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Tuesday News, May 13

School Board Approves Master Contract Agreement For Teachers

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board approved the master contract agreement for the upcoming school year.  Teachers will see an increase in their base salary by $1,365 from $33,220 to $34,585.  For the district, the additional salary raise will mean an increase of 3.86 percent, or $465,108 added to the total amount paid to teachers.  The agreement drops the $500 deductible for insurance and instead will issue a $2,000 deductible to each plan for insurance coverage.  A change in the co-pay in Alliance select to $15 for an individual and $30 for family coverage.  The agreement also allows teachers a total of seven days of unpaid leave, however, no unpaid leave may be used if applicable paid leave is available.


Football Stadium To Be Given New Surface

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Board of Education also approved a bid of $51,600 from Vector Construction, Incorporated from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to apply a waterproofing sealant on the stadium. Vector Construction will remove all the seats from the football stadium and sandblast the stadium concrete surface to accept new traffic coating system.  The procedure will involve the removal of all deteriorated concrete and patch, install backer rod joint sealant at control joints, install joint sealant at all cracks, coves, and penetratons.  Vector Construction will then coat all seating area, front walkway, and the front wall.  Work will be done between July 1st and August 15th.  The contractor guarantees the work for five years.  Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt informed school board, the new resurfacing sealant should prolong the life of the stadium, and it could mean fewer repairs and patch work for the stadium's concrete in the future.


School Board Approves Changes In Student Policy Handbook

(Le Mars) -- In other action from last evening's school board meeting, the  school board approved the proposed handbook changes which includes the addition of the words "nicotine products" with what was the no smoking policy.  Assistant high school principal, Neal Utesch explained to the board the new policy is needed to reflect upon the use of the so-called "e-cigarettes".  Utesch says the new style of smoking does contain nicotine.  Also added to the student handbook for next year will be a change of class schedule to eliminate students from being late to class from Homeroom Review and to designate a built in time for Homeroom Review that would allow for the students to have homework catch-up time so students can complete make up work from absences or late work.  It will also allow for some silent reading time so the student can work on reading, writing and language skills.  One other addition to the new student policy handbook involves the dress code.  The school board approved the policy to forbid the wearing of pajamas and bedroom slippers to school.  Utesch says this past school year there were some students who in fact did show up to school wearing bedroom slippers and pajamas. He says it became a distraction to the learning environment.


Armstrong Honored With Life Skills Client Achievement Award

(Le Mars) -- Life Skills Training Center held its annual meeting and awards ceremony last evening.  This year the client Achievement Award was presented to Kyle Armstrong. Armstrong began his full-time vocational training services in the summer of 2011.  Initially, he had trained in the laundry and production area of Life Skills Training Center, but after expressing some interests in participating on a supported integrated training crew, his schedule was adjusted and a job site was incorporated.  Life Skills Training Center Rehabilitation Manager, Rhonda Mahan says Armstrong has shown growth in many areas, including social skills, attention to task, acceptance of supervision, working as a team member and independence.  During last evening's program, outgoing president Kelley Pick was honored, as was Rose Nichols for her 30 years of service to Life Skills Training Center.  State Senator Bill Anderson was the invited guest speaker.  Anderson spoke about the chaotic last few days of the general legislative session, and his committment to see adequate funding should go to help finance mental health services.

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Supervisors To Accept Bids On Three Additional Construction Projects

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will accept bids involving three bridge and culvert construction projects during today's weekly meeting.


Argosy Casino License Not Renewed By Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission won't reconsider its decision to not renew the license of the Argosy Sioux City Casino operator.
     Last month the commission declined to rehear the request from Argosy parent Penn National Gaming Co. and ordered the casino to be closed by July 1. Penn National soon asked the commission to reconsider. 
     Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says an application for a rehearing is denied unless the commission grants the application within 20 days after it's filed. He said Monday was the last day that the commission could have called a special meeting and acted on the request. 
     Penn National has said it will ask a judge to suspend the commission's order, which would let the riverboat casino remain open while the company pursues various legal challenges.


Farmers Catching Up On Planting

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Last week was a busy one for Iowa farmers, who took advantage of dry conditions to plant nearly half of the expected corn crop.
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that farmers planted about 7 million acres. About 20 percent of the soybean crop, or 2 million acres, also was planted.
     Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the heavy rain Sunday and Monday was good for those who have planted their crop but bad news for those who haven't and now must wait for fields to dry out.
     As of last week, the USDA says 74 percent of topsoil was rated as adequate and 15 percent had surplus moisture.
     Northwest Iowa was the driest region, with nearly one-third of topsoil reported as very short or short of moisture.


Judge Orders State To Pay Former Corrections Worker Back Pay

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A judge has ordered the state to pay a former Iowa Department of Correctional Services worker more than $400,000 in a discrimination lawsuit.
     District Judge Mark Eveloff said in a recent filing that supervisors retaliated against 62-year-old Deborah Campbell after she complained about her treatment. He ordered that Campbell be reimbursed for front and back pay, as well as emotional distress.
     Campbell was fired in 2008 after working 10 years as a community program monitor for the department. She sued in 2009, claiming she was treated unfairly because of her gender and age.
     The Iowa Attorney General's Office will have 30 days after the judgment is finalized to appeal the ruling. Attorney general spokesman Geoff Greenwood says no decision has been made.

Fort Dodge Teenager Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison

 FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa teenager has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stabbing another teenager at a Fort Dodge Senior High homecoming dance last year.
     18-year-old Max Bly was sentenced Monday in connection to the Oct. 5 stabbing of 18-year-old Luca Fiala. Both teenagers were 17 at the time of the incident.
     Bly pleaded guilty in early April to willful injury causing bodily injury and going armed with intent.
     Denise Klocko, Fiala's mother, told Bly before he was sentenced about how her son's life has changed since the stabbing.



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