Home News Wednesday News, January 20th

Wednesday News, January 20th

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Three Sheriff’s Deputies Take Oath Of Office

(Le Mars) — Three Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputies were given the oath of office Tuesday afternoon. Two were the result of promotions, and the third was the swearing in of a new patrol deputy. Jaycee Vanderberg recently joined the ranks of a sheriff’s deputy after spending one year as a Le Mars Police Officer. Although Plymouth County has several female corrections officers supervising the jail, Vanderberg becomes the first female patrol deputy for the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. Judge Dan Vakulskas performed the swearing ceremony.

Following Vanderberg was Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy, Jake Wingert. Wingert has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Wingert has been a Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy for the past ten years, and supervises the Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit. Again, Judge Vakulskas lead the oath office.

The last deputy to be administered the oath of office was Rick Singer.
Singer has been with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office for the last 20 years, and most recently, served in the capacity of Lieutenant. Singer, now becomes the Chief Deputy, the position Jeff TeBrink had held until he was elected as Plymouth County Sheriff in November taking over for the retiring Mike Van Otterloo. Singer’s son was watching the ceremony, via video phone, while being deployed in Iraq. Judge Dan Vakulskas also performed the oath of office for Rick Singer.

 

The Plymouth County Courtroom was filled with family members, other law enforcement officials, and other county government employees witnessing the event.

 

 

 

Fire Department Submits Annual Report To City Council

(Le Mars) — During the Le Mars city council meeting held Tuesday, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department offered its annual report to the city governing leaders. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper informed the city council the local fire department responded to a total of 496 calls in 2020.
Schipper says the number is lower than the 529 responses from 2019, and in 2018, the fire department were called 501 times. Schipper says the breakdown of the calls from last year shows the fire and rescue department had eleven structure fires, twelve vehicle fires, 88 rescues, five extrications from vehicle accidents, 22 grass and tree fires, 86 times the fire department responded to a fire alarm system activation, 27 times for investigation of an
illegal burn. 160 times the fire department offered agency assist or performed a public service. Schipper says there were 83 investigations performed by the chief or officer in charge. He says there was one time of a smell of smoke and one cancellation en route. The total amount of fire loss
in 2020 was estimated at $591,738 of which $213,538 was in the city loss, and $378,200 from rural losses. However, the annual report says the number is an estimate and that some losses were not reported.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Hurt YMCA’s Attendance In 2020

(Le Mars) — COVID-19 had a significant impact upon the Community Wellness Center, or YMCA, during 2020. Todd Lancaster, the Executive Director to the local community fitness center says the indoor pool had around 2000 fewer
people using the facilities than in 2019.

Total number of people that had used the indoor pool in 2020 was listed at 5,309 which compares to the 7129 people that used the indoor pool the previous year. Lancaster told the city council the entire facility was shut down during the months of April and May due to COVID restrictions placed by Governor Reynolds emergency health
proclamation and rules by the Iowa Department of Public Health. As for the outdoor pool facility, Lancaster says attendance was down by 60 percent from a year ago figures. He says the outdoor pool wasn’t allowed to open until late June when normally the pool would open around Memorial Day weekend in May. Lancaster informed the city council the revenue for the YMCA took a hit as many of the classes and activities were cancelled, or severely cut back, again due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

 

 

 

County Supervisors Set County Employee Salaries

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have set the percentage salary increase for county employees. According to Don Kass, the chairman of the county governing board, elected officials consisting of the Auditor, Recorder, Treasurer, County Attorney and County Sheriff will all receive a four percent increase in salary pay. The four percent falls in line with the
recommendations of the Plymouth County Compensation Board. The supervisors agreed to a three percent increase in pay for other county employees that are not part of the secondary road department.  Kass says the county has made a counter-offer with the secondary road employees as part of their bargaining position. The counter-offer is a two and a half percent increase in pay. The county supervisors approved a two-and-a half percent increase for their own salaries.

