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Friday Afternoon News, May 17

Local Gasoline Prices Jump Up 50 Cents per Gallon

(Le Mars) -- Don't look now, but gasoline prices are near or at four dollars a gallon, jumping up fifty cents per gallon within the last few days.  Local prices are at $3.94 for ethanol unleaded and $4.04 a gallon for regular unleaded.  Gail Weinhoulzer is the Public Affairs Director with the Triple A motor club for Minnesota and Iowa.  She says the spike in gasoline prices can be contributed to several factors.  The first reason is oil companies are required to make a switch over from winter blended fuels to summer blended fuels.  But perhaps more significant to the Midwest is that two refineries located near Chicago have shut down for general maintenance.

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The AAA official says the spike in gasoline prices is primarily limited to the Midwest.  Weinhoulzer says it will be sometime after Memorial Day when both refineries are back on line, but she says don't look for the price of gasoline to drop.

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Will the sudden spike in gasoline prices change people's minds about traveling for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend?

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Weinhoulzer does expect to see a continued modest price increase for gasoline within the next few days and possibly weeks.  However, barring any disaster such as a hurricane in the gulf region, or a war in the Mideast, she doesn't see gasoline prices passing the next level of $5 a gallon.

 

Westmar Endowment Scholarships Announced

(Des Moines) -- The Iowa College Foundation announced that it has awarded Westmar Endowment Scholarships totaling $36,000 to 33 students who will be attending an Iowa private college or university in academic year 2013-2014.  The Westmar Endowment Scholarship Program is administered by the Iowa College Foundation in cooperation with the Westmar University Alumni and Friends Association.
Westmar Presidential Scholarships of $5,000 each were awarded to Shannon Vander Berg of Sioux Center who will be a freshman at Dordt College; and to Emily Vondrak of Siouxcity who will be a freshman at Briar Cliff University.  In addition, 21 students received $1,000 awards each and ten students received $500 each.  The Westmar Endowment Scholarship Program is one of the largest scholarship programs ever offered in Northwest Iowa.  First consideration for awards was given to students who are current residents of Northwest Iowa and have a Westmar family-relation connection such as alumni, former staff and former faculty of Westmar as well as their children and grandchildren.  Other considerations were given to students who are residents of Le Mars and students living outside of the northwest Iowa area but have family-relation connections with the former Westmar College.  The Westmar Scholarships are also awarded on the basis of a student's academic merit, commitment to community service, and leadership qualities.  The scholarships are for one year only, but may be renewed.  Applicants at any college grade level are eligible, but must plan to attend one of ICF's member colleges as a full-time student.

 

American Bank Honors Beef Industry

(Le Mars) -- May is Beef Month and the American Bank of Le Mars was honoring the local cattle and beef industries by offering free hamburgers to their customers and to the general public.  American Bank turned their parking lot into a picnic area and served more than 300 people  a fresh grilled hamburger.  Next Friday, American Bank of Remsen will offer its customers a free hamburger picnic.

 

Woman Found Guilty Of Involuntary Manslaughter  Of Son

ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa woman has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 15-month-old son.
District Judge Jeffrey Neary said in a ruling Friday that the actions of 25-year-old Ashley Cameron, of Onawa, did not rise to the level of murder. She also was convicted of child endangerment causing the
death of a child.
Cameron faced a first-degree murder charge in the death of Markis Dahms. She testified that she held Markis under a running faucet after he had vomited. She later found him face down in the
water.
Neary says in the 19-page ruling that Cameron was negligent but never intended to cause Markis' death. Her attorney suggested that the boy may have had a seizure.
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Iowa's Unemployment Drops

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Workforce Development says the state's unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in April, the lowest rate since December 2008.
The department reported Friday that the figure is two-tenths of a point below the March rate of 4.9 percent. The rate is half a point under the April 2012 rate of 5.2 percent.
The number of unemployed people dropped to 77,800 in April, compared with 80,500 in March. Nonfarm employment remained unchanged over the month but is down 11,900 people from April 2012.

 

Legislators Try To Wrap Up General Session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa legislators are back in the Capitol as they try to wrap up the 2013 legislative session, but it seems likely their work will continue next week.
Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says he expects to return next week to continue budget and policy work.
Paulsen says he hopes to "wrap it up quickly" next week.
Lawmakers reported for duty Friday, a day they usually take off.
On Thursday, legislators struck a tentative deal to cut commercial property taxes and make other tax reductions. But by midday Friday the legislation had not come up for a vote.
Lawmakers still have to find an agreement on education policy and decide how to handle health care for low-income Iowans.

 

Webster City Fire

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) - Worker demolishing a former Electrolux plant apparently sparked a fire that sent billows of black smoke into the sky above Webster City.
The fire began about 5:30 p.m. Thursday while a crew was cleaning litter and rubble inside the former Electrolux main plant building.
Webster City Fire Chief Mike Lund says workers were using large machines to push material as they cleaned up the site. Lund says as material was pushed across the concrete, it could have created a
spark.
The cardboard and foam insulation that burned caused the thick smoke that rose over the site.
Because the fire primarily burned waste material, the blaze didn't result in any a monetary loss.
The Electrolux plant closed in 2011.
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