Wednesday News, June 20th
City Council Approves Sewer System for Housing Area
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave its approval for a sewer system to be installed that would hook up residents living in the Willow Run housing development area. The city estimated there would be 25 possible hook ups to the new sewer line, and at $2,000 per hook up, the Willow Run housing residents agreed to finance $50,000 of the project cost. The city can finance the project up to $100,000. Anything above that figure would need for bid letting. City Administrator Scott Langel says the residents of the area favors the project.
Residents already having a private septic system would not be required to have their homes to be hooked up to the new sewer line, but any new homes or condominiums would have to be hooked up to the city's sewer system.
City Gives Floyd Valley Hospital Approval to Seek USDA Loan
(Le Mars) -- The city council also gave its approval to the Floyd Valley Hospital to seek an application from the U-S-D-A's Rural Development for a low interest loan for a possible expansion project at the hospital. City councilmen Ken Nelson and John Rexwinkel had questions about the expansion project and the city's financial liability.
Hospital administrator Mike Donlin offered assurances to the city officials that the debt would be the responsibility of the hospital's, not the city's.
Le Mars Continues to Recycle
(Le Mars) -- The city of Le Mars recycled more during the month of May than at any other time. Assistant City Administrator, Bill Cole reported to the city council that the city residents recycled 189,000 pounds of plastics, bottles, and glass products. Cole also informed the council that last month the city earned $27,391 in the motel-hotel tax which brings the year's total to $127,649 or at least $10,000 more than what was collected during the best year of 2009.
Catholic Bishop Nickless Discusses Issues With Media
(Sioux City) -- Bishop Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese held a luncheon for the local media on Tuesday to explain the Catholic Church's position on several issues now making news. Bishop Nickless discussed several topics from health care to birth control and even same sex marriages and homosexuality. He also stressed the importance of a Catholic driven education.
The Sioux City Catholic Diocese has nearly 90,000 members. The Catholic official says it is always a struggle for Catholic schools to find the needed funds to provide the quality education that is needed, but he says the Catholic schools within the Sioux City Diocese are doing well. Bishop Nicklass says the enrollment is holding steady. He admits that for some families sending their children to a Catholic school can be at times a financial burden. The Catholic Bishop says that each school does offer financial assistance, and that he does not want money to be an issue if a family wants to offer a Catholic education to their children.
Nicklass says many programs, such as the tuition assistance offered by Monsignor Lafferty program helps families with the financial help they need in order to send their children to a Catholic school.
Supervisors Discuss Mental Health Funding
(Le Mars) -- The funding of mental health services was again discussed at Tuesday's Plymouth County Board of Supervisors meeting. Since the legislature reformed how mental health services are to be financed, many counties are finding themselves with an added financial burden and in some cases, some services will be downsized, or even eliminated. Sharon Nieman, Plymouth County CPC director, along with Patrick Schmitz of Plains Area Mental Health spoke before the county board of supervisors. The budget for the Plymouth County mental health services is marked at $1,069,320 and Nieman fears they may run out of money before the year is finished. In other action, the supervisors approved the contract with Plains Area Mental Health Services as a provider of mental health services to Plymouth County clients.
LIghtning Strike at Courthouse Affects Computers, Telephones
(Le Mars) -- A lightning strike to the Plymouth County Courthouse Building will cost the county more than $8,000. On the evening of June 2nd, a bolt of lightning struck the communications tower on top of the Courthouse building. Plymouth County Information Technology director, Shawn Olson reported to the supervisors that the lightning strike traveled down the tower and penetrated the internal computer network wiring causing several computer terminals and portions of the telephone system to be inoperative. Olson says the county is visiting with its insurance agents. One problem that has arisen is the company that provided the courthouse its phone system is no longer in business, and replacements may be difficult to locate.
Jury Finds Gregg Not Guilty
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Woodbury County jury has acquitted a man charged in a fatal fight outside a Sioux City bar during a retrial.
The jury on Tuesday found Brad Gregg not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and assault causing serious injury in the death of Joe McDonald, of Ida Grove, in October 2010.
Authorities say Gregg punched McDonald during a dispute. McDonald never regained consciousness.
Gregg's first trial ended with a hung jury last September.
The jury deliberated the case for about four hours before returning the verdict Tuesday afternoon.
The defense claimed Gregg acted in self-defense. Prosecutors argued Gregg assaulted McDonald.
No Charges Filed For Teen's Suicide From Bullying
PRIMGHAR, Iowa (AP) - Prosecutors say no criminal charges will be filed in the case of a bullied Iowa teenager who committed suicide.
Fourteen-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. of Primghar died April 15.
O'Brien County Attorney Micha Schreurs says there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute anyone for any "specific criminal acts" against Weishuhn.
Family members say the South O'Brien High School freshman was bullied at school and online after telling people he was gay.
Weishuhn's death led to a statewide outcry for more effective anti-bullying tactics in schools.
Two Wisconsin Men Die In Accident on Highway 20
HOLSTEIN, Iowa (AP) - Officials say two Wisconsin residents died in a fiery crash in northwest Iowa.
The crash happened Monday afternoon just east of Holstein in Ida County. The Iowa State Patrol identified the two as 55-year-old Michael Hengel, of Milwaukee, and 38-year-old Cory Severson, of
Pine River, Wis.
The two were in a car that had stopped at a construction site on U.S. Highway 20 to wait for a pilot vehicle. Authorities say the car was hit from behind by a semitrailer and pushed into the back
of semitrailer that had stopped in front of the car.
Authorities say the two victims were trapped inside as the car burst into flames.
The two truck drivers were not seriously injured.