Wednesday News, February 5
Supervisors Meet With EMT Officials
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors met with Emergency Medical Services personnel from around the county during their Tuesday meeting. Kevin Rollins of Remsen, Bill Rosacker of Le Mars and Terry Stecker of Akron informed the supervisors of a growing concern regarding not having enough volunteers to sufficiently staff ambulance services. Kevin Rollins, president of the Plymouth County EMT association told the Supervisors the town of Oyens discontinued its ambulance service on Friday, and other towns may be forced to resort to the same decision.
Burn out was the reason Rollins and Rosacker gave to the supervisors for not having enough volunteers to staff community ambulance service. He says many volunteers have donated their time for many years, and the fact remains, younger people are not stepping up to volunteer as an emergency medical technican.
Rollins predicts in the near future, it could become an expensive venture to adequately staff a community ambulance service. It will require to pay a person instead of relying upon volunteer services.
City Council Approves Name Change For West Floyd Little League Complex
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council approved action Tuesday to rename the West Floyd Little League ball complex. Heath Husk, president of the Le Mars Little League organization appeared before the city council with the request.
Husk says signage will be installed around the ballparks signaling the name change in honor of John Britton. The little league official also says Saturday's fund raiser of selling Bob's Drive-Inn hot dogs at the American Legion was a big sucess.
Husk says the Little League organization nearly sold out of its 150 dozen hot dogs, and he had plenty of people to thank for its sucess.
Le Mars Has A Shortage Of Skilled Workers
(Le Mars) -- Although Le Mars and Plymouth County are fortunate to have a low unemployment rate, it can also serve as a hinderance when recruiting businesses to settle in this region. All across the state there is a desperate need for skilled workers. Neil Adler, executive director of the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation says Le Mars and Plymouth County are no exceptions. There is a shortage of skilled workers for this area, and Adler says part of the problem lies with the fact the state is not attracting people.
Adler says the state of Iowa has fallen in ranking in terms of available skilled workers.
The LBIC executive says a challenge with finding a skilled work force in a particular community or region, is the fact people are willing to commute in order to find suitable employment.
In future news casts, we will learn what actions and initiatives are being taken to sufficiently create and train a skilled work force for this area.
Irhke Appointed To Serve On Judiciary Nominating Commission
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Councilwoman Delana Irhke has been appointed by Governor Terry Branstad to serve on the Judicial Nominating Commission for District 3B.
Judge Sentences Grain Elevator Manager For Bribes
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has sentenced a former manager at one of the nation's largest grain cooperatives to 51 months in prison for accepting bribes from an Iowa farmer in exchange for deep discounts on products.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett issued the sentence Tuesday in Sioux City to former West Central Co-Op sales manager Chad Hartzler. Bennett ordered Hartzler to pay the Ralston-based cooperative $2.5 million in restitution.
The 51-month term had been recommended under a plea agreement in which Hartzler pleaded guilty to wire fraud last year.
Hartzler has admitted to taking $480,000 in bribes from Lake View farmer Bill Wollesen starting in 2005. In exchange, Hartzler says he secretly gave Wollesen discounts on crop seed and farm chemicals.
Wollesen hasn't been charged and denies the payments were bribes.
Head Of Iowa National Guard To Appear Before Lawmakers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa National Guard will address a joint session of the General Assembly.
Major General Timothy Orr will deliver the annual "Condition of the Guard" speech Wednesday morning in the Iowa House of Representatives. The speech is intended to update lawmakers on the work of the Iowa Army National Guard.
Topics in the speech could include readiness, mobilizations, operations, future initiatives and community support.
There are 9,400 National Guard soldiers and airmen in Iowa. Orr told lawmakers last year that overseas demands had decreased since President Barack Obama announced that the United States would withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2014.
Veterans May Be Given Preference In Jobs
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Veterans could receive preferential treatment in the hiring and promotion decisions of private businesses under a bill moving through the Iowa Legislature.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee approved a measure Tuesday that would allow private sector employers to grant preference to veterans when deciding who to hire or promote. The bill now goes to the House floor.
State government already can give hiring preference to veterans. The bill clarifies that it is legal for the private sector to do so as well.
Jimmy Centers, a spokesman for Governor Terry Branstad, says the bill is part of the governor's plan to support veterans in Iowa.
Republican Representative Dwayne Alons, who heads the committee, says this bill would also expand upon preferences allowed for veterans in federal positions.
Public Safety Employee Fired After Looking At Daughter's Records
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Department of Public Safety employee has been fired for accessing criminal records involving her two daughters.
A judge ruled last week that ex-information technology support worker Kathleen Sohn is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she violated a policy banning employees from accessing relatives' records.
Sohn was suspended in September after the department learned of potential misuse of a police database and launched a criminal investigation. Polk County Attorney John Sarcone declined to bring charges in October, saying he didn't see criminal intent.
Sohn was fired in December after a disciplinary investigation. She testified during an unemployment hearing last month that she didn't remember whether she accessed her daughters' records last May.
Administrative Law Judge Bonny Hendricksmeyer found that assertion wasn't credible and accessing the records violated public trust.
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