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Tuesday News, March 4

County Supervisors To Review County Health Insurance Plan

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a short agenda for their weekly meeting scheduled for today.  The supervisors will hear from county engineer Tom Rohe as he discusses construction projects.  The county governing board will also be given an update on the county health insurance plan from Amanda Baker of Wellmark-Blue Cross/Blue Shield.


Property Taxes Now Due

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, reminds property owners that the second-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. The delinquent date is Tuesday, April 1, 2014.   Mail must be postmarked on or before March 31 to avoid delinquent interest.   Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on March 31 does not guarantee a March 31 postmark.   Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on April 1, 2014, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter.  There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes. 


City Council To Hold Public Hearing On Budget

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold a public hearing today at noon regarding the proposed new fiscal year budget.  That public hearing will be held at the Council Chambers at city hall.  In other business, the city council will review and approve the funding projects as recommended by the CVB Advisory Board.  The council will also discuss the public works building.


Ihrke Appointed To State's Optometry Board

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has named a Le Mars eye doctor to the state's Board of Optometry.  Dr. Scott Ihrke was re-appointed by the Governor.  Ihrke will serve a three year term.  The Optometry Board is responsible for assuring Iowans are given the best optometry care, and for discipline action on those optometrists who have their license suspended or revoked.


Le Mars Community School Selected By Governor For Teacher Mentor Program

(Des Moines) -- The Le Mars Community school district is one of 39 Iowa school districts selected by Governor Terry Branstad to receive leadership roles to improve instruction and raise student achievement as part of the state's 2013 education reform package. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds made the announcement Monday morning during a news conference.  The program offers new teacher leadership systems and will allow teachers to work in greater collaboration with colleagues and learn from each other instead of operating largely in isolation in their classrooms. Teacher leadership systems will be phased in over three years, with the goal of all districts participating by 2016-17, although whether to do so is a local decision.

Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck selected 39 school districts out of 146 applicants from across the state. The districts - serving a mix of urban, suburban and rural communities - enroll about one-third of Iowa students. Two of the districts will share teacher leadership systems.

Teacher leadership systems promise to help students learn more by better meeting their individual needs. They also will attract and retain more effective teachers by enhancing career opportunities and paying stipends for taking on extra responsibilities. Teacher and principal leadership teams can support the more complex work required to prepare students for a knowledge-based economy.

Le Mars Community School district will receive about $309 per student next school year to implement their teacher leadership systems.  The annual cost statewide is nearly $50 million in fiscal year 2015, growing to about $150 million annually in the third year.  Le Mars Community School Superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt says he is pleased Le Mars Community was among those schools selected in the first round. Wendt says "the team of teachers and administrators that worked on developing the application and communicating about it to the Board of Education, staff, and DLIIT Team did an excellent job of gathering input and putting together a quality plan that will benefit students,” Districts were selected based on the strength of their application as well as geographic and size diversity.


Port Pleads Not Guilty To Arson And Other Charges

(Le Mars) -- A Le Mars man pleaded not guilty Monday to setting fire to an apartment complex.  Zachery Port, age 23, entered his written plea in Plymouth County District Court to charges of first degree arson, first degree criminal mischief, second degree burglary, and possession of a controlled substance - third violation.  A trial date has not been set.  Port is accussed of starting a fire that caused roughly $50,000 in damage to the first floor of a two-story apartment complex on February 7th.  The Le Mars Police say Port, a former tenant, had violated a no-contact order to stay away from the building.  Police also say Port had removed property from a residence at the building.  Port was carrying a small amount of methamphetamine when he was arrested.


Firefighter Injured In Sioux City Apartment Fire - Red Cross Helping Residents

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a firefighter was injured following a blaze at an apartment complex in north Sioux City.
     The firefighter slipped and fell 30 feet Monday morning from a ladder leaned against the burning building at Glen Oaks Apartments. He was briefly hospitalized but is now home.
     Another firefighter slipped on icy ground. No residents were injured.
     The fire was reported shortly before 7 a.m. The fire damaged at least a dozen apartment units. The entire building has been deemed uninhabitable.
     Authorities say the frigid weather caused three private fire hydrants to malfunction. Water from the fire department's hoses also froze to the ground.
     The local American Red Cross chapter says it's assisting more than two dozen people affected by the fire.


Senate Passes Bill To Penalize Landowners Who Allow Drinking By Minors 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would make it illegal for landowners to allow drinking on their property by anyone under 21.
     The bill, which passed 48-0, makes it a simple misdemeanor for the first violation and imposes a $200 fine. A second offense and future offenses carry $500 fines.
     The bill also holds juveniles responsible by making it a simple misdemeanor for anyone aged 18, 19, or 20 to drink alcohol in violation of the bill and imposes a fine of $200. A second offense carries a fine of $500 and a third offense carries a $500 fine and the loss of a driver's license.
     Sen. Robb Hogg, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, says the bill sets expectations for parents and communities. It moves to the House.


Senate Clears Bill For On-line Voter Registration

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill that would allow online voter registration in Iowa.
     The bill passed 48-0 on Monday with no debate.
     Under the bill voters must provide the same information required on other voter registration forms. They would use the Secretary of State's website to electronically register. Those registering must have an Iowa driver's license, a Social Security number, or other identifying number and must attest that all information is correct. It makes fraudulent electronic registration a class D felony. It would take effect Jan. 1.
     Equipment upgrades, training and education are expected to cost an additional $250,000 next year. The bill provides no additional funding.
     Concerns about how electronic signatures will be verified are to be worked out in the House.


Altoona Woman Charged With Murder Of Ex-husband 31 Years After Incident Happened

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa woman has been charged in the 1983 slayings of her estranged husband and his girlfriend, who were found bludgeoned to death at a horse ranch.
     Theresa Lynn Supino's arrest in the March 3, 1983, deaths of Steven Fisher and Melisa Gregory came on the 31st anniversary of the killings.
     Supino, of Altoona, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The now-53-year-old is being held at the Jasper County Jail in Newton.
     Supino was married to Fisher at the time of his death, but they were separated with two children. The 20-year-old Fisher was dating the 17-year-old Gregory.
     Fisher and Gregory's bodies were discovered on the Copper Dollar Ranch, where Fisher worked, about four miles northwest of Newton.   Autopsies found that they died of massive head injuries.





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