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Tuesday News, March 11

School Board Approves 2014-2015 School Calendar

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education last night approved the school calendar for the 2014-2015 academic school year.  Students will report to classes on August 21st with dismissal scheduled for May 22nd.  The new school year will focus on the total number of hours of instruction rather than the number of school days.  Teachers and students will have 1,141.5 hours of instruction time.  Christmas vacation will begin  December 22nd with students returning to class on January 5.  October 24th is the end of the first quarter, January 14th is scheduled as the final day of the second quarter, March 20th ends the third quarter.


School Board Sets Budget Timeline

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board also approved the budget process timeline.  During the next scheduled school board meeting on March 24th, the school board will review the school budget estimates.  On March 27th, the school budget will be published along with the notice for a public hearing.  On April 14th the school board will hear comments from the public regarding the proposed school district budget.  That same evening, the school board is expected to approve the school district's budget with certification of the budget due on April 15th.  In other action taken by the Le Mars Community School Board, the board approved the goals, plan of action, and method of evaluation for school superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt.


Hospital Trustees Scheduled To Meet

(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Hospital board of trustees will convene for their monthly meeting this evening.  The hospital trustees will hear a medical report from Dr. Sheila Holcomb, a financial update from Daryl Friedenbach, and an administration update, including the progress on the north addition expansion project from hospital administrator Mike Donlin.  The trustees will also hear a report regarding the community health advisory board, and patient centered medical home care from Julie Sitzmann and Amy Skov.


Rock Valley Dairy To Pay $75,000 Fine For Manure Discharge

 ROCK VALLEY, Iowa (AP) - The former owner of a dairy in northwest Iowa will pay $75,000 to settle alleged water quality violations.
     The Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Monday that the civil penalty is in connection to Double V Dairy, near Rock Valley. The agreement settles any alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
     The agency says Double V Dairy discharged manure into Rogg Creek and its tributaries between 2010 and 2013. The dairy was sold in November 2013 and now has new owners.
     The EPA conducted a series of inspections at the dairy between March and May of 2013. Officials say the manure discharges originated from stockpiles of used bedding sands that were outside in an uncontrolled area.


Medical Marijuana Discussed At Plymouth County Republican Party Convention

(Le Mars) -- Governor Terry Branstad on Monday, indicated he is opposed to the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, saying he fears it could lead to further abuse.  Branstad made the comments during his weekly news conference with reporters.  The governor empathizes with those suffering from illnesses who believe they would benefit from using medical marijuana, but he fears there would be unintended consequences to its legalization. He says he's already concerned with prescription drug abuse across the state, and he thinks legalizing medical marijuana could further that abuse.
Medical marijuana was a topic of discussion at the Plymouth County Republican Convention, with many delegates speaking passionately in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana. The measure was ultimately defeated, but the vote was close. Don Kass, the county Republican party chair comments on the proposed resolution.

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Kass says he was pleased to see the number of delegates that attended Saturday's county convention.  He says it indicates the delegates have an interest in the issues.

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Wage Theft Bill May Not Pass Legislature

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill that that would have required employers in Iowa to tell workers at hiring what they'll earn and outline any deductions in writing will not survive this year.
     The wage theft bill passed the Senate last week with only Democrats supporting it. It was assigned to a House subcommittee Monday. Committee Chairman Greg Forristall, a Macedonia Republican, says he doesn't expect the subcommittee to meet again this session, which effectively kills the bill.
     Forristall says the bill won't solve the problem and will only drive up costs for honest businesses.
     Democrats have tried for several years to address the issue.
     Wage theft includes underpayment of wages, theft of tips, and unlawful deductions from paychecks.
     It occurs more frequently low-wage jobs often employing immigrant workers.


Senate Approves Bill To Reduce Sexual Crimes By Military

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill giving victims more power to report sexual abuse and other crimes involving state military personnel has received the approval of the Iowa Senate.
     The Senate voted 47-0 to approve the legislation, which now goes to the House.
     Under the bill, state military forces would have to file an annual report with the governor and the Legislature detailing sexual abuse allegations within the forces. Victims would also receive more freedom to report such situations involving military members, as it would be illegal for military commanders to interfere in reports made to local law enforcement agencies.
     Democratic Sen. Steve Sodders, who sponsored the bill, says the measure is one of the first of its kind and a good first step to making Iowa a national leader in such efforts.


DCI Agent Is Reassigned

  IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has been moved into a lateral position in which he will no longer oversee major cases.
     Department of Public Safety investigative operations director Jim Saunders said Monday that Gerard Meyers has been reassigned to oversee the department's criminal history section.
     Saunders says Meyers has great expertise in the use of technology, and that skill set is needed for the new role. He says that position opened after John Quinn's recent retirement.
     Saunders says he's searching for someone to replace Meyers as assistant DCI director for field operations, and that he wants someone with experience handling investigations into homicides and other violent crimes.
     The reassignment comes after DCI director Chari Paulson was moved into another administration position in January.




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