Friday News, August 22
Branstad To Visit Le Mars Today
(Le Mars) -- Governor Terry Branstad is scheduled to make an appearance in Le Mars today. He is on the campaign trail for himself and to assist with State Senator Bill Andersen. The Iowa governor will be at the Four Brothers Restaurant during the lunch hour.
Rail Crossing Work Continues
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars city public works Superintendent Steve Hansen is reporting Second Avenue southwest will again be closed today between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for rail crossing repairs.
Hedge Avenue To Close For Bridge Repair
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced the closing of Hedge Avenue from 150th Street to 160th Street. That stretch of road will be closed from today until October 3rd due to the construction of a new bridge.
Old Time Country Music Festival Returns To Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- This coming week, Le Mars will be host to the National Old Time Country, Bluegrass, and Folk Music Festival. This marks the 39th year for the annual convention. Jerry Hughes, a spokesperson for the festival, says people from around the world will come to Le Mars to listen to the music and attend the festival. He offers a preview of what will happen at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.
Hughes says the festival attracts some well-known musicians that may be more familiar to people outside the circle of traditional old time country music.
Check back for other updates relating to the music festival.
Downtown Rennovation Project Ready For Review
(Le Mars) -- As we heard earlier in the week, progress is being made for the downtown facade rennovation project, as part of the Community Development Block Grant. The archeitech for the program, Peter Franks, says he has visited with the 29 different property owners and is ready to submit the proposed plans to the State Historic Preservation Office for their review and approval.
Franks says the State Historic Preservation Office will take at least 30 days to review the proposed plans. The rennovation archeitech doesn't believe there will be any problems with the proposed historic preservation rennovation plans relating to the Le Mars downtown buildings. However, he does explain what could be the worst case scenerio.
Franks says contractors will be allowed to bid on the downtown rennovation project, and construction could get started yet this fall.
Iowa City School Ponders Over Student Sex Offender
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa City Community School Board is scheduled next week to discuss where to place a student who's required to register as a sex offender.
Superintendent Stephen Murley says that Iowa law requires the district to offer education to all school-age children in the district, including sex offenders who must register.
The board will discuss the issue in a closed session before Tuesday's regular meeting.
Murley says federal privacy statutes bar district officials from releasing most information about the situation, including the student's name, offense and which school building the student will be placed.
Karin Hamilton with the Iowa Sex Offender Registry says a sex offender who has committed an offense against a child is not allowed on school grounds unless enrolled in that school.
County Attorney Violates Open Public Record Laws
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa county attorney says he unknowingly violated the state's open records law because he was too busy to provide public documents to a former employee.
Washington County Attorney Larry Brock testified Thursday before a judge in Des Moines.
Brock is the first public official charged by the year-old Iowa Public Information board with knowingly violating the state's public records law. He faces a fine up to $2,500 if convicted.
A former county park ranger on March 3 requested a months' worth of correspondence between Brock and other officials. Brock didn't fulfill the request until June 6.
State law gives public officials 10 business days to respond in most cases.
Vilsack Returns To Iowa
MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is returning to Iowa to announce federal grants designed to encourage development of new value-added farm products and to discuss other rural development funding programs.
Vilsack, accompanied by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, will travel to a dairy operation in Ely in eastern Iowa and a food cooperative in Marshalltown.
They'll announce recipients of Value-Added Producer Grants for Iowa businesses. Money for the grants was increased in the 2014 Farm Bill.
They also will discuss the Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants program which provides zero-interest loans and grants to utilities that lend funds to local businesses for projects to create and retain employment in rural areas.
Iowa State Fair Attendance Was Lower, But More People Took The Bus
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Attendance at the Iowa State Fair was down but more people rode buses to reach the fairgrounds.
The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority says ridership between park-and-rides and the fairground was 221,188 during the 11-day fair. That an 8 percent increase over last year.
The increased ridership came even as overall fair attendance dipped a bit to nearly 1,016,000 people. That is the smallest attendance since 2010.
Transit authority General Manager Elizabeth Presutti says the ridership figures show more people want to avoid the cost and hassle of parking near the fairgrounds. Fairgoers with prepaid fair tickets also were offered bus discounts.
The increase also may reflect a more accurate ticketing system used at some park and ride locations.
Oelwein Mayor Charged With Sexual Assault
OELWEIN, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa mayor accused of sexually abusing two girls has been released from jail.
36-year-old Jason Manus left the Fayette County Jail on Wednesday after a bail bonding company posted a reduced $65,000 bond.
Manus, the mayor of Oelwein, is accused of sexually abusing two girls, ages 9 and 14, in 2010. He faces five counts of second-degree sexual abuse. Court records do not list an attorney.
Authorities say they launched an investigation into Manus after receiving information about the allegations from the state Department of Human Services. He was arrested on August 11th.
Manus was elected last year. He beat the incumbent mayor by 47 votes out of about 1,100 cast.
Dubuque Candy Store Sells Cocaine
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - A Dubuque man faces federal charges for allegedly selling crack cocaine out of his candy store earlier this year.
The Telegraph Herald reports 35-year-old Dwayne M. Howard is charged with four counts of distributing crack cocaine near a school or playground. Court records do not list an attorney.
Howard is accused of selling the drug to an undercover police officer on four different occasions in January and February. An indictment says three of the sales took place inside Wayne's Candy, a business operated by Howard. It has since closed.
The indictment says three of the sales took place within 1,000 feet of playgrounds at two parks. A fourth alleged sale took place within 1,000 feet of an elementary school.
A hearing is scheduled on September 24th.
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