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Thursday Afternoon News, June 20

Sunshine Market Foods Selected As The "Cash Mob" Business

(Le Mars) -- During the noon hour, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce held the drawing for another "cash mob" business.  This time around, a downtown food-focus business would be the lucky winner.  Chamber president, Brad Pick selected the winning entry.

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Nearly a dozen people then went to the Sunshine Foods and purchased at least $20 worth of items.


Absentee Ballots For Special Election Available On Friday

(Le Mars) -- Absentee ballots for the Special Election scheduled for August 6 regarding the the Local Options Sales Tax will be available beginning tomorrow in the Plymouth County Auditor’s office from 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m.  County Auditor, Stacey Feldman says only certain communities will be voting on the Local Options Sales Tax measure.

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Feldman says there may be some people who are confused as to whether this is a new tax, or the continuation of a previous tax.  

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The County Auditor says the last day to vote absentee at the County Courthouse Auditor's office is Monday, August 5th. Voting hours on August 6th is 7:00a.m. to 8:00p.m.

Penn National Says It Will Retain Property Rights

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Penn National Gaming Co. says it will hold onto control of two properties used to bid for a land-based casino in the Sioux City area.
The company will retain long-term land purchase options for a site in downtown Sioux City and one in rural Woodbury County. A spokeswoman says they want them in case another opportunity is available to bid on a gambling license.
Penn lost a bid in April to build a land-based casino that would replace its Argosy riverboat casino. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission awarded the license to Sioux City Entertainment over
other applicants, including two proposals from Penn.
Penn says it disagrees with the commission's decision, and it has asked a judge to overturn it.


Branstad Has Final Say On Medicaid Funded Abortions

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad now has the final say on payments for all Medicaid-funded abortions in Iowa.
Branstad on Thursday signed a health care bill that includes a provision that changes the rules for how the state reimburses abortions for Medicaid patients. Previously the state Medicaid program approved the dollars after extensive review. But under the new rules, Branstad will have to sign off on these reimbursement dollars.
Iowa's Medicaid program covers a small number of abortions each year due to rape, incest, fetal deformity or to protect a mother's life. The new rules effect reimbursements after the abortions, not
authorizing the procedures ahead of time.
Abortion rights advocates say Iowa would likely be the first state to set such a policy.


Unidentified Company Proposes A $600 Million Data Center

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An unidentified company proposes spending more than $600 million on a data center in West Des Moines.
State documents show the company plans to make a $677.6 million investment that likely would be followed by additional phases.
The company is seeking unspecified tax credits for high-quality job creation as part of the proposal, known as "Project Mountain."
West Des Moines officials previously said the project would create at least 36 jobs.
The proposal follows the recent construction of data centers in Iowa, including Microsoft in West Des Moines and Google in Council Bluffs. Facebook also announced this spring that it would build a
$300 million data center in Altoona with future expansion plans that would eventually exceed $1 billion in total value.






Thursday News, June 20

Branstad Writes Letter To President Obama Asking For Assistance

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad has signed a letter to be delivered to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster declaration for 47 Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rains and thunderstorms resulting in severe flooding beginning May 19 and continuing through June 23, 2013.  The governor is making the request for federal Public Assistance Program funding.  Among the 47 designated counties include:  Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Palo Alto, Sac, Sioux, and Plymouth.
A joint federal, state and local preliminary damage assessment of the 47 counties found severe weather caused an estimated $22 million worth of damage that could be eligible under the Public Assistance Program. Public Assistance funds may be used to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities, or to cover costs of emergency work during, and debris removal after the storms.


Branstad To Sign Health Care Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is set to sign legislation that expands low-income health care in Iowa.
Branstad is scheduled to sign the bill Thursday in Mason City. The location was selected to acknowledge two lawmakers from the region - Republican House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and
Democratic Sen. Amanda Ragan - who helped broker the final deal.
Under the plan, Iowa will accept federal dollars offered to states that expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The state will use the funding to create a new
health plan for some poor residents and will pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get insurance on the new health care exchanges.
The plan will require federal approval. Branstad says he's optimistic that will happen.


