Home News KLEM News for Friday, February 23

KLEM News for Friday, February 23

LE MARS EMPLOYEE RAISES

The Le Mars city council gave approval to put 83-thousand dollars toward employee wage increases.  Usually, this expenditure is approved in May and is based on anticipated increases to the collective bargaining unit.  The matter was brought up at this time, so the pay raises can allow for council input as they consider the new city budget.  The 83-thousand dollars will be distributed among 23 city employees.  It is consistent with a 4% increase in the 2025 budget year.

 

CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU RECOMMENDATIONS APPROVED
The Le Mars city council approved the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau recommendations for 2024-25 projects. The list of seven events bring a total of 34,800 dollars in support. The CVB Advisory Board recommended support yearly events including Ice Cream Days, Pioneer Village Christmas Wonderland, the Tour de Plymouth, and the Olson Concert Bash. There’s also single events such at hosting a National College Golf Tournament, an Art Exhibition put on by the Le Mars Arts Council, and electrical work at the Round Barn at the county fairgrounds. The council also approved the allocation of 85-thousand dollars toward Convention and Visitor’s Bureau operations for fiscal year 2025.The city council also approved the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau recommendations for 2024-25 projects.  The list of seven events bring a total of 34,800 dollars in support.  The council also approved the allocation of 85-thousand dollars toward Convention and Visitor’s Bureau operations for fiscal year 2025.

 

MAURICE COUPLE ARRESTED IN A FOSTER CARE ABUSE CASE

A Maurice couple has been charged with multiple counts of neglect in a case of a child sexually abusing other children.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation charged Caleb and Jill Haverdink of Maurice with seven counts of Neglect of a Dependent Person, class C felonies, two counts of Mandatory Reporter Violations, and one count of False Report to Law Enforcement.

Caleb Haverdink was employed as a deputy of the Sioux County Sheriffs Department.  Sioux County authorities turned over investigation of the case to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Clay County Attorney’s Office, in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

The criminal complaint says the Haverdinks had prior knowledge of a child in their care committing acts of sexual abuse against other children, and took no meaningful action to mitigate the child’s conduct, or protect the children under their care.  The investigation concluded Haverdink’s conduct was contrary to the mission of the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, and his actions violated established policies and procedures.

Sheriff Jamie Van Voorst says he terminated Haverdink’s employment with the sheriff’s office on February 14th due to his off-duty conduct.

 

HOUSE VOTES FOR 3% HIKE IN PER PUPIL STATE SPENDING FOR IOWA SCHOOLS

Republicans in the Iowa House have voted to provide a three percent boost in per pupil state funding for public schools in the next academic year — as well as a three percent increase in state payments into Education Savings Accounts for private school students who’ll qualify for the program. Representative Phil Thompson, a Republican from Boone, says the plan calls for three-point-eight BILLION dollars in state spending on public schools in the next school year.

 

Representative Molly Buck, a Democrat from Ankeny, says with a three percent oost in per pupil spending — the 116 public school districts with shrinking enrollment will raise local property taxes to fill a gap, so next year’s budget isn’t lower than this year’s.

 

Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat from Mason City, says three percent just isn’t enough for schools dealing with inflation and trying to keep salaries high enough to hire and retain staff.

 

House Republicans plan to vote later to set beginning teacher salaries at 50-thousand dollars within two years. They’re also proposing a 15 dollar an hour minimum wage for paraeducators. House Speaker Pat Grassley says those moves are priorities for House Republicans.

 

A Senate committee has voted to increase the mandatory minimum salary for beginning teachers to just over 46-thousand dollars. In January, Governor Reynolds recommended a 50-thousand minimum salary for first-year teachers, as well as a 62-thousand dollar minimum salary for those who’ve been teaching for at least 12 years.

 

ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST IOWA LAWMAKER DISMISSED

Republicans and Democrats on an Iowa House committee have unanimously voted to dismiss an ethics complaint against Republican Jeff Shipley, a state representative from Birmingham. Sara Hayden Parris of Johnston accused Shipley of defaming her on social media and her complaint alleged that was a violation of the House Ethics Code. Parris is president of a non-profit that distributes free books with sexual content that have been banned in some schools. Shipley has accused her of distributing obscene material and has said on social media that she should be under criminal investigation. The chair of the House Ethics Committee says the complaint seemed politically motivated. Shipley, in a written statement, said the Ethics Committee shouldn’t be used as a forum for personal grudges.