Home News Tuesday News, April 12

Tuesday News, April 12



A former sheriffs deputy has pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft and burglary.

Aaron Leusink entered his pleas this (Tuesday) morning in Plymouth County District Court.  He was to go on trial before judge Roger Sailer today, but the pleas cancelled the trial.

As part of a plea agreement, Leusink pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary, all felonies, one count of felonious misconduct while in office, and five misdemeanors, including one count of possession of prescription drugs and four counts of theft.  Judge Roger Sailer accepted the pleas, and ordered a presentence investigation.

Leusink was arrested in September, 2020, by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. They investigated a series of pharmacy thefts in Plymouth County that dated back to 2017.  At the time, Leusink was a deputy with the Plymouth County Sheriffs Department.  He was fired in April of that year.

Sentencing for Leusink will be June 10.


The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors met today.
The Board approved a 3 year lease for office space for Sioux Rivers Mental Health.
The agency serves six counties, including Plymouth, and seeks to have an office presence in each. The Plymouth County location will be staffed by Sharon Neiman, who is the county representative for Sioux Rivers. She is also the Regional Childrens Behavioral Health Service Coordinator.
County Engineer THomas Rohe brought several contracts for bridge replacement projects in the county. Three wooden bridges – two south of Remsen, and one northeast of Kingsley, will be replaced by concrete culverts. The Supervisors approved contracts for the three projects, at a combined cost of 552-thousand dollars.
The Supervisors also approved a permit for Northwest REC to extend electric service to a site in America Township on Key Ave. This is the site of a Loves Travel Stop. Site work at that location will begin soon.


The Le Mars Community School Board adopted a new budget for fiscal year 2022-23.

The new operating budget is 27.5 million dollars, up from 26.7 million in the current fiscal year.

Superintendant Dr Steve Webner says the budget reflects the financial health of the school district, and of the broader community.

Property valuations are up, and that will result in a lower tax levy for property owners.



This year, district officials designed a status quo budget, just in case economic conditions do not improve.


There is one capitol project on the books – a final payment for the stadium renovation project. In 2024, there will be a study of future building needs.  Dr. Webner anticipates a close look at facilities at Clark Elementary.

Final approval of the LeMars School District budget will take place at the next Board meeting, on April 19.


A Sioux County man was sentenced to prison, after pleading guilty to two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
Damian Lynn Schouten, 30, of Boyden, was charged last September. Two women, one Schouten’s former wife, stepped forward in June, 2021, reporting they had been sexually assaulted by the defendant. These incidents occured in 2015, 2018, and last year.
Schouten was sentenced to an indeterminate 4 year prison term. His term will begin in May.


The Le Mars Community School District Board gave approval to the official final day of school…Thursday, May 26.
Superintendant Dr. Steve Webner says the Board actually puts in more hours of instruction than are required by state regulations.

Inclement weather cancelled some 18 hours of instruction this year, and the board decided to build some of those hours back into the end of the school year.

Teachers will have an extra work day, too, meeting on Friday, May 27.


President Biden will visit an Iowa ethanol plant today to highlight steps to expand the use of “homegrown” biofuels.
He’s also expected to announce that the E-P-A will issue a waiver so E-15 — gasoline with a 15 percent ethanol blend — can be sold nationwide all year long.
Under current regulations, E-15 cannot be sold in most of the country between June First and September 15th.
The leader of a trade association for the ethanol industry says this is welcome news for all American drivers seeking lower cost options at the pump.
The U-S-D-A is providing 100 million dollars in grants for installing or upgrading gas station equipment that can dispense gasoline with higher blends of ethanol and diesel with a higher concentration of a soybean-based additive.


Iowa is poised to adopt a program already operating in 18 states that’s designed to help deaf and hard of hearing children gain language skills, so they’re prepared to enter kindergarten. Joni Boone (JOhnnie) of Ankeny and her husband found out their daughter, Lena , was profoundly hard of hearing at birth and the child lost her hearing by the time she was six months old.


Lena Boone struggled to communicate in preschool, but she’s now five and her mother says Lena is thriving. Studies show many deaf or hard of hearing children do not learn communications skills like American Sign Language early enough and they enter kindergarten at a distinct disadvantage. The legislature has passed a bill to set up a mentoring program, so parents like Boone can help the parents of newborns and toddlers who’re diagnosed with hearing difficulties.


Boone’s father — and Lena’s grandfather — is Danny Carroll, a statehouse lobbyist who’s a former legislator. He was a leading advocate for passage of the bill. In addition to the parent mentoring program, it outlines the benchmarks toddlers and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing need to reach to be able to communicate.


Senator Ken Rozenboom (ROH-zen-boom) of Oskaloosa worked on the bill and he says state records indicate testing shows about 100 deaf or hard of hearing babies are born in Iowa each year.


Representative Sandy Salmon (SAM-mun) of Janesville says the bill is the product of years worth of work.


Representative Art Staed (like “stayed”) of Cedar Rapids notes the bill passed the House and Senate unanimously.


Governor Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law.