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Wednesday News, February 18

Fire Department Responds To Car Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a vehicle fire Tuesday afternoon at about 1:20 p.m.  The car that caught on fire was at the intersection of County roads C-38 and K-22, about seven miles southwest of Le Mars.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the fire started in the engine area of the vehicle and quickly spread to consume the dashboard and the interior of the vehicle.  The car is a total loss.  There were no injuries associated with the vehicle fire, however, the driver was taken into custody by the Plymouth County Sheriff's deputies for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. 

 

County Supervisors Approve TIF Agreement With Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution involving a tax increment financing agreement with the city of Le Mars during its regular weekly meeting held Tuesday morning.  Supervisor Don Kass, who is a member of the Joint Urban Renewal Development Board explains the city will acquire the county portion's of debt for development along Key Avenue, an area extending from Well's corporate offices going north past ICON Ag and Turf.

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Kass says the debt ratio was skewed to the point Plymouth County didn't feel it could ever recover, so it decided to relinguish the entire financial responsibility to the city of Le Mars.

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Kass explains the county can and will continue to collect taxes from the area in question.  However, the city of Le Mars will get the increment financing from the area along Key Avenue.

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In other action, the county governing board approved to vacate a portion of Otter Avenue. 

 

Police Department Delivers Annual Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department was one of five city departments that submitted its annual report to the city council on Tuesday.  Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga informed the council, with few exceptions, the numbers from last year were similiar to those in 2013.

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Dekkenga says the total number of complaints investigated by the Le Mars Police was at 5,092 which was 887 more than in 2013.  Dekkenga says the complaint category includes many aspects. He says one reason for the higher number of complaints fielded, is because it involves those complaints from the parking enforcment provision.

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The Le Mars Police Chief did indicate the number of burglaries had fallen.

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In terms of number of arrests made in 2014, Dekkenga says the numbers were similar.

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In 2013, there were a total of 438 arrests with 370 adult arrests and 58 juvenile arrests.  Dekkenga breaks down the numbers even further.

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Copies of the police annual report can be obtained at the Police Department or at the Le Mars Public Library.

 

City Council Approves Convention And Visitor's Bueau Grant Recommendations

(Le Mars) -- During city council action from Tuesday's meeting, the city council approved the funding of nearly $32,500 in project grants that were recommended by the Convention and Visitor's Bureau board.  Some of the recipients of the CVB grants include the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce, the Le Mars Area Youth Network, the National Traditional Country Music Association, Plymouth County Pioneer Village Christmas, and the Plymouth County Cyclists.

 

Senate Panel Passes Bill To Forbid Therapy To Convert Sexual Orientation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would ban mental health providers in Iowa from practicing therapy aimed at converting the sexual orientation of a minor.
     Members of a human resources subcommittee discussed the bill Tuesday. It now moves to a full committee for consideration.
     The bill would prohibit a licensed mental health provider from attempting to change the sexual orientation of a person who is under 18 years old. The mental health provider would be subject to disciplinary action if there's an attempt at such therapy.
     Groups in support of the bill say the therapy causes irreparable mental damage. The Family Leader, a social conservative political party in Iowa, opposes the bill and says parents should pursue professional medical care for their children without interference from the government.

 

Fuel Tax Bill Moving Quickly Through Legislature

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A plan to hike the state's fuel tax by ten cents is quickly moving through the Iowa Legislature.
     A Senate Committee backed the bill in a 9-3 vote Tuesday. The legislation would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. That would provide about $215 million annually for the state's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.
     Similar proposals have failed to advance in past years, but Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative leaders have been vocal this year about raising money for infrastructure. The Senate bill now moves to another committee. A similar effort is moving through the House.
     Iowa's fuel tax is now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. The tax hasn't been raised since 1989.

 

Senate Moves Minimum Wage Bill

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill to boost Iowa's minimum wage has won preliminary approval in the Iowa Senate.
     A three-member subcommittee backed the bill Tuesday, with two Democrats and one Republican voting in favor. The bill would gradually raise Iowa's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75.
     Sen. Tony Bisignano, a Des Moines Democrat, says the bill was an overdue effort to help low-wage workers. Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, said this would keep Iowa wages in line with neighboring states.
     The bill is expected to win approval in the Democratic-majority Senate, but prospects are less clear in the Republican-controlled House. Asked last week if House Republicans would support raising the minimum wage, Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, said his caucus was more focused on training for high-paying jobs.

 

Regents Task Force Member Objects To Funding Model 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A member of a task force that assisted the Iowa Board of Regents in creating a new performance-based funding model has reiterated his criticism of the model to lawmakers.
     Len Hadley, retired chief executive officer of Maytag Corp., told an education appropriations subcommittee Tuesday that the model would unfairly compare funding needs at the state's three public universities.
     Hadley, who has previously criticized the model, represented the University of Iowa on a five-person task force that issued a funding proposal to the regents. He voted against it.
     The new model rewards universities for recruiting more in-state students. The regents say the model, which they approved last year, is more transparent in its method for requesting state dollars.

 

Des Moines City Councilman Questions Speeding Ticket

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Des Moines city councilman says he was not trying to get a speeding ticket waived when he contacted the interim police chief.
     Joe Gatto was given a ticket for driving 10 miles over the speed limit during a traffic enforcement event on Dec 3.
     After the traffic stop, the councilman contacted the Interim Police Chief Doug Harvey. His speeding ticket was voided 27 minutes after being downloaded onto the police department's server.
     In a statement to KCCI, Gatto says that he did not contact the police chief to have the ticket waived, but to express concern about how the traffic stop was handled. He said that Harvey independently dismissed the ticket.
     Gatto apologized for how he personally handled the situation, and said that he would pay the ticket if it was reissued.
     Soon after the statement was released, the police department reissued Gatto's ticket.
 
