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Thursday Afternoon News, January 3

City To Pick Up Disposed Christmas Trees

(Le Mars) -- The City of Le Mars Public Works Department will be picking up live Christmas Trees beginning the week of January 7th.  Steve Hanson, superintendent for the city's public works department says They will do one pass through of the entire town; therefore, he asks that residents please have your tree out next to the curb by Sunday January 6th. 
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Hanson says the city will dispose of the trees.  Depending upon the number of trees to be picked up will determine what may happen to the trees.
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Hanson wants to remind residents to remove all lights, plastic covers, tinsel, stands and garland.


E-mail Shows Harkins Worked Behind The Scenes for Institute

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An email shows an Iowa Board of Regents member worked behind the scenes to create a university institute honoring her husband, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
The April 2011 email from then-Iowa State University Provost Elizabeth Hoffman says Ruth Harkin approached university officials a year earlier about creating the Harkin Institute of Public
Policy. The university provided the email to The Associated Press in an open records request.
Hoffman's email says Ruth Harkin "wanted it to be very private" until the institute was before the regents. Ruth Harkin abstained from the vote creating the institute, but the email says
she wanted the plan to pass before the terms of two allies on the
board expired.
The email also says the Harkins were aware of potential ethical problems.


Manly Bans Pitbulls

MANLY, Iowa (AP) - The city council in the northern Iowa city of Manly has voted to keep and enforce its ban on pit bulls.
The council made its decision Wednesday. Pit bull owners who had been sent letters about the ban have until Monday to move their dogs outside the city.
The ban was adopted in 2008 after a pit bull menaced two children in town. Council member Scott Heagel says Manly residents requested it then.
Mayor Kevin Isaacson says the ordinance has not been enforced since.
The council revisited the issue in April but decided against rescinding it. The issue resurfaced in November, after pit bull owners got the letters about removing their dogs.

Decorah Woman Accused of Stealing From Nursing Home

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - A woman in northeast Iowa has been accused of stealing money from a nursing home where she worked for 36 years.
The Gazette reports Nancy Elsbernd was charged last week with first-degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct for taking money from the Aase Haugen Nursing Home in Decorah. A police affidavit
says the 64-year-old admitted to investigators that she issued checks to herself over the past five to six years.
Investigators say more than $55,000 is missing from the nursing home's finances. Auditors are still checking the records, which Elsband had access to.
Elsbernd is out on bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7. She faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
A message left for Elsbernd's attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.

Army Corps of Engineers To Release Less Water In Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The amount of water released into the lower Missouri River will be decreased this month because warmer weather has reduced ice concerns.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it will gradually reduce the amount of water it releases out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border to 14,000 cubic feet per second.
That's a decrease of 4,000 cubic feet per second from the releases being made over the past two weeks.
The change is not expected to make much difference in water levels downstream in the Missouri or Mississippi rivers.
Officials said last month that the water flow needed to be increased because ice forming on the river would reduce the flow.  Now the weather has improved enough to alleviate the ice concerns.


Tax Collections Are Up For Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Tax collections in Iowa are up compared to the same halfway point a year ago.
Net state receipts totaled more than $3.1 billion from July through December. That's
about $264 million, or about 9 percent, higher than the first six months of the previous fiscal year.
The Legislative Services Agency says the percentage growth rate will likely dip in January because of processing days in the calendar.
The Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference projected last month that the state treasury would end the current fiscal year with nearly $6.4 billion. That would be about a 3.3 percent increase over the
last fiscal year.



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