Wednesday News, November 13
Wells Enterprises, Inc. To Cut 58 Jobs
(Le Mars) -- Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, has announced the company will be dismissing 58 employees. According to a company statement, Well's Enterprises remains on track toward reaching its goal of becoming the U.S. market leader in the highly competitive ice cream industry. In order to achieve the goal the company says it is necessary to make adjustments. Wells recently completed a comprehensive review to ensure that the company meets its growth and profitability goals. The review has resulted in the decision to reduce staff by 58 individuals. 38 positions will come from the corporate offices in Le Mars and 20 will come from field staff.
Employees will be given severance packages and outplacement assistance. Wells just celebrated 100 years of being in business.
Pipe Bomb Found In Anthon
(Anthon) -- A pipe bomb was found yesterday afternoon in the small Woodbury County town of Anthon. A city worker found the device near a water tower. It had appeared to have been ignited, but did not detonate. The Woodbury County Sheriff's office was called in to confirm the device as a potential explosive and to initiate an investigation. Woodbury County Sheriff's office requested the assistance of the Iowa State Fire Marshall's office and the ATF. The device was handled with the use of a remote control robot and moved to a safe sight where it was disrupted and made safe. The pipe bomb has been collected and federal authorities will assist Woodbury County in conducting the investigation.
Plymouth County To Perform Reconstruction Work On C-60
(Le Mars) -- Landowners living along county road C-60 will soon be getting a letter from Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe explaining to them the county's intention to begin reconstruction work. The work is part of a two-year plan with reconstruction performed in 2016 and paving during the 2017 construction season. Rohe says the purpose for the work is to correct vertical geometrics in order to improve sight distance, remove snow traps, provide wider shoulders, flatten the roadway slopes and provide a safer roadway. The construction work would involve a distance of three and a quarter miles from County road C-66 and going west. Rohe says the reconstruction project will involve purchasing additional right of way throughout the entire project, removing the existing pavement on sections of the project. Rohe says survey crews will begin next year. After the surveys are completed, a landowners meeting will most likely be held in late 2015.
Supervisors Certify City Elections
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors certified the city elections from last week during its meeting on Tuesday. County auditor and election official Stacey Feldman informed the supervisors that 1,268 votes had been cast in Plymouth County city elections. There were no run-off races. Feldman says the elections were at the county's expense of $8,079.38. As we had learned following last week's election, the small community of Craig approved the Local Option Sales Tax and will again share in the revenue.
Cushing Mayor Selected From Name Drawn From Hat
CUSHING, Iowa (AP) - A Woodbury County supervisor pulled a name from a hat, breaking a tie in the election for mayor of Cushing.
Supervisor David Tripp on Tuesday pulled the name of incumbent Mayor Gary Merkel from a hat.
The selection broke a tie with challenger Donald Joy Jr. and means Merkel can serve another two-year term as mayor of Cushing. The men had tied with each receiving 22 votes.
Merkel has been mayor of the 220-person city since 1992.
Cushing is about 35 miles east of Sioux City.
Judge Rules Against Penn Gaming National Argosy Casino
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa judge says the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino must pay a nonprofit group a portion of its revenue while both sides battle in court over their disintegrated contractual relationship.
Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson rejected a motion Tuesday by casino operator Penn National Gaming Co. that would have allowed a third-party receiver to collect and distribute the charitable funds.
Hanson ruled that Missouri River Historical Development is still entitled to revenue designated for charitable purposes by state law.
Penn claims in a lawsuit the group breached exclusivity in their operating agreement by negotiating with other casino operators. Penn stopped making monthly payments to them in May.
Harvest Nearing Completion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The corn harvest is 88 percent complete in Iowa, about 8 percentage points ahead of normal and soybeans are 98 percent done, three days ahead of average.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says farmers finished with harvest have begun fall field work including tilling, fertilizer applications, and conservation practice construction.
He says the 12 percent of the corn crop still in the field represents an estimated $1 billion worth of grain yet to be harvested in Iowa. Much if it is showing high moisture levels and may require drying before it's marketed.
Iowa is on track for a 2.2 billion bushel corn crop, up 18 percent from last year.
Soybean production is estimated at 415 million bushels, slightly above last year's 414 million bushels.
State Government Leaders To Examine Costs Of Extreme Weather Swings
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Government leaders in Iowa will gather in Des Moines next month to consider the costs and implications of the extreme weather swings that have increasingly hit Iowa.
The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is among the hosts of the symposium on Dec. 11 at Hy-Vee Hall. Top Iowa leaders in the fields of transportation, agriculture, higher education, natural resources and insurance are among those expected to attend.
The goals of the event are to better understand the challenges facing Iowa due to extreme weather such as floods and droughts; the cost of the impacts to different sectors of Iowa's economy; and how to adapt to the change.
Organizers say that specific policy proposals could come out of the discussions at the symposium.
Insurance Participation Improving On National Healthcare Program
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One of the two Iowa carriers offering policies on the government website says the situation is improving.
Cliff Gold is chief operating officer of CoOportunity, and he says the situation is "clearly getting better." He says the company has had as many applications in the first 11 days of November as it had in all of October.
CoOportunity also has received about 190 applications from Nebraskans via HealthCare.gov. The computerized insurance markets went live Oct. 1, and millions of consumers encountered frozen screens.
Coventry Health Care is the other major Iowa carrier selling insurance on HealthCare.gov. Coventry declined to say how many people have signed up for its policies.