Home News Wednesday News, April 13

Wednesday News, April 13



President Biden has taken a temporary step to ensure E-15 can be sold year-round.

Biden has directed the E-P-A to issue a temporary waiver of federal Clean Air Act rules, so E-15 may be sold during the summer months. Biden spoke about the decision to a crowd of invited guests inside an ethanol plant near Menlo Tuesday afternoon.

Biden says energy prices are the major driver of inflation right now.

Emily Skor is executive director of Growth Energy, a trade associaiton for ethanol producers. Skor says the president has made a committment to find a permanent fix.

Iowa Farm Bureau president Brent Johnson says ethanol is a major market for one of Iowa’s main crops and Biden’s announcement helps stabilize the ethanol industry.

In 2019, the Trump Administration moved to allow nationwide E-15 sales from June to mid-September. A federal judge ruled in favor of the oil industry’s challenge of that move and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. That means the litigation path for addressing this issue is closed and Skor says the industry is pursuing two options: E-P-A action or passage of a bill in congress.

Biden made the announcement in a storage barn for dried distillers grain — by by-product of ethanol production and hosts left a 300 ton pile of it inside for the event.. POET is the company that owns the facility Biden visited.
POET operates 33 ethanol plants in eight states.

The Iowa G-O-P purchased billboards on Biden’s route out of and back to the Des Moines Airport with messages about inflation and high gas prices. Republican office-holders issued written statements generally praising Biden’s move to promote E-15, but they raised other issues. Congresswoman Ashley Hinson called for more security at the southern border and Senator Chuck Grassley called it a crisis situation. Governor Reynolds issued a thank you to the president for what she described as welcome news on ethanol, but Reynolds said the Biden Administration has more to do to address high energy costs.



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 Tuesday 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 fourth and final person charged in the fatal 2021 New Year’s Day shootings in Sioux City now knows her fate.  21-year-old Liliana Gutierrez was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison — as part of a plea deal — for her role in the shootings, in which she drove three adult teens to a home in Sioux City’s Morningside neighborhood where a house party was underway. The three men — 18-year-old Anthony Bauer, 19-year-old Christopher Morales, and 18-year-old Carlos Morales — fired dozens of shots into the home, killing Mia Kritis and wounding three others. Bauer was sentenced to 50 years in prison, Christopher Morales 55 years, and Carlos Morales 50 years.




U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says it appears efforts to contain bird flu are working to prevent the outbreak from growing far worse.


Ernst says. In the massive bird flu outbreak in 2015, the virus spread among commercial operations. Officials from the U-S-D-A and the Iowa Department of Agriculture say it appears this year’s outbreak is being spread by wild birds that come into contact with backyard flocks and commercial poultry operations. Ernst says when a sick flock is detected, there’s a quick and coordinated response from federal, state and local officials.



Ernst met with poultry producers in Clarion Monday. Scientists believe this current strain of bird flu is similar to the virus that has been periodically circulating in Europe and Asia.


The outbreak of avian influenza among wild birds in America is far more extensive than it was seven years ago. The virus has been confirmed in 40 wild bird species in 30 states.