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Tuesday Afternoon News, October 15

Floyd Valley Hospital Passes Audit

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees met this morning, and part of their agenda was discussion focused on the hospital's annual audit.  Jim Hingtgen, a certified public accountant with the Denman and Company firm briefed the trustees on the hospital's financial condition.

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According to Hengtgen's calculations and estimates, the hospital is also in a good financial position with regard to the expansion projects.

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Plymouth County Supervisors Approve $400,000 To Floyd Valley Hospital

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Supervisors approved a plan today to provide up to $400,000
over the course of a three-year period to help finance the Floyd Valley Hospital's expansion project.  Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin first appeared before the supervisors a couple of weeks ago to ask if the county would assist with the expansion project. Donlin returned to today to learn of their decision.  He says the county is funding the hospital expansion project utilizing two revolving accounts from the Local Options Sales Tax fund.

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Donlin says the hospital trustees approved this morning to extend the date for the bid letting.  He says this was done to accommodate more contractors.

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Despite numerous other construction projects within the region, Donlin is confident the hospital project will lure contractors to have competitive bids.


County Approves Painting Highway Markings

(Le Mars) -- In other action taken today by the Plymouth County Supervisors, the county governing board approved the painting of highway markings for 126 miles of Plymouth County highways.  The cost runs approximately $770 per mile for a total investment of just short of $100,000.  The supervisors also discussed the Riverbend lake project which involves a land swap of about 20 acres between the county and Higman Gravel and Sand Company of Akron.  Chairman Jim Henrich reported that work has begun on the project to convert the once gravel pit into a county-owned, conservation park managed lake.  According to calculations by supervisors Don Kass and Craig Anderson, it may be more than 116 days before final preparations are completed on the long over-due project.  Kass and Anderson believe it may take a total of 11,200 side dump truck loads of dirt and gravel to be removed from the area.  A few weeks back, the county conservation board approached the supervisors to inquire about the status of the project that was to have been completed in five years, but is now on
its ninth year.


School Board Hears Report On Student Enrollment

(Le Mars) -- At last evening's Le Mars Community School Board meeting, board members learned
the total student enrollment for 2013-2014 is holding steady from last year.  Assistant Superintendent, Steve Webner earlier reported to the board that the district thought there would be an increase of nearly 20 students from last year.   School Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt says the open enrollment numbers had changed, which changed the estimate.

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All total, the Le Mars Community School District has 2,093 students enrolled.


Warrants Issued For Former Public Defender

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - Arrest warrants have been issued for an Iowa attorney once contracted
by the State Public Defenders Office.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says the warrants issued Thursday for
60-year-old Ney McDaniel, of Spencer, are in connection to a July audit that questioned his
billing practices.
The audit identified more than $177,000 of improper disbursement to McDaniel. In one
case, he claimed to have worked 24 hours or more in a single day during 80 days.
The audit shows McDaniel took in $1.1 million from 2005 through March 2011, when his
contract was terminated.
McDaniel has been charged with ongoing criminal conduct, first-degree theft and
first-degree fraudulent practice. A message left for his attorney was not immediately
returned Monday night.

Environmental Protection Commission Rejects Petition

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission has rejected a petition calling on the state to set measurable water standards to clean up Iowa lakes.
The Iowa Environmental Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center filed the
petition in August saying Iowa's plan for reducing phosphorous and nitrogen that pollute
lakes is inadequate and doesn't meet federal standards.
The petition calls on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to set standards to
protect 159 of Iowa's publicly owned lakes. The DNR urged the commission to deny the
petition, arguing the department needs time to see how other water quality efforts are
The nine-member commission is responsible for setting water quality standards and
overseeing pollution control efforts.


Sarah Palin To Speak At Iowa Faith And Freedom Coalition

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sarah Palin will visit Iowa next month for a conservative event.
The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition says the 2008 Republican vice presidential
candidate will speak at its annual banquet in November. Palin served as governor of Alaska
from 2006 through 2009. Since leaving office, she has been a best-selling author, public
speaker and Fox News contributor.
While Palin is appearing at the banquet, Utah Sen. Mike Lee is headlining the program.
The conservative Republican has been vocal in his opposition to President Barack Obama's
health care overhaul.
This is the 13th annual banquet hosted by the coalition. It will be held in Des Moines
on Nov. 9.


World Food Prize Recipients Visit University Of Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Three World Food Prize recipients are visiting the University of Iowa to discuss breakthroughs in biotechnology that paved the way for genetically modified crops.
Marc Van Montagu, Mary-Dell Chilton, and Robert Fraley will deliver a public lecture Tuesday in the Old Capitol. Later this week, they'll be honored during a three-day conference in Des Moines.
Van Montagu and Chilton independently developed the technology in the 1980s to stably transfer foreign genes into plants, a discovery that set up a race to develop tools to genetically engineer plants. It allowed other scientists to incorporate genetic traits in plants to better withstand drought, heat and to fight off pests and disease.
Fraley genetically engineered the first herbicide-resistant soybean in 1996.
The World Food Prize Foundation announced their awards in June, igniting controversy.


Wrongful Conviction Will Cost Council Bluffs Six Million Dollars

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The city of Council Bluffs will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit with two Omaha, Neb., men who sued after the courts concluded they were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 25 years.
Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee will be paid $2.3 million immediately and the remainder in six annual payments of more than $528,500. A final payment of just over $728,500 will be made in July 2020.
The agreement splits the money evenly between the two men in exchange for dismissal of the lawsuit.
The agreement specifies no admission of fault or liability by any party or implies wrongdoing.
Details, initially sealed on Friday, were ordered unsealed Tuesday after The Associated Press filed a freedom of information request under Iowa's open records law.


Meth Drug Bust Worth One Million Dollars

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A joint drug task force in Iowa says it has seized more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine worth more than $1 million.
The Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force conducts investigations in Black Hawk and Bremer counties. The drug seizures account for cases so far in October.
The  task force seized more than 26 pounds of methamphetamine in the past three months. Its street value is more than $1.8 million.
Authorities have also arrested seven people in October on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
The Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force formed in 1991.

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