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Monday Afternoon News, August 5

Le Mars Has Short Power Outage

(Le Mars) -- Last evening at about 9:00 p.m. many people in Le Mars may have noticed their power had gone off momentarily.  MidAmerican Energy spokesman, Tim Grabinski explains what happened.
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Grabinski says power was restored to the nearly 700 customers within minutes.

 

Local Option Sales Tax Vote Scheduled For Tuesday

(Le Mars) -- Voters in Plymouth County will have the opportunity to go to the polls on Tuesday and cast their vote on the Local Options Sales Tax issue.  Originally, the local options sales tax was voted upon by Plymouth County voters in 2002 to help finance the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center.  However,each Plymouth County community has been able to benefit from the funds generated from the one percent tax.  The current local options sales tax is set to expire at the end of 2016. One entity that would like to see the local options sales tax pass is the Floyd Valley Hospital.  Mike Donlin is the administrator for the hospital.  He says future funding to assist the hospital's expansion north addition project may depend upon the local option sales tax.  Donlin recently approached the Le Mars City Council seeking financial assistance since the hospital is a municipal owned hospital. He says the city helped finance the hospital during its last expansion which was nearly 40 years ago, and he was hoping the city would again show support for the current expansion.

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Some people may be a bit confused as to whether this is a new tax.  Technically speaking, it is a new tax, but only because the initial tax is set to expire, Donlin says people are already accustomed to contributing the one percent on retail sales.

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The hospital official hasn't seen any organized opposition to the continuation of the local options sales tax, and he believes the majority of people favor the measure because it has benefited each Plymouth county community and the rural areas.

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Donlin says the local option sales tax is not just a Le Mars issue, but a county-wide issue, and he says the Floyd Valley Hospital serves people other than just Le Mars residents.

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Le Mars Residents To Vote On Continuing Hotel/Motel Tax

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars residents will also have the opportunity to vote on the continuation of the Hotel/Motel tax.  Assistant City Administrator, Bill Cole says the city of Le Mars earns approximately $120,000 from the hotel/motel tax, which is paid by visitors to the city.  The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors issued a release asking the people of Le Mars to vote yes on both measures. The news release says in addition to financing the Plymouth County Jail, these tax dollars have been used to benefit the Le Mars Fire Department, the Plymouth County Museum, the Good Samaritan Alzheimer’s Unit, the Dialysis Center, the Downtown Streetscape Project, the Veterans’ Memorial Park, the Community Theatre, the Community Betterment Projects and various other quality of life projects.

If approved again, one of the uses of the Local Option Sales Tax will be assisting with the Floyd Valley Hospital expansion and renovation. Another benefit will be to provide matching dollars for the Community Development Block Grant for historic renovation in the downtown. Without these tax dollars, Le Mars will not have the matching dollars to capture the $500,000 of Federal funds awarded for downtown restoration work.

 

School Board Candidates Announced For County Public Schools

(Le Mars) -- Candidates seeking the position of school board director have been announced for the upcoming September 10th election.  At the Akron-Westfield school district eligible voters will vote for one candidate in districts 1,2,and 3.  Seeking election in district one is Nicholas Schoenfelder, district 2 has only Phillip C. Parks running for the school board position, and district 3 has only one candidate, it is Bobby Walrod.  Hinton voters will decide upon two of the following candidates for the at-large position.  They include: James D. Binneboese, Robert Held, and John Reintzel.  Remsen-Union voters will select three at-large candidates from the list including Melissa M. Harnack, Cheri A. Nitzschke, Micheal E. Sparr, Travis J. Tentinger, Theresa Van Dam, and Robin S. Weiler.  Kingsley-Pierson school district can vote for two at-large candidates, but only the name of Scott Bohle will appear on the ballot.  Le Mars voters will fill the positions for districts 1,2,3, and 4.  In district one, Todd Lancaster is the only name featured on the ballot.  District 2 has incumbent candidate Scott Kommes as the only name.  District 3 will feature two incumbents, Mark Hemmingson and Chris Collins, and in District 4, Brenda Phelan is seeking re-election, and is the only candidate.


Lt. Dan Band Performs For Wounded Veteran

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — The Lt. Dan Band formed by actor Gary Sinise rocked out loud and proud for an Iowan who lost limbs to a bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan.  The band performed Saturday night in Cedar Falls to help raise money to build a high-tech "smart home" for Taylor Morris, who was wounded in May 2012.  Sinise named the band after his character in the movie "Forrest Gump." Gate receipts from the concert hadn't been totaled, but an organizer reported about $5,000 in walk-up ticket sales in less than an hour before the event at Gateway Park.  Morris remains in the U.S. Navy while recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington. He hopes to return to Cedar Falls in the next six to 12 months.

 

Texas Senator To Speak In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will give the keynote address at an Iowa Republican Party dinner this fall.  The Iowa GOP announced on their website Monday that Cruz will headline the Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner on October 25. The freshman Republican senator is a tea party favorite thought to be weighing a 2016 presidential bid.  Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker said in a statement that Cruz has "quickly become nationally recognizable as someone who came to Washington to truly shake things up."
Cruz made his first Iowa visit last month. He is also scheduled to appear in Ames on Saturday at an event sponsored by the conservative group, the Family Leader.
Tickets for the October event — which includes a dinner and a VIP reception — range from $100 to $1,000.

 

False Alarm Fees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines and other cities are pulling in big money from false alarms.
Iowa's largest city collected $138,000 for nearly 2,400 billable false alarms last year. In the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, the city collected $40,800 for false alarms.
Des Moines started charging for false burglar alarms in 2008. The city can charge up to $500 for an initial alarm each year, then up to $750 for each following alarm.
Of the 3,806 burglar alarms that Des Moines police responded to last year, 90 percent were false.
False alarms are an issue throughout the nation. A report by the Washington-based Urban Institute found that such calls take 20 to 40 minutes of an officer's time.

 

Centenarians Sought

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Two agencies are searching for northeast Iowans who quality for the state's Centenarian Registry.

The Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging and the Iowa Department say people who will be turning 100 years old will be honored by the office of the governor. Iowans born in 1913 or before and not yet on the registry are eligible for the recognition.

Iowans who qualify or who know someone who does from Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Hardin, Howard, Jackson, Marshall, Poweshiek, Tama or Winneshiek counties may call Janna Diehl at 319-272-2244 or 800-779-8707. She may be emailed at jdiehl@nei3a.org.

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