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Friday News, March 1

Gehlen Second Grade Students To Receive Helmets From OU

(Le Mars) -- Opportunities Unlimited (OU) of Sioux City will be presenting bicycle helmets to second grade students at Gehlen Catholic Elementary School. The presentation will take place this Friday afternoon.  OU will be giving away helmets to each student who participated in an essay contest on bike and helmet safety program known as "Gotta Brain...Getta Helmet".  The helmet give away is in recognition of March as Brain Injury Awareness Month.  The donation is meant to further highlight the importance of protective
equipment during recreational and athletic activities.   Opportunities Unlimited is a non-profit organization providing rehabilitation and therapeutic services for individuals with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and/or physical disabilities, as well as support for those families.


Minnesota Couple Arrested For Methamphetamine

(Le Mars) -- On Monday of this week, shortly before 9:00 p.m. the Plymouth County Sheriff's office received a call that a man was walking on Highway 75, south of Merrill, wearing only a t-shirt and hospital pants.  That man was located by a sheriff's deputy and was found to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Nearly a half hour later, the sheriff's office also received a call of a suspicious black SUV near the intersection of 220th Street and Iris Avenue.  A subsequent investigation found that 33 year old Jason Boltz and 42 year old Denise Kernan, both of Minnesota were involved in a domestic argument earlier in the evening.  Boltz was identified as the man walking along Highway 75.  Both were found to be in possession of illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia.  They were both arrested and booked into the Plymouth County Jail for possession of methamphetamine, a serious misdemeanor, possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.


Alton Woman Arrested For Marijuana Possession

(Orange City) -- Plymouth County and Sioux County Sheriff's offices worked together on an arrest of 18 year old Sierra Johnson of Alton.  On Monday at about 2:00 a.m., Johnson was stopped on Highway 60 for a traffic violation.  Upon further investigation, it was determined that Johnson was in possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Apple Growers Fear Lingering Drought Will Further Hurt Business

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's apple growers fear what another year of drought will do to their businesses.
Many growers also were clobbered last year by a late freeze.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa's production plummeted 94 percent last year, compared with 2011. The Iowa State research orchard in 2012 barely produced 10 bushels, or about 420 pounds. The facility usually produces 20 tons a year.
The National Drought Mitigation Center says all of Iowa is in drought, with the northwest quarter still in extreme drought.
Iowa State University horticulture professor Paul Domoto says that without more soil moisture, "You could see many of these orchards going out of business."
He says apple crops aren't covered by insurance.


Pheasants Forever Banquet Set For Saturday

(Le Mars) -- This Saturday, the Plymouth County chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its 28th annual banquet at the Le Mars Convention Center.  Chapter President Bob Puetz says the event usually attracts up to 550 people, and in addition to raising money for pheasant habitat, the evening's festivities prove to be a lot of fun for everyone.
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Puetz says, again this year, the Pheasants Forever chapter will raffle several shotguns and recreational outdoor retreats.
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The Pheasants Forever chapter president says in addition to creating sufficient habitat and to increase the population of pheasants and other wildlife, an additional mission is to introduce youngsters to the outdoors.

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The Plymouth County chapter sponsors several events through out the year directed towards youth and typically more than 100 youth participate.  The Plymouth County Pheasants Forever chapter ranks as one of the more active chapters in the nation, at one time having the most sponsors of any chapter in the nation.  The Pheasants Forever organization recently ranked Plymouth County as being the 25th best pheasant hunting spot in the nation.  The Pheasants Forever banquet will start with 5:00 social hour and dinner at 6:30 p.m.


House Republicans Pushing For Voter Photo ID

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House Republicans are moving forward with a controversial proposal that would require Iowa voters to show photo identification at polling places.
Lawmakers in the state government committee approved the legislation in a 12-8 vote Thursday. The measure is backed by Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who has filed identical bills in
the House and Senate.
Schultz, a Republican, has made voter ID one of his key issues. GOP lawmakers largely support him, saying identification is needed to prevent fraud. Democrats say there is little fraud and claim
Republicans want to discourage voting by minorities and the elderly, who are more likely to vote Democratic.
Republicans tried and failed to approve a photo identification law last year. The bill will now move on to a vote from the full House.

State Treasurer Encourages Parents To Invest Early For Children's College Fund

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's state treasurer is promoting an early investment account program to help parents pay for their kids' higher education.
State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is encouraging parents to register online for College Savings Iowa. A contest throughout March will award accounts with $250 to five random children.
College Savings Iowa is advertised as a program aimed at helping parents pay for higher education expenses early. It includes investment options and possible tax benefits.
Parents can participate in the contest if their children's daycare is registered with the program.


Upper Iowa University To Freeze Tuition

FAYETTE, Iowa (AP) - Upper Iowa University has agreed to freeze tuition rates for the nearly 1,000 students who take classes at its campus in northeast Iowa.
The university said Thursday that its board of trustees approved the one-year tuition freeze for students in Fayette for the coming school year. Tuition will remain at $24,400, while room and board
costs will rise by three percent.
Acting President Richard Patrick issued a statement calling the tuition freeze a "rare step" that will help students and families maintain access to the school at a time when many of them are
financially challenged. Tuition increases have averaged about 4 percent annually in recent years.
Tuition rates have not been determined for the roughly 5,200 other students enrolled in other Upper Iowa programs.


UNI and Faculty Agree On Salary Contract

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The union representing faculty at the University of Northern Iowa has voted in favor of a new contract with the Iowa Board of Regents.
Members of United Faculty approved the two-year contract during a Wednesday meeting. The board is expected to finalize the agreement.
The contract will include a 2 percent raise for faculty in the first year and a 2.25 percent raise in the second year. The contract also will have changes to internal procedures for
employment, but officials did not elaborate.
United Faculty President Daniel Power says the contract helps secure reasonable protection and fair compensation.
University officials announced this month that William Ruud will be the school's 10th president. His three-year contract begins in June.







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