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Wednesday Afternoon News, February 5

Iowa Department Of Transportation Approves Export Corridor

(Le Mars) -- The Iowa Department of Transportation has granted approval to designate some roads from Le Mars to Akron as an export corridor.  Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says the designation was sought by SmithCo dump truck manufacturing company.  Rohe explains how the designation will benefit the local manufacturing company.

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Rohe says South Dakota and other western states allow for the transport of the tandem trailers, and that is why SmithCo was wanting the designation.

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The County engineer says SmithCo will now have permission to transport trailers in tandem.

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Western Iowa Tech To Offer Jobs Training Center In Le Mars 

(Le Mars) -- On Tuesday, KLEM news told you about how Le Mars and Plymouth County has a shortage of skilled workers. But a local community college is creating a skills training center in Le Mars to hopefully reduce the number of unskilled workers.  Western Iowa Technical Community College is turning a former auto body shop into a jobs training center.  Neil Adler, executive director with the Le Mars Business Inititative Corporation says the facility is so new, a name hasn't been assigned to the facility.

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Adler believes Western Iowa Tech will begin offering classes in February with an open house planned for April.  Le Mars is becoming known as a food processing hub with Wells Enterprises, Dean Foods, Bo-Deans Bakery, and IML Containers Iowa.  Adler says to be known in that manner may be good for Le Mars.

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The LBIC executive says being known as a food processing hub also provides employment opportunities for other industries and businesses.

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Speakers Announced For Chamber's Ag Luncheon

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its  20th Annual Agri-Business Luncheon on Wednesday, March 19, at the Le Mars Convention Center, upper level.
Beginning at 9:30am the Plymouth County Farm Bureau will sponsor the Chamber coffee at the Convention Center.   The morning program, beginning at 10:30, will feature Steven D. Johnson, Ph.D., Farm & Ag Business Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach.
Master of Ceremonies will be Paul Jacobson, President of American Bank. The meal will be served by Timmy’s Catering around 11:30; carved certified angus round of beef & carved black oak pit ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, scalloped corn and homemade buns.
The presentation of the “Outstanding Service to Agriculture” award will be presented.
The featured speaker at noon will be Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.
Tickets are only $10.  To get your tickets or for more information, contact the Chamber office, 546-8821.

 

State Senate Approves Expanded Funding For Schools

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic controlled Iowa Senate has voted to approve legislation that would provide more than $200 million in additional school funding for the 2015-2016 academic year, but the bills are unlikely to advance in the Republican-majority House.
     The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve three bills dealing with school funding. Funding for the 2014-2015 school year has already been established.
     Under state law, the General Assembly is supposed to set funding for elementary and secondary education over a year in advance, though House Republicans have not always followed that rule in recent years.
     Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, from Hiawatha, says he expects to take up funding for the 2015-2016 school year in the next session. He says he wants to know more about tax revenues before making commitments.
 

Iowa Guard Entering An Era Of Historic Transition 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa National Guard says the organization is entering a time of historic transition as overseas demands decline and many service members are set to retire. 
     Major General Timothy Orr delivered the annual "Condition of the Guard" speech Wednesday morning in the Iowa House of Representatives. The speech is intended to update lawmakers on the work of the Iowa Army National Guard.
     Orr says the guard hasn't faced such a "profound time of change" since the end of World War II. 
     There are 9,400 National Guard soldiers and airmen in Iowa.  Just 100 of that group are currently deployed around the world and Iowa has no units in Iraq or Afghanistan. 
     President Barack Obama has said the United States would withdraw most troops from Afghanistan by 2014.

 

Courts To Define What Is A Storm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals is weighing into the murky issue of how to define a storm in Iowa. 
     The court in a ruling Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against a Cedar Falls mall owner filed after a woman fell on Dec. 23, 2009.
     The court says College Square Mall had the right to wait until after freezing rain passed to clear sidewalks.
     Shopper Karen Rochford fell. She argues there was no storm so the mall can't claim it was waiting for the storm to pass to clear walks.
     The court says there's no definition in Iowa case law of a storm, but the commonly accepted continuing storm doctrine holds that property owners may wait to clear sidewalks in instances when there is less severe inclement weather short of a blizzard.

 

Iowa Universities To Build Dormitories

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are rushing to build more dormitories as high enrollment causes soaring demand for student housing.
     Documents from the Iowa Board of Regents show Iowa State is seeking approval to build an estimated $50 million residence hall project to house 700 students.
     Construction in Iowa City continues for a $53 million residence hall project for 500 students. It's scheduled to open in 2015 and is the university's first new dorm in more than 40 years.
     The universities have spent millions to lease off-campus apartment buildings due to a boom in enrollment over the years.
     The Regents will meet Thursday to discuss financing to complete the new UI dorm. They will also discuss the ISU project.
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Historic Courthouse To Be Demolished

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) - Crews have begun tearing down Iowa's third-oldest courthouse, despite efforts by local residents to save the Mitchell County landmark.
     Demolition began Tuesday on the old Mitchell County Courthouse. The process, including the installation of a basement for a new building, is expected to be done by spring.
     County officials say the courthouse, built in 1858, was falling apart. Supervisor Stan Walk said renovations would have run into the millions.
     It's still unclear how the county will pay for a new courthouse. Voters in November turned down a measure to sell general obligation bonds. Officials may put the financing issue up for another vote. 
     Osage Mayor Steve Cooper tells Mason City television station KIMT (http://bit.ly/1n9tJz7 ) that he knows the building was unsafe, but he hates seeing a piece of history demolished.
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