Home News Wednesday News, February 17th

Wednesday News, February 17th


Le Mars Community Board Of Education Honored By Iowa Association Of School Boards

(Des Moines) — Members of the Le Mars Community Board of Education, along with School Superintendent, Dr. Steve Webner were recently recognized by the Iowa Association of School Boards. The Le Mars Community School Board, collectively and individually, were awarded the 2019-2020 Better
Boardsmanship Award. The annual awards are given to individuals and teams who dedicate time and effort to learning, advocacy, leadership and service projects to expand their knowledge and skills for better governance. Le Mars
Community was one of five school districts across Iowa recognized for the Team Award, and Superintendent Dr. Steve Webner was one of eight school administrators recognized with the Award of Honor. Le Mars Community School Board has received the Better Boardsmanship Award for the past 20 years, and is the only school board in the state to have the longest consecutive string of receiving the Better Boardsmanship Award from the Iowa Association of School Boards.




Knapp Murder Trial Has Been Re-scheduled

(Le Mars) — The first degree murder trial for Thomas Knapp of Merrill has been changed once again. Originally, the trial was to have been scheduled for March 9th. Now, the trial has been re-scheduled to begin on May 11th at the Plymouth County Courthouse. The 83-year old is accused of shooting his
step son, 51-year old Kevin LeRoy Juzek. The investigation showed that Knapp willfully and deliberately fired a 20-gauge shotgun through the bedroom door striking Juzek. Ironically, the new date for the trial is the anniversary date of the shooting incident.




North West REC Able To Prevent Roll-over Blackouts

(Orange City) — Some Rural Electric Cooperatives throughout Iowa have had to implement short-term roll-over blackouts due to the high demand for power during these extreme cold temperatures. However, North West R-E-C has been
fortunate, so far, not to see a need to implement short-term blackouts.
North West REC serves rural customers in Sioux, O’Brien, Ida, and Plymouth Counties. Lyle Korver is the executive director and C-E-O for North West REC, and explains the situation involves the wind turbines that generate electricity are not able to operate during these extreme cold temperatures, as well as a high demand and short-term shortage for natural gas to generate power. He says North West Rural Electrical Cooperative has been able to reduce the demand, and thus keeping power supplied to their customers.

Korver says the “Switch Makes Cents” program has been in effect for the past 30 years. He says it is designed to help reduce the peak times for electricity demand.

The North West REC official says he doesn’t anticipate any additional problems after today, since the weather forecast is calling for warmer temperatures.




NIPCO Needed To Reduce Power To Member Customers For Short-term Roll-over Blackout Due To High Demand

(Le Mars, IA) — Some Iowa electric cooperatives had to take action to deal with the extreme cold has led to high demand for power. Matt Washburn is the executive vice president of Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative and says they have had to use measures to control the load on the system. Washburn says
they only needed to curtail load for one hour Tuesday morning. That came from a directive from Southwest Power Pool to reduce the high peak demands for energy.

Washburn says customers saw their electric heat reduced for six minutes twice in the hour, and they believe it had a limited impact on the temperatures in the homes. Washburn says customers can help by conserving energy by avoiding
the use of appliances at peak times.




Extreme Cold Temperatures Cause Water Mains To Rupture

(Le Mars) — These extreme cold conditions can often times mean water mains will freeze, resulting in a water main ruptures. Rich Sudtelgte is the superintendent for the city water department, and says his crew were called twice during the past few days to repair broken water mains.

Sudtelgte says the extreme cold temperatures also caused his equipment to break down while the city water crews were trying to repair the frozen water main.

The city water department official talks about the second water main break that needed to be repaired on Monday evening.

Sudtelgte says with both repairs, perhaps as many as 40 different residents were without water for a few hours. Sudtelgte says with both broken water mains they measured four inch diameter. It is not just during the extreme cold conditions when water mains rupture. The city water official says the water mains may break when the weather begins to warm up.

Sudtelgte shared his appreciation and complimented city workers for their dedication to respond in the middle of the night and to brave the cold weather elements to make the necessary repairs.




Floyd Valley Announces February Hot Shot

(Le Mars) — Vincent Cochran, son of Jay and Heather Cochran, is the February 26th Hot Shot. Vincent is an adventurous, bright and charming 9 year old that attends school in Le Mars. By his 4th birthday, Vincent was diagnosed with ADHD and speech delays. Vincent has been receiving speech therapy since 2015 at Floyd Valley Healthcare and his mother states, “Mrs. Connie Hanson has shown understanding, acceptance and is always willing to figure things out to help Vincent be as successful as he can be.” She adds, “His communication skills have progressed drastically.”