 

 

 

Constitutional Amendment On Abortion Clears Hurdle In House

(Des Moines, IA) — A proposed amendment to Iowa’s constitution that would override an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that Iowa women have a right to abortion cleared its first hurdle in the House today. Iowans for Life executive director Maggie DeWitte says the people of Iowa and not unelected judges of the state Supreme Court should decide how Iowa regulates abortion. Democrat Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell of Ames, says legislators should focus on other issues — such as increased maternal death rates and access to prenatal care. The process of
amending Iowa’s constitution takes years and the proposed amendment discussed on Tuesday stalled in the House last June. That means 2024 is the earliest the amendment could be presented to voters for ratification or rejection.

 

 

 

Bill Would Increase Penalty For Accidents Caused By High Speeds

(Des Moines, IA) — A bill under consideration in the Iowa House creates a new charge for driving at an “excessive” speed and causing someone else’s death. Under the bill, a driver could be sentenced to a decade in prison if their vehicle was going 25 miles-an-hour or more above the speed limit and it
directly or indirectly caused the death of someone else. A lobbyist for the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association says under current law, it’s difficult to appropriately charge a speeding driver involved in a fatal crash if they weren’t intoxicated or intentionally targeting someone. A member of
the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says excessive speed is grounds for a conviction on already existing charges of vehicular homicide or involuntary manslaughter.

 

 

 

No Mask Mandate For Iowa House

(Des Moines, IA) — Republicans on an Iowa House Committee have approved 82 rules for how the House operates, but they’ve rejected a rule requiring face masks be worn during the pandemic. Representative Brian Meyers, a Democrat from Des Moines, says wearing masks inside the Capitol “should not be
controversial. I’m not sure why this is controversial.” Republicans on the House Rules Committee rejected a mask mandate for the Capitol, but 69-year-old Representative Cecil Dolecheck (DOLE-uh-check), a Republican from Mount Ayr, said he thinks face coverings are appropriate and he’ll be wearing one in the Capitol. Dolecheck is from Ringgold County, the state’s second-smallest, population-wise. It currently has the highest 14-day COVID-19
positivity rate of any county in the state and, according to the state’s coronavirus tracking website, nine residents of Ringgold County have died of COVID-19.

 

 

 

Iowa Man Involved In Capitol Break-In Given Pretrial Release

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — An Iowa man facing federal charges for his alleged role in the attack on the U-S. Capitol was given a pre-trial release with the condition that he wear a G-P-S monitor and agrees to travel restrictions.
Thirty-five-year-old Leo Kelly of Cedar Rapids faces charges of entering a restricted area without legal authority and violent entry with intent to disrupt official business. The F-B-I identified Kelly after he gave media interviews admitting to entering the Capitol and shared footage that he said he recorded from inside the Senate chamber.

 

 

 

Iowa Man Involved In Capitol Break-In Given Pretrial Release

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — An Iowa man facing federal charges for his alleged role in the attack on the U-S. Capitol was given a pre-trial release with the condition that he wear a G-P-S monitor and agrees to travel restrictions.
Thirty-five-year-old Leo Kelly of Cedar Rapids faces charges of entering a restricted area without legal authority and violent entry with intent to disrupt official business. The F-B-I identified Kelly after he gave media interviews admitting to entering the Capitol and shared footage that he said he recorded from inside the Senate chamber.

 

 

 

Charges Added For Man Involved In Shooting At State Capitol

(Des Moines, IA) — The Polk County Attorney’s Office has added five felony weapons and assault counts against a man already charged with attempted murder for shooting into a car during a rally for President Donald Trump in Iowa. There were four black girls in the car. The charges against 25-year-old
Michael McKinney come after the shooting in a parking lot near the Iowa Capitol on December 6th. McKinney is charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury, assault while participating in a felony, reckless use of a firearm, and going armed with intent.

 

 

 

Spencer Man Arrested In South Dakota After Chase

(Canton, SD) — A Spencer man is facing multiple charges following a Monday pursuit that spanned two states. The Lincoln County, South Dakota Sheriff’s Office was notified by Lyon County authorities late Monday morning that a stolen vehicle was being pursued and soon after entered South Dakota
reportedly reaching 110 miles-and-hour at times before officers used what’s called a PIT maneuver two miles south of Parker. The driver, 25-year-old Christopher Macleod, was booked into the Minnehaha County Jail on charges of aggravated eluding, possession of stolen property, driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia.