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Thursday Afternoon News, January 3

City To Pick Up Disposed Christmas Trees

(Le Mars) -- The City of Le Mars Public Works Department will be picking up live Christmas Trees beginning the week of January 7th.  Steve Hanson, superintendent for the city's public works department says They will do one pass through of the entire town; therefore, he asks that residents please have your tree out next to the curb by Sunday January 6th. 
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Hanson says the city will dispose of the trees.  Depending upon the number of trees to be picked up will determine what may happen to the trees.
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Hanson wants to remind residents to remove all lights, plastic covers, tinsel, stands and garland.

 

E-mail Shows Harkins Worked Behind The Scenes for Institute

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An email shows an Iowa Board of Regents member worked behind the scenes to create a university institute honoring her husband, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
The April 2011 email from then-Iowa State University Provost Elizabeth Hoffman says Ruth Harkin approached university officials a year earlier about creating the Harkin Institute of Public
Policy. The university provided the email to The Associated Press in an open records request.
Hoffman's email says Ruth Harkin "wanted it to be very private" until the institute was before the regents. Ruth Harkin abstained from the vote creating the institute, but the email says
she wanted the plan to pass before the terms of two allies on the
board expired.
The email also says the Harkins were aware of potential ethical problems.

 

Manly Bans Pitbulls

MANLY, Iowa (AP) - The city council in the northern Iowa city of Manly has voted to keep and enforce its ban on pit bulls.
The council made its decision Wednesday. Pit bull owners who had been sent letters about the ban have until Monday to move their dogs outside the city.
The ban was adopted in 2008 after a pit bull menaced two children in town. Council member Scott Heagel says Manly residents requested it then.
Mayor Kevin Isaacson says the ordinance has not been enforced since.
The council revisited the issue in April but decided against rescinding it. The issue resurfaced in November, after pit bull owners got the letters about removing their dogs.
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Decorah Woman Accused of Stealing From Nursing Home

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - A woman in northeast Iowa has been accused of stealing money from a nursing home where she worked for 36 years.
The Gazette reports Nancy Elsbernd was charged last week with first-degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct for taking money from the Aase Haugen Nursing Home in Decorah. A police affidavit
says the 64-year-old admitted to investigators that she issued checks to herself over the past five to six years.
Investigators say more than $55,000 is missing from the nursing home's finances. Auditors are still checking the records, which Elsband had access to.
Elsbernd is out on bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7. She faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
A message left for Elsbernd's attorney was not immediately returned Thursday.
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Army Corps of Engineers To Release Less Water In Missouri River

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The amount of water released into the lower Missouri River will be decreased this month because warmer weather has reduced ice concerns.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it will gradually reduce the amount of water it releases out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border to 14,000 cubic feet per second.
That's a decrease of 4,000 cubic feet per second from the releases being made over the past two weeks.
The change is not expected to make much difference in water levels downstream in the Missouri or Mississippi rivers.
Officials said last month that the water flow needed to be increased because ice forming on the river would reduce the flow.  Now the weather has improved enough to alleviate the ice concerns.

 

Tax Collections Are Up For Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Tax collections in Iowa are up compared to the same halfway point a year ago.
Net state receipts totaled more than $3.1 billion from July through December. That's
about $264 million, or about 9 percent, higher than the first six months of the previous fiscal year.
The Legislative Services Agency says the percentage growth rate will likely dip in January because of processing days in the calendar.
The Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference projected last month that the state treasury would end the current fiscal year with nearly $6.4 billion. That would be about a 3.3 percent increase over the
last fiscal year.
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Thursday News, January 3

Gehlen and Spalding Catholic High Schools Decide To Merge

(Le Mars) -- At a joint school board meeting held Wednesday evening, officials from the Gehlen Catholic and Spalding Catholic schools voted unanimously to merge the two Catholic High Schools beginning next school year of 2013-2014.  Gehlen Catholic school board president Brian Kolbeck and Spalding Catholic school board president Jeanne Jungers appeared together to make the formal announcement.

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Kolbeck told reporters that many, may have thought the unification of both schools was a done deal once the idea was proposed.  But he says officials from both schools organized different committees to analyze the proposed merger.
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Kolbeck continues to explain how everyone's concerns were carefully considered before reaching the final decision.
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According to Jungers, The merged Catholic schools will be called Gehlen Catholic High School and will be located in Le Mars.  Jungers showed her emotion as she discussed the history of Spalding Catholic High School.

