COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and the Secondary Road Employee’s Association reached agreement on one year employment contract. Jeff Gengler, representing the collective bargaining unit, signed the new contract, as did the chair of the Superivors, Don Kass. Todd Osterbuhr and Zach Holtgrewe joined Gengler before the Supervisors today. The agreement includes a 3.75% pay increase. The new salary schedule ranges from 25.03 per hour to 37,36 per hour. The new agreement takes effect July 1.
JENEARY TOWN HALL MEETING
State Representative Tom Jeneary plans another town meeting in his 3rd House District Saturday morning in Orange City. Jeneary will be joined by 2nd District State Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center, whose district also cover’s Jeneary’s Earlier this month, the two held town hall meetings in Akron and Le Mars. Rep. Jeneary said In Le Mars, the threat of carbon capture pipelines was a concern.
Another issue there was a shortage of beds in mental health institutes for juveniles.
In Akron, the issue was the impact of a reform of special education services through Area Education Agencies. A proposal by Governor Kim Reynolds was put on hold in the Iowa House.
The town hall meeting with Rep. Jeneary and Sen. Taylor will be Saturday, February 17, at 11 a.m., at the MOC/Floyd Valley High School auditorium.
ORANGE CITY ARREST
Orange City Police say they arrested a man yesterday harassing his former employer. Police arrested 37 year old Andrew James Romano of Orange City. He was charged with first degree harassment. He’s accused of sending threatening messages via text to his former employer at Casey’s in Orange City.
ISU POLLING FINDS SHIFT IN THOUGHTS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
The latest Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll from Iowa State University Extension finds a few shifts in thoughts about climate change. J. Arbuckle, who oversees the poll, says in 2011 10 percent of those polled said climate change is due to human activities — and that increased to 15 percent last year. However, the overall number of people who believe climate change is happening dropped between 2020 and 2023. Arbuckle says the survey shows farmers are concerned about extreme weather and are making changes in their operations to adapt to the potential impact of drought as well as torrential rain.
LE MARS PARKS MEETINGS
The first of two meetings about city parks will take place this afternoon in Le Mars. The city’s consultant on the Vision 2045 development plan will lead discussion on what amenities citizens want in Le Mars city parks. Today, ideas for park improvements will be discussed. Tomorrow, these ideas will be presented as a plan for citizen reaction. Both meetings are from 4 to 6 p.m at the Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor.
VISA CARD PROCEEDS BENEFIT GEHLEN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS
Friday, Gehlen Catholic Schools was presented with a check from Primebank of Le Mars. The check, for 36-hundred dollars, are the funds raised through Primebank’s Gehlen Catholic Visa credit card program. The check was presented to Gehlen Catholic principal Bryan Paulson. The program began in the year 2000, where a percentage of total purchases using the cards is dedicated to the school. Since then, total proceeds have reached over 72-thousand dollars. These funds have provided scholarships to Gehlen students.
BILL WOULD LET STAFF CARRY WEAPONS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS
In response to last month’s school shooting in Perry, Republicans in the Iowa House are proposing that Iowa school or college employees with professional gun permits be allowed to carry weapons on school grounds. Nathan Gibson is school board president of the Interstate-35 district in Truro. He says the bill could help districts that want their staff to be armed, but can’t get liability insurance.
Angela Olsen, director of special projects for the Spirit Lake School District, says her district had armed staff for six months, but cancelled the program after struggling to find an insurance carrier. Olsen says having a school resource officer in the high school isn’t enough.
Catherine Lucas, a lawyer with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says the agency has a lot of questions, like what kind of weapons would school staff be allowed to carry and who would do the required training for armed school staff.
Hannah Hayes, a Des Moines high school senior, is in the Students Demand Action group that supports new gun restrictions. She’s urging lawmakers to oppose the bill.
The bill also would require the state’s 11 largest school districts to hire at least one officer from the local police department or a private firm to provide security in high school buildings. There would be no mandate for other Iowa high schools, but all school districts could apply for a 50-thousand dollar state grant to cover the cost of a security officer.
PROTESTS AND PICKETS PLANNED OVER PROPOSAL FOR PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS
A leader in the Teamsters union is calling on members to prepare for rallies, pickets, press conferences and protests if the legislature passes a bill that could dissolve some union bargaining units that represent government employees. The Teamsters represent workers in the private sector as well as state and local government employees, including school bus drivers and snow plow drivers. The legislature passed a law in 2017 that requires public employees to vote before contract talks begin on whether they want union representation in negotiations. The new bill would automatically end union membership for public sector workers if their employer fails to send a list of eligible voters to the state agency that oversees the recertification elections. The Iowa Public Employment Relations Board says 40 percent of government agencies failed to submit those lists in the past four years and Republican senators say they believe union members are pressuring their bosses to avoid recertification votes.