PLYMOUTH COUNTY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
A public hearing was held this morning on two Plymouth County construction projects, plans for which the Board of Supervisors has earlier approved. One project is to replace the deteriorating metal roof on a county maintenance shed at Merrill. The other is a new salt shed to replace an old one at the county shop at Le Mars. Terry Glade and Tanner Koepke of CMBA Architects answered questions about the projects. There were no public comments on the projects, but the Supervisors stressed several points in the plan. One was assurance that materials used in construction of the salt shed be as corrosion-resistant as possible. Glad assured the Supervisors that those items were included in the plans to be put out for bid. The other issue was completion date for the salt shed project. Construction is to start between March 1 and April 1, but it should be completed by September, so that it can be put into use when road treatment is needed in late 2024. A pre-bid meeting will be held December 5, and construction bids will be opened December 12.
Mid-Sioux Opportunity, based in Remsen, made a request for a higher budget allowance from Plymouth County. In a letter to the board, the agency said they had not asked for higher support from their local governments in over ten years, but increasing costs are rising, as they are with many businesses in the area. The request from Mid-Sioux is for 19-thousand dollars. This includes 15-hundred dollars from Plymouth County, and the other four counties they serve, to qualify for a 230-thousand dollars family development grant. Mid-Sioux is asking for contributions from Plymouth County, and all the towns and cities in the county. They serve five counties in northwest Iowa: Plymouth, Sioux, Lyon, Ida, and Cherokee. They provide weatherization; energy assistance; Child Care Resource and Referral; and WIC, the women, infant, and children nutrition program. Executive Director Dick Sievers is retiring at the end of the year. Cindy Harpenau will become the new Executive Director.
SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING APPLICATIONS
The Le Mars Community School Board has approved applications for state supplemental funding for several budgeted programs. The accounts cover costs for students open enrolling out of the district; for costs to provide English proficiency classes for students beyond the five years allotted by the state; and for a deficit in the Special Education program. The amount applied for totals over 165-thousand dollars through the three accounts. In each case, the Le Mars School District will receive spending authority for those amounts in the current fiscal year, and will receive the supplemental funding next year.
PLYMOUTH COUNTY ROLLOVER
Plymouth County authorities investigated a one vehicle rollover accident late Sunday evening. The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office says the accident occurred on county road C60 near Polk Ave. The driver, Brayden Mahlum, 20, of Tea, South Dakota, was driving a truck eastbound on C60 when he lost control due to poor road conditions, entered a ditch, and rolled. No injuries were reported. The truck had an approximate 5-thousand dollars damage.
OVERDOSE LEADS TO ARREST
A Hawarden man was arrested after investigating a reported drug overdose. The Sioux County Sheriffs Office says the incident occurred Saturday morning. Officers executed a search warrant at a Hawarden residence after a suspect, 22 year old Chase Ranschau of Hawarden, reported an apparent overdose of another person there. Hawarden Police administered nasal naloxone to the subject. He recovered, and refused further treatment. A search of the residence yielded several drugs, including methamphetamine and fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia. Ranshau was taken to the Sioux County Jail. He was charged with possession of the drugs and paraphernalia.
ON-LINE PORTAL FOR TAX PAYMENTS
There’s a new online portal for Iowans to pay next year’s state income taxes. It’s called Gov Connect Iowa (GovConnectIowa) This is Iowa Department of Revenue director Mary Mosiman .
Iowans can make estimated state income tax payments up to a year in advance through the new portal.
Taxpayers with questions may also send a message through the portal to the Iowa Department of Revenue.
The portal is part of a five year plan to modernize the state system for handling all taxes paid to the state. State sales taxes and corporate income taxes are now part of the updated system.
There had been over 20 stand-alone computer systems for each of the major taxes paid to the State of Iowa — and it cost 18 MILLION dollars a year to maintain those networks.
Next year, state tax distributions to local governments will shift to the centralized system, In the final year of the upgrade, license fees and other payments to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division will be included. The agency is the state wholesaler to more than two-thousand privately-owned businesses in Iowa.
Sioux County authorities say there’s another scam at work in the area.
The Sheriffs Office says over the past several days, they’ve received reports of suspicious letters sent to area residents.
The letters are sent by “Iowa Workforce Development” for unemployment claims. Some may include correct information, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number, current employer, and current wages. The Sheriffs Office warning says “The letter asks the recipient to take part in a telephone hearing to receive unemployment benefits, and may include a warning of non-compliance of requirements for unemployment benefits. These letters are being received due to fraudulent unemployment claims, made on your behalf.”
The Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone to be cautious of unsolicited letters or phone calls regarding personal information. They also urge everyone to safeguard all of your personal information, including engaging a credit monitoring service through your bank, or online through the three credit rating services.
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Workforce Development are investigating the scam.
FATAL CAR CRASH
A Sioux City man is dead following a rollover accident Sunday night on Floyd Boulevard involving a stolen car and a police pursuit.
The incident happened just before 8 p.m. when a city police officer spotted a Dodge Charger that had been reported stolen earlier that day.
The driver of that car, 24-year-old Gunnar Lee Kratz, refused to stop and continued to elude officers through the west side and north side of Sioux City, driving at speeds exceeding 80 miles an hour at times.
A spokesman with the Iowa State Patrol says Kratz’s vehicle had started to swerve around a city police officer trying to deploy stop sticks on Floyd Boulevard when Kratz over-corrected, struck a light pole, then hit some trees and rolled in the 1700 block of Floyd.
Kratz, was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries and was later pronounced deceased.
Sioux City Police requested the Iowa State Patrol to investigate the accident.
The state medical examiner will perform an autopsy on Kratz.
IOWA HORSE RACING STUDY
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has approved a comprehensive study of the horse racing industry in the state. Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko says the study is focused on understanding the impact of racing and different ways and tools to continue to ensure that that industry is sustainable. The Racing and Gaming Entertainment company was chosen to do the study for 118-thousand dollars. Ohorilko says the study will take place throughout the winter and spring with delivery to the I-R-G-C in the summer of 2024. Prairie Meadows in Altoona is the only horse track in the state.