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Friday Afternoon News, March 21

Sioux County Residents Petitioning County Budget

(Orange City) -- A group in Sioux County, is circulating Petitions to Protest the Budget for 2014-2015 which as approved raises taxes by $700,000 and spending by almost $4 million leaving a shortfall of $2.9 million. Proposed salaries for elected officials are raised to the
highest in Northwest Iowa - $55,000 higher than Woodbury County where there will be
no raise for the elected officials.  The State Appeal Board will be required to hold a hearing if 100 residents sign the Petitions by Tuesday, March 25 and can lower salaries and expenditures unless the Supervisors can justify the runaway spending.

There is also a Petition For Audit which is being circulated because of questions raised over past budgets and expendiures and uncollected moneys including almost $2,000 paid last year to Daniel Pluim (who is also the County Magistrate)  to advise the County's Conservation Board on their ability to sue the County Zoning Board, also of Sioux County.  The group believes that this was extremely unethical if not illegal.  The State Auditor can audit and review the county's finances.  No current audit report is available.  Williams & Co plans to deliver an audit report to the county on Tuesday, March 25.


Remsen Native Wins Big At Winn-A-Vegas

(Sloan) -- A graduate of Remsen-Union High School and an Air Force Veteran, was on her way to the Omaha airport to fly homeTacoma, Washington, when she decided to make one extra stop at WinnaVegas.  She's glad she did.  Karen Byrd stopped to play the slots, and BOOM! She hit it big.  The slot machine showed that Byrd had won $80,016.  Byrd had just visited some of her former Remsen-Union classmates and was only ten days from retirement.  Frank Loera, Interim General Manager at WinnaVegas, is more than excited to help send her off to an even happier retirement with this big win.  Byrd made a $20 bet on one spin in the High Limits room at WinnaVegas.  The High Limits Room is a new addition to the WinnaVegas casino floor and management says Byrd is one of the first big winners of many more yet to come.  WinnaVegas Casino Resort is owned and operated by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.


Orange City Holds Tulip Extravaganza

ORANGE CITY, IA. – The annual Orange City Tulip Festival Extravaganza was held on Thursday, and revealed both the costumes for Tulip Queen and Court and the parade marshals for the 2014 celebration.  Members of the 2014 Tulip Court are Queen Ali Achterhof, daughter of Rick and Paula Achterhof; Lauren Duesenberg, daughter of Gary and Rachel Duesenberg; Emily McDonald, daughter of Todd and Kristin McDonald; Paige Nibbelink, daughter of Jamie and Kim Nibbelink; and Marissa Wiese, daughter of Rob and Tricia Wiese.

Queen Ali and her court will wear the authentic dress from Axel, a town in the province of Zeeland, for this year’s Tulip Festival. The wings, which stand up by elaborately folded craft paper, are perhaps the most eye-catching piece of the costume. Queen Ali’s wings, known as de vleugels in Dutch, are a stunning purple on floral black, and her court’s are a classic black on black brocade material.

The elaborate costume also features a black brocade jacket, a black merino wool skirt, and beuks, which are made from the same fabric as the wings.   The beuks, worn on the upper torso, are intricately decorated with colorful glass beads, sequin, small stones, and spangles, and were worn by the women of Axel on Sundays or for special occasions. Queen Ali and each member of her court also wear floral-patterned aprons. Queen Ali’s apron is embellished with an embroidered apron bow.

The Axel dress is accessorized with a small cap that fits close to the head, gold spirals worn on the forehead, a multi-strand necklace of red coral beads, and an antique-version purse.  An additional highlight to the Extravaganza was the announcement of this year’s parade marshals. The Tulip Festival Steering Committee was pleased to honor Terry and Rachel Meekma as parade marshals for the 2014 Tulip Festival.


Attorney General Decides Former Lawmaker Can Run For Political Office 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A panel of state officials has concluded that former state lawmaker Tony Bisignano should be allowed to run for the Iowa Senate.
     Attorney General Tom Miller, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, and State Auditor Mary Mosiman considered a challenge by one of Bisignano's primary opponents, Ned Chiodo, who claims Bisignano is disqualified from running because he was convicted of second-offense drunken driving in January.
     Chiodo's attorney, Gary Dickey, argues that the aggravated misdemeanor falls under the constitutional definition of an infamous crime, which means Bisignano cannot vote or hold public office.
     Miller says a law passed by the Legislature in 1994 defines infamous crimes as felonies and the courts are likely to uphold that law. Schultz and Mosiman agree.
     Chiodo's attorney plans to appeal the decision to the courts.


State Official Denies Allegations Of Wrong Doing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state official accused of improperly pressuring Iowa judges who hear unemployment cases to rule in favor of employers has issued a rebuttal.
     Teresa Wahlert, Iowa Workforce Development director, wrote a letter Thursday to the U.S. Department of Labor that denied allegations made against her by Democratic Sen. William Dotzler, of Waterloo. 
     Dotzler sent a letter asking the federal agency to investigate whether Wahlert is violating federal laws requiring fair and impartial administration of unemployment benefits. In the letter, he alleges that Wahlert is directly interfering with the independence of administrative law judges.
     Wahlert claims the allegations are false. In her rebuttal, she says she seeks to provide facts to the "inaccurate information" Dotzler has presented.
     Dotzler continues to insist his allegations are true.


Authorities Rescue Two Boys From Shifting Ice

 FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two young brothers rescued from ice on the Des Moines River near Fort Dodge were not injured during the ordeal.
     The Fort Dodge Fire Department says the incident occurred Thursday afternoon near Hydro Electric Park. The boys, ages 12 and 7, got stuck on a sheet of ice about 75 feet from the west bank of the river.
     A witness says the boys walked onto the ice before it started shifting. The brothers panicked and the witness called 911.
     The rescue, which took about 45 minutes, involved firefighters using a flat-bottomed aluminum boat to pull the boys to shore.
     The brothers were hugged by their mother once they reached solid ground. They were examined at the scene but did not require hospitalization.




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