June 12 newsPublished by on
ROUND LAKE/BREWSTER – According to results from Round Lake-Brewster Superintendent Cornelius Smit, the vote to consolidate the two school districts passed by more than 95 percent Tuesday night. More than 60 percent of residents in the districts turned out to cast a ballot, with only 27 votes against the consolidation out of 562 voters.
Polling took place from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Round Lake High School Cafeteria and Brewster Elementary School Gymnasium. In Round Lake, 247 voters (93.5 percent) were in favor of consolidation, and 17 against. In Brewster, 288 voters (96.6 percent) were in favor, and 10 against. A 65 percent turnout was reported in Round Lake; a 62 percent turnout was reported in Brewster.
Both School Boards will meet on Monday at the Round Lake/Brewster High School in Round Lake to canvass the election results and certify the election results to Nobles County Auditor/Treasurer Sharon Balster.
ROCK RAPIDS, IA - The Iowa State Auditor says Lyon County lost out on more than $400,000 because of criminal theft and misconduct in the county engineer’s office. The report from the auditor was released Tuesday after eight employees from the office were arrested last year when it was discovered they were selling scrap metal and conducting inspections and pocketing the cash.
These crimes started with County Engineer Jeff Williams pocketing nearly $2,000 in inspection fees and Roads Supervisor Todd Huisman diverting more than $9,000 to a 'pizza fund.'
Between August 2006 and May 2012 the report states the county lost out on $418,000 in payments that never made it to the county coffers. A majority of the money was lost because the office never billed cities within the county for road projects that were completed in those towns. But it was the actions of Huisman and Williams that ultimately led to criminal charges and prosecution.
The report states Huisman cashed 20 checks totaling more than $9,000 for the sale of scrap metal from the county. Huisman told investigators the money went into a 'slush fund' for Christmas parties, pizza parties and to buy televisions and refrigerators for the shop. Other employees confirmed the money that was supposed to go to the county ended up in a pizza fund.
Williams is accused of allegedly pocketing at least $2,000 for septic tank inspections he conducted. The report states the county paid for inspector training for Williams and he used county tools and his county vehicle to conduct the inspections but had homeowners write out the checks to him. Another $3,000 in inspection fees that were billed out but weren't deposited was also found.
Both Williams and Huisman were fired last summer when the allegations came to light. They have both pleaded guilty to criminal charges and received suspended jail sentences. Six other employees pleaded guilty to less serious misconduct charges and are still employed by the county.
The report states Lyon County officials and the Board of Supervisors now need to develop more procedures and oversight to prevent future problems.
WORTHINGTON – City-wide cleanup begins in Worthington Monday, so residents must get items out to the curb this week. Tags for large items such as mattresses, large furniture, electronics and appliances of all kinds, must be purchased through Worthington City Hall, the Public Utilities office, the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce and Schaap Sanitation. Items without tags will not be collected.
Hazardous materials, recyclable materials and items that would fit in regular weekly waste containers will not be picked up.
AMES, Iowa -The Iowa Transportation Commission Tuesday awarded funding for two trails-related projects in Dickinson County.
One of them will allow for the extension of a sidewalk along a portion of Hill Avenue on the south side of Spirit Lake northward, connecting to an existing sidewalk near the schools. The grant of nearly $207,000 is coming through the D.O.T’s Safe Routes To School Program.
Another trails-related project, railbanking of the former Iowa Northwestern Railroad right-of-way between Ocheyedan and Superior, was also awarded funding by the commission. The Dickinson and Osceola County Conservation boards were awarded a total of nearly $306,000 for that project. Plans call for the former railroad right-of-way to eventually be converted into a recreational trail. Funding for that grant was made available through the D.O.T’s recreational trail program.
ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa - The Lyon County Sheriff's Office investigated a report of sexual abuse which occurred in Rock Rapids on June 6. Arrested as a result of the investigation was David Matthias, Jr., age 49, of Rock Rapids. Matthias was charged with Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree, a Class C Felony, and is being held in the Lyon County Jail on $10,000 bond.
On Tuesday, Wayne Alan Koele, age 33, of Sheldon, turned himself in to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The charges stem from Koele purchasing pseudoephedrine for a co-conspirator, who used it to manufacture meth.
WHITE BEAR LAKE - A three-block span of ice cream, chocolate syrup and cherries in downtown White Bear Lake is what the owner of Grandma’s Bakery envisions as the world’s longest sundae. On June 20, hundreds of volunteers will help assemble and eat more than 200 gallons of vanilla ice cream in a massive dish at least a thousand feet long along 4th Street between Washington and Stewart Avenues.
The bakery hopes to break the current record set last year in Cavalier, N.D. where 160 people made a sundae just over 670 feet long.