City Council Approves Property Owner Service Water Line Protection
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars city council discussed the topic of property owner service line protection against water main breaks on Tuesday. At issue is a proposal from a company that has approached the council requesting the city’s permission to notify residents and businesses within the community, and to use the city’s logo on information to be distributed advising them to
purchase insurance to protect themselves, if ever a water line should break.
City Water Department director Rich Sudtelgte says many people may not realize that any rupture in a water line from the main to the residence is the homeowners responsibility. City Administrator Jason Vacura reminded the council that similar protection plans are offered through many homeowners
insurance programs. Vacura says other communities, such as Sioux City, participates in a similar program. Vacura says if the city wishes to pursue the agreement program it would mean a small monthly royalty revenue source for the city. The program is an insurance program and therefore property owners would pay a monthly fee. The city discussed the topic for several
minutes, before voting 3-2 with a motion to authorize staff to proceed with the property owner service line protection program. Council members Mike Donlin and Rex Knapp voted against the proposal, while Nelson, Goodchild, and Wick voted in favor to proceed with the program.
Optimist Club And Echo Electrical Supply Donate Masks To Schools
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Optimist Club, along with the Echo Electrical Supply on Wednesday, made a donation of face covering masks to both Le Mars Community School District and to Gehlen Catholic Schools. Le Mars Community received nearly a thousand face masks, while Gehlen received 150 masks. Levi
TeBrink is a member of the Le Mars Optimist organization and explains the purpose behind the masks donation.
Stephanie Buhman serves as the school nurse for Le Mars Community School District and says the donation of masks is greatly appreciated.
Buhman estimates the school replaces between 25 to 50 masks a week.
Dr. Mark Iverson is the principal for the Le Mars Community High School. He says, in general, the students have adapted well to wearing face coverings or masks.
Both Iverson and Buhman say the number of instances and absenteeism from other illnesses and ailments, such as influenza and the cold are lower this year, compared to past years, and they attribute the lower absenteeism to the mask mandate.
Iowa House Wants to Ban Off-Campus Mask Requirements for College Students
(Des Moines, IA) — A bill moving forward in the Iowa House would forbid colleges and universities from enforcing mask mandates among students and staff while they are off campus. Representative Joe Mitchell of Wayland said it has support among House Republicans. Frank Chiodo, a lobbyist for the
Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said if the pandemic continues, this kind of a law would force private colleges to hold classes online. He told lawmakers,”the easiest and simplest thing that we can do is encourage our students, our faculty to be safe and wear a mask.”
Democratic Representative Christina Bohannon, who is a University of Iowa law professor, said the bill “is crazy” because the greatest risk for catching COVID is in the community, not on campus. The state’s three universities want to retain authority to require social distancing and mask wearing during university-sponsored activities and travel off-campus.
Iowa City Council Votes to Add Mental Health Professional to Police Department
(Iowa City, IA) — The Iowa City Police Department will be adding a civilian mental health professional to the force. The city council voted to approve the recommendation of City Manager Geoff Fruin at Tuesday night’s meeting. The goal is to connect people having a mental health emergency with social services instead of sending them to jail. Four people spoke out
against the plan. City officials said Iowa City’s program, in collaboration with CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, would use a police officer to “secure the scene” and then let the civilian member take the lead. The program will likely begin in late spring or early summer.
Another Winter Storm Headed to Northern and Central Iowa
(Des Moines, IA) — A blizzard warning is posted for tomorrow (Thursday) covering 25 counties across northern and central Iowa. A storm system is moving in which forecasters say will bring bitter cold temperatures, strong winds and several more inches of snow, along with poor travel conditions.
The National Weather Service is predicting single-digit wind chills and up to four inches of snow.
Iowa DNR: Do Not Feed Ducks and Geese During Wintertime
(Clear Lake, IA) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is asking people not to feed ducks and geese in parks and ponds, especially during the wintertime. Waterfowl biologist Orrin Jones says tossing bread and food teaches them to become dependent on us and we want to encourage them to find food on their own. Jones says “these birds are migratory in nature and it’s
very important that they go and distribute, and finding food is part of that migratory process.” He adds that human food can be detrimental and even dangerous for birds and they need to natural foods to satisfy their nutritional needs.