Home News Tuesday News, May 17

Tuesday News, May 17



The Le Mars city council this afternoon set a public hearing next month for an ordinance which regulates vacant buildings.  Mayor Rob Bixenman and the Main Street Committee have been working on the ordinance, which would cover buildings in the Le Mars Downtown Historic District.  These would include buildings along Central Avenue North, 1st Street NE, and Plymouth Street.  A public hearing on the ordinance will take place during the city council’s June 7 meeting.

The council also approved submitting a grant application for a COPS Hiring Program grant.  The grant would provide funding directly to Le Mars Police to increase policing and crime prevention.  Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte told the council he intends to increase staffing levels from the current 15 officers.  He would also use the grant, if approved, to open a detective position on the police force.  The funding, through the U.S. Department of Justice, would provide up to 125-thousand dollars per officer for three years.  The city would be responsible for a fourth year on the force.


The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today approved applications for three residential developments in rural Plymouth County. One is a third lot in the Roder Minor Addition in Fredonia Township, northeast of Le Mars. The second is an acreage near the southeast corner of Sioux Township. The Third site is in Marian Township, on Polk Avenue.
The Supervisors also approved applications for Business Property Tax Credits for 2022.
The Iowa Utilities Board notified the Supervisors four groups were identified as intervenors in the Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Project, which is proposed to traverse the county. The four entities include the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water system, the Sierra Club, and BOLD Iowa. All have established to the utilities board a substantial interest in the proposed pipeline.



What would a Tulip Festival be without Tulips?  In Orange City, the tulip beds are in great shape for the celebration this weekend.

Keri Drescher designs the city’s tulip beds.  There was a concern that the harsh winter would cause trouble for the tulips, but that turned out not to be the case.

The weekend weather will turn cooler, but that’s OK for the tulips.

Keri has to be careful in designing  the city’s tulip beds

The harsh winter weather has affected some of the types of bulbs planted for this year’s Festival.  Three varieties of lily bulbs usually do well, but weather conditions this winter hampered two of them.

Keri Drescher and her husband, Dan, run a seasonal business selling tulip bulbs, and this is their busiest week.

While the Dreshers are extremely busy this week, it’s an enjoyable experience.

Keri says customers have their tulip preferences, but she wants to make sure they know the level of care needed for each type of bulb.

This week, the Dreschers will fill tulip orders that will be sent this fall to customers all over the United States.

The Dreschers moved to Orange City before the pandemic, and Keri says their tulip business helps make them part of the community.



A Hawarden man was arrested Sunday on a variety of charges.  49 year old Jamie Arens, was charged with burglary, theft, trespassing, and driving with a suspended license. The arrest came as the result of a joint investigation between the Sioux and Plymouth County Sheriffs Departments. Arens was suspected of being involved in criminal activity.  This investigation led to a search warrant served on Arens’ residence south of Hawarden.  Additional charges are pending in Plymouth County.  The suspect is held in the Sioux County Jail.



The invasive insect that kills ash trees has been detected in all but eight Iowa counties.

State officials have confirmed the emerald ash borer has been found in Dickinson and Humboldt Counties for the first time. Mike Kintner, the emerald ash borer coordinator for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says emerald ash borer larvae was found just outside of Arnolds Park after getting a tip from a professional who works in the landscaping industry.

The destructive beetles were also found outside of Dakota City. In addition to woodpecker activity, Kintner says a thinning leaf canopy at the top of an ash tree is a clue because the insects attack the top third of the tree first and then progress downward.

Kintner says if you have an ash tree on your property and you live within 15 miles of a confirmed emerald ash borer infestation, now is the time to consider whether you’ll start treating the tree.

There’s a link on www.radioiowa.com to the state’s list of confirmed emerald ash borer infestations. The pest was first discovered in the United States in 2002, in southeast Michigan. It was confirmed in Iowa eight years later. Eight Iowa counties have not yet identified emerald ash borer infestations, including Plymouth, Woodbury, and Osceola in northwest Iowa.



The 8th U-S Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Iowa schools can require masks for students with disabilities.  The decision was announced Monday vacates the preliminary injunction on a law that banned schools from requiring masks.  Governor Kim Reynolds signed the law last year.  A group of parents with 11 children with disabilities filed the suit to block the enforcement of the law last September.



The Sioux City Human Rights Commission is working to educate tenants about their housing rights. The commission hosted a fair housing workshop Monday night to help renters advocate for themselves. Commission director Karen Mackey says it’s especially important now to understand your rights as the competitive housing market is leading Iowa tenants to accept worse treatment. The Iowa Finance Authority reports that more than 40 percent of renters spend a third of their income on housing. Mackey says that leaves many Iowans vulnerable to eviction and discrimination.



Due to low runoff into the Missouri River basin, the U-S Army Corps of Engineers predicts power production from the six main stem dams will be about 77 percent of normal this year. Electricity from the dams is distributed through the Western Area Power Administration, where spokeswoman Lisa Meiman says despite the hydropower shortage, they will meet power demand. She says if they don’t have enough hydropower to meet contractual obligations, they’ll “purchase power from other providers to make up the difference.” The hydropower is supplied to Montana, North and South Dakota, and parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska.



Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign a bill into law today  that establishes an Iowa Renewable Fuels Mandate. Legislators provided some exceptions for small gas stations and those that have older equipment — however, most Iowa gas stations with storage tanks and pumping systems that can handle higher blends of ethanol will have to offer E-15 from at least one pump by the year 2026. New gas stations that open after January First of 2023 will have to sell E-15 from at least half of their dispensers. Governor Reynolds first proposed the concept last year and, after changes, it got bipartisan approval in the legislature this spring — with 123 legislators voting for it. One critic said forcing a business to sell a product violates the principles of free enterprise. Backers designed the bill to boost sales of soybean-based biodiesel as well.