KINGSLEY MAN PLEADS GUILTY
A former Kingsley Police Chief has pleaded guilty to nine charges related to misconduct in office. Court documents filed last month indicate James Dunn reached an agreement with prosecutors, whereby he pleads guilty to six counts of unauthorized access to or dissemination of intelligence data, a class D felony, and three counts of misconduct in office, a serious misdemeanor. Dunn was initially charged with misusing law enforcement data bases to track a former girlfriend and two others. Plea taking and sentencing for Dunn is scheduled for December 11 in Plymouth County District Court.
SHAWN OLSON FOR LCSD BOARD
One of four candidates for Le Mars Community School Board, Shawn Olson is seeking election to an at-large seat.
Olson says he has a background in Technology, infrastructure and guidance that will fit in well with the board.
Olson says he is well-qualified to serve well as a board member.
Has no particular issues he’s bringing to the board.
While the school district is not directly connected to it, Olson says the city of Le Mars’ development plan is scary, in that it will put pressure on the school district to plan ahead for a large population increase.
That includes deciding what to do about current facilities. Two of the elementary buildings in Le Mars were built in the 1930s.
Olson also wants to promote better communication between parents and teachers and students.
Olson says multiple types of communication sources must be used to reach out to each other.
Olson says voters should cast their ballots for him because he’s a good fit for the board.
Olson is one of four candidates for two at large school board seats. The other candidates are Scott Eilts, Zach Lancaster and an incumbent, Kyle Plathe
LEWIS AND CLARK FUNDING
The Lewis and Clark Regional Water System is the recipient of 7 million dollars from Rural Water Funding under the President’s Investing in America Agenda. A total of 65 million dollars will be spread among six projects that are planned or under construction. These project funds are administered through the Bureau of Reclamation. This follows some 658 million dollars in spending under the infrastructure plan passed by the Congress. The $7 million for the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System will support expansion of the water treatment plant near Vermillion, South Dakota. Sioux Center, Hull, and Rock Rapids already get their water from Lewis and Clark which serves 20 member communities in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Three Iowa members, including Sioux Center, Hull, and Rock Rapids, are already connected to the system. Sheldon is expected to go online this month, and Sibley in 2025.
BIG CHALLENGE FINALISTS
Finalists have been chosen for The BIG Challenge, a grant competition for northwest Iowa entrepreneurs. Online voting resulted in the top three businesses chosen, and two more from a competition committee.
The five businesses include Melting Cow BBQ of Sioux City, Midwest Compost of Rock Valley, Blessed Abodes of Rock Rapids, Freedom Brew of Larchwood, and Onawa Dragway of Onawa.
The finalists will take part in a competition November 16 at the Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars. Each finalist will have six minutes to present ttheir business, followed by 5 minutes of questions and answers from a panel of judges. The top three winners will receive cash prizes.
The BIG Challenge event is free and open to the public. It’s sponsored by Northwest Iowa Development, Iowa’s West Coafst Initiative, and Siouxland Economic Development Corporation.
SCHUSTER COMPANY HONORED
A Le Mars trucking firm has received two awards from Tyson Foods. Schuster Company was named Premier Carrier of the Year and Midsize Carrier of the Year. Premier carriers handle a minimum of 15-hundred shipments and maintain a 97% on-time record. In the past year, Schuster delivered nearly 15-thousand shipments at a 98.5% on-time rate.
5 MILLION DOLLARS GRANT TO IOWA NON-PROFIT
An unusual phone message led to a five MILLION dollar grant for the Siouxland Community Health Center of Sioux City. Mari Kaptain-Dahlen, the C-E-O of the non-profit health center, says the initial call came in mid-September from a woman who would only talk to her.
The woman Kaptain-Dahlen was speaking with represents the Yield Giving Foundation — established by MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bazos (BAY-zohse). In the past three years, Scott has given away about half her fortune to non-profits around the world. Kaptain-Dahlen says this is how the foundation representative she spoke with in September announced the grant:
Last year, the Siouxland Community Health Center served 35-thousand patients who spoke 52 different languages. The center’s C-E-O credits the more than 350 people on staff and board members for embracing the non-profit’s mission.
Andrea Buckley, chair of the center’s board of directors, also spoke at Wednesday’s news conference.
Yield Giving’s website indicates the foundation has donated more than 14 BILLION dollars to over 16-hundred non-profits around the world so far and at least seven are located in Iowa.
IOWA AND MIDWEST ECONOMY “LIMPING ALONG”
Iowa’s economy saw a slight gain during October, while the Midwestern economy dipped, according to the monthly survey of business leaders and supply managers across the nine-state region. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the Business Conditions Index, a leading economic indicator for the Midwest, is measured on a zero-to-100 scale with 50 being growth neutral. The region’s economy slipped a full point, from 52-point-5 in September to 51-point-5 in October.
Iowa’s economy is just below growth neutral, meaning it’s shrinking, but did show a glimmer of growth, rising from 48-point-5 in September to 49-even in October. Goss says the survey quizzed supply managers on what they saw as the largest challenge facing the Midwestern economy in the months ahead.
The regional hiring gauge sank below growth neutral during October, as job losses outpaced new hires.
According to U.S. Bureau of Statistics data, Goss says Iowa’s manufacturing sector boosted employment by 0.9% over the past year, with the average hourly wage rate expanding by 2.3%, well below the 3.7% increase in consumer prices.