Home News Saturday News, January 25th

Saturday News, January 25th


Amy Schmidt Honored As Le Mars Community School District’s Employee Of The Month

(Le Mars) — The administrative assistant to the Le Mars Community High School Guidance Counseling and Activities Departments was given the school district’s “Employee of the Month” honors during a ceremony held Friday morning. Amy Schmidt has been an employee of the Le Mars Community school
district for the past four years. She was nominated for the honor by Judd Kopperud and Melissa Hill.

The nomination says, Amy Schmidt is one of the
most organized, detailed, hard-working employees in the entire school district. She makes everything flow smoothly in the guidance office and with activities at the high school. Amy exemplifies what dedication should be in an employee, and Le Mars Community is fortunate to benefit from her working in our school system. Many students appreciate Amy and all that she
does for them, and building relationships with those students is definitely a strength that Amy possesses. Amy has also taken an active role in volunteer positions in our school district, and our community, which shows her commitment to Le Mars Community School. Our school system and community are stronger with someone like Amy Schmidt working with us.

We appreciate Amy, and we are grateful that we have the privilege of working with her each day.



Merrick Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison For Bank Robbery

(Sioux City) –The woman who was an accomplice in a 2018 Le Mars bank robbery has been sentenced to federal prison.
Karen Merrick was sentenced to 30 months in prison Thursday in
U.S. District Court in Sioux City.
She had previously pleaded guilty to being an accomplice of
Phillip White, who robbed the Iowa State Bank of Le Mars in December of 2018.

White was sentenced to 12 years in prison last November.
Law enforcement officials apprehended White and Merrick, a
short-time after the robbery.
The pair used an U-Haul truck as their get-a-way vehicle.
They were ordered to pay restitution of $16,190 to the bank,
which has been returned, and more than $5,000 to the U-Haul company.



Farmers Co-op Society Grain Managers Plead Not Guilty To Fraud

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Two former officers at a northwest Iowa agriculture cooperative have pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges. The Sioux City Journal reports that Kenneth Ehrp and Calvin Diehl entered the pleas Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sioux City. Prosecutors say the two directed Farmers Cooperative Society workers in Sioux Center to layer
higher-value soybeans over oats in grain bins and in trucks and then concealed the scheme from customers and federal inspectors. Prosecutors say the scheme led to the overvaluing of the co-ops grain inventory in order to influence a lender’s action on a loan.



Le Mars Conducting A Water Softener Survey

(Le Mars) — Le Mars residents were recently sent a soft water survey by city officials. Le Mars city administrator, Jason Vacura says the purpose for the survey is to find a way to reduce the amount of Chloride or salt in the city’s water after it is released from the waste water treatment plant and into the Floyd River. Vacura says the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is giving the city until November of 2023 to come up with a plan.

Vacura says the DNR is requesting a plan of action by the city, and the water softener survey is a part of that plan.

Vacura says the majority of homes in Le Mars does use a water softener since the city doesn’t soften the water coming into Le Mars homes.

The city administrator says when Le Mars constructed its waste water treatment plant, it had provisions, if ever needed, to add a city-wide softener system.

Vacura gave reassurance that the problem is not solely on the residents of Le Mars, but that our industries and businesses have also contributed to the high salt levels in our water. He says the city also wants to lean how much salt is in the Floyd River from sources up-stream of Le Mars. City officials have set a February 21st deadline for surveys to be returned to city hall.



Farm Bill Meeting Scheduled For Monday At Woodbury County Extension Office

(Sioux City) — Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have scheduled another meeting to deal with the Farm Bill. Gary Wright, the ISU Farm Management Specialist for northwest Iowa says the meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Monday, January 27th and it will be held at the Woodbury County Extension Office in Sioux City. Wright says the additional meeting was
scheduled since many farmers were unable to attend previously scheduled seminars due to the late harvest.

Wright says farmers need to know about some changes that are being proposed with the new farm bill, especially with crop insurance provisions.

Wright says sponsors have helped with the cost of materials and
refreshments. The extension and outreach farm management specialist says in addition to discussing the farm bill, there will be some time focused on farm stress.

Wright says farmers ask him if the government has changed its policy as it relates to crop insurance as to the determining yield used to calculate coverage. Wright says coverage and payouts for crops is still based on the average county yield, as opposed to the individual average farm yield.

The farm management specialist says some changes will deal with whether farmers will be prevented from planting their acres due to either flooded fields, or extreme wet conditions.

For additional information regarding the Farm Bill meeting, farmers can contact the Woodbury County Extension Office.



Legislator’s Hog Operation Accused Of Animal Abuse

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An animal welfare group that gained access to an Iowa lawmaker’s hog farm has posted a video and photos online that show pigs suffering and even dying in what appear to be inhumane conditions. Members of California-based Direct Action Everywhere entered a hog farm owned by
Iowa Sen. Ken Rozenboom last April through an unlocked door. Rozenboom says the farm was managed then by others who didn’t follow proper animal care protocols. He says his family is overseeing operations and properly caring for animals. Rozenboom managed a law passed last year that heightens
trespass penalties for undercover operations on farms.



Newton Electric Bus Plant To Close

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) – Company officials say a central Iowa plant that produces bodies for electric buses is closing. TPI Composites announced Thursday that production at the Newton plant will be consolidated at a company plant in Warren, Rhode Island. The company says nearly all of the bus plant employees will be offered employment at the company’s wind blade
facility in Newton or at other TPI facilities. Josh Syhlman is plant manager at TPI’s wind blade factory, and he told the Newton Daily News the bus plant had never reached adequate production and profitability levels.



Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Shows Slight Increase

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 2.7% in December. Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday the unemployment rate rose as both the number of people with and without jobs increased in the state. The December rate was up from a 2.6% in November and 2.4% a year ago. Iowa’s unemployment rate tied with Alabama for the nation’s ninth-lowest. The national unemployment rate in December was 3.5%.



Warren Claims To Have Campaign Staff In 31 States

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Elizabeth Warren says she has more than 1,000 campaign staffers in 31 states and 100-plus field offices, offering a show of organizational strength that will help her win the Democratic presidential nomination. She says her broad organization will hurt President Donald Trump’s chances in key battlegrounds in November. The Massachusetts senator released a memo Friday on her “Roadmap to Win.” She says her
campaign will be organized in all 50 states and seven U.S. territories before the Democratic National Convention in July. Warren is betting that a far-reaching organization can insulate her against poor performances in the early states while giving her built-in momentum if she does well.