Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, December 16th

Wednesday Afternoon News, December 16th


Le Mars Police Department Participates In The “Shop With A Cop” Program

(Le Mars) — A little more than a week ago, officers of the Le Mars Police Department went Christmas shopping. It was all part of what is known as “Shop With A Cop.” Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says this marks the third year for the program.

Vande Vegte explains the purpose behind the “Shop with a Cop” program.

Vande Vegte says the program is entirely funded through private donations.

The Le Mars Police Chief says the event is a nice goodwill program that benefits students and their families.

Many of the students are already familiar with School Resource Officer John Vickery, but Chief Vande Vegte says through this program, they are introduced to many of the other officers from the Le Mars Police Department.

(photos contributed.)




City Council Decides To Extend Loan To Plymouth Energy

(Le Mars) — Le Mars city council discussed whether or not to extend the lease agreement and to allow a deferment of payments up to nine months for Plymouth Energy LLC. Plymouth Energy of Merrill currently has their ethanol production facility shuttered and production has stopped. The city of Le Mars along with the LBIC have granted loans to Plymouth Energy for a storage and transload facility located within the Le Mars Industrial Park. Payments on those loans have already been pushed back due to the shutdown of the plant. The council voted 5-0 to extend the lease agreement and deferment of payments, but not before some debate with the issue. Councilman Clark
Goodchild inquired as to how much money Plymouth Energy owes to the city?
City Finance Director, Jacob Widman responded by telling Goodchild that the ethanol company currently owes $1.6 million dollars to the city of Le Mars.
Mayor Dick Kirchoff informed the council the original amount was at $3.5 million dollars. Kirchoff then explained the differences between the lease agreement LBIC has with Plymouth Energy, and the lease agreement the city has with Plymouth Energy.




Governor Reynolds Loosens Some Of The COVID-19 Restrictions

(Des Moines) — Governor Reynolds made some modifications to her emergency healthcare proclamation as announced during her Wednesday news conference.
Reynolds says bars and restaurants can remain open for their normal business hours, but with some restrictions still in place.

Reynolds has loosen some of the earlier restrictions regarding spectators at sporting events.

The Iowa governor also offered an update relating to the COVID-19 situation across the state, saying there is good news as the numbers have been declining.

Reynolds says Iowa hospitals have been able to maintain a stable position while starting to see the number of patients also show a decline.

Reynolds also reported that eight semi-loads of personal protection equipment (PPE’s) have been delivered this week to 430 of Iowa’s long-term care nursing facilities.
The governor says the new restrictions will begin on Thursday, and will be in effect until January 8th.




Iowa Lottery Sales Continue to Top Projections During COVID

(Clive, IA) — The head of the Iowa Lottery says sales continue to remain strong despite COVID restrictions in the state. C-E-O Matt Strawn told Lottery Board members Tuesday,”through the first four months or first third of fiscal year 2021 — which comprises July through October — total sales of Lottery products are currently 19-point-six percent of budget projections.” The sales in that time period are 134-and-a-half million dollars. He says instant scratch tickets continue to be the engine that drives the Iowa Lottery. Strawn says “fiscal year to date scratch ticket sales are tracking slightly ahead of last year’s record performance and currently account for approximately 71 percent of all Lottery sales.” He says the national lottery games still haven’t been able to get much traction during the pandemic. The final numbers for November are not yet available, but it appears the sales remain strong.




Family of COVID Victim Suing Storm Lake Tyson Plant

(Storm Lake, IA) — The family of a man who died from COVID-19 while working at the Tyson pork plant in Storm Lake filed a lawsuit, accusing the company and several plant executives of gross negligence. Sixty-five-year-old Michael Everhard of Fonda died June 18th, three weeks after being diagnosed. Everhard’s family claims he caught the virus at the plant, where he worked for 27 years. The lawsuit argues Tyson and its managers required Everhard to continue working in an environment “rife with coronavirus and didn’t implement safety precautions to protect him and other workers from contracting the virus.” Tyson Foods spokeswoman Liz Croston defended the company’s efforts, saying “our top priority is the health and safety of our workers and we’ve implemented a host of protective measures at our facilities that meet or exceed C-D-C and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.” 




Seven Tyson Foods Managers Are Fired For Wagering On Virus Victims

(Des Moines) — KCCI television station of Des Moines is reporting Tyson Foods have announced Wednesday it has fired seven managers over allegations that they placed wagers on how many employees would contract COVID-19 at the Waterloo plant.  The allegations came from a lawsuit filed by a deceased Tyson employee’s son.  The employees allegedly involved were originally suspended without pay.  The company said an independent investigation led to the firings.  The company did not name the fired managers.  Company officials traveled to the Waterloo plant and again today to meet with team members.




Whirlpool Amana Plant Part of $92.7 Million Sale and Lease Deal

(Middle Amana, IA) — Whirlpool has sold its manufacturing facilities in Iowa County to a real estate holding company for 92-point-seven million dollars, but Whirlpool has a lease with the property’s new owner to continue operations. Whirlpool makes refrigerators at the plant in Middle Amana. The Cedar Rapids Gazette was first to report the sale of the property. The sale appears to have no impact on jobs. Whirlpool said in a statement “there will be no short-term or long-term changes to its operations in Middle Amana.” The property on which Whirlpool’s warehouse in North Liberty sits is already owned by a private equity firm, with a lease back to Whirlpool to continue operations there. Whirlpool employs about 25-hundred people in eastern Iowa.




Iowa DNR Warns of Thin Ice Danger

(Des Moines, IA) — The Department of Natural Resources is warning Iowans that no ice is ever 100-percent safe. Lakes and ponds are freezing over and anglers are prepared to go ice fishing. The Iowa D-N-R recommends a minimum of four inches for walking and at least five for snowmobiles and A-T-Vs. Fisheries chief Joe Larschied says it’s important to check ice thickness as you make your to way to your fishing spot. He says ice conditions change constantly and its thickness can vary across the lake. Anglers should not go out on the ice alone and should bring along ice picks, ice cleats, a life jacket and a floating safety rope. Early ice often offers an excellent chance for fish.