Home News Tuesday News, December 15th

Tuesday News, December 15th


County Supervisors To Hear Salary Proposal From Compensation Board

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear the salary increase recommendation from the Plymouth County Compensation Board as the county governing board will meet this morning at the courthouse board room for its weekly meeting. Last week, the county compensation board decided on
submitting a proposal consisting of granting a four percent increase in salary pay to the county elected officials involving the county auditor, recorder, treasurer, attorney and sheriff, plus the supervisors themselves.
The county board of supervisors will consider the proposal brought forth by the compensation board as they decide upon the next fiscal year budget. The supervisors can either accept the proposal as given by the compensation board, or they can decide on lowering the amount, but they can’t go any
higher with the salary increase, than the four percent as approved by the county compensation board. The county supervisors will also hear from County Engineer Tom Rohe as he will discuss various road construction projects.




City Council To Vote On Extending Lease Agreement For Plymouth Energy, LLC

(Le Mars) — Le Mars City Council is scheduled to convene today at noon at the city council chambers. The city council will decide on committee assignments for the upcoming year. As for action items, the city council is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the addendum to extend the terms of a lease agreement with Plymouth Energy, LLC. Last meeting, Steve Meyer had
given an update regarding the status of the facility. Currently, Plymouth Energy ethanol plant at Merrill has shut down its production. Meyer informed the city council that it is hoped the ethanol plant can again start up production during the spring of 2021. Meyer, at the time of the update, asked the city council to consider extending the lease agreement, thus allowing the payments to be deferred again. On the same topic, the Le Mars
Business Initiative Corporation agreed to contribute an additional $2,000 per month toward the loan agreement with the city. The LBIC is asking the city to defer the Ethanol Storage and Loading Facility Loan Agreement for up to an additional nine months. Back in May, an deferment was extended for six months. LBIC’s payment to the city is reliant on LBIC receiving a monthly
payment from Plymouth Energy. Plymouth Energy has agreed to make partial payments of $21,000 per month toward the loan agreement with the city. The total payment the city will receive will be $23,000 per month.

In other action the city council will consider is to demolish the former Le Mars Senior Center. You may recall the facility had caught on fire, in March of 2018, and since that time, the cost to renovate the building for a more useful purpose is not cost effective.

Since the fire, the facility has been used as storage by Floyd Valley Healthcare. The board of trustees for Floyd Valley are asking the building be demolished so they may be able to increase parking space on the hospital campus. The cost of the demolition would be paid for by Floyd Valley Healthcare.




Renovation On Le Mars YMCA Nearing Completion 

(Le Mars) — Construction is wrapping up on the renovation and expansion of the Le Mars YMCA Community Wellness Center. Todd Lancaster, the executive director of the local Y says from start to finish, the project took about a year to complete.

Although phase one of the construction project is now complete, Lancaster says work is still being performed on what is being referred to as phase 2.

Lancaster says with the new addition, both with the upstairs and the lower level, the YMCA has added approximately 6,000 more square feet of space. He talks about the expansion and changes to the local wellness center.

Lancaster talks about some of the other changes to the building.

The renovation project has been primarily financed through contributions to the Le Mars Area Betterment Foundation.

Lancaster says they hope to someday be able to hold an open house for the YMCA, but in the near term, those plans need to wait due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.




School Board Approves Purchase And Installation Of Air Conditioning Unit For High School

(Le Mars) — During last evening’s Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting, the school board approved a bid submitted by Midwestern Mechanical of Sioux Falls and Sioux City for the installation of a new air conditioning unit for the high school. Eight different bids were submitted for the school board’s review. Midwestern Mechanical offered the lowest bid of $267,900. School superintendent Dr. Steven Webner explained why the school needs to replace its air conditioning/chilling unit.

Webner says the project will get underway within the next few weeks with an estimation of completion by April 15th. Webner says the project will be financed through the school’s SAVE fund which is a sales tax with proceeds to go specifically for a school’s maintenance and upkeep of facilities.




