Home News Thursday News, March 3rd

Thursday News, March 3rd


Body Recovered From Cherokee County Rural Farm Pond

(Cherokee) — An ice fisherman was reported missing at a Cherokee County rural farm pond on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 1:33 p.m.  The report of the missing individual was received by the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.  At approximately 2:16 p.m. a body was recovered from the water and pronounced dead at the scene.  The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Cherokee Fire Department, Aurelia Fire Department, Cherokee Emergency Management, Cherokee Police Department, Cherokee Regional Medical Center and Wings Rescue.  Also assisting with the recovery of the body from the pond waters were the Buena Vista County Dive Team and the Plymouth County Dive Team.  The identity of the individual will be released at a later time due to pending family notifications.




Le Mars City Council Hears City’s Financial Report

(Le Mars) — Le Mars City Council heard a financial report regarding the city’s financial position from Chad Regnier with Williams and Company.  Regnier offered the report during Tuesday’s city council meeting.  The auditing official says the city has a “healthy fund balance” and that the city did not go over budget in any category.  Regnier says the city has enough funds in reserve to operate at least 187 days before needing to collect additional revenues from taxes and fees.  The city council also approved the levy rate of $11.90 for the upcoming fiscal year budget of $23,763,159.  Expenses for the next fiscal year which will begin on July 1st is estimated at $23,692,677 giving the city a financial cushion of $70,482 between expected revenue and expenses. A date of March 15th has been set for the public hearing regarding the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.  The city council also approved the grant application through the Land and Water Conservation fund with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which, if awarded, the city will collect $125,000 that will be used to help fund the Plywood Recreational Trail.  Leslie Bartholomew appeared before the city council on behalf of the Plywood Trail Association requesting the city to approve the grant application.

Councilman Mike Donlin asked if there is a final date that has been established with the completion of the recreational trail between Le Mars and Merrill?  Bartholomew informed the city council that due to some recent accidents involving semi trucks and trailers at Merrill and the damage caused, Godberson-Smith Construction Company, the contractor responsible for installing the Plywood Trail bridge on the north end of Merrill will be delayed with some of their construction.

The city council also discussed the Central Avenue overlay project. They decided that although submitted bids for the project were considerably higher than what was originally estimated, the council decided to proceed with Steve Harris Construction company bid of $1,272,331.  The estimate for the overlay project was calculated at $913,756.  The city had received four different bids for the Central Avenue overlay project ranging from $1.2 million to $1.9 million dollars.




City Council Approves Primebank Easter Egg Hunt

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars City Council gave their approval for the Primebank Annual Easter Egg hunt which will take place at Cleveland Park on Saturday, April 9th.  The event is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.




Dordt University Kicks Off $90 Million Dollar Capital Campaign

(Sioux Center) — Dordt University of Sioux Center has announced a $90 million dollar capital campaign.  Referring to the capital campaign as “Planting for the Future” officials hope to secure the funds by the end of 2023.  John Baas (Boss) serves as the Vice President of Advancement with Dordt University. He calls the capital campaign as a “comprehensive campaign” and says the capital campaign will focus on three specific areas of development.

Baas offers an explanation of the Innovative Programs category.

Baas talks about the financial goals concerning the “Living In Christian Community” category.

The Dordt University Vice President says the third category involves the construction of a new indoor athletic facility that will be shared with the city of Sioux Center and Sioux Center High School.

Baas says through discussions with the university’s lead donors, the college has already been able to raise, or have pledged, nearly $70 million of the $90 million dollar capital campaign.

Baas says some construction has already started from the capital campaign.




Trans Athlete Bill on Way to Governor

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Senate has voted to send Governor Kim Reynolds a bill that would prohibit transgender women and girls from competing in female sports. The ban includes K-through-12 schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities. Republicans say the bill is meant to protect Title Nine protections for girls and women in sports. But Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says the Biden White House has directed federal agencies to include transgender athletes under Title Nine. The bill passed by a vote of 31 to 17 with only Republicans voting in favor.




