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Wednesday Afternoon News, February 26

Le Mars Community Elementary Schools To Get New Playground Equipment

(Le Mars) -- Efforts are underway to replace the playground equipment found at the three Le Mars Community Elementary schools.  Scott Parry serves as the principal for the Kluckholn elementary school and has been overseeing the project.  He says this summer, people will notice four new playground sets.

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Parry says, so far, the local Parent Teacher Organization has been able to raise approximately one-fifth the cost for the playground equipment.

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He says the expected costs for the new playground equipment is set around $350,000.  The Kluckholn principal says the time has come to replace the old equipment because it has become worn and rundown, and no longer meets all the regulations.

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Parry says the new playground equipment is built to offer fun challenges for students and to provide for a safer environment.

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The elementary school principal says all the playground equipment should be constructed and ready for use by the time school starts next fall.  Parry says the P-T-O is still raising funds for the project, and donations are being accepted.  Later this year, the school will be holding a raffle for a riding lawnmower that has been donated by ICON Ag and Turf with the proceeds to go towards the financing of the playground equipment.

Bids will be accepted from playground equipment manufacturers for the next month, with the school board set to review those bids during their March 24th meeting.


Borlaug Statue To Be Placed In U.S. Capitol Building

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says a statue of Norman Borlaug will be installed in the U.S. Capitol next month. 
     Branstad will attend the official installation on March 25, which is the 100th anniversary of Borlaug's birth. 
     In 2011, Iowa officials agreed to replace a statue of Sen. James Harlan at the U.S. Capitol with one of Borlaug. Borlaug was a Cresco native who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his role in combating world hunger. 
     South Dakota artist Benjamin Victor created the sculpture. The statue is finished and is in Aberdeen, South Dakota, awaiting transport to Washington. 
     Each state can display two sculptures in the Capitol. The Borlaug statue will replace one of former senator and Interior Department secretary James Harlan. The Harlan statue will return to Iowa.


Titan Tire Company To Pay Fines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A federal judge has ordered Titan Tire Corp. and related company, Dico Inc., to pay millions of dollars in fines for the demolition of three buildings in Des Moines that the Environmental Protection Agency says were contaminated with PCBs, chemicals considered hazardous. 
     The EPA sued the companies in October 2010 claiming they flouted environmental regulations. 
     Judge Robert Pratt, in his order filed Tuesday calls the action by Dico "reprehensible conduct" ordering nearly $3.1 million in fines and penalties. 
     Titan must pay $1.5 million in EPA costs for cleanup of a site in Ottumwa where steel beams from the Des Moines buildings were dumped.  Pratt holds Dico responsible for ongoing cleanup costs.
     Titan acquired Dico in 1993 as part of Dyneer Corp. 
     Titan CEO Morry Taylor says he will appeal.


Lawmakers Pass Bill To Study Breast Tissue

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate have approved legislation that will establish a task force to study breast tissue density.
     The bill passed unanimously Wednesday and will move to the state House for review. It replaced legislation which would have required breast density data be included in mammogram reports to patients and physicians. 
     Instead, under this plan, the state will set up a task force to review how best to educate patients and doctors on this issue.
     Experts say dense breast tissue can make it harder for a mammogram to catch a possible tumor and may increase the risk of breast cancer.
     But some doctors say this kind of notification could needlessly worry women and the state should leave such matters to physicians.


Legislators Pass Drone Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The use of drones would be strictly regulated under a bill approved by the Iowa House.
     The bill received overwhelming support Wednesday, clearing the House on an 87-12 vote, though several lawmakers expressed concern the bill lacks clarity and might be overreaching. Even some of those with concerns supported the bill, which goes to the Senate.
     The bill would require state and law enforcement officials to seek permission before buying or using drones, but details haven't been worked out about what agency would grant such requests.
     Republican Rep. Jarad Klein, who sponsored the bill, says he wants to keep ahead of an evolving issue as drones become more common. He and other lawmakers stressed, though, that the legislation would be changed before it could become law.


Lawmakers Adopt New Penalties For Minors Involve In Prostitution

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An effort to toughen penalties for pimping involving minors and to aid minors forced into prostitution won unanimous support in the Iowa House.
     The House voted 98-0 Tuesday in favor of the measure. The legislation now goes to the Senate.
     The bill would grant county attorneys the option of referring a minor involved with prostitution to Iowa's Department of Human Services as a child in need of assistance if an adult is believed to be involved.  All instances of prostitution are punishable as aggravated misdemeanors under current law. 
     Pimping penalties for any case involving a minor would increase from a class "D" felony to a class "C" felony under the bill. 
     Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill, who sponsored the bill, says the legislation addresses a statewide issue that can't be ignored.


House And Senate Pass Legislation To Increase Penalties For Child Kidnapping

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Bills increasing the penalties for child kidnapping have been easily approved in the Iowa Senate and House.
     Lawmakers backed the bills Tuesday. Both were drafted in response to the kidnapping and killing of teenager Kathlynn Shepard last year. 
     The Senate legislation would increase criminal penalties in cases involving children 17 and younger and cases in which the person convicted had previously been convicted of kidnapping. The House bill increases penalties in cases involving children 15 and under and would prevent those convicted of certain crimes from reducing sentences through good behavior.
     Fifteen-year-old Kathlynn is believed to have been killed by a registered sex offender who had been released from prison after serving a reduced sentence. He killed himself after the incident.


Forest City Man Has Worked 50 Years For Winnabago Industries

FOREST CITY, Iowa (AP) - Recreational vehicle manufacturer Winnebago Industries says it is celebrating the career of one of its employees, a man who has worked at the company for 50 years.
     The Forest City-based company says Harlan Rodberg reached the milestone on Monday. 
     Rodberg began working at age 19 as an electrician on Feb. 24, 1964. He says he started out at $1.25 an hour on the invitation of a friend. He says there wasn't much to do on the farm in the winter so he decided to give it a shot and he fell in love with the work.
     He has worked in a variety of positions including foreman, production supervisor and his current position as special repairer.











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