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Wednesday News, January 14

Sheriff's Office Requesting Additional Deputy To Be Added To Staff

(Le Mars) -- Flanked by all, but one, of the Plymouth County sheriff's deputies, with that one currently on National Guard duty, Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo appeared before the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon to formally request another deputy be added to the current staff of ten deputies.  Van Otterloo offered several reasons to justify the need for an additional deputy.  He says it has been ten years since the Sheriff's staff has expanded, and the case load has seen an increase of 145 percent since 2005.

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The Sheriff showed a slide to the supervisors that illustrated similar size counties in terms of population and square miles.  Nine of the ten featured counties had more deputies than Plymouth County, including Sioux County.

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Picking up on the theme of providing law enforcement to the smaller communities and rural areas, Van Otterloo says many of the Plymouth County communities do not provide 24 hour law enforcement, and so the burden is placed on the Sheriff's office.  Only Le Mars has 24 hour law enforcement protection.

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The Plymouth County Sheriff estimates the cost for another deputy would be at $83,000 a year, which would include benefits, social security, IPERS, insurance and salary.  He proposes the county finance the nes deputy position from two revenue sources.

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Van Otterloo submitted his budget requests to the supervisors.  For the County Communications Center, he proposes a budget of $410,153 which is nearly a six percent increase over last year's budget.  The proposed budget for the Corrections is $1,136,126 or an increase of 2.75 percent over last year's budget.  As for the Sheriff's Department, Van Otterloo is suggesting a budget of $1,037,855 which is an increase of 2.9 percent over last year's budget.  Van Otterloo says in each of the three categories, the increases are largely due to increases of insurance premiums.  Supervisor Craig Anderson asked Van Otterloo if adding another deputy would also mean adding another car to the sheriff department's fleet of vehicles.  Van Otterloo responded by saying he didn't think a new vehicle would be necessary.  Anderson also proposed an increase in jail fees as a way to help finance the expansion.


Goodchild Delivers Recorder's Quarterly Report

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Recorder JoLynn Goodchild reported to the county board of supervisors during their weekly meeting that the county received a total of $133,441 collected in fees and licenses during the past quarter. 

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Goodchild says most of the money collected was from mortgages or transfer taxes.

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She says, for the quarter, the county recorded 1127 documents, issued 117 passports, documented 356 either birth, death, or marriage certificates.  Goodchild also informed the supervisors the county registered a total of 255 snowmobiles and 155 all-terrain vehicles.


Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary To Offer Scholarships

(Le Mars) --    The Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary will be awarding two “tuition only” $1,000.00 scholarships to area students this spring.  To be eligible, the applicant must be a resident of the Floyd Valley Hospital service area, accepted at an accredited school and pursuing a health-related career (including pre-med, nursing, technologist, therapist and medical records professionals).  
      Interested students may obtain the necessary application form with complete qualifying information from their high school guidance counselor, at the Floyd Valley Hospital Information Desk or on-line at under the Auxiliary link. Applications and support information must be returned to Nancy Augustine, by April 1, 2015; instructions are on the form.
       Auxiliary Scholarship Chairperson Nancy Augustine says, "The Auxiliary Board has designated one scholarship to be awarded to a resident of Le Mars and a second to be awarded to a resident of the surrounding Floyd Valley Hospital service area.  Applicants may either be a high school graduate or an adult returning to school. According to research, a large number of rural community residents return to their roots after completing their degrees, when this occurs it is a benefit to our area residents,".


ICON Ag And Turf To Offer Scholarships

LE MARS, IA – ICON Ag & Turf has announced they are once again partnering with John Deere and FFA to award college scholarships to local FFA members. This is the second year ICON Ag & Turf has partnered with John Deere in this Scholarship Program, which is administered by The National FFA Organization. ICON Ag & Turf is proud to be awarding $10,000 of scholarships again in 2015.
ICON Ag & Turf is sponsoring five $2,000 scholarships through the National FFA Scholarship program. These scholarships will provide financial aid to FFA members attending two or four year colleges.  “ICON is proud to be able to sponsor the educational growth of our area youth. These five $2,000 scholarships allow us to make the biggest impact on education within our territory,” said Adam Timmerman, General Manager of ICON Ag & Turf.


