Wednesday Afternoon News, March 5
Waste Water Treatment And Public Parks Submit Annual Reports To City Council
(Le Mars) -- Both the Wastewater Treatment department and the city's public parks department submitted their annual reports from 2013 to the city council. Ron Kaiser, superintendent of the Le Mars Waste Water Treatment plant says the waste water facility treated more than 657 million gallons of waste water last year, which was slightly more than in 2012. Kaiser says the city's residents and small businesses contributed to 56 percent of the waste water, Wells Enterprises was responsible for 32 percent, and Deans Foods made up the remaining 12 percent. Kaiser informed the city council the new waste water treatment plant is progressing, however, he doubts if it will be ready for use by the April 1st deadline. He says this winter's cold weather has caused some delays.
City Parks Department Superintendent, Brad Eppling informed the city council that 2013 was a busy year for his department. He says flood clean up consumed many hours, and in fact, he says the parks department wasn't able to take on many other projects, or was able to complete normal summer activities. Eppling says by the end of the summer, his staff was able to catch up on the work. Eppling reported his staff made repairs and remodeling at the Le Mars Arts Center, library, city hall, boy scout shelter house, Weidler building, police station, the fire station, and convention center. Eppling says a majority of the time was devoted to repairing the BMX track, cleaning waterways at the golf course, cleaning sediment and debris along the recreational walking trail, and transplanting trees that were destroyed by the flood.
Ryan Returning To Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is planning his second trip to Iowa since running as the Republicans' 2012 vice presidential nominee.
In a statement Tuesday from the Republican Party of Iowa, state Chairman A.J. Spiker says Ryan plans to headline the party's annual Lincoln Day dinner in Cedar Rapids on April 11.
Ryan campaigned regularly in Iowa in the fall of 2012 before he and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney failed to carry the swing state in their losing bid for the White House.
But Ryan, viewed as a 2016 presidential prospect, returned last November to headline a fundraiser for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.
Iowa is expected to host the first nominating caucuses for the 2016 presidential election. Ryan visited New Hampshire last month, saying he's keeping his 2016 options open.
Romney Endorses Ernst For Senate Seat
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is backing state Sen. Joni Ernst in the crowded GOP primary for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat.
In a Wednesday press release from Ernst, Romney calls the lawmaker from Red Oak "a proven conservative with a great record."
Ernst is among six Republicans running in the June 3 primary. The others include radio host Sam Clovis, businessman Mark Jacobs, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and lesser-known candidates Paul Lunde and Scott Schaben.
They are vying to run against U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley of Waterloo, the only Democrat running for the seat now held by Democrat Tom Harkin, who is not seeking a sixth term in November.
Romney campaigned aggressively for Iowa in the 2012 election but lost the state to President Barack Obama.
Iowa Lawmakers Agree On Budget Numbers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Legislative leaders from both parties in the House and Senate have accomplished the rare task of agreeing on figures for the state budget for the fiscal year beginning in July.
Joint budget targets were released Wednesday proposing the state spend $6.97 billion, a 7.4 percent increase over the current fiscal year's budget. Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed spending $7 billion.
Democratic Sen. Bob Dvorsky, head of the Senate appropriations committee, says in his 28 years he doesn't recall such an agreement.
Le Mars Republican Rep. Chuck Sodderberg, head of the House appropriations committee, says the proposed budget spends less than the state brings in and funds Iowans' priorities.
The targets are overall figures for eight broad state budget areas. Budget subcommittees begin working Thursday on details of specific spending.
9-1-1 Dispatcher Resigns After Several Mistakes
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa emergency dispatcher has resigned after her agency said she mishandled calls for service, was caught sleeping on duty and accessed police databases improperly.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show Lee County dispatcher LeAnn Wellman failed to notify police when she dispatched fire officials to a boiler fire at a Fort Madison preschool last year, hindering the response.
In November, ambulance workers had to break a home owner's window to respond to a health check after Wellman failed to give them a door access code. Wellman also used a state database to look up driver's licenses photos of acquaintances out of curiosity.
After drafting a termination notice, the county let Wellman resign Dec. 23. A judge ruled last month that she's eligible for unemployment benefits.
Landowners File Lawsuit Against Army Corps Of Engineers Over Missouri River Floods
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A group of farmers and business owners is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, claiming the agency mismanaged the Missouri River since 2006 and contributed to major flooding in five states.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday claims some plaintiffs experienced extensive damage - particularly during the extended 2011 flooding that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of mostly farmland in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
Corps officials did not immediately respond to a message Wednesday morning.
Outside experts who reviewed the 2011 flooding said the Corps did the best it could in dealing with record amounts of water that flowed into the 2,341-mile-long river after unusually heavy spring rains in Montana and North Dakota.
Two Fugitives Back In Custody
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities say two missing inmates are back in custody after being listed as escaped.
News releases sent Wednesday by the Iowa Corrections Department say 41-year-old Jon Myers is being held in the Lafayette County, Wis., jail. On Tuesday the department said Myers hadn't returned to a Dubuque work-release facility since he left for a job assignment. He was put on escaped status Monday.
The department also said another escaped prisoner has returned to his work-release site.
Twenty-one-year-old Eddie Sandoval-Rouillard reported back to the Sioux City Work Release Facility on Tuesday. He'd been listed as escaped on Sunday. The department says he didn't return to the facility from an assigned program meeting.
Pet Breeders Criticize Proposed Legislation
BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - Some pet breeders in Iowa say proposed legislation placing new restrictions on their work would put them out of business in the state.
The bill, which was recently approved by a Senate commerce committee, would include requirements like increased licensing fees, more outdoor access and larger kennel sizes. There would also be stricter penalties for violations.
The Burlington Hawk Eye reports the legislation would affect commercial breeders with more than four animals.
Daniel Reece, president of the Iowa Pet Breeders Association, says the proposed rules would essentially get rid of pet breeding in the state. Margie Davis, a member of Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, says the bill is intended to shut down puppy mills.
The bill has now been referred to the Senate Ways and Means subcommittee.