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Friday News, January 1st

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Part 2: Conversation With Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo

(Le Mars) — We continue our conversation with Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo as he ends his 46 years of law enforcement and transitions to his new position as a Plymouth County Supervisor. During Van Otterloo’s tenure as the sheriff for Plymouth County, voters decided to vote for a one-percent
local options sales tax with the revenue to go toward the construction of the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center. The facility houses the sheriff’s office, jail, and the county communications center. Van Otterloo says the project garnered support through out the entire county.

Van Otterloo says many people still refer to the sheriff’s office and local corrections facility as the “new jail.” Even though it was constructed 17 years ago.

The long-time county sheriff says Plymouth County certainly needed the upgraded facility as the workload and new technology dictated additional use of space.

Van Otterloo says there would be no way with today’s technology that the old facility would be able to accommodate just even the communications center, let alone the jail. The outgoing sheriff recalls an incident that occurred in the former jail, that today, he can look back on and laugh, but at the time it happened, it was thought to be a serious concern.

We will conclude our conversation with Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo tomorrow as he talks about the relationships he has established with other law enforcement officials and county officials.

 

 

 

Steve King Says He May In The Future Run Again For Political Office 

(Kiron) — Republican Congressman Steve King says he plans to stay active in the country’s political debates once his ninth term in the U.S. House ends at noon on Sunday — and the 71-year-old is not ruling out another run for public office.

King served six years in the Iowa legislature before winning his first race for the U.S. House in 2002. He narrowly won re-election in 2018, then was defeated by fellow Republican Randy Feenstra in the G-O-P Primary this past June. Feenstra will take King’s seat in congress on Sunday.

King periodically gained national attention with controversial comments.
Nearly two years ago the Republican leader in the U.S. House removed King from committees after King’s remarks about white supremacy. King says you “never say never” and he’s not ruling out running for some other office OR endorsing a presidential candidate before the 2024 Iowa Caucuses.

King has written a book titled “Walking Through the Fire” and he announced this fall that it would be released in November.

Once the book is published, King plans to embark on a publicity tour. King was not in Washington this past Monday when the U.S. House voted to override the president’s veto and to endorse sending two-thousand dollar federal stimulus payments to most every American. King says he had a cold and it did not seem
wise to fly.

King, in one of his final acts in the U.S. House, filed a 20-page ethics complaint against House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy — a final protest of McCarthy’s decision to strip King of his committee assignments. King says a search of House records by congressional staff suggests every other member of
the U.S. House who’s been tossed off committees either switched parties, was under some sort of investigation or had been convicted of a crime.
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Iowa Land Values Increase Only Slightly

(Ames) — The recently released Iowa State University Land Value Survey found a modest one-point-seven percent statewide increase in the value of farmland.
Survey leader Wendong Zhang (When-dong Jon) says one of the factors in the increase is the lack of available land.

He says land that is sold often is bought by someone who lives nearby.

That average price of an acre of ground in the survey this year was seven-thousand-559 dollars ($7,559).

 

 

 

Women Lead Iowa’s Congressional Delegation in 2021

(Des Moines, IA) — Women will be the majority of Iowa’s congressional delegation in this new year. Mary Ellen Miller is the former executive director of “50-50 in 2020” — a group formed in 2010 to encourage women to run for office. Miller says the reason we set up the program to recruit and train women was because Iowa was in a unique situation as being only one of only two states that had never sent a woman to Congress or elected a woman governor and in 10 years that has all been turned around. Members of the U-S House and Senate will be sworn into office on Sunday. Congresswoman Cindy Axne of West
Des Moines then will be the dean of the Iowa delegation in the U-S House, where she’ll be joined by two other women and a man. Joni Ernst will be sworn in for a second term in the U-S Senate, too.

 

 

 

Iowa State Patrol Hopes To Bring Down Traffic Deaths in 2021

(Sioux City, IA) — The Iowa State Patrol hopes to reduce the number of fatal traffic crashes in 2021. Preliminary numbers from the Iowa D-O-T show 335 people died on roads across the state last year – which is the same fatality count as 2019. State Trooper John Farley said, “any fatality is too many, but in Iowa, we’d like to see our fatality rate go below 300, that’s kind of a big goal for us.” Farley says Iowa hasn’t seen fewer than 300
deadly crashes since the late 1920s. Law enforcement is also looking for a decline from the 14-thousand-253 arrests made for operating while intoxicated in 2020.

 

 

 

Unemployment Claims Increase Slightly in Iowa

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa Workforce Development reports a slight increase in initial and continuing unemployment claims. Seven-thousand-644 laid-off workers filed first-time claims between December 20th and 26th – which was an increase of 373 from the previous week. The 38-thousand-296 continuing claims was 804 more than two weeks ago. Nearly 70 percent of filers said their claims were not related to the COVID pandemic. I-W-D says it usually sees the most jobless claims from November through February when construction, agriculture, landscaping and other sectors have seasonal layoffs.