State Lawmakers To Hold Constituent Town Hall Meetings
(Le Mars) — State lawmakers Dr. Tom Jeneary and Jim Carlin will hold a series of town hall meetings scheduled for Saturday, February 20th. The legislators will be at four different communities to discuss current legislative bills and actions, as well as to gather input from their constituents. The town hall meetings are open to the public, and Jeneary says he looks forward to meeting people at the various town hall meetings.
Representative Jeneary and Senator Carlin will be at the Moville City Hall beginning at 9:00 a.m. then on to Correctionville City Hall at 10:30 a.m. The two legislators are scheduled to be at the Kingsley Community Center at 1:00 p.m. and finish the townhall meetings with a gathering at the Pierson Community Center at 2:30 p.m.
Le Mars Police Department Kicks Off Fundraiser For K-9 Unit
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Police Department is starting a fund raising campaign to help with expenses associated with its K-9 patrol unit. Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says the fundraiser is to cover expenses that are not part of the city’s budget.
“Ace” is the Le Mars Police Dog K9 unit. He is a cross between a German Shepard and Belgian Malinois. Officer Rob Rohlmiller serves as the handler for “Ace.” He explains why the department is looking to upgrade the cage facilities inside the patrol car.
Rohlmiller says “Ace” is capable of detecting narcotics and other drugs, plus tracking, as well as with article searches.
The Le Mars K9 dog has performed well at recent police dog competitions.
Chief Vande Vegte says having a K9 unit is an important part of the Le Mars Police Department, and “Ace” serves an important role.
Vande Vegte explains how the community can help with the fundraiser and help support the local K9 unit.
The Le Mars Police Department has already received generous contributions from the Le Mars Toy Store and Stockton’s Preferred Auto Body and Graphics.
People wishing to contribute can contact the Le Mars Police Department.
Iowa Legislature Working On Bottle Redemption Bill
(Des Moines) — Iowa grocery stores could opt out of accepting empty containers covered by the state’s nickel deposit law under legislation that has cleared a Senate subcommittee. Senator Ken Rozenboom, a Republican from Oskaloosa, says his bill is an attempt to tweak, but not end the state’s popular “Bottle Bill.”
Jess Mazour (muh-ZOOR), a lobbyist for the Sierra Club, says the bill would make it less convenient for consumers to get their deposit fees back.
As the bill is currently written, a retailer may refuse to accept cans and bottles if there’s a redemption center within 20 miles of the store. Mary Tarnoff of Fairfield, legislative action chair for the Sierra Club of Southeast Iowa, says it’s not reasonable to expect someone to drive 20 miles to recycle.
Rozenboom says his attempt to modernize the Bottle Bill, like countless others, may be doomed if competing interest groups aren’t willing to compromise.
Beer and liquor distributors keep all the deposit fees that are not redeemed today and Rosenboom says it’s grown “into a very large sum of money.” His bill would have that money turned over the state.
Iowa House Approves Extra School Funding For COVID Costs
(Des Moines, IA) — A bill providing public schools extra money to cover COVID-related costs has gained bipartisan approval in the Iowa House.
Twenty-seven million dollars would be split among all districts, but Republican Representative Dustin Hite of New Sharon says districts that had the most classes in-person would receive the largest share of funding. He said, “we all know in this room that kids in school is the best learning environment for the vast majority of our students in the state of Iowa, but this year is took a little bit extra to get them in the room and that’s what
this bill does.” About two dozen Democrats voted against the bill.
Representative Sharon Steckman of Mason City says the funding distribution ignores the expenses of hybrid and remote learning. The House plan gives a financial break to districts that had buildings damaged in the August derecho and could not hold classes until repairs were done.
State Lawmakers Green Light Millions For New Computer Software
(Des Moines, IA) — Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate want to spend 21-million dollars on new computer software for key state agencies. Governor Kim Reynolds approved a 21-million-dollar contract with a company called “Workday” in 2019. Then, in 2020, Reynolds attempted to use federal funding
for the computer system, but the U-S Treasury ruled it was not an admissible use of COVID relief money. House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City said the original contract also sidestepped state competitive bidding rules and added, “to be perfectly frank, this is fishy.” G-O-P Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake says the current system is antiquated and “uses code language called COBOL that was developed in 1959…
costs $10 million a year to operate and has many problems.” The state has already paid to use the cloud-based computing system offered by Workday at Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Shots Fired Between Armed Robbery Suspect, Davenport Police
(Davenport, IA) — A police officer in eastern Iowa and a fleeing suspect were hurt in an exchange of gunfire Thursday night. Davenport police say the victim of an armed robbery gave officers a description of the suspect vehicle and it was spotted hours later but sped away. The suspect vehicle struck a
squad car before getting stuck in snowbank. That’s when police say the suspect and officer shot at each other. The officer was treated at the hospital and released. No word on the suspect’s condition.
Homeowner Fatally Shoots Intruder in Wapello County
(Ottumwa, IA) — Authorities in southeast Iowa are investigating after a homeowner shot and killed an intruder. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office says a man reported someone was trying to break into his house between Ottumwa and Agency Thursday night. Deputies say the preliminary investigation confirms that a man forcibly entered the home and was shot
inside. The man was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where he died. His name hasn’t been released.