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Wednesday News, April 3

Fire Fighters Called To Residence With Bed On Fire

(Le Mars) -- Saying that smoke detectors work, Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says it was a smoke detector that saved a life and property at a house fire located at 135 8th Avenue Southeast.  The call was received Tuesday, shortly before 12:00 noon, and the initial report was for the fire department to respond to a fire alarm.  Schipper says Norma Thoma, the occupant of the home who called the fire department, did not indicate there was a fire at the residence.

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Aside from the bed and blankets, there wasn't any fire damage to the home, however, there was some smoke damage. 
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The Le Mars Fire Chief estimates the damage to be about $1000.  There were no injuries, and the fire fighters were on the scene for about an hour and ten minutes.

Supervisors Award Construction Bids

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved bids for two construction projects scheduled for this summer.  The bid of $154,900 submitted by Gus Construction of Casey, Iowa for the construction of a reinforced concrete box culvert.  That culvert replacement is located on 130th Street east of County Road K-22.  Graves Construction Company of Spencer, Iowa was awarded the bid of a second construction project involving the installation of precast concrete deck panel to a bridge located on 120th Street east of County Road K-18.  Graves submitted a low bid of $95,409 for that project.


City Council Hears Development Proposal

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council heard from three Le Mars businessmen who want to make a new housing development located on the southern edge of the city. Investors, Bruce Kellen, Mark Nuebel, and Jeremy Sitzmann comprise of the K-N-S First Addition, and they appeared before the city council on Tuesday to share their plan. The development property is located between 12th Street and 15th Street and east of 6th Avenue also known as Kenaley Ranch.  The three investors want to offer "affordable" housing the the Le Mars community, as well as to offer tax revenue for the city of Le Mars.  The housing development area would consist of about 50 lots to be sold all within a few culdesacs.  The three were asking the city for $4300 for each lot to cover expenses with infrastructure costs such as water and sewer lines.   The city council voted to approve the concept, but they did not give the go-ahead for the project itself.

Klein Awarded School District Employee of the Month

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District honored its high school secretary, Krista Klein, yesterday afternoon at the April Employee of the Month.  Gale Horan, Deb Richarz, and Linda Coulter submitted the nomination.  They say about Klein that she help organize the building with all that she does.  She is receptionist for the public and the students.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and a pleasant voice that makes everyone feel welcome and enjoy working at the high school.  She takes care of attendance and helps with meds for the students. She keeps us advised with what's going on with announcements. She helps with money and lunch accounts, and she is responsible for student's records.  Our congratulations to Krista Klein for being selected as the Le Mars Community School District Employee of the Month.


Floyd Valley To Honor Volunteers

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital will be honoring all of its volunteers today during an appreciation luncheon.  The event will begin this morning at 9:30 a.m. in the lower level Conference Center.  Volunteers will be honored with an hours of service award.  In addition to the presentation of hours of service recognitions, there will be entertainment for the volunteers.  Tonya Huenink, RD, LD of HyVee will serve as the keynote speaker.


North West REC To Hold Annual Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The utility cooperative that provides electricity and power to many of Plymouth County and surrounding counties rural residences will hold its annual meeting this evening.  North West Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative serves Plymouth, Sioux, O'Brien, and Ida Counties.  The annual meeting will be held at the Le Mars Community High School with a banquet starting at 5:30 p.m. followed with the meeting at 7:00 p.m.  Two long-time directors, Alan Lucken and Gerald Klemme will be stepping down from the board of directors.  Lucken says the local utility cooperative has been fortunate.  While many rural electric cooperatives are losing customers due to fewer farms, the Northwest REC has been able to pick up business through economic development projects, such as ethanol plants and large-scale livestock operations.
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Branstad's Attorney Fees On the Rise

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The cost of defending Gov. Terry Branstad in a discrimination case is going up and there's no end in sight for the case.
A law firm hired to represent Branstad has been paid $370,559 in state dollars to date.
The state hired Des Moines attorney George A. LaMarca last year, after Iowa Workers Compensation Commissioner Christopher Godfrey filed a lawsuit accusing Branstad and top staffers of
discriminating against him because he's gay. Godfrey charges that the governor cut his salary by nearly $40,000 after he declined to resign.
A panel of state officials approved LaMarca's $325 hourly rate. LaMarca says the case merits taxpayer money because he's defending the rights of Branstad and future governors.
LaMarca says state law allows such salary reductions.
Godfrey declined to comment Tuesday on the attorney fees. He called the case a difficult situation.


Senate Passes Rules For Regents

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Members of the state Senate want to shine more light on the activities of the Board of Regents.
The Senate passed a measure which would do just that. The vote Tuesday in favor of the bill was 49-1, and it now goes to the House.
The measure requires the board that oversees Iowa's state universities to operate like local government by providing opportunity for public comment.
Under current law, the governor appoints all nine board members. If the bill passes, the ninth member would be elected by faculty members.
It would also prohibit the board's executive director, members or staff from having a business relationship with any employee of a regent institution.
Democratic Sen. Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls says the bill stipulates "basic stuff" that any organization employing Iowans should follow.

Senate Committee Approves Tax Break For Small Businesses That Provide Health Insurance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel approved a bill that would give a new income tax break to small businesses if they cover part of their employees' health insurance.
The measure passed a Senate Ways and Means subcommittee Tuesday with bipartisan support and now moves to the full committee. It's an incentive for small businesses to provide health insurance
coverage for their employees.
Under the Affordable Care Act, a small business that employs 25 or fewer people and chooses to cover 50 percent of their employees' health insurance costs gets a federal income tax break.
If the bill passes, these businesses would get an additional state income tax break, worth a quarter of their federal savings.
Democratic Sen. Matt McCoy, of Des Moines, estimates more than 73,000 businesses could benefit.

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