Home News Tuesday News, November 16th

Tuesday News, November 16th


County Supervisors To Hear Veterans Report

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear a report from County Veterans Director, Jim Jones during today’s board of supervisors meeting scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the County Courthouse Boardroom.  The county governing board will also hear from Roxanne White and Chris Dodd from Evertek, as they visit with the supervisors regarding internet services for Plymouth County.  County engineer Tom Rohe will appear before the county supervisors to offer an update on construction projects.




City Employees Deliver Initial Proposal For Collective Bargaining

(Le Mars) — City employees presented to Le Mars city officials their initial proposal for the collective bargaining position on Monday morning.  The city employees were being represented by Police Officer Jeff Kramer, and Officer John Kaskie, along with two employees of the Le Mars Public Library, Shelby Holbrook and Ranelle Irwin.  Representing the city of Le Mars were Mayor Dick Kirchoff, Council members Rex Knapp and Mike Donlin, along with city administrator Jason Vacura and city finance director, Jacob Widman.  City employees are requesting a contract for one year that would begin on July 1, 2022 and continue through June 30, 2023.  Le Mars city employees are proposing to eliminate base pay from the wage schedule.  The city employees bargaining unit is also proposing to eliminate the first wage schedule for police patrolmen.  The city employees bargaining unit is proposing a wage adjustment of $3.00 an hour increase in the wage schedule for police officers and other city employees.  After the wage adjustment is figured.  The city employees are also proposing an eight percent increase for police officers and other city employees.  This would take effect on July 1, 2022.  City employees would also like to see a raise in longevity pay of 5.7 percent for years of service.  Officers in the patrolman category shall receive top patrolman rate at four years completion of service.  After six years of service, patrolmen are eligible for Senior patrol officer status, subject to Police Chief recommendation.  Employees shall advance on the salary schedule as follows:

Step 1          Level at hiring date

Step 2          25-26 months

Step 3          36-48 months

Step 4          48 months plus




City Council To Hold Public Hearing On Vacating City-Owned Right-of-Way Property

(Le Mars) — Le Mars city council will meet today beginning at 12:00 noon at the city council chambers.  The agenda includes holding a public hearing regarding the request to vacate the town’s right-of-way immediately adjacent to 12 Central Avenue southeast.  The request is being made by Central Crossroads, L.L.C. to install a fence and create a courtyard for the Inn on Central Avenue guests.  The property is of no useful purpose to the city, nor is it required to be held by the city by any code.  City administration recommends the right-of-way be vacated and turned over to Central Crossroads, L.L.C. and that Central Crossroads pay all costs incurred with the vacating of the property, surveying, and recording of the right-of-way. In other action during today’s city council meeting, the city council are expected to hold the third and final readings regarding the lower speed limit for 7th Avenue Southeast and County Road K-49.  They will also act on the proposed ordinance allowing All Terrain Vehicles and snowmobiles on the city’s streets.  The city council will hold a closed session to discuss their position for the city’s employees collective bargaining.




Grassley Says California Governor Can Help Improve Supply Chain Issues

(Washington) — U-S Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa addressed the supply chain issue during his weekly news conference with news media.  Grassley was asked if the federal government could do anything to help alleviate the congestion of freighter ships that are anchored in the Los Angeles harbor filled with supplies and products waiting to be unloaded?  Grassley informed the news reporters that he discussed the same issue with the Iowa Home Builders Association last week.

Grassley says in order to make a real difference, California Governor Gavin Newsome would need to waive or ease up on the environmental, and other regulations, placed on the nation’s trucking industry.

The Iowa Republican Senator says the federal government is limited on how much assistance can be offered to help the problem

He says part of the problem started when the state and federal governments paid unemployment benefits that were higher than an employee’s normal paycheck.

Grassley says the bottleneck of the supply chain is what is driving up inflation.




Des Moines Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Human Trafficking

(Des Moines, IA)  —  A federal judge has sentenced a 46-year-old Des Moines man to life in prison for human trafficking.  Marlin Thomas admitted to holding six women and a 14-year-old girl against their will, physically and verbally abusing them, and forcing them to have sex with strangers.  Three died.  Thomas was sentenced Monday in federal court.  The lead investigator in the case, Des Moines Police Sergeant Brady Carney, says at least 10 more women declined to take part and he says the true number of those hurt by Thomas could be much higher.  He preyed on victims with substance abuse problems.




Axne Says Infrastructure Plan Will Help State Deal With Climate-Related Disasters

(Washington, DC)  —  Congresswoman Cindy Axne says the federal infrastructure bill signed Monday by the president will help Iowa deal with climate-related disasters.  This state stands to receive more than five billion dollars for repairing its roads, bridges and water systems.  The Iowa representative says there could also be funding for protection against floods and other extreme weather.  Axne was present at the White House while the huge bill was signed.  She says 100-year floods are coming too often in Iowa and farmers are facing droughts that impact their yields.  The infrastructure bill includes almost 50-billion dollars for climate resilience projects nationwide.




Family Members Of Victim Travel Hundreds Of Miles To Attend Murder Trial

(Sigourney, IA)  —  The family members of a murder victim have traveled hundreds of miles to attend the Iowa trial for the man accused of killing him.  Investigators say Michael Williams was beaten, then strangled to death, then his body was left burning in a ditch in southeast Iowa.  Steven Vogel is on trial in Keokuk County facing charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.  Williams’ relatives say his death was a hate crime, but it’s not being prosecuted that way.  Investigators say jealousy was the motivator.  Closing arguments are to be given this morning.




Iowa Pharmacies Struggle To Hire Technicians

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The problem isn’t new, but it’s getting worse.  Iowa pharmacies say they are still struggling to hire technicians.  Walgreens has raised its pay to 15-dollars an hour and it is now offering bonuses as it tries to hire and retain staff members.  The Iowa Pharmacy Association says it may be a combination of where we are in the pandemic and the burnout that nearly all health care providers are experiencing.  There’s little reason to think it’s going to get better soon because enrollment is down at pharmacy schools.