Newscast 11.28.2023: Jan George selected as Sioux City School Board president; Woodbury County Supervisors urging Taylor to resign after wife's voter fraud conviction; Iowa novelist Price dies
SIOUX CITY — The Sioux City School Board will be led by Jan George over the next year, as George, a longtime former school teacher, was selected by the other members in a Monday reorganizational meeting of the board.
George was one of three holdover members of the school board, amid substantial change on the seven-member entity after the November election. The other continuing members are Bob Michaelson and Dan Greenwell, the 2023 board president who during the election campaign said he would not run again for president.
The new members sworn in Monday after their electoral victories were Treyla Lee, Lance Ehmcke, John Meyers and Earl Miller. Those four won seats after nine candidates sought four-year terms that run through late 2027.
Lee was selected as vice president of the Sioux City School Board. She is a daughter of a former board member, Flora Lee, who was the first Black woman to win elective office in Woodbury County, back in the 1990s.
Meyers had served on the Sioux City School Board for eight years until a few years ago, so he is back on the board. Miller is a management consultant and Ehmcke is a retired attorney from the Heidman Law Firm.
The Sioux City School Board typically holds two meetings per month, on Monday evenings. The board members set policies, the annual budget, and hire administrators for the Sioux City School District, which has approximately 15,000 students and 2,000 employees in 20 schools.
The weekly meeting of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at 4:30 pm Tuesday in the Woodbury County Courthouse, and at the end of the session, three supervisors are anticipated to ask one to resign.
Woodbury County Board Chairman Matthew Ung told Siouxland Public Media News in advance of the meeting that it will take extra work to go through the process of filling a vacancy if Supervisor Jeremy Taylor resigns, but Ung is adamant that Taylor needs to step down to maintain the legitimacy of county government.
One week ago, Kim Phuong Taylor, the wife of Jeremy Taylor, in a federal trial was convicted on all 52 counts of voter fraud, as she sought to help her husband win in the 2020 election.
Prosecutors said Kim Taylor illegally filled out election documents and ballots for members of the Vietnamese community, who had limited ability to read and understand English. Jeremy Taylor has been named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
Ung said the story has taken on national attention, being aired on CNN and Fox News, and he wouldn’t be surprised if it has long legs into 2024 election contests. Ung added that it is still possible for Taylor to be federally indicted related to the fraud.
The supervisors don’t have the authority to force Taylor to resign, per Iowa code.
Two other county supervisors, Mark Nelson and Dan Bittinger, in recent days have also urge Taylor to step down. The fifth supervisor, Keith Radig, has not publicly addressed the topic.
Kim Taylor will be sentenced at a later date. She faces five years in prison on each count of voter fraud.
In other news, after some words of caution from Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott, the city council on Monday approved a resolution to continue negotiations for the Sioux City Explorers baseball team’s ongoing lease of Lewis & Clark Park.
The team is expected to continue playing at the ballpark before the lease is finalized. Scott said he was concerned about the length of the lease, saying he prefers nine to 12 years, and the lack of city input.
The stadium is located in an urban renewal area, so the city must follow the urban renewal law and give a 30-day notice of its intent to lease the park to the Explorers. In the next step ahead, a public hearing on the matter will be held Jan. 8.
Additionally, the Iowa native who wrote a notable novel that was turned into a popular movie has died.
Nancy Jane Price, 98, was a poet and novelist who lived in Cedar Falls, and taught at the University of Northern Iowa.
One of her biggest works was her third novel, Sleeping with the Enemy, published in 1987, and turned into a film adaptation starring Julia Roberts.
In addition to more than a dozen novels, Price published over a hundred poems and stories.
Price had just completed her final novel, which is set in Cedar Falls, and will be released next year.
Price was a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa.