DUNN PLEA AGREEMENT
The former Police Chief of Kingsley has filed a tentative plea agreement in Plymouth County District Court.
James Dunn was originally charged with 19 counts of misuse of law enforcement data files to seek information on an ex-girlfriend, her current boyfriend, and his roommate.
Under the plea agreement filed Friday, Dunn agreed to plead guilty to six counts of unauthorized dissemination of intelligence data, all felony counts, and three counts of misconduct in office, which are aggravated misdemeanors. Charges of stalking, and misdeanor counts of unauthorized dissemination of criminal history data were dropped under this tentative agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Dunn court face up to five years in prison and fines of up to ten-thousand dollars on each felony count, and up to a year in jail and a fine on each misdemeanor count.
The next court date for Dunn is November 3.
ELECTION ABSENTEE BALLOTS
Voters can obtain absentee ballots for the November 7, 2023 combined City/School Elections beginning Wednesday, October 18. Form are available in the Auditor’s Office at the Plymouth County Courthouse during regular business hours of 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. They can be cast in person until Monday, November 6th until 5 pm.
Absentee ballots may be mailed to voters from October 18th to October 23rd per Iowa law and must be requested in writing. Forms are available at the Plymouth County Auditor’s Office or at www.plymouthcountyiowa.gov or can be obtained from the Iowa Secretary of State website. Completed absentee ballot request forms can be dropped off or mailed to the Auditor’s office at 215 4th Ave. SE, Le Mars, IA 51031 and a ballot will be mailed to you.
Voters are required to complete the absentee ballot request form, with either an Iowa Driver’s License number, a Non-operator ID number or a 4-digit voter PIN number if the voter does not have an ID.
Voters requesting an absentee ballot to be mailed to them must have the request form to the Auditor’s office no later than 5 pm on Monday, October 23rd, as that is the last day absentee ballots can be mailed out to voters. The Auditor’s office provides the postage for all absentee ballots returned by mail.
GOVERNOR CELEBRATES LEGISLATION
Governor Kim Reynolds celebrated passage of new state laws with a crowd a supporters this weekend. She listed the state funded Education Savings Accounts for private school students she approved in January as well as the six week abortion ban she signed this summer. Another law prohibits schools from giving students access to books that contain graphic depictions or descriptions of sex acts. Starting January 1st, educators face sanctions if they violate the law. Reynolds held her annual campaign fundraiser at the state fairgrounds Saturday. The keynote speaker was Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer, who has become an advocate for banning transgender athletes from women’s sports. Early last year, Governor Reynolds signed a bill that bans transgender students from participating in girl’s and women’s sports in Iowa universities, colleges and K-through-12 schools. Progress Iowa, a liberal advocacy group, criticized Reynolds last Wednesday on National Coming Out Day, saying she has signed laws that harm L-G-B-T-Q Iowans.
There has been at least an area of moderate drought somewhere in Iowa for the past 172 weeks. This is the longest period of moderate drought in Iowa since the U-S Drought Monitor was launched in 1999. Thursday’s Drought Monitor shows Iowa, Louisiana and Mississippi as the only states with at least 95 percent of the state in moderate drought. State climatologist Justin Glisan says widespread rain last week is by no means a drought buster, but it will allow for some improvement in this week’s drought map.
RAILROAD CROSSING PROJECT
Work continues on a railroad safety project in downtown Le Mars.
Dakin Schultz, Iowa DOT District 3 transportation planner, says new safety features are being installed at the Union Pacific rail crossing at Plymouth Street.
Construction has been underway for a couple of weeks now, and it enters a new phase today.
Schultz says there is a history of accidents at the crossing area.
One of the features of the projects are structures to direct the flow of traffic through the crossing.
The project will remove parking lot access from Plymouth Street to the grocery store next door.
Iowa Highway 3 traffic has been detoured along 1st Street, between Business 75 and Iowa 3 to the east. Schultz says, weather permitting, the work will continue until November 3.
FATAL ACCIDENT VICTIMS IDENTIFIED
A Le Mars woman was among two victims who died in a motor vehicle accident in Sioux City Friday night. Sioux City Police say 51-year-old Terry Alan Frisbie of Sioux City and 50-year-old Judith Lee Jordan of Le Mars died when the Ford Fusion they were in was struck by a Ford Expedition in the intersection of 6th and Wesley Parkway around 9:10 p.m. Friday.
Investigators say the Ford Expedition was traveling westbound on 6th at a high rate of speed and ran a red light.
The S-U-V then struck the Ford Fusion, which was traveling northbound on Wesley Parkway.
Both vehicles left the roadway and struck a traffic signal pole.
Frisbie and Jordan were fatally injured in the crash.
The driver of the Expedition fled the scene of the crash on foot.
He voluntarily came to the police department on Saturday and is cooperating with officers in the investigation.
His name has not been released as no charges had been filed as of Sunday night.
SIOUX CENTER POLICE ARREST LE MARS MAN
A Le Mars man was arrested early Sunday morning by Sioux Center Police after a crash in a road construction zone. The Sioux County Sheriffs Office was called in to assist the investigation into a motor vehicle accident that occurred on U.S. 75 and 13th St SE in Sioux Center. 19 year old Misael Lopez Arcos was driving an SUV south bound on 75 when police attempted to stop him for traffic violations. Arcos fled in the vehicle, and struck a construction sign, drove through the construction zone where the pavement was removed, and struck an embankment. Arcos fled on foot and was arrested by Sioux Center Police officers. No injuries were reported. Arcos was transported to the Sioux County jail. Damage to Arcos’ vehicle was estimated at 10-thousand dollars.
LE MARS DRIVER INJURED NEAR HAWARDEN
Friday evening, a crash near Hawarden injured the driver. 63 year old Lim Mabior of Le Mars was driving south on Cherry Avenue when he swerved to avoid a deer on the roadway, lost control and entered a ditch and rolled. The Sioux County Sheriffs Office says Mabior was transported to Hawarden Regional Health. He was cited for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. Damage to the vehicle, a 2009 Infinity, was estimated at 10-thousand dollars.
DAIRY PROGRAM AT RISK
U-S Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says if congress fails to at least extend the current Farm Bill by year’s end, key programs — including one for dairy farmers — expire.
The Dairy Margin Protection Program was created in the 2018 Farm Bill. It provides payments to farmers when the cost of the milk they sell falls below the cost of production. There are over 800 dairy farms operating in Iowa today. Vilsack says the likely scenario is that the House and Senate will eventually vote to keep the 2018 Farm Bill policies in place until a new Farm Bill is developed.
Vilsack says the big stumbling block in negotiations on the 2023 Farm Bill has been whether to raise what are called “reference prices” for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton to account for rising production costs. Those reference prices are used to calculate federal crop subsidies. Vilsack says it would cost 20 BILLION dollars over the next decade if those reference prices for corn and other commodities are hiked in the next Farm Bill.