Home News Monday News, September 20th

Monday News, September 20th


County Road C-38 And Highway 75 Railroad Crossing To Close For Repairs

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced that Burlington Northern-Sante Fe Railroad will be working on the County Road C-38 rail crossing near Highway 75 beginning this Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. and therefore the road will be closed.  Work is anticipated to be completed yet today and the road will re-open the crossing later this afternoon or evening.  Traffic will be detoured from C-38 and Highway 75 intersection going south to Merrill, then west through Merrill to county road K-42 to C-38 again.




Northwestern College Dedicates New Welcome Center

(Orange City) — Dedication ceremonies were held Friday afternoon for Northwestern College’s new Frank and Lois Vogel Welcome Center.  The ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off a weekend full of activities as Northwestern College celebrates its Homecoming known as Raider Nation.  The facility will house the enrollment admissions, financial aid, alumni association and marketing and communications divisions.  Tamara Fynaardt, Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing for Northwestern College says the new facility will offer prospective students a great first impression of the college for when they visit the campus.

Since the start of classes just a few weeks ago, Fynaardt says students have enjoyed the new welcome center, and all of its amenities.

Northwestern College President Greg Christy says the college’s board of trustees first imagined such a building nine years ago, but the college initially focused its priorities on other capital improvement projects.

Funding for the new $3 million dollar building was halfway obtained, when the COVID virus struck.  Christy says he was uncertain as to whether the college would be able to secure the remaining necessary funding during the pandemic. However, during June of last year, several financial commitments were secured, allowing for the construction of the new building to proceed.

Christy says the new welcome center sits at the front door to the campus, and will serve as an important link between the Orange City downtown businesses and the college campus.  The president of Northwestern College says he was surprised by the quick response given by Frank Vogel, the building’s namesake, when approached and asked if he would be willing to donate funds for the building.

The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony concluded with Northwestern College’s Vice President for Advancement, Jay Wielenga encouraging people to “come visit us.”

In addition to a reception lounge, the 9,300-square-foot facility includes 12 offices, four conference rooms, a photo studio and two communal work areas. The facility was designed by BVH Architecture in consultation with Tetrad Property Group, both of which have offices in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Hoogendoorn Construction of Canton, South Dakota, served as general contractor.





Floyd Valley To Adopt New Medical Records System

(Le Mars) –Floyd Valley Healthcare is making some changes to its medical records system beginning on October 1st.  Laurie Mortensen serves as the Director of Patient Care with Floyd Valley and explains why the changes are needed, and what those changes will mean to patients.

Mortensen says, although different hospitals will have it easier to share medical information, she says that information will be even more secure, and only those people authorized to view the patient’s information, will be able to do so.

Mortensen says patients may be asked to provide their identification, and insurance information again to hospital officials as the transition takes place.

The Director of Patient Care says patients can also sign up using a new app.  She says patients will be able to see all of their medical history and information, almost immediately.




Floyd Valley Stresses People To Get Vaccinated Against COVID

(Le Mars, IA) — Last week, CMS announced emergency regulations requiring vaccinations for nursing home workers will be expanded to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The decision was based on the continued and growing spread of the virus in health care settings.

Over the past month, FVH has been carefully discerning next steps on the COVID – 19 vaccination requirements. Based on what we have learned through these conversations along with our need to provide a safe and protective environment for our patients, their families and our employees, FVH has made the decision to require all employees to receive COVID–19 vaccinations by January 1, 2022.  Medical and religious exemptions will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

This decision was made in the best interest of all and for the greater good with the following information in mind:

  • The vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people have safely received the vaccines. With over half of the U.S. population vaccinated plus millions across the world, COVID-19 vaccines are among the most tested vaccines ever.
  • The Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA after reviewing data from the clinical trial and a longer duration of follow-up in a larger clinical trial population.
  • Hospitals across the country are seeing increased numbers of COVID-19 inpatients – including young adults and children – not due to side effects of the vaccine, but COVID-19 illness.
  • Children ages 0-11 are still vulnerable and recently the U.S. recorded a record number of children hospitalized in a single day. The best thing that adults can do to protect children is to get vaccinated.
  • Even in the face of the Delta variant, vaccines are being shown to prevent cases, hospitalizations and deaths. When uncommon breakthrough COVID-19 infections do happen, most often the illness is mild. Hospitalizations and deaths are rare among the vaccinated.
  • Numerous medical organizations support the requirement of COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers, including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians, Catholic Health Association and more.

As a community member, if you are unvaccinated, please strongly consider your reasons for not getting vaccinated. Talk to your primary care provider if you have any questions. We also value your health and well-being.




Premier Communications Awarded Grant For Broadband Internet For Rural Plymouth County

(Sioux Center) — Governor Kim Reynolds, along with the state legislature, have established a goal of installing high-speed broadband internet to all parts of Iowa, including some of the remote rural areas.  Last week, grants were announced to internet communication companies as to those that qualified. Doug Boone is the Chief Executive Officer with Premier Communications.   Premier Communications of Sioux Center was awarded a grant contract valued at $7.4 million dollars which will be used in Plymouth County.

Boone says he is pleased to receive notice of the grant, but says it may not be enough to perform all the work that was proposed.

The Premier Communication official says staff from his company will meet with Plymouth County Board of Supervisors to inquire if the county may be able to help with the financing of the installation of the broadband internet system.

Boone says it will take at least a year for the engineering of the project, with construction perhaps to get started in 2023 with the project may take two years to complete.




DNR Investigates Fatal Fall At Bellevue State Park

(Bellevue, IA)  —  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating a death at Bellvue State Park this weekend.  Police were called to the park at 4:21 a-m Saturday about an individual who had fallen from a bluff.  The individual died following the fall. No other details have been released.




Officers Involved In Fatal Shooting Deemed To Be Justified

(Des Moines, IA)  —  A report from the Iowa Attorney General finds officers were justified in firing their weapons and killing a man in rural Jones County on August 31st. Officers were called to the residence in rural Martelle by a relative who reported  45-year-old Jeremy Berg was talking about going into a burning building and dying in the fire. Berg pulled a knife when Jones County deputies and Anamosa police officers tried to subdue him. A relative at the scene indicated that Berg was under the influence of drugs.   Berg was tased three times and non-lethal bean bags were fired twice — and he still did not give up the knife and continued coming at officers. Five officers fired at Berg, and he was hit and killed.




First Virtual Hearing On Redistricting Scheduled For Monday

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The first virtual public hearing on the proposed new legislative boundaries for Iowa is today (Monday). The Legislative Services Agency drew new boundaries for Iowa’s legislative and congressional districts to realign with the 2020 Census data. The hearing is from 7:00 to 9:30 this evening. Information on how to join the public hearing is on the Iowa Legislature’s website.




Ames Man Given Life Sentence For Stabbing Roommate To Death

(Ames, IA)  —  An Ames man has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing his roommate to death two years ago.  Fifty-seven-year-old David Sean Hunter was sentenced Friday in Story County Court for killing the victim with a machete.  Prosecutors say that Hunter and 37-year-old Christopher Swalwell were arguing over a charge of 15 dollars and 99 cents Swalwell put on Hunter’s credit card.  Hunter had expected the charge to be one dollar.  The Iowa Medical Examiner told the court Swalwell suffered about 40 cuts from the machete.  Hunter’s attorney says his client did kill the victim, but his actions were justified.