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Thursday News, March 21

Grass, Leaves, Twigs, and Branches Disposal Site To Open In April

(Le Mars) -- Le Mars city officials have announced the grass, leaf, and twig disposal site located on the west edge of town near the Riverview Ball Complex will open beginning Saturday, April 6th.  Weather permitting, the disposal site will be open every Saturday and Wednesday from April to November.  Disposal hours are for Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and for Wednesdays between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.  There will be no curbside pick-up of twigs and branches by the City.  Only tree twigs, branches, grass and leaves may be dropped off at the site. If any other waste is mixed with the twigs, branches, grass or leaves it will not be accepted.  No tree stumps are allowed.  No plastic bags or boxes will be allowed!   The City will still conduct cleanup of downed branches after major storms, as needed.

 

Plymouth and Sioux Counties Rank As Top Healthiest Iowa Counties

(Des Moines) -- According to a new report, Sioux and Plymouth Counties now rank as being among the healthiest counties in Iowa. Sioux County topped the list as being the healthiest county, while Plymouth County was placed third among the Iowa 99 counties as being the healthiest county within the state. The information was released earlier this week by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.  State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull says the foundation is a reputable organization and he comments on the report.
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State Senate To Offer Tax Breaks For Low Income Families

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a measure that would give a larger income tax break to low-income residents.
Lawmakers passed the measure 35-15 Wednesday. Iowa households that make under $45,000 a year would get about a $250 tax break because they could keep a higher refund from their federal income tax.
Democrat Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City, the bill's sponsor, says this is one of the best ways to reduce poverty in the state. He says the bill would help 210,000 families in Iowa.
Republican Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull says the proposed credit is too high and unrealistic.
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The measure now heads to the House, but Feenstra doesn't believe there is enough support in the Republican controlled House to pass.
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Only One Regent Candidate Recommended by Senate Committee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa Senate panel has recommended just one of Governor Terry Branstad's three nominees for the Board of Regents.
The Senate Education Committee voted Wednesday to forward two of Branstad's nominations to the full Senate without recommendation. Current Board President Craig Lang did not get the committee's backing. Neither did Grimes businessman Robert Cramer.
The panel did recommend confirming Webster City physician Subhash Sahai to the nine-member board that oversees the state's three public universities. Both Sahai and Cramer are replacing
retiring members.
The nominations require a two-thirds approval vote in the Senate, where the Democrats hold a slim majority.
Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames said he didn't know whether there's enough support in the full Senate to approve the nominations.
Lang and Cramer underwent tough questioning during previous hearings.


House Approves Transportation and Administration Budgets

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved its first set of budget bills for this legislative session.
Lawmakers voted Wednesday on legislation for transportation and administration. The measures largely matched the governor's proposals for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
More controversial votes on tax cut proposals and additional education spending will come up later in the session.
On transportation, the House approved $353 million to maintain Iowa's roads and other responsibilities. That funding comes from fuel taxes and fees imposed on drivers.
Lawmakers approved the administration budget and $55 million to cover the costs for several offices, including Gov. Terry Branstad's office.
The House also debated Wednesday night funding for universities, community colleges and other education programs.
These bills now go to the Senate.

 

Reynolds Named To Executive Committee

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds has been named to a leadership role with the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association.
Reynolds will serve on the Association's 2013 Executive Committee. The appointment was announced Wednesday.
The Association says the committee focuses on issues like jobs, education, economic development and tourism. Lieutenant governors from nine states serve on the committee.
The Republican Lieutenant Governors Association raises money to support Republicans running for lieutenant governor positions.

 

Firemen Prepare Chili At State Capitol Building

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - More than 30 teams from fire service, law enforcement and other public agencies around Iowa are dishing out some tasty chili.
The state Fire Marshal's Office is encouraging participants to fire up their crockpots Thursday for the Firehouse Chili Cook-off at the Iowa State Capitol.
The event is part of the annual Firefighter Day on the Hill, when lawmakers recognize the importance of Iowa firefighters.
This is the second year the state Fire Marshal's Office is hosting the competition.
As a tribute to fire service, Honor Guard from the Indianola Fire Department and the Iowa State Patrol will stand vigil Thursday over a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. The remnant will
be on display on the first floor rotunda.


   

Wednesday Afternoon News, March 20

Senate Wants Schools To Test For Radon Gas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved legislation that would require schools to test for radon.
Lawmakers approved the measure 37-13 Wednesday with bipartisan support. It now heads to the House.
The bill would require public and private schools to test for the gas and install a system to expel it from buildings. It also would require residential construction companies to install pipes to mitigate the colorless and odorless gas in new homes built after Jan. 1, 2015.
The EPA says Iowa's 99 counties are in the agency's highest risk zone for gas exposure, which leaks through cracks in building foundations. The EPA says it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

 

Senate Approves Tax Breaks For Low Income

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a measure that would give a larger income tax break to low-income residents.
Lawmakers passed the measure 35-15 Wednesday. Iowa households that make under $45,000 a year would get about a $250 tax break because they could keep a higher refund from their federal income tax.
Democrat Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City, the bill sponsor, says this is one of the best ways to reduce poverty in the state. He says the bill would help 210,000 families in Iowa.
Republican Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull says the proposed credit is too high and unrealistic. He proposed an amendment to offer a smaller tax break to more taxpayers, but it failed to garner enough
support.
The measure now heads to the House.


Iowa DOT To Establish Rules For Traffic Cameras

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Transportation is preparing rules for where traffic cameras may be installed along interstates and highways in the state.
The department decided to move ahead after a measure that would have required cities and counties to get department permits before installing new traffic cameras died for this legislative session.
Department Director Paul Trombino says the rules would help as more cities consider using the cameras. The guidelines would require that cities provide data showing that cameras are the best
tool to improve safety on the highways.
The department will hold community meetings to get reactions from Iowa drivers. It also will consider legislation as part of the process.

 

Investigators Examine Sex Video

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in southern Iowa are investigating the online distribution of a video showing a sex act between a 19-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl.
The Knoxville Police Department says Jake Smith engaged in a sex act with the girl in February, and several males between 18 and 19 years old were in the room at the time.
Lt. Aaron Fuller says one male is suspected of recording the act via a webcam, and several high school students have circulated it through email. Police say the girl didn't know she was being
recorded.
Authorities want to recover all copies to stop circulation.
Smith faces felony charges of sex abuse and exploitation of a minor. His attorney declined to comment Wednesday.
Fuller says additional charges are possible against Smith and others.

 

Belle Plaine Council To Decide On Chickens In City

BELLE PLAINE, Iowa (AP) - The Belle Plaine City Council has been asked about letting people raise some chickens inside the east-central Iowa city.
The council discussed the idea at a work session Monday. A resident had proposed a change in the 1977 ordinance that banned the birds.
City Administrator Bill Daily says the city is researching what prompted that ban as officials consider whether to change it now.
Backyard chickens have become an issue in Iowa as homegrown and organic food becomes more popular. Cedar Rapids has allowed small flocks inside city limits since 2010, and Iowa City recently
approved urban chickens.
The council took no official action on the issue Monday. Daily says the issue likely will come up again at the council's work session on April 15.  The Le Mars City Council had a similar issue come before them in recent weeks.  The Le Mars City Council voted down a request by an individual to raise chickens within the city limits.



 

   

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