Wednesday Afternoon News, Jan 9
Water Line Breaks...Floods Gehlen Catholic
(Le Mars) -- Officials with Gehlen Catholic School arrived at work this morning, only to be greeted with several gallons of water seeping into the elementary classrooms. A water line had broken sometime during the evening hours spilling water into the old convent. Gehlen principal, Jeff Alesch describes the situation.
The flooding forced school officials to dismiss classes early. Staff, faculty, and some students then grabbed shop vacs and squeegees and started the clean up process. Cabinets and computers and other educational materials were moved to areas not affected by the flooding. Alesch doesn't know how much damage has been sustained, but he did say that some carpeting would need to be replaced. Gayle Sitzmann, Superintendent for the Le Mars Water Department says it was not a city water line that broke.
Sitzmann says only Gehlen Catholic School was affected by the flooding, and none of the homes near Gehlen sustained any water problems. Sitzmann says several city departments helped with the clean up.
Gehlen school officials did say that classes would resume on Thursday.
City Council Discuss Meeting Start Times
(Le Mars) -- City Council members are wanting the public's input as to the time they should hold their council meetings. Councilman John Leonard brought the idea to the attention of the council during their meeting held Tuesday. Leonard prefers a later start time.
Leonard says the people that have to punch a timeclock are not allowed the opportunity to attend city council meetings. Rex Knapp, a 20-year veteran of the city council, says he remembers when council meetings began in the late afternoon, as well as early evening. Knapp says people wouldn't necessarily attend at those times, and often were upset because the meetings may run long. He says it doesn't matter when the council has its meetings, if an issue deeply affects the city's residents, they will show up.
The council did not take any action on the issue. Currently, the city council meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 12:00 noon at the city council chambers.
More Buildings Constructed Adding To County's Tax Revenues
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Residents built more buildings and homes in 2012 than the previous year, and as a result, the county was able to have more tax revenues. Plymouth County Zoning Administrator Alan Lucken divides the structures into two categories: non-farm and farm.
Lucken says a year ago, Plymouth County awarded 54 building permits, with 11 homes at a total tax valuation of over $3 million. As for farm buildings, the Zoning Administrator says this year also saw an increase in building permits.
Lucken says there were several farm machinery storage facilities that were constructed in Plymouth County during the past year.
A change in depreciation schedules may have influenced new construction.A year ago, tax revenues from newly constructed buildings was at 14 million dollars. In 2012, tax revenues from new buildings exceeded $20 million.
Court To Decide If Allergy Is A Disability
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa appeals court says a child's tree nut allergy is a disability, a ruling that sets up a legal challenge over whether a daycare discriminated when it refused to accept her.
The ruling Wednesday says the allergy is a protected disability under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. It overturns an earlier decision by a Polk County district court.
Shannon Knudson sued the Tiger Tots Community Care Center in Madrid after officials told her staffing and liability issues prevented them from watching her daughter.
The appeals court says the child's allergy is an impairment defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court now seeks further proceedings on whether the allergy would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
Appeals Court Tells U of I To Turn Over Records
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Court of Appeals says the University of Iowa must release a settlement with a former medical school employee who left after a personnel dispute.
The court Wednesday rejected the former employee's lawsuit, which argued the document shouldn't be released in response to a records request by The Associated Press filed two years ago.
Rather than divulge the record, the university gave the employee time to challenge its release. The employee did so under the pseudonym, John Doe. The AP intervened in the case.
A judge last year ordered the record's release. Doe appealed.
The court says the agreement changed Doe's duties but maintained his salary for a year before his 2011 resignation. It says the public has a right to know how money's spent to settle university
Immigrant Driver's Licenses
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative committee is hearing arguments on an Iowa Department of Transportation policy that prohibits driver's licenses for certain young immigrants allowed by
a new federal rule to live here.
The Administrative Rules Review Committee is considering Wednesday the DOT rule which doesn't allow driver's licenses or identification cards to be issued to immigrants brought into the
U.S. as children by parents who were not legal residents.
President Barack Obama has enacted a policy that lets these immigrants seek a renewable, two-year reprieve from deportation if they meet specific age, residency and education requirements.
The Iowa DOT says the policy doesn't make the immigrants legal citizens so it can't issue licenses.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups are fighting the DOT saying licenses should be granted.