Schools, which has budgeted $15 million in sales tax revenue for the project. Drake University will donate the land and manage the stadium. Drake will also be conducting a fundraising effort in support of the stadium.
Preliminary plans call for the stadium to open by the summer of



Jury Finds Ottumwa Man Guilty Of Second Degree Murder

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) – A jury has found an Ottumwa man guilty of second-degree murder in the 2018 killing of another man.
Station KTVO reports that 19-year-old Jacob Heckethorn was also found guilty Wednesday of assault with intent to commit serious injury in the Aug. 23, 2018, shooting death of 43-year-old William Shettlesworth, of Bloomfield.
Heckethorn had been on trial for first-degree murder, but the
Wapellow County jury convicted on the reduced count after nearly two days of deliberation.
Heckethorn had argued he shot Shettlesworth in self-defense as he tried to rescue a friend from a fight.
Heckethorn faces up to 50 years when he’s sentenced in January.