Monday News, March 25
Fire Officials Respond To Weekend Calls
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department responded to a tractor fire on Saturday. Fire officials were on the scene for only a few minutes at 20546 Marble Avenue. The call came in shortly after 3:00 p.m. Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon the Remsen Fire Department was called to offer assistance of a personal injury automobile accident. The accident occurred on Hwy 140 just south of 260th Street. Fire officials were on the scene for nearly an hour. No word as of yet on the names or the conditions of those involved with the accident.
City Council To Hold Special Meeting
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council will hold a special council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 to be held at the City Council Chambers beginning at 12:00 noon. The council members are expected to finalize the waste water treatment agreement with Wells' Enterprises. In that agreement, Wells' Enterprises will assume a portion of the cost of constructing and maintaining the new city waste water treatment facility.
School Board To Discuss Budget
(Le Mars) -- Estimating the local school district's budget will be the topic for discussion during this evening's meeting of the Le Mars Community Board of Education. The school board will also hear a report from High School Principal Larry Johnson as he shares information with the school board regarding the professional development emphasis placed on literacy inference strategies. The board is expected to also discuss the upcoming Annual Foundation Banquet.
Real Estate Taxes Now Due
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Treasurer, Linda Dobson, reminds property owners that the second-half real estate and mobile home taxes are due now and can be paid in the office, online, or through the mail. With the last day of March falling on the weekend, the last day to pay without penalty is extended through Monday, April 1. The delinquent date then is Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Mail must be postmarked on or before April 1 to avoid delinquent interest. Send your payment before the last day, as mailing your payment on April 1 does not guarantee an April 1 postmark. Delinquent interest of 1.5% per month rounded to the nearest dollar attaches to all unpaid taxes on April 2, 2013, and an additional 1.5% penalty on the first of each succeeding month thereafter. There is a minimum $1.00 penalty on all taxes. The Plymouth County Treasurer’s office will be closed on Good Friday, March 29, along with the other county offices. You will still be able to pay online that day or drop your payment in the mail.
Accordion Players Invited To Museum's Music Fest
Senate Campaign Could Prove Costly
(Le Mars) -- Running a successful state-wide political campaign can be costly, often forcing a candidate to raise hundreds of thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars. The nation's eyes will be on Iowa's open Senate race since long-time Democratic Senator Tom Harkin has announced he will not seek another re-election, and most people agree it could be an expensive campaign. Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley has already said he intends to run, and Iowa Congressman Steve King seems to be the Republican front-runner candidate. King has thought about the position, and he says it would be a costly campaign.
King estimates it would require a bank account exceeding $20 million dollars. Still, he's confident his supporters would chip in the needed money.
King says before he can officially declare his candidacy, he needs to piece together the political puzzle.
The Republican 4th District Congressman wouldn't commit to a deadline for the decision, but he believes a decision can be made "without a high test primary."
Protesters Want Saturday Mail Delivery
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Protesters in front of Des Moines' main post office said the U.S. Postal Service shouldn't end Saturday delivery.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/14iBTAp) that the demonstrators lined Second Avenue on Sunday. Among the protesters were letter carriers, family members and other residents
from around Iowa. Similar demonstrations were held across the nation.
The Postal Service said in February that it intends to drop delivery of first-class mail to five days a week. But Congress passed a bill Thursday that requires six-day delivery.
Postal officials have said ending Saturday delivery would save billions of dollars. The protesters say Congress instead should change a 2006 law that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund
future retiree health benefits.
Federal Budget Cuts To Affect Iowa National Guard
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the automatic federal budget cuts will affect readiness of the Iowa National Guard.
The Guard's Col. Greg Hapgood told The Gazette (http://bit.ly/14iJqit) that the Iowa Guard must cut 10 percent of its current year budget of $370 million. Hapgood says the cuts will be squeezed into a five-month period of May through September, which makes them harder to undertake.
Hapgood and other full-time "federal technicians" in uniform will be taking one unpaid day per week.
Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Unkel is maintenance chief at the Iowa National Guard Armory in Cedar Rapids. He says his shop will lose 160 man-hours of labor a week, which means a reduction in annual servicing and the necessity of reordering maintenance priorities.
State Senate Ready To Vote On Medicaid Expansion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Senate are set to vote on legislation that would expand Medicaid in Iowa.
Debate on the proposal is scheduled to begin in the Senate Monday afternoon. Democrats argue that expanding Medicaid would provide better health coverage to more low-income Iowa residents.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has opposed growing Medicaid. He says the cost is unsustainable for the federal government and has questioned the long-term cost for the state.
Branstad has proposed revamping an existing health program for low-income residents that is funded through state and federal dollars.
If Iowa expanded Medicaid, the federal government would pay the full cost for new enrollees during the first three years of the expansion. Then 10 percent of the cost would gradually be shifted
to the state.
Officials Set Agreement On Enforcement of Livestock Operations
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - As Iowa officials near an agreement with federal authorities who are seeking tougher inspections of the state's livestock operations to prevent water pollution, activists
are protesting a proposal they argue would make it easier for some farmers to avoid oversight.
Legislation proposed in the House and Senate would allow livestock producers to close down barns and be reclassified as small operations. Then they no would longer need to file plans for
manure disposal with the state.
Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement argue farmers will store manure in those idled barns, which could lead to water-polluting spills.
Democratic Senator Joe Seng of Davenport says the measure is geared at farmers who want to temporarily idle part of their operation, perhaps because a child is going to college.
Gentlemen's Club Operates Without Utilities
CORWITH, Iowa (AP) - A new gentlemen's club in the northern Iowa town of Corwith had to operate by candlelight after losing electricity and water service.
KIMT reports city officials say The Loft didn't set up its utilities properly with someone responsible for payment.
Corwith Mayor Jay Gourley says he just learned about the nature of the business and wants to discuss it with the council. Gourley says the club may need additional permits to operate.
The Loft's owner, Dale Peterson, says he was surprised Gourley wouldn't turn his business' power and water back on after he talked to him. So The Loft held a small candlelight grand opening
Peterson says he thinks The Loft will fit into Corwith well because his dancers will be more "artistic" than a typical strip club.
Public Records Revealed As To Why Adair Police Chief Fired
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa town of Adair fired its police chief last fall because he lacked a valid firearms certificate and had been eavesdropping on the city clerk.
Public records reveal why former Chief Robert Koeneman was fired last September.
Koeneman was denied unemployment benefits after city officials testified that he had let his certifications lapse. Plus, he directed the city's part-time officer, Lieutenant Josephine Weston,
to carry a cell phone into the clerk's office and set it down so he could listen to what was being said.
Koeneman says he was treated unfairly.
Weston was also fired after using the city bidding process to buy a police cruiser for her own use without paying sales tax.
The sheriff now handles police calls in Adair.