Monday News, February 8
Holz And Anderson Speak On Issues Facing Legislature
(Le Mars) -- State legislators Chuck Holz and Bill Anderson met with nearly a dozen people during their legislative forum held Saturday morning at Le Mars. School funding and water quality were two of the issues that were discussed. Holz reminded the group that the state House of Representatives passed a school funding bill that would increase the school spending by two percent, where as the Senate has advocated a four percent increase. Holz says the issue now rests in conference committee. State Senator Bill Anderson says he believes the final compromise may be close to the figure as proposed by Governor Terry Branstad.
Dr. Todd Wendt, the superintendent of schools for Le Mars Community was on hand for the meeting. Wendt says if only a two percent or less increase for school funding is approved, it will mean the local school board will need to raise the tax levy on property taxes. Holz says he has heard that message from other school officials, but the freshman lawmaker says the state can only do so much given the budget restraints.
The lawmakers were also asked about taking money from tax that is currently being collected to help finance school infrastructure and instead to devote it to the efforts of improving the state's water quality initiative. Holz turned the question back on the group asking for what their opinion is of the issue. The consensus of the gathering was the money should continue to finance school infrastructure, and another source of revenue should be devoted to funding water quality efforts.
State Representative Chuck Holz is scheduled to meet with Governor Branstad's staff today to further discuss the issue of funding the water quality initiative. He says he will relate the message that he heard on Saturday not only at the Le Mars forum, but also at Kingsley and Merrill that people are opposed from taking any money originally targeted for school improvements, and devoting that money to water quality initiatives.
Both Anderson and Holz believe this year's session may be quieter than those in the past. The state legislators say school funding, water quality, and a tax coupling bill are the three primary issues facing the lawmakers.
Kevin Rollins Honored As Remsen "Citizen of the Year"
(Remsen) -- The Remsen Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet Saturday evening at the Avalon Ballroom. This year's "Citizen of the Year" was brought to the award's banquet under false pretenses. Police Chief and Emergency Medical Technician volunteer Kevin Rollins was on patrol duty during the ceremony, when he responded to what was said was an individual having a heart attack at the Avalon Ballroom. Rollins went to the dance hall, only to learn, that he was named as the Remsen Chamber of Commerce "Citizen of the Year".
The Remsen Lumber Company was awarded the Remsen "Business of the Year". The local lumber outlet has six employees and has been doing business in Remsen for more than a hundred years.
Le Mars Community School Board To Convene
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening. The school board has a light agenda, but they will discuss the recent school board and administrator retreat as Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt reviews the evaluations. The school board will hear reports from each of the building principals. The local board of education will also act upon two resignation requests. Gale Horan wishes to retire from her position teaching Spanish effective upon the conclusion of the academic year. Lavonne Nelson has submitted her resignation notice as the physical education teacher at Franklin and Clark elementary schools. Her resignation is effective at the end of the academic school year.
Sioux City Police Officer Shot
(Sioux City) -- A Sioux City man is in custody, facing criminal charges in the shooting of a Sioux City police officer early Sunday morning.
Police say they were investigating numerous reports of robberies and burglaries throughout the city and located several individuals at 2947 Park Ave, Apartment C-13, of the Valley Park Apartments.
Investigators say a suspect, 18 year old Isaiah Mothershed, shot and wounded a police officer during the incident and also shot and wounded himself inside the apartment.
The injured officer is a 13-year veteran, who was treated and released from a local hospital.
Mothershed was arrested and is currently in custody.
There is no word on his condition at this time.
The cases remain under investigation by Sioux City Police and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation.
Attorney General Office Has Backlog Of Cases
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Documents show the Iowa attorney general's office has a large backlog of criminal appeal cases, and the agency has warned the state about staffing issues for years.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Eric Tabor described the conditions in a January 7th letter to the Iowa Executive Council, which authorizes some expenses involving litigation. Tabor sought permission for the Iowa attorney general's office to hire three lawyers on a temporary basis to reduce the load. The office faces a backlog of about 100 criminal appeal cases.
The council later approved the request.
Tabor says an Iowa Supreme Court rule change in 2012 that required more filing of appeal briefs has added work to the office. Documents show the agency tried to alert the state in 2013.