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Monday Afternoon News, January 27

It Is Cold Outside...

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - There's a reason this winter feels as if it's dragging from one endless arctic chill to another.
     State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says Monday his records show this winter has been unusually cold.
     Temperatures in Iowa between Oct. 1 and Jan. 23 represent the ninth coldest for that period in the past 121 years. The average statewide temperature was 30.1 degrees over the 115 days, compared with the normal 34.2. 
     So the perception that it's been really cold is true, but at least snowfall hasn't been above normal. 
     Hillaker says when temperatures are lower than normal, snowfall usually is heaver. 
     Of the 24 coldest starts to winter in state history, only three had below normal snowfall in the 115-day period starting Oct. 1, and this year is one of them.

 

Wendt Discusses School Board Retreat Scheduled For Monday

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education has scheduled an informational business retreat for this evening.  Dr. Todd Wendt, school superintendent says the Board of Education looks forward to this meeting each year as it offers them a chance to get a broader view of the educational programs offered at Le Mars Community. 
 
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Wendt says the board usually does not conduct any business during this meeting.  The retreat begins this afternoon when the board examines the school's career and technical education programs.

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Early literacy and teacher leadership, along with technology integration are other topics to be discussed at the informational retreat.

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The Le Mars Community School Superintendent says the history of the informational retreats have benefitted the school board, as well as the district.

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Area Catholic Schools Celebrate National Catholic Schools Week

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic, Remsen St. Mary's and Spalding Catholic schools are all celebrating National Catholic Schools Week this week.  Remsen St. Mary's held a pancake breakfast and prayer service this morning for its students.  Pete Hafs is the principal for Remsen St. Mary's and says recognizing National Catholic Schools Week is important for those students and teachers within the school, and for the greater community outside the school.

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On Tuesday, Remsen St. Mary's will celebrate National Catholic Schools Week by showing appreciation to its middle school students, and Wednesday, the high school will be given the honor.  Students will participate in various fun-filled activities involving roller and ice skating, plus later in the week Remsen St. Mary's will hold its Family Fun Night on Wednesday evening.  The commmunity mass is scheduled for Friday, and afterwards the parents will join the students for a picnic.  At Gehlen Catholic, they celebrated Mass this morning with the Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese.  Tomorrow, Lisa Niebuhr says the juniors will travel to Sioux City to spend a day at Opportunities Unlimited.

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Wednesday, Gehlen Catholic will host the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce coffee.   

 

Sioux City Police Identify Shooting Victims  

(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police responded to a shooting incident that happened late Friday afternoon.  Shots were reported at the 500 block of West 27th Street at about 5:15 p.m.  When officers arrived at the scene, they located a male victim in the driveway that was suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest.  That victim has been identified as 32 year old Rodney Houston of Sioux City.  Houston died a few minutes later at a local hospital.  Another gunshot victim, identified as Jorge Chavez, age 35 of Sioux City  was located a short distance away after he ran from the scene and was taken to a local hospital to be treated.  Police say the shooting does not appear to be a random incident and appears to have started after a verbal altercation.  Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.  Police detectives would like to visit with Samantha Levering, age 20, of Sioux City, and they are also looking for a Hispanic Male approximately 5'11" weighing 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.  This is the second time in recent months police have been called to the same address for a shooting.  In November, two people were fatally shot and a third was wounded at the same house in west Sioux City where this weekend's shooting happened.  Investigators are still looking for the suspect in the shooting.

 

Water Rescues At Winter Games

OKOBOJI, Iowa (AP) - A total of 14 people including children were rescued from icy waters during an annual recreational weekend in the Iowa Great Lakes area.
     Fire officials for Arnolds Park and Okoboji say the individuals fell through ice during separate incidents Friday and Saturday. No one was hurt.
     Six people in two cars fell through ice off Pillsbury Point State Park on Friday. Two adults and two dogs in a car were rescued Saturday close to Upper Gar Lake and Lake Minnewashta. Four adults and two children were later rescued off Pillsbury Point. 
     The area was inundated with visitors for the annual University of Okoboji Winter Games. The three-day event with a fictitious university name features outdoor recreational activities and competitions.
     ---

 

Register Announces RAGBRAI Route

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A popular bicycle ride across Iowa will have a small-town theme this year.
     Organizers behind the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa - also known as RAGBRAI - say just one of the overnight towns announced Saturday has a population of more than 10,000 people.
     The Des Moines Register reports the route will start in Rock Valley and end in Guttenberg by the Mississippi River. The other overnight towns are Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly and Independence. 
     The 418-mile route is the third shortest in history. The 11,316-feet climb is the second flattest in history.
     Now in its 42nd year, more than 10,000 riders are expected to participate in RAGBRAI. It's organized by the Register and scheduled July 20-26.
     ---

 

Environmental Groups Placing Pressure To DNR For Livestock Operations

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A coalition of environmental groups continues to pressure the state to get tougher on large-scale livestock operators, saying that new proposed Clean Water Act rules do not go far enough to clean up the state's water.
     Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa Sierra Club, and the Environmental Integrity Project on Monday leaked a draft copy of a new Clean Water Act permit rule proposed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 
     The groups say the rules leave a loophole that allows livestock farms with a history of manure spills or leaks to get by without being required to get discharge permit. 
     Last spring Iowa dealt with record levels of nitrate in central Iowa rivers and numerous manure spills from hog farms have raised concerns about increasing water pollution.

 

Employers Pledge To Hire Veterans

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group of Iowa employers is pledging to hire 2,500 veterans over the next five years as part of Gov. Terry Branstad's effort to make the state more attractive to military retirees.
     The Iowa Business Council announced the goal Monday at Branstad's weekly news conference. Branstad says businesses in the group include HyVee grocery stores, the MidAmerican Energy Company and Principal Financial Group. 
     Branstad has made support for veterans a priority this year, with an effort he has dubbed "Home Base Iowa." He is seeking to connect veterans with jobs, education and housing opportunities in Iowa.
     One part of Branstad's plan is to exempt military pensions from state income tax. Lawmakers have embraced the proposal and legislation to change tax law is moving rapidly through the Legislature. 

 

Democrats Want To Boost School Funding

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democrats who hold the majority in the Iowa Senate want to boost state education funding for the 2015 school year, but the Republican governor and Republicans controlling the state House have shown little interest in considering the proposal this year.
     Legislation to increase state funding for the school year that starts in the fall of 2015 was up for debate in a Senate subcommittee Monday. Under state law, the General Assembly is supposed to establish funding for kindergarten through 12th grade education over a year in advance. 
     Lawmakers have not always followed that law. Gov. Terry Branstad called the rule "outmoded" Monday. He also said the state could not afford the 6 percent budget increase that Democrats are seeking. 
     Democratic leaders have said it's important to abide by the law.

 

House Bill Would Allow Military Personnel To Acquire Guns Without Permits

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa legislative panel has unanimously approved a measure that would let active duty members of the military buy handguns without going through the usual permit process.
     A three-member House subcommittee approved the bill Monday and it now will go to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
     Currently, any person buying a handgun must first obtain a permit, meet certain requirements and pay an annual fee.  The bill would allow active duty members of the military to skip this process.
     Republican Rep. Dwayne Alons, of Hull, says the bill would align Iowa's law with 37 other states that let active duty members of the military buy firearms without permits.

 

 

 

  

 

 
 

 

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