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Tuesday Afternoon News, December 2

City Awards Downtown Historical Rennovation To Renaissance Restoration, Inc.

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council accepted the bid of $759,256 from Renaissance Restoration, Incorporated of Galena, Illinois, to conduct the downtown facade historical rennovation project as part of the Community Development Block Grant.  The council awarded the bid during its regular council meeting held Tuesday.  Three different contractors submitted bids for the project that ranged from the low bid of $759,256 to a high bid of $940,921.  Construction is expected to begin on the 29 participating business buildings within the next few weeks.  Peter Franks of Franks Design Group served as the archetech for the project.  He is familiar with the contractor's work on a similar project at Manning, Iowa.

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Franks says Renaissance Restoration comes highly recommended for working on historical restoration projects.

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Franks says he was pleased with the bidding process, and believes Le Mars had a good showing of contractor bidders for the downtown historical restoration project.

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 Branstad Orders Flags To Fly Half Staff To Honor Representative Alons

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, to honor State Representative Dwayne Alons, a retired brigadier general with the Iowa Air National Guard. Representative Alons passed away on Saturday, November 29, 2014.
The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state.
Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 3 at First Reformed Church in Hull.
The U.S. flag flown over the state Capitol on the day of the funeral will be presented to Rep. Alons’ family.

 

Farm Bureau Delegates Discussing Fuel Tax And Water Quality

(Des Moines) -- Delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation are meeting in Des Moines this week for their annual meeting, and one Farm Bureau official believes discussion may focus on a proposed gasoline tax hike for repairs to Iowa's infrastructure system including roads, highways, and bridges. Matt Steinfeldt oversees government relations for the farm organization.  He says the conservative organization has endorsed an increase in the fuel tax to help pay for road and bridge repairs.

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Steinfeldt says the in ability to finance road repair projects is placing a huge burden on property owners.

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The Farm Bureau official says Iowa has never been in debt before for financing road repairs, as the state has traditionally used a "pay as you go" method.  However, he says within the last seven years, Iowa has found itself behind on road repair financing.  He calls it a "trend that is accelerating and a disturbing trend".   Steinfeldt worrys if Iowa doesn't start a serious plan to repair the roads, it will lead to additional economic problems for the state.

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Another idea to generate revenue for road repairs is to assess higher registration fees on heavier equipment such as combine harvesters, tractors, grain carts, and trucks.  Steinfeldt says the Iowa Farm Bureau is against such measures.  It is believed when the Iowa legislature returns to work for a new session, revenues for road and bridge repairs may take center stage.

Plymouth County farmer Mike Jaminet of Le Mars is a voting delegate at the Iowa Farm Bureau Convention.  He says nitrate levels and maintaining water quality are also topics being discussed at the farm organization's state meeting.

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 Half Of Iowa's Counties Have Signed Up For Statewide Emergency Alert System

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of Iowa's Homeland Security division says more than 50 Iowa counties have signed up for a statewide emergency notification system. 
     Mark Schouten, director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says Tuesday that 57 counties are now participating in Alert Iowa. The system was launched in October. 
     Residents in counties with the system can sign up for alerts about issues like severe weather. They have a wide range of options for how to receive the information, including phone calls, text messages or through social media.  Counties have local control over how they use the system. 
     Schouten talked about the program during a budget hearing before Gov. Terry Branstad. Schouten is seeking $400,000 to continue to the program in the next budget year.

 

Four Plead Not Guilty To Robbing Charges That Led To School Lockdown 

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Four men have pleaded not guilty to charges in connection to a robbery at Iowa Central Community College that caused a school lockdown.
     Court records show 18-year-old Garhoth Dak, of Storm Lake, entered the written plea Monday on a charge of second-degree robbery.
     Three other men pleaded not guilty to a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree robbery. They are 21-year-old Joseph Odir, of Des Moines; 21-year-old Juma Deng, of Urbandale; and 23-year-old Molong Deng, of Des Moines.
     The men are accused of entering a campus dorm room on Nov. 10. Police say a student reported the men in her room.
     Iowa Central Community College, in Fort Dodge, placed the school on lockdown for several hours in response to the incident.
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Storm Lake Not To Close Rail Crossings

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - The Storm Lake City Council has decided not to discuss a plan to close eight railroad crossings.
     The council voted to pull the item from the agenda for Monday's meeting.
     Councilman Bruce Englemann says "there was a groundswell of the public that was opposed to it, and then the railroad started to back off some of their requests."
     During previous discussions, several residents said they opposed the closures because of the potential for traffic congestion and delays for emergency vehicles. The crossings don't have electronic gates and lights to warn pedestrians and motorists of oncoming trains.
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Grinnell Colllege To Receive $4 Million As A Gift

GRINNELL, Iowa (AP) - Grinnell College has received a $4 million bequest from a graduate who died last year after a successful career as a tax attorney.
     The college announced Tuesday that 1950 Grinnell graduate Marilyn Walsh had made the gift to establish a scholarship for Iowa residents admitted to the school.
     Walsh was a native of Woodbine who received a bachelor's degree in history, then earned law degrees at New York University. She worked as a tax attorney, first at a Wall Street firm and then at CBS. She died Sept. 2, 2013, in New York City.
     The scholarship will be open to students who have lived in Iowa at least five years. Iowans who apply to Grinnell will be automatically considered for the scholarship, named in memory of Walsh's mother, Dorrit Walsh. 





 

   

Tuesday News, December 2

County Supervisors To Meet Today

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the County Courthouse boardroom.  The supervisors will decide whether to approve the new 2014 Family Farm Applications.  The county governing board will take action involving a deed for sale regarding the Plymouth County Recreational subdivision.  The supervisors will hear from Jim McCrystal as he is seeking approval for a minor subdivision in Perry Township.  County engineer Tom Rohe will appear before the supervisors to update the county's construction projects, and to submit permits from Northern Iowa Telephone and Neutral Path Communications.

