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Thursday News, March 14

Catholics Delighted Over The Selection of New Pope

(Sioux City) -- Catholics around the world are celebrating after the Vatican announced the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy - making him the first pontiff from the Americas.
The new Pope selected the name Francis the first, which Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City Diocese says shows his "humbleness":

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Bishop Nickless says the Hispanic members of the Catholic Church are overjoyed with Bergoglio's selection as the new pontiff:

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Bishop Nickless believes caring for the poor will be a  high priority for the new pope:

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The Bishop says he is looking forward to meeting the 76 year old Pope Francis for the first time.
Nickless says he was a little surprised by the age of the new pontiff, but after watching him address the gathered masses, he believes the right man was selected.


Living Last Supper Offered In Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Experience the Lenten season in a new and meaningful way this year when the Presbyterian United Church of Christ hosts the living last supper drama "Lord is it I?"  The presentation is being made by a group of men from Sheldon United Methodist Church as part of their outreach ministry.  The cast members recreate the scene from Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Last Supper painting, then listen to Jesus' statement that one of them, his closest friends, will betray him.  In turn they each think aloud of who it could be, ultimately focusing on themselves and asking the dreadful question, "Lord, is it I?"  The event begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 17th at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ, at 858 7th Avenue, in Le Mars.  Communion for the congregation is incorporated into the presentation, which also includes music by the Circuit Riders, a men's quartet from the Sheldon United Methodist Church.  Sheldon's Living Last Supper ministry marks its 28th consecutive year in 2013.


College Planning Seminar Scheduled For Monday

(Le Mars) -- High school juniors and their parents can learn about planning for college during a free presentation offered by Le Mars Community High School and Iowa College Access Network (ICAN).  The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18 in the high school cafeteria of Le Mars High School.  During the presentation, students and parents will receive answers to questions on topics including the admission process and requirements, college selection, and campus visits, the application process, understanding costs and cost of attendance, scholarships and making successful transitions to college.  Jessica Schultz, ICAN senior outreach representative says "this presentation is very helpful to juniors and parents who are unsure exactly what steps they need to take to get ready for college."  She says, "as students get closer to graduation, they and their families often find the entire process confusing.  This information clears up that confusion so families know what to do."  For more information about the presentation, students and parents should contact either Barry Borchers or Nicki Addison at the Le Mars High School by calling (712) 546-7028.

 

Woodbury County Settles Suit Over Strip Search

(Sioux City) -- - Woodbury County officials have decided to settle lawsuits filed over strip searches at the county jail.
Woodbury County Board Chairman Larry Clausen says the board settled rather than risk trial and possibly pay more to complainants and their attorneys.
Three women arrested on misdemeanor charges say they were forced to take off their clothes in view of male jailers during incidents in 2006 and 2007.
In the settlement, Maureen Rattray, of South Sioux City, Neb., was paid $335,000. Lori Mathes received $40,000 and Lisa Lambert $10,000. Dismissal papers were filed Tuesday.
In 2011 a U.S. District Court jury awarded Rattray more than $250,000, but that verdict was overturned and a retrial ordered because of inconsistencies in the verdict form.
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ISAC Conference Being Held In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 700 Iowa county officials are gathering in Des Moines for a conference focused on training and networking.
The Iowa State Association of Counties will meet Thursday and Friday at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown for the 70th Spring School of Instruction gathering.
Organizers say presentations will cover health care reform, workers' compensation, government spending and tourism.  Participants also will learn about important legislative issues
concerning county operations and finances.
County officials are expected to review and approve the association's budget for the next fiscal year.  Plymouth County Attorney, Darin Raymond serves as the President of the Iowa State Association of Counties.


House Approves Flat-Tax Option

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A proposal to give taxpayers the option of paying a flat income tax has the support of the Republican-controlled Iowa House.
The legislation was approved Wednesday in a 53 to 46 party-line vote.
The plan says taxpayers could pay a 4.5 percent tax on income instead of the current progressive tax. Most deductions and credits wouldn't be available to those paying the flat tax.
Supporters argue such a system would simplify the process.  Opponents say a flat tax provides costly breaks to the affluent.
Lawmakers in the House amended the bill to include another proposal to use surplus budget funds to give credits to taxpayers.  The surplus has been estimated at up to $800 million.
The legislation now moves to the Democratic-majority Senate, where it has little chance of support.


State Senate Approves Bill For Additional Mental Health Funding

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State senators approved a bill that would give some counties a share of $11.6 million to continue treatment of mental health patients as the state transitions to a
regional system.
The Senate approved the measure Wednesday by a 40 to 5 vote with some Republicans and Democrats against the bill, which aids 26 of the 32 counties seeking extra funding to get them through this fiscal year.
The one-time appropriation now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature. Branstad earlier voiced support for $3.8 million, a figure recommended by the Department of Human Services.
Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids spoke in support of the bill Wednesday, saying such a level of funding is needed because the mental health services in the state are approaching a "crisis
situation."


