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Tuesday Afternoon News, April 26

Supervisors Inspect Pickup Truck Now Used For Grass Fires

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors saw what once was a pickup truck that was previously owned by the county and used for the Emergency Management Services, now has been converted to be used as a grass wildfire rig.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper appeared before the county supervisors to thank the county for allowing the city of Le Mars, and specifically, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department to purchase the used pickup truck.  Schipper informed the county governing board how the pickup truck will be used to fight grass and field fires.  Schipper says the grass rig will be used for rural services, as well as during the Plymouth County Fair, and will be available for mutual aid to several other communities.  Schipper reminded the county supervisors that the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department is responsible for fire protection in Struble, Seney, Brunsville, and during the day hours provides assistance to both Merrill and Oyens. Schipper told the county supervisors that the pickup truck, and all of its equipment, were purchased through private donations.  He says the pickup truck was purchased from Plymouth County through a $15,000 donation from Wells Enterprises. In other action, the Supervisors approved construction contracts involving four culvert installation projects.

Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper (right)  tells Plymouth County Supervisors Craig Anderson (far left), Jim Henrich (near left) and John Meis (center) about how the pickup truck that was previously owned by Plymouth County will now be used to fight grass wildfires.

Plymouth County Supervisors got a chance to inspect a pickup truck that was once owned by the county.  It has been converted to be a fire truck capable of fighting grass and field wildfires.  Standing in front of the pickup truck is (left to right) Plymouth County Emergency Management Services Director, Duane Walhof, Supervisor Craig Anderson, Supervisor John Meis, Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper, Supervisor Jim Henrich, and Supervisor Mark Loutsch.



Hawarden Man Sentenced For Theft, Burglary, And Drug Possession

(Orange City) -- Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle announced that Jeremy Langley, age 30, of Hawarden, Iowa, was sentenced on Monday for the crimes of Burglary in the Third Degree, Theft in the Second Degree, and Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine. Sioux County Attorney Kunstle prosecuted the case on behalf of the State of Iowa and on behalf of Sioux County. Langley was simultaneously sentenced on Plymouth County Theft and Drug charges.  This case arose on October 19, 2015, when police responded to a Hawarden 911 hang-up call. Police learned Langley fled into a field and noticed something 100 yards into a nearby field of tall grass. They approached to find Langley laying in the grass wearing a backpack. He tried to flee and police used force to detain him. The backpack contained drug paraphernalia, marijuana, and methamphetamine. It also contained $5,600 in cash inside a bank bag that police later learned was burglarized on October 16 from a Sioux Falls Casino. While these charges were pending Langley was arrested again for a Hawarden burglary occurring January 31, 2016, where Langley was found in Le Mars with the property stolen from Hawarden.  Langley was sentenced to an 10 year prison term on the Possession with Intent to Deliver.  He must serve 1⁄3 of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Langley was given two 5-year prison sentences, respectively, on the Theft and Burglary convictions. All sentences will run concurrently. Langley was also ordered to pay $2,300 in restitution for the burglary.




Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit Trial Against Northwest Iowa Counties To Be Delayed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Water Works against several upstream agriculture drainage districts will not go to trial in August.
A three-week federal court trial was initially set to begin Aug. 8 but on Monday Judge Leonard Strand issued an order continuing it due to scheduling conflicts. A new date will be set when he meets with attorneys on May 11.
The water utility for about 500,000 central Iowa customers blames farmland runoff for high levels of nitrate that has caused it to spend millions of dollars to remove the contaminant to comply with federal water quality regulations. 
Water Works officials want farm drainage districts to have to get pollution discharge permits under the federal Clean Water Act to help control farm contaminants leeching into rivers and streams.





Council Bluffs To Get New Police Station

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The Council Bluffs City Council has unanimously supported construction of a new police headquarters. All five City Council members announced their support of the new facility on Monday. The council also encouraged residents to head to the polls on May 3 to vote for a request for $20 million in general obligation bonds for the new headquarters.  At least 60 percent of voters must choose in favor of the bond issue in order for it to pass. The location and design of the potential new headquarters has not been decided, but Councilwoman Melissa Head says several sites are under consideration. The current 19,000-square-foot facility was built in 1977. Police Chief Tim Carmody says at least 58,000 square feet is needed for current and future needs.






