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Thursday Afternoon News, November 21

Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau Accepting Applications For Grants

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Convention and Visitor's Bureau are accepting applications for the city's hotel/motel sales tax grants.  Approximately $35,000 is available to non-profit and not-for-profit organizations.  Preference is given to projects with a tourism event scope of work.  Projects can not begin any earlier than July 1, 2014.  Applications must be returned to city hall no later than noon Tuesday, December 31st.  Applications must be typed.  Organizations will be notified of awards in mid-February after city budgets have been approved. Since the inception of the five percent hotel/motel tax, more than $1.2 million dollars have been distributed to local organizations.


Kristi Utesch Named "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- The November Chamber "Employee of the Month" was presented to Kristi Utesch today.  Utesch is a registered nurse and the director of nursing at Plymouth Manor Care Center in Le Mars.  She has been employed with the Plymouth Manor for 25 years.  Coleen McCarty nominated Utesch and she writes: "Kristie is well liked by everyone and goes beyond expectations to make our lives better.  She is extremely thorough in everything she is involved with and takes full responsibility in her work".  The nomination continues to say Kristi Utesch is a true resident advocate and a leader in healthcare and believes in providing the very best quality of care for her residents.  She exemplifies one of the very best dedicated employees that Plymouth Manor has employed throughout the 40 years of serving the elderly.  Congratulations to Kristi Utesch as being named the November "Employee of the Month."


Woodbury County Sheriff Warns Of Social Security Scam

(Sioux City) -- The Woodbury County Sheriff's office has been made aware of recent calls being circulated in the Moville area involving individuals claiming to be with the Social Security Administration.  Callers are claiming they are collecting information to confirm the replacement of Social Security cards.  Callers are asking for personal information to request banking information and records. Woodbury County officials are warning people of the scam.  Woodbury County officials advise people to never answer any questions or give out personal information over the phone.  Business should never be conducted over the phone or internet. The Social Security Administration does not conduct business in this manner and would never request this type of information over the phone.


Gaming Commission Tells Argosy To Give Money To Charitable Organization

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Iowa gaming regulators have denied a request from the owner of the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino to redirect a portion of its revenues to a new nonprofit group.
     The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's unanimous decision Thursday means 3 percent of the casino's gross revenue set aside for charitable purposes is in limbo.
     The commission ruled only nonprofits that jointly hold a casino license are eligible for the funds.
     Argosy's money previously went to Missouri River Historical Development. Since May, Penn National Gaming Inc. has withheld the funds over litigation involving a contract dispute.
     The contract expired in July, but MRHD is still entitled to the money because the commission still recognizes the group as holding the nonprofit portion of the Argosy license.


Casino Targeted For Discrimination Lawsuit

OSCEOLA, Iowa (AP) - Lakeside Casino executives targeted in a sexual harassment lawsuit have asked a judge to keep court filings and a hearing closed to the public.
     The hearing is scheduled for Friday morning.  Judge John Lloyd has granted the motion to temporarily seal the court records.
     A lawsuit filed last year by Gail Wilson, a former guest services manager at Lakeside Casino in Osceola, alleges race discrimination, sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Iowa's Civil Rights Act.
     Casino general manager Bob Thursby and Carol Eckels, the casino's human resources manager, have denied all of the allegations.
     Wilson says in her lawsuit that she was fired in November 2011 after speaking up about some incidents at the casino.


Bank Survey Shows Economy To Grow At Slow Rate

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The overall index in a new monthly survey matches the previous index and also suggests the economy will continue growing at a slow pace in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states.
     The report for the Rural Mainstreet Index was released Thursday and says the index remained unchanged at 54.3 in November.
     The index is based on surveys of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. It ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. A score above 50 suggests growth in that factor in the months ahead.
     The confidence index, which reflects expectations for the economy six months out, rose to a still weak 48.3 from 44.7 in October.



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