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Thursday News, January 23

Akron Fire Department Battles Roof Fire In Sub-zero Temperatures

(Akron) -- The Akron Fire Department responded to a roof that had caught fire late last evening.  The fire was at 201 Mill Street and was first reported at about 11:35 p.m.  Fire officials were on the scene for two hours battling the blaze and the frigid sub-zero temperatures.

Plymouth County Extension To Host Crop Advantage Seminar

(Le Mars) -- 2013 proved to be an interesting year for farmers. Now, farmers are asking "what is expected for 2014 crop year?" Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Plymouth County will host a crop advantage meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, January 28th.  Joel DeJong, ISU crops specialist says farmers were fortunate to get a great harvest following the late planting.  The crop specialist says the mild temperatures along with the timely rains in July and August helped secure a nice harvest.  De Jong says the crop advantage meeting will reflect back on the past crop year, as well as looking ahead.  De Jong says the focus of the meeting will be on weeds that are resistent to today's popular herbicides.

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De Jong says agronomists and crop protection companies are taking a step back to old school in the fight against weeds.

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The Iowa State University crops specialist says farmers will benefit from the other issues that will be discussed at the conference.

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That crop advantage seminar is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 28th at the Le Mars Convention Center.  DeJong says farmers will have the opportunity to be certified as a private pesticide applicator during the meeting.  Registration is $35 through Thursday, and $45 after Thursday.


Branstad Hosts Ethanol Hearing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Politicians and other supporters of ethanol production will speak at a daylong hearing in Des Moines prompted by a proposed reduction in the amount of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline.
     Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad organized the hearing, which will begin Thursday morning and stretch into the afternoon.
     Speakers include Branstad, U.S. Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham, and industry representatives from several Midwestern states.
     Last week, legislators in the Iowa House and state Senate approved resolutions supporting the existing fuel standards. They are reacting to a recent EPA proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline in 2014.
     Iowa is the nation's leading producer of ethanol, a fuel additive primarily made from corn. Iowa leaders claim the EPA's proposal would devastate Iowa's economy.


Floyd Valley Hospital Suspends Recreational Walking

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital has announced due to changes in workflow and due to impending hallway closures for construction throughout the lower level, all public recreational walking at Floyd Valley Hospital is suspended effective Monday, January 27 until further notice.  We will resume permission for walking when safety is no longer a worry, but all walkers are encouraged to find alternate locations for their exercise.


Le Mars Needs Additional Skilled Workers

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Buiness Initiative Corporation has submitted its annual report to the city of Le Mars.  Neil Adler, the executive director, says Le Mars is in need of a skilled workforce.  Adler says in his report this continues to be one of the largest issues in hindering the growth in the future.  He says the challenges are multi-faceted and state wide.  Adler reports the Northwest Iowa Development has contracted to have an in-depth study done of workforce needs specific to the industry models in our region. The study will be specific to each county and will identify the numbers of workers that are currently needed to fill various jobs with specific skills. It will project out ten years as to those needs. This will provide very good information to provide to our schools so that pathways can be developed for students, and counselors can be current with information for students. Another piece of the report will show average wages for the same jobs in other areas.


Gehlen Catholic To Celebrate National Catholic Schools Week

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic School  will join the National Catholic Education Association & schools throughout the Diocese of Sioux City to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, January 26 through February 1.  The National Catholic Education Association says this year's theme encompasses several concepts that are at the heart of Catholic education.

 First, schools are communities – small families in their own right, but also members of the larger communities of home, church, city, and the nation.  Faith, knowledge, and service are three measures by which any Catholic school can and should be judged.  Gehlen Catholic President, Rev. Kevin Richter, invites parents, parishes, alumni and the community to “Come and See…Hear…Witness…and Experience” for themselves how Gehlen Catholic lives this year’s Catholic Schools Week theme.
Catholic Schools Week begins with Mass on Monday celebrated by Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City at St. Joseph Parish-LeMars.  As part of the celebration of the successful unification of Gehlen and Spalding Catholic High Schools, the Vincent and Marilyn Klein family will be this year’s Gift Bearers.  Three generations of the Klein family have graduated or attended St. Anthony’s in Hospers, Spalding or Gehlen Catholic School.  Their son, Reverend Doug Klein, is a priest in the Diocese of Sioux city. 

On Tuesday, the junior class will travel to Opportunities Unlimited for a service day and retreat.  The retreat celebrates the third year anniversary of Gehlen Catholic and Opportunity Unlimited’s affinity, as well as their collaborative success of State Farm’s “Celebrate My Drive” Grant, thanks in part to the Michael Crank Office.   Wednesday’s Chamber Coffee will feature a proclamation by LeMars Mayor,  Dick Kirchoff.  Teachers, Mrs. Ali Bickford and Mrs. Jennifer Lane, will showcase the musical talents of the preschoolers.  Rev. Richter, along with Gehlen Catholic Principals, Mr. Jeff Alesch and Mrs. Lorie Nussbaum, will share the academic, service, and co-curricular accomplishments, as well as the many building upgrades that have transpired this year.  Four Gehlen Catholic faculty and staff members will also be honored for their 25+ years of service Wednesday and throughout the week.  They include Mrs. Leann (Holles) Hatting, Administrative Assistant and 1977 Spalding Catholic graduate; Mrs. Patty (Hunt) Hatting, 4th grade teacher and 1982 Spalding Catholic graduate; Mrs. Beth (Langel) Schlichte, Art Instructor and 1978 Gehlen Catholic graduate; and Mrs. Kim Wick, 2nd grade teacher and daughter of the late Greg and Mary (Braun) Kass (both 1935 St. Joseph Catholic School-LeMars graduates). 


Iowa Public School Enrollment On The Increase

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Enrollment in Iowa's public schools has risen for the second year in a row.
     The Iowa Education Department said Wednesday that enrollment for the 2013-14 school year rose 0.6 percent over the previous year and totaled nearly 479,000 students.
     The increases follow 17 years of declining enrollment. Iowa record enrollment was 645,000 students in the 1972-73 school year.
     Jay Pennington is chief of the Education Department's Bureau of Information and Analysis, and he says the two years of increases are due in part to a temporary spike in Iowa birth rates, starting in 2003.


Residents Of Juvenile Home Testify At Hearing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former residents and employees of the Iowa Juvenile Home testified before a legislative panel and urged lawmakers to support a measure that would force officials to reopen the facility that closed last week.
     Those testifying Wednesday before the Senate Human Resources Committee told lawmakers they tried to create a safe environment for teens at the Toledo home, which closed Jan. 15.
     Jimmy Centers, a spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad, says the governor wants what's best for the teenagers previously held at the juvenile home and closed the facility after creating a task force and meeting with local officials.
     Amy Lorentzen McCoy, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, says the 21 teens formerly at the home have been returned to their homes or placed at other locations.










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