Monday Afternoon News, February 18
City Council To Decide Upon Hotel-Motel Sales Tax Grant Requests
(Le Mars) -- When the Le Mars City Council convenes on Tuesday for their regular meeting they will decide upon which organizations will receive grant funding from the local Hotel-Motel Sales Tax. The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board received twenty different funding requests amounting to nearly $57,500. The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board is recommending to the city council to approve just over $40,000 worth of grant requests. The requests are to help with expenses for an event that will attract visitors to Le Mars. Some of the requests would help with Ice Cream Days, the Plymouth County Fair, bike rides, art and music festivals, and upgrades with the Le Mars Convention Center.
Boswell Supports Braley For Senate Bid
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Iowa congressman Leonard Boswell is endorsing Democrat Bruce Braley for U.S. Senate.
Boswell used his Facebook page to endorse Braley on Monday, saying the four-term congressman has fought "passionately for Iowa's small towns, big cities, and working families."
Braley announced earlier this month that he'd seek the Senate seat held for decades by Democrat Tom Harkin, who won't seek re-election. Braley also has been endorsed by Iowa Democratic
Congressman Dave Loebsack.
Boswell served eight terms in Congress before being beat last November by Republican Rep. Tom Latham in the 3rd Congressional District race.
Branstad To Meet With HHS Secretary Sebelius
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he will travel to Washington to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss extending a state health insurance
program set to expire later this year.
Branstad told reporters Monday he would meet with Sebelius on Friday and discuss extending a federal waiver to continue the IowaCare program, which provides limited health care coverage for
about 70,000 Iowans.
The governor opposes expansion of Medicaid but wants to continue IowaCare, which offers more limited services and reaches fewer people than Medicaid.
Branstad Wants To Recruit California Businesses
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad wants California businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa.
Branstad says he'll travel to the West Coast this week to try to convince companies to relocate. Branstad, a Republican, declined to name the businesses he'll be courting.
Branstad is set to travel to California on Tuesday and return Wednesday. He will meet with businesses that already have an Iowa presence, as well as those he'd like to attract.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Economic Development Authority said Branstad will be accompanied by two staffers and travel for all three will cost an estimated $2,500.
Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown was critical of a recent effort by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lure California companies. When asked what he would think if California Governor Jerry Brown was to visit Iowa with the purpose of recruiting businesses, Branstad replied this way:
Property Tax Reform Bill Introduced In State Legislature
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's proposal to cut commercial property taxes and limit increases to residential and agricultural property taxes has been introduced in the Legislature.
Under the proposal, introduced Monday in the state House, the state would gradually reduce the taxable portion of a commercial property's value, so owners would eventually pay taxes on just 80
percent of the assessed value. The state would provide funding to local governments to make up lost tax revenue.
The proposal would limit the amount that residential, agricultural and commercial values could rise in a year to 2 percent, down from the current 4 percent cap for residential and agricultural properties.
Lawmakers have expressed support for property tax relief, though Senate Democrats have offered an alternate plan to reduce commercial property taxes.
9000 People Sign On-Line Petition For Olympic Wrestling
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -9,000 people have signed an online petition aimed at keeping wrestling in the Olympics. The governor gave the newest count of online petitioners from
the Let's Keep Wrestling campaign website at a news conference Monday.
Branstad launched the petition drive last week at the state high school wrestling tournament after the International Olympic Committee decided to remove the sport from the Olympic Games in 2020.
The move to end wrestling at the Olympics surprised many because the sport had been part of the Olympics for more than a century.
There have been several notable wrestlers with an Iowa connection that have competed in the Olympics including Dan Gable, Chris Taylor, Nate Carr, Tom Brands, and Cal Sanderson.
Decorah Eagles Move To New Nest
DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - The Decorah eagles have moved to a new nest and will be offline for much of this year.
The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reports (http://bit.ly/WGEmyO ) the eagles built a new nest about 400 feet from their old one. They have been watched throughout the world thanks to a camera that
provided streaming video over the Internet.
Pat Schlarbaum, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources' wildlife diversity program, calls eagles "compulsive nest builders" and says their move isn't related to cameras that
have documented their lives since 2007.
Bob Anderson, who directs the Raptor Resource Project, says if nearby landowners give their support, his group will install news cameras this fall.
Man Dies From Vehicle Crushing Him
BARTLETT, Iowa (AP) - A Nebraska man has been crushed under a vehicle that he was working on near a maintenance shop.
Fremont County deputies and rescue workers were sent to the shop in Bartlett around 2:15 p.m. Saturday. They found that 57-year-old Earl Schmitt, of Omaha, Neb., and another man had been working on the vehicle when it slipped off jack stands and pinned Schmitt.
The rescue workers freed Schmitt from beneath the vehicle but were unable to save his life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.