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Tuesday News, January 13

Supervisors Have Busy Agenda

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have a busy agenda for their weekly meeting.  The supervisors are expected to re-appoint Brad Cave to a another term for the Local Options Sales Tax Board.  They will also name two other people to the L.O.S.T. board to serve Districts 2 and 4.  The county governing board is expected to re-appoint James Dennison to the Board of Adjustment for a five-year term.  Shelly Thomspon of Life Skills Training Center is on the agenda to address the county supervisors.  County Recorder, JoLynn Goodchild will be delivering her quarterly report.  County engineer Tom Rohe will be appearing before the supervisors to submit a permit from MidAmerican Energy Company for work in Perry Township.  The supervisors will continue their meeting into the afternoon hours.  Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo will appear before the county board of supervisors to formally make his budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year.


Hospital Trustees To Meet This Evening

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this evening.  The trustees will hear a medical staff update from newly elected president of the Floyd Valley Medical Staff, Dr. Mark Stelzer.  The hospital trustees will make committee assignments, as well as have a review and approval of the governing board's by-laws.  Trustee Bill Rosacker will deliver the Community Health Advisory Committee and board of health quarterly report.  The hospital trustees will also discuss the latest developments with the north addition expansion project.


School Foundation To Launch Spring Scholarship Campaign

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School District Foundation will kick-off this year's scholarship campaign for the 2015 spring scholarship program.  The school foundation was formed in 1991, and to date, through the gracious contributions from a number of benefactors, has awarded over $690,000 in scholarships.  Last year alone, the Le Mars Community School District Foundation awarded 108 scholarships totalling $55,600.  The Foundation's scholarship committee goal is to exceed last year's scholarships.  Already, there have been four new scholarships created that will be awarded for the first time this spring.


School Board Discuss Upcoming Retreat

(Le Mars) -- At last evening's Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting, the school board discussed the upcoming board and administration retreat scheduled for January 26th.  During that retreat, the school board will get updates pertaining to Technology Intergration Presentations from Middle School and Elementary School faculty.  The school board will take some time to visit about the Iowa Core, as well as have a round robin discussion relating to Teacher Leadership Compensation.  The school board also approved the petition of two students wanting to attend Le Mars Community School through open enrollment.  The local board of education also approved the contract to hire Scott Eilts.


Le Mars Main Street Organization A Finalist For A National Grant

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Main Street Alley Art project was recently given some good news. It was learned that Le Mars is among 90 finalists for a grant.  Le Mars applied for a $125,000 Art Place America grant.  More than 1,280 applications had been submitted from across the country.  Now, Le Mars Main Street officials will make a full application and receive a personal visit from New York City Art Place staff.  Approximately 40 percent of the 90 finalists will receive funding.


Two School Buses Collide At Storm Lake

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two students and two adults have been treated for injuries after a school bus crashed into the back of another in the northwest Iowa city of Storm Lake. 
     Storm Lake police say the accident was reported around 7:45 a.m. Monday. Police say a westbound Storm Lake School District bus carrying 39 students was halted for traffic when it was struck by a second district bus with 58 students on board. The driver of the second bus was cited for failure to stop.
     One driver, an adult aide and one student were taken to Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, and a second student was treated at the scene. The other bus driver later drove himself to the hospital for evaluation.


Branstad To Deliver Condition Of The State Address Today

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad will lay out his 2015 budget plans in his Condition of the State address. Branstad is scheduled to address the Iowa General Assembly this morning. Branstad has said enough money was available for a fair and sustainable budget.


Obama To Visit Iowa On Wednesday

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - The White House is offering more details about President Barack Obama's visit to Iowa. A news release says Obama will visit Cedar Falls on Wednesday and speak on the issue of increasing access to affordable, high-speed broadband. The White House says Obama's speech will be streamed online.


MidAmerican Energy Completes Work On Wind Farms

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Company has completed work on three additional wind farms as part of an ongoing sustainable energy project. The completion of these wind farms means four of the five farms that comprise the so-called Wind VIII project are now finished. The project is slated for completion by the end of this year.


