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Thursday Afternoon News, Jan 17

Home Sales Rise in Iowa and Plymouth County

(Le Mars) -- A recent report shows an increase in the number of homes being sold in Iowa, as  well as the average value of homes has increased.  The average sale price for a home in 2012 was $134,000 which equates to an 11.6 percent increase over the previous year.  Iowa saw 34,860 homes sold in 2012 compared to 31,000 the year before.  Shane Sitzmann, a Le Mars realtor and also chairman of the Plymouth County Multiple Listings Association, an organization that comprises of about 40 members of brokers and agents, says similar trends were noted in Plymouth County.

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Sitzmann contributes the lower interest rates as a main factor in the increase of home sales.

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Sitzmann says the increase in local employment opportunities has definitely helped the local housing picture.  He says the local housing market acts much like a dominoes.

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The real estate agent says the market is seeing an artificial increase due to the shortage of homes currently available.


Democrats Want To Gage How Much Public Support For Education

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic lawmakers say they want to determine a general level of state support for schools before they take up Gov. Terry Branstad's education reform plan.
That could lead to a confrontation with the governor because Branstad maintains he won't discuss that funding until he gets approval for his plan to boost starting teacher salaries and make
other reforms.
On Thursday, Senate Democrats proposed a measure that would increase state aid to school district by 4 percent, or $134 million, for the school year starting in September.

 

Midwest Bankers Survey Suggests Continued Growth

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey of rural bankers suggests that growth in farmland prices, cash rents and farm equipment sales remain strong despite the continuing threat of drought in some
Midwestern and northern Plains states.
A report on the Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday says the index hit 55.6 in January, down from 60.6 in December. It is the index's fourth straight month above growth neutral.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the region's rural economy is still expanding at a moderate pace and that farm communities "appear to have shed the negative impacts of the 2012
drought."
The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing growth neutral. It's based on a survey of rural bankers in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North
Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.



 

   

Thursday News, January 17

Hemmingson Honored As "Volunteer of the Year"

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's Historical Preservation Commission celebration of the downtown district being listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Le Mars Chamber officials presented Iris Hemmingson with the Le Mars Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Hemmingson, serves as the chair person for the Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission.
Iris serves on the Main Street Design Committee which oversees the awarding of the City of Le Mars façade grants. She has been extremely involved in the Main Street program focusing on historic preservation and restoration work of downtown buildings.
Iris was involved with the American Legion Club façade restoration work. She knew the importance of preserving the miracle brick on the building and asked the Legion trustees to restore the miracle block brick and leave it exposed on the front of the building. This is the last building in downtown Le Mars that was made from this local brick product and Iris was able to educate the Trustees of the importance of the preservation of the façade.
Iris also wrote a grant and received funding for Le Mars to do a year long study on each building in a designated area in downtown Le Mars. This study allowed for Le Mars to make application to the National Park Service requesting listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. Iris put in hundreds of hours doing extensive research on the buildings.

With her dedication, Le Mars’ downtown is now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.


Le Mars Police Issue Quarterly Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has issued its quarterly fiscal year report. During this past quarter, Le Mars Police investigated 203 citizen complaints, they were called upon 974 times for service, issued 180 traffic citations and gave 412 warnings.  The Le Mars Police also investigated 56 accidents and made 80 arrests.  Noteworthy items include receiving a $2600 grant from Plymouth County Community Foundation, in conjunction with the Le Mars Ambulance Service for a defibrillator replacement.  The Special Response Team which works in conjunction with Plymouth and Sioux County Sheriff's Departments, was called upon on three separate occasions to Hawarden, Sioux Center, and Matlock.  In each instance, the result ended in arrest of suspects without injuries.  The Police also hired a new officer.

 

Merrill Man Turns Himself Over To Authorities After Watching "Siouxland's Most Wanted"

(Le Mars) -- A Merrill man saw himself featured on the television news segment entitled "Siouxland's Most Wanted" and decided to turn himself in.  28 year old Christopher Velarde,  turned himself into the Plymouth County Jail on his warrant that was issued by Plymouth County.  Velarde was booked into the jail on the warrant for Failure To Appear Rule to show cause 14 counts.  Velarde did see the judge and his bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety required. He will have more court appearances later.

 

Students Need To Immunized Against Whooping Cough

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are making a one-time booster shot for whooping cough a requirement for school enrollment.
The state Department of Public Health says the requirement for students enrolling in seventh grade in the fall becomes effective Wednesday. Officials say it will reduce whooping cough cases, which
surges every few years.
Children usually receive the bacterial vaccine when they're toddlers. They're recommended to get a booster dose around 11 or 12 years old. The booster shot also includes vaccines against tetanus
and diphtheria.
The change will require the vaccine be given to students enrolling in grades seven and up if born on or after September 15th, 2000.
The National Immunization Survey says about 74 percent of Iowa teenagers have received the Tdap vaccine. The national average is about 78 percent.


House Republicans Want To Give Money Back To Taxpayers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - House Republicans are proposing to divert money into a fund that would be returned to Iowa taxpayers.
Most Republicans signed onto a measure assigned Wednesday to the Ways and Means Committee. The proposal would increase government allocations to a so-called Taxpayer Trust Fund.
State law now requires 10 percent of a budget surplus to go toward cash reserve and emergency funds.
The new proposal would direct any additional money into the trust fund, which could be credited back to taxpayers.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says the measure shows that Republicans want any "overpayment of tax dollars" to be returned to residents.
The measure could pass the House, where Republicans hold a majority, but likely would face problems in the Senate, controlled by Democrats.

 

Ponzi Scheme Artist Looking At Prison Term

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Prosecutors are seeking a prison term of more than seven years for an Iowa man who ran a Ponzi scheme that duped friends and neighbors out of their life savings.
John Holtsinger, of Ottumwa, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court in Des Moines. He's pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Locher asked for an 87-month prison sentence Wednesday, the high end of the recommended range. He says Holtsinger's conduct was egregious in marketing himself as a savvy investment manager when he was running a Ponzi scheme.
Losses totaled about $1 million. Locher says victims "almost certainly will never recover from the emotional and financial harm."
Holtsinger's attorney is asking for a sentence of about four years.

   

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