Home News Wednesday News, January 1st

Wednesday News, January 1st


City Submits Employee Salary Proposal To Bargaining Unit

(Le Mars) — The city of Le Mars released its initial bargaining proposal for city employees Tuesday morning from the city council chambers. You may recall it was nearly two weeks ago when the bargaining unit of Le Mars city employees had proposed a two-year contract consisting of a 3.5 percent
increase in salary pay. The city has countered with a proposal of one and three-quarters percent increase for each of the two years. City administrator Jason Vacura along with Mayor Dick Kirchoff presented the city’s wage proposal to Jeff Kramer, the president of the Le Mars City Employee Bargaining Unit. City councilman Rex Knapp and City Clerk Bev Langel along with City Finance Director Jacob Widman were on hand when Vacura submitted the proposal. Negotiations between the city and its
employees will take place following the city council meeting slated for January 7th.



Kirchoff Reflects Upon City’s Accomplishments From 2019

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff says he is pleased with the many accomplishments the city has achieved in 2019, and believes the year ahead will prove to be equally progressive. In an interview with KLEM radio, Kirchoff reflected on this past year noting the progress the city has made through the Community Betterment Projects. He points to the reason for the
success of Le Mars is based on a team effort with Le Mars residents, business leaders, city staff, and many volunteers, all working together.

The mayor reflects on those successful and completed projects from 2019.

Kirchoff says he receives numerous compliments from various people upon the completion of each project. Kirchoff says he is particularly proud of the new housing development that has happened in Le Mars in recent years.

Tourism is a particular interest of Kirchoff, and he says Le Mars tourism has been on the rise due in part to the renovation of the Wells Visitors Center and Ice Cream Parlor, the Brown’s Century Theater, plus many other of the city’s features, including Alley Art, Veteran’s Park, Plymouth County Historical Museum, and even the Plymouth County Fair.

2019 was the year Le Mars celebrated its Sesquicentennial, and Kirchoff points out how that week brought thousands of visitors to the city known as the “Ice Cream Capital of the World.”

As for the year 2020, Kirchoff is excited about the renovation construction project for the Community Wellness Center or YMCA. He is also excited about what may evolve as the new Cleveland Park facilities.

The Le Mars mayor says he believes Le Mars will continue to grow and expand, and that additional businesses, industries, and families will come to Le Mars and want to settle here.



Naig Believes 2020 Will Be A Better Year For Farmers

(Des Moines) — Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says 2019 could be characterized as a roller coaster ride for farmers — and not the kind you enjoy.

Naig says there were bright spots too — including some good yields at harvest.

Naig says one of the issues that continued in 2019 was the preparation and build up of defenses against animal diseases.

He says there is hope that the prices farmers get for their goods will increase in the new year. Naig says commodity prices have been below the cost of production or just enough to break even since 2018.

Naig hopes the pending trade deals will help with that goal of increasing demand in 2020 and lowering the amount of uncertainty.



Service Group To Construct Memorial For Veterans

FRUITLAND, Iowa (AP) – A service club intends to build a memorial for veterans in the Muscatine County community of Fruitland. The Fruitland Community Lions Club wants to place it near Fruitland Community Center instead of at a cemetery. A club committee decided the location near the center would allow more people to see it and would deter vandals. The
Muscatine Journal reported that the memorial will have black granite walls, seating, a flag and lighting. The memorial space will be available to all honorably discharged men and women, living or dead, of any military branch, regardless of whether the veterans were originally from Muscatine County.



Des Moines Police Investigate First Homicide Of 2020

(Des Moines) — Just hours into the new year, Des Moines Police are investigating its first homicide for 2020. According to KCCI television, a teenage boy was found lying dead along 17th Street at around 3:50 a.m. The juvenile boy had a gunshot injury. Police say the boy was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives are investigating the incident.



Murder Suspect Wants Trial To Be Moved

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – One of two men accused of killing a man in Cedar Rapids wants their trial moved out of Linn County. Thirty-four-year-old Drew Wagner cited pretrial publicity in his request filed Sunday. Wagner and 32- year-old Drew Blahnik have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and
other crimes in the slaying of 31-year-old Christopher Bagley. He went missing from his home in Walker in December 2018. Investigators have said Blahnik has confessed to stabbing Bagley in retaliation for his robbery of a large-scale marijuana trafficker. The court records don’t show that Blahnik also has requested that the trial be moved.



Dubuque Man Arrested After Auto Accident Killed Pregnant Woman

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – A Dubuque man has been arrested in connection with a car crash in November that killed a pregnant woman and injured a child. The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Office says 69-year-old John E. Hoffman was charged Tuesday with homicide by vehicle-operating under the influence, nonconsensual termination of a pregnancy and serious injury by vehicle. The charges stem from a Nov. 9 crash on Highway 52 southeast of Key West that killed 20-year-old Hannah Ruggeberg and injured a 3-year-old child.
Ruggeberg was pregnant at the time of the crash. Hoffman is being held on a $250,000 cash bond.