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Saturday Afternoon News, February 2

Anderson and Soderberg Hold Legislative Forum

(Le Mars) -- Nearly twenty people attended a legislative forum held at the Le Mars Public Library this morning, all wanting to hear from State Senator Bill Anderson and State Representative Chuck Soderberg on what they had to say about the issues being discussed during the General Session.  The topics focused on the budget, the expansion of Medicaid, and the state's surplus of revenue which is estimated between $800 million and $1 one billion dollars.  State Senator Bill Anderson says Senate Republicans have a goal to keep a watchful eye on the bottom line.
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Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars, chairs the House appropriations committee,and  he says the House Republicans would like to return the money to the tax payer.

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School Officials Meet With Legislators To Discuss Education Issues

(Le Mars) -- Earlier in the morning, the two area lawmakers met with school officials from the Le Mars, Remsen-Union, and Hinton school districts to discuss educational issues.  The conversation was frank and direct.  Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools for Le Mars Community School told the legislators that they are a year late is establishing the allowable growth school financing.

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Many schools are wanting to set their budgets for next year, but are uncertain as to what will be the percentage for allowable growth.  In recent year, school officials have had to wait on the legislature, and they were having to deal with rates between zero and four percent.  Wendt says school officials can't operate that way, and he offered the lawmakers a startling statistic.
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Remsen-Union school superintendent, Ken Howard told the lawmakers that he needs to know the budget numbers and school funding by next Monday. 

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Howard is also concerned about some of the state regulations and how it is affecting small school districts like Remsen-Union.

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Oyens and Remsen Fire Departments Respond To Machine Shed Fire

(Oyens) -- The Oyens and Remsen Fire Departments responded to a machine shed fire Saturday morning.  The call came in at about 7:45 a.m. and was located at 14794 Noble Avenue.  Oyens Fire Chief, Brian Juhl says upon arrival at the scene, "the machine shed was filled with smoke and there was zero visibility".  Fire crews were on the scene for nearly two hours.  Juhl says insulation placed in the back of the shed had caught fire.  He says fortunately, none of the farm equipment being stored in the shed had suffered damage, other than some smoke damage.  Damage to the shed was minimal.  Juhl says he believes a bad extension cord may have been the cause of the fire.

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