Home News Thursday News, December 31st

Thursday News, December 31st


Van Otterloo Prepares To Transition From County Sheriff To County Supervisor

(Le Mars) — After spending 46 years in local law enforcement, Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo is going to take on a new job. Earlier in the year Van Otterloo announced he would retire his position as the sheriff for Plymouth County. At the same time he said he would pursue running for a position with the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors. Long-time county supervisor Mark Loutsch had announced he would not seek re-election to the county governing board. Van Otterloo decided to run for the seat being vacated by Loutsch. As it turned out, Van Otterloo did not have any opposition for the supervisor position, either in a primary, or for the general election. But let’s go back in time to 1974 when Van Otterloo initially decided he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. Van Otterloo says he approached Chief Jim Heck, the Le Mars Police Chief at the time and introduced himself indicating he would like to be considered for a position as an officer with the Le Mars Police Department.

Van Otterloo was a captain with the Le Mars Police Department and had served 16 and a half years and had his eyes on the position of one day serving as the Le Mars Police Chief when he was approached by then Sheriff Dave Stock asking him if he would consider running for the position of county sheriff.

Although Van Otterloo didn’t face any opposition in his first general election. Prior to the general election, Van Otterloo had to get past the primary election which put him up against Remsen Police Chief Kevin Rollins. Van Otterloo says he was able to defeat Rollins in the primary by only one vote, when a delegate had stood up and requested a re-count of the ballots. Following the second count of the votes from the Plymouth County Republican delegates, Van Otterloo again was victorious by having won by one vote. Since that time, Van Otterloo faced opposition on only a few occasions.

We will continue our conversation with Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo in future news updates, as he transitions from being the county sheriff to a county supervisor.




Christmas Trees May Be Disposed At City’s Tree Disposal Site

(Le Mars) — The city of Le Mars has announced that discarded Christmas trees can be taken to the city tree and yard waste collection site located behind the Riverview Ball Complex, north of Highway 3 and west of the Floyd River. Trees must be completely free of ornaments and other decorations. The tree disposal site will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The site will be open from December 30th through January 11th.




1652 New COVID Cases in Iowa, 10 Additional Deaths

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting one-thousand-652 positive COVID-19 tests, increasing the state’s total to 278-thousand-600 cases. Ten more Iowans have died of coronavirus complications which brings the death toll to three-thousand-822. There are 612 people hospitalized with COVID in the state. One-hundred-27 patients are in intensive care and 66 are on ventilators. Four-thousand-177 tests contributed to today’s (Wednesday) numbers. Thirty-two counties have a 14-day positivity rate of at least 15 percent. One-hundred-11 long-term care facilities currently have COVID outbreaks.




House Speaker Pelosi Plans to Provisionally Seat Miller-Meeks

(Washington, DC) — Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa will take the oath of office this Sunday, to represent Iowa’s Second Congressional District in the U-S House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the Committee on House Administration will review the race, but Miller-Meeks will be provisionally seated in the House. Democrat Rita Hart of Wheatland finished six votes behind Miller-Meeks in the results Iowa officials certified a month ago. Hart says Iowans deserve to know they’re represented by the candidate who got the most votes and that’s why she’s asked the U-S House committee to order another recount in the district. Miller-Meeks says she looks forward to continuing to serve Iowans in the U.S. House. She immediately resigned from her seat in the Iowa Senate after Pelosi’s announcement.




Reynolds Sets Special Election to Fill Miller-Meeks’ District 41 Senate Seat

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds is setting a January 26th special election in Iowa State Senate District 41. She issued the proclamation Wednesday following the resignation of Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks. The Ottumwa Republican will be seated provisionally in the U-S House Sunday after a six-vote win over Democrat Rita Hart in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Hart is calling for the U-S House to investigate the state’s certification Mariannette Miller-Meeks as the winner. Senate District 41 in southeastern Iowa includes Davis, Jefferson, Van Buren and Wapello counties.




Iowa State Patrol Stops Speeder Going 114 MPH During Snowstorm

(Ames, IA) — An Iowa State Patrol trooper says he stopped a driver on Interstate-35 Tuesday going 114-miles per hour. The State Patrol says it happened during the height of the snowstorm and first responders were helping stranded motorists. The driver said they were in a hurry to return to college in Minnesota. The Iowa State Patrol has reported a significant increase in speeders going over 100 miles per hour during the COVID pandemic.





Congresswoman-elect Hinson Calls $600 Stimulus Checks ‘Good Start’

(Marion, IA) — Iowa Congresswoman-elect Ashley Hinson says she would favor more targeted federal assistance rather than stimulus checks to most Americans in the next round of pandemic relief. The Marion Republican called the 600-dollar payments that have begun arriving in bank accounts a “good start.” Hinson told reporters, “for some families that’s not enough right now. I know there are families who need it, but I also had someone message me they wanted to send theirs back.” Hinson will be sworn in as a member of the U-S House on Sunday, representing Iowa’s First District. She defeated Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer in the November election.




Iowa State University President Says Colleges Can Offer Courses On Remaining Competitive

(Ames) — Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen recently spoke at a national forum held by the national “Council on Competitiveness” on the role higher education is playing in helping the country be more competitive. The national council released a report with recommendations on how innovation can make the country more competitive in the world.

Wintersteen says innovation is something they have been stressing more on the Ames campus.

Iowa State opened a 140-thousand square foot “Student Innovation Center” on campus in August 2020 of this year. Wintersteen says it provides the students with unique facilities and workspaces to foster innovation. She thinks it makes an impact on their student experience.

Wintersteen says they are able to teach students about several aspects relating to innovation.

Wintersteen says the lessons from failure are important.

And she says this college experience is the safest way to learn the lessons of failure and will hopefully lead to more success once they graduate.




Parents Urge Lawmakers To Upgrade Mental Health For Children

(Des Moines) — Parents of children with mental health issues are pleading with Iowa lawmakers to take action and improve children’s mental health services in the state. Cayleen Mesecher of Ankeny says when she’s taken her child to the emergency room, she’s often told to go to a psychiatrist instead — and it can take months to get an appointment.

Mesecher and other parents spoke at a meeting of the state children’s behavioral health board this month about the challenges they’ve faced in trying to find the appropriate help for their kids. Sarah Nelson of Iowa City says her 12-year-old daughter was having a mental health crisis and had to spend six days waiting in an emergency room.

The board is asking state leaders to ensure funding for children’s services and find ways to address Iowa’s shortage of mental health professionals. The group also recommends universal screening of kids for mental health issues.