"Cash Mob" Scheduled For Today

(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.


Educational Gains In Pre-school Are Lost By 3rd Grade

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state report says early academic gains by children in Iowa's preschool program have been lost by third grade.
The report says the preschool students made modest gains on a school readiness assessment, but the program impact vanishes later in reading and mathematics.
Iowa Education Department Director Jason Glass says the study echoes a 2012 report that shows children in the federal Head Start program don't retain long-lasting increases in achievement.
Glass says the report issued Wednesday shows the state should develop better instruction for its Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program.
He says "quality preschool programs do show long-term impacts. Our preschool is not showing an impact, at least after four years."
The study compared the academic performance of students who attended the preschool program to students who didn't attend.


Branstad Would Like Schools Start After Sept. 1st

(Le Mars) -- Governor Terry Branstad has asked the state education department to enforce the state laws requiring schools to start school on the week of September 1st.  Many school districts seek a waiver from the state which allows the school districts to start sometimes as early as mid-August.  Le Mars Community School Superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt says Le Mars is one of the few schools that traditionally begin in late August.

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Wendt says many schools prefer to start early in order to offer the semester tests before the Christmas holiday break.  But he doesn't know of studies that indicate students perform worst on a test following the break as opposed to taking the tests prior to the ten-day vacation.

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The argument against starting school early is that it interrupts with teenager summer employment opportunities such as being a lifeguard, or working at amusement parks, resorts, campgrounds, or even restaurants.  The Iowa State Fair is one of the strongest proponents for a later start date, saying early school starts has hurt the fair's attendance and number of exhibitors.

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Ames Man Injured From Highway 20 Accident

(Moville) --  An Ames, Iowa man is hospitalized with injuries following a car verus semi-truck accident late Wednesday morning east of Moville.  Major Todd Wieck of the Woodbury County Sheriff's office reports that the vehicles collided nearly head-on around 11:45 a.m. on Highway 20 near Jewll Avenue, resulting in the entrapment of the driver of the car.  That driver, 25 year-old, Akinwumi Anjonrin-Ohu of Ames, was extricated and airlifted to Mercy Medical Center with multiple injuries.  His condition is not available.  Major Wieck says Anjonrin-Ohu was alone in the car headed westbound when his vehicle crossed the center line and collided with the oncoming semi.  The driver of the semi truck was not injured.  The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol.


App Allows Drivers To Study For Driver's License Test

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A popular app that lets users take a practice Iowa driver's license test is available by e-book.
The state Department of Transportation says the app that was already available via other electronic devices will now be an option for Kindle users.
Officials say the app will generate 25 questions randomly from among 69 questions. Each test generates a different set of questions, and users can take the exam as often as they want.
The app tracks scores and indicates if a user has passed or failed the test. Officials say it's a good strategy to study the state's driver's manual before taking the test.
The free app is also available for iPad and Android devices.


Ten Iowa AmeriCorps Programs To Receive $2.7 Million In Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Ten AmeriCorps programs in Iowa will receive $2.7 million for projects that include mentoring youth at risk for dropping out of school, building Habitat for Humanity homes and improving public lands and trails through habitat restoration.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin says the money comes from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that encourages volunteer work. The focus of many of the programs is
getting young people involved in community service.
Grants go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley, Community Corrections Improvement Association, the Des Moines Independent Community School District, city of Dubuque, Graceland
University, Habitat for Humanity of Iowa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Legal Aid, Iowa Western Community College and the United Way of East Central Iowa.


Tony Blair To Attend World Food Prize

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The World Food Prize Foundation says former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will attend events in conjunction with the prize's award ceremony to be held in Des
Moines in October.
Blair, now an international envoy to the Middle East, will speak as part of a panel of experts discussing biotechnology and other topics. The Borlaug Dialogue events honoring Norman Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 and founder of the World Food Prize, are scheduled for October 16th through 18th.
Others attending include Iceland's president and agriculture ministers from Nigeria and Malawi. Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the Holy See in the Vatican also is scheduled to be among the 1,000 dignitaries from businesses and nonprofit groups attending.



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