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Thursday News, November 28

Study Shows Iowa Lacks Qualified Workers

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state survey suggests Iowa lacks enough qualified workers to meet the expansion plans of Iowa companies.
     The shortage is the top reason businesses cite in choosing not to expand in the state.
     The Iowa Economic Development Authority has been collecting the results of the ongoing survey to identify areas where Iowa could better attract new businesses or work with existing ones. The agency's director, Debi Durham, has cited the results several times.
     Durham told a budget hearing Tuesday that more than 7,000 companies have been interviewed using the survey since 2007.
     Iowa State economist Dave Swenson says problem is more a lack of people than a lack of skills. Swenson says Iowa isn't good at retaining its trained workers.


Murder Trial For Man Who Shot Rockwell City Police Officer Delayed

 ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) - The murder trial of a Rockwell City man accused of killing a police officer during a standoff has been rescheduled for next year.
     The Fort Dodge Messenger reports ( ) 32-year-old Corey Trott recently waived his right to a speedy trial. It is now scheduled to begin April 21 instead of Dec. 3.
     Trott is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 13 death of Rockwell City Police Officer Jamie Buenting, an eight-year veteran of the small town's department. Trott has pleaded not guilty.
     Buenting was responding to a standoff involving Trott, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant for assault. Trott is accused of firing a rifle that fatally hit Buenting.


Gun Club Sets Up Next To School

WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) - No Iowa laws apparently are being broken by the presence of a gun club next to a school being built in a western Des Moines suburb.
      The Des Moines Register says ( that, according to an opinion from the Iowa attorney general's office, private properties are exempt from laws restricting guns within 1,000 feet of school property  
     Geoff Greenwood is a spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, and Greenwood told the newspaper that the law doesn't apply to private property that is not part of school grounds.
     Timberline School is being built next door to the New Pioneer Gun Club's shooting range in Waukee.
     Waukee Schools Superintendent Dave Wilkerson says plans call for a 6-foot berm with a chain-link fence to keep kids from walking onto the range.


Firefighters Rescue Deer From Lake

 CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Firefighters donned rescue suits and ice cleats to help two deer that had been stranded on slippery Clear Lake in northern Iowa.
     The Clear Lake Fire Department was notified around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday that the animals were floundering about 400 yards from shore, unable to gain purchase on the ice.
      Department spokesman Billy Krefft says firefighters decided to try a rescue so others without sufficient training or safety gear wouldn't make an attempt and wind up needing rescue themselves.
     The firefighters used ropes to drag the exhausted animals back to shore. Krefft says the larger of the two, a buck, was treated and then released back into the wild. The younger, smaller of the two had suffered a broken leg, so it was euthanized.




Wednesday Afternoon News, November 27

Bixenman Honored As "Boss Of The Quarter"

(Le Mars) -- A Le Mars insurance agent has been selected as the "Boss of the Quarter".  The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce made the presentation earlier this morning to Rob Bixenman, owner of Bixenman Insurance Company.  Lori Steffen nominated Bixenman for the honor and says the company got its start in 2009 when Bixenmen purchased the agency.  She says When it comes to insurance, Rob knows his stuff!  He truly cares about his customers, and takes the time to get to know them so he can provide them with the proper coverage to suit their individual needs.  He strives to ensure their experience with the agency and with insurance in general is a good one.  He runs the agency with integrity and upholds good moral standards, which is refreshing to see in the industry.  Rob can also be commended for his involvement in the community—he actively gives his time, talents, and generosity for the betterment of the community.

Rob not only cares about his customers & community, he also cares about his employees as well.  He treats us with respect & kindness, and provides us the tools and motivation that allow us to do the best job we can in helping run a successful business.  Rob shares his vision of the agency, and will ask us for our thoughts, input, and opinions, making us feel like we are an integral part of the agency.  At the same time, his door is always open, and we can feel comfortable about coming to him for his thoughts and input as well.
Rob has always been very flexible, fair and understanding.  Even with his busy schedule, he will take the time to visit with us about our families and interests, and can also have some fun and share a good laugh now and then.  We truly enjoy working with Rob, and are grateful to have him as a boss and as a friend.  Our congratulations to Rob Bixenman for being named "Boss of the Quarter."


School Board Hears Report From Advisory Committee

(Le Mars) -- Earlier this week during the Le Mars Community School Board meeting, Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools reported to the board of directors the findings of the district's advisory committee, known as DLIIT Team.  Wendt says the advisory committee was split into two groups.  The first group focused on the data and the second group looked at the strengths and recommendations of school programs and curriculm that will help with student achievement.  Wendt informed the school board the school district is questioning students, parents, and faculty to see if the school is providing enough access for techonology.  The school advisory committee also suggested to the school to breakdown its collected data to further see where and how students can better achieve.


Sioux City Hotel To Be Renovated

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials say the city has reached a deal for a Florida-based company to buy and renovate a downtown hotel.
     Officials announced Wednesday that Conor Acquisitions, of Fort Myers, Fla., would buy the property for $4 million and spend another $6.5 million on renovations. The 193-room hotel, now an independent, would be converted to a national brand.
     Jonathan Chang, of National Hospitality Design Group, which is handling the renovation, says three national chains are being considered.
     Under the agreement, the city would contribute $1 million to hotel renovations. The city also would provide a property tax rebate and designate parking in a city ramp.
     The City Council will vote on an amendment to the downtown urban renewal plan Monday.


Expanded Corn Acreage Hurts Pheasant Populations

 SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Since the government began requiring ethanol be added to gasoline, the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska have lost 2.8 million acres of land set aside in the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program. 
      Hunters, who are big business in that part of the country, say they have felt the loss of habitats for ducks, pheasants, grouse and other wildlife as native grasslands that provided shelter to the birds have been overtaken by corn and soy crops, the main feedstock used to produce ethanol. 
     Pheasant harvests in the region have declined by 44 percent since 2006. 
     The owner of a Nebraska hotel popular among hunters says, "Everything's against the pheasants right now."


 Des Moines Police Investigate Knife Wounds

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police are investigating whether a domestic dispute led to knife wounds for two people at a home.
      Police say the two people were taken to a local hospital Wednesday morning with injuries that were not life-threatening. Police say the people had superficial knife wounds.
     The names of the people hurt have not been released. Additional information about the incident is unavailable, and the incident remains under investigation.









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