Wednesday News, March 12
Supervisors Discuss Library Agreement
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard a report from County attorney Darin Raymond as he presented a new and updated draft version of the library agreement between the county and the five community public libraries that serve Plymouth County. The agreement reflects the use of new technology such as e-books, computer and internet usage, audio and video materials. Raymond stated that according to the Iowa Code, public libraries must agree to provide library materials and services to all residents of Plymouth County, upon the same terms and conditions as such materials are loaned or made available for use to residents of the city or town in town in which the library is situated at no additional cost, regardless of whether a resident lives within or without the corporate limits of any city or town in Plymouth County.
That goes against what the Le Mars Public Library had wanted to do. Due to budget discrepencies between what the county provides in funding, and what the city of Le Mars provides to the Le Mars Public Library, the city library had proposed a two-tier system in which rural residents would be asked to pay an additional fee for the use of electronic devices.
Raymond further stated in his report, that the public libraries will not supplant any existing funding with monies received from the county or use the funds for capital expenditures or improvements to library facilities. Raymond says the allocated money from the county to the libraries is to be used to purchase additional library materials, services, or technology. The county attorney also stated if a public library does not spend all of the funds provided by Plymouth County within the fiscal year, those unspent funds need to be returned to the county.
Fire Department Responds To Accident
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to an accident last evening at the junction Business Highway 75 and 12th Street SW. That accident happened at about 6:30 p.m. The Le Mars Ambulance and Le Mars Police responded to the scene, but only minor injuries occured, and each of the victims refused to be transported to the hospital.
Fire Department Receives Hotel/Motel Sales Tax Grant
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was recently awarded $3400 from the Le Mars Hotel/Motel sales tax receipts. Those funds will be used to help host the annual Iowa Fire Chief's Conference in October of this year. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department is excited to host the two day conference, and are excited to receive the funds. Schipper says fire chiefs from across the state from as far away as Grinnell and Dubuque will be coming to Le Mars to attend the conference. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was one of 11 applicants receiving funding this year. The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board made the funding recommendation, and it was approved by the city council on March 4th.
Le Mars Community School District Issues "Report Card To Community"
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community school district has recently mailed its "Report Card to the Community" which highlights many of the achievements involving the Le Mars Community schools. Assistant Superintendet, Steve Webner says the community report card shows good marks for the Le Mars students for their assessments.
The report also shows last year's Le Mars Community seniors scored well with their ACT college entrance exams.
Webner says Le Mars Community seniors have consistently scored high with their ACT tests. He says that shows the strength of the entire school system.
At Monday evening's school board meeting, Webner offered an informational update to the school board regarding the progress and adaptation to the Iowa Core.
The school superintendent says the Iowa Core offers a new style of instruction for the teachers and a new style of learning for the students.
15,000 Iowans Have Signed Up For Healthcare On Federal Website
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report says more than 15,000 Iowans have signed up for private health insurance plans using the federal enrollment website.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says Tuesday that in the first five months of enrollment under the health care law, 15,346 people in Iowa signed up for private health insurance between Oct. 1 and March 1.
That is a 30 percent increase in the total number of people who have selected an insurance plan during February, similar to the national trend of 29 percent.
Nationally, about 4.2 million people have enrolled in plans using the federal website.
Thirty-five percent of the Iowa enrollees are between the ages of 55 and 64, compared with 24 percent who were between 18 and 34.
Legislature Works On Drone Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill to place restrictions on the use of unmanned aerial drones in Iowa continues to move through the Legislature after approval of an amendment by a Senate subcommittee.
The House passed a much more restrictive bill last week. The Senate's version makes operating a drone in a way that violates one's privacy a violation of the state's trespassing law.
The bill considers use of a drone trespassing if it "intrudes upon the legitimate privacy interests in, on, or around private property that is not normally open to the public" or places where the public is not typically invited.
The bill is likely to be considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and is expected to pass the Senate and move back to the House for reconsideration.
Senate Works On "Texting While Driving" Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Iowa Senate want to crack down on texting while driving, but some legislators worry the bill doesn't do enough to address the larger issue of distracted driving.
The measure was strongly challenged during debate Tuesday, but it easily cleared the Senate in a 41-7 vote. It now goes to the House.
Texting while driving is now prohibited, but it is only enforced if a driver is pulled over for a different violation. Under the bill, officers could pull drivers over specifically for this offense.
Sen. Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says Iowans should use "common sense" when driving. But Democratic Sen. Tod Bowman, who sponsored the bill, says sometimes common sense isn't enough, and further restrictions are crucial for safety on Iowa roads.
Lawmakers Want To Refine Drunk Driving Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are attempting to change the state's law dealing with drunken drivers.
The Senate voted 28-20 Tuesday to approve a measure that would change current law, particularly dealing with devices that require drivers to show they haven't had alcohol before their vehicle ignition will unlock.
Under the bill, offenders could begin driving more quickly than under current law if they install an ignition lock device.
Sen. Chris Brase, a Democrat from Muscatine, says the legislation is meant to create incentives to help offenders get back on the right track.
But Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, of Shell Rock, says in a statement that he's concerned offenders would be too easily let back on the road.
The bill now goes to the House.
Regents To Meet At Iowa City
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Board of Regents is holding a daylong meeting Wednesday on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.
The board is expected to consider several university building projects and set parking and residence hall rates for next year. The board will also review a report detailing campus crime statistics.
University of Iowa President Sally Mason is also expected to give an update on the actions she's taken in recent days to combat sexual assault.
The board governs Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.
Des Moines Proposes New Airport Terminal
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A consultant is recommending a new $468 million terminal for the Des Moines International Airport.
A report from aviation consulting firm Leigh Fisher released Tuesday follows a seven-month study. The Airport Authority Board will consider a more detailed report in April, then vote how to proceed.
The consultant's proposal calls for building an 18-gate terminal on the south side of the airport beginning in 2022.
Officials say the 65-year-old current terminal is too small and outdated, but restrictions due to the adjacent runway won't allow an expansion. Tom Schnetzer, a director with Leigh Fisher, says the current facilities will be inadequate when the passenger count reaches 2.5 million, expected by 2027.
The cost would be covered by federal grants and fees charged to airlines.