 

Le Mars City Council To Open Bids On Downtown Rennovation Project

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council is expected to open bids for the downtown facade rennovation as part of the Community Development Block Grant.  The winning contractor is expected to start the project yet this fall.  Also on the city council's agenda is a proposed increase in the sewer rate ordinance as part of the costs associated with the new waste water treatment facility.  The city will be asking Wells Enterprises to share the cost of $20 million and Dean's Foods will pay $5.1 million dollars.  The user agreement is for a period of 20 years.

 

Soderberg To Chair House Appropriations Committee

(Des Moines) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars has again been appointed by the House majority leader Kraig Paulson to lead the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.  Soderberg also chaired the State House Appropriations Committee during the last session of the Iowa legislature.  Other northwest Iowa state representatives with leadership posiitions include Sioux City Republican Ron Jorgensen who will chair the House Education Committee, and Sioux Rapids Republican Megan Jones will chair the House Environmental Protection Committee.

 

Charitable Organizations Seeking Donations

(Le Mars) -- We have "Gray Thursday", "Black Friday", Small Business Saturday", "Cyber Monday" and now "Giving Tuesday".  Each of the first four days are focused on bargain shopping for the holidays.  However, the purpose of "Giving Tuesday" is to donate eitherr items or cash to local charities.  This time of year food banks and charitable thrift organizations are in need of food and clothing.  Barb Waltz serves as the coordinator for the Christian Needs Center in Le Mars.  She says she is hopeful people will be generous, and donate items of need.

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Waltz says Le Mars has always been a generous community.

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This year, Waltz says the Christian Needs Center distributed its Christmas baskets a little differently than from previous years.

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The Christian Needs Center serves Plymouth County residents, but Waltz says the center will not turn its back on anyone in need.

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The Christian Needs Center is open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon and again from 1:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.

 

Mid-Sioux Opportunity Accepting "Mittens"

(Remsen) -- Another local organization assisting the under priviledged is Mid-Sioux Opportunity of Remsen.  For the past six years Mid-Sioux has collected mittens and gloves that are distributed to needy families within five counties of northwest Iowa.  People can purchase a "mitten" at area businesses for a dollar donation.  Mid-Sioux then collects the money to purchase mittens, scarfs, gloves and other necessity items for people living in Plymouth, Sioux, O'Brien, Cherokee, and Ida Counties.  In Remsen, you may purchase a mitten at Mid-Sioux, Opportunity, Mrs. B's Convenience store, Iowa State Bank, and American Bank. In Akron, you can purchase a mitten at Maynard's grocery store. 

 

NIPCO Accepting Coats For Kids 

(Le Mars) -- Continuing our theme about giving, local power utility cooperative NIPCO is a sponsor of the "Coats for Kids" campaign and Angela Catton says it has been a successful campaign for the last five years.

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Catton explains why NIPCO, and its member affiliate Rural Electric Cooperatives, have joined in with the Coats for Kids campaign.

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The utility spokesperson explains besides the Le Mars NIPCO offices, there are several other locations where people can donate a slightly used coat.

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Coats can be donated until January 6th.

 

Cattle Producers Hold Beef Quality Assurance Certification Meetings

(Le Mars) -- Consumers are placing additional demands on the cattle industry, and cattle producers are having to make some modifications to their production techniques. For this reason, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, along with the Iowa Cattlemen Association are hosting three separate meetings today to address beef quality assurance issues.  Beth Doran serves as the Iowa State University Extension Beef Specialist for northwest Iowa, and explains the purpose of the meetings.

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Doran says the beef packing companies have indicated they will conduct audit checks with producers to make certain they are in compliance.

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The Le Mars Convention Center is hosting the Beef Quality Assurance meeting today, and the two-hour meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m.  Doran says there isn't any registration fees. Similar meetings are scheduled for Holstein at 2:00 p.m. and the Palo Alto County Extension office at Emmetsburg starting at 7:00 p.m.  Doran encourages all area cattle producers to attend one of the meetings.  She says the goal is to have all Iowa Cattle producers be 100 percent certified.

 

Branstad Pleased To See Christie Vetos Animal Crate Bill

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is praising Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a ban on crates for sows but says the New Jersey Republican's action wasn't influenced by the 2016 Iowa caucuses.
     On Monday, Branstad called Christie's veto on Friday of legislation outlawing gestation crates a "good decision." Branstad says the veto allows farmers to protect young pigs from being crushed by heavy sows.
     New Jersey has few hogs but Iowa raises more than 20 million hogs annually. Some argue Christie's veto was influenced by Iowa's early voting status. Christie is weighing a bid for the Republican presidential nomination
     Branstad, a Republican, says he has discussed the issue with Christie but doesn't think politics factored into the matter.
     Branstad said, "I give him credit for listening."

 

People Express Comments Regarding Proposed Oil Pipeline

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Supporters and opponents of a proposed oil pipeline that would cut across Iowa have spoken at a public hearing in Fort Madison.
     Representatives from the Iowa Utilities Board, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Energy Transfer Partners were present Monday to discuss the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.
     The proposed $3.78 billion project would stretch from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, to Patoka, Illinois.
     The Burlington Hawkeye reports some people expressed concern about property damage. Others said they were worried about potential water contamination. Others expressed full support for the project because they believe it could bring jobs to the area.
     Officials are holding several meetings about the pipeline across the state. Energy Transfer Partners wants to have the pipeline built and working by the end of 2016.
  



 

 

 

   

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