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Tuesday News, November 19

Supervisors Expected to Vacate Road

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth county board of supervisors is expected to vote in favor of vacating 212th street during their weekly meeting scheduled for today at the county courthouse board room.  The road in question runs on the south side of the NIPCO electrical utility cooperative and Smith Company Dump Truck Manufacturing.  The supervisors will also hear from Plymouth County Conservation Executive Director Nick Beeck (Beck) as he presents the supervisors with the County Conservation Board's annual report.  Beeck will also update the supervisors on the progress of the County lake near Akron.  County engineer Tom Rohe is also scheduled to appear before the county supervisors.


City Council To Award Bids For Water Tower And Water Booster Station

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is scheduled to hold a meeting today and it is expected the city council will award a contractor bid for both the new water tower and water booster station.  The council will review an airport application for federal funding, and look at different proposals to stabilize the banks of the Floyd River from further erosion.


Floyd Valley Hospital To Award Bid For Expansion Project

(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting Tuesday morning.  The hospital trustees will formally review and are expected to approve a resolution awarding a contract for the bid package relating to the hospital's improvement project.  L and L Builders of Sioux City submitted the lowest of the three bids which is for $15,113,000.


State Farm Insurance Gives $25,000 To Gehlen Catholic School

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's Gehlen Catholic Pride Night when the school was acknowledging the achievements of the students, and introducing the participants of the winter activities; school officials were given a surprise by State Farm Insurance agent, Michael Crank, when he presented Father Kevin Richter a check in the amount of $25,000.  It was all part of the State Farm Insurance promotion of "Celebrate Our Drive".

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Crank explains how it was that Gehlen Catholic school was awarded the $25,000 from State Farm Insurance.

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Gehlen school officials then donated ten percent, or $2500 of the monetary gift to Opportunities Unlimited, an organization that helps people with brain injuries. Gehlen Catholic school and Opportunities Unlimited have been working in partnership for a few years, as Gehlen's affinity.  Father Richter announced to the crowd the money from State Farm Insurance, along with other donations and memorial gifts, will go toward the rennovation of the floor of the back gymnasiusm.


Sioux City Council Says No To Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The City Council has rejected a proposal to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official holiday in Sioux City.
     The council voted 5-0 against the proposal Monday night. The proposal would have added Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the list of holidays for three union and three employee groups that don't already have the holiday listed as a day off. 
     Mayor Bob Scott says he thought it would be unfair to provide the day off to those employee groups because other union groups already bargained for the holiday off by trading it for another day off.
     He says another holiday would have cost the city $165,000 a year for paid overtime on top of a lost day of work.


Galva-Holstein School Official Accused Of Falsifying Records

 HOLSTEIN, Iowa (AP) - A former school district official has been accused of falsifying safety inspection records on school buses for a northwest Iowa district.
      Court records say 51-year-old Douglas Wessling, of Holstein, faces three counts of tampering with records. He's scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 6.
      He was put on leave and then lost his job as transportation director for the Galva-Holstein Community School District after an investigation by the Iowa State Patrol.
      Superintendent Dave Kwikkel says three district buses were taken out of service because of damage. Kwikkel says Wessling put one of them back into use before it had been repaired. 
     Wessling has not returned calls seeking comment. His attorney didn't immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.


Iowa National Guard Units: One Deployed, Another Returns

BOONE, Iowa (AP) - More than three dozen Iowa Army National Guard soldiers are being mobilized for peacekeeping duty in southeastern Europe.
     The National Guard said Monday that a community send-off ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Friday at the Boone High School gym for members of Company B, 248th Aviation Support Battalion. The Boone-based unit has detachments in Waterloo and Davenport. 
     The soldiers will first go to Fort Hood, Texas, for additional training before their deployment to Kosovo.

      While one National Guard unit is leaving, another is returning home.  The public is invited to attend a homecoming ceremony for an Ottumwa-based Iowa Army National Guard unit that has been serving in Afghanistan.
     The ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Evans Middle School gym in Ottumwa.
      They'll mark the return of soldiers mobilized from the 833rd Engineer Company with a mission of removing physical obstacles, identifying and reducing minefields and bombs, constructing protective positions and other duties.


Advocacy Group Calling For Tougher Rules On Livestock Operations

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - An environmental advocacy group says it is delivering a petition with 5,000 names to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission insisting the state crack down on water pollution that comes from large livestock farms.
     Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says it will demand at Tuesday's commission meeting that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources issue a Clean Water Act operating permit to the Maschhoff Pork farm near Keosauqua in southeast Iowa.
      The farm, with nearly 7,500 pigs, spilled thousands of gallons of manure into a creek on Nov. 4, just weeks after a DNR inspection. It has had several spills in recent years.
      The state hasn't issued a water permit to a hog facility before but environmental groups are increasingly pressuring the state to create rules to do so.


