Home News Thursday News, April 22nd

Thursday News, April 22nd


Fire Department Responds To Call Involving Smoke Emitting From Apartment Complex

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to an alarm at about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at 1025 4th Avenue southeast. According to Fire Chief Dave Schipper, upon arrival, smoke could be seen coming from the basement apartment. Schipper says the cause of the smoke was some burnt food that had been neglected. Schipper says firefighters used a fan to help ventilate the smoke from the structure. There was no other damage, and no injuries. Schipper says the Wednesday afternoon call was the fifth time during the past 28 hours the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department had been summoned for a fire call.




Funding For Mental Health Services May Change Depending Upon Legislative Action

(Le Mars) — Funding of mental health services still remains to be unresolved in the Iowa legislature. On Tuesday, Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health C-E-O Shane Walter met with the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors to offer a quarterly report. Walter informed the county board that the Sioux Rivers Mental Health board of directors had approved its budget, but added things could drastically change depending on the final actions of the state legislature. Walter told the county board of supervisors there are two bills in the state legislature that are being discussed and debated. Walter says Senate Bill 587 is gaining some popularity because it is being promoted as a property tax reform bill, but Walter says when you study the details of the bill, you quickly can determine it is not a property tax reform in the true sense. The Sioux Rivers mental health executive says under the provisions of the bill, funding for mental health services would be taken away from the counties and placed in the hands of the state.

Walter says Iowa Farm Bureau is lobbying hard for passage of the bill, while ISAC, the Iowa State Association of Counties is against the bill. Walter says there is one positive aspect of the bill and that would be regional mental health organizations may see additional funding.

Walter explained to the county board of supervisors that under Senate Bill 587, counties would no longer be able to collect a tax levy to help with mental health expenditures.

The Sioux Rivers executive told the supervisors that every other time the state was in full control of funding mental health services, they fell short on their promises to pay, or to increase funding for mental health services. Sharon Nieman, the mental health advisor for Plymouth County, says it would be a big step backwards if the state was to take over full control of the mental health services.

Both mental health officials indicated to the county supervisors that the entire regional system may look different depending upon what shakes out in the Iowa legislature. The Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health organization consists of Sioux, Lyon, Dickinson, O’Brien and Plymouth Counties. After July 1st, Emmet County is expected to join the regional mental health association.




Le Mars Community School District Announce Award Recipients

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Community School District Foundation annual awards banquet will be held virtually this year due to the concern of the COVID virus. However, the Le Mars Community School District along with the Le Mars Community School Foundation and the Le Mars Community School Alumni Association have announced this year’s award recipients. We learned last month that the Teacher of the Year and recipient of the Crystal Bell award was presented to high school vocal music teacher Randy Ewing.

The Distinguished Alumni is being presented to Alan Marty from the class of 1974.

Six faculty and staff members are being recognized for their 25 years of service to Le Mars Community School District. They include: Kelly Collins, Middle School Reading and Language Arts teacher; Renee Glenn, Clark Elementary Administrative Assistant; Eileen Harringa, Kluckhohn Elementary Food Service; Kay Michaelson, Kluckholn Elementary IMC Associate; Karen Pitts, Middle School Teacher Associate; and Marlyn Renken, Bus Driver. The top five percent of the graduating senior class is also being recognized. This year there are ten students that fall into that category. They include: Collin Boehmer, Ethan Hulinsky, Samantha Schiefen, Kutter Wright, Luke Geitz, Alexander Meier, Brayden Schmidt, Bailey Goodman, Caroline Meis, and Kaden Wingert. During our 10:00 news update, we will hear comments from the Distinguished Alumni Recipient, Alan Marty who has been involved with some interesting career ventures since he graduated in 1974. The virtual program is scheduled for next Wednesday, April 28th to be featured on the school’s website.




National Guard Adjutant General Corell Urges Iowans to Get COVID Vaccine

(Des Moines, IA) — The head of the Iowa National Guard joined Governor Kim Reynolds today (Wednesday) to urge Iowans hesitant to get the Covid vaccine to schedule a shot. Adjutant General Ben Corell got COVID in November and wound up being hospitalized for a full week. Corell still has symptoms, including fatigue and reduced lung capacity. He’s gotten both doses of the vaccine and, to those who are hesitant about Covid shots, the major general says: do it. Corell thanked the more than 800-thousand Iowans who’ve been fully vaccinated for being part of the solution to “defeat this plague.” General Corell challenged military veterans and soldiers and airmen serving in the Iowa National Guard to roll up their sleeve and get a shot. The Covid vaccine is not mandatory for soldiers and about half in the Iowa Guard have been vaccinated.




New Record in 2020 For Opioid Overdose Deaths in Iowa

(Des Moines, IA) — Preliminary numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health show a 35-percent increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2020 compared to 2019. Dale Woolery with the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy says the record 212 deaths come despite a lot of work on the issue. Woolery said, “I think the moral of the story as we are looking at various sources of data on the opioid epidemic is that epidemic is still with us.” He notes that Iowa has made progress and has one of the lower rates of drug overdose deaths in the nation. The mixing of black-market fentanyl into heroin is one of the factors that fueled the increase in overdose deaths. The 212 fatal overdoses last year broke the record of 206 set in 2017.




Montana Man Accused Of Stealing $20K From Derecho Victim

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — A Montana man is accused of stealing nearly 20-thousand dollars from a victim of the derecho. Cedar Rapids police report that 56-year-old William Hurlbut of Belgrade, Montana was arrested on a warrant for first-degree theft. The victim told police he signed a contract with Hurlbut in December to repair the roof and siding on his Cedar Rapids home. The man said he paid nearly 10-thousand in cash as a down payment and gave him a check made out to a hardware store to buy supplies. Hurlbut allegedly returned some items for cash or store credit at the hardware store, and never did any repair work.




$100M In State Grants Will Go To Companies Providing Expanded Broadband Internet Service

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa legislators have settled on providing 100 million dollars worth of state grants to companies that expand broadband service in the state. Democrats, led by Representative Chris Hall of Sioux City, suggested using federal pandemic relief money rather than state tax dollars for those grants. But Representative John Landon of Ankeny says the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have decided state money will be used. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds asked lawmakers to appropriate 150 million dollars in each of the next three years to expand access to high-speed internet across Iowa. The House has taken an initial vote on 100 million in the next state budget year only. The grants would go toward establishing internet service with download and upload speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.




Davenport Ready To Launch Next Phase Of Mississippi River Flood Study

(Davenport, IA) — Everything is on the table as Davenport launches the next phase of its Mississippi River flood study. Officials are examining a broad range of strategies to protect people and property when river levels get high. Public meetings, a video presentation, and a survey are part of the process. Interested people can also get paper copies of the survey at Davenport libraries. Once the survey is filled out, it can be left at library book drops or mailed to Davenport Public Works by the end of this month. The video and survey are also available online at DavenportIowa-dot-com-slash-FloodStudy.




Des Moines Woman Who Hit 2 Juveniles With Her Vehicle Pleads Guilty To Attempted Murder

(Des Moines, IA) — A 42-year-old Des Moines woman who hit two juveniles with her vehicle has entered a guilty plea to two counts of attempted murder. The incident happened in December 2019 when Nicole Franklin hit a 12-year-old boy, then hit a 14-year-old girl later the same day. Witnesses told investigators Franklin’s vehicle accelerated as it drove onto the sidewalk to hit the boy. He suffered minor injuries. When she hit the teenager Natalia Miranda she told police it was because she was “Mexican.” Shortly after that, Poole was accused of driving to a convenience store and calling employees and customers racial slurs. She is to be sentenced in August.