Thursday News, December 26
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has appointed Le Mars native Kandace Gerdes as a district court judge in Colorado's Second Judicial District. Gerdes, a native of Le Mars and a Gehlen Catholic High School graduate, is one of two judges to fill the vacancies due to retirements. Gerdes is currently a Senior Deputy District Attorney in the Economics Crimes Unit for the 2nd Judicial District. She earned her bachelor's degree and a juris Doctorate from Creighton University and a master's degree from the University of Denver. Her new appointment goes into effect on Dec. 31.
Seven state police pilots are available to scan roads for accidents or stranded drivers. These pilots are often in the sky, but they are up in the air every day at the moment because of the extreme cold. Three people died in Iowa this year after being stranded in their cars. The pilots can sometimes spot a stranded motorist more easily from the air. Police officials say travelers should be sure to have extra clothes or blankets and a charged cell phone in the car this time of year.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the season began Monday. Hunters are required to wear blaze orange, and party hunting is prohibited. The late muzzleloader season is the final season that any deer licenses are available. Nearly 30,000 hunters participated in the season in 2012, and officials expect similar numbers this year. Officials say hunters should check with landowners if there are fewer deer in a particular area. Hunters are also reminded to report their harvest within 24 hours for data-collecting purposes. The late muzzleloader deer season runs through Jan. 10.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad today announced the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management submitted an appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the reconsideration of an earlier FEMA decision to deny funding to four rural electric cooperatives (REC) in northwest Iowa in the aftermath of an ice storm that struck the state earlier this year. The April 9 storm caused millions of dollars in damage to electrical utility lines in five Iowa counties: Dickinson, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola and Sioux. The damage was so extensive that a Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued on May 6. FEMA originally denied funding to restore the downed utility lines in the amount of $19 million on Aug. 30. The reason FEMA gave for the denial was because the utilities did not conduct "comprehensive laboratory testing." "We hope FEMA will come to a fair and just decision regarding this REC appeal," said Governor Terry Branstad. "This funding is important for the recovery of Iowa communities. Denying such assistance could result in a financial burden for the customers of these cooperatives." HSEMD filed the appeal in conjunction with Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative, Osceola Electric Cooperative, and Sanborn Electric and Telecommunications Utility. FEMA has 90 days from the date they receive the appeal to make an evaluation and then, issue a determination.
The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management leads, coordinates and supports homeland security and emergency management functions in order to establish sustainable communities and ensure economic opportunities for Iowa and its citizens.
STATE CENTER, Iowa (AP) - Officials have lifted a boil advisory for the central Iowa city of State Center in Marshall County. The state Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that water from the area has been tested and determined to be safe. Officials had advised residents to boil their drinking water due to a water main break Sunday afternoon. The system lost water pressure while the problem was being repaired. Such a scenario creates the potential for bacteria to enter the system.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Another drop in sales of pull-tab tickets has Iowa Lottery officials considering changes. The Des Moines Register says (http://dmreg.co/K5I5UJ ) that in a report sent to the Legislature earlier this month, the lottery said the pull-tab sales dropped nearly 7 percent over the year ending June 30. The sales total was $16.2 million, compared with $17.4 million the previous 12 months. Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says the sales drop was the fifth in a row. She says lottery officials are looking at changes that could include "creating a new product or it could be discontinuing the games or upgrading them." Scratch games grew 7 percent from the previous fiscal year. They accounted for $202.3 million of the lottery's $339.3 million in sales during the 12 months that ended June 30.
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