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Tuesday News, April 28

Remsen-Union and Le Mars Community School Boards Hold Joint Meeting

(Le Mars) -- The school boards of Le Mars Community and Remsen-Union held a joint board meeting last evening to review available options as the Remsen-Union school district evaluates its future.  The Remsen-Union school board had requested the joint meeting.  No decisions were made during the meeting, other than to obtain additional information for both boards to review at a later date.

Shortly after the meeting convened, Remsen-Union school officials brought up the idea of whole grade class sharing. Remsen-Union proposed a two-way sharing program, in which the high school students would attend Le Mars Community High School, and the middle school students from both Remsen-Union and Le Mars would be educated in Remsen.  Scott Kommes, the president of the LeMarsCommunity School District immediately responded to the proposal by saying if there is to be an agreement, it would only be a one-way whole grade sharing with all students to attend the Le Mars Community school district.

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Discussion centered for a potential whole-grade sharing program that would only involve the Remsen-Union high school.  Remsen-Union would maintain its elementary grades.  Le Mars Community officials asked how many students would come to Le Mars if a program was established?  Remsen-Union officials indicated the high school consists of about 100 students, but it is unknown if all would attend Le Mars Community.  Some may go to Kingsley-Pierson, others to Marcus-Merriden-Cleghorn, or to another school. Remsen-Union school board director Mike Spaar indicated one reason for the interest to share with the Le Mars Community is because there are already several opportunities available at Le Mars.  He indicated several students from Remsen-Union were already attending Le Mars Community through open enrollment.

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Several times the Denison-Schleswig school district with its whole grade sharing program was mentioned as an example.  Remsen-Union superintendent Jan Brandhorst spelled out the requirements as it relates to a whole grade sharing program.

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Le Mars School District director, Pat Murphy then asked the question "what other options are available besides whole-grade sharing?   Le Mars school superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt responded by saying the options include whole-grade sharing, consolidation, or even the dissolving of a school district.Remsen-Union officials indicated they are meeting with other neighboring school boards to find the best scenario for the Remsen-Union school. At that time Dr. Todd Wendt, asked the Remsen-Union officials to gauge their level of commitment to Le Mars.

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The Remsen-Union school board was in general agreement that they thought Le Mars would provide the best opportunity for R-U students.  Remsen-Union superintendent, Jan Brandhorst indicated the R-U school enrollment has been dropping nearly one percent each year for the past several years. Both sides agreed more specific detailed information would be needed, before any decision could be made.


More Iowa Poultry Farms Stricken With Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State officials say the bird flu virus has been found in four more northwest Iowa poultry farms with more than 2 million chickens.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture announced Monday there were probable cases of avian influenza at two farms in O'Brien County, one in Osceola County and one in Sioux County.
Additional testing of the birds is pending, and if confirmed all of the birds will be killed to prevent spread of the disease.
Since early March, bird flu cases have prompted officials to order that turkey and chicken producers euthanize more than 7 million birds from several Midwestern states.
The latest cases include three commercial laying operations and one farm that produces young hens. The largest operation is in Sioux County, with 1.7 million birds.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey held a telephone news conference yesterday to address the bird flu in Iowa.  Northey was asked about the impact on the state's egg industry so far.

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The other new probably case of the H-5-N-2 virus involves 250-thousand pullets in Osceola County. Pullets are chickens that become egg layers once they are grown. There are also two confirmed cases of the disease in turkey farms in Buena Vista and Sac County. Northey was asked about the impact of the disease on the price of turkeys and chicken products from the disease in Iowa and other states.

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Northey says the impact depends on how many more cases are found in the state, and he says they can't predict that. Minnesota's governor declared a state of emergency following the influenza outbreak there. Northey says his staff and the U-S-D-A have been handling things at this point and he isn't sure if Iowa will need such a declaration.

