Wednesday News, June 19
City Council Approves Floyd Valley Hospital Expansion Plans
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council gave its approval for the Floyd Valley Hospital to proceed with plans for expanding its facilities. Hospital officials, along with representatives of the BWBR Architect firm answered questions from the city council. The new addition is estimated to cost $25 million dollars. Although Floyd Valley Hospital is a municipal hospital and is owned by the city of Le Mars, Councilman John Rexwinkle emphasized that the city is not liable for the hospital's debt. The new expansion will have new surgery rooms, examination rooms, and a new clinic. Construction is expected to begin this fall with completion scheduled for 2015.
City Council To Utilize Premier Communications Systems
(Le Mars) -- The city council heard a presentation from officials of Premier Communications as the council considers a new communications enhancement program that combines, phone service, internet, and computer data. In November of 2012, the city staff began researching phone systems. The current system was installed in 1996 and has experienced problems on many levels. The city staff along with the council felt there was a need to have all phone and computer related systems organized, coordinated, and communicating. The goal was to allow networking of all city facilities through the internet and email, to centralize operations, and to offer an off-site computer backup system. The city council approved Premier Communications proposal which will initially cost the city $63,148 for equipment costs, and an expected monthly cost of more than five thousand dollars.
Kingsley Fire Department Responds To Alarm At Nursing and Rehab Center
(Kingsley) -- The Kingsley Fire Department had an early morning wake up call as an alarm at the Kingsley Nursing and Rehab Center sounded a few minutes before 2:00 a.m. Fortunately, there was no danger to the residents or the facilities. As it had turned out, the alarm was sounded because of a piece of burnt toast.
Plymouth County To Replace Fallen Bridge
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County is having to replace a bridge that was not originally on the budget for replacement. Due to the Memorial Day flooding, and subsequent rains that have continued to erode the embankment, a bridge that spans Willow Creek collapsed this past week, falling into the creek. Plymouth County Engineer, Tom Rohe offers an update as to what happened following the initial flooding.
Rohe says he faces a new dilemma in how best to remove the fallen bridge from the creek.
Rohe estimates the cost to replace the bridge between $375,000 to $400,000. He says it is likely the state will assist the county with the costs to replace the bridge.
Supervisors Award Contracts To Correctionville Contractor
(Le Mars) -- In other action, the Plymouth County Supervisors awarded two construction projects to a Correctionville contractor. Dixon Construction placed the low bid for the installation of two culverts. Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department estimated the first project to cost $30,800. Dixon submitted a winning bid of $30,837. Two other contractors had submitted bids amounting to $36,761 and $41,420. The second culvert project had an estimated costs of $26,746. Dixon offered the low bid of $27,280. Kooiker Incorporated of Le Mars offered a bid of $28,399 and L.A. Carlson Contractors of Merrill submitted a bid of $34,706.
Construction On C-38 And K-42 Is Progressing
(Le Mars) -- Construction near Merrill is progressing, according to Plymouth County Engineer, Tom Rohe. Rohe says the overlay paving project on County road C-38 is nearing completion.
Rohe says the focus of the work will now shift to the southbound lane of County road K-42
The county engineer anticipates completion of the projects will occur sometime in September or October of this year.
Le Mars Chamber Schedules "Cash Mob" For Thursday
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will once again host a "cash mob" scheduled for Thursday at 12:15 p.m. This time the selected business will be a downtown chamber member that focuses on food for their business. Eligible businesses include: the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor, Fareway, Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie, Hugo's, Piece of Cake, Pizza Ranch, and Sunshine Natural Foods. The "cash mob" invites people to the Chamber office, then the winning business will be selected and announced, and the "mob" of people then go to that business with the understanding of making a purchase of at least $20.
Branstad Selects Interim Education Director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has picked an interim director for the Iowa Department of Education.
Branstad announced Tuesday that Duane "D.T." Magee will run the department while the state looks for a permanent replacement for outgoing Director Jason Glass.
Magee will continue to hold his position as executive director of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.
Glass said last month that he would be leaving to become superintendent of a Colorado school district. He had served as director since late 2010 and took the lead in backing education
reforms that were approved by lawmakers in May.
