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Wednesday News, November 13

Wells Enterprises, Inc. To Cut 58 Jobs

(Le Mars) -- Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, has announced the company will be dismissing 58 employees.  According to a company statement, Well's Enterprises remains on track toward reaching its goal of becoming the U.S. market leader in the highly competitive ice cream industry.  In order to achieve the goal the company says it is necessary to make adjustments.  Wells recently completed a comprehensive review to ensure that the company meets its growth and profitability goals.  The review has resulted in the decision to reduce staff by 58 individuals.  38 positions will come from the corporate offices in Le Mars and 20 will come from field staff.
Employees will be given severance packages and outplacement assistance.  Wells just celebrated 100 years of being in business.


Pipe Bomb Found In Anthon

(Anthon) -- A pipe bomb was found yesterday afternoon in the small Woodbury County town of Anthon.  A city worker found the device near a water tower.  It had appeared to have been ignited, but did not detonate.  The Woodbury County Sheriff's office was called in to confirm the device as a potential explosive and to initiate an investigation.  Woodbury County Sheriff's office requested the assistance of the Iowa State Fire Marshall's office and the ATF.  The device was handled with the use of a remote control robot and moved to a safe sight where it was disrupted and made safe.  The pipe bomb has been collected and federal authorities will assist Woodbury County in conducting the investigation.


Plymouth County To Perform Reconstruction Work On C-60

(Le Mars) -- Landowners living along county road C-60 will soon be getting a letter from Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe explaining to them the county's intention to begin reconstruction work.  The work is part of a two-year plan with reconstruction performed in 2016 and paving during the 2017 construction season.  Rohe says the purpose for the work is to correct vertical geometrics in order to improve sight distance, remove snow traps, provide wider shoulders, flatten the roadway slopes and provide a safer roadway.  The construction work would involve a distance of three and a quarter miles from County road C-66 and going west.  Rohe says the reconstruction project will involve purchasing additional right of way throughout the entire project, removing the existing pavement on sections of the project.  Rohe says survey crews will begin next year.  After the surveys are completed, a landowners meeting will most likely be held in late 2015.


Supervisors Certify City Elections

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors certified the city elections from last week during its meeting on Tuesday.  County auditor and election official Stacey Feldman informed the supervisors that 1,268 votes had been cast in Plymouth County city elections.  There were no run-off races.  Feldman says the elections were at the county's expense of $8,079.38.  As we had learned following last week's election, the small community of Craig approved the Local Option Sales Tax and will again share in the revenue.


Cushing Mayor Selected From Name Drawn From Hat

CUSHING, Iowa (AP) - A Woodbury County supervisor pulled a name from a hat, breaking a tie in the election for mayor of Cushing.
Supervisor David Tripp on Tuesday pulled the name of incumbent Mayor Gary Merkel from a hat.
The selection broke a tie with challenger Donald Joy Jr. and means Merkel can serve another two-year term as mayor of Cushing. The men had tied with each receiving 22 votes.
Merkel has been mayor of the 220-person city since 1992.
Cushing is about 35 miles east of Sioux City.


Judge Rules Against Penn Gaming National Argosy Casino

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa judge says the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino must pay a nonprofit group a portion of its revenue while both sides battle in court over their disintegrated contractual relationship.
Polk County District Court Judge Robert Hanson rejected a motion Tuesday by casino operator Penn National Gaming Co. that would have allowed a third-party receiver to collect and distribute the charitable funds.
Hanson ruled that Missouri River Historical Development is still entitled to revenue designated for charitable purposes by state law.
Penn claims in a lawsuit the group breached exclusivity in their operating agreement by negotiating with other casino operators.  Penn stopped making monthly payments to them in May.


Harvest Nearing Completion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The corn harvest is 88 percent complete in Iowa, about 8 percentage points ahead of normal and soybeans are 98 percent done, three days ahead of average.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says farmers finished with harvest have begun fall field work including tilling, fertilizer applications, and conservation practice construction.
He says the 12 percent of the corn crop still in the field represents an estimated $1 billion worth of grain yet to be harvested in Iowa. Much if it is showing high moisture levels and may require drying before it's marketed.
Iowa is on track for a 2.2 billion bushel corn crop, up 18 percent from last year.
Soybean production is estimated at 415 million bushels, slightly above last year's 414 million bushels.

State Government Leaders To Examine Costs Of Extreme Weather Swings

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Government leaders in Iowa will gather in Des Moines next month to consider the costs and implications of the extreme weather swings that have increasingly hit Iowa.
The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is among the hosts of the symposium on Dec. 11 at Hy-Vee Hall. Top Iowa leaders in the fields of transportation, agriculture, higher education, natural resources and insurance are among those expected to attend.
The goals of the event are to better understand the challenges facing Iowa due to extreme weather such as floods and droughts; the cost of the impacts to different sectors of Iowa's economy; and how to adapt to the change.
Organizers say that specific policy proposals could come out of the discussions at the symposium.