Tuesday News, April 26

School Board Approves 3.24% Salary Raise For Teacher's Master Contract

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education approved a new master contract for the faculty for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.  The school board, during its Monday evening meeting, approved a salary increase of 3.24 percent which translates to an increase of base salary of $1,150.  The new base salary is at $36,835.  Each teacher will also receive a teacher supplement salary of $5,785 that has been allocated from the state legislature, placing the minimum salary at $42,620.  In other action last evening, the school board approved the hiring of three new faculty members.  They include: Cody Dyhrkopp as a 5th grade teacher for Kluckhohn Elementary School and assistant 7th Grade football coach.  Tyler Phelan as an elementary physical education teacher and assistant high school football coach, and David Den Herder.  The school board approved 157 seniors to receive their diplomas for graduation, as they have met the academic standards.




Le Mars Police Offer More Details On Weekend ATV Accident

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has released additional information regarding Saturday morning's All Terrain Vehicle accident that happened near 4th Street northeast and 4th Avenue northeast.  The victim is 58 year old William Terry of Le Mars.  According to the accident report, Terry had left his residence of 501 4th Avenue northeast and proceeded south along the railroad tracks heading to the Fareway grocery store.  Officers say it is not a roadway, but rather a pathway west of 4th Avenue northeast along the railroad tracks.  At some point, Terry had tried to steer clear of a rut in the dirt and gravel pathway along the railroad tracks and ended up rolling his ATV.  The ATV was now facing north with Terry lying on the east side of the ATV.  Officers were able to lift the ATV freeing Terry's leg from under the machine.  The victim had suffered both back and chest injuries, and complained of pain.  The Le Mars Ambulance transported Terry to Floyd Valley Healthcare's Emergency Room.  Minor damage was done to the ATV.  The ATV did have the proper county sticker affixed to the machine indicating it has been registered in Plymouth County for 2016.





Akron Man Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison For Sexually Abusing Boy

(Le Mars) -- An Akron man who pleaded guilty of sexually abusing a 12-year old boy, and for possessing child pornography has been sentenced to eleven years in prison. 57 year old Wilhelm Von Hofsteader pleaded guilty in Plymouth County District Court to one count of felony lascivious acts with a child and three counts of misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a minor.  Von Hofsteader apparently sexually assaulted the minor boy on July 9th.  Authorities searched his home four days later and found several items including child pornography.





Supervisors To Hold Public Hearing On Proposed Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will convene Tuesday morning at the County Courthouse Board Room for their regular weekly meeting.  The county governing board will hear a report by Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper regarding a grass wildfire pickup truck rig.  The city of Le Mars had purchased the pickup truck from Plymouth County.  The converted pickup truck had been a vehicle for the county's emergency management agency.  The board of supervisors will conduct a public hearing regarding the county's proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017.  It is expected following the public hearing that the county supervisors will approve the county's proposed budget.  Neal Adler, the executive director with the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to address the county board regarding the Le Mars Comprehensive Plan.  Jonathan Walker is scheduled to appear before the supervisors for assignment of county tax certification.  County engineer Tom Rohe will appear before the board to review and approve an agreement with Knife River for a resurfacing project.  Rohe will also present four construction contracts for approval.




County Engineer Tom Rohe Announces County Road Construction Projects

(Le Mars) -- This time of year, motorists start to see the orange cones and barrels along with road closure signs as road construction projects get started.
Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says the number of construction projects scheduled for this summer compares with what was completed from last year.

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Rohe says many of the construction projects scheduled had submitted bids back in February and March.

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The Plymouth County engineer expects to see the asphalt overlay project and the grading project to get started in June.  He says local contractor crews will be busy this spring and summer installing new culvert boxes and bridges.

