Home News Tuesday News, June 21

Tuesday News, June 21


Three lower court judges and two attorneys have applied for the upcoming vacancy on the Iowa Supreme Court. The five are hoping to move to the Supreme Court when Justice Brent Appel retires on July 13th. The State Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled interviews for each applicant — which will start Monday, June 27th.
Third Judicial District Chief Juge Patrick Tott of Sioux City; Ames attorney Timothy Gartin; Des Moines attorney William Miller; First Judicial District Court Judge Alan Heavens, of Garnavillo; and Iowa Court of Appeals Judge David May of Polk City round out the slate of applicants.
The commission will select three of the five after the interviews to forward to Governor Kim Reynolds. Reynolds then has 30 days to make her nomination.


The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau recently honored Plymouth County Sheriffs Deputy JC Vander Berg and Le Mars Police Officer Bob Rohmiller for their contributions to public safety.

Deputy Vander Berg was nominated for her commitment to traffic safety and service beyond routine duties in 2021. She made 122 arrests, most of those related to possession of illegal drugs and operating while intoxicated.

Officer Rohmiller received the Regional Outstanding Performance Award for northwest Iowa. Rohmiller is a trained Drug Recognition Expert, or DRE, and logged some 36 drug influence evaluations in 2021.


Today is the first day of summer and the continued hot, windy conditions are raising fears of flash droughts in Iowa and across the region. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says we’ve been seeing elevated temperatures for a few weeks already and that heat may soon start impacting Iowa corn and soybeans.

A flash drought is the rapid onset or intensification of drought, brought on by all of the conditions we’re seeing. Todey says it can appear — and spread — very fast.

The latest climate outlooks show warmer temperatures across Iowa and much of the Northern Plains into September. Soil moisture, he notes, is being depleted rapidly due to the hot, windy weather.


Ten million Americans camped for the first time during the height of the pandemic according to Campgrounds America. With the popularity of R-V campgrounds growing, a city in one of Iowa’s tourism hot spots is reviewing its zoning rules for R-V parks. Okoboji City Administrator Michael Meyers says R-V camping is currently allowed in his city’s commercial district along the Highway 71 corridor.

Making property use conditional in a commercial zone gives Okoboji residents a chance to provide input.

Okoboji’s Planning and Zoning Commission will meet soon to consider these changes, which would ultimately have to be approved by Okoboi’s City Council. According to the R-V industry, more than 50 new campgrounds and R-V parks opened this summer in the United States.


The impeachment trial of South Dakota’s attorney general is underway in the non-air-conditioned state Senate chamber. The House of Representatives voted in April to impeach Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg after he hit and killed a man who was walking along U.S. 14 in September 2020. Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to a pair of minor driving infractions and has refused calls to resign. It will take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict Ravnsborg and remove him from office.


The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors meets this morning at 9 am.  They will discuss payment of an invoice from a culvert project carried out by a landowner on county-owned land at 240th street near Iowa Highway 12. The board will also take action on a couple of subdivision plats in Marion and America townships.



The Le Mars city council meets in regular session today.  The council will set a public hearing for a project to replace pavement at the intersection of Hawkeye Ave and 12th St SW.  Another public hearing will be set for a plan to install an ultraviolet disinfection system at the city’s waste treatment plant.  This is to be done to meet Iowa DNR compliance with waste treatment standards. These improvements carry an estimated cost of 4.8 million dollars.  The council will also continue discussion on a vacant building ordinance.  At their last meeting, a motion to pass first reading of the ordinance failed for lack of a second.  The ordinance has been rewritten, and will be presented to the council today, and may possibly act on setting a public hearing on the ordinance.



Medical staff at Floyd Valley Health reported to the board that there are some shortages of some medications, but it’s not disrupting operations.  This is CEO Dustin Wright…

Wright says hospitals in the state, including Floyd Valley Health, are not short of infant formula, but the retail sector will continue to see tight supplies in the short term.

Inpatient numbers are down, and outpatient numbers are up at Floyd Valley Health in Le Mars.  Wright says their latest statistics appear to indicate covid infections are lower.



The Sioux County Sheriff’s Department reports three juvenile girls were cited for drug offenses last Friday.  The charges were the result of a report made to the sheriffs department on Thursday evening.  Parents told the sheriffs department they had transported their 14 year old daughter to Orange City Health for a possible drug overdose.  An investigation revealed that three 14 year olds had used THC edibles and TCH vapes at a residence in Maurice.  Once the girl was released from Orange City Health, she was charged with providing the substances to others.  The other two were cited for possession of a controlled substance.



More dairy farmers are installing automated systems on their farms, including robot milking equipment. Megan Hettinga, Executive Director of the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance says cows have adapted to the robotic equipment.

One robot milker can handle up to 60 cows.  Hettinga says robotic milkers are an answer to labor shortages, and also allow dairy producers to concentrate on other things in their operations.



Iowa food banks say they are struggling to keep up with the increased demand at the same time pandemic aid is ending and donations are drying up.  Food Bank of Siouxland Director Jacob Wanderscheid says his organization is getting only half as much food from U-S-D-A programs as it was last year.  Wanderscheid says the baskets they’re handing out will contain less food and hours of operation may have to be cut back.  He says the western Iowa food pantry is buying more food to try to fill the cap, but inflation means they’re spending 15-percent more for those products.



A new permanent entrance is being opened at Eppley Airfield later this week.  The entrance will be located off Abbott drive and provide access to the terminal, south garage, south economy parking lot, and south cell phone lot.  The Omaha Airport Authority says the entrance will replace the current temporary entrance put in place during construction.  The new entrance will open Wednesday.