COUNTY SHERIFF REQUESTS ADDITIONAL DEPUTY
The Plymouth County Sheriff requested the hire of another deputy at the sheriffs office. Sheriff Jeff Te Brink brought the matter to the Board of Supervisors during budget discussions. Sheriff Te Brink says Plymouth County currently has 13 deputies, less than five other counties of similar populations. Plymouth County has much more area to cover compared to those counties. Te Brink syas the greatest reason to add a deputy is or officer safety. The Office averages nearly ten days a month below minimal staff. Plymouth County has 13 deputies, an average of 1.4 per 1-thousand rural population. The statewide average is 1.8 per 1-thousand. By that calculation, Plymouth County should have 16 deputies. The Supervisors will consider the request as they shape the next county budget.
The trial of David Jack Diaz of Sioux City. has been granted another continuance. Before a pre-trial hearing last month, Diaz’s attorney requested a continuance for the trial, which will now take place in March. Diaz is accused of rearending another vehicle at a high rate of speed, causing fatal injury to a back seat passenger in the other car. A pre-trial conference is rescheduled for April 20, and trial is rescheduled for March 19 in Plymouth County District Court. Diaz is charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, in the death of a Sioux City woman in June of last year.
PLYWOOD TRAIL CHANGE ORDER
The Le Mars city council approved a change order for the PlyWood Trail, Phase 1B Project. This adds nearly 12-thousand dollars to the contract for replacement of unstable soils and mulching along the trail. This third change order brings the current contract cost to 1.96 million dollars. The original construction contract for this phase was 2.3 million dollars.
IOWA BUSINESS LEADERS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE ECONOMY
The latest survey of the state’s top business leaders finds a majority of them remain positive about Iowa’s overall economy. Joe Murphy, president of the Iowa Business Council, says the fourth quarter survey also finds the chief decision makers of the major Iowa employers are confident in their outlook for the first six months of the new year.
In particular, Murphy says capital spending expectations were up by six points in the survey, well above positive threshold, which he says is crucial.
One downside expressed in the survey is the continued difficulty in finding qualified workers to fill positions. Murphy says it’s a persistent challenge for every Iowa business, from small shops to large multinational firms.
Murphy suggests the state look to luring people from both high-cost areas around the Midwest and the coasts, but he also calls on Iowa’s federal delegation to pass comprehensive immigration reforms to allow legal immigration to continue to flow. The 22-member Iowa Business Council represents more than 150-thousand working Iowans.
INDUSTRIAL PARK FOURTH ADDITION
After a public hearing Tuesday, the Le Mars City Council set in motion an infrastructure project in the Le Mars Industrial Park Fourth Addition. A resolution setting forth plans for installation of water, storm and sanitary sewer, and paving of Industrial Road were approved by the council. Bids on the project are due on February 13, and a construction contract will be awarded February 20. The project is to be completed by September.
At a second public hearing yesterday, the city council approved the sale of the Southview Industrial Park for development. The Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation will purchase the property from the city for development. The purchase price of lots 1-19 in the park is 1.7 million dollars.
SHERIFFS QUARTERLY REPORT
The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office report for the last quarter of 2023 indicated steady activity over the period. The number of complaints to the sheriffs office totaled 1450, evenly spread over October, November, and December. E911 calls to the Communications Center totaled 1434 over the three months. Ambulance calls totaled 565 over the period, and there were 159 fire calls in the quarter. Receipts to the Sheriffs Department totaled 23-thousand, 392 dollars, with an ending balance of 21-thousand, 500 dollars. The County Jail reported income of 145-thousand, 575 dollars. Over 120-thousand of that amount was housing inmates for the US Marshals Service. 285 inmates were booked in the quarter, and 301 released.
ABOUT 100,000 IOWANS PARTICIPATED IN GOP’S CAUCUSES
Iowa Republican Party officials say it appears about one-hundred-eight thousand (108,000) Iowans participated in last (Monday) night’s Caucuses. That’s nearly 14-and-a-half percent of registered Republican voters. Iowa G-O-P chairman Jeff Kaufmann is praising Iowans braved record-low temperatures after a blizzard blanketed the state to participate in community discussions about the future of the country. It was the lowest turn-out since the Caucuses George W. Bush won 24 years ago. The record for Republican participation in the Iowa Caucuses was set in 2016, when 189-thousand Iowans participated.
IOWA HOUSE BILL WOULD RESTRICT RELEASE OF MUG SHOTS
A bill that’s cleared a subcommittee in the Iowa House would make mug shots confidential in most cases, until a person is actually convicted or pleads guilty. Under the proposal, a mug shot could be released if the person is considered an imminent threat or if a judge decides to make it public. Lisa Davis-Cook is a lobbyist for the Iowa Association of Justice, which represents trial lawyers. She says keeping most mug shot photos private would protect the reputations of people who are never found guilty. Catherine Lucas of the Iowa Department of Public Safety says photos are important to distinguish between people with the same name.
SENATOR GRASSLEY HOSPITALIZED IN D.C.
Senator Grassley in hospital for treatment of an infection Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is being treated in a hospital for an infection. According to a statement from Grassley’s Senate office, Grassley is receiving antibiotic infusions at a hospital in the Washington, D.C. area. He is in good spirits, according to the statement, and will return to work as soon as possible following doctors’ orders. Grassley, who is 90, is the oldest currently serving member of the United States Senate. Grassley often posts on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, and several of his senate colleagues and Iowa elected officials have posted messages on the site, wishing him well.