Food Delivery Bill Passes Iowa House

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa House has passed a bipartisan bill that puts new restrictions on food delivery services. The bill requires delivery companies to enter into an agreement with a restaurant before they could advertise and deliver the restaurant’s food. Delivery drivers would have to keep food at a certain temperature, not smoke or vape when food is in the car, and not have kids or pets with them when delivering food. Restaurants would have to put the food in “tamper-resistant” containers because studies found more than one-fourth of drivers sample the food. The bill now goes to the Senate.




Avian Flu Found in Non-Commercial Flock

(Des Moines, IA) – A non-commercial flock of chickens and ducks at a home in Pottawattamie County has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, or H-P-A-I. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, along with the federal U-S-D-A, confirmed the finding Wednesday. Officials say there are currently no human cases of avian flu in the U-S, and that poultry products remain safe to eat. They recommend that poultry and eggs be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees to kill off any viruses or bacteria. Signs of H-P-A-I include sudden increase in bird deaths without any clinical signs, decreased egg production, lack of energy and appetite, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, and stumbling or falling down.




Iowa House Passes “Cashless” Sports Betting Bill

(Des Moines, IA) — “Cashless” wagering would be allowed at Iowa casinos under legislation that’s cleared the State House. Representative Shannon Lundgren, a Republican from Peosta, says many people now have digital wallets on their smartphones and do not carry cash. She says the cashless e-wagering system allows someone to set a time limit and an amount, and once they’re used up they’d have to wait for a period of time to reload it. But fellow Republican Sandy Salmon from Janesville says the bill makes the availability and access to gambling so much easier, thus increasing its danger and addictive power. The bill passed on a 71-to-28 vote and goes to the Senate for consideration.




Iowa AG Joins TikTok Investigation

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has joined a nationwide investigation into TikTok.  The group of attorneys general is examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws.  TikTok has been accused of providing and promoting its social media platform to children and young adults while its use is associated with physical and mental health harm.  Miller has expressed concern in the past about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Iowa’s youngest residents.  The investigation will look into the harm caused and what TikTok knew about the possible problems.




Park Rangers Union Calls On Governor To Stop Evictions

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The union that represents Iowa park rangers is calling on the governor and Legislature to overrule the eviction notices sent to state employees who have been living in state-owned homes in 23 state parks.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it’s too expensive to do repairs and maintenance on the housing – so they have been told they have to move out by the end of November.  The D-N-R has ended negotiations over the evictions.  The union says the move is a violation of the workers’ contracts because the housing subsidy was part of their compensation.




Ernst Backs Bipartisan Effort To Help In Battle Against African Swine Fever

(Washington, DC)  —  U-S Senator Joni Ernst is backing a bipartisan effort to help in the battle against African Swine Fever.  The Iowa Republican is working with Democratic U-S Senator Raphael Warnock on reinforcement of training for the so-called “Beagle Brigade.”  Those dogs sniff out cargo for unauthorized meat, animal byproducts, fruit, and vegetables that could carry potential diseases and pests onto U-S soil.  A case of bird flu was just confirmed in Iowa today (Wednesday).  Ernst says the Beagle Brigade is a key tool as inspectors detect serious diseases at the nation’s ports and border crossings.




One Of Teens Accused Of Murdering Their Spanish Teacher Wants Public Banned From Court

(Fairfield, IA)  —  One of the two teens accused of murdering their Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School is asking the judge to ban the public from a hearing.  W-H-O Television reports lawyers for 16-year-old Jeremy Goodale are telling the judge the testimony at a hearing later this month will include confidential information.  They say that would hinder Goodale’s ability to be judged by an impartial jury.  Teacher Nohema Graber’s body was found in a Fairfield city park in November.  She had suffered a fatal head injury.  Goodale and 16-year-old Willard Miller are seeking to have their first-degree murder case moved to juvenile court.