Insurance Participation Improving On National Healthcare Program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One of the two Iowa carriers offering policies on the government website says the situation is improving.
Cliff Gold is chief operating officer of CoOportunity, and he says the situation is "clearly getting better." He says the company has had as many applications in the first 11 days of November as it had in all of October.
CoOportunity also has received about 190 applications from Nebraskans via The computerized insurance markets went live Oct. 1, and millions of consumers encountered frozen screens.
Coventry Health Care is the other major Iowa carrier selling insurance on Coventry declined to say how many people have signed up for its policies.




Tuesday News, November 12

Supervisors To Canvass City Elections

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet today, and on
their agenda is to canvass the city elections from the Plymouth County communities. The supervisors are also expected to declare a sheriff's vehicle as being surplus property.  The county supervisors will also hear a report from Jessica Trobough on the county's wellness program.  County engineer Tom Rohe will update the supervisors on various construction projects.

Le Mars School Board Revises And Expands Tobacco Policy

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education revised and approved its policy regarding smoking and the use of nicotine products during last evening's school board meeting.  The local school board had already had a policy against students, faculty and staff, and visitors from smoking or using tobacco products on school property.  In last evening's meeting, the school board expanded the policy to include any nicotine products.  Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools, informed the board that there has been some creative marketing directed towards younger people by disguising the tobacco product to resemble gum.


No School Today For Le Mars Community School District

(Le Mars) -- Speaking about the Le Mars Community School District, there will not be any classes scheduled for today, as the Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to play in the state volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids.

Floyd Valley Board Of Trustees To Meet Tuesday Evening

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening and they will review and approve a resolution to approve issuance of bonds and borrowing money.  The trustees is also expected to name depositories of Floyd Valley Hospital, and appoint a signator for the financial institutions.


Iowa State Association Of Counties Scheduled To Meet In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 800 county officials from Iowa are gathering in Des Moines for an educational conference.
The Iowa State Association of Counties, a private nonprofit corporation made up of county officials, will meet Wednesday to begin discussing legislative priorities they want to lobby in the future.
The group's board of directors has recommended issues like road funding, mental health and disability services and user fees. The legislative priorities are debated and approved at the conference.
The group will meet at the Veterans Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center through Friday.  Plymouth County Attorney Darrin Raymond serves as the president of the ISAC organization.


Sioux County Prosecutor Defends Position On Waiting For Autopsy Before Filing Charges

(Orange City) - A prosecutor is defending his decision to wait for additional testing before deciding whether to bring murder charges against a northwest Iowa daycare provider who allegedly admitted to causing injuries that killed a 3-year-old girl.
Sioux County Attorney Coleman McAllister said Monday he wants the state medical examiner to rule on Autumn Elgersma's cause of death before deciding whether to charge Rochelle Sapp.
The medical examiner has requested additional testing by University of Iowa pathologists, which could take two weeks or longer.
Investigators say Sapp admitted to throwing Autumn to the floor while watching her in Orange City on Oct. 29. The girl was hospitalized with severe head trauma, and died days later.
Charges of willful injury and child endangerment were dismissed last week against Sapp,
whose phone rang unanswered.


Christie Vilsack Returns To Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Former First Lady Christie Vilsack is returning to Iowa as part of her new federal job promoting international education.
After failing in her bid to unseat Iowa Congressman Steve King last year, Vilsack has worked since March as a senior adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington.
Kirkwood Community College says Vilsack will visit its main campus in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday to meet with students from Central America who are studying agricultural business under a USAID scholarship program. Kirkwood says the 37 students are part way through a two-year program, and Vilsack wants to see the progress and connections they have made.
A former teacher, Vilsack is the wife of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who served as Iowa governor from 1999 to 2007.


Iowa Farm Bureau Offers Grants For Teachers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Farm Bureau program designed to teach children about agriculture is opening the process for teachers to apply for grant money.
The Teacher Supplement Grant program was established in 2003 and this year will award $200 to teachers in language arts and science who develop classroom programs that help students learn about agriculture.
Farm Bureau has awarded nearly $100,000 to teachers in the last three years of the grant program.
The organization says with one of six Iowa jobs related, indirectly or directly, to agriculture, there's a great need to bring creative agriculture education to Iowa's elementary students to help them understand how farming is part of their everyday lives.
Teachers are encouraged to incorporate lessons of food safety, seed genetics, and environmental practices in their current curriculum.






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