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Thursday Afternoon News, March 21

NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson Visits Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson was in Le Mars Thursday afternoon at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor to show off the "Helmet of Hope" as part of his foundation.  The race car driver's foundation has selected the Iowa Make A Wish Campaign to raise money for terminally ill children achieve their dream.  Wells Blue Bunny is a participating sponsor of the Helmet for Hope program.  The NASCAR driver explains the program.
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Johnson, who drives the Lowe's number 48 car says he is pleased to be associated with the Make A Wish charity.  He says several thousand children benefit from the organization.
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A $10,000 check was presented to the Iowa Make A Wish organization.  This year's Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign will run during six NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekends beginning on April 13th at the Texas Motor Speedway and culminating at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26th.  Johnson will draw two charities each week to be included on the helmet.  To date, the program has contributed more than $430,000 to 61 different charities.

 

Schneider Awarded Outstanding Service To Agriculture

(Le Mars) -- The 2013 Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award was presented to Plymouth County Extension Coordinator Carol Schneider.  Schneider is an exemplary leader and dedicated employee to the local extension program, and has been affiliated with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach program for more than 25 years.  Carol moved to Plymouth County in 1980 and began working as a 4-H and Youth Coordinator.  She later served as the ISU Extension Home Economist for Plymouth and Cherokee Counties.  She has organized and presented hundreds of quality programs for the residents of Plymouth County as well as for northwest Iowa.  Her service extends beyond the Plymouth County Extension.  She has served as the President of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce, been involved in her church, a member of the Plymouth County Fair Board, and a former member of the Plymouth County Pork Producers Board of Directors, and she has served on many Iowa State University committees.  Congratulations to Carol Schneider for being honored for the 2013 Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award.

 

Floyd Valley Among Top 100 Rural Hospitals

(Le Mars) -- Floyd Valley Hospital was recently ranked among the top 100 rural hospitals by ivantage.  Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin says the ranking is certainly good news, and he credits the hospital staff for the achievements.
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The national rankings actually features nine Iowa rural hospitals within their top 100 hospitals from a survey that covered more than 1200 hospitals nationwide.  Donlin says, besides Floyd Valley, other northwest Iowa hospitals were highly ranked.
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The hospital administrator says it is nice to be nationally recognized, but the hospital needs to keep focus on its primary duties.
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Trial Delayed For Early Man Accused Of Shooting Mother

EARLY, Iowa (AP) - A trial has been delayed for a 21-year-old northwest Iowa man who's accused of killing his mother and kidnapping another woman.
Kirk Levin's trial is now scheduled to begin on June 3. It had been scheduled to begin April 10.
Levin's attorney asked for the delay so he could complete depositions and file pretrial motions.
Levin is charged with first-degree murder and third-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors say Levin repeatedly stabbed his mother,Marilyn Schmitt, at her farmhouse in Early on Jan. 3. They say he then kidnapped a 21-year-old woman who he tied up and put in the trunk of a car. The woman escaped after Levin drove into a ditch.
Levin had been released from prison days earlier after serving time for burglary.
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Prison Staff Employee Smuggles Contraband

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Prison officials say a staffer smuggled contraband into the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, prompting a lockdown.
Fred Scaletta, executive officer for the Iowa Department of Corrections, says in a statement Thursday that the security breech is under investigation and the staffer is on administrative leave.
The penitentiary's maximum security unit has been on lockdown since March 12. The unit holds about 560 prisoners, many serving life sentences for rape and murder.
Union president Danny Homan says Thursday the prison is understaffed and dangerous. Homan represents correctional officers in Iowa Council 61 of the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees.
Prison officials responded by saying they have worked to reduce the prison population and improve the ratio of guards to inmates.

 

 

   

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.


   

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