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News for Tuesday, November 1

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LE MARS COUNCIL

The Le Mars City council approved second reading of an amended ordinance setting up a veterans section in the city’s cemeteries. The council also waived third reading and adopted the amendment.
The council passed a motion to declare the YMCA Annex surplus property, and directed staff to proceed with demolition of the building. The council earlier tabled action, to give staff time to research potential uses for the building. Finding none, the city administration recommended demolition.
The Le Mars council also approved increasing the monthly solid waste collection rate to 6 dollars, 61 cents per unit.That’s an increase of 37 cents per month, a 5.9% increase. The new rate will take effect in January 2023.

SUPERVISORS
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors had several action items at their session this morning. The Supervisors appointed Tim Brown to replace Lisa Harris on the county conservation board, effective next January 1. The Board also approved a 600 dollars payment to the state’s county association. ISAC will work with Iowa State University to develop a joint Soil Compaction Project. This is in respond to soil compaction due to construction of wind generators and other infrastructure.

The Board approved the annual report from county Veterans Affairs Director Jim Jones. He says Plymouth County veterans benefits so far this year total just over a million dollars in benefits and back pay. Since 2018, that total is 2.8 million dollars.

The Board reviewed an insurance renewal proposal with agent Rob Bixenman. The total premium for 2022-23 is up nearly 25% from last year. Bixenman explained to the Supervisors that this is due to weather events, such as the recent Florida hurricane, and the affects of interest rates on the industry, premiums are rising. Total premiums, covering property, casualty, physical damages, and bonds, is 319-thousand dollars, up 63-thousand from last year. The county budgeted 250-thousand dollars for insurance coverage. The Supervisors received the report for information.

 

ROAD CLOSINGS

The Plymouth County Road Department says the Union Pacific Railroad Crossing on the east edge of Merrill is bring repaired, and that forces the closing of C44 to county road K42. Traffic will be detoured from C44 and Lake Ave north on Lake Ave to C38, west to US Highway 75, and then south on 75 to C44 at Merrill. The crossing is expected to be reopened on Thursday.

Also, the road department has closed Shamrock, from C-16 north one mile. They are replacing a wooden bridge with a culvert. The job should take about three weeks.

 

SIOUX CITY SHOOTER

There’s new information about the two people who were fatally shot, and the man accused of the crimes that took place early Saturday on Sioux City’s west side.
Sioux City police officers were called to 1421 West 5th Street around 2:15 AM for a report of a shooting.
Officers found two victims unresponsive on the kitchen floor with gunshot wounds.
One victim, 21 year old Carlos Aguirre of Sioux City, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other, 19 year old Anthony Williams, also of Sioux City, was taken to Mercyone, where he was pronounced dead.
The defendant, 19 year old Joseph Cruz of Sioux City, arrived at Unity Point Hospital around 2:40 AM with a gunshot wound to his leg.
Court documents state Cruz and Aguirre were friends who were having issues over firearms.
Aguirre could purchase firearms for Cruz, since the victim was of age and Cruiz wanted a gun that Aguirre had on his person. The two began right over the weapon.
Cruz allegedly took the firearms and fired several rounds, striking Aguirre twice and Williams, who is Cruz’s cousin, once.
Cruz was charged with two counts of 2nd degree murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapons causing serious injury, and willful injury, causing serious injury.
He is currently being held on 300-thousand dollars bond in the Woodbury County Jail.

 

PARKING ORDINANCE

November 1 means the city of Le Mars invokes its parking ordinance.  The city’s police and street departments are reminding residents that the Odd/Even Parking ordinance will be in effect to April first.  On street parking will alternate each day, depending on your street number.  The daily switch occurs at 6 pm each evening. The alternate parking rules are intended to aid street crews during snow removal.

 

EARLY VOTING

More than two-hundred thousand Iowans have already cast votes in this year’s General Election. The latest information on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website indicates county auditors have issued 273-thousand absentee ballots and 73 percent of those ballots have been returned. Here’s the party breakdown so far: about 55 percent of the early votes are from Democrats, 31 percent are from Republicans and most of the rest are from independents who list “no party” on their voter registration. Election officials say the window for mailing absentee ballots is closing, since absentee ballots must be in county auditors’ offices by 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 8th. You may drop absentee ballots off at county auditors’ offices or vote in-person at county election offices through November 7th.

 

CAR-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Interstate 29 in Monona County was shut down for several hours late Sunday night when a car-truck accident overturned a load of anhydrous ammonia.  The Iowa State Patrol says a car driven by Chad Miller, 43, of Edgerton, Minnesota, was traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-29.  Miller’s vehicle struck a truck driven by 58 year old Benjamin Wheeler of Fremont, Ohio.  The truck, hauling a load of anhydrous ammonia, overturned on the interstate.  Miller was injured in the crash, and take to Burgess Hospital for treatment.  A hazardous materials team was called out to remove the anhydrous, while an emergency detour was set up to divert traffic from the accident scene.

 

LYON COUNTY STABBING

Lyon County authorities were called Sunday night to a George residence, where a person had reportedly been staffed.  Officers found that the 24 year old victim had been stabbed numerous times.  The victim was transported to Avera Rock Rapids Hospital, and then was airlifted to Sioux Falls.  The incident is under investigation.

 

HOLIDAY SALES

You may have noticed some retailers began their holiday sales pitches well before Halloween, making October the start of the holiday shopping period. With inflation pumping up prices on everything from gas to groceries Anne Villamil (VIL-ah-mil), an economics professor at the University of Iowa, says many retailers are worried that increased costs will force consumers to limit their gift-giving.

In terms of holiday spending, Halloween is usually second only to Christmas, but candy prices were up 13-percent from a year ago, forcing some Iowans to leave their porch lights off, a sign for trick-or-treaters to stay away. Stores across Iowa will quickly replace the orange-and-black aisles with red-and-green, but Villamil can’t predict how merchants may fare in the holiday ahead.

Inflation rates will fall in the long run, she says, but the Federal Reserve will likely continue nudging rates up in the short-term to prod people into spending less, prompting prices to eventually fall.

National reports indicate Americans plan to spend about the same amount of money on holiday shopping this year as they did last year, but recognize that with inflation, it’ll mean fewer gifts under the tree.