Home News Wednesday News, March 10th

Wednesday News, March 10th


RAGBRAI Officials Say The Ride Is A GO, Local Officials Begin Preparing For Overnight Hosting Duties

(Le Mars) — Officials with RAGBRAI, the bicycle ride across Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register newspaper, announced on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon that the 2021 ride is given the green light. RAGBRAI will take place the last week of July with Le Mars serving as the initial over-night
host community. Bicyclists are expected to arrive at the “Ice Cream Capital of the World” perhaps as early as Friday, July 23rd with the ride officially to begin Sunday morning when an estimated 20,000 bicyclists will leave Le Mars on their cross-state journey with the first destination being Sac City.
Mitch Christoffel is one of the co-chairs for the Le Mars RAGBRAI Advisory Committee. He says the committee is already organizing for the event.

Christoffel says although some plans were made in anticipation of hosting the ride last year, he says the local RAGBRAI committees are still looking at different events to hold for this year’s ride.

In past years, RAGBRAI officials would ask residents of overnight host communities to consider opening their homes to accommodate bicyclists.
However, Christoffel says because of the COVID-19 virus, that plea is not being encouraged this year.

Christoffel says when an overnight community is selected, it can mean some economic revenue for a community when civic clubs, churches, and other organizations set up food stands, or beer gardens, or even entertainment venues.

Christoffel says the local committees are looking for anyone who would like to volunteer during the RAGBRAI event. He says, so far, the committees have not yet decided on a theme when they welcome the anticipated 20,000 plus bicycle riders to Le Mars.




Gravel For Secondary Rural Roads Becoming In Short Supply

(Le Mars) — With spring arriving, that can often mean our secondary gravel roads need work, and sometimes those gravel roads become too soft for large trucks and farm equipment to travel. Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe recently informed the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors that gravel is
becoming difficult to locate, and consequently the price has risen
sharply during the last five years. Rohe says, so far, for the start of this spring our rural roads are holding up well and are in good condition.

Rohe talks about the gravel sources for Plymouth County.

The county engineer says alternatives for gravel may also be hard to come by, and in short supply.

Rohe says the cost for gravel on a per ton basis has nearly doubled in recent years.

Rohe says many times the transportation costs to haul the gravel is equal to the cost of the material. He offers an estimate as to how much gravel Plymouth County uses during a year’s time.

Rohe says it could be sometime in the future, the county may need to haul the needed gravel by rail, which would mean even higher costs for obtaining gravel for the county’s rural roads.

(Photos contributed.)




County Officials Implement Embargo On Marble Avenue

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has placed an embargo on a portion of Marble Avenue. Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved the embargo during their recent weekly meeting. County Engineer Tom Rohe explains why the embargo is implemented each year for the section of roadway.




Lawsuit Challenges Election Reform Law Signed by Governor Reynolds

(Des Moines, IA) — A lawsuit has been filed challenging a new state law that reduces the early voting period in Iowa. Governor Kim Reynolds just signed the bill into law Monday. The lawsuit seeking to block the changes is filed on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Lead attorney Marc Elias says the voting restrictions in the new law create an undue border on the right to vote in violation of the Iowa Constitution. The suit cites the record turnout for the 2020 election and accuses Republican lawmakers of making it a priority to pass a bill that restricts nearly every form of voting that Iowans relied on last year.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds says the law strengthens uniformity, provides transparency and gives Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot.




Iowa Launches COVID Vaccination Hotline Aimed at Seniors

(Des Moines, IA) – – Older Iowans trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment can get help starting today (Tuesday). Calling 2-1-1 between 8:00 a-m and 5:00 p-m will connect Iowans age 65 and older with a vaccine navigator. So far, the service is only for making appointments at Hy-Vee
pharmacies. 2-1-1 Iowa says more age groups will be added as vaccine supplies increase.




Trial Of Reporter Arrested During Protests About To Wrap Up

(Des Moines, IA) — The trial of a reporter arrested at the protest in Des Moines could wrap up today (Wednesday). Des Moines Register reporter, Andrea Sahouri (suh-HO-ree) testified Tuesday she was trying to move away from police when she was pepper-sprayed and arrested. Prosecutors say she should
have left after officers gave the order for protesters to disperse. Sahouri testified that she never heard the order and was just doing her job.




Republican Lawmakers Criticize Ames Schools For Classroom Material Used

(Des Moines, IA) — Republican lawmakers are blasting Ames school officials for material used in a Black Lives Matter Week of Action in the district.
Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann (COUGH-man) of Wilton specifically cites online resources for teachers that classify voter I-D laws as voter suppression. Kaufmann says students are being indoctrinated when educators present only one side of the story. G-O-P lawmakers called four officials from the Ames district to the statehouse for a House Oversight Committee
hearing. Representative Rick Olson, a Democrat from Des Moines, says he didn’t hear anything coming from the table that the Ames school district did something wrong or illegal. The hearing lasted nearly two hours.




Invasive Zebra Mussels Found

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says invasive zebra mussels have been confirmed in aquarium products sold in Iowa at some aquarium supply stores and pet stores. The products are moss (Marimo) balls, which are commonly sold in pet stores to help absorb harmful nutrients in the water and limit the growth of undesirable algae in home aquariums. Pet stores across the nation, including Iowa, have removed the product from their shelves. The D-N-R. urges aquarium owners to not purchase this product from stores or online. If you have bought this item in the last month, place the
Marimo ball in a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours or place the moss ball in boiling water for at least one full minute.




NE Iowa Man Convicted Of Killing 4-Week-Old Child

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — A 24-year-old Westgate man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of a four-week-old child. Dean Alan Hettinger was taking care of the child when he was hurt. Hettinger was found guilty by a Fayette County jury of child endangerment resulting in death.
The baby, Holten Smith, was hospitalized three years ago when he began having seizures. He died a month later at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Doctors found bleeding in the child’s brain and an autopsy discovered 36 rib fractures. Hettinger faces a mandatory life sentence – plus 50 years for the child endangerment conviction.