Home News Thursday News, March 25th

Thursday News, March 25th


City Street Crews To Close 11th Street Beginning On Friday

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Street Department will be closing 11th Street Southwest beginning Friday, March 26th at 1:00 p.m. The street will be closed from Central Avenue South and continue west on 11th Street at about 300 feet. City street crews will be conducting some street repairs, as well as rebuilding the two storm sewer intakes. City officials expect the street
closure will be at least 14 days with weather permitting.




Le Mars Welcomes Uptown Event Center

(Le Mars) — Ribbon-cutting ceremonies along with a Chamber coffee were held Wednesday morning at Le Mars’ latest downtown venue. The Uptown Event Center is owned by Mike and Cheryl Wells and sits between the Iowa Barbecue
Restaurant and Hardware Hank. Mike Wells says he thought Le Mars could use a smaller venue for special occasions.

Cheryl Wells says the facility has been in the planning stages for sometime.

The Uptown Event Center is located on a historical site for Le Mars. Mike Wells says they wanted to showcase the location’s history as part of the interior decor with black and white era-based photos of the former Union Hotel, and other downtown buildings.

The Uptown Event Center has already hosted a couple of wedding receptions.
Cheryl Wells says for people wanting to rent the facility, they need to contact the Habitue Coffeehouse and Bakery. She tells of the new Uptown Event Center’s capacity.




Plymouth County Pheasants Forever Chapter To Hold Annual Banquet On Saturday

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold their annual banquet this coming Saturday, but at a different location. This year, the banquet will be held at Century Hall at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.
Vice President of the Plymouth County Pheasants Forever is Randy Reardon.

Reardon says the Pheasants Forever chapter will again hold several games of chance and raffles for members to participate.

Reardon says the auction will feature several unique artwork, as well as hunting excursion trips, and vacation destinations.

Again, this year, the Plymouth County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold raffles for various shotguns and other firearms.

Reardon says tickets are $60 which includes a year’s membership along with the banquet meal, and spouse tickets are $20. The local Pheasants Forever official says despite the pandemic, they have been fortunate to secure many
of the traditional sponsors. As mentioned earlier, this year’s Pheasants Forever banquet will be at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds, inside Century Hall, beginning at 5:00 p.m.




Reynolds Announces Two Programs To Assist Renters

DES MOINES – Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Wednesday that COVID-19 impacted renters and homeowners will be able to apply for assistance with rent and mortgage payments through two assistance programs beginning Monday,
March 29 at 2:00 p.m.

Reynolds says both the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program and the Iowa Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program, will provide critical assistance to COVID-19 impacted renters and homeowners. Debbi Durham, the Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Director of the Iowa Finance Authority appeared with Reynolds to talk about the programs.

Durham says the utility portion of the assistance program will include only past due payments.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority director then explained the criteria for eligibility.

The Iowa Finance Authority will administer the program, which will initially be available for renters statewide, with the exception of Polk County and the City of Des Moines. These jurisdictions received direct federal allocations, totaling approximately $14 million, which is being administered locally. More information on the program that will serve Polk County and City of Des Moines
residents is available at impactcap.org.

Full eligibility details for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program, including an eligibility precheck is available at iowahousingrecovery.com.

In addition, the Iowa Homeowner Eviction Prevention Program will be reopened to provide eligible COVID-19 impacted homeowners at imminent risk of eviction with mortgage assistance for up to four months, with a maximum assistance per
household of $3,600. The short-term program will be available until funds are exhausted or a new federal program is launched. Program funding is provided through federal CARES Act funds. Program eligibility details are available at iowahousingrecovery.com.




Iowa DCI Identifies Victims At Anamosa State Prison

(Anamosa, IA) — A Special Agent with the Iowa D-C-I says a nurse and guard killed at the Anamosa State Prison were struck in the head with a hammer by two inmates who were trying to escape. Agent Rick Rahn identified them as registered nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland. Rahn says the victims were killed when they tried to stop inmates Thomas Woodard and Michael Dutcher from escaping.
Schulte died at the prison and Woodard died on the way to the hospital.
Another staff member and an inmate tried to stop the two but were unsuccessful. Other guards brought the prisoners under control.




Senate Republicans Propose $4 Million to Hire More Correctional Officers

(Des Moines, IA) — Senate Republicans are proposing a four-million-dollar budget increase for the Iowa Department of Corrections to hire more correctional officers. Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny says they had settled on that increase before Tuesday’s attack by an inmate that killed a nurse and a prison guard. Whitver said, “the incident in Anamosa is
an unspeakable tragedy for Iowans and the two Iowa public servants that lost their life.” Whitver says he and his fellow Republicans in the Senate will work with the agency’s director to see if there are additional steps that should be taken, beyond more money to hire prison staff.




Senate Republicans Back Bill To Shift Mental Health Funding From Counties To The State

(Des Moines, IA) — Republicans in the Iowa Senate are working on legislation that would shift funding for mental health services from counties to the state. About 200 people listened in on a virtual hearing by a subcommittee Wednesday. Groups like Iowa Mental Health Advocacy want counties to continue covering some of the costs. They say when Iowa has a bad economic year, one of the first things to be cut is usually mental health
funding. The Iowa Farm Bureau is supportive of the bill because it should provide property tax relief. Cities and counties oppose because it would do away with state dollars paid to them to make up for commercial property tax cuts.




Reynolds Says All Iowans Will Be Eligible For COVID Vaccinations April 5

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds says federal officials indicate the State of Iowa will receive about 25-thousand more doses of Covid vaccine next week compared to the state’s allotment for the past two weeks. Reynolds told reporters  Wednesday, “with this news, I am pleased to say that
we remain on target to open vaccination to all Iowans beginning Monday, April 5th.” More than a half-million Iowans have been fully vaccinated so far, but there are still about one-point-two million who haven’t been able to get their shots. Reynolds says the number of appointments available will increase as Iowa’s weekly allocation of vaccines continue to increase.
Federal officials say the state should get 128-thousand first doses of vaccine next week.




Toyota Financial Services Closes Cedar Rapids Office, Moves 600 Jobs Elsewhere

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Managers at Toyota Financial Services’ office in Cedar Rapids told employees Wednesday the location will be slowly closed over the next two years. Customer service work is being moved to three other offices in Arizona, Georgia, or Texas. A company spokesperson says every team member in good standing will have to option to move to one of those
three locations. Local officials say the employees may be able to stay in Cedar Rapids by taking similar positions with Wells Fargo, Great American Financial Services, or Transamerica. The Toyota office has operated in Cedar Rapids for nearly 30 years.




Arrests Warrants Issued For Illinois Man in Fatal I-380 Crash in Cedar Rapids

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Arrest warrants have been issued for an Illinois man accused of causing fatal crash March 7th on Interstate 380 in Cedar Rapids.
Police say 34-year-old Tyler S. Lee of Rockton was driving a pickup south in the northbound lanes when he struck an S-U-V. One passenger in the vehicle was killed and the driver and another occupant suffered serious injuries.
Investigators say Lee is wanted on charges of homicide by vehicle-operating while intoxicated and two counts of serious injury by motor vehicle.
Officers say anyone with information about Lee should contact local law enforcement.




Brief Tornado Touchdown in Lee County Tuesday Night

(Fort Madison, IA) — The National Weather Service and Lee County Emergency Management are confirming a brief tornado touchdown Tuesday night. Officials say the tornado caused roof and tree damage and destroyed a shed near Fort Madison. No injuries were reported. The EF-0 tornado had peak wind gusts of
about 80 miles an hour. The tornado touched down around 7:20 p-m Tuesday.
Tornado warnings had been issued in the Quad Cities area.