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Ex Egg Executives Appeal Judge Ruling

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Two former egg industry executives are appealing the three-month jail sentences a judge has ordered for their roles in a 2010 food poisoning outbreak.
The appeals filed Monday by Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, had been expected.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett ordered the jail time earlier this month, citing a "litany of shameful conduct" that happened at their large Iowa egg production company. But Bennett allowed them to stay free while they appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Federal investigators traced the 2010 salmonella outbreak to eggs that came from the DeCosters' company, Quality Egg. Thousands of people were sickened and more than 500 million eggs were voluntarily recalled.
The DeCosters' attorneys argue that jail time is unconstitutional for the crime.

Supervisors Accept Bids For Culvert Construction Projects

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved the bids for four separate culvert projects during their weekly meeting held Tuesday morning. With several representatives from various contractor companies attending the meeting, the sealed bids were opened by County Engineer, Tom Rohe.  Rohe says he was pleased at the level of interest for the construction projects.

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The first project involves a precast concrete box culvert measuring 12 feet by 6 feet by 48 feet. Seven different contractors submitted bids ranging from $105,464 to a top bid of $151,744.  Richards Construction of Sac City submitted the accepted low bid of $105,464.  Rohe explains each of the culvert projects will start during the late summer, and he tells of the location for the first bid culvert project.

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Richards Construction was also able to win two additional contracts with a  project low bid of $57,848, and $46,947.  Rohe says Richards Construction is a relatively new bidder for Plymouth County construction projects.

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The second project is located southeast of Kingsley on 330th Street in Garfield township.  L-A Carlson of Merrill, Iowa submitted the low bid of $165,372 for a culvert project located southwest of Struble on Key Avenue.  Rohe says each of the approved submitted bids were lower than his estimates.

Canine Flu Detected In Sioux City

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The first dog flu case in Iowa has been confirmed in Sioux City.
Dr. Kyoung-Jin Yoon with the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University says samples from a sick dog treated at the Perry Creek Animal Hospital are believed to be the latest strain of canine flu, H3N2. He says the specific strain hasn't yet been confirmed.
The virus has swept the Midwest in recent weeks, sickening more than 1,000 dogs and killing five between January and March.
Dr. David Ray, the veterinarian who first treated the sick dog April 20 in Sioux City, says the owners reported his health was improving as of Monday. He says about half of animal clinics in the area have reported dogs with flu-like symptoms, including fever, nasal discharge and a dry cough.


Complaint Filed Against Restaurant Owners For Not Paying Employees

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Regulators are suing the owners of two Ames restaurants to try to collect nearly $600,000 in wages that they say are owed to workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the husband and wife who own Mongolian Buffet and the recently-closed King Buffet.
The lawsuit alleges the owners, Li Ying Li and Jian Yum Zheng, did not pay some employees the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and did not pay overtime premiums.
The lawsuit says kitchen employees and servers were expected to work 72 hours per week. Some of them were paid a fixed salary of $450 weekly.
Regulators say 38 employees are owed $597,000 in past wages from March 2012 to March 2014.
Li said she wasn't aware of the lawsuit and declined comment.
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Poll Shows Iowans Don't Know New York Mayor
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih-BLAH'-zee-oh) traveled to Iowa this month to talk about his liberal beliefs. But most Iowans have no idea who he is.
A new poll released Tuesday revealed that 67 percent of Hawkeye State residents don't know enough about de Blasio to have an opinion.
The Public Policy Polling survey says that 18 percent have a favorable opinion of the mayor while 15 percent have an unfavorable opinion.
The poll was of 466 Democratic voters. It has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
De Blasio spoke in Des Moines about the need to fight income inequality.
He has taken clear steps to try to raise his national profile but has steadfastly denied considering a presidential run.


   

Monday Afternoon News, April 27

More Bird Flu Cases Detected In Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State officials say the bird flu virus has been found in four more northwest Iowa poultry farms with more than 2 million chickens.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture announced Monday there were probable cases of avian influenza at two farms in O'Brien County, one in Osceola County and one in Sioux County.

Additional testing of the birds is pending, and if confirmed all of the birds will be killed to prevent spread of the disease.

Since early March, bird flu cases have prompted officials to order that turkey and chicken producers euthanize more than 7 million birds from several Midwestern states.

The latest cases include three commercial laying operations and one farm that produces young hens. The largest operation is in Sioux County, with 1.7 million birds.

