Monday News, June 9
School Board To Decide On Wendt's Third Year Contract Terms
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening and one item on the agenda will be to decide the salary for the third year of Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt's contract. The school board will also review and possibly renew its present property and casualty insurance plan. Rob Bixenman with Bixenman Insurance will review the school district's coverage and cost. The school board will consider adopting the high school Child Development text books, as well as the elementary social studies textbook as presented by Mr. Webner. The school board will review and approve milk and bread contracts, as well as review and possibly adopt new revisions for the Middle School handbook.
Democrats Agree Branstad Will Be Tough To Beat
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad began his re-election campaign in earnest last week, and even his Democratic opponent's campaign acknowledged the odds favor the Republican will win a record sixth term.
With the state's economy growing and nearly $5 million available for his campaign, Branstad's supporters and opponents say it would take a major scandal or sudden downward shock to Iowa's economy to derail the governor. Even key Democratic campaign donor Bill Knapp Sr. has contributed to Branstad, saying he expects the governor to win re-election.
While campaigning this week, Branstad noted the improving economy and his role in getting tax cuts and education reform through the Legislature.
John Hedgecoth, a spokesman for Democratic nominee Jack Hatch, says he knows people expect Branstad to win but that the race will be competitive.
Republicans Select Site For Third District Convention
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans have chosen a new location for a June 21 nominating convention to select a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Danny Carroll announced Saturday the convention of 513 delegates would be held at Des Moines Christian School in Urbandale.
The task is required because none of the six people who sought the GOP nomination in last Tuesday's primary election topped the 35 percent threshold for votes required by state law.
State Sen. Brad Zaun received the most votes but only 25 percent of all votes cast.
The nominee will face Democrat Staci Appel, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
The 3rd District covers much of southwest Iowa, stretching from Des Moines to Council Bluffs.
Planned Parenthood Closes Two Facilities
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Planned Parenthood of the Heartland says its decision to close two southern Iowa facilities was financially driven and wasn't influenced by the efforts of abortion rights opponents who regularly protest outside those locations.
The Iowa-based affiliate, which also serves Arkansas, Nebraska and eastern Oklahoma, will close facilities in the communities of Red Oak and Creston effective June 18th, after officials determined the centers each averaged about one patient per month.
Spokeswoman Angie Remington calls it a "fiscal efficiency issue."
The announcement comes around the time Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, the affiliate based in Oregon, announced plans to close three facilities in the region and reduce staff.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America says affiliates operate independently from the national group and that there was no directive to close facilities.
Sioux City Council To Decide Fate Of Morningside Home
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council is expected to decide Monday whether to again delay demolition of a Sioux City home built more than 125 years ago.
The home was built in the Morningside neighborhood in 1888. It was gutted by a fire three years ago. Later it was deemed a public hazard that had to be repaired or would have to be torn down.
The council has voted six times to delay demolition. The owners, Bryan and Netha Wise, have been given until Monday to make the required repairs and improvements.
City code enforcement manager Darrel Bullock says the Wises have done substantial work in the past year. Bryan Wise says an inspection is planned before the council meeting.
Sioux City Officials Contemplate Abandoning Plastic Bags
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials in Sioux City are considering a local law to cut down on litter from plastic shopping bags.
Details have yet to be worked out, but a possible ordinance likely would not contain an outright ban on plastic bags. Instead, the city could impose a fee on plastic bags or encourage retailers to issue reusable bags.
City environmental services analyst Melissa Campbell says any restrictions might affect only larger, corporate businesses at first.
Campbell says the push to create an ordinance began after people complained to her office about plastic bags getting stuck in fences and trees and littering streets and parks.
Rural And Urban Residents Debate Over Hog Expansions
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The debate between urban and rural interests in the state continues to play out as hog farms expand to keep up with strong demand for pork and manure.
The debate may intensify in the next year because hog producers may expand herds to replace hogs lost to a deadly disease and take advantage of higher.
At the same time, activist groups like Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement will continue protesting hog farm expansions because of concerns about the environment and impact on neighbors.
In rural Dallas County, Rob Manning is building a barn to hold 2,500 hogs.
Manning's neighbor Eric Wessels worries about what the new hog barn and its odor will mean for his family's quality of life.
Vilsack Promotes Rural America Values
(Des Moines) -- U-S Agriculture Secretary Vilsack took the time to inform pork producers about the value of rural America, during his visit to Des Moines last week for the World Pork Expo, and challenged them to tell the story of agriculture.
Vilsack says the United States imports food for luxury, and not from the standpoint of necessity. He says the American people need to thank rural America for that.
The Agriculture Secretary says most people don't realize the water they consume, and the energy they use comes from rural America.
Vilsack pointed out how rural America has helped urban and suburban America have greater choices of flexibility and more freedom.
The USDA official told the crowd he thanks farmers everyday, and he encourages others to thank farmers as well.
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