 

 


 

 

 

   

Tuesday News, February 17

Traffic Stop Leads To Three People Arrested

(Le Mars) -- A traffic stop led to the arrest of three individuals with charges with possession of a controlled substance.  The incident happened on Saturday when Plymouth County officials stopped a vehicle for speeding on Highway 75.  As a result of that stop, 20 year old Garrett Schoen, the driver of the vehicle was found with drug paraphernalia and an open container.  Also arrested was 20 year old Faith Niebaum of South Sioux City, Nebraska.  Niebaum agreed to be searched at the Plymouth county jail where she was found to be in possession of methamphetamine.  She was charged with introducing drugs into a correctional facility.  A third person, 24 year old Dioncio Hernandez of Le Mars was arrested when authorities spotted a small baggie of a crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine was located exactly where Hernandez was sitting in the car.  All three were arrested and taken to the Plymouth County Jail.

 

Woodbury County Authorities Investigate Police Imposter

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they're investigating a man who has been posing as a police officer and making traffic stops in western Iowa.
     The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office says two traffic stops were conducted late Saturday night and early Sunday morning near Correctionville and Anthon, Iowa. No threats were made during the fake traffic stops.
     According to a news release, the vehicles were pulled over by a seemingly new Dodge Charger with red and blue lights in the dash. The release says the man driving the Dodge identified himself as a member of law enforcement. Those who were pulled over later reported the incidents to police.
     The sheriff's office says officials making traffic stops will be dressed in complete uniform and can display their credentials upon request.

 

Fire Reported At Hubbard Feed Plant

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Fire department officials in Sioux City say they're investigating what started a small fire at a feed plant. 
      Someone called authorities early Tuesday and reported seeing smoke near the Hubbard Feeds, Inc. plant in Sioux City. 
     Assistant Fire Chief Brad Robinson says crews found a small, smoldering fire had broken out in the facility's cooling tower down in the basement. 
     Robinson says the fire was extinguished and damage was confined to one cooling box of feed pellets.
     ---

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry Makes Stop In Sioux City

(Sioux City) -- Former Texas Governor Rick Perry was sounding like a presidential candiate Monday evening in Sioux City.  Perry, who is expected to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, made it clear he plans on spending a lot of time in the Hawkeye state in the next year. 

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Perry finished fifth in the Iowa Caucuses in the last GOP Presidential race with just over 10 percent.   He regrets that he didn't spend a lot of time campaigning in the state in 2012.     

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The former governor spoke Monday evening at a town hall meeting at Morningside College in Sioux City.

 

Health Care Vendors Wanted To Help Modernize Medicaid 

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Human Services has announced an initiative seeking bids from health care vendors as the state moves to modernize its Medicaid program.
     A news release issued Monday says the so-called Iowa Quality Health Care Initiative aims to find two to four health plan providers to support Gov. Terry Branstad's Medicaid modernization efforts. Selected providers are expected to aid in the improvement of health care quality and coordination in the state's Medicaid program.
     According to the release, the initiative's objectives include establishing a more sustainable Medicaid budget and promoting outcome accountability.
     Charles Palmer, director of the Department of Human Services, says the initiative will allow Iowa to better manage its Medicaid program and ensure that Iowans are receiving the care they need when they need it.

 

Senate Democrats Introduce Bill To Allow For Production Of Medical Marijuana

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate Democrats say they plan to introduce legislation this session that would allow for the production and distribution of medical marijuana in Iowa.
     Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, discussed the legislation Monday after a group of residents spoke of their support to two Senate committees.
     The bill would create a program that monitors the production and distribution of medical marijuana. It's similar to legislation last session that failed to garner enough support. Bolkcom says he expects resistance this year in the Republican-controlled House.
     Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill into law last year that allows for the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy. Critics say that legislation doesn't address legal hurdles in bringing the oil into Iowa, such as crossing state lines.

 

Senate Committee Wants To Expand Pre-school to 4 Year Olds

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate committee has approved a bill that would expand public preschool for 4-year-olds in Iowa.
     The Democratic-majority education committee voted 9-5 in favor of the bill. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
     The bill would provide extra funding for school districts that expand preschool programs. Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach, the bill's sponsor, says the funding would be offered for three years. He estimates it could cost the state more than $7 million to enroll 6,000 more students.
     Sen. Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says he is concerned about the bill's potential costs. The committee voted along party lines.
     A similar bill failed to win full legislative approval last year.

 

Ankeny Kindergarten Teacher Caught Drinking Beer At School

 ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - A kindergarten teacher at a suburban Des Moines elementary school has been accused of drinking beer in her classroom.
     Police say 40-year-old Jennifer L. Rich, of West Des Moines, was arrested Friday at East Elementary School in Ankeny after testing positively on an initial breathalyzer test. She was charged with public intoxication and child endangerment.
     An Ankeny School District human resources representative says Rich submitted her resignation Monday.
     According to a news release, police responded to a report from a parent claiming that Rich was spotted at the school with a can of beer. Authorities say they found a bag in her classroom containing two empty cans and four full cans of beer, and that Rich's eyes were bloodshot and watery.
     Rich is not being held in police custody.

 




 

   

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