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Tuesday News, March 26

Supervisors Expected To Declare Surplus Property

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are expected to declare some county owned property as surplus property during their meeting scheduled for this morning at 9:30 a.m. at the Plymouth County Courthouse Board room. The Supervisors will also hear from Conservation Board Executive Director Dennis Sohl request an grant application.


Longtime Banking Executives Pass Away

(Le Mars) -- Longtime banker and community leader, Gordon Mennen has passed away.  Mennen, who was 96, is the former president of the Le Mars Savings Bank, later known as the Le Mars Bank and Trust and now known as Primebank.  Mennen served as the role of the local bank's president for 38 years.  He later retired from the president position to become the bank's CEO.  Beyond his professional role as a banker, Mennen devoted much of his time to community functions.  He was a member of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce, the Le Mars School Board, a 50-year member of the Le Mars Lions Club, Le Mars Development Corporation, and served as the president of the St. John's Lutheran Church for two terms.  Mennen, along with his wife, Teresa founded the Plymouth County Chapter for Mentally Handicapped Children.  Mennen was on the Westmar College Board of Directors for 21 years, and he served on the Siouxland Alzheimer's Association for six years. 

Another familiar banking executive has also passed.  Rose Bolser who lived to be 100.  Bolser had ties to the former Le Mars Savings and Loan Association, which later became First Federal Savings, and today it is known as Great Southern.   Rose's fondest contributions, are to the organization of the Little League with Bob Bitterly, the Work Activities Center (now Life Skills Training Center), and the many years of working with junior high youth groups at the Presbyterian Church.  Acknowledged for her many contributions to the community, she was awarded the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce 1985 Citizen of the Year, and the Service to Mankind Award from Sertoma in 1990.  She put her volunteer efforts to use in many areas: Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary, Le Mars Business and Professional Women, Chapter AO of T.T.T., and Beta Sigma Phi.  Rose was on the Plymouth County Board of Realtors, the Westmar Eager Eagles, care review committees at The Abbey and the then Plymouth County Home, the Le Mars Arts Council and Meals-on-Wheels.  She also served on the Homecoming '86 committee, a celebration that evolved into Ice Cream Days.


Spalding Students Design Winning App For Verizon

(Granville, Iowa) –– A team of high school students from Spalding Catholic High School are winners of a national competition to develop mobile applications that address a need or problem in their community. Their “AgNote MAX” app concept is one of 10 winning designs. The app makes it easier for farmers to track all aspects of farming.  The competition, the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, was created by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Student Association to help boost student engagement and interest in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The students were asked to use their STEM skills to design app concepts that provided real-world solutions for issues in their communities or schools.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab will continue to work with the Spalding Catholic “AgNote MAX” app team to refine their projects. Verizon will provide the teams with professional support and training to help bring their concepts to market. The final products will be made available for download from Google’s Play Store. In addition, the Spalding Catholic High School will receive a $10,000 Verizon Foundation grant to advance STEM education at their school, and each team member will receive the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, courtesy of Samsung Mobile.

Lisa Hamerlinck, principal at Spalding Catholic said, “This was a fun and relevant project for our students. We know that students learn best in real-world scenarios and this is exactly that type of project. I am very proud of our students and Mrs. Mary Hunt.  More than 470 student teams from across the country submitted concepts for the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The AgNote MAX team consisted of five students and was guided by a Mrs. Mary Hunt.

Denison Fire Chief Sentenced To Prison

DENISON, Iowa (AP) - A former fire chief in western Iowa has been sentenced for stealing from taxpayers.
Online court records say 42-year-old Michael McKinnon on Monday was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He'd been convicted of theft.
McKinnon served Denison as chief from January 1999 to January 2010, when he left under a cloud of questions about his spending. A state audit cited more than $95,000 in spending, including about
$40,000 paid to businesses he owned. The spending included invoices for post office boxes that did not exist.
Other spending included a riding lawn mower and a motor for his boat.


Techau Nominated For U-S Attorney

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Tom Harkin has recommended that the White House nominate Kevin Techau for U.S. attorney of the Northern District of Iowa.
If nominated and confirmed, Techau would replace Stephanie Rose.  She was confirmed last year as a U.S. district judge.
Since 2007, Techau, of Des Moines, has been associate general counsel at the American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co. From 2002 to 2007 he was commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety and from 1999 to 2002 he was director of the Department of Inspections and
Techau served as an assistant federal public defender from 1996 to 1999.
He is a graduate of Marion High School, the University of Iowa College of Business and the University of Iowa College of Law.


House Make ID Theft A Felony

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved legislation that would make all identity theft a felony.
Lawmakers approved the measure 84-11 Monday with bipartisan support. The bill now moves to the Senate.
The legislation raises the minimum sentence for committing identity theft to a class D felony that's punishable by up to five years in prison. Current law charges offenders on a sliding scale
from an aggravated misdemeanor to a class D felony.
Republican Rep. Mark Brandenburg of Council Bluffs supports the bill and says raising the penalty would deter such crimes.
The legislation provides exemptions from the felony rule for teenagers or underage adults who use a fake or stolen identification card to enter a bar, buy alcohol or cigarettes, or purchase move tickets for an R-rated movie.

Senate Votes To Expand Medicaid

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Senate have approved legislation that would expand Medicaid in Iowa.
Senators backed the bill in a party-line vote Monday. They argue that expanding Medicaid would provide better health coverage to more low-income Iowa residents.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad continues to oppose growing Medicaid. He says the cost is unsustainable for the federal government and has questioned the long-term cost for the state.
Branstad has proposed revamping an existing health program for low-income residents that is funded through state and federal dollars.
If Iowa expanded Medicaid, the federal government would pay the full cost for new enrollees during the first three years of the expansion. Then 10 percent of the cost would gradually be shifted
to the state.


Senate Passes New Dietary Guidelines For Public Cafeterias

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Senate Democrats have passed a bill that would create new dietary guidelines for public cafeterias including ones in state buildings and public universities.
The measure passed 26-23 Monday on a party-line vote and moves to the House for review.
Cafeterias at the Capitol complex, other state buildings and public universities and community colleges would be required to follow American Heart Association guidelines.
Government cafeterias would have to post the counts of calories, sodium and saturated fat on menus and meet guidelines limiting calories for snack foods, entrees and meals.
The bill would require the state Department of Administrative Services to contract with food vendors following the new requirements.
Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen of Des Moines, the bill's sponsor, says the measure is one step toward tackling obesity in Iowa.



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