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Wednesday News, May 22

Le Mars Wins "Best Community Award" From SIMPCO

(Le Mars) -- The city of Le Mars was recently presented the "Best Community Award" by the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council, an organization consisting of local and county governments.  Mayor Dick Kirchoff shared the award, which is an engraved mantle clock, with the city during the Tuesday city council meeting.  Kirchoff says Le Mars was the only community within the SIMPCO trade area to be given the honor during the annual meeting held May 9th.  Kirchoff says the organization acknowledges the teamwork as displayed between the city, county, and private businesses.

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Kirchoff says a major reason for the award is the recycling efforts conducted by the city.  The mayor says Le Mars is now a model for other communities to follow in terms of successful recycling.

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Kirchoff informed the council that Le Mars was also singled out for the honor due to its number of volunteers that step forward to offer assistance regardless whatever is the project.  The mayor publicly thanked the community for its efforts.


Floyd Valley Given Green Light For Loading Dock Construction Project

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave Floyd Valley Hospital the go ahead to start its construction project involving moving the loading dock from the north side of the hospital building  to the southern side.  Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin appeared before the city council on Tuesday afternoon.  Donlin says the expected cost of the construction project is estimated at $741,000.  The Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on May 29th at 7:15 a.m. at the hospital to gather public comments about the loading dock construction project.  Hospital officials anticipate late June will be when contract bids are awarded with construction to begin in July.  In other action, the Le Mars City Council gave approval to Van's Sanitation of Le Mars for an expansion project that will include an additional recycling center to be located in Le Mars.  Scott Van informed the city council of his company's plans for the expansion.

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Van offered reassurances to the city council the proposed expansion project would not interfere with the rail services.

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Union Pacific Rail Crews Work On Rail Crossings In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- City officials are reporting the 12th St SW Railroad crossing, near Hy-Vee will be closed again today through Thursday May 23,2013 opening later in the day. Union Pacific crews will be replacing the entire rail and tie section, sub base plus crossing panels at the intersection.  The UP Railroad also plans to close the Central Ave crossing this morning May 22nd to replace concrete crossing panels. The Central Avenue intersection should be open later in the afternoon. Upon completion, the rail company will move to the 6th Ave SW crossing for panel replacement.


Sioux City Man Sentenced To Prison For Vehicular Homicide

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in a fatal crash near Sioux City.
19-year-old Oscar Ramirez was sentenced this week in Woodbury County District Court.
Ramirez had pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide.
Investigators say Ramirez was the driver of a sport-utility vehicle that crashed on Jan. 30. The vehicle rolled several times and landed in a pasture.
Eighteen-year-old Nino Segura of Sioux City was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.


Legislators Believe Wednesday May Be The Last Day of the Session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are expected back in the state Capitol on Wednesday and legislative leaders say they are close to concluding the 2013 session.
There was no floor action in the state House or State Senate on Monday or Tuesday. But legislative leaders say they have been working privately to resolve differences on key issues, like education policy, property tax cuts and low-income health care.  Votes could come on those issues soon.
Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says Tuesday it was possible lawmakers could finish their work on Wednesday.
Lawmakers must also finish their work on several key budget bills, including the Health and Human Services budget, which provides funding to state health departments.


U of I Official Asks Congress To Support Research For Supercomputer

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa's vice president for research is expected to urge Congress to support funding to help develop the next generation of ultrafast supercomputers.
Daniel Reed will testify Wednesday before a House subcommittee during a hearing on exascale computing, which involves building a supercomputer capable of performing a million trillion calculations. The U.S. and other countries are competing to build such a computer by 2020, and Reed says the machines could help solve complex societal questions.
Reed is expected to warn that the United States' superiority in high-performance computing is eroding and would be jeopardized without adequate funding and partnerships between the government and industry.
A former Microsoft executive, Reed is expected to warn that "economic and technical changes" could shift key research and development away from the U.S.


Suspect In Child Abductions Commits Suicide

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a man suspected of abducting two girls near an Iowa bus stop had committed suicide.
Forty-two-year-old Michael Klunder was found dead Monday night at a rural property northeast of Dayton.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation did not release more details Tuesday about Klunder's death.
Dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement are searching by air, land and water for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard.
She and a 12-year-old girl were taken near a bus stop in Dayton, about 60 miles north of Des Moines, on Monday afternoon after accepting a ride from a stranger. The younger girl was able to
Authorities say they are broadening their search for the 15-year-old and will put up billboards around the state.


Rail Workers Rescued From Flood and Derailment

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - Rescuers called to the scene of a train derailment found the train's engineer and conductor atop one of the derailed locomotives in an area surrounded by rising
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports ( that no one was injured in the late Monday night derailment of the Canadian Pacific train, and the rail workers were safely rescued.
Railroad spokesman Ed Greenberg says the derailment was caused by a washed-out rail line. Five cars - four of them carrying ethanol - derailed.
Railroad inspectors initially reported none of the ethanol leaked, but Tuesday night the Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirmed ethanol and diesel were leaking into the Little Cedar
The DNR says one of the ethanol cars has been punctured, resulting in a slow leak.


Found Body Matches Description Of Missing Man

KAMRAR, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have found the body of a man in rural Hamilton County that matches the description of a missing Jewell resident.
The Fort Dodge Messenger reports deputies were called to an area northeast of Kamrar on Monday night after a farmer found a backhoe similar to one authorities believed had been operated by Kenneth
Deputies found a body nearby in a creek.
Heckman hadn't been seen since Wednesday morning. He turned 46 on Thursday and didn't show up for a planned birthday party.
Authorities had found Heckman's pickup truck, with his dog waiting nearby. They thought he may have left the truck on a backhoe.
The state medical examiner is making a positive identification of the body. An autopsy is planned, but authorities say foul play isn't suspected.


Iowa City Schools Decide To Wait On Police Officers In Schools

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Plans for armed police officers in Iowa City schools have been put on hold.
The Iowa City School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night not to pursue a federal grant that would partially fund two school resource officers for four years.
Board members say that decision was driven by the high cost - $400,000 over four years - and a lack of clear community support.
The idea first surfaced in 2007 and faced community resistance. The school district revived the idea of armed officers in schools in the wake of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left six educators and 20 children



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