Wednesday News, October 16
Supervisors Approve Funding For Floyd Valley Hospital
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Supervisors approved a plan to provide up to $400,000 over the
course of a three-year period to help finance the Floyd Valley Hospital's expansion project.
Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin first appeared before the supervisors a couple of weeks ago to ask if the county would assist with the expansion project. Donlin returned on Tuesday to learn of their decision. He says the county is funding the hospital expansion project utilizing two revolving accounts from the Local Options Sales Tax fund.
Donlin says the hospital trustees approved to extend the date for the bid letting. He says this was done to accomodate more contractors.
Despite numerous other construction projects within the region, Donlin is confident the hospital project will lure contractors to have competitive bids.
County Supervisors Approve Painting Highway Markings
(Le Mars) -- In other action taken by the Plymouth County Supervisors, the county governing
board approved the painting of highway markings for 126 miles of Plymouth County highways.
The cost runs approximately $770 per mile for a total investment of just short of $100,000. The supervisors also discussed the Riverbend lake project which involves a
land swap of about 20 acres between the county and Higman Gravel and Sand Company of Akron.
Chairman Jim Henrich reported that work has begun on the project to convert the once gravel
pit into a county-owned, conservation park managed lake. According to calculations by
supervisors Don Kass and Craig Anderson, it may be more than 116 days before final
preparations are completed on the long over-due project. Kass and Anderson believe it may
take a total of 11,200 side dump truck loads of dirt and gravel to be removed from the area.
A few weeks back, the county conservation board approached the supervisors to inquire about
the status of the project that was to have been completed in five years, but is now on its
City Council Sets Hearing Date For Hospital Funding
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council also discussed a financing plan for the municipal hospital. The council approved a hearing date of November 5th regarding loans for the hospital that will not exceed $26 million.
First National Bank Becomes Northwest Bank
(Le Mars) -- You may have noticed a name change with what was known as First National Bank.
As of Monday, the bank is now known as Northwest Bank. Northwest Financial Corporation,
one of Iowa's largest family-owned bank holding companies announces the merger of two of its
banks, First National Bank with offices in Sioux City, Le Mars, and Sioux Center and
Northwest Bank have been completed. A news release states the joining of these two
organizations will provide additional products, services, and banking locations to the
entire customer base. The expanded organization will be one of the 10 largest banks in
Iowa, with $1.3 billion in assets and over $123 million in capital, serving 13 of the 19
counties in northwest Iowa. The transition will provide the operation with new growth
opportunities, and allow Northwest Bank to increase lending capabilities and provide new
products and services. The change will also strengthen the bank's ability to re-invest into
its communities and employees.
Kevin Eekhoff, President of Northwest Bank in Le Mars, says customers will be able to keep
banking the way they always have...maintaining the same account numbers and services.
Woodbury County Jail Renovation To Be Delayed
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Completion of the first phase of a $1.2 million project to
modernize the Woodbury County Jail will be delayed by a couple months because officials want
to install a certain kind of air-duct covers.
Thecounty board on Tuesday approved the new completion date of Jan. 10. That's a delay from the earlier target of Nov. 15.
The extra wait will enable officials to order industrial-grade air-duct covers, which take about four weeks to arrive.
Regina Smith, of RML Architects, says ceiling work can't be completed until the covers
The first phase of the project will cost about $688,000. It includes renovations to the
inmate booking area, utility updates and the replacement of cameras and intercoms.
The jail was built in 1987.
Council Bluffs To Pay $6 Million For Wrongful Conviction Suit
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The city of Council Bluffs will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit
with two Omaha, Neb., men who sued after the courts concluded they were wrongfully convicted
and imprisoned for 25 years.
Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee will be paid $2.3 million immediately and the
remainder in six annual payments of more than $528,500. A final payment of just over
$728,500 will be made in July 2020.
The agreement splits the money evenly between the two men in exchange for dismissal of
The agreement specifies no admission of fault or liability by any party or implies
Details, initially sealed on Friday, were ordered unsealed Tuesday after The Associated
Press filed a freedom of information request under Iowa's open records law.
Officials Consider Closing Des Moines Human Rights Office
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials are examining the possible effects of essentially closing the Des Moines Human Rights Commission.
Some people say the commission is duplicating work being done by the Iowa Civil Rights
The city commission closed or resolved 33 complaints in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The Iowa commission processed 306 complaints from Des Moines over the same period.
Money is an issue, too.
The Des Moines cost per case based on its entire budget was $10,333. The state commission's cost was about $595 per case for nearly 2,200 cases statewide.
Des Moines Human Rights Director Rudy Simms says the per-case cost comparisons include
his commission's other activities, such as community education.
Gold Star Military Museum To Stay Open
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston will remain open thanks to volunteers and support from the state.
The Iowa National Guard announced Tuesday the museum, which had been set to close beginning Sunday due to the federal shutdown, would instead remain open.
In a news release, the Guard credited museum volunteers and the backing of Gov. Terry
Branstad, who said at a Monday news conference that he would keep the museum open. Col. Greg
Hapgood says the state will pay a part-time staffer and volunteers will fill in as needed.
The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays.
The museum was established in 1985 and is the only federally recognized repository for military artifacts in Iowa.