Home News Thursday News, February 4th

Thursday News, February 4th


Manager Of Farmers Co-op Society Sentenced To Federal Prison For Fraud

(Sioux Center, IA) — A former manager of the Farmers Cooperative Society grain warehouse in Sioux Center will spend three months in federal prison for a grain-blending scheme. Sixty-year-old Calvin Diehl from Aberdeen, South Dakota pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U-S. Diehl admitted he was involved in a plan to put oats in with thousands of bushels of soybeans. The mixture was then sold. This happened when he was the assistant general manager at the federally-licensed grain warehouse headquartered in Sioux Center. Diehl was also ordered to pay a 75-hundred dollar fine.




City Council Approves Action To Proceed With Property Service Protection On Water Lines

(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 Electric Supply Donates 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.




Gehlen Catholic To Make Major Announcement Today

(Le Mars) — Officials with Gehlen Catholic schools are set to make a major announcement Thursday afternoon regarding future plans for the local catholic school. Amy Jungers, Gehlen Catholic’s Development Director says officials chose to make the special announcement during National Catholic Schools Week, and on the day the focus is on the future.

Jungers says on Friday to conclude National Catholic Schools Week, the emphasis will be placed on the students.




Iowa Department of Public Health Reports 56 New COVID Deaths

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting an increase in daily COVID-19 deaths. Today’s (Wednesday) numbers show 56 more Iowans have died of coronavirus complications. That’s after 12 deaths were reported Tuesday. The one-thousand-197 new positive COVID tests is 356 more than the 841 cases confirmed yesterday. There have been a total of four-thousand-975 deaths in Iowa and 321-thousand-536 cases since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations dropped slightly from 390 Tuesday to 382 today. Eighty-six patients are in intensive care and 34 are on ventilators. Just over 53-hundred tests contributed to these totals.




Hinson Wants Federal Grants Tied to Schools Reopening

(Washington, DC) — Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion says some of the federal pandemic relief money already approved for schools should be withheld from districts where students are not back in the classroom. The Iowa Republican says, “kids need to be in school. We can get them back behind a desk instead of in front of a screen and we can do so safely.” The COVID relief package approved in December included 54-billion dollars for states to distribute as grants to schools. Hinson says initial payments should be reduced to school districts that are not offering in-person instruction and the full grant amount only released when a district has at least half its classes in-person. She claims “the science shows kids need to be back in school.”




Senate Bill Cracks Down on ‘Coyotes’ Bringing Workers to Construction Sites

(Des Moines, IA) — A group of senators is working on a bill aimed at unscrupulous recruiters who supply workers for taxpayer-funded construction projects in Iowa. Felicia Hilton of the Carpenters Union said they’ve documented cases of labor brokers who pay substandard wages to workers — or don’t pay them at all. She told a Senate subcommittee, “We’re not talking about the workers. We’re talking about the broker, the coyote, the people trafficking or bringing people into the state of Iowa to perform work this way and to leave them unpaid.” Brian Ewing of the Carpenters Union said, “when workers brought in by so-called coyotes are paid in cash rather than by check, proper payroll taxes aren’t being paid.” The bill would require that the names and contact information of labor brokers involved in publicly-funded projects be filed with a state agency. Associations representing the state’s construction industry oppose the bill.




Senate Bill Would Deal With Federal Rental Vouchers

(Des Moines, IA) — An Iowa Senate committee has approved a bill to ban city ordinances that prevent landlords from rejecting potential tenants if they’re paying rent with federal housing vouchers. Republican Senator Julian Garrett of Indianola says ordinances in Des Moines, Iowa City and Marion are forcing landlords to rent to Iowans who receive so-called “Section 8” vouchers. He says if you’re investing money in housing, you should have discretion on how you rent that housing out. Democrat Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames says ordinances in Des Moines, Iowa City and Marion make it clear you can’t exclude potential renters just because they’re poor — and this would “stomp all over local control.”




GOP Legislators Raise Concerns About Treatment Of Conservative College Students

(Des Moines, IA) — A group of Republican legislators say conservative students at Iowa’s public universities are complaining they’re being harassed on campus because of their political views. Representative Holly Brink from Oskaloosa told administrators from Iowa State, U-N-I and the University of Iowa that they are “here for Iowans. Iowa is not here for you.” Administrators at the hearing apologized for a series of recent campus conflicts over student free speech rights. Other lawmakers accused the public universities of failing to teach conservative economic theory and being hostile to students who oppose abortion. Representative Bobby Kaufmann (COUGH-man) from Wilton says the three public universities need to develop a plan to respond to thousands of students over the decades who’ve felt “there’s one set of rules for conservatives and one for liberals.”




Senator Ernst Questions E-P-A Nominee

(Washington, DC) — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst questioned the man nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency about ethanol and biofuels in a Senate hearing Wednesday. Ernst asked nominee Michael Regan (Ree-gan) about the Renewable Fuel Standard and the administration’s support for it. Regan told Ernst the R-F-S is definitely a priority for this administration — and he wants to review it with his staff and legal counsel. The Iowa Republican also asked him about clean water regulations and Regan says he will look at their options to address any kind of “lingering concerns.




Attempted Murder Suspect From Wisconsin Arrested in Cedar Rapids

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — A Wisconsin man wanted for an attempted homicide last fall is under arrest in eastern Iowa. U-S marshals say 37-year-old Canyon Thixton of Portage fled the state and was living in Cedar Rapids under an assumed identity. Thixton was seen exiting an apartment building this morning (Wednesday) and taken into custody without incident. Officers say he had a gun on him. Thixton is accused of waking a woman up September 11th in Portage and attacking her with a knife. He’s also facing charges in Iowa.