JENEARY – AEA BILL
Late last week, Iowa lawmakers set aside one of Governor Reynolds’ priorities – an overhaul of Area Education Agencies. State Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says the bill never got a chance to move forward in the House.
Rep. Jeneary says there needs to be much more discussion before a bill can move forward.
Rep. Jeneary says the governor’s bill was based old research.
There needs to be more recent data brought forward before another bill can be drafted.
The Governor’s bill would leave AES’s with one primary focus – providing special education services.
WILLOW CREEK BRIDGE PROJECT
The city of Le Mars will apply for Iowa Department of Transportation funds to replace a pedestrian bridge at Willow Creek Park. The project is currently estimated to cost 753-thousand dollars. In 2022, the city applied for half that amount from the DOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program. Due to available funding, 287-thousand dollars was awarded to the project. Now the city is applying for additional TAP funds, to cover 522-thousand of the cost. The local match under this project, if approved, would be 23% of the cost. The project will be bid in 2025 and construction is to begin in 2026.
OFFICERS CLEARED IN FATAL SHOOTING OF A HORNICK MAN
Woodbury County Attorney James Loomis says officers were justified in shooting a man to death in rural Hornick last October 29th. Forty-four-year-old Walter Sulsberger died in a shoot out with officers. Loomis says Walter’s father Todd called 9-1-1 around 7 p-m and told them his son was going to shoot him.
Loomis says Walter told officers he had killed his 72-year-old father and was not going to surrender.
Loomis says Sulsberger set several hay bales on fire in an effort to hide where he was, and there was a five-and-a-half hour standoff. Armored vehicles were brought in and Sheriff Chad Sheehan says a heated gun battle then broke out.
Loomis says Walter Sulsberger was eventually killed by officers.
Loomis and the Iowa Attorney General both reviewed the D-C-I report and determined the shooting was justified.
A Sheldon man was arrested late Wednesday evening, after an accident on a Plymouth County road near Remsen. Remsen Police was called to 160th and L14, where a pickup had entered a ditch. The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office assisted. The driver, 40 year old Stephen Matthew Freymann of Sheldon, showed signs of impairment. He was eventually jailed on several charges, including no valid drivers license, second offense OWI, and operating without an interlock device.
STATE TROOPERS ARE STEPPING UP PATROLS DURING AND AFTER THE SUPER BOWL
Many thousands of Iowans will be watching pro football on T-V Sunday and dozens of state troopers will be watching the highways after the big game for drivers who are putting themselves — and others — at risk. Trooper Paul Gardner, who’s based at the Iowa State Patrol office in Fort Dodge, says they’re planning to project a much more visible presence on the state’s roads than a normal Sunday.
If you plan to watch the game at a local watering hole or at a friend’s house, Gardner says it’s vital that you come up with a plan ahead of time to get yourself home.
Gardner says last year’s Super Bowl Sunday did -not- bring a significant increase in traffic accidents or deaths in Iowa, and he hopes for a similar result this weekend. Trooper Kevin Krull, who’s based in Spencer, says for the cost of a drunk driving conviction, you could attend the Super Bowl in person.
The key phrase Krull wants everyone to know for this weekend’s festivities is, “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”
DROUGHT CONDITIONS IMPROVE
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says January’s above-normal snowfall has improved drought conditions across the state. The latest Water Summary Update shows 1.97 inches of precipitation fell in January, more than twice the normal amount for the month. The state has received above-average precipitation in three of the last four months. Since October 2023 statewide precipitation has been 7.24 inches, or 106 percent of normal. At the end of January, Iowa’s Drought Plan is showing improvement and stabilization of drought conditions across much of the state. Northwest and north central Iowa show normal conditions, while the rest of the state carries drought watch designations. Areas of the state under drought warning at the end of December have had those designations removed. The state typically sees increased precipitation, whether rain or snow, during the late winter and spring months. Normal to above-normal rainfall amounts will likely help improve drought conditions in the state.
BILL WOULD LET CITY COUNCILS TAKE OVER MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES
City councils would be able to strip Iowa public library boards of their authority and take over management of their city’s library under legislation that’s cleared an Iowa House subcommittee. City councils would be able to hire or fire the library’s director and decide what books should be in the library. The bill is a response to a failed effort to get a graphic novel removed from the shelves in Pella’s library and then have Pella’s City Council take over management of the library. Several Iowa library directors and library board members urged legislators to table the bill. Republican Representative Carter Nordman of Adel told the crowd he’s heard privately from city officials who have complaints about their public libraries that go beyond debates over books and content.