Saturday News, January 12
Authorities Apprehend Federal Fugitive
(Le Mars) -- At about 3:00 p.m. Friday, Deputy United States Marshals and the Woodbury County Task Force Officers from the Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force attempted to arrest Geovany Gonzales-Gonzales at a rural residence on K-18 South in Plymouth County.
Gonzalez-Gonzales was wanted for failing to appear as ordered for a court hearing. Gonzalez-Gonzalez was originally charged with drug trafficking. Upon making contact with family members at the residence, Marshals were informed that Gonzales-Gonzales was in the house and had a .380 pistol in his possession. Gonzalez-Gonzalez was ordered out of his residence, however refused to surrender. Family members indicated that Gonzalez-Gonzalez was suicidal.
U.S. Marshals requested the assistance of the Plymouth/Sioux/Le Mars Police tactical team to assist with the arrest. Iowa State Patrol officers as well as the Tactical Team and the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office arrived to assist. At about 7:30 p.m. an Iowa State Patrol negotiator, negotiated the safe surrender of Gonzalez-Gonzalez to law enforcement personnel. Gonzalez-Gonzalez was booked into the Woodbury County Jail pending further court hearings.
Officers at the scene were assisted by Siiouxland Paramedics and the Akron Fire Department.
County Road Crews Work On 320th Street
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe has announced that the Secondary Road Department has closed 320th Street from South Ridge Road West to East Loop Road. 320th Street is located in the far southwest corner of Plymouth County. Rohe says due to the thawing conditions, during the past couple of days, the road became impassable. Road crews will continue to work on the gravel road through today.
Business Property Owners Asked To Contact Chamber Office
(Le Mars) -- Downtown building owners are being urged to check with Le Mars Chamber
officials regarding a facade renovation project. Mainstreet Le Mars is submitting an application for a federal Community Development Block Grant which would provide funding to building owners to help with renovation. The application will be submitted on Friday of next week, so property owners are asked to contact the Le Mars Chamber office prior to Wednesday.
Anderson Says There Are Plenty Of New Faces In State Senate
(Le Mars) -- State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg will hold a series of legislative forums scheduled for today. The lawmakers want to hear from the public their views on the key issues about to face the legislators as they begin a new session on Monday. The times and locations are at 8:30 a.m. at the Plymouth County Energy headquarters at Merrill, 10:00 a.m. the lawmakers will hold a forum at the Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie at Le Mars and the last forum is scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon at the Akron Public Library. The General Session begins on Monday, and many wonder how much work will be accomplished given the fact the make-up of the legislature is nearly the same as it was last year. The House is controlled by the Republicans, and in the State Senate, the Democrats hold a small majority with 26 senators. Anderson says despite the same numbers, there are a few new names and faces.
Anderson says even though he is of the minority party in the state senate, he has been able to build relationships and get amendments passed.
Tentinger Travels To Korea and Japan To Promote Iowa Pork
(Le Mars) -- A Le Mars Pork Producer recently completed a trade mission trip to South Korea and Japan. Bill Tentinger serves as the president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Prior to the Christmas holiday, Tentinger traveled to the oriental nations in hopes to encourage government officials and food distributors to purchase Iowa pork products. Tentinger says Iowa leads the nation in pork production, and one of every four hogs marketed is destined to export. Tentinger says Korea is interested in purchasing Iowa pork.
Latino Affairs Commissioner Asks Branstad To Change Opinion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Latino affairs commissioners appointed by Governor Terry Branstad have asked him to reconsider his administration's new policy barring driver's licenses for certain
young immigrants allowed by a federal rule to live in the United States.
The Office of Latino Affairs, a division under the state's Department of Human Rights, asks Branstad in a letter sent to him Friday to meet with them.
The letter says the Iowa Department of Transportation is wrong to deny licenses to immigrants brought into the U.S. as children by parents who were not legal residents and who qualify for the new
deferred action program announced by President Barack Obama in June.
Commissioner Joan Jaimes, a Marshalltown community college counselor, says the policy is mean-spirited and makes life difficult for some of her students.
Legislative Committee Suggests Funding $20 Million For Mental Health
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An interim legislative committee recommended the Legislature appropriate up to $20 million to help struggling counties continue mental health services this year.
Iowa City Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat, proposed the $20 million figure at a Friday meeting. It's far more than the $3.8 million recommended by the Department of Human Services.
The committee is overseeing implementation of Iowa's revamped mental health system, which replaces a county-by-county process with a regional approach. Panel members didn't specify how the $20 million would be funded.
As the state shifts to the new program, 32 counties have sought money to finance the transition.
Bolkcom says he will make the recommendation to the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee early in the session so counties can get their funding quickly. The session begins Monday.
Bald Eagles Return To Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Bird watching enthusiasts around Iowa are looking to the skies this weekend for a glimpse of thousands of bald eagles making their way across the state.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says wildlife workers and volunteers are tallying reports of bald eagle sightings around the state as part of the national Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey. The
annual event is coordinated by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Surveyors had most of early January to complete their reports, though target dates are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
An Iowa DNR spokeswoman says migration patterns show the eagles are being spotted in other places besides stronghold spots along the Mississippi River. That includes more appearances along the Des Moines River.
More than 3,000 eagles were counted in the state last year.