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Friday Afternoon News, January 10

City Council Gives Approval To Sign Contract With CDBG Architech

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council has given approval for the city administration to negotiate a deal with the architech selected to draw up plans for the downtown Community Development Block Grant.  The CDBG allows the city and building owners of downtown to rennovate the facade of older buildings.  Jason Vascera, the city's code enforcement officer, offers an update on the status of the project.

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The entire project has a cost of one million dollars, with the state grant financing half, or $500,000.  The city of Le Mars is assuming one fourth of the expense or $250,000 and building owners to stand the remaining cost of the $250.000 project.  Vascera says all of the involved buildings fall within a historic district, and the project is to restore the buildings.

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Vascera says there are mixed emotions with business owners regarding the renovation project.  He says initially, 40 building owners have inquired about the renovation plan.  Many are excited for the renovation to take place, while others are concerned about the cost.  The city official believes work should begin sometime this coming spring.

 

Waitt Donates $3 Million To Morningside

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Omaha businessman has donated $3 million to his alma mater in northwest Iowa, Morningside College.
     College President John Reynders says the gift from Norman Waitt Jr. and his Kind World Foundation will help the school with its $12 million renovation of Dimmitt Residence Hall. The dorm houses nearly 400 students during the academic year.
     Waitt is founder and chairman of Waitt Co., an investment company with headquarters in Omaha. He graduated from Morningside in 1986 and is a member of the college board of directors.
     Morningside was founded in 1894 and sits on 68 acres in Sioux City. It's a private, four-year school affiliated with the United Methodist Church and has an enrollment of around 1,200 full-time students.

 

Officials Watch Ice Jam On Missouri River

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa and Nebraska officials have been keeping wary watch on an ice-covered portion of the Missouri River for any flood threat it could pose.
      Woodbury County emergency services chief Gary Brown says that the ice situation near Ponca in northeast Nebraska is "something we're monitoring. It's nothing we're alarmed with at this point."
     That could change with higher temperatures expected this weekend. If the ice breaks up and chunks float downstream, that could snag on something and jam the river channel. That could cause water to back up and flood the banks or raise tributary stream levels.
     Emergency services director Shea Scollard in Nebraska's Dixon County says he hasn't gotten any calls yet from worried residents along the river.

 

University Of Iowa Hospital Clinics To Cut Parking Fees

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Parking rates are being slashed for patients and visitors at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. 
     The  rate will drop to $10 from $18 a day starting Monday for people with validated parking stubs. The $10 rate won't be available to students and faculty. The new rate was announced Thursday.
      The $18 figure had been widely criticized by patients and their families.  
     Parking system director David Ricketts says the new daily figure wasn't as low as some people had hoped for but was more in line with charges at other Big Ten campuses.
     Ricketts says officials "just sat down and decided we could do what we could."
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