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Wednesday Afternoon, January 14

Sioux City Police Investigate Stabbing

(Sioux City) -- Police officers were dispatched to the eastside of Sioux City Wednesday morning for a report of a stabbling.  Upon their arrival, they found the victim, 28 year old Craig Downing with a single stab wound to the chest.  The wound appeared minor and Downing was transported to Mercy Medical Center.  The suspect is currently in custody though no charges have been filed yet.  The knife has been recovered.  Downing and the suspect are acquaintances.  Details of the circumstances leading up to the incident are not being released.


Chief Justice Cady Says Iowa Courthouses Need More Security

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's chief justice says the state's court system needs more security at courthouses and better ways of addressing racial disparities in its criminal justice system.
     Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court made the comments Wednesday in the annual "state of the judiciary" address to a joint session of the Legislature.
     Cady says the judicial branch is completing surveys on security levels at each courthouse. He says some training has been implemented, but he did not elaborate.
     The comments come after a man opened fire at the Jackson County Courthouse in September. He was killed after a scuffle with a county supervisor.
     Cady also says the justice system now offers staff training to recognize implicit biases that could contribute to racial disparities in its criminal justice system.


Ernst To Start Iowa Tour

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Joni Ernst says she'll start her 2015 tour of all 99 Iowa counties this weekend.
     During a call with news reporters Wednesday, Ernst said she'll be in her home town of Red Oak on Saturday. The appearance will mark the beginning of an annual effort to visit all the counties in Iowa every year.
     Other Iowa politicians that make this effort each year include Sen. Chuck Grassley and Gov. Terry Branstad. 
     The Republican Ernst was recently sworn in for her first term in the Senate.


Appeals Court Upholds Attorney Fees On Civil Lawsuit

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A split Iowa Court of Appeals panel has upheld a $7 million fee for three attorneys who won a class-action lawsuit against the city of Des Moines for charging improper franchise fees.
     The attorneys appealed a Polk County judge's decision awarding them less than half of the $15 million they sought from the $40 million the city must refund citizens for charging unlawful fees on utility bills.
     The lawyers say they took significant risk in the case for which they have spent more than 10,000 hours over 10 years.
     Appeals Judge Gayle Vogel is the dissenting opinion in the 2-1 decision released Wednesday. She says the work expended and the result achieved for Des Moines citizens justifies a bigger paycheck.
     The attorneys will seek an Iowa Supreme Court review.


University Of Iowa Hospitals To Pay $250,000 To Suicide Victim's Family

   IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Five years after a patient committed suicide while given a pass to temporarily leave, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has agreed to pay $250,000 and apologize to his relatives.
     Kenneth "Dean" Cabbage of North Liberty jumped from a hospital parking ramp in 2009 after being allowed to leave for an outing with his wife.
     The payment and apology letter settle a lawsuit brought by the 67-year-old's family that challenged the hospital's practice of granting unsupervised leaves allowing some psychiatric patients to go out for a few hours at a time.
     Hospital officials contend the leaves are therapeutic, helping patients get better by enjoying life.
     But an attorney for Cabbage's family argued the leaves have not been shown to help patients and are risky for those who could be suicidal.







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.






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