High School Custodian Honored As School District's "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- A high school custodian is the latest Le Mars Community School District's "Employee of the Month."  Brian Orban was bestowed the honor during a presentation Tuesday afternoon by school officials.  Orban has been employed with the Le Mars Community School District for 22 years.  Gale Horan submitted the nomination for Brian Orban.  She says "Brian has always worked over and above what is necessary to get done what needs to be done.  Of course being the custodian means he puts in lots of hours all year, but he and the other custodial staff always work hard to be sure that our building is beautiful and functional when we come back from breaks.  In my room, he is always sure to do all the maintenance to have my classroom be a welcoming place for my students.  He does the extra!  I have a rug in my classroom and he vacuums it even though it is not a school carpet.  My boards are always great, my student desks sanitized, and floors always cleanly swept and mopped.  He always is courteous and asks how my day has been.  My job is made much easier because of what Brian does to keep my classroom and our building in tip-top shape. Thanks to Brian Orban for the many years of hard work."  Our congratulations go to Brian Orban for being named the Le Mars Community School District Employee of the Month.


Royal Woman Pretends To Be A Nurse In Order To Sell Prescription Drugs

 STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A northwest Iowa woman has been convicted of charges she pretended to be a nurse to obtain prescription drugs to sell.
     Police say 30-year-old Kayleen Leedahl, of Royal, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony obtaining or attempting to obtain a prescription drug by deceit. Court documents say she will also pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of the same charge.
     Police and court documents state Leedahl posed as a nurse over a nearly four month period in 2013.
     Leedahl will be sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of her plea agreement. A sentencing hearing has been set for March 30.


President Obama To Visit Iowa Today

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration wants to provide greater access to fast broadband service in towns and cities across the country by encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to remove legal barriers to competition by Internet service providers. It also wants to help local communities improve their service with government loans and grants.
     The modest proposals do not require congressional approval and are part of a series of measures President Barack Obama is rolling out before his State of the Union address next week.
     Obama will be in Cedar Falls, today to detail his broadband plans.
     Jeff Zients, director of Obama's National Economic Council, said Obama wants the FCC to "ensure that all states have a playing field that allows for a vibrant and competitive market for communication services."


Branstad Will Not Attend Obama Event

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad will not attend President Barack Obama's event in Cedar Falls Wednesday.
     Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said the Republican governor has commitments that will keep him at the state Capitol. Centers said Branstad was pleased that Obama was coming to the state to talk about increasing access to affordable, high-speed broadband.
     Branstad said Tuesday that he would seek to expand broadband access in rural Iowa this year. Previous efforts to encourage broadband expansion in the state have failed.
     The White House says Obama's speech will be streamed live at .


Patrol Video Shows Arrested Drunken Driver Killed By Van

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A video shows officers failed to guard an Iowa drunken driving suspect who escaped from a State Patrol car while handcuffed and was struck by a van and killed.
     Matthew Lentzkow's death has brought attention to how Iowa State Patrol vehicles lack cages to transport suspects to jail.
     Lentzkow's father, Gary Lentzkow, says the trooper who made the Nov. 1 stop and two sheriff's deputies who arrived as backup should not have allowed his son to unbuckle himself and get out of the patrol car.
     Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty says officers in hindsight should have put the 36-year-old Newton man in the cage of a sheriff deputy's car and had someone watch him.
     He says the officers believed they were doing everything right at the time.






Tuesday News, January 13

Supervisors Have Busy Agenda

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a busy agenda for their weekly meeting.  The supervisors are expected to re-appoint Brad Cave to a another term for the Local Options Sales Tax Board.  They will also name two other people to the L.O.S.T. board to serve Districts 2 and 4.  The county governing board is expected to re-appoint James Dennison to the Board of Adjustment for a five-year term.  Shelly Thomspon of Life Skills Training Center is on the agenda to address the county supervisors.  County Recorder, JoLynn Goodchild will be delivering her quarterly report.  County engineer Tom Rohe will be appearing before the supervisors to submit a permit from MidAmerican Energy Company for work in Perry Township.  The supervisors will continue their meeting into the afternoon hours.  Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo will appear before the county board of supervisors to formally make his budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year.


