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Wednesday News, January 16

County Approves A 3% Pay Raise For County Employees

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a three percent increase in salary for non-elected county employees during their regularly scheduled meeting held this morning at the county courthouse.  The supervisors also signed an agreement between Plymouth County and the city of Le Mars transferring Plymouth County's interest in the Cresent Ridge real estate to the city of Le Mars.  The county, in an effort to promote economic development previously contributed $525,000 to the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation for the acquisition and development of Cresent Ridge real estate comprising of 59.5 acres.  The county is now transferring the land back to the city in the amount of $297,500.

City Council Awards Bids For Waste Water Treatment Facilities

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council held a special meeting Tuesday to award the contracts for the construction of the new Waste Water Treatment facility and improvements to the existing facility.  The council awarded a contract of $15 million 226 thousand dollars to Rice lake Construction of Deerwood, Minnesota and the council awarded a second contract for $3,664,000 to Vander Pol Excavating of Orange City.

Historic Preservation Commission To Celebrate Downtown's Listing On National Registry

(Le Mars) -- (Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission wants to celebrate the fact the downtown district has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and they want
the community to join in on the celebration.  Later this afternoon beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, the Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission will show pictures of the downtown from the turn of the century, and when Le Mars was first being developed.

School Officials Discontinue Additional Assessment Tests

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Community school officials has requested the school board to consider giving fewer assessment tests to students in grades 3-8 and 10 and 11.  Assistant Superintendent Steve Webner explains the required assessments include reading, math, and science.  In addition, The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires the Iowa Department of Education to collect data in grades 3-8 and 11 in order to determine if school districts and buildings have reached state Adequate Yearly Progress targets within the Iowa Assessment test. 
Webner says the additional assessments, simply don't apply to the curriculum.
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Webner questions whether it is worth the teacher's time to utilize the additional assessment tests.
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The local school board gave their approval to that request.


Sioux City Police Investigate Pedestrian-Vehicle Accident

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are investigating a pedestrian-vehicle accident that occurred yesterday afternoon at South Lakeport and Southern Hills Drive shortly after 4:00 p.m.  Upon arrival, police located 80 year old Grace Hutchinson of Winnipeg, Manitoba, lying just off the roadway in a median, unconscious but breathing, and had sustained a blunt force to the head.  Hutchinson was immediately transported to Mercy Medical Center where she is currently listed in stable condition.  The driver of that accident was said to be 23 year old David Milos of Sioux City.  Alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be a factor in the incident, nor is speeding.  However, police are looking into whether the driver was at the time using an electronic device causing the driver to be distracted.


Iowa Public Safety To Demonstrate Dangers of Distracted Driving

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are trying to increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
The state Department of Public Safety says insurance company State Farm will present the Iowa State Patrol a $25,000 grant Wednesday. The money will be used to buy three distracted driving
simulators to teach young drivers about the dangers of the practice.
A patrol spokesman says demonstrations and more education will decrease fatalities among young drivers.
The simulators will be used on various groups, including schools, civic organizations, churches and businesses.


"State of Judiciary" To Be Delivered Today

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Chief Justice Mark Cady of the Iowa Supreme Court is set to address lawmakers in the annual "state of the judiciary" speech.
Cady will speak Wednesday morning before a joint session of the Legislature. Cady, who has served on the court since 1998, used last year's address to decry budget cuts in the Iowa judicial
This year, Gov. Terry Branstad is recommending that the courts get their requested budget allocation of $167.7 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1. That would be an increase of nearly
$6 million over the current year.

Iowa National Guard To Assist With Presidential Inauguration

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Soldiers and airmen from the Iowa National Guard have been assigned to help with President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The Iowa National Guard announced Tuesday that approximately 120 soldiers and airmen will assist federal, state and local agencies with the Jan. 21 event. Duties will include transportation and
attendee management.
The soldiers and airmen are expected to help for eight days, which includes personnel readiness and travel.
Officials say approximately 6,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 25 states and territories will help during the presidential inauguration period.

Des Moines - A Nice Place To Retire

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new study says Des Moines is one of the best performing cities when it comes to funding its retirement pension fund. Omaha, Neb., is one of the worst.
The study released Tuesday by Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit public policy organization, says 16 cities funded 80 percent of the total liability in the fund and consistently made at least 90 percent of their annual recommended pension payments. Among them:
Des Moines, Dallas, and Seattle.
Six cities regularly made less than two-thirds of their annual recommended contributions. They include Chicago, Omaha, and Portland, Ore.
Pew examined pensions in 61 cities - the most populous one in each state - plus all others with populations over 500,000.
It used data for 2007 through 2009, the most recent available.



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