Home News Tuesday News, September 14th

Tuesday News, September 14th


Le Mars Dog Park Is Now Open

(Le Mars) — It may have taken a while, but pet owners can now visit the new Le Mars Dog Park which is now open behind the Walmart building.  City Administrator, Jason Vacura says with the completion of the Dog Park, Le Mars has now finished with its ten projects as identified in the Community Betterment Projects.

Vacura says the new dog park is actually separated in two parts for smaller dogs and for larger dogs.

The city administrator says although the park is designed to allow dogs to run, pet owners are expected to remain at the area.  Vacura describes the features found at the new dog park.

Vacura says he conducted a fair amount of research when designing the new dog park.

Vacura says the dog park is anticipated to remain open all year round.  He adds that there are some rules with the new dog park, and that everyone is expected to abide by those rules.  The city administrator says the total cost of the new dog park was listed at $205,000 which $175,000 was financed through the Community Betterment Foundation.




Northwestern College Sets Enrollment Record

(Orange City) — For the third consecutive year, Northwestern College of Orange City has set enrollment records.  This fall’s student enrollment is at 1,585, up more than two percent over last year’s enrollment of  1,546.  This year’s figures include the largest ever number of graduate students at 500…enrolled in Northwestern College’s online Master of Education program and on-campus master’s program in physician assistant studies…up from the 461 last year.  Northwestern also had 82.8 percent of last year’s freshmen return this fall, a record retention rate. More than six percent of the college’s residential undergraduate population are Latino students, also a new record high.




County Roads To Be Closed For Resurfacing Of Asphalt

(Le Mars) — Beginning this week, and continuing until October 29th, Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has closed county roads C-30 from Le Mars to county road K-64. County road K-64 will also be closed stretching from county road C-38 going north to Highway 3 near Oyens.  Both roads will have an asphalt resurfacing.  The detour for county road C-30 will be from county road K-49 going south to C-38 then east again.  K-64 detour will go from C-38 heading east to L-12, then north on L-12 to Highway 3.  Both C-30 and K-64 will remain open to local traffic only.



County Supervisors To Hear Report On Carbon Solutions

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a short agenda for this morning’s meeting.  The county governing board will approve a final surplus list for auction, and they are likely to approve the Urban Renewal report.  Surveyor, Dave Wilberding will appear before the supervisors to request approval of a subdivision for G and A Sitzmann’s Homestead Addition in Stanton township.  Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe will appear before the county board to submit construction permits, and to discuss various road construction projects.  The county board of supervisors will hear a report by Quinn Slaven regarding the Summit Carbon Solutions Presentation.




School Board Approves Academic Goals For 2021-2022 School Year

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Community Board of Education were introduced to the school’s new faculty last evening prior to the monthly board meeting.  21 new faces are among those that are at the Le Mars Community school system. The school board approved the academic goals as presented by school principals and other school administration officials.  They also approved the annual report for the 2020-2021 school year as presented by School Superintendent, Dr. Steven Webner.  The school board approved the resignations and the contracts as presented.  The school board did not address the issue of masks.

Le Mars Community School new faculty and staff members




Teacher Union President Welcomes Judges Ruling On Masks

(Des Moines) — Iowa State Education Association president Mike Beranek (ber-AH-neck) says it is a welcome relief to have a federal judge issue an order that blocks Iowa’s ban on mask mandates in schools.

Beranek spoke during an online news conference shortly before a federal judge issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the law that has prevented schools from requiring people wear face coverings on school grounds. According to Beranek, more than 80 percent of school districts required students and staff to wear masks last year. Beranek says with the more contagious delta variant of Covid now circulating, the number of students testing positive for the virus is increasing.

Beranek says the people in the best position to decide what is right for the health and safety of a school community are the people in that school district. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the statewide ban on school mask mandates in May and she says the sate will appeal the federal judge’s ruling. Reynolds says parents should decide whether their own children wear masks at school. House Speaker Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, says the law took the necessary step to return decision-maker power to parents and the judge’s order strips parents of those freedoms.