Veterans Affairs Has New Director At Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a new director for the Iowa City VA Health Care System.
     The department said in a statement that Judith Johnson-Mekota will be the system's new director effective February 8. She has served more than 20 years in health care leadership positions, most recently as director of the VA Central Iowa Health Care System. 
     The Iowa City VA Health Care System provides health care to more than 40,000 veterans and covers 32 counties in eastern Iowa and 16 counties in western Illinois. It has an operating budget of about $182 million and has more than 1,000 employees. 
     Johnson-Mekota holds a master's degree in nursing administration from the University of Iowa and an undergraduate degree in nursing from Coe College.



Monday Afternoon News, January 12

Branstad Tells Republican Legislators To Look Forward To 2016

(Des Moines) -- Iowa's 2015 General Session begins today, but Governor Terry Branstad is already looking ahead to 2016.  During a legislative fundraiser breakfast held this morning, Branstad urged Republican lawmakers to start making plans for the next election cycle.

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During his 20 year tenure, Branstad has rarely had both legislative chambers hold a Republican majority.  It did happen once in 1996, and Branstad says he would like to see it happen again.

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The Iowa Senate has 25 seats that are up for election every two years.  Branstad says Republicans need to find suitable candidates for each Senate position.   


Iowa Has High Percentage Of Homes With Radon

(Des Moines) -- Iowa is believed to have the largest percentage of homes in the U.S. with radon levels above what the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) calls "acceptable." Mindy Uhle, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says at least half of the homes in the state have an elevated radon level.
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Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that causes no immediate health symptoms, but long-term exposures may cause lung cancer. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Uhle encourages all homeowners to purchase a radon test kit, which typically costs less than $20.
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Radon gas typically seeps into a house under the home -- through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Uhle suggests having a second test done if a first test shows high levels of radon in your home. Repairs to fix the problem are expensive.
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Last week, Governor Branstad signed a proclamation, formally declaring January as "Radon Action Month" in Iowa.


Branstad Says Teacher Licensening Program Is Working

   DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says a teacher licensing program aimed at helping veterans and their families is working.
     Branstad said at a Monday news conference that the military exchange license program has helped veterans and their spouses secure technical and provisional licenses that will keep them working in the state. The program allows participants to teach in the state for several years without having to immediately take additional college coursework. 
     Branstad says the program ties in with his separate Home Base Iowa initiative, which went into effect last year. That law is aimed at giving veterans incentives to work in Iowa once their military service is over.
     The licensing program is offered through the Board of Educational Examiners. A board report says more than 20 licenses were issued in 2014.


Drake Announces New President

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An administrator at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, will become the next president at Drake University in Des Moines.
     Drake announced Monday that Earl F. Martin, Gonzaga's executive vice president, would become the 13th president at Drake in July.
     Martin will succeed David Maxwell, who will retire after 16 years at the university.
     At Gonzaga, Martin has provided administrative and operational oversight since 2010. He also served as academic vice president and dean of Gonzaga's School of Law during his tenure at the university.
     Martin joins Drake as the school works to advance STEM initiatives and complete a $200 million fundraising campaign. 
     Drake University Board of Trustees chairman Larry Zimpleman says Martin is 'well-equipped' to lead Drake as the university wraps up past projects and confronts new challenges.


Branstad To Speak At Summit

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will appear at a conservative summit in Iowa this month.
     Organizers of the Iowa Freedom Summit said Monday that Branstad and Reynolds will participate. The Jan. 24 event in Des Moines is being sponsored by Citizens United and Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
     Other confirmed guests for the summit include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.


Council Bluffs Man Beaten During Home Invasion

     COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 72-year-old man has been beaten by a man who broke into his home in western Iowa.
     Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker says the man entered a house in the rural Honey Creek community north of Council Bluffs around 9 p.m. on Sunday. Danker says the man wore a black ski mask, black jacket and hood and used a weapon of some sort to beat Robert Bogar. Bogar's wife was not injured.
     The man left the house without taking anything. Bogar was taken to a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.
     No arrests have been reported.






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