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A Spalding Catholic school board member told KLEM news that there are 72 students between the 8th grade and 11th grade currently attending Spalding Catholic School.  He said that a survey was sent to each family with children attending Spalding Catholic School asking them if they are considering sending their children to Gehlen.  The school board member said the survey showed that at least 70 percent of the families would transport their children to Gehlen Catholic High School. Spalding Catholic will have three representatives, one from each parish, that will be members of the new Gehlen Catholic school board.


Pedestrian Killed While Crossing Street

(Sioux City) -- A pedestrian was hit by a vehicle while crossing Gordon Drive in Sioux City, leaving him dead at the hospital.  The accident occurred at 5:52 p.m. on Wednesday.  According to police reports, the victim, identified as 54 year old Daniel Leighninger of Bradenton, Florida was crossing Gordon Drive near the Hy-Vee supermarket when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Gail Meinen of Sioux City.  Police found Leighninger lying in the roadway, unconscious but breathing and had sustained blunt force to his head with severe bleeding.  Leighninger had crossed the busy street where there is no designated pedestrian crosswalk.  He was transported to Mercy Medical Center where later he had died. Police do not suspect alcholol or drugs to be a factor in this accident.

 

Sioux County Hog Confinement Fire

(Orange City) -- The Sioux County Communications Center received a report of a structure fire at 4142 Jay Avenue, two and one half miles northeast of Orange City, IA.  That fire occurred at about 5:50 a.m. Wednesday morning.  The Orange City Fire Department, Orange City Ambulance, and Alton Fire Department responded to the scene of a hog confinement building on fire.
Damage to the building is estimated at $50,000; no animals were in the confinement at the time of the fire.  The building was currently undergoing construction improvements.  The cause of the fire has been determined as accidental in a joint investigation by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, the Orange City Fire Department, and the Iowa State Fire Marshal.

 

Four Individuals Arrested in Sioux County

(Granville) -- Sioux County authorities arrested four individuals for possession of drug paraphernalia after a report of illegal activity occurring at midnight Wednesday at the Granville Event Center.  The four have been identified as Michael Wolff, age 19, of Emmetsburg, IA, Zackery Fay, age 19, of Spencer, IA, Ryan Dodge, age 20, of Spencer and Corey Vergith, age 18, of Spencer.

 

Medical Helicopter Crashes Killing All On board

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified two of three people who were killed when a medical helicopter crashed into a northern Iowa field.
Witnesses told deputies that the helicopter burst into flames when it went down around 9 p.m. Wednesday just north of Ventura in Cerro Gordo County. The aircraft was affiliated with Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa and had been headed to Emmetsburg to pick up a patient.
The hospital identified two of the victims: nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl.
The pilot was not identified. The helicopter was operated by a Lewisville, Texas-based service company, Med-Trans Air Medical Transport. Company officials didn't immediately return messages
left Thursday by The Associated Press.
Sheriff Kevin Pals says the crash cause is being investigated.

 

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Awards Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials have awarded more than $90,000 in grant money to a dozen Iowa cities supporting historic preservation programs.
The state Department of Cultural Affairs says the grants are from the Certified Local Government program. It's a partnership between local, state and national governments.
The grant money for the cities is between about $2,000 and about $11,000.
Participation in the program that grants the money offers resources like expert advice from the National Park Service and participation in a preservation network.

 

Hearing Scheduled For Today On Voting Rules

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday on a proposed new rule that establishes a process for removing voters from registration rolls if they can't prove
citizenship.
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is pushing the rule saying it's needed because he believes people who are not U.S. citizens are registering to vote in Iowa.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa plans to speak against the rule. The group, joined by other civil rights organizations, says the rule intimidates minority voters especially Latino immigrants. The ACLU also says Schultz doesn't have the legal authority to pass the rule himself, instead it should be
considered by the Legislature.
The public hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Lucas State Office Building.


Iowa Supreme Court To Review Job Protection For Health Employees

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court will review whether to give greater job protections to health care employees who report potential misconduct internally.
The court announced Wednesday it will review an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling, which found an assisted-living center employee was wrongly terminated after she alleged that 2 colleagues falsified
training documents.
The decision concluded that companies that operate such facilities cannot fire employees who internally report potential violations of regulations meant to protect patients. Otherwise, the
court says employees would be hesitant to raise concerns.
The case involves Karen Dorshkind, who was fired in 2008 as marketing director at Oak Park Place in Dubuque. A jury awarded her $357,000 in damages. The court found the ruling for Dorshkind was
appropriate, but $178,500 in punitive damages shouldn't have been allowed.


 

 

   

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