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Thursday Afternoon News, Sept. 5

Kommes Seeking Re-election To School Board

(Le Mars) -- School Board elections are scheduled for Tuesday, September 10th.  The Le Mars Community School District has four board positions to be decided.  In District 2 is Scott Kommes, an executive with Wells Enterprises.  Kommes has completed his first term and is seeking a second term.  Kommes is running unopposed. He says community involvement is the reason why he chose to run for the school board.

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Kommes says he would like to see the school board be able to devote more attention to the education of the students.  However, much to his surprise, school financing consumes much of the attention for the school board, especially so when the state doesn't act in a timely manner for establishing the educational budget.

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Kommes says the Le Mars Community School Board can be proud of its many accomplishments.

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Camp High Hopes Celebrates One Year Anniversary

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City camp for people with mental and physical disabilities is celebrating its first year and looking to expand.
Camp High Hopes will mark its birthday Thursday. The $5.8 million facility, which started after eight years of fundraising and planning, has served more than 300 participants from 16 Iowa counties and four states.
The camp plans to add another cabin and a separate medical center. Camp CEO Ali Langseth says the additions are part of growing with the times.
The facility provides recreational opportunities and overnight trips to both children and adults. Funding comes from donations and grants.


Labor Department And Mexico Sign Agreement For Immigrant Training

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Consulate of Mexico are signing an agreement to provide training and resources for immigrant workers in Iowa and Nebraska. The goal is to inform workers of their rights to be paid fairly under the Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal wage laws.
A formal signing ceremony on Thursday will establish the agreement under which regional labor officials and the consulate's office based in Omaha will develop ways of communicating information to workers and employers.
The agreement will be signed in Des Moines by Michael Staebell, Wage and Hour Division district director for the Labor Department in Des Moines and Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes, Consul of Mexico based in Omaha.
Staebell says immigrant workers often do not know their legal rights.

Regents To Hear Presentation On Sexual Harassment

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A national expert will deliver a presentation to the Iowa Board of Regents next week on the legal landscape of sexual misconduct on campus.
A regents memo released Wednesday shows that Saunie Schuster will address the board
during its meeting in Cedar Falls.
The memo says Schuster is a partner with the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management and an expert in "preventive law," notably in the fields of sexual misconduct and harassment.
Schuster is expected to discuss legal issues, policies and training related to sexual
The regents govern Iowa's three public universities, and have responded to several
high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases in the last decade. Most recently, the regents asked the universities for policy changes after the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal at Penn State.


Insurance Commissioner Say He Needs Commitment From Insurance Company

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's insurance commissioner says he needs a commitment from a
national insurer before he can release pricing information on policies to be sold on the state's new health insurance exchange.
The prices were scheduled to be released next week, but that's been delayed until Sept. 16.
Commissioner Nick Gerhart says  that he's awaiting a decision from Coventry on whether it will carry through on its initial plans to offer policies. But Coventry's new parent company, Aetna, has withdrawn from five other states' exchanges.
Aetna officials didn't respond to requests for comment.
If Coventry were to opt out, that would leave Iowans with only one carrier,
CoOportunity Health. The state's dominant health insurer, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, won't participate in the exchange until 2015.


London's Resignation Letter Has Similar Passages

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A resignation letter written by Public Safety Commissioner K. Brian London contains several passages that are nearly identical to a retirement speech given by a Navy captain.
London wrote the letter to employees Wednesday, after submitting his resignation to
Gov. Terry Branstad following a rocky 11-month tenure.
London wrote that he believed his staff would work well after his departure because,
"when you take your hand out of a bucket of water, the hole does not long remain."
An identical line was included in a 1999 speech by John Allen Williams, when he retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve. Williams' remarks are available on the website of Loyola University Chicago, where Williams teaches.
London used several other lines nearly identical to those Williams delivered, including a George Carlin quote.


Drought Conditions Worsen

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Drought conditions have worsened in a portion of the Midwest including Iowa, the nation's leading corn producer, as the region experienced its hottest week of the year.
The extreme heat and near record low August rainfall combined to expand drought
conditions from the eastern Dakotas southeastward into western Illinois.
Iowa saw its warmest week since July 2012, with highs topping 104 at Des Moines on Aug. 30. 
About 98 percent of the state is in drought. Severe drought expanded to 32 percent of
the state from 22 percent the week before.
Conditions are mostly unchanged in Nebraska and Kansas.
The weekly drought monitor, which tracks conditions from Aug. 27 through Tuesday morning, shows 61.7 percent of the contiguous United States in drought, nearly the same as the week before.



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