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Wednesday News, March 5

City Council Approves Convention and Visitors Bureau Hotel/Motel Tax Funding

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave its approval for eleven projects to be funded from the money collected through the city's hotel-motel tax.  A total of $35,000 will be despensed.  To date, Le Mars has collected more than $1.2 million from the hotel-motel tax.  The money is then allocated to help finance community projects as directed by the Le Mars Convention and Visitors Bureau advisory board.  Those organizations that have had money allocated include the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce for $1,000 for the 2015 Antique Fair, the Chamber will also receive $7,000 for ice cream days in 2015.  Scoop the Loop classic car show will receive $600.  The Le Mars Fire Department has been allocated $3,400 to assist with the hosting of the Annual Iowa Fire Chiefs Conference in which Le Mars will host.  That event takes place in October.  The Convention and Visitors Bureau advisory board will allocate $1,500 for the National Traditional Country Music Festival.  The Plymouth County Pioneer Village Christmas will receive $1,500.  The Plymouth County Fair will receive $6,000 for promotion purposes.  Other entities to receive funding from the hotel/motel tax include: the Plymouth County Cyclists.  The cyclists will receive $1,000 for the annual bike ride which will help with event expenses, and they will also receive $5,000 for the 2014 Frosty Cross.  The city of Le Mars is set to receive $4,000 for audio/visual equipment slated for the Willow Creek Golf Course.  The Le Mars convention center will get a new stage for the lower level of the Convention Center thanks to the $4,000 to be allocated. 

In other action taken by the city council, they gave their approval for Wiltgen Construction of Le Mars to conduct work on the new city public works building.


Ice Cream Days Receives Funding From Convention and Visitor's Bureau

(Le Mars) -- A year ago, Ice Cream Days,  was awarded $8,000 from Le Mars Hotel/Motel Sales Tax receipts.  Funds will be used for parade entries, entertainment and various activities for 2014
Ice Cream Days, June 18-21.  Ice Cream Days brings out-of-town visitors and former residents into Le Mars as family activities are planned around this occasion.  Numerous local people also take part in the wide variety of entertainment offered during the four days.  It is an opportunity to showcase several areas of our community including parks, Olson Cultural Event Center, businesses, the Arts Center and Museum.  It brings together community involvement and community unity.   Ice Cream Days was one of 15 applicants receiving funding this fiscal year.  Funding recommendations of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board were approved by the Le Mars City Council on February 19, 2013.    

The CVB Advisory Board received 20 application requests totaling $57,492.23 for the
2013-2014 budget year.  There was $40,000 available to be awarded to qualified groups. 

The mission of the CVB Advisory Board is to attempt to fund as many qualifying projects with enough money to be useful toward completion of the project goal.  Qualifying projects meet state code regarding the allocation of revenues generated by the hotel/motel sales tax.  Priority is given to projects that encourage growth of tourism to the city of Le Mars. 


Three People Arrested In Kingsley For Growing Marijuana

(Kingsley) -- Three people from Kingsley have been arrested for growing marijuana in their home.  On Sunday, a Plymouth County deputy stopped at a residence in Kingsley to serve a court document.  While talking with a female resident, the deputy smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the residence.   When he questioned the female about this, she attempted to slam the door and flee into the residence.  The deputy was able to detain the female near the front door.  Additional officers responded and 2 male subjects were found inside the residence.Officers secured the residence and obtained a search warrant for the residence.  At approximately 6:30 PM, the search warrant was executed at 224 Dover St, Kingsley, Iowa. ,As a result of the search, a marijuana growing operation was located in the upstairs of the 2-story residence containing over 30 growing marijuana plants. Deputies also located processed marijuana in the main living area and a bedroom on the main floor along with numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

As a result, the following arrests have been made:

Norma Bowman, age 70, of Kingsley, Manufacture of marijuana, Class D felony, failure to affix drug tax stamp, Class D felony, possession of marijuana, serious misdemeanor, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple misdemeanor, and interference with official acts, simple misdemeanor.

Billy Fletcher SR, age 52, of Kingsley, Manufacture of marijuana, Class D felony, failure to affix drug tax stamp, Class D felony, possession of marijuana 3rd offense, Class D felony, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple misdemeanor, interference with official acts, simple misdemeanor.

Billy Fletcher JR, age 25, of Kingsley, Manufacture of marijuana, Class D felony, failure to affix drug tax stamp, Class D felony, possession of marijuana, serious misdemeanor, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple misdemeanor.

The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Kingsley, Remsen, Moville Police Departments, Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol.


