Home News Wednesday News, March 3rd

Wednesday News, March 3rd


Knapp Says He Will Not Seek Another Term For City Council

(Le Mars) — During Tuesday’s Le Mars city council meeting, longtime council member Rex Knapp made the announcement that he would not be seeking re-election to the city council. Knapp has served as a council member for the last 28 years. His position is an At-large council seat, meaning anyone within the city borders can seek his seat, and doesn’t have to reside within
a specific city district. Le Mars has seen growth during Knapp’s tenure. He says he recalls when Teikeo-Westmar College had closed its doors, and the city obtained ownership of the facilities, but fortunately was able to convert the Westmar Commons into the City Convention Center. Another building consisted of the former Westmar gymnasium that was turned into the Community Wellness Center, or YMCA. During Knapp’s tenure as a city council member, the city acquired the former Rural Electric Cooperative building and made it Fire Station Number 1. The Le Mars Public Library saw a renovation project. The Police Department moved to the former Motor Inn auto dealership
building after it was renovated to better accommodate the Police Department’s expanding needs. A new Public Works building was constructed to accommodate the streets department and parks department. A new wastewater treatment facility was constructed on the west side of town. The town saw expansion in
the Industrial Park area with several production businesses starting, adding to the city’s growth and employment opportunities. A second water tower was constructed on the far south side of town to better accommodate the growth of
the city. Floyd Valley Healthcare had expanded its facilities and during the same time took over the medical clinic. In the near future, KLEM radio will visit with Knapp to get his viewpoint on the many changes that have occurred in Le Mars during his tenure as a city council member.




Hinton Voters Turn Down PPEL Ballot Issue

(Hinton) — Hinton voters turned down a proposed PPEL ballot issue. The vote was 132, or 52.8 percent, against the measure while 47.2 percent, or 118 voted in favor of the ballot. PPEL stands for physical plant and equipment levy which would have been a tax assessed for improvements to the school facilities. In Hinton the PPEL issue was asking voters to approve the amount
from 67 cents per $1000 to a rate of $1.34 per $1000.




Protesters Gather At Sioux City Diocese Calling Attention Of Proposed Consolidated Parishes 

(Sioux City) — Over 100 protesters of all ages came to Sioux City on Tuesday to voice displeasure with the Sioux City Diocese over a plan to combine smaller parish churches.  Two busloads of people and several more in cars came from places like Carroll, Odebolt, Arthur, and Kiron.  Roger Dentlinger from Holy Name Parish in Marcus says there are not enough priests to go around.

The Diocese has a plan to consolidate many smaller churches by 2025.  Dentlinger fears that will harm some communities whose residents would have to travel several extra miles if their town loses its church.

Deacon Mark Prosser, Director of Pastoral Care for the Sioux City Diocese, says a priest shortage isn’t the only issue they are facing.

Dentlinger knows there is a burden on the priests serving the diocese.

Prosser says lessening the frequency of services isn’t the answer.

Prosser says 50 percent of the 48 priests currently serving will reach retirement age in the coming decade.  There are only eight men currently in the seminary to fill those vacancies.  Bishop R. Walker Nickless came out to speak briefly to those protesting.  He blessed the gathering and says he hears them, and that the diocese was doing the best it could with the priests that it has.

(photos contributed.)




Two of Governor Reynolds School Choice Priorities Advance in Iowa House

(Des Moines, IA) — Two of Governor Kim Reynolds’ education priorities are moving forward in the Iowa House. Subcommittees advanced a bill that would make it easier for groups to form charter schools and another that creates state-funded private school scholarships for students in struggling public schools. Trish Wilger of the Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education told
lawmakers, “We’re happy to see the Iowa legislature entertaining so many ways to offer parents option this year. This bill gives choice to a handful of parents at a handful of schools.” Shanda Carstens of Panora said state scholarships for private schools will be an incentive for families to leave rural towns like hers and move closer to cities with private schools. Both bills now go to the House Education Committee which meets today.




Suspicious Device Prompts Evacuation of Polling Place in Ankeny

(Ankeny, IA) — The report of a suspicious device led to the evacuation of a special election polling place this (Tuesday) morning in Ankeny. A passerby noticed something in the grass near the Lakeside Center and Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said it was described as a metal piece with
two end caps similar to a pipe bomb. Ankeny police called in the State Fire Marshal’s office and the device has since been declare safe and the area was given the all clear. Fitzgerald said the polling place was closed and as a precaution the other polling places in Ankeny were made aware of the situation and checked out. The Secretary of State’s office says there are
special elections today in 64 Iowa counties.




Northeast Woman Accused of Taking $107K From Department of Juvenile Services

(Waterloo, IA) — A northeast Iowa woman accused of stealing more than 100-thousand dollars in state money is in custody after warrants were issued for her arrest. Thirty-six-year-old Nicole Foelske of rural Jesup is charged with first-degree theft, felonious misconduct in office and ongoing criminal conduct. An investigation revealed alleged misappropriation of money during
Foelske’s employment with the Iowa Department of Juvenile Services. A report released by State Auditor Rob Sand today (Tuesday) claims that Foelske purchased unauthorized food, beverages and gift cards totaling more than 107-thousand from July of 2018 through October 2019. Foelske is accused of
buying 438 gift cards of which she deposited more than 84-thousand dollars into her personal bank account. The report says Foelske also made unauthorized purchases from Amazon and had the products delivered to her home.




5 Suspects Charged in Des Moines Shooting That Critically Injured Child

(Des Moines, IA) — Five people are now charged in connection with a drive-by shooting in Des Moines Monday night that left a two-year-old boy in critical condition. Police say the toddler was inside a home that was hit by more than a dozen shots. He suffered a gunshot to the head and was rushed to
the hospital for treatment. State troopers found a crashed vehicle on I-80 in Dallas County connected to the shooting and took five people into custody.
Officers identified the suspects as 20-year-olds Owo Bol and Thon Bol of Sioux City, 18-year-old Caine Dominguez-Shiesl of Omaha, 20-year-old Reath Yak of Storm Lake, and 20-year-old Odol Lual Othow of Worthington, Minnesota.
Charges include attempted murder and intimidation with a dangerous weapon.
Detectives say the home where the shots were fired was intentionally targeted.




Marion Man Could Get 65 Years In Prison For Forging Postage Stamps

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — The U-S Attorneys Office says a Marion man who forged postage stamps could get up to 65 years in federal prison. Bradley Jon Matheny was convicted after a one-day trial in Cedar Rapids. He was found guilty of seven counts of postage meter stamp forgery and counterfeiting and
three counts of export violations. The verdict was returned Tuesday after a bench trial held last month. Prosecutors said Matheny used forged and counterfeited postage meter stamps on many of the 28-thousand packages he mailed between November 2015 and May 2017.




Ottumwa Man Arrested For Bringing Gun On School Grounds, Saying He Was A Cop

(Ottumwa, IA) — An Ottumwa man was arrested Tuesday morning after witnesses say he brought a gun onto school grounds and posed as a cop.
Forty-year-old Jason Lee Haut was seen carrying a holstered gun at the Pickwick Early Childhood Center last week. When he was questioned by people working at the school he pretended to be a law enforcement officer.
Witnesses say he didn’t make any threats. Investigators say a search of his home turned out more firearms. As a felon, firearm possession is illegal for Haut. He faces four felony charges and two misdemeanors.