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Monday News, July 15

Senator Harkin Visits Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- U-S Senator Tom Harkin made a visit to Le Mars Saturday morning with two
objectives.  First, the democratic Senator reviewed the historic preservation of the Wasmer
Post #241 American Legion Hall, and Second, Harkin  announced  the Floyd Valley Hospital
will receive a $15 million loan from the U-S Department of Agriculture's Rural Development.  Harkin was able to secure funds for the Mainstreet historic preservation and renovation projects.  The American Legion was able to obtain a $30,000 federal challenge grant, along with $15,000 from the city of Le Mars, and private donations amounting to $22,000 in order to complete the historic renovation project amounting to $67,000.  The Senator was given a brief tour of the remodeled facilities and saw the waving flag mural painted on the wall of the American Legion.  Harkin suggested to the local Legion club that they may want to consider placing a light on the mural so it can be visible at night.  Following both announcements, Harkin says these types of funding projects are beneficial to the communities served, and he doesn't see it as a waste of tax payer funds.

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Harkin says the restoration of the local American Legion Hall is good for its historical value, plus he believes it may stimulate other community restoration projects.

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The Iowa Democratic Senator also made an announcement regarding Floyd Valley Hospital that  officials and trustees have been waiting a long time to hear.

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Harkin was especially pleased to learn the Floyd Valley Hospital expanded addition will utilize geo-thermal wells to help heat and cool the facility.

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Sioux City Council To Decide Upon MLK Jr. Holiday

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Sioux City City Council is scheduled to discuss designating a city holiday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The discussion is planned for a Monday afternoon study session at City Hall.
The Sioux City Chapter of the NAACP for 27 years has asked city leaders to recognize the slain civil rights leader's birthday as a holiday.  The county, state and federal governments already have done so.
The city recognizes from several holidays under which city workers get a paid day off, depending on union contracts.
City Manager Paul Eckert has said one option would be to stop designating Presidents Day as a paid holiday and instead close city offices on the King holiday, the third Monday in January.


Urbandale Postal Distribution Center Earns Excessive Overtime Pay

URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - A federal audit report on excessive spending by the U.S. Postal Service includes overtime figures at Urbandale's mail sorting center.
Seven workers at the center made from around $65,000 to more than $75,000 in overtime  for the 2012 fiscal year. That was more than double their salaries.
The report says the Urbandale center had the highest overtime rate as a percentage of total work hours of the 21 Postal Service distribution centers for both 2011 and 2012.
Postal Service officials and a local mail handlers union representative say the overtime was necessary to meet an increased workload created by the Postal Service's ongoing reorganization and


People Gather For One-Year Anniversary of Missing Cousins Death

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) - Hundreds of people gathered in Evansdale to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins.
People from throughout the country gathered Saturday at Lofty's Lounge, and many took part in a 125-mile motorcycle and auto trek through northeast Iowa.
They were marking the year since 10-year-old Lyric and 8-year-old Elizabeth disappeared while riding their bicycles on July 13th, 2012. Their bodies were found in December in a wooded area of Bremer County.
Drew Collins, Elizabeth's father, told those gathered it has been a hard year but he was thankful for the community's support.
He says laws should be changed to punish offenders and prevent similar crimes.
Organizer Chris Webb says the event was intended to raise awareness about killings that remain unsolved.


Branstad Returns From European Trip

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad is set to return Monday from a European trade trip.
Branstad traveled to Germany, Italy, Kosovo and Switzerland during the 10-day journey.
Iowa has established a sister-state relationship with Kosovo. Branstad said last month that Iowa and Kosovo have developed a unique partnership due to more than 700 Iowa National Guard soldiers who have served there on peacekeeping missions since 2003.
The agreement marks Iowa's ninth sister-state relationship.
The European trip was estimated to cost about $17,000 for Branstad and his wife, Chris. Those costs will be covered by Iowa Economic Development Authority Foundation funds, not state funding.


Officials Question Whether The Governor And Lt. Governor Should Travel Together

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The recent revelation that a state vehicle carrying Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds was clocked going 84 mph has raised the question: Should the state's top two elected officials buckle up beside each other?
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says there is no policy barring the duo from driving together, though they don't fly in the same plane.
But Patty Judge, who served as lieutenant governor under former Governor Chet Culver, says that administration decided that that she and Culver should not drive together, in case of an accident.
If Iowa's top two officials were killed, the next in line is the state Senate president, currently Democrat Pam Jochum, of Dubuque.
Albrecht said the chance of both Branstad and Reynolds being unable to serve is "extremely minimal."

Authorities Investigate Marshalltown Woman's Death

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - The Marshall County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of Marshalltown woman found dead in a minivan.
A deputy on routine patrol early Sunday found the body of 55-year-old Rebecca Hall in the back of a minivan. The vehicle was parked on the north shoulder of East Main Road, just east of Marshalltown.
Authorities ask that anyone who saw Hall late Saturday or who saw any suspicious activity in the area contact the Marshall County Sheriff's Office.


Man Dies From Hay Bale Falling On Him

MONONA, Iowa (AP) - The 63-year-old Iowa man who died after a hay bale fell on him has been identified.
The Allamakee County Sheriff's office says Daniel Specht of McGregor was killed in the Friday morning accident.
Authorities say Specht was using a tractor to move round hay bales when a bale on the front loader of the tractor rolled back and fell on the man.

Search Continues For Man From Tubing Accident

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have resumed searching for a man who was knocked into the water while tubing down the Cedar River in eastern Iowa.
Black Hawk County deputies and other officers searched for the man after he was reported missing Sunday evening.
Sheriff Tony Thompson says the man was floating with several other people when they hit debris in the river near Black Hawk Park, which sits northwest of Cedar Falls.
His name hasn't been released.



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