County Political Partys To Hold Conventions On Saturday

(Le Mars) -- This Saturday, both the county Republicans and the county Democrats will hold their political party conventions.  The Republicans will convene at 1:00 p.m. at the small theater located at the Le Mars Community High School.  Whereas, the county Democrats will hold their political party convention at the Le Mars Public Library, and they will also begin at 1:00 p.m.  Don Kass, co-chair for the Plymouth county Republican party says the delegates will discuss resolutions of national, state, and local interest.  Kass says two separate resolutions relating to the proposed gasoline tax have been submitted.

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John Neunaber serves as the chair for the Plymouth County Democrats. He says an issue to be discussed at the Democratic county convention will deal with voting access.

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Check back for additional comments from both county political party chairs.


Hull Cheese Plant Spills Sludge Into Floyd River

HULL, Iowa (AP) - The state Department of Natural Resources says sludge from a northwest Iowa cheese processing plant overflowed from a storage tank and flowed into a nearby stream.
     The DNR says the sludge overflowed a tank at the Agropur plant in Hull.
     The sludge flooded a wastewater treatment building and then flowed into a stream. It moved about three-eighths of a mile downstream before stopping about four miles upstream of the West Branch of the Floyd River.
     The company estimates 1,200 gallons of sludge flowed into the stream before workers managed to stop the flow.
     Crews were pumping the sludge from the stream and applying it to nearby fields.


Ottumwa Pork Processing Plant Spills Wastewater Into Des Moines River

  OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - A pork processing plant in Ottumwa has reported a spill of wastewater into the Des Moines River.
     The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Cargill Meat Solutions workers were attempting to repair a control panel when it shorted out at around 7 p.m. Monday allowing wastewater to back up and bypass the plant's treatment system.
     About 20,000 gallons of untreated wastewater which typically includes hog parts, blood, and manure washed into a storm sewer which flows into the river.
     DNR Environmental Specialist Jim Kacer says workers had a backup pump operating within about 12 minutes and it continues to operate until the control panel can be repaired.
     He says the DNR continues to monitor the situation.


Lewis And Clark Water System To Receive $5 Million

WASHINGTON (AP) - A water system designed to bring high-quality, purified water to rural parts of three states will get an additional $5.2 million in federal funding.
     South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem announced Tuesday that the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System would get additional money from the Bureau of Reclamation.
     U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson says this project will contribute to the economic development and quality of life of many residents in the state. 
     Lewis and Clark executive director Troy Larson says the project still needs millions more in federal funds, but the additional money will allow about 5 more miles of pipeline to be built. 
     The Lewis and Clark Regional Water system is designed to improve the water supply to rural parts of South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.


State Senators Get Into Shouting Match In Legislative Chambers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Two southeast Iowa lawmakers shouted at each other on the Senate floor during debate on a bill about home health care.
     The unusual episode started Tuesday when Senator Mark Chelgren, an Ottumwa Republican, suggested Democratic Sen. Tom Courtney, of Burlington, had not responded to an Ottumwa woman concerned about the proposed bill. Chelgren admonished Courtney to "not let that happen again."
     Courtney responded that constituents told him that Chelgren didn't seem to care much about the issue.
     Chelgren shouted that Courtney had impugned his character. Courtney shouted back, "You started this, pal."
     Senate leaders intervened. Courtney was heard off his microphone calling Chelgren a "lying son of a gun."
     Chelgren later apologized. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal called a lunch break so "some members can regulate their blood sugar levels."


Schools To Test For Radon

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has passed a bill requiring school districts to test for the presence of radon gas.
     The Democratic-led bill passed 35-14 after Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, criticized it as watered down "like a warm bucket of spit."
     McCoy supports the bill but is unhappy with changes that remove the requirement of certified testers and plans to reduce radon if found.
     McCoy says fewer than 10 percent of Iowa schools are tested.
     Senator Tod Bowman, a Maquoketa Democrat, says the bill isn't perfect but will identify how many schools have radon.
     Republican Sen. Mark Chelgren, of Ottumwa, says the bill which moves to the House, is improved because it removes mandates that were undue burdens.
     The EPA recommends building testing for the radioactive gas.


Senate Passes Wage Bill

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Employers must explain in writing how a worker will be paid and deductions to be taken from a paycheck in a bill the Iowa Senate has passed.
     The Democrat-led bill, aimed at stopping the practice known as wage theft, passed on party lines 26-23 on Tuesday with Republicans voting against it. The bill moves to the GOP-led House where continued opposition is expected because Republicans see it as additional burdensome regulation for businesses.
     Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says 400 cases of wage theft already have been reported to state labor officials this year. He says the problem is significant among immigrant workers who don't fully understand wage laws and the bill helps ensure they'll get fully paid for their work. 









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