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Thursday News, December 6

Lawmakers Visit With Community Leaders

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson visited with community leaders representing the city, school, hospital, chamber, and area businesses during the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.  The state lawmakers told the gathering of the priorities for the upcoming General Session of the state legislature.  Both lawmakers say the state budget is a major concern.  Anderson, a Republican from Pierson, says whatever takes place in Washington with regards to the budget will trickle down to the state level.  Soderberg, who will assume the role of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says Iowa's budget is doing o.k. but heavily dependent upon the federal government's subsidies.  Soderberg says Iowa's budget is approximately $12 billion dollars of which half is generated from Iowa tax revenues, and the other $6 billion is funded from the federal government.  Anderson says he expects the Democratic controlled Senate to seek additional tax credits
with property taxes, as opposed to any tax reform.
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Soderberg told the group that there is a good news - bad news scenario with the state's

finances.
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The area lawmakers addressed questions from the crowd that dealt with allowable growth funding for school districts, mental health levy, the state's infrastructure including the proposed hike in gasoline tax, tax incremental financing or TIF, and deregulation.


Arlene Urban Honored By Le Mars Community School District


(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District has announced the recipient of the "Employee of the Month" honors.  This time the honor goes to Arlene Urban who works in the Education Center in the Central Office building.  Arlene works in the printing department.  According to the nomination submitted by Gale Horan, Arlene Urban is instrumental to every teacher and staff member being a great employee.  She is responsible for us having all our classroom materials printed-laminated-collated-punched-stapled-bound, and in a timely manner that allows us to be our best.  She is organized, and helps us to be organized as well.  I don't know how she gets everything done for us during the year, to say nothing about the summer crunch.  She helps make books for students, booklets for the different buildings whether it be for registration, or stats for organizations.  She is responsible for many of the programs for extra-curricular events.  She always greets us with a smile if we have something last-minute or special to get done.  I know that Arlene and her great work are appreciated by many at all levels of education whether it be preschool or high school.  I know that I personally very much appreciate everything that Arlene does to help me do my best in my classroom.

 

Bodies Found By Hunters Feared To Be Missing Cousins

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say hunters have found bodies believed to be two young Iowa cousins who disappeared while riding their bikes in July.  Black Hawk County sheriff's Captain Rick Abben says two bodies were found Wednesday in a wooded area, though he wouldn't say where.

He says the families of the cousins, 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 11-year-old Lyric Cook, were told of the discovery and are asking for privacy.Abben appeared to fight back tears, saying "it's definitely not the outcome that we wanted. "Abben says the bodies are being sent to the state medical examiner's office for identification.

The girls vanished July 13th near Meyers Lake in Evansdale in northeast Iowa. Their bikes were found near the lake.

 

Vigil Held For Missing Cousins

EVANSDALE, Iowa (AP) — Dozens of people gathered for a candlelight vigil for two Iowa cousins who disappeared in July, just hours after investigators announced that hunters had found two bodies in a wooded area.  The vigil was held Wednesday night at a lake in Evansdale where investigators had found the bicycles belonging to 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 11-year-old Lyric Cook.  Some of the roughly 70 people attending the prayer vigil were holding out hope that the bodies weren't those of the cousins. Others seemed resigned to the tragic news.  Barb Collins, of nearby Waterloo, says the community is grieving.  Black Hawk County sheriff's Captain Rick Abben says the girls' families were told about the two bodies and are asking for privacy. The bodies will be identified by the state medical examiner's office.

 

 

 

 

   

Wednesday Afternoon News, Dec. 5

Area Legislators Meet With Community Leaders

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson visited with community leaders representing the city, school, hospital, chamber, and area businesses during the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.  The state lawmakers told the gathering of the priorities for the upcoming General Session of the state legislature.  Both lawmakers say the state budget is a major concern.  Anderson, a Republican from Pierson, says whatever takes place in Washington with regards to the budget will trickle down to the state level.  Soderberg, who will assume the role of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says Iowa's budget is doing o.k. but heavily dependent upon the federal government's subsidies. 

Soderberg says Iowa's budget is approximately $12 billion dollars of which half is generated from Iowa tax revenues, and the other $6 billion is funded from the federal government.  Anderson says he expects the Democratic controlled Senate to seek additional tax credits with property taxes, as opposed to any tax reform.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Soderberg told the group that there is a good news - bad news scenerio with the state's finances.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The area lawmakers addressed questions from the crowd that dealt with allowable growth funding for school districts, mental health levy, the state's infrastructure including the proposed hike in gasoline tax, tax incremental financing or TIF, and deregulation.

 

Le Mars Mainstreet Seeks Resolution For Blight Grant

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization and the Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission appeared before the city council on Tuesday to request permission to seek a resolution for a grant of $500,000 for the use of blight funding.  Mary Reynolds appeared before the city council and explains the program.
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Reynolds says blight usually conjures up negative images of old, run-down buildings.  But she says it doesn't necessarially mean a poor image.
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Reynolds explains the downtown district is being considered.

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Building owners will want to attend an informational meeting scheduled for December 11th at the city council chambers to learn more about the project.

 

Noted Animal Scientist Speaks At IFBF Convention

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Animal scientist Temple Grandin has criticized legislation that restricts or bans underground videos in feedlots and confinements.
The animal rights authority told the Iowa Farm Bureau Wednesday that
laws with such rules are "the dumbest thing."
Gradin praised beef trimmings, or so-called "pink slime" as a good product. She says its production
should never have been suspended.
Grandin also spoke against sow gestation crates, a method of enclosure used in pig farming. It's a controversial issue between hog producers and animal rights activists.
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Harkin Says He Wants His Name Removed If Iowa State Doesn't Change Policies

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin is threatening to end his association with a namesake policy institute at Iowa State University if the school president does not remove restrictions on
its ability to research agriculture.
Harkin suggests in a statement obtained Tuesday by the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/Vk45JQ) that he may not donate his papers to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy because he -- quote -- "simply cannot be part of any arrangement that restricts full
and unfettered academic freedom at this institute."
Harkin and the institute's advisory board are objecting to a memo issued by ISU President Steven Leath that says the institute generally cannot research agricultural subjects without approval from ISU's Center for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Leath says he wants to avoid duplication and maintain the center's prominence.
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