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Tuesday News, March 5

Supervisors To Hold Budget Hearing

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing today regarding the proposed county budget.  That hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and will be held at the Plymouth County Courthouse at the Supervisor Board room.  Also on the Supervisor agenda, the board will be awarding the construction contract for two projects involving an asphalt overlay on County roads C-38 and K-42.  Both of the roads service the Plymouth County Energy, the ethanol facility, and Plymouth County Oil Company, a corn oil processor.  The supervisors are expected to announce the letting date for two other proposed construction projects that will take place this spring and summer.  Both are situated in the northwest corner of the county and involve the replacement of drainage culverts.

 

City Council To Decide On Request To Raise Chickens In Town

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City Council has a light agenda during today's scheduled meeting.  The city council is expected to act upon the request of Floyd Valley Hospital to grant the hospital permission for an expansion project, and the council will make a decision as to whether Jeremy White will be allowed to raise chickens within the city limits.  White, who resides at 309 7th Avenue Southwest, wants to raise four layer hens in order to have his own eggs.  City code does not allow for "livestock" to be raised within the city limits.

 

Soderberg To Hold Legislative Forums

(Des Moines) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars has announced he will hold several legislative forums on Saturday, March 9th.  Soderberg will begin the day at 9:00 a.m. with a forum to be held at the Hinton Community Center located at 205 W. Main Street. Le Mars and the Habitue' Coffeehouse at 108 Central Avenue Northeast at 10:30 a.m. will be the second stop for Soderberg.  The third and final stop is scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon at the Akron Public Library located at 350 Reed Street.  The legislative panel will be discussing various issues concerning the Iowa Legislature.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meetings and address any issues that are of concern.

 

Branstad Introduces New Health Care Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says his health care proposal for some low-income Iowans will not provide the same benefits as an expanded Medicaid, but called his approach more
fiscally responsible.
Branstad on Monday unveiled Healthy Iowa, a revamped version of IowaCare, a state and federally funded program which provides limited benefits to about 70,000 low-income adults. The new plan
would adjust eligibility rules and offer some additional coverage, including service in more locations.
Branstad wants to get federal approval to set up Healthy Iowa instead of pursing a Medicaid expansion permitted under President Obama's health care overhaul. He says his approach will better
shield Iowa from federal fiscal changes.
Democrats in the state Senate say the plan would provide people with fewer benefits at a higher cost to the state.

Different Property Tax Proposals Being Discussed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A commercial property tax proposal from Gov. Terry Branstad is moving forward in the Republican-majority Iowa House, while a very different plan has support in the
Democratic-controlled Senate.
Republicans in a House ways and means subcommittee on Monday approved legislation from Branstad that would gradually reduce taxable assessments for commercial property owners by 20 percent.
Branstad's plan, which is estimated to cost $350 million, would also slow the growth of residential and agricultural assessments.
Senate Democrats have given committee-level approval to a plan that would gradually provide commercial property owners with a tax credit equivalent to a roughly 40 percent tax cut on their first
$324,000 in assessed property value. Democrats say their $250 million plan would help small businesses more than Branstad's plan.

 

Northeast Iowa Blanketed With Snow

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Forecasters say more snow is on the way to snarl travel and disrupt people's daily routines, but at least one northern Iowa woman loves what she sees.
Mary Hermanson is the night shift front desk clerk at the Super 8 in Mason City, and she says it looks like Christmas outside.
Hermanson said Tuesday morning that the snow is gently falling and "it's absolutely gorgeous out. If I'm going to have snow come down, that's what I want to have come down." She estimates about
10 inches have fallen there in the past 24 hours.
Hermanson says the snow is beautiful, but it hides the treacherous road conditions. She couldn't see the lanes on roads as she drove to work Monday night.


World Food Prize Hall Wins Energy Award

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A century-old former public library renovated to become the home of the World Food Prize Foundation has been awarded the top energy efficiency and environmental design
rating.
The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has been awarded a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The
Washington-based nonprofit organization promotes energy-saving building construction. Only a handful of 19th century buildings in the United States have the platinum rating.
Renovation of the building, which first opened as the Des Moines Public Library in 1903, cost $30 million.
It includes high efficiency solar panels, a geothermal system to heat and cool the building, and an 8,000-gallon storm water collection and storage system used to water the gardens.


Endangered Bat Could Delay Construction Project

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An endangered bat could delay work on an Interstate 80 interchange that business and civic leaders hope will bring more businesses and jobs to Waukee and West Des Moines.
A lone female Indian bat was found just over a mile from the $31 million proposed Interstate 80 interchange south of Waukee. The bat is considered endangered by state and federal agencies.
Federal officials have asked for a study to determine whether the Indiana bat population would be harmed by the interchange construction.
The discovery of the bat won't kill plans for the interchange, but it comes as the cities were preparing to start working on a final design. Officials want to have the construction begin later this year.
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