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Wednesday Afternoon News, January 29

Gehlen Business Office Staff Selected As Employees Of The Month

(Le Mars) -- All this week Gehlen Catholic Schools are celebrating "National Catholic Schools Week" and today, during the Chamber coffee, two people were recognized for their efforts.  Mindy Scheitler and Jackie Sitzmann were nominated by the faculty, staff, students and administration of Gehlen Catholic to be this month's "Chamber Employees of the Month".  According to the nomination, year round, Mindy Scheitler and Jackie Sitzmann handle a multitude of duties, and do so in the most professional manner, setting an example of God's work displayed before our very eyes.  They pay bills, deposit money, balance multiple check books and accounts, prepare change for athletic and fine arts events, as well as issue financial reports, and welcome new arrivals, from new teachers to students.  Both women solve issues, gather and analyze data, meet and exceed staff and volunteer needs, answer health insurance and benefits questions.  Most importantly, both ladies maintain each person's confidences.  The business office has grown substanially in recent years. Mrs. Scheitler and Mrs. Sitzmann have handled the growth of the Business Office with a smile and dignity that is second to none.  Our congratulations go to Mindy Scheitler and Jackie Sitzmann for being named "Employees of the Month".  Gehlen Catholic Schools also acknowledged those teachers and staff with more than 25 years of service to Gehlen Catholic Schools.  Those honored include: Leann Hatting, Patty Hatting, Beth Schlichte, and Kim Wick.


Chamber Of Commerce Prepares For Annual Banquet

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce annual meeting is scheduled for this coming Saturday and will be held at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center.  Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with the dinner to begin at 7:00 p.m. and the program to follow.  Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Neil Adler says it is not so much as a meeting as it is a celebration of the community.

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Adler offers an insight as to what the evening will feature.

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The Chamber executive says perhaps what is most anticipated and most enjoyed are the various videos that are shared during the evening featuring Le Mars people, in unusual circumstances.

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Reservations can be made by contacting the Chamber office.  Tickets sell for $40 per person.  Adler asks that reservations be made before Thursday at noon.


Contracrtor Bribery Scheme

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa company executives have pleaded guilty and two other men have been indicted in what federal prosecutors are calling a longstanding bribery scheme involving a contractor and a Bettendorf city official.
      The U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday that employees of Davenport-based Brown Traffic Products, Inc., gave cash, vacations and event tickets to influence Bettendorf electrician Robert Webster.
     An indictment says the company received nearly $2 million in business from Bettendorf between 2004 and 2011 for supplying traffic poles, lights and other goods. 
     Webster and retired company official Robert Budd Jr. are indicted on charges of conspiracy and bribery. Budd pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Webster hasn't made a court appearance.
     Brown Traffic's former CEO, David Schiltz, and former vice president Daniel Fuchs have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators.


Gasoline Tax Increase Bill Introduced

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to raise Iowa's fuel taxes has won preliminary approval from lawmakers in the Iowa House, but it is not clear if the measure can garner wider approval in the Legislature or from the governor.
     A House subcommittee backed the bill Tuesday and it will move to the full Transportation Committee. Under the proposal, fuel taxes would gradually rise by 10 cents a gallon, raising about $215 million annually for infrastructure expenses.
     Rep. Joshua Byrnes, a Republican from Osage, says the state badly needs this funding to repair deteriorating bridges and roads. Similar proposals have failed to advance in past years.
     Republican Gov. Terry Branstad declined to endorse or oppose the legislation. He says he wants to look at a variety of options to fund road repairs.


State Law Enforcement Officers To Be Equipped With Stun Guns

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A public safety official says Iowa will begin arming state law enforcement officers with stun guns.
     The Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble told lawmakers Tuesday that officials have decided to equip state officers with the devices.
     The decision came after an extensive review.
     Noble told lawmakers officers would receive at least eight hours of initial training followed by four hours of annual training.
     It's unclear how many officers will be equipped with stun guns.
     State law enforcement officers include those working in the Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
     Stun guns are used by more than 250 Iowa law enforcement agencies. Lawmakers are reviewing how officers are trained to use the devices following several allegations of misuse.


Super Bowl To Use Biodiesel From Iowa Company

 AMES, Iowa (AP) - Biodiesel produced by an Iowa company will fuel generators at the Super Bowl for the first time.
     Renewable Energy Group, Inc., said Wednesday that biodiesel refined at its Seneca, Ill. plant will power generators at MetLife Stadium during Sunday's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.
     The Ames-based company will supply up to 15,000 gallons of fuel, which will also power generators at events before the game. Its fuel is a clean-burning diesel replacement made from recycled cooking oil, greases and other materials.
     NFL environmental program director Jack Groh says the Super Bowl will feature a redundant system of generators to prevent a power failure, which marred last year's game. He says that required more fuel, and the NFL saw biodiesel as a way to limit the environmental impact.


U Of I Fires Athletic Official After Noting Missing Funds

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa has fired an athletics department accountant after auditors projected that $66,000 is missing from ticket sales for a popular train that takes fans to Kinnick Stadium.
     Spokesman Tom Moore tells The Associated Press that 31-year employee Kathleen Willier was fired Nov. 6 for failing to follow cash handling procedures.
     The firing came after auditors found that the university failed to make deposits for two 2011 football games for ticket sales to the Hawkeye Express, which transports fans from Coralville to the stadium.
     An audit report said revenue for 2011 unexpectedly dropped by $66,000 even though ridership slightly increased, and that management can't explain why.
     Willier's husband, Charlie, said Wednesday his wife disputes that any cash was missing and believes she is a scapegoat for longstanding problems.









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