First COVID Vaccine Given To Nurse

(Iowa City, IA) — The state’s first shipment COVID-19 vaccine arrived this Monday morning at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and registered nurse David Conway got the first vaccination. Conway says it felt excellent when asked about getting the shot. Conway gave his coworkers some encouragement — saying it was “painless” and the right thing to do. He says the public should know that the vaccine is the “right choice” and a great way to get ahead of this virus. The U-I hospitals got one-thousand doses and the C-E-O says there are 15-hundred people in the first priority group to get the vaccine.




Electoral College Votes Cast For President Trump

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa’s six Electoral College votes were cast for President Donald Trump Monday to recognize Trump’s eight-point finish ahead of Joe Biden in the November election. Trump carried all but six of Iowa’s 99 counties. Secretary of State Paul Pate administered an oath to the six Electors and formally announced the outcome of the presidential election in Iowa. David Chung of Cedar Rapids is a long-time Republican Party
activist, and say his first time as an Elector was kind of bittersweet because he had hoped Trump would be re-elected.




Governor Agrees To Return $21M In CARES Act Funding

(Des Moines, IA) — The state of Iowa has agreed to return 21-million dollars in federal CARES Act funding that it had spent modernizing its I-T infrastructure. Governor Kim Reynolds made the announcement Monday. State Auditor Rob Sand determined in October that spending the federal funding on a new computer system didn’t meet the main requirement spelled out in the CARES Act. Spending those funds is supposed to relate to the public health emergency. The governor says the money will be returned by Friday. She says the state respects the decision but maintains that the expenditures were allowable. Reynolds says the pandemic highlighted the critical need for integrated I-T systems to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness
for the state.




Sports Betting Continues To Set Records In Iowa

(Des Moines, IA) — A report from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission shows sports betting is still setting records in the state. More than 87-million dollars was bet on sports at the state’s 19 casinos and through their online sportsbooks in November. That erases the record of nearly 82-million
spent the month before. November’s record is almost 48-percent higher than the amount of money bet in the same month last year. Sports betting became legal in Iowa in August 2019. In the 16 months since then, more than 682-million dollars has been bet on sports in this state.




Hinson Open To Raising Age For Social Security Benefits

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Congresswoman-elect Ashley Hinson of Cedar Rapids says she’s open to the idea of raising the age when younger Americans may begin receiving Social Security benefits as a way to stabilize the system. Hinson says it’s her job to go in and try to make some of those tough decisions to fix and make sure Social Security is solvent for her kids and other people’s
kids too. Hinson opposes raising payroll taxes. She says any change to the retirement age would have to be phased in and would not apply to current retirees or those nearing retirement age. Hinson will be sworn in as Iowa’s first district congresswoman in January.




Waterloo Investigates Cause Of Explosion At School Bus Garage

(Waterloo, IA) — Officials in Waterloo are investigating the cause of an explosion at a school bus garage that started a fire and injured four people.
No names have been released and the extent of the injuries suffered isn’t known. Authorities say the blast happened Monday afternoon at School Bus Sales in Waterloo. Fire officials say the walls at the business were blown out and a burning school bus was found inside the business.




Ottumwa Mom Convicted Of Killing Daughter Wants Ruling Clarified

(Ottumwa, IA) — An Ottumwa mother convicted of killing her daughter has asked to have the court’s ruling clarified. Kelsie Thomas was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last October. She had been accused of using a pair of pajama pants to strangle her five-year-old daughter, Cloe Chandler,
to death in July 2018. Thomas’ attorney filed a motion last week arguing the circumstances of her caused were more consistent with an aggravated misdemeanor charge, rather than the felony. He pointed out that for it to be a felony Thomas would have had to cause the girl’s death in the course of committing another crime. A hearing has been set for January 4th.




Woman Dies In Accident Near Amana Colonies

(Walford, IA) — The state patrol is investigating a fatal crash Sunday night in east-central Iowa’s Iowa County. Troopers say a pickup truck and a compact car collided on U-S Highway 151 between the Amana Colonies and Walford about 9 PM. The patrol report says the car’s driver entered the highway and failed
to yield to the pickup’s right-of-way — and the pickup broadsided the car. A passenger in the Prius was killed. She’s identified as 31-year-old Jessica Shulte of Upper South Amana. Both drivers were injured though condition reports weren’t released.