 

 


Sioux City Man Sentenced To Ten Years For A Bank Robbery

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection with a bank robbery.

The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1bLoLur ) 22-year-old Jonathan Birdnecklace was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery. He has been ordered to serve a minimum of seven years before he is eligible for parole and pay $200 in restitution to Great Southern Bank in Sioux City.

Court documents say Birdnecklace admitted in October to writing a note demanding $1,500 from a bank teller and pretending to have a weapon. He was arrested about half an hour later.

A phone number for Birdnecklace's attorney could not be located to request comment on his behalf.

 

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Cement Company Given 24 Work-Related Citations

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Mason City cement company has received several citations from a federal agency following safety inspections conducted in March.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration on Monday announced that Lehigh Cement Company in Mason City was issued 24 citations for violations of the Mine Act, which prioritizes the health and safety of employees in coal or other mining industries.

Of the 24 citations, seven were deemed violations likely to cause serious injury or illness, while the remaining 17 violations were determined less likely to pose such a risk.

Federal inspectors issued a total of 188 citations across the country and two orders to remove employees from particularly hazardous work environments.

Lehigh Cement Company produces cement and construction materials in the U.S. and Canada.

 

 

 

 

Inmate Dies

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man serving a life sentence for first-degree murder has died.

The Iowa Department of Corrections says 62-year-old Michael Rouse died Sunday in Iowa City after he told a nurse he was having trouble breathing and was transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he was pronounced dead.

According to a news release, Rouse died of natural causes resulting from worsening chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Rouse was assigned to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville, where he had been staying at the center's Long Term Ambulatory Unit for inmates who need a high-level of nursing care.

Rouse began his life sentence in May 1996.

 

 

 

 

Burnt Macaroni And Cheese Causes State Capitol Building To Evacuate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A burnt bowl of macaroni and cheese forced a brief evacuation at the Iowa Capitol.

Iowa Department of Administrative Services spokesman Caleb Hunter says Monday that somebody's lunch burned in a microwave behind the Senate Chambers on the second floor of the Capitol. He says the smoke prompted a short evacuation of the entire building during the morning.

Hunter says he wasn't aware of any property damages or injuries due to the incident.

 

 

 

 

Concert Shooting

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say a Minnesota man was shot following a rap concert in Iowa.

The West Des Moines Police Department says officers were directing traffic after the concert at the Val Air Ballroom when they heard at least one shot just before 2 a.m. Monday. The show featured Chicago rappers Twista and King Louie, also known as King L.

Sgt. Brent Kock says 24-year-old Daroyce Mills, of Burnsville, Minnesota, was shot in the abdomen. He was taken to a Des Moines hospital, where police say he was listed in stable condition Monday.

No suspects have been identified.

 

 

 

 

Des Moines Police Investigate Brewery Shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police are investigating after one man sustained a gunshot wound to his rear end in a shooting outside of a Des Moines brewery.

The Des Moines Police Department were monitoring an after-hours party early Sunday morning at Confluence Brewing Company when they heard several gunshots in a nearby parking lot.

A police report says the officers heard bullets whiz overhead as they moved toward the parking lot.

Officers reported spotting Jeremy Stokes limping toward a vehicle with a gunshot wound to the buttocks. Stokes was transported to Mercy Medical Center for treatment.

No arrests have been made in the shooting. The case remains under investigation.

 

 

 

 

Iowa Education Funding

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa (AP) - The superintendent of a suburban Des Moines school district says new dollars for teacher leadership training benefit schools, but he adds that basic school funding is still needed for expenses like books.

Southeast Polk Community School District Superintendent Craig Menozzi spoke Monday at a press conference with Gov. Terry Branstad. The event highlighted the progress since the governor's plan to boost funding for teacher training was approved two years ago.

Branstad says the program will "transform education."

Menozzi praises the new program, but expresses concern over how much new basic funding that schools will get for the upcoming school year. The issue is unresolved, with lawmakers at odds over the amount. He says that the funding level supported by Branstad and Republican leaders in the state House would force cuts.

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

   

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