Glass' last day is June 21 and Magee will start June 24.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the governor hopes to name a permanent director by the start of the 2013 school year.
Greene County Wants Casino
JEFFERSON, Iowa (AP) - Casino supporters have turned in petitions calling for a public vote on gambling in west-central Iowa's Greene County.
A group called Grow Greene County submitted more than 750 signatures on Tuesday. Only about 460 verified signatures are needed to force supervisors to schedule a vote. An Aug. 6 election
Greene County Supervisor Guy Richardson backs the casino and says the county must grow in order to thrive.
The Rev. Julie Poulsen of First United Methodist Church in Jefferson is a leader of No Casino Greene County. She says she opposes gambling because of the harm to individuals and families.
A Greene County casino likely would be developed at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and Iowa Highway 4 in Jefferson.
Spencer Man Catches Prize Winning Walleye
SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A Spencer man has caught a $1,600 walleye on Big Spirit Lake in northern Iowa.
Joe Larson caught a tagged fish that was part of a contest sponsored by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
In early May, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources released six tagged walleye in Big Spirit Lake, West Lake Okoboji and East Lake Okoboji for the contest. For anglers who paid $15 and registered for the extended contest, there's still a chance to win some money for catching one of the tagged fish up until Sept. 1.
Larson caught his fish Thursday and the Chamber of Commerce released details on Tuesday.
Proceeds from the Great Walleye Weekend contest go to the Easter Seals of Iowa.
Swimmer's Itch Found In Crystal Lake
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources is warning people that a condition called swimmer's itch is being seen at northern Iowa's Crystal Lake.
The condition usually is harmless but can cause welts and itching for several days.
The DNR says Tuesday that the condition has been noted at Crystal Lake in Hancock County, about 30 miles west of Mason City.
Swimmers itch is caused by a parasite that can burrow into human skin before dying.
The DNR advises avoiding swimming in areas with aquatic plants, which can contain snails that host the parasite. People also should dry off quickly after getting out of a lake.
Iowa's Pheasant Population Likely To Decline
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Department of Natural Resources biologist says Iowa's pheasant population likely will decline this year because of the cool and wet spring.
DNR upland wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says Iowa's pheasant population usually increases after mild winters and dry, warm springs. This year, a snowy winter was followed by
record-setting cold temperatures and rain.
Because of those conditions, Bogenschutz says the pheasant population will likely be smaller than in 2012.
Habitat also has been an issue for the pheasant population, as high commodity prices lead more farmers to grow crops rather than set aside land for wildlife under the federal Conservation Reserve
But Bogenschutz says Iowa has made progress in creating more habitat for pheasants through an effort to set aside 50,000 acres of land to aid the birds.
Postville Explosion Ruled As Accidential
POSTVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say they still don't know what caused a small explosion at a northeast Iowa factory that injured three workers.
Postville Fire Chief Jeffrey Bohr says the explosion early Monday at the Norplex-Micarta composite laminates plant in Postville has been deemed accidental. Officials say employees were cleaning equipment at the time.
Bohr says firefighters and the factory's sprinkler system helped contain fires caused by the explosion. Officials also shut down natural gas valves to prevent further explosions.
Three workers were injured, including one who was airlifted to a burn unit in Iowa City. The employee's condition is unclear, though Bohr says the employee is improving.
Another worker was treated and released from an area hospital, and the other declined treatment at the scene. Their names have not been released.
Social Worker's License Suspended
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - State regulators have suspended the license of a Coralville social worker accused of being drunk on the job.
The Iowa Board of Social Work announced Tuesday that Brian Nedoba's license has been indefinitely suspended.
Nedoba is accused of drinking alcohol and being intoxicated while providing services at a Waterloo business e in September 2011. Witnesses including co-workers said Nedoba had alcohol containers in his office and made inappropriate comments to clients.
Nedoba was terminated in January 2012.
The board met in May to discuss six counts, including habitual intoxication and inability to practice with reasonable skill and safety. The board determined Nedoba's alcohol abuse may adversely
impact his practice of social work.
There was no public number listed for Nedoba.