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Rohe says he believes all of the construction projects will be completed by late August to early September. Last year the Iowa legislature passed an increase in the state's fuel tax.  Rohe says that increase has helped push some construction projects ahead in the priority list, as well as able to fund additional construction projects.

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Rohe says many people may not realize the cost and investment involved with paving a road, or installing a new bridge.  He says those projects often run into the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes, even millions of dollars.

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4-H And FFA Members Weigh In Sheep For Plymouth County Fair

(Le Mars) -- This past weekend, Plymouth County 4-H and FFA exhibitors weighed 170 head of lambs that are to be exhibited at the upcoming Plymouth County Fair.  The number represents 20 additional lambs than were weighed last year, according to Ann Schoenrock, Plymouth County Extension Program Co-coordinator.


United Healthcare To Leave Iowa Insurance Marketplace

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The nation's largest health insurance carrier says it will leave the Iowa marketplace for subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act. 
Iowa regulator said Monday that UnitedHealthcare's decision will affect about 9,000 consumers. The company says it's lost millions of dollars by selling on the marketplaces.
People who bought UnitedHealthcare policies on the Iowa exchange will be covered through 2016. And they will have a new option for 2017: Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield. 
Wellmark is the state's dominant insurance carrier but had previously opted not to become part of the Care Act exchange for Iowa. It announced in October that it would be joining the exchange for the 2017 calendar year, however.




State Legislature Fails To Expand Medical Marijuana Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill that would have expanded Iowa's medical marijuana law has failed in the Republican-controlled House.
The chamber voted 31-63 Monday night to turn down a proposal that would have expanded the list of medical conditions eligible for possession of cannabis oil. 
The bill would not have allowed the production of the oil in Iowa. House Democrats said it would have forced residents to travel outside of the state to access the oil, violating federal law.
The measure faced an uncertain future in the Democratic-majority Senate, where there was support for a more comprehensive system.
Rep. Zach Nunn, an Altoona Republican, says he is disappointed with House Democrats, though the measure didn't have full support within his party. 
There has been months of debate within the chamber over how to expand Iowa's medical marijuana law.




Iowa House Approves Psychologists To Prescribe Medication

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved legislation that would allow specially trained psychologists to prescribe medication to mentally ill people in the state.
The Republican-majority chamber voted 72-22 Monday for the legislation, which would allow licensed psychologists to complete additional coursework and training to prescribe medication typically offered by psychiatrists and others.
The Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bill earlier this session that would allow the Board of Psychology to set rules related to prescribing psychologists. The House version would add more authority to the Board of Medicine in the rule making process and add other guidelines.
The bill will be sent back to the Senate before it can reach Gov. Terry Branstad's desk.
The legislation is meant to address a chronic shortage of psychiatrists and other medical professionals in Iowa.





Legislature Passes Infrastructure Funding Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Legislature has approved a bill on infrastructure funding that highlights the state's growing maintenance issues.
The Republican-controlled House voted 62-30 Monday for a roughly $84 million budget bill. The version passed in the Democratic-majority Senate proposed about $108 million, and the differences are expected to be sorted out in a special legislative committee.
The legislation includes dollars from a special infrastructure fund. It pays for a range of projects, though an Iowa agency estimates nearly $290 million is needed on more than 400 major maintenance projects that are mostly not addressed in the bill. The Senate proposes spending over $11 million on such projects for the next budget year. The House bill lowers that appropriation to $5.5 million.




"Field Of Dreams" To Receive Tax Breaks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers have passed legislation to offer tax rebates that could benefit construction of a sports complex at the "Field of Dreams" movie site.
The Republican-controlled House voted 77-18 Monday for legislation that would provide sales tax rebates to owners who spend at least $10 million on a baseball and softball complex. There's $5 million available in total and a single recipient could receive up to $2.5 million.
The Democratic-majority Senate passed the bill and it now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad.
The bill is expected to benefit a pending sports complex near Marion. It is also expected to benefit a future sports complex at the "Field of Dreams" movie site in Dyersville. Owners of the site previously missed out on similar tax incentives from the Legislature.



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