RED FLAG WARNING
A Red Flag Warning has been issued today until 8 pm.
Warning was issued by the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, and includes Plymouth County, and the rest of northwest Iowa to the north and east. It also includes parts of southeast South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. North winds will blow 20 to 30, gusting to 40 miles per hour. Humidities will be as low as 20 percent. This will create dangerous conditions for the spread of fire. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. The National Weather Service says outdoor burning is not recommended.
The former police chief of Kingsley will stand trial on stalking and misconduct charges involving his ex-girlfriend, the woman’s current boyfriend and his roommate. James Dunn will stand trial July 11th in Plymouth County District Court on 19 total charges, including seven felony counts of unauthorized dissemination of intelligence history data, two felony counts of stalking with a dangerous weapon, seven counts of unauthorized dissemination of criminal history data, which are aggravated misdemeanors, and three counts of non-felonious misconduct in office, which are serious misdemeanors. A plea hearing which was scheduled yesterday was cancelled after attorneys involved in the case informed the court that no plea agreement had been reached. Dunn resigned as police chief of Kingsley after being placed on administrative leave earlier this year.
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors this morning approved a salary resolution for the next fiscal year. This resolution covers employees of county elected officials. The salary levels are set at a percentage of the elected officials salary, plus a longevity payment. The county attorney, sheriff, recorder, auditor and treasurer hae the discretion to set salaries for their employees. The combined employees pay ranges from 60-thousand to 120-thousand dollars.
SEWER RATE INCREASE
A public hearing will be held later this month before the Le Mars City council concerning an increase in sewer rates. The Public Utilities Committees recommend the city increase rates because of increased costs due to inflation, an aging treatment facility, and debt service for the recently implemented UV Project. They propose a 10 percent increase for all classes of use, The minimum charge would increase from 8 dollars, 51 cents per month to 9 dollars, 36 cents per month. A public hearing to consider approval of the rate increase is to be held Monday, May 16. If approved, the new rates would take effect in July.
The Iowa legislature has unanimously approved a bill that requires K-through-12 schools to have discipline policies for students who are violent or disruptive. Senator Lynn Evans, a Republican from Aurelia, is a former superintendent.
In March, the House voted to require in-school suspensions ANY time a student is removed from a classroom due to violent behavior. Last month, the Senate adjusted the bill giving schools more latitutde, but requiring esalating discipline for students who are disruptive or violent. The House has now approved those changes and sent the bill to the governor. Representative Brook Boden, a Republican from Indianola, says lawmakers are responding to teachers, support staff, parents and administrators.
The bill will allow educators to report incidents of classroom violence or the destruction of school property to the State Ombudsman for investigation. Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat from Mason City, is a retired teacher who suggests the bill is a good first step to addressing the problem.
Senator Molly Donahue, a Democrat, is a teacher from Cedar Rapids who urged her peers to back the bill.
A report from the Iowa Department of Education indicates there were nearly two-thousand assaults in Iowa schools during the last school year. Over 11-hundred incidents of property damage were reported.
HARDWARE HANK SALE
A downtown Le Mars business will be changing hands. Hardware Hank in Le Mars will be acquired by the Kopetsky and King families which own and operate Orange City Ace Hardware and Kopetsky’s Ace Hardware in Yankton, South Dakota. Scott and Lisa Pageler have owned and operated Hardware Hank since 2010.
Kopetsky’s Ace Hardware is known for it’s quality, service, and convenience. It was recently honored as one of the top performing stores in the company chain. They bring a stronger, more diverse line of products, and they are also known for their commitment to the community. They plan to continue to support local organizations and events.
The Kopetskys have been in Yankton since 1975. They opened an Orange City store in 2016, and later brought on Don and Miranda King as partners.
Scott and Lisa Pageler remain in business in Le Mars. Scott will continue his flooring business, to be renamed Envision Floorings. He will soon add the Mobile Flooring Showroom. Lisa will continue at 1st Choice Realty, where she has been for 34 years.
BOMB POP CANDY CLASH
Bomb Pop is introducing a new flavor for the summer. It’s called Candy Clash. Senior Brand Manager Alnese Thomas says three candy flavors – Blue Raspberry, Strwawberry and Watermelon, are being combined. It’s still shaped like the Bomb Pop rocket. But it’s mixing some iconic summer flavors, too. The Le Mars-based firm is combining three flavors into one ice pop. It’s still a Bomb Pop – the treat shaped like a rocket, The treat has already been released nationwide.
The Iowa legislature is planning to spend an extra 750-thousand dollars to prepare for a possible outbreak of African Swine Fever. Representative Norlin Mommsen of DeWitt says the virus, which causes severe bleeding and death, has killed pigs in the Caribbean Islands.
The Senate has already approved a budget for the Iowa Department of Agriculture that includes 250-thousand dollars toward development of a vaccine and 250-thousand dollars to buy equipment to euthanize pigs. Mommsen says it ensures state officials could quickly respond at the first report of an Iowa herd getting African Swine Fever.
The House is expected to approve the budget bill this week. It includes another 250-thousand dollar boost to the state’s program for responding to an outbreak of a foreign animal disease.
According to the Iowa Pork Producers Association, on a typical day there are about 24 million hogs in Iowa. African Swine Fever is not a threat to humans, but once a pig is infected it is highly contagious to other pigs — and the mortality rate is 95 percent.
Republicans in the legislature have settled on a more than two BILLION dollar Health and Human Services budget that boosts state funding for nursing homes, mental health care and treatment for substance abuse. Senate Republicans have approved the bill and Senator Mark Costello, a Republican from Imogene, says the plan has the backing of the agency and House Republicans. Democrats in the Senate voted against it, arguing the state should provide a pay boost to those who provide in-home care for disabled Iowans AND spend more on the state’s child care assistance program. Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says the budget fails the working poor. Other Democrats called for extending post-pregnancy care for women enrolled in Medicaid, to try to reduce the state’s high maternal death rate.
Farmers spent a lot of time in the field last week and the percentage of soybeans planted more than tripled and corn wasn’t far behind. The U-S-D-A report says percentage of beans planted went from five to 16 percent last week. Corn planting hit 29 percent — compared to ten percent the previous week. The planting of both of the state’s two key crops is now eleven days ahead of last year and one day ahead of the five-year average. The downside to the cool, dry weather is it is delaying the emergence of the seeds from the soil.