Branstad Reviewing Options On Fuel Tax

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says he is reviewing his options for raising revenues to help Iowa's bridges and roads.
     Branstad says he is trying to find out what approach might be politically possible. Earlier this year, Branstad expressed concern about raising the state fuel tax and asked Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino to review the state's options for funding infrastructure costs.
      That list of options includes raising new registration fees and raising fees for oversize vehicles. Branstad says he has not committed to any plan.
      Iowa's fuel tax -now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline including fees - hasn't been raised since 1989. A commission appointed by Branstad in 2011 recommended an increase of 8 to 10 cents a gallon to boost funding for bridges and roads.














Monday Afternoon News, November 18

Deputies Arrest Derby For Posession Of Controlled Substance

(Le Mars) -- Sunday morning at about 12:30 a.m. the Plymouth County Sheriff's office assisted the Merrill Police Department with a traffic stop at the intersection of Highway 75 and Calhoun Street.  During that stop, Brittany Derby, age 25, of Le Mars was placed under arrest for posession of a controlled substance and posession of drug paraphernalia.  She was transported to the Plymouth County jail. 

Bicycle Club To Use Hotel/Motel Tax Revenue For Upcoming Frosty Cross

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Cyclists in February was awarded $4,000 from Le Mars Hotel/Motel Sales Tax Receipts.  Those funds will go to help finance the upcoming Bike Central's Frosty Cross Cyclocross race scheduled for November 30th and December 1st.
  Mark Strub, project coordinator, says the funds will be used to stage, promote, and host the annual event, which will help bring outsiders to Le Mars, promoting tourism and bringing economic value to the community from outside sources.  In addition to the benefits of physical fitness, entertainment and promotion of cycling, the goal is for these participants to use local motels, restaurants and stores before, during and after the two day event.”
 The Plymouth County Cyclists was one of 15 applicants receiving funding this year.  Funding recommendations of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board were approved by the Le Mars City Council on February 19, 2013.
 The CVB Advisory Board received 20 application requests totaling $57,492.23 for the 2013-2014 budget year.  There was $40,000 available to be awarded to qualified groups.
 The mission of the CVB Advisory Board is to attempt to fund as many qualifying projects with enough money to be useful toward completion of the project goal.  Qualifying projects meet state code regarding the allocation of revenues generated by the hotel/motel sales tax.  Priority is given to projects that encourage growth of tourism to the city of Le Mars.


Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees To Sign Contract With Contractor During Tuesday Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The Floyd Valley Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting Tuesday morning.  The hospital trustees will formally review and are expected to approve a resolution awarding a contract for the bid package relating to the hospital's improvement project.  L and L Builders of Sioux City submitted the lowest of the three bids which is for $15,113,000. 

Lewis & Clark Center To Pay Back Flood Aid Money

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center must repay more than $34,000 in flood aid.
     The center had hired temporary workers to remove exhibits and other items to higher ground as Missouri River floodwaters menaced Sioux City in late May 2011. The workers also helped build a berm to protect the center and its sister facility, the Betty Strong Encounter Center.
     The Federal Emergency Management Agency later provided nearly $78,600 in flood aid to the private nonprofit cultural group. But an audit showed the center's board didn't actually approve hiring the workers and paying for use of their pickups and other equipment. 
     State and federal officials eventually ruled the labor-related expenses couldn't be reimbursed, so the center has to pay back some of the money.


Branstad Recognizes Enterpreneurs

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is recognizing entrepreneurs in Iowa.
     Bransad on Monday said the state will take part in Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of business innovation. He said there will be events around the state for people who are creating new businesses.
     Branstad says small businesses are the "backbone of the state's economy."
     The Quad Cities, Burlington and West Des Moines are among the locations holding events and contests during the week. 
     Global Entrepreneurship Week was first held in 2008 and is now recognized by more than 130 countries around the world.


Coffee Pot Water Tower May Be Dismantled

  STANTON, Iowa (AP) - A 125-foot water tower painted to look like a Swedish coffeepot is in danger of losing its place in southwest Iowa.
     Since 1971, a 50,000-gallon water tower in the town of Stanton has featured a giant handle, spout and knob. A sign on the edge of town says, "home of the world's largest coffeepot."
     The Des Moines Register reports ( ) a $1.2 million revamp of the town's central water system will cease use of the tower. At minimum, an estimated $250,000 would be needed to safely preserve the tower as an empty landmark.
     Maintenance issues include no cover on the spout to protect it from rain and moisture. Repainting the structure would require costly sandblasting. There are also out-of-date ladders on the side of the tower.





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