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Tuesday Afternoon News, February 11

School Board Hears Annual Progress Report

(Le Mars) -- Monday evening the Le Mars Community School Board heard a report from Assistant Superintendent Steve Webner discuss the annual progress report.  Webner says the report, which will be made available to the general public within a couple of weeks, shows Le Mars Community Schools having high marks in many areas, and room for some improvement in others.  One area in which the Le Mars Community School has traditionally done well is with the ACT college entrance exams.  Webner says over the years, the Le Mars senior class has scored considerably higher than the state average.

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Webner reported to the school board that last year's seniors scored an average of 23.7 on their composite scores.

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Le Mars Community seniors last year beat the state average of 22.1 and the national average of 20.9.  Webner says Le Mars Community has also been fortunate to have a high graduation rate at 97.26 percent.  The statewide average is 89.26 percent.

 

Grassley Looking To Restore Military Pension Pay

(Washington) -- Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he and his colleagues are looking for ways to restore several billion dollars in pay to some military retirees, pay that was cut in the federal budget bill that passed in late December. Grassley, a Republican, says the budget trimmed the COLA -- or cost of living adjustment -- to military retirees who are under the age of 62.

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Grassley says cutting the pay to retirees unfairly changes the rules in the middle of the game for people who have honorably served their country.  Still, he's not sure how restoring the COLA payments will be accomplished, as the original cuts were supposed to save about six-BILLION dollars.

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Senators voted unanimously on Monday to advance the bill that would reverse the pay cut for military retirees. Grassley expects a final vote on the measure this week.

 

Youth Center To Move Into Des Moines Historical Building

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A center for homeless youth has bought a historic building in downtown Des Moines that in the past has housed a theater, clothing store and cafeterias.
     Iowa Homeless Youth Centers plans to move into the two-story building in early 2015. It's raised $1.3 million of a $2.3 million capital campaign, and it needs another $650,000 before it can start renovating the century-old building.
     The  building will house an area where youth can get a shower and a meal. They can also receive services like help applying for a job or earning education certifications. There will be emergency beds.
     Toby O'Berry, director of Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, says many of the youth have difficult lives and are often escaping abuse at home.
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Landlord Accused Of Spying Through Peep Holes Is Fined $6,000

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa City landlord convicted of spying on tenants through peepholes has been fined $6,000 and ordered to spend at least 150 days in jail.
     The 64-year-old Elwyn Miller apologized for his actions and pleaded for mercy at his sentencing on Monday. 
     After a nonjury trial, Miller was convicted of six counts of invasion of privacy. The judge concluded Miller was looking for sexual gratification when he spied on female tenants through hidden peepholes. Miller was arrested in October 2012.
     Miller's request for a new trial has been denied.
     ---

 

Man Accused Of Placing Video Cameras In Homes

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A 45-year-old Grundy Center man has been accused of planting hidden recording devices in an Ames house.
     Story County court records say David Araiza is charged with two felony counts of interception of communication and two misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy-nudity.
     Des Moines television station KCCI reports (http://bit.ly/1elKq5h ) that cameras were found on Dec. 4 and Dec. 9. Police say a female resident found one of the cameras in her closet. It had a microphone for audio recording. 
     Police say videos of Araiza were found on one of the camera memory cards. 
     Araiza had been working at the home as a contractor.
     Jail records say Araiza remained in custody on Tuesday, pending $40,000 bail. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.
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Sick Cats

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The deaths of a dozen cats at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center have been blamed on a contagious viral disease.
     Iowa City animal services director Misha Goodman says that the shelter took in 11 cats from the same household that were later discovered to be infected with panleukapenia, which attacks a cat's intestinal tract. 
     The virus is similar to the canine parvovirus. Experts say panleukapenia cannot be spread to humans or dogs.
     Goodman says the 11 cats have died on their own or been euthanized and says the virus has killed a kitten that was not from that first group.
     Goodman says a quarantine of the feline room would be extended to at least Feb. 25.
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