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Monday News, March 10

School Board To Hear Update On Implementation Of Iowa Core

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening. The school board will discuss the implementation of the Iowa Core.  Steve Webner, assistant school superintendent, will show the board the actions teachers and administrators have performed as they implement the plan.  Dr. Todd Wendt will share with the board the job descriptions for the different leadership roles outlined in the new Teacher Leadership and Compensation Update.  Le Mars Community was one of 39 school districts to be accepted for the new teacher mentorship program as part of the Educational reform passed last year by the state legislature.


Pickup Truck Falls Through Ice

SALIX, Iowa (AP) - A submerged pickup has been found at Snyder Bend Park near Salix in northwest Iowa.
     A park ranger spotted the truck around 4:30 p.m. Sunday. 
     Sgt. Don Armstrong of the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office says the pickup belonged to Ronald Mathison, of Sioux City. Mathison told officers that he'd been ice fishing Saturday night when the ice started to break up beneath him and the truck. He was able to get away before the truck plunged into the water. 
     Recovery of the truck could come as early as Monday.


Plymouth County Republicans Divided Over Fuel Tax Increase

(Le Mars) -- At the Plymouth County Republican party convention held on Saturday, delegates heard from potential candidates and voted on the various submitted resolutions. One issue that was divided nearly in half was whether the state should raise the fuel tax in order to pay for much needed road and bridge repairs.  The 55 delegates voted 29 in favor of raising the gas tax and 26 opposed the idea.  Don Kass is a county supervisor and serves as the chairman of the Plymouth County Republican party.  He says Plymouth County has several bridges that were constructed in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's and those bridges are needing to be replaced.

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Kass says Plymouth County also has more miles of paved roads than our neighboring counties.  He says, over the years more traffic and heavier traffic is now traveling on those county roads which is causing the roads to be upgraded and needing repairs.

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State Representative Chuck Soderberg attended the county political convention.  He doesn't believe the fuel tax increase will be introduced during this session of the state legislature. He says it is a sensative issue.

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Part of the Saturday's discussion focused on how much of an increase should take place?  Soderberg informed the Plymouth County delegates that a ten cent a gallon over a course of three years has been discussed in Des Moines, while some delegates advocated a two cent per gallon increase should be sufficient.  Soderberg says he doesn't know what would be the acceptable amount of increase.

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The state representative says the Iowa Farm Bureau, an organization typically opposed to the increase of any taxes, have actually lobbied in favor of the increase, along with construction companies.  However, truck companies have lobbied the legislature speaking in opposition of the proposed increase of fuel tax.


Spiker Leaves Iowa GOP Chair

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The chairman of Iowa's Republican Party will step down later this month once a replacement can be chosen.
     The Iowa GOP said Saturday that A.J. Spiker had submitted his letter of resignation. The party will chose a new chairman on March 29th.
     Spiker plans to become a political adviser to U.S. Senator Rand Paul's political action committee. Rand Paul is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and Spiker had previously backed Paul's father, now retired Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
     Spiker became chairman in 2012 after tea party conservatives and Paul supporters worked at the precinct level to take control of the state GOP leadership.
     On Saturday most of the GOP state convention delegates chosen were moderate candidates who back Governor Terry Branstad.


Texas Turkey Company Not Paying Court Settlement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Federal and state officials are having trouble collecting the multimillion-dollar judgments a Texas company was ordered to pay for mistreating 32 mentally disabled workers at an Iowa labor camp.
     Henry's Turkey Service of Goldthwaite, Texas has yet to pay nearly $6 million in fines and judgments against the company and Kenneth Henry.
     A jury agreed last year that Henry's discriminated against its employees, who were hired out to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The initial verdict was the largest in the history of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which brought the case.
     So far, federal officials have collected assets worth between $30,000 and $40,000, and they're collecting about $3,500 in monthly lease payments on land owned by Henry.


House Unlikely To Pass Senate's Wage Theft Bill

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Civil rights groups and some Democrats in the Legislature say Iowa has a wage theft problem and it needs to be fixed.
     Wage theft can include underpayment of wages, theft of tips, and unlawful deductions from paychecks. It's most common in low-wage jobs often employing immigrant workers.
     Senator Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat says it's an epidemic involving up to 1,000 workers a year in Iowa. He's proposed a bill that holds employers responsible and forces them to tell workers up front in writing how much they'll get paid and what deductions will be taken from their checks.
     The bill passed the Democratic-led Senate but it's expected to die in the House Labor Committee where majority Republicans contend it would be too costly for honest businesses.

Volunteers Help Repair Potholes

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The streets of Waterloo are a bit smoother now thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers who spent part of their weekend filling potholes.
     The volunteers filled about 400 potholes Saturday in their first weekend of work
     The volunteer pothole crews will help the city's streets recover from this rough winter. 
     The volunteer crews have been used most every year since 1993 although they haven't been needed after the last couple mild winters.
     Scott Jordan organized the volunteer crews that focused on filling potholes around schools.
     Fifteen-year-old Olivia Jordan joined her dad on the crew Saturday to help fix some of the pop-spilling potholes she's encountered and give back to the community.




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