Des Moines Schools To Go Back To Wearing Masks

(Des Moines) — The state’s largest school district is the first to reinstate a requirement that students, staff and visitors wear face coverings.  On Monday, a federal judge issued a temporary order that blocks enforcement of the Iowa law that bans mask mandates in schools. Early Monday evening, Des Moines Superintendent Thomas Ahart (A-hart) said he’s heard concerns from families in the district and school staff about the ban and the judge’s ruling was welcome news. The mask mandate will go into effect in the Des Moines district Wednesday. The school board in Iowa City meets tonight (Tuesday) and will consider issuing a similar requirement.




Federal Judge Grants TRO On Ban Of School-Issued Mask Mandates

(Des Moines, IA)  —  A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Iowa’s ban on school-issued mask mandates pending results of a lawsuit. The ruling comes is part of a court challenge brought by a group of parents of children with disabilities who say the lack of a ban makes them vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19. U-S District Court Judge Robert Pratt cited the “drastic increase” in the number of coronavirus cases among children in his ruling. Governor Kim Reynolds released a statement saying “a federal judge unilaterally overturned a state law, ignored the decision by our elected legislature and took away parents’ ability to decide what’s best for their child. The governor says the state will appeal and exercise every legal option they have to uphold state law.




Senate Ethics Committee Dismisses Complaints Against Republican Senators

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The Senate Ethics Committee has dismissed complaints against Republican senators who voted to ban schools from requiring masks. Six Iowans accused G-O-P senators of violating Senate ethics rules by backing a ban that they say could put medically vulnerable students, staff, and families at greater risk of getting Covid. Senate Republicans, in a written response, said voting for a bill isn’t an ethics violation. Senator Pam Jochum (YOH-kum), a Democrat from Dubuque who voted against the bill, says she’s sympathetic to the concerns of parents — but Jochum says the Senate Ethics Committee isn’t the proper forum to resolve the issue.




Anamosa Prison Inmate Expected To Change His Plea To Guilty

(Anamosa, IA)  —  The second inmate accused of killing a corrections officer and nurse at the Anamosa State prison is expected to change his plea to guilty.  Michael Dutcher (DOO-cher) was scheduled to go before a judge for a trial next week. Court information now shows he now intends to plead guilty. Dutcher’s plea hearing and sentencing are scheduled for Wednesday at the Jones County Courthouse. The other inmate, Thomas Woodard,  reached a plea agreement on two counts of first-degree murder, in the deaths of  Robert McFarland and nurse Lorena Schulte and was given the mandatory life prison sentence.




Des Moines Police:  Woman Killed In Long-Running Fight Over Law Tractor

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Des Moines Police say a long-running fight over a lawn tractor led to the shooting death of a woman found dead in her home Sunday. Police found 42-year-old Amber Burton of Des Moines dead – and an autopsy determined she died of a gunshot wound. Fifty-year-old Nery Arnoldo Lopez Morales of Des Moines has been charged with Burton’s murder. Police say Morales and Burton had an ongoing dispute about the ownership of a lawn tractor and witnesses and surveillance video connected him to her death.




MercyOne Still Considering Options On Proposed North Liberty Hospital

(Iowa City, IA) — A statement from the spokesman for MercyOne Health in Iowa City says they are still considering their options to the University of Iowa’s plan for a new hospital in North Liberty. The State Health Facilities Council earlier this month reversed its previous ruling and approved the U-I-H-C’s request. The statement says MercyOne says the approval means 13 hospitals will now be serving Iowa City and the surrounding communities, creating unnecessary cost and competition at a time when all of Iowa’s health care entities should be working together. Those who opposed the hospital have until the end of the month to appeal the state Facilities Council approval.




First Lady To Visit Des Moines

(Des Moines, IA) –– First Lady Jill Biden will visit Des Moines Wednesday afternoon. Democratic Representative Cindy Axne will join the First Lady in a visit to Des Moines Area Community College. Information from the White House says Biden will highlight how the Biden Administration is supporting families through the American Rescue Plan and its Build Back Better agenda.