Branstad To Take A Vacation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is taking a little break from budget debates to take a family trip to Arizona.
Spokesman Tim Albrecht says Branstad will leave Friday and return March 23rd.
Albrecht calls the trip an annual spring break vacation for Branstad and his family. Albrecht declined to provide Branstad's exact destination.
Albrecht says Branstad checks in daily with staff when he is out of town.
The Legislature will continue its work while the governor is away.




 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Wednesday Afternoon News, March 13

American Legion To Hold Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

(Le Mars) -- The American Legion Wasmer Post #241 of Le Mars will hold a special ribbon cutting ceremony this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  The ceremony is to acknowledge the recent renovation of the building's facade'. Steve Jester serves as a trustee for the local American Legion post.  He says the planning for the new building front started more than two years ago.
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Jester says the total investment was over $60,000.  The Legion official says the building has some unique features.

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Jester says with the new building front, and the painting of the waving flag on the side of the building, many people have taken notice and commented on the improvements to the American Legion hall.

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Floyd Valley Hospital Trustees Approve Moving Loading Dock Facilities

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees approved plans to move and modify the loading dock area at the hospital.  The approval was made last evening during the regular monthly meeting of the hospital trustees, and Hospital Administrator, Mike Donlin says the loading dock project needed to be acted upon before the trustees can approve the major multi-million dollar expansion project.

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Sioux City Police Involved With Standoff

(Sioux City) -- A standoff with a suspect that lasted most of the night in Sioux City's Greenville area is now over. Sioux City Police officer Chad Sheehan explains what happened.

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Sheehan says the incident began after midnight this morning when police responded to a disturbance call.  The man involved had left the scene of the disturbance and gone to a relative's house in Greenville.  The suspect, a male in his 20's, was said to be armed, and allowed his relatives in the home to leave without incident. No shots were fired during the standoff and neither the suspect, or any officers were injured.  The suspect's name has not yet been released.


Communities and Businesses Want New I-29 Exchange

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Five entities that want another Interstate 29 exit to be built south of Sioux City are preparing to underwrite a nearly $400,000 study.
The cities of Sioux City, Sergeant Bluff and Salix, along with Woodbury County and an arm of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, are backing the idea. The exit would serve Sioux City's Southbridge Industrial Park and the county-proposed Liberty Industrial Park.
Plans to ask the Iowa Department of Transportation for the exit failed last year when local officials couldn't agree on whether to ask the department to rebuild the Port Neal interchange or build
another to the north.
Sergeant Bluff Mayor Dale Petersen says a new interchange would make the area more accessible to businesses.
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Des Moines School Board Split On New Superintendent's Contract

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A divided Des Moines school board has approved a contract for the district's new superintendent.
The board voted Tuesday 4-3 in favor of nearly $300,000 in total compensation for Thomas Ahart. The 45-year-old had been interim superintendent for the 32,000 student district.
Some board members who voted against the contract said they believed no other candidates were seriously considered for the job.
Board member Joe Jongewaard said at the meeting that no qualified candidate "had any chance of getting this job."
Ahart's contract went into effect immediately. It extends through June 30, 2015.
Other job finalists were James Browder, superintendent of the Anchorage School District in Alaska, and Carey Wright, chief academic officer of the District of Columbia Public Schools.
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Iowa Finance Authority Helping With Housing

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state agency is giving over $70 million in federal tax credits to 12 affordable housing projects in Iowa.
Officials from the Iowa Finance Authority say the credits will help build and preserve 635 housing units in the state.
Gov. Terry Branstad says seniors, students and families in Iowa need more affordable housing options.
The Finance Authority is responsible for giving federal housing tax credits to developers. Developers sell the credits to investors to raise funding for their projects. The Finance Authority received
38 applications for the credits. The awards total about $7 million in credits per year for ten years.
Locations for the projects include Des Moines, Newton, Waukee and Storm Lake.


Southeast Iowa Lawmakers Want Branstad To Save Mental Health Prison

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Six southeast Iowa lawmakers are asking Gov. Terry Branstad to reverse his decision to close a mental health care unit at the state penitentiary in Fort Madison.
In a letter sent to the governor Wednesday, one Republican and five Democratic lawmakers say closing the 10-year-old unit will be detrimental to inmates with mental health needs.
Branstad's budget proposal announced in February calls for closure of the $26 million, 200-bed facility in 2014. Prisoners would be transferred to prison medical units in Clarinda and Coralville and the new state penitentiary in Fort Madison.
State budget director Dave Roederer says closing the unit saves the state $8 million in annual operations costs.
Signing the letter were Democrats Tom Courtney, Rich Taylor, Dennis Cohoon, Jerry Kearns and Todd Taylor and Republican Dave Heaton.

 

 

 

 

   

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