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition in which a person’s brain development and activity are altered causing trouble focusing/concentrating, hyperactivity and/or impulsiveness. Children diagnosed with ADHD are three times more likely to also have language problems. They can struggle with receptive language (listening and understanding what is being said), expressive language (speaking and being understood) or both. Kids with ADHD can exhibit auditory processing difficulties such as short-term memory weakness, problems following directions, slow processing of written and spoken language and difficulties listening in distracting environments. Children with ADHD are also at a higher risk for articulation disorders, which affect their ability to produce letter sounds appropriate for their age. Early interventions with therapy greatly improve the outcome for these children.

Please join us in celebrating Vincent, our February Hot Shot!

The Sioux City Musketeers, in partnership with Floyd Valley Healthcare (FVH) began the Hot Shots program in 2018. This program was created with the goal of honoring FVH pediatric patients who have chronic health issues. We are excited to give children an opportunity to have a fun time with their family, cheer on the team and just enjoy being a kid for a night.




Bill Prohibiting Businesses From Requiring Vaccinations Advances

(Des Moines, IA) — A bill that would prohibit Iowa businesses and health care facilities from requiring that employees get vaccinations has advanced in the Iowa Senate. A 97-minute-long subcommittee hearing on the bill was dominated by critics of vaccinations in general. A lobbyist for a group called Informed Choice Iowa, Shanda Burke, says she quit her job as a medical
assistant because her employer required flu shots. She says no other health decisions are like that. The bill also lets parents claim a conscientious objection to having their child meet vaccination requirements for school attendance. Medical groups oppose the bill. The executive director of the Iowa Public Health Association, Lena Tucker Reinders, says social media posts are fueling vaccine hesitancy. She says misinformation and false data can be shared with thousands with only a click.




Fifth Person Arrested In Armstrong Misconduct

(Armstrong, IA) — A fifth person associated with the City of Armstrong has been arrested in connection with a long-term investigation of alleged misconduct. Former City Clerk Mary “Kate” Staton was charged Monday with one count each of third-degree theft and tampering with records stemming from a
multi-year investigation by the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office and Division of Criminal Investigation after discrepancies were allegedly found during a routine annual audit of city records. She turned herself in at the Emmet County Courthouse on Tuesday. Police Chief Craig Merrill was taken into custody in Minnesota. Mayor Greg Buum, City Clerk Tracie Lang, and former
City Clerk Connie Thackery were all arrested on Friday.




Former Iowa Man Convicted In Pandemic Fraud Case

(Sioux City, IA) — A former Iowa man has pleaded guilty to one count each of major fraud against the U-S and money laundering in a scheme involving the pandemic Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Fifty-six-year-old Donald Trosin of Champlin, Minnesota and formerly of Armstrong, Iowa, admitted he and another person submitted more than 20 applications to the Small Business Administration that falsely claimed that Trosin had 120 employees on his payroll and more than five million dollars in
payroll expenses. Trosin did not operate a business and admitted that, after receiving one-point-two million dollars through banks in Minnesota and Northwest Iowa, he withdrew and wired proceeds from the scheme to other individuals in other states. He is free on bond after making the plea in Sioux City and is awaiting a sentencing date.




One Dead, One Arrested in Stabbing at Prestage Foods in Eagle Grove

(Eagle Grove, IA) — Authorities in north central Iowa are investigating a deadly stabbing at Prestage Foods in Eagle Grove. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office says the body of an employee was found in the plant locker room Tuesday morning. Deputies arrested a suspect at the scene. Investigators say the victim and suspect knew each other. The Iowa D-C-I is assisting local investigators. The victim’s name hasn’t been released.




Grassley Claims $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Package Too Expensive

(Washington, DC) — Senator Chuck Grassley says the one-point-nine-trillion-dollar COVID-19 relief package in the U-S House promises to be “too expensive.” Grassley says fellow Republicans will work to whittle it down from what President Biden requested. The Iowa Republican says a smaller package would be to his liking. Biden has proposed 14-hundred dollar
stimulus checks. Grassley says stimulus checks should be targeted toward families of “40- to 50- or maybe 60-thousand dollars a year income.” He says government relief checks for wealthier Americans don’t typically provide the needed boost to the economy.




Iowa Health Officials Report 26 COVID-19 Deaths Tuesday

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 26 more deaths Tuesday from coronavirus complications. Just one COVID-related death was confirmed in the state Monday. Five-hundred-eight new positive tests were reported, increasing the state’s total to 329-thousand-812 cases since the pandemic began. The number of hospitalizations increased by 11 to 255. Fifty-seven of those patients are in intensive care and 25 are on ventilators. More than 477-thousand-400 COVID vaccine doses have been administered in Iowa and nearly 122-thousand residents have received both




Dubuque Woman Draws 30-Year Prison Sentence for Child Pornography

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — An eastern Iowa woman is headed to federal prison for 30 years on child pornography charges. Thirty-seven-year-old Gina Christa Urbain of Dubuque pleaded guilty in August to sexually exploiting children and possessing child porn. Urbain admitted that she created sexually explicit material involving a seven-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy.
She also admitted possessing pictures of child pornography. Urbain’s case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.