Home News Thursday Afternoon News, March 18th

Thursday Afternoon News, March 18th


Local Law Enforcement Were Watching County Highways On St. Patrick’s Day

(Le Mars) — St. Patrick’s Day is known for celebrating the Irish heritage, but unfortunately, it is also a day with higher than normal instances of intoxicated drivers. Local law enforcement officials had stepped up their patrol efforts on Wednesday as part of two state-funded programs. Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Rick Singer tells of the programs.


Since St. Patrick’s Day fell in the middle of the week compared to a weekend night, Singer was asked if the statistics reflected a lower number than in the past?

The specific numbers according to Singer involved three warnings related to alcohol, but no arrests or citations issued. There were no drug-related incidents, or also seat belt violations, or child restraint citations.
However, according to Singer, motorists are still speeding on Plymouth County roadways.

The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy says distracted driving, specifically those drivers using their cell phones, continues to be a problem.

Singer says additional special focus for reducing speeding and hopefully reducing the number of fatality accidents will occur in June, September, and October of this year.




Police Department Submits Annual Report

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte appeared before the Le Mars City Council on Tuesday to submit the police department’s annual report.
Vande Vegte says COVID-19 had an impact on the department’s duties. Vande Vegte informed the council they patrol between 76 and 80 miles of city streets on a daily basis, which translates to an average of 410 miles each day. Vande Vegte says the department is in its second year of having a school resource officer within the schools, and calls the program a success. Following Vande Vegte’s report, Mayor Dick Kirchoff mentioned that he and council member Mike Donlin attended a Kiwanis meeting in which Le Mars Community School Superintendent Dr. Steve Webner was the featured speaker. Kirchoff says Dr. Webner had good comments about the school resource officer program.

Mayor Kirchoff then praised Vande Vegte and his officers since Le Mars was recently named as the “Second Safest City” in Iowa. The police chief responded by saying it is a nice honor for the community, but he also acknowledged other city departments, as well as the city’s residents and shared the credit.

Chief Vande Vegte says property related crimes were lower in 2020, but crimes against persons were higher.

Vande Vegte highlighted some of the trends from 2020, as well as discussed some statistics.

Vande Vegte informed the council the department’s goals for 2021 is to make more contacts with the citizens of Le Mars. He specifically said they want to stop in every business in town, to make a connection and to inquire as to how everything is going. The police chief says due to COVID-19 they had to drop a few programs. Vande Vegte says they hope to start up the Citizens Academy again, as well as have the “Coffee with a Cop” program.




Pork Producers Schedule Annual Banquet

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Pork Producers Association will hold its annual banquet and awards night on Saturday, March 20th. Andy Schroeder serves as the president of the Plymouth County Pork Producers Association. He says this year’s banquet will be held at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds inside Century

Schroeder says tickets are free for any paid pork producer member, otherwise they are selling for $15. Schroeder says once again, the pork producers will feature the Little Miss Pigtails contest, as well as the Queen contest.

Schroeder says the program will also feature U-S Congressman Randy Feenstra who is scheduled to appear at the pork banquet and will address the pork producers.




House Bill Does Away With Gun Permit Requirement

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa House has passed a bill that would let you buy guns and carry concealed weapons without getting a state permit to do so. House Republican Leader Matt Windschitl says the bill is for Iowa’s Second Amendment community, the same people he says saw fit to give Republicans a 59-seat majority. One Democrat voted for the bill, the other House Democrats opposed it, suggesting it would create a clear loophole to allow private gun sales in Iowa without a background check. Senators have been working on similar legislation.




Senate Passes Big Tech Bill

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Senate has voted along party lines to deny future state and local tax breaks to big tech companies found to have illegally stifled speech on social media platforms. Senate President Jake Chapman of Adel, a Republican who is the plan’s lead sponsor does seem to admit the bill has an uncertain future. Democrats in the Senate voted against the bill, predicting lawsuits would be filed to block it and warning the mere mention of the plan harms the state’s image. Senator Bill Dotzler (DOTS-ler), a Democrat from Waterloo, says the damage has already been done and Republicans “just gave Iowa another black eye.” A House committee has approved pulling state and local tax breaks for social media companies that block or delete comments from Iowans who are elected officials or political candidates. If the content is restored, the tax breaks would be as well.




COVID Leading to Coronasomnia

(Des Moines, IA) — A phenomenon being called “coronasomnia” has led to people losing sleep due to stress linked to COVID-19 concerns in the past year. A therapist at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, Amy Kluver, says the pandemic and all it encompasses has soaked into our collective psyche. Kluver says it impacts our thoughts during the day and that can also carry into our struggle with sleep later because we’re tense, our activities aren’t the same, there’s a lot of uncertainty. Kluver runs what’s called the Clinical Sleep Training Program at the hospital. It aims to help people improve their sleep through relaxation processes and exploring lifestyle habits that may be working against them. Friday is World Sleep Day, which is billed as: “a call to all sleep professionals to advocate and educate the world about the importance of sleep for achieving an optimal quality of life and improve global health.”




IRS Decides To Delay Tax Filing Deadline Until May 17th

(Washington, DC) — For the second year in a row taxpayers in Iowa and other states will get a little extra time to file their federal income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service says it is delaying the filing deadline from the traditional April 15th to May 17th. In each of the last two years, people have had to deal with tax situations complicated by the coronavirus pandemic. The I-R-S moved the deadline back last year to July 15th. The I-R-S is extra busy because it currently distributing about 150-millions federal stimulus payments. As of Wednesday, 90-million had been sent out.