Monday Afternoon News, March 24
Le Mars Man Charged For Distributing Cocaine
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department have arrested a Le Mars man for the distribution of cocaine. Early Sunday morning, 41 year old, Corey Dailey of 408 1st Avenue Northwest, was taken into custody without incident in the 10 block of 1st Street Northwest for two counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Both are Class C felonies. Dailey was taken to the Plymouth County jail where his bond was set at $20,000.
Le Mars Librarian To Leave For Another Position
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars is searching for a new director of library services. Sue Kroesche has submitted her resignation effective April 25th. Bill Cole, assistant city administrator says Kroesche has accepted another librarian position in another city. Kroesche had been the Library Director for the Le Mars Public Library for five years.
City Issues Water Quality Report
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Water Department has issued its annual Consumer Confidence Report to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, showing residents the quality of the city's water. Gayle Sitzmann, superintendent for the water department says Le Mars has good quality water with very low amounts of contaminants.
Sitzmann says the state is especially interested in the nitrate level of local water supplies. He says that is a direct result of fertilizer run-off.
The city water superintendent says Le Mars is fortunate to have a good supply of high quality water, and he says it should continue long into the future.
Copies of the Consumer Confidence Report can be obtained by contacting the city water department.
Wells Fargo Bank Warns of Scam
(Sioux City) -- A new scam has hit northwest Iowa. Cell phone users are receiving text messages, presumably from Wells Fargo Bank, directing people to go to a phony website and enter their private account information. Angie Kaipust, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo Bank, says the bank and its customers are victims of a "phishing scam".
Kaipust suggests if you receive such a message, just erase it, and don't act upon it.
The bank official reminds people that the bank does not need to ask for private account information, because they already have it.
One customer reported falling victim to the scam, costing him $1700. Kaipust says if people believe they are the victim of a bank scam to contact their bank immediately.
Turkey Processing Plant To Remain Closed Until Tuesday
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Company officials say the fire-damaged turkey plant in Storm Lake is expected to remain closed through Tuesday.
Saturday night's blaze caused a portion of the roof to collapse at the Hillshire Brands plant. One firefighter was injured but was soon released after treatment at a hospital.
Fire crews from four departments were sent to the plant, which employs around 600 people.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
People Unable To Pay For Utility Bills
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Thousands of Iowa households are behind on their utility bills in the wake of winter's subzero weather.
The Iowa Utilities Board figures say that as of February, more than 243,000 households were in arrears - 4 percent more than a year ago. But because of the severe cold and the higher costs of natural gas and propane, the amount of the debt has hit $46 million - 40 percent more than the figure in February 2013.
William Brand is administrator of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Iowa, and he says 38,000 of the Iowa households in the program are behind on their bills by a total of $11.7 million. April 1 marks the end of the winter moratorium on utility shutoffs for those households.
State Senator Still Trying To Get Medical Marijuana Legalized In Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Iowa has been declared dead this session, but lawmakers are continuing with efforts to raise awareness about benefits associated with the drug.
Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, invited current and former Iowa residents to the Capitol on Monday to share how marijuana has helped them medically and explain why they have left or are considering leaving the state.
A mother from Waterloo says she uprooted her family to get her epileptic daughter medical marijuana in Colorado. A veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder says he plans to move to Colorado, too.
Gov. Terry Branstad has said he fears there would be unintended consequences if medical marijuana were legalized.
A Quinnipiac University poll shows 81 percent of Iowans support medical marijuana legalization.
Branstad Orders Secret Settlements To End
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he has signed an executive order prohibiting state agencies from signing confidential settlement agreements.
Branstad, back in Iowa from vacation, is responding to criticism of agreements reached between state agencies and several state employees who were fired and then paid more than $280,000 to keep quiet.
Branstad says Monday that Iowans expect more from state government and deserve better. He says he didn't know about the settlements.
His order requires settlement agreements to be reviewed by the attorney general's office and all agreements to be posted on a state website.
He's also ordered all past settlement agreements to be posted - that's more than 321 since he took office. He says 24 contain confidentiality agreements and 10 included lump sum payments to workers.
Branstad Supports Work Force Director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is standing behind the director of Iowa Workforce Development who has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers for allegedly improperly pressuring judges who hear unemployment cases to rule against workers and in favor of employers.
Branstad says he has tremendous confidence in Teresa Wahlert and says she's an outstanding administrator and very fair.
He calls the criticism last week led by Sen. Bill Dotzler, of Waterloo, a partisan political attack.
Dotzler sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor asking the agency to investigate whether Wahlert is violating federal laws requiring fair and impartial administration of unemployment benefits.
He alleges Wahlert has created a hostile work environment and interferes with the independence of administrative law judges.
Wahlert and Branstad deny the accusations.