Volunteers Help Clean Downtown In Preparation Of RAGBRAI
(Le Mars) — Nearly two dozen people took to the city sidewalks with leaf blowers, brooms, and rags in hand helping to spruce up the community last evening in preparation for this weekend’s RAGBRAI event. The people swept dirt and debris off the sidewalks, and help clean windows. It took only a couple of
hours to have the downtown area sparkle.
New Ice Cream Cone Sculptures Delivered To Downtown
(Le Mars) — A new item can be seen in the downtown area. Last evening, ice cream cone sculptures, made of metal, were delivered and set up. There are four different metal ice cream sculptures. The sculptures have been painted to look like ice cream cones with sprinkles. The ice cream metal sculptures were created by Randy Olson of Gus Pech Company of Le Mars.
Litigation Settlement Reached On Opioid Distribution
(Undated) — States and local governments announced a milestone moment in the effort to battle the opioid epidemic – the county, state, and other local government litigants have reached a tentative nationwide settlement with drug maker Johnson & Johnson and wholesale distributors, McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen.
Iowa counties played an integral role in producing this momentous settlement, having filed lawsuits in 2018 and litigating those cases since that time. To date, several counties in Iowa have filed suit. Thousands of local county and city governments across the United States have since joined in the Iowa counties’ effort.
Erin Dickinson of Crueger Dickinson is representing Iowa counties and is a member of the Executive Committee comprised of representative lawyers leading the nationwide litigation.
“This tentative settlement is a very important step in bringing resolution to the litigation surrounding an epidemic that has had a devastating impact on our county clients both in Iowa and across the nation.”
The proposed $26 billion nationwide settlement follows hard-fought negotiations between representatives for state and local governments and the four defendants. In addition to the monetary payments, the defendants have agreed to fundamental changes in their business practices to help abate the epidemic and make sure it does not happen again.
Before becoming final, the nationwide tentative settlement agreement must meet the approval of two groups. First, states have 30 days to decide whether to participate in the settlement. If enough states agree, then counties and cities have the opportunity to accept the terms. A critical mass of state and
local governments must agree to the terms before funds are released to the communities that have been impacted by the epidemic.
Plymouth County Attorney, Darin Raymond says, “We in Plymouth County, hope and expect that our Attorney General colleagues will advance this settlement quickly so that we have the opportunity to consider its terms and bring much needed relief to the County.”
Substance abuse issues have a substantial impact on Plymouth County, law enforcement, and the Court system. Opioid addiction is a serious concern and those who become addicted to opioids often begin abusing other substances when opioids are not available. Opioids can be lethal all by themselves, but
some substances users turn to, like fentanyl or heroin, can be more lethal in small quantities.
Organizers Of RAGBRAI Events Prepare Campgrounds
(Le Mars) — Thousands of people will soon be coming to the “Ice Cream Capital of the World” for the start of the annual cross-state bicycle ride known as RAGBRAI. Julie Hurt is a member of the executive committee for the Le Mars RAGBRAI organization. Hurt will oversee the housing and camping
portion of the event. She says although the Plymouth County Fairgrounds will serve as the primary location for recreational vehicles, and tents, Hurt says campers will be scattered in all areas throughout our community.
Hurt says arrangements are being made for the thousands of bicyclers to be able to take a shower while visiting Le Mars.
Hurt says the Plymouth County Fairgrounds will be the site for entertainment featured on the Pioneer Village stage, however, even though local residents are welcomed to attend and enjoy the music, there are some stipulations to follow.
The scheduled events being planned for Saturday will attract thousands of visitors to Le Mars, and more than just the RAGBRAI participants. With the large beer garden, and day-filled with entertainment and several vendors, organizers are believing that people from surrounding communities will also make the trek to Le Mars to enjoy the RAGBRAI festivities. But with many of the downtown streets to be closed, where does Hurt recommend visitors park their vehicles?
The Le Mars RAGBRAI executive committee member is supervising the sanitation for the RAGBRAI event. She says several volunteers have signed up to help pick up trash.
Hurt says, in general, RAGBRAI participants are conscientious about their surroundings and environment, and they usually will pick up after their visit.
The first RAGBRAI participants are expected to arrive in Le Mars as early as today, some will arrive on Friday, but Saturday will be the busiest day.
Iowa To Receive $170M As Part Of National Opioid Settlement
(Madison, WI) — Iowa’s share of the national opioid settlement is expected to be about 170 million dollars. The three largest drug distribution companies and drugmaker Johnson and Johnson agreed Wednesday to a settlement worth a total of 26 billion dollars. The four companies were accused of helping start the country’s deadly opioid epidemic by the way the highly
addictive painkilling pills and patches were distributed. As part of the agreement, Johnson and Johnson will stop selling opioids.
Judge Orders Hospital To Share Medical Records Of Accused Killer With Prosecution
(Cedar Rapids, IA) — A district court judge has ordered a hospital to share the medical records of an accused killer with the prosecution.
Twenty-year-old Alexander Jackson faces three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his parents and his 19-year-old sister. The three family members were killed in the family home June 15th. Jackson’s lawyers had argued the information prosecutors wanted were privileged medical records. Judge Lars Anderson disagreed.
Former Presidential Candidate Cruz Returns To Iowa For Fundraiser
(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Former presidential candidate and U-S Senator Ted Cruz returns to Iowa next month for a political fundraiser. The Texas Republican will appear August 28th at the Linn County Fairgrounds on behalf of Congresswoman Ashley Hinson. Cruz won the 2016 Republican Caucus in Iowa.
Others attending “Ashley’s B-B-Q Bash” include Governor Kim Reynolds, U-S Senator Chuck Grassley, and Republican National Committee Cahir Ronna McDaniel.
Fire Chief, City Council Member Differ On How Many Department Vacancies
(Des Moines, IA) — Des Moines Fire Chief John Tekippe says his department has 13 vacancies currently. A member of the City Council puts the number closer to 50. Councilmember Joe Gatto says that’s why he ran for the office.
The chief says he has 17 people training at the Firefighter Academy and he says he is confident there will be enough firefighters to fill all vacancies.
Gatto is worried about the new fire station opening this fall. He says the city doesn’t have the staffing to fill all of the positions. Tekippe says he is confident all staffing needs will be met, calling it an issue of managing resources.
Authorities ID 15-Year-Old Girl Found Dead With Gunshot Wound in Cedar Rapids
(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Authorities are naming the 15-year-old girl found dead of an apparent gunshot wound inside a vehicle involved in a crash in Cedar Rapids. Police say Tyliyah Whitis of Peoria, Illinois was in the driver’s seat of a car that had significant damage Tuesday morning. Officers say Whitis suffered at least one gunshot wound. The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the official cause of death. Investigators
say the vehicle was registered to a family member of Whitis.
Iowa City Murder Trial Delayed For 4th Time
(Iowa City, IA) — The trial of an Iowa City man accused of killing his wife in 2019 is being pushed back until next February. This is the fourth delay for the trial of Roy Browning, Junior. Prosecutors say Browning stabbed JoEllen Browning to death for her life insurance policy. He’s pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.