Hospital Trustees To Meet This Evening

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening.  The trustees will hear a medical staff update from newly elected president of the Floyd Valley Medical Staff, Dr. Mark Stelzer.  The hospital trustees will make committee assignments, as well as have a review and approval of the governing board's by-laws.  Trustee Bill Rosacker will deliver the Community Health Advisory Committee and board of health quarterly report.  The hospital trustees will also discuss the latest developments with the north addition expansion project.


School Foundation To Launch Spring Scholarship Campaign

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District Foundation will kick-off this year's scholarship campaign for the 2015 spring scholarship program.  The school foundation was formed in 1991, and to date, through the gracious contributions from a number of benefactors, has awarded over $690,000 in scholarships.  Last year alone, the Le Mars Community School District Foundation awarded 108 scholarships totalling $55,600.  The Foundation's scholarship committee goal is to exceed last year's scholarships.  Already, there have been four new scholarships created that will be awarded for the first time this spring.


School Board Discuss Upcoming Retreat

(Le Mars) -- At last evening's Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting, the school board discussed the upcoming board and administration retreat scheduled for January 26th.  During that retreat, the school board will get updates pertaining to Technology Intergration Presentations from Middle School and Elementary School faculty.  The school board will take some time to visit about the Iowa Core, as well as have a round robin discussion relating to Teacher Leadership Compensation.  The school board also approved the petition of two students wanting to attend Le Mars Community School through open enrollment.  The local board of education also approved the contract to hire Scott Eilts.


Le Mars Main Street Organization A Finalist For A National Grant

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Main Street Alley Art project was recently given some good news. It was learned that Le Mars is among 90 finalists for a grant.  Le Mars applied for a $125,000 Art Place America grant.  More than 1,280 applications had been submitted from across the country.  Now, Le Mars Main Street officials will make a full application and receive a personal visit from New York City Art Place staff.  Approximately 40 percent of the 90 finalists will receive funding.


Two School Buses Collide At Storm Lake

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two students and two adults have been treated for injuries after a school bus crashed into the back of another in the northwest Iowa city of Storm Lake. 
     Storm Lake police say the accident was reported around 7:45 a.m. Monday. Police say a westbound Storm Lake School District bus carrying 39 students was halted for traffic when it was struck by a second district bus with 58 students on board. The driver of the second bus was cited for failure to stop.
     One driver, an adult aide and one student were taken to Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, and a second student was treated at the scene. The other bus driver later drove himself to the hospital for evaluation.


Branstad To Deliver Condition Of The State Address Today

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad will lay out his 2015 budget plans in his Condition of the State address. Branstad is scheduled to address the Iowa General Assembly this morning. Branstad has said enough money was available for a fair and sustainable budget.


Obama To Visit Iowa On Wednesday

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The White House is offering more details about President Barack Obama's visit to Iowa. A news release says Obama will visit Cedar Falls on Wednesday and speak on the issue of increasing access to affordable, high-speed broadband. The White House says Obama's speech will be streamed online.


MidAmerican Energy Completes Work On Wind Farms

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Company has completed work on three additional wind farms as part of an ongoing sustainable energy project. The completion of these wind farms means four of the five farms that comprise the so-called Wind VIII project are now finished. The project is slated for completion by the end of this year.


Veterans Affairs Has New Director At Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a new director for the Iowa City VA Health Care System.
     The department said in a statement that Judith Johnson-Mekota will be the system's new director effective February 8. She has served more than 20 years in health care leadership positions, most recently as director of the VA Central Iowa Health Care System. 
     The Iowa City VA Health Care System provides health care to more than 40,000 veterans and covers 32 counties in eastern Iowa and 16 counties in western Illinois. It has an operating budget of about $182 million and has more than 1,000 employees. 
     Johnson-Mekota holds a master's degree in nursing administration from the University of Iowa and an undergraduate degree in nursing from Coe College.



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