Friday News, May 3
Plymouth County Honors County Employees
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth county Courthouse will be closed today between 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. for the annual county employee picnic and awards presentation. Service awards will be presented to county employees marking several years of service. 15 year service awards will be given to JoLynn Goodchild of the Recorder's office, Amy Oetkin with the county attorney's office, and Kurt Hagge of the Secondary Roads Department. Receiving recognition for 25 years of service includes Chief Sheriff's Deputy Craig Bartolozzi. Three people will receive honors for 30 years of service. They include: Rick Groetkin and Ron Shuff both with the Secondary Roads Department, and County Engineer Tom Rohe. Dennis Binneboese and Curt Sitzmann both with the Seondary Road Department will be recognized for their 35 years of service to Plymouth County, and Richard Husman will be presented a certificate acknowledging 40 years of service.
"Then Just Feed One" Hunger Relief Program Scheduled For Today
(Le Mars) -- The Hunger Relief Program, "Then Feed Just One" is scheduled to take place today at Gehlen Catholic School. Volunteers comprising of Gehlen students, staff and faculty, Opportunities Unlimited, and others from businesses and the community will gather to assemble meal packets that consist of rice and dried vegetables. To date, Gehlen Catholic’s Then Feed Just One program has produced more than 1.5-million meals for starving children based in Honduras. In a study by the World Health Organization and Unicef, 29 percent of the children living in Honduras will be affected by stunting, or when the brain doesn't have an opportunity to fully develop due to malnutrition.
Police Search Continues For Jamal Dean In Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The hunt for a man suspected of shooting a police officer in northwest Iowa has spread to Omaha.
Officers surrounded a block about a mile west of downtown Omaha on Thursday night, but Jamal Dean wasn't found during the 90-minute search.
He's suspected of shooting Sioux City Police Officer Kevin McCormick. Authorities believe Dean has ties to the Omaha area.
Police say McCormick pulled over a car on Monday afternoon in Sioux City. McCormick was still in his cruiser when a man stepped out of the car and opened fire with a rifle. McCormick was hit in
the head by a bullet fragment. He's been released from a hospital.
A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the capture of Dean.
Recent Rains and Snow Help Lift Iowa From Severe Drought Rating
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More drenching rain and heavy snow are pulling most of Iowa out of drought conditions.
In a report released Thursday, the state Department of Natural Resources says storms in mid-April largely ended the drought in the eastern half of Iowa. Rain also lessened drought conditions in
Although heavy rain and snow moving through the state Thursday and Friday don't show up on this report, the DNR noted that conditions would clearly improve due to the precipitation.
The report also shows shallow groundwater levels improved in the last two weeks in northwest, southwest and north central Iowa.
Stream flows in most rivers were normal, though some in eastern Iowa were above normal.
State Lawmakers Go Into Overtime For General Session
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Daily payments for Iowa lawmakers are set to end Friday, but the legislative session is far from over.
With no resolution yet on major policy issues like education, property taxes, health care or the overall budget plan, legislators are expected back next week to try and work out a deal.
Just how long it could take is unclear. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, says lawmakers will be in the state Capitol for as long as it takes.
But Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, of Hiawatha, says he thinks they have a "real shot" to wrap up the session next week.
Two years ago the session lasted until June 30, in part due to conflict over whether Iowa Medicaid funds could be used for some abortions.
Legislators Close To Approving Judicial Branch Budget
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers appear close on a budget deal for the state's judicial branch.
The state House on Thursday approved a budget that gives the judiciary a $167.7 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, an increase of nearly $6 million over the current year. The
judicial branch requested this funding level and the state Senate approved the same amount.
A House proposal to cut the salaries of Iowa Supreme Court justices who joined in a unanimous ruling that legalized gay marriage in Iowa was withdrawn from the bill.
Rep. Gary Worthan, a Republican from Storm Lake, says the bill will move back the Senate and then he expects it will go to the governor for approval.
House Approves Bill That Changes Collective Bargaining
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican-majority Iowa House has approved legislation that would change collective bargaining rules in the state.
House lawmakers included the provision in a broad spending bill they approved Thursday in a 52 to 43 vote.
Under the proposal, state employees would have to pay 20 percent of their health insurance premiums. Sponsors say it would not impact the current two-year contract negotiated by Gov. Terry
Branstad and state workers that says workers won't pay anything toward health care premiums.
Danny Homan, president of Iowa Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, says he thought the measure would be illegal if it became law.
The policy will likely be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate, where the legislation now goes.
U of I Kicks Off "For Iowa - Forever More" Campaign
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa leaders are kicking off a fundraising drive that they hope will generate $1.7 billion to support scholarships, buildings and research.
University officials announced at an event Thursday that they have raised more than $1 billion since 2008, and have set a new goal of raising a $700 million more by December 2016.
They said the "For Iowa. Forever More" campaign would be the largest fundraising effort in state history and among the most ambitious nationally for a public university of its size.
University President Sally Mason said the campaign will allow the university to "develop new ways to bring its creativity and expertise to the world."
UI Foundation President Lynette Marshall said the campaign would connect thousands of donors with students, programs and "life-changing educational discoveries."
Flags To Be Lowered To Honor Viet Nam Veteran
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all state flags be flown at half-staff in honor of an Iowa sailor who went missing during the Vietnam War and whose remains were recently
A report from the Department of Defense says Donald McGrane, of Waverly, was part of a four person Navy crew on a helicopter mission in North Vietnam that was shot down and crashed in 1967.
The Defense Department announced this week that it had identified remains of the four victims.
The sailors will be buried with full military honors Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery.
In Iowa, the flags will be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.