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Tuesday Afternoon News, December 3

Diesel Filled Semi Truck And Trailer Rolls On Side

(Le Mars) -- A semi truck and tanker trailer filled with more than 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel rolled on its side Tuesday morning at about 9:30 a.m. on county road C-44, about six miles south of Le Mars.  The rig is owned by Hull Cooperative Association.  The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was on the scene to assist with the rescue of the driver and to watch for spilled fuel.  Fortunately, there was no spillage or leakage of the diesel fuel from the tanker trailer.  Although the cab of the truck was severly damaged, the driver of the truck suffered only minor injuries.  The driver was not identified.  Fire officials were still on the scene for more than three hours.


Supervisors Vote Against Vacating 212th Street

(Le Mars) -- In a split vote of 3 to 2, Plymouth County Board of Supervisors voted against vacating 212th Street which lies south of Nipco Electrical Cooperative and Smith and Company dump truck manufacturing.  The Supervisors held a public hearing Tuesday morning and heard from representatives from Smith and Company, MidAmerican Energy, and Tom Lehner, a farmer that farms the ground adjacent to the road in question.   Lehner says he is not opposed to vacating the road, but feels it may not be necessary.

Smith and Company officials had asked the county supervisors to vacate the access road which would allow the dump truck manufacturer an opportunity to expand its facilities to the south.  However, some supervisors were concerned Smith and Company did not have specific expansion plans in place, and were fearful the proposed expansion may or may not take place. Lehner says he was grateful for the supervisors to consider his position.

Randy Strong of Smith and Company informed the supervisors he believed his company would have some physical structure started on the proposed site within the next two years.  The supervisors asked Strong if he could return next week with an expansion development plan that would better clarify Smith and Company's expansion plans and justify the closing of 212th street.  The supervisors will address the issue during next week's meeting with another public hearing scheduled for 10:00 a.m.  


Five Gehlen Band Students To Perform In Drake Honor Band 

(Le Mars) -- Five Gehlen Catholic students are amongst the 200 finest musicians from Iowa and Nebraska who have been selected for this weekend’s 2013 Drake Honor Band Festival in Des Moines.  They include senior, Michelle Klein; juniors – Michaela Bretey, Nathan Klein, Evan Niebuhr, and Katrina Vaske.  This is Michaela’s third year; Katrina’s second year; Evan, Michelle, and Nathan’s first year performing in the Drake Honor Band. 

Instrumental Music Director, Paul Niebuhr, noted Gehlen Catholic has been fortunate over the years to have a number of students selected annually to perform in Drake Honor Band.  The prestigious Drake Honor Band provides musicians the opportunity to perform in large All State type ensembles with our country’s finest clinicians, as well as master classes for each instrument.

The two-day festival begins on Friday and culminates Saturday evening with a concert by the two honor bands. 


Branstad To Testify For Ethanol  

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad will go to Virginia this week to testify against a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline.
     Branstad announced his plans Tuesday, saying he'll testify Thursday at a public hearing organized by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA proposes to reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amount of biofuels required to be blended into gasoline in 2014.
     Branstad is among many politicians and industry executives who are defending the current levels of ethanol and biodiesel in the nation's fuel supply. 
      At a recent event, Branstad argued the EPA has embarked on a war on corn that threatens thousands of jobs. Iowa is the nation's leading corn producer and top ethanol maker.


Branstad Hopes Federal Government To Accept Iowa Health Care Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he is hopeful that Iowa will win federal approval for an expansion of low-income health care in the "very near future."
     The state has applied for a waiver enabling the state to receive more federal Medicaid money for the proposed Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, a new health insurance program which would cover up to 150,000 residents.
     So far the waiver has not been granted. Branstad says he has requested a meeting with President Barack Obama when he travels to Washington DC later this week. 
     Under the proposal, the state would take federal funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and to pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get private insurance on the new health care exchanges.


Parole Board Grants Some Freedom Priviledges To Convicted Juvenile Murderer

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Parole Board has granted some freedom to a dying inmate who was 15 when she entered prison.
     The board granted parole Tuesday to 33-year-old Kristina Fetters. She will be released to a hospice facility.
     A jury convicted Fetters of first-degree murder in 1995 in the death of her great-aunt, Arlene Klehm. Fetters' attorney says his client has inoperable Stage 4 breast cancer and wants to die outside prison walls.
      A Polk County judge recently resentenced Fetters and recommended parole. The board's decision means Fetters is the first Iowa inmate sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile to be released after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.  The high court said life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles.


Iowa Utilities Board Approves Alliant Energy's Plan

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Utilities Board on Monday approved a plan by Alliant Energy to reduce its required energy efficiency goals for 2014 through 2018.
     The company says it will carry out 25 energy efficiency programs that will cost nearly $77 million in 2014 and nearly $82 million by 2018. On average that's about 1.1 percent of annual sales.
     Environmental groups criticize the ruling, saying the new goals are a reduction from the current goal of 1.3 percent of sales and represent less than half the efficiency progress possible. The groups say many states are demanding more energy saving, not less.
     The board says the plan is reasonable. Tom Aller, president of Alliant Energy's Iowa utility, says the new plan provides valuable programs for customers.


Superintendent Of Blind And Deaf School To Retire

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The man who leads special schools for deaf and blind students in Iowa has announced plans to retire.
      Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, has notified the Board of Regents of his plans to retire effective June 30.
      Clancy has led the school for the blind in Vinton since August 2008. In 2012, the regents put him in charge of both schools after superintendent Jeanne Prickett of the Council Bluffs-based school for the deaf left for a job in Florida.
     The regents are expected to accept Clancy's retirement during a telephone meeting Wednesday, and authorize a search for his replacement.








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